Parallel Lines: Fundamental Christianity, Muslim Extremism and the Rise of Atheism in the United States

fire“But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice. It is dominion we are after. Not just influence. It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time. It is dominion we are after. World conquest.” – Thomas Ice

Atheists are enjoying three things that we have not had the privilege of enjoying since the advent of religious belief became the evolutionary norm in our species. Those are the three basic human desires I have been referring to. To be understood, to be heard and to belong. As we increase in these areas, it stands to reason that we are stealing some of the thunder from the fundamentalists. Not to be outdone, and in fear of being undone, they have had to kick it up a notch. Or two. Or three.

Muslim extremists, already having a lot of experience making loud noises, have had to use increasingly divisive rhetoric, make louder noises and take more drastic measures as regimes continue to fall in the Middle East. It is the only way they can keep control over whatever nations they may be able to hang onto.

The American Fundy…

American fundamentalists are no different. Because atheists and our respective sympathizers are more understood than ever, being heard louder than ever and being more accepted than ever, the fundamentalist must, by virtue of being human, respond. But they are not responding with logic, reason and inclusiveness. Not by a long shot. They are acting out like their extremist Muslim counterparts, only usually without the incendiary devices. Usually. The “American Fundy” is using even more divisive rhetoric, making even louder noises and taking even more drastic measures than ever before to set themselves apart from anyone who does not believe as they do. They are no friend to ecumenism, tolerance and inclusiveness.

Mainstream believers have become easier to work with, more reasonable and better neighbors, however, in just a few short years the fundamentalists have graduated from being regular crazy to batshit crazy. That has got to be some sort of record. As well, more and more of them are running for political office and a few have actually managed to get elected to some pretty high offices, including Congress and the Senate. One almost made it all the way to the office of the Vice President, you betcha.

Being Understood…

Like their Middle Eastern Muslim extremist counterparts, the American fundamentalist desires to be heard. From the standpoint of your average American, there’s not much attractive in a fundamental religious cult. In impoverished, undeveloped Middle Eastern Nations, being heard by virtue of blowing yourself up is not only a rite of honor, but an escape from a life that is without hope of getting any better than the previous shell-shocked day of death and destruction. But in America, we’ve got HBO, Smartphones, Tivo, Keith Stone, designer wardrobes and a veritable buffet of legal vices to choose from.

You would think that in an age where atheism, free thought and secular humanism is gaining ground that those who would ditch all of the above to lead the life of a fundamentalist would be in decline. Yet, much like their Muslim counterparts, many are joining fundamentalist cults. Some are even getting rid of anything and everything that their church deems worldly, un-Christian or blasphemous. Some are even deactivating their Facebook accounts. Oh, the horrors…

And they are doing it in some surprising numbers. But what is particularly disturbing is the decline in mainstream denomination church membership. While membership in these moderate churches are declining; the fundamental cults and sects are enjoying new growth. But statistics show that non-theism is on the rise, too. So where are all these new converts coming from? How can atheism be on the rise at the same time that fundamentalism is on the rise, but with very little increase in new converts?

Easy… They are transferring their memberships from the moderate institutions into the fundamentalist groups. The rise of the mega church also has parallels to the rise of atheism. More and more of these stadium-sized churches are being built and they are filling up as fast as they can add on new wings.

Being Heard…

This increase in fundamentalism has caused another parallel phenomenon that is rather unfortunate. We have long been shaking our heads at the signs held up by radical Muslim extremists that call for various beheadings and other horrific acts of violence in the name of Allah. While we were busy shaking our heads, the religious right and their supporters and sympathizers have become more and more accepting of increasingly acidic rhetoric that is starting to cause real, physical problems, especially in the United States.

People are dying over words, and many fundamentalists do not understand just how much words matter. They can cause a plethora of emotional reactions in various individuals. Words can make us laugh, they can make us cry, they can make us feel alive inside and they can give us pause to think about things. They can educate, as well.

However, words can also hurt, destroy and slander. Those whose words have the ability to influence millions of people also have a responsibility on how to use their words. While I am no fan of censorship, I also understand that with great power comes great responsibility. The Apostle Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 10:23, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” I refer to Scripture here because of the irony involved. This is a concept that seems to be lost on the latest crop of fundamentalist talking heads who have surreptitiously blended the emotionally charged rhetoric of religion with words that have caused some very mentally challenged people to commit horrendous acts of violence, resulting in the deaths of many innocent people.

The only difference between the fundamental Islamic bomber and the American Olympic Park bomber is that the American was not willing to lose his life in the process. It has become obvious to me that there is little difference in principle between the Imam who uses thinly veiled language that suggests executing someone for the drawing of cartoons and a highly influential fundamentalist Christian politician using gun-friendly language and putting cross hairs over opposing political districts on a website.

They should all be duly ashamed of themselves, but they won’t be, because they do not even have enough sense of responsibility to recognize when they have acted wrongly.

Belonging…

I return here to the movement of believers between the mainstream denominations and the fundamentalist cults. The examples I am using in the section are within the confines of the United States, but I am positive that this is an equally disturbing problem in other developed nations. The phenomenon of believers moving from one religious group to another has never been much of a concern from an atheist perspective, or even from a political perspective. Sheep stealing has always been the business of shepherds and realistically, there was not much difference between the old-line denominations.

