Stupidest atheist-bashing post of the year

December 31, 2013 • 7:45 am

If there was a theme to atheist-bashing this year, it was this: Atheists are Religious, Too. Those who fly that canard fail to realize its irony: the implicit claim that “they are just as bad as the faithful.”

At the last minute, The American Spectator, a conservative monthly, wins the yearly prize for sheer hatefulness and stupidity with its December 24 post, “The God of no gods,” by Jeffrey Lord, described as “a former Reagan White House political director and author” (wouldn’t you know?)  The author is apparently obsessed with gays and his post repeatedly denigrates them.

It starts like this and then goes downhill:

. . . there’s nothing like being out of the closet as Christophobes.

Christophobes being defined here as those with fear or contempt of Christians or those who believe in God, not to mention those who exhibit behavior based on that feeling of fear and contempt for Christians and believing in God.

Lord, of course, is too thick to know the difference between contempt for superstition and contempt for the superstitious.

But how, exactly, are atheists religious?

It’s time.

Time to recognize that contrary to all the endless PR, atheists and Christophobes in fact have a God. It’s time to demand formal recognition of atheism and Christophobes for what they really are: followers of the religion that worships The God of No God.

. . . Notice that cross that was removed? What was in its place?

What replaced the crèche and the cross, and in fact is everywhere according to atheists, is The God of No God. Nothing. Or something… liberalism, the Democrats, being gay, abortion, having money, computers, the Internet, pornography, television, the environment, animals… the list is endless. But that interminable list always boils down to one thing: The God of No God. Wherever the object of worship is not related to Jesus Christ, the Almighty, Allah, Buddha — which is to say a spiritual deity… The God of No God demands…say again demands…your allegiance.

Again we see the conflation of dogmatic belief in the unevidenced with the passionate advocacy of causes. I hate to say this, but that reflects either sheer stupidity or willful ignorance. To people like Lord, feeling strongly about anything is the same as being religious.

And where are those godless heathens?

Where to find the worshipers of The God of No God?

Listen to the voice of Wilson Cruz, a spokesman for GLAAD. Mr. Cruz’s God of No God is gay marriage, and with the certitude of the Pharisees to Jesus or the Stalinists to Russians, discussing the Duck Dynasty flare-up with CNN Cruz said with all the fervor of a God of No God zealot that Phil Robertson “needs to get in line.” Translation: You will worship my God of No God — gay marriage — or else. Apparently Mr. Cruz skipped all those classes on bullying. He must have been too busy reading up on Hitler’s Brownshirts.

GLAAD is the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, an organization that fights discrimination against homosexuals.

But no matter that many gay people, like Andrew Sullivan, are religious—that doesn’t matter. They are in favor of gay marriage, and that’s enough for Lord to somehow lump them with atheists. And of course he plays the Hitler card, although Hitler wasn’t an atheist. What a mismosh of hatred, bigotry, and sheer idiocy!

Lord (what an ironic name) then lists “The Ten Commandments of the God of No God.” I’ll spare you most of them, but here are three:

• First Commandment — GLAAD version: Thou shalt have no other gods before you other than gay marriage. Sieg Heil.

Note again reference to Hitler. You can’t get more hateful than this.  (And they call atheists strident and mlitant!) Lord is on the losing side of this battle, as the moral arc is bending towards recognition that gay behavior is not only common, but perfectly fine, and in a decade or so gay marriage will be legal everywhere. The American Spectator, besides being on the wrong side of history, should be embarrassed about this commandment.

• Fourth Commandment — A&E version: Remember the LGBT movement, to keep it holy.

“LGBT” is “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered.”.  Would Lord have us see these people as immoral? I guess so, and that’s also despicable.

• Fifth Commandment — National Organization of Women version: Honor thy liberal feminists and know that Hillary Clinton but not Sarah Palin is holy.

Apparently Lord is not a big fan of women’s rights, either. Most of us prefer Hillary Clinton over Sarah Palin because Palin is a reactionary dumbbell while Clinton is smart, experienced, and progressive.

Over the past year I’ve become strengthened in my view that atheism and liberalism are natural partners, for religion won’t disappear until we eliminate its root causes: social inequalities and the refusal of governments and individuals to help the least advantaged. It’s curious because, after all, one of Jesus’s Biblical teachings was love of the poor.  In that respect, Christianity contains the seeds of its own destruction.

Lord has seven more commandments, but you get the idea.

p.s. Alternet has a list of the five worst high-profile attacks on atheism of 2013.

h/t: Jim, Barry

157 thoughts on “Stupidest atheist-bashing post of the year

  1. In addition to believing in God, theists believe in the God of God. Therefore all theists are polytheists.

    1. Yes, Meta-god the social construct. I don’t think he realized what he was saying there. An accidental foray onto solid ground.
      When I read the title of this post, I thought, “Really, how can you pick a winner from the scrum of pastor-posts?” I am convinced.

  2. Over the past year I’ve become strengthened in my view that atheism and liberalism are natural partners…

    Over the last decade I have become convinced that intelligence and liberalism are natural partners, as the stance of “conservatives” becomes ever more extreme. We have long past the point where any intelligent, considerate person should be ashamed to still call themself Republican.

    1. I am not completely convinced that this position is warranted, but fuck all if I don’t feel exactly this way.

      However, many people that I know well and are very decent people indeed are still drinking the kook-aid. In my experience, painful, they are without exception ignorant of the facts and are taking the fox news talking points at face value. That doesn’t let them of the hook with me though. Anyone that can watch or listen to that shit and not be offended by the behavior exhibited and the assumption of their stupidity, let alone the actual semantic content, is not without responsibility. There are limits to you being a sucker being other peoples fault.

      1. There are some — damned few, but some — who think the Republican Party should stay out of people’s bedrooms, should not be about corporate welfare, should not be advocating for the invasion of every country with oil, should not be inserting Jesus everywhere, but rather should be about old-school fiscal conservatism. They want to see the party return to the days before Reagan.

        They’ve got a problem. They’re not Libertarians, so they can’t go that route. The Tea Party calls them RINOs, even though they’re far truer to the Republican Party’s roots. And the non-Tea-Party “mainstream” Republicans are unabashed spineless plutocrats.

        I hope they can manage to take back their party. Their economic philosophy is worng and misguided but honest. And all the rest in the elephant camp are batshit fucking insane.

        Of course, the bulk of the Democratic party only look less insane in comparison….

        b&

        1. But what bothers me about these true Republicans is that in spite of it all they continue to vote republican. What their party has become is still more appealing to them than a Democrat. So I think they’re all cracked.

        2. I have to agree. The only thing I would add is that I would stress that for all the faults of the current Democratic party, there is a order of magnitude, at least, of difference in the level of insanity of the current Republican party. And degrees do matter oh so much in real life. So much so that the old saying that “they all suck / are corrupt / what have you,” directed at politicians and used as a peace offering between people with differing political views is laughably farcical.

