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Atheist Community of Austin
How immoral are Christians

LGBT people want the right to marry the person they love, with whom they want to openly share their life with. Christians declare that this is an abomination and HOLY unacceptable and work to keep this from happening, overtly acting with selective religiously induced bigotry, discrimination, and oppression while simultaneously decrying any opposition as stomping on their freedom of religious expression. Christians want to be free to treat other human beings with disrespect and intolerance while hiding behind their religion as if that makes it alright. And they don't even have the decency to apply their God-given rules consistently. Where are the Christians decrying Red Lobster as ungodly? Where are the Christians trying to abolish working on the Sabbath as an abomination?

I can understand not liking a particular sexual practice or not being interested in promoting it but to actively attempt dominate and subjugate a class of people and then call anyone who champions basic human decency and the rights of all people to pursue happiness as stifling their right to religious intolerance and playing the victim card is despicable.

LGBT individuals getting married doesn't have any effect on heterosexual marriage--but divorce certainly does. Why aren't Christians trying to get divorce banned as an anti-marriage abomination? God doesn't like divorce. Jesus was particularly scathing. If Christians want to protect marriage then getting rid of divorce is the way to really do some good--for sufficiently small values of good, of course.

Do Christians actually believe that they have the freedom to oppress other people? Do Christians actually want to set the precedent that, if a religion decries a given practice, then it's unimpeachable to denounce it no matter how deplorable it is?

I'm sick to death of Christians and their bigoted self-righteous bullshit. Live and let live. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Treat people as you would want to be treated. Stop hiding behind your idea of religious freedom and accept that your behavior is vile.

Mark, you say you are sick to death of Christian bigoted and self-righteious bullshit live and let live and all that. I am curious, are you saying that your way is so much more tolerant telling them not to stand up for what they believe to be true. You think it is unfair but your response is the same. You say live and let live, but that seems like an uncritical statement made by an adolescent teen with very little world experience. I do not agree with a lot of what these religionist say or do, but when the irreligious are no different, then what do you expect. They have a problem with the secular and LBGT lifestyle and you have a problem with them. How are you any different? Theists, atheists, religious, irreligious, no matter who is dominant or in charge there really is no difference humans are still humans.

From: Dean Mark, you say you are sick to death of Christian bigoted and self-righteious bullshit live and let live and all that. I am curious, are you saying that your way is so much more tolerant telling them not to stand up for what they believe to be true. You think it is unfair but your response is the same.

Believe what you want to believe. I would hope that no person would hold a belief that they had not thoroughly examined and found to be logical, consistent, and beneficial--but I'm a dreamer. But acting on your belief, particularly one that is unfounded, unsupported, contradictory to basic human rights, and hypocritical, in a way that hurts other people is wrong. What would you say if Christians were actively trying to oppress and subjugate blacks because their holy texts declare that slavery is permitted?

The universal and absolute truth of the Biblical God is not evident, even among Christians, and to act as if it were so you, and only you have some god-given right to keep other people from pursing happiness is contrary to American ideals. Christians pick and choose which parts of their God's message to champion. The selection of the LGBT community as a target is not based upon any actual harm that they would do to Christians. Gay people marrying doesn't in any way affect heterosexual marriage. The fact that gays exist doesn't cause harm to heterosexuals.

I simply pointed this out and said that it is immoral to act on your religiously based bigotry and hatred. To do so is contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Again, I'm not saying they can't believe in asshole ideas and concepts but they must refrain from acting as if they are right to act on them to oppress other human beings.

Dean said:

You say live and let live, but that seems like an uncritical statement made by an adolescent teen with very little world experience. I do not agree with a lot of what these religionist say or do, but when the irreligious are no different, then what do you expect.

No different. I decry Christians acting on their beliefs to the detriment of other human beings. I did not actively begin a campaign to declare that anyone who possesses the capacity to oppress another human being should not be allowed to marry because then they might have children who will share their ideas. All Christians should not be allowed to hold any job, particularly those working with children, as that would lead to possibly influencing them to become a Christian, which, of course, is a continuation of the horror of Christianity. All Christians should be stoned to death. They are an abomination in the sight of any rational human being.

Dean said:

They have a problem with the secular and LBGT lifestyle and you have a problem with them. How are you any different? Theists, atheists, religious, irreligious, no matter who is dominant or in charge there really is no difference humans are still humans.

