I get email: amateur theodicy

October 13, 2010 • 5:07 am

Besides the many comments on the USA Today site about my science-faith op-ed (they’ve now exceeded a thousand), I’ve also let some of the religious objectors post here.  (I’ve spammed the ones that were either insane or contributed nothing to the discussion.).  And of course I’ve received the requisite private emails damning me to hell, and conjuring up dire scenarios when I finally face Jesus (who said Christians weren’t strident or shrill?)

One comment that I didn’t allow through, but am posting here, is a unique response to my assertion that the Holocaust should certainly erode people’s faith in a loving and just God.  The writer has an answer—which I’m sure is not just his—why the Holocaust was indeed part of God’s plan.  Try to guess before you read this!

Dear Mr. Coyne
I just read your article in the USA Today Newspaper from October 11th, 2010. First, I just wanted to congratulate you on your use of the English vocabulary.  Well done.

You wrote and I quote, “I’ve never met a Christian, for instance, who has been able to tell me what observations about the universe would make him abandon his beliefs in God and Jesus.(I would have thought that the Holocaust could do it, but apparently not.)”  That is a section of your article which I thought very, very curiously interesting, objectively of course.  Why you ask?  Isn’t it obvious? Well, I thought it was common knowledge.

Everyone knows Hitler’s thought process was primarily responsible for the Holocaust and everyone knows Hitler was trying to start a master race that he hoped would rule the world; peacefully of course like good little atheists.  Obviously, Jews don’t fit the bill (and for other reasons as well) and neither do gays, blacks, cripples, or any others who don’t fit his perfect description.  I mean they obviously aren’t the “fittest” people or most evolved, right?  I also thought we all knew that his greatest inspiration for the whole idea was evolution which as we all know was primarily thought up by Charles Darwin; which had to have been one of Hitler’s favorite people.  We know evolution is the choice of belief for atheists since it caters so nicely to their thoughts on the world.

Therefore, Mr Jerry Coyne next time you make a list of violent religions why don’t you add the religion of evolution to it.  Since as we all know, now, it was the primary driving force behind the eradication of all races not fitting the “perfect” description made by one of the most famous and intelligent atheists of all, Hitler.  (I mean can you point out any other atheists who practically took over the modern world and did what some atheists wish, deep down in their scientific hearts, they had a chance to do; no).  When I look back at the Holocaust it only makes me believe in God all the more.  Just because a bunch of twisted people decided to murder a large group of people (yes, people did it) it’s not going to make me abandon my belief in God.

Also, Mr. Coyne, what was the result of the Holocaust?  Yes, millions of people died. But think more.  What else happened?  Yes, your right…the Jews got Israel back as their own country.  Since your such a big Bible fan you know the significance of that. Do you think that could have happened any other way.  I would challenge you to devise another way that the entire world would feel so sorry for the Jews that they would decide to just hand over their country back to them.  That is no coincidence.  I don’t know God’s ways.  How  could I understand something that created the very organ I try to understand Him with.

Does that make sense.  Lastly, dosn’t evolution have a certain measure of faith behind it. I mean are you  really so certain that all that evolution stuff is really true or do  you have to have a little faith in it?  Maybe not, but it sure seems that way.

In case you don’t get the reference, the return of the Jews to Israel is taken by many lunatic evangelical Christians as a precondition for the return of the Messiah—the beginning of the End Times.

I suppose there are ways that an omnipotent and loving God could engineer the return of Jews to Israel in a way that didn’t involve unspeakable horrors and millions of deaths, but never mind. The religious mind bent on theodicy is endlessly creative.

154 thoughts on “I get email: amateur theodicy

  1. This letter illustrates yet another reason why the lie that Hitler orchestrated the Holocaust in the name of atheism and evolution is so vile; believers use it to blind each other to what the Holocaust means for belief in a benevolent “god”.

  2. I guess god also killed millions (in total) of disabled, trade unionists, atheists, Polish Catholics, Communists and Gypsies – all so they too could have their own countries back?

    Or perhaps their deaths were just as much about killing people who could be blamed for opposing the Nazi regime?

    I wouldn’t even comment on the canard about atheism and evolution driving the Nazis – except that people who assert these lies (being upright right wing Christians and good old boys) are spared the effort of justifying the commonality of their political stance with Mr Hitler and co.

    1. …besides, just because there is no mention of trade unionists, atheists, Polish Catholics, Communists and/or Gypsies in the story of The Passion, doesn’t mean they weren’t there at the crucifixion egging the Romans on.

      THINK, man, THINK.

  3. Well, color me atheist.

    But a list of Hitler quotes by Douglas Theobald explains:

    “A folkish state must therefore begin by raising marriage from the level of a continuous defilement of the race, and give it the consecration of an institution which is called upon to produce images of the Lord and not monstrosities halfway between man and ape.”
    [Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf” Vol. 2 Chapter 2]

    If Hitler was such a card carrying atheist, how come he outlawed atheism and free-thinkers? It can’t all be placed before the feet of political expedience, since _it was directly after Hitler was authorized to rule by decree_:

    Berlin Churches Establish Bureau to Win Back Worshippers
    Wireless to the New York Times.
    BERLIN, May 13. – In Freethinkers Hall, which before the Nazi resurgence was the national headquarters of the German Freethinkers League, the Berlin Protestant church authorities have opened a bureau for advice to the public in church matters. Its chief object is to win back former churchgoers and assist those who have not previously belonged to any religious congregation in obtaining church membership.
    The German Freethinkers League, which was swept away by the national revolution, was the largest of such organizations in Germany. It had about 500,000 members …”
    [New York Times, May 14, 1933, page 2, on Hitler’s outlawing of atheistic and freethinking groups in Germany in the Spring of 1933, after the Enabling Act authorizing Hitler to rule by decree]

    And if this was published in US, how come the readers of USA Today doesn’t know about it?

    As a gnu atheist I’m constantly baffled by the old religious mind’s ability to erect strawmen and strawgods.

    1. What is really mind-boggling to me is that the loony who wrote the letter seems to be completely taken in by what s/he is saying. That, to me, is more precarious a situation than having opponents clever enough to erect strawmen.

    1. I expected the Hitler/Darwin connection but even I didn’t expect the batshit crazy conclusion. Maybe I need a lobotomy to think like a theist:-(

    1. I know, the festering bitterness underlying that sentence in this disgraceful joke of an explanation is so visible as to take my breath away. To hear such insanity is frightening–this brain-dead chump can’t be moral with or without god belief.

      1. I’m not so sure he’s moral even with it. In his mind millions had to die so the conditions could be set up to end the world, where billions will die. It’s just horrible to contemplate someone who thinks that way.