          1. While I’ll agree with you that the Republicans are far worse than the Democrats, that also doesn’t mean that the Democrats are deserving of support; doing so ensures that you’ll still be governed by lizards, even if the one you vote for isn’t as worng as the one you didn’t vote for.

            A vote against your conscience is exactly that — casting your lot contrary to your own interests.

            It’s also why we so desperately need to reform our electoral system…literally anything would be a vast improvement over the first-past-the-post mess we have today.

            The problem, of course, is that, so long as the duopoly maintains its power, it’s not going to do anything to change the mathematical artifact that does more than anything else to let it maintain its grip on power. However, if enough people stated “throwing their votes away” by voting for third-party candidates, the major parties will get scared enough of the “wildcards” “throwing” races to the worng lizards. A ranked choice system will, at first blush, let somebody vote for their truly favored candidate without jeopardizing the position of the least-hated lizard.

            Of course, once that happens and people realize that they really can vote their conscience without hurting their least-hated lizards, the lizards will suddenly be getting only plurality support at the polls, not majorities….

            Cheers,

            b&

            1. Yes, a ranked choice system is needed. In the mean time I’ll be voting for the least bad viable candidate because going for the wildcards (Nadar) will too often result in the worst candidate winning, and wars and things being started.

              1. That is exactly the Worng Lizard Fallacy, and the sure way to guarantee that there will never be any progress.

                Remember: Guantanamo is still open; we’re still at war in Afghanistan; we’re still assassinating civilians, including Americans; we’re still ripping families asunder with the border fence and Fatherland-purity-protecting deportations; the War on Some Drugs rages as always; and the NSA, TSA, CIA, and FBI are more powerful than ever before in history. And we’re stuck with the Cato Institute’s ultra-right-wing private health insurance mandate.

                All this after nine years, with another three to go.

                That’s what rule by the Lesser Lizard looks like: damned awful. If it weren’t for the fact that we’re not (yet) at war with Iran, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between this Lizard and the other one.

                b&

              2. The problem with the idealist’s “vote for your heart” strategy is that it isn’t a strategy. It is ultimately just a world of everyone voting for themselves. We all are the only people who can perfectly reflect our own interests. Ultimately all voting is a form of “lesser lizard” practice. (Although I agree that some kind of ranked choice system would be an improvement over what we currently have.)

                We need to acknowledge that voters who “voted their conscious” for Ralph Nadar gave us eight years of W. I would have preferred any lesser lizard.

              3. The Lesser Lizard Fallacy is about strategic voting, where you vote for somebody you really don’t like to ensure that said person beats somebody you absolutely loathe. And it’s only a problem with first-past-the-post voting tabulation systems.

                Damned few people I know of have any interest in voting for themselves — and certainly not for every office. However, most people can at least imagine a real-world person they’d trust with power for whatever office. Doesn’t have to be somebody perfect; just a competent administrator with whom you mostly agree with when it comes to policy matters.

                But, if you really do think you’re the best person for every position, with any other vote tabulation system you absolutely could write yourself in for every office, followed by the long-shot candidate you think is the best-qualified person on the ballot, followed by the lesser lizard. And, if neither you nor the dark horse wins, your vote will still go for the lesser lizard. It’s just that, this way, if enough other people like either you or the dark horse that they get put above the lesser lizard, the lesser lizard actually loses.

                But, as long as people keep voting for lizards, the lizards will keep winning regardless. And, just like the tagline for that B-movie poster I saw: whichever wins, we lose.

                Cheers,

                b&

              4. The point isn’t that most people are interested in running for office. It is that the only person who can fully represent anybody is that person him/herself. So you are always compromising your interests in the election box. You are always voting for lizards.

                The trick is to devise systems of representation that minimize the lizardliness of the options. Our (the US) system is not very good since it allows undue influence to people whose only qualification is that they have large bank accounts.

              5. You’re making matters of degrees seem like binary with-me-or-agin-me affairs. The reality is far more subtle and complex than that.

                Obama, Bush (either), Clinton (either), Kerry, and Gore are all far closer to each other than any of them are to me. Kucinich is probably halfway between that lot and me. Nader and I are about as close as any of the main batch of lizards are to each other. Jill Stein and I are close enough that the differences don’t matter at all.

                Again, this is what the Lesser Lizard fallacy is all about. To go hyperbolic, if the only names on the ballot were Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot, would you argue that doing a write-in for Churchill meant throwing your ballot away?

                Cheers,

                b&

              6. But the choice aren’t (weren’t) Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot. They were Gore, Nader, and W. Asserting that Gore = W is silly.

              7. gbgames, I’m guessing you’re probably pretty closely aligned ideologically with the modern Democratic party. And, if so, then, yes, the few positions on which Bush and Gore differed were likely ones you considered very significant.

                But, as significant as those positions are, they’re trivial compared to the differences between the two of them and the rest of the spectrum.

                Let’s take Obama as an example, since we know exactly what he did as opposed to what Gore promised he might maybe consider thinking about endorsing.

                And what did Obama do? He poured gasoline on the war in Afghanistan and still won’t end it. He’s ordered multiple extrajudicial murders of civilians, including American citizens, by the military. His crowning glory of foreign policy was the summary assassination of an unarmed and unguarded old man, and he sabotaged the vaccination efforts of the entire region just so he could have that one man killed. His crowning glory of domestic policy is a radical far-right scam to force civilians to buy insurance from the most corrupt and wasteful private companies in the country and guarantee them 20% profit margins. Twenty percent! And he’s completely loosed the reigns on the police state apparatus such that you can’t even take a shit any more without the government knowing about it — not to mention the TSA gate rape, coming soon to a shopping mall near you. (And there’s the War on Some Drugs, the militarization of the police, more people in prison than the rest of the world combined, and and and and and….)

                Now, while I’ll admit that I had high hopes for him after he won (even though I voted for Cynthia McKinney), in practice, the only — and I do mean only — policy position in which he’s actually to the left of Bush is that Obama ended DADT. Great, wonderful, good for him — and the military was going to see that it was going to happen anyway, because of the severely detrimental effects it was having on combat effectiveness.

                Maybe I’d see that as being more significant if I were gay, but I’d still like to think that, even if I were one of Adian’s seriously flaming drag queen friends, I’d care a wee bit more about global wars and omnipresent domestic spying than I would about whether or not I could get married.

                Maybe you’re cool with Obama. Maybe you support everything he’s done, or maybe you just think he did the right thing in not bending even more to the will of the other lizards.

