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February 17th, 2014
10:29 AM ET

A faithful death: Why a snake handler refused treatment

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - In the close-knit town of Middlesboro, Kentucky, almost everyone knew what was happening inside the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church - including Police Chief Jeff Sharpe.

Despite a Kentucky law that prohibits snake-handling at religious events, Sharpe said he "made a decision not to involve this police department in somebody's church service."

"I'm not going to tell you that I didn't know what was going on. This is a small town," Sharpe said. "But we're not going to bust into anybody's church on Sunday morning."

The trouble at Full Gospel Tabernacle began on Saturday night, when Pastor Jamie Coots, whose serpent-handling religious rituals made him a reality TV star, died after a rattlesnake sunk its fangs into his right hand.

Coots was a third-generation serpent handler and aspired to one day pass the practice, and his church, on to his adult son, Little Cody.

MORE ON CNN: Reality show snake-handling preacher dies - of snakebite

Despite Coots' death, Sharpe said he will not enforce Kentucky's ban against using serpents in religious services.

"The Middlesboro police have their priorities and the State Police have theirs. If they want to come in and investigate that or any other church, they are quite welcome."

A National Geographic show featured Coots and cast handling copperheads, rattlers and cottonmouths. The channel's website shows a picture of Coots, goateed, with a fedora covering his bald head.

"Even after losing half of his finger to a snake bite and seeing others die from bites during services," Coots "still believes he must take up serpents and follow the Holiness faith," the website says.

Coots belonged to a small circle of Pentecostal Holiness pastors who take this passage from the Bible's Gospel of Mark literally:  “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Since those words are said to be spoken by Jesus, pastors like Coots take them as divine commandments. But there are other spiritual reasons to handle serpents, practitioners say, often describing the dangerous rituals as a mental and emotional rush, as if they were touching the hand of God.

"They almost always use drug metaphors, like 'higher than any high you can experience," said  Paul Williamson, a professor of psychology at Henderson State University in Arkansas who studies serpent handlers.

At the same time, they are extremely careful with the serpents, Williamson said, only allowing those who live sin-free lives and have been "annointed" by the Holy Spirit to handle the snakes. "There's death in that box," pastors often warn the congregation before services start.

"Because serpent handling is not a practice that occurs in the mainstream, people tend to look at it as anomalous and strange, " said Williamson. "But to them, it's really no different from a Catholic who takes Communion. It's a powerful and immediate experience of God that gives meaning and purpose to their lives."

Williamson estimates there are at most 2,000 people who belong to the few hundred churches, centered in Appalachia, that practice serpent handling. Most of the churches, like Coots', are fairly small, with less than 50 worshippers.

Faith in the divine played a role on Coots' death Saturday night, Sharpe said.

"He was very open about his beliefs, that if he was bitten, he did not want medical treatment." Coots had been bitten by a snake a half-dozen times before and recovered.

Williamson said Coots and other snake-handlers generally seek medical treatment for other ailments. "But when it comes to serpent-handling, it requires a belief in God and obedience to the commands of Jesus. If something does happen, they trust God with the consequences."

Sharpe said his department and an ambulance crew responded to a call at the church Saturday night but Coots and his family had already gone home. When they arrived at the Coots home, the pastor was unconscious and "in pretty bad shape."

Medical professionals stayed at Coots' house for half an hour, telling the family about the consequences of not seeking treatment, the police chief said, as family, friends and church members came and went. But the Coots family was adamant that God alone would heal the pastor, if it was divine will.

"Certainly, they were not aware of the danger," Sharpe said. "We have to offer this treatment, but we can't force them to take it."

Coots was far from the first serpent-handler to die from a snakebite. Mack Wolford, one of the tradition's most famous practitioners, was killed by a bite in 2012. His father died in 1983 from the same cause.

The police chief said he knew Coots fairly well and spoke with the pastor several times about being bitten by serpents.

It is not illegal to keep poisonous snakes in Kentucky, but it requires permits from the state Fish and Wildlife Department. Coots' permits were up-to-date, Sharpe said. "He was pretty meticulous."

"They were well aware of what they were doing, that they were handling dangerous snakes and could get bit. Please understand that these are not ignorant people but people with beliefs just a little outside the mainstream."

In February 2013, Coots was given one year of probation for crossing into Tennessee with venomous snakes. The state banned snake-handling in 1947 after five people died within a two-year span, the National Geographic Channel says on the show site.

He was previously arrested in 2008 for keeping 74 snakes in his home, according to the channel.

(CNN's Ashley Fantz contributed to this report.)

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Death • Prayer

soundoff (1,211 Responses)
  1. midwest rail

    Where is believerfred ?? And why is he refusing to address the assertion he made at the bottom of page 4 and the multiple challenges to that assertion ? It couldn't possibly be tat fred was being dishonest, could it ??

    February 19, 2014 at 6:53 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Ok, it seemed Fred believed there is a spiritual side to life. Which most people do. They may not word it that way he did, but generally agree with such a notion.

      And just a few people disagreed with him. Favoring a materialistic only existence.

      What is specifically your issue?

      February 19, 2014 at 11:02 am |
      • midwest rail

        I don't believe you read the correct thread – fred insists that a proof has been offered that shows life elsewhere to be impossible. I am unaware of such a proof that is generally accepted by the scientific community. Are you ?

        February 19, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I read the wrong thread where he was being "challenged".

          No, I'm not familiar with that theory.

          I see Hawkins said this:

          "there ought to be many other stars, whose planets have life on them. Some of these stellar systems could have formed 5 billion years before the Earth. So why is the galaxy not crawling with self-designing mechanical or biological life forms?"
          Why hasn't the Earth been visited, and even colonized? Hawking asks. "I discount suggestions that UFO's contain beings from outer space. I think any visits by aliens, would be much more obvious, and probably also, much more unpleasant."

          Hawking continues: "What is the explanation of why we have not been visited? One possibility is that the argument, about the appearance of life on Earth, is wrong. Maybe the probability of life spontaneously appearing is so low, that Earth is the only planet in the galaxy, or in the observable universe, in which it happened. Another possibility is that there was a reasonable probability of forming self reproducing systems, like cells, but that most of these forms of life did not evolve intelligence.""

          http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2011/08/stephen-hawking-asks-what-are-the-chances-that-we-will-encounter-alien-life-as-we-explore-the-galaxy.html

          February 19, 2014 at 11:14 am |
        • midwest rail

          Therein lies the problem – there is a significant difference between Hawking offering an opinion ( one fred deliberately misrepresented ) and someone actually offering proof. fred's assertion was challenged and he poofed – dishonest ? I believe so.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • Dalahäst

          He may be wrong or mistaken.

          I'm not sure he is trying to be dishonest. He probably isn't responding because he isn't online?

          I don't know. Let's just speculate about it some more, despite not really knowing?

          February 19, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • midwest rail

          Ah, but fred was online this morning, on this very thread – fred is the king of dodging questions, and giving answers that in no way address the questions asked of him. Again, I believe he is being dishonest. And yes, intentionally so.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:24 am |
        • Dalahäst

          They have said that about me, too. Sometimes I just didn't see the messages. Things start moving fast when 5 people try to talk at you at once.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • midwest rail

          It was a very short conversation, in the middle of 6 whole pages of comments. Yeah, that would be hard to find again. /sarcasm off

          February 19, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Does Fred ever call people insulting names? Some of the people in that thread have said some pretty horrible things to me. And that includes being called a liar and a coward, in addition to just general anti-Christian derogatory names. Most of the times we just disagreed. I wasn't lying or being a coward. I was trying to discuss what I believe.

          I just don't recall ever seeing Fred do or say such things. Is that a fair as.sessment?

          February 19, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • midwest rail

          Until this morning, I have never called fred a derogatory name. In this case, I believe the term dishonest to be accurate.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I've not seen you do such things. I have noticed and respect that.

          But there are some in that thread that do such things. I don't think I've seen Fred return hate to their hate. Even though it would be very easy to do.

          Just an observation.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • midwest rail

          I agree, but the two are separate issues, are they not ?

          February 19, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes. I was getting off-topic. Was just curious, but sometimes people call me a liar and coward, when I'm really being honest and trying to talk about our differences.

          February 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
    • believerfred

      Midwest rail
      Sorry about that I have a problem following threads on a mobile app.
      The arguments concerning mathematical probability of intelligent life forming, based on what scientific consensus agrees are necessary ingredients for such life, have been kicked around for some time. Those ingredients which range from 580-720 continue to increase not decrease the more we know about our universe. These are as simple as protein bonding or as complicated as the formation of origin carbon or weak and strong force fine tuning requirements for life.
      The improbability of intelligent life is not in doubt while the argument about the degree of improbability is more a matter of "philosophical" science.

      Luke has a good abstract on this :"We conclude that the universe is fine-tuned for the existence of life. Of all the ways that the laws of nature, constants of physics and initial conditions of the universe could have been, only a very small subset permits the existence of intelligent life."
      That is from Luke A. Barnes, Institute for Astronomy ETH Zurich Switzerland. The abstract and review can be found if interested: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1112.4647v2.pdf

      Anyway, I commented earlier that a consensus is forming that an alternative such as multiverse or the like is now necessary to explain away the mathematical calculations that continue to rule out the possibility of intelligent life given known natural laws. Hawking is well of this and stated so in the formation of M theory where he recognized an infinite number of universes would be required based on a time constraint of 13.8 billion years.

      February 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
      • midwest rail

        fred –
        " That has been disproven..."

        midwest rail –
        " Disproven by who ?"

        Still waiting...

        February 20, 2014 at 4:53 am |
        • believerfred

          Midwest rail
          It is nothing but pure speculation that intelligent life exists outside of our earth. We have 10,000 + years of evidence and observation of worship from intelligent life here on earth towards a supernatural which you toss without proof. Now, you suggest the existence of intelligent life outside of earth without proof. Amazing how you cannot see it is your bias that drives your belief not evidence or lack thereof. Following is a link if you want to read about Hawking speculation as to why there exists zero evidence for intelligent life outside of our earth:
          http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2011/08/stephen-hawking-asks-what-are-the-chances-that-we-will-encounter-alien-life-as-we-explore-the-galaxy.html

          February 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • believerfred

          midwest rail
          If you are asking for proof that we should not exist no one bothers with that because we exist. The conclusion by Hawking and his associates is that we should not exist based on what we know and the process we assume to be laws therefore we have gotten something wrong or we need new information. No one claims fine tuning does not exist at several levels absent of which there could be no intelligent life on earth (or earth for that matter). The key arguments against fine tuning were rebuffed by Luke in the pdf I linked to above.

          Science is actually moving towards an understanding of God without knowing it as we move from the observable physical into that which has no mass. The Big Bang is convenient only because it begins with a physical "observable" event yet leaves the question of pre Big Bang cosmology or in the theological world who made God unanswered. I like this answer to who made God: "Ultimately, an entire new world might emerge "Out of the White Hole", and replace Big Bang with a mere mirage of a non-existent past!" (scientists cannot use the word God, except in slight). Interesting is that based on a 5D Plank constant which if asymptotically flat can be construed as "eternal" out of which a holographic origin expels mass (i.e. we have singularity). Anyway this was the final speculation from Razieh Pourhasan,a;b Niayesh Afshordi,a;b and Robert B. Mann. If interested go to: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1309.1487v2.pdf You can imagine why I like it because out of the eternal came light (mass) and that light separated the darkness. Moses just used Hebrew in Genesis which does a much better job of explaining the purpose of God in creation. Besides, there was no Hebrew for " 5D space-time which allows potential of an S-matrix" in the days of Moses.
          Ok, there is a hole in my speculation because God would be a reflection of what is rather than actually being God. Then again we were made in the image of God so perhaps the answer is in the reflection not the naturalistic. There may only be the glory of God which is the reflection of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

          February 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Here's the problem, fred – your initial post that I questioned said that it had been DISPROVEN. Offering an opinion is not disproving anything. Words have meaning.

          February 20, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
  2. bootyfunk

    A faithful death: Why a snake handler refused treatment

    religious brain-washing can be very powerful and often contradicts reason and logic, like modern medical treatment. when people think faith can save them, this is the result.

    February 19, 2014 at 5:00 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Most religious people fully embrace reason and logic. They build hospitals that provide modern medical treatment, that is why so many hospitals have religious names. That is the result of people's faith in action: using reason and logic to help others.

      This story is an example of a anomaly.

      February 19, 2014 at 11:19 am |
  3. Dalahäst

    This guy (an atheist) says atheists do have dogmas

    "...after sitting alongside Dawkins in a debate: “The more I listened to Dawkins and his colleagues, the more the nature of what has gone wrong with their argument seemed clear. Religion was portrayed as a force of unremitting awfulness, a poisoned root from which no good fruit could grow. It seems to me the work not of a thinker but of any balanced observer to notice that this is not the case. A new … dogma has emerged. And the argument has stalled.”–

    – Douglas Murray, atheist

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8839081/call-off-the-faith-wars/

    February 19, 2014 at 2:49 am |
    • Dalahäst

      "Schopenhauer said that truth may be like water: it needs a vessel to carry it. It is all very well to point out — as Dawkins did again the other night — that Adam did not exist. But to think that this discovery makes not just the story of Eden but the narrative of the crucifixion and resurrection meaningless is to rather startlingly miss a point. You can be in agreement with Professor Dawkins that Adam did not exist, yet know and feel that the story of Eden speaks profoundly about ourselves."

      February 19, 2014 at 3:23 am |
      • bootyfunk

        the story of eden certainly does speak to us.
        it says god wanted pets that would obey but never think for themselves.
        it says we will not be kept ignorant by a tyrannical god.

        "Your God person puts an apple tree in the middle of a garden and says, do what you like guys, oh, but don't eat the apple. Surprise surprise, they eat it and he leaps out from behind a bush shouting 'Gotcha.' It wouldn't have made any difference if they hadn't eaten it. Because if you're dealing with somebody who has the sort of mentality which likes leaving hats on the pavement with bricks under them you know perfectly well they won't give up. They'll get you in the end."
        –Douglas Adams

        February 19, 2014 at 4:56 am |
      • kudlak

        Dalahäst
        If not true, then it only speaks to us the same way that the Greek myths of Prometheus and Pandora do, or the way any bit of good fiction does, right? Actually, f you have not already, try comparing the Garden story with these two myths. Maybe you'd like to comment on the similarities?

        If not literal truth, how many people will logically choose to run their lives (and judge other people's lives) according to such metaphorical truths?

        February 19, 2014 at 10:21 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Well, part of the teachings include "not to judge others", so... I get judged all the time by non-religious people. It gets annoying. I try not to be like them.

