Top blog posting: IS RELIGION A HOAX?

Every so often we are republishing posts that are or were particularly important. From way back in the early days of Neil’s blog, September 2008, this page is the most-visited on neilmckenty.com

IS RELIGION A HOAX?

Bill Maher is one of my favourite comedians. He is funny and he is caustic.

Both these traits are on grand display in Maher’s documentary film, Religulous, in which he visits religious communites around the world from a trucker’s chapel in North Carolina to the Vatican and concludes that religion has done more harm than good.

Maher’s own religious background is ambiguous. He was born to a Jewish mother and a Catholic father: “I used to go to confession, but I would bring a lawyer.”

Maher sees organized religion as one of the world’s great evils, responsible for wars, crusades, the oppression of minorities, “the keeping of women in beekeeper suits,” burning witches, exorcisms, honour killings, and sex with children: “Did I leave anything out?”

He expects protest and he’s used to it. For instance, when Pope Benedict visited the United States in April, Maher said that if he had been the head of a nationwide chain of day care centers that had covered up so much child abuse, the Holy Father would not have been given a parade, he would have been arrested.

Maher acknowledges that religious groups have been an effective organizing tool for charity work, soup kitchens, feeding the poor and missionaries – but claims all of this could have been accomplished without “the bells and whistles of religion.”

Maher says the point of Religulous is to make people laugh and then realize with a start that there may be some truth in what he is saying.

Maher also hopes his documentary will start a real debate about the efficacy of religion: “This is the last taboo. For the longest time people have not even broached this subject. You can’t even talk about a person’s faith. Why don’t we examine a person’s faith or ask the more basic question that I ask in the film, “Why is faith good? Why is it good to stop thinking?”

Maher rejects the notion that his film is an attack on extremist religious groups only: ” Have you seen the nonsense and the destructive nature ( of the the Bible)? – becaue it’s as integral to religion as the Constitution is to the United States.

“If you believe in a talking snake and you believe that the world is 5,000 years old [cue Sarah Palin] and you believe you’re drinking the blood of a 2,000-year-old space God on Sunday, ipso facto, you’re a rube.”

Maher’s polemic reminded me of a conversation I had this summer in Maine about religion with a couple who had just turned forty. The woman had been brought up a devout Catholic in Ireland, the man an Anglican in Montreal. I would think they are now atheists.

Neither of them could understand how so many people could go on believing that the man Jesus now resided, living and breathing, in a paper-thin slice of bread. Where other people saw a sacrament, they saw the Eucharist as a male power grab to control millions of credulous people over the ages.

Do you think they’re onto something?

Is Bill Maher onto something?

Is religion a hoax?

Posted by Neil McKenty on September 18, 2008 at 11:41 am
Filed under Religion  |  Tags: control of millions, religion a fraud  |  Leave a comment  |  Trackback URI

64 Comments »

  1. 1
    sulochanosho Says:

    A good post indeed to ponder over the lures and failures of our religions. True religion is to live life. Religions, relics, archives are mere dead memories. Life is here and now.

    Posted on September 18, 2008 at 12:16 pm e
  2. 2
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    sulochansho –

    As you suggest this life is not to be spent preparing for the next. This life is for living.

    Thank you for your comment.

    Posted on September 18, 2008 at 1:35 pm e
  3. 3
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “the Holy Father would not have been given a parade, he would have been arrested.”

    Very true…

    “If you believe in a talking snake and you believe that the world is 5,000 years old [cue Sarah Palin] and you believe you’re drinking the blood of a 2,000-year-old space God on Sunday, ipso facto, you’re a rube.”

    That’s not the nicest way of putting it… but it’s TOTALLY true!

    I’ve never understood how seemingly normal, logical people can buy into this utter (and obvious) BS!! It’s defies logic!

    Organized religion is the biggest scam in history…

    Posted on September 18, 2008 at 3:06 pm e
  4. 4
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Since the beginning of humanity people have felt the need to come together for security purposes. Coming together they also felt the need to share common values. The primitives not knowing much and awed by the sheer force of nature felt the need to explain the ununderstandable. Religious thought was born. As long as they remained in small groups that sentiment remained manageable. With larger groups, expanding territory and culture clashes a system started getting in place. Organized religion was born. The stronger group then imposed it’s beliefs on weaker ones. Churches were born.
    All this had nothing to do with God, only with a naked power grab by the dominant group of the time.
    I have come to distinguish between religiosity and spirituality. Spirituality is a personal thing, it’s a way of thinking, of analysing and of coming to grips with material and immaterial things. It also calls for tolerance and openness. Not having a system or structure to protect and finance it does not need organisation other than mental. It does not even need a group. One is alone with his soul and his responsibility towards himself and others. Wether you believe in God, which I do, or not spirituality is an option, since we all participate of the spirit, etymologically, spirit means to breath and live. Don’t we all?

    Posted on September 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm e
  5. 5
    Chimera Says:

    Wow. Good answers, all.

    Absolutely, religion is a hoax. It is also a choice. And when anyone chooses to accept a religion and keep it personal and private, it’s a benevolent hoax that harms none. A victimless hoax, if you will.

    However, when it’s put on a pedestal and other people are told they must bow down to it and give it a credence it does not merit, it becomes a weapon aimed at the freedom of choice we all deserve. And if anyone aims that weapon at me, I will return fire.