                But I’m not. From where I’m sitting, he’s the head of the absolute worst administration in all of American history — the one that continues to fight a war worse and more pointless than Vietnam, the one that has royally rogered American privacy (and, incidentally, the last remaining best-of-class American technology sector in the process) and thus finished shredding the Bill of rights, and the one that condemned us to the worst possible method of providing medical care. Compare Obama’s Afghanistan with Nixon’s Vietnam, Obama’s NSA with Nixon’s Watergate breakins, Obamacare with Title IX, Nixon’s China with Obama’s Iran…and Nixon — goddamned motherfucking sonofabitch asshole Nixon! — looks like a saint in comparison.

                So, yeah. Obama hasn’t killed millions of people. Woo-hoo. Way to go.

                But, in every other aspect — especially including the whole police state bit — I really don’t see any substantive difference between him and the rest.

                Cheers,

                b&

              8. Well, Ben, there are too many words in your comment for realistic response.

                You’re guess as to my “ideological alignment” is not all that on-target. I’m closer to you’re position than you realize. But where we differ is that I’m not willing to allow my preferences to blind me to realities. I’m willing to recognize that I don’t get to have my actual preferences realized in this universe. I need to pick from real-world options. And that means when given a Gore vs. George W. selection I’m unwilling to play make-believe and think that voting for Ralph is anything but a vote for the much worse lizard option.

                I don’t believe in political saints any more than I believe in religious ones. If you can’t see a difference between W and Al Gore, between Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin or the Romney/Ryan, then you really need to invest in a new political differences monitor because your’s is broken. There are significant differences.

              9. It’s not that I don’t see differences between the examples I mention.

                It’s that the differences between them, as big as they seem to you, are dwarfed by the differences between them and non-mainstream candidates.

                You’re arguing that there are significant differences between bees and wasps, and significant differences within bees and within wasps. Absolutely, no question.

                But bees and wasps might as well be the exact same animal when compared with cats.

                If you can’t see how the difference between a bee and a wasp is meaningless when either is compared with a cat, then you’re the one whose political spectrum meter is in dire need of recalibration.

                Cheers,

                b&

              10. That it a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry stretched metaphor. And not really very useful in this context, IMO.

              11. If you think the metaphor is stretched, then you likely don’t know just how different third-party candidates are from the major-party candidates. Many third-party candidates would see the platform positions and stump speech promises from the major-party candidates as open admissions of conspiracy to commit criminal acts, and the actual official actions (bills signed, orders issued, etc. of moat once in office as exactly the sorts of high crimes, misdemeanors, and even treason for which the Constitution demands impeachment.

                And, no. I’m not referring to sexual peccadillos. I’m referring to the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, the various wars, the extraordinary renditions, Guantanamo Bay, drone strikes, the TSA and the NSA and the CIA, and lots more.

                The U.S. government today is worse than the British government of the Eighteenth Century. If you want a not-at-all stretched metaphor, the comparison would be between King George III and his loyalists on the one hand and Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, and Washington on the other.

                Or, once again: it’s the worng lizard fallacy. That one lizard has blue skin and eats babies alive while the other lizard has red skin and rapes the babies before eating them alive really doesn’t matter much in the big scheme of things. Neither deserve your vote.

                Cheers,

                b&

              12. I do know, and I also know how far Isoptera are from Hymenoptera.

                Repeating the “Lizard Fallacy” is not going to win the argument. We differ on two things, how much different the “lizards” are from one another on a broad range of topics, not just your cherry-picked item, and 2) whether the third-party-idealist voter is doing anything useful when casting a vote for someone like, say…, Ralph Nadar.

                Given the political system we are operating within, voting for Ralph is voting for W. In a different system it would be a very different matter. By all means, work for changing the system. But don’t pretend that given current rules, 3rd party voting is anything but a way to stroke one’s own hair… a variation on this phenomenon.

              13. But dont pretend that given current rules, 3rd party voting is anything but a way to stroke ones own hair

                Well, put it this way.

                I, and and millions more like me will continue to vote third parties rather than for lizards. This is going to happen regardless of any arguments you or others like you will ever put forth about how we’re helping the worng lizards.

                You can either embrace this reality and join with us in working for electoral reform, or you can whinge the next time the worng lizard won because people who never would have voted for the other lizard didn’t vote for the other lizard.

                I accept that you think the differences between Bush and Gore were monumental. I don’t dispute that.

                But you’re not going to convince me that those differences were significant enough to warrant pledging support to either lizard, any more than a Republican would be able to convince you to support McCain over Bush (or vice-versa).

                If you don’t want to see another lizard’s victory spoiled by a third party candidate, telling supporters of third party candidates to support the lizards just isn’t going to work. Instead, you’ll have to support preferential balloting — and then work on convincing third-party supporters to put your favored lizard above your hated lizard at the bottom of the ballot.

                Cheers,

                b&

              14. I suspect you understand me perfectly well already, but I’ll try one last time and then let you have the last word.

                I’m fine with preferential balloting. I support changes like that. And when we have it I’ll change my decision process at election time.

                Right now we don’t have it and I’m not going to make believe that it exists. You can continue to do so, but you are only fooling yourself.

              15. Then, if nothing else, consider this a form of blackmail: make preferential voting a high priority for yourself and the rest of the major-party voters, or else we’ll keep upsetting the applecart.

                And if you’re serious about it, you’ll join us in rocking the…er…appleboat?

                Cheers,

                b&

              16. …except, from my perspective, that’s exactly what you’ve done. Afghanistan, Guantanamo, extraordinary renditions, extrajudicial summary executions, the NSA, the TSA…how does that not constitute shooting yourself in the head?

                b&

              17. I fail to understand how those who voted for Nader can be even theoretically held responsible for the past five years of the Obama administration’s crimes — crimes worse than those even of Bush, as bad as Bush was.

                b&

              18. I understand what you’re writing. You’re still not understanding what I’m writing.

                You place responsibility for Bush’s win over Gore on those who voted for neither.

                Never mind the basic fallaciousness of that argument — for example, if Gore wanted Nader’s voters’s votes, why didn’t Gore adopt positions they could stomach? Why campaign on the blackmail of threatening them of death-by-lizard if they don’t vote for the lesser lizard?

                My argument is much simpler. Those who voted for Obama are responsible for Obama’s presidency. And everything objectionable that Bush did that was somehow the fault of those who didn’t vote for Gore…well, Obama has at least done more of the same, and generally done a lot worse.

                You could argue that Gore would have been better than Obama, but the opposite was the common rhetoric at the time of Obama’s election — and, besides, Gore was Clinton’s vice president, and Clinton was as much of a lizard as the rest (remember the Clipper Chip and Wag the Dog?).

                You can’t even pretend to blame Bush for Obama; Obama had both houses of Congress for a while, and Obama’s worst crimes have been executive orders as Commander in Chief.

