Michael Battalio


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Serious Conversations (part 7):

        A bit of a disclaimer, this is the seventh in series of serious blog posts about religion and philosophy. If you have ever chatted with me about philosophy and religion and very much disagree, be prepared for that to continue.
        These are my responses (Edited, of course, to offend as few people as possible; although offense is inevitable with me.) from a conversation I am having with an atheist friend of mine about the meaning of life, consciousness, physics, the kitchen sink, religion and a couple of moral issues thrown in to boot. This entry is about control.

        Previously my friend hit upon an important point, that religion and science are different methods for explaining the same thing. Also, she noted that religious ceremonies were created so we could control God. Here is my perspective: I find it difficult to let go completely of religion because I like the hope of control.  Assuming what I pray for gets answered, I can in some respects control whatever I want.  But with the things I cannot control (for example, a safe drive, an extra scholarship offer, acceptance to whatever grad school, that it will/will not rain today), without prayer, I really have no control.  They are left to luck and chance.  So, letting go of religion means letting go of a level of control.  I think that’s part of the reason that religion is so hard to disavow.  Who would want less control over their lives?  Christianity is particularly good about saying that if God hasn’t answered your prayers yet, you aren’t praying enough or in the correct way. Prayer and religion give people a way to swing the odds in their favor, and people are greedy.  They will take whatever method they can to get what they want, even if it is trying to use God to hurt others chances, say for winning a football game or getting a job. (Let me just say as a matter of personal belief, even before I started questioning my faith, God does not care if you win a football game. Your prayers for your team were no stronger or better than the prayers for the opposing team. God doesn’t care. Stop thanking Him. He didn’t do anything to help your team.)
        Control might also be considered the root of religion and part of the reason why religion is still around. Faith gives you a level of control where logically or scientifically you should hold none. But to tone that statement down, and to not give faith undue credit. “Miracles” do happen in the sense not that God has necessarily done something for you, but in the sense that, for example, life is very resilient and can heal itself without an explanation from medicine (or insert some other “miracle” in place of a medical miracle). I would expect that the occurrence of that will continue to decrease as we become more and more knowledgeable about ourselves and the universe It’s just easier to attribute “miracles” to an omnipotent God than it is to attribute them to our own ignorance. The part of me that still clings to belief wants to believe in the miracles though, but as we understand more and more of the world, I feel it will become more and more difficult.
        I’m also inclined to believe that culture had a major influence on the survival of some religions over others. It would make sense that dominant cultures, that for whatever reason became dominant, would have a greater chance of spreading their religions. And that fits the facts. The dominate cultures of the Far East have religions that dominate the Far East, and the dominate cultures of the West have Judeo-Christian religions that have come to dominate the West.
        And again, I believe it is the very nature of religions that ensure their survival. Judeo-Christian religions are very big about spreading the faith. Followers are even told they will be rewarded for more and more converts. I’ve never heard of the Ancient Roman or Greek religions being about that.

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, mbat, I enjoyed reading your latest post. I thought in your previous posts you were being overpowered by atheists, although I believe they have made a significant piercing straight through your soul, causing you to question your existence and to question God's very power in your life. Atheism is not the answer, mbat, and I will not apologize for my statements denouncing it. It was interesting how you say you feel you cannot let go completely of religion. How's this...you should let go of religion! I did this many years ago. Even though I attend services regularly, religion never secured the souls of the saints. Religion doesn't secure my soul. It enhances my faith. My faith in the Lord Jesus Himself is the security that is sufficient for me. And for those who believe in Him, He has made His promises clear to us in the scriptures. As I have previously informed you in posts, letting go and allowing God to work through your life will expand and open your life to infinite possibilities. Question: Why this sudden transfer to ancient religions and history? You're extremely difficult to follow...Your statements in this post are very scattered. I can follow them but then I get lost; but they seem to be the words of someone else, not you. Not the real you. Can you come out of your shell and show us who the "real" mbat is? The one whom I believe wants to follow the Lord, but who is relying on his own intelligence to understand life and its trials. And, I still believe you are frequently questioning God's existence. I can understand this; atheist agenda has been infiltrated to you...by Wesley, and Ted (I really believe he is agnostic but won't admit it). Whether or not something exists does not depend on whether or not it can be described. If something exists, it exists independently of someone's ability to describe it. That is the nature of existence; that is, things exist whether or not someone knows it exists, let alone accurately describe its existence. Furthermore, something that exists is not limited in existence by the inability of someone to accurately describe its existence. For example, there are galaxies and phenomenon within galaxies that have not yet been discovered. But this does not mean that they do not exist since we cannot describe knowledgeably, sufficiently, or accurately. We know that things exist which are difficult to adequately describe. A rainbow is another good example. A verbal description of a rainbow cannot compare to actually seeing one. By default, the description is inadequate as compared to the reality of eyewitness encounter. But, that does not mean that rainbows do not exist because we cannot adequately describe them with words. As far as God is concerned. God can be described, though not perfectly. He can be sufficiently described so that we can gain an understanding of His nature, greatness, and differences from ourselves. Though we will always fall short when trying to describe an infinite being, we can still say enough about Him to convey who and what He is so that the concept of God can be communicated. We can say that He is infinite, gracious, loving, all knowing, all-powerful, all present, holy, pure, righteous, that he is not flesh and bones, the only uncaused and infinitely eternal being in existence, etc. Though we may not be able to perfectly describe Him we can describe Him by listing His attributes and qualities. Attributes and qualities reflect the nature of the thing described. Therefore, we can describe God and our insufficiency to adequately describe Him in certain areas does not diminish His existence nor mean that He does not exist. It simply means that He is great.
God is great, and He is good. He will change your life if you will allow Him to...

Anonymous said...

Interesting to see that Wesley never responded to my questions in the previous post...is this "atheistic sarcasm" or does such a thing exist? Or was a nerve hit? Or can he not come up with anything for rebuttal? From what I've seen with atheists, they really do not prefer when people try to psychoanalyze them...don't know why. They really should welcome it if they have nothing to hide. I'm not trying to psychoanalyze; I'm just trying to figure out where they're coming from...
Too funny and quite interesting...

Anonymous said...

I was intrigued that homosexuality kept creeping up in the previous posts by Wesley, and I didn't know how or when to respond to it. Since Wesley ultimately believes that God and Christians hate homosexuals, I would like to set the record straight on this issue if you don't mind, mbat.

God doesn't hate homosexuals. Christians don't hate homosexuals. We love them. They are our friends. We do not agree with homosexual action. And in my opinion, it is becoming quite imperative that Christians make bold statements instead of going along with whatever feels good (as Ted has accomplished so eloquently in previous posts) and being afraid to do so. Of course, this is a totally different turn on a discussion in its entirety, but the atheistic viewpoint, as well as the lax-society viewpoint, are becoming very different from the viewpoints of most believers today.

As of today, Vermont has legalized same-sex marriage, and the house and senate leaders plan to override the governor's veto of the legalization. Pastor Joel Osteen of Houston's megachurch Lakewood Church, was on Larry King Live a few minutes ago, and he was completely marginalized for his personal beliefs that marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. E-mails pouring into Larry King stated that "Jesus wouldn't want to meet Joel Osteen"; "Joel Osteen is a disgrace to Christianity"... I'm beginning to wonder if these "intelligent" comments were made by the typical agnostic or atheist. Osteen, in all humility, made it very clear that all are loved through our Lord Jesus Christ, but Larry King (who is a self-proclaimed agnostic) insisted on opening the wounds. I for one, as a Christian, am sick and tired of the liberal agenda, who make us appear as we despise, when we do not. Is the battle against same-sex marriage already lost? With homosexual marriage now legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and today Vermont, and with momentum toward legalization now spreading across the nation, homosexual advocates are increasingly confident that victory is in sight. Now, some conservative individuals are even beginning to wonder if the gay activists might be right.

Is opposition to same-sex marriage already a lost cause? We must certainly hope not, for the redefinition of marriage will effectively destroy the central organizing unit of society. In a day of rampant moral relativism and social experimentation, Americans have been engaged in a free-for-all exercise in cultural revolution. But when the experiment is directed at marriage, the fallout is sure to be uniquely tragic. The legalization and cultural acceptance of same-sex marriage will mean, ultimately, the destruction of marriage itself (perhaps even the Roman Catholic Church?)... Without a coherent vision of marriage, the entire society will eventually find itself completely unable to regulate sexual behavior or personal relationships. When will it ever end? Do Christians just accept it and move on? What do they do? What happens when the next "sexual lifestyle" gains civil rights status? Those who charge that even raising such a question is scare-mongering, must face the simple fact that the question is unavoidable. Intellectual honesty demands that we recognize the fact that acceptance of same-sex marriage implies--to anyone who has even the slightest commitment to intellectual integrity--the acceptance of any adult consensual sexual lifestyle as legitimate and ultimately deserving of legalized status.

Christians have long understood the necessity of conserving institutions and patterns of life that protect human happiness and the welfare of society. Those who argue that an institution as fundamental as marriage can be redefined to accept same-sex relationships are fooling themselves--and they certainly do not practice the tenets of Christian teaching.

Nevertheless, most of us are not willing to declare surrender yet--not by a long shot. There is much work to be done and much ground to be gained, but we must do our very best to awaken the American conscience and reshape the debate. The cost of losing this debate is too tragic to calculate, and the moral cost of surrender is too great to bear. Throwing in the towel is just not an option, and you atheists, agnostics and ultra-liberal secret clubs will just have to get your earplugs out. Because God's people will speak against sin.

And, please liberals, don't give me that rebuttal bull that God hates homosexuals! Can you please come up with another intellectual argument besides that one. That one has to be soooo ancient!

Anonymous said...

Christopher Hitchens is an idiot. The reason I bring this up is that mbat so eloquently referred to him in one of his posts. His new book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything is a great book for Wesley to read. It caters to the ignorant and unintellectual atheist. With his unique brand of ignorance, Hitchens describes the ways in which religion is man-made. It is useless. It is pointless. It is rebellion. It is demonic.

"God did not make us," he says. "We made God."

He explains the ways in which religion is immoral (can you believe this idiot?) He says that we damage our children by indoctrinating them. It is a cause of sexual repression, violence, and ignorance. It is a distortion of our origins and the cosmos. In the place of religion, Hitchens offers the promise of a new enlightenment through science and reason, a realm in which hope and wonder can be found through a strand of DNA or a gaze through the Hubble Telescope. What a load of bull!!!

Do you actually read this junk mbat? Why would you read it? It is poison for the believer. I know why Wesley or Ted would read it. Ted would probably defend it with the rate he is going at defending atheists.

I saw this book, quickly read through it, got sick to my stomach, threw up, and read the back. I wanted to gag after throwing up. If a book was written talking maliciously about Judaism or Hinduism, etc., the author would probably be sued. Since when can an award be given to a man who's book will, no doubt, offend millions of people!!!!? Don't read this. Open mindedness is one thing, but this is just ridiculous.

This book is by a man saying we created the Alpha and Omega, the Holy One, Prince of Peace, our Holy Trinity. What is our world coming to? A few hundred years ago, some were persecuted for NOT believing in God. Before that, we were persecuted for believing in our Father. This is just a reminder that God is ominpresent and he would be deeply saddened by this book and the others like it out there.

Hell is ready for you Mr. Hitchens. I don't know if you're ready for it though...

Anonymous said...

I'm very content to assume that the atheist Wesley has conceded. The fact is that you Wesley and you Ted--you both are complete hypocrites, and you are unwilling to offer any logical reasoning behind your statements because you know the truth, and it is hard-piercing. The truth of the matter is that atheism does not triumph in the end. To you miserable atheists and agnostics, you'll never be socially sound, you'll always be lonely, you'll never achieve your desired status, you'll never be truly content, you'll always argue, you'll consistently battle depression, you'll always wonder that perhaps you're wrong...what a miserable and horrible life this would be. I'm so glad that Christianity wins, and it can never be defeated. What a wonderful day to celebrate the triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and source of strength.

Wesley said...

I have not been responding because I have been busy and you have not been saying anything new. You keep repeating yourself, and I have responded to every argument you have raised (most of them multiple times). I'm not sure if you have a disorder which keeps you from remembering that I've already responded to the points you raise, or if you keep raising them in the hopes that I'll contradict myself or forget my answer.

Either way, I find no need to repeat myself anymore. There's no need for your sake, because you have heard it all before in my previous posts. There is also no need for Battalio's sake because he has already been driven away from your Christianity by your childish tactics and insufficient arguments (in conjunction with the strength of my arguments and the force of his own reason and introspection). I suspect this is the position of majority of the readers of this blog.

As for your post on Christians not hating homosexuals, many of your sons and daughters in Christ would disagree.

And even if Christians don't despise homosexuals, your post can be summed up as:

1. Giving homosexuals equal rights would be "uniquely tragic."
2. The "acceptance of any adult consensual sexual lifestyle as legitimate" is a bad thing.
3. Christians must do their best to "reshape the debate," and "speak against [the] sin" espoused by "ultra-liberal secret clubs."

All three of these points are bigoted and incorrect (and in the case of the last one, paranoid). If you do not believe me, please examine your point #1 by replacing the word "homosexual" with other phrases:

Giving blacks equal rights would be uniquely tragic.

Giving Jews equal rights would be uniquely tragic.

Giving Muslims equal rights would be uniquely tragic.

Giving Christians equal rights would be uniquely tragic.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Wesley, that you just can't accept the fact that in the end atheism cannot raise sufficient proof that there is no God. I have in fact raised many new arguments, and your liberal viewpoints supercede any logical argument in which we can engage. If something has been accomplished, you have misinterpreted most of what I have relayed to you--which is typical of most atheists. And, I could really care less if Mbat has turned to atheism. I would really be disappointed however. And, I don't subscribe to my own brand of Christianity. I only subscribe to Christianity, sir. Now as for the issue of homosexuality. You are a sick psycho for calling me a bigot. In fact, if anyone were a bigot, it would be you. A bigot, a hatemonger against Christians themselves, an agenda-seeker, who in fact is lonely and seeking something that he cannot find (and he will never find). If you read my posts, Christians are called to love all people, regardless of their differences. And your correlation between my giving equal rights to gays and blacks is completely ignorant. Since when have African-American people been able to change their skin color? Homosexuals cannot change their sexual orientation, I agree, however, they are not required to live a lifestyle which is not in the perfect will of God. And, most Christians agree that it is not in God's plan for two men to be in a non-committed sexual relationship. Where have you been Wesley? The Catholic church doesn't teach your brand of extreme liberalism. No mainstream religions do. Even Judaism adheres to the sanctity of marriage. You are a sick person, Wesley, when you so ignorantly compare the act of homosexuality (which is a choice) to being black. I actually thought you possessed some intelligence, but now you are ridiculous. Well, most atheists are.

Wesley said...

Ok. So you don't think my comparison of homosexuality to race is apt. How about my other examples of your bigotry?

"Giving Jews equal rights would be uniquely tragic.

Giving Muslims equal rights would be uniquely tragic.

Giving Christians equal rights would be uniquely tragic."
Do you see how when you replace "homosexual" in your quote with any other group of people, your statements instantly become hateful and bigoted?

And your pitiful argument that it's OK to discriminate against homosexuals because they have the choice to live differently (as opposed to race, which cannot be changed) is poorly thought out.

How would you feel if someone said it's OK to discriminate against Muslims because, after all, they can choose not to live a Muslim lifestyle? Or how about we don't give Christians equal rights? After all, even if they feel Christian deep down, they can choose not to live a Christian lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

I don't really care for your additional comparisons. Logically, you make little sense when comparing homosexuals to Jews or Muslims or blacks. Jews, Muslims or blacks have absolutely no power to change who they are. Homosexuals have no power to alter their sexual orientations. The point is however, they are not required to live a lifestyle that may be displeasing to God, and the Holy scripture would back me up on this. Just as if you and I have no power to change our natural affection toward the female (it's our orientation, Wesley), however, we can control our sexual activity with the female. And sexual activity between a male and a female is not appropriate or in the will of God until marriage. Uh, at least the Bible states this, and the Roman Catholic church teaches this. I wonder if Ted agrees with this! Probably not. Your opinion is welcome too Ted!

This is natural law, Wesley. This would have to be how God designed it. And there is no way on earth you could argue this point to come to any logical conclusion; just as you argue most points people make with whom you disagree. Those who resist the homosexual tide must take to heart candid assessments from leading homosexual activists with great seriousness, Wesley. These claims go far in explaining why they are winning and the Christian movement is losing. They tell us about their tireless efforts to pressure the media and the entertainment industry to do their bidding. They are pushing it, and that's the point. There is no major counter-push on this momentum. Advocates of the natural family and objective sexual morality have no equivalent lobbying force--and little influence on the media and entertainment elite.

I have to provide you with a small story I read about years ago in college about what has happened to the Bible and Christians who are taking a stand on this issue:

In 1997, a Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission board of inquiry fined a Christian businessman $4,500 for running an advertisement in The Star Phoenix newspaper that simply listed four biblical passages that condemn homosexual behavior [Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1:26 and 1 Corinthians 6:9]. The ad did not even provide the actual text of the verses. Two stickmen holding hands were pictured in the advertisement, with the international negative symbol (a red circle bisected by a slash) over the figures. The board ruled that the symbols, when combined with the biblical citations, "would expose or tend to expose homosexuals to hatred or ridicule." According to this Canadian agency, the Bible is now hate speech.

Can you believe the liberal agenda? The Bible is hate speech? Please, Wesley. Were you one of those holding one of those signs? The whole idea of hate speech has a dubious basis in the law. Hate crime laws set certain groups apart as deserving of special protections. Wesley, POST THIS WITH A STICKY NOTE ON YOUR HEAD, YOU SOMETIMES FORGET THINGS!!! ****Christians DO NOT defend physical violence or hatred against anyone--homosexuals included--and call for the full prosecution of any who would resort to violence or assault****. But to label certain forms of assault hate crimes assumes that the motivation to harm one person is more criminal than the motivation to harm another. When hate crimes are extended to speech, the government sets itself up as a judge of what language or speech is legal or illegal. Wesley, the logic of the legislation is VERY clear--no criticism of homosexuality is allowable, whatever its form or basis. This would cover not only epithets thrown at homosexuals, but sermons in Christian pulpits against homosexual behavior.
And, I am stating all this simply because you started this argument. You opened this up for debate, and I am wondering why!!! You said we Christians hate gays. This is totally a misrepresentation of myself and Christianity, and you should be ashamed! This is no longer a hypothetical argument. The agenda of the homosexual activists is clear. They will not rest until all organized opposition to their behavior and lifestyle is silenced. You won't rest either, Wesley, because you are a rebellious agenda-seeker. There can be no question that the Christian church currently represents the greatest threat to the normalization and celebration of homosexual behavior--and to atheists! Thus, the church and Christian believers must be silenced if the homosexual activists are to have their way.

