Are the New Atheists Insufficiently Serious?

R. Joseph Hoffmann, an atheist himself and the author or editor of numerous academic books—including Jesus in History and Myth (Prometheus Books 1986)—thinks so, writing at his blog recently the following:

The mode of critique [by New Atheists] is lodged somewhere between “Stupid Pet Tricks”- and “Bushisms”-style humor, a generation-based funniness that thrives on ridicule as a worthy substitute for argument: Blasphemy contests, Hairdrier Unbaptisms, Blowgun-slogans (“Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings”), and my latest personal favorite, Zombie Jesus Jokes (“He died for your sins; now he’s back for your brains”). The message of the Four Horsemen, now conflated into one big message, is that religion has been nothing but retardant and deserves nothing but contempt.

In other words, R. Joseph Hoffmann wishes that most New Atheists would behave less like Rush Limbaugh and more like Socrates, entering into productive dialogue, not just with theists, but their fellow secularists:

My own naivete about the deliberate sensationalism of the EZ atheist movement was profound.  At the beginning, having seen Dawkins worthily opposed in debates at Oxford in the 1980s, I thought the discussion was an earnest attempt to enlarge the atheist perspective, that books that were extended polemics about the evils and ignorance of religion would lead to better books and better discussion.

But those better books and better discussions are, alas, still forthcoming:  

[T]he only people who the News [New Atheists] wanted to debate, or wanted to debate them, were preposterous self-promoters like William Lane Craig, John Lennox and John Maynard Smith; serious “theists” (and loads of skeptics and critics of religion) had better things to do, and it became a mark of dishonor in the Academy to take News too seriously.

And so the post-9-11 movement atheists have proved disappointing to him:

Instead of discussion we got books and more books by people who didn’t seem to recognize that Dostoyevsky (and Tolstoy, Freud, Camus,  Ionesco, Eliot, Simone de Beauvoir, Samuel Becket, Smetana,  Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood) had explored the ramifications of the post-God universe for the better part of a century, and even then were building on a crisis that was already fledgling in the nineteenth century.

The complaint that R. Joseph Hoffmann is lodging here is a historical one: New Atheists don’t seem to realize (or don’t care) that they are late to a discussion among intellectuals which has already far surpassed the mere critique of crass religious literalism. Given that the critique is obviously correct (fundamentalism is a dead-end), how does one then live and find meaning in a universe where God is either absent or hidden? Sensitive intellectuals like Nietzsche and artistic movements like Expressionism have been Jacob-wrestling with this existential question for more than a century:

Can you name one artistic movement, one literary school, or one serious poet, dramatist or musician of the past century who has not been affected by (or embraced) the death of God as angst, anxiety, ennui, nausea and chaos? Neither can the News.

In other words, sensitive and intelligent people—especially within the artistic community—have long absorbed the death of God with sobriety and complexity, but the New Atheists’ followers haven’t noticed this because, in Hoffmann’s characterization of them, they tend not, in the broad sense, to be all that culturally literate. Put another way, they are glib to the consequences—existential and sociological—of what it means to kill off God because they haven’t really thought all that hard about Modernism and read their T.S. Eliot. They’re basically promoting a stupidity: religion as humanity’s chief impediment to happiness and advance.

And here, I think, is where R. Joseph Hoffmann comes to a deeply powerful observation, a real zinger:

Instead of reflecting their superior knowledge of the artistic and literary contours of the twentieth century (the state of affairs Lippmann described in 1929 as the “acids of modernity”) the EZs wanted to locate society’s major cultural crisis in the backwater churches of Slicklizard, Alabama.

That’s quite stunning. Hoffmann is saying that the New Atheists tend to be wrong, not just in their choice of debating partners, but in the culprit they direct their attention and energies toward: our problems, Horatio, are not in the backwoods fundamentalist “other,” but in our secular humanist and Promethean selves. After centuries of heroic struggle, humanity has moved from the nightmarish fires of holy book literalism and supersition into the frying pan of nihilism.

So what do we do with ourselves now? Is the Enlightenment enough?