                As somebody who won’t vote for lizards, none of this is particularly surprising (though, again, I did rather naively have initial hopes that Obama would break the pattern). The only way to get into this sort of mess is by voting for lizards, and it’s the inevitable eventual consequence of voting for lizards.

                Once you cast a ballot for a lizard, you guarantee that the lizards will win, and you have nobody to blame for the lizards but yourself.

                Even if some lizards have more soothing voices than others.

                Cheers,

                b&

              19. You understand my position. You pretend I don’t understand yours. Word count isn’t a measure of a successful argument. I’ll not continue. I’m sure we are testing our host’s patience.

            2. The evolution of parties of the left and right appears to follow much the same track world wide.
              It is to the left’s advantage to create dependency on the largesse of the state in order to keep the votes coming in.
              On the right, the large corporates are bribed with favourable policy and subsidies to keep the donations flowing in. It is then the job of the party to use the money to convince voters that they represent them rather than the financial backsers.
              The stability of the two party system means the best we can do is regularly swap them when their excesses become too much to bear.
              The country has the choice between two parasites which have evolved in such a way as to ensure that their removal might well be fatal to the host.

              1. “dependency on the largesse of the state”

                This is BS framing. Most decent people recognize that helping people in need, establishing programs that provide a minimal level of comfort in old age, etc., are nothing of the sort.

            3. Whoops, nearly forgot to thank Ben for his Douglas Adams reference. A man with a special talent for being able to part a sea of bullshit to spot the nugget of slightly denser bullshit at the core.

            4. Yes exactly! I have to suppress a great need to slap friends who “vote strategically”. If we all just voted for those candidates that we felt best represented their beliefs, values and ideas of strategic direction then we’d be better off.

              1. I completely disagree. It may different in Canadia, but in the U.S. in a close election, a vote for a third party candidate is a terrible mistake even if you think the two main candidates are not too different on all the main issues. The reason why is the Supreme Court. If you vote for Nader, and then Bush beats Gore or Kerry because of it, you end up with Justices Alito and Roberts on the court FOR DECADES! It is not worth it. You end up essentially voting against your own interests. And you end up with a Supreme Court that wants to keep Jesus front and center, let the police do whatever they want, and continue to let government and society treat women and GLBTs as second class, inferior, citizens.

              2. However you have to be sure you’re really doing something that is better. Moreover, if people voted consistently the way they want instead of strategically, this wouldn’t be an issue at all. It’s really just prisoner’s dilemma with everyone defecting and when that happens, you get chaos.

                In Canada we don’t elect our supreme court judges or our senate so that cuts down on things. We also don’t elect individuals but parties so you may like the guy that will be PM but he’s just the leader of say the Conservative party. The party could go and replace the leader if they had to.

                This is just parliamentary system stuff.

            5. Barry Goldwater was on the right wing of the republican party. Where would he be in relation to the current mob? He said: ‘Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.
              …..
              The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom…. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are?… I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.” ‘

        3. While I agree that America’s voting system is not ideal, I think you’re overlooking the bigger picture. The whole system of government set up by the founders was designed to fail. They were men who didn’t trust government and wanted to make sure it was as toothless as possible. Unfortunately they pretty much succeeded. Getting anything done in America is extraordinarily difficult and the Plutocracy is left to reign. The whole system needs to be redesigned from top to bottom to reflect the needs of the 21st century rather than the 18th.

          Good luck.

          1. You know, of late I’ve come to re-think some of the early American history and sociopolitics I learned in school. I haven’t thought it all the way through, but I am starting to question more of the narratives that were drummed into our heads.

            For example, the whole 3/5 compromise and the Indians…it really is starting to seem more likely that we managed to transcend those messes in spite of the founders, rather than that the founders made a noble attempt in the right direction.

            Don’t get me worng. There’s still a lot of awesome stuff in our Constitution — never mind the fact that nobody pays any attention to it any more. But I’m definitely starting to think that a parliamentary system might actually make more sense than our representative one, that the reasons we have the one we do aren’t so nice and / or excusable…and that’s something that never would have occurred to me even a decade ago.

            b&

            1. Oh indeed I didn’t mean to suggest there was nothing of value there, though it’s amazing how some Amendments are more equal than others, Arms vs Privacy for instance. The Bill of Rights is an excellent innovation and no doubt much more. Nonetheless the document is not Holy or Sacred and if it’s getting in the way of American prosperity and happiness it needs to be re-thought.

  3. Predictably, Lord’s list of things he thinks atheists like include things that should have rights (gays – as in other people, animals, environment). In other words, if you’ve progressed past the ignorance of medieval times (or dare I say anything earlier than 1980, it took us a while to stop being jerks) then you don’t belong in Lord’s Christian world. Seems like quite the indictment of Christianity – maybe he’s the “Christophobe”.

    Sorry Lord, I’m not going to feel guilty for admiring intelligence (Hilary Clinton) and fairness (gay rights) & I hope Andrew Sullivan has something to say (though you won’t listen, with him being gay and all I guess that cancels out his Catholicism).

    I wish Hitch was here to call him a “toad” (apologies to actual toads that are cute).

  4. I wonder if there ever comes a point with these articles when the editor steps in and says, “No, I’m sorry. But this is so badly written that we simply can’t publish it”. Because it seems like there isn’t.

  5. He must have been too busy reading up on Hitler’s Brownshirts. […] Thou shalt have no other gods before you other than gay marriage. Sieg Heil.

    Shall we remind ourselves that being gay was illegal in Nazi Germany and that about 50,000 were imprisoned for being gay? In the concentration camps being gay was denoted by a pink triangle. Some info here.

    Let’s ask ourselves, who is the one displaying Nazi-like attitudes Mr Lord?

    1. And let’s also remind ourselves that shortly after taking power the Nazis outlawed all atheistic organisations, such as the German Freethinker’s League.

      This led Hitler to declare (speech in Berlin, Oct 24, 1933):

      “We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.”

        1. Actually, “Gott mit uns” was the motto of the Prussian Hohenzollern dynasty, pre-dating the Nazis by 2.33 centuries.

          The motto was also moulded on the belt buckles of German imperial troops in WW I. A modified version (eagle and swastika instead of imperial crown) appeared on Wehrmacht belt buckles in WW II, though not, significantly, on those of the Waffen SS.

          The extent to which “Gott mit uns” was held synonymous with German militarism well before the Nazis is evident in this satirical portfolio by George Grosz (circa 1918-1920).

            1. And Hitler was name-dropping Jesus at least as much as any American politician does today. Indeed, he made plenty of public statements in support of Theistic Intelligent Design Creationism with the required slams on naturalistic evolution.

              I don’t want to go Godwin on Lord after he did it first, but, economically, and theologically and even sociologically, Hitler would actually fit in damned well with the Tea Party today. You could easily put together a whole host of Nazi party platform positions and get rousing support for them at a Tea Party convention.

