Thursday, August 10, 2006

Discrimination Against Atheists: The Factoids

Yesterday, the Christian CADRE posted a little piece that’s getting some buzz in the blogosphere:

http://christiancadre.blogspot.com/2006/08/prejudice-against-atheists.html

Triablogue has a link to the CADRE because it’s one of the best epologetic resources around.

The CADRE post took its info from the following article:

Discrimination Against Atheists: The Facts

http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/downey_24_4.htm

Now, if we track back to the original article, this is some of what we find:

***QUOTE***

In 1995, the United Nations Non-Governmental Organization Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief invited me to submit information on discrimination against atheists by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The committee’s mission was to record and monitor incidents of intolerance around the world. I was told that my findings would be published in the committee’s final report only if the cases I documented were grievous by its standards. The committee quickly recognized that Scouting’s discrimination against atheists was no less severe than its far more widely reported discrimination against gays. A synopsis of my findings was included in the committee’s published report.

***END-QUOTE***

So what we’re really talking about is not discrimination against unbelievers. To the contrary, what we’re really talking about is the iron-fisted attempt of the UN to pass international laws which discriminate against the Boy Scout's Constitutional right to exercise its freedom of assembly.

And leading the charge is the homosexual lobby as well as militant atheists of the ACLU variety.

For the other side of the story, which the Council for Secular Humanism didn’t give, and which, unfortunately, the CADRE post failed to counterbalance as well, here’s some background info from the SCOTUS case of 2000 as well as articles by Hans Zeiger:

http://supreme.justia.com/us/530/640/case.html

http://www.hanszeiger.net/id2.html

http://www.reaganchildren.com/serendipity/

Continuing with the original article:

***QUOTE***

Shortly afterward, the same UN committee asked me to assess other incidents of discrimination—in particular, what forms of discrimination were of greatest concern within the U.S. atheist community. During the following year, I conducted numerous interviews and discovered multiple instances of discrimination. In 1998, I delivered a personal report to the committee, noting that bigotry against atheists was relatively common, much of it based in popular misunderstandings of the U.S. Constitution’s secular character and its intent to protect minorities against majority rule. I reported that, with respect to the atheist community, the United States was not in compliance with the 1981 United Nations “Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.”

***END-QUOTE***

In other words, all forms of intolerance and discrimination against sodomites or infidels should be eliminated, to be replaced with legalized discrimination against organizations like the BSA.

And, of course, from the morally enlightened viewpoint of the UN, the United States is always the villain of choice.

Continuing:

***QUOTE***

During 1998, Dr. Abdelfattah Amor, Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, toured the United States and visited some of the families mentioned in my report.

***END-QUOTE***

As if the above-stated duplicity were insufficient, the specter of a Tunisian Muslim monitoring the state of religious intolerance in America taps into an especially rich vein of hypocrisy.

In the interests of restoring perspective, here’s a recent report from the State Dept. on the state of religious tolerance in Dr. Amor’s home country:

***QUOTE***

The Constitution provides for the free exercise of religions that do not disturb the public order, and the Government generally respects this right; however, there were some restrictions on religious freedom. The Constitution declares that Islam is the official state religion, and the President must be Muslim. The Government does not permit the establishment of political parties on the basis of religion and prohibits proselytizing. It restricts the wearing of Islamic headscarves (hijab) in government offices and it discourages women from wearing the hijab on public streets and at certain public gatherings.

Notwithstanding the reopening of the church in Djerba mentioned above, the Government generally did not permit Christian groups to establish new churches, and proselytizing is viewed as an illegal act against public order. Foreign missionary organizations and groups were active; however, they are not permitted to proselytize. Theoretically, authorities deport foreigners suspected of proselytizing and do not permit them to return, but there were reports that the Government preferred to deny suspected missionaries visa renewal not or to pressure their employers not to extend their contracts.