Contemporary fundamentalists are engaging in a rearguard and nostalgic reaction against the Enlightenment and the existential crisis of Modernism that has trailed in its wake; fundamentalists are thus a symptom, not the cause, of contemporary angst. The New Atheist focus on them is a distraction from the crisis of meaning that intellectuals and artists have been struggling with at least since William Blake wrote his 1794 poem, “London.” R. Joseph Hoffmann is alerting us to this fact, and directing those of us who are secularists away from the easy target, suggesting that we end the tiresome fundamentalist bashing, read our Dostoevsky, Beckett, and Camus, and generally catch up.

I’m inclined to agree with Hoffmann, but maybe there’s a place for both kinds of atheism (the atheism of angst and adult seriousness and the atheism of righteously angry didacticism and parody). Need it really be a zero-sum game? 

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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41 Responses to Are the New Atheists Insufficiently Serious?

  1. TomH says:

    The NAs are using the Saul Alinsky tactics, which are effective in persuading the masses. The Academy tends to find those tactics juvenile and tends to ignore the Alinskyite tactitians. Trying to have one’s foot in both camps tends to not work very well.

    Tending, tending….

    • santitafarella says:

      Tom,

      Well, you’ve caught the tension perfectly, but as for Alinsky, I suspect that even fewer followers of the New Atheists have read him than have read Dostoevsky. Atheism as a populist movement gets its model from the broader political and media culture, which is dominated by lawyers who aren’t really engaged in dialogue or extended argument, but are pithy and caustic hired guns for corporations and politicians, pressing easily absorbed talking points as Twitter memes.

      “The medium is the message.”

      —Santi

      • Dave says:

        …on that note, do you have a Twitter account? 140 characters is plenty to link to your blog!

        twitter.com/pejoskid

    • In this, TomH is right, the NA are attacking the mass market. And it is what they need to do. You can look at Tom as the perfect example of why they need to do this. Someone who openly challenges the sciences that can be proven out in the lab while embracing the ridiculous as unimpeachable. Logic, reasoning and evidence are cast aside in lieu of desire and emotion. The NA are fighting against the indoctrination of more people into this cult of idiocy. Christian fundamentalism damages the world as much as Muslim fundamentalism. They use the same tactics, but wrap it up in different words. Muslims use terrorism and suicide bombers. Christians use military actions. Swap their places of power and their approaches would be identical. Far, far more innocent civilians are killed through government sanctioned military action that through terrorism. And yet, these same, compassionate Christians blithely accept this as collateral damage.

      There are deeper questions to answer, undoubtedly. And not all religion is bad. Modern Judaism is very hard to argue with, since it diverges from religious text as anything but metaphor and guiding principal. But the goal of the NA post 911 is to rid the world of the lunatic religions that have created these waves of destruction. To do that, you approach the mass market and extract as many as possible from the destructive religions. Think of the vocal NA as the evangelical ministers. Their goal is to arm the flock and create converts. The deeper philosophical questions and helping people to find meaning and community is taken up by many of the new secular humanism organizations.

  2. Holy Crap! I had no idea Hoffmann had his own blog! He is one of my heroes. I own three of his translations. Thank you so much for posting this!

  3. Nathan Bupp says:

    This is an extremely perspicacious and insightful reading of Joe Hoffmann, capturing a significant part of what he is trying to say. I thoroughly endorse and agree with it. If only the new atheists who are now busy excoriating him all over the internet had just a bit of the interpretive sensitivity and historical and intellectual depth that you display here the new atheist movement would look much different and perhaps be a welcome and much needed contribution to the currently rather impoverished cultural conversation.

  4. “the atheism of angst and adult seriousness and the atheism of righteously angry didacticism and parody”- catches our situation wonderfully.
    Luckily we have the vehicle to encapsulate this historic moment. Let’s make a stand by first self-identifying as Brights and then having a debate within this ‘community’. Stop the reactive ressentiment – the negativity and angst. This might allow us the space to be more ‘adult’ but playful and serious?

    • santitafarella says:

      Douglas,

      I think to drop the angst is to miss the point: Modernism, in both its art and intellectual endeavors post-God, is characterized by ambivalences and perplexities. To sublimate them, Don Quixote-like, and put on a happy face, is to decline wrestling with them (or at least thinking about them directly and making them topics for dialogue).