              Cheers,

              b&

              1. Granted.

                But you may recall J. Kenneth Galbraith’s review of John Bartlow Martin’s biography of Adlai Stevenson, in which Galbraith recounts an episode from Stevenson’s 1952 campaign. Martin, then Stevenson’s whistle-stop speech ghostwriter, was pleased with the echo to some item he had contributed to Stevenson’s platform. Stevenson dressed him down:

                “John, that crowd would have applauded if I had advocated pissing on the floor.”

                Most militant, or simply aroused, crowds will. The difference with the Tea Party crowd is that they would either privatise the floor or do entirely without one.

              2. You’re certainly correct about the sheepish hive-mind tendencies of those who rally behind charismatic leaders.

                But I had in mind a number of the bullet points on the 25-point list.

                Specifically, a lot of the immigration-related points read like modern Republican responses to immigration reform efforts. And there’re a lot of echoes of “debt slavery,” abolition of select taxes, support for Christian values, tough-on-crime / pro-death-penalty stances, and the like that aren’t substantially different from modern American conservative equivalents.

                I will give the Nazis credit, though. They supported their equivalent of Social Security, public education (though, granted, Party-approved), and physical fitness and exercise. Be nice if the Tea Party adopted some of those points….

                Cheers,

                b&

              3. Nolo contendere, Ben, but for the wicked way my memory works:
                I’m reading your lines and hearing echoes of Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski:
                “I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.” 🙂

                And a very Happy New Year to you!

              4. I suppose, Ant, you’d say “real ale”.

                Over here, 98% of our beer is either big-brewery yellow liquid from Miller-Coors/ Anhauser-Busch or one of a million choices of micro-brews with enough hops to sink a battleship.

                Unless we can get a nice imported brew like Old Speckled Hen.

              5. I’ll admit that I’m not a beer connoisseur, and that I rarely partake (but I definitely enjoy when I do).

                But one of the most memorable beers I’ve had was a pint of bitters at the Nag’s Head in London, just across the street from one of the Tube stations. I was there in ’99 to teach some classes on some new manufacturing process software for Motorola. A number of decades earlier, Dad had frequented the same pub for a few days while he was there…and it was every bit as good as Dad had described.

                So that’s what I think of when I think of English beer, even though I know full well that there’re a hell of a lot of damned good beers to be had there.

                …of course, the other two legs of that trip were Edinburgh and Flensburg. No offense to the English; that pint really was superlative. But the German’s local town beer was better still. And I had my first whisky in Scotland, of course. Tasted several across the road from the Castle, brought home a bottle of the one that I really liked. As little as I drink, it lasted quite a while, but I very much enjoyed every drop.

                Cheers!

                b&

              6. There is no such thing as “too much hops” – they surely can’t sink a ship, though they can shrivel your tongue – but to each his own draught.

              7. Pale ale. That’s the ticket. American beers have an peculiar and somewhat sad history. Prohibition ended and left a collection of beer drinkers unfamiliar with decent brew. What resulted was a vast and unhappy landscape of mega-brewed, flavorless, bubbly stuff they called beer. It was so bad that when the (most welcome) micro-brewery revolution happened brewers over-reacted and hyped up the flavors, adding hops in excess of any reasonable need.

                At least that is how I tell the story. I prefer the more malty, less hoppy, brews I can get in most any pub in the UK.

              8. While your chances of getting a good beer from an American microbrewery are excellent (and zero from the big labels), it’s home brewing where the real action is at here. I’ve never had a bad home-brewed beer, and they’ve all been generally superlative. I rather wish I had a neighbor or friend who was a brewer, as I don’t drink anywhere near enough for it to be of interest to me. But it’d be lovely to buy a half-dozen or so glass pint or half-pint bottles and have said hypothetical neighbor / friend refill them with each new batch — experiments, even failed ones, especially included.

                Cheers,

                b&

              9. You just need more practice. If the ancient Egyptians could keep their breweries going strong during the Noahic Flood, I’m sure you can figure it out….

                b&

              10. No need to practice. I found a perfectly adequate solution. I discovered that good liquor stores are quite good at supplying me with much better brew than I can make. And the remarkable thing is that I don’t have to work at it! I never need to wash bottles or clean up messes! (at least not of the beer-brewing kind)

    2. But don’t you know that Hitler was gay? It says so in a book! In fact all the Nazis were gay, and vegan, and Jewish, and atheist, and environmentalist! Why do you think Hitler had that fabulous little mustache? He was gay!

  6. Over the past year I’ve become strengthened in my view that atheism and liberalism are natural partners, for religion won’t disappear until we eliminate its root causes: social inequalities and the refusal of governments and individuals to help the least advantaged.

    While I’m as liberal as they come, what with being a card-carrying member of the Green Party and all…I can’t agree with you on this one.

    You’ll find plenty of Randian libertarian atheists — Penn & Teller are perfect examples, and we had our very own version in Gary W for some time, and how would you classify Sam Harris? — who would argue that the path to increased rationalism lies through conservative values, not liberal ones.

    Obviously, I vigorously disagree with them — but that’s not the point.

    The point is that yoking atheism to any political philosophy quickly leads to the type of exclusionary nonsense that is PZ’s A+ movement.

    I want to associate with people who’re glad to join Penn & Teller in mocking creationism but not afraid to call them out on their support of an unfettered free market. I want the right to give Sam a most hearty “Ramen” when he points out the lunacy of thinking that Muhammad flew a flying horse into the sunset while also calling him a poopyhead for advocating for the option of nuclear strikes against Muslim nations. And I want to cheer on PZ as he tosses a copy of the Q’ran into the wastebasket while telling him he’s gone waaaaaay overboard with the feminism schtick.

    So…yes, please do advocate for liberal causes. But do so because it’s the right thing to do, not because it’s the godless thing to do. If it works out such that supporting Medicare for all sane immigration laws and election reform and marriage equality and labor rights and green energy and all the rest also, as a byproduct, makes the US more secular, fantastic. But if it also means that, say, the United Church of Christ (which very much supports all those liberal causes) becomes the dominant religious force in America, so be it. We can work on that separately, and even do so at the same time.

    Cheers,

    b&

    1. I know some people who are quite conservative politically but are atheists, and quite a few libertarians too.

      I found The God Delusion irritating in parts because it seemed to push political liberalism too hard, as if it was a natural ally to atheism.

      1. IMO the important thing is that refusal to believe in un-evidenced gods is just a subset of refusal to believe in un-evidenced things. Conservative political thinking, at least in modern times, has come to be dominated by a refusal to believe in evidenced things and a desperate attempt to return society to social arrangements of a past that is largely imaginary. God is nearly always a part of this conservative fantasy, although you do find exception cases, as you note. Still, as Stephen Colbert once noted, facts have a decidedly liberal bias.

