I Got Your “Tolerance” Right Here…

“We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back.” – Jean Luc Picard

A while back I published an article on the American Atheists, Inc. “No God Blog,” of which I am a contributor.  It was in response to the call for tolerance by accommodationalists among the atheist movement. Lately, there has been a resurgence in that call, which clearly surprises me.  The level of pushback that the more outspoken and strident among us have been getting from our own camp in response to our activism is bordering on epic.  And, true to the Internet, most of it is coming from keyboard commandos with pseudonyms who cannot, for various reasons, “come out of the closet.”  

This behooves me, and forces me to ask whether or not our atheist detractors are actually that clueless as to what the two largest world religions include in their doctrines and Scriptures about what is to be done with the infidel.  The biggest error that the accommodationalist makes is their lack of understanding the difference between the individual and the doctrine.  Christian and Islamic Scriptures are very clear about what is to be done with the infidel, particularly the atheist.

Do all Christians and Muslims agree with these commands?  Of course not.  But that does not change what their holy books, and in essence, their Deities command.  The fact that the Christian or Muslim does not obey their holy books does not change what is in the books, and when you redact the few and far-between messages about peace, love and understanding, you are left books that are basically manuals on how to hate people who don’t agree with you and the various methods of punishment that should be meted out, up to and including death.

There are many of us, some very well-known, who understand the need for intolerance toward beliefs and doctrines that serve only to promote hatred, bigotry and discrimination. I’ve stated before, there are many doctrines that are so dangerous that they need to be eradicated from their respective faiths before any hope of a compromise or diplomacy can commence.

You cannot have diplomatic relations with someone who believes that their god wants you dead.  You cannot engage in a free exchange of ideas with these people. Their version of “compromise” does not include making any concessions or changing anything except tightening their stranglehold on humanity.  They are dangerous, and should be treated like any other person or group who advocates assault, battery and/or murder to get their point across.

Why any self-respecting unbeliever would lift one, single finger in support of a religion that promotes bigotry, discrimination, hatred, coercion, terrorism, slavery, misogyny and everything else that wrong with Christianity and Islam (and, to a degree, Judaism, Hinduism, etc.) is beyond me.  How a supposedly rational person can sit back and look at the role that religion plays in the wars, famines and pestilences around the world and say to themselves, “We need to be more tolerant’” is also beyond sick, me.

While there exist many believers who are just as fed up with organized religion and it poisonous effects on our species, there are also many Christians and Muslims who have absolutely no interest in coexisting with the rest of the planet. They have no desire for peace, nor do they want to engage in diplomatic efforts to iron out our differences and come to an agreement on developing an integrated society.  All they want is world domination and for the rest of us to die. This is not my opinion, people. Their interpretation of the Bible and Koran are very clear about this, and reasoning with these people is like trying to teach calculus to a toaster.

To the Christian and Muslim Moderates…

First, yes, it is very true that “all Christians and Muslims” are not sick, twisted individuals that are bent on world domination and the extermination of anyone who does not bow to their god.  But Christianity and Islam are sick, twisted death cults that demand world domination and the extermination of anyone who refuses to bow to their gods.

What? You don’t agree?  These are not my rules, people.

You can’t call yourself a Christian or a Muslim and then get pissed off and cry “persecution” when it is pointed out to you what is in your own holy books.  Well, you can, but you’d only be lying to yourselves. It’s all right there, in black and white.  And if you are going through your life really, honestly believing that your religion is a religion of peace, or a religion of charity and love, you really need to get your head out of your ass and take a look around at all the bad in the world and realize just how much your religion is responsible for it. Just because individuals do good things in the name of your religion, doesn’t make your religion good.

To The Accommodationalist Unbeliever…

If you don’t like the way some of us engage in our activism, you are free to get out there and get involved.  Go ahead, identify yourselves as atheists to the world. Hold up a sign, protest a church, send letters with your real identity to school boards, local governments and other municipal agencies that violate the First Amendment.  Do interviews on the news and in the local papers.

What? You can’t?  You’ll lose your job?  Your business will suffer? Your family will disown you? Your safety will be in jeopardy? Your reputation will be tarnished?

Well, la-ti-fucking-da to you.

Has it occurred to you that these reasons are precisely why we do what we do?  Have you given any thought as to how nice it would be for your unbelief to be of no consequence to your livelihoods, your familial and professional relationships and your personal safety?  Has it crossed your minds just how fucked up it is that people lose their jobs, get disowned, suffer the ruination of a business and become the victims of violence because there is no reasoning with these people?

Before you get on your high horse, be careful your hubris is not wrapped around your own necks.

Final Thoughts…

The common adage of “Organizing Atheists Is Like Herding Cats,” is wearing thin. Yeah, we are an eclectic bunch who are not very fond of sheeplike behavior, but seriously, we need to make a concerted effort here.  As Patrick Swayze said in the movie, Roadhouse, “Be nice, until it is time not to be nice.

Until we can all agree that diplomacy should not even be on the table until the religious leaders of the world agree to remove the bigoted, hateful and discriminatory doctrines and beliefs from their official doctrines, even if that means redacting huge chunks of their holy books, there will be no hope of compromise or co-existence.

Christianity is marketed as a religion of love and tolerance and Islam is marketed as a religion of peace.  However, on their fundamental levels, these belief systems causes division, promote willful ignorance and retard intellectual growth.

Personally, I find it reprehensible that I have been spending more and more time defending myself against attacks from atheists than from the religious right.  And the growing division among us is weakening us.

  82 comments for “I Got Your “Tolerance” Right Here…

  1. MrCheese
    December 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Agreed. We need more pissed off atheists.

  2. Steerpike
    December 9, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Totally agree, Al. Why should we “tolerate” those who wish to annihilate us?

  3. Celeste
    December 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Well said. Accommodationists aren’t being forced to speak out against religion, and if they’re not going to, then the least they can do is let the rest of us handle the job for them.

    • rapiddominance
      December 10, 2011 at 2:08 am

      Nobody is stopping you. But perhaps it is noteworthy that YOU choose to stop and listen.

      Please do what you think is right. Don’t let anyone stop you. What you do might not always make sense to me or others, but I can’t stress enough how much faith I have in people who are truley doing what they believe is best for our species.

      Thank you for all of your efforts to better humanity. Its good knowing that you are out there, Celeste.

  4. danielrudolph
    December 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    I don’t think it makes sense to talk about Christianity and Islam as if they had any meaning apart from what Christian and Muslims believe.

  5. Ray Moscow
    December 9, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I notice it’s mostly the ex-Christians who know what the ‘good book’ actually teaches and what the churches historically taught and did (when they could get away with it). And how they still treat unbelievers when they can, as we see when one tries to leave their ranks.

    The only reliable tolerance is in our secular values and institutions.

