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If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: "can't we all just get along?". I write for Brothers and Sisters at Daily Kos. So has teacherken. Dirkster42 is our moderator. Anglican Kossacks is my own group, open to all. So I write on religion. I also write on gay rights, defend feminism and the constitution. Anything that violates the separation of church and state I am opposed to. Period  I am a card carrying member of the ACLU, the NAACP (my family is, as it happens, racially integrated but I would be a member anyway). I am a Democrat, and of the socialist wing. I am probably left of Bernie Sanders. Yet, I'm an Episcopalian. I'll also admit I own a gun. So see, I'm not trying to oppress anyone. Did I mention that I am gay? Write that down, because you'll score on that later in the comments. Bob Barker will personally cut the nuts off of your terrier.

I know, I know, I don't make sense. I read some nonsense book that defies logic and science. Of course it does. It's not a history book, it's not a logic text, and it has nothing to do with science. I read the Bible like some people read fantasy fiction: there's some truth in it, but it's not "truth".

Follow me over the fold for a sec, please......

One of the things that I have found irritating about the recent "pie fights" between atheists and believers is this: 1. Atheists know more about religion than the believers themselves and 2. All Christians are just about the same, only some are "fake Christians" who are "Cafeteria Christians". Lots of quotes, taken out of context by non-believers as some believers do. Just because a person became an atheist after being abused by a Christian sect in their youth does not mean that every Christian is either a fundamentalist or a "wuss" that cannot be taken seriously. This I saw, the other day, quite plainly.

Here's an example of how to live and let live: I am a gay man. I also happen to be an Episcopalian. Now, I don't watch a lot of TV, but when I do, I find that heterosexuality is shoved down my throat like a 17th Century doctor would try to shove an heavy-metal-based emetic down my throat while slicing open my arm. Am I angry about the fact that I don't have my rights? Of course I am. In this day and age, as a 40-something gay man do I blame that on the church? Of course not. Because I am an activist, and I get to be active. Now, I canvassed against Question 1 in Maine a few years ago. I never told anyone that they were wrong about religion. I told them that they were wrong about their STANCE ON CIVIL RIGHTS.

But I guess because I am a church goer, I'm just as bad as any other church goer, regardless of denomination, as if I could convince a Southern Baptist to become a Roman Catholic. Because, you know, we are all the same and can do that, right?

I have a suggestion here. It comes from the "coming out" process we do as gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgendered and queer/questioning folks: if you're an atheist and are an atheist because you were deeply harmed by religion, tell your story. Tell it here. Tell it on Anglican Kossacks, tell it far and wide.

I also have a request: don't try to tell people who believe in science, evolution, and all sorts of other things that they are stupid because they go to church. It so does not further your point of view. If we church-goers who are otherwise sane accept the universe as it is, come tell us why we cannot do that and still read inspirational fiction. Because I wonder sometimes, if some of us read no fiction, no poetry, no plays, and only live in the rational, in textbooks about calculus and physics, and never, ever read any fiction and get inspired by it...

What a boring existence that would be.

I think that there are multiple ways to look at things. I accept them all as within the realm of possibility. I don't need to have certainty: otherwise, I'd be a fundamentalist (name your religion) or fundamentalist atheist. How boring, to have every question answered, and none left to ask, to ponder. Dull. Respectable, but dull, dull, dull.

Originally posted to commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 09:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Spiritual Organization of Unapologetic Liberals at Daily Kos and Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (202+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grannyhelen, gchaucer2, johanus, oysterface, AnnieR, psilocynic, the new, BFSkinner, Debbie in ME, newfie, psychodrew, slksfca, SaraBeth, Colorado is the Shiznit, Bindle, itsbenj, T100R, tardis10, punditician, Involuntary Exile, Ky DEM, foufou, Allogenes, Lujane, TomP, stegro, Matt Z, hatecloudsyourthoughts, The Red Pen, JamesGG, Jbearlaw, Catte Nappe, awesumtenor, samanthab, MikeTheLiberal, luvsathoroughbred, Pluto, raptavio, Tchrldy, vgranucci, wiscmass, Ga6thDem, Quicklund, axman, Zooey Glass, confitesprit, KJG52, dakinishir, Wordsinthewind, ScienceMom, Azazello, alguien, AZ Independent, mitumba, I T, happymisanthropy, Pozzo, texasmom, sngmama, blue jersey mom, Liberal Granny, kurious, Actbriniel, aravir, CenterLeft, Fletcher Christensen, Maori, Rimjob, djtyg, ShadowRunning, fcvaguy, trustno1, bythesea, GenuineRisk, boofdah, Actuary4Change, DWG, sleipner, BlackSheep1, AuroraDawn, HylasBrook, Loge, Donkey Hotey, bogbud, johnnygunn, Boston to Salem, fiddler crabby, sunbro, Mets102, James Allen, liberaldemdave, GrumpyOldGeek, CherryTheTart, mahakali overdrive, arizonablue, PaDemTerry, millwood, musing85, blue aardvark, mallyroyal, Tonga 23, husl piper 11, DruidQueen, TDP, a2nite, Joieau, pat of butter in a sea of grits, ClickerMel, Magick Maven, niemann, TrueBlueMajority, Devsd, zerelda, DanielMorgan, peregrine kate, mapamp, Frederick Clarkson, mofembot, Vacationland, LiberalVol, codobus, Huginn and Muninn, Thinking Fella, Anton Bursch, McGahee220, gloriana, Keori, ltsply2, Wee Mama, Debby, dizzydean, GeorgeXVIII, sfbob, shaktidurga, Vita Brevis, TiaRachel, mconvente, snackdoodle, Mindful Nature, Villanova Rhodes, Deoliver47, grover, RebeccaG, sustainable, TexH, Jodster, createpeace, Shockwave, roystah, peteri2, Nespolo, OIL GUY, bubbanomics, Cassandra Waites, AZphilosopher, lissablack, blueyedace2, BigOkie, Renee, briefer, Caribou Barbie, sullivanst, twigg, karmsy, martinjedlicka, Tod, Plubius, OllieGarkey, malharden, Marko the Werelynx, bfitzinAR, Junior Bug, bnasley, Matilda, FlamingoGrrl, peachcreek, Living in Gin, Crazy Moderate, mayim, ivorybill, ElaineinIN, liz dexic, gramofsam1, hester, terabthia2, plf515, mHainds, dirkster42, HeyMikey, Prof Haley, Bill in Portland Maine, revsue, Free Jazz at High Noon, deweysmom, Ana Thema, joedemocrat, SLKRR, Uberbah, Thestral, allergywoman, Oh Mary Oh, evergreen2

    Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

    by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 09:50:18 AM PDT

    •  I saw this t-shirt at a conference (35+ / 0-)

      Top Ten Reasons for Being an Episcopalian:

      http://episcopalmarketplace.org/...

      I liked #2 particularly: "You can believe in dinosaurs."

      Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

      by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:20:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dang I wish the Methodists / Wesleyans (5+ / 0-)

        and Nazarenes could get behind that T-Shirt.

        I can.

        LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:51:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Robin Williams (11+ / 0-)

        created that.

        BTW in some jurisdictions you can also be married or blessed as a gay couple in the EPiscopal church.

        All that and great music.

      •  I live in Bakersfield (6+ / 0-)

        ...where a bunch of the local Episcopalians jumped ship to an African-based Anglican branch simply because they wouldn't budge on Leviticus.

        Sure, the religious folks on DailyKos are willing to live in this century.  But there are PLENTY of Christianists out here who fit the atheist stereotypes just fine.

        And they're every bit as much Christians as the liberal ones are.  Because there's no quality control.  (To be honest, there's even less quality control over here on the atheist side, since it's all do-it-yourself.)

        America, we can do better than this...

        by Randomfactor on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:23:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Diocese of Western Massachusetts (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musing85, The Red Pen

          is NOT as liberal as the Diocese of Massachusetts. Just to say, and frankly, the Diocese of Mass is ready to absorb the multitude of Episcopalians out there that do not want to leave the church. Just sayin'.

          Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

          by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:39:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Being an atheist doesn't GUARANTEE liberal views (13+ / 0-)

          although iirc atheists are more likely to be liberals.  Btw, a very substantial percentage of libertarians are atheist.

          It is entirely possible to be anti-choice and anti-gay marriage and be an atheist.

          I know this because it describes one of my good friends.  He's an interesting fellow, to put it mildly.

          •  Indeed (14+ / 0-)

            There are lots of rightwing atheists, such as the followers of Ayn Rand and of Leo Strauss. Atheism is no more inherently progressive than Christianity is necessarily conservative.

          •  You don't get much more liberal than the (6+ / 0-)

            teachings of Jesus, unless it is Dennis Kucinich.

            •  I disagree (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TiaRachel, DaveW, commonmass

              this is a common meme, but I think it's bogus.  Jesus was a radical, but to say he was a liberal is not true imo.  At least assuming he even existed (which is arguable) and his sayings weren't twisted and selectively recorded.

              For example, Jesus speaks a lot about the importance of charity.  But he never, to my knowledge, talks about GOVERNMENT charity (iow a safety net).  He talks about people should do it.

              Jesus never spoke against slavery, also.  In fact, somewhat the opposite.

              Regardless, I don't even know if he existed, let alone that those who reported on his sayings weren't being selective

              •  Modern misinterpretations (12+ / 0-)
                For example, Jesus speaks a lot about the importance of charity.  But he never, to my knowledge, talks about GOVERNMENT charity (iow a safety net).  He talks about people should do it.
                Sure He did, you just can't recognize it.

                First of all, there was no separation of church and state, so when he talks about nations following the will of God, he's talking about government following His values.

                Jesus didn't need to explain welfare to His followers because it was already built into Jewish tradition.  People were supposed to tithe 10% of what they earned (which could include commodities like wheat or livestock).  This was not intended to make the religious authorities wealthy (something which Jesus points out to the corrupted Herodian officials).  It was the social safety net in Jewish society.  That 10% was so that people who had nothing could have something.

                Jesus never spoke against slavery, also.  In fact, somewhat the opposite.

                What we consider slavery would not have been recognized in Jesus' time.  What existed was what we would more likely call indentured servitude.  If you've seen the HBO series Rome, you see "slavery" that was really a different animal.

                One "pro-slavery" tract is the letter to Philemon.  In the context of its time, Paul is telling the "slave" to go honorably fulfill his contract, and the "master" to forgive him for breaking it and to treat him as a brother.  This is not the kind of interaction we consider slavery, although the words translate that way.

                Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:29:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Also (6+ / 0-)

                  And from the OT - gleaning, Sabbath years, Jubilee years; forgiveness of debts. Pretty much enforced profit sharing, given the way tribes and areas were "governed" at that time.

                •  I'm aware of that in re tithing etc. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ubertar, commonmass

                  but those are hardly the same as taxation, since they are ultimately voluntary.

                  That's the distinction.  I think people (even non-christians) tend to filter Jesus through their own personal beliefs.

                  I see liberals and conservatives do it all the time.

                  BOTH often think THEY know the "true Jesus."  I find that kind of ironic

                  •  Not really voluntary (5+ / 0-)

                    For most people tithing is more voluntary now (if nothing else you can "secede' from the church), but in those times it would be about as mandatory as taxes would be today.

                  •  Tithing was not voluntary (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    revsue, damfino, commonmass

                    That's a modern revision of what tithing means.  If you did not tithe in these tribal societies, you were shunned.  And back then, that didn't mean you just moved somewhere else.  That meant you died in the wilderness.

                    That's the distinction.  I think people (even non-christians) tend to filter Jesus through their own personal beliefs.
                    Sure, but that's why we're supposed to have experts.

                    The Jews call them Rabbis, we call them priests or monks.  These are people who are supposed to dedicate the time to learning the text, the history and the tradition that surrounds these religions.

                    Any asshole with a KJV can flip through the book, find a few isolated verses and create a nearly arbitrary belief system that he can call anything he wants.  It's a free country.

                    We don't have to be foolish enough to grant these people legitimacy.  If you follow the work of the scholastics, you find considerably less variance.

                    Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                    by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:21:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  actually, one of the important aspects of (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ubertar, commonmass

                      the protestant reformation was that the bible needed to be in the common language and accessible/interpretable BY ALL.  The technology (gutenberg press) as well as the ideological change, that the common man should be able to have his own Bible to read and interpret for himself was KEY to progress.

                      Furthermore, many religious denominations (within and without Christianity) place even more emphasis on introspection and self realization in recognizing one's concept of God and our relationship with him.

                      the idea that only the powerful learned elite powerstructure were authorized or able to interpret the Bible was one of the most dangerous, statist, and dominant ideas in Christianity that needed to be overcome.

                      And tithing WAS voluntary.  You didn't HAVE to be a member of the church.  That was voluntary.  Taxes were not.

                      •  That's a great failure of the Reformation (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        joedemocrat
                        the protestant reformation was that the bible needed to be in the common language and accessible/interpretable BY ALL.
                        To think that this could be accomplished is foolish.

                        First of all, translating the Bible into English is really difficult.  Koine Greek has verb tenses that don't exist in English.  What do you do with Hebrew idioms?  In classic Hebrew, 40 of something means "more than you care to count,"  but now we have idiots running around thinking that it's an exact number with great significance.

                        On that note, how do you deal with the enormous knowledge of Judaism that's required to fully understand Jesus' story much less the Second Temple period in which He lived?  In the Gospel narratives, Jesus gives seven major speeches and each falls on a major Jewish feast day.  Do you know which speeches go with which day and what the significance is?  I'll bet you don't; so how in hell could you possibly get the full meaning of these narratives?  How could your "interpretation" possibly hope to resemble the intention of the authors?

                        Jews never had this problem.  In order to understand the Torah — which is a lot — you need to understand Talmud and all kinds of additional commentary.  No one is expected to gain any kind of useful mastery of this canon without years of intensive study.  And no Jew who hasn't undertaken this kind of study would dare presume that their unschooled insights were just as good as a Rabbi's.

                        How did we get to a point where we're willing to bestow authority on some dipshit with enough scratch to buy a copy of the KJV?  I don't blame Martin Luther.  He was a lot of things, but he never would have endorsed that madness.

                        And tithing WAS voluntary.  You didn't HAVE to be a member of the church.

                        Fuck, why am I still typing?  This is quite possibly the most ignorant thing I've read today on any web site.

                        Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                        by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 05:08:02 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I'm a little confused by this paragraph (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          The Red Pen
                          Jews never had this problem.  In order to understand the Torah — which is a lot — you need to understand Talmud and all kinds of additional commentary.  No one is expected to gain any kind of useful mastery of this canon without years of intensive study.  And no Jew who hasn't undertaken this kind of study would dare presume that their unschooled insights were just as good as a Rabbi's.
                          What time in the history of Judaism are you referring to here? During the time of Jesus, the Talmud had not yet been written. And in modern times, there are many movements in Judaism which reject this approach.
                          •  "The Talmud had not been written" (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AaronInSanDiego

                            The Talmud had not been compiled and called the Talmud.  Since the Talmud(s) contain the work of Hillel and Shammai, I'm not sure it really accurate to say it hadn't been written.

                            Whatever terminology you want to use, the concept of commentary as a valuable part of Torah study was well-established in the Second Temple period.

                            And in modern times, there are many movements in Judaism which reject this approach.
                            OK, but do they reject the concept of study of tradition and oral history?  I'd need you to be more specific.

                            Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                            by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:00:15 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  True, the oral law tradition which developed (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            The Red Pen

                            into the Talmud is older. But until it was written and compiled, I'm not sure if the attitude toward it as authoritative was as established as it was later.

                            I didn't mean to suggest that movements in Judaism reject the study of these traditions, but rather reject the idea of a certain hierarchy of authority based on a particular approach to the canon. I think the idea that useful knowledge cannot be gained without the years of study that Rabbis undergo is not accepted by some more liberal Jewish groups.

                            But perhaps the idea the the Rabbi's education gives him more authority to interpret these things is just something I personally reject. Maybe that's part of why I am no longer religious. I'm not denying that this sort of study provides useful knowledge that can inform one's understanding, but I do deny that it is the only or best approach.

                          •  Yeah... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AaronInSanDiego

                            ...I did overgeneralize a bit.

                            Thanks for your input.

                            Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                            by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:52:20 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  You didn't HAVE to be a member of "the church" (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        commonmass

                        Actually, we are talking about a time when there wasn't what we know as "a church".  You could, I suppose, decide you didn't HAVE to be a member of the tribe. Like today I suppose you can decide you will not be a citizen of any nation, not use any recognized currency, not follow any customs or laws of any country you happen to pass through on your lonely wandering. But at that, you would have it easier being such an isolated independent than someone in those times who decided to voluntarily "secede" from their society.

                  •  WWJD is an important question (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    commonmass, The Red Pen

                    to those who believe or rather would Jesus do THAT! Not only was Jesus a liberal but he would be a Democrat.

                    •  People who know me know that I take (8+ / 0-)

                      Jesus and the Gospels in the way that may people find it convenient to take the Buddha: except I go the extra mile. I have lived my entire life to help others, get green and off the grid here in Maine, and I live in real honest to god poverty. This internet connection, and the computer I type this on is a gift.

                      I am not an armchair liberal, and not an armchair Christian. I don't care what you do, but I am for the raising up of those who cannot raise themselves, and I will do my very best and have, to do that. And if I have played organ in a church, and like to even go, well, so be it. I would never not help someone, and certainly never ask them what their religious affiliation is.

                      Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

                      by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:05:23 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I believe we all deep down (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        damfino, commonmass, The Red Pen

                        know how to act toward our fellow humans. I would never NOT help someone either. I was raised Catholic many, many years ago, we were taught to serve. Those social teachings are part of me, they color everything I do, how I look at the world and my place in it. The words of the great teachers Jesus, Buddha they are meaningless if we don't put them in action, serve a greater purpose than just getting ahead.  What I know is we are meant to love and accept and help one another and religion has nothing to do with it, it just makes good common sense.

              •  This comment assumes (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                commonmass, The Red Pen

                that there is some sort of universal, time transcending understanding of the term "liberal" - and if so, what your definition is.  

                •  I think that is better addressed (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  The Red Pen

                  to your congresscritter about whatever bill you'd like to see passed. Or, better yet, to your philosophy or theology prof.

                  I had three years of intensive music theory, five years of counterpoint, plus logic, Latin, Greek and who knows what. For the life of me, I cannot imagine who likes to make this a hobby; make it a profession.

                  Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

                  by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:47:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Today's libertarians are intriging (0+ / 0-)
            Btw, a very substantial percentage of libertarians are atheist.

            Why do today's libertarians support Rand Paul? It doesn't seem to comport with their political philosophy.

            Appearing on The Brody File, Rand Paul, who believes that portions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act need "further discussion" and may violate private business owners' First Amendment rights, said that we wouldn't really need laws in this country if everyone were a good Christian:

            I'm a Christian. We go to the Presbyterian Church. My wife’s a Deacon there and we’ve gone there ever since we came to town. I see that Christianity and values is the basis of our society. . . . 98% of us won’t murder people, won’t steal, won’t break the law and it helps a society to have that religious underpinning. You still need to have the laws but I think it helps to have a people who believe in law and order and who have a moral compass or a moral basis for their day to day life.

            http://www.religiondispatches.org/...

            •  Libertarians tend to support people (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Latins for Peace

              based on their political stances not their religion.

              Ron Paul is seen as the best hope for libertarians, but he does not pass ideological libertarian purity tests (tm) on any # of issues, btw.  Not unlike Obama does for liberals.

              •  I must know only Randroid libertarians (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gramofsam1

                They're all people who believe that supporting anyone for any reason - be it through government assistance or private charity - is immoral because people who need help don't deserve it.  Paul wasn't exaggerating when he called health care "slavery"; in my experience, he was actually toning it down.  These people truly believe that "sink or swim" is the only ethical basis for society because the alternative is forcing people to handicap themselves in order to protect and support life's losers.  The only line they draw is with their biological children, and then only to prepare them to be cut loose at the earliest opportunity ... and many of them don't have kids.

        •  Actually it is a pretty small percentage (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass

          the overwhelming number of denominations who don't fit the stereotype.

        •  The jerks in Fort Worth, TX did that too (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, gramofsam1

          Then our FEMALE presiding Bishop paid a visit to my Dallas Church, headed by a gay man and a lesbian.

          But there are PLENTY of Christianists out here who fit the atheist stereotypes just fine.
          No argument.

          You just won't find them here.

          Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

          by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:18:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'd rather not believe in Dinosaurs, thanks. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus, vacantlook, The Red Pen, Steve84

        I'd rather accept that pending further evidence Dinosaurs probably existed.

        Abraham Lincoln used to ask people, "How many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg?" When they said, "Five", he would gently respond, "No. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

        by Dom9000 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:25:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The existence of Dinosaurs (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, The Red Pen, gramofsam1

          is as well established as the existence of gravity.

          But no humans ever rode them, except in works of fiction.

          I am still learning, but the teachers often suck.

          by trumpeter on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:28:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The point is... (9+ / 0-)

            ... science isn't about goddamn belief, that's a goddamn RW frame and I shouldn't have to hear it on Kos, science is nothing like religion, scientists expect to be proven wrong and improved upon, religion is about having the answer ahead of time.

            You don't prove God, you believe in God.

            Abraham Lincoln used to ask people, "How many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg?" When they said, "Five", he would gently respond, "No. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

            by Dom9000 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:36:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, it's not a right-wing frame (5+ / 0-)

              It's the truth. There is no non-question-begging way to demonstrate that science is correct. It can be internally consistent or it can be factually true, but not both. And that's without getting anywhere near the larger epistemological question posed by the global skeptics, to wit, that we can't prove in any valid way that anything outside of our own minds actually exists. Science is every bit as much of a belief system as any religion. The two even share many of the same starting premises.

              •  Well that sounded deep anyways. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ScienceMom, Tonedevil, ubertar, damfino

                It wasn't though. Like I said, I don't "believe" in Dinosaurs. I think they probably existed yea, that's what science is, it's about guessing and trying out different theories and not just claiming something is true and absolute. It's completely different absolutely and completely the very premise makes the two forever and entirely different from each other.

                And this...

                It can be internally consistent or it can be factually true

                ... I don't think I should have to respond to that sentence, I think it speaks for itself.

                And FYI

                And that's without getting anywhere near the larger epistemological question posed by the global skeptics, to wit, that we can't prove in any valid way that anything outside of our own minds actually exists.

                That was the entire point of my original comment, there's a lot of evidence for Dinosaurs, and my hand for example -- but you can't prove they exist. You can only except that, pending further information, you most likely have a hand and Dinosaurs probably once walked the earth.

                Abraham Lincoln used to ask people, "How many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg?" When they said, "Five", he would gently respond, "No. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

                by Dom9000 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:55:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Clearly your understanding of science (6+ / 0-)

                  is at the Sunday supplement level if you don't understand this fact:

                  Science can be internally consistent or it can be factually true, but not both.

                  There's a reason the starting principles are called "theorems" or "axioms." There's no way to prove them. They are starting assumptions. Sure, they seem to work out all right, and that's why we proceed on the assumption that they're correct--but we can't prove that they are. Ergo, there is no way to prove, in any kind of a rigorous sense, that science as a whole is factually correct. The best we can get is that it's internally consistent.

                  That was the entire point of my original comment, there's a lot of evidence for Dinosaurs, and my hand for example -- but you can't prove they exist.

                  No, it really wasn't the entire point of your original comment. And if you actually understood what global skepticism meant, you'd understand the fundamental problem with your airy assertion that "there's a lot of evidence for Dinosaurs" when there's a fundamental question of whether or not there's evidence that you exist--at least as far as I am concerned.

                  •  Well put (0+ / 0-)

                    Science is not self-justifiable, nor is even math, so there's little to be gained in insisting that any philosophy or religion 'prove itself'.  Labelling any inquiry into the belief system of scientific inquiry as 'right wing' is embarrassing even as dorm-room philosophizing.  Science is all about the theory of theorizing.

                    I ascribe to Popper's rejection of the theory of scientific induction and hold that theories are corroborated or falsified.  That doesn't make me a creationist political conservative who disapproves of refrigerating food.  It makes me more open minded to the mystery around us.  

                    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. ~Edward Abbey

                    by martinjedlicka on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:17:05 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  So...you don't have a car? (0+ / 0-)

                Admittedly, I don't know of any sacred text that tells you how to wish pray for a car, so we can't really set up a double-blind test here.

            •  I think you have a valid point (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tonedevil, Dom9000, damfino

              Whatever we can do to stop people thinking that science and religion are in the same category in any way is probably a good thing.

              Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

              by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:30:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Find me an Episcopalian that believes (8+ / 0-)

            that Jesus rode a dinosaur, and I will give you ten Nigerian Pounds.

            Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

            by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:46:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  "Believe" is not a religious word (8+ / 0-)

          One of the worst effects of religion is that they have ruined the word "believe" for normal people by putting an element of faith or incorrigibility in it.  Belief doesn't imply lack of evidence and it doesn't imply incorrigibility.  I believe that dinosaurs existed.  Every vertebrate paleontologist believes that dinosaurs existed.  There is no need to resort to this "accept" vocabulary, as if it means anything different from "believe".   There is very good evidence.  It would require quite extraordinary evidence to call that belief into doubt, but were the contrary evidence good enough, I would change my belief.  

      •  I like you don't have to leave your brains at the (4+ / 0-)

        door

    •  Applause (13+ / 0-)

      and Amen!