          February 19, 2014 at 10:24 am |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    @Dalahäst: are you schizophrenic or is someone hijacking your name?

    February 19, 2014 at 12:00 am |
    • Dalahäst

      No, I'm not schizophrenic and it doesn't appear my handle has been hijacked.

      I did post some random text on the "obamacare scandal you haven't heard yet" story to test some html code as I wanted to help dandintac with a question he asked.

      February 19, 2014 at 12:47 am |
  5. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Has anyone considered the snake in all this. Is it alive? What is it feeling? It's the victim in all this after all.

    February 18, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      No, but we are all still waiting for the radiocarbon dating data to come back that proves the snakes in the Garden of Eden NEVER had legs, thus were never cursed by God.

      February 18, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        If they had legs they wouldn't be snakes now would they?

        February 18, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That would be serpents?

          February 18, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
        • bootyfunk

          that would be lizards.

          February 19, 2014 at 4:58 am |
      • fintronics

        That would be mythology.

        February 19, 2014 at 7:22 am |
      • kudlak

        Dalahäst
        Shouldn't we wait for any evidence supporting there even being a Garden of Eden before speculating what creatures lived there?

        February 19, 2014 at 10:07 am |
        • Dalahäst

          That is the joke! You are starting to get it.

          February 19, 2014 at 10:09 am |
        • kudlak

          I wouldn't call it a joke. A lot of people run their lives under the assumption that Adam and Eve were real and what they did gives Jesus some kind of salvation power over (and justification for torturing) everyone. A lot of people have been traumatized and even killed because of that interpretation of this story.

          I see no reason to laugh.

          February 19, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • Dalahäst

          That is silly.

          You never see Adam & Eve jokes and laugh? So many movies and story lines are based on that myth, it is a part of our popular culture. There is nothing inherent in that origin story that leads to people being killed.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          However, if Adam & Eve leads to the notion of some "original sin" that people somehow owe Jesus a debt of worship for removing with his death, then I'm not laughing. That's the central motive behind all the killing associated with Christianity, isn't it? Christians have killed non-Christians and different Christians over who Jesus is actually saving for a long time. It could be argued that original sin and salvation are a manufactured problem-solution that has caused more harm than good.

          February 19, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That's the central motive behind all the killing associated with Christianity, isn't it?

          No.

          Just like the central motive behind all the killing associated with atheists isn't disbelief in God.

          February 19, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
    • wholisa

      I wondered that too. Curious how well taken care of they are.

      February 18, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Did you know these people are breaking the law by having these snakes? They apparently don't care. I say round up the bunch of them, including the parents exposing their children and lock them up in Alcatraz.

      February 19, 2014 at 6:56 am |
      • fintronics

        It says the police are outright refusing to enforce the law...... nice.

        February 19, 2014 at 7:24 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          It might actually mean they have to do actual work...pathetic that they would sit back and allow innocent children to be put at risk like this.

          February 19, 2014 at 7:32 am |
  6. derado8

    Here is a thought for today. Our brain waves are as unique as fingerprints, therefore each person would have their own individual ideas about "belief" and what that means.

    http://blogs.voanews.com/science-world/2011/05/13/are-brainwaves-as-unique-as-fingerprints/

    February 18, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Yes! And nobodies in better than the others.

      February 18, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        *Nobody is better than the others.. Nice link.

        February 18, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
        • derado8

          Thanks Dalahast. Good to hear from you again.

          February 18, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I cannot agree with this....and I really don't think you do either.

          February 19, 2014 at 12:19 am |
        • derado8

          Cheese, are you disagreeing with the individuality aspect or the equality aspect?

          February 19, 2014 at 11:40 am |
  7. Austin

    they aren't brainwashed. just gullible.

    maybe stupid (or have a low i.q., brain damage, ect) and definately fanatical.

    6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
    the leopard will lie down with the goat,
    the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together;
    and a little child will lead them.
    7 The cow will feed with the bear,
    their young will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
    8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
    and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
    9 They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
    for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

    This is a prophecy about the millineal kingdom, when Christ is back.

    by the way, in either the book of Jasher or Jubilees, it says that animals spoke the same dialect and could communicate with humans.

    February 18, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
    • Austin

      The curse of sin, was death. Cain killed Abel.

      February 18, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
      • Austin

        Piranhas had molars instead of canine teeth.

        February 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
      • sam stone

        Sin is a man made concept (like god, heaven, hell, and redemption). Your view of it does not apply to anyone outside your cult

        February 19, 2014 at 3:05 am |
      • kudlak

        T-Rex eating pumpkins is one thing, but it's hard to even imagine what Great White sharks could have been eating before the fall. Maybe I need a creationist's imagination? That does seem to be their strength. Actual science sure isn't.

        February 19, 2014 at 10:03 am |
    • Dalahäst

      – "they aren't brainwashed. just gullible.

      – maybe stupid (or have a low i.q., brain damage, ect) and definately fanatical."

      But that is the same thing they say about you.

      Why can't you guys just live and let live? I mean, you can disagree and discuss that. But resorting to the insults and illogical ad hominem doesn't help anything.

      February 18, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
      • fintronics

        Well in this case it's live and let die, like what the police are doing in this situation.

        February 19, 2014 at 7:28 am |
    • Dalahäst

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1e4FUhfHiU

      Some atheists come to the conclusion that God exists.

      February 19, 2014 at 4:24 am |
      • bootyfunk

        in which case they are not atheists at all.

        February 19, 2014 at 5:10 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Right. Not anymore. That is what I'm saying.

          February 19, 2014 at 10:11 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        At most Flew accepted Deism. There is a big difference between theism and deism.

        February 19, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
  8. colin31714

    I kind of wish all evangelical and activist Christians would handle venomous snakes.

    February 18, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
    • kenmargo

      Now that's not nice. Suppose the snake bit one of them and caught something!

      February 18, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
      • sam stone

        they would be flopping around on their bellies and speaking in forked tongues

        February 19, 2014 at 5:57 am |
  9. Dalahäst

    SeaVik posted this:

    "1) Most religious people were indoctrinated as children

    2) Childhood indoctrination is a form of brain-washing

    Conclusion: Most religious people were brain-washed. This isn't complicated."

    Is this circular reasoning, a logical fallacy or sound logic?

    February 18, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
    • colin31714

      Sound logic. Now here is an example of circular reasoning. "I believe in God because the Bible says he exists and the reason I believe the Bible is that it's the inspired word of God."

      February 18, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Why is colin31714's opinion true?
        Because it is reasonable.
        Why is it reasonable?
        Because it isn’t faith.
        What happens if you reject faith?
        You think colin31714s opinion is true.
        Blah blah blah blah blah...

        February 18, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
    • Creationists say the darndest things

      Yes, sound logic. Certainly not as much as some other places in the world, but I've seen too much of it.

      February 18, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      All children are indoctrinated.

      But that doesn't mean they are brainwashed.

      Unless brainwashing just means something that everyone does.

      February 18, 2014 at 7:23 pm |
      • SeaVik

        You previously disputed the use of the term "indoctrination" to describe the process of converting children to Christians. Guess you've changed your tune on that?

        February 19, 2014 at 10:41 am |
        • Dalahäst

          It is not dangerous indoctrination. No different from you being indoctrinated to believe what your school taught you about US history, for example.

          February 19, 2014 at 10:53 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Depends on whether a particular school, or teacher teaches critical-thinking skills to go along with that history. A modern critical-thinking treatment of US history would be more sympathetic towards the indians and at least would examine the British point of view during the War of Independence, things that our grandparents wouldn't have been exposed to. The question here centers around whether kids brought up as Christians are encouraged to use critical-thinking skills on the articles of faith that they are taught? One imagines that the home-schooled ones were removed from public schools precisely to shield them from examining their faith too closely.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I agree with Mr Tyson:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbvDYyoAv9k

          February 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          To me, creationism does conflict with science and, with roughly 40% of the USA still falling under this category, that's a significantly larger number than your Doctor is implying. You might as well say that there is no conflict between science and astrology, believing in ghosts, reincarnation, or homeopathic remedies.

          Perhaps the problem lies with using the phrase "no conflict"? Too many people would read into it that science actually agrees with religion or these other things, which we know isn't the case. The view of the universe that science provides does not include any deities, correct?

          February 19, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          "The view of the universe that science provides does not include any deities, correct?"

          Uh, which science? What science would you use to prove or disprove God?

          Science doesn't provide a view of the universe. That is what people do. The belief that there is not an intelligent Creator behind the universe is your view. Not science's.

          Science has not answered that mystery yet. It may not be capable to ever do so, especially if God isn't constrained to science like we are (ie he exists in a separate realm, like eternity).

          February 19, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      The logic is valid, as in, if the premises are true then the conclusion must be true. However, the words used are open to interpretation.

      February 18, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        If the author has a strong bias against something in the study, it would be wise to question #1 and seek the opinion of a variety of people outside of that person's belief system.

        February 18, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
        • SeaVik

          I did ask you if you agreed with #1 and you never objected to it. I'm open to discussing that point, but didn't realize anyone (including you) disputed the idea that most religious people were raised with that particular religion.

          February 19, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I adamantly disagreed with #1.

          February 19, 2014 at 10:52 am |
  10. Dyslexic doG

    I blame religion for this:

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/18/opinion/kirshenbaum-science-literacy/index.html?hpt=op_t1

    February 18, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      just 74% of Americans know the Earth revolves around the sun.

      February 18, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
      • kenmargo

        Sadly that's a higher percentage than I thought.

        February 18, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Europe or Ja.pan didn't score that much higher.

          February 18, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Dalahäst,
          I didn't see Europe or Ja.pan mentioned in the article, was it in the survey?

          February 18, 2014 at 9:18 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          http://io9.com/a-quarter-of-americans-think-the-sun-revolves-around-th-1525478788

          Look for a chart in the comment section.

          February 18, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
      • dandintac

        I sometimes wonder about these surveys though. I don't think a lot of people take the to read the question carefully or make sure they answer right. People just don't take these seriously, and don't even think about it much in their daily lives. Some may be dyslexic–as you should know, or misinterpret questions. I did a lot of surveys in college and I was always surprised at the many ways people can misinterpret what seems to be a simple question, and when they explained, I could see how they could. The way these questions are structured are not necessarily as clear as it's made out to be when results are reported by the media.

        Then again, this may be wishful thinking on my part–the wish–the hope–that not this many people are so f-g stupid.

        February 18, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      'tis sad. Thanks for the link

      February 18, 2014 at 9:16 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      "I blame religion for this"

      What, that America scored higher than most countries???

      You may hear The Superior Atheist make statements such as, “religion is the sole cause of all wars, 9/11 happened because of religion and no other reason”, or, “the only reason for the existence of faith is a fear of death.” Such statements are, of course, wrong. They are highly simplistic analysis of the complex world in which we live. Failing to account for other factors they leave much to be desired as explanations for how the world and the people in it function. Not that it matters to the Superior Atheist.

      February 18, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
      • fintronics

        It is dishonest to post quotes without posting the source.

        in this case you're putting words in someone's mouth.

        February 19, 2014 at 7:32 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Isn't that kind of petty?

          I was asking what he was blaming religion for. That we are on the more educated side of scientifically sound belief? Good for us and our religion.

          February 19, 2014 at 10:17 am |
  11. ockhamsdragon

    Good riddance.

    February 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      If your name is supposed to be a play off of the famous razor, it is spelled Occam. If not, carry on then.

      February 18, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
  12. SeaVik

    A quick poll among atheists:

    Dalahast has repeatedly claimed that atheists don't think that the typical Christian childhood involves some form of brain-washing. He also objects to classifying the experience as indoctrination. Further, he doesn't think that the typical Christian childhood experience is a critical part of producing Christian adults.

    I, on the other hand, consider the typical process of raising Christian children to be Christian adults to be childhood indoctrination, a form of brain-washing and borderline mental abuse.

    Is he correct that most atheists disagree with me (an atheist)?

    Thank you for your input. I'll try my best to ignore the inevitable religious trolls that will surely chime in.

    February 18, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      SeaVik claims this article posts fun at Christians, not atheists:

      http://www.theonion.com/articles/local-church-full-of-brainwashed-idiots-feeds-town,34860/

      --

      Oh no. Please help that guy. I

      February 18, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
      • SeaVik

        Dala, I put my view out there for an objective response and you immediately divert the subject. I call foul before the game even started!

        February 18, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          1. I never said "heists don't think that the typical Christian childhood involves some form of brain-washing."

          a. I said not all atheists say that. You are going to have to get all the atheists alive to agree to prove that point.

          Why not use logic?

          February 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
        • doobzz

          It's Dala's trademark.

          February 18, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • SeaVik

          No, no, no. You said that I am in the minority among atheists in my view that Christian children are brain-washed or indoctrinated. Nice try.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          You are in the minority. I know lots of atheists and talk with them.

          None of the believe most religious people are literally or legitimately brainwashed.

          It is a phrase some atheists use, jokingly.

          And some others seriously believe.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
        • SeaVik

          I'm still waiting for the atheists that are like the ones you know to post their disagreement. So far, zero have.

          February 18, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't think the ones I know post on religious blogs.

          There are some that post on here that are pretty open-minded, though. Also, you posted this when not a lot of people are online (because they left work).

          February 18, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
      • hotairace

        I think it is poorly written sarcasm not making fun of any particular group because the target is not clearly identified.

        February 18, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Are you kidding me????????????

          _____________________
          Read Between The Lines
          __________________

          February 18, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Jon Stewart demonstrates the absurdity of some (not all, because not all atheists are this absurd) atheists.

          http://gawker.com/5827959/jon-stewart-goes-after-atheists-for-opposing-cross-at-911-memorial

          If you don't laugh at his "Well, I can see why he is the president." about the president of the American Atheists... you have no sense of humor.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
        • hotairace

          I did, before, and recognized that if this very same article, without a single change, was published on an atheist site, it could be perceived as being highly critical of believers. Context can be everything, and I think it is poorly written because it can be perceived as being ambiguous. But yes, it probably was meant to make fun of those that might say harsh thinks about believers without recognizing the good they do.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
        • Akira

          Well, CLEARLY if Jon Stewart said it, it MUST be true.
          And the Onion and Stewart together will be enough to convince ANYONE of....what, exactly?

          February 18, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          -And the Onion and Stewart together will be enough to convince ANYONE of....what, exactly?–

          SOME atheists are ridiculously absurd.

          As absurd at the Christians they oppose.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          SOME atheists are so absurd... that when The Onion writes an article about how absurd and illogical their opinions are.... they actually think the article is making fun of Christians.

