Atheist “attacks” don’t hold a candle to divine infighting

This couldn’t be any richer, or any more demonstrative of what a phenomenal range of crippled and crazy ideas theology manages to pull into its tired old tent in an age where people pop newly-released, ultra-refined antibiotics as they type away on brand-new laptops containing state-of-the-art microprocessors, squinting at their screens with recently LASIK-improved eyesight as they tap out angry sentences about how scientists are not to be trusted as experts in their fields and a book thousands of years old holds the answers to everything.
I did not know that Glenn Beck was a Mormon, as this introduces an extra “m” to his description I was unaware was necessary. I also do not care. But James Dobson and his charmingly name-challenged troupe of donkeys, Focus on the Family, certainly do. After publishing an interview with Beck concerning his new book on its CitizenLink.com subsidiary, the head donkeys elected to pull the interview after others began braying about Mormonism being nothing more than a cult.


Forget the various ironies here; I prefer to leap straight to analogies. For Mormons (who from where I sit are Christians of some sort, as Jesus is the central figure of worship) to be written off as cultists by “real” Christians, or for any bickering to occur about the particulars of batcrap insane concepts, calls to mind–and I’m stealing this from one of my own comments to another post–a couple of ten-year-old Star Wars aficionados getting into a fistfight over whether Greedo was a superior bounty hunter to Boba Fett. Sure, each side has its arguments, but when the entire shooting match is rooted squarely in someone’s imagination, both combatants quickly reveal themselves as engaging in a battle that is unwinnable, hilarious, and pathetic all at once.
Yes, the tenets of Mormonism are overtly insane, although I enjoy the part about requiring huge magical sunglasses or something in order to properly decipher the tablets discovered by a horse thief on the run in Upstate New York less than two centuries ago. But the only defense Biblical Christianity has against identical charges of irredeemable nuttiness is the mitigating–if not truly comfortable–haze of a couple of thousand years, during which time Christianity’s chief pimps have learned to build epistemologically corrupt but stubborn and superficially plausible answers to every rightful question a skeptic could ask, Meanwhile, as humankind passes into and through eras of evolutionary biology, molecular genetics, and modern astronomy, geology, and cosmology, the stench of manure becomes ever harder to ignore, and jocularity becomes the order of the day.
I encourage people to do two things: Read the comments under the Christian Post article, and generate your own analogies in the comments below–mine shouldn’t be too hard to beat, although “Godzilla vs. King Kong” is, I should warn, trite in advance.

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  1. #1 by Martin on December 28, 2008 - 10:06 am

    Atheist

  2. #2 by Robert Jase on December 28, 2008 - 10:40 am

    When cults clash!
    Thanks for a link to some truly ridiculous arguing.

  3. #3 by Miguel on December 28, 2008 - 11:12 am

    Kirk vs Picard.

  4. #4 by Kevin Beck on December 28, 2008 - 11:35 am

    Yes, Online we were talking about whether water baptism is done in the name of Jesus only or in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Scripture is clear that water baptism is done in the name of Jesus only. Scripture is also clear that baptism in the Holy Ghost is also a spearte event. If Jesus said to baptise in the name of the Father, Son and Holy ghost and the later two are separate events then the baptism in the name of the Father is also a separate event, though at this point, I don’t know exactly yet what that is; I have an idea but I am not exactly sure. I won’t say “thus sayest the Lord”, but I have been praying about it. Did you read my 4 part post where I show this to be true and that the baptism in the Holy Ghost is a separate event?
    Glad we got that cleared up.
    These poor bastards will spend whole lifetimes trying to parse the muddled concept of the Trinity, yet can’t be bothered to learn things as basic as the distinction between the Big Bang and evolution.