  6. December 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Humanists like myself – those of us who care about more than simple atheism, and wish to promote a broad set of positive values which include the inherent worth and dignity of every human person – speak out against what you write not because it criticizes harmful religious practices and beliefs (something we do also, and loudly), but because it reads like simple bigotry.

    You write as if it’s you versus the Christian and Muslim world, while seeming to recognize at other points that, in fact, there are many religious believers who do not take the views you ascribe to them. You use words and phrases in a way which suggests an extraordinary level of anger, even violence, which I find extremely disturbing. You say things like there’s “no hope of compromise or co-existence” – but if we can’t exist together, what are we supposed t

    • December 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm

      hmmm post got truncated. Should continue:

      to do? You write about the need to “eradicate” religion from government, that “all believers are not created equal” – all this sounds to me very alarmist.

      You must remember that persecution of minority religions, including literal eradication and the belief that not all people are equal, is part of the problem we are trying to solve. When you write what you write, I read something very close to what I see theocratic fundamentalists writing about religions they despise: there is no hope of co-existence, these people must be eradicated, for after all they are not created equal.

      I understand that this is not what you intend to convey. Nonetheless through your careless choice of words it is what you DO convey, to me and to others. So if you would like less criticism aimed at you from people like me (note that I NEVER post anonymously), change how you write. No need to be less forthright and strong in your criticism. Just less violent, less bigoted, and less like a fundamentalist.

      • December 11, 2011 at 3:09 am

        How nice James Croft, so in other words “I know what you are saying but I don’t like how you said it?” Mr Croft sir…is there someplace you have given instructions to the people of earth so that they may be made aware exactly how you want them to express themselves?
        There are a couple(at least) replies where you do not simply disagree you actually declare certain styles of expression have “no place in our movement” who exactly do you think you are James? Allow me to answer that for you. You are one man, you are but one little piece of anything you are involved in. You are free to express yourself as you wish but your condescending tone undermines any point you are trying to make James, at least with me it does. I doubt if my opinion stands isolated and alone. Maybe you should change the manner in which you reply if you would like less criticism aimed at you from people like me. I’m happy to help you get rid of the rather large chip you have grown, you are welcome.

        • December 12, 2011 at 9:44 am

          I’m happy to take any reasoned criticism thrown at me. But no, in this case I think I’m still right about this one. Just as racist, sexist and homophobic language is not appropriate in a freethinking movement, neither is language that promotes religious bigotry. In my judgment, for the reasons I have outlines, Stefanelli on his blog actively promotes bigotry against Muslims (and others) through careless use of over-generalizing and inflammatory language. I am exercising my right to tell him what I think about that.

          If you would like to protect the use of degrading, demeaning and violent rhetoric go ahead. But I think you’ll find it difficult.

  7. December 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Steerpike,

    Totally agree, Al. Why should we “tolerate” those who wish to annihilate us?

    Bleh. In reality you are not even on our radar. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of sermons that I have heard that had anything to do with atheists. And when I do, it is is usually to criticize Christians for not exhibiting behavior that is recognizably different from unbelievers.

    So you can continue to think that we plan to annihilate you–delusions of grandeur are, I suppose, an appealing crutch. But the truth is we rarely think about you at all.

    Oh, and you’re not scary, either.

    • December 11, 2011 at 3:19 am

      What is a little scary is the way you act like this blog is directed at you when it obviously isn’t yet you still reply as if it is. It’s like a blog about how the color purple is ugly and the color orange replies “The color purple isn’t ugly, cause I’m pretty. Stop calling me ugly”
      I bet you thought this blog was about you…whatever happened to Carly Simon anyways?

    • December 11, 2011 at 5:24 am

      Presumably you attend a large, representative sample of churches, in order to justify those conclusions?

  8. Luan Bunyak
    December 9, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    As ususal, you’re right Al and I totally agree. I’m so sick of muslims screaming “Islamophobia” as soon as one critisizes islam. As I said before – It’s not islamophobia if they’re trying to kill you! (Former muslim)

  9. fastlane
    December 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    James Croft, I think you need to differentiate a little better between belief, and believer.

    The way to eradicate belief, and what’s continually pushed here, and on other blogs about this, is by education.

    Now, if you want to blatantly come down on the side of anti-education, then it will be quite clear what side you’re on. However, just using harsh, intemperant language, or ridicule, does not make one violent. It doesn’t imply violence, and I’m not aware of any incidences where Dawkins or Hitchens’ have directly called for violence, or their words have resulted in atheists acting out violently against believers.

    And heddle, as usual with the useless pablum. You, specifically, and your congregation, may not be directly advocating violence against unbelievers. I suspect, however, that many women would take umbrage at the attitudes of your church, and I would suspect, any political activity your church, but more importantly, many churches around the country and world, support.

    And the fact that you continue to downplay the very real dangers of religion, as shown on an almost daily basis, makes you part of the problem.

    • December 9, 2011 at 2:43 pm

      It’s funny, fast lane, because I think the it’s Stefanelli who needs to be clearer on the distinction between belief and believer. When he writes about there being no hope of coexistence, it doesn’t read to me like he’s talking about beliefs. When he writes “all believers are not created equal” it doesn’t read like he’s talking about belief. It sets up the sense that he is talking about people. That’s what I object to.

      I am quite clearing what “side” I am on. Ian on the a humanist side. I want to work toward a world in which the equal dignity of every person is respected. Stefanelli seems to have little time for others’ dignity.

      • sunnydale75
        December 11, 2011 at 11:55 pm

        There’s a very strong tone to Al’s post, yes. I think he’s right though. Coexistence between believers and non believers is about as likely as coexistence between differing religious organizations (and yes, I’m aware in the simplest sense of the word, we all “coexist” on this planet, but that’s hardly what I mean). Believers in Islam want all unbelievers dead. Catholics may as well publicly endorse child rape. Not only do I feel coexistence with people like that is virtually impossible, I don’t like promoting the idea that we even *should* accommodate them until, as Al states, the morally repugnant views in those belief systems are eradicated and no longer followed.

        Tony

    • December 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm

      Further, when you attack someone’s religion in general, you are targeting a lot more than just the beliefs of that religion. You’re talking about a practice, an identity, a culture – a way of life. The way to attack beliefs is to specify which beliefs you are attacking and explain why. That’s not what Stefanelli does here.

    • December 9, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      fastlane,

      My church has no political activity. That is another new atheist myth, that all conservative Christian churches are politically active dominionist cabals. You guys seem to have have real trouble with reality.

      Sure, you can continue to argue that my congregation–Baptist, southern, theologically conservative–is somehow “different” and an outlier, and that really, really–you promise– many, many Christians are out to kill or at least harm atheists. Not convincing, except to the choir. Especially given that I know hundreds of conservative Christians not in my church and, again, the subject of atheists simply never comes up. And no one (I know this will disappoint you terribly) ever expresses even a mild dislike of atheists let alone a desire to harm one.