They hobnobbed with the world quite well. This is not the case with the fundamentalists. As I have previously stated, they are not looking to belong by being inclusive within society, but by being separate from it. Be in the world, but not of the world, or so the popular fundamentalist creed goes. This is another parallel I draw between fundamental Christianity and fundamental Islam.

As stated in the last chapter, the religious right began their concerted agenda for taking over the Republican Party as early as 1979, and had accomplished much through the early eighties at the hands of Weyrich, LaHaye and Reed. The late eighties and the first half of the 1990’s belonged to Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, but it was a reaction to a plenary speech given by the late Rev. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries at the Christian Coalition’s 1994 National Convention that kicked everything into high gear..  Kennedy said,

“…true Christian citizenship involves an active engagement in society to take dominion over all things as vice-regents of God.”

From that point on, Pat Robertson’s policy of laying low and not touting your faith was thrown out the window as political campaigns of Republicans began to pop up advocating “traditional family values, more jobs, lower taxes, welfare reform and choice in education.”

Cut to the last few years and you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a preacher on Sunday morning and Palin, Bachmann, Beck or any one of a hundred or so ignorant, loud mouthed, backward, talking head buffoons on a Saturday night. The fundamentalist preacher is using material from people like Palin, Bachmann Beck & Co., and they are using material from fundamentalist preachers.

They are effectively melding the religious mind virus into the political arena even more so than it already was, and the combination of the two is creating an atmosphere where more and more people are beginning to believe that a theocracy would be a preferred form of government over a democratic republic. Americans are advocating violence against other Americans, on American soil, over religious differences.

The fundamentalists that follow these like-minded leaders actually consider themselves the only true American Patriots. Their agenda and blatant belief that their actions come at the command and blessing of the Christian god are no different from Islamic extremists. This is obvious, considering the current popularity of Beck, Bachmann, Palin and the rest of the fundamentalist Christian political consortium who have been attempting to hijack the GOP for years.

But the hijacking of the Republican Party was not enough for this new incarnation of the fundamentalist religious right. The more divisive they became, the more the GOP was distancing themselves. This is because within the GOP there are still many old-line centrist moderates who would not budge for anyone. So they went rogue and they are becoming a meme in their own right.

A Spot of Tea, Anyone…?

Enter the Tea Party movement, which was a most unexpected and unintended outgrowth of Terry Leach’s “Young Americans For Liberty” 1 in New York, which, depending upon who you ask is either Libertarian, Voluntarism or a combination of the two. It was a protest against an obesity tax and a few other annoying bits of legislation that were presented by Governor Paterson whereas some of the protestors wore garb that was similar to what might have been worn by the original Tea Party protestors in Boston during the 18th century. But that’s not important right now.

What is important is that according to polls2, more than 7 out of 10 Tea Party supporters feel that the United States should have no diplomatic relations with Muslim nations. Almost 9 out 10 support controversial immigration laws that include revisions to the fourteenth amendment. More than 8 out of 10 stand staunchly against gay marriage and more than half think homosexuals wield too much power, already. This makes the Tea Party the perfect group to become the love child of the fundamentalist religious right. They are loud, they are Christian and they are exclusionary. A trifecta. Trinity, if you prefer.

Continued Replication – Building the ‘Base’…

Because the lines have blurred so much between religion and politics, it is apparent that the vast majority of fundamental Christians in the United States would choose, as I stated above, to convert our secular Nation to a Christian Nation. This, of course, without regard to the tens of millions of other perfectly legal American citizens that are either atheist, agnostic or a member of a religion that is not Christian (or not the correct brand of Christian.) Apparently all men are created equal, but some men are created more equal than others. George Orwell would be proud. It would be easy to say that it is primarily the young and impressionable who are taken in by the Tea Party, but that’s just not true. Tea Party supporters are a cross-section of the Americans.

Two things they have in common are their overwhelmingly Christian religiosity and their nearly universal support of ultra-conservative politics and politicians. Thus, there are a disproportionate number of Tea Party supporters that come from the same ranks of those who believe that President Obama is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist. Most of them don’t understand evolution, are anti-science and support the usual initiatives to bring back prayer to schools, government meetings and the installation of the Ten Commandments in courthouses all across the land. Just like in the 1950’s.

Final Thoughts…

Atheism is on the rise on planet earth. To the Muslim extremist and to the Christian fundamentalist, atheism represents the single most dangerous threat against each of their goals to dominate the planet.  We do not scare easily and do not cower to threats of hell and damnation, We are painfully aware that as long as the fundamentalist Christian maintains that they are the one true faith and all others are destined for divine destruction, the more emboldened the Islamic extremists are becoming in pointedly defying that claim with the use of terrorism.

I don’t know what the solution to the impending destruction of the human race over who has the truer imaginary friend is, but I do know this. The solution is going to have to come, or we all lose.

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  51 comments for “Parallel Lines: Fundamental Christianity, Muslim Extremism and the Rise of Atheism in the United States

  1. godlesspanther
    April 23, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Good observations. The middle ground — your old neighborhood Methodist or Presbyterian church is getting emptier and the psycho bat-shit crazy mega churches are gaining members as well as non-religious.

    The message is clear — if you are going to be a Christian, you must be a member of a stark-raving hate cult or you are not a Christian at all. The fundies have been spouting that for years. They have gotten their way with rhetoric.