      "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."--Will Rogers

      by vgranucci on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:20:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I guess I am what you call someone... (21+ / 0-)

      who is caught in the middle. I dont practice religion and I dont hate religion. Religion is religion and you believe what you believe. I dont have to go to a church to show devotion. I dont pratice nor shy away from it. It is what it is. It pisses me off when people call people like me a heathen or any such name. I dont like it when people try to shove their beliefs down my throat or try to say I am living wrong because I dont go to church or any such nonsense. To me religion is in the world. Some people practice and there are some who dont like myself although I believe in God. As you can tell I dont talk much about this subject. Not scared of it just have no interest beyond what is presented to me.

      Paul Ryans budget is in fact a suicide note.

      by tdslf1 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:29:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  me also as well (6+ / 0-)

        And if the diarist think atheists and liberal Christians can't get along, he shouldn't be surprised, atheists and agnostics (which I am one of) can't get along.

        Atheist IMO are folks with strong views on this subject. They are folks who have spent a good amount of time thinking about it, and have determined they are absolutely and inescapably correct about this issue, I'd guess they don't understand why otherwise very rational/intelligent liberals don't think the same way.

        They sure as heck don't understand why agnostics don't all realize that they are REALLY atheists.

        From my POV, there isn't much of a difference between a militant atheist and a militant theist/Christian although admittedly, the former has no chance of impacting my life n any way, while the latter unfortunately does.

        •  Atheism does not require strong views. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, damfino, Ana Thema, commonmass

          It's simply, and literally, "without theism". That, in itself, is actually quite passive.

          There are militant atheists, of course, as in any belief, or lack thereof. But atheism doesn't require action or strong beliefs.

          And you're right; agnostics are just another form atheism can take, if atheists care to take any.

          The diarist should be asking if progressive atheists and Christians can get along. I'd say yes. I even capitalized Christian in respect for a person's name. But progressive Christians?

          "All war is stupid" - JFK

          by jorogo on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:41:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  see that's just it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            revsue

            I don't believe agnosticism is a "form" of atheism. I think active disbelief is required for atheism. I think not knowing is different from disbelief.

            •  Dissect the word. It's right there. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              damfino

              a-without
              theism-belief in the existence of a god or gods

              It's not the same as anti-theism.

              "All war is stupid" - JFK

              by jorogo on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:14:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  says you (0+ / 0-)

                I think it absolutely is the same as anti-theism.

                a quick scan of wiki shows that the French use of the word which predates the English and from which the English word comes from was

                "one who denies or disbelieves the existence of God"

                Some have tried to define it later as just being a lack of belief, then someone figured out that's not the same thing, and came up with the word agnosticism which means without knowledge which is IMO closer to what you claim atheist means.

                At the end of the day, IMO atheists simply want to expand their numbers by folding in agnostics and broadening the meaning of the word to include anyone who doesn't have an active belief. Heck, it would include under the rubric of atheists folks who have never thought about God or theism at all.

                I realize that's the broad definition you want, I do not think it accurate to lump those groups in together.

                •  Clearly, I'm an atheist. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  damfino

                  But I have no active denial or disbelief. You can call me an agnostic, too, and that's not inaccurate.

                  But agnostic is a sub-set of atheist, who hold a view that theism is unknown or unknowable.

                  You recognized that yourself earlier,

                  agnostics don't all realize that they are REALLY atheists.

                  Anti-theists, another sub-set, believe god is bunk. Not all atheists are anti-theists, yet you say it's the same,

                  I think it [atheism]absolutely is the same as anti-theism.

                  So, you say agnostics are atheists, and you say anti-theists are "absolutely the same" as atheists, which is to say, you believe agnostics are anti-theists.

                  "All war is stupid" - JFK

                  by jorogo on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:05:25 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  read that again (0+ / 0-)

                    I said that in a certain context i.e. that atheist believe that agnostics don't all realize that they are really atheist, that doesn't mean I agree with that.

                    So no, agnostics are not a subset of atheists. They are a separate set.  So read again, I'm not saying at all that agnostics  are atheists, they are clearly different groups.

                    What I am saying is that atheist continually tell agnostics that they are really atheists.

                •  Well, you're wrong. :) (0+ / 0-)

                  Unless nobody invited me to the  Atheists' Convention.

                  It's my fascination with the religions of the world that has convinced me that God is just an emergent concept.

                  Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair style. (Damned that fascistic bastard Heinlein is getting a workout in this diary)

              •  Encyclopedia Brittanica (0+ / 0-)

                "Critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or divine beings. Unlike agnosticism, which leaves open the question of whether there is a God, atheism is a positive denial."

                It ain't as clear or obvious as you want to make it.

                •  On dictionary shopping (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  commonmass

                  http://en.wiktionary.org/...

                     The lack or rejection of belief in the existence of a god or gods.
                      The stance that deities do not exist (gnostic atheism).

                  So, have you disproven 'Atheism does not require strong views' yet?

                  I'm finding a lot of things funny lately. But I don't think they are. -- Ripley

                  by tytalus on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:44:47 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  All I can say is that lately, (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    gramofsam1, revsue

                    I'm no different that Fred Phelps and all Christians are alike and hate gay people and women and everyone else.

                    That came from atheists, so I suppose that some of them, well, have a dogma. 'Cause they can't seem to understand how I'm gay, not like Fred Phelps, have nothing against women, or atheists for that matter.

                    I am seeing a dogma here, from people who hate dogma and religion. It does, I'll admit it, make me chuckle, then wonder what happened to these people who are so angry.

                    Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

                    by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:48:35 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Forgive 'us' then and carry on... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...or try out being an atheist for a while. If you don't understand how it feels, it only requires a small change in your behavior to find out exactly what it feels like (Only what you say, not what you feel). Try out what you think a polite atheist would be like. ;)

                      I mean, prodigal son and all that, you should be welcomed back to the fold as soon as you explain your experiment?

                    •  There you go again (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      commonmass

                      calling people angry. It mirrors your diary, which characterizes atheists as either abused and hateful, or as emotionless dullards. It also mirrors other conversations I've had with you.

                      Pot, kettle, etc.

                      I'm finding a lot of things funny lately. But I don't think they are. -- Ripley

                      by tytalus on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 05:53:40 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Well, frankly, you only do sing one note. (0+ / 0-)

                        We have a whole hymnal, full of poetry and song.

                        You do strike me as dull and only able to sing one note. Prove me otherwise. You like proof. Prooooooove it.

                        Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

                        by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:27:43 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You should know, proof (0+ / 0-)

                          is for logic, and booze. I prefer credible evidence...something which you sorely lack. Now there's a joke.  :)

                          I'm finding a lot of things funny lately. But I don't think they are. -- Ripley

                          by tytalus on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 08:25:58 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  have you proven it doesnt yet? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    commonmass

                    I can come up with a lot more,

                    Columbia, Gale, Oxford...

                    And commonmass is right, it's a dogma alright.

                    •  Like bald is a hairstyle. n/t (0+ / 0-)
                    •  I didn't make a claim to proof (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      commonmass

                      But I did shoot yours down, with evidential support. To recap:

                      Atheist IMO are folks with strong views on this subject. They are folks who have spent a good amount of time thinking about it, and have determined they are absolutely and inescapably correct about this issue, I'd guess they don't understand why otherwise very rational/intelligent liberals don't think the same way.

                      Your dictionaries don't beat my dictionaries and vice-versa. But they do show your 'strong views' claim to be questionable.

                      I'm finding a lot of things funny lately. But I don't think they are. -- Ripley

                      by tytalus on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 05:51:46 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  That's worth reviewing. (0+ / 0-)

                    It does say, my emphasis,

                    lack or rejection of belief

                    Lack of belief, which is clearly accounted for in this definition, hardly requires "strong views".

                    The wiki page goes on, my emphasis,

                    The term atheism may refer either to an explicit belief that God or gods do not exist (sense 2 above), or to the mere lack of an explicit belief that God or gods do exist (sense 1 above).

                    Clearly, that reference reinforces that, "Atheism does not require strong views".

                    "All war is stupid" - JFK

                    by jorogo on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:21:50 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  But progressive christians? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joedemocrat

            Watch your back, I hear banjos. You must live...."down there"........there are plenty of us.. do a little research.

            Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

            by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:24:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Scope Ambiguity (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            commonmass, tytalus

            The problem with the term "atheism" is that people interpret the construction of the word two different way.  It has three parts, a-the(o)-ism.  Not-God-Belief.  But that can be read as

            (Not-God)-Belief  ("Strong Atheism")

            or

            Not-(God-Belief)  ("Weak Atheism")

            Arguing over which is the right meaning is a pointless waste of time as long as we are aware of the two possible meanings.  I prefer the second as it neatly divides the world into theists and atheists with not remainder, but I can't conclude on the basis that people who use the term in the "strong" sense are wrong.

            •  Let me ask you something: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joedemocrat

              Do you think I am stupid?

              Do you think I never learned logic or debate?

              Would you feel better if I didn't go to church?

              Do you think that commonmass is some kind of dominionist that is coming for you in the night?

              Really. Christians argue over the meanings of Greek words all the time. You're raising it to a whole new level. A Religion, almost. LOL.

              Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

              by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:12:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                commonmass, tytalus

                This pointless discussion occurs frequently among atheists and theists alike, many of whom aren't stupid at all.  Disambiguating words that are making coherent conversation between intelligent people more difficult than it should be can be very useful.  My comment was only meant in that regard.

                •  Well, alright, I get that. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  joedemocrat

                  It's not pointless.

                  Everyone here knows who I am, and everyone here knows that I am not some fundie idiot. Well, not everyone, apparently. Apparently some people think that I am.

                  I guess my year-long work on this has not forwarded the conversation. Go back and look, but don't take it out of context. That's what the people we BOTH dislike do.

                  I didn't mean to be mean to you. There are a lot of comments, I had to write for Top Comments today, it's stressful. Everyone tells me what I believe, but not one of the educated Atheists could come up with the 39 Articles, but of course, they are not binding in the US. But I would have LOVED for ONE person to "tell me what I believe".

                  Not a ONE could do the research, though everyone was well-versed in Freshman (HS) Forensics.

                  I learned mine from the Jesuits. LOL.

                  Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

                  by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:27:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  BTW, not the best article on it (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  joedemocrat

                  While not binding, a big part of Anglican (puritan) heritage. I'm surprised none of you looked it up and called me on it.

                  Anglican Kossacks will have a summer series on them, and how we flaunt them. We're creative, you know

                  Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

                  by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:34:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Not to descend in a pie fight, but your writing (28+ / 0-)

      is one-sided.

      I see the same-old same old- atheist are arrogant, they look down on church goers etc.

      I wish people could just accept that not all members of either group are intolerant.  Just some are.

      So let's be mature and not complain in Kos what one side does to the other.

      No matter what we believe or think, the universe doesn't care.  So why should we care about what others think?

      HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

      by HylasBrook on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:54:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I only care when (33+ / 0-)

        I am told what I believe by people who do not believe. I don't tell atheists what to think, but I find it just as obnoxious when atheists try to convert me like a big bunch of missionaries. I'm from New England. That kind of thing is simply not done. And Atheists wonder why people don't like them. It's the same reasons Episcopalians are irritated by blue laws that keep them from buying scotch on Sundays or Mormons or Seventh Day Adventists knocking on their doors on Sundays.

        Live. And. Let . Live.

        Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

        by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:03:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bingo (13+ / 0-)
          Live. And. Let . Live.

          Another way to put it: Patience, kindness, and tolerance.

          "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

          by GrumpyOldGeek on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:17:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  you are undermining your stated goal of (6+ / 0-)

          "getting along" with some of the ways you are expressing yourself. What you're asking for is fine, but recognize that you are pushing some buttons here.

        •  In Bakersfield (6+ / 0-)

          ...the churched try to tell me what I believe all the time.  They even tack it up on posters in the local high-school classrooms and on the walls of the city hall.

          America, we can do better than this...

          by Randomfactor on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:26:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Wait (19+ / 0-)

          As an atheist living in the Bible Belt, I am surrounded by Christians.

          I have never once tried to convert a Christian. If they want to believe in Christianity, so be it. With that said, I can't count how many times the Christians in this area who have tried to convert me.

          I'm a tolerant person but when religious fundamentalists start invading the schools and government with religious propaganda, expect me to speak out.

          Just saying.

          •  I have argued on-line with Christians (8+ / 0-)

            ...but not in order to convert them.  There's no need.  

            I'm aiming at those in the pews BESIDE them, who attend only because their family does, who feel that if they expressed their lack of a belief in gods openly that they'd be shunned by those family members and friends, and lose the social aspects of church membership.  

            They're right, too.  It's important to let them know there's a community out here outside the organized churches.

            I'm a vocal, "gnu atheist" to let them know that they're not alone.  I was an atheist through most of my days as an altar boy, though I told no one.  I was an atheist when I trained altar boys and lectors for the mass.  

            America, we can do better than this...

            by Randomfactor on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:24:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In New England, we keep our mouths (5+ / 0-)

              shut about our beliefs, especially in church. Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are, in that order, the least "religious" New England states though many of us attend church. We only open our mouths to sing. Usually, in four part harmony, which is something the rest of the country seems unable to accomplish.

              Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

              by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:27:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You appear to be painting (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tonedevil, Dallasdoc

                with a rather broad and rose-colored brush there.

                I have known more than a few from new England who were quite the opposite of what you describe.

                I am still learning, but the teachers often suck.

                by trumpeter on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:41:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Congratulations on your living where you live. (8+ / 0-)

                Many of the rest of us live elswehre in the US where Christians tell us every chance they get that God hates us and is going to inflict endless torment upon us unless we join their church.  Maybe if the Christians in the rest of the country behaved the way you say they do in your part of the country, then atheists in the US wouldn't feel the need to so aggressively defend themselves.

                •  This is what I find frustrating... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TiaRachel, commonmass, gramofsam1

                  ...I grew up raised Unitarian in Mass. so it colored my view of what religion is and left me free to find my own way. Thus, the majority of "churchiness" in the rest of the nation seems alien to me and why I can't understand for the life of me why so many people paint ANYONE who believes in a higher power with the Pat Robertson-James Dobson brush. I can understand WHY from an intellectual POV but from a purely emotional POV, I can't.

              •  Nobody gives a damn about your (0+ / 2-)
                Recommended by:
                Hidden by:
                terabthia2, revsue

                New England community where you sit up high and judge all the rest of the country.  Your use of "we" is both false and lazy

              •  You are starting to remind me of (5+ / 0-)

                the Bostonian who said

                "Bigotry will never end in this country until all those dumb white southerners get something through their thick ivory skulls".

                I started off really liking this diary.  The more of your comments I read, the less I like.

                Founder Math and Statistics Geeks . Statistics for progressives

                by plf515 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:08:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I lived in Texas for years (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  joedemocrat

                  and have wonderful relatives in Virginia. I have nothing against the South. I just dislike casual Evangelicalism, classism, racism, and people who cannot understand all of the above and why it is WRONG.

                  I also don't appreciate people who are rude. Not saying that you are.

                  Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

                  by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:12:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, maybe you are just being unclear (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    commonmass, AaronInSanDiego

                    in some of your posts, then.  

                    Because the impression I was getting from some of them is that you did, indeed, have something against the south.

                    Religions diaries get nearly everyone heated up.  

                    Founder Math and Statistics Geeks . Statistics for progressives

                    by plf515 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:14:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Having lived in the South, for many years, (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      plf515

                      the only thing that I have against it is that it has dishonored itself. My "Old South" friends in Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Texas and other places, heck, even my friend from Alabama would agree: the "South" dishonored itself and fought for it, and today, needs to remember that.

                      There is no honor in slavery. However, I believe that much of the country is ready to honor "states' rights" and cut everyone off the teat of any kind of Washington aid. I know if I were in Congress or in the Senate, I could give a good 45 minute oration on the subject. I would have given Rick Perry marching orders the first time he talked about secession, and quick: I would have asked him how much he was going to pay me for the US naval, army, marine and Air Force bases in Texas.

                      Yeah. I am a Yankee. And a Carpetbagger. And I have found not a single thing, politically, in the South I find remotely attractive. But I did like living there.

                      Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

                      by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:22:42 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  I like the idea of the (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              commonmass, chancew, Tonedevil, Dallasdoc

              bus advertisement that said something to the effect of "there probably is no God...so be good and get along with other".  That would be a good advertisment to put on buses in the bible belt so that kids who are not believers don't feel so all alone and hated in their world.   I would have liked to see that message as a child.

              I grew up in a deeply religious family.  Most of my family still are very religious. They are very kind and loving and only want what is best....but they thought what was best was religion.

               As a child I never believed. Of course, I pretended and used to get all kinds of awards in religion class.  Anyway,  it was a confusing childhood and the constant message was that people who did not believe were bad or evil.  What a distructive message for a child.  I was in High School before I ever met a person who openly said " i don't believe".  She was a neighbor who ran an animal rescue.

          •  Welcome to the club, Christians evangelize (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Villanova Rhodes

            other christians all the time. God forbid you are Catholic, we rank right up there with converting gays and atheists. Not saved you know until you are born again, and as in my bother's case again and again.

        •  those damned athiests (19+ / 0-)

          "And Atheists wonder why people don't like them."

          Flip that statement to "Christians". No one likes being told what to believe. We're in total argeement here.

          But, since this has been the year of the false-equivelency, I'm trying my darnest to think of an athiest example to match the fact that I can't buy alcohol on sundays. Or that I have been prayed over at every school ceremony and ballgame in my life. Or that you can't even run for elected office without swearing that you hold as true the teachings of a religion that I'm told isn't state-sponsored.

          •  Dont blame me: I was born in 1969 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musing85

            I have never held an elective office except at college.

            Before you get all upset, I will also say that when I was a schoolteacher in Texas I refused to stand and say the pledge of allegiance. Why? Because many of the people in my homeroom weren't citizens and plus, as I told them, I abhor loyalty oaths, and would be good god damned if I recited one. My homeroom never stood.

            Stick that up the "All Christians are Weird" shoot.

            Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

            by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:01:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  In the other (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pozzo, malharden, revsue

            "sky god" diary and in many diaries people often make blanket statements about "idiot" Christians, etc. When we Christians get offended, they will just say they don't mean all Christians.  Just the ones who are narrow minded, bigoted, etc.  And there are countless comments on how stupid we  are to believe in Jesus Christ, with no qualifiers.

            ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

            by jennybravo on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:13:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And all that doing the same thing right back gets (0+ / 0-)

              is yet another installment of "we're better than them!"

              No place for that in a "let's all get along" discussion. Especially when the "we're superiorly tolerant" side of the argument is the one that's culturally privileged.

              •  I guess (6+ / 0-)

                I am seeing Kos as a community of people with many things in common and not in common. In this community of Kos, I do not see Christians trying to convert or insult non-Christians. On the other hand, in this community I see some atheists bashing Christians all of the time. It is a regular thing here. I don't understand why these particular atheists can't stick to trying to communicate to the community of Christians found HERE on Kos. Show us some respect. We want the same things you do. When you find discrimination as an atheist in the real world, couldn't you just discuss that and the problems you face as an atheist in a civil, non-insulting manner with those of us who believe in Christ, but do not condemn or insult atheism?  I just do not recall Christians here  condemning Atheism. They may have problems with some Atheists, but I don't believe that is because of their beliefs, but rather their words.

                Regards

                ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

                by jennybravo on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:12:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  As an atheist... (16+ / 0-)

          ...I apologize for those of us who tell you what you believe.

          I pledge allgeiance to the flag of The United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God...

          "In God We Trust."

          "Place your right hand on The Bible and repeat after me: ...so help me God."

          You see, from a VERY early age and through the most banal of life experiences, ALL Americans are indoctrinated to accept a non-denominational Heavenly Father, Creator, Higher Power...in a so-called secular society which is supposed to be free from such indoctrination.

          I have no problem with you believing in whatever you want to believe.  I don't even have a problem if you preach it from a pulpit or a public street corner.  I don't care if you believe in God, Jesus, Buddah, Mohammed, Krishna, Gandolf...whatever...believe whatever you want to believe.  But please do not confuse which side is forcing their beliefs on the other.  Pull a single out of your wallet and read it.

          "Live.And.Let.Live." -- as long as you accept religion in every aspect of your life as an American.

        •  I don't think (5+ / 0-)

          I tell other people what they believe. I know I don't tell people what to believe. I do try to assure myself we're working from the same set of facts. I do ask people sometimes to explain their beliefs in terms I can understand. I ask this because, frankly, I've been told all my life that I'm an oddball and learning why people who are different from me think as they do is one of my long-term projects for getting on in the world.

          I'm not trying to change your mind. I'm trying to understand. "Do you think magic is real?" isn't a trick question. If your answer is "yes" and I ask "why?", I'm soliciting data to see if it warrants adjusting my beliefs. If the data are insufficient, I may not respect your beliefs, but I probably won't tell you so or disrespect you unless the conversation has gone so badly that I actually hope I never see you again. That happens, but not very often.

          I do appreciate your sticking your neck out like this.

          into the blue again, after the money's gone

          by Prof Haley on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:13:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What a terrific explanation you give (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musing85, malharden, Prof Haley, revsue

            of Christianity. Terrific and Magical. And way off the mark.

            You mistake magic for mystery. And you also mistake those of us who like mystery for those who like magic. They are not the same people.

            I don't really believe that Jesus healed a leper. I know that one of the things we do is to hold a kind of ritualized cannibalism in our Eucharist. I know where all this comes from. I'm not ignorant. I just find meaning in it. For ME. Not for you, or anyone else. Why can't you people and I mean that, get it through your head that some of us find meaning in this but don't want to force you to?

            Most of the Christians you dislike don't think that I am a Christian, and would actually accuse me of "ritual cannibalism".

            "Christian" is not a one-sect word.

            Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

            by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:20:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But to someone who has no idea what 'mystery' (5+ / 0-)

              means -- it looks like magic. And this response looks to me like you're accusing someone who doesn't know your language -- of not knowing your language. And therefore of being, oh, intolerant/insulting/etc., because it sounds to them like you're speaking gobbledygook.  

              I'd be more comfortable with your argument if I generally saw christians/believers in these discussions explicitly granting that yes, non-christians/atheists experience the sort of insult that they're generally complaining of, and yes, it's a built-in feature of some interpretations of christianity, while at the same time asserting that those specific beliefs/actions/doctrines are not essentially intrinsic to christianity as a whole. Sometimes that shows up (and I occasionally try to sharpen the language up re: christianity/religion/belief in general), but mostly what I see are defensive attacks.

              •  Then why don't you write for Angican Kossacks (4+ / 0-)

                and give us a diary about that? I think that would be great!

                I think you're really correct: I do too much "God talk" and don't translate it well. You're right. Help me out. I'll send you an invite to join our group. Don't have to be Anglican to join!

                Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

                by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:51:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I went to an episcopalian high school, (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Prof Haley, commonmass, denig

                  they're pretty much the only christian institution I'm comfortable with (though I do have some pretty deep & substantial problems with some of the fundamentals). Well, Unitarians. And Mr. Rogers.

                  Might take you up on that -- I've got a scattering of comments around that could be expanded. Though it'd depend on my intellectual-brain continuing to function, which isn't a given...

                  And chances are I'd end up saying something that could be boiled down, in christian-language terms, to: "In the public sphere, Works are what matter. F# Faith" -- which would upset a whole 'nother bunch.

                •  Well-observed. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TiaRachel, commonmass

                  I appreciate our spotting this in your own writing and I don't know that I would have. It's constructive. I'm really pressed for time but I'll try to rejoin.

                  into the blue again, after the money's gone

                  by Prof Haley on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:33:22 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  The problem that seems (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TiaRachel, Tonedevil

              to have infected this diary's comment thread is that you keep saying that, and other seem to be impelled to say "look at that in a mirror - replace [religion] with [atheism]" and you won't.

              But it's true.

              You have found what works for you, but you insist that nobody else say "that doesn't work for me".  We're not trying to insult or demean or control you.  We're just saying "We get it.  Stop fighting."

              Except for a few assholes who love to fight.  Fuck them.

              I am still learning, but the teachers often suck.

              by trumpeter on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:48:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  90% of Christians wouldn't consider you one. (0+ / 0-)

              And that's the problem.  Your namby-pamby cafeteria christianity just serves to prop up all the other Christians who do believe the words of the bible and try to codify them into our laws and schools.  

            •  Gotta run, unfortunately (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              commonmass

              but you've convinced me I don't know what you mean by mystery. Do you have it in you to amplify?

              into the blue again, after the money's gone

              by Prof Haley on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:36:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes. What we don't know we don't know. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Prof Haley

                Up-thread someone said that Theology needs "Peer review" as if they don't have it. Total and complete ignorance.

                Some of us like the quest for what we know does not exist, while treating others like we would like to be treated, and some of us choose to do that in the Episcopal Church.

                If I am is ignorant as some people say, I will gladly have my musical scores I wrote hauled out of libraries so that they can be transferred to a "library of ignorance". It's been done before, you know.

                Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

                by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:41:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That was me (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  commonmass

                  and what I meant was, I can't think of a single discredited theologian - someone impartially recognized as wrong about god. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if this has been done, and I'm ignorant of it - I bear this ignorance without shame or fear, but as an empty cup. Tone doesn't always translate well on the screen, but someone else's ignorance isn't something to be disgusted about. Pride in ignorance is another matter. Scientists are wrong all the time - it's how we learn.

                  I guess it comes as a surprise and a disappointment to me that theology is sectarian. One hears so many contrary views presented with such certainty.