I'm a humanist who believes that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are there to protect everyone from oppression and they believe their God gives them the right to oppress anybody who doesn't believe like they do particularly those that have an "icky" lifestyle.

As Matt D. says, "your right to swing your arms ends at my nose." Believe what you want. Denounce homosexuality as against your religion. But don't try to declare your beliefs as universal truths and then actively pursue ways to hurt other people.

How do YOU determine what is moral or immoral? What are you basing your moral beliefs on?

Most atheists would base it on harm. So: following Yahweh's command to kill "witches" (harmful), but same-sex marriage (not harmful).

Don,

You seem to favor ethical consequentialism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequentialism

But why do you think it's the best way to approach morality? What about deontology or virtue ethics? E.g., a samurai who commits harakiri is, apparently, not driven by the harm consideration, but rather by some sense of duty (deontology). Same with a soldier who is given orders to kill. Those seem to be valid approaches to morality in some situations. How do you determine which approach to take and how would you convince a deontologist that consequentialism is better?

I think you're putting words in my mouth. I do not believe that "the ends justify the means".

I would argue for understanding that actions have consequences and that personal responsibility for one's actions is important.

Jonathan Haidt in his "The Righteous Mind" identified six primary moral virtues and argued that most moral debates are ultimately about their relative importance to the individual. I don't have an issue with some thinking that honor or purity is important to them, but I draw the line at harm to others. That is, I wouldn't make such an argument as I feel it wouldn't be fruitful.

Don,

I didn't mean "consequentialism" in a bad sense. All of these moral paradigms can be taken to absurd extremes.

I'm glad you are quoting Haidt. I haven't read the book, but I have watched a couple of his TED talks like this one

http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html

I think, he illustrates very well the role of conservatism and liberalism in society. Both seem to be necessary like inheritance and mutations are both necessary for evolution.

I completely share his attitude towards religion. He tries to understand it rather than condemn as useless and harmful. The point he makes in this video seems to be related to that research article you referred to some time ago where harm from religion was traced to the dualistic "us vs. them" worldview.

I'm curious how many people Christianity would have to kill before you would consider it useless or harmful.

Isn't a willingness to kill for a god one of the measures of the harm of that religion? What is your faith number? (http://www.atheist-community.org/library/articles/read.php?id=747) Combine the willingness to kill for a god and the lack of any substantial evidence for any god, and it adds up to gratuitous killing combined with a complete lack of responsibility: "God told us to do it. Got Mitt Uns!"

Don Baker Said: I'm curious how many people Christianity would have to kill before you would consider it useless or harmful.

MV said: Perhaps this is not such a bad idea. It just sucks to be on the receiving end. If we could devise a way to limit that harm towards Christians/Muslims only, then perhaps we could make their God work for us. We could say "the invisible hand of God solved this problems for us".

MV Said: If we could devise a way to limit that harm towards Christians/Muslims only, then perhaps we could make their God work for us.

Chuck Says: Focusing that harm upon Christians was tried long ago by throwing the Christians to the lions. Look how that turned out. - - - The whole thing backfired. The USA is just crawling with Christians.

Education is the key. With the rise of high speed electronic communications, especially the internet, the "nones" are rapidly ascending.

These people do not need to be harmed. Their education is lacking.

There but for the grace of Darwin go you, MV.

CHUCK SAYS: "Focusing that harm upon Christians was tried long ago by throwing the Christians to the lions. Look how that turned out. - - - The whole thing backfired. The USA is just crawling with Christians. Education is the key. With the rise of high speed electronic communications, especially the internet, the "nones" are rapidly ascending."

LINDA SAID: Maybe you should try some of that education yourself. As much as Christians want to promote the idea that they have been persecuted, no record exists of the Romans executing or (throwing to the lions) any Christians in the Colosseum. The Colosseum was built by Jewish slaves who were captured and brought to Rome after the temple in Jerusalem destroyed.

The gladiators (who were armed with weapons) did fight wild animals from Africa in the Colosseum in front of huge audiences who loved the violence and gore, just like they still love it today, are you ready for some football?

Historians believe the stories of Christians being thrown to lions as martyrs was invented, and even though there are no written records of Christians being martyred in the Colosseum, it remains a holy site for the Church.

There are also stories that underground catacombs were used as hiding places for Christians escaping persecution. But historians discovered that there were detailed blueprints showing the layout of the catacombs. The Romans knew where all the entrances were. impossible for anyone to hide in a catacomb for long. If Christians had tried to hide there they would have easily been discovered.