    Posted on September 18, 2008 at 5:41 pm e
  6. 6
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    I am puzzled that we don’t seem to have a single defender of religion.

    Should I be?

    Posted on September 18, 2008 at 10:51 pm e
  7. 7
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Neil, if you feel like it, I pray thee do, but do not feel compelled to do so. I guess Chimera had the right formulation: “when anyone chooses to accept religion, etc…”
    To be sure, it helps a lot of people who would otherwise be rudderless and possibly dangerous. On the other hand some religious leaders are dangerous themselves. It’s all a jugment call.

    Posted on September 18, 2008 at 11:07 pm e
  8. 8
    revromansky Says:

    Here I am to defend. If by religion you mean a meaningless dead political system built only on overbearing dogma, I have to agree with you.

    But if by religion you mean a corporate fellowship built on eternal spiritual principles, Maher does religion a disservice. Paul put it right distinguishing between religion and spirituality; however, just because millions of people believe in the same basic theology does not automatically disqualify them; they would be considered among a body of believers rather than a member of a religion.

    It sounds simplistic, but really applies in this case. “I’m not religious, I just love the Lord.”

    Maher is a cynical Worm Tongue of a man who amply reflects the hatred and vitriol typical to the atheist. He confuses political systems, that rose out of true Christianity, with God, lumping God in with, for instance, the Inquisition. By the way, the Inquisitors murdered more true Christians than any other group; hence a clear bifurcation between the Church political system and the true Church even in one of the events most referenced by atheists as “proof”.

    I’ve found that atheists generally hate the IDEA of God, pointing to Christians and the Church as proof that God, if he did exist, is evil. Hating an idea is not equivalent to not believing an idea. Every honest atheist will admit to cursing God. As a former atheist, I took my cursing of God as a self-admission that he is. The rest is history.

    Jesus loves you

    RevRomansky

    http://revromansky.wordpress.com

    Posted on September 18, 2008 at 11:21 pm e
  9. 9
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    revromansky –

    “Hating an idea is not equivalent to not believing an idea.”

    Well said, and many thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    Posted on September 19, 2008 at 12:03 am e
  10. 10
    Chimera Says:

    Revromansky, atheists can’t hate what doesn’t exist for them. They also don’t curse that which doesn’t exist for them. What would be the point in doing such a superfluous, waste-of-time thing?

    “Hating an idea is not equivalent to not believing an idea.”

    Of course not. In order to hate something, it has to exist in your reality. If it exists, you can’t not believe in it.

    Diety does not exist for atheists, therefore they cannot hate it or the idea of it.

    Posted on September 19, 2008 at 1:41 am e
  11. 11
    jim Says:

    If one doesn’t believe in God they are going to have a hell of a hard time on their deathbed.
    If one doesn’t believe in God, look for him in nature.
    If one needs help in believing in a God and you would like to see the hand of God, let me point out that his creation of infinity is beyond science and our imagination. If there is an end to infinity, then what is beyond it? See what I mean?. Out there is the hand of God. Question,
    when I look out there do I actually see the Infinity.
    As far as the mortals go, we should have known what was in store for us regarding some of the clergy – Isaiah Chapter 4 Verse 3 (This statement made by an army captain, honourable in countenance, and skillful in eloquent speech) “and I will give children to be their princes, and the effeminate shall rule over them”. Because B16 is not taking corrective measures to dump the limpwrists, he has lost his moral authority, the worst thing that can happen to a leader. By the way I’ve reserved a priest to give me extreme unction on my deathbed.

    Posted on September 19, 2008 at 2:07 am e
  12. 12
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    Interesting comment, Jim

    Posted on September 19, 2008 at 3:19 am e
  13. 13
    exposrip Says:

    I defend religion on my blog all the time.

    Posted on September 19, 2008 at 4:20 am e
  14. 14
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “amply reflects the hatred and vitriol typical to the atheist.”

    Oh please… what BS. Atheists are not hate filled people despite what religious people ~like~ to believe!
    They just don’t believe in god(s) – that’s it people! There is nothing else!

    “I’ve found that atheists generally hate the IDEA of God”

    I’m an atheist and I don’t hate the idea of god. I simply find it ridiculous. There is no “hate” involved.

    “Every honest atheist will admit to cursing God. As a former atheist…”

    Your first sentence negates your second one. You were never an atheist – you might have pretended (to yourself) but you weren’t. I can promise you that I do not “curse god”. It would never occur to me to curse that which I don’t even believe exists!

    “If one doesn’t believe in God they are going to have a hell of a hard time on their deathbed.”

    I hate to break it to you buddy but god/no_god – you’re going to have a hell of a time on your deathbed. It can’t be a nice feeling – to feel oneself dying.

    But the idea of an afterlife is irrelevant! Being an atheist doesn’t mean I fear death. On the contrary – I know death is necessary and the circle of life means my worm-food body will do some good after I die!

    “If one needs help in believing in a God…”

    Why would anyone need help? I am perfectly happy living in the real world thank you very much! The idea that anyone “needs” god is insulting!

    “his creation of infinity is beyond science and our imagination. If there is an end to infinity, then what is beyond it? See what I mean?”

    No. I don’t see what you mean… I don’t follow you at all here… You seem to be talking nonsense.