          Instead of seeing the humor and laughing at themselves.... they use it to attack Christians.

          THAT ABSURD.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:50 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Dala, you should write a letter to The Onion to try to figure out what the author actually meant. Until then, stop acting like this was somehow making fun of religion when the majority of the article is about how insane religious people are! The stuff in parentheses is typically the non-satirical stuff, which you'd know if you read The Onion.

          February 18, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't need to write a letter. I get the joke.

          If you don't get the joke, it is probably about you.

          February 18, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
        • SeaVik

          I think it's pretty obvious that you don't get the joke...and it is about you.

          February 19, 2014 at 8:32 am |
        • Dalahäst

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/01/04/just-one-small-critique-about-that-otherwise-hilarious-onion-headline/

          This atheist claims they are equal-opportunity offenders.

          comment:

          "The thing about satire is that it's ironic. It also has to play on recognizable truths, or it doesn't make sense.

          If the Onion was satirizing Christians for being "brainwashed idiots" who happen to be serving the poor, where's the irony?

          The recognizable truth is the rhetoric, familiar to anyone who frequents atheist sites, often used to criticize Christians. The Christians here are the good guys serving the poor; the rhetoric is therefore ironic. The satire is of atheists who deploy the rhetoric."

          Wanna take a poll?

          February 19, 2014 at 9:35 am |
        • Dalahäst

          comment to a claim similar to yours:

          Migual, you've COMPLETELY missed the point, they're praising chruch people for the good they do, IN SPITE of what athiests (like me) think of them!! duh.
          No matter what you think of churches, their outreach programs DO do some good to less fortunate NON church-going people.

          February 19, 2014 at 9:39 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Comment:

          This is why I love the onion, no boundaries. making fun of jesus' lost years with "turning tricks", and now of hardline atheist dogma with this great piece

          February 19, 2014 at 9:40 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Ok... concentrate real hard, now.... the article is aimed against the kind of bitter atheists who only call every religious person a useless idiot sheep.... by showing in the same breath, that many of these people do good works, and are not bad people. It is a DEFENSE of religious activity. The satire is of bitter atheist sentiment. Do you see, now? Don't strain yourself.

          Some Christians are getting upset... and atheists are saying, no – they are making fun of atheists.

          https://www.facebook.com/TheOnion/posts/10152200734294497?comment_id=39071566&offset=0&total_comments=197

          February 19, 2014 at 9:42 am |
      • dandintac

        The Onion will poke fun at ANYONE. We atheists should certainly not expect any different. Take it. Accept it. Maybe even learn from it.

        February 18, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          http://www.theonion.com/articles/sumerians-look-on-in-confusion-as-god-creates-worl,2879/

          I can't remember who posted that the other day, but I laughed my @ss off.

          February 18, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
    • hotairace

      No question brainwashing and indoctrination without the child's consent, no matter how well meaning.

      February 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
      • SeaVik

        Thanks for your response.

        1 SeaVik
        0 Dala

        February 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Um, you do realize that it is mostly atheists, not religious people that post on this blog, right? You are probably going to win numbers wise.

          But I'm pretty sure 1 or 2 reasonable atheists are going to say you are nuts.

          Especially if you think that Onion satire piece wasn't clowning absurd people like you.

          February 18, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Your point was that most atheists disagree with me. Whether or not it's mostly atheists that post on this board is irrelevant.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Most atheists do NOT post on religious blogs.

          I know actual atheists and talk with them in real life. I know your beliefs are on the fringe, or extreme, level.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:19 pm |
        • SeaVik

          You might know atheists, but neither of us know "most" atheists personally. I offered an objective poll and your view was shown to be wrong. You're statements about atheists are all anecdotal based on your personal experiences and clearly not a general representation of atheists.

          February 18, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Use that same logic on yourself: so is your claims about religious people.

          Most atheists I know and love are not anti-religious fanatics who claim that most people different than them are brainwashed.

          Yes. There are 4 to 5 people that post on here that think people like me are brainwashed. They aren't psychology experts or have conducted any scientific studies, but they just feel that way. And that feeling is all the evidence they need.

          February 18, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          And if you want to be cured, all you have to do is believe what these few people say. No evidence is needed. Just have faith in them and believe you are brainwashed. Once you believe you are brainwashed, all you need to do is become an atheist and you will be saved.

          February 18, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
        • fintronics

          I am an open minded atheist and I think you're an idiot. brainwashed, maybe, but definately an idiot.

          February 19, 2014 at 7:38 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Most closed-minded people think the are open-minded. They also think most other people are idiots.

          February 19, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          *think they

          February 19, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      I say religious brainwashing does exist.

      But most Christians do not engage in such forcible coercion, usually carried out by water boarding, humiliation, or physical threats. In fact they oppose such techniques.

      I grew up in a predominantly Christians suburban area. Some kids stayed within their faith (we all went to public school with Jews, atheists, Muslims, etc), some were not interested and became openly atheist or agnostic, and some embraced a different religion.

      Nobody had to be deprogrammed because they had been legitimately brainwashed.

      February 18, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Without your parents you would not have known about the christian god, just like without my parents I wouldn't have. That is the indoctrination part. I think the brainwashing comes in situations where the threat of 'sin' comes in to play.

        February 18, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Nah. I was allowed to make a choice. Like so many others I know.

          All Christians I know, like atheists, oppose brainwashing and dangerous indoctrination.

          I guess you could say we've been "indoctrinated" to oppose brainwashing, hu?

          February 18, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Were you baptized and taken to church? If so, then you were not given a choice.
          Tell me Dala, if you have children, are you taking them to church or are you prepared to let them decide for themselves?

          February 18, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Were you baptized and taken to church? If so, then you were not given a choice.
          Tell me Dala, if you have children, are you taking them to church or are you prepared to let them decide for themselves? logic?

          –Were you baptized and taken to church? If so, then you were not given a choice.–

          Yes. I was a toddler. If I had a choice I would have crawled out in traffic to get to the shiny lights across the street.

          What do you think happens in church? We sing (oh no), we eat (uh oh), we get bored (zzzz), we talk and do other things groups of people do.

          –Tell me Dala, if you have children, are you taking them to church or are you prepared to let them decide for themselves? -

          Yea, I will take them to my church. If they don't want to go I'll do what my Christian parents did: let me not go. I teach Sunday School right now. The openess and encouraging of asking questions is amazing. Not what one would typically think of a church lesson.

          We teach Jesus, who seemed to oppose brainwashing.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Seavik 2
          Dala 0

          February 18, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          My baptism: They did sprinkle water on my head and gave me a bib.

          I guess following the logic of the geniuses on this board that equals waterboarding torture.

          The horror! 🙁

          February 18, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
        • fintronics

          @dala "I teach Sunday School right now." ..... so you are actively engaged in the process of brainwashing children to believe mythology is reality.

          February 19, 2014 at 7:42 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          fin: Ah but Dala doesn't consider it brainwashing or indoctrination. I don't think he/she uses the same dictionary most rational people do.

          February 19, 2014 at 8:29 am |
        • fintronics

          I've noticed the religious love to play the word twisting game, especially when it comes to their book of mythology, AKA the bible.

          February 19, 2014 at 9:03 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Yes sadly they do. We can only hope their children grow to realize the lies they've been told and don't follow in the footsteps of their parents. I think most of these people forget that their children are not so cut off from the world any more and will see the fallacies for what they are. Although I worry about how their families will treat them if they admit to no longer belonging. I think these believers would be amazed at how many non-believers sit in those pews every week out of pure fear of the consequence of admitting disbelief. They all need to grow up and start residing in this century.

          February 19, 2014 at 9:27 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Most rational people recognize this Onion articles pokes fun at hard line atheists who say religious people are brainwashed:

          http://www.theonion.com/articles/local-church-full-of-brainwashed-idiots-feeds-town,34860/

          I

          February 19, 2014 at 9:46 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          The Onion is not a reliable source for anything. That's like turning to Sarah Palin for an opinion.

          February 19, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • Dalahäst

          It actually reveals truths.

          It is ok to laugh at fanatical atheists. Most people, including the reasonable atheists, do.

          February 19, 2014 at 10:56 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          It is not acceptable to laugh at anyone really. I think everyone is fanatical to a point and everyone can be reasonable. Labeling is rather futile and at times dangerous.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I agree.

          Do you agree with this:

          It is not acceptable to laugh at religious people. Religious people, just like atheists, can be fanatical to a point. Religious people can be reasonable. Labeling religious people as "brainwashed" or "delusional" is rather futile and can be dangerous.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:10 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          I laugh at the belief, not the believer. I call it what it is. The word brainwashing defines what has been done to you. What you are doing to those children is brainwashing them...you are teaching them strictly about christian practices and not about the numerous other religious practices out there. If you don't want it called brainwashing than be open about the other gods imagined by man.
          It's not futile when that belief can cause one to do great harm (this snake handler for example) and in turn hold back human momentum.
          I understand you disagree and that's fine. We're going around in circles and that in itself is futile.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Dalahäst

          "you are teaching them strictly about christian practices and not about the numerous other religious practices out there."

          WRONG.

          Quit it.

          You just proved to me you have no idea what you are talking about. You are imagining things.

          You've somehow brainwashed yourself into believing your preconceived notions are correct.

          " If you don’t want it called brainwashing than be open about the other gods imagined by man."

          YEA. We do!!!!!!!

          Can you prove we don't?

          Or do you just have feelings that we don't? Where is your evidence? Please don't be another example of the rare atheist who doesn't actually use reason or understanding.

          Please!

          February 19, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          If it is not strictly the christian belief system you are teaching them, then do tell. Are you teaching them that the bible story of creation is not accurate? Are you teaching them that the Noahs Ark story is fallacious?
          I too went to Sunday school and what they taught came strictly from the bible.
          Is it not the bible you are teaching from?

          February 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          We teach them what other people believe, in addition to what we believe.

          We teach about the origin story of Genesis... as an origin story. Not as if it is literally true. Like most Christians do.

          No. We don't teach strictly from the Bible. We are not Bible Idolatrists. Most of our kids go to different schools. Some are religious and some are secular.

          Nothing we teach discourages scientific or logical thinking. If anything we encourage such things. Some of our students go to to major in science. And do quite well.

          You really have some misunderstandings.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Then I must apologize. It is not always easy to read what people believe simply by a few comments.

          February 19, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          🙂 🙂

          February 19, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I have evidence that my religious parents did not brainwash me: I was given a choice.

          And I choose atheism as a teenager. They supported me.

          Any notion that my Sunday School teachings and church attendance was dangerous indoctrination, something severe like brainwashing is absurd and embarrassingly laughable.

          February 19, 2014 at 9:55 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You were not given a choice if they taught you about your god. Your god is one of many and like many before it some day it too will be history.
          Stop redefining definitions to fit your delusions...your belief system is not something to be proud of.

          February 19, 2014 at 10:31 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Whatevs. I'm thankful mot people don't hold extreme views as you.

          I was giving a choice. They taught me what they believed in. That included accepting people with different beliefs. Even "non-beliefs".

          Thank God!

          February 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          It is not ok to laugh at The Onion?

          But it is ok to laugh at anti-religious people calling Christians derogatory names?

          Uh... what kind of atheism do you practice? Are you like a secular non-humanist?

          February 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          The Onion is a joke...satirical at best.

          I do not practice Atheism. It is strictly my conclusion.
          I consider myself a Secular Humanist with a primary focus of hoping to help in the survival of humanity.
          I care about the christian belief and any other belief when it is portrayed as the truth and in turn used to harm others or deny equal rights. It is my opinion that it should not be taught to children and that children should be allowed to make their own decision in regards to belief when they are able to do so for themselves and comprehend it.
          I have great tolerance for most christians to be quite honest. My tenant's Mom is a Catholic lady who I adore but she's not putting it in my face; just as my JW or Catholic neighbor's aren't.
          At some point we need to agree to disagree or we will doom our species...common ground has to be found sooner than later.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Consider Christianity my conclusion.

          I consider myself a Christianity with a primary focus of hoping to help in the survival of humanity, too.

          I think the ideals we teach, caring for others, loving our neighbors (atheists, Muslims), respecting parents and encouraging education and discernment are important.

          All of humanity, not just the ones that believe like me.

          I adore atheists, too, especially the ones that don't put it in my face. Which happens here.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You get it in your face on the internet because it allows for a voice that might not otherwise be had. I suspect many believers are the same.

          February 19, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Dala,

        Honest question, do you think it is a good idea to teach children 'demons can possess people'?

        February 18, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't know what to teach children about evil. Some people find it helpful to personify evil as "demons" or "the devil" when dealing with personal battles. I don't want to expose them to the horrific, evil, and senseless violence in this world. But sometimes it "invites itself in" despite our best efforts.

          I don't want to teach nihilism or the idea that there is no real meaning in life – ideas present in so much of post-modernity. Evil exists, whether it is demons, addiction, possessions, murder, greed... something motivates some people to do horrible things. We human beings are capable of doing beautiful things, but also tragic things. I'd want to teach them to do the beautiful things.

          February 18, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I know you somewhat tried to answer the question. But I wasn't talking in the abstract, I meant the question very literally and I would like you to answer as I presented it.

          Do you think it is a good idea to teach that demons from a spiritual dimension can possess people... in an excorcism...in a literal sense?

          February 18, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I haven't experienced one, so I wouldn't. If I ever experienced one I would probably tell them about it when they are older!

          February 18, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          First a follow up question. How would you know a real demon posession from a person with mental issues?

          Second, the bible teaches that demon possession is real. Jesus cast out demons, ect. and there is no justification to conclude it isn't talking about actual demon possession. The bottom line is teaching children about the bible is teaching them demons are real and can possess them. I think that is child abuse and I am wondering why you wouldn't agree?

          February 18, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          –First a follow up question. How would you know a real demon posession from a person with mental issues?–

          I don't know. I deal with some people that do have major mental issues. It seems like they are possessed sometimes. It can be sad and difficult. I trust the experts and their treatments (mostly, I think some doctors are getting a little dependant on psychiatric drugs that sometimes cause bigger issues).

          But, I tell people to listen to their doctor. Because I'm not one.

          –Second, the bible teaches that demon possession is real. Jesus cast out demons....

          Good question.