    It is scary. The fundies are buying into the idea that in order to be part of their cult you MUST be hateful and violent. Those who are not willing to kill, kill, kill — need not apply.

    • alexmartin
      April 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      Didn’t your president warn you against propagating dangerous, inflammatory hate-speech?

      • elnefasto
        October 21, 2012 at 1:04 am

        Ironically, this reads like a threat…

  2. April 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Good post Al. I agree with much of what you say. I also want to add the Catholic Church into the mix. I would say that most U.S. Catholics are “moderate” at best. However, that is not the message that is coming from Rome. Unlike the Protestant Fundies, Rome is not preaching “hellfire and brimstone”. They play a more subtle political game–and they are good at it.

    I blogged on that today, so don’t want to rewrite my entire post here. In short, they make claims that are either false or misinformation that millions take as truth. They fight the legal battles and use a rhetoric that implies there way is the truth. They play the political game, make themselves the victims, and are trying to chip away at the First Amendment without making the “crazy” statements that often come from the Protestant Fundies. In truth, I find the tactics of the Catholic Church far more dangerous and possibly effective. Many Christians in this country reject the lunacy of the Protestant Fundies. That is not the case with the Catholic course of action.

    • concernedjoe
      April 28, 2012 at 7:07 am

      I honestly think the RRC is a Rogue State.

      First of all it is a State; that is it has the benefits and privileges of official Statehood.

      “[the Vatican City is a] landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of just over 800… Vatican City is currently the only widely recognized independent state that has not become a member of the UN. The Holy See, which is distinct from Vatican City State, has permanent observer status with all the rights of a full member except for a vote in the UN General Assembly”.

      By definition its essential nature is Statehood – like as in Iran, N. Korea, or the USA. To wit: “Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state, ruled by the Bishop of Rome—the Pope.”

      Now the definition of a Rogue State, although amorphous, is generally summed up as: [States] meeting certain criteria, such as (1) being ruled by authoritarian regimes that severely restrict human rights, (2) sponsor terrorism, and (3) seek to proliferate weapons of mass destruction. The term is used most by the United States, though it has been applied by other countries.

      (1) is self evident by charter

      (2) the whole notion of the control is centered on intellectual terrorism (Hell, etc. — do I need to explain?) and they have sophisticated methods and means of spreading and perpetuating the fear and subordination- even for non-RCC members.

      (3) for example their war on contraception wreaks havoc on a mass scale. That is just one of others – but that one says enough. And it is not just a war of they fight intra-RRC.. the spread the pain always.

      It is an evil POLITICAL machine of Worldly dimensions that has caused damage to mankind for almost 2000 years.

  3. LR
    April 23, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    What bothers me is that the US, despite being hailed as a profoundly secular government, does not go anywhere near far enough in making that clear. The Constitution mentions that there shall be no establishment of religion, but it says nothing about separation of church and state, specifically. Furthermore, even the 1st Amendment only clearly applies to the federal government, it doesn’t say the states.

    Our government is not nearly secular enough. The fundamentalists insist that the Constitution ensures no separation of church and state, and they are correct. This needs to change. That wall needs to be in the constitution in such a way that it simply cannot be denied.

    • concernedjoe
      April 28, 2012 at 7:25 am

      I go even further.

      The 1st Amendment is a gift to RELIGION not secularism.

      While it does ensure a measure of comfort in that through time the State has backed off promoting religion within its walls (e.g. public schools), the sword is very double-edged.

      The State is also restricted from frontal attacks on religion. So a public school Biology teacher – especially pre-university level – cannot preach Genesis, but neither can that teacher overtly and emphatically cut it down to the fairytale it is without risk of legal censure that would standup.

      The 1st stifles the State’s right to secular free speech! Religion always has its venues to spew its BS. The State has not any legal venue to call its BS.

      Religious philosophies and opinions are protected philosophies and opinions by the highest law of the land when it come to State comment. That is the State’s representatives must sufficiently circumvent the appearance of attacking “faith” head-on.

    • drdave
      April 30, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      Alonzo Fyfe at the AtheistEthicist has a long series on a “hard” Defense of Secularism.

      He argues that the quintissential secular institution in a secular society is the court of law. No religious or supernatural evidence is allowed. “I spoke to god and god told me the accused is guilty”, is inadmissible. The god is not available for cross examination, among other things.

      Likewise, in the public arena, legislation which harms people (baning abortions, contraception, gay marriage, etc) cannot be advanced on any but secular arguments and evidence. “God told me gays are evil and must not marry” is again inadmissible in the public arena.

      A great series, well reasoned. Highly recommended.

      • drdave
        April 30, 2012 at 7:34 pm

        One other key point: secularism was invented by the religious.

        After the 30 years war (where the expression “kill them all and let God sort them out” was the battle cry), the religious institutions decided that the cost was too great and no one had changed their minds. Therefore, to secure peace, they agreed to a secular truce. Its been wobbly, but mostly held up during the past 200 years.

        Now, secularism is under attack. If the dominionists win, then the violence will erupt here in America. War will break out between religious institutions once again.

  4. buckeyenonbeliever
    April 23, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Couldn’t agree more Al. The radical theocratic right is growing by leaps and bounds and the more moderate or liberal religionist sits dumbfounded on the sidelines wondering where their religion went.

    Unfortunately, I fear it will get worse before it gets better. How much more will moderate America, whether believer or unbeliever, stomach from these fanatics before they stand up and in unison proclaim enough is enough?

