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(Huffington Post)   Atheist billboard wants to wish you a merry Christmyth   (huffingtonpost.com) divider line 528
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15752 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Nov 2011 at 2:22 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2011-11-16 04:13:59 PM

fark_raving_mad: [img263.imageshack.us image 640x412]


THIS

:)
 
2011-11-16 04:20:13 PM

Leeds: Kome: MayoSlather: Republicans troll on religion and mention god all the time because they know it will piss off the left and cause a response, which only further serves to separate people that largely have the same base interests.

I disagree. The majority of liberals are themselves religious, the majority of Democrats are themselves religious. I suspect that the Republicans troll on religion because it excites their base, not their opponents base.

Not all republicans act that way, mind you. There are more atheist Republicans out there than most people realize.

We (Atheist Republicans) are the libertarian faction of the GOP and we're currently fighting with the magic-believing anti-science types over who controls our party.


Annnnnd welcome to my favorites list.

/also an agnostic/atheist libertarian working toward restoring some sanity to the Republican party.
//have you looked into the Republican Liberty Caucus?
///www.rlc.org (new window)
////typing HTML on a mobile phone sucks.
 
2011-11-16 04:22:01 PM

daveUSMC: Where do aetheists get their ethical or moral codes?


It varies. Most common seems to be accepting some of the common conclusions, reasoning back to general principles, and then using the general principles to infer further implications. The results vary; Soviet Communism and Randite Capitalism are both atheist philosophies. These days, something on secular humanism seems more common among US atheists; however, I've met examples of both Communists and Randites locally.

You might find this an illuminating example -- but note that considering it an example does not imply I agree with premises, conclusions, or validity of particular inference steps.

daveUSMC: What makes that "wrong" to atheists?


A slightly different question, which for one sense requires a little bit of background to explain the answer.

Morality involves having a set of choices, and an ordering relationship for element pairs. Skipping a little of the most tedious set theory, you may have A is better than B, B is better than A, A and B are equivalent, or A and B are incomparable:
(A>B) (A<B) (A=B) (A||B)


Given the existence of a non-empty set of choices C, and using boring set-theory axioms, it's possible to constructively show the existence of a set O of ordering relations on the set. The question, then, is which element of O are you referring to.

Essentially, it comes down to a semantic definition. "This is the ordering relationship I mean by the word 'wrong'". Usually, there's a preference for one that results in an ordering with non-trivial similarity to human traditions and instincts. However, in some degree it's giving a bridge from is-to-ought as a proposition that may ultimately be unjustified from philosophical priors ("on faith").

Kome: The majority of liberals are themselves religious, the majority of Democrats are themselves religious.


Contrariwise, these days the majority of liberals are either not very religious or unaffiliated. (Of course, so is everything "slightly conservative" or left).

SirCodeAlot: o sure they are right with no way to prove it


That depends on what sense of the word "prove" you have in mind....

FubarBDilligaf: everybody is free to express and vote their conscious

conscience

(FTFY.)
Which means atheists are free to try and persuade theists to change their minds.

Leeds: There are more atheist Republicans out there than most people realize.


Of Republicans and Strong Republicans (who are about 23% of US adults, who in turn are about 76% of the US population, which is about 309 Million), approximately 0.6% are religiously unaffiliated and do not believe in God. So, about 325,000.
 
2011-11-16 04:22:43 PM

ToldThereWouldBeCake: fark_raving_mad: [img263.imageshack.us image 640x412]

We have a winner. Please claim your prize sir:

[img545.imageshack.us image 292x384]


Sweet! I was hoping for some cake, too, which I'll get around to after I'm finished roasting these newborns on the fire. ;-)

/My way of thinking goes something like this; if you're a believer in some flavor of invisible deity, and are as invisible to me as your deity (meaning your belief has no impact on my life, politics, schools, government, public health policy, etc.), I'm fine with that, and I'll leave you alone as you have left me alone.

//But the instant you decide to proselytize, or parade around your contemptible ignorance as though it's some sort of badge of honor, you have abandoned all rights to not be mocked, ridiculed, and generally taunted. Claiming ignorance of scientific fact, or being deliberately obtuse about reality, deserves nothing less than unabashed scorn, in spades.
 
2011-11-16 04:30:37 PM

supayoda: The problem is that all three groups have certain segments within their population that make you hate them because they're determined to prove that they can be just as big an asshat as the people they hate, if not moreso.


That's part of the problem.

Unfortunately for the argument, the comparison is usually not made accurately; experimentally, the "pushy" atheists run only about as zealous as the typical 3-4 times monthly churchgoer, not the normal levels for actual fundamentalists.

supayoda: If you honestly think you can win people over to your opinion by being the bigger turd


No, no; but being a snarky git can be surprisingly effective.
 