      Like I said, delusions of grandeur (and persecution complexes, and living in a John-Birch-like fantasy world of invisible threats) are attractive. At least to new atheists, it appears.

      Oh, and “you are part of the problem” is always an argument winner.

      • Jeff Sherry
        December 9, 2011 at 3:58 pm

        heddle and yet with the present position of the t-baggers within the GOP that it would refute your arguments of atheist persecution complexes. Look at what has occurred in a number of public schools in the south when seperation of church and state is eventually enforced.

        I have no idea what church or religious organization you belong to since you are anonymous.

        • December 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm

          Jeff Sherry,

          I have no idea what church or religious organization you belong to since you are anonymous.

          Anonymous?

          I gave my denomination (Baptist) and my name (Heddle), which links back to my blog, which in the sidebar has my email and a bio giving my employment.

          We have different definitions of “anonymous.”

          • Jeff Sherry
            December 9, 2011 at 7:01 pm

            Thanks for pointing that out heddle. Are you claiming you come from non-proselytizing Baptists?

    • Beth
      December 13, 2011 at 6:15 pm

      The way to eradicate belief … is by education.

      What evidence do you have that this statement is true? While education is inversely correlated with religious belief, the data that establish that also clearly show that education is not sufficient to extinguish or eradicate belief.

      Further, my recollection is religious beliefs are also inversely correlated with economic well-being, which is positively correlated with education.

      I don’t know what would be required to eradicate religious belief, but it seems fairly clear to me that education would not be sufficient.

      • Al Stefanelli
        December 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm

        The evidence is that first you don’t know something, then someone educates you, and then you know something. See how that works? Education might not be totally sufficient, but it sure as hell is the right place to start.

  10. Josh S
    December 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Christianity’s been pretty benign ever since it was politically disestablished in the 19th century. Now, I would say something about how Christians and Muslims interpret their holy books (for example, Christians do not take God’s commands to Joshua as being universal commandments for all time), but you seem to be somewhat of a Dawkinsian, i.e., someone who believes that theology is a “non-subject,” therefore you don’t need to know anything about it to critique it. Much easier to criticize someone when you don’t know what they believe or why, isn’t it?

    That said…

    It is indeed quite curious that the disestablishment of religion did not bring about a disestablishment of violence. 20th C Communists proved quite adept at killing people by the million without invoking any deity whatsoever. To this day, Russia continues to be a violent, rather irreligious place. Atheists who blame all violence on theism sure have a hard time with that one. It also turns out one needs no gods to despise “inferior” races.

    But go ahead. Get bent out of shape because a public school in Iowa had a nativity in their Christmas pageant. That’s the way to win hearts and minds.

    • RW Ahrens
      December 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm

      Josh S

      I hate to break the news to you, but Communism didn’t inflict violence on folks because of non-belief. Nobody here is trying to say that ending religion would end violence and result in peace in our time…

      What we ARE saying is that the real, actual history of religion in western society (and indeed, human history) shows more than enough violence strictly due to theology for us to be concerned by how that theology is being used to control populations and oppress people.

      Russia today is a fairly religious place, and the church there is gaining adherents and political influence. You cannot continue to blame violence on what is no more, namely, the Communist Party.

      As for your allusion to Naziism (“inferior” races remark), you must be unaware of Naziism’s roots in christianity and the support provided in WWII by the Vatican.

      We get “bent out of shape” over your insistence on displaying your religious beliefs using government power and venues because IT IS ILLEGAL! For your information, most atheists today are ex-christians. Yeah, many of us know more about your holy book than most christians do.

      It’s been proven already in very public ways, and will continue to be.

      The point of the post is not that ALL christians, muslims and jews exhibit the worst beliefs, but their holy books preach the worst, and by failing to adjust their holy books to remove those parts they choose to ignore, they give consent to those who choose to follow the worst of it.

      There is more than enough room in the modern atheist/humanist movements for more than one approach. Not everybody needs to be a strident, militant atheist. But his point that moderate theists are enabling the fundies is well taken and well argued.

      No, we can’t compromise with the fundies, they won’t anyway. Just like Obama can’t compromise with the Republicans because they won’t compromise with him. All you can do is defend yourself, and the best defense is a good offense.

    • Ray Moscow
      December 9, 2011 at 6:09 pm

      Russia is actually quite religious.

    • Jeff Sherry
      December 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm

      Josh S., I wonder how much you know of religion? Or the Cult Of Personality?

    • sunnydale75
      December 12, 2011 at 12:03 am

      Just because Christians have stopped using torture/maim/kill devices against their enemies in an effort to convert them doesn’t mean it’s lost its teeth (nor, I believe, have some Christians stopped using those tools). Or have you not paid attention to those Christians massively opposed to evolution, same sex marriage, equality of the sexes, racial equality, the rights of an individual to decide what to do with their body, contraception, etc…?
      Christianity is but one example of the disease that is religion. Islam is even worse, but that’s largely because its followers often adhere to their holy book to a greater degree than many Christians do.

      Tony

    • sunnydale75
      December 12, 2011 at 12:39 am

      >Get bent out of shape because a public school in Iowa had a nativity in their Christmas pageant. <

      -I'm happy to have that permission. If I can, may I add to the list of things that religious individuals do that gets my panties in a wad:

      a. Public school systems devoting time, money and resources to placing Intelligent Design into public school curriculum alongside evolution.

      b. Women treated as virtual non-entities with virtually no rights in Muslim societies.

      c. genital mutilation of women.

      d. circumcision of male babies.

      e. THE SYSTEMATIC RAPE AND ABUSE suffered by Thor only knows how many tens of thousands of children by Catholic priests in the last century alone.

      f. the selling of tens of thousands of babies by the Catholic Church in Spain to families they deemed "better"

      g. the oppression gays continue to face which includes everything from workplace discrimination to flat out murder.

      h. the focus on the importance of an individuals' religious beliefs when running for political office versus "what are their qualifications?"

      i. guilt both sexes experience when dealing with sex.

      j. guilt both sexes experience when dealing with masturbation.

      k. the promotion of faith (belief without evidence) over reason and logic.

      l. the massive coverup by the Catholic Church with regard to the child rape rampant in their organization.

      m. the killing of abortion doctors.

      n. support of anti-abortion legislation, yet not supporting the abolition of the death penalty.

      o. the torture and needless slaughter of many of the non human creatures around the world (Zeus forbid we should actually treat other living creatures respectfully)

      p. the continued support of corporal punishment

      q. lying to children about how the world works

      r. scaring children with horrific nightmares about hell into acting in an "approved" manner

      s. feeding false hope to anyone about heaven.

      t. the bilking of gullible (yet still undeserving of said treatment) people into handing over their hard earned money (Scientology is the worst offender IMHO, with the Catholic Church right behind it)

      u. faith healing: murdering children and getting away with it for centuries

      v. the oppression women face in the United States alone…in the last century alone.

      w. restrictions on drug use including alcohol and marijuana (I wasn't going to add this, but then religious apologists can twist anything…I'm talking about individuals of legal age who choose to indulge in getting high or who want to buy alcohol in their dry county)

      x. the ridiculous regulations that range from no dancing or gambling to no eating pork or working on the Sabbath.

      y. making complete nobodies into…well, they're still nobodies, but people recognize them (I'm looking at detestable politicians, of which George W Bush, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, and Rick Perry immediately spring to mind)

      z. Historical revisionism (the attempt by religious believers to rewrite American history so that the country is a Christian nation founded on Christian values particularly sticks in my craw because it is flat out WRONG).

