Atheist monument is more American than Ten Commandments

I don’t really have much to add to this very well written article. Let’s see where the comments take us, if this gets any. Please read the full article before posting since I’ve not added anything of my own. Thanks.

Atheist monument is more American than Ten Commandments

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36 Responses to Atheist monument is more American than Ten Commandments

  1. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Ah, yes…(The Treaty Of Tripoli) is very effective in matters of debate in that it serves to provide truth without any interpretation whatsoever. And this tends to neutralize the smugness of most whom wish to hold on to a doctrine of ignorance, but once faced with this pesky little truth, you’ll then watch as their vanity gets ousted and their face becomes a blank slate.

    Morality was never a dictation from an idea, or (supposed immortal god) because this imperfection and presumptuous idea is memorized at youth by force. And so, I contend that we humans have learned morality through experience and transpired it to the next generation, and this is the quintessence and quality of humans and apes alike.

    Is god willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him god?

    Epicurus

  2. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Also, democracy was first introduced to the world by the ancient Greeks, because they had the worlds first civilization governed by the populous instead of a monarchy.

    Throughout history, religion has been proven to be nothing more then an arm of the government as well as a very lucrative business venture for wealth and power at the expense of a nations citizenry.

    Cerberus Black

  3. Epicurus has been right about that for a couple of millennia now. Amazingly, there are still over 3 billion Judeo-Christian-Islamic people in the world who still don’t get it.

    BTW, in your post above, you are quoting Epicurus. He capitalized the word God in both cases in that quote. And, he did so for a reason. This argument only works against monotheism or supposed monotheism.

    Hinduism, Norse mythology, Greco-Roman mythology, and any other polytheistic religion does not fall apart due to this argument. You see, God would be both willing and able to prevent evil and would do so. Therefore, evil disproves the existence of God.

    But, with gods, there is no claim that even the most powerful in the mythology, Zeus, Odin, Shiva, etc., is all-powerful. The presence of prankster gods like Loki quickly create the possibility of evil without negating the more powerful, but still not all powerful, Odin.

    Christianity could learn a lot from this. Especially Catholicism with its idol worship and multiple deities to whom one prays, could easily get around this by simply ridding the religion of the concept of the trinity, which is never mentioned in the bible, making the Father, Son, and Holy Goat separate entities.

    Further, acknowledgement that the Devil is another deity whom neither Father, Son, nor Holy Spigot can rid the world would explain evil without denying God, but just making him a god instead. It also would allow proper deification of all of the other lesser deities to whom Catholics regularly pray, saints, angels, and especially Holy Mary Mother of God. The last is my personal favorite. How can anyone actually say the words, “Holy Mary Mother of God” without recognizing the utter and complete ridiculousness of the phrase? It would be like uttering the words “thy will be done” and somehow thinking that one is not a slave.

    So, do you see how easy it is to get around Epicurus’ argument? All one needs to do is give up monotheism.

    Of course, polytheism is every bit as silly as monotheism. There’s still no evidence of Loki or Rom. But, with polytheism, at least you can have gods you can hear, like Thor and cute gods like Ganesh with that adorable smiley elephant head.

    In the end though, the complete and utter lack of a shred of evidence for any of these mythologies, whether Judeo-Christian-Islamic or Hindu or Jain or Norse or Greco-Roman or whatever is still the strongest argument to me.

    We’ve been searching for hard evidence for millennia and have always come up with bupkis.

    As for the Treaty of Tripoli, I agree. I would also point to Jefferson’s “wall of separation” letter. A point that is often missed is the purpose of the letter. As president and the author of our constitution, Jefferson was reassuring the Danbury Baptists that they would be able to continue to follow their flavor of Christianity in their way, free from the influence of more mainstream Christians.

    Got that?

    Jefferson, a Deist or Epicuran (not Christian either way), depending on which quote of his you read, was reassuring Christians that they would be free from other Christians. The wall of separation was as much for Christians as anyone else. Christians should still support this, if they know what’s good for them. After all, who knows what flavor of Christianity might win if this wall is taken down?

