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Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online
They are the same cast of characters that surface during every online debate about religion. Do you know a "Holy Troller?"
October 5th, 2013
08:00 AM ET

Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) –"Yo mama..."

Whenever I heard those two words while growing up in inner-city Baltimore, I knew something bad was about to happen. Trading insults was a childhood ritual. But everyone understood that one subject was off-limits. You didn’t talk about anybody’s momma unless you were prepared to start swinging.

Now that I’m all grown-up, I’ve discovered a new arena for combat: The reader’s comments section for stories about religion.

When I first started writing about religion for an online news site, I eagerly turned to the comment section for my articles, fishing for compliments and wondering if I had provoked any thoughtful discussions about faith.

I don’t wonder anymore.

When I look at the comment section now, I see a whole lot of “yo mamas” being tossed about. Readers exchange juvenile insults, condescending lectures and veer off into tangents that have nothing to do with the article they just read.

For years, I’ve listened to these “holy trollers” in silence. Now I’m calling them out. I’ve learned that the same types of people take over online discussions about faith and transform them into the verbal equivalent of a food fight. You may recognize some of these characters.

You might even recognize yourself.

The Street Corner Prophet

When the Belief Blog ran a recent article on a television host who declared that atheists “don’t have to live here,” a commenter identified as “Karie” got into a heated exchange with someone who called themselves “Bible Clown.”

Karie called Bible Clown a “disgusting, deviant perverted virus,” and a “Bozo,” before ending with this prediction:

Hell is coming for you love. Special dungeon just for u and u won’t be able to die. LOL.LOL.”

The street corner prophets often act as if they’re deeply concerned about the fate of souls they disagree with, but you can tell that they relish the prospect of eternal torment for their online enemies.

Some don’t even try to hide their true motives:

“I hope you like worms because you will have your own personal worm to feed off your fat drippings in hell for all eternity…”

That’s what a commenter called “HeavenSent” said to another following an article on evangelical Pastor Rick Warren. HeavenSent ended his malediction with one word: “Amen.”

Okay, so that’s the wrong way to argue about religion online if you’re a street corner prophet. Now, here’s the right way:

Not everyone who disagrees with you deserves eternal torment. People rarely listen to someone who is in perpetual attack mode.

“We change no one’s mind by attacking,” said Charles Camosy, an ethics professor at Fordham University in New York City.

Camosy has made a career out of bridging religious differences. He’s part of a “Contending Modernites” group, which finds common ground between Christians and Muslims. He’s also the co-founder of a website devoted to dialing down the heat in religious arguments entitled, “Catholic Moral Theology.”

Camosy says that online discussions about religion are difficult because they are not in person. Tone and nuance gets lost online.

“You can’t look them in the face,” he said. “You can’t shake their hand or give a hug. You find it very difficult to have that sort of embodied trust.”

The Provoker

There isn’t any notion of “embodied trust” with the next online character: The provoker.

The provoker doesn’t even pretend to care about the final destination for someone’s soul. They come out punching, and they love to say things that they probably wouldn’t say to someone in person.

In the recent article on Warren, a reader who went by the surname of “Just the Facts Ma’am,” tells another:

“Thanks for once again confirming how vulgar, uneducated and delusional you are Meredith.”

In an article about millennials leaving the church, a reader who identified herself as “Jenna,” tells another: “Jesus never said any of that mess. You are a false prophet if I’ve ever seen one.”

How to argue about religion if you’re a provoker:

No one will listen to you if they don’t like you, said Joe Carter, an evangelical blogger and author of “How to Argue like Jesus,” a book that explores how Jesus verbally tangled with his enemies and persuaded his friends.

Carter said Jesus was such an excellent communicator because he told stories that provoked emotions, took surprising twists and forced people to draw their own conclusions. But he also connected with people because of a simple reason: he cared about them.

“When people know that you care about them, they’re more likely to be persuaded by you,” Carter said. “We tend to be persuaded by people we like and trust. Jesus had that in spades.”

The Atheist

One of my best friends was an atheist. Whenever we ran into one other, we’d launch into these long, philosophical discussions about religion.  I loved it. Like many atheists I subsequently met, I discovered that he knew more about the Bible than most people who claimed to be religious.

It’s too bad that many of the exchanges between atheists and people of faith in our comments section don’t follow the same script. In fact, they have some of the nastiest religious arguments I’ve witnessed online.

A sample:

In a recent Belief Blog article about atheism, a reader identifying himself as “Sam Stone” says to another: “Free people do not need a savior, Kate. Only slaves need saviors.”

Another reader who identifies himself as “CamDEn1” tells a Christian, “You are an uneducated fool. Ever you heard of Richard Dawkins? Sam Harris? Atheists have more respected scholars than Christianity…”

I get the source of frustration for some atheists. They have longed been caricatured by people of faith as moral degenerates who don’t care about morality. Some of them, in turn, have caricatured people of faith as weak-minded hypocrites who believe in fairy tales.

Here’s how to argue over religion if you’re an atheist:

Get beyond the stereotypes and actually spend time with a person of faith. And if you’re a person of faith, do the same with an atheist. You might be surprised.

That’s what happened when Camosy, the Fordham University ethics professor, embarked on a speaking tour with the renowned atheist and philosopher, Peter Singer, who is seen by many as the founder of the animal rights movement.

Camosy said the speaking tour forced him to read and pay attention to Singer’s arguments. He discovered that they share concerns over global poverty. He saw Singer as a person of good will.

“That created the space for us to have an honest, open and fruitful exchange with one another rather than exchanging barbs,” Camosy said.

It also created the space for personal transformation.

“Actually reading him converted me to being a vegetarian,” Camosy said. “But it was only being open to his arguments that made me see.”