    This country was not founded as a christian nation; freedom of religion does not mean freedom through religion; and Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness must never be replaced with god, jesus and the pursuit of end times.

  5. sophiagroup
    April 24, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I saw the a picture in a post on Diaspora this morning of a cute little boy holding a sign that read, “Please don’t hate me because I’m Muslim.” and I couldn’t help but think, if you’d stop self identifying with your religious beliefs and simply identify as a human being, I’d have no problem accepting you. However the minute you say to me, my name is …. and I’m ‘so and so’ be that a religious affiliation, a political affiliation, or even a title, you’ve divided us, I’m now no longer thinking about you the ‘person,’ I’m thinking about you, the Republican/Democrat/Libertarian, or you, the Christian/Muslim/Atheist.

    I think it’s key we start pushing toward the understanding that we’re all simply human and we’re connected to every other carbon based life form on this planet. Label/sect divisions kill by breeding weaknesses and contempt, all the oppressors have known this for centuries and that’s why they’ve sewn them so deeply into our psyches. Every election season in this country I am reminded of this with the ‘hot button’ issues, it never fails, they use them every time and sadly, every time, they work.

    • rapiddominance
      April 24, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      Why is it not possible to self identify with both a religious belief and as a human being to obtain this “acceptance”?

      (Not that I have any clear idea of what you mean by “acceptance”.)

      Anyway, it sounds like you got pretty ticked by that “cute little boy”. I haven’t seen the picture, so I don’t know; but about how old would you say that the kid was?

      • sophiagroup
        April 25, 2012 at 9:29 am

        @rapiddominance,

        For some reason you chose to find my tone angry?

        Why do we need a label? Why is it important to impart to everyone you meet that you are affiliated with a particular religion, political, or professional group? Are you so much less a person without the ‘titles’ and affiliations? Isn’t it obvious that these are neatly labeled boxes meant to control and limit your experience of this life? Meant to keep you in line? Meant to dominate you, separate and herd you?

        When we met we had common ground as humans, but you in essence just told me that you belong to a club. You are now looking to me to tell you what ‘club’ I belong to and if you don’t like my club, our experience of one another is going to be very different than what it could have been had we simply talked about what music we enjoy, or food we like to eat, where we like to vacation and so forth. If I have ‘no’ club, you’re likely to try to sell me on the virtues of joining yours. Very few humans are secure enough in their ‘belief’ system to sit quietly with those beliefs and not seek reinforcement from their fellow humans. Even those religious leaders who espouse their own ability to accept the differences of others while asking us to follow suit, tend to wear the trappings of their religion for all to see, as if that is not divisive, as if that does not immediately communicate what their beliefs are, thereby causing others to treat them differently, or behave differently around them (i.e. not cursing, or behaving normally because they might offend a wearer of the cloth, cross, beads etc…)

        Why don’t we act this way in regard to hobbies such as playing cards, book reading, or video games? Why aren’t those things as serious to us as our political and religious affiliations, or our educational degrees? Why don’t we fight wars over the way others play piano? These things are just as much a part of who we are as our religious or political leanings, but we don’t tend to try to shun or kill one another over them, because we’re not indoctrinated into music, video games or reading, they’re choices we make and recognize them as choices. Because of the early childhood indoctrination most people don’t recognize religion and politics as choices, we’re told one side is right and the other is wrong and we buy the whole package and wrap ourselves in it.

        It is human nature to seek acceptance, the ruling class created religions and political parties, caste systems and educational degrees to herd and control us. Accepting those limitations is to limit your social experience. That was not anger you read in my post, it was sadness at yet another child being indoctrinated into divisiveness.

        • rapiddominance
          April 25, 2012 at 4:03 pm

          Lets look again at your words:

          and I couldn’t help but think, if you’d stop self identifying with your religious beliefs and simply identify as a human being, I’d have no problem accepting you.

          It sounds more like you were ticked than you were sad over the child’s indoctrination. Furhermore, I think most atheists reading your comment would agree, too.

          I’m not saying that you spoke in a deliberately hostile way towards that child; but I am implying that you overlooked HIM and HIS situation ENTIRELY.

          That said, there IS a degree of truth to some of the other things you said. But are you so sure that atheists don’t seek out reinforcement, as well? Can they even help but to do so?

          Thank you for your reply.

          • Tay
            April 25, 2012 at 6:28 pm

            I can see how you could have taken it that way, if I were inclined to be angry about the picture however, my anger would have been directed at the adult that put the sign in that little ones hands.

            As to Atheists looking for reinforcement, I’m certain they do, I can only hope there will come a time when ‘labels’ be that Atheist, Muslim, Christian, Hindi, etc… don’t mean a thing to anyone. As it stands now, we’re doomed to keep killing each other over the silly boxes we put ourselves in.

  6. RW Ahrens
    April 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    LR,

    Your evaluation of the Constitution and the First Amendment is wrong. Just because the words “separation of church and state” aren’t there exactly, doesn’t mean that the words that are there don’t mean the same thing.

    The first clause, termed the Establishment clause, says the government cannot make laws governing how religion works. In other words, it cannot make laws favoring religion, or no religion. It cannot make laws that, effectively, establish a religion as a favored organization or practice.

    The second clause, called the Non-interference clause, says the government cannot prevent religion from being observed by its adherents.