    Some Christians like to engage in ritual cannibalism and idol worship (Catholics). Some do not. Mormons don’t use the cross as their symbol believing it to be disrespectful to use the murder weapon of Christ as a symbol for their religion. I’m not judging. All are equally silly to me. But, people feel strongly about some of these issues.

    So, Christians, when you get your theocracy, which of you will have to convert or die at the hands of other Christians?

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      Regarding Epicurus being correct and how many on the position of a tyrannical book utterly dismiss really.
      But, is it any wonder? They’ve been conditioned to behave in that manor, and thus, are very intellectually lazy.
      They know not the hatred they’ve implanted upon the world.

      -You see, god would be both willing and able to prevent evil and would do so. Therefore, evil disproves the existence of god.-

      Nicely put. But, do you believe some of what was said? For instance, the article claims that Epicurus’ own argument was not that of his own. Do you agree?

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        Sorry, but the first paragraph at the end said really, and what I ment to say was (reality).

      • I am not a historian and have no opinion on whether the quote is originally Epicurus’ or has merely been attributed to him.

        <semi-joke>
        Perhaps it was Israel Bissel who said it. No wait. He was the one who rode from Boston to Trenton to warn that the British were coming. Seriously. It wasn’t Paul Revere. Revere only rode 19 miles to Cambridge, MA. Perhaps he warned the president of Harvard.
        </semi-joke>

        What is your opinion about polytheism though? Does the Epicurean argument imply the non-existence of all gods to you or just a single, all knowing, all powerful, monotheistic god?

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        Do you need to be an historian to have an informed opinion/commentary on a particular subject?
        You give commentary on the bible, no?

        First, singular…but you can restructure the quote to be ment for polytheism as well. Though, I wouldn’t do so.

        In paragraph 6 of “pleasure as absence of suffering” if you will note the “Epicurean paradox” might be wrongly ascribed to Epicurus by Lactantius’ christian opinion about Epicurus being an atheist. It’s being suggested that perhaps it’s the actual work of the skeptic writer, Carneades. Also according to Reinhold F. Glei it is settled that the argument of theodicy is from an academic source which is not only not epicurean, but anti-epicurean.
        But an analysis of Wikipedia’s own article would suggest otherwise.

        Note from teachings, or prefiguring science and ethics:

        –Epicurus is a key figure in the development of science and the scientific method because of

        “his insistence that nothing should be believed except that which was tested through direct observation and logical deduction.

        Does that sound like a person that believes in gods to you?
        That’s the strongest argument against Epicurus’ god worship.

        Next, if you’ll note the third paragraph:

        –He regularly admitted women and slaves into his school and was one of the first Greeks to break from the god-fearing and god-worshipping traditions common at the time,–

        Hmmmm. Now why…why would it be so common?

        Also, note from his own quote:

        –“It is not the man who denies the gods worshipped by the multitude, who is impious”,

        but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them.–

        Note in “Biography” second paragraph:

        –After the death of “Alexander The Great”, Perdiccas expelled the Athenian setters on Samos to Colophon.

        Wait! “After the death of Alexander The Great?
        This also would highly suggest that the Greeks were still steep in their religious traditions as well.
        So thusly, the next question:

        Why? Why was, Epicurus, one of the greatest intellectuals of any time “participating” as if supposedly “worshipping” the so-called “gods” and supposedly to partake in such inane activities was to, what, contemplate their existence? At all?
        Not likely.

        There’s only one reason.
        He had to…and it’s as simple as that.
        And you well know, Scott. If you don’t acknowledge and endorse the state religion you’ll quite probably come under condition of pain, or death.

        And Epicurus would have been no exception to that rule.

        Alexander The Great thought (through his mother) that he himself was a god, and people worshipped him, too.

        Do you now see why l will never precisely follow scholars?
        It’s because most have a perceptible religious bias to tell.

