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(Patheos)   Seminary professor announces that he will "live like an atheist" for a year as an experiment. Step 1: Facing religious bigotry as your seminary fires you less than a week into the experiment   (patheos.com) divider line 347
    More: Asinine, religious bigotry, seminary, Adventist Church, Hemant Mehta, experiments  
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13653 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Jan 2014 at 2:08 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



347 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-01-06 03:46:34 PM  

Olympic Trolling Judge: meat0918: My experience has shown me atheists live a more Christian life (minus the praying and church attendance) than the most vocal fundamentalist Christians I know.

Makes sense.  What are the two great commandments?  "Love God" and "Love Your Neighbor."  Fundies aren't big on the whole "loving your neighbor" thing, and while atheists may not believe in God, they at least have enough respect for the idea of a benevolent God not to attribute to Him the horrific character traits seen in the god of the Bible.


I don't know if it's fair to simplify the book in that way.  It's like saying The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a vocational film because you see someone fix a chainsaw for five seconds.

Many atheists understand that the Bible is just another book and the people in it are literary characters.  I'm not sure where the idea of a "benevolent god" comes into it.
 
2014-01-06 03:46:43 PM  

A Cave Geek: Marcus Aurelius: A Cave Geek: [global3.memecdn.com image 850x890]

You're half right.

Dude...snark....You can make any belief system sound ridiculous when you break it down far enough.


Except that "break down" of the big bang theory was complete and utter BS not even remotely resembling what the current scientific theories are.
 
2014-01-06 03:46:45 PM  

FitzShivering: Valiente: EvilEgg: How does one "live like an atheist"?  Most Christians don't go to church, don't talk about Jesus much, and pretty much ignore Christ's teaching.

Not necessarily. Christ (or people writing decades after his death allegedly quoting him) said some pretty interesting stuff, as did many of his Classical contemporaries. But he also said some fairly inflammatory things that would tend to tick off the establishment Jews and the Romans of his time.

If you read Christ like you read Plato, or Marcus Aurelius, or Plotinus or even the emperor Julian, it's all good. Currently applicable life lessons may be drawn from "the collected sayings of" and can be used as part of a functional moral compass by any old atheist.

It's when you start with the actual religious edifice built on these sayings, which many people (not only non-religious people) find pretty much diametrically opposed to the intent of the words of the teacher who (again, allegedly and almost certainly heavily redacted) said them, that it all becomes problematic.

Christ the wisdom teacher is fine, if a little "local". Christ the magical fairy with the complicated god/man origin story and the church full of heretic-smiting, gold-loving kiddie fiddlers? Not so much.

My favorite is still Jesus with the moneylenders.  Mainly because Jesus hated capitalism.   Free market put those thieves in that temple, damn it!


What a peacemaker, just the sort of pro-family, hearth and home proto-Republican the world was looking for:

"34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35For I have come to turn
"'a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-
36    a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'[http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+10#fe n-NIV-23454c" title="See footnote c">c]
37
"Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. "
 
2014-01-06 03:47:02 PM  

meanmutton: jigger: HotWingConspiracy: LOL

So very Christ-like.

Here's some trivia for you: Jesus hated anyone that wasn't a Christian.

He doesn't hate them. He loves them. Just because he sends them into a lake of fire for eternity doesn't mean he hates them.

Technically, Christians believe that Jesus tries to get people to go to heaven but they choose the lake of eternal fire.


No, Christians believe that if a person doesn't follow a certain lifestyle, practice their religion a certain way, that they will go to hell. A lot like saying if a women dresses a certain way, she's asking to get raped.
 
2014-01-06 03:47:24 PM  

Pangea: Let me summarize what I read.

He was an adjunct professor, operating under a contract at a SEMINARY SCHOOL, presumably to teach people religious doctrine. Living as "an atheist" would presumably preclude him from teaching the Bible as gospel truth, because it must be taught from a position of faith unless you're just treating it as a scientific text to be taken apart point-by-point.

He is clearly an attention whore and couldn't be teaching in the capacity under which he was hired. They HAD to fire his stupid ass.

No outrage available.