The Scholar

I have a friend who is smart – scary smart.  He’s a genial, funny guy who happens to be a theology professor. I try to hang with him when we talk religion, but there’s always a point in the conversation when he loses me. I compare that moment to watching the starship Enterprise go into warp drive. He just goes into hyperspace and my brain just isn’t big enough to follow.

There a lot of big brains in our blog’s comment sections. I call these readers “the scholars.”

Some of them are self-appointed biblical experts. They talk as if they have God’s cell phone number: God has revealed great mysteries to them. They know the divine plan.

In a recent article I wrote about contemporary Christians feeling as if they were persecuted, a reader identified as “Tom Skylark” let me know what all this persecution was really about.

 Skylark said:

“Christians will face continued persecution then 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 will happen right before the 7 year tribulation when Israel burns Russia’s weapons for 7 years. (Ezekiel 39:9). Those who are not taken in the rapture will have the opportunity to receive Christ during the 7 year tribulation but will be beheaded for their testimony. (Revelation 20:4). How far is Russia towards its prophetic position which means the rapture (! Thessalonians 4:16-17) is even closer?

Actually, I did not know that, and I’m still not sure what it means.

Sometimes the scholar is someone who believes all religion is hopelessly derivative: it’s all based on something that came before.

A reader by the name of “Seyedibar” responded to my article on Christian persecution with this:

“A little study of history and comparative religion goes a long way. Abraham is based on an Egyptian figure. His god was Ptah, not El, and his vision was of Memphis, not Israel. Jesus was likely based on a Merkabah mystic, one of a hairdresser and carpenter. .. And if you back a little further, Uguritic archaeology shows us that the book of Genesis is based on the ancestor kings of the Canaanites. Most Christians and Jews aren’t aware that the creator of the Garden of Eden, El, is recorded to have died of a wild boar attack.”

 Like I said, hyperspace. I just can’t go where “Seyedibar” has gone before. I love the scholar’s passion for religion, but some of them lose me when they try to deploy all their knowledge of history and religion in any effort to change someone else’ beliefs.

How to argue about religion if you’re a scholar:

Accept that there is a limit to knowledge. I’ve never seen anyone say in response to a religious argument: “You are right. Your argument is irrefutable. I’m going to jettison a lifetime of beliefs on the spot right now because I obviously have no coherent reply.”

It just doesn’t happen.

Gordon Newby, a professor of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies at Emory University, said most people change religious beliefs “not because of one argument” but only after long conversations and intimate exposure to another faith.

“Logical arguments are nice but they're not going to change someone’s life,” Newby said. “We’re way too complicated for that. We’re not programmed machines. We have this whole limbic system of emotions and appetites and everything else.”

The Peacemaker

There are some readers who give me hope when I go to the comment section. They are the “peacemakers,” and they surely bless me with their attitudes.

Peacemakers try to keep arguments from getting personal. They are the online referees.  They turn the other cheek.

An exchange between someone called “Bootyfunk” and “KatieRose” shows a peacemaker in action.

“Bootyfunk”  gets upset with “KatieRose” because she says  “we must respect all ideas in the world, no matter how crazy.”

Bootyfunk says people don’t have to respect all ideas, and tells Katie Rose she shouldn't tell people not to debate religion on a blog about religion.

What does KatieRose say in response? She doesn’t go to war. She makes the peace:

“Okay! That works for me,” KatieRose said. “I’m sorry if it sounded like I was ordering people not to talk about an issue: I just disagreed with the focus of the discussion.”

“Bootyfunk” ends the discussion with a smiley-face symbol and a “smooches, Katie.”

How to argue about religion if you’re a peacemaker:

Keep on doing what you’re doing.

If only the rest of the comment section had more peacemakers. I actually e-mailed readers like “Bootyfunk” and “KatieRose” to get their perspective, but all I got was silence. Not one commenter wanted to talk on the record for this story. Only one person – an atheist – responded to my invitations to chat, and he didn’t want his name used.

But I have a feeling I’ll hear again from these holy trollers when I scan the comment section of Belief Blog. So will you, even if you don’t read that much about religion. These holy trollers show up in our lives and our workplaces. Many of them will sit next to us at the dinner table when families and friends get together for the upcoming holidays.

When the conversation turns to religion, you may meet your holy troller, and you will have to make a choice.

Do I make the peace, or do I go the war?

What kind of holy troller will you be?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Ethics • Internet • News media • Nones

soundoff (3,856 Responses)
  1. Apple Bush

    If evangelicals, both Christian and Muslim, were eliminated, religion wouldn't bother me that much.

    October 6, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      If the general nature of a person is intolerance, once one irritation is gone, they will replace it with another.

      October 6, 2013 at 11:09 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        ... that includes atheists.

        October 6, 2013 at 11:11 am |
  2. Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

    Possible explanations for stigmata[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjAB6SyiiAA&w=640&h=360]

    October 6, 2013 at 11:04 am |
  3. Jonah

    Watch General Comference on lds.org in one hour.

    October 6, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      The word is CONference.... you know...like the CON-man who made up your religion....

      October 6, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  4. heehee

    Yes, but in some cases my worldview is just offensive to religious folk. I think some of the stories in the old testament and new testament are obviously myths and legends, and that learning a bit about the history of religion and the nature of very old stories and texts makes it obvious.

    How do I state that without giving offense? Are my opinions the ones that must be hemmed and hawed about? May I be allowed to please state them plainly, Mr. arbiter of polite discussion?

    Consider also that people have been killed and tortured for hundreds of years for even daring to think thoughts that I just wrote. We atheists have a little bit of leeway owed us, I'm afraid.

    October 6, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      Someone can choose to be offended by what we say, but only we can choose to offend by how we say it.

      October 6, 2013 at 11:07 am |
      • heehee

        Sounds deep, but I would like some more practical advice here. I think that some points of view offend some groups of people, no matter how they are stated. Now what?