Religious groups are subjected to the same restrictions on freedom of speech and the press as secular groups. Primary among these restrictions is "dépôt légal," which requires that printers and publishers provide copies of all publications except printed news media to Ministry of Interior censors prior to publication. For publications printed abroad, distributors must deposit copies with the Chief Prosecutor and other ministries prior to their public release. Although Christian groups reported that they were able to distribute previously approved religious publications in European languages without difficulty, they said the Government generally did not grant permission to publish and distribute Arabic-language Christian texts. Moreover, the Government allowed only established churches to distribute religious publications to parishioners. It considered other groups' distribution of religious documents to be an illegal "threat to public order."

Customary law based on Shari'a forbids Muslim women from marrying outside their religion. Marriages of Muslim women to non-Muslim men abroad are considered common law unions and thus void when the couple returns to the country. The Government does not permit the marriage of Muslim women to non-Muslim men inside the country; however, if a man converts to Islam, he may marry a Muslim woman. Muslim men and non-Muslim women who are married may not inherit from each other, and children from those marriages (all of whom the Government considers to be Muslim) cannot inherit from their mothers.

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2005/51611.htm

***END-QUOTE***

Continuing with the original article:

***QUOTE***

In 1999, I developed the Discrimination Narrative Collection Form (DNCF), an easy-to-complete incident description form which I released to every national humanist, freethought, and atheist organization. The Council for Secular Humanism was first to publish the DNCF, in its newsletter Secular Humanist Bulletin.5 In 2000, I mass-mailed the form to atheist, humanist, and freethought groups nationwide. In addition, I circulated it at every movement conference I have attended since 2000. At those events, I heard many personal accounts of discrimination. But persuading victims to put their experience on paper was sometimes difficult.

***END-QUOTE***

This is about as impartial as polling the KKK on Condi Rice’s job performance.

Continuing:

***QUOTE***

These obstacles notwithstanding, I eventually compiled hundreds of incident reports (selected reports are summarized in the sidebars to this article). The actual case reports reside in an ADSN master file that is not available to the general public.

***END-QUOTE***

Did you catch that sneaky little disclaimer? The actual “incident” reports are not available to the general public.

***QUOTE***

Still, even without access to the material in my files, discrimination against atheists is easily documented. National atheist and freethought publications frequently report on atheists losing their jobs, facing abusive family situations, being subjected to organized shunning campaigns in their communities, receiving death threats, and the like.

***END-QUOTE***

1. Easy to document what? “Reports.” No investigations. Just “reports.”

2. And while we’re on the subject of reported incidents of discriminating, why not balance the scales by spending a little time over at the aclj.org, in which you’ll find abundant documentation of discrimination against Christians by unbelievers.

Continuing:

***QUOTE***

Had Grothe and Dacey contacted me before writing their article, I could have opened my files and shared accounts of physical and mental abuse, job loss, cruel media stereotyping, and other instances of discrimination.

***END-QUOTE***

1. Media stereotyping? You mean, homophobic TV programs like Will & Grace or the Ellen DeGeneres Show?

2. And while we’re on the subject of mental and physical abuse, what about rates of suicide and domestic violence in San Francisco?

And for all the build up, what does the article cite? Five “reported” cases, of which only two are dated:

Gray, Tennessee
Caro, Michigan
Ada, Oklahoma
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Pocopson, Pennsylvania
Calgary, Alberta

The US has a population of something like 300 million? And all the article is prepared to cite are four cases over an unspecified span of time?

Is this supposed to represent a pattern?

Let’s take one of his “reported” cases:

***QUOTE***

Calgary, Alberta: An eleven-year-old boy (name withheld) experienced daily physical attacks and threats against his life by schoolmates—notably the sons of three local pastors—after protesting intercom readings of the Lord’s Prayer in a public school. He was repeatedly body-checked into hallway walls and attacked in the rest rooms. One pastor’s son stalked him with a butcher knife in an empty portable classroom. Despite the seriousness of this incident, no action was taken. The boy’s parents transferred him to another school for his own safety.