      When I started this, I didn't intend to go through the alphabet. Having finished, I realize I'm NOT finished. I could continue with another list. This one gets my point across though.
      All the benefits religion has afforded humanity can be done without it. While all the reprehensible actions performed by humans wouldn't disappear with religion, there would be some that likely wouldn't exist, and others would not be as pervasive as they are.

      Tony

      (oh, and Hitler wasn't an atheist, he was a believer:
      http://nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm)

  11. R. Johnston
    December 9, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    There is nothing intolerant about pointing out that religious beliefs are ridiculous and without basis in reality. There’s nothing intolerant about pointing out that religious faith involves accepting the notion that some empirical claims can be held true without being subject to empirical testing and is therefore quite dangerous, whatever the content of that religious faith. There’s nothing intolerant about pointing out that religious faith spills over into areas of reasoning that are ostensibly not religious in nature, leaving us with anti-vaxxers, market fundamentalists, and climate change deniers, all of whom would not exist if they had been taught from early on that empirical claims are always subject to empirical testing. Honest truth is not intolerance. Pointing out absurdity and labeling it as such is not intolerance. Accommodationists don’t seek tolerance of the religious; they seek acceptance.

    Accomodationists, or at least the ones acting in good faith, worry that calling a spade a spade will make it more difficult to work with moderate and liberal religious people to achieve mutually desirable goals. They’re mostly wrong on this point. Coalitions come and go all the time, and groups routinely cooperate when it benefits them even if there’s antagonism at other times.

    But more importantly, accomodationists are wrong because religious faith itself is a problem that needs to be addressed. Religious faith makes it much easier to hold beliefs that reject reality in a dangerous way, even if the believer’s current rejection of reality is benign. People’s beliefs are neither static nor isolated, and the liberal squishy believer is infinitely more likely than the skeptic to pick up theocratic tendencies, to quit chemotherapy and try a homeopathic cure for cancer, to believe that tax cuts increase government revenue, or to push government to form policy on the basis of any of these beliefs. It’s fine to work alongside believers to achieve mutual goals, but that’s no excuse for being dishonest when a believer confronts you with his belief. Religious style faith is the source of too many of the world’s ills–most of them not traditionally religious on their face, but caused by the same acceptance of faith as underlies more traditional religious beliefs–for one to be able to justify acceptance of religious faith.

    Most accommodationists, however, aren’t, at least in my experience, acting in particularly good faith. They don’t really believe that

    • R. Johnston
      December 9, 2011 at 6:11 pm

      That last start of a paragraph is leftover from a previous edit. Ack.

    • December 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      This is all well and good, but it ignores the content of the post to which you’re responding (particularly its alarmist, excessive and disturbing language) and it paints a picture of “accommodationists” that does not describe anyone in the movement I know.

      No one is criticizing the honest, forthright critique of harmful religious beliefs and practices, or of faith itself. What is at issue here is Stefanelli’s rage-filled language and the way he seems happy to stereotype and demean whole cultures.

      This is not an isolated incident. Yesterday, the American Atheists Inc. Official Facebook page posted the following:

      “I will say to you Islam, “I do not respect your filthy, repugnant, and vile views. I will not allow you put fear in my mind or those whom I know! I will not be silent with my disdain and disgust for your culture or your terroristic ways. I am an American Atheist, and I am not afraid to deal with you openly and in the same manner that I treat christianity. I am not afraid to publicly blaspheme your pedophile prophet Mohammed of Islam. I will do this on a corner, in a crowd or a parade! While so many others draw mohammed, I am Mohammed in open public! Am I worried about being attacked or death threats? I’m more worried that if I stay silent that the energy and emotion within me will be worse to me than being attacked or even death threats! So do your worst and I will do mine.”
      Ernest Perce V, PA State Director”

      Stefanelli defended the statement, which is yet to be removed. This is the sort of thinking he promotes and represents. There’s no reasoned critique of practices or beliefs in there. It’s just bile.

      This blog is little better.

      • karmakin
        December 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm

        In terms of the content, what was said in that paragraph is probably less “vile” than “Thou shalt have no god before me”

      • Al Stefanelli
        December 9, 2011 at 10:10 pm

        Yes, I defended the statement, because I have a clue as to what point my good friend and fellow State Director Ernest Perce was trying to get across. Ernest was addressing doctrine, not individuals. He has Muslim friends, as well as Christian friends and family, as do I. It is not the individual, but the system of belief and the doctrine that calls for the death of the infidel, as well as we both have received death threats, fatwas and a number of incidents regarding bigotry, hatred and discriminatory vitriol. We’ve pretty much had it with their bullshit and have chosen to call bullshit at every possible opportunity.

        • December 10, 2011 at 12:40 am

          Al, I understand very well what point Perce claims he was trying to make. That doesn’t excuse him for his excessive, insightful, downright dangerous language. It doesn’t excuse you either. The fact that we are intelligent enough to pick the flecks of gold from your mountain of shit does not mean that we excuse the dungheap.

          You live in a country in which Muslims are a persecuted minority. They face social discrimination to a degree equal to or significantly greater than most atheists. A little human decency would suggest we should not address the Muslim community or culture with the sorts of extreme language you regularly use. Target specific beliefs and practices and articulate your concerns. Target faith itself and explain why you think it flawed. But the mindless, mouth-frothing tirades you regularly post on here, and which you admire so much in Mr. Perce, have no place in a pluralist democracy and no place in our movement.

          And please, spare us the “some of my best friends are Muslims” line. It’s just embarrassing.

          • Al Stefanelli
            December 10, 2011 at 9:06 am

            In case you have not been reading what I have been writing for the past five years or so, my “attacks” are always against beliefs, faith and religion, not people. Nobody is forcing you to read my blog, James, although I do appreciate it. Human decency is not something I feel is owed to a belief system that warrants my execution.

          • Al Stefanelli
            December 10, 2011 at 9:16 am

            I find it ironic that you are accusing us of “dangerous language” in the face of all the hatred, discrimination and bigotry that comes out of the mouths of the godbotherers. I do not wish anyone to be discriminated against, yes, even religious people. However, their very doctrines and scriptures demand that they do so. To give me and those like me a bunch of shit for calling them out on their own dangerous doctrines is disingenuous. Oh, and you can ask me to spare whatever you want, but I happen to have many Muslim friends, as well as members of my own family. Do you go around denying your friends?