    2. I’d like to remonstrate you for your inability to use English Grammar. You had several options:

      “I just wanted to congratulate all of YOU commenters on your use of English vocabulary” (the ‘you’ after ‘commenters’ is incorrectly placed, and the article ‘the’ is unnecessary)

      “I just wanted to congratulate all commenters on your use…(you could have just left out the preposition ‘of’, and again ‘you’ after ‘commenters’ is incorrect).

      “I just wanted to congratulate all of THE commenters on your…” (‘the’ is a perfectly acceptable article in this case).

      Learn to write the English language before attempting sarcasm.

    3. I’d like to thank commenter number 1 on his use of the German vocabulary.

      I’d also like to thank the letter writer for his eye opening justification for God allowing 6 million people to be tortured to death and his hatred for spell check.

      (I’m accommodating here)

  4. Dr. Coyne, you really should stick to the more nuanced and sophisticated theologies. No real theologian believes in the end-times prophesy, and this believer is just misguided. By calling out this believer, you are setting up a strawman fallacy to more easily poke fun at a perverted, not-truly-believed form of Christianity.


      1. Uhh… the professors I knew with doctorates of divinity believed in end-times prophecies.

        I always think it’s kinda cute when the believers of X within a given system get all angsty when some other “misguided believer” believes something that isn’t quite X.

  5. Of course, the typical liberal Christian attributes deistic nonintervention in ’30s Germany to Freedom Willies.

    The usual atheistic response is something along the lines of wondering why freeing Hitler’s willie should be so much more important the the lives of millions of people, but even that overlooks the obvious.

    Hitler was a not bad, not great painter. According to Christian doctrine, Jesus gave Hitler his talent as a painter, just like Jesus gives football players their talent at sport. So why couldn’t Jesus have given Hitler a bit more talent as a painter, enough to inspire him to pursue art as a career instead of politics?

    Hitler’s willie would still have been free. Millions of people would not have been brutally murdered. The world would have been spared the most devastating war in all of history. And, as a bonus, we would have had a whole lot of great art to admire.

    And if the vacuum left by Hitler would have meant that somebody even nastier would have filled his shoes, why then simply give that person the talent and inspiration to become a great artist, as well.

    And if even I can think of such an easy way for a god no more powerful than a Greek Muse to avert WWII while certifying all willies as 100% free-range, what excuse, aside from nonexistence, does an omni-mumble dog have?



    1. Probably just too insulated from reality by his religion to be able to understand the ramifications of his beliefs about the nazis and the Holocaust. And brainwashed of course. But, sure, he could certainly be a sociopath.

      1. Dear Mr. Coyne,
        If you were to consult the bible directly instead of basing your opinions on the broad scope of the past and present behavior of religions in general, you wouldn’t have written half of the stuff that explains your disbelief in God and total belief in science. First of all,if you use the bible as a litmus test to identify true religions from false as Jesus instructs us to do at Matthew 7:13-23, you would have already figured out that 99% of main stream religions are false, and are the very ones Jesus calls “workers of lawlessness”.
        I could go on and on clarifying and correcting you on your article however my time is very limited so I will leave you with this thought.The real reason why God (whose personal name is Jehovah in the English language, and mentioned over 1000 times in the old testament) allowed the holocaust and other horrific things to happen on earth is plainly explained in His book the bible at 1st John 5:19 “We know we originate with God,but the whole world is lying in the [power of the]wicked one.” (Also see Ephesians 2:2)Another words Satan controls this world for the time being, because Jehovah God is allowing him time to prove (or fall on his face trying)that he can successfully be the ruler of mankind instead of God, and that not a single human will worship God without selfish reasons. If you want to know the facts about true Christianity you need to consult the holy scriptures directly. It is pretty apparent that you don’t have as much knowledge of God and the bible as you do in science.

        1. If this is a joke, mis-posting under an unrelated comment was pure genius. It’s the only thing making me think that maybe, just maybe, the poster is insane enough to be making this argument non-ironically.

        2. Yes, let’s consult the Bible. According to Saint John Chrysostom, it is Jesus Himself who in Luke 19:27 commands His followers to kill all the Jews:

          The Jewish people were driven by their drunkenness and plumpness to the ultimate evil; they kicked about, they failed to accept the yoke of Christ, nor did they pull the plow of his teaching. Another prophet hinted at this when he said: “Israel is as obstinate as a stubborn heifer.” … Although such beasts are unfit for work, they are fit for killing. And this is what happened to the Jews: while they were making themselves unfit for work, they grew fit for slaughter. This is why Christ said: “But as for these my enemies, who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and slay them.” (Luke 19:27)

          So, based on Jesus’ own words in the Bible, the hypothesis above that Jesus caused the Holocaust is correct.

  6. Fred’s letter already showed up as reply #3 on the KY Peregrinations post, where it collected a few more replies.

  7. I think he may have been trying to tell you that you really got through to him, but his use of his vocabulary wasn’t very good.

  8. Just, wow! This clown was so anxious to leap onto the Godwin bandwagon that s/he went right past your point about the Holocaust and straight to Hitler, Jerry. I guess god was on a coffee break, or some such, while an “atheist” ran amok, killing 6 million of his chosen people, and another few million Gypsies, cripples, homosexuals, and other ‘undesirables’, just so the remaining handful of European Jews could establish Israel. Yeah, that makes sense.

    1. It makes sense if you don’t really care about the Jews, just the establishment of Israel. Which is the case for the fundie lunatics.

  9. Will these sick people ever tire of telling lies? First, the Darwin to Hitler line of slander, despite the fact that Hitler calls in Mein Kampf the never-altering of living things “the iron law of nature”; second, millions died during th holocaust, but that is fine, it helped the fulfillment of a biblical fantasy (which has also lead to untold suffering and loss of life in the middle east over decades, but that is fine too); and third, “evolution is a religion” crap.
    Religion poisons everything. No one is as “prophetic” as Christopher Hitchens.

  10. I wonder if Ken Miller would give the same answer that he offered about god not healing amputees at Lourdes: It would compromise their “moral independence.”

    (See P.Z.’s talk in Copenhagen)

  11. Some of these lunatic evangelical Christians also take global warming as part of their anticipated apocalypse. And that seems to be part of why they deny that it is anthropogenic and why they oppose doing anything about it.