Christians were buried in the catacombs because in ancient Rome burial was not allowed within the city walls. Romans were cremated but Christians were buried outside the city walls in the catacombs.

Mussolini gave control of the catacombs to the Catholic Church in 1929 so they are in charge of maintaining the sites now.

The book of Revelation is the last book of the Bible written by St. John. Revelation is all about the destruction of Rome. The number of the beast, 666, is the number of the name Nero in Jewish numerology. The beast with seven heads and seven horns is Rome, under their seventh emperor, Nero (seven heads), and built upon seven hills (seven horns).Nero believed that the Christians read this apocalyptic prophecy and burned Rome in order to fulfill the prophecy of St. John.

Modern historians believe Nero was right the Christians burned Rome. Nero ordered the arrest and execution of many Christians. Most of the persecution attested to by Christians was during this short phase of Roman history.

Don,

I'm curious how many people need to be killed for social equality before you would consider it useless or harmful.

Isn't a willingness to kill for social equality (liberty/human rights/democracy/communism/capitalism) one of the measures of the harm of that particular idea? Combine the willingness to kill for social equality and the lack of any substantial evidence for equality in society, and it adds up to gratuitous killing combined with a complete lack of responsibility.

This rhetoric can be applied to any idea you happen to disagree with. People use all kinds of pretexts and justifications to kill other people. Why do you single out religion?

Remember, during Chinese cultural revolution, they exterminated sparrows because sparrows were eating crops? Sparrows stopped eating crops, but the crops were destroyed by insects which sparrows happened to kill as well. Have you asked yourself, why each and every civilization in the world developed religion at some point? What is the role of religion in society? You might agree that society in many aspects is like an ecological system. You eliminate what you think to be a pest and it pulls a chain of not so desired changes in the systems. Are you sure you completely understand why religion exists and what role it plays in society?

I don't know of anyone killing FOR social equality. They might be killing to fight their oppressors. I think this is a bad analogy.

I single out Christianity because it's a proven broken model of the world with a guidebook that's a genocide manual. Its adherents have killed millions in the name of the religion.

I know of no benefit religion provides that couldn't be gained by secular means. Yet, a gleeful willingness to kill "infidels", Jews, witches, homosexuals, etc. is part and parcel of Christianity.

Don Baker: I don't know of anyone killing FOR social equality. They might be killing to fight their oppressors. I think this is a bad analogy.

MV: I like this line of thinking. Then according to this line of thinking; People in Russia in the beginning of 20th century killed their opressors during the revolution who opressed them into social inequality?

MV, I don't know the specifics of that war. There are certainly non-religious wars, often fought over resources. Wars over ideology are close cousins, in my opinion, to religious wars. Thought has gone out the window and the "other" is painted as inhuman.

The carnage of the French revolution was done under the slogan "Liberty, equality, fraternity". By the way, it was a secular carnage.

I know of no atrocity committed by Christians that couldn't be committed for secular reasons.

Willingness to kill "infidels" does not seem to be a definition of being religious or Christian. I think, in your thesis "religion causes harm", you suffer from a huge confirmation bias. There are plenty of instances when religion does not cause harm and plenty of instances when harm is being done without religious motives.

Boy. We are not on the same page at all.

Do you agree that beliefs inform actions? Do you agree that if you honestly believe you will be tortured by a god for disobedience and that god wants you to kill people, that you will be very likely to do so?

Yes, there has been secular carnage. I never said that all evil is religious, nor did I say that religion is all bad. If we were so obvious, nobody would follow it. Yet, here we are in the 21st century, giving tax breaks, immunity from prosecution, and other perks to a "nation" that is little more than a pedophile crime ring. I'm curious whether you think the victims of the Catholic priests were not harmed, or whether you can identify any other international crime ring with tens of thousands of victims over many decades to which we give a free pass for these things. Or maybe you think that the Catholic church has nothing to do with religion.

I've pointed out that "witch burning" is a religious phenomenon that hurt people. If you're looking for something more basic to blame, how about believing anything based on crappy evidence. "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." But that is part and parcel of religion. But witch burning is mostly a Christian phenomenon. Protestants and Catholics. Endless stupid carnage and mindless excusing of the harm involved.

I'm curious why Christians stopped doing this if it wasn't harmful. I guess "God's Absolute Morality" suddenly did a 180.

