1. Two weeks without electricity and religion will make a comeback within the populace.

    Read Eccleiasties. This is nothing new under the Biblical sun.

  2. (religion) “It is an institution comprising myriad smaller organizations.” “a personal connection to God, and that kind of religion — or spirituality — remains strong.”

    I agree. Spirituality is likely unaffected by institutions. Organizations love to present themselves as having some special power over the individual’s spiritual life, but that is the big lie. Naturally, folks of a similar background and mindset tend to socialize and some like to pray and meditate, but no organization has any special powers* or even special knowledge. The information age is hammering that into more and more minds. Claims are being examined on an unprecedented scale and everywhere fraud has been discovered.
    I say follow the money and test all claims scientifically. Nothing useful will be lost, and honest men and women will benefit.

    *Special powers- meaning power besides those given by precedent, social control, and political power.

  3. So religious fervor has a great appeal for the ignorant and scared.

    OK. We get that.

  4. You can’t even spell your own scripture? Religious education doesn’t seem all its cracked up to be. 🙂

  5. Add to that is the increasing difficulty in maintaining sectarian based animosities in a civil democratic society. Democratization undermines the exclusivity of religious belief. Its becoming harder and harder for sectarian based prejudice to be given color of law in democratic nations. Also people are seeing faiths/sects as less defining differences between people.

    The mobility of society makes religious enclaves tougher to sustain. Homogeneity of faith within a given ethnic group is no longer a given as interfaith marriages are on the rise. Without the spectre of sectarian discrimination hanging over people, you are finding people are more willing to associate with those outside their faith.

    Once you start transcending a religion’s alleged monopoly on spiritual truth, its easy to continue ignoring other arbitrary forms social control elements religion exerts as well.

  6. Tough luck apologists. Truth of the matter is, if one claims to be Christian and identifies as such, they are. Your opinions don’t amount to jack on the subject. Until one of you comes up with proof of being the supreme leader of all Christianity accepted by all 2 billion adherents, it is just meglomaniacal ramblings.

  7. How many different forms of bigotry can Julian espouse at the same time?
    He had homophobia and anti-semitism. Now we can add racism to the list.

    Julian is there anyone you can’t spout hatred against?

  8. Religion may lose its social influence at times, but it manages to survive incredibly when the crowds proclaim it dead. It has happened sporadically throughout history and will continue to in the future. Catholicism has survived for 2000 years, its influence probably still the most potent on the world stage.
    Cults, Protestant weakness, and the barbarism of
    Islam give the public cause to believe that religion is useless, archaic, etc. So in place of the formed religions they attempt to create new religions, or rediscover ancient pagan practices like Buddhism, or Wicaan.
    The Catholic Church just waits for the world to beg for her truth all over again.

  9. Larry,

    It’s the flippin spell check thing. Uggh! One thing is inescapable, you understand my positons. Ya hate ’em, but you can’t a say you are confused.

    No matter the typos, watching pure evil rise to the level of a human rights campaign is utterly fascinating.

    Muslims slaughtering Christians on one front, atheists moving against them on another and LGBT’s making Christianity a hate crime. Liberals promoting heresy like a pop fad.

    Man it is an exciting time to be alive.

    Certainly no time to deny Christ risen. That’s for sure.

    You get one guess which side I assert you’re on.

    But this is all about choice.

  10. The wheat from the chaff. 3.7% is probably more like it.

    But I’ll bet that the Duggars “call on the name of the Lord” when it comes to that.

    Their antagonists will never repent.

    It’s interesting that so many Christian-bashers love to ridicule a Christian that behaves like they do.

  11. Julian,

    “God gave them up to a reprobate mind.”

    Fascinating to watch this happening with so many of being debauched.

  12. You’re a cliche Larry.

    You babble political correctness like a well trained parrot.

  13. “The Catholic Church just waits for the world to beg for her truth all over again.”

    Then the Catholic Church will be waiting eternally for the event that will never take place. The modern secularized people will not be going back to the 1st century morality and sectarian dogmas to guide their lives in the 21st century and beyond. BTW, if you think Buddhism is a “pagan practice”, you know nothing about Buddhism. Try to enlighten yourself with some actual knowledge.

  14. Secularism regularly digs its own grave. This happens over time for a number of reasons. Chief among them is that many religious people embrace God’s words “Be fruitful and multiply” and :”Choose Life.” On the other hand, , whether it is through the killing of their children in the womb or embracing sterile” marriage”– in time– secularists and atheists exterminate their own future. If they won’t listen to the voice of God–God’s Nature will not be denied. The only way they continue in existence is through lies and propaganda hoodwinking people into their bleak, lifeless world where children are talked about as the enemy and not recognized as the future.

  15. Jesus made it clear that when people like you write things like that, you are wrong.

    I’m going with the teachings of God with us.

    Tough luck anti-Christians.

  16. Julian, there have been over 10,000 gods (and goddesses) we humans ever invented and worshipped since the dawn of civilization. Which god are you referring to and why is your god (yes, the use of lower case “g” is absolutely intentional) any different than other 9,999 gods?

    BTW, I don’t hate your god. I just don’t want his follower like you trying to dictate how I should live and threatening me with eternal damnation if I don’t. So stop. Your god knows exactly what it takes to convince me of his existence. And if he has problems with the way I am, let him tell me that, not you.

  17. Jim Bob publicly stated during his 2002 campaign for U.S. Senate that he thinks incest should be punishable by death. Jim Bob’s platform on his campaign website—preserved via web cache—states that he believes “rape and incest represent heinous crimes and as such should be treated as capital crimes.”

    I bet he wishes he never said that. Oh, wait, he doesn’t have to. They prayed, and god forgave them, as he did little josh, who also preyed mightily.

  18. actually, liz, I only want them to stop dictating how I should live because of their religious beliefs. They can threaten me with eternal damnation all they wish.

    I couldn’t possibly not care any more about that empty threat than I already don’t.

  19. You, JR, and Julian sure have some crazy scheiss going on.

  20. Immigrants huddle around their religions and social religious structure because they are insecure. So, as the generations evolve, people become much more independent, and it is this independence that no longer requires the security of religion. It is a natural evolution of humanity when the economy is good. It will revert again during a catastrophe. That is why religious people pray for a calamities.

  21. No, Larry, religion kicks in when reality hits people squarely in the face.

    When, relative to the rest of humanity, they’re rich, fat, happy, and complacent, they believe they’re invincible, invulnerable, and immortal. At that moment, the last thing in the world they want is God.