        October 6, 2013 at 11:14 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          Ah, then I would offer this. You are right. Some people will be offended because they see such a statement as blasphemy. But, we see similar things with people who are sports fanatics, or political fanatics...say the wrong thing and it sets them off as well. Religion is a bit different, though, because it is more core than sports, politics, etc.

          October 6, 2013 at 11:42 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        People have the right to be offended....they don't have the right to not be offended. It is a fine, but important difference.

        October 6, 2013 at 11:29 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          It's not about being offended, it's about being offensive/uncivil. You are absolutely right – everyone has the right to be offended.

          October 6, 2013 at 11:51 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Neil, the point is that religious ideas should be open to criticism just like any other non-religious idea. When religious ideas are criticized the followers of said religion claim personal offense and persecution. They want a special catagory for their ideas....too bad.

          October 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          @Blessed – I don't think we're disagreeing. We live in a country where, thankfully, we have freedom of expression. Some folks believe that means people are free to express if it agrees, but that's not part of deal. If someone chooses to be offended by the "respectful" conveyance of contrary points of view, then they are living in a different reality.

          October 6, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          People should respect other people, though they are not required to. What I hear, and you can correct me if I am wrong, is that ideas should be given respect, I don't agree. It is not just zealots that get angry when their beliefs are respectfully questioned.

          October 6, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          Blessed – No, I am not saying that all ideas deserve respect, and we look no further than Hitler's ramblings in Mein Kampf as a good example of what not to respect. But, if we get offended just because someone offers us a different opinion, even though they have expressed that respectfully, and I'm not talking about an opinion which is obviously hateful, then we have to suck it up, because that is what free speech is about. But, we also have rights to privacy, for the pursuit of life, liberty and personal property...oops, I'm sorry, that's what the founders wrote until they changed "property" to "happiness." Now, did that last bit offend you? It's true. My point being that truths must always be entertained, tasteful or not.

          October 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          No, it did not offend me. I just see too often "opposition" being equated to "hate". And not just by zealots. I had a very civil discussion the other night with a believer. He made specific statements claiming to "know" certain things. I asked him essentually how he "knew" and how he could demonstrate his religious knowledge over other believers claims that contradicted his. This poster was respectful and civil, as was I, but in the end he accused me of being a troll. This is not a "one off", otherwise reasonable people often equate the opposition to someone "evil".

          October 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  5. Enlightened

    Cute article. I like the categories except for one thing. All but one refers to how people behave. That one refers to what people believe – the atheists. Atheists don't behave uniformly any more than any large group of people. Too bad you didn't stick to behaviors. Image a list like, "muggers, pickpockets, liars, ticket scoffers and Catholics. Pretty silly, huh?

    October 6, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • heehee

      The double standard is astounding. For all of his protests that he likes to discuss things with his atheist friend, he has made it clear that the very existence of the atheist point of view is offensive to him.

      How do I respond politely to the author?

      October 6, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  6. Rudeness

    I don't formally have a deity. But I still think it's rude when people insult one another's deities. Say for instance if we have two deities (we'll call them Jessie and Stan). The real live humans who like Jessie will complain bout Stan. Next the real live humans who like Stan will complain about Jessie.

    Like your invisible guys if you want to but wouldn't it be more appropriate to leave the other people's deities alone?

    October 6, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Yes, under the assumption they are leaving others alone and don't expect the followers of Stan to follow the rules of Jessie,,,or vice versa...but that isn't the case is it?

      October 6, 2013 at 11:02 am |
      • Irrelevance

        We all have to follow the laws of our given country so if we are having mental conversations with "Stan" with " Jessie" or no one it really doesn't matter. I think, Cheesemaker that you are perceiving that either followers of "Stan" or "Jessie" have some sort of political power and that's not necessarily true.

        In other words if I didn't want women vote because I was a jerk, or if I didn't want women to vote because the leprechaun in my shoe said so does it matter?

        October 6, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • Irrelevance

          Let me add to that the issue would be me not wanting women to vote, the issue is not that I am talking to a leprechaun in my shoe.

          October 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  7. Opinions 50% Off!

    Save money and ask me your religious questions or share your thoughts.

    October 6, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Bender Bending Rodriguez

      Is Heaven real?

      October 6, 2013 at 10:35 am |
      • Roger that

        There is no evidence that a heaven exists. If you want to go to heaven, I recommend Maui.

        October 6, 2013 at 10:47 am |
        • Bender Bending Rodriguez

          I was asking the original poster. Using want to pay full price for everyone's opinion.

          October 6, 2013 at 11:46 am |
        • Bender Bending Rodriguez

          I meant to say "I don't" instead of the word "using" I'm on an I phone

          October 6, 2013 at 11:49 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        The best we can say is that we have no evidence of heaven.

        October 6, 2013 at 10:50 am |
      • Opinions 50% Off!

        Yes, heaven is real. Go to Venice Beach in the summer and you will find it.

        October 6, 2013 at 10:59 am |
        • Bender Bending Rodriguez

          Well, that's a relief.

          October 6, 2013 at 11:44 am |
      • Charm Quark

        Harry Houdini was going to get back to us from the other side after he died (1926), we are still waiting. The legend of the Messiah said he would return within a generation of his death and resurrection, we are still waiting. However Comet Ison will be visible by the naked eye around November 6 and if it is as bright as some say it maybe expect some religious scammers to hype as the new star of Bethlehem, won't have to wait long.

        October 6, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  8. House

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frenchrevolution/2013/08/14/there-is-evidence-god-exists/

    October 6, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • tallulah13

      Personal anecdotes aren't proof of god. Neither are special feelings. It's just human vanity to label everything that happens in their life that they can't explain as a "miracle" from god.

      October 6, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      The problem is that many people of different beliefs and various gods all make similar claims. If god was ONLY doing it for a group of people with a similar belief, and when people joined that belief they started seeing results that they had not seen before......that would be much more serious circ.umstantial evidence. Not proof, but you'd see doctors begin to recommend that patients convert to Second Reformation of Southern Unity of Fellowship in Jesus Christ Sanctified Church of Righteousness, or whatever name the church was were most people were getting good results for prayer.