***END-QUOTE***

I’d just note three little problems:

1. Why should we give any more credence to the report of an atheist than an atheist is prepared to give to the report of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John?

2. Was this simply reported, or was it actually investigated? Were the witnesses to the alleged abuse?

Was the boy the only one interviewed? What about the sons of the three local pastors? Were they interviewed? Were they allowed to give their side of the story?

3. Canada officially discriminates against Christian expression:

http://www.religiousfreedom.ca/

28 comments:

  1. Please. What do you think would happen if an atheist ran for public office? They'd never get elected. Atheists are denounced as the scourge of society from most pulpits in America today.

    Look, guys, I'm not an atheist because I'd prefer there NOT to be a God. I wish there were. I wish that there was some benevolent being who answered prayers and who promised there would be more than just this very brief life. All evidence runs to the contrary, and telling lies to yourselves and others won't make it true.

    In Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:

    Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

    In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says:
    For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

    In Matthew 21:21:
    I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

    The message is reiterated Mark 11:24:
    Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

    In John chapter 14, verses 12 through 14, Jesus tells all of us just how easy prayer can be:
    "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

    In Matthew 18:19 Jesus says it again:
    Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

    James 5:15-16 the Bible says:
    And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

    Mark 9:23:
    All things are possible to him who believes.

    In Luke 1:37:
    For with God nothing will be impossible.

    Jesus even promises us in the Bible that people will not suffer from starvation.

    In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus says:
    "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
    "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


    Look at the world!! Look at the facts!! People starve. People become ill and die (whether people pray for them or not). Yes, some people "get better", but show me one AMPUTEE who's had their limbs regenerated and I'll believe that all these other "miraculous cures" were not mere coincidence. Studies show that prayer makes ZERO difference. None! Zilch!

    The truth is painful, guys, but isn't it better than living a lie?

    I'd have less hard of a time with this site if you at least spent your time producing PLEASANT fictions instead of the claptrap you put out.

    - Todd

    ReplyDelete
  2. Suffering Servant8/10/2006 11:55 PM

    The world would be too horrible to contemplate if God did not exist. It is a great comfort to me that God is there watching over us, even a wretch like me. If I did not believe in God, I would not want to live. This world is simply too cruel to conscientiously tolerate. This is what is meant by the glory of God. It is in His saving grace, His election, that I have been rescued from the hideous world that without Him would be unbearable and worthless.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Todd said In Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:

    Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

    In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says:
    For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.


    I knew these where just atheist talking point. There is a guy on a local message board who has these verses as his tag line.

    Todd, have you ever actually read the verses and read them in their context? Have you ever picked up a commentary to at least see what has been written about these verses? Is it even possible, in your mind, that you are mistaken in your reading of these verse?

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  4. Why should we give any more credence to the report of an atheist than an atheist is prepared to give to the report of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John?

    The word "evidence" comes to mind. So does the word "verifiable".

    ReplyDelete
  5. Daniel Morgan said...
    The word "evidence" comes to mind. So does the word "verifiable".

    Come on Daniel, this is silly. What kind of evidence do you want?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Conclusion from the Cadre post:

    As a Christian, I condemn almost all of these actions by other Christians as being very unchristian and not at all how Christ would expect us to act towards others (the one exception being that I don't have much of a problem with the "I am praying for Zellner" buttons, if they were, in fact, praying for Zellner). I call upon the Christian community to remember that God calls upon us to love our neighbor, and beating, shunning, threatening, and other similar actions are not loving in any way, shape or form that I can see. I hope other Christians will do the same.


    How sad...

    Some other Christian blogger dares to acknowledge that atheists have been treated poorly by Christians, and then has the gall to remind pretentious twits like Steve of his god's commandmant to "love his neighbor".

    Well that certainly rates another hyperbole filled rant by little Stevie on why he's not on board with that.

    Yes, it's amazing how blowhard, apologist wannabes like little Stevie have just enuf theology to "despise their neighbor", but never enuf to "love".