    But it’s when the real world kicks in, when life knocks people on the balls of their behinds, and they realize that reality is not the Magic Kingdom, that they begin turning to God.

  22. Even for those of us too young to be alive or to remember, we know there was a time when the baby boom generation was called the “God-is-Dead” generation. Back in the late 1960s, it was considered the generation that was going to put religion and the Bible in their graves once and for all.

    Well, a funny thing happened on the way to killing God… the late 1970s, a massive revival had swept over that same boomer generation, and thus the generation that had rejected God suddenly found Him.

    To this day, the greatest culture war is not inter-generational but intra-generational — between millions within the 60s/70s generation that embrace the secularist Left and millions who embrace Jesus. People on both sides often went to the same schools, listened to the same music, came from the same socio-economic backgrounds, and all the rest….The only difference is that one said “yes” to the counterculture and the other “yes” to Jesus.

  23. The book, “Freakanomics” points to a number of paradoxes that back what the Deacon is saying.

  24. Wrong, Larry. While the “no-true-Scotsman” fallacy is quite real, that doesn’t mean that everyone automatically is who or what they claim to be. That takes us to the opposite extreme of that fallacy.

  25. From an apelike ancestor in Africa about 200,000 years ago, of course! Apparently, people like us have evolved quite nicely while you have not. Many social scientists happen to agree with der’s analysis; independence, improved economic/social conditions and explosion of information via Internet are the 3 biggest reasons for the declining religiosity in the US and Europe.

  26. Jack,
    “religion kicks in when reality hits people squarely in the face.”
    Reality is the last thing religious institutions are interested in.
    Scientists, artists, philosophers, and scholars are the champions of that sphere.
    “they believe they’re invincible, invulnerable, and immortal.”
    Silly statement! Only religionists believe they are immortal.
    When you die you rot! -Bertrand Russell

  27. J.Pinhead,
    “Amid the gloating of the God haters..”
    No God haters- just hate people who want to control others through fraudulent claims and intimidation.

  28. In the battle between religion and radical secularism, religion wins. The question is what kind of religion will come out on top in the battle for hearts and minds.

    And the rads have it backwards on why religion will win. It’s not because religion is based on an attractive delusion. Religion actually is what people turn to when their bubbles burst — when they lose whatever they’ve been depending on to insulate them from the real world.

    Put another way, skepticism is a luxury that’s only affordable to people whose circumstances are good enough for them to hold on to key myths — that they’re the masters of their own destiny, that the lights will always go on, that food will always be on the table, that they will never get sick or incapacitated or one day die.

    There are, for example, no societies that are in more intense practical denial about the reality of death than secularist ones.

  29. Calling me “Lizbo” without knowing anything about me shows your emotional immaturity and level of your bigotry.

    -Paganism: a religion that worships many gods or nature and the Earth (you are partially right…Wicca is originated from Paganism)

    -Buddhism: a path of practice and spiritual development leading to Insight into the true nature of reality. Buddhist practices like meditation are means of changing yourself in order to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness, and wisdom. There’s no belief in god(s).

    There, now you know. There are no similarities between Paganism and Buddhism. Again, try to enlighten yourself with some actual knowledge.

  30. @Larry- Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of the heavens, but only the one DOING the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 22 Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’
    (Jesus said these words to show that not everyone who CLAIMS to be his follower IS one in truth) He also said the number of true followers would be small compared to those on the road to destruction. (Matt. 7:13-14) MOST people are looking for a religion that goes along with what THEY believe not what GOD says is true and right. They have made a god of their belly. (Philippians 3:19) ”Their end is destruction, and their god is their belly, and their glory is really their shame, and they have their minds on earthly things.”

  31. Liz, your last two sentences are actually why I’m not swallowing all this RNS angst about “the Nones”, trying to analyze and hand-wring every last little factoid and statistic and it’s-all-the-church’s-fault. That stuff is getting boring.

    You said it best: God still knows your address and what to put in your mailbox if he wants to convince you of anything. Indeed, if the Bible is any indication, He’s already given you the two items that you mentioned there.

    The fact is “Nones” and “Atheists” are simply rebelling against God and the information He gives to them. Trying to keep swimming in their own quicksand till their tired legs give out. Spiritually starving themselves, all dried up inside, withered, miserable and thirsty, while trying to be all chic and bold about it.

    Putting up a front that they’re all happy and satisfied and kewl without God, which usually lasts only as long as their circumstances and income and health will permit. What a mess!

  32. Be Brave, I wouldn’t even call it “debauched.” It doesn’t even rise to that level…..the kind of secularism that prevails today is weak and insipid, nothing like the strong brew of old paganism. It is like watching a 20-year-old exhibiting the vitality of a 90-year-old shut-in.

    It is more pathetic than anything else…..and the only thing that is more pathetic than it is the abject failure of Christendom to get on its hind legs and stand up for something — anything.

    Every place its ideas and policies have been tried, it has failed almost comically. From the culture to the economy, from dealing with poverty to fighting evil in the world, it has proved almost laughably wrong on just about anything.

    Why tens of millions of Christians, real or professed, are quaking in their boots over it is anyone’s guess.

  33. Jack,
    “God-is-Dead” You appear to only be interested in popular culture. Try expanding your horizons to include serious thinkers.
    Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet, composer, and Latin and Greek scholar.
    He published “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” (1883)
    his other works include:
    The Greek Music Drama (1870)
    The Greek State (1871)
    The Birth of Tragedy (1872)
    On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense (1873)
    Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks (1873)
    We Philologists (1874, posthumous)
    Untimely Meditations (1876)
    Human, All Too Human (1878)
    The Dawn (1881)
    The Gay Science (1882)
    Beyond Good and Evil (1886)
    On the Genealogy of Morality (1887)
    The Case of Wagner (1888)
    Twilight of the Idols (1888)
    The Antichrist (1888)
    Ecce Homo (1888)
    Nietzsche contra Wagner (1888)
    The Will to Power (unpublished manuscripts edited by Elisabeth)

  34. I hear you Ben. I don’t give flying crap about the hell threat either; however, I mentioned it because it does bother many of my atheist friends and their children. I don’t like it one bit when a deluded religious zealots tell kids they will go to hell if they don’t believe in Jesus. If that’s not bullying, I don’t know what is.

  35. Finally, a flickering of common sense….

  36. I often wonder why so many Christians are so afraid of buffoonish blockheads babbling semi-coherently about philosophies which are such utter failures in the real world….which have been tried and found wanting in every nook and cranny of life, over and over again across time and place.