        Like:
        “Lactantius, who, from his christian perspective, regarded Epicurus as an atheist.”

        I wonder why?

  4. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    Agreed, but may I also make the point that that the wall of separation is a construct in law that keeps any one part of our governmental body from becoming to overbearing like a monarchy.

    They’ve already broken down that wall to begin the process in the liquidation of our democracy, do you agree?

    The cult of gods is, at present, in a position to take absolute control of our nation, or has it done so already?

    And, I shall repeat what I’ve said on another thread:

    I shall not retract my statement, and absolutely refuse to capitalize the word, god.
    No one believes in the elder gods of ancient times so I’ll capitalize those, but that bastered described in the babble will get no such recognition from me. Sorry.

    Until anyone can show the existence of such a creature, only then will I ever give it any recognition at all…ever.
    So, you have your principles, and I have mine.

    Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo
    I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care.

    Epicurean epitaph

  5. Re: God v. god: understood.

    Re: Wall of Separation: I was specifically referring to a particular letter Jefferson sent. The full text is available on the Library of Congress website.

    http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html

    This particular letter is referring only to the separation of church and state, not the separation of the three branches of government.

    Re: Theocracy: I think they’re still working on it. They’re making a truly unfortunate amount of progress. At this rate, it will not be long before we become Iran. Don’t think for a second that it will make a difference that this will be a Christian theocracy instead of a Muslim theocracy. The teachings are so nearly identical that it will not matter.

    What we have on our side is young people. The youth of the nation are becoming increasingly unconvinced as measured by the record number of “nones” among the younger generation.

    http://www.pewforum.org/Unaffiliated/nones-on-the-rise.aspx

  6. The Expulsion Of Gods,

    You make some excellent points. When I say I’m not a historian, I mean just that. It doesn’t mean I take the opinions of historians on faith. I have no faith. I just am not interested enough in history to have read the level of detail I would need to make an informed opinion about the attribution of this quote to Epicurus.

    Regarding single vs. multiple gods, yes one can rewrite the quote, and presumably mostly claim it for oneself at that point. However, my point is that the existence of evil does not argue against a polytheistic religion, only a monotheistic one. Even then, it only argues against a “good” god.

    With most polytheistic religions, my understanding is that:

    A. None of the gods are all powerful.
    B. There is no assertion that all of the gods are “good”.

    Therefore, a single “bad” god could create “evil”. So, the existence of evil is not a disproof of such a religion.

    Christianity could get around the Epicurean argument (regardless of whether it was actually from Epicurus) by simply acknowledging that Satan is a god. Specifically Satan is a god whom none of God, Jesus, or Casper the Holy Ghost can kill.

    Alternately, Christianity could acknowledge that God/Jesus/Casper are not wholly good. This would match well with the religious tenets. After all, it is God/Jesus/Casper who judges people and damns their souls for eternity in Hell. Therefore, God/Jesus/Casper explicitly condone the creation of Hell and the idea of tormenting people there for eternity. If G/J/C does not support the Devil, why send souls His way? If G/J/C is all-forgiving, no one would go to Hell. It would be completely empty.

    There are many ways that Christianity could get around the Epicurean argument by simply acknowledging itself to be a polytheistic religion with gods that are imperfect, just like Greek or Norse mythology. At the very least the Catholic sect is certainly not monotheistic (and has also long since given up on the “no graven images” thing).

    Judaism and Islam will have a tougher time of it. There is precious little mention of Satan in the old testament. There is no mention of Hell. In fact, Judaism is sort of ambiguous about an afterlife. There seems to be one, but it’s rather nondescript and not central to the religion. In fact, Judaism places the greatest importance on obedience even over actual belief. Punishment for disobedience is often doled out violently by Yahweh smiting people left and right.

    Islam does mention Satan. But, unlike the Judeo-Christian sects, has as its first commandment, “There is no God but Allah.” Stating that there is just one god makes it a lot tougher than the others who state, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” This latter is an acknowledgement that there are other gods. In fact, one could worship them after Yahweh/God/Jesus/Casper if one so chooses. The Onion pointed this out in their beautifully satiric way, see link below.