    On the other hand, modern day atheists in the U.S. have NOTHING to whine about compared to the persecution suffered by people in the past by bloodthirsty Christian theocrats. Likewise compared to those who suffer today from persecution by the same crazed mindset of Islamic theocrats.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Todd,

    Nice try, but I already did a post on that subject last month:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/07/asking-and-receiving.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. Downs,

    Come on Daniel, this is silly. What kind of evidence do you want?

    If an atheist is persecuted, they could probably provide substantially greater evidence than you can provide for your dusty scrolls of unknown origins and authorship. Think: video and audio recordings, photographic evidence, coupled to documentation with indepedent witnesses (not just one person TELLING us there are other witnesses)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Morgan continues his silliness...
    Think: video and audio recordings, photographic evidence, coupled to documentation with indepedent witnesses (not just one person TELLING us there are other witnesses)

    I asked you what evidence do you want, in the context of giving credence to the gospels.

    As you know, video, audio and photo. was not available during that time. We can and have met the forth criteria.

    So, what is your problem?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Pippendicott8/11/2006 10:04 AM

    Jeff Downs: "I asked you what evidence do you want, in the context of giving credence to the gospels."

    How about the kind of evidence that Saul of Tarsus got according to the legend? If your Jesus is real and wants me to believe, he knows what to do. I don't think there's much that Jeff Downs can do, unless Jeff Downs can work miracles and prophesy the future in detail. Apologetic bickering is wholly unimpressive since this is what we get from a variety of religions. It takes little to make claims. It takes some reality to demonstrate that they're in fact true.

    ReplyDelete
  11. How about the kind of evidence that Saul of Tarsus got according to the legend?

    Can you please be a little clearer? I'm assuming you want different evidence than Morgan is looking for?

    I don't think there's much that Jeff Downs can do, unless Jeff Downs can work miracles...

    Well, I was say, you are here on Triablogue for a reason, perhaps the fathers.

    Apologetic bickering is wholly unimpressive since this is what we get from a variety of religions. It takes little to make claims. It takes some reality to demonstrate that they're in fact true.

    Well, I would say Christianity has certainly met your criteria (i.e. demonstrating the facts of Christianity are true).

    ReplyDelete
  12. Pippendicott8/11/2006 10:38 AM

    Jeff Downs: "Can you please be a little clearer?"

    What's unclear here? Doesn't the story of Saul of Tarsus tell us that Jesus paid him a personal visit?

    Jeff: "Well, I was say, you are here on Triablogue for a reason, perhaps the fathers."

    Fathers? Can you please be a little clearer?

    Jeff: "Well, I would say Christianity has certainly met your criteria (i.e. demonstrating the facts of Christianity are true)."

    Yes, I'm sure you would, but simply saying so is as cheap as it gets. Obviously if Christianity met my criteria, I'd believe what it teaches. Perhaps it met your criteria. Perhaps you didn't have any criteria when you converted. People of all kinds of religions think their religion is true, and many will say so because they think it has met some criterion or other.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jeff Downs: "Can you please be a little clearer?"
    What's unclear here? Doesn't the story of Saul of Tarsus tell us that Jesus paid him a personal visit?


    This is the clarification I was looking for, thanks. If that is the kind of evidence you are looking for, your barking up the wrong tree (i.e. Christianity).

    Obviously if Christianity met my criteria, I'd believe what it teaches

    I'm not sure if histocal evidences, etc. would meet your criteria...obviously not if the above is what you would be looking for to prove Christianity true. But, there is plenty of material out there discussing the historicity of Christianity, Jesus, the resurrection, etc...

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  14. Pippendicott8/11/2006 11:23 AM

    Jeff Downs: "If that is the kind of evidence you are looking for, your barking up the wrong tree (i.e. Christianity)."

    So, you are saying that Jesus is not going to pay me a personal visit? If Jesus exists and has his own plan, how would Jeff Downs know this?