    In other words, the government can’t make laws favoring religion, nor can it make laws DISfavoring religion. In other words, it has to keep its hands off.

    Hence, Jefferson’s description of a “wall of separation”.

    As for the States, the 14th Amendment takes care of that, and effectively extends the limitations of government action from the US Constitution to the States. This has been clearly ruled on several times by the SCOTUS, and is no longer an issue, legally.

    Fundies who argue otherwise are just plain wrong.

  7. rapiddominance
    April 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    As I have previously stated, they are not looking to belong by being inclusive within society, but by being separate from it. Be in the world, but not of the world, or so the popular fundamentalist creed goes.

    I’m not sure that makes sense.

    From my viewpoint, the idea of ‘being of another world’ actually works against the theocratic fundamentalism you speak of. The thing is, when fundamentalists defend their extensive and particular involvements in shaping governmental policy they have to work around this scriptural notion. Otherwise, their actions appear as something on par with an unauthorized hostile takeover.

    Some skeptics have expressed absolute disgusts with the obvious discreprency between New Testament teachings and the nature of present day fundamentalist politics.

    • John Morales
      April 25, 2012 at 9:49 pm
      • JJ7212
        April 26, 2012 at 9:11 pm

        John, I saw on the list there under “Messianic Judaism / Jewish Christians”, the “Jews for Jesus” group. Funny story about that. When I was 17, I worked at a McDonald’s with my friend next to a major highway in Ohio. Late one night, a bus showed up with a sign on the side that read ‘Jews for Jesus’. Of course my friend and I made jokes about it in the back. I remember guessing that they would order fish sandwiches (you know, two parts bread, one part fish). And they ended up ordering a bunch of them! I told my friend that I was the next prophet! We were in the back laughing so hard. They didn’t hear us. Just had a flashback… lol.

        • John Morales
          April 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm

          🙂

  8. rapiddominance
    April 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Tay

    Thank you for a thoughtful and constructive reply to me at #5. I agree there WAS a problem with the adult putting that sign on the boy. (I also don’t like it when theists take small children to prolife rallies, etc). Its grossly manipulative and it places the child in a battle he/she is not equiped for (nor has the ability to ‘freely’ choose).

    I take no issue with the second part, either. Again, it was a well-rounded and beneficial response.

    • rapiddominance
      April 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      The “second part of your comment” I meant to say.

      I really need to use the ‘preview’ feature thats available to everyone here.

      • John Morales
        April 25, 2012 at 9:52 pm

        [meta + OT]

        I really need to use the ‘preview’ feature thats available to everyone here.

        Furthermore, it would not be unhelpful for you to become aware of the comment nesting level, so that you can reply to the root of any subthread wherein the limit has been reached.

        • rapiddominance
          April 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm

          John Morales

          Thanks for the advice.

          I hardly understood it, to be honest with you.

          1. “Nesting Level”–that’s where you ‘run out of replies’, correct?

          2. “so that you can reply to the root of any subthread wherein the limit has been reached.” — Could you provide me an example?

          My questions might be displaying a hopeless degree of ignorance. BUT I hope you’ll keep trying to help me!

          • John Morales
            April 27, 2012 at 5:17 am

            — Could you provide me an example?

            Sure.

            Look at this comment from Tay and note there is no reply link.

            This is because the comment nesting level has been reached; since Tay is responding to rapiddominance’s response to sophiagroup’s response to rapiddominance’s response to sophiagroup’s original comment (itself the 5th to the OP), you can note the nesting level is on this particular blog is 4.

            (Other blogs may differ; PZ and Ophelia use 0, Dan Fincke uses 1)

            Accordingly, should you wish to respond to that comment, you need to ‘reply’ to the same comment it itself is replying to (the ‘root’ of that level), the which will then appear beneath it.

            (Once you’ve done it, it will probably seem obvious)

    • Tay
      April 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      Rapiddominance,

      Thank you for the conversation without all the usual trappings of posturing you see in forums and on blogs, it’s nice to have an adult discourse about such a sensitive issue and feel that you’ve found some common ground!

      As to that ‘preview’ feature, I have to admit I hadn’t posted on blogs in ages up until a couple of days ago, so it was definitely a re-learning process what with html and remembering to check my work before posting!

  9. alexmartin
    April 25, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    WTF?
    If I am not a christian or religious or an atheist, I am supposed to FEAR christians now?

    Dey’s goan kill me or blow me up or sumpin’ cause I don’t believe as they do?

    Look what those hated christians at that horrid 700 club produced about some Muslims in Belgium:

    They claim that the 15,000+ Muslim terror attacks and murders the world over since 9/11 have no analogue whatsoever with a “peaceful” christian dissent against godless secularism or the creeping decadence of the western world.

    But they’re just crazy and fanatical.

    We just KNOW they’re every bit as bad as and equivalent to the loving muslim freedom fighters of the world who might inadvertently slash the throats of sleeping Jewish babies in their cribs for being the pigs and monkeys that Allah turned them into. And shit.

    We see that kind of unpleasant antisocial behavior from christians all the time, and it’s only gonna get worse from them.

    So antyway, yeah, Europe is fucked. A forgone fuck show, But no worries here with all that.

    It’s those fucking damn christian fundies you gotta worry about.