And I would still disagree with the school.  I wouldn't trust someone who grew up in a church and never once questioned anything in the church.  Most people I know in the church I attend, have either converted or had a period in their lives that they took time away from church and questioned things before choosing to return.  If you are going to believe, take the time to search and study what you are saying you believe in.  Understand what it is you are saying you are standing for.  I was in my late 20's before I joined a church, and I stand behind my decision.  My dad is still pissed about the church I joined.  Funny thing is, we agree on all topics faith related.  He just doesn't trust the RLDS.  Example, we agree on not baptizing babies, yet he'll attend a church that baptizes babies and still doesn't like my choice of a church that does not baptize babies.

His ability to teach would not have been hampered by his experiment.  If anything, it would've gotten better.  I stopped trusting seminary schools a long time ago.  They are not ran by sane people.
 
2014-01-06 03:47:31 PM  

Latinwolf: Well there is an Atheist church according to this thread:

http://www.fark.com/comments/8087692


I don't click on links to fark.
 
2014-01-06 03:48:06 PM  

meanmutton: The Southern Dandy: meanmutton: jigger: HotWingConspiracy: LOL

So very Christ-like.

Here's some trivia for you: Jesus hated anyone that wasn't a Christian.

He doesn't hate them. He loves them. Just because he sends them into a lake of fire for eternity doesn't mean he hates them.

Technically, Christians believe that Jesus tries to get people to go to heaven but they choose the lake of eternal fire.

So Jesus/God is impotent?  He has no power to stop a person from going to hell? Why pray to him if he's impotent?

Christians believe that God gives individuals free will to choose between Heaven and Hell.


That all depends on their stance on Grace. Calvinists teach that humans can only be saved through God-granted Sovereign Grace. Such grace cannot be achieved through action or belief; It can only be granted by God. Further, one cannot lose God's grace once It has been granted.
 
Ant
2014-01-06 03:49:30 PM  

Vangor: In the previous article, he notes he will stop attending church, cease praying, cease praising or otherwise referring to a deity as the cause of events,  not read the Bible


Many atheists know The Bible backward and forward.
 
2014-01-06 03:49:33 PM  

Primitive Screwhead: When I was back there in seminary school
There was a person there
Who put forth the proposition
That you can petition the Lord with prayer
Petition the lord with prayer
Petition the lord with prayer
You cannot petition the lord with prayer!


Great album
 
2014-01-06 03:50:00 PM  
Teachers of make-believe can't pretend to believe in verifiable facts.  It undercuts their position and gives the impression that other ideas are acceptable or even true.

There's nothing stopping someone who is "living" like an atheist from still teaching the gospel, I mean I could totally do it if I was willing to give up my self respect and lie to everyone in my congregation preying on their ignorance and psychological need for social acceptance.
 
2014-01-06 03:50:49 PM  

TheOnion: How does one live like an atheist?


Copious amounts of guilt-free masturbation?
 
2014-01-06 03:51:21 PM  

demaL-demaL-yeH: InterruptingQuirk: Difference is the atheist doesn't have powerful groups that will run to their aid if they are offended by an off the cuff remark.

"Off-the-cuff"?

Ever been the object of aggressive proselytization?
I have. Many, many times.
My children have been aggressively proselytized.
I still have total strangers ring my doorbell and interrupt my meals to tell me all about Jebus.
On the Sabbath.

Having grown up in the overly-polished buckle of the Bible Belt, let me tell you a truth:
There is nothing "off-the-cuff" about this behavior. It is deliberate, demeaning, disgusting, and, in a place of business, absolutely unprofessional.


To be fair, they don't do it because you are an atheist, they do it because you are not a member of the congregation they are.

I have been very religious and very not religious in my life. During all of those times I was an object of aggressive proselytization for some group or another.
 
2014-01-06 03:51:28 PM  

GoldSpider: manbart: Atheism is simply the non-belief in the supernatural

That's only half of atheism.  The other half is the sneering derision of anyone who does believe.


SMUG, SNEERING ATHEISTS!

/who was the guy who used to say "smug, sneering Liberals" in every single post?
 
Ant
2014-01-06 03:52:40 PM  

JusticeandIndependence: I just plain don't think about why I don't believe.