I've pointed out this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_war . Take a look at the 30 years war. It's a religious war. Nobody debates that. Look at the mortality rate. There is no "secular" war that comes close to the carnage of religious wars. Let's add up the numbers and compare the harm.

Here's 100 Bible verses about idolatry (http://www.openbible.info/topics/idolatry). Notice the number of times believers are commanded to kill the idolators. Do you not see that Bible verses are religious, or do you think that killing people is not harmful?

The sad fact is that Christian history is loaded with believers being brutal murderous thugs to non believers. This is still going on today, though you choose to deny it.

So yes, the Catholic church runs a few soup kitchens and has a few hospitals. So did the Nazis. A few good deeds doesn't even come close to tipping the scales. Christians do have a good marketing department. I don't know of any Christians who feel any sense of responsibility for the harm their beliefs have wrought on the world. Those that do, become atheists pretty quickly. I guess the rest believe the false marketing.

If you really are a good person, why do you let this evil institution ride on your coattails?

I agree that beliefs inform actions. I also agree that if I honestly believe that I will be tortured by a god for disobedience and that god wants me to kill people, I will be very likely to do so.

But here you discuss specific religious beliefs. That's the right approach. It does seem to me that belief in hell, eternal punishment, and division of the world into "good" (us) and "evil" (them) IS the cause of the violence. I don't deny it.

But there are other religious beliefs. E.g. what's the harm of believing in a loving and forgiving God and trying to model one's character in that image? I myself do not quite understand how some Christians manage to combine this image of God with belief in hell and eternal torture.

"What's the harm of believing in a loving and forgiving God and trying to model one's character in that image?"

There's nothing wrong with having ideals.

If you call the god of the Bible "loving and forgiving", I don't see it. Let's be clear: you're projecting your own desires and ideals onto a genocide manual. Wouldn't it be better to ditch the genocide manual and have a purer expression of your own desires and ideals? What is gained here?

What strikes me as strange is that people who oppose religion, oppose the whole concept - all religions, all beliefs, all aspects of religions. I think, this is an epitome of unjustified generalization. It's similar to claiming that all Mexicans are criminal after reading a news article about a Mexican drug cartel. I can understand if you try to analyze what specific religious beliefs and practices lead to violence. But that's not what you do.

I'm also trying to point out (without much success) that beliefs and practices which DO lead to violence are not, necessarily, religious in their nature. Secular people may also have these beliefs and commit exact same things as religious people. So, getting rid of religion without understanding which part of it causes violence and why will not eliminate these beliefs and practices and will not eliminate violence. And if we understand which beliefs and practices do lead to violence, it is possible to oppose these beliefs and practices without opposing religion as a whole.

What seems very fascinating and interesting to me is that whenever people try to do this (identify "harmful beliefs"), they step into the same shit and end up committing atrocities all over again. Jews believed that pagans had wicked rituals of child sacrifices, shrine prostitution, etc. which gave them the moral authority to wipe out the nations of Canaan (at least, according to the Bible. Let's take it at face value without discussing if it really happened. Wiping out the nations of Canaan still seems to happen today, so it's not really "history" or "fiction"). Early Christianity may have started as an opposition to hypocrisy and corruption of Pharisees, with ideas of forgiveness and following the law "in spirit" rather than "to the letter". But then Christians labeled people with harmful beliefs as witches and heretics which led to witch burning and Inquisition. Now New Atheists are in at the forefront of "fighting harmful beliefs".

Did it cross your mind that, may be, it's the very practice of labeling other people's beliefs as "harmful" that causes harm? Why do people have to repeat their folly "as dog returns to its vomit"?

"I can understand if you try to analyze what specific religious beliefs and practices lead to violence." This is a valid criticism, so here you go.

FAITH. I don't know of a religion that doesn't need it and I don't know of any secular alternative that does. Faith is belief without evidence. There are many more ways to be be wrong than to be right. So faith is NECESSARILY a path to wrong. Wrong beliefs cause harm. QED.

WORSHIP. Most religions require worship of some deity. In fact, you can't get a religious tax exemption without some sort of worship component. Worship NECESSARILY puts the worshiper in a subservient position. But wait! We have no evidence of any gods, so what exactly are they mindlessly following? The made up god of some religious leader, of course. This is just one step away from mindlessly following the religious leader. In fact, it's impossible to tell the difference because there is no god in objective reality (or we wouldn't be debating about them). So worship is a path to mass manipulation. Mass manipulation causes harm. QED.

I have many more, but feel free to poke holes in those.