                  But back to mystery. "The quest for what we know does not exist" sounds almost like an explanation; I just don't know what to do with it.

                  into the blue again, after the money's gone

                  by Prof Haley on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:12:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Only really happens in the Catholic Church (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Prof Haley, commonmass

                    The Catholic Church can simply excommunicate people they don't like. They don't do that to lay people, but it does happen with officially employed university professors and theologians now and then. Also things like forbidding them from teaching and publishing books.

                    But that's not really "peer review" or anything like it. Just thuggery and oppression of ideas they don't like

        •  wow (7+ / 0-)

          "And Atheists wonder why people don't like them."
          We can play Red Pens game and insert blacks-jews-muslims in place of atheist and it sounds pretty ugly and exclusive. The thing I think is missed from the way atheists think about religion, and the reason that non-whackaloon Christians here are butthurt about being lumped in with the whackaloons is that religion is man-made. You all follow a man-made religion. It's not at all saying your all crazy, just that you all follow a man-made fairy tale, written and created by man. As an atheist, i can't wrap my mind around it.

          Strike! Without our work they have absolutely nothing...

          by discontent73 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:17:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Unbelievable! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil

          Do you not see you're the one breaking the live and let live principle by writing these atheist-bashing diaries?

          Abraham Lincoln used to ask people, "How many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg?" When they said, "Five", he would gently respond, "No. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

          by Dom9000 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:27:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Instructive irony (5+ / 0-)

            Nobody here is immune to people getting under their skin.

            Nobody here is has a monopoly on the moral high ground.

            That's why we have to put up with one another.

            You seem like a pretty smart, decent, and maybe even cool person.  What are you trying to accomplish playing "gotcha" with commonmass here?

            Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

            by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:04:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I left. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              The Red Pen

              I posted two comments and have only responded to responses as I see at as my duty to respond to responses if I post something, as to your question I don't know what I was doing here in the first place and I appreciate the kind comment.

              Abraham Lincoln used to ask people, "How many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg?" When they said, "Five", he would gently respond, "No. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

              by Dom9000 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:36:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  "And Atheists wonder why people don't like them." (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc

          I personally can't speak for all of us heathens and Philistines ,but we used to wonder that, now we simply don't care whether or not you like us.

          Honestly, by this point we pretty used to "normal" society treating us like shit and thinking we're all potential rapists and murderers because we somehow lack morals just because we don't believe in your fairy tale.

          So the answer to the diarists question is probably no.  Because we think you're delusional and illogical and you think we're unfeeling and amoral.

          "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest" - Diderot

          by Reverend Floyd on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:58:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "And Atheists wonder why people don't like them." (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TiaRachel

          I personally would appreciate it, if you qualify such remarks.

          I kept going back and forth, reading your diary. Well written, with many excellent points. But then you make statements, such as the one above and I am confused. You see the inappropriateness of teh broad brush, as it pertains to Christians. But not to atheists?

          You wrote:

          because I am a church goer, I'm just as bad as any other church goer, regardless of denomination

          and

          2. All Christians are just about the same, only some are "fake Christians" who are "Cafeteria Christians"
          .
          And I hear that!

          But in your diary, you did the same, regarding atheists.

          1. Atheists know more about religion than the believers themselves and

          and of course the one I really didn't like:

          "And Atheists wonder why people don't like them."

          If you are making a point that Christians are varied in their actions, opinions and beliefs, should you not extend that mindset to atheists?
           

          Jesus was the original bleeding heart liberal. ~Molly Ivins

          by denig on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:19:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The reasons why YOU don't like SOME atheists (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, commonmass

          are not the reasons MOST Christians HATE ALL atheists.

          You are a believer put off by militant atheists.  But the usual atheist-basher is a bigot, who thinks all atheists are evil.  

          There are plenty of good Christians, and I'll call you one.  But the bigots among you are winning.

          Founder Math and Statistics Geeks . Statistics for progressives

          by plf515 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:04:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you! (18+ / 0-)

      I find a lot of common ground with many Christians.

      Anyone who holds the Bible as a call for social justice is on the same side I am. My agnosticism is no barrier to working with others toward a common goal.

      Beware the man of one book.

      by fiddler crabby on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:09:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You got it exactly right, dude. (6+ / 0-)

      I'm an atheist, but I don't knock people with religion - why?  Why should I think that my view of the universe is any more or less accurate than theirs?  We all interpret our environment in a very personal way, and some people's interpretations include a deity.  

      Blaming religion for its excesses is ridiculous, because man makes God in his own image.  Every Christian has a different view of what their deity is, what it does, what its goals are.  We put words in this deity's mouth to explain why people should behave a certain way.  

      It's just a short step to using religion to control people's behavior.  And when you start deciding how other people should behave, and using religion as the club to force their moral behavior, then you have a sick society.

      The only real way to have a healthy society is for everybody to take responsibility for their own actions.  If you want to believe in a deity while you do it, fine.  

      That can mean only one thing: Republicans think all the jobs are trapped inside women's uteruses. - BiPM

      by Jensequitur on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:03:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you ever care to come to church.... (0+ / 0-)

        The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!

        I love how non-believers tell me how to believe. I hate how believers shove it on people. That's where I am.

        Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

        by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:07:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was baptized... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, gramofsam1

          In the Disciples of Christ Christian Church when I was eleven or so.  At age 16 I had an epiphany - that the artificial construct of religion, punishment and reward wasn't for me.  To me, it sounded like fantasy, or mysticism.  I just didn't believe that there was a God.  I told my pop, which really upset him.  I continued to go to church until I left home to go to college, but I never changed my mind.

          Today Dad is preaching in a small Christian church in Texas, and loving it.  He's always been a Bible scholar, which is unusual for a Christian.  He knows the Bible quite well, understands the origins of the stories, and still believes.

          I went to visit recently, and attended church on Easter Sunday because I wanted to be supportive.  But I REALLY had to think seriously about whether I wanted to take communion.  When you're baptized, you're asked if you accept Jesus as your own personal saviour, and that's no longer true for me.  But this was a small church that probably wouldn't have understood my actions - and I didn't want to jinx anything for Dad!

          Unfortunately Dad still doesn't understand my decision, and I'm not sure how to explain it properly.  Mom is even worse.  It's disappointing, because I think of them both as intelligent, open-minded people.

          That can mean only one thing: Republicans think all the jobs are trapped inside women's uteruses. - BiPM

          by Jensequitur on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:18:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was an organist in the Christian Church (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musing85, gramofsam1, revsue

            (Disciples of Christ) on THREE occasions, for a long term. I found the liberal, and accepting of women and gays. This was in Texas, in the 90's. I'm sorry you had that experience, I didn't.

            Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

            by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:22:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think the Disciples are very open-minded - (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              commonmass, gramofsam1

              And accepting, too.  I didn't mean to give you that impression.  It wasn't like being raised in a Baptist or Catholic church.  That's why I was surprised when my parents reacted the way they did.  Ah, well!

              That can mean only one thing: Republicans think all the jobs are trapped inside women's uteruses. - BiPM

              by Jensequitur on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:25:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  First of all, I want to say that I forgive (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, terabthia2, Prof Haley, revsue

      those who responded to my tip jar which is, of course, in violation of "Teh Rulz" as handed down by St. Markos of Meteor Blades.

      Second of all, I want to thank all of you who are participating here. This is great.

      Thank you all. It is appreciated.

      Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

      by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:44:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  YES! (4+ / 0-)

      As a progressive Catholic, I thank you for standing up for tolerance here on Daily Kos!

      Lumping all Christians in with the others is kind of like lumping all women in with Palin, Bachmann, Coulter, Rand, Thatcher, etc. It is misguided and just plain wrong. Same with atheists, Muslims, Jews, etc.

      It's bad enough many conservatives stereotype Muslims as terrorists - we don't need progressives to do the same with Christians or any other group.

      I Refudiate Palin's Squirmishes

      by ScottyUrb on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:33:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A few points (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc

      Most of what I read in your diary are strawmen and I would say that the first thing that believers and nonbelievers alike can do for each other here is to have enough basic respect for one another to properly paraphrase others' arguments instead of building offensive and easily destroyable strawmen.

      Second, it doesn't strike me at all that you want theists and nontheists to "get along" especially considering the offensive strawmen you've constructed regarding nontheists.  What I think you and the rest of the faithful that have been commenting in the recent diaries that you mention really want is some kind of validation that, speaking for myself as an atheist, I could never give precisely because I am an atheist.

      As to reading inspirational fiction (one of your strawmen), no atheist has any problem there, I read fiction all the time.  I am, for just one example, a big fan of Douglas Adams, who writes what I would characterize as inspirational fiction (he was also an atheist but that's not the point).  Where we run into problems is when believers read fiction and then mistake it for fact despite the utter lack of evidence that it is fact.  And really, that's the only problem.

      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

      by democracy inaction on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:50:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The thing is we all probably tend to agree (21+ / 0-)

      much more than we disagree.

      "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

      by grannyhelen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:08:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Solid suggestion (27+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately, that tends to go like this:

      "Fine, let's just say that I disagree with your stupid fantasy bullshit and you disagree with my clearly superior and allegedly 'scientific' world view."

      Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

      by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:27:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Agree to Disagree" means ... (7+ / 0-)

      "agree to disagree and stop talking about it".  It's another case of STFU.  It also means agreeing that someone is entitled to a belief regardless of whether it is true or false.  We don't agree to disagree about whether climate change is occurring.  We don't agree to disagree about whether 2+2=4.  So, I'm certainly not going to agree to disagree over whether there is a God or whether religion is harmful.  

      •  Well ... (18+ / 0-)

        Certainly as atheists we don't want religious people enacting laws based on their religious views, or harming anyone because of those views. But if people are practicing their own beliefs and not pushing them on the rest of us, what difference does it make what they believe in? I see the 'fight' that is worth having as being about the public square, not about what's in someone's heart.

        I don't care if somebody believes 2+2=15 as long as they aren't teaching it to my (or anyone else's) kids.

        •  If it makes a difference in their votes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jfromga

          ...such that they're implementing their dogma on the rest of us, it makes a BIG difference.

          And they ARE teaching the equivalent of 2+2=15 in schools.  

          America, we can do better than this...

          by Randomfactor on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:28:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't vote like that , (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gramofsam1

            "they are" voting, "they are implementing". That is really well, I won't say. I was raised better than that.

            Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

            by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:45:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If your view were in the minority (0+ / 0-)

              Gays could get married and abortion would be a protected right.   Not every voter is as enlightened as you.   Sure, it's unfair to you to say "they are voting" this way, but when the votes are counted which of us is more nearly correct?

              My objection to using the Bible to justify good works is that it makes it that much harder to reject it when Leviticus is cited against gays but not against shellfish.

              If something is a good idea, it remains a good idea whether some bronze-age prophet said it or not.  And bad ideas are bad no matter which of the ten thousand equally-valid gods command them.

              America, we can do better than this...

              by Randomfactor on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:32:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  ASK someone their view, don't tell them. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gramofsam1

                Or, maybe, just read the damn diary.

                So I write on religion. I also write on gay rights, defend feminism and the constitution. Anything that violates the separation of church and state I am opposed to. Period  I am a card carrying member of the ACLU, the NAACP (my family is, as it happens, racially integrated but I would be a member anyway). I am a Democrat, and of the socialist wing. I am probably left of Bernie Sanders. Yet, I'm an Episcopalian. I'll also admit I own a gun. So see, I'm not trying to oppress anyone. Did I mention that I am gay?

                It's just another attempt to demonize a DKos christian by telling him what he believes. Please look up "strawman" on Wikipedia.

                "If you think the other side is EVIL, you're part of the problem." -Chris Matthews

                by malharden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:33:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  WEll (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jfromga

            that's what happens when you mix politics and religion. It's a problem and we used to believe that they didn't mix until the last 3 decades or so.

            It's the policy stupid

            by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:53:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well that was kind of the point (6+ / 0-)

            of what I was saying. The problem becomes when it affects others. If it is someone minding their own business and not pushing it on others, like most if not all Christians here at dKos, it doesn't matter. I don't get how it is going to help for people to yell at others on dKos about whether or not there is a God.

          •  People come from so many different (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            commonmass

            places when they consider what is important in their voting and that is democracy. Ain't none of your business if I vote for a candidate because I like his position or his tie. That's how it is.

            There's a reason Democrats won massively the last two cycles, and it wasn't because people were desperate for "bipartisanship". --kos

            by Debby on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:26:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I wouldn't let them (2 +2 =15 crowd) (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HiBob, Wood Dragon, volfied, rivercard, damfino

          design a bridge or an airplane, give me change at the cash register, or figure my taxes.    That list could go on and on.

          In the real world, beliefs that translate into action are not that easy to ignore.  To pretend that beliefs don't end up stated in social policy, laws and regulations is to ignore reality.

        •  And yet, they are compelled to do so. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jfromga, rivercard, damfino
          Certainly as atheists we don't want religious people enacting laws based on their religious views, or harming anyone because of those views.

          So, based on the long bloody actual real life history of these organizations and the sorts of people who flock to them we can assume they'll continue doing so until eventually sanity reigns and "inspirational fiction" is no longer the preferred mind control apparatus for those who'd roll back the Enlightenment.

          The Democrats set the Rules of the Senate. Don't like the President's nominee's being filibustered? Don't forget who could have kept it from happening. The Democrats. Why didn't they? They didn't want to.

          by Rick Aucoin on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:56:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I care (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rivercard

          I certainly don't want laws which criminalize false beliefs, but that's not the issue.  Nobody wants that.  The issue is whether people can declare certain beliefs off limits to discussion.  That's what "agree to disagree" means.  And no, I won't agree to make religion off-limits for discussion.  If religious people are so offended by atheists discussing religion, then they are free to not read any of it, but don't ask me to "agree to disagree".

          •  And I agree with you except: (0+ / 0-)

            False beliefs? That is a really, really shitty turn of phrase. THAT is what insults people. YOU say they are false. And yet, you really don't know what I believe.

            Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

            by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:20:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well (0+ / 0-)

              Theists all have at least one belief in common, namely a belief that there is at least one god.  It's a false belief.  I can provide arguments and evidence to justify my claim that it is a false belief.  And the theist can try to provide arguments and evidence that it is true.  That's what having a scientific discussion of the issue is about.  That can't happen if one side decides that the discussion is rude and distasteful or that arguments and evidence aren't applicable to the question.  That's what I see all too often from the theist side.

        •  2+2=15 is still crazy (0+ / 0-)

          and relying on a sky fairy or an invisible hand to pull us through peak oil and global warming can be really irritating if you don't believe in their instrumentality.

      •  well, agree to disagree OUGHT to mean (5+ / 0-)

        then find common points of agreement ... a fight is not solved by STFU.

        (many other forms of aggravation may be solved by STFU, though.)

        LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:52:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wait, wait wait..... (12+ / 0-)

        Just because I go to the Cathedral on a Sunday morning doesn't mean that I don't agree with science. Stop putting us all in some scum-bucket. Some of us like our science, and our religion, too, and can rectify that

        Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

        by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:06:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Did anyone (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ortcutt

          call you by name?

          If so, that was stupid and unjustified.

          But if you pin the label on yourself, that's your lookout.

          I am still learning, but the teachers often suck.

          by trumpeter on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:57:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I applaud ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rivercard, commonmass

          people who are able to have a scientific attitude about at least some of their beliefs.  It's certainly better than the people who reject scientific inquiry entirely.  What puzzles me is why people like yourself then cordon off their religious beliefs and fail to evaluate them scientifically.  All the atheists are asking is that people apply the same level of scientific criticism to their religious beliefs that they would to any other belief.  You're selectively scientific, and that's a big part of the problem.

          •  We don't do that because (0+ / 0-)

            some of us don't like to be in science class 24/7. I'm not a Trekkie. I don't like science fiction. I almost failed chemistry. I don't like that shit. I respect it, but that is not how I want to live my life.

            That being said, I don't REJECT anything scientific. You guys seem to think that all Christians reject the rational world. Hell, even Darwin went to seminary. I just like what I get out of it, and don't think anyone else should every have to partake of it if they don't want to.

            That is, in my opinion, horribly oppressive. My attitude. I cannot wait to inform the Dean of our Cathedral how all of us, with university educations, all of us accepting modern science--all-encompassing--are oppressing you. We'll have a good laugh over sherry, that's for sure.

            Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

            by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:51:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't reject other activities ... (0+ / 0-)

              but if you want to know what the world is like, then taking a scientific attitude of critical evaluation of evidence is the way to go.

              Darwin was quite happy initially to pursue a career as a vicar, which was a respectable profession with sufficient free-time to pursue his naturalism.  As a Cambridge student, he believed in the literal truth of the Bible, and he greatly admired Paley's Natural Theory, although clearly his discoveries did more than anything else to disprove natural theology.  He didn't have to resort to a vicar's life though, since he was successful as a naturalist to make a living.  

              He did not remain Christian either, describing himself as an agnostic and quitting church from 1849.  His family went to the local Anglican church on Sundays (although as Unitarians they turned around when the Nicene Creed was recited).  Charles took a walk instead.  Darwin lived in a day when rejecting Christianity was socially isolating, and he was also married to a devoutly Christian woman, but he took the risk to not be a Christian.

      •  I'm an agnostic (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, TiaRachel, Tonedevil

        With Zen Tendencies who hates Christianity. But I also have no passion for these debates. None. That 2+2 =4 doesn't really matter because its a statement that only has meaning to someone operating with our perception. I view life as being utterly godless and meaningless, and therefore I also think that, life being meaningless, people should believe whatever makes them happy. I hate the idea of limiting the extent of human beliefs, or of obnoxiously foisting my beliefs on others.

        Logic is boring. Perfection is boring. Truth and facts are impossibilities.

        "If people doled out nutkickings where they are deserved, the world would be a better place." -Marcel Inhoff

        by ArkDem14 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:24:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc

          Then you are free to ignore these discussions.  You can always avert your eyes.  Just don't tell me that I'm supposed to agree to disagree.  Truth and facts are real possibilities, and I will engage in scientific, rational discussion in pursuit of them.

          •  I think your wording is perfect there (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gramofsam1

            They are real possibilities, just not the only possibilities of perception. I personally believe in the things that seem most reasonable to me, but even the things I believe in, I don't believe in as absolutes. I don't believe in any sort of absolute.

            I'm an artistic, romantic person. The cold calculating world of science seems to me to miss the point of human existence, which is by its very nature a bit of a solipsism.

            Agreeing to disagree means simply getting the fuck off of other people's case because they happen to have a different perception than you. People like you are just as bad as the fundamentalist Christians; you think you're the only one that's right and that everyone else should agree with you. Frankly it pisses me off because it's so mundane and boring.

            I hope someday you free yourself from the insane passion for truth, as Umberto Eco termed it. It's not something a limited perspective can ever find.

            "If people doled out nutkickings where they are deserved, the world would be a better place." -Marcel Inhoff

            by ArkDem14 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:02:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well said. Love your last paragraph. nt (0+ / 0-)
            •  If you don't believe in absolutes why do you... (0+ / 0-)

              ...seem to consider truth as an absolute? At least, that's the way I read what you wrote as in ' we will never know all (absolute) Truth, so why bother?'

              I'm pretty sure you place value on truth or you would likely not be writing here. I agree that there are probably no absolutes. But does that me we should reject all the truths that we can determine to be so? Preponderance of evidence isn't good enough? Why is is useless to pursue truth? Lies are better? What else do we use to combat falsehoods, especially those that make people suffer needlessly?

              I've also found that science is anything but cold and calculating. I'm simply a layman, but I find that for those that pursue it, it is a passion for understanding the secrets ways things work. It is an expression of wonder to peel back layers of beauty and just plain awesomeness that would otherwise escape our notice making the world a greyer place. Aesthetic beauty has hard limits when one is without the passion to ask the 'why' behind it.

              It would be much harder for you (and I) to be a romantic in a bronze age world that didn't present us the options to explore the artistic side.

  •  You had me at: (15+ / 0-)
    Did I mention that I am gay? Write that down, because you'll score on that later in the comments. Bob Barker will personally cut the nuts off of your terrier.
  •  Agree to agree. n/t (13+ / 0-)

    Almost nothing has a name.

    by johanus on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:00:19 AM PDT

  •  Not sure what reading fiction (46+ / 0-)

    has to do with anything. I've never once met an atheist who thinks art should be done away with. I can enjoy Lord of the Rings without believing it's true.

    Anyway, Episcopalian is a very specific exception. It's one of the extremely rare examples of a Christian church where the actual top brass supports human rights and doesn't try to infringe on others.

    What makes me really upset is when religious folks say "We're not all the same! I support gay marriage!" and then go right on ahead supporting the Mormon/Catholic/whatever Church. Those people should spend less time getting indignant at atheists and more time getting indignant at their own establishments if they want their beliefs to be afforded more respect.

    Proud supporter of nuclear power!

    by zegota on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:00:51 AM PDT

    •  Actually a good many Protestant denominations (22+ / 0-)

      are more or less where the Episcopalians are in terms of human rights, specifically relating to gender and orientation.
      UCC a fair bit ahead, Presbyterians and Methodists catching up, ELCA I'd say dead even.
      Unfortunately the Southern Baptists almost outnumber the whole lot of them...

      When civilizations clash, barbarism wins. http://Allogenes.wordpress.com

      by Allogenes on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:14:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Too arrrogant (16+ / 0-)

      for me to pass by.

      Frankly, I doubt most religious people (Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hundus, Budhists, pagans, vodunists, and so many more) seek the repsect of atheists.

      The recent attacks on religious people is just more self marginilzation.   You get to be so right, while no one gives a shit and you impact little.

      I'll pass.

      CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

      by TomP on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:16:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You need to look more closely (12+ / 0-)

      while no church is perfect, more than just episcopalians support human rights and work for social justice... particularly when one looks at the black church. As I noted in another comment a couple of days ago... applied Christianity looks vastly different among those who have been historically among the oppressed than it does among those who have historically been the oppressors... even when both lay claim to the same denominational bent and in theory the same doctrinal teaching.

      Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

      by awesumtenor on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:21:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Most Christians are liberals? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Randomfactor, vacantlook

        Something like 40-50% of Americans think Evolution is a myth.  That's a tiny minority?

        Lets face reality - liberal Christians are a minority in America. Saying it isn't so, or saying that conservative Christians are not Christian doesn't make it so.

        When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

        by PhillyJeff on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:54:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are attempting to put words in my mouth (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gramofsam1

          I neither stated nor implied that most Christians are liberals.

          That said... one finds more than a few Christians whoa re zealous for "the least of these" in more than a few denominations beyond episcopalians.  And even among liberals, regardless of their religious leanings ( or lack of same ), there are few, if any, which are all liberal all the time on all topics.

          Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

          by awesumtenor on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:29:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Contempt is not a community value (20+ / 0-)

      Some fiction serves to illustrate important ideals.

      Comparing the Bible to a adventure story is demeaning.

      The Bible is the collected experience of several cultures spanning millenia.  No one is asking you to believe anything in it, but there's no need for you to degrade those people who find wisdom and spiritual truth is its pages.

      Treating other Kossacks with contempt is not going to help build a community that supports positive change.  If you really can't bring yourself to allow others some dignity, maybe you have a problem.

      Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

      by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:25:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The OP (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, The Red Pen

        was the one who brought up fiction, not me. As I said, I don't really know what it has to do with anything.

        Proud supporter of nuclear power!

        by zegota on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:30:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Big, very big Ditto. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Red Pen, AuroraDawn
      •  Um, actually, yeah, they ARE asking (13+ / 0-)

        Not necessarily anyone here at dKos, but part of the whole front-and-center of this debate is the fact that there are a lot of people out there calling themselves Christians of one stripe or another who are asking, demanding, attempting to legislate their religion onto those of us who don't believe in it.

        And woe betide thee who disses them or their God.

        Now: Whether the religious on dKos believe in the same God that the militant right-wing religionists do almost doesn't matter.  (I said, "almost."  I'll come back to that.)  By their very belief, which --- sorry, it's the truth -- is lumped along with the nutcases under "Christian", they are at a point of friction with those on dKos who do not believe.

        Whether we can all get along is indeed another matter.  At this point of my life, I'm starting to swing back to the I'm-getting-so-sick-of-religion-dictating-the-political-conversation mentality.  But I try not to bring it up with my family, at least, because my sister is raising her wonderful kids Catholic and my mom sings in church three or four times a week.  The Church gives them comfort and structure and purpose, and I would not deny them that.

        But they aren't the ones who are demanding that we toss hundreds of years of science, ignore the legality of abortions, promote abstinence as the only proper method of birth control, blame natural disasters on gays and feminists, or bilk people out of millions by proclaiming the onset of Doomsday.

        Wisdom and spiritual truth?  Fine.  Political, social, and medical laws based on the scribblings of three-thousand-year-old goatherds?  Not so much.  And yet that's exactly, exactly what the right-wing religious are trying to enshrine into law, again and again and again.  Their version of "morality" appalls me on a number of levels, especially those that conflict with the teachings of this Jesus person so many of them say they think so highly of.

        -----
        Tom Smith Online
        Music In Every Style... Except Dull
        -----
        I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

        by filkertom on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:43:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Not necessarily anyone here at dKos" (12+ / 0-)

          Exactly the point.

          All commonmass is asking is whether progressive Christians can be on Daily Kos without getting in pie fights.

          Look, we agree on pretty much everything.  I oppose the Christian Nationalists and the scam artists and all the idiots who think Jesus rode a dinosaur to church.

          We can oppose them together if you can refrain from lumping us in with them.

          "Us versus Them" mentalities often lose they're way — the "us" and "them" forget what we were "us" and "them" in the first place.  What starts as loyalists versus separatists turns into Catholics versus Protestants and the next thing you know people start citing religious differences as the reason for violence in Ireland.