You sound like you think there's something wrong with knowing exactly what you do/don't believe and why you do/don't believe it. I wish more people would examine their beliefs and why they hold them.
 
2014-01-06 03:52:42 PM  

BojanglesPaladin: Captain Darling: Not teaching at a seminary sounds like part of living like an atheist.

Yup. That's pretty much it. It would be absurd for a seminary to keep an openly atheist teacher in opposition to their beliefs, and it would be absurd for an atheist to teach at a seminary. His experiment, interesting though it may be, renders him incompatible with that particular employment. Like a man who decides to live a year as a blind man working as an air traffic controller.

Of course, he can certainly teach religious studies or philosophy at any number of universities that will have him.


I don't think his experiment has anything to do with his qualifications to teach at a seminary. Nor does his beliefs, which I can't imagine he shuts off for a year or whatever that means. Does an "Ethics" professor need to be a good person to teach Ethics? No.
 
2014-01-06 03:53:02 PM  

Pangea: DeaH: I have no argument that the school has the right to fire him. They could do it even if he weren't doing this "experiment." Where I disagree is the statement that an atheist can not teach from the Bible.

I'm not honestly saying an atheist can't teach from the Bible, notice how I said it would "presumably preclude him from teaching the Bible as gospel truth"

The Bible quickly falls apart when taken as the living word of God, as many Christians treat it. If taken as parables and allegory it's very powerful. Jesus even talked about that. I can't quote the passage, but it was something along the lines of having to teach from simplified examples because people couldn't understand the true teachings.

The problem is that you can't force people to do exactly what you say under fear of eternal damnation if you give on the "direct word of God" angle.


I have never been to seminary school, but I do know ministers and priests who have been to seminary school. While there are religious services, they are separate from classes. I was under the impression that the Bible is not taught as the gospel truth in class. Well, of course it isn't taught that way in Catholic seminaries because the Bible isn't treated like that in Catholic doctrine, but I know a Presbyterian minister who said her seminary had a far more scholarly approach to the Bible.
 
2014-01-06 03:53:27 PM  

Ant: How the hell do you live like an atheist?


Get up, drink some coffee, shower & shave, drive to work. Deal with idiot clients and prima donna co-workers all day long. Fark off on the internet a little. Drive back home, help the wife with dinner. Get in a little treadmill time, watch some TV, take some melatonin and go to bed.

Repeat.
 
2014-01-06 03:53:53 PM  
img.fark.net
 
2014-01-06 03:54:20 PM  

Ant: Vangor: In the previous article, he notes he will stop attending church, cease praying, cease praising or otherwise referring to a deity as the cause of events,  not read the Bible

Many atheists know The Bible backward and forward.


especially backwards -  muah-haha!
 
2014-01-06 03:55:40 PM  

demaL-demaL-yeH: Ever been the object of aggressive proselytization?
I have. Many, many times.
My children have been aggressively proselytized.
I still have total strangers ring my doorbell and interrupt my meals to tell me all about Jebus.
On the Sabbath.

Having grown up in the overly-polished buckle of the Bible Belt, let me tell you a truth:
There is nothing "off-the-cuff" about this behavior. It is deliberate, demeaning, disgusting, and, in a place of business, absolutely unprofessional.


Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I am a person that lives in this world too.

And who has the groups, which no one challenges for fear of committing social suicide, to back them up, you or atheists? The ACLU might be your first thought, but they are not dedicated to one group. They even defend Christians from time to time.
 
2014-01-06 03:57:02 PM  

Ablejack: Ant: Vangor: In the previous article, he notes he will stop attending church, cease praying, cease praising or otherwise referring to a deity as the cause of events,  not read the Bible

Many atheists know The Bible backward and forward.

especially backwards -  muah-haha!


I hear that if you play the Bible backwards, you can hear undead chickens clucking.
 
2014-01-06 03:57:22 PM  

ampoliros: Just to be clear, you can (pretend to) be an atheist and be employed by a religious organization.


Actually, you can really *be* an atheist and be employed by a religious organization.  I worked for the Presbyterian Church national HQ in an IT role for a while.  No one there ever asked me what my religious beliefs were.  And I never brought it up.
 