    Jeff: "I'm not sure if histocal evidences, etc. would meet your criteria..."

    I indicated my criteria above. You seem not to like it for some reason. But yet it has a biblical precedent.

    Jeff: "obviously not if the above is what you would be looking for to prove Christianity true."

    Why "obviously"? It's obvious to me that a personal visit to me by Jesus would go a long ways in validating Christianity's claims.

    Jeff: "But, there is plenty of material out there discussing the historicity of Christianity, Jesus, the resurrection, etc..."

    Yep, plenty is right. As I mentioned, talk is cheap, and all those books are a waste of paper.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Downs,

    You seemed to have missed my point entirely. Steve pretends that if we apply the same skeptical requirement of evidence to the atheist's claim as the atheist does to the gospel accounts, that we will not believe them. I provided a clarification that the atheist could present to us the sorts of evidence that swamp entirely, and eclipse the level of evidence found in, the accounts of the gospels.

    Regarding "coupled to documentation with indepedent witnesses (not just one person TELLING us there are other witnesses)"

    You state:
    As you know, video, audio and photo. was not available during that time. We can and have met the forth criteria.

    The fourth criterion is hardly met. The skeletal account of the gospel stories are clearly derived from a common older source, and embellished by each revision. Multiple people retelling the same story doesn't make it more true if they are repeating what they've heard third-hand. In a court of law, you may hear the phrase, "Objection: hearsay," apropos to this sort of "evidence".

    This is the clarification I was looking for, thanks. If that is the kind of evidence you are looking for, your barking up the wrong tree (i.e. Christianity).

    Why? According to the story, Paul wasn't even "looking". Jesus just up and "apprehended" [Phil 3] him, sort of against his own wishes (considering he'd been martyring these believers).

    And what is wrong with believing the multiple promises that God is not a "respecter of persons"? (2 Chron 19:7, Job 34:19, Acts 10:34-5, Rom 2:11-2, Gal 5:6, 1 Pet 1:17, 2 Pet 3:9)? Jesus still invited Thomas to come touch the wounds, whether or not Thomas' faith was "superior" to fideists.

    Sorry, but your God has an awfully low requirement for faith for some persons, esp by showing them ginormous miracles at the very beginning of just coming on down and introducing Itself (eg Moses, Abraham, Paul, etc.), and on the other hand, he expects me to take the apologia of Steve and yourself (the former of which is a commendable effort) in lieu thereof?

    It's simply unbelievable.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Pippendicott8/11/2006 11:54 AM

    Daniel Morgan is correct - it's all legends and tales. Nothing Jeff Downs or any member of this blog has presented any convincing case to the contrary (and I've examined a lot of it). Just doesn't fly, folks.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Duh, OK Pippendicott, I guess your irrefutable judgment must stand. Now we must abandon Christianity and become atheists, because, after all, it doesn't fly. It's strange how those legends and tales have changed the world though, and that so many people gave their lives to defend them. How did those legends and tales get such power? You know, I think I'm going to make up some legends and tales and see if I can change the world. Then people in the future can set up blogs and debate whether or not they're true. Thanks for giving me a purpose in life...

    Not Sincerely,

    The Anti-George

    ReplyDelete
  18. A few comments of my own:

    1.Jeff began by posing the reason question of what kind of evidence the critic was looking for. There’s no point in Jeff providing evidence if the evidence he were to provide were of a kind which the unbeliever refuses to count as evidence in the first place.

    So, before we can get around to the evidence, we need to agree on the rules of evidence. What source of evidence does the unbeliever credit as probative evidence?

    And once we learn the unbeliever’s criteria, we may need to scrutinize his criteria in case they are arbitrary or unreasonable.

    2.Jeff has also had the experience of giving evidence, only to have the unbeliever spit it back in his face, undigested.