          • December 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

            “In case you have not been reading what I have been writing for the past five years or so, my “attacks” are always against beliefs, faith and religion, not people.”

            What part of “You cannot have diplomatic relations with someone who believes that their god wants you dead. You cannot engage in a free exchange of ideas with these people. Their version of “compromise” does not include making any concessions or changing anything except tightening their stranglehold on humanity. They are dangerous, and should be treated like any other person or group who advocates assault, battery and/or murder to get their point across.” is about beliefs? You talk about “someone”, “these people”, and say “they are dangerous”. This is not about beliefs. It’s about people. I think it’s YOU who has not been reading what you’ve been writing, Al!

            And I certainly “go about denying my friends”, but neither do I use them as a fig-leaf to cover my prejudice.

          • Al Stefanelli
            December 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm

            Are you REALLY that clueless about the concept of “context,” or do you just like to argue for the sake of arguing? You have completely missed the entire point of my statement and inserted your own reality. You cannot deride or debunk a faith, religion or a belief without referring to people, but you can do so without referring to individuals. I cannot believe I have to explain this to you.

          • December 11, 2011 at 10:36 pm

            I, too, am shocked I have to work hard to demonstrate what is wrong with your language here. Hopefully this will make it clear to you. I use the Perce statement because it should make my point most forcefully. Much of what you write is similar:

            ““I will say to you Judaism, “I do not respect your filthy, repugnant, and vile views. I will not allow you put fear in my mind or those whom I know! I will not be silent with my disdain and disgust for your culture or your terroristic ways.”

            ““I will say to you African American culture, “I do not respect your filthy, repugnant, and vile views. I will not allow you put fear in my mind or those whom I know! I will not be silent with my disdain and disgust for your culture or your terroristic ways.”

            ““I will say to you Atheism, “I do not respect your filthy, repugnant, and vile views. I will not allow you put fear in my mind or those whom I know! I will not be silent with my disdain and disgust for your culture or your terroristic ways.”

            Is it perhaps starting to sink in?

          • Al Stefanelli
            December 11, 2011 at 11:26 pm

            Now you are comparing a religious belief, a culture and a definition – all in the same context? Wow…

          • December 12, 2011 at 9:46 am

            Well, just respond to the first one then if you don’t like the comparison. Do you see nothing at all wrong with the first paraphrase?

        • December 10, 2011 at 12:42 am

          Thanks to auto-correct for changing “incitant” to “insightful”. Sometimes it sucks having a larger vocabulary than Apple.

          • stephenreichman
            December 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

            I have to say I agree with James Croft for two reasons:

            1. I do not find that belief itself causes people to kill others – I find that religious leaders tended to be political leaders and used that power to shape the beliefs of others into killing (be it Christian, Muslim, or Communist. And yes, Communism is a belief, albeit one without a deity) It is a simple case of “the insolence of office.”

            2. I do find it disturbing to see atheists and freethinkers using the same types of insults like “pedophile prophet” because that is the same type of rhretoric that comes from fundamentalists of all types. Fundamentalist atheism is just as bad as fundamentalist religion (see South Park, Go God, Go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_God_Go) Freethought is the idea that people have freedom of thought – including those who disagree with freethinkers.

            I know after this I will probably get some comments saying something about the rationality of atheism, however at its core, it denies lex parsimoniae in that it makes the assumption that there is no God. Any of the favorite theories used as “evidence” for atheism can be described the same way with the assumption that there is a God who wanted to do things that way.

            I would also like to point out to heddle, that regardless of whether his church actively engages in political activism it does passively as a result of religion: e.g. Abortion debate and also that his religion is still being used to start wars: e.g. Bush’s “Holy War” (reminds me of something called the Crusades, you know, in the middle ages.) And before I get a snappy reply about the Muslims, I will add that yes, there are many political leaders using Islam to pick fights as well, even though their people don’t necessarily agree (see Iran election protests)

          • Dalillama
            December 10, 2011 at 7:48 pm

            , it denies lex parsimoniae in that it makes the assumption that there is no God.

            You apparently do not understand how Lex Parsimnoiae. The standard formulation is “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.” So, given the options of the universe, or the universe plus God, lex parsimoniae says that we use ‘the universe’ in the absence of positive evidence for further entities.

          • Dalillama
            December 10, 2011 at 7:49 pm

            Typo, that should read “..how lex parsimoniae works.”

      • sunnydale75
        December 12, 2011 at 12:47 am

        What on earth is wrong with that post? Islam is a detestable religion. Period. End of story. Well, not the end. There’s always room to elaborate on the ways it is detestable. Those ways are numerous.
        I fail to understand why people get so inflamed when others say their beliefs are stupid, vacuous, unsubstantiated, divorced from reality or just plain wrong. If you believe that a talking snake seduced a woman made from the rib of a guy made from an invisible man in the sky–this is a stupid belief.

        Tony

  12. December 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Very well put Al! Bravo! I am constantly reminding Atheists that the need to come out and speak out are paramount to successfully defending our rights. My show and blog tagline speaks in simple terms… “The Evolution of a Godless Revolution”. Our freedom depends on our ability to stand united against the bigotry and hate of religion! Complacency, tolerance of the intolerant, and the rising din of “Can’t we all just get along” does nothing but conspire against our quest for equality and freedom!

    RJ Evans
    http://theamericanheathen.com
    http://americanheathen.net
    http://youtube.com/americanheathen1

  13. rapiddominance
    December 9, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Keeping in mind that the blogger is a former protestant pastor . . .

    I’m pretty sure the New Testament doesn’t encourage Christians to punish unbelievers. You have church regulations, yes; but there’s nothing about leaving the church and going out harrassing or rounding up heathens.

    The Old Testament (where I’m most likely to get my ass kicked)tells of some God ordained bloody conquests by the Hebrews in the Middle East and it sets up a theocracy with strict laws and severe punishments for breaking those laws. Very strict, and very severe, respectively. But after Israel fell . . . what? Prophecy?

    Perhaps the misunderstanding begins with your determination that religious belief is a form of “mental illness.” For what ever reason(s) it might be, humans have been drawn to “naming and claiming” deities (or other forms of spiritual behavior) throughout its history. Was there a survival advantage to doing so? Maybe. Or maybe religion is just a byproduct of an evolutionary adaptation. Either way, you’re getting into territory that has far less scientific consensus.

    Anyhow, lets cool down some. Truth is, despite whatever hard words one might read at the Freethoughts, I don’t think anybody is sitting around afraid that the New Atheists are about to begin creating bloodshed. Its to your credit that many in your movement are interested in generating greater human cooperation and prosperity. And good things do happen here. Unfortunately, the coolheaded, unbiased reader sees reality breaches that occur with recognizable regularity.