      But that's not what happens. "Miracles" seem to happen at the same rate for all believers of any gods and with any religious practice. And that's why such "evidence" really isn't evidence-–as the author of "The French Revolution" should realize if he's a decent lawyer.

      October 6, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  9. Jesus Christ Son of God

    It's Sunday. Sheeple, head to church and praise the lord. And pray you'll get your pea brain replaced with one that actually works.

    October 6, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • The Sunday troll

      Or they can stay and get insulted by sheep dip like yourself. Cheers.

      October 6, 2013 at 9:30 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        One bad turn does not deserve another....

        October 6, 2013 at 9:32 am |
        • The Sunday troll

          Oh come on I wait all week for these opportunities.

          October 6, 2013 at 9:39 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          As an atheist, you're not helping the cause if you are trying to persuade. If you are not here to persuade, then that can only mean you are here to antagonize, and if so, you need to ask yourself some hard questions about your direction life, and review what you believe to be your superior morality. If you want people to move from A to B, you'll get better results using honey instead of vinegar.

          October 6, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      How old are you?

      October 6, 2013 at 9:32 am |
      • The Sunday troll

        Old enough to know better, honey, but still young enough not to care.

        October 6, 2013 at 9:41 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          There is an expression..."youth is wasted on the young." Are you helping support that expression?

          October 6, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • The Sunday troll

      I'm non religious I'm just bored.

      October 6, 2013 at 9:58 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        So you choose to spend your free time to antagonize...you might want to think where that approach is going to get you not only in the near term, but especially the long term.

        October 6, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • guest

      You see? This is just what the article was about. You really have no rational comment, just useless sarcasm.

      October 6, 2013 at 10:00 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        You know, you could have said that differently yourself. The only thing we need when faced with hostility or cruelty is concentration on what's important.

        October 6, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  10. guest

    I hope, commenter, Sharon Wagnone, HotAirAce, Sanity, Mirosal and Apple Bush will go back and read the replies I made this a.m.

    October 6, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      I did. It appears you are looking to have an in-depth conversation with other believers on belief, and not the lack of. But then point of this board is for an exchange of ideas. Certainly, believers (and non-believers) can cloister themselves, but they will not tend to know much more about the people they live among who do believe the same thing. It is only through an understanding of what, how, and why other people believe that we can begin to live with everyone more fully.

      October 6, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • WestNorthWest

      Top posting is for jerks.

      October 6, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Commenter

      Thanks for your reply, guest.

      In the end it is your choice to participate here or not. I wish you well.

      October 6, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      And at least I am waiting for your response to my reply. . .

      October 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  11. Colin

    I agree with the author.

    Oddly enough, if you speak to many religious people, they are not really all that stupid. I know it may seem they are, given the garbage they believe, but if you take the time to talk to them, some pretty amazing things come to light.

    1. Most religious people don’t believe in the supernatural outside of their particular belief. They are able to function in society as professionals, even in the sciences!! They only throw out reason and believe in people rising from the dead, walking on water, life after death, reading minds etc. in the sphere of their particular faith.

    2. Most of them learned to dumb themselves down when they were too young to know any better. Often they have been convinced, still while very young, that it is wrong to question, doubt or think for themselves in their religion. They would never think of being so willfully credulous outside of their beliefs, say in financial or political matters.

    3. Similarly, the reason they think that morality is linked to religion is that they have been taught a moral code interwoven with the supernatural religious nonsense since they were very young. It is hard for them to separate the two.

    So, it is important to be patient with the believers and not be too smug or condescending as an atheist. Just because we managed to escape the silly superst.itions, we shouldn’t assume everybody is similarly fortunate.

    October 6, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • Topher

      Colin

      As far as your point on morality, if God does not exist, your worldview has the following problems ...
      1. The Nazis were not wrong
      2. Love is no better than r.ape
      3. Bl.owing up innocent people watching a marathon is morally no different than feeding the poor
      4. Religious cru.sades are not wrong
      5. Tolerance is no better than intolerance
      6. There are no Human Rights

      October 6, 2013 at 9:17 am |
      • Colin

        Oh nonsense, Topher. See point 3 above. Any athiest is capable as seeing gratuitous violence against a fellow human being as repugnant without believing in a god or gods.

        October 6, 2013 at 9:20 am |
        • Topher

          If there is no God and thus no higher standard-giver, you can't say it's repugnant. Only that you feel it's repugnant ... you prefer those things not happen. It's just your opinion against another's. The problem is you'll eventually run into someone who thinks violence is OK.

          October 6, 2013 at 9:24 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          Yes topher, you will find thosde who think violence is OK. And you will find they justify it with their religion.

          October 6, 2013 at 9:25 am |
        • Colin

          I have to go (and not to church) but I actually agree with what you said there. Morality, come end of the day, is an individual value judgment on the appropriateness of a course of conduct against a given set of facts. This is true of believers and atheists.

          The problem with religion is it allows people to justify otherwsie unacceptable violent conduct by attributing the justification to the desires ofa non-existent being. Thus "God wanted the Crusaders to attack the East," "Allah wanted the Boston marathon bombings" to use your examples.

          Ever heard of an atheist running into a meeting of creation scientists with a suicide vest screaming "Darwin al akbar, Darwin al akbah." ??

          October 6, 2013 at 9:30 am |
        • WestNorthWest

          Appropriate Steven Weinberg quote:

          "Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

          October 6, 2013 at 9:35 am |
        • Topher

          Hold on! You can't say people are good or evil or the things that they do are good or evil. You can only say you think they are these things.

          October 6, 2013 at 9:52 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Topher, we can only think such things. Good and evil don't exist outside of what we think. We try to make what we think consistent with what most people think, but that never makes good and evil anything other than concepts we each independently define.