Ant
2014-01-06 04:01:06 PM  

Itstoearly: Yes, and a lot of Christians hide their faith for the same reason.


In Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan or Pakistan, sure. In The US? Why?

Or do you mean that they hide the less popular parts of their faith, like homophobia and misogyny?
 
2014-01-06 04:03:12 PM  

Reverend J: A Cave Geek: Marcus Aurelius: A Cave Geek: [global3.memecdn.com image 850x890]

You're half right.

Dude...snark....You can make any belief system sound ridiculous when you break it down far enough.

Except that "break down" of the big bang theory was complete and utter BS not even remotely resembling what the current scientific theories are.


I'm aware.  Nor does the christian view of things make a terribly accurate representation of their view.  It designed to point out that accepting anything 'on faith' without examining it rationally and scientifically is bound to land you into a belief system that will eventually be 'proven wrong'.  Even stating the fact that "God does not exist" is kinda stupid if you can't explain 'why' God doesn't exist.  (A belief I happen to share...I can explain why, if you are interested.  You probably aren't.)

Yes, I'm aware of the cutting edge research into the origins of the universe, as well as research into super-symmetry, string theory, and all the others.  Yes, I can do the math, and yes, I understand them.

Now take a farking pill.
 
2014-01-06 04:03:12 PM  

DeaH: Pangea: DeaH: I have no argument that the school has the right to fire him. They could do it even if he weren't doing this "experiment." Where I disagree is the statement that an atheist can not teach from the Bible.

I'm not honestly saying an atheist can't teach from the Bible, notice how I said it would "presumably preclude him from teaching the Bible as gospel truth"

The Bible quickly falls apart when taken as the living word of God, as many Christians treat it. If taken as parables and allegory it's very powerful. Jesus even talked about that. I can't quote the passage, but it was something along the lines of having to teach from simplified examples because people couldn't understand the true teachings.

The problem is that you can't force people to do exactly what you say under fear of eternal damnation if you give on the "direct word of God" angle.

I have never been to seminary school, but I do know ministers and priests who have been to seminary school. While there are religious services, they are separate from classes. I was under the impression that the Bible is not taught as the gospel truth in class. Well, of course it isn't taught that way in Catholic seminaries because the Bible isn't treated like that in Catholic doctrine, but I know a Presbyterian minister who said her seminary had a far more scholarly approach to the Bible.


And I admire and respect that position. I've got a belief in some higher order and it works for me, but I tried going to few "modern" churches for the fellowship. It's casual dress with live music and a good message, but then it got real.

They talked about taking the Bible literally and used it to explain that they will love homosexuals but they can't get into Heaven no matter how awesome they are. I suppose it's important to note that they never mentioned the whole "camel through the eye of a needle" bit about rich people getting into Heaven, given that a lot of their congregation was very wealthy.

I probably just had a few bad experiences, but they accumulated into enough to turn me off churches pretty much entirely.
 
2014-01-06 04:03:40 PM  

A Cave Geek: Marcus Aurelius: A Cave Geek: [global3.memecdn.com image 850x890]

You're half right.

Dude...snark....You can make any belief system sound ridiculous when you break it down far enough.


True, but only one of those breakdowns bears any real resemblance to the original. The other one is meaningless gibberish that ignores the facts.
 
2014-01-06 04:05:38 PM  

serial_crusher: I've never experienced or observed that sort of conversation in real life, and I live in Texas. Most people 'round these parts don't give two shiats.


Same here. There are so many very different faiths just among the Christians that it's just common sense and courtesy to leave people to whatever faith they have, even if it's none. 'You tend to your, I'll tend to mine' still largely holds when it comes to religion.

Of course, you go poking someone about their religion, then all bets are off.
 
2014-01-06 04:07:50 PM  

Latinwolf: HotWingConspiracy: LOL

So very Christ-like.

Here's some trivia for you: Jesus hated anyone that wasn't a Christian.

Problem with that logic is that Christians didn't exist until after Jesus died.