  14. David
    December 9, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Well said

  15. December 9, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Christian and Islamic Scriptures are very clear about what is to be done with the infidel, particularly the atheist.

    To love everyone, even our enemies, and to live at peace with others if at all possible?

    The fact that the Christian or Muslim does not obey their holy books does not change what is in the books, and when you redact the few and far-between messages about peace, love and understanding, you are left books that are basically manuals on how to hate people who don’t agree with you and the various methods of punishment that should be meted out, up to and including death.

    The fact that I apparently interpret the Bible differently than you do does not mean I fail to obey the Bible. A quick word search of the NIV shows that the word “love” is found in 686 verses while the word “hate” is found in 127 verses. Clearly your claim that messages about love are few and far between and that the Bible is a hate manual is false. Such dishonesty is common among those who demonize others.

    But Christianity and Islam are sick, twisted death cults that demand world domination and the extermination of anyone who refuses to bow to their gods.

    If this were true you’d think atheists would have already been exterminated.

    And if you are going through your life really, honestly believing that your religion is a religion of peace, or a religion of charity and love, you really need to get your head out of your ass and take a look around at all the bad in the world and realize just how much your religion is responsible for it. Just because individuals do good things in the name of your religion, doesn’t make your religion good.

    If the fact that my religion causes people to do good things doesn’t make my religion good then I don’t see why bad things done in the name of my religion makes it bad. Relying on a double standard to criticize religion (as if all religion is identical) is unjust.

    Until we can all agree that diplomacy should not even be on the table until the religious leaders of the world agree to remove the bigoted, hateful and discriminatory doctrines and beliefs from their official doctrines, even if that means redacting huge chunks of their holy books, there will be no hope of compromise or co-existence.

    Co-existence seems quite possible with an atheist like James Croft. It seems like it would be a struggle with you. Who’s really causing the division?

  16. Mr.Kosta
    December 9, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    To love everyone, even our enemies, and to live at peace with others if at all possible?

    My ass.

    • December 10, 2011 at 12:17 am

      Mr.Kosta, I skimmed your list and did not see a single command that I am to kill atheists.

      Matthew 5:43-48 (NET): “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, 5:45 so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 5:46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? 5:47 And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? 5:48 So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

      Romans 12:18 (NET): If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people.

      • John-Henry Beck
        December 10, 2011 at 2:12 am

        How about this bit from Luke?
        19:27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

        • December 10, 2011 at 10:45 am

          John-Henry Beck

          (quotes Luke 19:27)

          Yes that would be a good one if it weren’t for the inconvenience that the passage is introduced by:

          While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, (v. 11)

          Nice quotemine. Something new atheists are good at. Use a parable as if it were a command, and neglect the unfortunate fact that at no point in the NT did Jesus or an apostle, those there were numerous encounters with unbelievers, actually call for anyone to be killed.

          You all just must feel persecuted. It’s in your blood. You would be unfulfilled if you couldn’t.

          • mikelaing
            December 13, 2011 at 2:57 am

            Love your enemies. Don’t do as I do, do as I say:
            Matthew 11:20 – 30 Woe on Unrepentant Towns
            20 Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.[a] For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

            Child abandonment: Matthew29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[a] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

            Jesus chastises the Pharisees for not killing disobedient children that break the Old Testament laws:Mark 9And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

            10For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

            11But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.

            12And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;

            I guess Jesus didn’t understand the concept of unconditional love. He was jealous, and came not in peace, but with a sword to tear families apart and spread hate if they didn’t suddenly worship Him above everyone else. No fucking compassion or understanding in His view, just vile consequences, including death and eternal burning in hell if you didn’t immediately lick his sphincter.

            Let’s not even get started with Revelations. Okay, let us. I like this version, Revelation14:14 – 20

            Yeah, real man of love. Love me, or you go to hell. Tortured for eternity. What a sick, twisted fuck.

            Yeah, I got fuck all tolerance for teaching, or defending, or condoning, that book. I got tolerance for Christianity like I do for all ideas that are lies and worse.
            It’s time for religion to grow the fuck up. Our knowledge has increased exponentially for many hundreds of years, but out wisdom has increased almost zero because half the world is too stupid to realize that their mythology and morality and justice is thousands of years outdated.

  17. stephenreichman
    December 10, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I apologize as this comment is late, however I must state where I come from:

    I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian home, and for the first 22 years of my life followed “my” beliefs to the letter, and then I read some, and some more, and at some point I didn’t see those beliefs as “mine” anymore, but rather an imposed viewset I grew up with.

    I hung out online in atheist blogs, and freethough blogs for awhile, calling myself “atheist” until I realized that many atheists were just like christians with their “us versus them” “good versus evil” style rhetoric.

    I currently describe myself as agnostic, as I choose my beliefs, how and when I feel like it. This is to me what it means to be a “Freethinker” to think what I want, and how I want, and there is no “won” or “lost” debate because I am willing to consider both sides of an argument without feeling “right” or “wrong.” Thought is a powerful thing, and it would be a shame to miss any of it due to an inflexible bias one way or the other.

    • Al Stefanelli
      December 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      Hey, if you want to take into serious consideration that there might be an invisible man in the sky who alters the laws of physics so that some plebe on an insignificant planet in a far-flung galaxy can get a parking spot closer to the Walmart entrance, then have at it. There is a right or wrong where facts are concerned. There is a won and lost where human rights are concerned. There are many thoughts that are, indeed, worth missing.

      • stephenreichman
        December 16, 2011 at 12:04 am

        There is a right or wrong where facts are concerned.
        Right and wrong are human constructions, as are their counterparts true and false. Atheists are never willing to admit this, however the human mind has limitations, and dualism is one of them. (One that mankind is slowly overcoming, however we’re not there yet).

    • rapiddominance
      December 10, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      If it seems like Mr. Stefanelli is being rude and condescending with his “Walmart-parking space-prayer” tirade . . . its because he is.

      HOWEVER, he discussed his road to atheism not too many posts ago. If you get a chance to read it, you’ll see how the blogger and his wife came under attack from their protestant christian community when they departed from it. If you’re able to take it in as if you’re experiencing it in his place, you’ll find it was an intense and protracted affair. Mixing his family into it and the specific targeting of his wife by church members–NOT COOL.

      While his problem-resolution scheme is FAR from fine tuned, he demonstrates the type of disproportioned behavior that we might expect from people who have experienced traumatic events. I’m not saying that he should have reacted to your comment as he did, but I think he’s worth a continued effort to try to like him (or at least understand him).

  18. December 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    “The level of pushback that the more outspoken and strident among us have been getting from our own camp in response to our activism is bordering on epic.”

    Perhaps that is because you no longer seem to hold yourselves to any standard of decency. My conscience requires me to take a stand against bombastic, offensive, emotional, and half-coherent diatribes like that offered by Mr. Perce on Islam. I must stand up to say that he does not speak for all non-believers, no matter how large his bullhorn.