          October 6, 2013 at 9:59 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          All those people that are in jail, society determined they did something evil/unlawful. When you had your scr ape with the law did you not run into other off enders? Is that not what convinced you, your justice system experience, to believe that everything you read in the bible is true?

          October 6, 2013 at 10:17 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        @ Topher – Actually, atheists believe that morals originated from people and were incorporated into religions as a way for religious people to live their lives.

        October 6, 2013 at 9:26 am |
        • Topher

          Youtube – Neil DeGrasse Tyson – The Perimeter of Ignorance

          So are you saying society sets the standard?

          October 6, 2013 at 9:44 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          That's an interesting question. I would say individuals set they standard, and then collectively society sets one. That would appear to be shown by our shared belief that murder is wrong.

          October 6, 2013 at 10:00 am |
        • Topher

          Youtube – Neil DeGrasse Tyson – The Perimeter of Ignorance

          So it IS all an opinion, then. And if it's an opinion and a society's majority determines right and wrong, again, you can't say what the Nazis did was wrong. Their society said killing 6 million Jews and countless other groups was a good thing.

          October 6, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Topher
          You are in sad need of a history lesson.
          Society did not think it was good to kill the jews. It was a subtle thing to start out with, starting small, and then by the time people started to see what was really going on, there was little the society could do about it. My grandmother was there, during Hitlers rise, and there were a lot of people who spoke up against it, and then disappeared.
          In this case, society was hijacked.

          During the rise of the Nazi party, people were told things, lots of propoganda, and many who went and spread the propoganda anywhere they could, to get people on board with the rhetoric, to believe the propoganda. Many did not, but could not speak up.

          Similar to christianity. Take propoganda, spread it to the people, continuously reinforce the ideas, and it will take on a life of its own.

          October 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • Topher

          Richard Cranium

          "Society did not think it was good to kill the jews."

          LOTS of them DID think it was good. We're still hunting them down and finding them today.

          "Similar to christianity. Take propoganda, spread it to the people, continuously reinforce the ideas, and it will take on a life of its own."

          If you want society to stop using propaganda, we'd better stop having the pro-LGBT movement and the pro-choice movement on talk shows and stop with the commercials. It's nothing more than trying to sway others to your side.

          So are you saying killing the Jews was bad?

          October 6, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          topher
          Not many topher...some. Likely the same small percentage that thinks it is ok to commit any other crimes.

          Of course it is not ok to kill ANYONE. Why would you ask such a question?
          And I know it is wrong to kill people without the threat of your or any other gods.

          October 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • Topher

          Richard Cranium

          "Of course it is not ok to kill ANYONE. Why would you ask such a question? And I know it is wrong to kill people without the threat of your or any other gods."

          No one is threatening you. I just want to know where your standard comes from.

          October 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Observer

          Topher,

          Christians aren't as stupid as you may think. Most know it's not a good idea to go around killing everyone. They don't need a 2,000-year-old book to figure this out for them. It's sad you think they aren't too bright.

          October 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
        • Respondez

          Topher,
          "No one is threatening you."

          No, you don't get to retreat to the old innocent, "Moi?" hideout. If you support and trumpet old Middle Eastern writings which threaten this fate, you own it.

          October 6, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • Topher

          Observer

          Topher,

          "Christians aren't as stupid as you may think. Most know it's not a good idea to go around killing everyone. They don't need a 2,000-year-old book to figure this out for them. It's sad you think they aren't too bright."

          I agree you don't need the Bible to know killing is wrong. God wrote His laws on our heart. But again, I have to ask you ... you say killing someone is bad. Where do your morals come from?

          October 6, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Topher
          You did not want to find out where my standard comes from. That is a lie. I should have expected it. You know very well I am an athesit, and we have had the conversation of getting morals from a god that no one can show exists, versus the morals of animals (who don't have gods either). What you should have said, is "I'm going to again try to trick you into saying something that I will then try to twist into meanuing what I wanted you to say." You do it with your bible, and you try to do it with science but you don't understand science at all so that always fails. Why are you always trying to twist things into your bible. You even twist the bible to make it say what you think it should say.
          As far as anyone can tell, there are no gods. So to say that we get anything from god, makes an a$$umption that is illogical to make.
          Prove there is a god.
          Otherwise, we can see that we get our behaviors from our animal ancestors. Elephants cry when they come across the bones of their fallen. Rats have been shown to co-operate and help each other, even when they are strangers. Animals share food, build communities and cultures, develop language. Our brains decision making process is almost exactly the same as the collective intelligence of a bee-hive and how the hive makes decisions. While we can easily see it in animals, and as we study the animals we find they are very much like us (or we them), but still...no sign any gods have anything to do with it.

          October 6, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • Topher

          Richard Cranium

          "You did not want to find out where my standard comes from."

          I believe I just asked you about it, so ... yeah, I do want to know.

          "As far as anyone can tell, there are no gods. So to say that we get anything from god, makes an a$$umption that is illogical to make."

          Kind of begging the question there. Just because you don't know something exists doesn't mean it doesn't.

          "Prove there is a god."

          I don't have to. You already know He exists.

          "While we can easily see it in animals, and as we study the animals we find they are very much like us (or we them), but still...no sign any gods have anything to do with it."

          Right. I forgot about the bee Congress. If only the House and Senate would get along.

          October 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • Doris

          Topher: "I don't have to. You already know He exists."

          ?????? LOL

          October 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Topher
          "I believe I just asked you about it, so ... yeah, I do want to know" No, and I explained why I know that is not what you wanted.

          "Kind of begging the question there. Just because you don't know something exists doesn't mean it doesn't. "
          That is illogical to the core. Am I supposed to react to the infinite number of possibilities that might be? acting like your belief is the answer only takes you donw ONE of the infinite paths. Without knowledge, taking one path makes no sense. What if the Matrix idea is right, or any of the other thousands of gods, or the other infinite possibilities? The point is, acting as if any one is correct, without real knowledge to back it up, is just ridiculous ( as in open to ridicule)

          "I don't have to. You already know He exists."
          That is a bold faced lie. I know nothing of the sort, and neither do you or anyone else.