"I'm also trying to point out (without much success) that beliefs and practices which DO lead to violence are not, necessarily, religious in their nature." I have agreed with this statement many times.

Again, "By their fruits, ye shall know them". If a religious belief leads to atrocities, isn't that a valid way to judge the religion? Or is the game here to count only the hits but ignore the misses? Oh, and yes, I'll give Christians credit for the soup kitchens.

Do you really think that my speaking out against the lack of responsibility of the Catholic church's child molestation scandal is a cause of harm in the world? If you do, I think you're just trying to excuse the abuses of your religion. Unlike the Catholics, atheists want the criticism of our actions. We don't have any tenet like "Judge not, lest ye be judged." That's that path to abuse. We value criticism as a mechanism to keep everyone honest.

AG Said: Remember, during Chinese Cultural Revolution, they exterminated sparrows because sparrows were eating crops? Sparrows stopped eating crops, but the crops were destroyed by insects which sparrows happened to kill as well.

Chuck Says: Yes, these halfwits were guided by Mao's Little Red Book. Such a little book does not have room for the thoughts of (for example) Rachel Carson.

This is obsessive obedience to authority. This is the cult of personality. Current goings-on in North Korea are similar. The leaders of China and North Korea developed reputations of mythic proportions. This is similar to religion, and similar to belief in the supernatural.

Trofim Lysenko practiced a kind of "science" that was more voodoo and political ideology than real science.

Stalin, Mao, and Kim Jong-un practiced an ideology that contained a little bit of Communism, and a boatload of murderous despotism.

This, apparently, fueled the spread of Communism in the twentieth century. People enjoy being murderous despots, or supporting murderous despots. It gives them a feeling of power.

Chuck,

You are pointing out commonalities between religion and communist regimes. Which is a right thing to do instead of condemning religion as a whole. And, by the way, these commonalities do not include the belief in supernatural because this is, actually, the difference between religion and communist regimes. All reasoning points that belief in God alone is NOT the cause of these atrocities. It's something else - blind submission to authority, dogmatism, for example.

AG Said: All reasoning points that belief in God alone is NOT the cause of these atrocities. It's something else - blind submission to authority, dogmatism, for example.

Chuck Says: Yes, blind submission and dogmatism all too often result in atrocities.

Skepticism, rationality, and the scientific method tend to undermine and debunk the practice of blind submission to authority. Skepticism is democratic by nature, and it encourages educating and enlightening people in general. Skepticism welcomes understanding and argument.

Most religions incorporate a belief in the supernatural. This helps the religion to create a blind submission to authority.

Over thousands of years, submission to authority has helped to build civilizations. Blind submission authority is dysfunctional in that it creates a civilization that is out of control. Then atrocities happen.

Along with other Popes, Francis wants everyone to blindly submit to authority:

http://tinyurl.com/krwye68

The atrocities that the Catholics perpetrate include the ongoing rape of children (and coverup), and the banning of condoms in AIDS-ridden Africa.

Francis wants us to believe that ignorance is strength. George Orwell warned us about deceivers like Francis.

Re: "Over thousands of years, submission to authority has helped to build civilizations. Blind submission authority is dysfunctional in that it creates a civilization that is out of control. Then atrocities happen."

Don't you think that submission to authority is necessary for a civilized society? Is anarchy "functional"? Submission to corrupt authority *may* lead to atrocities. Submission to the rule of a wise ruler may lead to prosperity. Rebelling against corrupt authority may also lead to atrocities (e.g. French revolution or, even, current events in Ukraine). The trick is to tell a corrupt authority from wise and benevolent. Paraphrasing Ecclesiastes, "There is time for everything" - time to submit to authority and time to question authority; there is time to trust and time to doubt.

There is plenty of "submission to authority" in science and many scientists hold their scientific principles and beliefs close to their heart and won't let anyone question them. So, I disagree that science is a remedy to submission to authority.

I believe, what Francis refers to is that there are silly questions that are not to be asked or answered. Too much of a doubt can cause anxiety, unrest, lack of trust to each other, and can equally lead to violence.

By the way, current events in Ukraine are not caused by religion. In fact, many priests were on barricades calling to stop violence and there are videos where a priest is calling to an angry crowd to forgive the police forces who took part in actions against protesters, but then repented, came to their home town, and asked forgiveness from their fellow citizens.

My point is that I don't see any consistent patterns of religion or submission to authority inevitably leading to violence. (Forgive me doubting the dogma of atheists that religion causes harm).