And why must this happen? Answer this Wesley!!!

And to state that my arguments are pitiful? What about yours? You haven't fully explained your stance on this issue anyway. So how are we to know, sir?

And Ted, what about your stance on this issue? I'm interested in your opinion; I probably assume that it's a liberal one, but just for the record, it's worth a shot at me...

Wesley said...

Jews and Muslims do not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. But they, like homosexuals, "are not required to live a lifestyle that may be displeasing to God." They could choose not to go to temple (just as homosexuals could choose not to engage in homosexual acts). They could pretend to be Christian (just as homosexuals could pretend to be heterosexual). The simile is perfectly apt.

So I ask again: why do you think it is OK to discriminate against homosexuals, but you do not think it is OK to discriminate against Jews and Muslims?

Ted said...

Anonymous, I've already told you that I'm tired of you. You won't get any more opinions out of me, simply because you're not worth my time.

Anonymous said...

Actually Ted, you must be worth my time if you took the time to write a response. Does your brain actually function or is it just me? Actually, I never thought you had ANY interesting points in ANY of your posts, and you even led me on to believe you were actually a believer. It's high time you admitted your agnosticism and/or atheism. And by the way, your picture...you even look like a liberal who possesses serious issues. Lol!

As for you, Wesley, you seem not to understand anything that I say.
Your question--So I ask again: why do you think it is OK to discriminate against homosexuals, but you do not think it is OK to discriminate against Jews and Muslims?

I answer again, for I believe the third time. I do not discriminate against homosexuals. I discriminate against homosexuality (the act of sexual engagement of two persons of the same sex). There is a clear and concise dissimilarity. Don't you see this? What can't you see? I assume you're perhaps intelligent enough to see this, but you're just trying to argue as you persistently do. If Muslims and Jews were living a lifestyle that displeased their God, then, certainly, yes, I would disapprove of that as well; however I would not discriminate. Just as I do not discriminate against homosexuals. Is that the answer you wanted? Because I'm confused. Perhaps you should come down to eye level, Wesley. You're in the clouds somewhere, maybe with the aliens.

Wesley, just to give you the benefit of the doubt, I understand and respect what you say, but I don't agree with your comparisons nor your stance. But in all seriousness, to open and enhance your mind to all ideas (as you have so eloquently stated in many of your previous posts), I urge you to read the biography of acclaimed gospel singer Rev. Donnie McClurkin, an ex-gay pastor who was delivered from homosexuality. Although he identified as gay for several years, McClurkin states that he is now ex-gay. In his book Eternal Victim, Eternal Victor, McClurkin wrote that homosexuality is a spiritual issue and that one can be delivered from it by God.

One of his quotes from the book: "The abnormal use of my sexuality continued until I came to realize that I was broken and that homosexuality was not God's intention... for my masculinity."

McClurkin was born and raised in Amityville, New York. When he was seven years old, his two-year-old brother was hit and killed by a speeding driver. This greatly impacted the McClurkin family. The night of the funeral, McClurkin's uncle raped McClurkin. Domestic violence and drug abuse took hold in the family. At the age of thirteen, McClurkin was again raped, this time by his cousin, his uncle's son.

McClurkin bases his sexual desire for men as one that was pushed along in a disordered fashion by his disordered environment.

I believe that in rare cases, some people are gay or lesbian because of some biological error. I simply believe that disordered environmental factors play most of the role for causing people to become gay or lesbian however. Of course this is no fault of the gay or lesbian person, and, their sexual orientation usually remains constant. On the contrary, gays and lesbians choose the lifestyles they desire to live. McClurkin chose his lifestyle--God's plan. Not McClurkin's plan--God's plan.

How can you argue with this, Wesley?

If you can, please feel free to do so...

Anonymous said...

Wesley, I would like to give you some intellectual points on homosexuality and the stance that Christianity proposes:

Many Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction are being bombarded by liberal nonsense (as you have so "eloquently" proposed:

1. False statements are being made about homosexuality being biologically determined. Many Christian homosexuals are being told wrongly that sexual orientation change is never possible.

2. The term "gay" is being used wrongly to describe people of a homosexual orientation who do not identify with the gay socio-political position.

3. A separate "gay spirituality" regrettably is being encouraged, and gay ministries tell us that a person who suffers from the homosexual disorder has special "gay gifts" for the Church.

4. Christians are being informed wrongly that the homosexual condition is not disordered.

Wesley, some persons find themselves through no fault of their own to have a homosexual orientation. Homosexuals, like everyone else, should not suffer from prejudice against basic human rights. They have a right to respect, friendship, and justice. They should have an active role in the Christian community with dignity. Homosexual activity, however, as distinguished from homosexual orientation, is morally wrong, and most religions would agree with this statement. Like heterosexual persons, homosexuals are called to give witness to chastity, avoiding, with God's grace, behavior which is wrong for them as non-marital sexual relations are wrong for heterosexuals. Nonetheless, because heterosexuals can usually look forward to marriage, and homosexuals, while their orientation continues, might not, the Christian community should provide them a special degree of pastoral understanding and care. What problems would you have with this Wesley?

I believe, Wesley, with faith in Christ and His holy teachings, it is more than possible to live a chaste single life in a healthy and happy manner. With the love of other Christians gay individuals can develop a happy, grace filled understanding of ourselves and continue to grow into our true identity as maturing Catholic men and women.

So, Wesley, how do you propose that I discriminate against homosexuals? You are totally ignorant in your misrepresentations of many Christians. You believe that since someone is gay, he/she should just be able to do just about whatever he/she wants. Well, it doesn't work that way. We straight individuals can't do this either.

Being homosexual does not make a human person sick or perverse -- however, homosexual acts are immoral and do not lead to a deeper life in Christ. The dignity and identity of a Christian person is not determined by their sexual orientation but by their relation to Jesus Christ through a developing faith, hope and love. Homosexuality is not the work of God -- nor is it usually a person's choice -- it is an aspect of an arrested sexual development resulting from no one simple factor. This arrested development will disorder a person's normal sexual feelings.

For those who really want it, reparative growth is a possibility and happens regularly. Men and women leave behind not only the homosexual lifestyle but also the very feelings of same-sex attraction. While all can investigate this option, teens and young adults are especially invited to consult competent therapists. Reparative growth to a fuller possession of heterosexuality is a possibility to those so motivated. This is never easy or over night -- it demands serious commitment to emotional and spiritual growth. It is not to be forced on anyone but it is an option that can be investigated with competent help.
It may work; it may not; however, the relationship with the Lord will grow deeper even if the reparative therapy is not deemed successful.

Anonymous said...

I welcome any arguments you may have Wesley, or from anyone else.

Anonymous said...

What I want to say to these "Atheists" is simple, and this will be my very last post about it unless anyone has any comments in rebuttal:

SHUT UP!

Yes. That's it. I want to tell them to shut up. I've been taking shots at non-intelligent religious people for being irrrational from time to time. But at the same time, I am getting so sick of annoying atheists. These folks just go around and take shots at religion just to make themselves appear normal or as if they understand why the world exists. They think everyone who follows a religion is ignorant and irrational for believeing in a "sky God" or "fairy tales". In fact, they've dedicated everything just to regurgitate on religion, by complaining about saying God's name in Obama's Inauguration, to creating advertisements for buses saying that there is no God.

In fact, I just want to ask these nutcases like Wesley and his "big supporter" Ted, Why? What has religion done to you? Sure, religion has done a lot of ignorant things and a lot of good things, but how does it affect you? And why should anyone care if someone believes in God? Why are you trying so fervently to be so incredibly annoying? And if you agree that religion is evil, then so is money, and greed. There is a thing called "necessary evil you know".

And isn't there a saying : "Live and Let Live". I have told that to every idiot who fears that Obama is the anti-Christ ever since his victory. Now I want to tell that to atheists reading this: Live and Let Live. There are people who believe in God. Deal with it. You can convert ten Christians into atheists, but you will find twenty atheists who suddenly rediscover God after something spiritual happened to them. It's the cycle of life. And if you really desire to break that cycle just like what PETA is doing right now, I definitely won't stop you but you'll know that you will have to eventually realize that we Christians are very intelligent. And we have a right to throw your atheist agenda out the window with the other trash we have. I'm so sick of atheists shoving their religion in my face. Being an atheist doesn't automatically make anyone smart, logical, or even a good person.

I am quite familiar with the type of atheist you are, Wesley, and you are incredibly ridiculous. Essentially there are a fair amount of atheists who blindly believe anything horrible they hear about religion. This makes each and every one of them hypocrites, because they are simply falling in to the exact same line of thought that a hardcore religious person might fall into with respect to atheism. Of course if you point this out to one of them you will be called a Christian because you disagree with them. Atheists have no real basis for objective right and wrong. This does not mean that atheists don't understand right from wrong. On the contrary, atheists can and do
understand right from wrong because the moral law is written on
their hearts just as on every other heart. But while they may
believe in an objective right and wrong, they have no way to
justify such a belief (unless they admit a moral law giver, at
which point they cease being atheists).

In the end, however, atheism cannot justify why anything is morally right or wrong. It cannot guarantee human rights or ultimate
justice in the universe. To be an atheist - a consistent atheist
- you have to believe that there is nothing really wrong with
murder, rape, genocide, torture, or any other heinous act. By
faith, you have to believe there is no moral difference between a
murderer and a missionary, a teacher and a terrorist, or Mother
Teresa and Hitler. Or, by faith, you have to believe that real
moral principles arose from nothing. Since such beliefs are
clearly unreasonable, we don't have enough faith to be atheists.

Wesley, sir, what I eventually figured out is that self-proclaimed atheists still have at least one toe in the theist camp. After all, with the possible exception of an evangelical revival meeting, the word God will seldom be heard used more often than at a gathering of committed atheists. Atheists are products of a theistic culture. They are former theists all, or at least the children of theists, who took in the tenants of theism with their mother's milk, and later, for whatever reason, whether intellectual honestly or sheer perversity (or both), came to reject the whole notion of God.

Well, atheists like to think they have rejected Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but have they? Would it be truer to say they are involved in an ongoing process of rejecting God, a sort of self-help endeavor to extricate themselves from the theistic memes of their upbringing? Why else would atheists discuss endlessly the basis for their disbelief? Why do some band together, as do the believers, if not to bolster one another in their godlessness? Why the innumerable hours spent chipping away at theism―the delight in pointing out the folly of being a fool for Christ's sake? What could explain the insatiable appetite for all the books, films, articles, and now Web sites in support of atheism? Surely someone who was outside the theist universe would take at most an anthropological or historical interest in theism, would spend no time at all on questions of God's existence or nonexistence, and would never commit the absurdity of defining their point of view in terms of a rejection of someone else's view.

So now, when someone tells me they are an atheist, I smile knowingly and through a sort of mental slight of mind, I replace the word "atheist" with "recovering theist." Yes, there are indeed no atheists in this world, but only recovering theists. So, what would fully recovered theists call themselves? Just about anything except "atheist."

But they are stupid, all of them!

And you're not that bright either, Wesley!

So in a nutshell, Wesley, my views on atheism are as follows:

1. Atheism, especially in its newly virulent strands (yes, I’m referring to Dennett, Dawkins and other psychobabble dumbos), has very little to do with a simple denial of the existence of God. Atheism is a prescribed worldview which asserts unfounded propositions about the way the world is. It is thoroughly deterministic and naturalistic. The proposition “there is no god” is just as metaphysical as “there is a god”; and just as wrongheaded. Atheism is turning into yet another grand meta-narrative: it is not an alternative to religion, but simply its mirror image.

2. Atheism does not simply deny theism, but goes all the way to dismiss any form of religion or spirituality. Atheism has become a form of scientism, repudiating any propositions that scientists cannot prove to be true. This, of course, is nonsense because as mighty as science has become, it can never prove that it is the only possible source of knowledge. Common sense knows that science can only explain a small portion of the world and remains hopelessly silent concerning many very important or pressing issues (in ethics or politics, aesthetics and religion).

3. Atheism’s new-found belligerence is very offensive to many people and thereby counterproductive. By protesting too much, and I'm not sure how much of this you do, Wesley, atheists will only convince their foes that they have resorted to shouting and preaching because they cannot convince anyone on the merits of their arguments, just like all other proponents of faulty systems of human thought.

4. Atheism is not willing to meet people on their own ground, first trying to understand them so as to better explain its own position; rather, it insists on blindly dictating the modalities of the discussion. That is simply arrogant and it makes me want to throw up, vomit, regurgitate, and do it all over again...

5. Atheism is not an open, but a closed way of thinking. Atheism does not seem willing to ask: Is there not a concept similar to "god" that would prove useful for explaining the world?; What is religion good for?; What do the religious mean - beyond what they manage to say? Atheism is just plain not curious enough for me.

Wesley said...

I have not posted in a while because you were not saying anything new and your hate speech against homosexuals spoke for itself. I only post now because you brought up an interesting argument in favor of atheism of which I was not previously aware.

A good portion of your last post was devoted to saying that atheists must believe that "there is nothing really wrong with murder, rape, genocide, torture, or any other heinous act." You also claim that atheists "have to believe there is no moral difference between a murderer and a missionary, a teacher and a terrorist, or Mother Teresa and Hitler." Ignoring the obvious attack on my character, I have already explained from where atheist morality arises in a previous post. If you recall, I gave you very clear explanations of these origins from philosophical, social, psychological, and biological angles.But let's suppose for a moment that you unreasonably reject the numerous and perfectly sound explanations I have already provided you (despite never providing any rational defense to them). You said something very interesting in your last post. You mentioned that either atheists must admit that there was no moral right and wrong, or they must accept a morality that arose from nothing (without reason). You claim that belief in this from-nothing morality is "unreasonable, [so you] clearly don't have enough faith to be atheists." I agree that it would be unreasonable (which is why I provided many reasonable justifications for morality in a previous post). But the second half of your quote gives the impression that you incorrectly believe that such a morality would require more faith than your Christianity.

But actually, believing in this from-nothing morality would require less faith than believing in some moral law-giver. It's a whole extra leap of faith to go from believing in an arbitrary (not reason-based) moral code to believing that there is an invisible magical being in the sky that enforces that moral code after you die.

In fact, I think such belief would be an excellent intermediate step for believers. Believers in the from-nothing morality could indoctrinate their children with practical morality, instead of devout belief in man-made fairy tales about virgins giving birth to magical babies who can walk on water and duplicate bread/fish in Star Trek fashion. Furthermore, believers in the from-nothing morality would not waste time on man-made rituals, such as praising invisible men, pretending bread and wine are flesh and blood, sprinkling water on people, casting out invisible demons, etc.

Thank you for pointing this out. I will no doubt use the from-nothing morality in future conversations with believers. It won't turn a full-fledged believer into an atheist, but it might help those who are on the fence.

Since I'm responding anyway to thank you for your contribution to the case for atheism, I will copy-paste my canned responses to your five points.

1. You say the proposition that "there is no god" is just as metaphysical as "there is a god." This is why every atheist is infinitesimally agnostic. It is possible that your omnipotent and omniscient God exists, but it is infinitesimally possible. Rather, it is infinitely unlikely. For instance, it is possible that tomorrow gravity will completely stop working. If someone asked you to prove that gravity would not stop working tomorrow, you could not do it. It is possible that we will wake up tomorrow and find that the Earth has spun off at a tangent and we're all floating up to the ceilings of our houses. But if you ask most intelligent people if they believe that will happen, they will tell you that they do not believe it will happen (and this disbelief is reasonable). The point is this: there is some point at which an unlikelihood becomes an impossibility. If you are familiar with the mathematical concept of a limit from calculus, then you should understand this.

2. I do not maintain that science is the only source of knowledge, only that it is the authority on explanation of the physical world. I admire philosophy, art, etc. These fields have much to teach us about love, beauty, and the human condition. But if philosophy says that the Earth is 6000 years old, it is wrong.

3. You will notice that I do not shout (or type in all capital letters). I use exclaimation marks sparingly. I ignore your taunts and attacks on my character. I do not respond to your name-calling. I merely focus on the illogical nature of your assertions and the clear falsehoods which you assert as truth. I then try to fill your areas of ignorance with reason and knowledge. This is not "shouting and preaching," as you call it. And it's interesting that you would use the term "preaching," since that is what proponents of Christianity do. It's also interesting that you do most of the "shouting" in our argument, by using all capital letters and exclaimation marks, attacking my character, calling me and my friends childish names, and attempting to quiet me such that others may not hear the truth I speak (in your last post you told me to "SHUT UP!"). Perhaps it is you (and other Christians) who have resorted to "shouting and preaching" because you cannot convince anyone on the merits of your arguments.4. If you mean that atheists are unwilling to abandon their logic-based arguments because of your insistence on something in the Bible, then you are correct. I'm sorry that this incites such emetic tendencies in you. The only dictate that atheists place on the mode of argument is that it must be logic-based. Aside from that, they are willing to entertain all arguments. It is when Christians begin saying things such as "the Bible says" or "Jesus said" that atheists quickly respond "it doesn't matter and I don't care." What would you expect from someone who does not believe in the divine origins of your book? If I tried to argue with you by saying "My magical and never-wrong atheist manual says that you are wrong," how would you respond?

5. Atheism leaves far more room for curiosity than theism. It is theism that tries to explain away all the mysteries of the universe. Science asks questions and searches for answers. Religion provides precise answers (at the expense of truth, since they are made-up). How did the earth come to exist? Science is still trying to figure out this open question; religion says "God made it." How did the megalurid bush-warblers come to exist? Science is still trying to trace their ancestry and evolutionary stimulus; religion says "God made them." I refer you to this cartoon, in the hopes that sarcasm will help you think more clearly.

Anonymous said...

Wesley, allow me to make my points clear.

1. I never have spewed any hatred towards homosexuals. I have friends who are homosexual. Why would I do this? I spew hatred toward the sin of homosexuality. Can you atheists even logically understand anything?

2. I do not understand exactly where you understood that I am in favor of atheism; Please make yourself more clear. I certainly don't understand your reasoning especially in the second part of your post. I denounce atheism in its entirety in the name of Jesus Christ. However, you do bring up some interesting points in your post. Allow me to explain myself further.

3. The moral law is an argument for the existence of a
theistic God (after the Cosmological and Teleological Arguments).
It goes like this:

--Every law has a law giver.
--There is a Moral Law.
--Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver.
If the first and second premises are true, then the conclusion necessarily follows. Of course, every law has a law giver. There can be no legislation unless there's a legislature. Moreover, if there are moral obligations, there must be someone
to be obligated to.