          The "Us versus Them" mentality that starts a lot of these pie fights has lost its way, too.  It's not Christianity that's "them," it's a group of people who have attached the emotional power of religious affiliation to a demonstrably non-Christian agenda.

          I want to tear down that agenda too, so try not to forget I'm not "them."   It certainly sounds like you can.

          Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

          by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:13:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  please allow me a feeble attempt to explain... (5+ / 0-)

          where i, as a person of faith, have a problem with some on dKos and its heart is in this statement:

          By their very belief, which --- sorry, it's the truth -- is lumped along with the nutcases under "Christian", they are at a point of friction with those on dKos who do not believe.

          who is doing the lumping here? when diarists fail to qualify the "who" that they are castigating it paints those of us who aren't fundamentalists, evangelicals or those amongst the religious right into the same collective group.

          i reject those people (fundamentalists, etc). unequivocally.

          the only thing we have in common with "those people" is that we, too, allow our faith and beliefs to form (in part) our political positions. i am a liberal democratic socialist BECAUSE of my faith, not in SPITE of my faith.

          i respect people of all faiths, athiests and agnostics EQUALLY in a secular society. i fear that a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on people turned off by politics whose moral compass is one of compassion based on their faith is reaching critical mass. we have ALLOWED the religious right to claim the mantle of "faith" as a "republican value"... now that some of us in the religious left are trying to neutralize that effort, we're having a difficult time with intolerance which is further alienating people that have traditionally voted republican (even though their "values" are diametrically opposed to that party's ideology).

          I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..."Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

          by liberaldemdave on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:34:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I do agree with both of you -- it's just... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TiaRachel, aikea guinea, Dallasdoc

            ... well, I guess the best way to explain it would be to reaffirm out loud why I am an atheist.  And the problem with that is to do so, I risk insulting your beliefs.  And there's a very good chance you would risk insulting mine.

            Very short form: Some people want there to be a God.  Some people need there to be a God.  Some don't want a God; some don't care.  Put me in that last group.  I came to my own conclusions about the existence of God before I was ten years old, and the forty years following that have only reinforced those conclusions.

            I have, however, mellowed in my stridency about them.  Unless those who believe differently from me are trying to force their will upon myself or my friends.  Which you get a lot of from radical Christians.  Which use the same group name as you do.  Ergo, hackles raised.

            I guess it could be seen as an internal Christian matter.  Certainly many Christians act as if their numbers (78% of all Americans are Christian!) show them to be all on the same page, when there are so many different denominations and even different Bibles that it's almost crazy.  They themselves want to be lumped together... when they want to be lumped together, for the sake of a cause, such as ramming intelligent design into public schools.  Or helping the poor.  Or anything.

            But everybody keeps breaking out into the secular world and insisting that I and other atheists take sides -- take one side or the other in a debate we think has no merit.

            Because our concept of morality, or ethics, or whatever you care to call it, isn't founded upon belief in a higher being.

            Some people need the motivation, or threat, of a greater power to make them be nice to other people.  I think it's both sociological -- protect the tribe -- and common sense -- have allies and friends.

            I have no doubt that I will receive that consideration from you.  :)  And I'm utterly good with you guys reclaiming the "mantle of faith".  Please, please do so -- I dimly recall a time when the religious cared a heck of a lot more about helping people and healing cultural gaps then getting rich and making enemies.

            Honestly, I would rather just stay out of the way.  And I would like to be afforded the same courtesy.  If I must take a side, I side with you, for what I feel are the right reasons.

            But recognize that I, at least, think the reason a lot of the foofrah here has happened is because some of us are more militant than others of us about the need to accommodate what we feel are, to be polite, fables and stories being treated too seriously by one side or another.

            I realize there's almost no way to get "faith" out of the conversation... but I have a different faith: in the human spirit.  No divinity necessary.  And I will be happy to allow you to indulge in your mental exercise if you will let me indulge in mine.

            -----
            Tom Smith Online
            Music In Every Style... Except Dull
            -----
            I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

            by filkertom on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:11:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you for asking... (0+ / 0-)

              ...what I believe.

              I mean if you were to, say, tell me what I believe and then explain to me that you are responding to me because of the beliefs that you've just decided unilaterally that I have, then that might be considered kind of... I don't know... what's a word that means "stupid" but won't get me flamed by Philoguy?

              Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

              by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:07:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Unwitting enablers (5+ / 0-)

          My problem with the liberal religious is that while they might not be putting forth the same reprehensible "moral" codes as the fundamentalists do, they do keep trying to prop up the same invalid arguments for why religion is supposed to be un-arguable and left alone.  And that attitude makes them unwitting enablers of the fundamentalists.

          If you argue that using faith to determine what reality consists of is a valid mental technique, then you are an enabler of fundamentalists the world over from THAT alone.

          The big reason that religious wars are so nasty is that once you've convinced yourself that:"

          (A) morality should be determined by faith-based claims about reality (i.e. god really exists and once upon a time he handed down to us the following laws).

          and

          (B) the morality of the next tribe over is flawed and harmful.

          Then you have undermined any ability you had to convince the next tribe over by arguments and passionate pleas, so forced conversion via violence is the only remaining tool you have.

          •  This (0+ / 0-)

            Thanks for saying what I was having a problem with.

            -----
            Tom Smith Online
            Music In Every Style... Except Dull
            -----
            I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

            by filkertom on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:17:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you so much, Steve (0+ / 0-)
            The big reason that religious wars are so nasty is that once you've convinced yourself that
            Being a total idiot, I never have any idea what I've convinced myself.

            Luckily, I have you to tell me what I believe.

            How do I make it through a day without your kind paternalism?

            Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

            by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:05:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you want to say you believe in something else (0+ / 0-)

              then go ahead.  Just don't confuse the issue by trying to call it religion even when it has no faith-based claims.

              •  I don't really think... (0+ / 0-)

                ...I could confuse any issue more than this one has been confused.

                I guess that's why I'm confused.

                You just told me what I believed and now I'm supposed to prove you wrong.  What do I have to be taking recreationally for this interaction to make sense?

                Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:55:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  because you're pretending that ... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... you're talking about religion when your explanation in detail showed that you weren't talking about religion but about something else entirely.

                  •  I've been all over the place (0+ / 0-)

                    You may be right.

                    It's possible I was trying to make a broader point that relates to religion by talking about something that isn't religion.

                    Would you be more specific?

                    Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                    by The Red Pen on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:55:55 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You claimed to believe in a religion (0+ / 0-)

                      and yet also claimed I was being presumptive in saying you use faith-based conclusions to decide morality.

                      These are mutually exclusive claims.  If you're not using faith-based claims, then it's wrong to call what you're doing religion.  You claimed I was strawmanning you when all I was doing was deciphering a conclusion about you based on information you freely gave me that inevitibly includes the conclusion I drew - that your morality is grounded in faith-based thinking.  If that's not the case then it would be incorrect for you to call what you're doing religion.

            •  That's why I used the word "unwitting". (0+ / 0-)

              because you don't THINK you are doing this, but you are.

              •  That's not what I reponded to (0+ / 0-)

                I responded to this:

                The big reason that religious wars are so nasty is that once you've convinced yourself that
                Does the term "straw man fallacy" mean anything to you, Steve?

                Do you think it makes you look smart to rely on the world's most overused logical fallacy?  Oh look, you got 4 recs.  You must be a genius.  Either that or there are at least 5 people in this world who thought "End of Faith" was a super smart book.

                Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:58:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Liar. (0+ / 0-)

                  Just because you obfuscate does not mean I engage in a strawman fallacy when I make the horrible mistake of thinking you said what you meant to say.

                  And yes, the End of Faith was a good book.  Sam Harris gets a few things wrong in that book but he gets a lot more right.

                  •  Called it (0+ / 0-)
                    And yes, the End of Faith was a good book.

                    Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                    by The Red Pen on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 02:56:48 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Nothing to be ashamed of there for me. (0+ / 0-)

                      I have nothing to be ashamed of in recognizing the superiority of reason over faith as a tool for deciphering reality, and in agreeing with Sam Harris that the inability to recognize this has become a major problem in the world today that it's about damned time we stopped ignoring this.  He gets a few things wrong in his book, but he gets that part right.

                      •  Not ashamed. Hmmm. (0+ / 0-)

                        "...some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them."
                        — Sam Harris, End of Faith

                        I guess no one should be ashamed of advocating the death of people who believe the wrong things.

                        Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                        by The Red Pen on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 03:29:01 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  What part of (0+ / 0-)

                          "he gets a few things wrong in his book" did you fail to understand?

                          As has already been established, you're a hypocrite who complains about being strawmanned but sees no shame in strawmanning atheists.

                          •  That's a pretty big one (0+ / 0-)

                            It's one thing to get your facts wrong or misrepresent something, but to call for murder goes beyond the pale.

                            As has already been established, you're a hypocrite who complains about being strawmanned but sees no shame in strawmanning atheists.
                            Hardly.

                            Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

                            by The Red Pen on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 07:54:51 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, the record of this conversation (0+ / 0-)

                            will remain for anyone to look at if they like.  Your record of not being honest is there for all to see, if they care to read this long back and forth between us.  But I see no point in bothering with someone who has no moral qualms against lying as long as its lying in the service of religion.  I've seen this too many times before and I'm sick and tired of putting up with it.

    •  Yes, the Presbyterians wrangled over (12+ / 0-)

      teh gay question for about 30 years and finally - FINALLY - approved ordination of gay members just last month.  Many of us have been working for this much of our adult lives and will certainly be blamed for the turf wars that will erupt.  

      The wheel keeps turning - and we keep pushing it.  

      The truth always matters.

      by texasmom on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:29:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My understanding is that it's more subtle (6+ / 0-)

        than that; that they struck language requiring unmarried clergy to be celibate, which not only implicitly made problems for gay clergy, but for single straight clergy too.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:40:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The actual new language: (4+ / 0-)

          "Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life. The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all the requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation. Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.”

          This replaces the earlier section:

          “Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.”

          So you are right.  It is also important to note that this language affected all ordained church leadership, including the rotating boards of deacons and elders.  

          The truth always matters.

          by texasmom on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:31:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's an understanding of a metaphoric dimension. (7+ / 0-)

      If you can't understand what fiction has to do with religion, you need to ask yourself why art has their historical origins in religion. Maybe Google mythos and logos. Who said I believe everything in the Bible is true because I'm a Christian? Is the concept of metaphor that complicated? It's perfectly possible to believe that there's truth in something because it represents something meaningful, not because you think it's literally true. In fact, it's pretty much part of the human condition.

      I do get frustrated that the people who are calling me stupid are continually not getting this much; this is basic stuff to any understanding of the arts, human communication, the human psyche, etc.

    •  zegota: your argument is the essence (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HylasBrook, Cedwyn, AuroraDawn, malharden

      of the argument that we hear sometimes about the non-jihadist Muslim:

      why doesn't the moderate member of the faith speak out against the extremist?

      (why doesn't the thinking churchgoer fight for civil rights within the church?)

      LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:54:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, why don't they? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cardboardurinal

        I'm not in favor of banning Christian churches because of anti-abortion terrorists anymore than I'm in favor of banning mosques because of Islamic terrorists. But yeah, it would be goddamned nice if we heard a onslaught of Muslim voices (important clerics) condemning, say, the attacks on the first amendment via the drawings of Muhammad or mainstream Islamic views on women's rights and homosexuality.

        I'm sorry, I'm past the point where saying "I'm not like them" makes up for simultaneously giving money and support to them

        Proud supporter of nuclear power!

        by zegota on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:02:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I often see here that liberals can't get their ... (7+ / 0-)

        ... message out because the media is controlled by huge, rich pro-Republican corporations who don't let them get it out, and don't want them to get it out.

        I think that is close to the same reason you don't hear moderate members of faith speak out against the extremists.  Just because you don't hear it doesn't mean the sentiment isn't there.  

        It's just that the jerks have control of the megaphones and have a vested interest in not letting moderates be heard.

        And how are moderate religious figures supposed to get their message out when moderates are uninteresting and boring, and the media is only interested in showing the spectacle of two extremists battling it out for ratings?

      •  Well, how many (0+ / 0-)

        religious moderates really identify themselves with Robertson or Falwell or Phelps?

        Those that don't are not likely to stand up and say anything, because that might imply a link to the extremists.

        Or maybe not.

        I am still learning, but the teachers often suck.

        by trumpeter on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:18:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, lots of straw men in the OP (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TiaRachel, Tonedevil

      Though to answer the question: Yes, we can all get along.  I try not to make generalized statements about large, varied groups like theists or even Christians.  And I certainly don't call them "stupid" (and I'm not sure who does outside of the occastional 15 year old first coming to terms with the fact that people believe things they find absurd, as I once was).

      Don't make shit up about us and we won't make shit up about you.  Sound like a fair deal?  I have lots of bones to pick with Christians, but it I'll always try to represent their side fairly and won't make straw men out of them, and if I do I want to be called on it.

    •  Lord of the Rings doesn't have many "believers" (0+ / 0-)

      I suspect Lord of the Rings would be a lot less enjoyable to read if the majority of its readership thought it was describing a real world history.

      It's enjoyable because you know the author intended the audience to realize it's fiction (as opposed to trying to fool people into thinking it was real), and the readership (except for a few very rare overzealous fans MAYBE) understands it as fiction.

      I've always been uncomfortable with other atheists who call the Bible "fiction" - not because I believe it's true, but because they seem to not realize what the word "fiction" actually means.  A "fiction" book is not one that is a misleading falsehood designed for propaganda or misdirection - which seems to be how they're using the term.  "Fiction" means "the author wanted the audience to realize it's not a true story.  The author is not attempting to dishonestly lie.  The author is hoping you understand this isn't real."  Consider, when you go to the library, the "non-fiction" section isn't called the "true" section, and there's a reason for this.  Being non-fiction does not imply being truthful.  It implies that the intent of the author was for the audience to believe it.  The author could still be either deluded or lying and yet still have their work filed under "non-fiction".

      Thus I don't agree with my fellow atheists snarkily want the Bible classified under "fiction".  "Fiction" is for books where the author was an honest person who MEANT for you to know they were making it all up.  The authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke, Paul, et all don't get to have that honor.

    •  A significant majority of Catholics (0+ / 0-)

      support marriage equality.  Andrew Sullivan has linked to several recent polls that substantiate this.  

      And I can add my own anecdotal evidence.  I was raised Catholic, most of my rather gigantic extended family are still churchgoers.  The only debate is between those who support full equality and those who support civil unions.  And the latter group consists of exactly one person-  my thrice-divorced brother.

    •  We've been fighting in our organizations for (0+ / 0-)

      Decades.  It has been a war that has tangled our churches in knots and made them less effective in multiple ways.  So, to tell us that we should spend more time getting indignant in our organizations in order to earn your respect displays your ignorance of our constant work and renders your respect valueless, not worth earning.

      Incidentally, the conservative funders of right wing politics and think tanks also fund organizations aggressively trying to weaken the liberal church.  If you think churches aren't liberal enough, maybe you should ask them why they spend so much money trying to make churches conservative.

  •  I've been reading this blog for a few years now, (47+ / 0-)

    (thank you Keith Olbermann), and finally got the nerve to register.  One thing that really stands out (and you can almost predict it) is that when the Republicans ramp up the crazy, we start attacking each other.  I just wish, no matter a religious affiliation or not, that we could recognize this for what it is and realize we're all here because we're bound by a common cause, and we need each other.  Thanks for this.

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:03:55 AM PDT

  •  We owe athiests about 45 anti-athiest diaries (15+ / 0-)

    lumping all athiests together as elitist, bigoted jerks.

    Then we can call it even and back off =)

    •  It would not be a Christian thing to do. (22+ / 0-)

      :-)

      CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

      by TomP on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:14:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, since the athiests missed that there is a NT (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP, AuroraDawn

        I'll take advantage and go with some OT "Eye for an Eye".

        Since, ya know, I am pro-stoning, and stuff.

      •  Well it WOULD BE (4+ / 0-)

        a right wing christian thing to do.

        Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men? It is the music of a people Who will not be slaves again!

        by axman on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:27:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, it might well be, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1, AuroraDawn

          but I always thought those people were more right wing than Christian.

          Then again, I never recognized the Chrisitianity of the Inquisition either, nothwithstanding the torture and burnings were done in the name of Christ.  :-)  

          CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

          by TomP on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:09:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes it would. (4+ / 0-)

        If by "Christian" you mean "that which Christians ACTUALLY do" as opposed to what their marketing dept. SAYS they do.


        "I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD"
        - hatemailapalooza, 052210

        by punditician on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:07:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not sure about that. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AuroraDawn, happenstance, gramofsam1

          Painting with a really broad brush there.

          See, e.g., The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

          I'm not anti-Christian or anti-Muslim or anti-atheist.

          CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

          by TomP on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:11:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh lawd make teh stupid stop. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tytalus

            For a system of particles be properly said to be moving in a particular direction, does not require that each and every particle move in that direction.

            What an asinine standard. Learn what "mathematical expectation" means.

            Pretty hilarious how people thing the invocation of the words "broad brush" is an instant argument winner. lols

            While people like you are busy clinging to your MLK "broad brush" parrot squawking, teahadists are busy taking over the country, Catholic priests are busy molesting kids and covering it up and working to take away womens' rights, other Christians in African countries are performing all sorts of other atrocities, and so on, all over the world and throughout history.

            GOOD THING THERE'S MLK TO PULL THE "BROAD BRUSH" INSTA-ARGUMENT WINNER MOVE THOUGH!

            lolol


            "I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD"
            - hatemailapalooza, 052210

            by punditician on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:18:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Speaking of mathematical expectations (0+ / 0-)

              Do the math on how many Catholic priests abuse kids vs how many don't, and then read the rec-listed diary about how 2 wackos constitute the entire Christian church being responsible for "death threats" to athiests.

            •  Wow. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GoGoGoEverton, gloriana, gramofsam1

              Thanks for the insult.  Yes, I must be stupid.  Of course.

              You make so little sense.

              While people like you are busy clinging to your MLK "broad brush" parrot squawking, teahadists are busy taking over the country,

              WTF does that mean?

              You don't like Christians or Christianity.  I disagree in attacking a billion people and their beliefs.  

              Your intolerance for those who believe differently from you is quite apparent.

              Christians are a big part of the progressive coalition.  I find many good things in Christianity.  It's debateable whether I am a Christian, but I respect both the religion and the people who follow it.

              CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

              by TomP on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:55:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Even as a Joke? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, TomP, musing85

        Wouldn't it be O.K. if
        ;-) we put "snark" in the tags?

    •  Good luck with that. (7+ / 0-)

      You see, we atheists have reason and truth on our side.

      •  So, what you are saying (19+ / 0-)

        is that all Christians have no reason or truth because they couldn't possibly be scientists, philosphers, mathmeticians because all of their knowledge and application of which  comes from the Bible.  

        Your comment sounds curiously like a fundie lecturing at Jesus Camp.

        " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

        by gchaucer2 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:33:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  GC (8+ / 0-)

          I believe it is useless even having a conversation we the person above.
          Conversations require some level of mutual respect.
          Farl shows none.

        •  Not just Christians... (6+ / 0-)

          If you follow the argument made in many of the atheist diaries to its logical end then all people of faith (not just Christians) are fools devoid of "reason and truth". After all, devout Jews and Muslims also believe in God and  Buddhists believe in reincarnation/rebirth. It isn't just the Christians who believe in things that can't be scientifically proven.

          Your comment sounds curiously like a fundie lecturing at Jesus Camp.

          Certain people are painting with a very broad brush, that's for sure.

          First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

          by AuroraDawn on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:18:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Indeed and (5+ / 0-)

            thank you for your comment.  I was about to write something similar (but not as well written) in a diary yesterday but got so disgusted I just left it.

            " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

            by gchaucer2 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:20:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know the feeling. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Catte Nappe, gramofsam1
              I was about to write something similar (but not as well written) in a diary yesterday but got so disgusted I just left it.

              A couple of diaries yesterday left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I don't like overgeneralizations and I don't like being proselytized to or patronized; not by Christians or Atheists. And really, that's what it felt like, reading some of the comments that described all believers (regardless of denomination or religion) as irrational, etc. It felt like someone was not only insulting me, but trying to convert me. Only instead of trying to get me to join their church, they wanted me to abandon all faith in favor of “truth”, i.e., their own personal “truth”. You can’t claim to be tolerant and then dismiss everyone who disagrees with you as a moron or a fantasist. That is something that right-wing Christians frequently do (and not only to Atheists). Some Atheists (though, thankfully, not the majority) can be equally intolerant.

              I can’t tell you how many times as a kid growing up surrounded by Evangelicals and Mormons that I had someone try to convert me, trying to force their individual “truth” on me. As I've told every Christian who has ever tried to convert me: "Thanks, but no thanks. It’s kind of you to worry about the state of my soul, but if I want to attend church, I assure you, I know where to find one. I don't need you to show me the way." Same goes for Atheism. I'm a Deist, not an Atheist, but that isn't because I haven't found someone to show me "reason" and reveal "the truth" to me. It isn’t because I am insane or ignorant or because I’m a Luddite who rejects science and “talks to imaginary friends”.  It's simply because my individual truth is different from theirs. I accept their right to believe as they choose. I simply ask that they show me the same respect.

              First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

              by AuroraDawn on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:16:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Compartmentalization (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AuroraDawn, aikea guinea

                There is a massive amount of cognitive dissonance and mental compartmentalization involved in religion. People can be perfectly rational and logical in some areas, but completely abandon any semblance of it when it comes to religion. Religion simply isn't held to the same standards as any other field of discourse. Some of that may be psychological, but organized religion also expends great resources to keep it that way via social pressure.

                Religion is inherently irrational, illogical and in many cases absurd. That's doesn't mean that religious people are irrational and illogical across the board. Certain fringe groups certainly are, but it's not true for all believers. The world would be a lot simpler if it were.

        •  Christianists have reason and truth on their side (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Steve84, Tonedevil

          ...except where their dogma is concerned.  

          I appreciate the causes they put reason and truth to work in service of, however.

          It's like those Christian folk who complained about the nutcase preacher a few weeks ago predicting an exact date for the Rapture--by criticising ONLY his setting a date, and not for the base-level insanity that is belief in the Rapture itself.

          America, we can do better than this...

          by Randomfactor on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:36:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sigh. It's simple (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TiaRachel, damfino

          Do you understand the difference between these two things?

          "Belief X is reasonable and true".

          "Person A, a person who has many reasonable and true beliefs, believes X."

          The second is NOT evidence of the first.

          People can believe a mixture of reasonable and unreasonable things because people are good at cognitive dissonance.  Just because someone thinks one of your beliefs is unreasonable does not imply that that person thinks everything else you believe is also unreasonable.

          You have a right to believe as you wish.  You do not have a right to have all your beliefs automatically respected no matter what they are, however.

          Respecting your RIGHT to believe is not the same thing as respecting the belief itself.  Beliefs must be open to ridicule or else all discussion is shut down before it even begins.

          Mocking cherished beliefs is a necessary cornerstone of public discourse and true free speech.

      •  Truth, probably; (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radmul, AuroraDawn

        reason, no.

        "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

        by Loge on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:56:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Funny idea... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tchrldy, AuroraDawn, jennybravo

      ...but let's face it.  We'll forgive them. :-)

      Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

      by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:22:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fine (8+ / 0-)

      Atheists enjoys discussing the question of whether theism is true and whether religion is harmful.  It's generally the religious who want to end the conversation.  That's not surprising given the complete absence of evidence for theism and the abundant evidence that religion is a regressive force in the world.  It's no coincidence that the most advanced societies in the world are the least religious.

      •  As a believer in Christ, I know religion's harms (9+ / 0-)

        and as a woman now in my second marriage, and a woman who had an abortion, I know some of Reichwing religion's harms firsthand.

        What I also know is that faith is not religion ... although I can't explain that perfectly.

        Faith is like the force. It's got a bright side (charity, compassion, kindness, soup kitchens, Project HOPE, hospital ships, teaching a man to fish so he never need beg again, that sort of act) and a dark side (the Crusades, the war in Iraq, suppressing human rights and even medicine, the way the "pro life" movement demands, debtors' prisons, the "prosperity gospel", those sorts of beliefs and the acts they engender). It surrounds us; it binds us to the universe and the universe together -- without faith, how should we speak to each other? How should we come together to build such marvels as St. Jude's Research Hospital or the Space Program, the Large Hadron Collider or the Olympics?

        Faith is NOT ignorance or hatred or suppression.
        It's self-defense and neighborly outreach, kindness and freedom.
        It doesn't have to have a crystal cathedral (indeed, it scorns such worldly excess, where there are yet hungry, sick, and prisoners in need of aid).

        Religion, now ... religion thrives on all the things that faith must overcome.

        LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:09:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The LHC was created b/c of faith? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tytalus, vacantlook, Tonedevil

          Funny, I thought reason and science had something to do with it.

          When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

          by PhillyJeff on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:04:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  PhillyJeff: takes faith to believe (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happenstance

            hard enough to fight for the funding, find the land, dig the hole, fight for the funding, buy the land, put in the tunnels, fight for the funding, find the physicists, add the accelerator, fight for the funding ...

            LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:19:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Faith, by definition,... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Steve84, TiaRachel, Tonedevil

              ...is believing something to be true despite having absolutely no actual proof.  Scientists wanting funding to conduct specific experiments is not faith; it's the complete opposite of faith.  They're not seeking belief without proof, they're actually seeking the proof.