    3.I expect another reason that Jeff is posing this question is to narrow the search parameters. It’s not that Jeff is short on evidence. To the contrary, his countercult ministry has amassed so much evidence that it isn’t easy to summarize. So it’s a question of where do you even start? Jeff has beaucoup evidence at his fingertips. An embarrassment of evidence.

    4. Pippendicott says, “If your Jesus is real and wants me to believe, he knows what to do.”

    Of course, this reasoning is reversible: Jesus is real; Jesus knows what to do; Jesus doesn’t do it; therefore, Jesus doesn’t want Pippendicott to be saved.”

    5.The appeal to contemporary miracles takes us back to Jeff’s preliminary question. For a sceptic like Hume, the evidence of a miracle could never outweigh the evidence for the uniformity of nature.

    Therefore, Jeff’s preliminary question remains as pertinent as ever.

    6. Danny appeals to video and audio recordings, and photographic evidence. If these are his criteria, then we can’t know anything about the past earlier than a few fragments of 19C history.

    This also rules out evolution and modern cosmology. No photos of the Big Bang. No videotapes of dinosaurs evolving into birds. No audiotapes of hominids developing language.

    7.Danny also says that an atheist “could” present us with an abundance of evidence. But the problem with the original article was the lack of serious documentation.

    8.Beyond that, however, are other issues. Unbelievers discount the Gospels because they’re biased.

    But the reported incidents of discrimination against unbelievers also came from biased reporters. The original article was completely lopsided.

    Most of the reports were undated. There was no opportunity for independent fact-checking. It was all filtered through one slanted source. Precisely a “case of one person telling us there were other witnesses.”

    What we were getting in the original article was “thirdhand hearsay” reportage of discrimination against unbelievers.

    9.Danny also oversimplifies the Synoptic problem, ignores evidence of early sourcing and early dating, and disregards the rest of the NT witness to the life of Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I said This is the clarification I was looking for, thanks. If that is the kind of evidence you are looking for, your barking up the wrong tree (i.e. Christianity).

    Morgan asked Why?, as why he shoud not be able to receive an experience like Paul.

    Problem Morgan, is that if you are going to use the Bible, use it accurately. Yes, Paul had the experience as you reported. But, you also need to note that his experience was rare. You should?, at least be able to grant that?

    ReplyDelete
  20. He's also not the apostle Paul, so he shouldn't expect such an experience as the apostle had. The Bible is very clear and doesn't make Paul's example out to be common, but exceptional, for the work which he was called to do. This "Jesus knows what to do if He wants me to believe in Him" stuff is laughable and arrogant. Oh yes, the God who created the seemingly infinite universe is going to be manipulated by Pippendicott's atheistic challenge. Yup, if God existed He surely would come down and visit Pippendicott....

    ReplyDelete
  21. Jeff/Steve: Like I said, find an amputee who's been healed. Just one. One. In the world. Ever.

    Then I'll believe. Until then, all you may as well pray to your lucky horseshoe. The results will be the same.

    Thanks.

    - Todd

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'll admit to having only glanced at the what-not above. It seems like another excursion down a blind alley.

    I deplore all forms of persecution and bullying, whether the ghastly stalking incident or the man in Grimsby who was mobbed by teens chanting 'Bible-Man' because he was one of the very few Christians in the town and walked to church.

    The UN, however, is barking up the wrong tree. We can't stop hate except by showing love. The legal recourse with reference to the Scouts seems to be an error based on the belief that one should do ghastliness to voluntary associations you disagree with if their distinctive is religious. That is not toleration. Toleration would be if the atheists/gays were allowed to form their own youth groups. Last time I looked, they are. Therefore, toleration exists, so persecution is a private thing and can be gone to law over.

    Todd, I don't understand you. I'm writing from Europe, so I can't. We have all sorts in Parliament, from millitant atheists to strict Presbyterians. But I do recommend that you move away from proof-texting.

    Regards,

    Hiraeth

    ReplyDelete
  23. Todd says Jeff/Steve: Like I said, find an amputee who's been healed. Just one. One. In the world. Ever.