          October 6, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
      • sam stone

        gopher, you remain a coward

        and the fact the you preach to people makes you a pompous one at that

        coward

        October 6, 2013 at 10:38 am |
        • Topher

          I think you already said that, dude.

          October 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
      • tallulah13

        Topher, you have no clue.

        Compassion and morality have been observed in the behaviors of animals, such as chimps, elephants, even rats - no god needed. On the other hand, many atrocities have been committed or defended in the name of god: witch trials, genocides, slavery, war, discrimination, etc.

        Your religion does not make you better or more moral than anyone else. It simply makes you believe that you are better and more moral than anyone else. It's a very hollow vanity, indeed.

        October 6, 2013 at 11:25 am |
        • sam stone

          "'Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." Steven Weinberg

          October 6, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          @sam stone – Actually, no one knows what this world would be like if religion was gone – that experiment hasn't been run. We like to think that it is within our ability to be "good" people, but we don't know that for a fact. it is a fact that most of the people in this country received their morals through religion. They unfortunately received prejudices, bigotry, and other maladies as well. Educated people certainly pursue further enlightenment, but not everyone makes that same choice, leaving a void in their exposure to various moralities. We even see that religion is not enough to keep people "good," so what would happen if that was taken away? I think that's an experiment I don't want to run.

          October 6, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
        • Topher

          tallulah13

          "On the other hand, many atrocities have been committed or defended in the name of god: witch trials, genocides, slavery, war, discrimination, etc."

          And those people broke God's standards. People are sinners? Shocking. But you can't say those things are wrong based on your worldview. Please be consistent. Witch trials, genocide, slavery, war and discrimination might be things you don't like, but you can't say they are wrong for everyone.

          "Your religion does not make you better or more moral than anyone else."

          I agree with that. I'm not better than anyone. I'm a wretched sinner and deserve to be punished.

          October 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
        • Observer

          Topher,

          That sounds very masochistic. Do you like that?

          October 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • Topher

          YouTbe

          "They unfortunately received prejudices, bigotry, and other maladies as well. ... We even see that religion is not enough to keep people "good," ..."

          Exactly right. People aren't good. If we could attach a scrolling billboard to everyone's head that broadcast every thought, how many of you would go out in public? Or when you're meeting someone for the first time, you're likely not thinking wonderful things about them, you're sizing them up. Most of our thoughts start out bad. Which of course once again we see agreement with Scripture. "There is none who are good. No not one."

          October 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
        • Topher

          Observer

          "That sounds very masochistic."

          Which part?

          October 6, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Topher, they claimed to be acting in the name of god, and as far as I can tell, they believed it. You don't get to decide what other people's motives were or are. You only get to choose your own.

          And your original post made it very clear that you believe your religion grants you special morality. If you are going to make such claims, at least be consistent. You change tacks every time someone makes a valid point, as though no one is able to scroll up the page and look at your original comment. The only one you are fooling is yourself.

          October 6, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • Doris

          "People aren't good."

          Good grief, Topher. People are people – human beings. We are a social species by nature. Having developed the most advanced brain-power on the planet has allowed us to see, more often than not, that it's better and easier for us to accomplish our goals if we work at them together than just individually. I see morals and ethics, to a large degree, as a by-product of accepting that realization in one manner or another, and then attempting to learn from it.

          Until you can demonstrate that any moral/objective "truth" exists (that is not adopted or agreed upon in any way via some degree of consensus), then all you have to support your ideas about morality is belief and conjecture – and that is all.

          October 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • Topher

          tallulah13

          "Topher, they claimed to be acting in the name of god, and as far as I can tell, they believed it. You don't get to decide what other people's motives were or are. You only get to choose your own."

          What you believe means nothing. The question is whether what you believe is true or not. Are you saying I can't judge?

          "And your original post made it very clear that you believe your religion grants you special morality."

          No. It just gives me a set standard. Whether I make judgments based on those standards is up to me. That's why I can say those who kill in the name of God are wrong.

          "If you are going to make such claims, at least be consistent."

          I am. Only in the Christian worldview do you get a higher standard-giver. In the atheistic worldview it's just your opinion verses mine.

          "You change tacks every time someone makes a valid point, as though no one is able to scroll up the page and look at your original comment. The only one you are fooling is yourself."

          Please do look again. My point was that, although atheists can be moral, you can't explain why. Even Dawkins and Hitchens have admitted so.

          October 6, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
        • Topher

          Doris

          "Until you can demonstrate that any moral/objective "truth" exists (that is not adopted or agreed upon in any way via some degree of consensus), then all you have to support your ideas about morality is belief and conjecture – and that is all."

          Are you saying truth doesn't exist? If so, is THAT true?

          Also, as my friend YouTube stated earlier, we all hold that murder is wrong. Same with lying, stealing and adultery. It's because God wrote His laws on our heart.

          October 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Topher, the lack of an explanation is not evidence of a god nor is it evidence that religion is the source or morality.

          October 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
        • Doris

          "Only in the Christian worldview do you get a higher standard-giver. "

          LOL. Sorry, but I have no other response for that one. It's just too silly.

          October 6, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
        • tallulah13

          Again, Topher, you do NOT get to assign motives to others, based upon what you want to believe. Atrocities have done in the name of god by people who believed they were doing the will of god. There have been wars fought for not other reason than the dogmatic differences between catholic and protestant. Tens of thousands of people have been killed over that question, and each side thought they were defending the will of god.

          Thousands of people have been tortured and killed because of Exodus 22:18: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Biblical commands don't get much more straightforward than that. Even today, people in Africa, many of them children, are being tortured and killed because christian leaders accuse them of witchcraft.

