Read Larry Niven’s “Ring World” series.
For me, our latter day fantasies are so much more informative and entertaining than the religious fantasies. And certainly more current. So much more fun and intellectually provocative to explore the variety of human experience and imagination when we shed the need to “believe” in it.
Science fiction is instructive in particular due to the need to make the fantasy conform to the currently known reality. It has oft been noted how scifi has a way of becoming scifact.
Anyway, much more fun that all this dreary god BS.
Use of the masculine pronoun is a mere linguistic convention.
I don’t think so, as I said, I think that it’s indicative of the origin and nature of your belief system. Why is the “linguistic convention” male and not female?
In the beginning God created “Man” in his image and likeness. Then it says “male and female created he them.” So, I accept that women reflect God’s image.
Again I’m sorry Thomas, you seem like a nice person but this is just stupid. What do you mean “it says”. Why do you accept what “it says”?
I am reminded of “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madelene Engle. Award winning childrens fiction.
Meg’s father was a physicist and her mother a biologist. The word “tesseract” was one of the first mentions of the phenomenon that we might now know as “warp”. Meg’s father is experimenting with tesseract when he is abducted by IT. The children are lead to Camazotz by 3 witches, Ms Who, Ms Which, and Ms Whatsis
I quote the basic plot of the book from Wikipedia
“The children travel to Camazotz and rescue Meg’s father, who is being imprisoned by an evil disembodied brain with powerful telepathic powers, which the inhabitants of Camazotz call “IT”. However, Charles Wallace is mentally dominated by IT, and is left behind when the others flee, tessering through the Black Thing to a planet inhabited by sightless but wise beasts. After a brief period of recuperation, Meg is sent back alone, having been told that only she has the power to rescue Charles Wallace. Confronting IT, Meg realizes that she can free her brother by loving him intensely, because love is an emotion that IT in its evil cannot stand. Charles Wallace is freed, and everyone returns home to Earth.”
What do you mean “IT says”. Why do you accept what “it says”? Maybe your theology is colliding with my theology. Evil disembodied brains indeed!
I read this stuff as a child, along with Hugh Lofting, Edgar Rice Burrows, Conan Doyle and so many more. it’s no wonder I think the way I do. I was exposed to Catholicism too, but I thought it was weird! Chanting weird things in latin and swallowing someone’s “body and blood” is enough to weird out anyone I think. Clearly, it never tookl Thank dog for that.
I didn’t use the double negative in the way that it would be marked as a grammatical error. “No evidence that he does not exist” is perfectly acceptable. I just made a typo, for which I apologize.
No apologies necessary. It was a great example of twisted logic, like I said. The fact that there is no evidence that Spider Man exists is not evidence that Spider Man exists. For that matter, Spider Man has been much better documented than your god.
If you have a complaint for God then tell him about it. He’ll listen. He might even answer!
This is just more stupidity. People have been complaining to god and associating random events with god’s will for centuries. As Sam Harris notes, how many people in New Orleans died praying to their invisible friend?
Thomas, if you are going to get into fiction, get into some good fiction, and, don’t take it too seriously…..
Why does so much of what I read here sound like prejudice, ignorance and hostility?
I don’t know why the preferred reflexive pronoun is masculine but I don’t think it is a male-dominated religious conspiracy. If so, who? When? Why?
My reference to the Creation passage was to show that a true Biblicist is not and should not be sexist.
It’ not “stupid” to believe the Bible. LOL Atheists and their winning ways! :wink:
Thomas, it’s just that sexism is one of those enormous flaws of past cultures that stuck, all the way to present times. Even if your particular sect or denomination had nothing whatsoever to do with sexist coinings, Christian teachings are at the root.
Give Paul a bloody nose, not us.
Did Sam Harris really wonder out loud how many people in New Orleans died while praying?
Well, see, there you have it. I can just look at the man and see he is dead inside. His flat affect is the most telling thing about him. Hearing now that he said something like that ... It’s chilling.
Willful disbelief will do that to you, corrode your heart, making you cold and cruel.
For all the objections to God and those that believe in him, there is a state of mind far worse.
[quote author=“eucaryote”]you are exhibiting the twisted thinking typical of believers
Actually, this is one of my favorite kinds of “donuts”. The baker unwraps the toruses of two donuts and twines them around one another, into a double helix much like the strands of the DNA molecule. Forget the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Give me the TransFatSubstantiation.
[quote author=“Thomas”]Willful disbelief will do that to you, corrode your heart,
Nothing better than TransFat to corrode the old ticker.
It even works great as an astrological sign. Instead of Taurus, Torus. Woo-hoo!
[quote author=“Thomas”]Did Sam Harris really wonder out loud how many people in New Orleans died while praying?
Why isn’t it fair to wonder?