  12. ‘Yes, millions of people died. But think more. What else happened?’
    What actually shocks me again with this idiot and simultaneously intrigues me, is not so much the sickening justification of the Holocaust (‘God moves in mysterious ways/ His wonders to perform’), but the readiness of people – even, often, quite decent people in the normal way of things – to justify unspeakable suffering in the name of some greater end (usually so long, that is, as the suffering is inflicted upon some other people). Back in August, P.Z. Myers, on his good blog, brought up the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, showing, as I recall, a picture of Hiroshima after the bombing (or perhaps it was of a bomb victim – I can’t remember precisely because I’m not fond of looking at such pictures) and suggested that one day historians would judge those bombings adversely, arousing a storm of comments most of which presented reasons – redolent with good sense, rationality, ‘it was a pity but…’ and various other civilised virtues – as to why the bombings were necessary and justified. I refrained from getting involved in any debate, but what struck me is how easy it is for us to accept the suffering, and not merely the suffering, but the brutal killing of others so long as we have some grand end before our eyes: progress (the genocide of the San people of the Drakensberg, the continuing genocide of native peoples and their languages around the Amazon), the establishment of a pure race, or a communist paradise, or a new non-European empire with a new master race (I don’t want to let the Japanese off the hook for what they did in China and elsewhere), or, even, for what seems to be the very good end of bringing to an end a savage war (which was the justification most often advanced by P.Z.’s commenters for the atomic bombings). Reading P.Z.’s commenters reminded me of the German officer stationed in Paris during the last world war and mentioned in Ernst Junger’s diaries – a man who, though personally he found the whole thing distasteful, believed firmly in the ‘scientific’ basis of Nazi anti-Semitism and when someone came in saying that such-and-such a shopkeeper was a good person, even though he was Jewish, would regretfully refuse to stop an order of deportation, saying that though the whole business was regrettable, one shouldn’t allow oneself to be blinded by sentiment…
    We are none of us very nice.

    1. I’ve been reading Bart Ehrmann’s God’s Problem in which he recounts just a few stories from the Holocaust to illustrate the problem of evil. Although I of course “knew” such things happened, the stories still made me feel ill and, well, dirty. Ashamed to be human.

      Multiply that by millions to get something approaching the actual picture, even seen vicarously (which is nothing compared being in it).

      I just don’t get the “sure, it was bad, but …” attitude.

      1. People with that attitude really have no clue. Ignorant to the point of imbecility. A visit to Dachau might reach them. At least, if that doesn’t nothing will.

        I experienced Dachau in the 70’s. It was the most disturbing experience I’ve had. The ovens where the thing that got past my determination to remain impassive. There was a particular smell that could not be ignored. The experience really clarified, viscerally, just how grusomely evil the third reich was in a way that words alone aren’t capable of.

        Yeah. Anyone who finds any kind of justification for the systematization of the disposal of human life on a genocidal scale has got serious issues.

        I’m sure god had some real good, and mysterious, reasons for applying Henry Ford production methods to the disposal of Jews. Or allowing other to (same thing for god). Maybe judaism was the old model and christianity was the new and improved model. Out with the old in with the new. In the most efficient way of course.

    2. Considering he probably believes his god slaughtered just about every man, woman, and child on the planet, including almost every animal and plant, not to mention the deaths of thousands (or millions, perhaps) of Egyptians, and the genocides ordered by his god when they conquered Canaan…a few million people is a drop in the bucket. The ends justify the means, God can do no wrong, etc…all the excuses expose a hideous lack of empathy (and lack of history, but whose counting).

    3. Thank you Tim, compellingly put.

      Since Viet Nam I’ve gotten used to being ridiculed for my pacifism, being characterized as immature, naive, and feminine, for starters. I can not think offhand of a military campaign which has NOT involved tragic “collateral damage” (a phrase which should be consciously replaced by “murder of innocents” whenever we encounter it).

      Pervasive social opinion tells us that to become adult one must stop being a ‘bleeding heart’ and begin to think of the ‘big picture.’ Somehow my ‘big picture’ always includes lives not being destroyed as a byproduct of political strategizing.

      1. Thank you, Diane. Yes, the Vietnam War, and among other things those ‘free-fire zones’ and the poisoning of the environment so that deformed babies are still being born – and nobody has been brought to book for it: it’s mostly air-brushed out of people’s memories and, in the case of the deformed babies, present perceptions.

  13. As Kevin replied at the time:

    If you’re saying that god killed millions of people — including millions of innocent children — in order that Israel be created, your god is a dick. And a not very powerful dick at that. After all, a truly all-powerful god could just create the country of Israel, and nobody but Jews would ever be able to go in. Why can’t your all-powerful god do something as simple as put up a velvet rope and a bouncer?

    That’s pretty much the perfect answer.

  14. Jerry,

    I’m afraid that without refuting this nonsense (copy paste from anywhere I guess), it seems like an endorsement that will be taken for fact by the not so educated folks now visiting your blog.

    Although I guess it doesn’t matter, since their are immune to reason and fact regardless.

    Depressing world.

  15. Regarding the “Jews getting their homeland back” and “the beginning of the End Times” – I have a problem with the prediction in the scriptures.

    As far as I remember, the prediction states that “before the end of the first generation after the Jews get their homeland, the second coming will arrive”. Or words to that effect.

    Anyway, the Jews got their homeland in 1948 (I think) and a generation was always 40 years when I was young, so that makes the second coming sometime before 1988.

    Anyone still waiting?


    1. The usual apologetic is the claim that “generation” meant “race”. Uh, no, it doesn’t.

      Plus, there’s this “promise”:

      Matthew 16:28: “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here,
      which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of
      man coming in his kingdom.”

      Which is context is about all arriving on clouds accompanied by angels and the whole end of the world stuff. It didn’t happen.

  16. The key fallacious idea undergirding the “nazis were atheists” myth is that Hitler took over Germany. A diminutive Austrian with a bad haircut and a worse mustache does not take over a large industrialized nation. Hitler had tremendous support, especially among Protestant Germans (and substantial support among Catholics–but it was lower for Catholics contrary to popular punditry). Atheism was rare in Germany when the National Socialist Party began its ascendancy, and of course Hitler and his cadres were devotees of Christianity, not atheists.

  17. Last night I got an email, which I promptly disposed of, from a sympathetic creationist who “rebuked” me for being too harsh, disrespectful, and “UnChristian-like” towards his “Christian Leaders.” And yet, I would like to bet that he does the exact same thing himself, being harsh, disrespectful, and UnChristian-like on those who oppose his lying, idiot views.

  18. “First, I just wanted to congratulate you on your use of the English vocabulary.” Too bad he doesn’t know English vocabulary – “Yes, your right…the Jews got Israel back as their own country. Since your such a big Bible fan…”

    The word is ‘you’re’ … not ‘your’.

    But spelling is not the worst of his problems.

    1. Bill Eberts wrote in post #25:

      “The word is ‘you’re’ … not ‘your’.

      But spelling is not the worst of his problems.”

      That’s exactly right. The idiot compliments Jerry only to show not long after that how much he himself really cares for the English language, by writing like a dumb teenager.

      That seems to be how much he cares about logic and verifiable truth as well — like his thoroughly discredited lamebrained assertion that atheism = fascism, nazism and all evil under the sun.

      Fuck that self-righteous prick.