  5. #5 by Kevin Beck on December 28, 2008 - 11:35 am

    Yes, Online we were talking about whether water baptism is done in the name of Jesus only or in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Scripture is clear that water baptism is done in the name of Jesus only. Scripture is also clear that baptism in the Holy Ghost is also a spearte event. If Jesus said to baptise in the name of the Father, Son and Holy ghost and the later two are separate events then the baptism in the name of the Father is also a separate event, though at this point, I don’t know exactly yet what that is; I have an idea but I am not exactly sure. I won’t say “thus sayest the Lord”, but I have been praying about it. Did you read my 4 part post where I show this to be true and that the baptism in the Holy Ghost is a separate event?
    Glad we got that cleared up.
    These poor bastards will spend whole lifetimes trying to parse the muddled concept of the Trinity, yet can’t be bothered to learn things as basic as the distinction between the Big Bang and evolution.

  6. #6 by Kim on December 28, 2008 - 12:21 pm

    I think one has to clearly distinguish the basic principles of Christianity – which are very valid morally and thiestically – from the very warped versions which are often very Old Testement based . Christianity has certainly survived the test of the ages – over 2000 years old and practiced by well over a 1/4 of the World’s population – so there must definitely be something there . The principles must not be confused with the methods used to educate and pass it down – you really have to go into history to understand these . There is a lot of logic in Christianity but you really need a good understanding of philosophical and moral principles to appreciate this properly .

  7. #7 by Kevin Beck on December 28, 2008 - 12:32 pm

    What does it mean for something to be “theistically valid” and how is it determined whether something meets the necessary criteria?
    Arguments from antiquity and populism are failures out of the gate. There are religious cults older than Christianity (with the latter appropriating a horde of traditions from the former) and there are more Hindus in the world than there are people living in the United States; using your reasoning, Christianity takes a back seat.
    Hell, Mormons in general are far better educated and make a lot more money than do other Christians, especially those most inclined to revolt against the idea that Mormonism is anything but a cult (e.g., fundies, evangelicals). Doesn’t that mean that there “has to be something there” and that the fundagelicals should cede to Mormon authority on matters Jesus?
    You wouldn’t just be passing along stuff you’ve heard without thinking about it for even a second, would you?

  8. #8 by george.w on December 28, 2008 - 12:41 pm

    Christianity has certainly survived the test of the ages – over 2000 years old and practiced by well over a 1/4 of the World’s population – so there must definitely be something there

    Ah yes, the “Lots of people think it, so it must be true” argument. There’s something there all right; a self-perpetuating power structure.
    What does it mean for something to be “very valid theistically”? Is that like being, you know, actually valid?

  9. #9 by Mike on December 28, 2008 - 12:44 pm

    Saying that because a lot of people do it, it must be sound and correct is ludicrous. A lot of people have affairs. A lot of people cheat on their taxes. A lot of people steal, murder, have sex with children, believe in deities and religions that require belief that christians are wrong in their beliefs. Just because you are part of a mob, doesn’t make mob rule divine or even palatable.

  10. #10 by Mike on December 28, 2008 - 12:44 pm

    Saying that because a lot of people do it, it must be sound and correct is ludicrous. A lot of people have affairs. A lot of people cheat on their taxes. A lot of people steal, murder, have sex with children, believe in deities and religions that require belief that christians are wrong in their beliefs. Just because you are part of a mob, doesn’t make mob rule divine or even palatable.

  11. #11 by Kevin Beck on December 28, 2008 - 12:50 pm

    It’s also not accurate to say that “Christianity is over 2000 years old,” although compared to the other dreck in that botlike expulsion of a comment this is a trivial error.

  12. #12 by 6EQUJ5 on December 28, 2008 - 1:10 pm

    In the Jewish tradition, Urim and Thummim was a divination device to tell if someone was innocent or guilty. They are plural nouns, much in the way we speak of truth or consequences as a concept. It would be like divination by flipping a coin and calling it ‘winners and losers’.
    Joseph Smith apparently didn’t know this when he translated the golden plates written in ‘reformed Egyptian’. He should have stuck to horse theft.

  13. #13 by Brad on December 28, 2008 - 1:42 pm

    Harriet Hall uses the phrase ‘Tooth Fairy Science’:

    You could measure how much money the Tooth Fairy leaves under the pillow, whether she leaves more cash for the first or last tooth, whether the payoff is greater if you leave the tooth in a plastic baggie versus wrapped in Kleenex. You can get all kinds of good data that is reproducible and statistically significant. Yes, you have learned something. But you haven’t learned what you think you’ve learned, because you haven’t bothered to establish whether the Tooth Fairy really exists.