    Maybe they’re so used to living comfortable lives and are afraid of losing it all.

    And maybe the answer is to realize that when you die, you lose it all anyway, and that the only thing you get to keep is what you’ve stored up in Heaven through the quality of life you’ve lived here.

  37. Actually, I like Nietzsche very much because of his willingness to take thought to its logical and honest conclusion.

    My obvious disagreement is with his premises….the understatement of a lifetime, of course.

  38. Doc, you really don’t understand atheism is a logical conclusion after a long search of bit of hard evidence, do you? You also don’t understand most of atheists became atheists after reading the Bible. I’ve read it from cover to cover twice when I was a Christian to ensure my belief is true and justifiable. I couldn’t reach that conclusion so now I am an atheist. If you think we are simply “rebelling” against god for no reason, you have no clue.

    When I said your god knows how to convince me of his existence, I meant hard physical evidence. For example, if Jesus shows up during a super bowl and turn nachos and beer into bread and wine, I will instantly believe in Jesus. That point, I don’t need YOU to convince me.

  39. No, Samuel, the difference is that one side can’t even speak about death, let alone deal with it in an adult way, while the other side knows fully well that nobody gets out of here alive but trusts in an eternity which follows.

    One side pretends death is some freakish accident that happens to other people and pushes old people to the periphery of society because it fears death so much, whereas the other side focuses on both death and ultimate resurrection as pressingly real and concrete things.

  40. Or to put it another way, one side, in complete denial of death — from individual death to the eventual expiration of the sun and universe — tries to build heaven on earth, even if it paradoxically means slaughtering tens of millions of people in service to its quixotic dreams, while the other side deals with earth and heaven separately, and wisely rejects demented schemes for the perfectibility of humanity in general or some favored class or race specifically.

  41. Dear Doc

    Do you believe my unsaved parents are now screaming in hell? Eternal damnation of ordinary people just does not line up with common sense. Yes, it has been church teaching since forever – Augustine and Aquinas etc,

  42. Liz, I’ll let Doc speak for himself, but I’m sure he would agree that atheism requires people to believe that the universe in all its wonder, vastness and complexity just magically popped into being….all by its lonesome.

    As for the Bible, it’s hard to believe we’re talking about the same book or books. What struck me the most — and what I found most surprising — was the historical evidence for its veracity. Far from requiring a blind faith that looks past evidence, being convinced that the basic story and stories are true requires diligent, unsentimental, focused application of the common-sense rules of historical evidence.

    Show me how you’ve even attempted this.

    Atheists I’ve run into talk a good game about logic, facts, and evidence, but whenever we get down to the particulars as opposed to general philosophizing, they resort to purely emotional arguments or try shifting subjects.

  43. Jack,
    I see no downside to attempting to live an excellent (Arche) life. To deviate from that goal because of speculation concerning a future existence, seems a poor trade to me. Likely as not, an excellent life here, would be a better preparation anyway. In no way do I mean to suggest selfishness or self preoccupation, but we should take joy in our journey and share with our follow travelers. Those who will to power are not my friends.

  44. Abortionists and promoters of sterile marriage are in our time destroying our culture and civilization.
    But many secularists and atheists refuse to see the destruction they are causing (and opening the way to Islam where Gays are executed and women have few rights-if any.)
    This is not the apocalyptic fantasy of some religious fanatics but of some of recent times most erudite and respected historians. Maybe that is why the Left first tries to get serious, truthful history thrown out of the schools.
    “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within.” Will Durant,
    “Civilizations die from suicide, not murder,” – Arnold Toynbee

  45. Job 1:21: “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.” It is kind of funny, sitting on a planet rotating in space, revolving around a gaseous sun, within a group of stars in a distant part of the universe. We wake up and breathe air from a thin atmosphere, sitting on a piece of land, with molten rock beneath it, water surrounding it, and gravity holding all objects in their place. We find ourselves in an ecological system that exists within a dynamic equilibrium of clouds, rain, evaporation, and humidity. We don’t even realize the established buffer systems which hold all from falling apart when substantial events cause great shifts. Within it all, man sits at his computer, and tells the world that there is no God, and that he is the center of his own universe. Ah, if it weren’t for pride, lust, and avarice. Well best of luck when our Lord decides to taketh it all away (Job 1:21).

  46. Re: “‘Religion plays a less important role in American life.’ Or maybe, ‘Religion declines as powerful source of American public authority.'”

    How can that be? The Religious Right controls both houses of Congress as well as most statehouses. On what rational basis can anyone seriously contend religion has “lost authority”? They haven’t lost any!

  47. The entirety of religion is disintegrating in America.
    May it happen in the Middle East within a few years.

  48. @Jack,

    “I like Nietzsche very much because of his willingness to take thought to its logical and honest conclusion.”

    Try it yourself.

  49. I think Old George baby had it about right: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”
    (George Washington). That is what this country was built upon.

  50. Liz, stop it now. You can teach me nothing.

  51. PsiCop,

    How many students are now flooding through Liberty University? How many “Americans” are attending private “Christian” Schools?

    While the atheists get an education to produce marijuana factories, build a better abortion drug, redefine sodomy and to enslave their supporters in materialism, Christians are getting law degrees and MBA’s and raising peaceful and non-inebriated families.

    Ah the future in America is not yet total darkness.

    Atheist Max May 27, 2015 at 2:29 am
    The entirety of religion is disintegrating in America.
    May it happen in the Middle East within a few years.

    But if atheism wins power and control, no amount of social justice demands, based on pre-rotting corpses screaming for more stuff and pleasures can enlightened the depraved mind.

    Secularism based on godlessness as can be seen in the former soviet union countries is little more than sex slavery and suicide where new worthless bodies jump on a sick merry-go-round of birth, death…

  52. Of course you would say that Jack. You spend half your time coming up with apologia and excuses why people who do horrific things in he name of their faith aren’t, “real christians”. You have a vested interest in disassociating yourself and your faith from them. All the while playing the ad hominem and guilt by association game when it comes to others.

    The whole “no true scotsman” argument is one of the least honest tools of a very sketchy toolbox of frequent arguments used by fundamentalist christians.

    What it comes down to is, your opinion does not define who is Christian and who isn’t. That is merely fundamentalist delusion speaking.

  53. Riiiight, and of course you are a true Christian and everyone else who may share the same faith but may have different opinions and interpretations isn’t. You of course will declare yourself a Christian and deny the faith of others. All to feel better about your religious belief. The delusion of authority.