2011-11-16 04:33:02 PM

Britney Spear's Speculum: These stupid articles always center around reactions and rebuttals from christian groups. How come whenever a priest molests a child, news outlets don't immediately ask atheist's their opinions?


Because when it's a priest abuse scandal they focus on the reaction of the family impacted? There is no real comparison to be drawn between a family suffering from abuse by a priest and Christians offended by this billboard, but it is a much more appropriate comparison than what you made.


That being said: at least the Atheists are funny ref this billboard:P.
 
2011-11-16 04:36:35 PM

abb3w: Unfortunately for the argument, the comparison is usually not made accurately; experimentally, the "pushy" atheists run only about as zealous as the typical 3-4 times monthly churchgoer, not the normal levels for actual fundamentalists.


Yeah, I'm not so sure your numbers run true to form over here are fark, where the Zealous atheists tend to run at about Westboro Baptists levels of derp.
 
2011-11-16 04:54:19 PM

fark_raving_mad: ToldThereWouldBeCake: fark_raving_mad:

//But the instant you decide to proselytize, or parade around your contemptible ignorance as though it's some sort of badge of honor, you have abandoned all rights to not be mocked, ridiculed, and generally taunted. Claiming ignorance of scientific fact, or being deliberately obtuse about reality, deserves nothing less than unabashed scorn, in spades.


It is really sad just how much of that crap is going on in this world.
 
2011-11-16 04:56:39 PM

halfof33: abb3w: Unfortunately for the argument, the comparison is usually not made accurately; experimentally, the "pushy" atheists run only about as zealous as the typical 3-4 times monthly churchgoer, not the normal levels for actual fundamentalists.

Yeah, I'm not so sure your numbers run true to form over here are fark, where the Zealous atheists tend to run at about Westboro Baptists levels of derp.


Your inability to grasp the concept of a null set is troubling but typical of someone who has not yet entered highschool.

From the logical standpoint, anyone who actually understands the concept of logic is by definition an atheist. (One could not logically make a positive claim about the existence of deity). Magic believers like you are only magic believers because you don't understand the topic at hand. These threads serve as a good place to attempt to educate you, the ignorant cross-kissing masses.

But go on and pretend that every topic you don't understand is simply "derp."
 
2011-11-16 04:59:29 PM

TedNigma: I never see these hatemongers pick on islam. Maybe it's because it's easier to pick on a people that have sworn a life of peace as Christians have.

One day we will get tired of being bullied. And when that day comes people will point fingers, but forget the constant vexing and badgering that came before it.


Yeah?

http://atheists.org/religion/islam
 
2011-11-16 05:00:32 PM

spencurai: [bligbi.com image 640x480]


Reading through this whole thread and this was the Boobies that bugged me.

Darwin wasn't an atheist. He went to theology school and was a Christian.

Einstein considered himself an agnostic.

These guys are in many ways my heroes, and I am an atheist, but it's silly to misrepresent them like that.
 
2011-11-16 05:17:10 PM
do xtians automatically believe in ghosts?
 
2011-11-16 05:19:18 PM

xant: spencurai: [bligbi.com image 640x480]

Reading through this whole thread and this was the Boobies that bugged me.

Darwin wasn't an atheist. He went to theology school and was a Christian.

Einstein considered himself an agnostic.

These guys are in many ways my heroes, and I am an atheist, but it's silly to misrepresent them like that.


And Lincoln and Franklin and Jefferson were deists, not atheists...

Leeds: From the logical standpoint, anyone who actually understands the concept of logic is by definition an atheist. (One could not logically make a positive claim about the existence of deity). Magic believers like you are only magic believers because you don't understand the topic at hand. These threads serve as a good place to attempt to educate you, the ignorant cross-kissing masses.

But go on and pretend that every topic you don't understand is simply "derp."


And true to form, we get a scathing angry response from a True Believer in the Church of the Risen Atheist, loading in fallacy after fallacy (not the least of which are begging the question and ad hominem attacks)

All because I dared to point out the hypocrisy involved.

Use the word "magic" again, come on it really shows that you are a reasonable thinking logical person. Or call me an idiot again? Or crybaby?
 
2011-11-16 05:23:13 PM

halfof33: Yeah, I'm not so sure your numbers run true to form over here are fark,


Which is not a representative sample of the wider population. Fark appears pretty shockingly low in Christian Fundamentalists, and is pretty high in organized atheists. Thus, the number of asshat atheists may well be higher here than the number of asshat fundamentalists, in part just because of the anomalously high fraction of atheists and anomalously low fraction of fundamentalists, and even without addressing the degree your perceptions are non-objective.
 
2011-11-16 05:23:21 PM

Leeds: halfof33: abb3w: Unfortunately for the argument, the comparison is usually not made accurately; experimentally, the "pushy" atheists run only about as zealous as the typical 3-4 times monthly churchgoer, not the normal levels for actual fundamentalists.