Ag Asked: Don't you think that submission to authority is necessary for a civilized society?

Chuck Answers: Only to some degree - - - .

AG Said: There is plenty of "submission to authority" in science and many scientists hold their scientific principles and beliefs close to their heart and won't let anyone question them. So, I disagree that science is a remedy to submission to authority.

Chuck Says: No, science, engineering and technology are the most rapidly advancing aspects of human culture today. They are advancing far more rapidly than Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism. In many areas of the world, Islam is advancing backwards into anarchy. Violent, murderous, oppressive anarchy.

Max Planck expressed his frustration, saying: "science advances one funeral at a time". - - - This was many decades ago, and before scientific advancement reached today's fevered pitch.

Science is one of the best remedies to the submission to authority. It is joined by humanism, skepticism, rationality, empiricism, and by non-trivial Atheism. All of these help to undermine and debunk blind obedience to authority.

By non-trivial Atheism, I mean Atheism that is supported and explained by knowledge, insight, and logic. The Atheism that was promoted in the Soviet Union was (I am guessing) based largely upon dogma and indoctrination.

Becoming an Atheist for trivial reasons is not especially helpful.

Also, since the evidence for belief in the supernatural is ancient, incomplete, and often supported by emotional arguments, such supernatural beliefs are being undermined and debunked by the more rational ways of thinking listed above.

The battle lines are being drawn between skepticism and gullibility. Atheism is rapidly gaining ground, but this is Dawkins-style Atheism, not Soviet-style Atheism.

As rationality continues to lay siege to theism all over the world, the Theists continue to howl, cry, lie, and make ideological war. Instead, they should be studying and learning.

The Theists are fighting against the coming of the Apocalypse, the revelation, the lifting of the veil, the ending of gullibility and credulity.

How ironic! - - - They are being left behind.

AG Said: I believe, what Francis refers to is that there are silly questions that are not to be asked or answered.

Chuck Says: Yes, Francis wanted you to believe that. Francis is a con artist, and you are a sucker.

The headline of his homily is a warning against curiosity. Then Francis introduces the topic of curiosity.

That is as far as it goes with "curiosity". This is a bait-and-switch scam. This is also known as the "strawman argument".

The rest of the homily consists of Francis describing how we all should avoid wasting our time with trivialities, with gossip, and with talking too much.

So what happened to "curiosity"? It was all just a scam. Triviality and curiosity are not at all the same things. Since Francis cannot prepare a good argument that we should avoid curiosity, he pretends that it is the same as triviality, and then tells us to avoid triviality. It's a strawman.

He expects faithful Catholics to believe this crap, and many will. He got you good, AG and this is because of your sentimental attachment to Christianity.

And why do you have such a sentimental attachment to Christianity? It's because of the previous specious and emotionally-charged arguments that you have been subject to and that you have believed.

And the circle is complete. You believe because of your feelings, and your feelings are such because of your beliefs. Round and round she goes. Where she stops, nobody knows.

And previously, you have shown us your fondness for paradox and contradiction. What's puzzling you is just the nature of their game.

So why is Francis warning the world against "curiosity"? It is because of widespread curiosity about the pedophile priests and the ongoing coverup of such crimes.

http://tinyurl.com/kw7o8lc

There are many other examples of the Church's corrupt and immoral behavior. You must refrain from being curious in order to perpetuate the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

AG, you tell us that you participate in the ACA forums to test your faith. Are you ready to knuckle under to Francis's "Divine Pronouncements"?

Are you ready to abandon your search just because a guy in an expensive hat recommends that you should not be curious?

Go ahead. Tell me. I'm curious - - -

Ag Said: There is plenty of "submission to authority" in science and many scientists hold their scientific principles and beliefs close to their heart - - -

Chuck Says: Hmm. - - - Sounds like a personal problem to me.

The scientific tradition has developed many strategies to counter superstition, emotion, blind obedience to authority, etc.

Consider these three examples:

Linus Pauling wanted to convince the world that large doses of vitamin C would cure the common cold. Evidence soon showed that this is not true. Pauling's eminence and authority did not carry the day. Evidence did.

William Shockley:

http://tinyurl.com/n4r7zsh

Had worldwide respect and admiration for his part in inventing the transistor. This did not allow him to convince scientists that his ideas about race, genetics, and eugenics were actually correct. Arguments from authority did not lend Shockley much credibility.