    Posted on September 19, 2008 at 2:18 pm e
  15. 15
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    xxxx

    Posted on September 19, 2008 at 4:25 pm e
  16. 16
    Chimera Says:

    “Interesting comment, Jim.”

    You’re being too kind, Neil. It was a bunch of bafflegab without cohesion. Kinda like a politician’s promise. And the most glaring clue was the reference to an “end to infinity.”

    Posted on September 19, 2008 at 5:27 pm e
  17. 17
    jim Says:

    Don’t you know that infinity has an end? It ends with a “y”. My blurb was not supposed to have cohesion. I take it you don’t recognize jottings when you see them. The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on…….

    Posted on September 19, 2008 at 6:05 pm e
  18. 18
    Joe Agnost Says:

    @jim: Rather than an incoherent rant would you like to explain your “jottings” for us? Are you showing by example the kind of thinking that religion will lead us to? :)

    What about jim’s comment was “interesting” neil??

    Posted on September 19, 2008 at 6:15 pm e
  19. 19
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    Hi Neil, I always look forward to watching Bill Maher on the Larry King show.

    There is obvious some truth in what he says. Just read the history of Christianity.

    The Church has provided millions of people with a great deal of comfort and nurturance throughout the ages. Atheists who don’t think there is a God because of lack of proof would agree with Jesus who said to Peter that flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father in heaven. Therefore it is faith that provides us with our belief.

    Faith leads to hope in life eternal. A Church experience that is holy infuses us with cosmic hospitality which is catholic or universal and means Jesus came for the whole world and not just you and me.
    It doesn’t matter if we know God, God knows us.

    It is faith that tells us that God is present in the Eucharist. God is all depth, all breadth, all width, and all length. He is cosmic in His dimensions. The Sacrament heightens our awareness of the everywhereness of God and when we eat God we believe.

    I don’t think there on to anything. I think there a little bit off.

    Posted on September 19, 2008 at 7:22 pm e
  20. 20
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    Peter-

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. It’s really great to see you back.

    Posted on September 19, 2008 at 9:00 pm e
  21. 21
    imabbb Says:

    Never confuse religion with God. Greed and lust for power have corrupted the message, but the truth is still there. The best we can do is to try to keep an open mind and look for the common points in our major religions.

    Oppose intolerance, love your neighbors!

    Posted on September 20, 2008 at 5:29 pm e
  22. 22
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    imabbb-

    Many thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    Posted on September 20, 2008 at 5:40 pm e
  23. 23
    Chimera Says:

    Imabbb, you have an interesting outlook on things. I captured this paragraph from your blog:

    “Another thing I’m pretty sure of is that God is not a megalomaniac. She is not interested in your worship. Someone great enough to create the universe would not need to be put on a pedestal and adored. Such a desire would imply that God is immature and shallow. Why would anyone respect such a god?”

    Why, indeed? I’d purely love to eavesdrop on some of your conversations with fundies…

    Posted on September 20, 2008 at 7:00 pm e
  24. 24
    Terry Brady Says:

    Hello Neal
    I was looking for Opus Dei’s position on evolution when I came across your website. I have fond memories of your radio show when I lived in Montreal twenty years ago and I’m glad to see that you are still at it.

    Re: Bill Maher and Atheism.
    First let’s look at why Religion is such a hot topic, especially in the United States. Since “the permissive1960’s” the religious right, in reaction to perceived hedonism, has been gaining disproportional political power in the United States. Should the Republicans win the next election, they will be in a position to appoint perhaps as many as three Supreme Court Judges. This will put them in a position to overthrow hard fought “settled law” such as a woman’s right to choose an abortion (The singular hot topic for the ultra religious right.) And a relatively youthful and conservative Supreme Court could or would likely hold sway for several generations.

    But that’s just the beginning. A whole myriad of hot issues such as (teaching creationism along with evolution), are at risk. Christian Fundamentalists, particularly the Dominionists are a hair’s breath away from turning the United States into a fundamentalist theocracy. So we have a country whose bedrock paradigm was based on (the Separation of Church and State) now in jeopardy of having religious dictates trumping their Constitution.

    This would not be a liberal theocracy. The fundamentalists are well organized. They have infiltrated all branches of the military, where they proselytize at will (contravening military law.) And via wedge issues, they have “Steeple-jacked” or infiltrated the Synods of many Congregationalist churches. (Episcopalian, Methodist and Lutheran to name a few.) They have done so in order to enhance both their political power and wealth. Just like Opus Dei, secrecy and stealth is their modus operenndie.

    One needs to look no further than the present day U.S. Justice Department to see what they have accomplished so far in their rise to power. (For instance you have an Attorney General, calling the Constitution “quaint” and young Christian zealots, graduates of Pat Robertson’s school of law, politicizing the Department of Justice in the name of God.) A very unchristian attitude don’t you think?

    So what does this all have to do with Bill Maher? Like Maher, I was raised Catholic. And like Maher, through a long and arduous process I came to the conclusion that there is no god, at least not a Judeo/Christian or Islamic one. Unlike the atheist Maher, I’m more comfortable being agnostic. I’m prepared to admit the possibility of a deity, just not one that curries favor on mankind.

    We have been down this road once before. Do we really want to return to the age of Oliver Cromwell?
    I join with Maher and so many others such as Richard Dawkins that must cry out against un-civilizing civilization. Aristotle “the philosopher” may have had the right answers for the pre-Christian era and Augutine and Aquinas might have been perfectly legitimate models for their time. But none of them have answers for our pluralistic post-modern world. And none of them have accomplished anything more beneficial for mankind that a lowly country doctor hasn’t surpassed.