Yeah, I'm not so sure your numbers run true to form over here are fark, where the Zealous atheists tend to run at about Westboro Baptists levels of derp.

Your inability to grasp the concept of a null set is troubling but typical of someone who has not yet entered highschool.

From the logical standpoint, anyone who actually understands the concept of logic is by definition an atheist. (One could not logically make a positive claim about the existence of deity). Magic believers like you are only magic believers because you don't understand the topic at hand. These threads serve as a good place to attempt to educate you, the ignorant cross-kissing masses.

But go on and pretend that every topic you don't understand is simply "derp."


Just so you know, you're making the rest of us look bad. Please stop.
 
2011-11-16 05:25:48 PM

Divinegrace: Telling someone that they can't take what they want because it is forbidden by a book IS simply trying to 'keep em down' by imposing 'made up fairy tales' on em.


I don't need to rely on a book to consider taking what belongs to another is wrong. I can figure that out for myself. It's logical and promotes social living.

I DO need to rely on a book to consider owning another human being to be okay. I DO need to rely on a book to consider homosexual relationships immoral.

One manifestly hurts other people...but, a book says it's okay. Another hurts no one and provides great comfort...but, a book says it's not okay.

I don't expect you to recognize the difference. You've pretty much advertised that you're a psychopath.
 
2011-11-16 05:34:33 PM

untaken_name: Um, I am not the one confused as to what morality is.


You absolutely are.

You have claimed that law and morality are indistinguishable. But, that's nonsensical.

Not even the law itself makes that claim. The law distinguishes between things that are forbidden because they are "immoral" (by social convention) and things that are forbidden merely because such prohibitions are considered useful (but, not necessarily bad in principle).

That is, the law distinguishes between mala is se offenses (those that are considered immoral in principle) and mala prohibita offenses (those that are forbidden because of convenience).

But, a more important question arises: why, if laws define morality, should laws ever change? If we can ascertain a priori that anything prohibited by law is immoral, what possible reason would we have to amend the law?

untaken_name: By what metric do you measure what is moral and what is immoral?


Human reasoning determines what is moral and what is immoral. I am not claiming that there is an objective standard of morality. I am saying that morality is determined by human judgments. And, when laws conflict with human judgments of morality, they are manifestly immoral -- for the person making the judgment.
 
2011-11-16 05:36:04 PM
abb3whalfof33: and even without addressing the degree your perceptions are non-objective.

I was about to chime in with a comment about equating funeral-protesting zealots with snark-posting Farkers in specifically dedicated atheism/religion discussion threads... but I think you just covered that.
 
2011-11-16 05:40:31 PM

FubarBDilligaf: There is a VERY distinct difference between an agnostic atheist (AA) and a gnostic atheist (GA).


Not really. Anyone who lacks a belief in a god or gods is atheist.

Atheism (or theism) is a statement of belief. Agnosticism (or gnosticism) is a statement of knowledge.

FubarBDilligaf: strangely enough, the only people who have a problem with this is the gnostic atheists.


You're 0 for 2.

I do not presume to know that there is no god or are no gods. I simply lack belief that there is a god or there are gods.

For all I know, there may be a god or gods. I simply lack belief because I have seen no evidence to support the hypothesis.

FubarBDilligaf: Now, I'll distinguish that there are GAs who don't raise this issue, but then again it is ONLY GAs who do.


As we've seen, you're DEAD WRONG.

I am an agnostic. And, I am also an atheist.
 
2011-11-16 05:41:05 PM
Gotta love the christians and their terminal obsession with islam... and their longing for the days of the Crusades, so that they, too, can murder in the name of their lord again.

Hey, guys; this "fatwa envy" is NOT very becoming of you, or very progressive at all. It's bad enough we've got one religion stuck in the 4th Century - yes, I understand christianity is stuck there, too, but one religious group killing people for no good reason is quite enough, thank you very much. We don't need christian talibangelicals making the blood run in the streets as well; kthxbye.
 
2011-11-16 05:45:32 PM

halfof33: Or call me an idiot again? Or crybaby?


Worse- I'll call you by your other fark handle, "I drunk what."
 
2011-11-16 05:50:08 PM

Thorndyke Barnhard: I was about to chime in with a comment about equating funeral-protesting zealots with snark-posting Farkers in specifically dedicated atheism/religion discussion threads... but I think you just covered that.


Well, if it walks, talks and squawks like an intolerant bigot....

oh look who just chimed in:

Leeds: halfof33: Or call me an idiot again? Or crybaby?

Worse- I'll call you by your other fark handle, "I drunk what."

 
2011-11-16 05:59:15 PM

hamfast gamgee: So, how does aetheism differ from other religions?