4. The second half of my quote shouldn't have given you the impression that I incorrectly believe that such a morality would require more faith than Christianity. What I am saying is this...everyone knows there are absolute moral obligations. An absolute moral obligation is something that is binding on all people, at all times, in all places. And an absolute Moral Law implies an absolute Moral Law Giver. Now this does not mean that every moral issue has easily
recognizable answers or that some people don't deny that absolute
morality exists. There are difficult problems in morality, and
people suppress and deny the Moral Law every day. It simply means
that there are basic principles of right and wrong that everyone
knows, whether they will admit them or not. Budziszewski calls
this basic knowledge of right and wrong "what we can't not know,"
in his book by that title.

5. In the end, atheism cannot justify why anything is morally
right or wrong. It cannot guarantee human rights or ultimate
justice in the universe. To be an atheist - a consistent atheist, that is, you have to believe that there is nothing really wrong with
murder, rape, genocide, torture, or any other heinous act.

6. I am mostly devoted to arguing against moral relativism, which I assume that you believe I understand to be the position that there are no absolute moral laws. I am confused by the rest. Please explain yourself. Do you believe in moral relativism or not?

7. There is a case for the existence of God, Wesley, that has been well-documented and researched. Actually, there are several. The three most interesting arguments are utilized: 1- The Kalam Cosmological Argument (there must be a first cause of the universe); 2- The Teleological Argument (there must be an intelligent designer); and 3- The Moral Argument (because there are moral values and laws, there must be a lawgiver, God). Many scientists have presented their reasoning in their case for a Creator in a clear and scholarly fashion, responding to various objections that might be raised and ultimately showing that a supernatural being is the only adequate explanation of what we observe around us. What don't you like about this? Does it make you cringe to think that there perhaps is something out there you don't know or can't touch or feel?

8. All worldviews require at least some faith, but Christianity, as the only one that accurately portrays reality, requires the least, because its claims can be shown to be objective fact. And please don't hit me in the next post that I don't possess faith, because I do. They are called "mysteries" in the Catholic church. Jesus Christ Himself was either a complete idiot who spewed lies everywhere he went, or He was the true Son of God. Why would He suffer a horrible death to lie to the world, Wesley? These are the only two options that we have about Jesus.

9. As I told you in previous posts, I have debated several atheists over the years, and one time, a vehement atheist (perhaps as vehement as you, Wesley) said to me (this was probably about 2 yrs. ago), "I'd have to say, I personally don't like rape, but rape is not right or wrong. I don't have enough faith in the meaninglessness of life (or in Sartre's terms, nausea) to be an outright rejector of God." I was so sick to my stomach after he said this that I became vehemently opposed to atheism agenda. My faith is a gift from God. The shift from modernity to postmodernity has not been pretty. In the end, relativism is a more deadly enemy than denial, for it rejects the very possibility of truth, even as it allows for infinite forms of meaning. This has made the apologetic task substantially more difficult.
In the pre-modern age, the great issue was which supernatural claims are justified and true. In the modern age, the assumption was that no supernatural claims are justified or true. In postmodernity, any supernatural claim is assumed to be true, whether justified or not. But no claim to truth can be absolute, universal, or exclusive.

10. Not defending atheism, here, but...Wesley, have you read Bloom's book "Descartes' Baby"? I couldn't put it down when I purchased it...In this book and in many essays that he has written, Bloom argues that human beings are wired for a belief in God. Not that he believes in God himself, mind you. Bloom is a determined rationalist and self-declared atheist. Nevertheless, he finds the persistence of belief in God to be a conclusive proof for Darwin's theory of evolution. Bloom's argument is worth a closer look. You should take a look at this book. But, this is what drives so many evolutionary theorists crazy--the persistence of the belief that the cosmos can be explained only by a Creator. Bloom points to evidence indicating that the vast majority of Americans, including those with a college education, believe that God created human beings in their present form and largely reject Darwin's theory of evolution. Similarly, Bloom argues that human beings are also wired to be creationists. Bloom is a champion of evolutionary theory, but he is not willing to call creationists stupid. Bloom says that Richard Dawkins may well be right when he describes the theory of natural selection as one of our species' finest accomplishments. He states that it is an intellectually satisfying and empirically supported account of our own existence. But he says almost nobody believes it. Christians will look at this same evidence and draw the opposite conclusion--that the persistence of belief in the divine is evidence of the way our Creator has made us and a reminder of the imperative of evangelism--preaching the Gospel to those who are groping in ignorance and confusion. Oddly enough, God leaves evidences of himself in very strange places--even in essays written by atheists.

11. In response to your ignorant statements about why I am the way I am in my presentation, I must respond that Christians in this generation had better wake up fast to the realization that we must construct an alternative culture where biblical morality is prized and God's truth is obeyed. Unless the tide is turned, the likelihood is that we will lose most if not all of the critical fronts in the culture war over time. This will effectively determine the shape of the culture in which we live. But the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is called to be a culture unto itself, even as it addresses the world with the gospel. We must be bold and hard-pressing because of atheists like you. We can't keep fooling around with those who don't stand on any issues like Ted...At least you stand on an issue, and you don't ride the fence, Wesley. And for this, I would respect you more than I would Ted ANY DAY!!! This leaves the church with the inescapable responsibility of teaching the comprehensive revelation of God found in Holy Scripture and applying God's Word to every dimension of life. At the same time, it is required that we do everything within our power to call the culture back to its moral senses. What the church needs at this hour is not a retreat into paranoia, but an eyes-open boldness of confrontation. That's not to suggest that they're not out to get us, and we should not be scared! We're sick of you atheists! We're tired of your agenda! If I have to upset Ted, and cause him to cry like a baby, then so be it. He surely sounds as if he has gotten his feelings hurt, but he's the one who can't make up his mind, and I have no respect for that, sir.

***I have so many questions for you Wesley, that I could list hundreds, but I would like to do it slowly. You raise interesting points, although I don't agree with your reasoning. However, I would like to have your answers on the following questions if you have the time:

A few questions for you Wesley----


1. Daniel Dennett, a vehement atheist, claims that atheism is getting a bad press. The world is filled with religious believers, he acknowledges, but a growing number of atheists lack the respect they deserve. It's time for a new public relations strategy for the godless, Dennett argues, and he has just the plan.
The central point of Dennett's strategy is to get rid of the word "atheist." It's too, well, negative. After all, it identifies an individual by what he or she does not believe--in this case the individual does not believe in God. A more positive approach would be helpful to advance the atheist anti-supernatural agenda.
Do you believe in a different word for "atheist", such as an "anti-supernaturalist"?

2. G. K. Chesterton once identified atheism as "the most daring of all dogmas," since it is the "assertion of a universal negative." As he explained; "for a man to say that there is no God in the universe is like saying that there are no insects in any of the stars." Wesley, how would you respond to this?

3. How does an atheist assign meaning to human activity? Is all meaning subjective, or do some activities have self-evident and objective worth and meaning. If so, what are these activities, and how to you arrive at their value?

4. What type of government does atheistic philosophy translate into? How does it understand the relationship between man and government? What type of government structures flow from an atheistic world view? Does it merely rely on someone else's system of thought, like the assumptions of naturalistic science?

5. What is the cure for man's suffering, especially his existential loneliness?

6. How does atheism view metaphysics? Is atheism purely materialistic and naturalistic?

7. Are humans of more intrinsic value than animals? Why or why not?

8. How would you debate a Wiccan? I have a Wiccan friend who I have told you about...She wants to know your stance on the Wicca religion?

Look forward to your comments...

Anonymous said...

Sorry...mistake in the last part. I told HER about YOU. I haven't told YOU about HER. Mistake in words...

Anonymous said...

Oh by the way, this is for you TED!!!
I've figured out why you won't respond...you are so weak that you can't take the heat...
That's the only logical explanation.
Why can't you come out of your hole and stop hiding? Although most of what you say is totally UNinteresting...you should at least defend what you believe.
Oh, that's right...you don't know what you believe!
I forgot. Oops!

Dealing with atheists for years, I know your type. You are the type who does not know how to respond to the vehement atheist, nor do you know how to respond to the vehement fundamentalist. You're so confused with yourself, you don't know what you believe. Well, why don't you start believing something and boldly professing. At least Wesley does this...and I have so much more respect for him than I do you. You led me on to believe you were a real believer; then you totally u-turned on me.

So who are you? Your genuine "love" and "tolerance" for everyone and everything doesn't get you anywhere these days. It gets you laughed at. Boldness is what we have to be equipped with in our current society. Choice makes all the difference in the world. Make a choice, Ted. I'm waiting to see if you perhaps are intelligent enough to do it.

Wesley said...

1. You claim that homosexuals should not have the right to marry. You claim that they should not have this right because their lifestyle is in opposition to your God's word. This is equivalent to claiming that Hindus should not have the right to worship their multiple gods, because to do so would violate your God's word ("Thou shalt have no other Gods before me"). This is plain hatred and bigotry.

2 through 6. The existence of morality does not imply an absolute Law-Giver any more than the existence of an animal implies an omnipotent creator. Both of these things are far more rationally explained by gradual evolution. As to your question about moral relativism: yes. I do believe in moral relativism. Since you again seem to forget that I have already answered the philosophical, social, psychological, and biological roots from where comes atheist morality, I will copy-paste my response here:

PhilosophicalThe arguments from this angle are too numerous to enumerate and I cannot expect you to gain a background in philosophy overnight. But if you have some free time, I point you in the direction of Plato, Locke, Kant, Hobbes, and Nietzsche. Arguments for morality without god from philosophy are so well-established, in fact, that they are covered in almost all theological seminaries.

SocialThe most atheist countries in the world are Sweden, Denmark, and Norway (each with >70% of the population being Atheist). The percentage of the population of these countries that are in prison are, respectively, 0.075%, 0.070%, and 0.065%. The three most Christian countries in the world are the United States, Brazil, and Mexico. The percentage of population of these countries that are in prison are, respectively, 0.714%, 0.183%, and 0.182%. Apparently, being a so-called "Christian nation" gives us 10x more people in prison as compared to an "Atheist nation." Furthermore, atheists/agnostics are vastly under-represented in prisons worldwide, with some studies putting the percentage of atheists in world prisons as low as 0.05% (they comprise 10%-20% of the population). If atheists/agnostics are so amoral, why aren't more of them in prison?

PsychologicalJean Piaget conducted experiments with children playing the game of marbles. His experiments show that even before children learn religion, they understand fairness and want to be accepted by their peers. In short, before children know about belief in a higher power, they will play by the rules of marbles and show remorse if they cheat. Kohlberg's stages of moral development reinforce this idea. Another conclusion of Kohlberg's work is that even in the absence of fairness-reinforcement from peers, children can learn morality from stories. While this might come in the form of Bible stories, it could just as easily be Aesop's fables or fairy tales.

BiologicalAltruism and morality are valuable evolutionary behaviors that have, due to their value, been propagated among all higher lifeforms (including humans). The mechanism of this propagation is that humans and animals are more likely to sacrifice for another when that other is of similar genetic makeup (a child, sibling, or parent). Consequently, even if a child dies while saving its brothers and sisters, the moral tendency is passed on. Furthermore, one who has served others and lived is more likely to receive aid when in need (and more likely to live and pass on its genes). Examples of morality in animals are common. Vampire bats, who must drink blood every night to survive, will feed their peers who did not find prey and are in danger of starving. Primates understand fairness - the entire group will refuse to cooperate when different members are given unequal rewards for the same task. In the insect world it's even more common, with entire castes of ants, bees, and termites gladly fighting to the death to preserve the workers, queen, and eggs. None of these animals believe in a higher power, yet they show moral behavior.

7. The three "proofs" you cited have long ago been refuted by philosophers and theologians alike. Did you pick these three from a children's primer on philosophy? Why did you not cite some of the more modern (although still fallacious) "proofs" of God's existence? The cosmological argument is disproven by infinite regress and actual infinities, such as Zeno's paradoxes. The teleological argument is disproven by its fallacious assumption that complexity implies a creator (it does not, as there are many examples of complexity arising from randomness; e.g., diamonds or snowflakes). The argument from morality is disproven by the Euthyphro dilemma. That is, is an action good because God commanded it, or did God command it because it is good? If the first, then God's decisions are completely arbitrary and there is no absolute morality; if the second, then God dictates morality in accordance with universal morality (my from-nothing morality from the previous post and the exact sort of morality that theists claim does not exist).

8.When you say that either Jesus was a liar or he was the Son of God, you are executing the logical fallacy of a false dichotomy. There are far more options than this. The most glaringly obvious is that Jesus might not even have existed. Another possibility is that Jesus was incorrect or crazy; he thought he was the Son of God but actually was not. Another possibility is that Jesus never made any claim to being the Son of God and that such claims were edited into the Bible later by the Church to force Jesus into the mold of a savior mythos and maintain political power (this possibility is supported by the fact that the Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest copy of the Bible, does not include any mention of Christ's claim to divinity).

9.I once spoke to a Christian who told me that he enjoyed killing human babies and eating their delicious tender flesh. I assume you and all Christians enjoy killing and eating babies? Do you see how these anecdotes are not convincing and a waste of everyone's time?

10.I laughed aloud when I read your "summary" of Bloom's book (which I have read and greatly enjoyed). I don't know if you read the back cover of the book and drew your own conclusions, or if you had the book explained to you by someone very stupid. Either way, there is nothing in Bloom's book that can be construed to indicate that "the cosmos can be explained only by a Creator." Blooms argument is that belief in the supernatural was, early in the life of our species, an evolutionary advantage. He goes on to say that this is why believers have such a hard time letting go of their religion - because it is genetically programmed into them.

Now I move on to your questions, which I am glad to answer. Since my answers are perfectly rational, I hope they will aid any believers on the path to reason1. I think the term atheist sums up what I am just fine. I do not believe in gods.

2. I have already responded to this 4 previous times. Maybe the 5th one is the charm. I will repeat my answer again for you:

Every atheist is infinitesimally agnostic. It is possible that your omnipotent and omniscient God exists, but it is infinitesimally possible. Rather, it is infinitely unlikely. For instance, it is possible that tomorrow gravity will completely stop working. If someone asked you to prove that gravity would not stop working tomorrow, you could not do it. It is possible that we will wake up tomorrow and find that the Earth has spun off at a tangent and we're all floating up to the ceilings of our houses. But if you ask most intelligent people if they believe that will happen, they will tell you that they do not believe it will happen (and this disbelief is reasonable). The point is this: there is some point at which an unlikelihood becomes an impossibility. If you are familiar with the mathematical concept of a limit from calculus, then you should understand this.3. All meaning is subjective. Every person has the freedom to live by the values that he or she chooses. I chose long ago a path of love, teaching, and service to humanity.

4. Atheism is concerned with the nonexistence of supernatural gods. It does not translate into a form of government. In fact, atheists are really only united on the point that there are no supernatural gods. As I said in my previous point, atheists choose to live their lives by their own values. You are likely to find communist atheists, capitalist atheists, democratic atheists, fascist atheists, socialist atheists, and many other types of atheist too numerous to enumerate.

5. What existential loneliness? I don't feel this loneliness, so I can't really say what the cure for it is. As for man's suffering, there is certainly some of that. But the solutions, just like many of the problems, are to be found in mankind's ingenuity. I hope that the pursuit of science, education, the construction of infrastructure, and many other human factors will one day solve our problems. Sorry I can't give a quick and wrong answer to all the world's woes like "Don't worry! God will save us!"

6. Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that I admire. Atheism is not materialistic, though there are definitely individual atheists who are materialists. Atheism is, by definition, naturalistic (in opposition to supernatural).

7. Humans are animals, and do not have any more or less intrinsic value (since nothing has intrinsic value). However, in the value system which I choose to live by (which is not intrinsic to the nature of the universe), a human life is more valuable than an animal life.

8. I think Wiccan beliefs and rituals to be no more or less silly than the beliefs and rituals of Christians. In both cases, the spells/prayers have no effect on the physical world except in the mind of the believer. However, I much prefer the Wiccan morality to the Christian one, and would think it one of the happiest days of my life if every Christian were to be instantly transformed into a follower of Wicca.

Christianity's morality is so skewed that otherwise good people somehow justify the actions of opposing human choice, fighting against homosexual rights, bombing abortion clinics, starting wars, sending missionaries to 'convert' others, burning scientists, etc. Furthermore, Christianity has a history of opposing women's equality (how many female priests/preachers do you know?).

Conversely, the chief tenet of Wiccan morality is "Do what you will, so long as it harms none." What a wonderful and simple morality! Jesus tried that one too in his Sermon on the Mount, but somehow what sticks in the minds of today's Christians is that they should constantly shame gays. In addition to their simple morality, Wiccans have always valued the equality of men and women.

So I say again - give me a Wiccan over a Christian any day.

One last point... Despite what you may think, Ted is very devout in his religious beliefs (he would have to be in order to have a friend like me). It should enlighten you that you have taken the strongest believer among the readers of this blog and turned him against you. And it is downright comical that you mock his love and tolerance (qualities Christ advocated) in your last paragraph, espousing instead boldness (Christ never said anything about boldness... in fact, I think he might have said something about meekness). It's almost as if you are going out of your way to be un-Christlike.

mbat said...

Anonymous, I think it is about time you grew up. I really enjoy the commentary you and Wesley are having; however, enough with the insults. Several times now you have invoked the name of Jesus Christ to denounce things Wesley and Ted have said that you find offensive. To follow suit, in the name of Jesus Christ, I denounce you for your peevish insults of Ted. How dare you insult an intelligent, God created (or not as the case may be) human being to further your ego. He doesn't agree with you, so what. You're never going to "convert" him, so what. Really, just stop. It's a waste of my time reading, and your time writing those insults. Ted is a very calm individual; you're not going to provoke him. You're just making yourself look like a 8 year old.

After exams, I will take the time to parse through comments and write a post about them.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I am grown up, mbat, but you do have a point. I have been rather harsh with Ted, and I will try to be more polite and respectful. Ted completely flip-flopped on me; and I have logically characterized him as a hypocrite and a liberal without sense of direction. Although I tend to not respect those who fail to take a side, I humbly take your word that he is what you say he is. I will respond to Wesley's comments later this evening. And I apologize if my comments were too harsh for him.

Anonymous said...

My points to Wesley:

1. First, my view does not change on gay marriage or gay sex. Sorry. As a Christian, the will of God is not for a man to ride another man. I am not a bigot, and I am not hateful towards homosexuals. In essence, all of my gay friends know my stance on the position; they accept my stance; we disagree. We still carry on though. I still upset them with my harshness from time to time. But we always come to terms in the end and meet half way.