          Let me pass it on to one of my teachers, if you don't mind:

          "I’ve confessed this before but I don’t always know what to do when it comes to talk about demons in the Bible. Especially when the demons talk and have names and stuff like that. I’m never sure if back then they had the exact same things going on that we do, but they didn’t know about things like epilepsy or mental illness so they just called it all demon possession. Or if maybe there used to be demons possessing people and sorta like polio and small pox, it’s just not something we have around anymore. Or if we do actually still have demons and it makes it more understandable and controllable for us if we use medical and scientific terms to describe the things that possess us. I honestly don’t know.

          But I do know that many of you, like myself, have suffered from addictions and compulsions and depression – things that have gotten ahold of us, making us do things we don’t want to. Or making you think you love things, or substances or people that are really destructive. So maybe if that, in part, is what having a demon is, maybe if it’s being taken over by something destructive, then possession is less of an anachronism, and more of an epidemic."

          – Nadia Bolz-Weber

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/2013/06/demon-possession-and-why-i-named-my-depression-francis/

          At my church we don't teach kids that demons literally possess people. Or that hasn't come up in the curriculum yet. The first I heard of such a thing was from the movie The Exorcist... I watched it with a friend when I was in 2nd Grade.

          February 18, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I appreciate your honest answer.

          I had a real 'Habit wearing' Nun for a 6th grade teacher, told us she was at the site of an exorcism where there was blood on the walls. This was a topic because the "Exorcist" was on network tv at the time. I watched it and between what she taught and the movie I didn't sleep well for quite awhile. She obviously believed what she was teaching but I don't think she was being a responsible adult to hold unjustified beliefs and teach those to children.

          February 18, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I watched it with my Jewish friend. It was early 80s and might have been the tv version. Anyway, it scared me, but my friend was like... meh.

          I remember we tried to summon demons by chanting "bloody mary" at a mirror in the dark, once, too.

          February 19, 2014 at 12:03 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      You're so right.
      My parents lived by the bible and we lived in fear of that god. No child should live in fear..it is borderline abusive.

      February 18, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        Well..the children did NOT have to listen while in church! Many children don't listen..they "play around" drawing, reading something..passing secrets, etc. We have not need fear of God who loves us and made Salvation easily available for us. SIn must not be used as a threat..though it can be used as a consequence as with any of us who are parents know that there are consequences..good or bad..to the choices we make..and the choices the children make. COnsequyences are good....if done correctly.

        February 18, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I went to public school. Was I indoctrinated?

          Yes. According to these standards. Brainwashed.

          I was also taught to keep my hands to myself. Was I indoctrinated?

          Yes. According to these standards. Brainwashed.

          I was taught to treat everyone equally. Was I indoctrinated?

          Yes. According to these standards. Brainwashed.

          I was taught to share. Was I indoctrinated?

          Yes. According to these standards. Brainwashed.

          I was taught to respect other's belief systems, even those different from mine. Was I indoctrinated?

          Yes. According to these standards. Brainwashed.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          So YOU listened in school didn't ya? what aout other children? not all listen..thats why you have drop outs and failures

          February 19, 2014 at 1:55 am |
        • dandintac

          Kermit,

          What would have happened to you if you told your parents you didn't want to go to church? Not as a pip-squeek, but a little older, say, 12 years old. What would have happened to you if you had said you didn't believe in god? How would your whole family have treated you? How about the church community?

          I have four stepdaughters. I didn't make them go to church, but I didn't try to stop them either. I never once explained my atheism to them and tried to make them think the same way.

          Please tell me your definition of "indoctrination" and how it is different from education.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          WHatwould have happened to ME personally? are you trying to project yourself on me? PERSONALLY..at the time I was 12 MY parents didn't really care! MY MOPm and dad both beleved God existed....but they didn't make me go to church..neither did my grandmother who was the church goer in the family. They allowed me to make myown decisions and let it go...and I was totally telling about using your mind to either listen or ignore...we all do that...you missed thewhole point..LOOK at children...they CAN and DO ignore things at times...as do adults. When I did go to church..I usually drew an some paper or such....didn't listen to the preacher....that wasok..my parents didnothing (actually my grandmother..parents didn't go much)

          February 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • dandintac

          Okay, tell me this Kermit.

          How do you define:
          Education
          Indoctrination
          Brainwashing

          Also, are you willing to admit that many religions practice indoctrination and brainwashing? Such as the Jesus Camp kids? Would you agree that is brainwashing?

          February 20, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          education could be brainwashing....in fact.....that's what brainwashing qould be..education..but would it be educating false ideas..or truthful ones? as for Jesus camp kids..I never even heard of them..so I cannot comment

          February 21, 2014 at 1:43 am |
        • dandintac

          Kermit,

          In that case, it's no longer "education".

          Put simply:
          Education is teaching people HOW to think.
          Indoctrination is teaching people WHAT to think.
          Brainwashing is indoctrination with pressure, coercion, control, or force.

          February 21, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Granted SOME people in religion then would be forced into it...but not all..I wasn't forced into it..there was no presuure or coercion....you cant think all of us did that

          February 22, 2014 at 1:55 am |
        • fintronics

          @dala.... No science classes in your school? I guess you wern't taught to require evidence to accept something as reality.

          February 19, 2014 at 9:07 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Are you saying there are no scientists that believe in God? Come on! People that know more about science and evidence than you believe in God. I'm sure some Nobel Prize winning atheists and Christians would correct your errors for you on this matter.

          February 19, 2014 at 9:52 am |
        • SeaVik

          Dala, the “standard” for determining whether something is brain-washing or not is the definition of the term, which you provided, remember? Here it is:

          Brain-washing: a method for systematically changing att.itudes or altering beliefs, originated in totalitarian countries, especially through the use of torture, drugs, or psychological-stress techniques.

          The process of indoctrinating a child to believe in a religion is a sophisticated, time-tested technique to produce adults that believe in unbelievable things. The process includes a heavy dose of psychological-stress techniques (such as teaching children of the horrific results they will suffer if they don’t believe). I don’t suspect that your public school experience or the other moral standards you were taught involved psychological-stress techniques, so that’s not brain-washing.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • Dalahäst

          --–

          Just because you imagine all religious people tell kids they will go to hell if they don't believe in God...

          ...doesn't mean all religious people tell kids they will go to hell if they don't believe in God.

          Sorry. It is not all brain-washing.

          I'm beginning to think you have been brainwashed. I can cite atheists who disagree with your premise if you like.

          -

          A few scientists who happened to believe in God:

          Joseph H. Taylor, Jr. (1993 Nobel Prize in Physics)
          Paul Davies (Well Respected Physicist)
          Robert Jastrow (Astronomer, physicist and founder of NASA’s Goddard Insttute of Space Studies)
          Max Planck (the Nobel Prize winning physicist)
          Arthur Compton (1927 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the Compton Effect)

          I can give you a ton more names if you want.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
    • doobzz

      I grew up in a devoutly Catholic home and went to parochial school. I saw and endured daily verbal, mental, and physical abuse of children by nuns and priests for minor infractions such as chewing gum or talking out of turn. It only made me try harder to be a perfect little Catholic child. So yes to the brainwashing.

      February 18, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
      • SeaVik

        SeaVik 3
        Dala 0

        February 18, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      At the very least as an authority figure it is dishonest and a disservice to children to claim to know things no one really knows and teach it to them as if it is fact.

      February 18, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
      • SeaVik

        SeaVik 4
        Dala 0

        Dala, where are all these Atheists who don't agree with me? I'm sure there are some, but hopefully you'll stop now with the claims that the majority of atheists don't object to what Christians do to their children.

        February 18, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          -1

          February 18, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Most atheists don't capitalize the "A".

          February 18, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
        • SeaVik

          You're right, I don't usually either! I guess considering I was referring to specific people who had responded, my grammar training kicked in.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yesterday NikNak posted an ant-religious post. Nobody responded.

          Minutes later someone else posted an anti-atheist post. 6 people started calling him things like a troll and an idiot.

          There is a double-standard on this blog.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Depends on the content. Some anti-religious posts are justified, some not.

          February 18, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Not too long ago....

          dyslexic doG posted a tyson quote: "God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that's getting smaller and smaller..."

          I posted an Einstein quote: "The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle..."

          I got 8* people angrily calling me a troll. *one guy was posting as like 5 people

          Anyways, the irony of it is, somebody started actually trolling me... and the people that attacked me let it go... because the guys was trolling Christians, not atheists.

          Double standards. These atheists are not the product of logic or critical thinking.

          February 18, 2014 at 8:38 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          And some are justified.

          Generalizations and blanket statements like all religious people are brainwashed is only justified if you are being a bigot.

          February 18, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Dala,

          It is human nature to be biased to ones own position, regardless of the position.

          As I explained I don't really think it is brain washing in the pure sense of the meaning. But I do think the authority that teaches religious opinion as fact to children are wrong and unethical.

          For what it's worth I don't think the Einstein quote is off base. Atheists have long been a marginalized. I will give you an example, my parents don't know I am an atheist, they are older and I have no motive to hurt them. I will not be dishonest if they ask. But I am resentful that I don't feel comfortable sharing my beliefs when they, and many in society think their world view should dominate over others.

          February 18, 2014 at 9:07 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          But Blessed Cheese,

          Don't you see it can go both ways? There are atheist parents who say all religious people are brainwashed and delusional. If one of their children becomes religious... they will feel just like you.

          I agree with you that some religious teaching is wrong. And so do most religious people, too. The oppose it. Especially most Christians because it goes against what Jesus taught!

          Now I am observing some atheists are starting to turn into what they hate about religious people. That is what Einstein found so distasteful about the fanatical atheists. Ironically they were acting like the religious.

          February 18, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I think believing things to be true without proper foundation is delusion and much of theology fits that definition. But I also think everyone is suseptable to delusion. The difference is if someone can demonstrate to me one of my beliefs is unreasonable to hold I will jetison it. Religion teaches that it is perfectly reasonable to hold belief without proper foundation and it is even encouraged. "Faith is a virtue", ect. That is the real poison of religion.

          February 18, 2014 at 9:38 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Unfortunately people without religion believe delusional things, too. And also have a hard time letting go of their faulty notions.

          February 18, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I agree Dala and I said so. You seemed to miss my point that religion considers it a virtue to hold unwarented beliefs and actually justifies holding on to those beliefs. Everyone has them, but religion thinks they are 'virtuous'.

          February 18, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Unfortunately I know atheists that hold unwarented beliefs and think they are being "logical".

          Or that being completely intolerant of religion is "open minded".

          Not all religions think such ideas as holidng onto unwarented beliefs are virtuous. Sure, some church settings may be that way. But there are others that prove that wrong. Places where dialogue, conversation and questions are encouraged, not shunned.

          Because it is smarter to be that way. And most religious people aren't idiots.

          February 18, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Unfortunately I know atheists that hold unwarented beliefs and think they are being "logical"."

          I am not questioning the truth of this statement but I would be interested in an example.

          "Or that being completely intolerant of religion is "open minded"."

          I consider myself an "anti-theist" in that in the big picture I think religous belief does harm. However I would never want belief legislated against and do not begrudge people the right to their belief. That is part of freedom. I like using this blog because it is one of the few places religous ideas can be discussed openly with people we would otherwise not interact with.

          "Not all religions think such ideas as holidng onto unwarented beliefs are virtuous."

          I guess it all depends on how "unwarrented" is defined.

          February 19, 2014 at 12:08 am |
        • Dalahäst

          An example of an atheist being illogical:

          Christopher Hitchens would point at anything religious and call foul. He would say it was illogical and unreasonable. Yet, this logical and reasonable guy smoked cigarettes and drank heavily, which is one of the most illogical and unreasonable thing a person can do. Especially if one has any real understanding of what those things do to a person.

          I mean this guy reallly gave people a drilling. You would think he would have his side of the street clean. But, not really.

          Unfortunately that type of mentality has spawned a brief "new atheist" movement, that hopefully is dying out soon.

          http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8885481/after-the-new-atheism/

          That article gives me hope! Even atheism, even though it is just non-belief, can produce better thinkers.

          "The atheist spring that began just over a decade ago is over, thank God. Richard Dawkins is now seen by many, even many non-believers, as a joke figure, shaking his fist at sky fairies."

          "Andrew Brown of the Guardian has played a role in this shift: he’s a theologically literate agnostic who is scornful of crude atheist crusading, and who sometimes ponders his own attraction to religion. On a more academic level, the philosopher John Gray has had an influence: he is sceptical of all relics of Enlightenment optimism, including the atheist’s faith in reason.

          Get it? That agnostic, non Christian, says atheists have faith in reason. But they don't possess it.

          February 19, 2014 at 12:38 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          First, Christopher Hitchens vices hurt himself. Illogical? Yes....but it wasn't a belief. He didn't believe smoking and drinking were harmless and did not promote them as harmless...I think you are quite a bit off base on this one.

          The best part of being atheist is I can look and think about ideas individually. I did not (do not) agree with Hitchens, Dawkins or any atheist completely. They are not authorities atheist authorities, there is no such thing.

          "the philosopher John Gray has had an influence: he is sceptical of all relics of Enlightenment optimism, including the atheist’s faith in reason."

          I will look into Mr. Gray's argument. But I have to admit on face value I have to question anyone who thinks "reason" shouldn't be the tool used in the discerment of reality. Also I would point out "atheism" and "agnosticism" are not mutually exclusive. Most atheists I have interacted with are agnostic.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:09 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I can look and think about ideas individually. But I'm not an atheist.

          I can also look and think about ideas within a loving community that carries out ideals to help the poor and support our neighbors, especially those that are different from us. That is a benefit of being a Christian.

          Hitchens has been exposed as being illogical in his own views and rhetoric, just like the people he criticized.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:28 am |
        • dandintac

          "...that carries out ideals to help the poor and support our neighbors, especially those that are different from us. That is a benefit of being a Christian."

          Benefit of being a Christian? Are you aware that many atheists do this, as well as many non-Christians, and that many Christians do NOT do this? Don't you think that's a bit narrow and unfair to all those non-Christians who certainly do their part? How about this: it's the benefit of being a good person" rather than trying to make this exclusively a Christian trait?

          February 19, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Of course I know that. I didn't say it was exclusively a Christian trait. But Christians have a long tradition of carrying one out.

          February 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • tallulah131

          "I can also look and think about ideas within a loving community that carries out ideals to help the poor and support our neighbors, especially those that are different from us. That is a benefit of being a Christian."

          How astonishingly arrogant. These concepts are not confined to christians. They aren't even exclusive to humans. Not everybody needs religion to be a decent being. If you do, that is your own failing.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:36 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Talla

          I was saying that in the context of this addressed at me:

          – The best part of being atheist is I can look and think about ideas individually. –

          I may have mis-understood it.

          Perhaps it is like when an atheist tells me "I can be good without God!" When I never said they couldn't.