  19. The protestant theologian Emanuel Hirsch wrote thus about Hitler:

    „Kein einziges Volk der Welt hat so wie das unsere einen Staatsmann, dem es so ernst um das Christliche ist; als Adolf Hitler am 1. Mai seine große Rede mit einem Gebet schloß, hat die ganze Welt die wunderbare Aufrichtigkeit darin gespürt.“

    “No other nation of this world has like ours a statesman who is so serious about Christianity; when Adolf Hitler finished his great speech on May 1st with a prayer, the world sensed his wonderful sincerity.”

    I’m a little unsure which theology is more sophisticated, Hirsch’s or the one of the letter writer.

    1. Some German theologians and Bible scholars were big fans of Hitler — for example, Gerhald Kittel, whose books are still very popular and useful in biblical studies.

  20. Sigh. Whenever the Darwin-Hitler slander is issued, and everyone is expressing outrage, someone has to be the boor and point out that our intellectual history in this matter is not pristine. As Daniel Goldhagen has noted, after centuries of Christian anti-Semitism, the Jews of Europe were done in by notions of “racial hygiene,” which defined Jews as a biological threat to the West (including Christianity). And I’m afraid that one can identify a bit of demented Darwinism in the intellectual development of that horror. ‘Twould be mendacious to deny it.

    Actually, I’ve no respect for people who will not recognize the historical wickedness of their “side,” whether it’s Christians ignoring the Conquest, or naturalists ignoring eugenics.

    1. There were certainly some elements of twisted biological thinking – including natural selection – involved in Nazi thinking but that was only a small part of the mix. The antisemitic history of german christianity, Nietzschian philosophy, the Nationalism movement that was very popular worldwide and importantly the resentment at foreigners due to the sanctions imposed after WWI, were all important elements on the path to the holocaust. Perhaps if any one of these elements werent present then it wouldn’t have occurred. I terms of evolutionary theory perhaps it is unfortunate that it was beginning to be understood at a time when misunderstanding of it was applied by one scheming megalomaniac.

      1. I don’t believe Nietzschean philosophy is particularly anti-semitic (though he did have issue with the slave morality and Christianity was seen as the result of Judaism), but it definitely opposed Christianity and German nationalism.

        1. My impression from reading him is that Nietzsche did not blame the perceived weakness and “slave morality” of Christianity on the Jews or the Jewish religion at all. He writes rather sympathetic about “the Jews” in some places.

        1. Eugenics really had no need of Darwinism; both were based on an already well-known history of artificial selection. Since eugenics in no way involves natural selection, it’s pretty easy to see that those who conflated it with Darwinism were just trying to glom onto the latest science for whatever credibility they thought that would lend them. Perhaps similar to how certain idiots try to justify their ravings today by citing quantum theory. (Or is it, mechanics?)

      1. Yes! Why don’t they decry the theory of breathing because it caused the jews to die of smoke inhalation.

        How many times has the christian murdered whole tribes of people before evolution was even remotely understood. Metal makes guns therefore metallurgy is culpable. Enough already!

        Suck it jesus, christ.

    2. I didn’t know the Spartans understood Darwinism, demented or otherwise, yet they practiced eugenics. Putting babies considered weak or disabled out to die.

  21. And don’t forget one more thing: one of the first official acts of Hitler after assuming power was to conclude a concordat with the Vatican.

    1. The pope of the era was a great inspiration to Neville Chamebrlain. As Chamberlain himself could have put it: It worked for the catholic church, why wouldn’t it work for the United Kingdom?

  22. If someone wants to play “connect the dots” then I usually start with Martin Luther:


    Lets just say that if Luther had been alive in 1945 he would have been arrested and facing trial in Nuremberg for the crimes against the Jewish people on the basis of the seeds he planted with his book about the Jewish people.

    I suppose the only claim of Hitler being an atheist rest on alleged quotes in the books, “Table Talk” which are not likely to be authentic.


    Even if Hitler (whose perverted understanding of evolution was probably no better than that of Kent Hovind or the Discovery Institute) accepted the theory of evolution as written by Charles Darwin that does not make the theory wrong.

    “What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church…a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.”–Martin Luther

    1. Good call. Luther’s viciousness toward Jews represents some of the worst of human thought, and reminds us what was solid Christian doctrine up until…well, that unfortunate incident.

      I was raised a liturgically conservative Lutheran and, growing up, I knew nothing of this. Perhaps it’s a postwar thing, but my dear parents led me to understand that Jews don’t have to come to Christ; they have that special thing goin’ on with God.

    2. You’re 1200 years too late. Start with the Council of Nicaea:

      It was … declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded. … Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries. … avoiding all contact with that evil way. … who, after having compassed the death of the Lord, being out of their minds, are guided not by sound reason, but by an unrestrained passion, wherever their innate madness carries them. … a people so utterly depraved. … Therefore, this irregularity must be corrected, in order that we may no more have any thing in common with those parricides and the murderers of our Lord. … no single point in common with the perjury of the Jews.
      First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, in which the Christian Church separates the calculation of the date of Easter from the Jewish Passover. See The Epistle of the Emperor Constantine, concerning the matters transacted at the Council, addressed to those Bishops who were not present and Life of Constantine Vol. III Ch. XVIII by Eusebius.

      1. You are correct that one could go back to the Council of Nicaea. However my experience with those who parrot the Darwin influenced Hitler spin are usually not sophisticated enough to grasp the long history of bigotry directed against the Jewish people throughout Europe. When they hear the word “council” their eyes usually glaze over and it’s as if they’re thinking the Council of Nicaea is a legislative body which considers such controversial items as a zoning ordinance change or setting speed limits.

        But mention Luther and accuse him of providing the blueprint for Hitler’s atrocities against the Jews and this topic is one they do not wish to visit again for a very long time.

        That’s just been my experience for whatever it’s worth.

  23. So, Hitler was an atheist, and all his crimes go on atheism’s ledger, but God used the Holocaust to reestablish the state of Israel, thereby making Hitler an agent of God’s will? Interesting….

    No doubt one can defend this by using some of the same types of sophisticated theological arguments used to defend the Incarnation and the Trinity….

    1. You’re catching on. God’s a mysterious dude. After all, a key part of his plan of getting his son killed was that one of his followers would turn him in to the authorities. And after the dude plays his predestined part, god sends him to hell to burn for eternity.

      But hey, it’s all good.

  24. Too bad you didn’t publish the email address of this vile, sick, ignorant, degenerate letter writer. A few people might want to respond to his lunacy.

    1. That would’ve been uncool. After all, there were no threats involved (apart from some of a more global, apocalyptic nature)…

  25. The correspondent overlooks that the “Second Coming” has already happened, and long ago. Titus Flavius encircled Jerusalem and took the temple down so that no stone was upon another. There was much gnashing of teeth. It happened about 40 years after “Jesus” said it would, while some of the then-present were doubtlessly still living. It boggles the mind that some people think the prophesy unfulfilled. It was fulfilled to the letter because it’s the main point of the gospel fable.