        1. The mixture of brazen effrontery and self-deceit with which the most reactionary element of the American political spectrum has hijacked the ‘conservative’ label will never cease to astound me. Nor will the Left’s careless espousal of the ‘liberal’ misnomer.

          It is important for American readers to realize that, with the partial exception of fellow English-speaking countries, this perversion of the political vocabulary has failed to gain traction. In France for instance, libéral denotes a radical market-oriented, free-trade and anti-state stance. Thanks to the long rightward shift of the German FDP, the ‘Liberal’ coin has been equally debased and devalued in Germany.
          An intelligent commentator defined thirty-odd years ago the main political divide as one between “value conservatives”, such as the Greens, the Social Democrats, and the social wing of the Christian Democrats, versus “structure conservatives”, mainly the right-of-center wing of the spectrum. The distinguo still holds.

          Non-Danish aficionados of the most intelligent political thriller in recent years, Borgen, relish the fact that the ‘Moderates’ in Borgen correspond to the real-life Radikale Venstre, the ‘Radical Left’; in reality, nothing more sinister than a center-left social-liberal party; whereas the ‘Liberals’ are in reality plain Venstre, the ‘Left’, a right-wing free-market party with agrarian roots, whose former leader Anders Fogh Rasmussen exuded in 1993 a pamphlet by the title “From Social State to Minimal State”. So much for labels.

    2. I never claimed in my post that we should work for social justice as a way of getting rid of religion. Of course we should work for such equality because it’s the right thing to do (I don’t recall advocating national health care primarily because it will help end religion). Nor do I claim that atheists who are conservative “aren’t real atheists”.

      I claim only that Enlightenment values militate against both religion and human inequality, and, happily enough, eliminating the latter will help eliminate the former—and probably vice versa. That is what I mean by “natural partners.” Atheism is simply a refusal to believe in gods, and that implies no political or social stand.

      1. <whew />

        After PZ went off the rails with A+, I’m sure you can understand why I might be just a wee bit twitchy about this sort of thing.

        “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

        Cheers,

        b&

          1. Curious. I haven’t visited Pharyngula in some time. PZ has the A+ logo in a prominent spot in the sidebar…but it’s linked to Richard’s Out Campaign. I think there’s a bit of confusion somewhere, and the confusion isn’t mine nor yours….

            b&

          2. As a regular over at Freethought Blogs, my understanding at the time was that ‘support’ for A+ was simply support for the idea that it’s great that there are atheists out there who come together to focus primarily on social justice issues. One didn’t have to join it in order to be considered an advocate. PZ never officially joined.

        1. Not sure how he could’ve gone of the rails with something he was never part of … 

          Granted he did hitch atheism to social justice in much the same way. But for PZ, as a “reflective” atheist, the respect for reason and evidence that lead to your atheism should also, in his view, lead you to oppose social inequalities.

          /@

          1. If nothing else, that’s classic catherding — dictating to atheists the proper reasons for not believing as well as the proper conclusions to draw from said reasons. It’s great that that works for him, and if it inspires others likewise, fantastic. But then he, as you note, has to go and throw that “should” word in there….

            Cheers,

            b&

            1. My word choice, not (necessarily) PZ’s. I didn’t mean to imply an “ought”, more a “would also, it seems, tend to” … 

              In fact, writers such as Stiglitz and Wilkinson & Pickett lend credibility to that view; woefully abbreviated, that there’s no empirical reason for social inequality based on race, sex, gender, sexual preferences, &c., and good evidence that fiscal inequality leads to socially poorer, um, societies.

              /@

    3. A+ isn’t PZ’s movement, although he endorses it. Neither is it exclusionary. It is a forum for people who do want to associate their atheism with social justice issues so if you see them as unconnected it’s not for you. But you can’t claim to be excluded from a club you have no desire to join.
      On the general point, societies with strong welfare, high trust in government institutions,good acceptance of diversity and economic parity tend to be more atheistic and there is some evidence the causal arrow is in that direction (that fair societies become less religious, not that atheism makes societies fairer)so an atheist who thinks more people should share their view should be pro social justice even over and above the merits of the issues.

      1. I’m sure that Jerry doesn’t want to see this thread get derailed into a discussion of A+, and so I apologize for being the one to broach the subject. As my last post on the subject, my opinions of the movement were formed when people who thought the elevator incident was unfortunate and thoughtless and tasteless but not quite as horrific as the A+ crowd portrayed it were explicitly lumped in the “fucking douchenozzle misogynist rape apologist” crowd. Whether such poisonous “perfectly with us or our mortal enemies” sentiment still prevails I neither know nor care, but it was very much in evidence at the beginning. It left such a bad taste in my mouth and the mouths of many others that neither I nor they ever want to have anything to do with that crowd again. Whether or not that remains a fair assessment of the current membership’s attitude really doesn’t matter much after the way it got started.

        b&

              1. If the hash is of the potato variety, particularly if it includes corned beef or ham and maybe some onions and paprika (along with the usual suspects of salt, pepper, etc.), presumably cooked in bacon drippings, count me in!

                b&

              2. Sounds good, but I would have thought that sesame oil would be too delicate for that kind of cooking…? When I use sesame oil, I generally drizzle it on top of the finished dish rather than expose it to direct heat.

                b&

              3. I never did care much for canola.

                For high-temperature stuff, it’s generally Chinese-style stir frying, and peanut oil. And not uncommonly with sesame drizzled on at the very end after it’s removed from the heat.

                General sautéing is going to be with olive oil, butter, bacon drippings, or sometimes coconut oil. Coconut oil is the only thing I’ll use for popcorn.

                When I want a neutral-flavored oil, such as for a mild mayonnaise, I’ll generally turn to sunflower.

                b&

  7. Frighteningly stupid: he actually USES the word, “Christophobe” in a serious fashion (it’s used to mock the term, “Islamophobia”, as in the argument, “…You don’t hear of anyone criticizing Christianity being called a “Christophobe”, do you?”- Well, NOW you DO!), and almost immediately satisfies Godwin’s rule by dragging Nazis into the mix. Once again I’m reminded of just what freethinkers are up against in this deluded society.

    1. Christoprobe? Sounds like something used to examine holes on various things.

      Oh, Lord, it looks like I’ve went ahead and put the other end in It.

  8. This was fascinating, especially the Ten Commandments and the defence of Phil Robertson. Because Lord sees being homophobic and just incredibly stupid as part of his version of Christianity, when we attack homophobia and stupidity we are attacking Christianity. It is part of his religion to be stupid and homophobic, we are Christophobic to criticise that.