    I enjoyed your straw man caricature of atheists who disagree with your tactics: Soft, frightened, closeted, “accommodationalist” appeasers. You’re not the only ones who have faced violence or retribution; you’re just the only ones who brag about it in an attempt to elevate yourselves and provide greater authority for your own opinions.

    I’ll repeat your own warning back to you: “Before you get on your high horse, be careful your hubris is not wrapped around your own necks.”

    • Al Stefanelli
      December 10, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      I hold myself to standards of decency to those who do not want me dead, Chris. I am actually a very congenial fellow most of the time. Oh, and it’s not bragging. It’s informing anyone who will listen that this shit is still going on and to the degree that it is going on. Tell me, of what good does it do if none of us tell the world what we are having to deal with?

  19. sunnydale75
    December 12, 2011 at 12:54 am

    > it denies lex parsimoniae in that it makes the assumption that there is no God. <

    –Sigh.
    I long for the day people will understand the difference between "not believing in something" and "having knowledge of something". Atheism does NOT lay claim to knowledge of god's existence. Atheism is about not believing in god (s). Just like not believing in Thor, Zeus, Dionysus, Balder, Isis or Gaia.

    Tony

  20. sunnydale75
    December 12, 2011 at 12:55 am

    >I do find it disturbing to see atheists and freethinkers using the same types of insults like “pedophile prophet” because that is the same type of rhretoric that comes from fundamentalists of all types. <

    -Would it better to refer to him as "that guy who enjoyed sexual relations with minors"?

    Tony

    • Beth
      December 13, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      Having sex with a minor does not necessarily make someone a pedophile. Personally, I prefer that phrasing when referring to someone who has had sex with a sexually mature minor. I’m not sure which properly applies to Mohammed, but calling him a pedophile ranks up there with referring to Jesus as a zombie. It seems a phrase selected to antagonize others and lead to heated arguments rather than fostering enlightened discussion.

      • Al Stefanelli
        December 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm

        Dunno, Beth. Any adult having sex with a nine-year-old for ANY reason is a pedophile. Just as any person who comes back from the dead is a zombie.

  21. sunnydale75
    December 12, 2011 at 1:09 am

    >Anyhow, lets cool down some. Truth is, despite whatever hard words one might read at the Freethoughts, I don’t think anybody is sitting around afraid that the New Atheists are about to begin creating bloodshed. <

    –Count me in as one of the atheists that reads the above as "sit down and shut up". What parts should we not shout loudly about?
    The child rapes?
    The mutilation of children?
    The murder of children?
    The oppression, bigotry, and discrimination faced by women, gays, and atheists?

    Social change doesn't happen when people get mad at inequality or injustice, but then back down and shut up. The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr didn't sit down and shut up. He was vocal. He didn't call for violence (likewise, I can think of NO atheist, activist or otherwise, calling for any type of violence; in fact, violence is routinely condemned by non believers), but he sure as heck wasn't quiet.

    Tony

  22. sunnydale75
    December 12, 2011 at 1:34 am

    > My conscience requires me to take a stand against bombastic, offensive, emotional, and half-coherent diatribes like that offered by Mr. Perce on Islam. <

    -What are you taking a stand against? Bombastic? He did assert his opinion, what's wrong with that?
    I'm sure someone was offended, but was that his intent? If it was, does it really matter given the abominable nature of the belief system in question?
    He was definitely emotional, but we're talking about a religion that calls for its followers to kill unbelievers, mutilate women, and stone its citizens. Not getting emotional about that is like saying the Catholic Church child rape scandal is not a big deal and we shouldn't seek justice for those wronged.
    Half-coherent? The post was quite coherent. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the atrocities committed in the name of Islam knows that.
    How exactly would you have worded his post (if you would even write such a thing)? Mr Perce insulted no one.
    Clearly he feels that Islamic views are vile (is there any coherent argument that they aren't?).
    Is there any argument that Islamic views do not use fear to silence critics?
    Is there an argument in support of the terrorist methods of Islam?
    Is there any argument for Islam's culturally embedded misogynistic views which are filthy and repugnant?
    Mr. Perce gets my KUDOS, as does Al for being vocal enough to stand up for inequality, terrorism, misogyny, murder, human rights violations and all the other detrimental views of Islam.
    Perhaps you thought his comments were aimed at a particular individual? A quick reference to Mr. Perce's post shows he's not talking to a person. He's speaking about the religious institution. If people can't even understand the sheer horror of the atrocities Islam is responsible for how can any dialogue even begin? This isn't Wicca we're talking about. It's Islam. It is a horrible belief system, and the more people assert that, the faster we can get to eradicating it and working towards a world where basic human rights are adhered to, not "religion first".

    Tony
    (who finds the idea that the beliefs held by an individual can't be criticized is ridiculous. If there's a person alive today who believes the Earth is flat, they hold a stupid belief. That doesn't mean they're stupid. Heck, there are scientists 50K smarter than I am, who believe in god. I say their belief in god is stupid too)

  23. December 12, 2011 at 11:35 am

    If you people have no use for the simple concept of reaching out to people who aren’t the same as you, but might have common goals and a desire to help achieve them, then I, for one, have no use for you. Al, as a leader you’re useless; and as an example of how an atheist can best deal with others, you’re worse than useless. All you’re doing here is reinforcing every negative stereotype a Christian could possibly hold against atheists — and you couldn’t do that more effectively if Karl Rove was paying you. Are you really an atheist, Al? Or is this whole thing just another COINTELPRO-style disinformation campaign?

    People like you didn’t win the Kitzmiller vs. Dover case — most of the plaintiffs in that case were Christians, and the presiding judge was a conservative, Republican, Lutheran Bush Jr. appointee.

    Just to address the bits of mindless bigotry I have time for today…

    Believers in Islam want all unbelievers dead.

    What about the Muslim firefighters who died doing their jobs on 9/11? Got any evidence that they wanted all unbelievers dead?

    Catholics may as well publicly endorse child rape.

    My Catholic father never endorsed child rape, and neither did anyone else in the Catholic half of my family.

    If all you morons have to offer is mindless insults indiscriminately directed at huge numbers of people you clearly know nothing about, then fuck you. You’re worthless, and there’s plenty of smarter, nicer atheists bringing better stuff to the Web.

    • Al Stefanelli
      December 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      Raging, have you considered that we have been reaching out to others for hundreds of years, only to have our hands chopped off in the process? Have you considered that it is not atheists who are refusing to budge, but the religious community? Has it occurred to you that we have pretty much become sick and tired of bearing the brunt of those who believe in a religion that wants us dead?

      Oh, and your condescending “I have no use for you” comment would be better placed up your ass where you will be able to see it better. You have no “use” for me? I wasn’t aware I was here for your “use.” As well, I am not a leader, never pretended to me, never set out to be.