2. As for your request that I cite some more modern proofs of the existence of God, here you are. The cosmological argument argues that there was a "first cause", or "prime mover" who is identified as God. It starts with a claim about the world, like its containing entities that are caused to exist by other entities.
The teleological argument argues that the universe's order and complexity are best explained by reference to a creator god. It starts with a rather more complicated claim about the world, that it exhibits order and design.
The ontological argument is based on arguments about a "being greater than which cannot be conceived". It starts simply with a concept of God. Anselm of Canterbury and Alvin Plantinga formulate this argument to show that if it is logically possible for God (a necessary being) to exist, then God exists. I have actually read some of their work, Wesley, and it is worth the read. The mind-body problem argument suggests that the relation of consciousness to materiality is best understood in terms of the existence of God. I enjoy reading about the the will to believe doctrine , and it was pragmatist philosopher William James' attempt to prove God by showing that the adoption of theism as a hypothesis "works" in a believer's life. This doctrine depended heavily on James' pragmatic theory of truth where beliefs are proven by how they work when adopted rather than by proofs before they are believed (a form of the hypothetico-deductive method). I've actually researched and completed a paper on this when I was working on my undergraduate degree in a philosophy course.

3. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, affirms that it is a doctrine of the Catholic Church that God's existence has been rationally demonstrated. I believe St. Thomas Aquinas did this work here, if I'm not sure. Yeah, he did. Many other Christian denominations share the view that God's existence can be demonstrated without recourse to claims of revelation. Several authors have offered psychological or sociological explanations for belief in the existence of God. We ask why we are here and whether life has purpose; we are anxious about being alone. Wesley, these are constant questions that keep coming up... Religious beliefs may recruit the cognitive mechanisms. William James emphasized the inner religious struggle between melancholy and happiness, and pointed to trance as a cognitive mechanism. Sigmund Freud stressed fear and pain, the need for a powerful parent to care for us, the obsessional nature of ritual, and the hypnotic state a community can induce. This leads me to believe that you may be a weak atheist, Wesley, and there is a term called "weak atheism". The term weak atheism (or negative atheism) is used in two main senses, describing those who do not assert strong atheism (no gods exist) but rather the more minimal statement that for a variety of reasons (principally the lack of credible scientific evidence) there are no good reasons and no credible grounds for believing that gods exist (I do not believe that any gods exist) or neither believe that gods exist, nor believe that no gods exist. This is orthogonal to agnosticism which states that whether gods exist is either unknown or unknowable. It should be noted that there is some controversy about this use of the term. Although I am not a scholar on atheism or the terms associated, Wesley, I could place you in this category.

4. Since you seem to be such an expert on the existence of Jesus, let's look into this...the historicity of Jesus is accepted by almost all biblical scholars and classical historians. We can now know that He was real, and most researchers agree he was, so don't give me that crap that He wasn't. Where is your research coming from that He didn't even exist? James Dunn, a leading scientist, describes the mythical Jesus theory as a "thoroughly dead thesis". Many other leading renowned scientists concur. So now I can ask you how do you explain the historical records of the miracles of Jesus? Do you know they did not occur? Contemporary liberal Christians may prefer to read Jesus's miracles as metaphorical narratives for understanding the power of God. The early 20th-century liberal theologian Edward Scribner Ames asserted that "if religion is to be vital and satisfying in this new age, it must also deal with facts of actual experience, discarding superstitions, miracles and magic." Not all theologians with liberal inclinations reject the possibility of miracles however, Wesley, and this is my main point. But they may reject the polemicism that denial or affirmation entails. So I go back to my point again in the previous post. Either Jesus was a liar or He was truly the Son of God. How can false dichotomy be related here? What I am stating is a statement of fact-an either/or. You atheists really try to squeeze between the lines, don't you?

5. Excuse me, I did not read Bloom's back cover. Actually it took me several months to read the book because I was so engulfed in it, highlighting important parts that I could use against atheists such as you. My Catholic friend read it too, and he was confused. Believers and atheists may be confused when reading his book because he argues and refutes both atheism and Christianity. Bloom sets his case clearly. He says that the United States is a poster child for supernatural belief, and that just about everyone in this country--96 percent in one poll (and I am reading from a highlighted paragraph in my book)--believes in God. Well over half of Americans believe in miracles, the devil, and angels. Most believe in an afterlife--and not just in the mushy sense that we will live on in the memories of other people, or in our good deeds. Wesley, with that sentence, Bloom acknowledges what many others will not--that it is theism rather than atheism that is the normative belief of most Americans--and most others around the world, for that matter. What I took from this book is that Bloom sets out to provide this explanation--He considers and then dismisses the functionalist theories offered by sociologists in recent times, focusing instead on an understanding based in evolutionary science. In essence, Bloom argues that belief in God is itself an accident of evolution. What he calls "the religion-as-accident theory" asserts that belief in God is a function of the fact that human beings are wired to believe in a distinction between the physical and the psychological. Bloom argues that the move to believe in the survival of a soul after death--an afterlife--seems both short and natural. Similarly, Bloom argues that human beings are also wired to be creationists. Bloom is a champion of evolutionary theory, but he is not willing to call creationists stupid. THIS is what fascinated me and caught my eye, Wesley!!! Did you catch this on your read of this book? Read it again one more time through! In my take from this book, Bloom says that Richard Dawkins may well be right when he describes the theory of natural selection as one of our species' finest accomplishments; "it is an intellectually satisfying and empirically supported account of our own existence," Bloom quotes in his book. "But almost nobody believes it." What do you have to say about this, Wesley, and mbat. You, mbat, mentioned Dawkins so much in your posts until I wanted to regurgitate! Sorry, I'm trying to be less harsh here. Bloom offers psychological understanding here, even though he is sometimes full of crap as well! As he sees it, the real problem with natural selection is that it makes no intuitive sense. Bloom compares evolutionary theory to quantum physics, arguing that such ideas will never feel right to any of us on the earth. As he explains: "When we see a complex structure, we see it as the product of beliefs and goals and desires. Our social mode of understanding leaves it difficult to make sense of it any other way. Our gut feeling is that a design requires a designer--a fact that is understandably exploited by those who argue against Darwin."
How can you explain this, Wesley?
I'm looking forward to hearing your comments as well mbat, after your exams!

6. Wesley, how can every atheist be infinitesimally agnostic? All meaning is subjective? How? So you say every person has the freedom to live by the values that he or she chooses. If you chose long ago a path of love, teaching, and service to humanity, and you are atheist, what is the point in giving back, if you have no soul? I still have never understood this with you, and you certainly haven't explained in detail... What are your rewards? Do you want rewards for your good actions? Do you believe in rewards for good actions? Do you believe in eternal rewards? Well, I assume not, if you do not believe in an eternity after death.

7. You did not answer my question about loneliness. You skirted around it I am assuming, or perhaps I'm just not understanding. Please explain. I do not understand your explanation or response. If all our problems are solved, then why should they be solved? If we return to dirt as we came, what is the point in solving earth's dilemmas?

8. I do not agree with your point that human life is of more value than animal life. Why would it be if there is no afterlife? If there are no souls, and there is no afterlife, then aren't we all the same? You said so in the first part, but then you contradicted yourself in the finale of the statement. Boy, you are confusing the hell out of me this evening.

9. You seem to have misinterpreted the Wicca religion. Actually, how could you agree with them on any level if they believe in God? Which they do!

Some additional points I would like to make to you Wesley:

1. In conclusion, your own self-designated intellectual superiority leads you, Wesley, a self-proclaimed atheist, to look upon moderate believers with disdain even as he looks upon true believers with pity. Belief in belief is actually no less dangerous than belief itself, if for no other reason than it helps to foster the illusion of widespread faith in God. All your verbiage amounts to your own brand of atheist-fundamentalism. You are at least as unbending and fideistic in your acceptance of the central tenets of atheism as any orthodox believer in God. Wesley, you are indeed a contrarian intellectual, as well as an atheist and antitheist. Your rejection of Christianity extends to a rejection of the logic of atonement, redemption, and punishment. Nevertheless, your own contrarian line of thinking can help Christians to understand what is at stake in the great intellectual conflict of our times.

2. In discussing the rise of the homosexual agenda, an evangelical perspective must recognize that such a revolution is itself a direct challenge to the foundations of gender, family, sexuality, and morality, which are some of the central issues of a Christian worldview lived out in the world. Thus, this is a challenge evangelicals cannot fail to meet with both courage and grace. In fact, gays and lesbians are even more bigoted than some Christians have ever been. Their spewing of hate against anyone who disregards their secularist opinions--oh my goodness!!! Look out!!! The homosexual movement did not spring from a vacuum. Indeed, this challenge has emerged from within the context of a culture shift which has transformed Western societies during the twentieth century. The term "culture shift" points to a pattern of fundamental changes which shapes every level of social and cultural life. A culture shift is nothing less than a fundamental re-ordering of the entire society from top to bottom--ideologies, worldviews, morality, and patterns of knowledge. The culture shift from modernity to postmodernity has affected every community's understanding of meaning. More importantly, it has radically reordered how Americans consider the issue of truth itself. This all-embracing, undiluted individualism underlies our current cultural confusion. The progressive shift in the locus of truth and the locus of authority from the Christian worldview to the state, to the mass market and eventually to the isolated individual, leaves the American public unarmed for authentic moral discourse.

3. There is no moral issue more fundamental than our sexual ordering, our gendered identity--the role of men and women and the institution marriage. Thus, the issue of homosexuality is a first order theological issue. Unfortunately, even that is a matter of debate among moral theologians. Some simply do not accept that it is a first order issue, but it most certainly is, because fundamental truths, essential to the Christian faith, are at stake in this confrontation. These truths range from basic issues of theism to biblical authority, the nature of human beings, God's purpose in creation, sin, salvation, sanctification and, by extension, the entire body of divinity. To put this case bluntly, if the claims advanced by the homosexual movement are true and valid, the entire system of Christian faith is compromised, and some essential doctrines will fall. Lest this be seen as an overstatement, consider the issue of biblical authority and inspiration. If the claims of the revisionist interpreters are valid, then the very basis of biblical inspiration is invalidated. But the challenge is yet deeper, Wesley, for if, as the revisionist interpreters claim, Holy Scripture can be so wrong and so misdirected on this issue to which it speaks so unambiguously, then the entire evangelical paradigm of biblical authority will not stand. Wesley, the church is called to confront the challenge of homosexuality with both compassion and truth. Even as Christians confront this task, maturity and moral seriousness will require that we understand the fundamental importance of this question. The challenge of homosexuality is not merely a matter of cultural and political debate--it is a matter of urgent theological significance. Wesley, I'm tired of your ignorance on this issue. I'm tired of your labeling us Christians as bigots. We are not. I may be harsh, but I am not a bigot, and I do not discriminate. Jesus is a good example of character, but He's also much more than that. He is the solution to flawed people. Jesus' message of redemption is simple. People are imperfect, and there are consequences for our actions. He gave His life for our sin so that we wouldn't have to bear the penalty of the law; so we could see love. The problem is me; the solution is God's love: Jesus on the cross, for us. All of us.

4. Liberal protestant theologians, whom I believe to be closet atheists, are of interest to me, and I would take on a debate regarding this issue at a later time. Also, Wesley, are you pro-choice? I'm assuming you are...And are you pro-capital punishment?

Ted, this is for you:

1. I do believe I was very harsh with you. I apologize. Mbat relayed some piercing words that hit me this morning; however, if you could at least tell me where you stand, I could know where to go and how to respond to you. If you're not willing to accept my apology and will continue to bring up the past, then I can't work with that. I'm just me. I'm very blunt and harsh. I stand for my faith. And I will fight for it if it means that someone will die and spend an eternity without God as a result.

Look forward to comments from you all as always...

Wesley said...

1. Do you believe that Hindus should not have the right to worship their multiple gods? Doing so violates your God's word ("Thou shalt have no other Gods before me"). If not, why is this situation different from gays getting married?

2. These are classic arguments for God, and they are taught to everyone in Philosophy 101 right along with the fact that they contain glaring logical fallacies and are consequently invalid. There are many many children who can spot the logical fallacies in these "proofs." And why did you mention the cosmological and teleological arguments, when I responded to them in my previous post? Did you think I simply didn't understand them? Since your forgetfulness has reached new heights (by forgetting from one post to the next that I have already answered you), I will reiterate (through copy-paste) the problems with these 2 "proofs" along with the new ones you mentioned.

The cosmological argument is disproven by infinite regress and actual infinities, such as Zeno's paradoxes.

The teleological argument is disproven by its fallacious assumption that complexity implies a creator (it does not, as there are many examples of complexity arising from randomness; e.g., diamonds or snowflakes).

The argument from morality is disproven by the Euthyphro dilemma.

The ontological argument is disproven best in Kant's "Critique of pure reason." The proof takes too long to explain, so I will not reproduce it here. Instead, I go with the rejection of St. Thomas Aquinas (whom you apparently esteem, since you have cited him several times). Aquinas rejected the ontological argument (many Catholic theologians follow suit) on the basis of it comitting a bare assertion fallacy. In addition to these logical objections, there is a trivial example of the incorrectness of the ontological argument in the form of Guanilo's island.

3. The fact that the Catholic Church says that God's existence has been rationally demonstrated is irrelevant. If I were going to accept the Catholic Church's word on the matter, I would just skip the part about rationality and accept that God is self-evident (which is also a teaching of the Catholic Church).

I'm very familiar with the term "weak atheism." I am not a weak atheist. I make the claim that no gods exist. I have done so many times, and the fact that you think I can be classified as a weak atheist shows either your intellectual deficiency, your forgetfulness, or your misunderstanding of the term. Since you readily admit that you are not a scholar on atheist terminology, I will give you the benefit of doubt and agree that you are misunderstanding the term.

4. First let me say that I do not subscribe to the belief that Jesus was not a real person. I believe there actually was a Hebrew philospher during this time period that fit the description and on whom the Jesus-as-savior myth is based. I only presented this idea to show that you were executing the logical fallacy of a false dichotomy. A false dichotomy is when you claim that there are only two possible choices, and one of them is false, so the other must be true. This is the logical fallacy you committed when you said:

1. Jesus was a liar or he was the son of God
2. Jesus was not a liar.
3. Jesus must have been the son of God.
In actuality, there are many more options, which I provided to show you the illogical nature of your false dichotomy. See how your argument fails when I add these in:

1. Jesus was a liar or he was the son of God or he didn't exist or he was incorrect or he was crazy or he never actually claimed to be the son of God.
2. Jesus was not a liar.
3. Jesus must have been the son of God.
Having said that, there is no physical evidence to support the existence of Jesus. There are no works of carpentry, self-written manuscripts, artifacts, etc. All claims about Jesus derive from the writings of other people. There is not a single contemporary writing that mentions Jesus (all documents about Jesus were writting after his alleged life). The earliest accounts of Jesus's life are the Epistles of Paul and the gospels. These were written between 60 A.D. and 90 A.D. This means that some 30 years passed between the alleged crucifixion of Jesus and a single writing that mentions him.

Furthermore, most biblical scholars believe that none of these early writings were actually written by people who had ever seen Jesus in person. The Epistles of Paul are the first writing to mention Jesus, and they make it abundantly clear that Paul never actually saw Jesus (at least not while he was alive - Paul claims to have had a vision of resurrected Jesus). The gospel of Mark is the next written account of Jesus and the first gospel (chronologically, not in the Bible). From it's own words, it is clear that Mark had neither heard Jesus nor served as his personal follower. Mark is merely an account of the popular Jesus story at the time. Similarly, all of the information on Jesus in Matthew comes from Mark. Luke admits that he is an interpreter of earlier material and not an eyewitness (Luke 1:1-4). The last gospel, John, was written far too late for the writer to be a first-hand witness. Some also say that John 21:23 contains reference to the death of John Zebedee (the actual apostle of Jesus). Add to this the fact that in order for any of the writers of these gospels or epistles to be first-hand accounts of the life of Jesus, the writers would have needed to be 70-90 years old. This seems preposterous given that the average lifespan of that day was 30 years.

So, to recap: no physical evidence, no writings mention him during his lifetime, and the earliest writings that do mention him are all based on hearsay.

As for miracles, reason dictates that until more evidence is given, we must dismiss them as fairy tales. Ask yourself this question: Which is more likely? Is it more likely that a supernatural force actually bent the laws of the universe to impress a moral code upon some goatherders that only applies to society on a single planet among the trillions? Or is it more likely that the accounts are false, either because the original witnesses were mistaken or tricked (because of their limited understanding of the physical world) or because the text was mistranslated or deliberately falsified at some point in the innumerable recopyings?

5. Your second summary of Bloom's book was closer to the original content in many ways, but you still try to weasel out of your mistake by quoting Bloom out of context. What Bloom is saying in his book is that while intellectually we know that evolution is correct and that supernatural gods are not real, we are biologically compelled to believe in creationism (due to superstition being a valuable evolutionary trait for so much of our existence). And please note Bloom's disclaimer at the end of the quotation you provided "Our gut feeling is that a design requires a designer - a fact that is understandably exploited by those who argue against Darwin."6. I have explained in detail many many times my basis for morality and my motivation for kindness. My reward for living what I consider to be a good life is the personal satisfaction of doing so and the love and respect of the friends I gain from it.

Let me turn the question on you. If you didn't have to worry about going to hell, would you still be good? If so, why? Your answer to this second question will likely be the same answers that I gave above: personal satisfaction in knowing that you are good and the love and respect of friends.

7. I do not know what loneliness you are talking about. I do not feel this loneliness. If you feel loneliness or depression, I suggest you consult a mental health professional. As silly and wrong as you are, I do not wish for you to hurt yourself or others.

8. What don't you understand? We are all the same. Humans are animals and do not have any more or less intrinsic value than any other animals (since none of us have intrinsic value). In the value system I choose to live by (love, teaching, service to humanity), humans are more valuable. They have a greater capacity to improve the quality of life of others than animals.

9. You say "how can [I] agree with [Wiccans] on any level if they believe in God? Which they do!" Actually, they believe in multiple gods and goddesses. It varies from person to person, but all Wiccans believe in at least one god and one goddess. And despite Wiccans being wrong on the point of the existence of supernatural gods, I can still agree with them on the points which they have right. And they definitely have morality right.

Now I continue to your additional points:1. I don't disdain believers; I do pity them. My atheism is not the result of faith, it is the result of reason. You have already agreed in a previous post that atheism is the only outcome of the application of reason to our existence. You claimed that it didn't matter, since "faith... [is] more powerful than [my] reasoning," and that "faith supercedes [reason]" and that "finding [Jesus] takes faith, not reason."