    “Seek and ye shall find.” Yes but what if your search replaces your faith with reason and dogma by logic?
    Edward Gibbon claimed that not a single medical advance was made by the entire Orthodox Christian Byzantine Empire 300ce – 1453ce. And the renaissance period of Islam 800ce.with Bagdad as the city of light, advanced civilization and the sciences until it plunged itself into darkness by embracing religious dogma 1100ce.
    And here we are in the 21st century with segments of many religious faiths denying science. Their willful ignorance towards evolution and biology, indeed science as a whole, is appalling. I refuse to have my children and grand children thrown back into darkness and I particularly don’t wish it on your daughters and mine.

    People of faith are entitled to their faith. It’s a free country. They are also fully entitled to participate in government. But they are not entitled to their own facts. And they are not entitled to cease power by subterfuge. Nor are they entitled to dogmatic governance should they attain power. That is why so many atheists, agnostics and people of good will have come out of the woodwork to stop them. I FULLY EXPECT THAT WHATEVER HAPPENS “THERE”, WILL HAPPEN “HERE.”

    Oh, and by the way, Opus Dei’s position on evolution? It’s a secret.

    Terry Brady

    Posted on September 20, 2008 at 11:16 pm e
  25. 25
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    The premise of religion is not that Man needs God; the premise of religion is that God needs Man. Consider the phrase “God-fearing.”
    Why should one fear Someone who is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving and all-forgiving? The opposite of fear is trust. Whatever/whomever one would trust, one need not fear. And vice-versa. Therefore, “God-fearing” adherents of the Religions of the Book do not trust their God. Interesting. Very interesting.
    I believe that such belittles The One Whose Word Is Life. Lewis Black once observed that “the God of the Old Testament…was a prick.”
    The Almighty, as portrayed in the Old Testament, and many books of the Quran, comes across as capricious, petty, cruel…um, human…
    I admire the Jewish people. They are the only religion with the balls to argue with God. And, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, they’re still around. Must be something to it. Maybe TOWWIL needs us to remind Him/Her that life should go on. Not a bad idea, I trust? CTZen

    Posted on September 20, 2008 at 11:51 pm e
  26. 26
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    Terry-

    I’m really glad that we have connected again after so many years. Thanks you for your thoughtful and informed comment. I hope you will come back from time to time.

    Posted on September 21, 2008 at 12:55 am e
  27. 27
    exposrip Says:

    http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060901faessay85504/walter-russell-mead/god-s-country.html

    I highly recommend this article. The religious right is not a monolithic entity.

    Posted on September 21, 2008 at 4:13 am e
  28. 28
    Terry Brady Says:

    Thank you for your kind words Neil
    I promise to return every once and a while
    I’d like to thank Exposrip for steering me on to a very interesting article It is a very good summary of Protestant faith in the United States. I’m not sure if the article was directed at me or not but I’d like to critique his comment if I may.
    Re: Fundamentalism /Liberalism/ Evangelicalism
    “Not a monolithic entity”
    No, it is not. Nor does it have to be to usurp the reins of political power. Did GWB actually win in 2000 or 2004?
    Did anyone foresee the subversive Constitutional train wreck that would be brought on by George Bush?
    Government support of faith based charities.
    Science under siege in the classroom and in the laboratories.
    Anti-Woman’s rights decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court. (equal pay)
    Anti-Affirmative action decisions by the U.S. Supreme court. (private school issues – read “segregation.”)
    Support for torture!
    Spying on U.S. citizens
    Not to mention two wars brought on by the ideals of U.S Manifest destiny etc.
    Who knew before GWB took power that he would be guided by God and not the Constitution? Who knew that he would be so regressive?
    Who knew that he would completely disregard his oath of office.
    All of this brought on because recently politicized fundamentalists / some evangelicals / some Catholics (Opus Dei?) believe that the Bible trumps the Constitution. Ah yes, the Lord works in mysterious ways.
    Bill Maher would say – I can’t imagine a Godless society doing any worse.
    If GWB was round one, can you imagine what a openly fundamentalist government would look like?
    Let Jesus Christ have the last word – Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and render unto God that which is God’s)
    I only wish that he had added another line. (And never the twain shall meet.)
    I leave you with an equally interesting link: Talk To Action | Reclaiming Citizenship, History, and Faith
    Terry Brady

    Posted on September 21, 2008 at 8:34 pm e
  29. 29
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all!
    Jesus also said: The Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath. And: He who would lead must first serve. And: Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone. (*whack*) MOM! (okay, I stole the last part from Dave Allen)
    If the fundies actually READ the Gospels, they would see themselves in the portrayal of the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees and the Saddusees. On second thought, I take that back. It is precisely BECAUSE they are fundamentalist that they are blind to the plank in their own eyes, while getting their knickers in a knot over the mote in the eyes of their brother.
    My philosophy is simple:
    All men are brothers. All women are sisters. All children are family. All life is precious. All we really have is each other. Let there be peace.
    Just…Imagine…CTZen

    Posted on September 22, 2008 at 5:20 pm e
  30. 30
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Yes CTZ, I can imagine. Unfortunately all I can do, as long as men will be men, that is all I can do…besides trying the best I can to be peaceful and brotherly myself.