  10. Tay
    April 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    In the feeding of trolls, let me just add, that I’ve had the distinct displeasure of meeting a few of these nutjobs in person at the clinic I used to work for…. so yeah… the American(Christian)Taliban “IS” indeed alive and well and being promoted heavily by the recent radicals who took office in about 17 states here in the US.

    http://baheyeldin.com/politics/list-of-home-grown-terrorists-in-the-usa.html By no means a complete list but a good sampling.

    As this link plainly states, the FBI says that roughly 2/3 of the homegrown terrorist threats were from ‘non-Islamic’ extremists living within the U.S. up until 2001, but between 2002 and 2005 the number of ‘non-Islamic’ threats actually went up to 95%! So…

    http://www.cfr.org/terrorist-organizations/militant-extremists-united-states/p9236

    Anyone living in the south who turns on a television can tell you that the commercials, the television shows, and especially the news casts (which is particularly telling) are all full of Christian fundamentalist rhetoric, it’s oppressive and bizarre and while some may not think it’s as bad as this article suggests, you need to consider that we’ve always had laws to protect you and I against this kind of oppression for the most part. However these hostile legislative takeovers by the radical right wing have seen the dismantaling of many laws affording protection to women and that’s where it always starts (with those that will rear and teach the young), they’ve also overturned many a basic worker protection law and other civil rights laws that once protected you and I from their will and whim. It’s against their GAWD, Aww Lawdy! Of course that’s what they’d say right? Thinking should be fundamental but I digress…

    I am living through the Amendment 1 debacle right now, they are trying to legislate bigotry into our state constitution, it’s frightening how stupid, maligned, hateful and downright bronze age backward these people are. I find myself relived to be armed most days, though I would prefer not having to live under that particular shadow. What I find even more depressing, is that ours is the last southern state that hadn’t already written hate directly into its constitution! WTF? Sick trogs (apologies to the trogs)!… every one of these legislators is a mindless, hateful, bigoted, upright walking twat, living proof that evolution doesn’t always select the progressive, decent, more favorable genes. It is definitely the regressive being chosen in their case! These people it would seem, are meant to survive being hit on the head by heavy objects lobbed at them from great heights!

    This is ‘how’ the decline of a once great nation starts, I cannot help that some can’t read a history book and fathom this for themselves, but this is how dictatorships are born and how whole nations become oppressed and they ALWAYS use the ‘populist rhetoric’ to gain their positions and usurp your rights and power. The American Taliban? Yep they’re here and they’re alive and well but some will defend the monster because it wraps itself in a flag and carries a cross… idiots…

    So then there’s this story not from this country but Christian and killing babies because of his backward beliefs, yet another weapons grade f-tard:

    http://www.mpacuk.org/story/240711/home-grown-terrorist-arrested-over-bomb-blast-shooting.html

    So yeah… the problem IS the Christian Fundie, just as much as it IS the Muslim militant. To dismiss either as a threat that needs to be dealt with and frankly, should have already been dealt with is folly. I feel the same way about the Orthodox Zionist Jews killing Palestinians and redrawing district lines for fun… Idiots! Kill one another and leave the rest of us the hell out of your sick fantasy world with your imaginary friends and dress up tea parties. Or better yet, grow up, get off your knees, unfold those palms and do something constructive with your lives. It’s like watching a monkeys at the zoo throwing excrement at one another, just as disgusting but less entertaining!

  11. alexmartin
    April 27, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Tay,
    friend, listen. Your head bumps inconveniently against a roadblock of logic.

    For the christian to literally consider him/herself to be “christian”, they must restrict themselves to the words, conduct, actions, commandments, restrictions, prohibitions and prescriptions of their self-confessed lord and saviour Jesus Christ–Oh, and his apostles as well– as found within the accepted canon of christian scripture.

    Understand?

    There is no way to get around the fact, and neither can any other splinter psuedo-christian entity, that every single dictate within the NT COMMANDS followers of JC to bear (for example) your hateful, ignorant bullshit with grace and humility, to expect and suffer persecution with near-suicidal gladness, to never lift a finger to an enemy except in rare cases of defending the helpless, perhaps, to “turn the other cheek” when assaulted, to suffer humiliation and affront in silence, to “set your affections on things above” and not on things of this world, and to expect that “the sufferings of this present world are not worthy to be compared with the joy that shall be revealed within” them etc, etc, etc; killing ones’ neighbor or exacting revenge in the name of Christ would be and is purely contradictory.

    It is written, whether you like it or not.
    If an individual or group were to conduct some type of definable terrorist act against the US or its people, that group can name any motivation or excuse they please, but “Jesus” never told them to do it.

    Not a matter of exculpation, of course, but obviously, it’s because of these christian proscriptions, not in spite of them, that your lying candy ass and those of your persuasion HAVE NOT experienced any instance of “christian” “terrorism” here or abroad.

    It just wouldn’t be the “christian” thing to do, by definition.
    Get it?

    Don’t give me Anders Breivik of Norway either: he told you himself in his 1500 page manifesto that he is only a “cultural christian” who doesn’t personally believe in god or in religion.

    The lunatic who shot Gabriel Giffords had proven left-wing leanings (and a registered Democrat at that!) if any at all.

    The OKC bomber was an anti-theist socialist who hated the right wing and GHW Bush.

    Et cetera.