      New Atheists who ignore the problems identified in art, literature, and intellectual reflection since the Enlightenment’s triumph (at least among the educated), will simply go on with business as usual: mocking religion and critiquing things that obviously have weak foundations, and have been dispatched before (the traditional arguments for God’s existence, young earth creationism, the Bible’s inerrancy, the resurrection of Jesus, the Quran’s inspiration, etc).

      This is not to say that atheists and agnostics should be in woe-is-us mode all the time, but that there should be adult reflection between New Atheists, optimistic humanists, pessimists, and the intellectual skeptics of irreligion. And intellectual theologians should also be brought into such a discussion precisely because they’ve wrestled with these issues as well (what to do after you realize that the Bible is not infallable, the earth is not 6,000 years old, and God appears to be in hiding). I, for example, don’t understand why a theologian like Reinhold Niebuhr is not thought about more in New Atheist circles, or why Nietzsche so rarely comes up.

      Nihilism is not going away just because you ignore it, and nihilism is where one arrives the moment God dies (or goes into hiding) in the world.

      Who are we? Where are we? And what should we be doing?

      Once we’ve concluded that the fundamentalists are wrong in their answers to such questions, and the field has been emptied out (turned into a nihil), we still have to grapple with them.

      And so the central problem or crisis of existence and human culture is not fundamentalism, it’s our consciousness of time and death and our inability, absent God, of settling on a direction forward. God has always functioned as a construct for putting our consciousness of time, death, and nihilism to sleep. But once we’ve woken up, and pulled back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz, the proper response is a movement from innocence to experience: of grappling with our very real dilemma. We should not be renewing sublimation via a fresh distraction: mockery of the old, impoverished, and already long debunked solutions.

      Perhaps the trick is to ask yourself this question: what would it be like for me to be an atheist who never-ever again gave energy to debates with Orthodox religionists? Where would my energies then go? Where should they go?

      —Santi

      • santitafarella,
        Nietzsche suggests the ‘nihilism’ of which you speak is implicit in religion esp Christianity – Nature is not enough. When I read first Nietsche in my teens, I realised I was not a ‘superman’/artist/philosopher and thought I must remain quiet. Humanism/Existentialism seemed weak and insipid given ‘nihilism’.
        I agree with you, to ‘wake up’ as a bright is to have to face this nihilism explicitly. What is to be one’s response to this ‘nihilistic’ inheritance?
        To fully integrate this inheritance in an ‘adult’ way, I would suggest, requires making a stand with a communal response – Brights?
        To leave the burden on the Individual too easily results in regression to ‘angst'(all the artists of whom you speak) or bravado(village atheist), or going back to sleep.(Last Men -my chosen route until heard of the Brights)
        To remain ‘awake’, we need a more playful seriousness about our predicament.
        Self-identification as Brights – potentially gives this opportunity and space to try a new approach. Nature is enough but that includes community and questions of identity – we are an intensely social creature.
        Douglas

      • liggamite says:

        the unfortunate thing is, I believe we have only two choices:
        -Join a ‘community’ and enter an intense religious battle that has been lost by our side for centuries, or
        -Fight as an individual and enter an intense religious battle that has been lost by our side for centuries
        We’re all stubborn and intolerant. There is no real rational way to approach the issue because the issue is not rational.

  5. Seth Strong says:

    Even if we’re attracting the masses, which is a move forward in my opinion, it doesn’t hurt to be asked if we have a philosophical or historical awareness of where we fit. I don’t think New Atheism is as far gone as some might think. But I do think we could ruin it all and old atheist/Humanist critiques are going to help us stay balanced. We need to know the answers to the questions other non-believers have about us.

  6. liggamite says:

    I am an atheist myself, and I sure do ridicule religion a bunch, but Hoffman’s stereotyping. I put up unbiased academic arguments all the time. The type of belief he’s talking about is not just in atheism, but every religion: an irrational intolerance of all other faiths. Like a feeling that all humans MUST ridicule, because all other peoples than oneself are “inferior”. That feeling of superiority is built into our genes, yes, but civilization takes it to stupid, unhelpful levels.
    Nevertheless, not all atheists are like that. Hoffman’s just expressing the stupidity of the modern age

  7. liggamite says:

    I do agree that we should “end the tiresome fundamentalist bashing”.