No tax breaks.
 
2011-11-16 06:03:19 PM

snitramc: No tax breaks.


lulz

American Atheists is a 501 (c) (3) non profit (educational) organization
 
2011-11-16 06:50:29 PM

halfof33: Well, if it walks, talks and squawks like an intolerant bigot....


Surely, the WBC are guilty of more than just that...
 
2011-11-16 06:55:46 PM

halfof33: American Atheists is a 501 (c) (3) non profit (educational) organization


Errr... No tax breaks without being required to file paperwork?
 
2011-11-16 07:57:31 PM

abb3w: (FTFY.)
Which means atheists are free to try and persuade theists to change their minds.


Thanks for the fix, and yes it does, just as much as the theist are free to try to "save" the atheists.

eraser8:
Not really. Anyone who lacks a belief in a god or gods is atheist.

Atheism (or theism) is a statement of belief. Agnosticism (or gnosticism) is a statement of knowledge.


Going back and rereading what I've said, I'll stand by it. I'll grant that you did make the argument you've stated, and that my reply was in response to my misreading it. Yes, anyone who lace a belief is an agnostic, however, not all agnostics are atheists, you also noted that. So, other than not knowing you were an AA, which makes you the first I've seen making the arguments you have, I wasn't wrong. And no, a/theism is not a statement of belief, it is a position that you have that knowledge or belief about (there is, or is not, a god or gods), a/gnosticism is the statement of either belief or knowledge. Which the chart you dismiss points out. And you're the first I've seen argue the definition of the terms.

A Gnostic Atheist "knows" there is no God. He will tell you the facts prove his position.*
An Agnostic Atheist, as you've pointed out, doesn't claim knowledge, but rather that he doesn't believe that God exists**.
An Agnostic Theist, as I am, doesn't claim knowledge, but believe that God exists.
A Gnostic Theist "knows" that God exists. He will point out the facts that prove his position.*

The problem is that it's not valid to lump together those who do hold a positive statement of belief (They believe there is no God) with those who do not hold a belief (they neither believe nor disbelieve in God) Until something better comes along, calling the first group atheists and the second agnostics works as well as anything.

*The "facts" are not factual, if they were, there wouldn't be any discussion.
**Even within that there is room for more division, within the AAs there are those who hold no belief, and there are those who do hold a belief, some don't believe that God exists, but also do not hold a belief that he doesn't exist, and the others do hold a definite belief that God does not exist.
 
2011-11-16 08:30:40 PM
Sarah Palin's Conscience:
Now, please, tell me how the stories and lessons learned from the Bible and similar holy texts can be used in a modern society. I still hold the opinion that it has very little to no use and can he easily discarded.

Unfortunately, without the Bible, you will not understand much of Western European literature. The motifs are too deeply ingrained into out cultural strata.

I am a Pagan. My background is Judaism, with a mixture of Zen and various Neopagan traditions. I own and have read a copy of the Bible. I plan on teaching my daughter a "Bible as literature" class when she is old enough.

The goal of the exercise is to understand when an author is making a reference to a Biblical story. E.g the name Job or Noah may be carefully chosen by the author to refer to the traits associated with those characters.

There are way too many of these to count. So, if you will understand why in The Matrix: Revolutions Neo's arms are spread wide when the machines take his body down, you will need to either read or become familiar with the stories in the Bible.
 
2011-11-16 10:25:45 PM

forfarkonly: All you "atheists" - you're not atheists: you don't know what you are.


Actually, I know what I am, and it isn't an atheist. Nor is it a pagan, nor is it a Christian. You might want to worry a little more about what you are, and stop worrying so much about what other people are.
 
2011-11-16 10:26:58 PM

FubarBDilligaf: So, other than not knowing you were an AA, which makes you the first I've seen making the arguments you have


Technically, Dawkins is an agnostic atheist under this convention.

FubarBDilligaf: The problem is that it's not valid to lump together those who do hold a positive statement of belief (They believe there is no God) with those who do not hold a belief (they neither believe nor disbelieve in God) Until something better comes along, calling the first group atheists and the second agnostics works as well as anything.


Depending on preference of anthropology versus philosophy, or Heyting versus Boolean logic.

Raven Darke: I am a Pagan. My background is Judaism, with a mixture of Zen and various Neopagan traditions.


Interesting.

So, what's your personally subjective take on the history and prescription of "separation of church and state"?
 
2011-11-16 10:27:47 PM
Haha
My name is chris smith
Get it chrissmith
Do i get another star?
 
2011-11-16 10:29:20 PM

abb3w: Depends on whether or not you can have objective semantics.


It's all in your perspective. *wink*
 
2011-11-16 10:33:26 PM

halfof33: Thorndyke Barnhard: I was about to chime in with a comment about equating funeral-protesting zealots with snark-posting Farkers in specifically dedicated atheism/religion discussion threads... but I think you just covered that.