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 11:06 am e
  31. 31
    revromansky Says:

    Now I find that belief in God is “not your reality”. Where is this reality, and why is it different than any other? Is it at a P.O. Box, or can it be found down at the corner store.

    As to “let there be peace”, why? Atheism spawned the murder of 40 million Russians via the Bolshevik Revolution in just the last century. Why not “let there be murder”?

    Even Dawkins believes in intelligent design, which theory has a firm scientific basis.

    Respectfully, I challenge any one of you to give me firm scientific theoretical basis for atheism. Or is science not part of your “reality”?

    We are not so smart as God is dumb.

    RevRomansky

    http://revromansky.wordpress.com

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 4:27 pm e
  32. 32
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “Respectfully, I challenge any one of you to give me firm scientific theoretical basis for atheism. Or is science not part of your ‘reality’?”

    The scientific basis for atheism is that there is absolutely ZERO evidence for god(s).

    I am an atheist for the same reason I don’t believe in santa claus!

    “Even Dawkins believes in intelligent design”

    I’m not sure what you mean by this… Dawkins most certainly does NOT “believe in” intelligent design! What an odd thing to say!

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 5:21 pm e
  33. 33
    revromansky Says:

    Ben Stein’s “Expelled”. Dawkins blows it big time. Odd, but true.

    Intelligent design is a sound theory that, at its basis, points to a higher being, traditionally referred to as God. Might want to research ID before dismissing it.

    God Bless,

    RevRomansky

    http://revromansky.wordpress.com

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 5:48 pm e
  34. 34
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “Ben Stein’s ‘Expelled’. Dawkins blows it big time. Odd, but true.”

    Yikes! You have just lost ANY credibility you (might) have had… Stein’s movie is NOT factual. Why not read what Dawkins himself says about this movie (and the way they tricked him into appearing, and edited his interview with BS to appear the way it does)… here’s the link:

    http://richarddawkins.net/article,2394,Lying-for-Jesus,Richard-Dawkins

    Skip to the paragraph that begins: “Another example. Toward the end of his interview with me, Stein asked whether I could think of any circumstances whatsoever under which intelligent design might have occurred”

    Dawkins continues to explain what you see in the movie… he puts it into context – which also happens to completely change it’s meaning!

    **********

    “Intelligent design is a sound theory”

    It’s not even a SCIENTIFIC theory – much less a “sound” one!

    “Might want to research ID before dismissing it.”

    I’ll tell you what – as soon as anyone (and I mean ANYONE) produces a peer-reviewed article on ID, I will read it.

    Sadly, you don’t seem aware that this hasn’t happened yet.

    It’s simply NOT science… it’s theology.

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 6:08 pm e
  35. 35
    Chimera Says:

    “I challenge any one of you to give me firm scientific theoretical basis for atheism.”

    Why? What makes you think there is any science in atheism? And why should there be?

    And as for reality, I create my own. That is part of my religion. And the only person to whom I need answer for that is me.

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 6:43 pm e
  36. 36
    Joe Agnost Says:

    I just re-read the dawkins link I provided above – it’s a super read! It certainly puts the validity of “expelled” to rest… RIP!

    So Rev…. do you have anything to add about ID now?

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 7:03 pm e
  37. 37
    revromansky Says:

    Why not rent the DVD and find out what Dawkins is sputtering about? He states he believes in intelligent design, howbeit alien in source. He can backtrack all he wants, whining about being set up, but that only belies his confoundment at his own admissions. Another religious icon is shattered, and his followers scrabble to reassemble the pieces.

    And so we conveniently, and strawman-edly, avoid the blood that lies at the altar of atheism as well as the the quite founded scientific theory of Intelligent Design.

    Gentlemen, it’s not about words, which can be subtily crafted and woven in a veritable Babel of sounds. It’s about the pressure of Spirit, which you paradoxically deny and to which you respond.

    RevRomansky

    http://revromansky.wordpress.com

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 7:58 pm e
  38. 38
    Chimera Says:

    Rev, you are so full of it, I’ll bet your eyes are brown.

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 8:09 pm e
  39. 39
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    Chimera,

    I think it would be preferable to advance an argument than hurl an epithet.

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 8:33 pm e
  40. 40
    Joe Agnost Says:

    My comments aren’t showing up… I’ve posted several replies to the “rev” and none of them have appeared!

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 8:36 pm e
  41. 41
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “the quite founded scientific theory of Intelligent Design”

    Why persist? Do you enjoy looking silly in blog comments??

    I said it before, but let me repeat it slightly differently:

    If ID is scientific, in ANY way, please show me ONE peer-reviewed article in a scientific journal (of any kind) which discusses the science behind it.

    This can’t possibly be difficult to produce – you insist that ID is science… ONE (just ONE!) article would be great!

    You know what? You won’t be able to do it… because it isn’t science.

    I can’t believe I’m having this discussion… have you not heard of the Dover PA case of 2005? Google “DOVER PA ID” and you’ll get the info…

    The judge, in no uncertain terms, called ID religious and NOT scientific in ANY way. He then threw the ID bums out of court…. :)

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 8:39 pm e
  42. 42
    Chimera Says:

    Neil, there is no argument to that tripe. Any attempt to counter with actual facts is being dismissed wholesale.