    • Seth Strong says:

      We should find a way to bash their positions so that people don’t want to have those positions. If I could lower the probability that a person would adopt a fundamentalist position, I’d consider doing so.

      • liggamite says:

        the thing is…you can’t. Only a person’s parents can. No matter how smart and secular a person is, if his parents have raised him to be Catholic, or Jewish, or atheist, he’s most likely going to stick with it. What I hope to do is to prevent my peers from telling THEIR children those beliefs.

      • Seth Strong says:

        I disagree. One reason belief is so prevalent in my opinion is the fact that belief is the standard. Atheists don’t get elected. The more the privileges of non-belief grow, the more impact it will have. That’s my thoughts anyway.

        If you grow up in a Protestant place, it’s reasonable to be Protestant. But if you grow up in a place with 50% Protestants and 50% Catholics, you’ll probably go with the belief that satisfies your other interests whether that be loyalty, rebellion, the hotter potential significant others, or the faith with the most opportunity to drink.

        I think non belief positions have a real opportunity there. We’re secular without avoiding pork. We have the education and the bacon. We just don’t offer the in crowd allure quite yet in the U.S. at large.

      • liggamite says:

        I see your point, I just think its going to be hard being that people like us have been battling for centuries to no avail.

        Also, the reason belief is standard is because people are afraid of straying from what they were taught as children. And because, frankly, non-belief often doesn’t satisfy people’s nature as it is unguided; it makes people feel like they’re worthless. That’s the reason people have made religion for thousands of years: it answers (improperly, mind you) questions that are beyond human comprehension, making us feel secure. To remove that from society is entirely transformational. It would alter who we are.
        That’s why I think it’s going to take a little more than some atheist politicians.

      • Seth Strong says:

        I think atheist politicians would be really landmark because politicians tend to be representative of populations. But there is a lot to being an atheist even if we just focus on the absence of belief as a common denominator.

        The Ox got under my skin a little with his posts as well. He’s entitled to his opinions for sure, and he knows things from his perspective really well. But I’m in central Virginia and I feel like atheism is an entirely different thing to try to live with here.

        So I wrote a poem for my own amusement http://s2solutions.us/wordpress/?p=1342

        It’s occurred to me that with some older non-believers they may be overlooking the generation gap and that’s why they think the new movement is so over zealous. I don’t feel like we’re as energized as he’s worried about. Most atheists that I meet are highly ethical people that got put in a sticky place somewhere and dropped the religion.

  8. santitafarella says:

    Seth,

    I’m inclined to agree with you that there is plenty of room for the expression of cynicism and parody—that we’re not in a zero-sum game when it comes to how secularism is expressed in public. But I think that Hoffmann’s crtique is a nudge toward not stopping there, to advance into the complexities of one’s position and not over-project onto the “other.”

    —Santi

    • Seth Strong says:

      I can agree with you. My internal jury is still out on the Scipio follow ups that he posted. I’m warring between “that is a stupid way to characterize atheism” versus “that may be how he actually perceives us”. I also can’t tell if the part with Scipio checking out the women means “atheists are sexist” or “atheists are base like sexists are base”.

      I agree with points such as “history is a good thing for an atheist to know.” I feel right on the fence about whether that kind of knowledge is vital because I think a valid argument is a valid argument no matter how many people have or haven’t said it before. And I mean that in the sense that you have to start somewhere and we aren’t born “sinner Humanists.”

      I think atheism is better right out of the gate and there are always going to be ways to improve. Some days I like him and some days he pisses me off. When I posted my first post, I was liking him more. Now I’m feeling more pissed off.

      Shrug.

  9. conservative josh says:

    James White apologetics http://www.aomin.org

  10. Colin Hutton says:

    Santi :

    You are generous to Hoffmann in your take on what he says in his post. (Far too generous imo, but I’ll get to that later).