Well, if it walks, talks and squawks like an intolerant bigot....

oh look who just chimed in:

Leeds: halfof33: Or call me an idiot again? Or crybaby?

Worse- I'll call you by your other fark handle, "I drunk what."


I can think of a few good reasons to be intolerant, prejudiced, and show animosity towards religion and the religious. Sometimes a little bigotry towards demonstrably destructive institutions is perfectly justifiable. Still, we should probably be polite and respectful towards each other regardless of our views on magic, or weather or not any of us actually are being crybabies or idiots.
 
2011-11-16 11:32:51 PM

spencurai: [bligbi.com image 640x480]


So love it when a sign posts making the Deism of the 17-1900s the exact same thing as Atheism.
 
2011-11-16 11:41:42 PM

People_are_Idiots: spencurai: [bligbi.com image 640x480]

So love it when a sign posts making the Deism of the 17-1900s the exact same thing as Atheism.


Yeah, that was pretty stupid.
Hey guys...let's leave the stupid to the religious, OK?
 
2011-11-16 11:43:52 PM

Slaves2Darkness: So if it is not hard to find atheists do you know any personally and do they say inflammatory stupid shiat in interviews like, "No, I don't know that christians should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation without God.... I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on christians. "? If you don't recognize the paraphrasing of that quote let me give it to you in all it's glory No, I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God.... I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists. Geroge H. W. Bush, President of the United States.

You see how an atheist could feel a little threatened when the farking president of the United States goes around telling people that you are not a citizen. Of course it is atheists that are being assholes by professing a non-belief in god, but christians who put up giant JESUS! billboards or 100' crosses across America are a-okay with you. Just like arresting Jews was a-okay with all good Germans.


Take a deep breath and go change your diaper, and then I'll share some wonderful news with you. George Bush didn't set up any atheist internment camps, he didn't take away any of your rights, and he's not pushing to revoke your citizenship later on down the line. He's not even President anymore, and though I can't totally guarantee this, I'm willing to bet he's not hiding under your bed waiting to grab at your ankles when the lights go out. The bad scary man is gone and you don't need to fear him anymore.

As for the rest of your outlandish assumptions, I find the giant crosses and Jesus billboards equally obnoxious, but also equally ignorable. I don't appreciate anyone shoving their beliefs in my face, but unless they're planning to push those crosses or billboards on top of me, I can't say I feel all that threatened by them. I certainly don't think that putting up billboards is in any way, shape or form comparable to Nazis arresting Jews. Come on, seriously??? If you're not trolling and are truly that paranoid, perhaps you should seek counseling and talk through some of your concerns with a qualified professional. I'm not saying that to be insulting (okay, maybe just a little insulting), I honestly think you sound like you're harboring deeper issues that need to be worked through.
 
2011-11-17 12:09:26 AM

People_are_Idiots: So love it when a sign posts making the Deism of the 17-1900s the exact same thing as Atheism.


To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart. (source)

Po-TAY-toh, Po-TAH-toh....

0Icky0: Yeah, that was pretty stupid.


There clearly are some differences, yes.
 
2011-11-17 12:25:09 AM

eraser8: You have claimed that law and morality are indistinguishable. But, that's nonsensical.


No, I did NOT make that claim. If you think I did, post it. I said that law is codified morality, which it is. That's not the same thing.

eraser8: Human reasoning determines what is moral and what is immoral. I am not claiming that there is an objective standard of morality. I am saying that morality is determined by human judgments. And, when laws conflict with human judgments of morality, they are manifestly immoral -- for the person making the judgment.


This is nonsensical. "Manifestly" means abundantly evident. If you have to reason your way to something, and it doesn't come out the same way every time, then it isn't "manifestly" anything. Laws conflict with the judgements of morality of EVERYONE WHO BREAKS THEM. Thus, a murderer feels that laws against murder are immoral. Yet those laws are not, as you claim, "manifestly immoral". Saying that every human is able to determine what is moral is exactly the same thing as saying that everything is moral and nothing is. It's useless. That's what I mean when I say there is no objective standard of morality, and claiming that you can use subjective values to prove or disprove anything is retarded. You can't make the claim that something is "manifestly immoral" if the definition of "immoral" changes from person to person - yet that is what you're trying to do. Ridiculous. I say again, I am not the one who is confused about morality.
 
2011-11-17 01:14:04 AM

Ryan2065: Keep signs like this and quit with the attention whoring "Christianity is a myth!" signs.


You do realize that the whole point of having a sign is for it to get attention, right?
 