    I suggest that the phrase ‘Tooth Fairy Religion’ should be used for analogous religious arguments (minus the data, reproducible, significant aspects). Having seen no evidence to the contrary, I suggest all religion is Tooth Fairy Religion. They are arguing the details without establishing the basic premise.

  14. #14 by Bill from Dover on December 28, 2008 - 3:20 pm

    Can anyone explain how Certs can be “Two, two, two mints in one!”

  15. #15 by Paul Murray on December 28, 2008 - 6:43 pm

    “I think one has to clearly distinguish the basic principles of Christianity – which are very valid morally and thiestically – from the very warped versions which are often very Old Testement based”
    Really? Well according to the NT, God divides the whole world into two – the sheep and the goats, his children and his enemies. When Jesus returns, everyone will be bodily resurrected. His enemies will be thrown bodily into a lake of fire – and this is the second death.
    Perhaps you’d care to explain how this is valid morally.
    Of course, patriarchal dictators of every stripe have always called themselves a “father” to their people: uncle Idi, papa Joe. But their claim to fatherhood is always a claim to the absolute authority of the patriarch. And patriarchal dictators have always identified any dissent or opposition as being a heinous crime. What separates Gods “children” from his enemies? Jesus says so explicitly: “if you love me, you will keep my commands”. The “love” that God wants is *obedience*. Obey or be damned.
    Well, damn you all. It’s christmas holidays, and I can’t be bothered explaining how morally repellent all this is.

  16. #16 by JimFiore on December 29, 2008 - 8:06 am

    Can anyone explain how Certs can be “Two, two, two mints in one!”
    Bill, it’s a question of faith. As the good advertisement says, “Blessed are those who have not tasted the two mints in one but who still believe.”
    I think one of these mints lives in your mind while the other lives in your heart (you know, “the pump that loves”).

  17. #17 by Ian on December 29, 2008 - 9:04 am

    Kim: “I think one has to clearly distinguish the basic principles of Christianity”
    Are those the principles which the OT god espoused, or which Jesus espoused, or which Paul espoused, or which commentators since have esposed?
    Kim: “which are very valid morally and thiestically”
    Would that be the ripping up babies part or the hating one’s family part?
    Kim: ” – from the very warped versions which are often very Old Testement based .”
    If the OT is invalid, then so, too, is the NT. But do tell us, which of the 20,000 Christian sects there are or have been over the last 2,000 years is actually the valid one?
    Kim: “Christianity has certainly survived the test of the ages – over 2000 years old and practiced by well over a 1/4 of the World’s population – so there must definitely be something there .”
    Why? Does 2,000 years of blind stupidity validate said stupidity?
    Kim: “The principles must not be confused with the methods used to educate and pass it down – you really have to go into history to understand these .
    Indeed. But tell me, how do lies told today differ in any substantial way form the same lies tol dover the last 2,000 years?
    Kim: “There is a lot of logic in Christianity”
    I’d adore it if you’d elucidate on that. Or even if you could elucidate on that. Is it really logical that an omniscient, omnipotent, all-loving, infallible god created this, then realized that he screwed it up, then flush the entire world with a flood, realize he’d screwed that up and finally conclude the only way to fix it is to rape a virgin to create a human sacrifice which ultimately changed nothing?
    Kim: ” but you really need a good understanding of philosophical and moral principles to appreciate this properly .
    No. You do.

  18. #18 by Godandahalf on December 29, 2008 - 2:34 pm

    This is preposterous. Of course Boba Fett was a superior bounty hunter to Greedo. Boba caught Han Solo after all, instead of being shot in a bar, much like Plaxico Burress. And if you go by the Special Edition, Greedo can’t even shoot a guy sitting down not three feet away from him.

  19. #19 by Kevin Beck on December 29, 2008 - 2:38 pm

    “Plaxico Burress” is at least as plausible a name in the Star Wars world as “Nien Numb” or “Bib Fortuna.”

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