2. Your claim that the rise of the "homosexual agenda" is a cultural revolution is true. It is a cultural revolution, much the same way the civil rights movement was a cultural revolution. In the early '60s, it was also illegal in many states for non-whites to marry whites (until Loving v. Virginia in 1967).

Your assertion that homosexuals are more bigoted than the people that oppress them is simply sad. According to the FBI, in 2004 there were approximately 1500 hate crimes committed by heterosexuals against homosexuals in the U.S.; the number of hate crimes committed by homosexuals against heterosexuals in the same year was 0. Whether you agree with hate crime legislation or not (I do not), the fact remains that homosexuals are far more persecuted by heterosexuals in our country than vice versa.

3. Your claim that the rise of the "homosexual agenda" will destroy Christianity is irrelevant. You say that "if claims advanced by the homosexual movement are true and valid, the entire system of Christian faith is compromised, and some essential doctrines will fall." All I can say is: I hope you're right. It would be wonderful if the achievement of equal rights for homosexuals coincided with the fall of arguably one of the most destructive forces in human history. However, I think you're wrong. I think 50 years from now religious people will still exist (and be the majority). Of course, I also suspect that they will look back and be incredulous that they ever opposed something so obviously right as equal rights for homosexuals.

4. I am pro-choice. I am not sure when human life begins, but I am confident it does not begin before the current allowable limits on abortions. Most abortions performed in the world are early-term, at which point the fetus has not developed to anywhere near the point where human life could begin. Most late-term abortions are performed due to health risks to the mother (a case in which I support choice because a mother can typically have more children).

I am pro-capital punishment. For whatever reason, there are people whom society has decided deserve to never be allowed free. Such decisions are a necessary part of government and civilized life. The cost of keeping these people behind bars for life is oftentimes huge (sometimes more than $100,000 per year). And to what purpose? Many of these people are beyond rehabilitation. The money spent imprisoning and rehabilitating these individuals would better be spent solving the problems of our society (poverty, global warming, etc.). Furthermore, the death penalty is, I believe, a more humane alternative than life imprisonment. The purpose of our penal system is not to punish people through lifelong imprisonment, but to keep people from committing further crimes. Death is an effective way to do this. In fact, I support the replacement of life imprisonment with the death penalty. If a court sentences someone to life imprisonment without parole, they are effectively saying that that person should have no more interaction with society.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about reiterating cosmological and teleological arguments...I forgot you mentioned them in your previous post. Also, some of my post last evening may have been perhaps slurred. Suffering from bronchitis, and the meds might have affected my writing or logic, but I enjoy responding to your posts. Lol! On the contrary, I am not misunderstanding the term "weak atheism". I have some things to say about this later. Very interesting post. I have some points I have to make to you about many other things though. I will respond with my comments this evening. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Wesley, you bring up some interesting points in your latest post. Please allow me to respond to them…

1. There is a big difference. Hindus have standards and distinct moral values they live by each day. Their worshiping of multiple gods has no effect on family values or the transitioning of family values.

2. I’m not sure if most children could spot logical fallacies in these proofs. Come on, Wesley. Come off your superior high this evening. I admit I re-mentioned the teleological and cosmological arguments, but I still stand by what I said. Zeno’s paradoxes have been counter-disproven as well. And through logic, the teleological argument cannot be simply disproven through fallacious assumption. Is this what you atheists rely on persistently? Persistent assumptions can disprove? Since when? I understand that these proofs may be disproven but they are all counter-disproven. So we’re going round and round the spinning wheel here. Saint Thomas wrote many theological and philosophical books and composed several beautiful hymns. Hailed as a masterpiece, his works Summa Theologica gives humanity a child like revelation of God. The book was never completed, though it contains more than 2 million words. After a religious vision/ experience, he stopped writing explaining, "All that I have written seems to me like straw compared to what has now been revealed to me." He died three months later at the monastery of Fossanova, one mile from Sonnino, on March 7, 1274. The entire Summa provides simple and direct illuminations into the nature of God: It can be proved in five ways that God exists. The basic format of the arguments in the Summa begin with a few brief postulates about the nature of God followed by a series of reasonable objections to those assertions. A flaw in the logic of the objections is raised and the objections are systematically answered by logical counter-arguments, bringing the argument to a conclusion supporting the original postulates. Atheists tend to agree with the first premise defining God, and from that follows in a strong, apparently deductive fashion. I assume you do too, Wesley. Anselm's proof bypasses Hume's Fork. And Kant just seems to take the argument in different tangents, and it does not convince me. It actually confuses me.

3. Weak atheism is often construed by theists as a highly negative and destructive point of view, that lacks a positive, thought out alternative. Isn’t this what you have done, Wesley? Most commonly, weak atheism is premised on the belief that the theist, not the atheist, bears the burden of proof to show that God does not exist, because it is the theist who is asserting the existence of an entity. Wesley, I have tried to put the burden of proof on you, but you keep putting it back in my face and on me. So therefore, wouldn’t you be a weak atheist? I still don’t understand, and please, don’t flatter yourself Wesley. Actually, I have as much education as you have in science-related study. Don’t give me the crap that I am a babbling idiot. In summary, the "negative atheist" ends up denying God's existence just as much as the "positive atheist". For the believer (and in reality) to deny the idea of God is to deny the actual existence of God no matter what language game you want to play. Remember, Wesley, I point out that there is also an "atheistic language game" that is not self-justified. We must not---and, cannot---arbitrarily "define" out of existence vast ranges of reality simply because they do not meet our predetermined definition Wesley. It is not good enough to say that I have no idea of God therefore I am denying nothing about "his" actual existence. You must examine all of reality and answer or explain why millions have had what they thought was an adequate idea or concept of God, from great philosophers to the common man.

4. Occasionally, non-historians deny the historicity of Jesus(Having to do with the question of whether Jesus was in fact a real person who had a real life on earth), but few scholars take this seriously. Tacitus, a Roman historian, wrote about Jesus in A.D. 115, and Josephus, a Jewish historian who did not believe in Jesus' divinity, wrote about him. Dr. Gary Habermas wrote an extensive analysis of the historicity of Jesus in his work The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, which discusses many historical sources that mention Jesus. I have read some of this. Lee Strobel's book The Case for Christ contains a number of interviews with experts on the historical Jesus and a defense of Jesus' resurrection, and is a good resource on this subject. I'm pretty sure you've read this as well, as I have as well. In a nutshell, the resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation for the origin of the Christian faith and the authenticity of Jesus. Taken together, these three great historical facts--the resurrection appearances, the empty tomb, the origin of the Christian faith--seem to point to the resurrection of Jesus as the most plausible explanation that Jesus lived and did perform mysterious phenomena in His lifetime. But of course there have been other explanations proffered to account for the resurrection appearances, the empty tomb, and the origin of the Christian faith. In the judgment of modern scholarship, however, these have failed to provide a plausible account of the facts of the case. This can be seen by a rapid review of the principal explanations that have been offered. It is psychologically impossible to make the disciples out to be nutcases though, Wesley. At the time of the crucifixion, the disciples were confused, disorganized, fearful, doubting, and burdened with mourning-not mentally motivated or equipped to engineer such a wild hoax. Hence, to explain the empty tomb and resurrection appearances by a conspiracy theory seems out of the question. Many believe the disciples hallucinated and believed in a man who could perform what was virtually unheard of. It is psychologically implausible to suggest such a chain of hallucinations though. Hallucinations are usually associated with mental illness or drugs; but in the disciples' case, the prior psycho-biological preparation appears to be wanting. The disciples had no anticipation of seeing Jesus alive again; all they could do was wait to be reunited with Him in the Kingdom of God. There were no grounds leading them to hallucinate him alive from the dead. Moreover, the frequency and variety of circumstances belie the hallucination theory: Jesus was seen not once, but many times; not by one person, but by several; not only by individuals, but also by groups; not at one locale and circumstance but at many; not by believers only, but by skeptics and unbelievers as well. The hallucination theory cannot be plausibly stretched to accommodate such diversity.

5. I still won’t budge on Bloom. I respect him as an author, and his book was one of the best I have ever read. I don’t know if you have read all the books I have or not, but in a future post, I will list some of the other books I have read to see if you have. This brings up something interesting though, and if I don’t ask you, I’ll forget----Have you read any Paul Copan? Very interesting author...He poses some interesting stuff that I want to ask you, Wesley...If everything that is has its origins in singularity, what brought about the singularity? If nothing can come from nothing, how come the Universe? It is fairly clear that if it is to have an explanation, it must lie outside itself (metaphysically, not spatio temporally outside). How can that be? Modern science is still dominated by what Karl Popper called "promissory materialism" - an instruction to bet your shirt on all answers to all possible questions, both present and future, being materialistic. But this paradigm is overdue for a change, and one can already hear the ice breaking up - the roar in increasing exponentially. This, then, is a good time to review and explore the scientific, philosophical and theological implications of modern cosmology, particularly in relation to the idea of creatio ex nihilo. Copan has explored not only the traditional understanding, but also various alternatives that have been proposed (steady-state, multiverses, vacuum fluctuation, inflationary and oscillating models, quantum gravity, etc.), showing that these are all unsatisfactory for various reasons. (My physics side is coming out of me now!) The Christian church has historically believed that God created the universe out of nothing. But some theologians and non-Christian groups believe that the universe has always existed along with God. Who is correct? Does it matter? Atheists, I have to tell you that nothing less than the uniqueness and sovereignty of God are at stake, and this is so tragic!!!!!

6. I somewhat understand your reasoning on loneliness now as well as animals and humans. Although I do not at all understand your view on how we do not have any intrinsic value as human beings. And I don’t understand how you can believe that one is more valuable than the other if we are all the same. It’s as if you are contradicting everything you say. Are you trying to psychologically play with me? Come on now Wesley! What is your definition of intrinsic value? I do not have any mental problems (except for OCD), for which I take medication; however, the call for me to go to therapy is a very ignorant statement on your part. I am not violent nor do I call for violence on anyone. So you admit—you have never felt any loneliness? Come on, Wesley! Are you lying? And I know what Wiccans believe. But how can you say they are wrong on the existence of supernatural gods but have morality right? Explain yourself in more detail, please.

7. Why do you pity believers? The price has been paid for us on the cross by Jesus. I pity you! I never said you disdained believers. I don’t know where in hell you got this from?

8. Moving on to the homosexual issue...Allow me to state my case a little harshly that homosexuals ARE being more hateful than heterosexuals now in America!!! Have you not been watching the news lately about Miss California losing the title of Miss USA allegedly because a very openly gay judge disagreed with her stance on gay marriage? Turn your TV on CNN! Carrie Prejean, Miss California, with a conservative view on same-sex marriage upset an openly gay blogger with her answer to his question about her thoughts on the issue. Yet in reporting the story, the liberal news media paints her as the bad guy for offending the celebrity judge, while failing to mention that a majority of said beauty queen's fellow Californians agree with her views. That's why there is no gay marriage in California now! Because people don't want it. Gossip blogger and degenerate, (and must I say MORON) Perez Hilton, the gay celebrity judge, went on to "skewer" the Miss USA runner-up for her honest answer in an angry video blog entry, saying her answer was the only reason she didn't win. ABC which is owned by Disney, and makes millions off of family values, talks out of both sides of its corporate mouth it seems. That a Miss USA pageant judge and a Miss California official ganged up on a pageant contestant for expressing a conservative political belief during the interview portion of the contest is typical of the liberal deceit practiced daily by the secular progressive mainstream media. You liberals (and I'm not calling you gay) sometimes make me so sick I could really vomit from my ears, nose and eyes. Miss California only stated her opinion. We don’t hate Perez Hilton for being gay. Although now, I think he is a sick stupid idiot who probably needs a psychiatric evaluation. Actually heterosexuals are now being exposed to outright violent hate from homosexuals. No, I don’t hate homosexuals. I hate people like Perez Hilton for being so hateful to people with values and morals. Would you want someone like Perez Hilton teaching your children in school? He would not be around my children, I'm sorry to say!

9. Well, at least you are not a hypocrite and are pro-choice and anti-death penalty. I don’t believe in either because of my religious views. I don't believe how a Christian with ANY morals could defend in ANY way the murder of innocent children. And I don't know either when life begins, but the Bible is clear about the issue...that "He knew us in our mother's womb". I believe only our Holy God can decide the progression of our lives and when they will expire. But wow, what glory we Christians will experience when we die!

Wesley, I have enjoyed your post very much. I can honestly say that you really don’t make me throw up as much as you used to...You have some really good points, and you challenge my thoughts. I wish Ted would do similarly, but I suppose I hurt his feelings, and he will not meet me half way. I look forward to hearing your comments on the ones I have made just now.
Thanks.

Ted said...

There's just no point. I continue to read the discussion, but nothing new has been brought to the table in some time.

Also, as I stated before, you bore me.

Anonymous said...

Well, Ted. That's not my problem, is it? If you are unwilling to accept my apology, then it's no longer my problem anymore to deal with. Mbat made me look at myself, and I respect him for doing that. I realized I was too harsh with you, and I apologized. I would enjoy your comments, but if you cannot take harsh criticism, then you definitely should not communicate with me. And perhaps in fact, it's un-Christian of you to respond the way you do.

I just pray that you make a decision about your life and cease from being lukewarm. Jesus calls us to be either cold or hot, none in between...Wesley has made a decision in his life (to be an atheist). Even though I completely disagree, I respect him more than someone who talks from both sides of his mouth. Since he stands on an issue, nothing (I mean nothing) could bother or hurt him. The reason nothing bothers him--simply because he is bold in his stance. Try it, Ted. And I welcome your comments again if you desire to come back...

Anonymous said...

Wesley:

Wesley, I believe some atheists are progressive, enlightened people who are "nonbelievers." I believe many are incapable of any logic or lack brains to function. However, my problem is with those who advocate the elimination of religion based on grandiose and unsubstantiated claims. I have some questions of you Wesley, when you have time to respond to them...I've been thinking about these questions today (all day), and they must be answered in order for any debate to be continued, in my opinion...

1. What is the extent of religion's role in creating individual discontent and unhappiness through ostracism, sexual repression, and prejudice in various world cultures? It may be substantial? but I'd like some more on this if you have it...

2. Would the elimination of religion alone change society? And don't just respond yes or no...Please give me your thoughts and explain thoroughly.

3. If so, how can such practices be stopped most quickly and effectively - by campaigning to eliminate all religion, or by using moderate religion as a countermeasure against extremism?

4. Do the social problems caused by religion stem from personal religious belief, from organized religious activity, or both?

5. Is all religious activity harmful, or just the fundamentalist variety (which one research project estimates involves roughly one-fifth of all religious populations)?

6. In your agenda, Wesley, what's the best way to advocate for needed changes in the country--through aggressive attacks on religion or milder persuasion to not believe in a higher power?

7. Would the eradication of religion lead to increased trauma, and/or decreased mental and physical health? If so, how should we prepare to address that problem as we work to eradicate religion?

8. Why does every civilization believe in a Creator?

9. How will life on earth end? And when do you believe this will occur?

10. If Jesus did not actually die and rise from the dead, how could He (in His condition) have circumvented all of the security measures in place at His tomb?

11. How did 35-40 men, spanning 1,500 years and living on three separate continents, ever manage to author one unified message, i.e. the Bible?

Look forward to your comments, Wesley.

Anonymous said...

I had some additional points I would like to relay to you Wesley (as well as some additional questions), and if anyone else would prefer to join in, please do so...

Have you read The God Delusion? by proclaimed nutcase Dawkins? I'm sure you probably have since you are an atheist, and this has been the "certified" guide to turn believers to atheism. What I do not understand is the insufficiency and stupidity of his book.

Richard Dawkins is an interesting character. It’s extremely hard to understand how his (by his own convoluted admission) essentially meaningless belief system can generate such a tremendous amount of personal purpose and meaning, devoted entirely to convincing every single last one of us that essentially there is no purpose or meaning in ANYTHING!!! Or at least not in their traditional, readily comprehensible forms – meaningless meaning will surely remain an elusive notion to most of us. Wesley, I would like to know what you think of this book from an atheist's point of view. Dawkins just grabs from the air... So I have a question for you Wesley, based on a paragraph which came to mind from his book which I highlighted and read last night again (and I quote):

"It may even be a superhuman designer – but, if so, it will most certainly not be a designer who just popped into existence, or who always existed. If (which I don't believe for a moment) our universe was designed, and a fortiori if the designer reads our thoughts and hands out omniscient advice, forgiveness and redemption, the designer himself must be the end product of some kind of cumulative escalator or crane, perhaps a version of Darwinism in another universe."

Wesley, does Dawkins mean to say that the "designer" must be an "end product", even if the "designer" says he wasn't?

Also, given his rather extreme position, Dawkins quickly embraces the common fallacy that all "religion" and (consistently followed Christian) Truth are one and the same. As for God’s existence, and Dawkins’ "for" and "against" arguments: Regardless of silent opponents, it is doubtless easier for someone to declare a victory in a debate they've essentially had with themselves. I wonder, for example, how Dawkins’ intellectual gigantism and supposed victory would measure against someone of the prowess and reputation of a William Lane Craig. Wesley, have you read any of William Lane Craig?Interesting...Craig could whip Dawkins into oblivion with his arguments concerning the existence of God...

Wesley, what is "freethinking sophistication", and are you a proponent and/or follower?

Sometimes strikingly good at pointing out his errors, creationists such as us, are typically described (by Dawkins) as intellectually inferior and scientifically incompetent. Where does he get the nerve to call us anything?

Does this idiot named Dawkins really believe he’s a viable alternative to the Truth? I'm not so sure of this. What are your opinions, Wesley? It would seem as if Dawkins even would enjoy a "Christ-like" persona as a description of himself. But NOT Christ-like, if you know what I mean here, Wesley.

And I was interested in what your opinions are of spirit entities or poltergeists and/or ghosts...do you believe in these entities at all or refute them entirely?

Anonymous said...

Since no one has responded as of yet to my previous questions, allow me to dig in deeper to something that has been on my mind that may be of interest to you extreme agenda-holding liberals out there. Perhaps you Ted, or you Wesley, or even you mbat (don't know if you're a liberal or not, but until you respond, I won't know)...