    I would like to see more thoughtful people aware of this whole explanation, that I feel is certainly generally accurate, for the origin of the Christian religion. It’s an important and potentially useful truth that’s being overlooked. You can read or download the whole book for free here:


    Also, I started a thread on it (various times as you might imagine, actually but here is a currently active example):


    1. I should mention that hen you have read and understood Caesar’s Messiah, you will see the christian persecution of the jews in a clear light, through the ages. It’s the deliberate intent of the religion to foment hatred of the (to quote Cannibal Mary of Josephus’ Jewish War) “seditious varlot” jewish rebels.

  26. Of course, this guy is also saying that god wanted us to nuke the piss out of the Japanese for the benefit of the Jews.

    And somehow manipulated the Japanese into attacking us at Pearl Harbor so that we would join the war in Europe.

    But of course, the war in Europe was merely the logical outcome of the WWI, with the stringent penalties imposed on Germany and Austria as losers. So, god had to manipulate that war as well.

    And, of course, WWI started as a result of an anarchist assassinating Crown Prince Leopold. So, I suspect that the anarchist was really god in disguise.

    So, let’s count…these numbers include civilian casualties.
    WWI: 37 million dead, wounded or missing.
    WWII: 61 million.

    That’s 98 million casualties so a group of 14 million people (the current estimate of number of Jews extant) could have a homeland? Of which, 5 million actually live there? And at the cost of 6 million of their own?

    Seriously, 6 million Jews had to die so 5 million Jews could live under a fog of perpetual war?

    No kidding, that god is not just a dick, he’s a sadistic bloodthirsty maniac.

    1. this guy is also saying that god wanted us to nuke the piss out of the Japanese for the benefit of the Jews.

      Not for the Jews, for the fundamentalist Christians who long for the End Times.

      Seriously, 6 million Jews had to die so 5 million Jews could live under a fog of perpetual war?

      No, so that Armageddon can happen, and those 5 million Jews who don’t accept Jesus can be wiped out just like those in the Holocaust, and like everyone else on the planet who doesn’t adhere to the literal Christianity.

      It appalls me how twisted fundie logic is. It further appalls me how Israel and the American Jewish lobby gladly accept fundie support.

      1. Ah, now I see it…gee, I wonder why it wasn’t apparent before…

        So, 92 million people had to die so 5 million Jews could go to Israel so they could all die along with 5 billion or so others so that Jesus can reign in his kingdom forever over the remaining…what, 100 million? 10 million? 1 million? 144,000? How many will be left when it’s all over?

        OK then. […backing slowly out of the room…]

        1. How many will be left when it’s all over?

          Only the ones that matter. The rest will be tortured for eternity. Can’t you see how sensible that is?

        2. Apparently all this is to fulfill a few obscure Bible verses. You’d think it would have been easier for God to inspire some better Bible verses, but who are we to question?

  27. Newtownianism is a far more dangerous belief system than Evilutionism.

    Did you know that 100 per cent of all defenestrations in human history were the direct result of gravity? That’s a fact.

  28. The correspondent overlooks that the “Second Coming” has already happened, and long ago. Titus Flavius encircled Jerusalem and took the temple down so that no stone was upon another. There was much gnashing of teeth. It happened about 40 years after “Jesus” said it would, while some of the then-present were doubtlessly still living. It boggles the mind that most people think the prophesy unfulfilled. It was fulfilled to the letter because it’s the main point of the gospel fable.

  29. So god permitted an atheist (LOL) named Hitler to perpetuate the holocaust so that jews could return to their ancestral home (why Israel, why not savannah Africa?), and we are challenged to think of another way that this could have come about.

    If I believed in an omnipotent god, I’d say it could come about if he pointed his finger like Capt. Picard and said “make it so”.

  30. <face palm!>

    Nazism was mainly pro-Christian, Hitler was a Catholic, and killing Jews was promoted from Christians throughout history from John Chrysostom to Martin Luther to Adolph Hitler.

    Here are specific quotes from Hitler on this subject:

    The Catholic Church considered the Jews pestilent for fifteen hundred years, put them in ghettos, etc, because it recognized the Jews for what they were. … I recognize the representatives of this race as pestilent for the state and for the church and perhaps I am thereby doing Christianity a great service by pushing them out of schools and public functions. —Hitler, 26 April 1933

    And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God.” —Mein Kampf (1925), Vol. 1, p. 174

    “we all knew that [Hitler’s] greatest inspiration for the [Holocaust] was evolution which as we all know was primarily thought up by Charles Darwin”

    This is nonsense you could have easily disproved yourself before writing it. All of Hitler’s speeches are online at Google books. Go search The Essential Hitler: Speeches and Commentary for all instances of “Darwin” or “evolution“. Hitler never referred to Darwin: searching for “Darwin” yields “No results found“. Searching for “evolution” yields twelve results, none of them referring to biological evolution. I challenge you to find a single instance in which Hitler mentions Darwin.

    In contrast, Hitler refers to Christianity as the “unshakable foundation” for the Nazi state numerous times:

    The Government of the Reich, which regards Christianity as the unshakable foundation of the morals and moral code of the nation, attaches the greatest value to friendly relations with the Holy See [Hitler’s speech to the Reichstag, 23 March 1933]

    “what was the result of the Holocaust? … the Jews got Israel back as their own country. Do you think that could have happened any other way. I would challenge you to devise another way that the entire world would feel so sorry for the Jews that they would decide to just hand over their country back to them.”

    Wow. Here’s a a few historical facts missing from this analysis. The world did not cede Israel to the Jews after the Holocaust—they seized it by force in 1946—48 from its Christian and Muslim inhabitants, using a combination of Jewish terrorism, massacres, assasination, and a war of race-based expulsion (on both sides) which the Israelis won. In fact, rather than feeling sympathy after the Holocaust, the British abandoned the Jews to their fate in the 1948 War, which they won both by their own hand and the incompetence of their opponents.

    Certainly if god used the Holocaust to give Israel to the Jews, He would also think nothing of using terrorism, civilian massacres, assassination, and race-based war to achieve this end. But don’t fall into the mistake that there was a direct link between the Holocaust and the establishment of the Jewish State.

  31. Apparently, God very much wanted Jews out of Germany and out of Europe…So, it seems that He got a real double-whammy: Hitler took care of the first stage and after Hitler’s downfall, the creation of Israel took care of the second stage…

    Bad taste? Yes, but I am afraid that this time it is not my commentary that represents bad taste, it is in the original account…

    The writer has clearly accepted – without any criticism – the canard that the Nazis were fanatical secularists etc. In fact, the relationship of Nazis and secularism, religion and Christianity was complex. True, there were aggressively and actively irreligious and anti-Christian Nazis, but they did not have a hegemony in the Nazi party.