    Rev says Dawkins “believes in” “Intelligent Design.” Dawkins says he does not. Yet Rev insists that he does. Why should I even give credence to such garbage?

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 9:00 pm e
  43. 43
    neilmckentyweblog2 Says:

    Well, of course, one option is to ignore him.

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 9:05 pm e
  44. 44
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    You know what? All “isms” generate hot air and intolerance. We do have a brilliant demontration here.

    Posted on September 23, 2008 at 11:42 pm e
  45. 45
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “If ID is scientific, in ANY way, please show me ONE peer-reviewed article in a scientific journal (of any kind) which discusses the science behind it.”

    You know what? Perhaps I scared the Rev off with this request. The last part isn’t necessary.

    So Rev: Just provide ANY peer-reviewed article in ANY science journal that discusses ID. Anything at all….

    (note: I took the “discusses the science behind it” out – not that it will matter. They don’t publish BS in science journals so he’ll never succeed in this task).

    “All ‘isms’ generate hot air and intolerance.”

    Not necessarily. Being an atheist (to me) simply means that I have no belief in god(s). I don’t think I’ve been “intolerant” or full of “hot air” in this thread either. I do tend to get my knickers in a knot when the discussion turns to ID as science. This isn’t atheistic though – this is about science and religion trying to masquerade as science.

    Posted on September 24, 2008 at 1:49 pm e
  46. 46
    revromansky Says:

    How’s this, gents? Instead of commenting on what Dawkins said he said, why not rent the DVD and see what he said? I know it’s a novel idea to go to the source, but there you go. All of $4, and you really gotta love Ben Stein.

    Or you could just continue to say what Dawkins said about what he said. Wouldn’t want to see a crack in the icon.

    RevRomansky

    http://revromansky.wordpress.com

    Posted on September 24, 2008 at 1:58 pm e
  47. 47
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “Instead of commenting on what Dawkins said he said, why not rent the DVD and see what he said?”

    Because Dawkins doesn’t deny what he said! I KNOW what he said – he does too. Seeing him actually say what he already admits to saying would be of no use – what would the point be?
    He doesn’t DENY what he said in the movie – he simply puts WHAT he said into context, and the context CHANGES the meaning (as context often does).

    And I would sooner kiss the pope than give $5 to Ben Stein and his merry band of ignorant idiots!

    The movie is full of untruths and outright lies… http://www.expelledexposed.com

    ****

    How’s this Rev – why not provide (even the slightest) bit of evidence that ID is scientific? You claim it’s a “sound theory” and it’s “scientific” – why not prove your point??

    You’ll notice that by avoiding to do this you admit defeat (and continue to appear willfully ignorant).

    Posted on September 24, 2008 at 2:32 pm e
  48. 48
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all! Especially to you, Rev…
    “Atheism spawned the murder of 40 million Russians via the Bolshevik Revolution in just the last century.” Interesting how you equate the philosophy of atheism with the psychosis of one man, Joe Stalin. The Bolsheviks sought to substitute, by the sword, the worship of the State for the worship of God, just as Christians sought, by the sword, to convert pagans, just as Muslims sought, by the sword, to convert all and sundry in their path. A difference that makes no difference IS no difference.
    Atheism is not a religion. There are no places where, on one day of the week, people gather to compare clothing. Atheists are not more inclined, than religious people, to harm others in the name of The Great Invisible All-Being. For the Bolsheviks, their God was the State, and their prophet was Joe Stalin. Theirs was a Crusade, a Holy War, a Jihad, as much as any perpetrated by the Believers of the Book. That atrocity was just as religious in nature as anything preceding it in history.
    Yes, let there be peace. You have every right to challenge that philosophy, although I find it odd that you would attack a philosophy that eschews any attack on other philosophies. Show respect, and you will earn respect. Anger is merely the child of Fear, and that begs the question, what have you to fear from me? This, and this alone: Raise your hand in anger, to me or anyone else who matters to me, and you will lose that hand. Apart from that, you and I will get along quite peacefully…oops, I digressed again…CTZen

    Posted on September 24, 2008 at 5:04 pm e
  49. 49
    Chimera Says:

    “…one option is to ignore him.”

    And allow him to be the only voice in the room? C’mon, Neil…you know very well that if we just allowed his scatological leavings to stand unanswered, not only would he erroneously claim a “moral victory,” but it would soon start to stink up the entire place.

    Lies are lies, and out-of-context quotes that are deliberately twisted to “prove” the opposite of what was actually said are self-serving lies, and the man who insists on inventing them and then repeating them is a liar.

    A judge would slap him with a fine and a jail sentence. Why should I cut him any slack?

    Posted on September 24, 2008 at 7:39 pm e
  50. 50
    revromansky Says:

    So Dawkins did say he believes in Intelligent Design, as long as it’s aliens from outer space doing the designing. Is the context right?

    And Stalin all by himself murdered 40 million people. And his totalitarian communist system is not an expression of atheism, even though its founded on atheism and the very first move Stalin made was to eradicate religion. Oh, yeah, atheism is not a religion so, because Stalin is an atheist, he is exempt from being called a “religious murderer” like those evil Christians and Muslims who go around murdering everybody all the time.

    Oh, yeah, it’s “god” with a little “g”. How novel, subtle and clever.

    Keep it coming. This is getting interesting.