According to the Book of Mormon, that is not the case.  Not only it was never taught Jesus hates anyone, but BoM tells of a people believe in Jesus circa 600BC.  As much as we discuss believing in his past, they discussed his birth, practiced baptism and quit animal sacrifice.  And they were Jewish, which yes, all Jews are still looking forward to Christ arrival.  As per the story, they knew his name and lived in Latin America after leaving Israel.  It was also stated that prior to them, that baptism was established.  Many of the teachings of Jesus was given as lessons before his birth, however the Pharisees strayed from them and is why they fought him.

It was written that they knew the day he was born and the day he was crucified.  There is physical evidence of massive earthquakes sinking whole cities, that according to the story took place the day of crucifixion.
 
2014-01-06 04:10:28 PM  

Ant: Many atheists know believe they know The Bible backward and forward.


Not saying none do, but the percentage of Atheists I have debated who actually have any familiarity beyond basic Sunday School level is pretty much nil. Sure they can quote something they read in an atheist book or blog or whatever, but ask them something outside their pre-loaded bullet points? Blank.

To be fair, this is exactly the same situation when debating most Christians about their faith as well. Basic Sunday School level at best.
 
2014-01-06 04:10:42 PM  
Is this code for he wants to have gay sex?
 
2014-01-06 04:11:28 PM  

lack of warmth: There is physical evidence of massive earthquakes sinking whole cities,



... ummm.... cite?
 
2014-01-06 04:12:23 PM  

Carn: Is this code for he wants to have gay sex?


No that would mean living as a Seminary professor.
 
2014-01-06 04:12:28 PM  

BojanglesPaladin: Ant: Many atheists know believe they know The Bible backward and forward.

Not saying none do, but the percentage of Atheists I have debated who actually have any familiarity beyond basic Sunday School level is pretty much nil. Sure they can quote something they read in an atheist book or blog or whatever, but ask them something outside their pre-loaded bullet points? Blank.

To be fair, this is exactly the same situation when debating most Christians about their faith as well. Basic Sunday School level at best.


Agreed.  I can't stand when some neckbearded militant atheist points out that some random Christian who believes God's teaching about homosexuality in Leviticus is going to Hell for eating shrimp.
 
2014-01-06 04:12:47 PM  

Pangea: I probably just had a few bad experiences, but they accumulated into enough to turn me off churches pretty much entirely.


I assume you were going to the 'non-denominational'?
 
2014-01-06 04:14:09 PM  
Funny story if I may say so.

He didn't "try to live like an atheist", he was a dumbass and wanted attention.

He got it.
 
2014-01-06 04:15:51 PM  
i851.photobucket.com
 
2014-01-06 04:16:25 PM  

Satanic_Hamster: Captain Darling: Not teaching at a seminary sounds like part of living like an atheist.

Yep.  Also, how exactly does one live as an atheist?  I don't go to atheist lectures or clubs, apparently I'm doing it wrong?


Beats me.  I reckon I'm an Atheist and wouldn't go to an Atheist lecture if my life depended on it (well, I'd make an exception if it was a life or death choice).  Like I need to go to a meeting to tell me what I don't believe in?
 
2014-01-06 04:17:10 PM  

BojanglesPaladin: Ant: Many atheists know believe they know The Bible backward and forward.

Not saying none do, but the percentage of Atheists I have debated who actually have any familiarity beyond basic Sunday School level is pretty much nil. Sure they can quote something they read in an atheist book or blog or whatever, but ask them something outside their pre-loaded bullet points? Blank.

To be fair, this is exactly the same situation when debating most Christians about their faith as well. Basic Sunday School level at best.


Most Christians I've debated know about as much about science as an elementary school kid.  They think the bible tells them all they need to know.  They quote buzzwords without knowing what any of them actually mean.
 
Ant
2014-01-06 04:17:16 PM  

GoldSpider: That's only half of atheism.   The other half is the sneering derision of anyone who does believe.


That part is optional. Do it if you enjoy it.
 
2014-01-06 04:18:03 PM  

sovietski: EvilEgg: EvilEgg: How does one "live like an atheist"?  Most Christians don't go to church, don't talk about Jesus much, and pretty much ignore Christ's teaching.

I thought about it, and I decided he could read the Bible, that's one thing many atheists do that Christians don't.