    Hitler was a Catholic by upbringing, and believed in some sort of vague Divine Providence (giving a larger-than-life role to Hitler himself), many Nazis were Protestants of sorts etc. Moreover, both non-Nazi Protestants and Catholics regularly accepted Nazis professing religious faith as genuinely religious persons. Only the Jehova’s Witnesses were in constant conflict with the Third Reich, not the Christians.

    However, the secularists do need to think about the role of some protagonists of Darwinism in contributing to the toxic general ideological climate of pre-1933 Germany. Just what was the nature of that contribution is something on which the jury is clearly still out.

    I am here thinking mostly of persons such as Ernst Haeckel of whom Peter C. Caldwell wrote in his review of books by Richards and Gliboff (“German History”;July 1,2009; doi: 10.1093/gerhis/ghp040) as follows:

    “Haeckel was a eugenicist; he was a racist who believed that certain human races were naturally doomed to extinction; he sought a new form of ethics rooted in Darwinism and natural selection though he also hoped to
    retain traditional ethical norms. He promoted liberal pacifism, but was also a colonialist, a member of
    the Pan German League, and a member of the wartime Fatherland Party. He at some points opposed antisemitism; he also suggested that Jesus was Aryan, since the ‘ religion of love ’ had little to do with the ‘ Jewish race ’ (a point not noted by Richards). In short, Haeckel was one of those complex and contradictory figures, like Max Weber and Kaiser Wilhelm II, who defined Imperial Germany.”

    Serious enough cases linking Haeckel et al. to the emergence of Nazi ideas about racial struggle etc. have been made, but the relationship is really complicated, as witnessed by the fact that Haeckel’s works eventually found their way into the list of undesirable books in Nazi Germany!

    I think that the case of Haeckel et al. is not unique, and neither are the problematic aspects limited only to German scientists, scholars, activists etc. Just consider the people who were active in eugenics movement in the U.S. and how IQ studies, with and without scare quotes, have been used to fight against racial equality etc.

    None of this should surprise us, really. In an era of scientific research, all the other streams and traditions seek credibility from scientific and quasi-scientific sources. Creationism and “Intelligent Design” are pseudo-scientific initiatives to defend religious dogma and faith, after all.

    It follows that a certain intertwining of truly liberating and really alarming is likely to happen now and then. Hence atheists, rationalists, humanists, secularists etc. who are determined to improve the human condition should be ever alert to fight the political, and ideological temptations of the day. They must show the sort of reasonableness that can follow only from the commitment to take patiently and systematically into account all considerations that needs to be so taken.

    Whether one wants to call such reflectivity and self-reflexivity as rational philosophy or just scientific attitude pursued very systematically is not terribly important. But there is no acceptable alternative to it.

    Anyway, that is how things look from my, admittedly very catheist, perspective…

    1. the relationship of Nazis and secularism, religion and Christianity was complex […] Hitler was a Catholic by upbringing […] many Nazis were Protestants of sorts

      And many in the Nazi hierarchy were into occultism and weird syncretic Nordic/theosophical beliefs.

      1. Some of them, yes. Himmler’s pseudohistorical “Ahnenerbe” pursuits are particularly notorious. Hitler did not like them, though…

      2. Sure, “many”, but that many was a tiny minority of Hitler’s supporters. Most of the occultism that did go on was Lutheran and catholic “sacred ritual”, but the christians refuse to admit that their creepy rituals are nothing more than occultism.

    1. You’ll grow old and die and not finish the job of counting (unless perhaps you can count in hell). Haven’t you heard of Einstein’s Law: “Only two things are infinite: the Universe and Human Stupidity – and I’m not so sure about the Universe.”

  32. Since I was asked to guess, my alter-ego put on my shtoopit hat.

    The best I could come up with was that the Holocaust was an *opportunity* for some of God’s cherished hominids to do good things, despite the *man-caused* evil all around. That a number of cherished (and good) hominids suffered and died in the process is irrelevant, considering the infinite never-ending orgasms with Sky-Dad to come. (cum?)
    …and for those aforementioned suffering and deaded hominids that WEREN’T so good, well… even the Holocaust wouldn’t compare to the coals awaiting their stockings after getting deaded.

    I tried really hard, yes I did.

    I couldn’t imagine how the reasoning could get any shtoopider. Mine eyeballs have seen the glory now, though.

    1. oh… my alter-ego forgot to mention: no matter what suffering people experienced, it was nothing compared to the *man-caused* suffering Sky-Jr. experienced (at the hands of Jews, no less), so there.

    2. Technically, from a traditional Christian point of view most of the Holocaust victims were not saved (being nonChristian or a least not the right sort of real Christian), and therefore the torture and suffering will just keep on going forever in the hell to which they are to be consigned by a just, loving and apparently completely immoral God.

      Have a nice day!

      1. It’s actually worse than that, according to this guy’s theology.

        These people believe that everyone now dead is pretty much just dead…waiting for the Second Coming.

        After Jesus comes back and kills all the nonbelievers (5 billion or so), everyone who ever lived will be resurrected bodily. THEN, they will be judged. The “good” get to go to heaven, and the “bad” will be cast into the pit for eternal torment.

        They’re not in the pit yet. But will be when Jesus comes.

        I don’t know what numbers can be assigned to that, or how far back into human history … but of course, these folks believe in the 6000 year old universe, so you can take that into the accounting.

        Loving, compassionate Jesus and his omnibenevolent father will assign practically everyone who ever lived to the lake of fire. Why? Because they say so, that’s why!

  33. I’m always struck by the fact that Christians can maintain their believe in this benevolent, loving, caring Invisible Sky Wizard when their own sacred, inviolable, literally true text describes in great detail how God personally murdered children and demanded genocide.

  34. Yes, the fool would exonerate his slave-master of crimes but accuse us the innocent instead! That unknown reason defence betrays and blasphemes reason,morality and – humanity and bases itself on the argument from ignorance as do other supernaturalist arguments. And that greater good defence betrays utilitarianism with its attendant protection of minorities. What is the greater good that the Shoah brought along with Israel- the attendant strife betwixt it and the Arab nations? And that stupid argument about His intent in saving Jewry- that’s why all those pogroms and the Shoah? The Roma [Gypsies] and the Basques have also survived1
    Ever again, Lamberth’s atelic or teleonomic argument against intent applies!

  35. Kevin, and Hell is listening those fools for Christ go on and on about His love for us and – that divine protection racket that evinces no love!
    Richard Swinburne would endorse those two arguments for God’s exoneration and he states that perhaps the good of the Holocaust is that it provided Jews with the occasion to practive bravery and such! As A.C.Gayling told him:’ My you [ that poster ] rot in Hel1.”
    Figuratively speaking of course!

    1. Yes indeed! Those christian gods need violence as much as life on earth needs water. Christians have you fed your god today?