    Humm, just as I suspected, you've never read your Bible!

    ReplyDelete
  24. 5.The appeal to contemporary miracles takes us back to Jeff’s preliminary question. For a sceptic like Hume, the evidence of a miracle could never outweigh the evidence for the uniformity of nature.
    Do we agree that a supernatural experience of the divine would likely render a person incapable of doubting it, assuming that God/Jesus is personally involved? I refer specifically to the tale of Paul on the road to Damascus. Any parallel tale, though, where someone encounters the "glorified" form of Jesus/God would work as well (eg Moses on Sinai). You would have to maintain that experiencing God firsthand is a deniable experience...?

    Therefore, Jeff’s preliminary question remains as pertinent as ever.
    Anyone would be convinced if they encountered God first-hand.

    6. Danny appeals to video and audio recordings, and photographic evidence. If these are his criteria, then we can’t know anything about the past earlier than a few fragments of 19C history.
    My point was that the atheist could present that kind of evidence, and so equivocating their skepticism of the gospels with your skepticism of their account was...an equivocation.

    This also rules out evolution and modern cosmology. No photos of the Big Bang. No videotapes of dinosaurs evolving into birds. No audiotapes of hominids developing language.
    Falsifiable predictions based on inference. That's science. Find another consistent and cogent way to explain all of the same evidence, using falsifiable prediction, within some theoretical framework, and you'll be flown to Stockholm. Hell, I'll come with you, just to lick your boots.

    7.Danny also says that an atheist “could” present us with an abundance of evidence. But the problem with the original article was the lack of serious documentation.
    I understand that the news report wasn't full of video and audio evidence. But my point is that you have a way to amass such evidence, and interview multiple witnesses, such that a comparison to rejecting any ancient myths/lore is false.

    9.Danny also oversimplifies the Synoptic problem, ignores evidence of early sourcing and early dating, and disregards the rest of the NT witness to the life of Christ.
    I was oversimplifying on purpose to simply make a point that Downs seems incapable of making himself -- the distinction between the documentary evidence of the NT and present-day documentation of multiple witness accounts independent of one another. We all know that the gospels are later accounts which include common elements, that Mark is likely the oldest, and that John ... well ... nevermind. Anyway, I am just pointing out a fundamental difference in the capacity to document something from independent sources, and keep those accounts separate, from what we observe in the gospels.

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  25. This is classic bait-and-switch. A post on discrimination against atheists becomes a debate about the miraculous.

    How very odd.

    Todd, free speech is being allowed to speak. No-one has a right to have people agree with them. Imagine if you'd used 'socialist' instead of 'atheist':

    "Please. What do you think would happen if an socialist ran for public office (everywhere but Vermont)? They'd never get elected. Socialist are denounced as the scourge of society from most pulpits in America today"

    Or Communist, Nazi, or Conservative in some states. If you hold an unpopular opinion and run for office, you don't get elected. It's called democracy. No-one has a right to be elected to public office, just a right to stand.

    Equally, truth to tell, Todd, your problem is the sort of God you'd like there to be. Remember, your point has been true since the First Century. More people died/were maimed than Jesus healed. How many lepers do you think there were?

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  26. Anyone would be convinced if they encountered God first-hand.

    Of course, this is an assumption on your part and the Bible itself speaks against this assumption. Not only stating that man is unbelieving, but that all those who encountered God in Christ, did not believe and in fact rejected Him and in fact hung him on a cross to die.

    Morgan, you did answer why, you should be the special person, to have a personal face-to-face encounter with Christ.

    This specialness that you feel about yourself, will keep you far from Christianity.

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  27. This sounds horrible, but whatever happen to people not liking you because you're just a whiny jerk. It may have nothing to do with your beliefs.

    The case you cited, kids flying around like wild knife wielding banshees unsupervised in Canada. That maybe a slightly bigger problem than discrimination against Atheists. A teacher's head would be on a chopping block for a move like that where I went to school.

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