    I’m In An Open Relationship With The Lord

    Anyway, my point is that to disprove all gods, one must simply point out the complete and utter lack of evidence for any of them.

    Deism is a bit tougher since it posits no personal god intervening in daily affairs, merely a god who set things in motion and left. I can’t disprove that god. Though I can state that such an omnabsent and omnimpotent god is irrelevant.

    That said, I can prove that there are no gods interfering in our universe today. Our laws of physics do not make exceptions for divine intervention. And, they work. A universe with a personal god of any type would be demonstrably different than the universe in which we live.

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      Very well put Scott. And, I thank you.

      So, you think that it’s much harder to disprove the existence of a god from the mind of a deist, do you?

      Umm..isn’t that god full of the same human attributes that are found from the human condition?

      Is this a god, that, for some reason, just created a child, and then left? Why?
      I cannot accept this ridiculous and childish behavior from a supposedly adult god whom obviously could give a bat shit about its own bastered creation.

      Totally unacceptable. And refuted.

  7. Expulsion,

    Well, I certainly agree with you regarding the existence of any deity. And, I agree that a god that didn’t give even one rat buttock, let alone a whole rat’s ass, about his creation is a loser of a god. I’m just saying that said loser is harder to actually disprove. Certainly such a god requires no worship as he is not here anymore. Such a god is also completely irrelevant to any daily activity. So, there’s really not much point to believing in Deism except to deny that one is really an atheist. In fact Deists are atheists. They are without gods. Their god has left them billions of years ago and has never been heard from since.

    That said, here’s the wiki page on Deism. It’s a bit more complicated than I had thought.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

    These quotes seem most relevant to me, emphasis mine:

    Deism holds that God does not intervene with the functioning of the natural world in any way, allowing it to run according to the laws of nature. For Deists, human beings can only know God via reason and the observation of nature, but not by revelation or supernatural manifestations (such as miracles) – phenomena which Deists regard with caution if not skepticism. See the section Features of deism, following. Deism does not ascribe any specific qualities to a deity beyond non-intervention. Deism is related to naturalism because it credits the formation of life and the universe to a higher power, using only natural processes. Deism may also include a spiritual element, involving experiences of God and nature.

    The words deism and theism are both derived from words for god: the former from Latin deus, the latter from Greek theós (θεός).

    Prior to the 17th century the terms [“deism” and “deist”] were used interchangeably with the terms “theism” and “theist”, respectively. … Theologians and philosophers of the seventeenth century began to give a different signification to the words… Both [theists and Deists] asserted belief in one supreme God, the Creator… and agreed that God is personal and distinct from the world. But the theist taught that God remained actively interested in and operative in the world which he had made, whereas the Deist maintained that God endowed the world at creation with self-sustaining and self-acting powers and then abandoned it to the operation of these powers acting as second causes.[contradictory]

    So what? Well, a universe created by the god of Deism as compared to the real universe in which no such power ever existed would not look any different. The Deist belief is just as consistent with our observable universe as the atheist belief. Both state that there’s no one supernaturally fucking around with our universe. This matches observation.

    That said, there’s still no evidence for any god of any type.

    So, I’ll stick with my belief that there are no gods until a shred of evidence should be presented. We’ve gone at least several millennia with people searching for and failing to find any such evidence. So, you won’t catch me holding my breath … or hedging my bets as in Pascal’s wager.

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      –I’m just saying that said loser is harder to disprove.–

      How so?
      This argument brings to mind the bigfoot hypothesis and that will get nowhere with me, nor you. And that’s my point.
      If they cannot produce any evidence of a bigfoot body – end of story. And the same goes for any deity whatsoever.
      Now…see how easy that was?

      To put it another way…I had met an individual on a forum whom went by the name of, Cerberus Black. He (Cerberus) had made a connection and influence me by telling me to think in the abstract train of thought, to which I’m very grateful.