2011-11-17 04:58:46 AM

jaymanchu:
My daughters were born in '99 and '03. I'm going to ask them, without researching, to write about President Kennedy and all of his accomplishments. How accurate do you think that would be? The only difference, is there's a plethora of information, footage, books, writings etc about Kennedy. My oldest has probably already studied about him, but I'm sure she couldn't write anything accurate about his life.

Literally NOTHING was written until well after magic zombie man was dead. You'd think with all the astonishing things he supposedly did, someone would have had the intelligence to at least write some shiat down. We are talking about the son of God (who is god) right?


Your daughters live in a chirographic culture. The 1st century was primarily oral, together with the mechanisms that promote the oral retention of information. Why would you write something down when you've got the perfectly usable brain inside your head?
 
2011-11-17 05:19:45 AM

Flubb: Why would you write something down when you've got the perfectly usable brain inside your head?


Assuming facts not in evidence.
 
2011-11-17 05:52:35 AM

trappedspirit: Ryan2065: Keep signs like this and quit with the attention whoring "Christianity is a myth!" signs.

You do realize that the whole point of having a sign is for it to get attention, right?


Even a non-whore can get her freak on every once in a while. Just don't put your big floppy tits on my table.
 
2011-11-17 06:44:18 AM

Flubb: Your daughters live in a chirographic culture. The 1st century was primarily oral,


There are plenty, PLENTY of texts from those times and before. It was the freaking Roman Empire for Koresh's sake. And slightly before that, part of the literate Alexandrian Empire. And the Jews had been writing ever since space aliens gave writing to Moses.
Is illiteracy really the excuse you want to be reaching for?
 
2011-11-17 07:12:01 AM

Uncle Tractor: Flubb: It's true Jesus didn't leave any physical artifacts behind. Yet, you've got 4 eponymous eyewitness accounts written within 40 years of the events taking place,

How do you know they weren't just making the whole thing up? How do you explain the miracles? If they could make that up. why not everything else as well.

How you do know Hitler is *really* dead? Have you touched his bony skull with your own hands? Were you there when they shot him? How you do know that the Soviet reports are accurate? Is Wikipedia lying to you?
You're welcome to extreme skepticism of course, but that can be levied at *any* situation and event (cf 9/11). Most historians don't submit to this however.

and between 10 and 12 secular sources (of varying quality, some highly hostile) written between 50AD-200AD.
What secular sources? The ones I've seen so far were hearsay, third-hand knowledge, and outright forgeries by later clergy.

Tacitus, Pliny, Seutonius, Lucian and Celsus. On the Jewish side, Josephus (and no, it's not monolithically agreed that everything he said was a Christian interpolation), and the Talmud (baraitha Sandehrin and baraitha Shabbat). Are they eyewitness accounts? No. But then why would you assume that there would be any secular eyewitnesses? There are no American accounts of the coronation of Richard I, but why should that invalidate Roger Hoveden's account? Again, if multiple sources refer to the existence of someone, then there's a good chance they existed. We only have about 7 copies of Plato's works and that's including a 1200 year gap between when he was supposed to have written, and when the first copy surfaces, and yet nobody denies his existence or the veracity of what he wrote. In fact, all you have to do is look at the arguments around when he was born - nobody agrees when he was born, or when he died, but nobody says he doesn't exist.

Also, Diocletian orders the destruction of all Christian churches, books, and manuscripts in 303AD, so we have no idea what information was lost then.

I'll go out on a limb and guess that most biblical scholars were / are christians who believed Jesus was real before they started looking into the matter. Again: It's a truism that believers generally don't bother to look into.

Well in that case, every scholar better throw his degree in the bin because some kid on Wordpress wrote a post about how Jesus is a myth. If you don't know how biblical scholars and historians get to a conclusion, then simply read some more and give people their due for having worked in a field for many years with the qualities necessary to exist in a peer-reviewed environment. It's a truism because the evidence strongly supports the existence of a person called Jesus, rather than not. What that Jesus is like is another argument, but his existence is only denied by fringe scholars and people with books to promote. Even the current atheist darling Bart Ehrman thinks he existed.

I could also argue that people who argue against Jesus being real do so because they've already started from a position of believing he isn't real :)

Au contraire, christianity offered the "Kingdom of God" as a reward. You just had to die before you could collect. This could be very tempting for people who had nothing and nothing to hope for from the pagan Roman faith.

If you think the hoi polloi are going to throw away instant gratification and tangible reward for something like the future promise of a better life, I have to wonder how much you actually know about pre-Constantine Christianity or Roman religion. Why bother joining a religion that places so many restraints and requirements on you, and has the dubious quality of being actively persecuted? Would you rather be boning temple prostitutes as an act of religious devotion, or singing songs hiding in some crypt? Is it easier to toss a few grapes on the household altar, or refuse to do so, losing your property and life in the process?