  54. So what do they say about the fiber that gets crapped out? Because clearly are lower than chaff.

  55. Troll says what?

    I wasn’t addressing you BB. I never address you in a serious manner. You are not worth the effort.

  56. I have been Touched by His Noodly Appendage!

    Forever and ever, ramen.

  57. Jack,
    “atheism requires people to believe that the universe in all its wonder, vastness and complexity just magically popped into being….all by its lonesome.”
    This is not an argument, but merely insult that panders to the ignorant. Organic chemistry is not a joke, it is a fact. Self assembly is an everyday occurrence. You cannot get a car or an airplane that way because these are mechanically assembled. We do, however, get bacteria, trees, people, and eventually universes that way.
    Gods we get only through the human imagination. That is why they are invisible, numerous, and magical. You are the one who says he wants to talk about reality, but apparently not unless it is created by magical fiat. Plain old ordinary reality appears to be of little interest to you.

  58. Deacon John,
    Will Durant was an atheist. A gentle sceptic who was reared Catholic, trained by the Catholics, and went to Catholic seminary. Read his Autobiography Transition.
    It details his loss of faith and his conversion to Darwinism.

  59. “atheism requires people to believe that the universe in all its wonder, vastness and complexity just magically popped into being….all by its lonesome.”

    And theism requires exactly the same thing for God.

    No news here.

  60. Well not you JR. Your little insult of Liz was just proof that immaturity works best for devout fundamentalist belief.

    Secularism promotes religious freedom. People like John and yourself detest such things. Having to treat people of different beliefs with respect and civility is far beyond your maturity level.

  61. Again you make the ignorant ahistorical rant equating “God is Dead” with secularism and atheism.

    God is dead was a spiritual lament (as it was in Nitsche where the line came from). A believer losing faith in the authority of organized religion. That the world was being abandoned by God in light of all that was crappy and the dearth of authority one could trust. “Where is God when we need him now?” Not an atheist question but a believers. There was never a large scale atheist movement in the 60’s & 70’s. Quite the opposite. Universalism was gaining popularity.

    Of course you fundies deliberately misinterpret it, because its all about feeling morally and spiritually superior to anyone not you.

  62. @Greg,

    “duty of all nations to…. acknowledge God”

    Wrong. Not the USA.

    The USA still has the only Atheist Constitution ever written:

    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion…”

    Let me put that in plain english:


    This country was founded on Atheist principles; lawful protection of NON-belief. And that is what you need to acknowledge.

    Christ is just a rather mild public nuisance. The character of Jesus as written in the Gospels is a racist, divisive, war-mongering, absolutist, indecent and uncivilized individual.

    Keeping that religious nonsense out of our laws
    was one of the best ideas GEORGE WASHINGTON ever decided to vote for.

  63. BB,

    “pre-rotting corpses screaming for more stuff and pleasures…”

    Actually that is not what humans are doing. They are trying to govern themselves and religion is getting in their way at every turn!

    Furthermore, if you have no evidence that we are anything more than ‘pre-rotting corpses’ you have no reason to pursue that line of commentary.

    Either prove we are more than human – or stop making the claim.

  64. Reality may knock people back to religion but I think, as we saw after 9/11, they do not stay there long. In fact, most who started going back to church on September 16, 2001 stopped doing so by September 23. Certainly, that was the case where I live.

  65. Well, THAT’s an interesting question, Dmj. And you ain’t alone in asking it, that’s for sure. I respect you for having the guts to ask such a tough question.

    So I’ll give you the look-you-in-the-eye answer on it, with all respect. Here it is:

    I do not know the exact fate of your parents, not for certain. I say it like that, NOT because Jesus ain’t telling the truth about John 3:16, Heaven, Hell, and Salvation — oh yes he IS totally telling you the flat-out truth on that (and everything else). I know THAT much for certain.

    But what I’ve also learned, is that only Jesus, (since He is God), knows EVERYTHING that goes on with a given person right at their last moments. We humans don’t know everything about those mysterious last minute of pre-death consciousness.

    So Maybe in their individual last moments, your mom and dad had a serious last minute Private-Conversation that didn’t get emailed back to you, *** if you know what I mean.***

  66. …So don’t lose hope on this. Trust God on your parents there.. Don’t sell God or the Bible short. Make sure that you yourself are properly hooked up with Jesus so that when your time comes, you’ll go up.

  67. Jack, why are you so insecure in your faith?

    You feel this compulsive need to deny faith as the basis of your belief (nonsense about evidence of God’s existence). You have this desire to attack people who do not share your belief and misrepresent their views in a patently dishonest and ignorant manner. All done as if it convinces yourself that your faith is strong and right for everyone.

    Then you top it off with prideful boasting that having such faith entitles you to eternal reward. Couple that with immature passive aggressive admonishments that others will suffer for disagreeing with you.

    If you were more mature and personally secure about your faith in God, you would not require all of the intellectual dishonesty, ad hominem and childish insults to support yourself. You would be proud in your belief and respectful that others may not agree with you.

    But right now you are showing that your belief is just childish whinning.

  68. “Every place its ideas and policies have been tried, it has failed almost comically.”

    Secularism? Hardly. It has been the one thing which guarantees religious freedom throughout the free world. To decry secularism is to declare you want sectarian discrimination to be the norm.

    But I know some people don’t really care much for religious freedom. They want license for their faith/sect at the expense of all others. To enact the kind of theocratic system which produces hellish dictatorships nowadays and drove so many people to our shores centuries ago.

  69. Ben and Liz,

    There is no place of firey torment forever as taught by many religions, but only the common grave where people are dead and not aware of anything, as in a deep sleep (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6, 10; John 11:11-14). The hellfire doctrine that many are “threatened with” is totally false, so there is nothing to worry about if anyone dies for whatever reason.

  70. BB,

    Jesus prophecied about the “signs” that would be evident that we are living in the “last days” of a wicked era (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

    Those prophecies are evidently being fulfilled worldwide now! And yes, it is exciting to know that God’s kingdom or heavenly government will soon intervene in man’s affairs (Daniel 2:44; Isaiah 11:1-9), and make all matters right on planet earth for all meek mankind (Psalm 37:10,11; Revelation 21:3-4).

  71. Jack, you aren’t sounding like an “adult”. Seriously, where do you get off being so insulting?

  72. Fran stop of saying prophecies from your own mind and falsehood thoughts. Repent! You only know false Jehovah and wrong read bible and False Religion that is taking you to Hell. Repent!