          Sorry.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:40 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I will also say: I didn't have an atheist community when I was an atheist. Nobody was organizing anything like that, except for occassional rallies or meetings. But it wasn't very... enlightening.

          I think one thing Christians do well is organize community. And we do help others. And provide a place where we gather, sing, let our children play, eat and do all kinds of things together. And we try hard to include others with community events and allowing neighbors to use our facilities.

          It is a huge benefit. One I wish I had earlier in my life.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:44 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "I can also look and think about ideas within a loving community that carries out ideals to help the poor and support our neighbors, especially those that are different from us. That is a benefit of being a Christian."

          Helping the poor and supporting neighbors is great, but no one needs to be a Christian to do that. There is nothing that is acheived through Christianity that can't be acheived through secular means.

          "Hitchens has been exposed as being illogical in his own views and rhetoric, just like the people he criticized."

          I am still waiting for you to provide your logical argument against a position he held. I am sure you are right but this is a pretty broad statement to make without specifically citing what you are refering to.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:48 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          – The best part of being atheist is I can look and think about ideas individually. –

          What I meant by that is I do not have to refer to a specific authority, whether it be the Bible, a Pastor, a certain set of dogmas, a god, ect. I have to figure it out myself.

          Since realizing I was an atheist I have found I am more likely to volunteer my time and money. I no longer feel I am doing it for a reward. I always questioned my motives before and didn't feel good about it.

          I do agree with you that the best thing religion has going for it is a sense of community. But there are plenty of secular (not atheist) outlets for that. (Most of the people I associate with in these secular groups are themselves religious, but the group is secular).

          February 19, 2014 at 1:59 am |
        • Dalahäst

          It is great. And I never said you need to be a Christian to do that. Where I go, they encourage us to do such things. And we make it a part of our life.

          We even instill such values in our youth (yea, through brainwashing). Indoctrinated to serve their neighbors and love others.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:05 am |
        • Dalahäst

          This is 2014.

          Have you been to any new congregations? In my city there are vibrant and educated groups of young people joining and leading churches. They are taking over old congregations and ditching denominations. There are some really good movements going on.

          The idea that atheists are more independent in their thinking seems like an old idea.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:09 am |
        • tallulah131

          I am fortunate that I have friends and family provide that sense of community for me, because I can't force myself to believe in a god for which there is no evidence. If my only option was a church, I would be a very lonely person indeed.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:09 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I do have evidence for God, or else I would be an atheist.

          And I interact and belong to other communities with people of differing backgrounds and viewpoints.

          I just really appreciate my church. So does the neighborhood and city. And so do the atheists, non-religious, secular humanists that we share it with.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:23 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "We even instill such values in our youth (yea, through brainwashing). Indoctrinated to serve their neighbors and love others."

          I have taught my children the benefits of serving others, I have taught them empathy and I have done so using reason. I have never once needed to cite a god as a reason or justification for any of that.

          And no, I have no interest in a church, faith is not a path to acertain what is true, it is a path to delusion. I have no interest in being lied to, even if it is ostensibly done for good reasons. Jesus wasn't a god and it would be ridiculous to listen to people claim he was.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:29 am |
        • Dalahäst

          You are a trip.

          "For example, my fellow atheist opponents the other night portrayed the future — if we could only shrug off religion — as a wonderful sunlit upland, where reasonable people would make reasonable decisions in a reasonable world. Is it not at least equally likely that if you keep telling people that they lead meaningless lives in a meaningless universe you might just find yourself with — at best — a vacuous life and a hollow culture? My first exhibit in submission involves turning on a television.

          Religion, whether you believe it to be literally true or not, provided people, and provides people still, with a place to ask questions we must ask. Why are we here? How should we live? How can we be good? Atheists often argue that these questions can be equally answered by reading poetry or studying philosophy. Perhaps, but how many people who would once have gathered in a place of worship now meet on philosophy courses? Oughtn’t poetry books to be selling by the millions by now?"

          http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8839081/call-off-the-faith-wars/

          I try to expand my mind by considering differing viewpoints. I may not agree, but I try not to belittle them.

          Except when I meet an individual that demonstrates a narrow-minded viewpoint, like you.

          The author of that article is atheist, and I promise you he is writing it in regards to you.

          Good luck being a Secular Humanist, Most Humanists wouldn't discredit someone's belief system so arrogantly as you just did to mine. Thank God.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:57 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I never said anyone should force themselves into believing in God.

          Or that you should accept my ideas.

          I just want you to show respect. And not try to claim I am being "delusional" or "brainwashed".

          Do you know how easy it is to make comments like that about people?

          Do you know how hard it is to understand someone different than you?

          You are my only example of what a Secular Humanist is. And you just cut me down. Look on this page. Somebody asked me for help him in how to post in bold and italics. We were in the middle of a debate, but I stopped and helped him out.

          I'm asking you to help me. Can you? Can you treat non-Secular Humanists like you would want to be treated? By the way, is the name "Blessed are the Cheesemakers" a term of endearment, satire or spite?

          And do you guys at least have the golden rule? Or is that too much dogma?

          February 19, 2014 at 3:16 am |
        • fintronics

          @dala "Most Humanists wouldn't discredit someone's belief system so arrogantly as you just did to mine. Thank God."

          Any "belief system" not based in reality needs to be discredited. You mention you have evidence for your god, yet fail to provide any.

          February 19, 2014 at 9:17 am |
        • Dalahäst

          fintronics

          I said that in response to someone who said I had no evidence to believe. I disagreed.

          February 19, 2014 at 9:49 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Dala,

          I don't look at religious thought any different than political thought. The religious however are emotionally tied to their ideas, and I think that is why you get so sensitive and hurt when someone dissagrees with you. I have told you I think religion is a sham, just like I think astrology and palm readers are shams. Taking the emotional way out of a conversation is lazy. You have said some things that really offended me in their implications, I didn't get all "butt hurt" about it. I argued my point. If you disagree with me say why, don't play the "offense" card when it should be obvious by now I am giving you my opinion, not throwing barbs.

          You think there is a god, fine. You can't prove it, you can't provide on piece or shred of evidence to support that belief. That is delusion. Don't like it? Well support your beliefs better, don't cry to me that you are offended when someone disagrees with you faulty conclusion. Religion is an idea at base level. If you are so personally attached to the "idea" of religion is so much a part of you that you get your feelings hurt when someone dissagrees with you may want to stay off religious blogs.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "You are my only example of what a Secular Humanist is. And you just cut me down."

          And exactly where did I cut you down? I attacked your position, you ideas, your opinion, that is not the same as attacking you personally. I have no sympathy for that.

          "Look on this page. Somebody asked me for help him in how to post in bold and italics. We were in the middle of a debate, but I stopped and helped him out."

          Well goody for you!! I stopped and pushed someones car out of the middle of the street yesterday...what of it?

          "I'm asking you to help me. Can you? Can you treat non-Secular Humanists like you would want to be treated? By the way, is the name "Blessed are the Cheesemakers" a term of endearment, satire or spite?"

          You haven' asked me to help you, we have had a discussion.

          And I am treating you the way I would want to be treated. I don't like being treated with "kid gloves" apparently you do and are way to sensitive to criticism, get over yourself.

          'Blessed are the Cheesemakers' is a line out of a movie called the "Life of Brian". The Catholic church banned that movie. Religious people don't like their ideas criticized and you are certainly proof of that.

          "And do you guys at least have the golden rule? Or is that too much dogma?"

          The golden rule is philosophical, it didn't originate with Jesus or a religion (but you sure like to take credit for it and justify your reason to believe don't you?). Of course when I pointed this out to you before you claimed that it still originted with God. I asked you to support that point and you ignored me. That is delusion....thinking something is true with no basis in reality. Don't agree with me? Agrue your point but don't cry about it.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Dalahäst

          So it is kind of like when the Democrat says the Republican is delusional?

          And the Republican says, no the Democrat is delusional?

          The Democrat says Republicans are a sham.

          And the Republicans say Democrats are a sham.

          And most of their beliefs are emotional, just like yours.

          Look at how some (very few) atheists get upset and have to defend "atheism" (even though it is not really a belief system and doesn't need to be defended). Some get emotionally tied to it. And act just like religious people.

          Because religion isn't the problem that some atheists imagine it to be.

          It is people.

          And using broad generalizations and claiming others are delusional is lazy. That is the tactic of "new atheists" and reasonable atheists are seeing the folly in such ideas and rejecting them.

          When did I say the Golden Rule originated with God?

          February 19, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          If some Christian said:

          "I have taught my children the benefits of serving others, I have taught them empathy and I have done so using reason*. I have never once needed to cite there is no God as a reason or justification for any of that.

          And no, I have no interest in a atheism, non-belief is not a path to acertain what is true, it is a path to delusion. I have no interest in being lied to, even if it is ostensibly done for good reasons. Most popuar atheist thinkers are illogical and it would be ridiculous to listen to people who claim they are."

          *Christians use reason, too!

          I would think that Christian sounds closed-minded and doesn't demonstrate the ideals of Christianity. Or non-secular humanism. Anyway, it sounds intellectually lazy and insufficient.

          I'm glad I know well respected atheists that agree with me. Want evidence?

          February 19, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Delusion:
          a false belief or opinion: delusions of grandeur.

          a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact:

          And yes, if a Democrat claimed that the parties ideals, its platform, or its history was based on the "Will of god" or the concepts originated from god or made any unsubstatiated claim of fact pertaining to a god...THAT would be delusion. That is the problem with religion, it asserts a higher authority for which it has no justification....and then its followers cry foul when confronted with that.

          February 19, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Because religion isn't the problem that some atheists imagine it to be.

          It is people."

          All the evidence points to people constructing religion...and then claimed it came from god. So yes people are the problem, and religion is a product of people.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Dala,

          I don't claim atheism is a path to anything. It is an answer to a question as I have told you many times, nothing else. So no, saying any of that doesn't offend me in the least bit. You don't understand the position I am taking.

          And yes I can teach caring and empathy to a child without citing god. Why does that statement offend you?

          Theism is a claim, that god has made himself known through revelation. Christianity is specific for of theism. But you can't show that Christianity comes from the "creator of the universe" and to claim otherwise is delusion. Christianity is the claim, the onus is one you to support that claim. Atheism is the rejection that your claim is true.

          It is as if I claimed invisible pixies were responsible for gravity, and you said "I don't believe you, I think your belief in invisible, gravity causing pixies is a delusion" and then my response is 'why are you so intolerant of my beliefs, your non-belief in gravity causing pixies is close-minded and lazy"

          It is a nonsensical argument.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          It doesn't offend me.

          But going on to describe belief in God as "delusional" is offensvie. If you teach your children that, that is indoctrination according to the few vocal athiests on this blog.

          – It is a nonsensical argument. –

          And that is what some people say about atheism, too. People that are smarter and more educated than you.

          It is an opinion.

          I think Christianity is an experience and knowledge that one obtains by a) making an informed decision b) attempting to carry it out.

          You can teach whatever you want, but many people disagree with your theory, or your beliefs, or your non-beliefs that are solely based on reason (as if).

          February 19, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          - All the evidence points to people constructing religion...and then claimed it came from god. So yes people are the problem, and religion is a product of people. -

          And now evidence is pointing to atheists constructing religion.... and then claiming it came from reason. So, yes, atheists are part of the problem, and claiming exclusive access to reason is a product of misguided people.

          I have read articles where atheists are making this critique. I really trust their opinion over yours. They seem more reasonable, less anti- everything that is religious.

          A voice of reason I wish more atheists would listen to. Stay open-minded, not closed-minded to your ideas only.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "And that is what some people say about atheism, too. People that are smarter and more educated than you."

          That is a fallacious argument from authority. Just because someone is smarter does not make them correct. Issac Newton was smarter than me. Issac Newton believed in Alchemy...does that make Alchemy true?

          "I think Christianity is an experience and knowledge that one obtains by a) making an informed decision b) attempting to carry it out."

          Christianity is the claim Jesus Christ was god, and that Jesus' teaching is a communication from god. It has no basis in fact.

          "You can teach whatever you want, but many people disagree with your theory, or your beliefs, or your non-beliefs that are solely based on reason (as if)."

          If you show me where I hold an unreasonable belief I will change my belief. But it is similar to when you asserted that Hitchens belief and rhetoric was illogical. I asked you to provide the position of Hitchens you were refering to and you didn't.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "And now evidence is pointing to atheists constructing religion.... and then claiming it came from reason. So, yes, atheists are part of the problem, and claiming exclusive access to reason is a product of misguided people."

          That is a red herring argument and a straw man. If you are going to define religion that broadly the term becomes practically meaningless.

          "I have read articles where atheists are making this critique. I really trust their opinion over yours. They seem more reasonable, less anti- everything that is religious."

          I really don't care, you have shown you don't trust reason or logical arguments. When asked to provide support for your religious calims you have failed to do so and can only seem to appeal to emotions and logical fallacies.

          "A voice of reason I wish more atheists would listen to. Stay open-minded, not closed-minded to your ideas only."

          I am open minded, I will change my mind if provided suffient reason (there is that bad word again) to do so. But I am not going to accept your, or anyones basless claims regardless of how much "smarter" you think they are. Smart people are wrong quite often. They need to provide more than proof of their IQ to believe their claims.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • hotairace

          "Dalahäst
          I do have evidence for God, or else I would be an atheist."

          Then present it. I highly doubt you have any objective, factual, independent or verifiable evidence, evidence that would stand up to the scientific method or be accepted by a court of law as anything but hearsay.

          I think all you have is faith. As Peter Boghossian says "Faith is prentending to know things you do not."

          You can attempt to use the comments by anyone you like, strong or weak atheist or believer, but without real evidence, all you have is an opinion and faith. In any other domain, after centuries of failing to provide any real evidence at all, such a claim as "a god exists" would have been abandoned a long time ago. But religion enjoys a special, undeserved in my opinion, place in society. Believers are losing the battle in developed countries (with rare exceptions, the various cults are only gaining market share in underdeveloped countries with high birth rates) and are desperate for the return of the days when nice people didn't discuss religion. So sorry, those days are done.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm stating my stance. I believe in God. You don't have to believe. I respect your disbelief.

          I'm not in a court of law, silly. Nobody tried to make MLK Jr prove his faith before leading the civil rights trial in some absurd courtroom.

          I have faith. Like the dictionary says: "Complete trust and confidence in something or someone."

          And, like me, you have an opinion and faith. Thanks for sharing yours with me.