  36. Since Paul Gnuman has made the same point 3 times, and no one else seems to have replied to his comment:

    “The correspondent overlooks that the “Second Coming” has already happened, and long ago. Titus Flavius encircled Jerusalem and took the temple down so that no stone was upon another. There was much gnashing of teeth. It happened about 40 years after “Jesus” said it would, while some of the then-present were doubtlessly still living. It boggles the mind that most people think the prophesy unfulfilled. It was fulfilled to the letter because it’s the main point of the gospel fable”.

    Wow do you know that it wasn’t a ‘postdiction’, not a ‘prediction’? The gospels were written decades after Jesus was crucified by the Romans as a dangerous political seditionist, by unknown people in unknown places.

    Mark was the earliest gospel, around 60 CE, Matthew and Luke about 10 years later, John around 100 CE, so it wouldn’t have been difficult for the unknown authors to have put in the already occurred destruction of the temple as a prediction (as did many of the prophets of the old testament who did similar things, pretending to predict known events to give credence to their ‘predictions’).

    Also the earliest known gospels come from after 200 CE, so there’s plenty of opportunity for later forgery.

    This all assumes that the second coming is actually the destruction of the temple as Paul Gnuman frantically claims.

    1. Not to speak for him, but I think that’s what his comment meant. “It was fulfilled to the letter because it was the point”, aka were written afterward so of course it was fulfilled! I could be misinterpreting though…

      1. Not to mention that the whole rapture thing isn’t happening – or if it is, god’s the king of assholes if this earth is as rapturous as it gets.

      2. Yes, thank you themann and thank you Wayne Robinson for replying.

        Perhaps I could have put scare quotes around the word “prophesy”.

        I promise I don’t give any slightest consideration to supernaturalist interpretations but I see no reason not to consider that Christianity might have been a deliberate and cynical invention.

        I also should have said it better that the arrival of Titus to lay Jerusalem low happened about 40 years after the Jesus character makes his prophecy. Atwill argues that it is exactly 40 years to the day but it is a pretty complicated argument and I wouldn’t want to stake my life on him being correct on that one.

        I don’t claim to be an expert or even very knowledgable about bible scholarship but I think that scholars pretty much agree that the “Son of Man” prophecy is referring to Titus’ seige. Atwill says this was once universally accepted and touted as proof of Jesus’ divinity. But anyhow if that is what it’s referring to, then it could either be part of the original writing or an insertion later. I tend to think of it as integral to the story and so discount that it was a separate insertion. If it was originally written in then it could have happened later than the 70s, of course. But we know when Josephus’ War of the Jews was published because it’s dated and had a dedication by Caesar Titus. One thing among several if not many that makes the Caesar’s Messiah thesis very convincing to me is that Atwill makes a very strong case that Josephus has characters in his official history fulfilling other prophecies of Jesus. That would definitely date the gospels to the 70s, at least, if not outright show that they were written under imperial Flavian sponsorship. For example, there is a lunatic Jesus character who preaches from the walls above where Jesus preached, is eventually killed by an artillery stone. It seems like everything he does can be related to something Jesus said. You really should read it, it’s in the chapter Until All is Fulfilled at the link. It’s free. You don’t even need to register to read it in place.

        There are other things in Josephus that do seem so clearly to be referring to Jesus and the gospels, once it’s pointed out. There is Cannibal Mary, who roasts and eats her infant son, and makes a speech about that he will be a byword to the seditious varlots, that is, the Jewish rebels who have brought Rome’s wrath down upon them. So the catholic rituals of consuming the body of christ are really commemorating the Roman victory over the rebellion and the terrible cannibalism that occurred during the seige.

        It goes on and on. I do wish more people would look at it. Especially, scientifically minded people who can see that if so many parallels are accepted as deliberate, and as they are ordered, the whole thing has to be a deliberate construct.

        Another example, there is the choreography of the empty tomb. There are time cues to set it up across the different gospels. What are recognized as inconsistencies are claimed by Atwill to be a comedy of errors play where the different parties mistake each other for angels and also go to the wrong tomb. (The tomb they go to is that of Lazarus, whom Jesus has raised from the dead, and so is empty for that reason. Lazarus though was raised on the fourth day, too late for his spirit to be saved. Hence he gets no lines in the story.) But the point is, a choreagraphed play simply cannot be reasonably expected to arise by accident. It’s a big in-joke for the intelligentsia of the time, and probably for posterity.

          1. Ray, I haven’t read any of Price’s books, but I’ve listened to his Bible Geek show a few times and IG shows he’s been on, including the one where he and Atwill debated.

            I wrote a response to his review of CM a while ago, which I recently reposted on that Iron Chariots forum thread I linked to above, that had been awaiting moderation but is now posted.

            You’d think that it would be easy for Price with all his learning to demolish CFM if it were wrong. But he doesn’t and in fact says Atwill is “brilliant,” although he doesn’t find the CM idea compelling. I don’t think he even understands the argument. He’s no scientist.

            I know he has his theory of Chritian origins from mystery religions. It seeems pretty far-fetched to me, and based on far far less evidence than CM.

            I have a certain respect and admiration for Price but not without limits. I enjoyed that his faults were recently being noted by the commenters on Pharyngula.

            I do have the Earl Doherty book and have skimmed it. It seems comparatively weak to me to CM.

            According to Atwill, the CM idea was discovered by him when he realized that the Dead Sea Scrolls were describing nothing akin to modern Christianity. The messianic movement they reflect is militant messianic Judaism that was also exclusionary. They do not support in any way that Christianity arose authentically.

    2. I haven’t looked much into how those dates for the various gospels are arrived at but they do of course have to be wrong if the CM thesis is true.

      I did do some wikipedia research on the dating of the Pauline literature to the 50s, which people often cite as a refutation of CM. Which it is, if so. What’s clear just from reading on wikipedia is that there is no dating done there other than to read it as a genuine literature and take cues from the writing to place it at a time. The idea that it might be a cynical later construct has not even been entertained. On what basis is it to be ruled out? Have the people who established this date beyond a doubt ever heard of novels? Or are they characters in a Ricky Gervais movie?

  37. So God murdered 6 million Jews for the state of Israel to exist, of course he had to tack on the bombing of the King David hotel and hanging a couple of British troops from lamp posts as well. God obviously doesn’t do strategy or forward thinking when it comes to planning. So much for omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence etc. More like a genocidal real estate agent.

  38. Obviously, Jews don’t fit the bill (and for other reasons as well) and neither do gays, blacks, cripples, or any others who don’t fit his perfect description. I mean they obviously aren’t the ”fittest” people or most evolved, right?

    Speaks volumes about the writer.

    Obviously the writer considers Jews, gays, blacks, cripples as less “evolved” in whatever bizarre sense the writer means by the term evolved.

  39. “I also thought we all knew that [Hitler’s] greatest inspiration for the whole idea was evolution which as we all know was primarily thought up by Charles Darwin; which had to have been one of Hitler’s favorite people.”

    In that case, why is Darwin not mentioned, not even once, in the whole of Mein Kampf?