  73. Sam –you reinforce my point. You seem to affirm the words of Will Durant that civilizations or cultures die from within. And that civilizations can destroy themselves. Thus, the fact civilizations usually wind up destroying themselves or committing suicide is NOT a religious fantasy but was ascribed to by two of the world’s leading non-religious historians. The question is whether the Gay and abortion movements are what will destroy us if they succeed. Islam is knocking on the door eager to replace a decaying West.

  74. Deacon:

    “The decaying West”

    The high point of American Depravity and decay
    was the George Bush administration of 2000.

    Bush and his minions were a hyper-religious, hyper-Christian, proselytizing Banana Republic who led to the most depraved, disgusting decisions in the history of the USA:

    Abu Ghraib
    Deaths of 200,000 innocent Iraqis.
    Deaths of untold 100,000 innocents in Afghanistan
    Created ISIS by destroying the Baath party of Iraq.
    Subverted Religion/State separation laws
    Subverted the Constitution

    The depravity of America began with Born-Again blather from Carter and Reagan and met its greatest manifestation during the Bush years.

    Thanks to Sarah Palin Evangelical types and their insipid performances in recent years, the true ignorance of religious theories (and the price we all paid for them) is getting the well-deserved boot – which is so overdue!

  75. There is no paradox in the suffering caused by overpopulation.
    The remedy is liberation and emancipation of women and birth control.

    Until then we are doomed to overpopulate the earth, die of starvation, thirst and war in the filth and retrograde patriarchies which refuse to give up their religions.

    It is a demon haunted world indeed! And religion is the most regressive philosophy of all.

  76. Ted, it wasn’t my aim to be “insulting,” but to inject a bit of real life into the discussion. The idea that people think clearly about ultimate things when they have everything they need in this life is easily refutable wherever you turn. There aren’t too many dirt-poor atheists and skeptics and there’s an obvious reason for that.

  77. Dean, that’s because, for the vast majority of people, even those living in New York City and in DC, in the weeks after the 9/11 attack, life went on as normally as beforehand. Banks and gas stations, supermarkets and doctor’s offices, etc., were still there. The sights and sounds of normalcy remained…..mostly because, thank God, there were no follow-up attacks.

  78. Larry, I see you’re attempting the old “when-will-you-stop-beating-your-wife” rhetorical trick. I can’t even say “nice try,” because it’s so time-worn.

    Speaking of time, you’re better off dealing with the substance of what others say than psychoanalyzing motives. That’s an obvious dead end, because two can easily play that same silly game.

  79. Yes, Larry, of course I would say that, because it’s the obvious response to your latest attempt at sweeping generalizations. If I didn’t, someone else likely would have……

    Sorry if it burst your bubble, but the lesson for the day, one you should learn one of these days, is…drumroll, please….not to make sweeping generalizations. We all do it sometimes, but nobody does it quite as often as you do.

    And actually, you’re mistaken about how I’ve handled the “no-true-Scotsman” fallacy. I’ve brought it up on a number of occasions when I thought someone was falling into it….including Christians.

    But since the word, “Christian,” while primarily doctrinal in definition, includes doctrines that have inescapably ethical implications, there are obvious limits to pointing to the “no-true-Scotsman” fallacy every time someone questions another person’s Christian profession. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

  80. No, Larry, not the “delusion of authority,” but, rather, the admission of reality.

    In the real world, provisional judgments are unavoidable. The aim is to proceed with caution and to be sure that the judgments are not final.

  81. Larry, part of the problem is that — as you well know — there are at least two ways to define “secularism,” one narrow and one broader.

    Another problem is that you are pretending to accept the narrow definition when actually you embrace the broader one. That is, you believe it means religion completely out of the public marketplace of ideas and beliefs….and you approve of it.

    You’re a French Revolution secularist, not an American Revolution one. You see religion and freedom as diametrically opposed forces, much the way Old Europe, especially France, did and does. Tocqueville noted how America, unlike Old Europe, saw the two forces as complementary.

    And a third problem is that you pretend that I define secularism in a narrow sense when in fact, I too, define it broadly. The difference is that I disapprove of it. I want both religious and non-religious ideas competing in the marketplace.

  82. Atheist Max, I see you’ve fallen for the dreary, pessimistic Malthusian fallacy on overpopulation.

    And here I thought you were an optimist…..

    Just kidding….I don’t believe you’re an optimist about humanity anymore than you do. Your world view virtually precludes it. It forces you to see resources as finite and scarce and thus human life as a never-ending Darwinian struggle.

    Malthus believed that while food production advanced arithmetically, population rose geometrically.

    He’s been refuted by reality on both counts.

    In the past few decades alone, food production has advanced at the fastest rate in history — thanks to inventions and innovations, to human beings using their ingenuity and creativity to create new technology that expanded food productivity to previously unimagined heights.

    And as food production has risen, and poverty has plummeted, guess what has happened to birth rates in such areas?

    They have fallen. I’ve run out of words on this post…

  83. Larry, try as you might, you can’t rewrite history. The baby boom generation was supposed to be the generation that consigned God to the ash heap of history. It was the younger generation that was supposed to reject the religious proclivities of the older.

    Instead, that generation itself became the ground for every battle the nation has since had about religion and culture and related issues.

    In other words, something happened to the boomers…..tens of millions of them “deserted” the views of people like yourself and found God.

    Today, people are saying the same about Millennials as they said about the boomers…..they’re irreligious, they’re turned off to religion, they’re not listening to their elders…..etc, etc.

    Nothing new at all…..

    And I suspect the result may be the same as with the boomers….and we will eventually see the same cultural split there, too.

    It’s wishful thinking on the part of people like you to believe otherwise.

  84. Sam, you’d be right if my argument denied what you’re affirming in your post. I’m not. I’m not denying that life and things aren’t constantly evolving, becoming tomorrow what they either are not or don’t appear to be today.

    What I am denying is the credulity-straining notion that the whole of reality popped into being by itself….that nothing (whatever that entails) became something, and a “something” that has amazing order, complexity, and functionality.

    While the theist’s biggest problem is how to reconcile a good God with a violent and cruel nature, including a violent and cruel humanity, the atheist’s biggest problem is how to convince others that an infinitely beautiful, orderly, and precisely calibrated universe that became that way by itself.

    Both atheists and theists have their answers, but neither is easy.

    I would say, as a theist, that the “unjust world” problem presumes we know what justice is. And that smuggles in an Ultimate Reality…

  85. Liz, what paganism and Buddhism do share is at least a smidgeon of pantheism.

  86. Not really, Ben. The difference is that, at least since the Big Bang was accepted, scientists generally acknowledge that the universe is not eternal. It had a beginning.