      The stereotypes you accuse me of reinforcing do not need my help. Christians have shown to be very capable of reinforcing them on their own. If there ever were a group of people who are a poor example of how to deal with others, it is religious people.

      Regarding your question about Muslim Firemen and all other utterly ridiculous and similar queries, I will refer back to the premise of what Scripture teaches. Just because an individual believer does not believe what is in their Scriptures, it does not diminish the danger of the Scriptures. It only diminishes the fervency of the believer.

      • December 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm

        “THE religious community?” You really think there’s only one such thing, and everyone in it thinks and acts the same? You sound like a typical bigot, unable to tell “those people” apart from one another.

        The stereotypes you accuse me of reinforcing do not need my help.

        Actually, yes, they do; and you’re being extremely childish when you try to pretend your actions don’t have consequences. Whenever an atheist shows him/herself to their neighbors as a decent, ordinary person, not radically different from (or hateful toward) their theist neighbors, they do significant damage to a stereotype that enables religious bigots to keep their own followers blind and under control. And when obnoxious ignorant “leaders” like you reinforce those stereotypes, and make pig-ignorant statements about people they know nothing about, you do the bigots’ work for them, and make others less likely to take atheists seriously.

        Just because an individual believer does not believe what is in their Scriptures, it does not diminish the danger of the Scriptures.

        By the same token, it also doesn’t diminish the benefit of the Scriptures. Do you also believe that the better teachings of Jesus are just as potent regardless of how many people believe them?

        Regarding your question about Muslim Firemen and all other utterly ridiculous and similar queries…

        Why is it “utterly ridiculous” to mention that not all religious people are evil? If I also pointed out that not all atheists are hardcore Stalinists, would you call that “utterly ridiculous” too?

        Seriously, dude, grow up and get over yourself. There’s plenty of atheists criticizing and mocking religion far more intelligently, and effectively, than you. The fact that you already got pwned by HEDDLE, ferfucksake, should tell you something.

        …oh, and many of us have no interest in being “nice” when believers have been killing unbelievers and anyone else who thinks differently for many centuries…

        Martin Luther King was nice to a hostile majority, and it did his movement a lot of good. Pity you don’t remember the most effective tactics of the Civil Rights Movement when you need them the most. What’s your alternative — screaming ignorant nonsense at people who have done you no wrong, and then sulking when they don’t listen to you?

        • Al Stefanelli
          December 13, 2011 at 10:51 am

          Now your just talking out of your ass. Tell you what, you do whatever it is you feel as you should – however ineffective that might be. You obviously either live in a utopian paradise or are clueless. I will go with the latter.

    • sunnydale75
      December 12, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      >Catholics may as well publicly endorse child rape.

      My Catholic father never endorsed child rape, and neither did anyone else in the Catholic half of my family. <

      – every Catholic who is against child rape should deconvert (those who were ignorant of the child rapes can be excused up until those atrocities came to light). I'm sorry, but as a moral human being, I could not be part of any organization that's complicit in child rape. Hence my comment about Catholics. Believers in Catholicism give money, resources, and support to the Church all the time. If you learned that your favorite football team was harboring multiple vicious criminals would you continue to support them? Note that I didn't say all Catholics are child rapists. I just said they may as well endorse them. By staying with such a corrupt organization, they silently endorse their actions. Instead of staying silent, they may as well announce to the world that they're in support of child rape.

      Tony

    • sunnydale75
      December 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm

      >You’re worthless, and there’s plenty of smarter, nicer atheists bringing better stuff to the Web.<

      -That's cool. Just as there are believers who are smarter, nicer, and far more aware of the atrocities of their respective belief systems and who denounce them. Frankly, given every horrible thing done in the name of Christianity and Islam (to name but two of the worst offenders to human morality and progression) I think a reasonable action would be for their adherents to reject their religions. I'd be embarrassed to be called a Christian. Any human with a shred of moral decency should not want to follow the teachings of Islam nor should they want to affiliate themselves with such an abominable belief system.

      Tony (oh, and many of us have no interest in being "nice" when believers have been killing unbelievers and anyone else who thinks differently for many centuries)

  24. December 13, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    mikelaing:

    Love your enemies. Don’t do as I do, do as I say: Matthew 11:20-30

    I’m a Christian universalist so I see love even through punishment. The punishment is to eventually restore the sinner to right standing with God. In the Bible, love is generally a reference to loving action and not to mere emotion. Thus refining the sinner through punishment is an example of love.

    Child abandonment: Matthew 19:29

    Matthew 19:29 is not recommending child abandonment. It is noting that the one who undergoes hardships for the sake of Christ will be blessed.

    Jesus chastises the Pharisees for not killing disobedient children that break the Old Testament laws: Mark 7:9-12

    He is chastising the Pharisees for replacing the laws of God with human tradition. Also, many scholars believe that the death penalty in the OT is meant to convey the severity of the sin and was not actually implemented (a fine was levied instead) except in the case of murder.

    He was jealous, and came not in peace, but with a sword to tear families apart and spread hate if they didn’t suddenly worship Him above everyone else.

    You misinterpret prophetic language as if it were expressing Jesus’ desires. The point is that the gospel can cause division. We see it in this very thread where, through no fault of the individual Christian, Al places a division between us.

  25. stephenreichman
    December 15, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Dalillama says:
    You apparently do not understand how Lex Parsimnoiae(works). The standard formulation is “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.” So, given the options of the universe, or the universe plus God, lex parsimoniae says that we use ‘the universe’ in the absence of positive evidence for further entities.

    I understand your objection to my comment, however it is merely a matter of semantics when you talk about atheism vs. belief in a god:

    Atheists:
    The universe was formed by a big bang (or some other vehicle, depending on the particular theory)

    Believers:
    God created the universe

    Note that the statements above both contain two nouns, making two entities. I was merely invoking Occam’s razor to state that only one is necessary, and neither of the ones above.

    Me:
    I exist. Done.

    • Dalillama
      December 21, 2011 at 7:48 pm

      Wrong. The big bang is not an entity, it is a description of conditions in the very early history of the existence of the universe. God is allegedly a separate entity, claimed to be apart from and coexisting with the universe, without evidence.

  26. dubliner
    December 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Good grief – an atheist Pamela Geller!

  27. neil
    February 4, 2012 at 7:29 am

    ahh..just ask your former hardcore atheists why they converted to christianity: lee strobel,annie rice,j. budziszewski,david limbaugh..

    do you still believe that humans came from one-celled organism? maybe,your ancestors came from the planet of the apes..just a joke!

    “only a rookie who knows nothing about science takes away from faith. if you really study science, it will bring you closer to God” -james tour,nanoscientist

    “God never performed a miracle to convince an atheist, because his ordinary works provide sufficient evidence” _ariel roth

    “in grammar school they taught me that a frog turning into a prince was a fairy tale. in the university they taught me that a frog turning into a prince was a fact” – ron carlson

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