    1. Unless you are intimately familiar with ALL of Hitler’s writings, your most prudent course of action would be to butt out of sophisticated discussions such as this one.

      1. That’s not the case (except perhaps from a religious viewpoint). You can prove Dawkins wrong by citing even a single work by Hitler which praises Darwin. Otherwise you’re just being a moron.

      2. From a waiting-for-moderation post above:

        This is nonsense you could have easily disproved yourself before writing it. All of Hitler’s speeches are online at Google books. Go search The Essential Hitler: Speeches and Commentary for all instances of “Darwin” or “evolution“. Hitler never referred to Darwin: searching for “Darwin” yields “No results found“. Searching for “evolution” yields twelve results, none of them referring to biological evolution. I challenge you to find a single instance in which Hitler mentions Darwin.

        In contrast, Hitler refers to Christianity as the “unshakable foundation” for the Nazi state numerous times:

        The Government of the Reich, which regards Christianity as the unshakable foundation of the morals and moral code of the nation, attaches the greatest value to friendly relations with the Holy See [Hitler’s speech to the Reichstag, 23 March 1933]

    2. Seriously, I always have a tough time understanding how certain false tropes [Hitler’s atheism being one of the biggies] fail to disappear, despite repeated trouncing by clear textual and photographic evidence. And I am in a field that intensely studies these types of things (social networks analysis).

      The echo chamber seems to be amazingly resilient in this case. I’m glad to see folks eloquently hammering away against these vile falsehoods.

    3. This often-repeated smear by IDers and others really requires a systematic and comprehensive refutation. I hear and read it all too often. And, to make matters worse, there may have been a Spenserian “social darwinism” undercurrent to Nazism. Of course, Charles Darwin is not responsible for an abomination like social darwinism carried out in his name, and nor are modern evolutionists.

      Nevertheless, I would like to see a comprehensive refutation of this smear by someone knowledgeable, like Richard Dawkins or Jerry Coyne. Is there already one that I can reference?

      1. I’ve seen the trope trounced in Harris’ “Letters…” & Hitchens “God’s a Douchebag” & Dawkins’ “…Delusion”. A quick dig for electronic sources led me to Uncle Cecil’s (who is “never wrong”) rather balanced 1999 take on the matter here:
        Which led to another (well-argued IMHO) article here:
        (under: THE FUROR OVER DER FÜHRER)

        The wiki has also been scrubbed, picked over, and sourced to death here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler's_religious_views

        Looks like a lot of starting points — I hope this helps.

  40. Well, there’s the problem – for the fairy worshippers there is no need to learn and to test assertions – oh no, “everybody knows” – everything that is, and all the time. That’s precisely the problem with religion – everyone knows everything and yet no one really knows anything. I see the old “Darwin must have been a favorite of (Adolph) Hitler” has come up yet again – how religious of the kook to ignore reality and the fact that Hitler loathed Darwin.

    1. Oh, I forgot: how did the kook show that the Holocaust was part of god’s plan? I’m hoping for something better than Augustine the Hippo’s empty “god shapes the destiny of human civilization” claim.

  41. In re. Nazis, as noted over on the KY post (which has by no means gone dormant – have a look), it should be unsurprising, ipso facto, that books by Darwin were on their banned list. Acceptance of evolution would of course have meant accepting a common ancestry with apes (not to mention Jews!), hardly anything to entertain in the pedigree of the Master Race.

  42. Is that really Richard Dawkins?

    Just so there’s no confusiuon, I’m not really that movir star of the similar-sounding name. It may sound the same, but our family name is spelled quite differently.

    1. I hope so. I was hoping to bring a smile to his face with an allusion to another trope – that being that one shouldn’t play in the theological sandbox unless you had inspected every grain of sand beforehand. I got jumped by Mr. Spock, and perhaps I didn’t get the joke worded in such a way that it would actually be funny. Seemed funny to me at the time, on many levels. Sigh.

      1. Thanks for that explanation, sasqwatch. I can see it now but it was over my head initially. I thought it meant you thought it was somebody posing.

        I hope so too.

        1. On reflection, i figured I could have made it more obvious by accusing Prof. Dawkins of being out of his depth, since he didn’t hold any degrees in Hitlerology — and that perhaps he should pipe down, as intelligent people were trying to have a conversation… but that last bit might have stretched the joke a bit too far. I’m a wuss, deep down.

          Thanks Tim. I was actually getting worried about my humor-meter. Difficult medium. Must. Be. Careful.

  43. The 34th miner in the cavern

    “I’ve been near God, but I’ve also been near the devil. God won.” So testified Mario Sepulveda, the second miner to be delivered in Chile’s dramatic rescue operation. Their mine collapsed on August 5, trapping 33 men underground. Now all are safe. The New York Times reports that despite so many weeks living in darkness and uncertainty, not a single miner was treated for depression. Why? What was the secret to their indomitable spirits?

    A dear friend gave me notes yesterday which she translated from Univision’s reports on the story. They give us more of the faith dimension than I have found in English-language news accounts. Apparently the men were remarkably unified by their common faith in God. While they represented a wide spectrum of denominational positions, they all continued to trust that the Lord knew them and would rescue them.

    One miner’s comment was especially striking: “There were 33 of us, but we knew there were 34.” I’m reminded of the testimony of the Babylonian king who threw three of God’s people into his fiery furnace: “I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods” (Daniel 3:25).

    1. I must agree – Why wouldn’t men who have just been rescued, are re-united with their families, are now being fêted by the whole world, and are all in line for lucrative endorsement deals, show any signs of depression?

      And while they were down there they had teams of psychologists top-side looking after them.

      Were you always this stupid, or did you take lessons?

      1. Lessons to learn stupidity?

        We do not have any school for that in Africa, it comes naturally,sir!

        But think for a moment: We drive our cars 60-70 miles per hour with an oncoming car doing the same with only a white line and six to eight feet separating us. We place our faith that every car will not cross into our lane. We fly on airplanes that take us over oceans, trusting the pilots with our very lives. We ride on thrilling amusement rides that take us several stories into the air and travel fifty to seventy miles per hour down a winding slope. We trust the operators of that ride with our own mortality.
        There is a great irony in the fact that we can place our faith in such things but…………………….

    2. To me, Univision seems to be the FOX news of Mexico. I’ll never forgive them for being the mouthpiece of the PRI for so many years.

      I’m not surprised on their focus in the matter in the least.

  44. He really shoots himself in the foot with the “I don’t know God’s ways.” defence.

    If he postulates an omnipotent being that he can’t understand, then there is nothing that he can know for certain. Even the Bible might be a hoax, to test his faith and see if he veers off the True Path.

    But I suspect that the “mysterious ways” is just an escape route for questions that are too difficult, like the Problem of Evil. After leaving the subject, the theist will again claim that he has a good grasp of God’s intentions.

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