          February 19, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • hotairace

          Agreed with the exception that when it comes to believing whether or not any gods exists, I have an opinion based on the lack of evidence. Faith has nothing to do with my opinion on the existence of any god.

          February 19, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Right. Atheists do not have evidence of God, so they do not believe in God.

          I do have evidence of God, like many others like me, so I do believe in God.

          February 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        I have to admit I am going to play the fence here a bit because often the people (parents, teachers, ect.) absolutely believe what they are teaching because of what they themselves were taught. So then the question becomes is it brain washing if the authority truly believes what they are teaching even if they can't demonstrate them to be actually true?

        I think that is why it is important to stop passing it on as fact. I have told my children where I stand on the issue but I have also let them know they are free to explore any and all information they are curious about, including religious questions, and are free to disagree with me. I have told them that I will ask them some very tough questions so it would be a good idea for them to have as much information on the subject (whatever it is) as possible.

        February 18, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I really think that is how most religious people believe, too.

          Of course we see the extreme cases, but most religious people oppose those, too.

          I know many atheists that were raised in religious households who do not believe they were brainwashed. They didn't need psychotherapy to recover from years of waterboarding and food deprivation tactics opposed on them to take hold of a dangerous idea.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
        • Austin

          @Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          you sound fair. I agree with that.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "I really think that is how most religious people believe, too."

          Now this I have to disagree with. Most Christians teach their dogma as fact to children. It is not presented as an optional view. I told you I attended an ELCA church, I watched how they teach their beief. It is taught as fact, not opinion.

          Also, I consider teaching kids about an eternal punishment (the ELCA church did not do this) is child abuse. It is not 'criminal' abuse. But none the less it is abusive.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Totally agree. But the fact that the brain-washer believes it and doesn't have bad intentions doesn't make it not brain-washing. You hit on the fundamental problem – the brain-washers think they're doing a good thing as does much of society. That fallacy is what I hope to help expose.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          SeaVik

          You have failed to demonstrate you are good for society.

          You can't even laugh at yourself when The Onion satires you. Come on!

          February 18, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
        • SeaVik

          That's just like, you're opinion man.

          February 18, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
    • SeaVik

      Ok, so it's a landslide. Dala, please don't ever make statements suggesting most atheists don't think Christian children are brain-washed, indoctrinated or mentally abused.

      February 18, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        haha.

        I'll tell my atheists loved ones are wrong.

        February 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'll tell my atheist loved ones they are wrong. They actually think I'm brainwashed, not free.

          February 18, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        3 to 0 = a landslide and provides conclusive evidence.

        That sounds SO logical.

        OK, what is going on??? I really know some awesome atheists, and yes, they are very logical and intelligent.

        Not like these. Sorry. But learning to think logically and critically is a skill that can be acquired.

        Also, don't take yourself so seriously. ALL people are absurd and should laugh at themselves.

        February 18, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
        • SeaVik

          It was 4-0 and the most important part of that is the ZERO. I'm not saying this loose poll is a statistically sound analysis, but it provides much more evidence to support a conclusion than your religion does.

          February 18, 2014 at 8:20 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I thought Cheese actually voted against you.

          And FYI about science, studies and logic:

          There are variables you must take into consideration. Drawing an absolute conclusion as quickly as you did is foolish.

          February 18, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I actually more abstained. I don't really like the phrasing of "brain washed". Though I have seen instances where I think it is more appropriate. Have you ever seen the docu.mentary "Jesus Camp"? I think you would be hard pressed to say that wasn't brain washing.

          Not sure you saw my question Dala so I will post it here too..

          Honest question, do you think it is a good idea to teach children 'demons can possess people'?

          February 18, 2014 at 9:14 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes, I have seen Jesus Camp. I oppose that kind of stuff.

          What about this:

          ~The Superior Atheist believes that its position as an atheist grants it an intellectual superiority above all others. It argues that its position as an atheist allows it access to a truth that more feeble minds have been unable to attain. You may hear it make statements such as, “religion is the sole cause of all wars, 9/11 happened because of religion and no other reason”, or, “the only reason for the existence of faith is a fear of death.” Such statements are, of course, wrong. They are highly simplistic analysis of the complex world in which we live. ~

          (That was written by an atheist) Where do these people (some who are posting in this thread) get these ideas? If that SeeVak guy honestly believes I've been brainwashed, why does he act so hostile and ridicule me? He said his parents were brainwashed but since they were so intelligent they overcame it (really? no therapy, just intelligence to get over brainwashing) and raised him the right way.

          If somebody is honestly brainwashed, you don't ridicule them. And insist you are superior so I should just trust them?

          Look, having little debates is fun. And sometimes they get out of line.

          But some of these people have some crazy ideas. In 5 years there will be an "Superior Atheist Camp" movie, don't you think?

          http://aafwaterloo.wordpress.com/2011/09/18/your-superiority-complex-annoys-me/

          February 18, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
        • dandintac

          Dala,

          "In 5 years there will be an "Superior Atheist Camp" movie, don't you think?"

          I agree that some atheists go over the top, and some, like Christians, start getting full of themselves. This seems to be a human frailty and we atheists are not immune. I don't think we'll ever have the equivalent of a Jesus Camp though. Why? What would we teach? Atheism is not a religion. There are no doctrines or dogmas to teach–just a single position on a single question: we don't believe in gods. That's it.

          There's a joke about atheists going door to door like missionaries, but the guy who answers the door looks at their pamphlet, and its blank. He ask them why. "We're atheists," they respond. This is why you don't have atheist missionaries. So an atheist camp would look just like any other secular camp.

          Furthermore, we don't have the fear factor–Hell. We don't fear that are kids will go to hell if they believe differently from us. We don't have any holy books telling us to evangelize and spread the "good news". I have four stepdaughters who were initially raised Mormon. After we moved and my wife and I married, they no longer went to church–but I never once discussed with them my atheism, or sought to indoctrinate them. One of them wanted to go to church and I even drove her there. Can the same be said about Christian parents? How many Christian parents will abstain from discussing their faith with their children? How many will refrain from indoctrinating their children?

          Thanks for your thoughtful comments and civil discourse. I greatly appreciate your reasonable contributions to this debate.

          These blogs actually bring out the most passionate–those who care enough to argue.

          February 18, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Most Christians are not fire & brimstone preachers! Most Christians do not teach their kids to live in fear. Especially not of hell.

          What do atheists teach? Apparently: fear religious people because they are brainwashed? It is ok to treat others poorly because they are not as intelligent as us and were simply taught to just fear hell?? If you meet somebody that has been emotionally damaged by religious zealots, call them delusional and making them feel inferior is justifiable?

          No. But that seems to be happening. Atheist are guilty of the same horrible crimes that the religious have committed. Just because they don't have a religious dogma doesn't excuse them. Or make it any better.

          And what if the religious have a dogma that says don't commit horrible crimes? And some of them ignore that and commit horrible crimes? You going to blame all religions like a few of the absurd atheists try to do? I hope not.

          I know what atheism is. But people are treating it like a religion. We have atheist churches, now. And there seems to be an atheist cult movement happening. 2 people on here FAILED to get The Onion joke making fun of atheists. I still can't get over that.

          My parents, like most of my peers, encouraged me to follow in their faith that was important to them. These parents were good people. They weren't brainswashing or water boarding anyone.

          I was given freedom to choose. For example, my sister was interested in church and was confirmed and did all those formal things. I wasn't interested in church so I didn't participate in those things.

          Give children credit: they are going to do what they want to do. Most of them can see through all the BS. Most atheists were raised in religious households... and they really don't seem brainwashed.

          If they were... they wouldn't be atheists!

          Thanks for the joke, I like that one (blank pamphlet).

          February 18, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
        • dandintac

          Dalahäst

          Thanks for your reply, but It's getting late, and I'm too tired to reply.

          Two off-topic questions if you don't mind:
          1) What does "Dalahäst" mean? I'm curious.
          2) Also, how did you make the word "fear" in bold? I'm tired of using camps for emphasis–people wrongly perceive it as shouting. I'd like to use italics too.

          Thanks again, and good night.

          February 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Two off-topic questions if you don't mind:
          1) What does "Dalahäst" mean? I'm curious.

          It is a Swedish horse statue. I like the art style of them.

          2) Also, how did you make the word "fear" in bold?

          Some atheists critique Christians by saying they live in fear of hell. Or they only do good things because they don't want to go to hell (which is theologically wrong, but whatever).

          And then I ask them why they always post on religious blogs...

          ...and they'll start talking about all the fear they have of religious people (they want to take over the government, they are brainwashed, they start all the wars, etc, etc.)

          Ironically they are the ones that live in fear, and it is a fear they create and obsess about.

          Most atheists are happy with the US and think there is room for all of us.

          They are awesome!

          And thank you, later!

          February 18, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          You said, how... not why! Sorry.

          Let me get off the soapbox. Whoops.

          I use simple html code

          Try this

          <b>This text is bold </b>

          (b) text (b) (i) text (i)

          February 18, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Ok, got it:

          <b>This text is bold </b>

          The first b is for bold. The second /b turns off the bold. The < > hides the instruction.

          <i> This text is italics </i>

          i for italics

          PS
          I had to use a special code to show the > < symbols.

          more info:

          http://codex.wordpress.org/Fun_Character_Enti . ties

          remove the dot

          February 18, 2014 at 11:24 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          When I literally post that first line with the b in the greater than/less then I get this:

          This text is bold

          February 18, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          http://www.boardhost.com/help/tutorials/html.html

          This has some good info on text formatting.

          A lot of codes are not activated on the message board, like underline or strike-thru. No posting links or images.

          I think it is just bold, italics and special characters like : ©

          February 18, 2014 at 11:45 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "But some of these people have some crazy ideas. In 5 years there will be an "Superior Atheist Camp" movie, don't you think?"

          No I really don't.

          All "atheist" refers to is an answer to a question. The question being "Do you believe is god(s)?" The answer being "no".

          Yes there are atheists who think they are personally superior, and we see them here. There are plenty of atheists who are atheists for really bad reasons. Not believing in god(s) does not make one superior. Notice I am not claiming there "are no god(s)". I don't know. I just don't think there is justification for that belief.

          February 18, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Some sure do defend atheism as if it were a belief system. Especially the notion that no one has ever done something evil in the name of atheism.

          But anything a religious person does that is evil must have been done in the name of religion, which makes it really, really bad.

          And some dogma and doctrine is actually good. People just fail to carry it out.

          February 19, 2014 at 12:12 am |
        • Dalahäst

          The idea of freedom for all and a democratic society doesn't come from atheism, then? But it can from Christianity? Since many Christians have demonstrated such ideals are important to them. Especially if you look at our predominately Christian nation.

          So, like everything there is bad that comes from religion. But also really good things.

          February 19, 2014 at 12:16 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "The idea of freedom for all and a democratic society doesn't come from atheism, then?"

          No, like I said atheism is an an answer to a claim...nothing more. It can (and does) however come out of Secular Humanism though.

          "But it can from Christianity?"

          Yes it can...but the bible can be used to justify practically any position with equal validity. I think equal rights for gays is a perfect example. I have seen people use the Bible to promote equal rights. I have had a conversation with a Baptist preacher from Florida who argued that gays should be put to death by the gov't...using bible passages. This is not a benefit of the bible, it is a detriment.

          You can't support both positions with Secular Humanism.

          February 19, 2014 at 12:49 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Right. Like one guy pointed out: atheism is like people going door to door handing out blank sheets of paper.

          Fine. So atheism doesn't change anything.

          But secular humanism is a world view that is similar to and tries to do what a religion does.

          The ideals behind secular humanism and Christianity are very similar. Either way they have to be taught, we aren't born with that knowledge.

          The Bible has been used to justify horrible positions. So has science. So has national pride. So has race. So has class. So has money.

          It doesn't have to be. Christians have fought and died to protect other people's rights. Rights that don't agree with theirs.

          The same Bible that Christians who weren't following what it actually said that used it to justify their wicked behaviour in an area like slavery, was also used by Martin Luther King, JR to set oppressed Americans free.

          He said it was his Christian background that gave him the strength to do that.

          That was his testimony. Look at his evidence.

          So a Secular Humanist who doesn't follow your ideals is not a "Real Secular Humanist"?

          February 19, 2014 at 1:04 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          “But secular humanism is a world view that is similar to and tries to do what a religion does.”

          No it doesn’t. Secular Humanism does not use dogma to justify its position. Secular Humanism does not claim an ultimate authority as its foundation. They could not be more different.

          “The ideals behind secular humanism and Christianity are very similar.”

          That completely depends on the version of Christianity.

          “Either way they have to be taught, we aren't born with that knowledge.”

          But there is no authority in Secular Humanism that one defers to.

          “The Bible has been used to justify horrible positions. So has science.”

          Science is a process…not an ideology. The point is that there is no way to claim one version of Bible interpretation is more correct…there is no empirical evidence to point to. Science is nothing but a process to discern reality.

          “It doesn't have to be. Christians have fought and died to protect other people's rights. Rights that don't agree with theirs. “

          Yes they have…but I already addresses this.

          “The same Bible that Christians who weren't following what it actually said that used it to justify their wicked behaviour in an area like slavery”

          The Bible condones slavery, there is no way around that.

          “So a Secular Humanist who doesn't follow your ideals is not a "Real Secular Humanist"?”

          What? How did you glean that from anything I have written?

          February 19, 2014 at 1:37 am |
        • Dalahäst

          "That completely depends on the version of Christianity."

          We write our ideals out and let others know so we can try to live up to them. What do you do? Are there different versions of Secular Humanism? What happens when a Secular Humanist fails, like mistakingly murders someone in a fit of rage? Was he just being a Secular Humanist? Or not?

          "But there is no authority in Secular Humanism that one defers to."

          Uh, then you just believe whatever you want?

          How do you even know what Secular Humanism is?

          "Science is a process…not an ideology."

          It may have been later proved to be pseudo-science, but science was used to justify slavery and other horrilbe things, too. In the wrong hands, science can be used to do horrible things. Who do you think North Koriea is trying to get to build them nuclear weapons? Relgious people? Or scientists?

          February 19, 2014 at 1:55 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Dala,

          You have gone off the deep end a bit with this last post. I don't even know where to start. Scientific discoveries can be abused but science itself is just about objectively understanding the reality we live in. Science has never justified slavery.

          Secular humanism is about promoting humanity as a group. If someone murders someone in a fit of rage that makes them a murderer and that doesn't say anything about secular humanism....

          "Uh, then you just believe whatever you want?" No, I have a set of values and ideals and my beliefs are based on those. I can't suddenly decide hurting other people is A OK. I have a personal set of morals just like you.