    Your response to ‘Douglas’ (quite far up-thread) :-

    You criticise the New Atheists for mocking religion and believers, claiming that it is a “distraction” from dealing with the “crisis of existence” resulting from nihilism. I think you are mistaken.

    There is no such crisis. A bit of angst suffered by a small minority of the world’s population is not a crisis of existence. The vast majority of people are still unaware (or are not prepared to acknowledge) that god is dead. It is that vast majority, the ‘believers’, who are responsible for the real and current crisis in world affairs (overpopulation and the rise of militant Islam and fundamentalist Christianity). The NA’s have correctly identified this crisis as urgent and, without wasting time and energy paying homage to, or criticising, their worthy predecessors, have made more progress in addressing the problem over the past 10 years than was made over the prior century.

    I do think, however, that you provide a really nice summary of the existential questions which arise from nihilism.

    As an atheist my personal response to those questions has always been that they are probably not definitively solvable, so, ‘get over it’.

    I accept, however, that some people may find the questions a cause for more than some occasional angst, and that this would make it harder to persuade them to see reason. So, in addition to being interesting questions for philosophical debate, some answers, even if not definitive, could well help to advance and then build on what D,D,H and H are doing. But don’t put it on them to deal also with these questions. They are far too busy dealing with the main issue.

    I read Hoffmann’s post which you pointed to on his blog. Garbled thought, incomprehensible syntax, mean-spirited envy of NA’s and, in his responses to comments, snide, dismissive, intellectual snobbery. A narcissistic arsehole.

    : Colin

  11. concerned christian says:

    Santi,
    This is a great discussion that you [re]started, I would like to add my comment which may be tangentially related to what Hoffmann was hinting at. From my observations of various debates between followers of different religions, I find that most of the time people find it easier to attack what other people believe than to explain and defend their own faith. In many cases that may be because we do not fully understand our own faith. In that sense, if we define atheist as the one who do not believe in god, the next question is to ask him what does he believe in and can he explain and defend his faith. His answer maybe that he believe in humanity, in science, in a national or a social order, or simply that he believes in himself. At that point we can have a serious discussion about which belief is better for us and for the world.

    • Do not forget truth .. lets include which belief has truth on its side.

      • concerned christian says:

        In this case, believing in ourselves will be the only undisputed belief, but that faith maybe destructive to humanity in general. Some components in every other faith can be challenged in certain way. Even science includes areas which are always in flux; medicine, psychology, sociology, not to mention global warming which became as divisive as any religion.

      • Seth Strong says:

        @cc
        Divisive? Sure. As divisive as any religion? Nope. Not even close. Neither medicine nor psychology nor sociology have been as divisive as any religion.

        I won’t even blame religion. Religion seems to team up with nationalism or an ethnicity much better than sciences do. And then these team ups can be ridiculously divisive.

        Global warming might have it’s divisions but it’s hardly a division to die for and I think most people would agree worrying about the state of the Earth is definitely a cause worth being worked up about even on accident.

    • santitafarella says:

      Concerned:

      I think you hit it on the head. All people, whatever their belief system, seem to need devils to focus on (because the paradise that we imagine our own views to be in possession of actually is no paradise at all). This is the knowledge of good and evil that casts us out of paradise and leads to Cain slaying Abel. It’s the impulse to murderous projection onto the “other” to mask our own dissatisfactions. It give us something to do while we wait for the appearance of our “Godot”.

      —Santi

      • concerned christian says:

        Santi:
        I agree with you to some extent, rephrasing what you said, by claiming that every believer experiences a “Dark Night of the Soul” more than once during his life.
        Now going back to the question about atheist, I think atheist needs to make their arguments in response to at least two other major faith groups, the Deist and the Theist.
        I also think that atheist will have more difficulty arguing their case with deist for the simple reason that the more you understand the Universe from a scientific point of view, the argument that such a magnificent Universe just happened by chance becomes less convincing.
        Now the Theist point of view, which I subscribe to, teaches that God after creating the world is actually taking care of it. The weakest point in this argument is to explain all the crazy things going in the world. The Theist explanation has always been that there is an end to all of that madness when God takes control and defeat the Devil for good. Meanwhile we keep the faith through God’s revelations and supernatural events such as miracles. I know this argument is not based on pure logic but it was good enough for Pascal and it’s good enough for me.