          And does it actually matter where morality comes from when animals and non-christians display greater kindness and compassion than many christians? It's obvious that morality did not come from where you claim. You are simply not interested in the truth.

          You call yourself a sinner and pretend to be contrite, but in truth you are too blind and vain to look at your religion with honest eyes. You need to keep your belief on a pedestal in order to keep yourself on that pedestal with it.

          October 6, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
        • Doris

          "Are you saying truth doesn't exist? "

          You misunderstood, Topher.

          I wrote "Until you can demonstrate that any moral/objective "truth" exists.

          In other words, as a Christian, I think you believe that there are certain moral "truths" that come from God, some of which you have exemplified. Some people also purport other non-theistic truths such as "1+1=2", etc. My point is that no one has demonstrated ANY objective truth to me yet. I'm not saying that certain things are not likely true. I'm saying that as an agnostic atheist, I don't see demonstration of any truth in any that would allow you to quantify the type of truth to call it "objective" or "from God" or "from aliens" or anything else. If you can demonstrate directly from your God to me some "truth" then I might consider it "objective" or "pure" and not "subjective". Subjectivity would include listening to someone else's version of something, reading words written thousands of years ago, and listening to someone telling you that God talked directly to them. So think about that, and tell me if you can demonstrate to me any objective truth..

          October 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
        • Doris

          Correction: I meant to say "... demonstration of any truth in any that would allow you to qualify the type of truth to call it "objective" or "from God" or "from aliens" or anything else..

          October 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
      • sam stone

        of course, gopher, "god" by definition in your diseased little mind, only mens YOUR god. isn't that right?

        October 6, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • guest

      Why do you think these things are called miracles? It’s because they are irrational. Some of the best Christians and ministers that I know are converts, not raised in the faith. What morals are you talking about? Obviously many unbelievers don't believe in the same morals that believers have or they would practice them. Yes, there are many who claim to believe and practice immoral behavior it’s because they haven’t really been convinced and converted yet.

      October 6, 2013 at 9:32 am |
      • WestNorthWest

        Religion is a pretty arbitrary source, and a poor place to look for "morals". Again, an appropriate Steven Weinberg quote:

        "Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

        October 6, 2013 at 9:40 am |
      • Charm Quark

        Converted to which of the many religions or cults, pray tell? Branch Davidians, Taliban, Philippine Independent Churs, so many more,

        October 6, 2013 at 9:47 am |
        • guest

          Now I think you are being sarcastic, because I really think you know what I meant. But I wish who ever started the idea that a cult was some strange people that did not have the truth of the Bible had looked up the word first. According to Webster, all religions fit the definition of ‘cult’.

          October 6, 2013 at 10:14 am |
        • Charm Quark

          I was trying to get across to you that the biblical religions are too numerous to pigeon hole and so many Christians dismiss all the other religions as if they do not exist. There was a Munk debate "Is religion a force for good in the world?" Hitchens on the no side and Tony Blair on the yes side as a catholic. When all the religions are considered the no side easily won the debate. If you only use tunnel vision you will never understand the big picture.

          October 6, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • doobzz

          @ guest

          "According to Webster, all religions fit the definition of ‘cult’."

          Exactly.

          October 6, 2013 at 11:08 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        @guest "Why do you think these things are called miracles? It’s because they are irrational."

        Actually, over time we have found that things that were considered miraculous have rational explanations. It is when we are at the limits of our knowledge, or the perimeter of our ignorance, as Mr. Tyson discusses, that we invoke irrationality.

        October 6, 2013 at 10:17 am |
        • neil degrasse tyson

          u blew it again, dodo. u failed, big time moron. tell that filthy piece of violence she is going 2 be charged with several felonies and 4 encouraging her, u r going down, 2.

          October 6, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • I Don't Get It

          What is the matter with you? (sorry, I don't know exactly which name to address you by)

          Really, what is the matter? You sound quite insane.

          October 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
      • tallulah13

        Frankly I find the "morals" of the bible and christianity to be subjective. Anything important is common with other cultures (such as not killing or stealing or lying) and the rest is either health-based (like not eating shellfish or pigs, which carry harmful parasites and bacteria) or cultural, like the poor treatment of women, witches or gays. There are quite a lot of major laws of the bible that are simply there to protect the franchise: Don't take gods name in vain, don't put any other god before the christian god; no idols or images, etc.

        The "morals" of christianity have been used to excuse some pretty atrocious behavior. I would never trust a christian just because they say they are christian. There are good people and bad people. Religion doesn't change a persons most basic behavior. It just puts a glossy shine on it that blinds the fellow believer.

        October 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  12. Topher

    Roll call! Who's going to church this morning?

    October 6, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • Topher

      Austin, is that you?

      October 6, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Apple Bush

      I am! I worship at the church of NFL Football.

      October 6, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • sam stone

      Not me. Got your kneepads on, gopher?

      October 6, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • tallulah13

      Why would I go to church? I hated it even as a kid when I did believe. I can't imagine I'd like it better now. I've always hated being told what to do without a logical explanation as to why, and let's face it: Logic is not the strong suit of the church.

      October 6, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  13. In my own words

    Why do most humans think their own perspective is the correct one and everyone else is wrong?

    October 6, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      I don't think it's clear that *most* people believe that. The fact that someone might think that may say something about that person.

      October 6, 2013 at 9:08 am |
      • In my own words

        Maybe it's just this blog that makes it seem like "most". You sound hopeful and I like that.

        October 6, 2013 at 9:15 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          That is the way our perceptions work – that's just human nature, as we would say.

          October 6, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • heehee

      Because if you're uninterested in the truth, you hold on to your beliefs. And if you're interested in the truth, you change your belief in light of the evidence. Both categories at any time think that their current belief is correct.