Fleischmann and Pons:

http://tinyurl.com/2mj7q

Created a media sensation when they announced their cold fusion experiments. The news was not as sensational within the scientific community, however. Attempts in other laboratories to reproduce the cold fusion process failed. The errors and incompetence were exposed. The truth was published. http://tinyurl.com/n3xr5cm

Science has gotten very good at detecting and exposing fraud and error. Western science excels at discovering and publishing the truth. The "cult of personality" has little influence.

Science is true because scientists work hard to make it true. Religion is false because theologians work hard to make it appear to be true.

So what can be done about ignorant deceivers like Francis? - - - Why is Francis the way that he is?

Education is the key.

Francis's education and career in the Catholic Church is really a miseducation. The teachings of the Catholic church are full of lies, fraud, ancient superstitions, ignorance, arrogance, hate, and many other human failings and sins.

The explanation for Francis's evil and vicious thoughts and behavior is that he has a compartmentalized mind. The various thoughts and ideas in Francis's mind do not come into direct contact with each other. They are separated by walls of politics, dogma and propaganda, which make absurdities credible to this evil man.

A "compartmentalized mind" is also George Orwell's "doublethink". The top Catholic leaders specialize in "doubletalk".

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Francis's evil consists of his willingness to be credulous and deceitful at the same time. His hate and contempt for human individuals and the human race in general is matched by his deep, heartfelt, and passionately sincere love for the human race and all human individuals.

War is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength in the Catholic Church. If these concepts are confusing to you, don't worry, and don't be curious. It's all just wonderful proof that God works in mysterious ways.

So could Francis be educated to become honest, sincere, and respectful to other members of the Human Race?

Yes, but many barriers have been constructed to prevent popes (or other world leaders) from becoming wise, honest, insightful, moral human beings. The necessities of politics and power erect these barriers.

As such, it is unlikely that Pope Francis will become a moral human being.

Morality and love for the Human Race are anathema to Catholic leadership. Only the very best haters, deceivers, and clueless fools are fit to rise to the highest ranks in the Catholic Church.

Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.

What does the Pope think of these ideas? - - - Apparently, not much.

Francis does not give a goddamn.

Francis needs to wise up.

AG Said: By the way, current events in Ukraine are not caused by religion.

Chuck Says: What, not caused by religion? - - - Stop trying to sell us your religious and political propaganda. Religion is one of the important cultural influences on the people and politics of this area of the world. Its influence helps to define who the Russians and Ukrainians are.

"Current events in Ukraine are caused by soil, rainfall, and climate."

It is easy to prove that this is true.

Are similar events now taking place in the middle of the Sahara desert, or at the South Pole in Antarctica? Are they likely to take place in those locations in the near future?

The answer is no. The soil, rainfall and climate prevent such current events from unfolding in various places on Earth.

"What is Fate?" Nasrudin was asked by a Scholar. "An endless succession of intertwined events, each influencing the other." "That is hardly a satisfactory answer. I believe in cause and effect." "Very well," said the Mulla, "look at that." He pointed to a procession passing in the street." "That man is being taken to be hanged. Is that because someone gave him a silver piece and enabled him to buy the knife with which he committed the murder; or because someone saw him do it; or because nobody stopped him?" I mention these things to show you that your original "not caused by religion" statement is a product of your compartmentalized mind.

Stop trying to "prove" things in a way that suits your political prejudices. Instead, examine things and understand things. Is this a new way of thinking to you? Is it too strange for you to comprehend? Don't let it be too strange. - - - Make use of it.

AG Said: I don't see any consistent patterns of religion or submission to authority inevitably leading to violence.

Chuck Says: I don't see any consistent patterns of drunk driving or refusal to wear seat belts inevitably leading to death or dismemberment.

See? Your political propaganda is fatuous. Did you score some debater's points with yourself with that one? - - - You didn't score any with me. Your statement does not comment on religion or submission to authority. It is a way of deceiving by using words in a tricky way.

AG, when you write such statements, you present yourself as a crooked politician or a used-car salesman.

You have a used-religion for sale. I remain a skeptical customer. I am not interested in buying any belief in the supernatural.

AG Said: (Forgive me doubting the dogma of atheists that religion causes harm).

Chuck Says: That religion causes harm is historical fact, and it is just common sense. Atheism causes harm. Eating hard-boiled eggs causes harm. Tying your shoelace causes harm. - - - Spare me your ridiculous rhetoric.