    So, just because the Obama DHS allows the christian-hating, bigoted SPLC, Bnai Brith, and ADL to write terror analysis and policy for them, then cuts, pastes, and copies that text verbatim into policy papers declaring who poses terror risks in the US and who doesn’t; an administration so intent on exonerating Islamic terror that it relabels the Fort Hood massacre as simple “workplace violence” in clear contradiction to obvious fact

    –et cetera

    Does not suggest that this demonstrably anti-christian Democratic presidential administration (because, they think and believe EXACTLY as you do–which is why you voted for them in the first place, and what you see is what you got–) is at all credible when reporting to an ignorant and gullible public about who they should fear and who they shouldn’t.

    That the Tea Party is a “terrorist” organization.

    That those who buy a month’s supply of food are likely terrorists. Or buy two or more bottles of common household peroxide. Have a Ron Paul sticker on their vehicle. Support the 2nd Amendment. Possess guns. Attend church regularly, and on and on.

    Get it?

    All you’re doing is furthering idiotic propaganda.

    • Tay
      April 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      Dear Deluded,

      Tay,
      friend, listen. Your head bumps inconveniently against a roadblock of logic.

      Uhmmm Alexmartin… that whole logic thing, that’s what we use to get around a road block dear…

      What I see Alexmartin, is a pseudo-libertarian troll that hasn’t read all of his own ‘Christ’s’ words and would argue with a sign post if it supported his agenda. Get it?

      Your anger tastes good with my coffee thanks!

      I highly suggest you read up on yer boy Jebus there again and ALL of his so-called miracles and works. He ordered them not to change one word of the book of the law in the Old Testament my dear, he said he hadn’t come to change it and they were to keep the law, so you can’t claim your Christy Friends only follow him and his proscriptions without sinning, sorry fella you’re stuck with that nasty Old Testament, or you’re not a ‘real’ Christian, nice try though!

      According to your mythology, Jesus had a guys ear cut off with a sword, cursed a poor little ol fig tree for not bearing fruit causing it to wither and die(out of season I might add), ordered his disciples to ‘hate’ their mothers and fathers, abandon their families and follow only him, ordered them to pay full price for a salve because he needed it, etc… yeah nice guy… all love, kitties and puppies, rainbows, unicorns… but you ‘to the bone believers’ like to cherry pick over that stuff dontcha! Throw all that out for some loaves and fishes right? You betcha! I swear reading that stuff right there in yer own little mythology… I can’t fathom where you guys would all get the idea that it’s okay to act like a bunch of special snowflake assholes cause Jebus obviously never acted like that…
      /sarcasm off

      All you self-ascribed ‘true believers’ act like a bunch of whack jobs, oh wait… you believe in an imaginary sky daddy and that his poor sacrificed son died so you can all act like assholes and still be forgiven… so you are… whackjobs. Obama is one of you, ya dillweed, he went to one of them there cockamamy fire and brimstone churches… But let one of your whackjobs like Timothy McVeigh a professed Christian or Breivik, or the Army of God nutters I’ve had to deal with on more than one occasion, call attention to the depths of your insanity and all of you take a huge step back and say “That’s not in our book! He’s not one of us, that’s not Christian!” How convenient. Police your own then, stop yelling at unbelievers and clean up your act! Call them out in the real world and we’ll gladly back you up, but here you go acting just like them! I’ve seen up close and personal what you are and what you are is mentally deficient. However most of you do respond well to law enforcement with a command presence, probably due to the brainwashing…

      All you’re doing is furthering idiotic propaganda.

      You’re the ‘only’ idiot I see posting herein, your presumptions about my political affiliations and voting habits make that quite obvious. As I said, you’re a pseudo-libertarian. You can’t comprehend what you read and you’ve proven my points, your kind are unstable, illogical, irrational and uneducated and need to be dealt with.

      Thank you so much for the replies I was getting sad, I’ve been waiting to see how long it would take ‘you’ to answer considering I didn’t direct my reply ‘to’ your rambling rant of abject stupidity and you were the only troll here, at least you recognize yourself when referenced as such that gives me hope…
      /empty bait bucket

      It is written, whether you like it or not.

      Lots of garbage is written in books, like that FBI website you’re railing on about like a rabid dog up there in your reply, so why should your ‘writings’ be truth we have to accept that because you agree with it, but we’re not to accept the FBI study (note the pre-Obama dates in the study)?
      Here you go believing everything you read and I’m the one with the comprehension problem?

      Riddle me this Mr. Sunshine, why did the authors of your lovely mythology go to the ‘middle east,’ in the middle of a desert where the bulk of the population was uneducated, could neither read nor write, to disclose these awesome and wondrous miracles you speak of in this here book thingie where ‘IT IS WRITTEN’? When in Asia proper, oh let’s say China, those folks were educated, had scribes keeping histories, studying mathematics and so forth and would have been better suited to record and understand the so-called ‘miracles’ they were witnessing? I’ll give ya a clue Sir, *queue the circus clowns* Do you think Barnum was the first man to become aware of the fact that ‘There’s a sucker born every minute’ and suckers are very profitable? Seriously, do you need a proctologist that badly Mr. Martin?

      /here’s your chain back, I stretched it a bit yanking it, sorry.

      Have a nice day Mr. Martin

      *Hey Al, a bonafide troglodyte just called me a candy ass! LOL, I feel so ‘blessed’! *

  12. alexmartin
    April 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Then, Tay, you babbled something about “workers rights”. I wouldn’t know where to begin.