People believe in scientology, "trickle down economy," astrology, the "gay agenda," ZOG, little green men with anal probes, that Obama is a Kenyan crypto-muslim atheist al Qaeda commie, racial supremacy, that a brick on chicken wire proves that 911 was an inside job, and so many other stupid idiotic things that there is nothing so far out that I would be surprised to learn that somebody somewhere believes it.


I'd agree - people believe in stupid things. Yet with all your examples above, very few of them require you to sacrifice your life, your possessions, or your family (scientology excepted perhaps).The closest analogue would be another religion (or variation), and even then, it's mostly the Abrahamic ones that would fit that pattern. Just because a stupid person believes something, doesn't make it untrue, simply that a stupid person believes something. Conversely, simply because you die for something, doesn't make it real or true, only that you are convinced of something being true and real.
 
2011-11-17 07:13:49 AM

untaken_name: Flubb: Why would you write something down when you've got the perfectly usable brain inside your head?

Assuming facts not in evidence.


Anachronistic expectations of levels of evidence is also unacceptable.
 
2011-11-17 07:47:58 AM

0Icky0: Flubb: Your daughters live in a chirographic culture. The 1st century was primarily oral,

There are plenty, PLENTY of texts from those times and before. It was the freaking Roman Empire for Koresh's sake. And slightly before that, part of the literate Alexandrian Empire. And the Jews had been writing ever since space aliens gave writing to Moses.
Is illiteracy really the excuse you want to be reaching for?


I never mentioned anything about illiteracy, I said that it's primarily oral. Things are written down when they become important. Your expectation seems to be that everything must be documented in writing at the precise time of the event taking place to have any validity. Oral history doesn't work like that. You write things down only when it becomes necessary, which is why early Christians begin to write things down once they start expanding outside of the Levant. As for the Jews writing down everything down, that wasn't the case, as the numerous messianic claimants, (for whom we have little to no evidence for), attest to, and the sheer number of Jewish books which the Jews don't have copies of seems to belie your assertion. Yet, you don't find people lining up on the internet claiming that Theudas or Athronges don't exist.

If the Roman empire was so good at writing things down, why do we see no mention of Pilate anywhere except the gospels? That was one of the reasons people thought it was made up, he didn't exist, until someone found evidence for him in 1961, almost 1900 years after the first mention of him. Seriously, it's not that difficult to note the vast numbers of missing texts we don't have access to. We don't even have texts written well after the Roman empire collapsed.
 
2011-11-17 09:01:14 AM

Flubb: That's what 'written within 40 years of the events taking place' means (unless you want to get pendantic and include the birth of Jesus) - the earliest (Mark) written around the late 50's-60's, and the last (John) coming in around the 80's. Granted, John is just outside the 40 year range, but Matthew (written in Hebrew/Aramaic, Irenaeus points to a 40-50AD origin), and Luke (circa 70's, also pointing to a 40-50AD origin) still fit reasonably within that period. You'll also need to distinguish when a book is found and when a book is written (or may have been written) - simply because you can only date Mark to 60AD, doesn't mean it wasn't written down before that.


Even if we assume that your timeline is correct (which is, really, not as certain as you seem to think it is), it's still rather ridiculous to assume that any of them were eponymous or eye-witness accounts. They were all written 40-100 years after the death of Jesus, for crying out loud. Considering that all the eyewitnesses were in their 20s and 30s at the very least when Christ was died, and considering this is the first century we're talking about, what do you think is the likelihood of any of it being written by the named writers (discounting the fact that even the accounts don't identify any of the apostles which we've already mentioned).

And, in any case, if you look at Mark and all the later books that came after Mark, the later books borrow heavily from Mark to the point where sections are just paraphrased portions of Mark. Many scholars believed that the later books of the gospel copied portions from Mark. Why would eye-witnesses need to borrow from an earlier book?
 
2011-11-17 09:09:31 AM

Flubb: 0Icky0: Flubb: Your daughters live in a chirographic culture. The 1st century was primarily oral,

There are plenty, PLENTY of texts from those times and before. It was the freaking Roman Empire for Koresh's sake. And slightly before that, part of the literate Alexandrian Empire. And the Jews had been writing ever since space aliens gave writing to Moses.
Is illiteracy really the excuse you want to be reaching for?

I never mentioned anything about illiteracy, I said that it's primarily oral. Things are written down when they become important. Your expectation seems to be that everything must be documented in writing at the precise time of the event taking place to have any validity. Oral history doesn't work like that. You write things down only when it becomes necessary, which is why early Christians begin to write things down once they start expanding outside of the Levant. As for the Jews writing down everything down, that wasn't the case, as the numerous messianic claimants, (for whom we have little to no evidence for), attest to, and the sheer number of Jewish books which the Jews don't have copies of seems to belie your assertion. Yet, you don't find people lining up on the internet claiming that Theudas or Athronges don't exist.