Perhaps it's relevant to take a moment and recall that the need for biblical guidance comes from the proclivity to sin. You don't need a map if you're hardwired to know where you're going. But, for those on the left, a map isn't necessary because it doesn't matter where we are going. For them, a man going astray is proof that having a destination, and rules for getting there, is hypocrisy. The problem is not the fallen man but having rules to begin with. Do family values matter? You bet they do. The culture war is like the recipe for boiling a frog. If you drop it in hot water, it jumps out. But if you drop it in cold water and slowly turn up the heat, you get frog soup. Concession by concession, traditional values are being pushed, inexorably, to the margins of America. It's a sign of this moral war of attrition that each battle is fought with less and less attention to what it means to the overall war. Increasing acceptance of homosexuality is viewed by many as social progress. But for me as a blatant traditionalist, it's no accident that building public acceptance of homosexuality is coincident with a general moral unraveling of our society, with all its destructive consequences. According to Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank located in Washington, D.C., 32 percent of American households today are nontraditional compared to only 28 percent that are traditional, with a mother, father, and children. The remaining 40 percent are households without children. He points out that children in nontraditional households have considerably higher incidences of emotional and educational problems. I would argue that most of the major costs dragging down our society today -- whether it's poverty, entitlements, health care, or housing -- trace to our diminishing sense of personal responsibility and the erosion of traditional values. And you liberals aren't helping either. Your "tolerance" is laughable. We keep being characterized as homophobes when we're not. We are standing up for moral values, values which are being stripped from us even as we speak. When the court says there is no difference between couples consisting of a man and a woman, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, and that it's irrelevant that only one combination can produce children, who are you going to believe? The court or your own eyes? The notion that words have meaning, that there is truth, and that we can approach that truth through investigation and integrity of thought is becoming passé in the United States of Fantasyland. The blatant hypocrisy of claiming diversity as a goal by you liberals and atheists, when clearly there are individuals and points of view that are not welcome goes without saying. Christians need to step up and get our values for the preservation of life, for the protection of family, and for personal responsibility rather than political materialism, to define again the fabric of America.

Anonymous said...

I'm mad this evening, and I'm ready to make some atheists and fence-riders upset again...

I was inspired to write this article because of the nasty comments I received from a self-proclaimed "fundamentalist atheist" with whom I blog on another blog system, or whatever you call it. He made me so sick, I had to throw up what I had for lunch and dinner. I could never stomach writing the kind of crap that I see so many atheists write. It’s embarrassing, it’s rude, it’s not helpful, it’s not kind, it’s crap. And it makes me mad. I'm not going to be harsh to anyone or call anyone any names, but I'm going to speak my mind...

Here is what I have figured out about you atheists:

Vehement and fundamentalist atheists are a subset of atheists who engage in the practice of either:

a) converting non-atheists into atheists, or

b) criticizing the ones they can’t.

They are atheists who speak out with often harsh or cruel words toward people of faith. Wesley, you've done this at times. Not as bad as this other ignorant blog "buddy" of mine. What issues do you atheists possess?
=============
Wesley, and for all you other readers as well, I have figured out through my research on atheism that:

1. Atheists forget that the "truth" they believe in can do the work for them.

If the "truth" they wish to propagate is so obvious so as to make them angry when believers find it hard to swallow, then they really should relax a little, find some patience and wait for the truth to do the work for them. Even though I disagree with everything they say, if I were an atheist, I would tell them that they need to remember that "truth" just does that. Remember the flat-world thing? Relax. If you feel so strongly about your atheism that you need to bash people who aren’t, you’re wasting your energy. Go find something interesting to do. You may not need to work as hard as you think you need to. Human progress will follow the white rabbit on its own. You can either sit back and enjoy the ride or you can be unkind to people. Why don't you atheists pick your battles a little more intelligently? Even though I think you all are ignorant, some of you take the cake on ignorance.

2. Atheists are hypocrites.

They practice exactly what they say they hate. They associate religion with all the negative things about religion’s history, like violence for instance, then they go and practice violence. Good thinking, atheists.

3. Atheists confuse two very different ideals.

Being right is one thing, wanting others to be like you is something else. They confuse the two and make the former dependent on the latter. Why not just be right? That should be good enough. It is for me. If you’re a "truth" seeker and you feel you found the truth in atheism, why not just be content that you found the truth? Why go and try to argue for the sake of argument? When it comes to ontology, do the same thing. Why does your being right about the world also have to include your need to make others see your side of things?

4. Atheists VERY OFTEN belie their rationality.

Atheists often view themselves as rational. But then some of them go off and attack people of faith. Or they make us feel as if we're unintelligent for believing in and following a man named Jesus. Is confronting religious people purely rational? It might be if people conducting religious lives were being unbearably mean because of their religions, right? You bet.

5. Atheists are not enough like the faithful.

Most religious people use their religions as a nothing more than a spiritual life guide. Their religions answer questions about justice, death, reason and it gives them a purpose in life. It also inspires them to be kind and to love their surroundings. It gives them a reason to find happiness in what would otherwise be a tragic world. If you're an evangelical atheist, and you can't live with that, my suggestion is that you go find a religion. Maybe then you would have good reason to perhaps be a little kinder to Christians.

6. Atheists keep thinking they need to wake people up. Lol!!!

Who designated you to be the waker-upper-person? Oh yeah, you did. Stop it. Go read some political philosophy. You will soon learn that the job you feel inspired to perform is not really yours at all. That job has already been taken.

7. Most atheists I have met are essentially racist.

I’ve been unfortunate to have met numerous racist people in my life, even if they don’t think they are. Here is what racist white people in America say about black people: they say it is not the skin color, it's the culture. Yes, I'm sorry, they're racist. Same thing goes for racist atheists. They don't really have a skin color to pick on, but they will surely say it's everything else. The rituals, the practices, the positive religious ideals and values people impart to their children. It's just part of the religious culture. If you atheists can't deal with it, if you just have to intercept all our traditions, I'm sorry, you're no better than a racist.

8. Atheists view believers as enemies.

Big mistake, Wesley. Although you all probably think I'm your enemy, I'm really not. I just don't like your agenda. If evangelical atheists view religious people as enemies, then it means they never finished learning what atheism should have taught them. If they are truly atheists, then they should recognize the degree of frailty that defines our species. That alone, when ingested with the fullest comprehension, should bring them to recognize and embrace all things human, no matter what form. In a godless world, the word "special" means nothing to atheists. Christians love humanity because humanity is ours, exclusively. Its origins are our own. Stop being so hostile against Christians.

9. Atheists (especially you, Wesley) do not offer any alternatives.

Most atheists, soon after bashing someone because of their religious views, just walk away. Wesley, you are very good at this. Very intelligent thinking. Ted is a master at this as well. I'm not bashing Ted in anyway, mbat, so please don't think I am, but, we all know that Ted is confused, and he will never find what he is searching for, nor will he ever forgive me for what I have said to him. Well, now it's his problem. So, it's time for Ted to get over it. Agnostics and/or atheists rarely offer alternatives for anything, or at most they offer alternatives that are completely incompatible, or completely useless to the religious person they just debated. That's just like beating a child who ties his shoes wrong. Better to just show him how to do it right. Some will counter that the alternative they propose is implicit, that it's the truth. You make me sick, atheists.

10. Atheists think Christians are either fundamentalist or trying to cram Jesus down their throats.

Not every Christian out there is trying to cram Jesus down your throat, Wesley, but evangelical atheists go around trying to cram non-Jesus down everyone else’s throats. They fear religious people as though believers were wandering around trying to infect everyone with some kind of virus. It's so sickening, it makes me want to regurgitate everything I have eaten. It's not some kind of war. At least it wasn't until people like you came along.

So in summary, Wesley, Ted, mbat, whoever wants to read this...

The rise of the atheists we see today where opposition and condemnation of religion is banded about typically comes out as a display of hatred and intolerance of belief. For atheists, that might not sound so bad. They get to strike a blow against religion, take down God, be seen as living up to the ideals of evangelical fundamentalist atheism. They are seen as heros to their fellow atheists. But to be able to accept people have the sacred right and freedom of worship; a freedom our heroes fought and died for, and to be able to get over their theophobia and just get on with their lives without having to devote it to undermine Christians and let us know that we live in a "magical" world--that takes real guts. Those who actively call themselves atheists have been called "positive atheists" as opposed to those who tacitly maintain an atheistic ideology, but simply disbelieve God without necessarily denying His existence and are called, "negative atheists".

MBAT: Here are a few things for you to read mbat that were on my mind today...and Wesley, or Ted, feel free to read these statements as well...Mbat, I am not sure where you stand on these issues we are discussing, and I'm sure you are busy with exams, but when you respond, please let me know where you're leaning...and I pray in the name of Christ it's toward Christianity...

1. Mbat, those who call themselves positive atheists are usually the ones who try to convince others, especially professing Christians that God does not exist. Such atheists are against Christianity and they realize that if they can successfully cast doubt in professing Christians’ minds about the existence of God, then they can undermine all the essential tenets of Christianity, such as the fact that God created the world and that we are all responsible to obey Him. Is this your goal, Wesley, to convince mbat? Have you already done it? I don't even know what mbat thinks about Christianity now because he never responds here...I hope he hasn't embraced your lies, Wesley. Or Ted's lies. Even though Ted characterizes himself as Christian (and I am not being harsh here or saying any words to offend), he assumes the role of an agnostic fence-rider, which is very dangerous. Even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself characterized this as dangerous. Absolute truth implies that truth cannot be subject to one's own mind, but is rather established by an absolute and common Creator, therefore proving God's existence. If there is no absolute truth, it cannot be absolutely held true that God does not exist. No faith in God is the most blind faith of all, because it assumes that no faith can be placed in God without any verifying evidence that faith in God fails, and with proof that faith in God is remarkably solid. Atheism is more of a fanciful desire rather than a sincere belief. It undermines our value system and our Creator's authority.

2. Wesley keeps referring to humans as equal to animals. Atheists would rather view humans as animals who are not under a universal moral Law from God and would rather not face the reality of an afterlife for souls of humans. The existence of God nevertheless in their minds is the greatest obstacle against this fantasy and so they primarily deny God’s existence on this basis, often without realizing it. Wesley would probably oppose this, however, with no valid grounds to oppose it. Even atheists admit this. For example one atheist said that atheism has wide ranging implications for the human condition. In the absence of belief in God, ethical goals must be determined by secular (nonreligious) aims and concerns, human beings must take full responsibility for their destiny, and death marks the end of person’s existence. So this is really an outline of the ideology that atheists profess, and denying the existence of God is the most convincingly way in their minds to lend credibility to this ideology.

3. Therefore when you are accosted by atheists, mbat, the atheist’s ultimate goal is usually not to get you to disbelieve the existence of God, but for you to espouse their ideology and to assume their hostility against God’s morality, against Christianity, against me, against an absolute truth, against the infallibility of the Bible, and against the general conscience of humans which may naturally feel pricked when it goes contrary to the Law that God has written in everyone’s heart. Denying God’s existence is perhaps the most obscure way however, of leading people down a turbulent slope against the historical peace and civility that Christianity has brought. You can see this to be true in the growing popularity of people who may not necessarily call themselves atheists and may invoke God’s name in conversations (vain conversations for that matter), but otherwise maintain the same ideology atheists have against the truths of the Bible (does Ted come to mind, or how about any other friends you have or perhaps friends you attend church with?). He claims to be a Christian, but persistently sides with atheists and consequently rejects the truth that I speak. And I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just speaking what I feel to be true. Such people share very common grounds with atheists and have many atheists as their friends. In researching debate and conversations with atheists for many years, I can now identify types of people, and I bet some of your friends are truly characterized best this way.

4. This is a very important point, mbat: atheists maintain that the existence of evil makes the existence of God improbable. This argument reveals how debased the understanding atheists have is. By definition, evil is the transgression of God’s Law. There is no evil that atheists can truthfully cite that is not a breach of God’s Law. Without God’s Law, evil wouldn’t be defined and wouldn’t exist. In the animal world, evil doesn’t exist, because animals are not under a moral law. Humans are, and atheists verify that humans are by acknowledging evil. Evil then is proof of a Creator who subjected creatures under a law, which if it is broken, sin is bred. Evil is proof of God’s existence. The fact that evil can be universally defined shows that there is a common Creator of humans; otherwise, the definition of evil would not exist or would so widely vary that no consensus would exist to make it meaningful in any tangible sense. Atheists have therefore accidentally yielded a proof of God's existence, by acknowledging the universality of evil.

5. Agnostics assume the position that the existence of God cannot be known for sure. This is pathological pessimism, mbat!!! Perhaps agnostics are impotent in judging whether God exists or not, but they should simply speak for themselves and not for others who may be more learned and cognizant of principles and matters outside their own narrow circle. Some agnostics have even triumphed their former debased ignorance and became poignantly aware of the existence of God. Saying that God’s existence cannot be known, locks agnostics in a perpetual bout of pathetic ignorance. Agnostics would be better off to say that their contemporary knowledge falls short of verifying the truth of God’s existence, but that future analysis and further knowledge may later prove God’s existence to them. Evidently, Christians are light-years ahead of agnosticism in terms of knowledge of God. Maybe agnostics will one day catch up. I am optimistic. I believe Ted is an agnostic, and in progression, he will probably become atheist. I'm not certain of this, but from what I've seen in the past, my guess would be somewhat reliable. Therefore, he would not be a person to talk to concerning whether or not God exists. Wesley would be better suited for this, since at least he does claim something.

6. Blindness and atheism are ideologically synonomous. If the irrational universe created itself or if an irrational explosion created the universe, then an educated, rational atheist should be able to create the universe with relative ease today. Most of them cannot. The physics professors I have had in my master's program cannot. They look at me in disgust most of the times I have brought up this subject--of course it's been 6 since I received my master's degree. A physicist who believed in the existence of God once told me this however, "All deceased atheists either cannot say whether atheism is right or wrong because they don't exist themselves, or they can indeed say that atheism is wrong". This professor held a Ph.D. from Yale.

7. One who claims no absolute truth exists and that truth is relative to the convictions of the mind are incredibly dangerous people. Such a doctrine dissolves moral stability and opens the doors for a multitude of inappropriate, immoral and erroneous ways. Such a doctrine also creates a very unstable minded person, blind to the truth, and tolerant to all forms of foolish and erroneous forms of convictions of the human mind historically proven to be destructive to humankind.

Comments, anyone?

Ted said...

Don't boil frogs. It's cruel.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Ted, you're very interesting. That was so funny I forgot to laugh! Did you receive your degree from Harvard or Yale? Or was it from the "Willy Wonka School of Chocolate Making"?

Actually I thought I was a bore to you. You must be pondering over something I'm writing if you are responding.

I welcome your responses, but the question remains, are they worth my reading them?

I would love to really say what I want to say to you, but I'm going to keep my lips zipped out of respect to other readers.

So the joke's on on you, Ted.

Ted said...

I would love to attend the Willy Wonka School of Chocolate Making. I think that would be the most completely awesome education ever.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you can meet some of your cousins who work there...Aren't they called Oompa Loompas, or something like that? Remember the girl who turned blue and got so big she had to go to the juicer? Lol!

Ok, Ted, we're wasting space here on mbat's blog...what do you really want to say?

I would love to debate with you, but you're so darn hard-headed. Is this a character trait of yours?

Ted said...

My posts have been strikingly compact. Who's really wasting space?

Ted said...

I'm so glad that a sense of normalcy has been restored. I was worried that you had forgotten about our brains (or lack thereof, as the case may be).

Ted said...

It's a little bit funny, this feeling inside. I'm not one of those who can...easily hide.

I want love, but it's impossible. A man like me, so irresponsible. A man like me is dead in places other men feel liberated.

I can't love, shot full of holes. Don't feel nothing, I just feel cold. Don't feel nothing, just old scars toughening up around my heart.

But I want love, just a different kind. I want love, won't break me down, won't brick me up, won't fence me in. I want a love, that don't mean a thing...That's the love I want, I want love

Can you feel the love tonight? It is where we are. It's enough for this wide-eyed wanderer that we got this far. And can you feel the love tonight, how it's laid to rest. It's enough to make kings and vagabonds believe the very best.

Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
Why can't we be friends?
(repeat as necessary)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Ted! You've just confirmed your ignorance...

I don't want to be your friend.

Just want you to make a decision and quit riding fences.

Perhaps you are secretly in love with me?...Is there something we don't know about you? Do you dream about me at night, Ted? Wow! What a macho man you are!

Anonymous said...

Ok, Mbat, since Ted wants to play games with me and sing silly love songs to me, I have deduced that he probably knows nothing about atheism or debates in atheism, so it's time to focus on you a second. As I have stated earlier, I have debated at least a dozen or more vehement atheists, and converted several to Christianity. I notice though that Wesley is quite different, and I more than likely will never succeed in converting him to Christianity. I noticed on your blog all these advertisements about atheism and religion--whether or not should I or shouldn't I believe in God. Well, mbat, I for one am tired of your fence-riding. Do you believe in anything? Tell me what you believe...PLEASE!!! AND I HOPE YOU'RE READING THIS AS WELL WESLEY!!!

Mbat, do you enjoy reversion-psychoanalysis, which is the act of psychoanalyzing someone to bring them to a point and then reverting back to a position you held previously to confuse the situation and the person who is being psychoanalyzed...I've come to the conclusion that you are a master at this. By the way, do you graduate from college this year? And what are your plans when you graduate? Just curious...

I have a few points that may be of interest to you concerning your God dilemma (or you may have come to a conclusion about your beliefs, but I don't know what you believe)...

1. Since I believe you are agnostic, mbat, agnosticism should not be taken seriously. Agnostics like to see themselves as standing on intellectual high-ground, but the truth is that their beliefs are irrational, perhaps as irrational as the atheist. Let's be honest. Agnostics are "atheists" when it comes to most religions. No agnostic is going to proclaim that he "does not and cannot know" that the flying spacecrafts exist, or that the Greek gods exist, or that Thor exists. In these cases, the agnostic agrees with everyone else that the entity/entities in question do not exist. How do you respond to this, mbat?

2. But then we ask more sensitive questions, like "does the Christian God exist"? In these cases, the agnostic is quick to back off and play dumb: "Oh, but how could I know such a thing? I am subject to epistemological limitations. That question is beyond me. Blah blah blah." But again, mbat, let us be honest and intelligent here...The only difference between the distant question about flying spacecrafts and the close question about the Christian God is that the God has received more historical air time. We have heard more about the Christian God, and he is far more entrenched in our culture.

3. So, mbat, why does the agnostic give special credit to the Christian God? Why does the agnostic feel that it's quite all right to play dumb in this case but not in the other cases? The answer is relatively simple. The agnostic must believe that he has evidence for the existence of the Christian God that prevents her from outright dismissing Him. (Actually, that's the best case scenario from an intellectual perspective. The worst case scenario is that the agnostic is afraid to admit that He does, in fact, dismiss God all together.)