    RevRomansky

    http://revromansky.worpress.com

    Posted on September 24, 2008 at 8:15 pm e
  51. 51
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “So Dawkins did say he believes in Intelligent Design, as long as it’s aliens from outer space doing the designing. Is the context right?”

    Thanks for showing that you didn’t bother to read Dawkins’ side of it… so, no – that still isn’t the right context.

    He does NOT believe in ID, whether it’s alien in nature or not. Get the context of the discussion (and the stuff that the movie CUT) and you’ll see how foolish you are with your claim (that dawkins supports ID).

    Didn’t you say: “I know it’s a novel idea to go to the source, but there you go.”

    The “source” isn’t the movie – it’s Dawkins himself! Go to the source rev!

    Everybody here will notice that you have completely avoided my request that you back your claim up about ID being science. You sure aren’t subtle about it!

    Are you willing to admit that you are wrong?? Because you are… horribly, horribly wrong…

    Posted on September 24, 2008 at 8:22 pm e
  52. 52
    revromansky Says:

    The source isn’t what Dawkins said in the movie. It’s what he said on his site. Now that’s just great. As long as Dawkins said he didn’t say what he said, but he meant something he said in a different way than hwo he plainly stated it, that’s alright.

    I really hate icons, Joe. And I don’t believe in aliens, do you?

    RevRomansky

    http://revromansky.wordpress.com

    Posted on September 25, 2008 at 4:17 pm e
  53. 53
    Chimera Says:

    “The source isn’t what Dawkins said in the movie. It’s what he said on his site.”

    If you think you got something, son, then link it.

    Posted on September 25, 2008 at 5:35 pm e
  54. 54
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “The source isn’t what Dawkins said in the movie. It’s what he said on his site. Now that’s just great.”

    Are you disagreeing? Do you not see how an interview (obtained under FALSE pretenses) could be edited in such a way as to change the meaning of what was said??

    “As long as Dawkins said he didn’t say what he said, but he meant something he said in a different way than hwo he plainly stated it, that’s alright.”

    You’re not exactly clear here… but I think I’m getting your point. You still haven’t read the link I posted did you? If you had you would realize that you’re not making sense…

    “I really hate icons, Joe.”

    That’s funny, because god’s a pretty big icon!!

    And Dawkins isn’t an icon to me. A smart man who is good at writing, but not an icon.

    “And I don’t believe in aliens, do you?”

    The isn’t exactly relevant, but yes I do. I think we’d be pretty naive to think, with the billions of stars and planets out there, that we’re alone in the universe. I don’t believe we’ve been visited by little green men, but I think there has to be other life out there – the odds are too great!

    And once again you avoid your earlier claim about ID (which happens to be the most interesting part of our discussion – to me).

    Will you admit you can’t back up your claim now? It’s getting pretty obvious that you can’t. Will you finally admit that ID is NOT scientific in ANY way – and thus irrelevant to science?

    Posted on September 26, 2008 at 1:51 pm e
  55. 55
    Chimera Says:

    ““And I don’t believe in aliens, do you?”

    “The isn’t exactly relevant, but yes I do.”

    Good for you, Joe! But his “relevance” in bringing this point up was to intimidate you into agreeing with him on some point so he could stick out his metaphorical foot and trip you up. The inference was that only children and fools “believe in” aliens, as if aliens were fantasy creatures in some kind of fairy tales written by fundies who want to scare their children into behaving themselves. He was treating you like a child, and you aren’t having any. Bravo!

    And yes, there has to be life out there. There’s way too much there there not to have life forms of some kind!

    Posted on September 27, 2008 at 6:57 pm e
  56. 56
    revromansky Says:

    Excellent, Joe and Chimera. Based on the same scientific facts, none to be exact, given by Dawkins, you also believe in aliens. Just because, which is the same reason given for the atheism upon which you base your belief in aliens.

    Just the statistical end of ID theory is staggering. For example, if the expansion of the universe changed in speed by as little as 10 (-)23rd power, the universe would not exist.

    Atheism not required to have scientific proofs, Christianity required by those same atheists as having to have scientific proof, and the apparent belief by leading atheists in aliens.

    I suppose you must find a way to fill the void created when you dispel God from your soul. ET call home.

    RevRomansky

    http://revromansky.wordpress.com

    Posted on September 29, 2008 at 12:44 am e
  57. 57
    Chimera Says:

    “Based on the same scientific facts, none to be exact, given by Dawkins, you also believe in aliens.”

    Did I mention facts? No, let me rephrase that: WHERE did I mention facts? Belief has nothing to do with facts. And atheism is not a belief. It is the lack of or denial of belief.

    And where did I say I believe in aliens?

    I personally don’t give a damn what you believe. Or what you believe you believe. Or what you believe I believe. It has nothing to do with me.

    Posted on September 29, 2008 at 3:04 am e
  58. 58
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “Based on the same scientific facts, none to be exact… you also believe in aliens.”

    Not quite. I use the FACT that there are billions of stars out there, many of them orbited by planets just like our earth, to deduce that the odds favour alien life. I don’t believe alien life is supported by the current evidence though – that’s why SETI is working so hard to solve this!

    But, as you no doubt planned to do, you’ve derailed the discussion! You must be hoping nobody would notice that you have avoided ONCE AGAIN to provide ANY proof that ID is scientific in ANY way!