    I imagine Lord’s thinking process to be similar to this young gentleman. They got the same things accomplished too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pcNOF6sxTk

    1. I was going to note that the guy’s just done a great deal to increase his chances at developing Alzheimer’s. Then I realized that it’s likely already too late for him….

      b&

  9. What a fool the Lord is.

    There, I took the opportunity to say it about an actual, real-world, Lord. I feel silly saying things like that about fictional characters.

  10. Lord has an authoritarian personality which is the kind that is linked to social conservatives (libertarians, though fiscally conservative, are usually liberal on social issues.)

    There’s a saying that a pickpocket would only see Jesus’ pockets. Lord’s focus is similar: as an authoritarian he only sees that aspect in everybody else, even in atheists who are far from being bossy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authoritarian_personality

    I can’t decide if his “The God of no Gods” is a word salad or a deepity. In any case, it is unappetizing and shallow.

  11. How in the name of all that’s holy could any publication with the least regard for its reputation publish such spiteful unmitigated drivel? Apart from its sheer idiocy it’s barely coherent.

    JFC, these people are desperate. There are no straws left for them to clutch at in their vain attempts to validate their superstitions, so they invent them.

  12. What a terribly confused article.

    “… What replaced the crèche and the cross, and in fact is everywhere according to atheists, is The God of No God. … … the environment, animals… … The God of No God. Wherever the object of worship is not related to Jesus Christ, the Almighty, Allah, Buddha — which is to say a spiritual deity… ”

    No God was ever found in the environment or the animal kingdom? That is, if one seeks to find “it”? Hm…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_worship

  13. “Apparently Mr. Cruz skipped all those classes on bullying.”

    Jesus crispy fricking christ on a freaking pogo stick. I was sure that new fangled cryogenically cooled superconducting irony meter would be the last I ever needed to buy. My bad.

    It takes criminal levels of either stupidity or chutzpah to accuse someone who criticizes bigoted behavior, and is the target of the bigoted behavior, of being a bully because they dare to criticize the bigotry.

  14. “…liberalism, the Democrats, being gay, abortion, having money, computers, the Internet, pornography, television, the environment, animals…”

    Because there are no theists who support or take part in these things.

    What is Lord trying to say? That if anyone at any time does anything not explicitly Jesus-centered they’re worshipping the god of no god?

    1. Apparently. It’s a rephrase of CK Chesterton’s famous quote “When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”

      It’s a deepity. On the one hand, it’s true but trivial that if you don’t believe in X, then you will believe in something in the non-X category. Duh. How unremarkable.

      But of course the implication is that when someone doesn’t don’t believe in the perfectly reasonable, right, and true version of God — or, worse yet, perversely stops believing in it — then they will be drawn to the unreasonable and wicked, atrocities with no wise checks against them.

      1. Yeah, it’s completely backwards.

        Imagine arguing with a straight face that if you give up believing in a supremely powerful yet completely silent and invisible friend, it therefore means you’ve actually taken leave of your critical reasoning.

        Whaaa?

        It’s Orwellian.

      2. Agree.

        I think there’s also a hint of persecution/sky-is-falling complex in there: if you ever see anyone doing anything other than worshipping jebus, that’s persecution. And just look at all the people doing things other than worshipping jebus! What have our times come to?!

    2. It looks like a handy checklist of those knee-jerk issues that some people can’t help be fearful of, though I’m not sure why ‘having money’ is included.

      Why the Lord would fear them, I can’t imagine.

      1. Lord makes a list of things that he proposes heretics use to substitute for “God” in their lives. Thus money is one of the “earthly evils” one can worship, from his point of view, just as much as television, the Internet, pornography, etc. I’d say he forgot fruit shakes.

    1. Kind of.

      From the BHA, “the word humanist has come to mean someone who:
      • trusts to the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic)
      • makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals
      • believes that, in the absence of an afterlife and any discernible purpose to the universe, human beings can act to give their own lives meaning by seeking happiness in this life and helping others to do the same.”

      But not everyone who shares that life-stance would self-identity as a humanist.

      /@ (humanist)

      Sent from Apple iMac 😉

          1. Oh, of course — especially since the BHA is explicitly atheistic.

            Rather, my point is that the term, “humanism,” has something of a broad and fuzzy usage. It’s one of those where context is key. Knowing that somebody is an humanist isn’t enough to know that they’re godless, and not all godless liberals consider themselves humanists.

            I know that, for myself, though I’m a pretty good match for the definition of “secular humanist,” it’s neither a term nor an organized movement that holds any particular appeal for me. I’ve never felt any urge to seek out the local chapter of whatever the parent body calls itself in this area. It also wouldn’t occur to me to describe myself as such in a conversational setting.

            I think a lot of it goes back to yesterday’s discussion about rituals and catherding….

            b&

            1. Sure, but the BHA’s usage is more reflective of modern idiomatic usage (re life-stances; we also know it refers to someone working in the humanities!). “Secular” is pretty much implied these days.

              Who would use “computer” in its original sense now?

              The BHA version of humanism is ritual free. As Colin noted, there are humanist celebrations of different life events, but I think those are fairly free format. (We’ve not had occasion for one for several years; we were socially normative hypocrites [well, I was; my wife was still notionally a believer] and went for a church wedding and christenings.)

              /@

              1. Who would use computer in its original sense now?

                You’re just egging me on, now, aren’t you? Now, I just have to find (or manufacture) a suitable setting….

                b&

    2. Maybe secular humanism can equal atheism+liberalism (not always). If religion is involved, then it constrains how equality, for example, can be defined. I would prefer to think that humanism is secular. But without being denoted as secular, it could be usurped by religious folk.

  15. The outrage expressed by the Lord Himself is born of a sense that his religious privilege has been violated. If someone believes that something is true because of their religion — particularly because of their true religion of Christianity — then all protests must be muted or they will be regarded as attacks.

    “Well, I don’t agree with the Duck Dynasty guy about gays but he has religious freedom so all I’m going to do is say I don’t agree but respect the fact that he is following his faith.”

    That’s supposed to be the correct response. Nobody is ever wrong to try to express or live their faith so whatever comes out of that privileged pool shouldn’t be touched with argument.

    Which I suppose makes sense on their part: if a religious belief could carry its own weight in as fair fight it wouldn’t be classified as “faith.” The fight can’t be fair: they win by default because religion is special.

    1. Well, I dont agree with the Duck Dynasty guy about gays but he has religious freedom so all Im going to do is say I dont agree but respect the fact that he is following his faith.

      They come so close…this would be the proper response: “I don’t agree with the Duck Dynasty guy about LGBT rights. I understand he bases his position on his interpretation of his religious beliefs. It’s certainly his right to do so, but our secular society cannot base its laws on religious reasoning. If he wants to win his case, he’ll have to come up with sound non-religious reasons to support it. Otherwise, if he doesn’t like gays, he shouldn’t be friends with them — not that that’s likely to be a problem in his case.”