4. One last bout of honesty, mbat...Atheism is not out to deny the existence of God "no matter what" and "in the face of any evidence whatsoever." Atheism would vanish as an intellectual position if one single iota of credible evidence were to surface. If God's giant finger fell from the sky, atheists would listen. But as it stands now, there is no credible evidence, and it is this lack of credible evidence that motivates the atheists' dismissive attitudes. If agnostics want to play dumb they have to explain why playing dumb makes sense in certain cases but not others.
All of this boils down to the fact that agnostics lack a healthy sense of skepticism, and in my opinion, agnostics waste more breath than they need to.

5. "Lazy" might even be the key word. The main argument I have heard that is pro-agnostic is that "Church wastes time" - agnosticism is basically saying, "Whatever, I won't worry about it", which I see as lazy, as I see pretty much all non-committal as lazy - for example, people who do not have a favorite color, I see as too lazy to make a choice. Now replace "color" with, "interpretation of the laws of the universe". Do you get it, mbat? I have sometimes said that agnostics are the only people smart enough to admit they don't have the answers to the big questions, but you, mbat, wish you did!!! I have figured you out...So if you wish you did, why don't you get the answer! The answer comes from your decision you make! You don't get it, do you? You make a decision, then you gain a plethora of research regarding your stance, and you boldly proclaim your view...

6. One line of attack by skeptics and scoffers concerning attempts to show the compatibility of the Bible, truth and science, is to assert that belief is incompatible with reason. Since we must accept the Bible not based solely on our own personal experience, but also by trusting in the fundamental truths of the Bible, the attack hits close to home. The attack usually includes quotes indicating that our "science" is "ends driven," meaning that if the result fits with our biblical view of things, then we accept it as truth, and if it does not, we call it bogus or soft-science. This line of attack has merit because it is partially true. However, it falls apart, or more accurately, the falsity surrounding the core of truth melts away, when put under the bright light of reason. Starting with some stubborn facts, let's reason together. Man has a brain capable of reason, or what we call reason. We can consider things, current, past or future, and make judgments concerning them, funny, sad, true, bad, important or irrelevant. We can work things out, study them, test them and arrange them in a way that makes sense to us - logically, if you will. An atheist will use reason because it is in his self-interest. So will a theist. So there does not appear to be any inherent problem with reason and belief.

7. We also have the theodice problem, stated by David Hume: If the evil in the world is intended by God he is not good. If it violates his intentions he is not almighty. God can't be both almighty and good. There are many objections to this, but none that holds since God is ultimately responsible for the existence of evil. Besides, if only God can create he must have created evil. If somebody else (the devil) created evil, how can one know that God, and not Satan created the universe? Most atheists define evil according to their own interpretation. By defining evil as things they don't like, they have created a circular argument guaranteed to "prove the non-existence" of God. The Christian definition of evil is anything done by one of God's spirit beings (humans or angels) against Him (or His created beings). As such, God is never responsible for evil - only His created spirit beings.
Atheists say that since only God can create, therefore He must have created evil. However, at this point the atheist has redefined the meaning of create. Evil was not created. Evil is manifested (committed) by free-will beings. Nice play on words, but it doesn't stand up to examination.

8. Let's say that everything must be created, and that was done by an omnipotent God. A God which stands above time, space, moral and existence, which is self containing and in himself has his own cause. This entity can surely be replaced by the known world. The world stands above time, space, moral, existence, is self containing and in it has it's own meaning.

9. Ok, mbat, since I have graduate courses completed in physics with master's courses in physics and chem engineering, I will explain to you perhaps on a level you may understand. Have you ever read about Occam's razor--which is actually a good argument for the existence of God. I will explain shortly. Contrary to the statements above, the universe cannot replace God as explanation for its own existence. The universe is finite in both size and time. The universe had a beginning in finite time at the moment of the Big Bang. How did this universe decide to create itself? How did the universe design itself with physical laws and parameters exactly fine tuned to support life? The laws of physics are designed with such precision that it is almost inconceivable that they could be the result of chance. For example, take the ratio of the number of electrons to protons. This ratio must be exactly equal to one to one to better than one part in 1037(10 to the 37th power, or "1" followed by 37 zeros), otherwise electromagnetic forces would have superseded gravitational forces and no galaxies, stars or planets would have ever formed in the entire history of the universe. Other constants of physics, such as the expansion rate of the universe, are fine-tuned even more delicately, as small as one part in 1055. Random chance does not design such a well-crafted universe. All the atheistic explanations for such an exquisitely defined universe require the presence of trillions of other universes, of which ours is the one which happened, by chance, to have the exact physics required for the formation of galaxies, stars and planets. Therefore the atheistic explanation actually goes against Occam's razor since it requires some mechanism by which universes can sprout from some super universe and randomly change their laws of physics. If one were to calculate the number of universes required, by chance, to have the exact physics required for the formation of galaxies, stars and planets, it would exceed 1010000 (talk about multiplying entities!). The mechanism by which physical laws could randomly evolve would add further complexity. Design by an intelligent designer is obviously a much simpler explanation. Check these papers for some of the other parameters for both the universe and our planet, which are designed to exact standards. The statement that "the world stands above time" is false. The universe stands within time, having come into existence at time = 0. See Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time.
In summary, mbat, "Most theists agree that God has a nature. Then we must raise the question, who created God's nature? If we just accept that God has a nature and exists without a cause, why not say that the known world just is and that the laws of physics are what they are, without a cause?"
God is uncreated, therefore His nature is just as eternal as He is. Although it is possible the universe and the physical laws could exist without a cause, 1 in 1010000 is not exactly what one would call good betting odds. It would be much more likely that your car's engine would thermodynamically reverse itself (i.e., freeze solid instead of warm up) every time you started it.

FOR REFLECTION, MBat:

Many atheists tend to stereotype Christians as stupid, uneducated people. However, I personally know dozens of scientists who are Christians, and not only believe in God, but can rationally present evidence for His existence. In my department where I work as an engineer, we have few atheists - although we have one agnostic, whom we kid all the time. All the other people - 4 chemical engineers (2 with doctorate degrees), 3 Ph.D.'s (chemists/phsysicists), 3 master's level physical engineers, and the others, with bachelor's or master's degrees - are theistic. Christianity specifically calls people to use their brains. As Robert Griffiths (Heinemann prize in mathematical physics) stated once:
"If we need an atheist for a debate, I go to the philosophy department. The physics department isn't much use." (I have this bumper sticker on my wall at work)...
It is the atheist who now denies the implications of modern cosmology and physics because they imply the existence of a Creator. Those who believe the Big Bang correctly describes the origin of the universe, must admit that the universe had a beginning in finite time and space. Did it just pop into existence on its own? Did it just happen to have exactly the right physical laws and constants required for life? It is the atheist who must believe in miracles to explain our existence. Therefore, John Gribbin, an atheist physicist has stated:
"The biggest problem with the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe is philosophical - perhaps even theological - what was there before the bang?"

Ted said...

I realize that I have been childish, but my point is that you take yourself and religion too seriously.

I stopped arguing with you quite a while ago, and if you have paid any attention, nothing you have written in your last 12 posts has caused anyone to enter into further discussion with you. I'm sure Wesley has grown tired of cutting and pasting his responses to your tired, circular arguments.

By the way, great job calling me gay. I'm totally offended and crushed. In fact, you have made me question my sexuality. Maybe I am gay. If I am, then I'm probably gay for you. I just love the way your spherical head floats inches above your half-moon shoulders. Gets me all tingly. Your anonymity is a total turn on. Can I call you sometime? I'm not looking for a serious relationship, just an exploratory fling. Check yes or no (oh boy, I hope you check yes!):

__Yes (:-D
__No [:-(

Just lighten up. Maybe we can have some fun, interesting discussions that don't involve you denouncing us at every turn. Doesn't that sound nice?

Anonymous said...

Excuse me Ted...I never called you gay. Come on Ted. If we're going to be correct here, you need to have your facts straight. I simply asked if you were in love with me because of the love song thing? So you're the one reading into it. You had the right to respond, and you did--in a rather idiotic way, but still, you responded.

I could care less what Wesley thinks. He believes he possesses most all the answers about all of life's questions and that his case is refutable. Well, sir, he doesn't. He doesn't respond anymore simply because he does not have enough ammo to respond to truth. Because truth tends to win out each time. I'm not saying I've won anything here, but he's stopped responding simply because he's afraid of "screwing up" something he may say in a future post (if this thing gets heated up), and then his case may be "questionable" to someone like mbat. I know him like a book. Wesley's a classic textbook case. You know, I've debated with his kind many times before, and I knew it would come to this. I would enjoy debating or conversing with you and Wesley, and mbat, on some issues, and I perhaps I do take religion too seriously, but it's my call of duty--to pierce as many holes in the atheist agenda as I possibly can. But I have no idea what type conversation or debate interests you. Do you mind sharing with me some things that may interest or question you?

Anonymous said...

In my readings of all your posts, mbat, and for you Ted and Wesley, I have come to the conclusion that you all are a bunch of narcissistic idiots. And since this is a country of free speech, I have free reign to say it. I vomit when I think of your hypocrisy in this world and how you are trying to undermine it to focus attention on yourselves. A narcissist's behavior will not only tolerate but encourage attacks on himself so long as it can translate his own self-fascination into more news of himself. Just as the narcissist will use argument, catastrophe, disputation to attract attention, certain people will be willing to dispute the narcissist in order to participate in the economy of attention. Others will dispute the narcissist because they are so profoundly appalled by his/her behavior. Either way, the economy of attention is fueled. You guys are slick. And I've finally figured you out I think...The narcissist is fascinating -- but not for the reasons the narcissist thinks. You guys are fascinating because the energy you will expend in micromanaging your self-image is so profoundly exceptional. People just sort of stand there slack-jawed wondering if these people have lives at all--or do they enjoy tearing others down who are perhaps distracting attention away from the narcissist. The narcissist however will mistranslate the fascination of others as admiration. I have branded you all narcissists. Congratulations!

I understand that the narcissist often makes use of some psychological games to get what they want. At the same time, they never succeed in their never-ending quest of new ways to demonstrate themselves they're worth something. Thus material acquisitions or new people (or both) become necessary after a shorter or longer time, or at a time of insecurity, especially work and family problems, and particularly if the extension stops playing his or her inculcated role. The narcissist finds it exceedingly easy to devalue one previously "adored" narcissistic extension, and replace him or her with someone he ranks higher. This ranking is not rational, as it is the thrill of the new and exciting that keeps him from feeling empty and addressing his own weaknesses. Oh, this is textbook WESLEY! and MBAT!!! and TED!!! He would rather move on, and, in a way, that is good for the narcissistic extension, who, once that often benign, even banal person has exited (often in a way that is dissimilar to the "normal" behavior he play-acted for years, or months, callously, cruelly, deserting, and, in fact, contradicting all the positive "spin" he used to trap his "victim". The next one will inevitably fall into the trap.

You guys make me sick--sick is not even a good word here--you make me gurgle! So it's time to disarm you...

It is also worth noting that the individual expressions of grandiosity or arrogance vary with the person's value system. A person will generally attempt to display superiority as he or she defines it.

I can bet you guys always have done the following:
1. Overreact to criticism, becoming angry or humiliated consistently.
2. Use others to reach goals
3. Exaggerate your own importance
4. Entertain unrealistic fantasies about achievements, power, beauty, intelligence
5. You have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
6. This one's very indicative of mbat I'm assuming...and Wesley too. You seek constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
7. You all are easily jealous of others' accomplishments or entitlements
8. You guys have a sense of extreme entitlement to something that does not belong to you
9. You are exploitative of others
10. You have always lacked empathy
since you were very young.
11. You displays arrogant, haughty and proud behavior.
12. Ha!!! Good one!!! You use denial mechanism to downplay own inadequacies or failings (done this many times in your posts)
13. You constantly use a rationalization mechanism to justify your own self-centered behavior

It would be simply pathetic to be what I have figured you guys out to be...And what is so funny is that you know it's probably true. Lol!

mbat said...

I have but one request. It is now rather obvious that there are at least two anonymous posters (or one schizophrenic poster). To the anonymous who posted directly above, please somewhere at the beginning of your post denote yourself as one (which by the way, for the number of times we make you vomit, you should really be careful about bulimia) and the other anonymous previous to that post as two.
Anonymous one, give up. It seems you have a bit of narcissism yourself (or perhaps masochism) If we really make you as sick as you say, why do you keep coming back? You offer no useful info, just insults. At least anonymous two talks about the subject with insults peppered in. And again, I want the attention because it's my blog. MY blog, what don't you understand about the possessive? Of course I want it to be about me. It's MY thought process. Your "argument" would hold weight if this were someone else's page, but it isn't. I think that last post was about the tenth time you've done something like that. And you really need to get a life if you have the time to write a post that long about nothing. You're right, at first I felt bad for feeling superior to you, but I don't anymore. I guess I'm a bad person.
Anonymous two, you are the useful poster with insightful beliefs. How do you feel about me turning off anonymous posting? You can keep posting. Just make a fake profile with a fake e-mail if you're concerned with us knowing who you are. I'm very tired of wasting my time reading about anonymous one calling me a narcissist over and over again.

Anonymous said...

This is anonymous 2 posting. I'm the one who is insightful (as you say)... I agree with a few points that this other anyonymous is posting. Although some of his points have merit, some of the statements are not true and very mean-spirited; I'm not sure if they all are true. I denounce atheism, but I try to be as insightful as possible without throwing anyone off. I'm the one who is insightful but throw in some insults (as you have characterized me). In my opinion, I don't think you should turn off anyonymous posting simply because this is a free blog system. Everyone has his/her right to express any opinion he/she has if you have it on the world wide web. You should understand this, mbat. If you are offended, you should really question why is it making you so angry and defensive. Just forget it and let it go. Come on mbat, you need to grow up and not get your feelings hurt everytime someone attacks you--even if you want to hit them with a baseball bat! Just my opinion, take it or leave it...

Anonymous said...

Excuse me anonymous two (or as you call yourself}, I do not care if you agree or disagree with my comments. If MBAT should choose to not allow anonymous users on the blog, then I guess I have won. If I have made him that angry, it would be quite funny for him to turn it off. This means that he is quite weak. It's funny really. What I have said about the three bloggers and narcissistic attitudes are true, exact, and precise, and they know it.

mbat said...

You've completely missed the point. I'm not angry nor am I offended. If I were angry I would have turned off anonymous posting without asking. You still being able to speak proves me being level headed. Anonymous 2, if you'd like to leave it anonymous posting up, then I will. I want to turn anonymous posting off because anonymous one has nothing to say, and I'm tired of having to go through his entire post to realize that, yes, again he has said nothing that he has not already said 20 times, and so is a waste of my time.
Anonymous one, I don't care if you think I am weak, or that if you think you've won. It means nothing if you don't contribute to the argument, which you haven't done in some time.

Anonymous 2, I agree about the internet being a place of free speech, but we aren't talking about the entire internet. We are talking about one blog that perhaps a dozen people read. If anonymous one feels so strongly about himself, then in five minutes, he can start his own blog, and spend all the time he wants trying to offend everyone and satiate his own narcissism.
(Truthfully, have you noticed how quickly I respond when anonymous one comments? Nothing against you anonymous 2. I am putting a lot more thought into what you say, because it is thoughtful. I respond quickly because Wesley, Ted and myself all find anonymous one very funny, and we like to rile him up, which is the sole purpose of this final aside, because he cannot resist inflating his own ego and will reply very quickly.)

Anonymous said...

Since you said I must post my identity. This is anonymous 1 speaking...All you guys are a bunch of psychopaths who prey on interpreting situations as you must. I have no more interest in reading your boring posts...they have no point. Mbat is completely wishy washy in his intelligence and cognitive organization. Just glad I don't prescribe to this hogwash mess that's on the internet. To you anonymous 2, you need to speak your mind and try not to give into these guys. They are trying to push you into not believing what you have professed to believe. Take some advice from a professional hard liner!

mbat said...

Ah, anonymous one, so it appears as if we are back to playing cat and mouse on whether or not you will leave. I bet you'll never leave because you are too much of a narcissist to simply let it go. I see this as a win win, either you leave or you prove me right by always trying to have the last word. Which will it be?

Anonymous said...

I enjoy having the last word because it makes me feel good...

mbat said...

Sorry to make you feel not good.

Anonymous said...

Mbat, this is anonymous 2. Why do you respond to 1's comments? Anonymous 1, why do you consistently try to work in your own brand of idiot-ness when I'm trying to dismantle a bunch of atheist agenda nonsense. You are definitely not helping, although I do agree that they may be trying to convince me to come over to their side. Believe me, anon. 1, they will never convince me. I am firm in my beliefs as well as convictions...and my faith can never dissipate--it can only become stronger. You have a right to say anything you want; and I told mbat that he should keep the anonymous posting up because of this. So say whatever you desire; you can be bold, and I am very bold sometimes, but try to be a little more tactful, ok? I still believe Wesley and Ted to be hypocrites, and I believe they are successfully overtaking mbat's mind with a bunch of crap...but hey, it's not my life. Mbat has the right to believe whatever he desires. I just wish he would stop riding the fence and decide once and for all what he wants to believe. I wish he would come to my side. It's so freeing to live the faith life. To let go and surrender it all to the One whose name is above every name...
By the way mbat, since Ted nor Wesley will give me any issues to discuss on your blog system, do you have any that are of interest to you? I would love to put my 5 cents in...

Ted said...

Anon. 2, if there's anything left to discuss that has not been discussed ad nauseam (especially for anon. 1, apparently), please let us know. I enjoy reading and engaging in debate when I feel I know enough to do so, but only to a point. There are two things I refuse to do:

1. Talk vehemently about things I know little to nothing about.
2. Talk about the same thing over and over and over and over and over again.

By and large, that has been what has happened here, especially recently. Don't make the mistake of confusing Wesley with me. Wesley does extensive research into topics that interest him. My arguments have ever been spiritual in nature, and therefore not based in hard research.

My purpose is being involved in this blog is to listen to and offer what advice I can to mBat. I would never try to convert anyone, since I've been there and have seen that it very, VERY rarely works.

For my part, I support disabling anonymous posting. It is absurdly easy to create a crap Gmail account the will let you post here, and since you do not have to provide your name, it is no less anonymous than what you do here. If you really feel strongly about expressing your opinion on this blog, is creating an e-mail account that you never check really so terrible?

Anonymous said...

Anon. 2 talking: Ted, why would I have to create an e-mail account if it's the same as being anonymous? Do you see your line of thinking?

By the way, if this blog is on the world-wide-web, what do you expect? Do you only want people who agree with you to post on this blog? It's out in the open air, Ted, for the world to see. If mbat desired this blog to be private, he should have done so to begin with...and perhaps I would have never met such "interesting" people as yourself...

However, if you are so concerned with anon. 1's postings, then you must really have a problem. Do you think I would even give a second thought to what he/she said? Of course, not, but he's entitled to his opinion. And that's my opinion...Take it or leave it...