I've found that atheists are generally more willing to discuss theology logically than religious folks. Lots of religious folks get their panties in a twist when you ask uncomfortable questions. Very rarely do you find one that will discuss a touchy subject without condemning you.

The above is my experience. Not my intention to paint with a broad brush.

I had one girl condemn me to Hell in the beginning of a rather volatile conversation about televangelists and hypocrisy. By the end, she told me that "Jesus had forgiven me."

/shakes head


This, along with theists like the now unemployed subject of the article along with existentialists and philosophers make for good theological conversation. Otherwise you are better off heading for the nearest echo chamber or argument room for the thrill if that is your sort of thing.

/shrug
 
2014-01-06 04:18:27 PM  

GoldSpider: manbart: Atheism is simply the non-belief in the supernatural

That's only half of atheism.  The other half is the sneering derision of anyone who does believe.


You got your anti-theism in my atheism.
 
2014-01-06 04:19:41 PM  

meanmutton: It's not religious bigotry when a seminary fires you as a Pastor because of your religious beliefs.



Yeah, this whole endeavour is silly for a number of reasons.
 
2014-01-06 04:19:43 PM  

KidneyStone: Like I need to go to a meeting to tell me what I don't believe in?


there's a joke in there about various  training meetings at very large companies, but I'm too lazy and unemployed to find it.
 
2014-01-06 04:20:39 PM  

lack of warmth: Not only it was never taught Jesus hates anyone, but BoM tells of a people believe in Jesus circa 600BC.


I'm not sure what to make of that word salad, but I'm nigh to certain that no Cuisinart coffeemaker  BoM includes any of those specifications.
 
2014-01-06 04:21:28 PM  

doctor wu: meanmutton: It's not religious bigotry when a seminary fires you as a Pastor because of your religious beliefs.


Yeah, this whole endeavour is silly for a number of reasons.


Reminds me of that guy to took a job to study evolution, then refused to because it was against his religion, got fired, and tried to sue.  Can't remember the whole situation.
 
2014-01-06 04:22:31 PM  

A Cave Geek: Most Christians I've debated know about as much about science as an elementary school kid. They think the bible tells them all they need to know. They quote buzzwords without knowing what any of them actually mean.


I think the problem there is that your peers are just morons. Their religion is a secondary characteristic. Most people in this country are Christian, regardless of intellect, income level, or education. Of you WANT to talk to intelligent educated Christians, go find some intelligent, educated PEOPLE.

You might as well say that most brown-haired people you talk to know about as much about science as an elementary school kid.
 
2014-01-06 04:22:43 PM  

lordjupiter: Carn: Is this code for he wants to have gay sex?

No that would mean living as a Seminary professor.


haha that's even better.  "Um dudes, I like Jesus but I don't like like him, you get me?  Put your pants back on, Ralph."
 
2014-01-06 04:24:31 PM  

A Cave Geek: doctor wu: meanmutton: It's not religious bigotry when a seminary fires you as a Pastor because of your religious beliefs.


Yeah, this whole endeavour is silly for a number of reasons.

Reminds me of that guy to took a job to study evolution, then refused to because it was against his religion, got fired, and tried to sue.  Can't remember the whole situation.


reminds me of that other guy who took a job helping spy on folks but he was against spying on folks.  I also can't remember the whole situation, but it turned out Alex Trebek's mother was a whore.
 
2014-01-06 04:24:41 PM  
This whole premise sounds like a rejected 80's comedy series.
 
2014-01-06 04:25:39 PM  

BojanglesPaladin: A Cave Geek: Most Christians I've debated know about as much about science as an elementary school kid. They think the bible tells them all they need to know. They quote buzzwords without knowing what any of them actually mean.

I think the problem there is that your peers are just morons. Their religion is a secondary characteristic. Most people in this country are Christian, regardless of intellect, income level, or education. Of you WANT to talk to intelligent educated Christians, go find some intelligent, educated PEOPLE.

You might as well say that most brown-haired people you talk to know about as much about science as an elementary school kid.


Most of the people I'm referencing are college educated.  Not nearly as many christians know as much about science as they think they do.  the christian wing of the libertarian crowd is particularly annoying in that regard.  Know nothing about science, think they know everything.
 
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