      If you mean: why doesn't anyone doubt themselves? then the answer is: some do, constantly, as a matter of habit. Would you recognize such a person?

      October 6, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  14. Bender Bending Rodriguez

    I get the impression that a lot of individuals on this board do not care for my beliefs.

    October 6, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      What belief would that be?

      October 6, 2013 at 8:16 am |
      • Bender Bending Rodriguez

        My belief in God.

        October 6, 2013 at 8:19 am |
        • Mirosal

          The church of robotology?

          October 6, 2013 at 8:24 am |
        • Topher

          Well, there IS a Robot Devil.

          October 6, 2013 at 8:58 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          Actually, a number of atheists believe in a "live and let live" philosophy when it comes belief and non-belief. Both sides can respect the right for the other side to believe what they do (be respectful), but they don't have to agree with what the other person believes. Some atheists, such as myself, were Christians before we became atheists, so we can actually understand what is going on in the mind of a believer, at least some of the thought processes, to a point, although spirituality does does have is personal individualism. The problem comes in when people of belief want to introduce their beliefs into laws which then affect the everyone else. The other side is that we (atheists) also see some religions as safehouses for bigotry, discrimination, and racism, and so have to speak out against that.

          October 6, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • In my own words

      If you're holding on to a belief and it doesn't offend someone your doing it wrong. 😉

      October 6, 2013 at 8:57 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        Like love thy neighbor as thyself?

        October 6, 2013 at 9:05 am |
        • In my own words

          If you want to, I won't stop you. 😉

          October 6, 2013 at 9:07 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          What I'm saying is that one can hold onto that particular belief without offending someone.

          October 6, 2013 at 9:15 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Depends on the actions you take to express or demonstrate your "love."

          October 6, 2013 at 11:10 am |
      • In my own words

        Yes I know what it is to suffer in silence.

        October 6, 2013 at 9:18 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          I'm not sure what you mean by that, but I think most people keep their pain to themselves – everyone suffers, to differing degrees, in silence.

          October 6, 2013 at 9:22 am |
  15. truthprevails1

    Now you're stealing another alias...lol, Have you managed to find a lawyer stupid enough to listen to you? Have you managed to track down Sam's real name and address?

    October 6, 2013 at 8:02 am |
  16. Bender Bending Rodriguez

    I respect the atheists!

    October 6, 2013 at 7:39 am |
  17. Ryan

    How to argue about religion online

    Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach,
    2 Timothy 2

    October 6, 2013 at 7:36 am |
    • Wren

      That is an awesome scripture!

      October 6, 2013 at 7:38 am |
      • Sycamore tree

        Yes, the Bible teaches about how our conversations are to be conducted.
        Now, practice what you learnt.

        October 6, 2013 at 7:50 am |
      • Charm Quark

        Wren, except it is not scripture, bur someone's interpretation of scripture and it is not honest posting it as if it is scripture, Christians, sigh.

        October 6, 2013 at 8:15 am |
    • Sycamore tree

      6 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.

      October 6, 2013 at 7:46 am |
    • Charm Quark

      Ryan, cute but that is not what 2Timothy2 states in the 10 or so versions of the Bible that I checked. Maybe it is your interpretation or some Christian apologists so please state which of the oh so many versions of the bible you quoted.

      October 6, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • Charm Quark

      And the things that you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
      2 Timothy 2 NIV most other versions are similar , so how did that morph into what you posted? The trouble with debating Christians is that they interpret their man written bible the way it suits them and will change or deny the contradictions as they chose.

      October 6, 2013 at 8:06 am |
  18. Why Dawkins is irrational

    If "God" exists for me as an internal mindset, the fact that others can not see, taste, smell, hear or feel MY mindset is of no consequence to ME.

    See qualia.

    October 6, 2013 at 6:33 am |
    • Good point

      How do you know what it is I see, unless you're the one looking out from my eyes.

      October 6, 2013 at 6:40 am |
    • Sara

      It's true that you have evidence of gos, the question is whether it is good evidence. See schizophrenia and delusional disorders.

      October 6, 2013 at 6:51 am |
      • In my own words

        Philosophy is excluded from the DSM series. Nice try though.

        October 6, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • RELIGION IS G-A-Y

      >"If god exists for me as an internal mindset, the fact that others can not see, taste, smell, hear or feel MY mindset is of no consequence to ME."

      ah, that's so cute, to claim immunity from reality.
      the vain little pig dreaming of an infantile tinkerbelljesus as the answer which soothes his pain of living.
      but no, his magical wizard yahweh forces him to his knees to "eat his flesh" and drink his "bloodjiz"
      everybody LOLs at his failure.
      the limpet breed f-g who holds so tight to god's c/oc/k

      October 6, 2013 at 8:21 am |
      • In my own words

        It's never the shape of the cloud, it's always the shape of your mind.

        October 6, 2013 at 8:59 am |
  19. Fertra

    An exact phrase search for "Atheists have more respected scholars than Christianity" only turns up this article.

    I suspect this is fabricated – as accomodationist accusations about "militant atheists" often are (remember the "Tom Johnson" case – https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/on-the-incivility-of-atheists-tom-johnson-and-exhibit-a/)

    Please provide a link to the original comment.

    October 6, 2013 at 6:26 am |
    • Sara

      Since only 33% of the American association for the Advancement of science belief in God:

      http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

      These figures would not be unlikely.

      Among the NAS members with more credentials you'll find even lowe numbers, with just 7% believing in God.

      http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html

      That said, a certain type of Spinozan universal consciousness idea not only survived to Einstein but is again being entertained by many quantum theorists. But it isn't what most consider "god".

      October 6, 2013 at 7:04 am |
      • Fertra

        Irrelevant to my point, which was: I believe the quote itself is fabricated to create an "angry atheist", and am asking for evidence that it's real.

        Accomodationists have a track record of making this kind of thing up – it's reasonable to ask for substantiation.

        October 7, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.