      Religious freedom is they freedom to impose your religious rules upon yourself. It’s not the freedom to impose them on anybody else, unless you can convince them (without force or threats thereof) that it’s in their own best interests, too.

      Cheers,

      b&

  16. Epistemological vacancies. The science/philosophy atheists I am attracted to find what we know about the universe interesting. End of story. And when some religious bloke claims to know something about reality that I do not, I am interesting to hear what they know or believe. Until I learn it is generally nonsense and almost always aesthetically unpleasant.

    This is what Lord is gripping about with a great number of atheists. They are simply interested in knowing what life, the universe, and everything is about. If he calls that religion, then everything is religion and if everything is religion then noting is religion. Silly.

  17. … for religion won’t disappear until we eliminate its root causes: social inequalities and the refusal of governments and individuals to help the least advantaged. It’s curious because, after all, one of Jesus’s Biblical teachings was love of the poor. In that respect, Christianity contains the seeds of its own destruction.

    I think Jesus’ love of the poor was actually a love of poverty. The less you have, the less the world will mean to you and the more eager you will be to follow Him to a heavenly Kingdom, one higher and better than anything possible on earth. Therefore, poverty is actually a sort of ‘blessing’ — it can lead you towards faith.

    Even if the Bible had been written in more recent times the character of Jesus would not have been advocating earthly social reform and improved living conditions. That goes against the basic theme: this world is insignificant compared to the divine. You help the poor not so much for their sake as for your own. See how little the material matters? Watch what I give away. Become like me. Love poverty, because of its rich spiritual potential.

    It doesn’t take much giving to make that point — particularly since you are making it to God, who watches you like a parent. Actual benefits to the poor are secondary, and only for show. “The poor are always with you.” So don’t strive to change the political or cultural situation. Use the sick and poor as both fodder for conversion and displays of the intractable defects of the world.

    Don’t just love the poor: love poverty, too — because of its rich spiritual potential.

    1. Sastra said:

      Even if the Bible had been written in more recent times the character of Jesus would not have been advocating earthly social reform and improved living conditions.

      While there is maybe a grain or two of truth in that and in the balance of your comment, I would say that it is not categorically true. For instance, you may wish to take a look at the Wikipedia article on “Liberation theology” which leads off with this:

      Liberation theology is a political movement in Roman Catholic theology which interprets the teachings of Jesus Christ in relation to a liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions. It has been described as “an interpretation of Christian faith through the poor’s suffering, their struggle and hope, and a critique of society and the Catholic faith and Christianity through the eyes of the poor”.

      There is, no doubt, much in Catholicism – past and present – to throw stones at. However, it seems there is, arguably, some merit, some credible aspects to their visions for humanity; as evolutionists of various stripes have argued from “time immemorial” – or at least since Darwin, and in response to the perennial and misguided creationist question, “Of what use is half an eye?” – that it is substantially better than 5% of one.

      1. As it happens, sometimes religious “reasoning” lands a theologian to a decent conclusion, the same conclusion reached by entirely secular reasoning. And so a temporary alliance can be had for some purpose.

        The problem, of course, is that theological reasoning is equally capable of landing one in the exactly wrong position. For every theology of decency there are countless equally valid (in theological terms) indecent versions, because there is no way to distinguish between correct and incorrect versions of divine mandates.

        1. True enough – at least as far as various conclusions based on “theological reasoning” itself is concerned.

          However, where the conclusions are based on premises, as you suggest, of a broader import – as implied in that Wikipedia article, for example, that the “human experiment” is much better served by a reduction in poverty – then one might argue that that “theological reasoning” is largely secondary – except maybe as a motivator to implement those policies.

          As Desiderata argues, “many strive for high ideals” – even within traditional religions.

          1. Bill Rabara, It is pretty simple, really. Follow some basic generally-agreed rules. Like “treat others as you would wish to be treated”. It isn’t hard. In fact it is pretty much what believers do most of the time, when they are ignoring the foolish demands of their invisible friend’s instruction manual.

  18. Unless He introduces legislation to give atheists special status as a religion the Lord is just quivering in fear of the strength of honesty, by labeling atheism a religion.

  19. “• First Commandment — GLAAD version: Thou shalt have no other gods before you other than gay marriage. Sieg Heil.”

    As I was scanning this article, I thought this was a joke you played on his remarks, and genuinely laughed out loud.

    Finding out this was an actual statement by Lord, it wasn’t all that funny anymore.

    1. I didn’t laugh, I gasped in disbelief. This guy must be the only idiot in the entire fricking world who doesn’t know what the Nazis thought of homosexuals. He makes Sarah Palin look intelligent.

  20. It’s really annoying dealing with religious people when they try this sort of tu quoque fallacy. Just because someone is religious doesn’t mean they know what religion is. It’s like thinking that just because you digest food it must mean you know what the entire digestion system is or should look like.

  21. …religion won’t disappear until we eliminate its root causes…

    I don’t know, science has a way of continually surprising me with unexpected new ways of adapting ourselves and our universe.

    I remain cautiously hopeful for a clinically proven effective vaccine.

  22. The article reads as if it were written by someone suffering from dementia who was terrorized by a gay atheist as a child.

    Perhaps the editorial staff are all on vacation.

  23. This is the first time I have had occasion to say so, but that was … Not Even Bad. To be bad, you have to have a cogent point to start with.

    From the comment thread:

    I claim only that Enlightenment values militate against both religion and human inequality, and, happily enough, eliminating the latter will help eliminate the former—and probably vice versa. That is what I mean by “natural partners.”

    A-meow.

  24. The first exposure I had to gay marriage was a Christian couple who got married in a moderately-religious ceremony in the United Church of Canada, the kind that is still commonplace among religious couples. And plenty of long-term hetero couples choose not to get married at all. Who’s he going to blame that on?

    What’s next after gay marriage: acceptance of atheists as regular ho-hum people who just happen not to believe in the existence of a deity or deities? Who will shoulder the blame when it’s time for acceptance of atheists, on the scale acceptance of gay marriage is expanding now? The Amish? The Mafia? People who like to have sex with animals? The right is running out of people to vilify, condemn, hate and blame.

    Soon, blaming cosplayers for the rise of atheism may be commonplace among Republicans. If you want to wear your home-made Gandalf or Katniss costume to work, you may get the heat for all these atheists who are destroying society. Be careful, cosplayers.

    And why would anyone want to spend their time imagining cartoonishly-ridiculous caricatures of atheists and them blaming them for all their problems? Does he not know any atheists? I’ll volunteer to carefully explain to him what the difference is between criticizing individuals, institutions, and government policies, without resorting to the kind of delusional mash-up of hate that seems to be his only way of communicating.

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