            •  So... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TiaRachel

              you mean that it is hard to build something as big and complicated as the LHC?  I certainly believe that it requires determination in order to achieve difficult things.  It doesn't require "faith" though.  I hate it when people dilute the meanings of words like "faith" to the point that it applies to everyone and everything.  Especially when they are making a point about religious faith.  It didn't take faith to build the LHC.  It took science, determination, and money.

              •  and a certain amount of faith that (0+ / 0-)

                they would not be thwarted by religious obstructionists, if nothing else, in choosing the site and appealing for the funding.

                Yes, faith sometimes is another word for determination; you hear of it as motive.

                LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

                by BlackSheep1 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 05:26:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Huh? Faith? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TiaRachel

          "Faith is like the force. It's got a bright side (charity, compassion, kindness, soup kitchens, Project HOPE, hospital ships, teaching a man to fish so he never need beg again, that sort of act) "

          Those are wonderful things.  What do they have to do with faith?  I've heard two different totally unrelated uses of the word faith - one being belief in a proposition without evidence, and the other being trusting a person you know.  (These two meanings have nothing to do with each other and it's a shame they use the same word.)

          I can't see either meaning being relevant to the examples you gave in that list.

      •  You (0+ / 0-)

        are only looking at one side of the coin. Religion also inspires people to give to charity, work in soup kitchens and many other positive things.

        It's the policy stupid

        by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:04:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am looking at the whole picture (4+ / 0-)

          All of the evidence shows that the least religious societies, e.g. Scandinavia, Japan, etc..., do a perfectly fine job of providing a social safety net.  People are inspired to provide charity (or even better to arrange for public policy which prevents the need for charity) even in the absence of religion.  Soup kitchens are great, but more humane policies which allow people to afford food on their own are better.  

        •  Those often come with strings attached (0+ / 0-)

          Christian charity is all too often a means to spread the faith and comes with conditions. It can be good, but it can also be exploiting some of the most vulnerable and desperate segments of the population.

          You should be doing good things because they are good. Not because of some outside force that tells you that it's expected of you. Religious charity is so widespread because of all the organizational power behind it, not necessarily because it's such a great thing.

          •  All I can go (0+ / 0-)

            on is what I know and I know that a lot of people who don't go to church don't even know where to begin on charitable activities unless their company promotes volunteerism. I've seen too many people just sit on their hands and not do anything. Some of them were Christians too.

            It's the policy stupid

            by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:45:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There are secular charities (0+ / 0-)

              There just aren't many because secularism, humanism or atheism aren't organized very well. There are some organizations, but the simple fact is that there is not a whole lot that unites them.

              http://foundationbeyondbelief.org/ is entirely secular. The Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders are secular too.

              Secular people don't act like they describe because they are uncaring people. They simply don't have many places to go if they want to do something about it

              •  The majority are secular (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Steve84

                Look at the list of the 200 largest charities in the United States.  

                http://www.forbes.com/...

                The secular ones greatly outnumber the religious ones.  United Way.  American Cancer Society.  American Heart Association.  American National Red Cross.  AmeriCares.  Doctors without Borders.  The list goes on and on.  Both religious and secular people donate their time and money to these secular charities.

                •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ortcutt

                  I didn't fully realize how many of these medical charities exist that collect money to find cures and treatments for various diseases

                  Though that site lists "Focus on the Family" as a charity. LOL

                  •  It's an odd list (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm not clear what standard they use to define "charities".  Legally speaking, any 501(c)3 which isn't a private foundation is a "public charity".  So, any non-profit hospital, church or private, non-profit university is a "public charity".  So, Harvard University and Kaiser Permanente are public charities.

      •  There is one exception to that (0+ / 0-)

        "It's no coincidence that the most advanced societies in the world are the least religious."

        The US is the great outlier unfortunately. Very wealthy with a generally high standard of living. But also ultra-religious to the point of embarrassment

    •  And can we tell them what they all think without (7+ / 0-)

      asking them? I'm a big fan of that! I'm the "believer," but there are a lot of atheists who are psychic. Or so they keep insisting.

    •  It would serve as much purpose... (3+ / 0-)

      as their diaries do.  Which is to say it would serve no purpose other than to inflate egos.

      You can't simultaneously fire teachers and cruise missiles!-Jon Stewart

      by djtyg on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:45:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sure some of these diaries go beyond the goal (9+ / 0-)

      One should consider why this might be the case. Athiests have been one of the most persecuted groups in all of human history. Even when they werent persecuted, they have often been judged as below human. Even today, it is not an uncommon view that athiests have no understanding of morality and that they don't feel love. Lots of christians also see us as evil, or atleast certainly going to hell (where BAD people go). As a non athiest you might not realize how often athiests are told that they will go to hell, are evil, lack any morality etc, but it happens often, and not just from groups at the edge of society. News organisations will repeatedly ask athiests, how they could possible have any bit of morality. Just imagine if everytime a christion came on a news station one of the first questions would be, how they could feel morality and why they arent just raping, stealing and killing for fun? wouldn't that put you in a kind of angry state? So yes athiests sometimes are a little offensive to christians or religious people in general, but considering history and even the realities of today, they are still not anywhere near as offensive as mainstream christians are to athiest on a regular basis. And remember, Christians are a Majority, a large majority, while athiests are a minority, who has actual reason to fear that the advancements they have made in the last century might actually be taken away from them. Thats the key point, athiests are fighting back (in the first century where being an athiest might not make you a complete outcast), to keep the advancements they have made. If you see your livelyhood, or your right to believe what you believe threatened it is quite normal to react hostile.  So while Fox news likes to talk about how christians are persecuted in the USA, it is athiest who actually have societal norms to fight against, not the overwhelming majority that is christians.

      "We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

      by Mudderway on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:13:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I missed all those chapters in my history books (0+ / 0-)

        about Athiests being rounded up in concentration camps, being marched across deserts, having their homeland under siege by an authoritarian government, etc.

        I also missed the rec-listed diaries from Progressive Christians that are lambasting Athiests for being crazy, delusional, elitist, and harmful.

        •  This is a stunningly ignorant comment. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TFinSF, vacantlook, Tonedevil

          No athiests in concentration camps? Homeland? WTF are you talking about?

          I'm gobsmacked that anyone could write this.

          •  Explanation (0+ / 0-)

            Concentration Camps: Jews
            Marched: Christians, but several other religions apply
            Homeland under siege: The Buddhists in Tibet

            I wasn't just talking about Christianity...but as an athiest you disparage all religions equally, correct?

            •  I don't disparage any religion, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TFinSF, Tonedevil

              but go ahead and let your bigot flag fly.

            •  Correction (5+ / 0-)

              Concentration camps: Jews, homosexuals, Catholics, Protestants, Gypsies, socialists, communists, atheists, Jehovah's Witnesses, the chronically unemployed, prostitutes, criminals of all varieties--and anyone else the Nazis (British, Russians, French...) cared to put in them.

              Marched: Jews, Buddhists, animists (Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge being one example)

              Besieged: Everybody, at some point in history.

            •  I disparage almost all religions equally (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mudderway, Tonedevil

              ...but I prioritize.   Some (the Dominionists and to a lesser extent the Catholics) are much worse than others.

              Atheism has throughout history been a solitary pursuit, and throughout the vast majority of it atheists have kept silent, because one-by-one they've been killed for it.  There have been atheists in the pews of every church ever built--but it's only recently that they've been able to admit it.

              America, we can do better than this...

              by Randomfactor on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:43:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not your history teacher (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass

          I deliberately decided to not go the teacher route and instead just study history, so i won't try to teach you. The fact that you don't seem to know anything of the persecution of athiest throughout history speaks very poorly of either your historical curiosity or your historical education (though other fields of your education might be excellent, I would have no way of knowing). It would speak very poorly of your education if your textbooks really never went into the persecution, or poorly of your historical curiosity if you just never bothered to listen to or remember anything about forementioned persecution. If you really have never heard of any of this, then you are in luck. It is a very easy topic to find out about yourself, with the help of "the google".

          "We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

          by Mudderway on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:24:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  On Kos (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, malharden

        there are evangelical atheists who insult all Christians all of the time. There is no denying that.

        ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

        by jennybravo on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:22:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think i'm denying that (0+ / 0-)

          there are athiest who insult, or cause insult to christians here.(though i wouldn't call them evangelical athiests, because ... well...). What I tried to do is, i think, put things into perspective. Show why many athiests think a more agressive way of "coming out" might be the correct thing to do. I'm not really certain I achieved what I was aiming at, but since I am a little bit drunk and always lazy I won't give it another try. :)

          "We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

          by Mudderway on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:45:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Anti-athiest diaries? (4+ / 0-)

      Those are called "religious diaries".  We get 'em, frequently, thanks.

      The Democrats set the Rules of the Senate. Don't like the President's nominee's being filibustered? Don't forget who could have kept it from happening. The Democrats. Why didn't they? They didn't want to.

      by Rick Aucoin on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:03:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  False equivalence (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        malharden

        A religious diary is not per se anti-atheist. Just as an atheistic diary is not per se anti-religion.

        •  Incorrect (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rick Aucoin

          They are inherently espousing mutually exclusive views.  But when religion does it it's not noticed as such.

          But your post is confused because in one case you say "ist" meaning the person (anti-atheist) and in the other case you say "ion" as in the ideology (anti-religion).

          You are trying to make a mirrored case but you are conflating ad-hominems (invalid)  with ad-arguments (valid).  Either say "ist" on both sides ("anti-athiest" vs "anti-theist"), or say ism's on both sides ("anti-atheism" vs "anti-theism").

    •  So, defending gays, blacks, hispanics, women... (0+ / 0-)

      ...when they are stereotyped, sometimes physically threatened or assaulted for who they are is OK, but not for atheists? It's a fine liberal tradition to try and remove glass ceilings as a call to civil rights for these and other groups as it should be. But when it comes to so called 'immoral, hedonistic secularists' an atheist can't get elected to the post of school board member, much less a senator or congressperson - certainly not a president! - and democrats just yawn. No civil rights issue there right? Or passed over for jobs just because they adhere to wanting a really high bar of evidence to be demonstrated before they are willing to attach some kind of belief to an idea? I'd think among liberals that would be a feature, not a bug.

      If some non-believers get a little hot, and I'm not defending that in general, perhaps it has to do with this tacit discrimination. Sometimes a little push back might make some seem 'uppity'.  And again, it's based on many of the same old religious cues that have brought discrimination down on the heads of the other minorities I've mentioned.

      I especially feel sorry for those who suffer the double whammy if you are one of those other minorities AND a non-believer.

  •  I am going to volunteer (41+ / 0-)

    something I refused to answer yesterday, because of the accusatory tone by one who demanded some revelation from me.

    I'm Catholic by birth and upbringing.  Currently, I don't practice, but some of that upbringing remains with me:  e.g. the Sermon on the Mount.  I find that a progressive message.  I go to only two Churches when I do attend:  my mother's in CA which is one of the most diverse Catholic Church's I have ever attended -- not only because of ethnicity and race, but also because of the number of gay men I know who are Deacons.

    The second church is here on the East Coast.  It's message is liberation theology, social justice.  The diocese tried to close it down but got massive pushback from the community which includes very influential people.  I donate mostly time and some money to specific programs in that Church -- the soup kitchen, homeless shelter and education on parenting.

    This second Catholic Church might as well be non-denominational because, for many services which are not Masses, there are Protestants, Jews and Muslims whom I know personally.

    I never once have demanded what someone believes or doesn't believe or to what charity or church they donate.  If someone shares that information, I don't mind discussing the issues.

    Thanks for the diary, commonmass.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:05:18 AM PDT

  •  If meta was only all that mattered (18+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, this is bigger than pie fights. We atheists are under attack out here.

    "Live and let live" sounds really nice when no one is trying to kill YOU or throw YOU in jail. Not so nice when you're on the receiving end.

    Unfortunately this is a very typical reaction... "Why blame Christians for X? I didn't personally do X. Why can't we all just get along?"

    Such a naive point of view. "Honey, if you'd just sccept the fact that I like to hit you, we wouldn't have any problems."

  •  Diversity is our great strength. (22+ / 0-)

    I'm an atheist myself.  But religion is a stupid thing to argue about.  I've seen what you guys did over there at the Anglican church, and I'm proud of y'all.  

  •  Good diary. Wholeheartedly agree. (20+ / 0-)

    Nice work here. :)

    No coalition has ever succeeded with one part telling the other that their values are flawed, that they are wrong to want what they want, that they are wrong to be upset when they don't get something. -- robert cruickshank

    by Colorado is the Shiznit on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:05:56 AM PDT

  •  Absolutely (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TooFolkGR, TomP, SaraBeth, Lujane, raptavio

    I haven't seen much evidence that they don't get along.  

    It's better to curse the darkness than light a candle. --Whoever invented blogs, c.1996

    by Rich in PA on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:07:25 AM PDT

  •  I agree 100% commonmass (11+ / 0-)

    It is disheartening to say the least.  Neither side can prove without a shadow of doubt that the other side is wrong.  I know in my heart what I believe and have seen proof of it, but I have nothing concrete to lay before the atheists that they will accept.

    Can't we all just get along?  Words to live by...

    In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves. " - Buddha Shakyamuni

    by Actbriniel on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:07:44 AM PDT

  •  To some degree, it depends on whether... (8+ / 0-)

    one views the generic plain-jane concept of religion as intrinsically bad, or as something else.

    If one views it as intrinsically bad (before any details are known about it - a nice pretty Rawlsian situation), then one will be inclined to say things like "yah, this specific person was pretty good, but he or she nevertheless helped to prop up an institution whose bread and butter is based upon the oppression of others - as history clearly shows". (And thus we see the fundamental Kantian nature of Rawlsian thought.)

    If one views religion as not necessarily bad, then one would be more inclined to look at "the good ones" as being indicators of what religion COULD be "if only we'd do it right", and "the bad ones" as proof that some ways are bad. And then you get the "REAL christians..." crap.

    No real point here, beyond pointing out that the end-effect judgements are mostly based upon where the judgER started out in the first place. Both end-judgements are consistent with the starting-judgements.

    Of course, there ARE spots where the relativistic judgement rubber meets the hard road of reality, so to speak. Like unjustly rosy renditions of history, for example - and others.


    "I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD"
    - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:07:48 AM PDT

    •  My take (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gramofsam1

      Is that religion is a neutral force in human affairs.

      Good people have used it as a reason to do good things.  Evil people have used it as a reason to do bad things.

      Atheists are (proportionately) responsible for just as much good and evil.  They just have different rationalizations.

      Numbers are like people . . . Torture them enough and they'll tell you anything.

      by Actuary4Change on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:59:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republished on Street Prophets (17+ / 0-)

    Let me encourage you to also post it over on Blue Street Prophets.

  •  Atheists Who Post Diaries Here (36+ / 0-)

    Don't speak for all atheists or all progressive atheists  or even all atheists at DailyKos, anymore than you speak for all Christians, which of course you ahven't claimed to.

    •  I'd like to repeat your statement. I'm an (14+ / 0-)

      atheist and some of the atheists posting here quite definitely do NOT speak for me.

      I posted a very passive message in a diary yesterday, simply stating that although I didn't believe the author intended it that way, portions of the diary seemed to be lumping all religious people together, and there are now and have always been both the good and the bad.  The author, apparently like most, assumed I must be religious.  The author graciously apologized and I chose not to clarify or go further - I'd said what I wanted to say and any religious people were free to accept the author's apology.  However, several atheists were extremely offensive in response, telling the author s/he shouldn't apologize to someone who's so stupid, evil, whatever.  Excessively long responses.  Which were then rec'ced and responded to with effectively high fives.  It was rather eye opening to be on the receiving end of that crap.  Because I'm an atheist, it's usually the occasional religious person who attacks pe personally for not believing the same as them.  I can't say it makes a difference which side is being nasty.  They're pretty much the same, but with different beliefs.

      But over all, I'd guess the majority of both religious people and atheists do manage to co exist without much problem.  There's a certain percentage on each side that are simply asshats and would be asshats regardless of their religious or atheistic beliefs.  We should probably all just ignore them.  Maybe they'll go away.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:30:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gustynpip, Actuary4Change, AuroraDawn
        There's a certain percentage on each side that are simply asshats and would be asshats regardless of their religious or atheistic beliefs.

        The "faith" flame wars usually include some historical references of horrific events and actions "in the name of religion". The problem is, it's not the religion that causes those events and action. It is humans who are driven by power, or greed, or fear, or.....   And in order to hide those not so high minded motives from the world (or themselves) some of them cloak their actions in "religion". Some cloak their actions in "patriotism" or "justice" or other high minded sounding things instead.

      •  Diarist was exceptionally (6+ / 0-)

        rude and insulting to just about everyone in that diary.

      •  Very true. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gustynpip, Deoliver47
        But over all, I'd guess the majority of both religious people and atheists do manage to co exist without much problem.  There's a certain percentage on each side that are simply asshats and would be asshats regardless of their religious or atheistic beliefs.  

        I think the asshattery on both sides has less to do with one's belief system and everything to do with one's personality. Some people are just narrow-minded and mean-spirited.

        My father's an atheist and my mother is an Episcopalian. She doesn't attend church regularly, but she still believes deeply in most of the Church's teachings. They have managed to live together for over 30 years without denigrating each other's beliefs. With goodwill and mutual respect it can be done.

        First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

        by AuroraDawn on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:08:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Right on! (8+ / 0-)

      Every person is a unique individual with priorities, faults, goals, strengths, worries, and biases.

      One of the fatal flaws of this site (recently) is lumping all individuals into broad groups.

      All atheists are...
      All Christians are...
      All fraternity members are...

      And the comments section will be filled with the same.  "Every fraternity member I know is x, y, z" and "Every atheist I know is x,y,z".

      It's not progressive, it's regressive.  And personally I'm sick of being lumped into whatever group is the target of the attack du jour on any given day.

      Yuck

      Blind Faith in Empty Language is Not Patriotism

      by ColdFusion04 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:45:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gustynpip, AuroraDawn, liberaldemdave

      I'm an Atheist and I couldn't care less what deity (if any) someone professes to believe in.  And I find hasty generalizations towards believers to be as disgusting as hasty generalizations against Atheists.

      You can't simultaneously fire teachers and cruise missiles!-Jon Stewart

      by djtyg on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:53:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of course they can. (9+ / 0-)

    In fact, they often do in the real world.  Dkos loves drama so we get various wars.

    CitizenX: "If the republicans were in charge GM & Chrysler would be dead and Osama bin Laden would be alive."

    by TomP on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:11:20 AM PDT

  •  Hear hear! (7+ / 0-)

    I, too, am a gay Christian.  I am a firm believer that Jesus is the founder of liberalism.  

    Fundamentalists worship the bible, specifically, the Old Testament, which should only be looked at as placing the Gospel in historical context by any true Christian.   Worshiping the bible or one's own religion is idolatry.  Period.  Get mad at them!  Not us.  We're your allies!

    "The Republicans wouldn't cave, so I had to." -President Obama, 12/7/2010 Press Conference

    by MarkVA71 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:11:50 AM PDT

  •  we can and we do! (7+ / 0-)

    I really hope that people will become a bit more accepting of the simple idea of having debates and airing various points of view as a good thing. inherently good. I know people around here can be less than sensitive at times, that's part of what pseudononymous debate on the internet is all about. but is it really that bad to just be questioned?

    as an atheist I've worked along side christians to help the hungry, homeless, persecuted (as in HIV+ men & women living in upstate NY in the early 90s, a time and place which was not at all welcoming for such folks), to fight back against police brutality, and the like. now, granted, while working alongside these people there was no way, no way at all, that I was going to start giving them any shit about their beliefs, nor would I have taken any. but I'd be happy to pseudononymously debate any of them, any time, and to have any of them question my POV or write of it in an illustrative way which might not be how I would describe myself but which might nonetheless be a valuable thing to read or think about. sure, why not?

    if people are engaged in a longer-term debate, does that mean they're "not getting along"? only, I would hope, in the most superficial sense. this is a very personal and highly contentious issue. talking about it at all is difficult, especially for people who find others they normally agree with writing about them in a critical capacity. it can be alarming. but if we all just 'have at it', so to speak, I think it's very healthy and something from which all can benefit who want to.

    •  The problem is there's a small subset on each (5+ / 0-)

      side that truly enjoys being nasty and uses such differences as an excuse to personally attack those on the other side.  And they won't let up.  I experienced it yesterday from "my" side when a simple comment was interpreted to mean I was religious, when I'm actually an atheist.  I've also experienced it from the other side.  Those exchanges do tend to disrupt the otherwise often great discussions that occur in the atheist/religious diaries.  

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:33:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I used to get that from (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AuroraDawn

        RAOR a lot. I wasn't strident enough for his taste.

      •  yeah, that happens, but (0+ / 0-)

        I just don't see it as being that bad. if people misunderstand or if I've stated something incorrectly or that could be stated better, I try again and rephrase. if people are just looking for a fight, I can do that too, I'm fine with arguing my beliefs. getting all huffy and 'holier than thou' is just one of those things humans do, alongside either practicing or rejecting religion. people do take it too far, but people always take things too far.

        •  The ones I object to are those that have to take (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          itsbenj, mallyroyal, AuroraDawn, Pozzo

          it to a personal level.  Calling me an "idiot", directly me to websites that could explain how my "magic" beliefs were wrong, telling me I was responsible for his being forced out of his community.  The person who called me an idiot got 43 recs!  I was stunned.

          But yeah, it's not much different when it comes to religion than any of the other issues that create flame wars.  But I think it's a similar subset in any group that detracts from what could otherwise be pleasant discussions of different positions.

          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

          by gustynpip on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:58:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  well, take comfort (0+ / 0-)

            in the fact that when people get into that sort of a state, where they're obviously willfully misreading people and then regaling them with hyperbolic insults, they are generally making themselves look bad. and watching a whole lot of people then agree with that person against you is certainly a bad, weird feeling. I know it well, also from being in various pie fights here. this subject is a very touchy one, quite often moreso than people let themselves realize. sorry to hear that there was some anger mis-directed at you...

          •  Resurrection isn't magic? eom (0+ / 0-)
  •  I'm an atheist who was once on his (20+ / 0-)

    way to becoming a greek orthodox preist. I didn't find what I was looking for in the church because it just wasn't there. Others do and for them I am happy. Something I always found interesting about the different types of christians, and yes there are  so many different types it would be useless to list them, was their overwhelming reluctance to accept another christians point of view as valid. In the Greek church there is the concept of salvation but it is markedly different from that of a non-dom or baptist. There is no godly "act of forgiveness" for "accepting christ into your heart." Once, at Greek fest at St. D in Fort Lauderdale, I over heard a non-dom ask Father Spiro if he had been saved. Since being saved is dependent upon good works in the church and in your life, and keeping in mind that the concept of holding god hostage to demand including you salvation is definitively catholic and has a lingering left over effect in most protestant religions, when asked if he was saved he replied, "I don't know" to which she said "that's a shame".

    I'm telling this story because I want you to know that it's not christians I have a problem with. It's that attitude in particular that bothers me. And yes, when I see that attitude pervading an entire sect of christianity, I consider it to be a corupted form of christianity. Fake is another good word for it.

    This comment may not be reproduced or excerpted on other sites without my express written permission.

    by psilocynic on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:14:32 AM PDT

  •  Article VI Kossacks Unite! (12+ / 0-)

    To be a member of Daily Kos, ". . .no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification. . . "

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:15:43 AM PDT

  •  Reconciling faith and science (14+ / 0-)

    is an age old problem. Some would rather do away with one or the other. Either way is fine with me since I believe in free will. And therein lies the challenge: belief.

    I take a very different position from you commonmass. I do believe that the word of God, as we've received and interpreted it, is a product of divine as well as human inspiration. All in all, I'd say the Christianity as it is practiced in varying ways by over a billion human beings, is a good thing for those who find meaning and comfort in it as well as being a general good for the human race.

    That does not mean I feel I should impose it by force or even by persuasion. But it does mean I can teach it to my children as I understand it if I wish. It also doesn't mean it, or the church, is perfect or appropriate for changing times. People change with the times, but the essential truths contained with Christianity and other world religions are basically the same.

    Nor is science perfect, as any properly scientific person will admit. Science can err. Certainly we can't hate Madam Curie for studying radioactivity, even though people later used her work to destroy Hiroshima. That's some science for ya. Humans err. Thus is life. All scriptures teach this in one way or another.

    I suppose what I'm saying is that faith in God doesn't need to stand up to rigorous scientific scrutiny any more than belief in gravity should lead to a sense of wholeness and belonging. Jesus Christ taught things that are eternal and so did Issac Newton.

    We are people who have hearts AND minds. Science and faith can and do speak to both.

    •  I have never understood why.... (11+ / 0-)

      faith and science cannot be compatible to some.

      IMO, and on MY path, science only makes me marvel more and more at the wonders of the Universal Spirit.

      •  When William Wilberforce (7+ / 0-)

        underwent his transformation from spoiled rich kid to crusading abolitionist, he and those who took account of him say the he was deeply animated by an abiding belief that slavery was just wrong. Even though the Bible condoned slavery, he just felt deep in his soul that it was wrong. He literally gave his life fighting against it with all he had within him.

        There really isn't a logical argument against slavery. You just have to believe its wrong based on a belief in individual freedom, which is also something one doesn't need logic to justify.

        •  A logical argument against slavery (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil

          Slavery itself is illogical.  Slavery assumes that one group is so much better than another that the group being dominated is less than human, a thing or a product to be bought and sold with no freedom to pursue their own course.

          The real question is, what logical arguments can you make in favor of slavery?