  87. Samuel, “controllers” may be found in both camps. It’s more a personality trait than one created by ideology or belief.

    The same may be said for intolerant people. There are plenty of tolerant theists and intolerant atheists, as well as vice versa.

  88. Jack,


    The only places on earth which have experienced a decline in poverty are Atheist, secular or which have given up religion.

    So you prove my point every time.
    Religion works against the Emancipation of Women – the only known silver bullet to ending world poverty. Freedom for women also coincides with abandonment o f religion.

    Wherever religion is strong – Life is rotten, women are subservient it is overpopulated, unhealthy and impoverished.
    Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Russia, Alabama, Mexico, TEXAS

    Wherever religion is weak – Life is better people are better educated, richer, women are free, and it is much less populated:
    Norway, Sweden, France, England, Holland, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington State, Northern California

    Religion poisons everything it touches.

  89. There are many reasons for that Jack, and they are generally not the one that you describe.

    Seriously, get a better attitude. You aren’t doing justice to the topics you rail about, nor to the people you are in discussion with. If you represent your “side”, it would have to be a bitter, frustrated one.

  90. No jack, I am describing the immature nature of your posts here. It is all simian behavior. Pounding your chest like a gorilla trying to give a show of strength in your religiosity. Flinging your poo like a chimpanzee out of spite or amusement.

    Someone more secure and understanding of their faith wouldn’t need to go through the ridiculous fiction that your belief has any objective basis that must be accepted. They would acknowledge their belief is based on faith (the absence of evidence). They would not need to seek such empty validation like you.

    Your faith is obviously so weak and shallow that you have to affirm it through fictional support and nonsense hostility. You cheapen religious faith with your own mistrust of it in public.

  91. Jack, you are tring to pretend your belief in god is both rational and objective. You don’t know what reality is. Ether that or you are just incredibly dishonest in your public denial of personal faith.

    You don’t get to define who a Christian is. People identify themselves in such a fashion. That runs the spectrum of ultra liberal affirming sects to fascist Chrstian Identity sects. Even those who add an extra book of scripture, the Mormons. They are all Christian whether you agree with ther beliefs or not.

    It takes a delusional fool to think their opinion has to be taken seriously as to which sects or people identifying themselves as Christan are “te real thing”.

  92. Jack,
    Believers, including you, act as though if they were to prove just one tiny step of a twenty part argument, that the other nineteen steps would fall into place. I will spot you a beginning. As a lawyer, I will tell you that structuring such a chain is very difficult. You guys cannot do it, so you talk loudly and make lots of false accusations.
    The outline the Christian argument:
    1. beginning (OK, I will stipulate)
    2-18 lots of magic happens
    19. Christ
    20. heaven/hell
    Why don’t you revise the list for me. There is a lot of work to be done by your side. My side makes no argument at all. We just abstain. It’s called skepticism.

  93. Semantical games and making up your own self styled definitions will get you nowhere. Secularism is the avoidance of entanglement of the apparatus of state with religion. The separation of church and state coupled with the free exercise of all faiths (not just yours).

    People who decry secularism want to give their religious dogma color of law and engage in sectarian/religious discrimination. Secularism is not atheism. It is ecumenicalism. Respect for all beliefs by not favoring any.

    You are a theocrat and a lazy ad hominem monkey. You label an opponent and make up phony positions for them rather than address points made. The anticlericism of the French revolution was a direct result of being entangled with the Monarchy. The church soiled its own nest and ruined its pretension of authority by doing so. Separation of church and state preserves the integrity of both. Opposing such things to grab political power for one’s faith/sect is short sighted and self destructive.

  94. “Pagan” is not a religion, it is merely an insult, originally referring to the country folks (rednecks) who held to their old ways in Christianized Italy.
    Buddhism, being widespread and successful, has been corrupted by local superstitions and traditions, but in its original form (as described by Siddhartha), it contains no supernatural elements at all.
    Christians, being intolerant by belief, declaring all other Gods false, cannot evaluate other religions fairly, because they see all alternatives to their views as evil. Therein lies my principal objection to them. They are enemies of mankind’s freedom of thought.

  95. Larry, why are you so insecure about your atheism?

    If you were more mature and personally secure about your atheism, you would not require all of the intellectual dishonesty, ad hominem and childish insults to support yourself. You would be proud in your lack of belief and respectful that others may not agree with you

    Did I forget anything? Oh yeah…Where do you get off being so insulting? Seriously, get a better attitude. You aren’t doing justice to the topics you rail about, nor to the people you are in discussion with. If you represent your “side”, it would have to be a bitter, frustrated one.


  96. “I would say, as a theist, that the “unjust world” problem presumes we know what justice is. And that smuggles in an Ultimate Reality…”
    Only for a Platonist.
    Platonism and Relativism are intellectual notions. Moral outrage is not.
    Every child “knows” what is unfair. Just because something is “explained” by a particular theological view, hardly makes it a correct or inclusive explanation.

  97. Greg1,
    Right. Ancient sheep herders knew all the answers because burning bushes talked. Go back to sleep.

    P.S. Too bad you got so little out of Job. Forget the old familiar story (Chapters 1 and 2) that only takes up the first two pages. The next 36 Chapters are an exposition of common justifications of suffering, presented by Job’s friends) that you (and Job) have heard all your lives. Chapters 38-40 present a rejection (by a talking whirlwind) of all these explanations as presumptuous. Good stuff!

  98. Jack,
    You are being disingenuous.
    Christianity is intolerant, teaches intolerance, demands intolerance.
    Their God not only rewards his followers, he punishes those who do not follow.
    It’s not a choice, it’s doctrine.

  99. Depravity of modern civilization:

    -Worldwide famine and malnutrition is at an all time low.

    -Aggressive war is practically extinct as compared to a century ago

    All the while the developed world is becoming more secular and peaceful.

    So what did your religion give us when it controlled the reins of power?
    Sectarian bloodshed, oppression, ignorance.

  100. “How many students are now flooding through Liberty University? How many “Americans” are attending private “Christian” Schools? ”

    These students are paying huge student debts for a job market which treats their education like a joke. Liberty Law School has one of the worst reputations in the field. Low bar passage, high tuition, reputation as a right wingnut finishing school. An MBA from these “Christian colleges” is less than worthless.

    As usual fundamentalist Christians looooove throwing money down the toilet in service of hucksters shilling for their faith. It is why most people here think you live in a trailer park and your average televangelists have mansions and Gulfstreams.