          But really isn't that what you do when you pick a church, you are just picking what you already agree with...right? You are not a Jehovah's Witness for a reason. You picked the church that was closest to your values and ideals you already had.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:20 am |
        • Dalahäst

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_racism

          People tried to justify slavery with science. It was wrong. And false.

          Just like people tried to justify slavery with religion. It was wrong. And false.

          Whatever reason you decided to become a Secular Humanist, assume are the same reasons I choose to become a Christian.

          I googled and see there are different types of secular humanists. And there are non-secular humanists. I see that there is a complaint about secular humanists: they focus on other people too much.

          Some decide to just be humanists. Interesting. Looks like you got a religious-like movement.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:36 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Racism use to be far more widely accepted in society. Back in the times that you are referring to the fine heroic ladies who fought for their right to vote would still commonly speak out against the "yellow peril" of asian immigration. I think a fairer evaluation of this is that people, even ones who saw themselves as progressive, were still far more racist than we are now use to, and they saw the new science of evolution as supporting their preexisting views.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • Dalahäst

          kudlak

          Yes. Unfortunately some scientists were racists and tried to prove racial superiority using science. And they were able to convince others that they were facts.

          February 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          – The Bible condones slavery, there is no way around that.

          Christians overwhelmingly oppose slavery. There is no way around that. Slavery still exists and is still being opposed.

          Martin Luther King, JR opposed slavery, and he was influenced greatly by the Bible. There is no way around that.

          February 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Christians overwhelmingly oppose slavery. There is no way around that. Slavery still exists and is still being opposed."

          They do now, but that hasn't always been the case. And they have to rationalize their way around, and ignore the parts of their "Holy" book that say how much one can beat their slave. Any position can be rationalized by the bible...like I said, that is a reason to reject it, not accept it as communication from a god. You do what all CHristians do, you pick and choose the parts you like and ignore the rest.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Yeah..its unfortunate...that some people dont study the Bible..for example..they were not allowed ot beat their slaves..in fact..a slave getting injured like an eye put out or such was to GO FREE

          February 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          There were Christians who have always opposed slavery. Power mongers abused it. Like they did with science to "prove" racial superiority. The way slavery has been overcome in this nation is testament that change can happen. But it takes time. We are living up to our ideals of equality for all.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "Yes. Unfortunately some scientists were racists and tried to prove racial superiority using science. And they were able to convince others that they were facts."

          And their claims of superiority were wrong and can be demonstred to be wrong using science.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

          February 19, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I hope you don't believe you are not superior to other races because "science" proves you are not.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
  13. kenmargo

    Let me guess, the snake is the devil because god wouldn't have let the snake bite him. Or better yet, god is "calling him home". Hopefully the church members will see this for what it is. Don't play with venomous snakes. His luck finally ran out.

    February 18, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    snake handling.

    yep, Christianity is the word of the almighty god. It's really, really, really not just primitive voodoo, even though it resembles it in sooooo many ways.

    February 18, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
  15. Martin

    “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

    –Yes, these signs follow all believers.
    –Nowhere in the Bible a believer is advised to keep these reptiles in cages to live among themselves.
    –The promise is for a believer who has the faith and encounters a serpent to not be afraid but in faith conquer the threat.

    The important point to be made in reading this verse is that; the Bible does not advise believers to live with rattlesnakes, instead if they encountered one to overcome them in faith.

    February 18, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Just one more interpretation of what that giant book of stories means.

      February 18, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        41,000 sects of the Christian cult. Not even the Christians are sure of their magical fairy tale book.

        February 18, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
    • hotairace

      What does "They shall take up serpents" mean?

      February 18, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
      • Martin

        Take up serpents simply means to take up serpents.

        February 18, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
        • hotairace

          As in, pick them up whenever, wherever someone likes?

          February 18, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • Martin

          They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing,

          –What the Bible says is clear, they shall take up serpents and if they drank any deadly thing it will not harm them
          –It does not advice people to cage serpents to take up serpents, to store poison at home and keep drinking them.
          –If a serpent attacked a believer, he should not be afraid and in faith conquer the serpent.

          It's very clear, there's no ambiguity in that passage.

          February 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Martin: Guess you missed the point made above...your interpretation is just one of many. Why should we believe you over some other believer?

          February 18, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
        • hotairace

          You seem to be arguing against the practice Coots engaged in – yes? If yes, you seem to be using the lack of detailed instructions about how to take up serpents to mean people should not take up snakes at will. Am I correct in understanding your position, or what am I missing?

          February 18, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
        • Martin

          The bible passage is clearly telling the believer to overcome fear, with faith, when IN fear; there is no mention of encouraging someone to live WITH fear.

          February 18, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Martin: Stop the damn broken record syndrome! You've been asked numerous questions and fail to care enough to address them. What makes your interpretation any better than the interpretation given by hotair (an recovering christian)?

          February 18, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • Martin

          Troll elsewhere!

          February 18, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Martin: Asking you to answer a question isn't trolling but obviously you don't have an answer or at least you don't care.
          This is a public blog, stop the dictating!

          February 18, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
        • hotairace

          And answer my questions!

          February 18, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
    • Martin

      Mark 16 sends a profound message to a person of faith; to not be overcome with fear , but to overcome fear in faith.

      February 18, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Faith is belief without evidence...do you even care that what you believe is based on evidence?

        Care to answer my initial question to you...WHY should we believe your interpretation of your holy book over that of another believe?

        February 18, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
    • doobzz

      What should I do if I take up a serpent and it starts talking to me?

      February 18, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
      • hotairace

        Write a book! With me as your editor!! We'll make millions!!!

        February 18, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
        • doobzz

          I think I see a garter snake outside. BRB!

          February 18, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          doobz: If you're seeing a garter snake that means you see grass...right now that is simply not fair and we'll be happy to send you truck load upon truck load of our white stuff. Just consider it a gift from Canada with peaceful wishes being sent 🙂 .

          February 18, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
        • doobzz

          @ TruthPrevails

          I live in a beautiful part of the country that has sunny warm weather year round. But I grew up in Chicago, so I know real weather too. As much as I love your country, I'll have to say no to the snow delivery, lol.

          February 18, 2014 at 11:39 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Listen very carefully, it will probably make more sense than 3/4's of the christians here. 😉

        February 18, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
      • fintronics

        Doobz.......... put down the acid!

        February 19, 2014 at 9:34 am |
        • doobzz

          LMAO, it wasn't the brown acid.

          February 19, 2014 at 11:56 am |
  16. ddeevviinn

    Hopefully, the majority of atheists hanging out here would have the intellectual honesty to recognize that the Mao Zedong and Pol Pot were no more credible representatives of atheism than the late Mr. Coots was of Christianity. Propping up the lunatic fringe of an opposing ideology in an attempt bolster your own position is dubious at best.

    February 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
    • thefinisher1

      Shhhh. Atheists don't like it when you reverse what they claim. Bringing up murderous atheists won't convince atheists they're wrong. Most deny the existence of murderous atheists because they didn't "kill in the name of atheism". Lame excuses atheists. Very lame.

      February 18, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • Creationists say the darndest things

        That's nothing. Thanks to you Christians, the winter Olympics are full of silly costumes and people making fools of themselves.

        You have no one to blame but yourselves for that mess:

        http://fundamentalistfunhouse.blogspot.com/2010/04/ice-crusades.html

        February 18, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • Creationists say the darndest things

          Improved link:

          https://www.google.com/search?q=the+ice+crusades&start=10&client=firefox-a&hs=EXY&sa=N&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&tbm=isch&imgil=mgdRA_IqZcFd7M%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcT1ddDQiWAZ9V0Nd1sa1pcsYcDPMK9eMD58gzotM51pXbf9_ia3yA%253B662%253B875%253BxP4mAhrpqThQLM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Ffundamentalistfunhouse.blogspot.com%25252F2010%25252F04%25252Fice-crusades.html&source=iu&usg=__8ysZjIOvVuGHz9uGZppJjYHlbms%3D&ei=ZMYDU9nMMKS6yQHhu4GgDg&ved=0CDsQ9QEwBDgK&biw=1599&bih=1110#facrc=_&imgrc=mgdRA_IqZcFd7M%253A%3BxP4mAhrpqThQLM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252F1.bp.blogspot.com%252F_jyaFg9IwHtQ%252FS7_ClyXMlrI%252FAAAAAAAAGUE%252F3F_L2VPi27g%252Fs1600%252FGary%25252BLarson%25252B-%25252BThe%25252BCurse%25252Bof%25252BMadame%25252BC-086.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Ffundamentalistfunhouse.blogspot.com%252F2010%252F04%252Fice-crusades.html%3B662%3B875

          February 18, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • Archibald Smythe-Pennington, III

          Ah yes, the ice crusades...

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyDKezDLGTM

          February 18, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • tallulah131

          I have no idea what you are posting about but I absolutely adore the Alexander Nevsky soundtrack. Good stuff.

          February 19, 2014 at 1:57 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        your wife calls you "thefinsher" doesn't she?

        Is the "1" for duration in seconds?

        LOLOL

        February 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Awww. Doggy thinks he's cool.

          February 18, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          ooops! Oh, I'm sorry dear. I'm finished.

          February 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Dog: 🙂 I'm wondering if Salero is his wife...both crazy, probably met at the local asylum.

          February 18, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Lol you think I'm this "Salero"? How stupid are you atheists? Doggie is an exception because well, he's a dog as his name clearly indicates.

          February 18, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          No, I believe I said I thought Salero might be your wife (failed basic reading didn't you?).
          As for Dyslexic...you portray a bit of jealousy here,,,,does it upset you that he can form a sentence without being an ASS HAT?

          February 18, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          🙂

          February 18, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
    • hotairace

      Assuming *Pastor* Coots was actually an ordained or certified pastor and that he had not been relieved of his duties at his chosen cult, how could he not be a credible representative of his cult? Or are you going to argue that his cult is not a part of the christian cult? If you do, please tell us how we can tell a proper christian cult from an improper one?

      February 18, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        You know what's really painful for atheists? If an atheist decides to believe (insert any religion) atheists will respond with intense anger and ridicule. Now that's a cult.

        February 18, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • hotairace

          Any your post relates to mine how?

          February 18, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Atheism is also a cult. Leave and you'll get ridiculed and hated. No difference.

          February 18, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • hotairace

          I only spoke about Pastor Coots, a member of the christian cult, not an atheist, as far as I know.

          February 18, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Atheism is a cult so...attacking his cult is not wise.

          February 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Atheism is not a cult.

          But there are atheists that behave as if it were one. So atheists can become cult-like and start cults, yes. And it happens.

          February 18, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Duh atheism is cult-like. North Korea is a perfect example of how atheism can be turned into a cult. Most American atheists ignore North Korea even though most of the population are atheists with very few religions allowed. Maybe whiny American atheists should live there! It's an atheist country so they will fit right in!

          February 18, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • hotairace

          Other than using the word cult, where did I attack the pastor's cult or anyone else's?

          Pretend I never used the word cult.

          Why isn't the pastor a credible representative of christianity?

          February 18, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
        • Alias

          Actually North Koreans worship their leader.
          They think miracles happen around him.

          February 18, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • fintronics

          Here we have the deluded religious nut-jobs attempting to again change word definations..... so dishonest.

          February 19, 2014 at 9:41 am |
      • ddeevviinn

        Well, here's a little hint: less than .01 % of professing Christians dance around with snakes dangling from their limbs. Now I'm most certain you could also find that percentage of atheists engaged in equally bizarre behavior, what ever that may be . Again, the thought here is that idiotic behavior is found across the board.

        February 18, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • SeaVik

          The vast majority of practicing Christians (maybe all?) indoctrinate their children, which is a form of brain-washing / mental abuse. That's just as crazy as playing with snakes and unfortunately, harmful to children, not just yourself. The fact that this guy's version of crazy is rare doesn't make the more popular varieties any less crazy.

          February 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Religion should be accepted on its own intrinsic values, based on altruism, which means people come to it, rather than it having to force itself on people (via brainwashing).

          Some religious parents raise their children this way. Hence, they are not brainwashing. They do what your parents did.

          February 18, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
        • hotairace

          I was born to christian parents. I was brainwashed, without my consent, by them, primarily by my mother, to believe as christian. Relatives and society supported and reinforced the brainwashing. Calling it anything else is just an effort to maintain the status quo and free pass that religion, especially christianity, undeservedly enjoys.

          February 18, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • SeaVik

          My parents didn't raise me religious, they let me come to my own conclusions. If I ever wanted to go to church, I was allowed (and I went a few times with grandparents, etc...not so much because I wanted to, but because they wanted me to). This is how all children should be raised. Making children go to church and teaching them that your fairy tales are true is seriously wrong.

          February 18, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          hotair

          Here is my story: I was raised by parents who instilled in me the teachings of the christian faith, not by brain washing, but in the same way in which they taught me to respect authority, to maintain certain moral and ethical behavior, to live as a responsible and caring human being in the world. Within this context my siblings and I felt complete freedom to question, dissent and challenge the philosophical difficulties with our faith. My father and I in particular, both very skeptical and somewhat cynical individuals, often joke about what astute atheists we would be if not for our christian faith. Bottom line for me is that there is one and only one reason that I , today, embrace my chrisitan faith, and that is because I believe it to be true.

          February 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
        • hotairace

          Our parents and experiences were different and I cannot quarrel with yours.

          February 18, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
        • dandintac

          Devilin,

          "Here is my story: I was raised by parents who instilled in me the teachings of the christian faith..."

          Okay, the term "brainwashing" carries some pretty negative connotations. We picture torture, sleep deprivation, and so on. We don't like thinking of our parents, whom we love, in that manner.

          But tell me–honestly–would you have been punished if you had refused to go to church? What would have happened to you if you declared yourself an atheist? What do you think would happen to most children of Christians?

          Let me give you a comparison. I'm an atheist. I married a woman, a recovering Mormon, who had four stepdaughters. After we married, I did not make them go to church, and I never went, but I did not stop them if they wanted to go. In fact, I even drove them there. Never once did I discuss my atheism with them–not once. I thought it best to let them learn and choose on their own.

          Now–would you do the same with your own children?

          Even to this day I don't talk to them about it. All or grown up now. One has gone back to the Mormon church. The others appear to be leading secular lives and do not attend church. They are all happy and healthy–the one that is least happy is the one who went back to the church–but then she has a lot of other issues as well.

          February 18, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          @ ddeevviinn

          Sounds reasonable.

          I still remember some of the things I was taught in church. They were very good, practical things. Like, respect others, everyone is a child of God even people who don't go to our church, trust your parents (because they really did know better than us).