    Do you remember I asked for ONLY ONE peer-reviewed paper on ID, just one! You can’t even provide one…. which doesn’t surprise me as I know there are NONE out there… because ID is in NO WAY science!

    “Just the statistical end of ID theory”

    Please… You have NOT been able to show that ID is a “theory” so can you please stop referring to it as one! It doesn’t deserve that stature…

    You try to provide a reason for ID, but you don’t provide any science:

    “if the expansion of the universe changed in speed by as little as 10 (-)23rd power, the universe would not exist.”

    First of all – what does this have to do with ID? Second of all – the universe as we know it would not exist, but that doesn’t mean an alternate universe wouldn’t exist in it’s place. The expansion speed isn’t the way it is because of us – we’re the way we are because of it!
    You have it backwards…

    If this is your reasoning for ID good luck ya!

    “Atheism not required to have scientific proofs”

    Because atheism ISN’T science either! It doesn’t make any claims – it doesn’t need any evidence.

    “Christianity required by those same atheists as having to have scientific proof”

    I’m not surprised an ID’er like you doesn’t understand science – but scientists don’t talk about “proof” – it’s called “evidence”. Proof is left to mathematicians…

    The thing here is that christians have made a VERY big claim – the existence of god. This requires evidence because it’s a claim. Atheism doesn’t make any such claims (it just refuses to believe religion’s claim because there is NO evidence the claim is correct).

    “the apparent belief by leading atheists in aliens.”

    Really? “leading atheists” believe in aliens? I’m not sure why that is so bad in your eyes though.

    I believe in alien life – but my “belief” in alien life does NOT mean that (a) I think my views are backed up by science, I understand it’s just my belief and (b) that it should be taught in science class!

    That’s what this is about!! I don’t care that you’re a creationist – I really don’t! What I care about is that you try to propose ID as a scientific theory on par with evolution. ID is NOT science!

    I’ve given you many many oportunities to support your claim that ID is science. You OBVIOUSLY cannot do this…. doesn’t that say anything to you??

    Posted on September 29, 2008 at 2:01 pm e
  59. 59
    Joe Agnost Says:

    Another comment (and shamelessly putting this thread back to the top of the comments).

    “I suppose you must find a way to fill the void created when you dispel God from your soul.”

    Wow… just wow. Where to start with such an insulting AND ridiculous statement??

    I have 2 kids 5 years old and younger – I can promise you there is no “void” to fill. I barely have time eat, worrying about imaginary beings is the farthest thing from my mind.

    “when you dispel God from your soul.”

    I love it! “dispel god”? You think I had to do ~something~ to remove this ridiculous notion from my mind?? The idea that god is the default position is just another ludicrous position religious people take… I can assure you – we’re all born atheist until the church gets ahold of us!

    I was lucky enough to avoid the child abuse children of religion have to endure – so I didn’t have to have the exorcism you describe above. I’ve been happily atheist my whole life!

    And BTW – ID still isn’t science. :)

    Posted on September 29, 2008 at 8:45 pm e
  60. 60
    Joe Agnost Says:

    Sorry – I’m just wondering where the rev got to… the thread is so old that it’s off the main page, and perhaps seeing a comment on it might result in a rev-response!

    Posted on October 1, 2008 at 8:36 pm e
  61. 61
    Chimera Says:

    Aw, fergit about ‘im fer now, Joe. He’s gone all control-alt-delete on us, tryin’ to reboot that sneering curl in his upper lip. He’ll be back as soon as he figures it out.

    Posted on October 1, 2008 at 10:23 pm e
  62. 62
    Is Jesus a Hoax? – the Bible and Other Jewish Fairy Tales | Says:

    […] IS RELIGION A HOAX? – Where other people saw a sacrament, they saw the Eucharist as a male power grab to control millions of credulous people over the ages. Do you think they’re onto something? Is Bill Maher onto something? Is religion a hoax? […]

    Posted on November 10, 2008 at 6:10 pm e
  63. 63
    Romoboy Says:

    Believers become Athiest, not the other way around. Anyone who’s says the were once Athiest were never Athiest to start.

    Posted on March 29, 2010 at 10:30 am e
  64. 64
    Vin Smith Says:

    I am looking for a good manuscript on the basic thematic that organized religion is a sham and a scam. Anytime you subscribe to opionion leaders and thought controllers, you have given away your mind. Anyone have a good manuscript on this subject? I’m certain my agency can get it published! Vin Smith midnightbookworm@sbcglobal.net

    Posted on September 7, 2010 at 12

6 Comments »

  1. 1
    Vin Smith Says:

    …No question that organized religion is a sham and a scam. Just look at the track record. But Personal Religion is a different idea entirely. It can take many forms, and as long as the form it takes does the following five things, it is legitimate…

    1). Complete respect for the beliefs of others. 2). Total lack of proselytizing–while being open to the exchange of ideas. You grow only by mingling with mankind. 3). An emphasis on the needs of others. 4). Creating a personal service ethic. 5). A commitment to lifetime learning; many leave school and never again attempt to expand the mind. Lifetime learning helps you grow in knowledge that can be used to keep your worldview, indeed, your Personal Religion relevant and updated.

    Personal Religion has no organization, no elected or appointed officers. It does not work to become a pressure group. Personal Religion is the living personification of free will.

  2. 2

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  3. 3
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  4. 4
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