  101. Greg1, given the propensity of fundamentalists to use fabricated quotes and lie incessantly about the alleged religious fervor of the founding fathers, it is necessary for you to provide a link to where you were allegedly quoting our 1st president.

    Time and again, you made the demonstratively false claim that 1st Amendment religious freedom only applies to Christians such as yourself. Your credibility on the subject is non-existent.

  102. Given how much you talk about the subject, you ought to be able to instantly recognize the quote. Are you claiming it is fraudulent?

  103. Jesus taught His followers to simply walk away and leave in peace those who will not receive their message. How is that “intolerant?”

  104. “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?”

  105. Theocrats have a nasty habit of lying or at the very least spreading things well known to be completely false on the subject. I guess you can’t find a reliable source for it either. Hence your little song and dance.

    People who make false claims concerning the 1st Amendment religious freedoms don’t get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to “founder’s quotes”.

    That includes:
    1) Anyone who claims the establishment clause does not stand for the notion of separation of church and state (or claims it is a myth); and

    2) Anyone who claims free exercise of religion only applies to Christians.

    Greg1 has made such claims. Therefore lacks any inherent credibility on the subject without outside corroboration.

    Shawnie, unless you want to discuss how you think the founders wanted a Christian theocracy, you have nothing substantial in agreement with Greg1. So your input would not be necessary here.

  106. Jack, you are clueless. Like all Fundy narratives, it shows a complete lack of facts and is enamored with self-satisfaction.

    There was never a large scale atheist movement back then. There still isn’t much of one now. The 60’s and 70’s were a boom time for interest in religions of all stripes. I can see how a fundamentalist might think of this as “godlessness” as they think any belief but their own is somehow atheism. But that would be untrue.

    There was HUGE interest in religion back then but heavy disillusion with mainstream authority. Especially from conservative churches. Interest in liberal mainstream and eastern faiths surged.

    I can rattle off at least a dozen examples of huge mainstream interest in religion at the time.
    -The rise of Malcom X and Black Islam
    -Commercial success of Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, The Exorcist, The Omen, Jesus of Nazareth miniseries, George Harrison solo work


    Who are you…

  107. Secularism is what keeps your ability to worship as you please free. It keeps your faith from being attacked by sectarian interests using force of law.

    Secularism is not a polar opposite of religion. Secularism’s polar opposite is theocracy.

    Secularism preserves and protects religion by keeping it from being used as a tool of official government oppression. Its foundation is religious in nature. (Why do you hate Roger Williams and the Anabaptists so much Jack?)

    Keep railing about how much you hate freedom of religion Jack. It really helps to avoid taking you seriously.

  108. Seriously, “Ted,” how about settling on one and only one name, like most posters do? It’s obvious from your style of writing who you are. If you’re going to keep creating new names, at least find yourself a good ghostwriter.

  109. Shawnie, you’re not identifying Larry with “Ted,” are you?

    Perish the thought.

    Just because they read like exactly the same person, that doesn’t mean……..Nah….

    Apparently, Larry and Max are like two little old ladies in a competition over who can collect the most hats. In their case, though, it’s names instead.

  110. Cute. But it doesn’t make sense. Did I suddenly say, “Oh God!” or declare “Sweet Baby Jesus!!” somehow and didn’t realize it? 🙂

    Shawnie, I guess you can dish out unkind malicious words but can’t take them in kind. Hypocrisy is duly noted. Ted already noted how insulting and childish Jack was. You are being so as well.

    Unlike you and Jack, I don’t have to make up stories and claims to support my beliefs. Every time you and others claim your religious belief has some basis besides faith, you are lying in the most obvious fashion. It is nothing but puffery. Insecurity of your faith.

    I don’t represent anyone but myself. I am not “ad hominem Jack” labeling someone and making up phony strawman positions for them.

  111. You do ALL of that, Larry. In fact you threw the first insult in this thread and then commenced whining. That is what makes you so entertaining. It’s like SNL around here all day every day with the atheist hypocrisy.

    BTW, only a professional can carry off psychobabble –and sometimes not even then. Coming from you it’s just, well, more SNL.

  112. Are you claiming it is fraudulent or not, Larry?

    If you are claiming it’s fraudulent, I’ll be happy to furnish the source. And thank you for admitting your ignorance..

    If you are not claiming it’s fraudulent, then what was the point of your objection?

    If you simply don’t know, then again, thank you for admitting your ignorance, and perhaps next time do a little checking before attacking someone else’s post and calling them dishonest.

  113. Shawnie5,
    That is neither what the Church teaches, nor what the Church did.
    Would I be tolerant if I proclaimed that your God is false, and claimed you would be punished for not abandoning your God and following my God?
    Then there is the little matter that the Church did not wait for God to punish non conformists, but actively persecuted them. Should the Church get such power again there is every reason to expect they would do the same again.

  114. Of course that is what Jesus taught: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”. Matt. 10:14.

    “Would I be tolerant if I proclaimed that your God is false, and claimed you would be punished for not abandoning your God and following my God?”. Sure, if that were the only action you took. I’d have absolutely no problem with that.

    “Then there is the little matter that the Church did not wait for God to punish non conformists, but actively persecuted them”

    True, too often the church didn’t follow directions. That doesn’t change what the directions are, and the rightness of the directions.

    “Should the Church get such power again there is every reason to expect they would do the same again.”

    I wasn’t aware the church was asking for establishment. They’re mainly just asking for the free exercise that the 1st Amendment promises.

  115. Shawnie,

    “They’re mainly just asking for the free exercise that the 1st Amendment promises.”

    Nobody wants to punish churches. I just want them to pay taxes like everyone else.

  116. Shawnie 5: Re: Matt.10:14 “Yet opinion is sharply divided on whether any of them (instructions for the road) can be traced directly back to Jesus.” The Five Gospels, Jesus Seminar p 167
    Christianity, (doctrine and organization) cannot be traced back to the teachings of Jesus. The search for the historical Jesus has been a failure. The New Testament is not a reliable guide to history, so that leaves us with the Church, which has not proved reliable either.
    While I do not agree with Jesus that we have a father in heaven who cares for us all, I do not hold him responsible for the crimes of the Church, nor for the invention of the new God Mary, or the burning of witches, or the suppression of scientific ideas.
    All that, and the current crimes of the Church, I blame them on men of the time, who exploit the ignorance of the multitude, and I call for them to stop lying and be candid about what is known and what is conjecture.
    I am known as a cheerful optimist.