      • Seth Strong says:

        Concerned:

        In reference to the two types of arguments an atheist needs to make, I don’t think there is a different argument to be made as to why the atheist has their point of view. There will definitely be a different argument if the goal were to compel the different believers to become atheists based on the belief of the believer.

        As an atheist, I don’t think deists are much to argue with. I could care less what god is out there. The question of if there is a god feels like a waste of time to me. Deists as I understand them share my opinion that whatever created the universe has stepped back and let nature run as designed. When trying to understand the universe, I think deists and atheists do it the same way.

        I’m guessing by “Theist” you’re meaning someone who believes in a present and active supernatural god (or gods). The problem with believing in an active supernatural god is the fact that those gods never cooperate with double blind tests. When understanding the universe, a present and active supernatural god could do a whole lot but what we end up seeing are patterns that do not appear to have active interference from gods.

        In both cases, my argument to a Deist or a Theist is the same. I’ve seen no god. I’m moving on with the rest of my life.

        None of this implies that you need to be an atheist. I’m simply stating my stance.

  12. conservative says:

    concerned Christian,

    You said “when God takes control and defeats evil in the world”, God has already taken control of the situation through Christ Jesus Emmanuel and his victory at Calvary, at a very high price. We as the redeemed also defeat the devil by living according to God’s commandments, by replacing evil with good in this world, injustice with justice, wrong with right, by imitating Jesus.

    “Behold, I make all things new” says the LORD.

  13. conservative Josh says:

    “In the world, you shall have tribulation. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”. -Jesus Christ (John 16:33)

    What would He have said to us on that Thursday morning, knowing it was one day before He was going into the greatest battle ever?… Gospel of John 12:27. What do we say to Him today, so many generations later?

  14. concerned christian says:

    Seth:
    You said “The problem with believing in an active supernatural god is the fact that those gods never cooperate with double blind tests.” Here’s one supernatural phenomenon that just happened yesterday and every Saturday of the Holy week for centuries, namely the Holy Fire. I just watched it yesterday and saw the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem entering the Holy Sepulcher with 33 candles (the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ on Earth) and a supernatural fire lit those candles and the fire is spread through the Church and to the rest of the World. The event is posted on youtube and you can watch people moving their hands over this fire without being burned, and according to tradition this unusual characteristics of the fire stays only for 33 minutes and then it turns into a normal fire that burns whoever touches it.
    There are only three explanations for this phenomenon, for believers it is a confirmation of the resurrection of our Lord. Wikipedia lists two other explanations by skeptics; first there is a hidden fire in the Holy Sepulcher that stays for a year without being extinguished and nobody can find it except the Greek Patriarch who somehow pass this information to his successor and no body else knows about it. The second, is that the candles are immersed in chemicals that started a fire after a certain time. If this is the case, the Patriarch should be rushing to the Sepulcher to make sure that this fire will not start while he is on his way and expose the fraud. Again watch this event on youtube and see the Patriarch walking peacefully and slowly in the middle of a large crowd, and I don’t think I will do that if I know that I am carrying a timed candles.
    Finally this miraculous event happened under Christian, Islamic and now Jewish Jurisdiction who are tasked with searching the Tomb and the Patriarch to validate the event and so fat no one have come forward to expose it if it is truly a fraud. In this case all these jurisdictions are better at keeping secrets than our American Government.
    You may ask why should I care? and here I am relating this event to our search for extra terrestrial activities. Suppose we got a message from another planet what would be our reaction, we will be spending our time trying to figure out what it means, and yes some devil advocates will try to prove that it is a fraud but if we are satisfied that this is a genuine message it will have a drastic impact on everyone, why don’t we treat the Holy Fire with the same interest?

    • Seth Strong says:

      I don’t have to go hunting down every pyrotechnical display to confirm anything. Honestly, I’m not being that stubborn either. Do you know the amount of paranormal claims that I get to hear about?