There are many observations and statements of fact, which are true, but trivial. Say something to me, which is non-trivial. Do not try to engage me in trivial debates. Such an attempt is a subterfuge.

Here, you are trying to cause an emotional reaction by presenting a statement, which is trivial and absurd. When you can't persuade by logic and fact, you start talking trash.

Your statement above shows your myopia, tunnel vision, poor memory, and lack of insight. There are more things in heaven and earth, AG, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

"What is Fate?" Nasrudin was asked by a Scholar. "An endless succession of intertwined events, each influencing the other." "That is hardly a satisfactory answer. I believe in cause and effect." "Very well," said the Mulla, "look at that." He pointed to a procession passing in the street." "That man is being taken to be hanged. Is that because someone gave him a silver piece and enabled him to buy the knife with which he committed the murder; or because someone saw him do it; or because nobody stopped him?"

AG Said: Don't you think that submission to authority is necessary for a civilized society?

Chuck Says: The authorities that you refer to are people and groups of people who are political leaders. Political parties and the cult of personality produce defective politics and dysfunctional authority.

Science does better than that. Science uses truth as its authority.

This is certainly a direction that politics should take, using rationalism and skepticism to guide politics towards truth.

Science is true because scientists work hard to make it true.

Politics is (all too often) false because politicians work hard to make it appear to be true.

It's no mystery to me why people are often cautioned to avoid discussing politics or religion.

The answer is simply that both politics and religion contain a substantial content of deceit, vanity, malice, and a lust for power.

When the truth is held in high regard, people get along better, and progress is made.

"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Matt 7:20. I guess you're saying that was wrong.

FROM LINDA:

There is no relationship between religion and a political system. Some countries may merge religion & a political system but it is still two separate things, and there's a big difference in overthrowing a tyrannical system in order to be free and a military campaign or Crusade to force Christianity on the whole world.

The American revolution was about the rule of the King of England over the colonists. There was a long list of his violations of American colonists' civil, political, and human rights and they declared this absolute tyranny in the Declaration of Independence. This was a justified revolution - even though it violated the bible teaching that people should not oppose their King. The King turned a deaf ear to the people. The American revolution was about the colonists printing their own money - it wasn't about tea. The American colonists declared themselves an independent state, and the British attacked them. The American revolution was not a Crusade. The American Republic was based on Enlightenment ideas.

France also had a revolution because of the conditions they were living in under an absolute Monarchy, and most people were denied any rights and many of them were in debtors prison or starving. Throughout the 19th century, Russian Czars attempted to keep people living in abject poverty while they lived in unbelievable luxury. There was a series of revolts over these conditions. Their revolution was also about the freedom of the people. These revolutions were declarations of legitimacy in the sovereignty of the people, which was a new political concept. The concept of a people's republic was the theme throughout these revolutions. That is a far cry from the Crusades, which were a series of holy wars against any other religion, that were fought by religious fanatics, and launched by Kings and popes.

The idea that "all men are created equal" (in my opinion) refers to the idea of divine rule or royalty being based on a false premise. Because if all men are equal we all have the same rights. It's the idea that legitimate governments are based on the consent of the governed and exist to serve them - not the other way around.

However, the amalgamation of government, religion, and corporate interests is a new kind of tyranny.

It's important that thinking people prevail in the argument over whether being gay is a choice. When I finally took the time to think about it, and after noticing that apparently not a single gay person was ever "turned" by those camps or conventions they used to hold, and especially after learning that it's been 30 years since psychiatrists considered being gay not to be a mental illness or defect, it's so obvious that being gay is like being born left-handed, or male or female. It just is, it's nature and there's nothing anyone can do about it. If we could take this argument away from the Fundamentalists (but they will NEVER give in, I suspect), much of their momentum can be stopped. When you hear about the Christian Coalition's Pat Robertson wanting to execute or at least imprison gays (along with adulterers and pornographers), it's time to realize that we have millions of people in THIS country who want to impose their version of "Sharia" law on us. For this reason, I've said for a long time now that Christian Fundamentalism poses a much greater security and socio-political risk to this country than the Islamic brand ever did. They do not want you to be free. Their definition of freedom is to think and act like they do or be cast out. And by the way, they also want to limit the right to vote to male Christians. This would all be funny if it weren't so troubling. We have to keep fighting, it's all we will ever have.

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From the officers:

The audio and video from Steve Bratteng's July 13th lecture are now available.