  117. @Samuel,

    “I do not hold him [Jesus] responsible for the crimes of the Church…”

    But the Church was following Jesus very carefully. Of course the Church should be blamed.
    Not only did the church follow Jesus (to its repeated ruin) but it invented legends about Jesus which are themselves deeply dangerous and nonsensical.

    Jesus is a character in a fictional tale, man made and flawed as all human inventions are. It is impossible to not blame the church for the resulting disaster known as “Christianity.”

    It is a nightmare.
    “I have come to bring FIRE…What constraints! I am impatient to bring NOT PEACE BUT DIVISION.” – Jesus (Luke 12:49-51)
    “Hate your parents…hate your life, or you are not worthy” – Jesus (Luke 14:26)

  118. Hi Max,
    I spent considerable time researching the historical person whom the Greeks called Jesus. Almost nothing is known. Not his birthplace, nor where he lived (not Nazareth), not where, or how, he was educated, nor where he traveled.
    So many sayings and anecdotes circulated about him prior to the creation of the narrative gospels in the Second Century, that is impossible to separate out the ones that might reflect his teachings. If his teachings were in Aramaic, they are lost forever, because all we have are in Greek. In short, Monty Python was right- “blessed are the cheese makers”.
    We do know that around 140 C.E. Marcion of Sinope was excommunicated, so the Roman Church was organized well before then. The Bible was only canonized in 419, so there was lots of time (Centuries) to diddle with the text.

  119. Samuel, even if we had no gospels, we could virtually reconstruct what they said from the earliest fathers quoting them ever since the turn of the 1st century AD, and long before 419.

    Don’t put too much faith in the “Jesus Seminar”. The earliest church fathers, far closer in time and place to the events in question, are a much better source on what Jesus taught and did than a group of theologians (not historians) sitting around voting (LOL!) on what Jesus did or didn’t say 2000 years after the fact.

  120. Samuel Johnston,

    Yes. I agree with everything you said.

    I once was a Christian. After I became Atheist I started to ask all the right questions about Jesus that I had been trained to avoid before.

    Some of what I have learned:

    1. Jesus may not have existed at all. The mystery religions of 3000 years ago created man-gods and Judaism did the same. Judaism is a mystery religion.
    The gospels look more and more like reworked stories from the Old Testament.

    2. Jesus is not a good thing.
    On balance, Christianity is a terrible philosophy of life and regressive view of reality. The Christians themselves often do a lot of good – as we are seeing in places like Ireland – but they advance in spite of, not because of, the Christian philosophy.

    I’ve bought about 100 books on Christianity over my lifetime and
    I’m disgusted that it took 50 years for me to open up my mind enough to read them. So blinded by faith was I!

  121. Shawnie5,
    I will not bother to list all the books I have read on the subject, but the best by far is the set of books by Alfred Loisy. His “The Origins of the New Testament” is available in English and details his learned refutation of your reasoning. FWIW he made his early reputation teaching Bible toclasses the Clergy at Catholic University in Paris in the last decade of the Nineteenth Century. The Jesus Seminar was helpful to fill in some gaps, but its publication came long after my education, and was more about the state of current Seminary education, than about Jesus.

  122. Dip down deeper into the Pew Survey and find that only about one-third of the “Unaffiliated” are self-identified agnostics or atheists. The other two-thirds I encounter everyday: “I’m spiritual—but not religious”; “I am down on organized religion—too many rules!”; “I believe in the Prime Mover.” Time to play the ball where it lies.

  123. I will make you a deal. The next time I declare:
    “JESUS H. CHRIST!!!”
    “OH, GAWD”,
    “heavens forbid”
    “Dear Sweet Lord”

    You can easily claim with a straight face that I am really insecure about my atheism. 😉

    Hey at least I am not pretending faith is something else. I am not engaging in ridiculous anti-factual arguments and puffery to support any such faith. Samuel Johnson eviscerated you guys on the intellectual and factual dishonesty of the usual apologia.

  124. At least…at least…you are by far the most insulting poster on these boards, whining about insults. Atheist hypocrisy perfected.

    But one thing is for sure…”secure” atheists do no spend their days haunting religion boards searching every story for an opportunity to throw in an insult. Just like secure believers don’t visit many atheist boards. The interest just isn’t there.

    So Samuel “eviscerated” something simply by referencing the Jesus Seminar (completely made up of theologians, BTW) and one Catholic theologian from a hundred years ago who never had the benefit of the last century of biblical archaeology? You’re certainly easily convinced — as the uninformed usually are. But thanks for taking theologians “seriously” for once. Gee, I didn’t think you’d ever consider theologians able to “eviscerate” anything…LOL!

  125. Hi Max,
    ” Jesus may not have existed at all.” The Dutch radical school held this view (late 19th Century). The N.T. contains more than a hundred quotes from previous mystery religion books. The issue of existence seems academic, because if we do not know what he taught, or what he did, then he may as well have not existed.
    The Christ cult did not originate with Jesus (Anatole France, among others, gave lectures on pre-Christian Christianity) and their Crucifixion took place in the heavens before the Church brought it down to earth.

  126. I left ‘corporate’ church decades ago. And rarely attend any services. I read, pray, fast, study and seek His face daily. This is a picture of salvation, not church attendance. I also witness. There is a growing populace out there that few either see or recognize. The Remnant. And we are growing.

  127. Larry, I have nothing against Samuel, but you seem to have an unusually fertile imagination in depicting his responses.

    And yes, Larry, you do create names for yourself. It’s obvious. You can deny it all you like, but reality is what it is…..your writing style and various mantras give it away. As I said in a prior post, if you’re going to pretend to be someone else, get yourself a ghostwriter who knows how to write in different voices. Then at least you can cover your tracks.

  128. Larry, words have meaning so definitions of words are unavoidable. Otherwise, communication descends into unintelligible gibberish. There has to be some common understanding of what particular words mean.

    The word, “Christian,” is doctrinally defined. But since some doctrines have direct ethical implications, at some point it becomes impossible not to make judgments about who is or who isn’t a Christian. If the essence of Christianity is belief that one has sinned, that Christ has paid for one’s sin, and that Christ is Lord and Savior, it follows logically that if a person thinks they’re just wonderful and has never sinned, it is logically impossible for that person to be a Christian.

    All words limit and exclude….they mean one thing but not another. The alternative is words meaning whatever the speaker thinks they mean, irrespective of what others think, resulting in the demise of communication of any kind.

  129. Interesting and balanced piece, thank you.

    Have you considered the specific impact of the internet on religious affiliation? With near-ubiquitous access to information, it’s a lot easier to question what you’re told by an authority figure.

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