    I reside in Michigan. I am all for private-sector unions. The UAW, largely, is great for this state and for ensuring (at least historically) that workers are treated equitably and paid fairly. It’s because of P-S unions that you and I enjoy positive employer/-ee relations as we do today.

    No one wants to roll back the advances accrued by these unions.

    But don’t give me that rancid tripe about the suppression of public-sector unions and the dismantling of “worker rights”. If you are employed by government, you must allow government to first exist and remain solvent in order for that government to continue to supply you with the job you complain about.

    Asking a schoolteacher to contribute 2 or 3% to their health coverage or add a few bucks a month to their pension plan is not attacking “workers’ rights” — it’s fiscal sanity.

    Get a fucking grip.

    • Tay
      April 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      Get a fucking grip.

      Hold still

  13. alexmartin
    April 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Damn, Tay– do the rabid fanatical rant thing often, do you?
    Your very darn good at it, I might say.

    Hey, nit wit: I can be every bit as atheist or anti-religious as you ever thought you might want to try to want to be and still defend the falsely maligned against bullies like yourself whenever called for and, that’s right, yeah, I called you a bully. An ignoramus bully at that as well, as you can’t address the substance or the refutations of your claims I wrote and instead immediately went for the personal attacks, like a clown-faced bully, which you are accurately impersonating.

    Get off it.

    And your biblical hermeneutic?
    Lookahere, go back to the starting line, line up to the blocks, and start again. You failed miserably. Get some band-aids for your shins.

    (Timothy McVeigh was a christian! Guffaw and chortle! Check your fucking facts again, dolt, not what some other craphead vomited out for your over-eager delectation. You sicken me.)

    • Tay
      April 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      Hey how’s that bible study working out for ya, talk about fact checks, but here’s a little blast for ya there bullypulpit:

      alexmartin says:
      January 15, 2012 at 10:58 am

      What have emotions got to with anything?
      Ad hominem attacks are the favored tactic of the intellectually bereft.

      Pot, Kettle called, your ass wears black.

  14. alexmartin
    April 27, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Fair enough. But the difference here is that I first answered deftly, accurately, and correctly to all of your trite and hackneyed rhetorical sputum, and sloshed it all back at you.

    This is function over form. Learn from it.

    Having successfully and soundly trounced your ridiculous gutter snipe, I responded in kind to you personally.

    I think that may be allowed, under the circumstances.

    • Tay
      April 27, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      Having successfully and soundly trounced your ridiculous gutter snipe, I responded in kind to you personally.

      Trounced? Seriously? Deftly, ‘accurately’ and correctly answered my post? Only a troll would think that he could quote things out of his arse, citing no sources whatsoever and still think he trounced the other person. This is not a philosophical debate sweetie, we’re dealing with things ‘written’ here, cited facts remember? You set that bar right? Hackneyed rhetorical sputum? /hands Alex a mirror, you should probably take a look at yourself.

      You presume to insinuate that I ‘parrot’ others opinions all the while doing so yourself..

      How do we know for sure alexmartin is a troll, not worthy of anything more than our pity and scorn?

      Hey, nit wit: I can be every bit as atheist or anti-religious as you ever thought you might want to try to want to be

      You make this rant after coming to this blog crying and carrying on, all up in arms about your poor injured Christian sensitivities, you come back, make all chameleon like and now you want to be an atheist. You don’t have the intestinal fortitude much less the intellect to be an atheist, you’re far too disingenuous.

      All one has to do to ferret out the fact that you’re not only one of the most boring people on the internet, but one of the biggest trolls commenting, is to read the other blogs you comment on here on FTB, you always have to have the ‘last word’ and to your mind, that’s somehow a win. No darling, it means they’re bored and a troll is fun to argue with until something more interesting comes along. Kind of like a cat playing with its food.

      There is nothing to see here folks, move along…. Seriously alexmartin, take your meds and burn your strawmen.

  15. alexmartin
    April 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Fine, fine, fine, Tay. Be mollified.

    I have the last word as often as I do because dangerous, irresponsible lies are lobbed and bandied about around these here parts without challenge or accountability…. till I come along. And shut you down.

    Because wrong cannot ever be right. No matter how strenuously you labor to make it so.

    Just stop living a lie. You ever thought about THAT?

    • John Morales
      April 27, 2012 at 11:46 pm

      <snicker>

  16. Tay
    April 28, 2012 at 11:49 am

    till I come along. And shut you down.

    ^He’s so crazy he thinks he’s John Wayne Jesus!

  17. alexmartin
    April 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Yep, Tay, I’m crazy.
    But from the title of this thread on down to this minute, not a single claim that was made has stood up to basic scrutiny.

    Nothing you’ve said has made any sense, as I have shown you.

    It only took a crazy man to show it.

    • John Morales
      April 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      [meta]

      A crazy achievement, since it would take another crazy person to believe that crazy claim.

      (Unintentional humour is a by-product, so it’s not entirely pointless)

  18. alexmartin
    April 29, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Video killed the radio star.
    AM killed this stupid thread.

    • Tay
      April 29, 2012 at 9:54 am

      That’s okay sweetie, we understand you’re compensating for something, so if it makes you feel better to believe that you killed the thread. Then there ya go precious. My condolences to your mate.

  19. May 15, 2012 at 8:53 am
  20. September 28, 2012 at 8:00 am

    espy clark

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