          •  That's a false argument. (0+ / 0-)

            And, I say this as a black person.

            Slavery assumes that one group is so much better than another that the group being dominated is less than human, a thing or a product to be bought and sold with no freedom to pursue their own course.

            The first part of that sentence is wrong. In order to "justify" owning another human being in his/her own mind, a person need only believe that the economics of owning the other person (e.g., need to force that person to work so I don't starve to death) justifies subjugating the other person.

            Wasn't this the economic justification behind triangle trade?

            I agree with BBB that the arguments against Slavery are moral, not logical. Interesting observation, frankly.

            "If you think the other side is EVIL, you're part of the problem." -Chris Matthews

            by malharden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:59:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  not really (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              commonmass

              I think the dehumanization of the slaves is what made it palatable in their minds to own another person, to whip them, kill them, and treat them like animals.  I wouldn't enslave my brother so i don't starve, because in my eyes he is not an animal. Or 3/5 human, like the slave owners believed.

              Strike! Without our work they have absolutely nothing...

              by discontent73 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 05:03:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't care what the Bible says, just (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                malharden

                to interject there: slavery, be it by ownership by another, by indentured servitude, by birth, by wage, by sharecropping or serfdom, is WRONG. Morally WRONG. ALWAYS.

                Guess I am a pretty bad Christian, if I lived in 1854.

                I'd be in JAIL.

                Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

                by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 05:07:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Chicken / Egg (0+ / 0-)

                I think we disagree, but we can never really know who's "right" -- Hard to use the word "right" on such an ugly subject.

                I think they used the 3/5 of a person stuff as rationalization because they wanted Slaves for the economic reasons and didn't want the guilt.

                Sounds like you might believe the inverse -- They thought 3/5ths of a person, so they availed themselves of the economic "benefit" of subjugating someone who they chose to see as less than human.

                Lose/lose.

                Ok, this topic has sufficiently depressed me.

                "If you think the other side is EVIL, you're part of the problem." -Chris Matthews

                by malharden on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 05:40:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Thats not an argument. (0+ / 0-)

            To get to your point, you first have to prove that all humans are equal and that this is good.

      •  Because they are opposite ways of thinking (0+ / 0-)

        Religion says that faith-based belief is good.

        Science is all about eradicating faith-based belief and instead trying as hard as possible to operate on empiricism only.  If you make a claim you have to be able to back it up.

        These are directly opposed ways of viewing the world.

        The only reason a lot of people are able to do both is that they can compartmentalize their minds and through a trick of cognitive dissonance pretend that its acceptable to use one way of thinking in one area and the other incompatible way of thinking in the other area.

        I find that dishonest.  If  you believe that faith is a good way to arrive at conclusions, then you're claiming that the entire basis of science is wrong.  If you believe that faith is an unacceptable way to arrive at conclusions, then you're claiming that the entire basis of religion is wrong.

        I find the non-overlapping-magisteria concept to be vacant.

        •  Flawed premisis. (0+ / 0-)

          You assume that faith is a method for arriving at conclusions without proving it...logically.

          The real reason people who cant reconcile faith and science retreat into a science only perspective is because of the inability of science to answer questions that have nothing to do with logic.

          For example: explain the rational basis of love. If you can't prove that love is logical and scientific, love must not exist or be irrational. Which feels ridiculous.

          It's okay to feel things. They are just as much a part of being as rational thought.

          •  Non sequitor. (0+ / 0-)

            You claim to have responded to what I said.  You have not.  There aren't any people who think that emotion isn't useful.  Its just that they're not useful for determining the difference between true and false.  Religion tries to use them to determine truth from falsehood and that's why it keeps screwing up.

    •  A Creator of the Universe, but not a personal God (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, AuroraDawn

      I let faith pick up where science can't go.  We don't know where the fabric of space-time came from.  We don't know why the laws of physics are the way they are.  And some things just work perfectly.

      Red giant stars produce immense amounts of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, silicon and iron.  Add Hydrogen and trace elements and you have the building blocks of a biologically active wet rocky planet around a warm star.  Why do stars produce the elements needed for life on a planet?

      If water was more dense frozen than liquid, life on Earth or anywhere else may well be impossible.  Why does water behave differently than almost every other molecule?

      C02 + H20 + light = chemical energy storage.  The raw materials never break down and can cycle endlessly for billions of years.

      Why are the laws of physics so perfectly balanced to allow for life?  Who wrote those laws?  I can't answer those questions and if someone wants to believe that a Creator wrote them, that has no bearing on my search to understand those laws, to understand how the machine works.

      Well except for the Christian death cult that is, who believe in Original Sin, that God kicked us out of Eden for the sin of knowledge.  I can't help it that I'm morally superior to the Christian god, and I have no use for those people.

      •  Some of those (4+ / 0-)

        who have practiced the Christian death cult have gone on to liberate millions of people from oppression. Just as some of those who quest for meaning but cannot find it within themselves have killed millions. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a devout Christian. Joseph Stalin was an atheist.

        In other words, nobody is perfect. Therefore, condemn people, not beliefs.

        •  If you believe that knowledge is sin... (0+ / 0-)

          If you honestly believe that we were kicked out of Eden for the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge and gaining sentience, then I can't really do anything for you.  What do you want me to say if you believe that Dr. King committed a sin for daring to think instead of being a good pet?

          There are two posibilities.  That Original Sin is a fabrication and a lie, in which case baptism is a fabrication and a lie, or that Original Sin is a fundamental crime against humanity by a psychopath.  Either way, the Church doesn't have much to offer me.

          Some beliefs deserve to be condemned.

          •  There are many more interpretations than you... (0+ / 0-)

            ...seem to allow for.

            One interpretation of the Adam and Eve story is that holy people during the Moses-era needed a way to compel the uneducated masses to do as they were told -- and fear was the main tool.

            Baptism these days is a symbol, for a lot of people. You can let go of the guilt over the fact that you are imperfect, and start today living the most loving life that you can.

            Again, you seem to think that Christians can only interpret Genesis literally.

            Why?

            "If you think the other side is EVIL, you're part of the problem." -Chris Matthews

            by malharden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:03:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The only Christians I have a problem with... (0+ / 0-)

              Are the ones that interpret the bible literally.  If you're sane and not a fundie trying to force 6000 year old Earth creationism down my throat then I have no problem with you.

              Baptism is not a symbol.  It is a fundamental tenent of Christianity that unbaptized babies that die burn in hell unless the Original Sin is washed away.  Sorry but I completely reject Original Sin and any God that holds a thousands year old grudge against innocent children.

              You're right, fear was the main tool, and it remains the main tool.

              But guilt?  I'm not the one passing out birth defects and disease like candy.  I do live a loving life, starting with not believing that God is actually that evil.

        •  Many more of those death cult members (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Norm in Chicago, Steve84
           Some of those (0+ / 0-)
          who have practiced the Christian death cult have gone on to liberate millions of people from oppression. Just as some of those who quest for meaning but cannot find it within themselves have killed millions. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a devout Christian. Joseph Stalin was an atheist.

          In other words, nobody is perfect. Therefore, condemn people, not beliefs.

          Created the oppression of those people in the first place. Martin Luther King fought against Christians who used theological grounds to support slavery and bigotry.

          Stalin was a former seminary student and the center of what could be described as a secular religion.

          Hitler was a roman catholic whose hatred of the Jews was justified ad nauseum on theological grounds.

          You have just proved our point - religion is neutral at best, but more likely harmful on balance.

          Therefore, condemn people, not beliefs.

          So I am no longer allowed to criticize the KKK, Nazisim, Objectivism, or Neoconservatism?

          By this logic, the KKK's racist principles are beliefs that can't be questioned. Sure there are "fundamentalist" Klansmen who lynch people, but we can't condemn their beliefs. A lot of them don't REALLY believe all that racism - they just like the community of it all. And some of them were counterprotesting Fred Phelps, so clearly their KKK beliefs have positive utility.

          Beliefs can and should be questioned.

          When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

          by PhillyJeff on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:23:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ahem (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            malharden, dirkster42
            Hitler was a roman catholic

            Former Roman Catholic. There is no evidence that Hitler ever actually practiced the faith after his childhood. Certainly he was not practicing while he was head of the Nazi Party. And for the Catholic Church's position on Nazi doctrines, you have only to look at Pius XI's 1937 encyclical letter Mit brennender Sorge.

            A few of the highlights:

            Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community - however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things - whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.  (no. 8)

            None but superficial minds could stumble into concepts of a national God, of a national religion; or attempt to lock within the frontiers of a single people, within the narrow limits of a single race, God, the Creator of the universe... (no. 11)

            Whoever wishes to see banished from church and school the Biblical history and the wise doctrines of the Old Testament, blasphemes the name of God, blasphemes the Almighty's plan of salvation, and makes limited and narrow human thought the judge of God's designs over the history of the world: he denies his faith in the true Christ... (no. 16)

    •  It took me a while, (7+ / 0-)

      but I was able to reconcile my Christianity and my passion for science. It was my undergraduate psychology professor who first told me: "It's easy. God created evolution!"

    •  A friend of mine referred me to St. Augustine (5+ / 0-)

      ...for reading.  Being intellectually curious, I set about reading one of the classics of literature.

      I'm not a believer, and while I didn't have much use for Augustine's path to conversion to Christianity, I appreciated his commentary on how he reconciled scientific understanding of the Universe with the Creation story of the Bible.

      I think if Augustine were around today, he'd probably be perfectly comfortable with the theory of evolution and his personal faith and would provide his own unique rationalization for it.

      •  Augustine probably would (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AuroraDawn, liberaldemdave

        If you read Galileo's Letter to the Grand Duchess Cristina, in which he argues for the compatibility of his heliocentrist model of the solar system with Christianity, he specifically refers to Augustine's writings.

        Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

        by Linnaeus on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:10:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Jesus Christ did not invent the wheel. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TiaRachel, Steve84

      Much of what people decades after his death attributed to him are things many teachers including Buddha (assuming he is real) were saying before Christ.

      As a history buff, I hate when people either ignore or are ignorant of human history. As a teacher, Jesus was nothing special or unique. If he did all those miracles and rose from the dead that would be special. But he paved no new eternal path as a teacher.

      http://www.chicagoforrahm.com/home?signup=true

      by Common Cents on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:42:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree completely. (19+ / 0-)

    I'm a gay, a Christian, and a scientist. And I was deeply harmed by the fundamentalist church where I was raised. Christian and atheists have different beliefs, but we have very similar values. I think we and should try to get along.

  •  Good Article; gayly T/R (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, psilocynic, AuroraDawn

    Did I pass the quiz?  :)

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:18:04 AM PDT

  •  I'm not a believer (15+ / 0-)

    I don't go to church.

    But I'm well-read enough to know that the Bible, particularly the New Testament, puts forth a philosophy that goes something like: Be excellent to each other.

    The biblical character known as Jesus tells people to take care of each other. Give all you can afford to the poor. Don't be judgmental. Don't make war. Be nice. If someone attacks you, take it and forgive them.

    I can't disagree with any of that.

    The term "Christian" doesn't refer to any particular group of people who believe in the divinity of Jesus. Some of the people who call themselves Christians are insane bigots who protest outside military funerals. Some people who call themselves Christians join the military and make a career of killing people. Some people who call themselves Christians are kind, responsible, tolerant, friendly human beings for whom I have nothing but admiration.

    On the other hand, some atheists are dumb as posts, misogynist, dishonest and total bastards. Others, are kind, responsible, intelligent, tolerant human beings.

    Whether or not you believe in God does not control your character. You are who you are -- a being composed of the environment you were brought up in and the genes your parents gave you.

    People come in all sorts, from the saints (whether they are religious or not) to the pond scum (whether they are religious or not). Religious people can be immoral or upstanding. Non-religious people can be admirable or vile.

    We need to see who people are, not the labels they give themselves.

    •  He also tells you to slap tax collecters, (0+ / 0-)

      so...

      This comment may not be reproduced or excerpted on other sites without my express written permission.

      by psilocynic on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:42:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not really (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AuroraDawn

        He did say "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's." i.e., pay your taxes.

        •  I meant, in an off handed way (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elsaf

          that when jesus says this:  

          And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.

          He didn't mean for people to crawl away meekly. In his time, being backhanded was a severe form of disrespect. It was also the most common way the romans treated the jews. he was in effect saying to his followers to stand up for them selves. If you got backhanded by a roman show them the other cheek and make them hit you like a man and fight back to keep your coat/taxes/whatever was being taken away. The phenomenon of christ as a political movement is greatly overlooked in the religion.

          This comment may not be reproduced or excerpted on other sites without my express written permission.

          by psilocynic on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:37:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A more modern translation... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            psilocynic, Tonedevil

            I'm not certain, but I believe your quote comes from the King James Bible.

            Here it is from New International Version:

            You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

            This version is clearly saying: Respond to an attack without violence, if someone takes something of yours, give them more than they tried to take. (It's illustrated in Les Miserable, when Jean Valjean takes the Bishops silver and the Bishop tracks him down to give him the rest of the set.)

            In practical terms, not many people feel like tracking down their burglar to give them the rest of their household goods, but the advice it might, in some situations shame the aggressor into better behavior.

            And here is where I stop debating Biblical quotes, because my knowledge of such is that of an unbeliever and runs extremely shallow. I've read the book cover to cover, but I don't put it at the center of my life, so I don't have every single line memorized.

            •  The new translations incorectly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elsaf

              state that the line is a form of pacifism. It's not true when you look at the original greek and the historical context of the time and how the politics of the roman occupation manifested themselves in his teachings. Also, there are numerous apocryphal writings that also show this to be part of his teachings.

              This comment may not be reproduced or excerpted on other sites without my express written permission.

              by psilocynic on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:52:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Speaking, once again, as a non-believer (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                psilocynic, TiaRachel

                If we focus too much on trying to figure out exactly what a certain historical person said (much like Constitutional originalism) the final conclusion I'm led to is that what Jesus really, really, really said isn't all that important to 21st century people, because we're not under Roman occupation, and backhanded slaps don't have any more meaning that front handed slaps (especially in a bar, where either kind is going to lead to a brawl).

                I think the pacifist interpretation may be a bit more useful in a universal context.

                But my original point: that belief in God doesn't determine your character, certainly applies. I want the Bible to be about pacifism and loving your enemies, because I think that's going to lead to a better world. Someone else reads the Bible and thinks he's being told to hate gays. I find that interpretation baffling... but then I'm not a believer, so what I think the Bible says isn't very important.

                •  I agree that a belief, or no belief, in god (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elsaf, TiaRachel

                  does't determine your character. I do not, however, think the historical context of a religion should be left out. It is precisely this that you unknowingly have a problem with. If the historical context of the "god hates fags" line were taught people would have realized that it was a translation error. What god actually hates are figs. Not fags.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                  My point is, if the followers of any faith took the time to really understand their faith they might have to change their outlook of and reaction to life as they know it.

                  Pacifism is a great thing to teach, but it's not what christianity teaches. And those who say it does don't have a firm understanding of their religion.

                  About homosexuality in the bible:

                  'Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.'
                  (Leviticus 18:22)
                  http://www.biblegateway.com/...

                  'If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have
                  done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will
                  be on their own heads.' (Leviticus 20:13)
                  http://www.biblegateway.com/...

                  Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their
                  women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way
                  the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed
                  with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men,
                  and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
                  (Romans 1:26-27)
                  http://www.biblegateway.com/...

                  Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city
                  of Sodom-both young and old-surrounded the house. They called to Lot,
                  "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so
                  that we can have sex with them." (Genesis 19:4-5)
                  http://www.biblegateway.com/...

                  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?
                  Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor
                  adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves
                  nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit
                  the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
                  http://www.biblegateway.com/...

                  knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for
                  the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for
                  the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of
                  mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for
                  kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing
                  that is contrary to sound doctrine, (1 Timothy 1:9-10)
                  http://www.biblegateway.com/...

                  If people knew what was transpiring in society when these views were popular enough to be included in the bible, their outlook on homosexuality may be very different now. I know a pretty picture can be painted useing the bible. But a very nasty one can be painted as well. If we all understood it historically, there would only be one picture painted and it would be neither pretty nor vile. It would just be what it is.

                  This comment may not be reproduced or excerpted on other sites without my express written permission.

                  by psilocynic on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:58:34 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Jesus also promises hell to non-believers. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        psilocynic, BoxNDox, Tonedevil

        People like to forget that part, but Jesus is not shy about mentioning the wages of sin.

        http://www.chicagoforrahm.com/home?signup=true

        by Common Cents on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:43:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I really like (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elsaf, AuroraDawn

      this comment.  It sums up how I feel ...but can not express.

  •  Rock on (12+ / 0-)

    Many self-described atheists are as tedious as many self-described theists.  The common thread in the tedium has nothing to do with the various belief systems per se.  The common thread in the tedium is rooted in intolerance by some towards those who subscribe to other belief systems.

    Stop. Stand up. Make a sign. Walk around in public. Be polite and orderly and the rest takes care of itself. Want to shake up the Plutocrats? Demonstrate your attention to politics.

    by Quicklund on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:20:54 AM PDT

  •  Given world history... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radmul, bogbud

    over the past 2000+ years, in which tribalism has only been surpassed by religion as the most destructive force to mankind, I say no. We haven't in the past and the future does not look good.

    Diaries are funny things Sam. Type one letter and you never know where you might end up. My apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien.

    by Caddis Fly on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:26:38 AM PDT

  •  I am still completely grossed out (12+ / 0-)

    ...that there was PRAYING at my presidents inauguaration.

    That was so totally obscene that I have never gotten over it.

    Praying publicly in government?

    Disgusting and offensive.

    And, I'm not an atheist.

    •  I find it gross, too. (10+ / 0-)

      A Bishop in my denomination also gave a prayer, though it was not televised, because--and this is just my opinion--he was gay, and divisive. That pissed me off.

      That being said, I don't think prayers of any kind belong in public life. Prayers are for your own personal use, and for, if you care to, the church/temple/whatever.

      How much will it take for some of us to get the message through that not every religious person wants to shove this down everyone's throats or subvert the Constitution? What will that take? Please, tell me!

      Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

      by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:31:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  when you're elected President, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foufou

      feel free to dispense with it.  I'm happy to have seen Rev. Lowrey's comments, even if it meant putting up with "ceremonial deism."

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:02:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So if we have a Christian president, it's okay (4+ / 0-)

        to force Christian behavior on the country and if we get a Muslim president one day, it will be okay to force Muslim behavior on the country?  

        Christians have many good things to say.  But if they're going to say them in a governmentally sanctioned event, they need to do it without using their god as a part of it.

        "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

        by gustynpip on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:08:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not a Christian, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pozzo, sfbob, liberaldemdave

          but I didn't see in Rev. Lowrey's benediction anything worse than occasionally having to listen to Coldplay against my will in stores and such.  Rev. Hawaiian shirt is more problematic, but for other reasons.  This isn't to trivialize the separation of church and state, just to trivialize trivial examples of its breach.  If and when we have a Muslim president, the country wouldn't be particularly put out by a prayer, inshallah.  This would create some interesting Capitol hill logistics.

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:22:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I wasn't elected President. (5+ / 0-)

        I'm just one of the people who pays his salary, and who paid for his inauguration ceremony. I think that gives me a right to insist that he dispense with behavior that is disrespectful to me and/or others on the basis of our religious beliefs, sexual preference, or whatever, not to mention unconstitutional, during the course of his duties. I think this is just as true when the behavior is papered over with the euphemism "ceremonial deism" that Christians and Jews invented as a way of legitimizing their discriminatory behavior.

        If you want to listen to Rev. Lowrey's comments, feel free to do it on your own time in a forum that isn't being funded with my tax dollars. Don't ask me to pay for it, especially when the only reason he's speaking is to balance out the presence of an openly bigoted person like Rick Warren.

        AKA Big Tex *** If Barack Obama is the only adult in the room, then it must be his fault that the drapes are on fire and the cat's been shaved.

        by Maikeru Ronin on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:05:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well said (3+ / 0-)

          I still vomit a little in my mouth when I think about that day.

          It was shameful. They should have gone into the bathroom and prayed before they got there -- if they needed to so bad.

          •  Then I feel sorry for you. (0+ / 0-)

            Close your eyes and think of Aretha's hat.  (Her voice, by the way, is straight from the black church.)

            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

            by Loge on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:42:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  ...and before we get to far down the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musing85, Maikeru Ronin

          revisionism path... we only got lowrey after "teh gay" (loudly and proudly) protested the inclusion of rev. hawaiian shirt (i am so stealing that).

          I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..."Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

          by liberaldemdave on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:38:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I saw a performance of Bach's B-minor mass (0+ / 0-)

          at New York City-owned Carnegie Hall.  Violation?  It's much more sectarian than anything at the inauguration.  Does it matter that Bach was actually Lutheran and almost everyone performing was Japanese?

          This would pass the "Reindeer" test, so I can't say it's unconstitutional, nor do I think it causes anyone any particularized harm.  (Merits versus standing, but pretty much the same thing.)

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:41:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You said it yourself: "performance" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Maikeru Ronin

            A "performance" of a musical composition is not an act of religious worship.

          •  I'm not sure (0+ / 0-)

            that a 260-year-old musical piece performed at a non-televised event in a concert hall, one that can be appreciated by believers and non-believers alike for its musical quality without any regard for a religious message delivered in a dead language that the vast majority of its listeners wouldn't even understand, is as problematic as Christian prayers being delivered in English at the presidential inauguration. Call me crazy, but that's how I feel.

            AKA Big Tex *** If Barack Obama is the only adult in the room, then it must be his fault that the drapes are on fire and the cat's been shaved.

            by Maikeru Ronin on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:47:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I'm very (12+ / 0-)

    tired of the religion fights. Pat Robertson does not represent me in any way, shape or form. As a matter of fact, Pat Robertson is as damaging to Christianity as Osama Bin Laden was to Islam.

    This is the thing that annoys me: many people want to lump all Christians together but they are basically doing the same thing that the freepers are doing to Muslims.

    My advice would be to just take each Christian and each Muslim and each Jew individually and people will be happier.

    And as ECUSA I have personally been attacked by other Christians as not being a "real" Christian so even other Christians have to take it from fundamentalist Christians. The last thing we need is to have to take it from progressives too.

    It's the policy stupid

    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:28:41 AM PDT

    •  I'm borderline agnostic/atheist (8+ / 0-)

      But I'm intellectually honest enough to recognize that "religion is the cause of all misery in the world" is laughable.  The USSR was officially atheist, but it was horrific in the same manner that Inquisition-era Spain was.  Perhaps even worse.

      The religious impulse is a real one, it is part of humanity's early history when it needed a common meme for social organization.

      This world can be cruel, and a lot of people derive comfort that there is a merciful higher power that will make everything right in the end.

      I'm not going to be so brazen to tell my relatives who are grieving at a funeral that they are praying to some imaginary friend and that I'm smarter than them.

      Some of the most brilliant and intelligent people in history were religious believers.  Newton was actually an alchemist (he's been called "the last of the magicians").  In spite of that, he is recognized by many as the most brilliant minds in history.

      •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

        for making the point.

        It's the policy stupid

        by Ga6thDem on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:47:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The USSR was built as a secular religion (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, Steve84, TiaRachel, Tonedevil

        Stalin was a seminary student. They had miracles (Lysenko's harvests), heresy hunts against counterrevolutionaries, etc. Even today Russian Orthodox Christian churches produce icons of Stalin as some kind of saint.

        North Korea is the most faith based state in the entire world, focused on worship of the great leader and the dear leader (the son is the reincarnation of the father).

        Newton was actually an alchemist (he's been called "the last of the magicians").  In spite of that, he is recognized by many as the most brilliant minds in history.

        By this logic, Newton's alchemy can never be questioned. We can and should question Newton's beliefs.

        This is how science works. We don't say that Einstein or Newton was a flawless deity of perfect goodness, and thus we need to somehow square his less PC beliefs with his genuinely good science. We can say that his physics was good and his alchemy was horrible.

        So why can't we say that religious people can have good ideas, while simultaneously holding bad ideas about the origins of the cosmos, evolution etc.?

        When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

        by PhillyJeff on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:28:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's a school of thought out there (0+ / 0-)

          ... that religious people are morons who cling to fairy tales.

          They may cling to fairy tales, but they aren't morons.  They are just following a several millenia-old tradition of religious impulse that somehow survives to this day by sheer force of generational will.

          That's the paradox of the USSR -- they abolished Christianity and other religions in the name of worker solidarity, but all they did was get rid of religion's positives and re-inforced it's worst elements for unquestioned dogma and state sanctioned terror that resembled the Dark Ages.

  •  I think we're discovering on this site (7+ / 0-)

    the old rule that in a holy war everyone loses.  They're bloody messes and the end result doesn't make anyone happy.

  •  Happy to tip 'n rec (8+ / 0-)

    this.

    I'm a Catholic In Recovery, so my view on organized religion is a little jaundiced.

    But that doesn't mean I suffer from a lack of faith or spirituality.  And it certainly doesn't mean I have no knowledge of the Bible.

    At a recent event hosted by Stateville Penitentiary, some colleagues and I spent the entire lunch period debating various theological themes.  One recovering Catholic, one non-practising Jew and one Anglican.

    It was one of the most refreshing and comfortable debates I have ever participated in.  Refreshing, because combining faith with a rigorous intellectual curiosity is not an exercise in futility or a contradiction in terms.  And comfortable because the three of us - different ages, different sexes, different levels of religiosity could engage one another without the poison of "the smug".

    I've followed some of the "believer/atheist" diaries here on the Kos and I've often winced at their tone.  I have seen malicious comments directed towards "true believers".