Ted said...

Of course I see my line of thinking. It's my line of thinking. Do you see your line of thinking? You're saying why, I'm saying why not. That's our main difference here.

Think of it this way: If anonymous posting were disabled, there would be no confusing anon. 2 with anon. 1, we would not have to refer to you as anon. 1 and anon. 2. I feel like I'm reading Dr. Seuss now.

Of course I don't only want people who agree with me to post on this blog, no one has ever said that. In fact, I'd venture to say that the point of this blog is to discuss differing opinions. Disabling anonymous posting prevents trolling by posters such as anon. 1, thus increasing the overall intelligence of the discussion.

Anon 1 is entitled to his/her opinion, but in my opinion, anon 1 is no better than a troll, and disabling anonymous posting would rid us of those comments unless anon 1 was REALLY intent on continuing to embarrass him/herself.

So again I ask you: Why not?

Anonymous said...

This is anon. 2...Ted, have you no intelligence whatsoever? As you have been tired of listening to my arguments, I am additionally exhausted listening to your complaints about anonymous 1. Drop it. Who in the world cares what he/she writes? I don't. You shouldn't either. If you are that worried about anon 1's comments, then you need some therapy to deal with your own problems with always trying to win. And this you do very well. You and Wesley. Sure, anon 1 may win a couple of times in an argument; what will you say? You are very clever in the way you handle certain issues, Ted. When you and mbat and even Wesley become angered at something, you completely want to turn the other way and not deal with it head on. I prefer the latter. I certainly will not agree with anon 1 on many issues I am sure. But in order for him/her to disappear or convert to your agenda (or my agenda), you must face him/her head on. Ted, stop your whining, PLEASE! It's really ignorant and displays your ignorance as well...And I will repeat myself again, there is no cognitive flow to your thinking, Ted, and I don't believe mbat should turn anonymous off to simply satisfy your own insecurities...

Anonymous said...

Oh, and if anon. 1 wants to embarrass himself, then what gives you the right to tell him not to? It's a blog, Ted. A blog that's open to the WORLD!!! Come on, Ted, I thought you were more intelligent than that...

Ted said...

You still haven't answered my question. You and I both have acknowledged that getting a crap e-mail address does not hinder your anonymity. So why not? If you really want us to take you seriously, and not think of you as just another fundie (which we do), why not give us something to call you besides anon. 2? Why not?Insults really don't do anything. You can stop wasting space on them.

Anonymous said...

I have answered your question, Ted, and now you are wanting to play games. I believe you heard me the first time you tried to argue with me. Why do you like to argue, Ted?
No wonder anon. 1 is throwing up over you...because now I am about to go do the same...
Move on Ted. I would ask that you accept that I would prefer to remain anonymous...I can't control what anon. 1 does.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2 talking again...and by the way, for your little insult as being a "fundie". I think you are an "agnostie"...I reserve the right to be a fundamentalist Christian, and this in absolutely no way, makes me less intelligent than you (as what you have insinuated).
Allow myself to divulge into what fundamentalists believe...
As Christians, we are unavoidably engaged in a great battle of worldviews--a conflict over the most basic issues of truth and meaning. A worldview that starts with the existence and sovereign authority of the self-revealing God of the Bible will be diametrically opposed to worldviews that deny God or engage in what we might call 'defining divinity down.' Fundamentalist Christians are being attacked in every shape, form and fashion. And we are sick of it, Ted. The Lord does not invite His covenant people to speculate about His character, His power, or His purpose. He demands total obedience, even as He reveals His saving purpose and as He sets down covenant. This gives you absolutely no right to attack me as a "fundie". The church is established as God's people on earth; an eschatological people eventually drawn from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation. And then, looming in the future, lies judgment. The realities of Heaven and Hell are presented as dual destinations for humanity, and the wrath of God is promised to be poured out upon sinners, even as the mercy of God is extended to all who have come to Christ by faith. The way to salvation is narrow; the road to destruction is wide. There is but one Savior and one way of salvation. Just by saying the latter, you think I'm a fundamentalist. Well, all Christians SHOULD believe this simply because of what God's word states. Ted, All this is just too much for the postmodern mind to handle. A "deep and radical antagonism" separates the Bible and our postmodern culture. But then, since the fall, that antagonism has always existed, separating obedience to God's truth from the demand for human autonomy. Christians are often perplexed by resistance to the Bible and to the Gospel. We tend to distance ourselves from the reality that the Bible sounds so exceedingly strange to modern and postmodern ears. We underestimate the distance of the divide between biblical Christianity and secular worldviews. All this should remind us of our constant evangelistic and apologetic task--and of the fact that salvation is all by grace. After all, it's not that we were smart enough to wade through all this and emerge as believers. Instead, our eyes were opened so that we would see. Radical antagonism isn't overcome by force of argument and persuasion alone, but by grace. As we engage in the controversies and debates of this age, we had better keep that great fact always in the forefront of our thinking, Ted. Arguing for the simple sake of arguing because you think you may lose some of your power, it's sad and sick...

Anonymous said...

Anon 2 speaking:
Mad as heck again...Obama, our wonderful president, is at it again with his lack of moral responsibility and pro-choice issuance and agenda. There is a group at the Univ of Notre Dame that will be standing up to our ignorant president because he is speaking one of the commencement addresses. In fact, this group is very large and will be having its own commencement address, primarily promoting that it does not agree with a liberal pro-choice maniac speaking at a Catholic and Christian university. Thank God for this group of people. People are so scared to stand up against what is morally wrong and irresponsible. I'm so sick of liberals...

mbat said...

Anon. 2, I respect that opinion, but I don't really want this blog to be in any way political. There are other, better, places to speak of politics. This blog is solely for my own religious, philosophical exploration.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me mbat, in my opinion, what I just said about Obama is very important in the exploration of what one believes...The way our country is directed at this current time, alternative agendas are being pushed. Obama promotes agendas which are not fully religious-friendly, and they are certainly not helping what I believe in. If you really read this post and not jump to conclusions, this is a moral and religious issue, not just a political one. So what is your point? And why are you so defensive; did I hit a nerve? You're starting to sound like Ted now...Sorry, just giving it to you as I see it...

Anonymous said...

Oh, mbat, by the way, you haven't given us any comments on what you are learning in your exploration process...
I'm confused...
You rarely make sense...
Why do you continue with philosophical debates when no one comes to a solution?
Why can't you stick to a side and defend it?

mbat said...

I don't see how my last post was defensive. I just don't want you turning my blog into a series of your political beliefs. While, yes, there is the philosophical issue involved, we can talk about those issues without involving Obama (Which if you must know, I did vote for, but mostly because I was scare of what Palin might do.), but now that you continue turning your comments politically, I doubt we can get away from it.

You're turning my blog into your soapbox, so I'm temporarily turning off anonymous commenting. I don't care what your political beliefs are. Once I get back to really contributing posts after I parse through all the recent comments, I will turn anonymous commenting back on (probably within the next 4-6 weeks). Then, the conversation will stay on track, and you won't feel the need to start new topics while everyone waits for me. (Which by the way, as a compliment, I think you (anon. 2) could be a good religious blogger. You obviously have the time and will.) I do welcome all anonymous posters back once I have the time to guide the discussion again.

anon2 said...

Were you that intent in getting rid of me mbat? I don't think so...Sorry, you can't. Unless you wipe me off the earth. Allow me to tell me what your problem is. And by the way, you didn't help your case when you told me who you voted for in the election (which is a totally different subject)...but I'll even put my tongue in my cheek and respect you and not go into politics anymore for now. On the contrary, not respecting my desiring to stay anonymous so you could win a power struggle simply makes me viciously ill. Your problem is really not deciding on whether or not you believe in God. Your problem is you and your desire for power, as well as an indecisiveness that you have exuded since you were probably a little child. As I have said, I have already figured you out with a Psy.D. friend of mine, and I would have to say what my doctor friend has written about you becomes clearer as the days progress. As anon 1 posted about your narcissism, I tend to see that now to an extent; and even though I don't know you (and I certainly would not have the desire to personally), you have positive and negative qualities, not necessarily all narcissistic.

Positive:
1. You are intellectual.
2. You are strong-headed and comprehensive.

Negative:
1. You desire power and prestige.
2. You are quite indecisive.

Now to your indecisiveness over religion and how your case will cause thousands to doubt their faith and become agnostic...I'll discuss your power struggle in a later blog.

The face of religion has already started to change. moral majority leader, TV preacher and longtime religious right warhorse Jerry Falwell died on May 15, 2007. About four months later, D. James Kennedy, Ph.D., of Coral Ridge Ministries died. Kennedy, a Presbyterian televangelist and prominent advocate of the "Christian nation" view of history, was known for his vociferous opposition to the teaching of evolution. In short, the religious right will probably continue to wield its power for a long time to come. Its leadership and structure, however, may end up looking a good bit different than what we see today. And because of people like you and the atheists with whom you associate, our cause is becoming what you call "hateful". But you have it wrong, mbat, and Ted and Wesley, we are not hateful. We are viciously sick and tired of being labeled "hateful" for what we believe. In the last few years I've decided that we're in a crisis in which the secular state, if allowed, will fundamentally and radically change America against the wishes of most Americans. Hypocrisy is on the rise in America, and because of your fence-riding, mbat, you are another weight added to the dismantling structure of the country's moral and value-based system.

Mbat, your main problem is religious indecisiveness, and unless you tackle it, it will consume your every thought and move until you breathe your last breath on your death bed. You know it, I know it, and now the world knows it. You tend to say that you enjoy philosophical debates, and you even are very kind sometimes when you say that you enjoy reading my posts, but I can't continually deal with fence riders. If you are ever going to figure yourself out psychologically, philosophically, and spiritually, you had better get on the bandwagon, sir! Bold action by faith in God unleashes God's power to face our problems. Bold action demonstrates true faith, and God will win despite fickle faith, mbat. Just as one extreme, there are people who are in the habit of making hasty decisions, at the other extreme there are people who seem to suffer from chronic indecision. They are perpetually sitting on the fence. They just cannot muster sufficient strength to commit themselves to any definite line of action. They are perpetually vacillating or floating on clouds of endless possibility. The prospect of landing upon the terra firma of the actual scares them to death, and it scares the ____ out of you mbat! This mental condition of indecision is often occasioned by unresolved inner conflicts. Some people can never make up their minds whether they should belong to any political party or not, whether they should belong to any religious organization or not, whether they should settle down to any particular sphere of action or not. One part of their nature is inclined toward striking their roots somewhere, having a sense of belonging somewhere. But another part of their nature rebels against all forms of self-limitation, and years to keep flying in the boundless realm of the possible. Now this and now that tendency may gain ascendancy, but never does any one of them gain a decisive victory. A happy compromise between such conflicting tendencies requires a certain degree of courage and self-understanding, mbat. But boldness about a belief system is required somewhere down the line, and isn't it time, mbat, for you to finally make a decision about your religious and philosophical issues in your life? Prolonged indecision may be due to an extreme fear of risk and responsibility, mbat. It is the risk of displeasing somebody or stepping upon somebody's toes. It is the risk of losing something or undergoing some kind of hardship. And since most of our decisions and actions are likely to affect some fellow being directly or indirectly, they bring on a sense of responsibility. Those who are emotionally immature and weak in character shudder to take risks and assume responsibility. They are afraid of displeasing anybody. They recoil from the prospect of discomfort and hardship. But life is not always a bed of roses. Even when it is a bed of roses, sharp thorns go along with them. Life often challenges us to a choice between equally unpleasant alternatives. When we accept the challenge, whatever we do is bound to involve risk, rigor, and responsibility. If we run away from the challenge, we lose the opportunity for growth. In shirking responsibility we may follow the line of least resistance, but we commit psychological and spiritual suicide. The state of indecision may also be due to the absence of any deciding principle or criterion in our mental equipment. Intelligent decision implies a determinate principle! Remember this mbat! My Psy.D. friend told me this!!!!! The psychological root of all deciding principles is one's self-image or sense of identification. In early childhood the groundwork for one's self-identification is laid. A child unconsciously identifies himself wither with the father, or with the mother, or with both. If he identifies himself with the father, the ideas, beliefs, and emotional attitudes of the father are unconsciously absorbed. A masculine self-image is thus in the making. If he identifies himself with the mother, the ideals, beliefs, and emotional attitudes of the mother are unconsciously absorbed, and a feminine self-image develops. If he identifies himself with both parents, a composite self-image is in the making. In accordance with varying measures of nearness to, and admiration for, the distinctive personalities of the parents, a child's self-image incorporates within itself, in a certain constellation, both masculine and feminine characteristics. Where do you fit in, mbat? But under certain circumstances a child may be left without the opportunity of identifying himself with either one of the parents. This happens especially when the parents use the child in their frequent bickering with one another. They bestow favors or frowns upon the child quite arbitrarily. They punish or reward the child arbitrarily, that is, not in accordance with the quality and conduct of the child, but in accordance with the changing emotional needs and conflicts of their own lives. In a situation like this, the child becomes extremely confused, both emotionally and ideologically. He is left hanging in the air without any feeling of self-identification. He cannot develop any clear sense of values. He hardly knows where he stands or what he should do. No clear self-image nourished by higher values has a chance of growing within him. He is deprived of a clear sense of identity. He does not seem to know who he is. As a result, he lacks the basis upon which to make any clear-cut decisions in life. And as he progresses through life, he tends to be indecisive...about many things...and in your case, this is religion and whether or not God exists. People like you harm the cause for the religious agenda because of your indecisiveness and unwillingness to deal with it and its roots. And I won't even go into the harm that Wesley is causing, but he is very decisive, unlike you.

Another impractical and inadequate principle of decision, mbat, is that of absolute perfection. Some bright scholars remain barren all their lives because of their commitment to perfection. When they wish to write a book, it must be flawlessly perfect. They withhold their decision to write or express themselves until the glorious moment of perfect creation arrives. So all their lives they pursue the ever-receding goal of perfection. The greater the emphasis upon perfection, the further it recedes. The supreme moment never arrives. So the perfect book is never written. In the same way there are some choosy people who never get married. They aim at the perfect life mate. He or she must fulfill all the requirements of the image of perfection in their minds. But in the actual world such a perfect embodiment is hardly to be met with. So the decision for united living is continuously postponed until all possibility of adjustment between the image and the reality is completely lost. In the same way there are some fine, idealistic souls who continually postpone their decision for social action until inward perfection or complete God-realization is achieved. In their pursuit of inward perfection they more and more withdraw from society. They justify this withdrawal in the hope of return to society on a perfect basis. But since absolute perfection in any direction is an ever-receding goal, all chances may gradually be lost for the perfectionist to bring himself back to active participation in social evolution. There are some who regard non-limitation or absolute freedom as the rule of living. They hate to do anything which will in any way limit them. They argue, argue, argue because they think they are right about everything. They point out imperfections in others. In social affairs they advocate the principle of anarchy. They are socialists! (Wow, maybe that's why you put in the ignorant remark about voting for Obama due to Palin--by the way, what did Palin ever do but stand up for what is right?--but I'm not going to go back into politics as you have requested). In personal life you have always emphasized the motto of nonconformity. Submission to any law is curtailment of liberty. Commitment to any specific line of action or any determinate scale of values is a fall from the heaven of boundless possibility. So in accepting the principle of unrestricted freedom, you will fail to make any decision in the sphere of action. People like yourself prefer to float indecisively upon the sea of endless possibility. And, by the way, you probably don't know what in the world you want to do with your life when you graduate from college (have you, by the way?) Your interminable indecision in actual life is grounded in your fascination for the limitless. In the absence of any determinate action, all possibilities are divested of any chance of actual fulfillment. So the principle of unrestricted freedom eventually drives one into the nothingness of empty imagination--hence, a really boring existence! And I'm right about that! You can argue me on that until the cows come home, but I'll win that argument in the end.

Mbat, because I am sick of dealing with your rebellion and "argue for the sake of arguing" mentality, I emphasize the urgency in dealing with this issue in your life...In dealing with such emergent situations there is no magic formula which can be blindly applied in all circumstances. Every situation has to be carefully considered in its concrete fullness. When time permits, well-wishers and trustworthy authorities can be consulted. But finally a decision has always to be made in the depths of one's own spiritual being. And the time is at hand now...Jesus Christ said this in the Gospels. Extreme egoism is self-defeating. Abstract altruism is self-frustrating and self-annihilating. Mbat, your ego is so high, Mt. Everest looks short. Your active awareness of yourself as a component of the cosmic whole and as a creative source of cosmic good should be your goal for now. It is awareness of the self as a unique center of action of being. And this begins with a relationship with the One who created us--God, the Father. The one whose name is above every name.

mbat said...

Anon. 2, before I say anything else, perhaps you should be asking yourself a lot of the questions you just asked me. I'm not so sure that I'm the only one with a self image "problem" if you feel it necessary to go into such depth about me. I am very comfortable with who I am, but it almost seems as if you are obsessed with me, which is another reason why I am blocking you.

If you had been at least tactful and not arrogant in your response, perhaps I wouldn't now block you, but you weren't. I do not need to be continually lectured by you (and you will of course attribute this to the narcissism and arrogance I have, fine). You have given me plenty to think about already. This is my blog, and I will not allow you to take it over. This is a problem both you and anon 1 have; you believe the entire internet belongs to you. It doesn't. Start your own blog if you are this opinionated. I will allow free commenting once I begin posting again and can direct the commenting.

If you are "sick of dealing with [my] rebellion and 'argue for the sake of arguing' mentality" then you don't have to; stop being belligerent, which of course no doesn't matter, because you can't comment now.

The problem with the internet is a lack of context. Your psychology friend diagnosed me from a couple of blog posts. I'm not directly questioning the integrity of your friend, and he might very well be right, but really without talking to me, how is that a reliable diagnosis? What kind of psychologist makes such off the cuff remarks? Truth be told, you have no idea who I am. Everything you know about me is maybe a few dozen typed pages long. I have no idea who you are. Don't jump to conclusions so quickly, that does a great disservice to yourself.

I am not a wise person, but here is one piece of wisdom I have gleaned in my short life: nothing is as it appears. There are always points of view that haven't been considered. I'll leave it at that for a while. I think it would do us all some good to take a step back from this blog and think for a while.

(Oh, and I wasn't questioning Palin's morality; it is certainly above average. I was questioning her intelligence. I could cite numerous examples of her lack thereof, but you probably won't believe me. I won't persuade you, so it will be a waste of my time. Unfortunately for both of the presidential elections where I could vote I had the option between the lesser of two evils, which is sad. I find having only two political parties a false dichotomy, and no, I do not find any of the third parties that currently exist viable.)

 
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