Thomas, you have repeatedly accused us (atheists) of attacking straw men, and of being emotionally defective, but I contend that it is you that are guilty of both, not us. You are attacking a straw man position of atheism, the absolute denial of God, which I have repeatedly explained, as far back as our initial conversations so many months ago, is not the stance that most of us take. When you come here, and use “proofs” of God that have long been discredited, we have exhibited tremendous patience with you, and tried to have a dialogue. You, on the other hand, are not willing to dialogue with us. When we question your beliefs and assumptions, you respond with shock and horror, and call us emotional cripples. Your manic defense of your beliefs is the true disorder, however.
You ask us to consider your God, but refuse to consider the possibility that he does not exist. You condemn us for our certainty (when in fact it does not exist), and yet, somehow, your certainty is beyond reproach.
When asked for proof, you offer up word plays and the notion that belief is natural because most people believe. When given many examples of other things that most people believe, or have believed at some time, you ignore them, as if not relevant.
You wonder why atheists come off, to you, as having a flat affect? The reason is that we are being deadly serious. If you were to watch us at a ball game, a wedding, walking our dogs on the beach or any other “normal” venue, you would see happy well adjusted people. However, even happy well adjusted people go a bit flat in certain circumstances. In the hospital, waiting for news that a loved one will or will not make it, waiting by the television or the radio as news of a possible tragedy trickles in and while attempting to convince people that are tragically misguided that their actions are responsible for tremendous pain and suffering. We think that people of faith are jeopordizing the very future of humanity. Are we supposed to be warm and jovial in the face of that?
Finally, you came here. If I went to a church, signed up for a sunday school course, and proceeded to tell people why God isn’t real, I would be considered rude, and probably asked to leave. As atheists and freethinkers, we have no churches, and are a despised minority. This (forums like this) is where we fellowship, and you are here, telling us that we are wrong, when it is clear that you don’t even understand us. I welcome you all the same, but offer this advice: Try a little more humility. Show some real understanding of us before coming into our house, so to speak, and telling us that we are wrong.
You took the words right off my keyboard!
I believe that the reference to New Orleans and people of faith, uselessly praying to their invisble friend, is found in The Atheis Manifesto by Harris.
Thomas can find it at
It’s interesting how Thomas fixes on this quote of Harris’s and describes him as flat, unemotional etc. In the piece I quoted, Harris is making the point that without a god to mask the real world, atheists are much more appreciative of the true human and moral tragedies that unfold. Truly it is pathetic to think of any victim uselessly, spending their last few moments begging an imaginary friend for help that will never come.
The other thing is how Thomas is focusing on his emotional reaction. Believers are taught or programmed to tie their emotions, (their old brain) into the things they want to believe, especially the things they have no evidence for otherwise.
The evidence becomes the emotional response they have to things that remind them of the their faith or opportunities to exhibit their faith, as Thomas takes for granted here. For example, like Pavlov’s dogs, they are programmed to emotionally respond to special symbols. We all know what this is like. We salute the flag and get a lump in our throats and a tear in our eye. These are symptoms or manifestations of physical reality existing in the body which consist of neurotransmitter, neuropeptides and the like, many of which are found in organs other than the brain and nervouse system. One might sample Thomas’s spinal fluid when he is feeling especially high on jesus and inject it into an atheist and have her see the light! Not really, just making a point that the emotional states exist in physical reality. Not unlike taking certain drugs.
The emotion seems RIGHT to us, our old brain tells us so and reinforces this feeling. We learn to associate the symbol with the response which works to “rationalize”, which means to distort reasonng to fit the evidence to the belief, to find ways to fit square pegs in to round holes.
I think we see all this happening with Thomas.
Thomas, I don’t care that you believe silly things. I will defend your right to believe whatever you want. But here’s where it comes down to it.
If you deeply believe that planes fly because jesus levitates them, we won’t let you be a pilot. ok? :shock:
You know, Thomas reminds me of nothing so much as the good Reverend Collins from Austen’s great novel “Pride and Prejudice”. A fatuous sycophant dependent on the generous patronage he receives from his eagerness to be such a clown.
Willful disbelief will do that to you, corrode your heart, making you cold and cruel.
Do you think my disbelief is willful? Could I subscribe to your dogma simply by deciding to do so? If you think I have that much power over myself, let me ask you whether you have equivalent power over yourself. Could you, right now, abandon your faith simply by deciding to do so? If not, could you recognize that my disbelief is not willful? My disbelief comes from the available evidence and logical arguments and my considered reflection on them.
Religious belief, whether willful or not, led cold, cruel men to crash aircraft into the WTC, killing thousands. We could debate, I suppose, whether belief or disbelief hardens more hearts, but it would be fruitless. I think it is plain, though, that it is dogma that cripples intellect. That is tautological: dogma places some subject off limits to further rational inquiry. I have estimable company in that opinion.
Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize, every expanded prospect.
—James Madison, “Father of the Constitution” and one author of The Federalist Papers, in a letter to William Bradford, Jr., April 1, 1774, quoted from Edwin S Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation (1987) p. 37, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church”