    I've wondered at that.  I wonder because, in making the statement "There is no God", the atheist is making a statement of belief no less than the commenter who makes the opposite claim.

    By the same token, I've also seen atheists slammed by those who profess to a religion.  Ain't pretty either.

    I've come to the conclusion that the reason there is so much malevolence around the topic of religion is, in spite of what either side has to say, neither side is absolutely certain of what the outcome is going to be.  So the shouting gets louder, and the remarks get more hurtful --

    --and all because neither camp can say with perfect certainty that they'll will ultimately be the ones who can say,

    "I told you I was right."
    Thanks for this diary, commonmass.
     

    Our promises are made in proportion to our hopes, but kept in proportion to our fears.-LaRouchefoucauld

    by luvsathoroughbred on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:34:36 AM PDT

  •  i'm always happy to accept anyone, (6+ / 0-)

    regardless of creed, as long as they're equally respectful of me.

    i've been close friends with plenty of christians, jews, buddhists and atheists over the years and have no problems with the fact that they believe differently than i do (i'm a non-believer, for the record).  if they start trying to tell me that there's "something missing in my life" or any of that stuff, however, i'm going to let them know that those opinions arent' welcome here.

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:34:48 AM PDT

  •  Excuse me? (5+ / 0-)
    Just because a person became an atheist after being abused by a Christian sect in their youth...

    If that was meant seriously (ie, not 'snark'), then f- you.

    •  Christians: "Been molested? Walk it off..." (0+ / 0-)

      http://www.chicagoforrahm.com/home?signup=true

      by Common Cents on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:45:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's only a small part of (0+ / 0-)

        what's wrong with that sentiment.

        How about I post a parallel diary stating: "Christians- are you pants-wettingly terrified of death and being alone, so you choose to belong to a Church where your Pastor (and by extension, your 'god') promise to make everything OK?  Please, tell us all about it..."  I mean, if we're just going to make blanket assumptions about entire groups of people and treat them as 'fact', can I get in on this too?

      •  Abused with scripture and (0+ / 0-)

        interpretation, for heaven's sake. Why does everyone always have to think that abuse is sexual? Jeezus!

        Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

        by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:20:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mental abuse isn't any less horrific (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TiaRachel

          Growing up in a deeply religious home can screw up people for life. It can decades to undo the religious programming and heal the damage.

          And we aren't just talking about whacky fringe cults here or even fundamentalism in general. Mormonism can be very damaging with its social conformism. Even serious Catholicism can damage children by instilling them with immense guilt. Then there is the general shame of sexuality.

        •  But you mentioned this twice in your diary (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tytalus

          about atheists are people abused by the church.  So it makes you sound like you think atheists are created only in a negative reaction to abusive forms of religion.

          Which I can assure you is not generally true, but somehow you seem to have gotten that opinion.

  •  I'm active enough of an atheist that my (10+ / 0-)

    alt.atheist number is 3.

    My Presbyterian girlfriend just graduated from Wesley Seminary with a MTS.

    On matters of morals and ethics, there's almost no daylight between us. Also, on our opinions of Dominionists.

    So I'd say the answer in your title is "yes, so far".

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:37:51 AM PDT

  •  The (0+ / 0-)

    problem is, there's no 'getting along' with people who want to rule and control the world, and everything and everyone in it.

    They don't want to get along, they want your neck under their boots.

    The safest place for some people, is away from them.  Far away.

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace- Hendrix

    by Maori on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:39:15 AM PDT

  •  Amen. OK. I am a Methodist. (13+ / 0-)

    I believe in the Christianity of the Beatitudes, not the 700 Club. Jesus was all about healing the sick and feeding the poor. He had nothing to say on subjects like same-sex marriage and abortion. As far as religion is concerned, I believe  in live and let live.

    •  religous extermists tend to be the voice (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cardboardurinal

      too bad there is not more organized push back by faiths to put them in check so that people who want to believe what they want can as long as it does not reign tyranny on others.

      •  That is an argument that... (0+ / 0-)

        Chris Hedges has been making for quite some time.  

        "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

        by cardboardurinal on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:22:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Fellow UMC member here. (4+ / 0-)

      My pastor has often said that if abortion and homosexuality are the greatest sins, then it is odd that Jesus was completely silent regarding both of them.

      The Jesus of the Bible spoke against worship of material goods and orthodoxy without justice or mercy.  "Christians" who don't recognize this bother me just as much as they do some of the atheists who have commented here.

  •  They don't even understand science (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Boston to Salem, samanthab

    In a pie-fight yesterday, I brought up Secular Humanism and was greeted with the claim that "every premise of humanism is falsifiable" and therefore "rational."

    None of the tenets of Humanism are falsifiable and they don't claim to be.  I cringe when I think about how little you have to understand science to make this claim.

    The anti-theists in these pie-fights sling around words like "true" and "provable," "scientific" and "rational," and frequently demonstrate little or no actual understanding of what these mean (outside their colloquial use in pie fights).

    They casually rely on wholly subjective concepts while they declare their fealty to an entirely objective world view.  When you point this out, they have no idea what you mean.

    Here's a clue people: don't use terms you can't define while claiming to have a "scientific" and "rational" viewpoint.

    They're like Objectivists but slightly less smug.

    Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

    by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:40:37 AM PDT

    •  Yeah, it's like some of them haven't read any (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Red Pen

      philosophy after the Enlightenment. You can be an atheist and understand stuff like plurality of meaning, mythos, and so on.

      •  Here's what I find really ironic (0+ / 0-)

        A lot of my arguments about experience and consciousness come from the field of Philosophy of Mind, which is an analytical (scientific) branch of philosophy.

        One of the bigger names in that field from the last 25 years is Daniel Dennet, who is also one of the "Four Horsemen of Modern Atheism."

        I've actually had concepts which could have come out Dennet's books dismissed as "non-scientific garbage."

        It's moment like that when I realize that I'm talking to a wall.

        Harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

        by The Red Pen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:11:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Good to see the respectful Xtians are here. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Red Pen

      You know what people are getting at even if they don't express it in the best way.

      http://www.chicagoforrahm.com/home?signup=true

      by Common Cents on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:47:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for writing this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    texasmom, Actuary4Change

    You did, now I don't have to.  :-)  Tipped, and rec'd.

    Want to know what makes you tick? All Things Human

    by trustno1 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:41:14 AM PDT

  •  I'm oppressed! No, I'm more oppressed! (5+ / 0-)

    To me, that seems to be the pissing contest/pie fight that was going on yesterday with the story about the atheist kid who objected to the prayer at his graduation.  Loved his story.  Completely respected the kid and thought he showed tremendous courage.

    From that story, came the pie fight in the comments about who's the most oppressed.  I left a few comments, but eventually just got disgusted with the thing.  

    Unless you're going to do a public opinion poll, please leave out the "most," "nearly all," or "every" comment regarding attitudes of specific groups.  Unfortunately, those words seemed to be in many of the comments.  (See, I didn't use "most, nearly all, or every".)  

    The comments seem to delve into who's the most oppressed on DK and in life.  Is it the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims.  Certainly isn't the atheists, at least from what I've read.  At least I don't feel oppressed and I am an atheist.

    Can progressive Christians and Atheists get along?  I believe so.  I also believe that most do get along (I used "most" but it's my beliefe based on my experience, so it's allowed).  

    Here's my deal.  I won't tell you that your belief in god is wrong.  You don't tell me that a spiritual personal experience proves that god exists.  I'd say for most Kossacks that I've encountered here, that's not a problem.

    "Religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together" - James Madison

    by SierraDrinker on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:43:38 AM PDT

  •  I never see this out in the real world (7+ / 0-)

    only here (athiests vs progressive christians).  Then again, I'm unitarian, and we have some athiest members of our congregations. I guess technically we aren't christian either. When do we get to beat up the rest of you?  

    (of course, we're REALLY bad at beating people up. But we can try.)

  •  Religion, or lack thereof, shouldn't be a factor (4+ / 0-)

    as to whether or not people get along. My best friend is pretty far to the right as well as a pretty solid Christian (not sure of the version), and I'm pretty well as non-religious as you get. It's not an issue with us because, aside from some good humor, there's no "in your face" in either direction.

    We actually got a good chuckle about the whole Rapture thing... I made a comment that it's too bad the Rapture failed because I wound up hacing to mow my lawn on Sunday. Of course, I said, if it happened I'd have still been mowing my lawn on Sunday...

    The problem isn't between Christians, Athiests, Muslims, etc. It's between people so closed-minded that they refuse to accept that there are others that think differently yet are still good people.

  •  Question for the diarist (3+ / 0-)

    I'm just wondering how someone can be Christian and not believe in the Bible?

    I struggled with this question for quite some time and I haven't figured out an answer. Since the Bible is such a huge part of the church and Christianity in general, can you really be a Christian and look at the Bible as a book of fiction?

    I'm not trying to debate, I'm actually asking because I struggle with this daily regarding my own beliefs.

    Thanks!

    •  Can't speak for the diarist, but (3+ / 0-)

      I know some Christians who believe every word of the Bible is literal "gospel truth", that there are no errors in it (Biblical inerrancy). It is from that group that we have convoluted thinking needed to maintain that truth, such as the age of the earth being 6000 years or whatever.

      I know many more Christians who read the Bible as a written collection of oral history, transcribed by fallible humans. For them much of the message is not so much "fiction" as myth and metaphor.

      Those two views sometimes have interesting distinctions when it comes to Jesus' parables, too; because some in the former group want those to be literally true as well.

    •  Some liberal Christians (4+ / 0-)

      like the Lutherans I grew up around, would say the Bible has to be interpreted carefully to differentiate the eternal truths from the things that were particular to that time and place.

      Love thy neighbor? Eternal.

      Gay people are an abomination? Particular.

      Feed the poor? Eternal.

      Women should be silent? Particular.

      This way of approaching the Bible sees it as a product of men who were in some ways constrained by their own world view, but who also had an understanding of God's wish for humans to treat each other well and to carry a message of peace.

      Literalist/fundamentalist churches don't read it this way, instead seeing the entire text as a source of truth, literal truth.

      It's the split between the Church of Love (focusing more on the New Testament, especially the Beatitudes and social justice), and the Church of Law (focusing more on the Old Testament, especially in having to believe in a certain set of precepts in order to gain salvation).

      Bruce Bawer's Stealing Jesus is a good overview, though it sometimes slips into polemic.

      Beware the man of one book.

      by fiddler crabby on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:34:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)

        But the sad thing is, is that the bigoted-filled fundamentalist/charismatic churches are growing while those who preach true love/compassion are declining in membership.

        But those denominations still have bad apples. I was reading the blog of the Presbyterian Church regarding the amendment to allow gay clergy and I was amazing by the bigoted attitudes of some of the Presbyterians on that board.

        •  There will be bad apples anywhere. (0+ / 0-)

          No group of people will be completely free of flaws.

          On a more hopeful note: The bigoted churches are actually seeing a flattening out of membership, and some are even declining. The Southern Baptists, for example, are doing some soul searching because of this. Those churches that tied themselves to the fortunes of the Republicans are getting hit the hardest.

          And there's more hope generationally. A lot of the really awful bigotry is dying away as a new generation comes in. More churches are shifting away from a focus on narrow social conservatism.

          Even here in Nashville there are a number of churches that are involved in outreach by providing food for the homeless, help during natural disasters, literacy programs -- a whole range of help for those who are suffering.

          I still hear plenty of the bigotry -- a particularly bigoted megachurch is less than a mile away from my home -- but another mile down the road there's another big church that's working with immigrants and the poor in our community.

          There's still a lot of faith-based hate out there, but I've come to know a good number of religious people who are as opposed to that as I am.

          Beware the man of one book.

          by fiddler crabby on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:06:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Literal interpretations of the Bible are (4+ / 0-)

      actually a relatively recent development, and many denominations do not read the Bible literally.  The Bible can be "true" in a spiritual sense without having to be 100% "factual."  Marcus Borg addresses this in Reading the Bible Again for the First Time.  He compares interpretation of the Bible to Native American storytellers who begin a retelling of a legend with, "Now I don't know if this is how it actually happened, but I know this story is true."

  •  Although I disagree with the way you have... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn

    stated your position in many respects, I agree with the position generally, this is a political blog supposedly dedicated to electing more and better Democrats.

    Horrific acts by fanatics generate anxiety and tension in  all communities. That this community has broken out in reaction to such an act is not a surprise. Fanaticism by any faction is detrimental to progress in understanding and reconciliation in any community. I strongly support debate and inquiry, exclusion and contempt are not a part of debate, I hope your call for unity is heeded.

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:49:59 AM PDT

  •  Post-atheist (26+ / 0-)

    I'm really weary of the constant Christian-bashing here as well.  I'm also embarrassed.  you see, I'm a non-believer myself.  But I've moved past my "bash all religions as fairy tales and stupidity" phase, into my post-atheism phase. And these angry Christian-bashers are hurting our ability to assemble an effective progressive coalition.

    how did I get where I am?  A big part was falling in love with, and marrying, my wife, who is a highly intelligent woman with a deep faith. (like commonmass, she's an Episcopalian.  A church, I might add, that has been nothing but welcoming to us as a lesbian couple, as well as a mixed faith-and-non-faith couple.  And practices boots-on-the-ground social justice for all communities.)  

    So I came to terms with realizing that some people perceive things I don't.  Like love, they can experience something transcendent, yet inexplicable.  Whether it's just a trick of their neuronal processing is irrelevant.  They feel it, it gives them meaning, and it's not really my business to define or denigrate.  Any more than the transcendent emotion of love I feel for my wife is anyone else's business to define or denigrate. Even though that assuredly, is all in my head.

    Yes, I get that SOME Christians are mouth-breathing assholes who leverage their beliefs to harm people.  I'm a married gay Californian--I get it.  But really, people need to get over the angry atheist stage.  I think many angry atheists are those who have been directly harmed by the Christian right.  But hating on all Christians is like hating all Muslims because of 9-11 or hating all African-Americans because a stupid kid mugged you.  Or hating on all straight people because of Prop8.

    THey also need to get over the idea that religion and science are equal and opposite.  Science is not a religion.  It's a mistake to make it one.  Equally, religion is not in the business of explaining the world we see despite efforts to make it so.

    The philosopher John Gray said in an interview,

    "I'm very opposed to investing science with the needs and requirements of religion. I'm equally opposed to the tendency within religion, which exists in things like creationism and intelligent design, to turn religion into a kind of pseudo-science. If you go back to St. Augustine or before, to the Jewish scholars who talk about these issues, they never regard the Genesis story as a theory. Augustine says explicitly that it should not be interpreted explicitly, that it's a way of accessing truths which can't really be formulated by the human mind in any rational way. It's a way of accessing mysterious features which will remain mysterious. So it was always seen right up to the rise of modern science—as a myth, not a theory. What these creationists are doing is retreating, they're accepting the view of religion promoted by scientific enemies of religion, and saying, no, we have got science and it's better than your science. Complete error."

    I have written more about my views as a non-believing churchgoer in a series I call Living with Church on one of my blogs.

    MEanwhile, please please please:  How is it that DK is promoting and recommending so many diaries that attack one group?  As a community, we would not continually promote diaries attacking the LGBT, black, or Muslim communities.  we cannot have a progressive political coalition that insults and alienates an important community.  We can't keep handing the Right the weapon that the left is full of religion bashers.  We have to model the diversity we ostensibly promote.

    Otherwise we are no different than the other side.

    And I say that as an atheist.

    •  Pro-religion atheist (9+ / 0-)

      I find that the evolution of religion to be fascinating.  I know that it is not completely rational to believe the claims of various religious texts, but within them, there are morsels that are quite profound.

      Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament is a sublime piece of Bronze Age philosophy.  Beatitudes of the New Testament is the greatest clarion call for social justice that has ever been written.

      "If God didn't exist, it would be necessary for us to invent him" -- Voltaire.

      Religion is a necessary evil (or good, depending on your point of view!) for early human progress.  I honestly can't see how humanity could advance beyond primitive societies without a common meme that forces everyone to get along with each other.

      •  this is what a lot of folks miss... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, musing85, Larsstephens

        when it comes to what i hold dear:

        I know that it is not completely rational to believe the claims of various religious texts, but within them, there are morsels that are quite profound.

        of course, it's not "completely rational"! heck, many parts of the bible aren't rational...in. the. least. that's what "we" (well, to use the proper pronoun, "i") call "faith".

        burning bush? gotta be a metaphor. creation of the entire universe and everything in it in 6-24/hr periods? inconceivable. the ravings of a man having dreams about the end of the world? farfetched... but at the end of the day, it is what i cling to...much of it doesn't make sense. but, "by the grace of god', i trust that the core principals have a far greater meaning than the portions that are beyond my comprehension.

        I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..."Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

        by liberaldemdave on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:04:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with much of this, although (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens

        I wouldn't describe myself as "pro-religion", although there are some aspects of some religions that I favor.

    •  oh, for a thousand recs for this comment. (5+ / 0-)

      i've been asked to review Are We A Christian Nation by mary anne thomas for progressive blue.

      i think you have spoken, quite eloquently, about many of the issues those of us in the faith community face (i am a christian that is a member of the UCC, about to embark on a licensed ministry program, who is same-gender married to a jew that attends church with me so your perspective really peaked my interest).

      i will most likely cross post here. i would like to contact you at some point in the future (if it's relevant), if you wouldn't mind, about the book.

      I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..."Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

      by liberaldemdave on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:58:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I could not agree more with your diary (3+ / 0-)

      I also am married to a woman who is at heart still very much a Catholic, although she's divorced and married to me, which means she can't take communion.  That annoys me greatly - I want to say, ignore Pope Benedict, take communion if it is meaningful for you and don't let dogma insert itself between you and whatever you feel called to do.  I feel bad sometimes though, because I don't have a religious bone in my body.  I simply don't believe - grew up an atheist, never went to church, and although I rejected most of the rightwing crap I got from my parents, I've never felt the need nor have I been able to justify as reality anything having to do with a belief in a god.  But here's the thing - if you love someone, you don't insert your own belief or lack thereof into that person's life.  You don't try to embarrass them for their belief, or undermine it, unless they are doing something dangerous like assuming the rapture will come on May 21st and giving all their money away.  If they are simply a believer, if they have that emotional knowledge and the gift of faith, the cruelest most a$$holic thing you can do to your loved one is to undermine their faith.

      Charles Darwin never got caught up in public debates about the existence of God, though in his private papers, he was pretty clearly a non-believer.  But his wife grieved tremendously over the death of their daughter, and her faith was something he would never want to undermine or take from her.  Seems like a good model to me, and a good way of us non-believers respecting those who do believe in general.  

      "Sedimentary people stay in one place. They only interact with other sedimentary people."

      by ivorybill on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:04:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I became an Angican from Rome (3+ / 0-)

        because I could no longer deal with two things: a church that would not have me as a Priest and a church that would no longer have my mother as a communicant because not only was she divorced and remarried, but also had a therapeutic abortion. My mother and I continue to take communion when we visit an RC Mass and she does when she visits an Anglican Mass. Why?

        As I said to my mother, and it made all the difference, "the Former Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago once said that he could never deny Communion to anyone, for any reason, any where".

        THAT is MY Christianity. There I stand, I can do no other.

        Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

        by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:09:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh I hear you (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          husl piper 11, ScottyUrb, commonmass

          It always seemed to me counter to Christianity to deny a believer communion.  And it always seemed justifiable for a believer, acting in faith, to take communion regardless of whatever the hierarchy says.  Let he who is without sin cast the first stone and all that, and it seems to me my dear wife might be a lot less sinful than half the priests in the Archdioscese.  The vision of Catholicism that i respect, is the Graham Greene variety - nuance, sometimes unpleasant choices or no choice at all, and humans trying to act with a certain amount of kindness and grace  in an imperfect world.  I read his novel The Power and the Glory and it helped me understand and appreciate the Catholics (and other religious people) in my life.

          "Sedimentary people stay in one place. They only interact with other sedimentary people."

          by ivorybill on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:16:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Sent to Top Comments. Thank you! (1+ / 0-)
      As a community, we would not continually promote diaries attacking the LGBT, black, or Muslim communities.  we cannot have a progressive political coalition that insults and alienates an important community.

      Very well said!

      Thank you (from a Catholic)!

      I Refudiate Palin's Squirmishes

      by ScottyUrb on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:44:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That was a well reasoned comment. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TiaRachel

      I think you are correct that a lot of people who have trouble with Christianity are people who have suffered at the hands of Christians. I know that is the truth for me.

      I liked Commonmass's suggestion for people who have been emotionally abused by Christians to share their experience far and wide. I really think that our country needs to consider that some practicing Christian communities promote harm. A great way for that to happen is if we start sharing our stories. I actually this minute started a blog called harmed by Christianity. My goal is not to take down all Christians, and in fact, I have met (mainly online) a lot of Christians who do good work.

      My goal is to allow victims of fundamentalism a place where they can claim their anger with the hope that claiming anger is the first step towards  moving past it.

      The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

      by Renee on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:54:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wish there was a "rec 1000 times" button n/t (0+ / 0-)

      I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

      by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:32:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Deeply harmed by religion here (9+ / 0-)

    Brought up Lutheran Missouri Synod by extremely conservative (religiously and politically) parents who realized I was gay around age 12 but never once discussed with me other than to give me revolting pamphlets and books about "normal" sexuality written by people like Swaggart and Dobson and to try to brainwash me into thinking I should be straight.

    I realized I was an atheist in 8th grade when I read the bible cover-to-cover and thought, "what a load of crap."  Despite that, I was forced to go to church, sunday school, and youth group until I was 18, and was forced to do "confirmation" - stand in front of the entire church and lie that I believed in the magic sky daddy.

    Due to the homophobia and sexual repression from my parents and church, I was a complete loner in high school, despite being on the track & cross country teams and being valedictorian.  In college it took me a year and a half to come out (in Houston) and even then kept thinking of it as something abnormal or evil, thanks to my parents and their church.  For years afterwards just talking about being gay terrified me, sending an adrenaline rush through my body every time I broached the subject.

    To this day (I'm 42 now) I retain loner tendencies because I was never properly socialized earlier on in life, but for the most part I have adapted.  It literally took years after I left my family before I felt I had recovered from their psychological abuse.

    New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

    by sleipner on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:57:49 AM PDT

    •  There's no excuse for abuse (3+ / 0-)

      of course not.  It's awful, and it's no wonder you are hurt.  But there are communities where that doesn't happen.  

      But here's a counter story.  My wife suffered as a gay Roman Catholic for years.  Then she joined a welcoming Episcopal church (all the liturgy, and none of the guilt, as she says).  It's a community that is active in the marriage equality movement as well as other social justice issues.  Our marriage was actually blessed, joyfully,  in church by three priests.  And it has been a place of great healing for my wife and others.   Even me, though I don't believe, I have healed from some of the anger I held against religion and moved on.

      I hope you find peace and a community. It doesn't have to be religious, obviously.   But I hope you find it.

      •  I'm glad you found something that works for you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Steve84, Tonedevil

        But in addition to the foul stain my parents' religion left on my psyche, I also consider myself to be a very logical, scientifically oriented person, and see absolutely no reason why I should base any portion of my life on ancient mythology, and have no interest in ever even considering the option.  

        I understand that church can be a great gathering place for people of similar interests, etc., but I can't help wishing there were better alternatives than that, AA, or bars for fraternization, of which bars are the only one which doesn't shove their viewpoints down your throat - just drinks ;)

        New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

        by sleipner on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:55:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm an atheist myself (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TiaRachel

          And a professional scientist to boot.  So I don't buy ancient mythology as fact. But stories, myths, have power in our lives anyway--just look at Shakespeare's still relevant observations.  And so I've been able to find a community none the less, with my wife's co-religionists.  It's not just about religion, you see, it's about social justice and progressive action.  

          But there are social justice organizations, or groups basedon common interests.  I wish you success in finding one.  Until I met my wife I too was very much alone and a loner so I know where you are in that regard.

    •  Stories like yours are what most Xtians don't see. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steve84

      They think because everyone is shaking hands and enjoying fellowship on Sunday amongst other believers that Christianity has some sort of kindness to the other.

      By and large religions create artifical social walls that create outsiders by definition. There is an "us" and a "them". And to speak about solidarity in that sort of context is just absurd.

      http://www.chicagoforrahm.com/home?signup=true

      by Common Cents on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:51:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I just started a blog where I hope to give (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, TiaRachel

        people who have been harmed by Christianity a voice. Because I really do think there are decent people who consider themselves Christian and I think it is time for those of us who have been abused by the other sort to tell the decent ones what we experienced. I think it is a conversation that our country needs to have.

        The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

        by Renee on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:42:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Way to go. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Renee, TiaRachel

          I think that is a really good way to go about it, because those of us who have NOT been harmed by it need to know. We need to know.

          Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

          by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:44:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you for saying this. I really appreciate it. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            commonmass

            Would you be willing to write something for my blog talking about how the Christian community needs to know this stuff? I don't have a first blog post up yet, but I will soon. Then I will start taking contributions from people. I think I will have a fair amount of possible writers from DK. sadly. I wish it wasn't like this. But I think it's time to talk about it. The URL is harmedbyChristianity.blogspot.com

            The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

            by Renee on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 02:57:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I was accused yesterday of (9+ / 0-)
    when you continue to bash all religion and all religious people with your all-inclusive language

    I did nothing of the kind.

    I relayed comments where people used their religion to espouse a hateful position.

    I did absolutely nothing to suggest that their religion was representative of all religion.

    I want to be clear, I do not think that.