If the Roman empire was so good at writing things down, why do we see no mention of Pilate anywhere except the gospels? That was one of the reasons people thought it was made up, he didn't exist, until someone found evidence for him in 1961, almost 1900 years after the first mention of him. Seriously, it's not that difficult to note the vast numbers of missing texts we don't have access to. We don't even have texts written well after the Roman empire collapsed.


Pilate existed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilate_Stone

It's possible that any parchments that mentioned him burned when Rome burned, but stones don't burn as easily. (Yes I know it's limestone)
 
2011-11-17 09:55:45 AM

lordargent: The Southern Dandy: Atheist does mean one is against God. It only means one doesn't believe in God. I firmly believe there are no leprechauns. Doesn't mean I'm against leprechauns.

I don't believe in unicorns, or androids.

But if there were unicorns and androids, I would be for them, because that's awesome.

[s3.amazonaws.com image 500x598]


Your logic is only true if the thing you deny does not exist. If I were to deny you existed, when in fact you do exist. ( I can only assume you do exist because I have not seen you or spoken to you, nor do I know anyone one who knows you ....) But anyway, if I actively preached and tried to convince others that you do not exist, it would be easy to make the jump to the idea that I was 'against you'. To be honest, I can not think of a more dramatic way to be 'against' someone than to deny the existed.

Kind of like a country declaring you Persona non grata
 
2011-11-17 10:03:15 AM

RexTalionis:

Even if we assume that your timeline is correct (which is, really, not as certain as you seem to think it is), it's still rather ridiculous to assume that any of them were eponymous or eye-witness accounts. They were all written 40-100 years after the death of Jesus, for crying out loud. Considering that all the eyewitnesses were in their 20s and 30s at the very least when Christ was died, and considering this is the first century we're talking about, what do you think is the likelihood of any of it being written by the named writers (discounting the fact that even the accounts don't identify any of the apostles which we've already mentioned).

The timeline isn't anything wildly disputable, the traditional understanding is a 40-60 year gap.

As for the gospels being written 40-100 years afterwards (I would dispute the latter date), this is where we get into the validity of eyewitness accounts. Assume the apostles are 30 years old at the crucifixion (you started following a rabbi at around 15, so let's err on the side of caution) - this gives them up to about 90AD before they're all dead (most of them died much earlier). Heck, lets go with the Wiki account of their deaths. You've got eyewitnesses dying anywhere up till about 90AD. That's *just* the apostle eyewitnesses, as there would have been others (Luke refers to them). So for 60 years after the crucifixion, you've got people running about relating stories. That's certainly enough time for things to be committed to print (the general estimation is 40-60 years). For contrast, Mohammed's biography took 125 years to come into print, Siddhartha Gautama takes 350 years, and even Hillel, one of Israel's greatest Rabbi's takes 100 years after his death for his works to come into print. No scholar says Hillel is suspect.

This is in a culture where to follow a rabbi, you'd have to memorize the entire Torah and most of the Old Testament by the age of about 15. And not only do you have to recall those books, but be able to do so indicating that you understand the material involved. You were constantly tested on your ability to recall and contextualise. When Judah ha-Nasi brings together the Misnah in 200AD, it's all the learning of approximately 150 rabbis - a modern print version runs to well over a thousand pages, so it's no mean feat.

Once you hit 100AD onwards, you begin to have secondary commentary on the Gospels, their authorship, and how they were put together. So Eusebius quotes Papias who says that Mark wrote down what Peter said, which neatly fits into the fact that portions of Mark focus on Peter's perspective of a situation. He also affirms Matthew's authorship.
Irenaeus refers (I'm having to pull this from memory so I'm not 100% on it) to the authorship of all 4 gospels as being put together by the 4 writers. He's only 1 disciple removed from John, so it's not that much of a gap.

And, in any case, if you look at Mark and all the later books that came after Mark, the later books borrow heavily from Mark to the point where sections are just paraphrased portions of Mark. Many scholars believed that the later books of the gospel copied portions from Mark. Why would eye-witnesses need to borrow from an earlier book?

Well, while the similarities between the synoptics are well documented, so are the differences. Mark writes the first account (via Peter) and that is incorporated into what is understood to be independent compilations - Luke compiles using some of Mark, as does Matthew. There's nothing fishy about that, they're simply using what sources are available. There's also the possibility of Q (sources which Mark used), L (sources which Luke used), and M (which Matthew uses) as being additional material for each gospel. This doesn't obviate the eyewitness perspective, simply that they use what they can find. Mark only comprises about 40% of the content in Matthew and Luke, so there's a good 60% of new material. There's also the fact that if 6 people see an event and write an account of it, there's going to be repetition somewhere. Put together people's memory of 9/11, and everyone will say 2 planes crashed into the towers.
 
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