      But here’s the flip side, random fires only jumped out at me once and I managed to deduce it was an oil leak that had managed to smolder on a spark plug wire and catch my car on fire. I do not have my head in the sand but I’m not on a quest to find god or gods or aliens for that matter either. I’m not sufficiently convinced there is anything to find.

      Despite there being a fire that is not explained, I see no god. I’m moving on.

    • your idea of a miracle is that God made a fire start without an obvious source? LOL. Your god can do less than most science majors.

      • concerned christian says:

        Scientific and Analytical minds always seek to find an explanation for what they observe, while ideologue care only about what they believe and ignore any thing that does not confirm their faith. Jared and Seth responses confirm that you fit what Santi talked about “the New Atheists who are Insufficiently Serious”

      • Seth Strong says:

        I think you’re putting words in my mouth, cc. I’m telling you how I operate. You’re telling me how I should operate. And you’re mistaken.

        Think about the stance of nonbelief. Non believers shouldn’t be running around chasing miracles. We should be focusing our time on things we do believe in.

      • @CC – I think you may have stumbled across the issue. Christians propose the idiotic and ask that it be treated with seriousness. Then when it is not, we are insufficiently serious.

        Pondering existence and the meaning of life are indeed important. And I do approach these things with seriousness. But when Christians attempt to answer these questions and as “proof” of their answers, give idiotic evidence such as weak miracles and text from a mythology handbook – there is no seriousness to be had.

  15. conservative says:

    Jared Rodriguez,

    It’s funny that you use the same arguments and tactics that you accuse only closed minded people of using. Things like stereotyping and name-calling, and sometimes completely ignoring the arguments that other people bring. 🙂

    Look, I am just as disgusted as you are, by the hypocrisy among Christians. But I know that there are many Christians who are not hypocrites and who do a lot of good, and God doesn’t cease to be who He is, because of some degenerate pedophile priests.

    You said to Tom H that the Tea Party is supported by “the arm of fundamentalist Christianity”. 🙂 Even the way you use the word “fundamentalist” in connection to Christianity, shows that you use words which you don’t even understand. You are using this word because you heard it up in media commentaries made by ignorant left wing idiots and propaganda activists.

    The word “fundamentalist” comes from fundamentals or foundations. Any religion or philosophy or political or economic system, has certain foundations.

    I’ll show you now how left wing liberals contradict themselves, how stupid they are when they use the word “fundamentalist”.

    The politically correct left wing liberals claim that the foundations of Islam are good and moral. They say that it’s only a few fanatics who “hijacked” Islam. If that’s true, then the terrorists are not fundamentalists. If the fundamentals of Islam are good, then those who “pervert” those fundamental doctrines, are not “fundamentalists”. They are “liberals”. 🙂

    But the foundations of Islam are not good and peaceful. The fundamental doctrines of Islam are violent, supremacist, unmerciful and chauvinistic.

    In Christianity, the foundations are definitely good. Jesus Christ gave commandments and laws that teach people to regard each other as fellow human beings, created by God and who have access to the same grace and forgiveness. When He saved the woman caught in adultery from being killed, Jesus showed impartiality and justice. This incident is in the Gospel of John, chapter 8. The scribes and Pharisees brought only the woman to Him. According to the law of Moses, they were supposed to bring both the woman and the man. Jesus knew they were corrupt and that they had double standards.

    In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke about things that are universally relevant. Those laws and teachings don’t apply only to Jews or Christians, they apply to any society. He spoke about faith, love, peace, hate, murder, adultery, impartiality, God, forgiveness, things that people in every culture deal with.

    I can give you at least three examples from the Bible that show Christ and the early Christians did not believe in or practice violent conversion of other people.

    Matthew 10:14

    Matthew 13:24-30

    Luke 9:51-56

    • The “arguments” brought by Christianity have no basis in fact. You can supply no proof at all for the existence of God, your belief in the soul, your belief that Christ was divine. And yet, you ask to be taken “seriously.” Why would anyone take you seriously? You basically ask for anything dreamed up to be placed on the same level as things for which there is tangible, scientific evidence. It is an absurd joke – and not to be taken seriously at all.

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