          --

          also
          -"But tell me–honestly–would you have been punished if you had refused to go to church? –

          Or school?

          Or to soccer practice?

          Or to my icky aunt's house?

          Or to the doctor/dentist?

          Or to my sister's ballet?

          Or to..,. pretty much everywhere?

          Parents!!!! They were so mean!!!!

          February 18, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          hotairace

          How did you get un-brainwashed? Unless they did a horrible job, it would take a lot of psychological help.

          And part of the psychological recovery would be accepting that not all religion is brainwashing. Most are not as wicked as your parents and family. Most people love their children and would never harm them like your harmed you.

          Have you talked to a professional about that? I have. Most say there is nothing inherent in religion that supports brainwashing. It is about the person, not the religion, when such crimes occur.

          February 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          dandintac

          " Would you have been punished if you had refused to go to church?" Yes, much in the same way I would have been punished if I had refused to go to any other event ( school, piano lessons, family vacations etc..) my parents deemed worthy of my attendance. Mine was not a family governed by democracy or individualism, rather it was a loving dictatorship in which my parents were the absolute potentates. But don't misconstrue what I just said, they were the most gracious, easy going,forgiving and balanced parents a child could asked for. They simply believed that there responsibility as parents was not only to foster morals, ethics, and good character in their children but also to instruct them in the faith that they believed to be true.

          " What ... if you declared yourself an atheist." I really view my childhood in 2 distinct phases. The first phase, let's just say it was from birth to 11 years old, to the best of my recollection was not filled with a whole lot of deep cognitive thought. It was pretty much " when's my next baseball game, what did I get on my math exam, what's for dessert?" kind of stuff. The second phase, from 11 until the time I went to college, I'll call the the self perceived intellectual years. It is during this period of my life that the "potential" to become an atheist could have occurred. The interesting thing is that it is at the beginning of this phase that my parents began to "loosen the leash'" and encourage individualism and independent thought. I look back now and am amazed at the level of autonomy my parents gave me in the teenage years. All this to say, had I chosen to go the path of atheism during those years, my parents, although heavy with heartache, would have unconditionally loved and supported me.

          " Now would you do the same with your own children" No, I would not and have not, and here's why. I think you and I probably have a fundamental difference in both the quality of human nature and the role of parental guidance. I do not take a lassez faire approach with my children in regards to faith. I teach them about christianity and that it is reality because I honestly believe it to be so. And yet, now that they are in their mid and late teens, they would be the first to laugh at the notion of "brain washing" and express to you the freedom of thought they enjoyed while growing up.

          February 19, 2014 at 2:14 am |
        • fintronics

          I attended a Luthren church when I was a child. We were taught IN SUNDAY SCHOOL by the pastor that the jews that died in the holocost were being punished by god. That was taught as FACT, Please don't tell me that wasn't brainwashing.

          February 19, 2014 at 9:45 am |
      • hotairace

        Pol Pot, Mao and the silly boy in Korea have been denounced by many people of all beliefs including non-belief. Who is on record denouncing the likes of Coots? I'm not 'cause as long as all participants are consenting adults, I don't care what cult members do in their cult clubhouses. But have other (more true?) christians denounced the likes of Coots prior to this debacle? Seems to me the only time believers denounce other believers in public is when some cult's activities become a public embarrassment for all believers.

        February 18, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          While we do not have a public stage, many of my christian friends and I have frequently denounced the stupidity of certain individuals claiming to be christians, whether that be snake handlers or the legions of t.v. charlatans peddling their wares.

          February 18, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
        • hotairace

          Thanks!

          February 18, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I think the primary difference between Coots as being representative of Christians and Pol Pot representing atheists is that Coots, like many Christians, claimed to believe in a specific creed whereas there is no atheist creed, Pol Pot pushed a radical form of agrarian socialism on his people. So you can see a connection to others who believe in the same or similar religious creeds as Coots as being a fair representation of them whereas Pol Pot just so happened to wear pants just like me, and also happened to not believe in any Gods, but I would hardly think that makes us compatriots.

          February 18, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
    • kudlak

      ddeevviinn
      There are, however, non-atheist examples of brutal dictators, Hitler being a prime one. An honest person would see this as a common factor of dictators, and not atheists.

      These snake handlers share one thing in common with other Christians: Faith. Isn't it fair to say that faith in something isn't any guarantee of it's being a good idea?

      February 18, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        That is absolutely " fair to say", and a statement with which the majority of Christians would concur.

        February 18, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
        • kudlak

          Why do you suppose so many Christians seem to prefer "faith" over reason, then? It doesn't seem like a very reliable path towards the truth.

          February 18, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          I will only speak for myself here. For me, faith and reason are not mutually exclusive. While I will never shy away from the reality that faith is the cornerstone of my ideology, it is a faith I have come to based on information that I consider reasonable. Now I am fully aware of the mythical parodies and criticisms of the supernatural that are put forth by the atheist crowd, and that's fine, we each must be true to our own thoughts. What it comes down to for me is this: I believe that there is a creator who is infinitely more intelligent than ourselves and that he has revealed information about himself. This information paints the most realistic picture of the human condition, the state of the planet, and the " God shaped vacuum in the human heart" of which Pascal speaks.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      They might have been Atheists but what they did had nothing to do with that, unlike christians who have numerous times over used their belief to justify misdeeds.
      “Religion is an insult to human dignity. 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

      February 18, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        " But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." This is perhaps the most fallacious and nonsensical quote I've read in a long while.

        February 18, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Of course you'd think that and that's fine. It holds quite an element of truth.
          So many atrocities have the christian belief attached to them (not just theistic...that would be too broad ranged).

          February 18, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
        • kudlak

          ddeevviinn
          I know of a number of people who say that they can find no sensible reason for denying equal marriage rights to gays, but they will because the Bible declares it wrong. If the declarations of God found in a book override your innate sense of morality, isn't that an example of otherwise good people doing evil because of religion?

          February 18, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          kudlak

          First, my fault finding with the quote was not that good people can do evil because of religion, but rather in the exclusivity of the statement, " But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." I can assure you there are many "good people" who have done evil things apart from religion. Do you know any "good atheists" who have done evil? If not, may I suggest you need not look far or long to find one. Please take note that I was not implying that truthp was stupid, simply the quote he used.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          kudlak

          Almost forgot to answer the first question. I'll answer it with a question. Do you think it is possible for an individual, in this case a Christian, to have an " innate sense of morality" due to BOTH declarations of God found in a book and because they intrinsically believe that such declarations are moral, truthful absolutes?

          February 18, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
        • kudlak

          ddeevviinn
          There are good people (including atheists) who have done bad things, of course, but truly evil things are probably a different matter entirely. The argument more or less says that these hypothetical "good" people realize that what they're doing to others is harmful, but that their religious convictions, like love of God, trump their innate morality.

          If people didn't have innate senses of morality how did you, for example, determine that God was the good guy in the Bible and Satan the bad guy? It would be circular reasoning to say that the Bible says that God is good, so you applied that lesson when you actually went ahead and judged God's character, right?

          February 19, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
    • dandintac

      But Devin,

      Here's the difference between Pol Pott and the late Mr. Coots. There was no atheist Bible telling Pol Pott that it was a good idea to kill lots of people–that it would make him. There is no atheist doctrine or dogma requiring Pol Pott or his followers to kill lots of people.

      However, Mr. Coots could read, right in the Bible–the Holy Book–the Word of God himself–that it was a sign of a believer that they will speak in new tongues, pick up servants, drink poison without harm, and so on. It's right there in the book.

      So you cannot claim there is no connection. Mr. Coots had everything he needed–right there in the Holy Book–the Word of God–to believe he would be safe handling poisonous snakes.

      The question is not whether one person is "representative"–representation is not the issue. Does your ideology make you do stupid or evil things. This is the real question, and the danger of religion.

      February 18, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        Actually, I would disagree. The question is neither " is the person representative" or " does your ideology make you do stupid or do evil things" ? The real question is, are there individuals in every ideological sphere who practice stupidity and evil, of which such practice has no bearing on the falsity or truthfulness of the ideology? That is the question I'm getting at, and my answer is simply YES.

        February 19, 2014 at 2:27 am |
  17. thefinisher1

    Atheism will be laughed at someday. Put it in the fiction sections where it belongs!

    February 18, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      asinine.

      February 18, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        Dumb dog is still a dumb dog. Doggy needs to be taught some manners. Bad dog!

        February 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        your wife calls you "thefinisher" doesn't she?

        Is the "1" for duration in seconds?

        LOLOL

        February 18, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          I guess all that "logic" and "reason" is dead in atheism😜😃😄😀😊

          February 18, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
    • SeaVik

      Christianity has been laughed at since long before I was born. I'm not sure what there is to laugh at atheism about, nor have I seen it. I see Christians get angry because their fundamental world view is based on fiction, but they don't typically find that a laughing matter.

      February 18, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        http://www.theonion.com/articles/local-church-full-of-brainwashed-idiots-feeds-town,34860/

        This doesn't make fun of all atheists, but makes fun of the absurd ones.

        February 18, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • SeaVik

          LOL, yeah, I love the onion and remember that article. Not sure how that's making fun of atheists though. Just points out how even though some religious people do good, they're still lemmings, as they put it.

          February 18, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Most atheists do not literally believe religious people have been brainwashed or are delusional.

          That article was totally spoofing those that think and talk that way.

          February 18, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Well as a regular reader of the onion, I can assure you that satire was directed at religious people, not atheists.

          I'd like to hear what evidence you have that most atheists don't think religious people were brain-washed or indoctrinated (both of which you've objected to), other than anecdotal. In my experience, most atheists do consider religious people to be religious primarily as a result of their upbringing. Without that manipulation, they wouldn't be religious. What is your view on how "most" atheists comprehend how anyone could end up believing in a religion, if not through childhood indoctrination?

          February 18, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No, that was clowning on atheists.

          http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/1ubmuz/local_church_full_of_brainwashed_idiots_feeds/

          "It is basically making fun of atheists who feel superior to religious people (or maybe anti-theists). Showing that alot of religious people (who some atheists would call brainwashed idiots) are nice and charitable people who just happen to identify with a religion."

          –I honestly do not get the joke. From past experiences, this usually means it is directed at me.– – anonymouse

          February 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Well perhaps you don't read The Onion very much and don't get their sense of humor, but I am quite sure this was a joke about religious people. The Onion constantly has articles pointing out how stupid religion is and this one is no exception. Here's another along the same line:

          http://www.theonion.com/articles/humanity-forced-to-put-down-aging-god,35230/

          The article you posted states, "As of press time, the brainless, unthinking lemmings had donated winter clothing they no longer wore to several needy families and still hadn’t opened their eyes to reality."

          Pretty obviously making fun of religious people. I can see how you and others could take it differently, but that would require interpreting The Onion's satire in the opposite way that their articles typically read (on any subject). If you have a quote from the author, I'll reconsider! 🙂

          February 18, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No. It is making fun of absurd atheists that make fun of religious people!!!!

          Even the people on Reddit, a website popular with atheists saw that. And got it.

          February 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          They make fun of everyone. Even atheists. Because some of them are ridiculously funny.

          February 18, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
      • kudlak

        SeaVic
        Of course, "scoffers and mockers" have been around since the very beginning. Unfortunately, the New Testament has two verses (Jude 1:18 and 2 Pet 3:3) where they describe "scoffers and mockers" as rejecting the gospel simply because of their "ungodly lusts" and many Christians interpret this to mean that any criticism of their faith comes from some desire to be immoral and can thus be deemed groundless without any examination whatsoever.

        In other words, it's an easy way for believers to ignore all the legitimate criticism of their faith.

        There's the other bit where these "scoffers and mockers" are supposed to show up during the last days, and the people who wrote that of course believed that they were living in the those last days just as strongly as the faithful do today. Somehow, the folks today seem to not realize that there were always people who found the claims of Christianity ridiculous.

        February 18, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      I'm not sure how you could come to that conclusion – atheism is simply stating that the case for a god has not been made. So the fiction is on the theist side – unless you have discovered some evidence of a god.

      February 18, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
      • thefinisher1

        Proof that atheism is false? I stared at a piece of toast for 20 minutes saying "there is no God" but nothing happened. I have concluded based on scientific evidence atheism is false.

        February 18, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
        • doobzz

          You could have prayed for god to butter your toast instead, but you'd get the same results.

          February 18, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
        • fintronics

          @finisher = the dumb is strong in this one....

          February 19, 2014 at 9:56 am |
  18. Salero21

    So then... the discussion should be about, whether this hillbilly stuff/cult is worst than atheism. To me at least is clear they're related to the other church (the beer belly church). However atheism has brought about things like communism and evolutionism which is also Total stupidity. IMVHO, atheism is by far, worst than the snake handling cult.

    February 18, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • fintronics

      there you go embarrassing yourself again.

      February 19, 2014 at 9:58 am |
  19. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    You did not answer why you are directing this at me.

    There are many reputable scientists that are believers like Francis Collins so your premise is flawed regarding theistic belief in the scientific community.

    You seem to be trolling fred, and a bit dodgy today.

    February 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
  20. colin31714

    One of the many ironies of this whole silly culture is that the verses of Mark they rely on are forged. It is well accepted by biblical scholars that the last 12 verses of MArk, including these, were added to the original Mark sometime around 400 A.D.

    February 18, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
    • doobzz

      You could include a great deal of the bible under that heading, and the rest is just made up stuff.

      February 18, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
    • Salero21

      IMVHO I don't think is silly, is Total stupidity but not worst than atheism, atheism is worst!! 😉 😀

      February 18, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Not an honest cell in your body...stop lying and stop hating!

        February 19, 2014 at 8:36 am |
    • Salero21

      It is possible that may be a post to explain the incident of Acts 28:3-6. In any case the snake handling hillbilly cult stuff is Total stupidity but atheism is worst!! 😉

      February 18, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
      • fintronics

        Yup, not beliving in a god for which there is zero evidence is much worse than accepting fairytale mythology as reality.... yea,,,,

        February 19, 2014 at 10:00 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Yes. And The Bible makes note of that argument. But some claim it was intended to be included, as there is evidence it was part of the oral tradition. Nobody knows for sure at this point.

      So it gets a clearly marked *

      February 18, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
    • kudlak

      I'm not sure that "forged" is the best word. There is nothing to indicate for sure who wrote any of the canonical gospels. The names that they go under today are merely a matter of tradition as none are signed in any way. "Added to after the fact" seems more accurate.

      February 18, 2014 at 6:39 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.