    But too, I do not feel it is incumbent of me to add a disclaimer every time I pass on such a quote saying, "Let's always remember that there person is speaking for himself, and there are many, many good people of faith."

    I believe that is understood.

    I don't believe it is my responsibility to be a proactive Public Relations person for people of faith. If people of faith wish to distinguish themselves from such hateful people, they can do what any person on this site is empowered to do, post a diary of their own repudiating those viewpoints.

    It is not my responsibility to do clean-up services for the stain some people put on the community of faith.

    And frankly, I resent having that responsibility thrust upon me.

    That marriage equality opposition is led primarily by Clergy is a confirmation present law is the establishment of religion.

    by Scott Wooledge on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:58:30 AM PDT

    •  I understand the viewpoint (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AuroraDawn, liberaldemdave

      But I think more is served by building bridges than severing them.  

      Incidentally,there are a lot of clergy who are fighting for equality too.

      •  To be clear (9+ / 0-)

        I have many times made it a point to take notice of progressive faith's support, here is just one example, which ironically did not make the rec list.

        But it's an unreasonable standard to expect me to go out of my way to provide spin for progressive Christians every time a regressive one says something hideous.

        That isn't my job. That isn't my fight.

        That marriage equality opposition is led primarily by Clergy is a confirmation present law is the establishment of religion.

        by Scott Wooledge on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:06:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And of course, when I've written (6+ / 0-)

          on progressive Christians supporting LGBT Equality, I likewise, have not included disclaimers that say, "Of course, some Christians are hateful people who would gladly see all gay people dead."

          I think that is understood as well.

          That marriage equality opposition is led primarily by Clergy is a confirmation present law is the establishment of religion.

          by Scott Wooledge on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:52:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it saddens me that you felt the need to bring this (0+ / 0-)

            to another diary when we have discussed this privately, which is where i wish that this could have been left.

            are you not outraged when people say that homosexuals are pedophiles? I AM (outraged, not a pedophile.)...you are failing to see that i am making a simple request for the same level of clarity and respect that those of us in the glbt community demand from the religious right fundamentalists.

            do WE "understand" that THEY don't mean "ALL" gays are pedophiles when they use that language? hell no, we don't, and you know it. it is a deliberate attempt on their part to foster an ugly portrayal. i know you well enough to know that isn't your intention...others, however, don't have that knowledge of you, sir.

            the issue, IMO, goes beyond atheists vs theists.

            asking you to add one...small...word... (like "many" or "most") in front of a global statement changes the meaning from "all" to a specific group.

            I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..."Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

            by liberaldemdave on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:19:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It sadden me to be attacked (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tonedevil, Catesby

              by someone I considered a friend with lies and slander that I "continue to bash all religion and all religious people with your all-inclusive language."

              If you really think I bash all religions as you stated, I'm very sorry you feel that way. Apparently my efforts here were not noticed or appreciated in the least by you.

              And it cease to be a private disagreement when you posted that nasty comment on this site, so unclutch your pearls David.

              And maybe consider how hateful a word like "bashing" is when you throw around so careless even as you are imploring others to watch their language.

              That marriage equality opposition is led primarily by Clergy is a confirmation present law is the establishment of religion.

              by Scott Wooledge on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:46:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hatchet. Bury? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                liberaldemdave

                You're both good guys, so I hope you can get past this mutual (but hopefully temporary) resentment.

                "It's hard to explain to someone that they are unimportant when it comes to presidential priorities, yet critically important when it comes to showing up at the polls." Dr. Boyce Watkins

                by Uberbah on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 06:42:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  You don't have to do that. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clarknt67, AuroraDawn, Deoliver47

      Anyone who can't see that one doesn't have to include such disclaimers when making a general point probably isn't worth trying to communicate with anyway.

      It's like when I say "black people love music" and people say "HEY HEY! THATS A BROAD BUSH GENERALITY!"  Well, yeah. I'm sure you can find those three black dudes who hate music, but it should be understood that of course there those who don't like it.

    •  I don't think the majority... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clarknt67

      expect you (or anyone else, really) to act as a PR guy for progressive Christianity. They just resented, rightfully so, remarks made by a few atheists who called all people pf faith imbeciles, suggesting that they were insane and believed in "sky fairies". Hell, I resented those comments and I'm not a Christian!

      I highly doubt you were one of the people posting such insults. I didn't read the comments that caused others to accuse you of bashing, but I've read many of your diaries, and I've never found you to be intolerant of anyone.

      And if certain people really do expect you to act as their PR guy, they're being unreasonable, and you have every right to tell them to get lost.

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

      by AuroraDawn on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:46:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, in the comment (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AuroraDawn, TiaRachel, Tonedevil

        that I quoted, it was directed directly at me, by name. And no. I said nothing of the kind.

        And my point is, yes, there does seem to be by some, an unreasonable standard that we much always balance every word we type about some "Christians" by couching it with "Religious right extremists" "Evangelicals" "Fundamentalists" etc... And disclaimers, or we're not being sensitive enough.

        If I'm writing about an event where a Preacher is calling for death of gay people, I think it's pretty well understood the Good Father Gene Robinson was not in attendance nodding his assent.

        That marriage equality opposition is led primarily by Clergy is a confirmation present law is the establishment of religion.

        by Scott Wooledge on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:00:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Religion came about as a means of explaining (5+ / 0-)

    things we did not understand. You'd think human kind would have learned by now that anything that still lacks an explaination only lacks it for our having not made the scientific discoveries to provide rational explanations.

    We don't believe the sun is Apollo (wasn't it Apollo?) riding his chariot across the sky, do we?

    We don't believe sickness is caused by demons or curses by god, do we?

    We've learned enough over the span of human existance about what we previously did not understand that it seems we should have collectively arrived at a point where we can look at the things we still do not understand in light of what we have learned that we can safely assume that the things we do not yet understand have a scientific explanation which is as of yet simply undiscovered.

    Unfortunately, religion for many folks is not just about beliefs. If it were strictly about beliefs, we probably would have evlolved beyond it by now.

    But religion is about more than beliefs. It's about the sense of community, it's about shared experiences - an extended family, community celebrations - it's more about a social structure than a belief system and a lot of people just don't want to give that up.

    I asked a scientific researcher a few years ago if she was an atheist. I won't name name names, but she's one of the top-most epidemiologists working in HIV/AIDS research in SF. I suspected she was an atheist and was relieved for her to confirm that. She did, however, mention that she did wish there was some kind of secular equivalent of a church/synagogue type community for her kids.

    I know some people say atheism is a religion unto itself, which is bullshit. But the idea of establishing a more tangible, a more accessible type of community, an atheist non-church church if you will, could be helpful to creating an environment where theists might feel more comfotable in trying atheism on for size.  

     

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:59:07 AM PDT

    •  I've always thought of atheism as the worship of (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foufou, ivorybill, AuroraDawn

      the Scientific Method.

      You'd think human kind would have learned by now that anything that still lacks an explaination only lacks it for our having not made the scientific discoveries to provide rational explanations.

      your comment doesn't change my mind.

      "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

      by mallyroyal on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:10:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Worhisp of scientific method over worship of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zegota, Sam Wise Gingy

        superstition & mythology? Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

        Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

        by JTinDC on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:15:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  LOL (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Medium Head Boy

        Yep, totally. We bow down and sacrifice goats to the "Scientific Method." You can't lump us all together, though; many of us worship Darwin as our God-King (or so many of the Christians tell me).

        Proud supporter of nuclear power!

        by zegota on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:22:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Worship is just another word for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass

        mind fuck.

        God is the problem, not the solution.

        by Sam Wise Gingy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:35:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And prayer is just another word (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          samanthab, JTinDC, musing85

          for hoping all else is well with you.

          Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

          by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:37:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ya know, I feel bad when I encounter (0+ / 0-)

            someone in physical or emotional distress and I cannot say, "I'll pray for you". Of course that person will be in my thoughts and I will hope the best for them, but it's an awkward way of expressing my care and support. It would be easier to just say, "I'll pray for you" and know what I mean in my mind, but it still would feel somehow dishonest.

            Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

            by JTinDC on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:27:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If it makes you feel better (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JTinDC

              I get highly offended when someone says "I'll pray for you" to me.

              Proud supporter of nuclear power!

              by zegota on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:58:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I understand, but you would be in the minority. (0+ / 0-)

                Even if I could reconcile offering prayers in light of my atheism, I'd not do so without foreknowledge of whether it would be appropriate. So zegota, I will always wish the best for you, but I swear to FSM, I will never pray for you. :-)

                Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

                by JTinDC on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 01:01:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  I think you are too optimistic (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musing85, Steve84

        Although I tend toward the side of the atheists and agnostics, I've met some pretty stupid, intellectually lazy ones who wouldn't understand the scientific method if it were printed out on a card and placed in front of them on a daily basis. Some people are just not capable of reasoning from premises and evidence to a supportable conclusion and that covers those who believe in a supreme being as well as those who don't.

      •  Let me jump in (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel

        As a pro-religious atheist, let me say that there is a difference between worship and/or belief on one hand, and the scientific method on the other.  Some perhaps worship science; I think it is more useful to think about the scientific method as a self-correcting process, rather than something to be worshiped.  I think science is incredibly beautiful, and perhaps some of that crosses over into the realm of religion, at least as defined by a sense of wonder and a sense of aesthetics.  But science is not religion because it doesn't deal with questions of belief or faith.  It constructs models that reflect observable reality, and those models change as information changes.  

        Religion itself is a remarkably difficult to define... perhaps it is enough to say that some of us, yours truly included, don't have the gift of faith.  However, I do get beauty and wonder, but lack the bedrock certainty of the divine or that the universe has a knowable purpose or direction, that informs much of religious life.  Others may have that sense, and that's fine.

        That's why you will never catch me bashing religious people here. I know a few who truly live their faith and I have a whole lot of respect for them.  It's arrogant in the extreme to presume to know what someone else knows or feels, and anyway, I'm 100% behind the idea of working together on what we do agree on.

        "Sedimentary people stay in one place. They only interact with other sedimentary people."

        by ivorybill on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:50:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  How to you solve the problems of common meme (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JTinDC

      ... and social organization?

      I think that because technology is providing more and more creature comforts, that we become increasingly less socialized and less religious.

      •  You may be right, that technology (0+ / 0-)

        will solve part of that for us. I just hope that if there is some planet altering catastrophe that takes our technology away but spares our lives that we don't devolve back into primitive beliefs. It wouldn't surprise me if we did.

        Everyone should make themselves aware of the American Stonehenge outside of Atlanta. It'a a set of guides that would serve us well in the event that we did have to start over.

        Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

        by JTinDC on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:33:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well said! This Deist Unitarian... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, fiddler crabby, Ellid

    applauds you. Tipped and Rec'd. I don't consider myself a Christian (though I believe in many of Christ's teachings), but my mother is one, a very liberal one, and she is most certainly sane. It's sad to see progressive Christians lumped together with Fundamentalists by other Kossacks.

    as if I could convince a Southern Baptist to become a Roman Catholic. Because, you know, we are all the same and can do that, right?

    Sure you can! You just aren't trying hard enough. /snark

    The suggestion that progressive Christians are somehow responsible for the actions of crackpots like Pat Robertson and his minions is absurd.

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win ~ Gandhi

    by AuroraDawn on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:59:34 AM PDT

  •  Those who bash religion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn

    Are really bashing man's greatest invention.  So to bash religion is to really bash humanity :)

    A bit of snark, I know.  I'm more or less agnostic/atheist.  That being said, I think it's perfectly rational to believe that there was a conscious, omnipotent creator or primary mover that set in motion the big bang, the formation of the Universe and evolution.  What existed before the Big Bang, anyway?

    Honestly, nobody knows.  Our stream of consciousness might even exist in some afterlife for all we know, and that does not necessarily require the existence of a deity.  Or maybe it does.

    There are a lot of religious, spiritual people who are sincere and want to do good in the name of their religion and beliefs.  I don't think the will to do such things, even if it's perceived as delusional by some, is a bad thing.

    •  Slavery was a human invention also (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zegota, Dom9000

      but we are much better off without it.

      Please give me reasonable men living in a reasonable society governed by reasonable laws and officials who answer personally and corporately to reason.

      We will never get there as long as humanity insists on being religious.

      God is the problem, not the solution.

      by Sam Wise Gingy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:41:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is physically imypossible for such a society (0+ / 0-)

        to exist.

        Slavery was only abolished because industrialization made chattel slavery that existed in Americas more or less obsolete.

        Peak oil, social regression, and a forced return to hand and tool farming would bring back slavery, serfdom and indentured servitude fairly quickly.

        Technology is the answer to social progress.

  •  Short answer: yes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wood Dragon, TiaRachel

    Long answer:

    In the end, as an atheist myself, I don't feel particularly harmed or threatened by the religious and/or spiritual beliefs of others. Now, how people put their beliefs into practice can be harmful or threatening, but that's a different thing.

    Atheism or anticlericalism isn't new, though the contexts in which those ideas appear is different.  I think what many atheists are responding to - and there are better and worse ways to do this - is the pervasiveness of religion (particularly Christianity) in American culture and the assumptions that come along with that.  Most Christians in America (and probably in other predominantly Christian nations, too) likely don't think about the subtle assumptions they make about other people, by and large because they don't have to. That's the privilege that comes with being affiliated with a dominant cultural institution.  But these assumptions, while not necessarily oppressive, can be a form of "othering", and I think folks should think more about that.

    Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

    by Linnaeus on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:03:43 AM PDT

    •  I feel harmed by religion. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sentinalnode

      We delayed stem cell research because of religion.
      We persecuted gays because of religion.
      We are not addressing global warming because of religion.
      We are turning into an anti-intellectual culture because of religion.
      Sarah Palin as a president became a possibility because of religion.

      Yeah religion is a real problem.

      God is the problem, not the solution.

      by Sam Wise Gingy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:45:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One form of Christianity is the problem (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel

        Not religion in general.  I know a lot of Unitarians, Jews, Friends, Muslims, and Pagans who are sane, progressive, and bitterly opposed to Sarah Palin and her perversion of faith.

        Please don't generalize.

        •  No irrationality is the problem (0+ / 0-)

          and some religions are more irrational than others.

          Religion glorifies faith and faith are ideas held without reason. When people hold ideas apart from reason they loose the ability to judge the worthiness of those ideas.

          God is the problem, not the solution.

          by Sam Wise Gingy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:35:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  As an atheist I have no problem getting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matching mole, Hyuga, Wood Dragon, Steve84

    along with anyone.  I have always had an interest in religion and I agree with the fact that atheists tend to know a good deal about the subject.  
    I tell very few people of my atheism and many are surprised because my actions might be considered as christian.  I tell very few people because many look down on atheists and they only end up being condescending, like some of the comments above.  Some feel threatened by us,  as if we are against everything they believe in. Frankly, if your beliefs are true then what anyone else believes should be irrelevant.   And in this country it does take a certain amount of will to be an atheist.  
    As for evolution, I have always found it absurd the idea that religion and evolution are somehow opposites.  I have never seen anything to say that the two cannot peacefully coexist.  If one is to believe in god, there is nothing that says that god did not start the process of evolution.  If you actually believe the idea that the earth was created in only 7 earth days then you would have to interpret the entire bible as literal(thats for another discussion).  And I doubt there are any people on here who feel that way.  
    I do think that the point should be made that some times people judge an entire group based on the actions of a few.  While it is entirely unfortunate, it occurs on both sides of any groups that seem to oppose one another.  It ultimately comes down to whether other people will follow along in those judgments or take a few minutes to seek out the truth.  

    •  I wish the views of others were irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

      but reality is just not like that.

      The smoking industry told my generation that you had to smoke to be cool. That idea influenced the behavior of my generation whether or not you agreed with it or not.

      How people think influences society. Yeah what your neighbor thinks influences you, especially if he/she votes.

      God is the problem, not the solution.

      by Sam Wise Gingy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:48:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It doesn't seem that even Christians can get along (5+ / 0-)

    There are some who believe that if you're not 'born-again' that you aren't going to make it to heaven.

    Baptized a Roman Catholic, and attended a Catholic School for 12 years, and I was taught at a young age that a person must be Catholic to get into heaven.

    I was taught that if I successfully converted someone to Catholicism that I would have an immediate entry into heaven.

    Heck, my husband's grandmother bought a very expensive organ for a Catholic Church somewhere, and she received an actual piece of paper from the pope (!) ensuring her entry into heaven.

    I consider myself Christian, but sadly, ever since the GOP became the party of God and Christianity, I have been so turned off from religion.

    I despise my evangelical neighbor forcing his religious beliefs onto me, and despise his quoting the bible for every little thing.
    He's on a mission to save my soul, and I try telling him that I am a Christian, but it appears that I'm not the right kind of Christian, and he prays for my soul and assures me that he will never give up on securing my soul.

    I despise a longtime friend - former friend - who is a Lutheran who doesn't believe in science, and believes the earth is only 6,000 years old, and there is no such thing as evolution because it says so in the bible.
    That former friend has condemned me to burn in hell because I am ignorant of the truth that only exists in the bible.

    I do not actually despise either of these people, as I hate no one, but I despise their forcing their religious beliefs down my throat.

    The evangelical neighbor does HATE and he hates gays and Obama because he's a Muslim- well, he loves the sinner but the hates the sin.

    The former friend HATES anyone who is not white and he also hates gays, even though he has 2 gay daughters, but considers them mentally ill, so God will forgive them.

    Oh, and I also have an elderly acquaintance, who is a very stringent Catholic, and she tells me that I cannot be a Christian and a Democrat.

    People should worry more about their time on earth than their fear of what lies ahead after death.

    The Golden Rule has always been a favorite - do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    The Golden Rule in World Religions

    I love Pootie Diaries

    by arizonablue on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:05:43 AM PDT

  •  the continued belief in that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hyuga, Sam Wise Gingy

    for which there is no evidence prevents progressive solutions from happening. It poisons all aspects of society with ignorance. If you can figure out how the bronze age is progressive then you will find the solution to your quandry.

    •  Do you seriously... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samanthab

      believe that religion blocks the progressive agenda from being enacted?  
      Although it is true that the religious right is often times the roadblock, it is also true that the religious have been in the driver's seat for progressive change in this country over its entire existence.  
      I say this as an atheist.

      "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

      by cardboardurinal on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:39:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    texasmom

    And there's an Anglican Kossacks group?

    I gotta find that one,

    Lisa :)

    All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

    by Boston to Salem on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:06:43 AM PDT

  •  I Fear the Answer Is "No". (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, Pozzo, slksfca

    For many at Daily Kos Christian = evil.
    Just count the number of recs on a recent diary.
    http://www.dailykos.com/...
    One where the diarist uprated the following -

    recovering christian (93+ / 31-)

    This is why I'm a recovering christian.  There'll be no reasonable christian response.  No christian in the deep south would dare stand up to the hypocrisy of this.  Which is one of the reasons I left.  No balls in the christian community.  The deep south is christian w/o the Christ.

    as far as I'm concerned christians are a terrorist group who are bent like Al quada to take over our lives and install theocratic justice all over the land.  Quite frankly a pox on their house

    Notice, also, that the number of people uprating this obscene comment are 3 to 1 in favor.

    Never mind that Christians were at the forefront of abolition, women's rights, civil rights, the anti-war movement, disarmament.

    <<<>>>

    I'm through with this website.  I've seen people say, "Hillary really is a f##king whore!" in response to the Randi Rhodes attack piece.  I've taken unpopular positions and been called a f##king this or that as well as a fascist.  And the persons doing this usually receive accolades.

    I am perfectly aware that the extreme right wing poses a serious threat to the political fabric of this country.  But I have lost all willingness to continue in an environment such as this.  The narrow-mindedness and hostility are just too much.  I'd rather spend my time taking a pleasant walk.

    Or volunteering at the church-run food kitchen.

    •  You say: (4+ / 0-)

      "Never mind that Christians were at the forefront of abolition, women's rights, civil rights, the anti-war movement, disarmament."

      Don't forget that on the other side of those issues as well were Christians. They also found support for their backward arguments in the bible. What prevailed in that struggle was not Christianity (because bible goes both ways) but universal human values that change with the times and track our moral progress as a species.
      The secret of bible's success if the fact that no matter what you want to be, middle of the road status quo lover, regressive or progressive you'll find in the bible something you like. The human values and morality to which we subscribe to (independent of the bible) determine which parts of the bible we will agree with and which parts we will ignore or deplore.

      As to the gentleman "recovering christian" who posted the comment, he or she seems quite frustrated. Perhaps that frustration comes from a realization that all the years spent believing in an omnipotent god were wasted. After all, we only live one life and after that it's back to nonexistence. If I wasted any of my years like that I would be frustrated as well.

      As for equating Christianity we have here with the middle eastern Islam, yet that is a streach. Islam as a religion and a way of life is much more violent, dangerous and subversive. However, if you weight the danger of militant ismamists and fundamental Christians (US based) maybe our christians are more dangerous because US has soo much nuclear veapons per capita then the middle east. We could much easier bring an end to this world than the middle eastern islamists.

    •  Cry me a river. (0+ / 0-)

      Christians are wreaking havoc on our society because they insist on governing themselves and our nation by a book that is thousands of years old and the product of human superstition as if it was the "Word of God."

      If you want to stop them then you have no choice but to advocate for reason.

      God is the problem, not the solution.

      by Sam Wise Gingy on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:54:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  re Cafeteria Christianity (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ecologist, Pozzo, johnnygunn, TiaRachel

    speaking as a Jew who exhibits some of that behavior, its perfectly defensible and I should think critical thinkers would approve of it.  Different parts of the bible were written by different authors at different times with different agendas.  It makes sense to be selective.

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:07:42 AM PDT

    •  I never understood why that's supposed to be bad (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, TiaRachel

      as long you're honest about it

      If someone acknowledges that significant parts of the Bible are outdated and irrelevant, that's great. I'm fine if they find some personal value in the rest.

      The problems are the pickers and choosers who use the Bible to justify their barbaric worldview without realizing that they are doing it. That's simply hypocrisy.

      •  As an anglican, here's what I have: (0+ / 0-)

        Scripture, Tradition and Reason. Now, Scripture is self-explanatory. Tradition is the experience of all believers of all times (this is a very liberal stance on that) and Reason is basically "the bible isn't literal".

        Jesus says to me "Look, you SOB, be nice to people. It isn't nice not to be nice to people. When people ask you what "the truth" is, tell them "so YOU say", and take your shoes off when you go to dinner at other people's houses". I know that sounds flippant, but if you read into it, it's there.

        I still have a challenge up for anyone who can find--and in BRUTAL context, how I ever oppressed an atheist.

        Craft is what emerges when you hit inspiration over the head with a stick.

        by commonmass on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:17:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  T&R...especially for this: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, commonmass
    I think that there are multiple ways to look at things. I accept them all as within the realm of possibility. I don't need to have certainty: otherwise, I'd be a fundamentalist (name your religion) or fundamentalist atheist. How boring, to have every question answered, and none left to ask, to ponder. Dull. Respectable, but dull, dull, dull.

    thank you. fundametalism. that is the heart of the issue, at least for me. i guess i should apologize to those who take exception when i ask them to be more consistent when they generalize.

    I believe that marriage is between a man and woman and I am not in favor of gay marriage..."Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix." ~ barack obama

    by liberaldemdave on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:08:18 AM PDT

  •  my lady left the site awhile back (7+ / 0-)

    (more than a year, I guess) in part because she was sick of the leftwing version of racism displayed here... but mostly because of the assholish version of atheism that seems prevalent here.  

    I've said it before and will say it again.  I know atheists in real life, and count some among my friends.  none of them are as downright rude as a lot of the atheists on this site.

    speaking to those people:  you're no better than that which you rail against.  intolerance is intolerance.

    "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

    by mallyroyal on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:09:01 AM PDT

    •  After yesterday's diary (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnnygunn, mallyroyal, dizzydean

      I called three friends:  first, an internationally known Marxist, atheist educator; second, a well known Shavian scholar, agnostic; and third, a radiation scientist, agnostic.

      I read some comments from that diary and asked if I was missing something.

      Each of them found the "smarter than thou atheists" to be overtly aggressive, the Marxist suggested they need to get a life because the fixation on slamming Christians was laughable.  The Marxist's deceased wife was a Deacon in the Anglican Church.  The comments I read which had reasoned discussion, all of them deemed intelligent use of space and time.  Bottom line, they all concluded:  Some folks need to get a hobby.

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:39:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wonder if your friends have the same contempt (0+ / 0-)

        for the "aggressive homosexuals" who have the gall to actually openly talk about their orientation.

        When an atheist stands up and says "I don't believe in god because their is no evidence. Furthermore Christianity is having a negative effect on science and politics in this country." the response is to call us arrogant and tell us to sit at the back of the bus and shut up.

        Why is it ok, for instance, for gays to fight for marriage equality (which i support 100%), but not ok for atheists to stand up for reason and science?

        A lot of these posts, if "atheist" was changed to "gay," would sound just like a lot of anti-marriage equality posters.

        Imagine if someone posted this: "I have tons of friends who are gay, but I am sick of hearing about it all the time. It's not that big of a deal if they get married. Why don't they stop rubbing it in our faces."

        If someone said that, you'd be horrified. But if it's said about atheists, it's all fine and good.

        When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

        by PhillyJeff on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:35:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Erm, you don't know my friends (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mallyroyal

          nor their positions on anything.  Neither I nor any single person I know has ever bashed or had contempt for atheists.  So, if you can find someplace in my entire body of comments that would lead you to assert what you just said, related to me or anyone I know, feel