      He said, more or less:
      –These are constructs of the human mind, and nothing more. These are merely stories of which the tellers have yet to prove. Additionally, the authors of such stories would love for you to believe in the nonsensical argument of all godly possibilities in an attempt to sway you their way, but do not let them. For you have the ability to change that tone, those thought patterns, and keep your mind only trained on the reality in which you have evolved.
      If you really want all possible and avenues to explore, then only think in terms of what, and not whom.
      Only what is the possibility, because to say whom is to attribute the human emotion, and it doesn’t work that way at all.–

      Cerberus

      I miss talking to him.

      • I’m not talking about burden of proof. Of course, one who claims there are gods out there somewhere is required to show evidence. Else, there is no reason to entertain the hypothesis. Ditto for sasquatch, yeti, fire-breathing dragons, and unicorns.

        My point is that with claims of personal gods who interfere, I can go farther than pointing out that the claimant has the burden of proof. I can make an active disproof. Though, there is no requirement for me to do so, I resent the statement that many who believe in a personal god make. They claim that I cannot disprove their god. I claim I can.

        For those who claim existence of an omnimpotent god, note not omnipotent but omnimpotent, I can only point out that they have the burden of proof. While that is sufficient to deny their claim, it is not an active disproof, such as can be provided for a personal god.

        Both don’t exist. Both require that the claimant back up the claim of existence. But, in the case of a god who interferes, I can make an active disproof.

        Do you now see what I mean by the difference between lack of proof for the existence of any god and active proof that there is no personal god?

      • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

        Yes, I’ve already gained that perspective, but that’s also my point.
        You need no requirement for the active invalidation of a nonexistent human construct.

        You still make an excellent point though.

      • Agreed. Active invalidation of a ridiculous concept is not necessary. I just resent the implication that no active refutation exists.

        For those who believe in a personal god and think I can’t disprove your god, as if that lends any weight to your argument, I say “hooey!” Hooey on both counts in fact.

        And, if anyone out there speaks Russian, yes, that hooey (XY).

        (Since the web translations don’t seem willing to translate that, I will have to. It’s one of the most commonly used strong curses in Russian. It means dick and is used in a variety of contexts and suggestions.)

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      –Deism holds that that god does not intervene with the functioning of the natural would in any way,–

      I feel as if I’ve just come home from a Star Trek convention.

      Light joke

  8. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    –Hinduism, Norse, Greco-Roman mythologies, and any other polytheistic religion does not fall apart due to this argument.–

    I do not agree, and here’s why.
    Restructured polytheism

    If you analyze both polytheism, and monotheism, they’re both one in the same.

    Therefore, I retract my statement and offer the following.

    Zeus is well known as king of all gods.
    god is also known as king of all gods.

    Zeus assigned all other gods their duties, and likewise, god had assigned duties to his angeles.
    Angeles like, saint Michael whom had supposedly fought and defeated Lucifer 3 times.

    Question:
    Why was god incapable of defeating Lucifer himself?
    Is he not omnipotent?

    Having angeles to do the bidding of the chiefton god would highly suggest otherwise.

    Is god willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Epicurus

    So thusly, you can apply the “Epicurean Paradox” to any god of your choosing, but since gods do not exist, then I contend that the paradox becomes invalid.

    Because a human construct is incapable of giving you an answer.

  9. Hmm…. Thinking about this more.

    In a polytheistic mythology, I think that the top god simply is not omnipotent. I don’t think it’s really correct to say that Zeus or Shiva or Vishnu or Indra or Odin could rid the world of evil or of evil deities. I think that in such a religion, one simply accepts that no single god is omnipotent.

    Perhaps a non-omnipotent god is not worthy of worship. That would be for the potential followers of such a religion to determine for themselves. Epicurus would stop at “then he is not omnipotent”. And, Epicurus would be correct.

    However, a follower of Hinduism might simply respond, “so what?”

    Why must a god be omnipotent to be worthy of worship? If a god is simply way more powerful than me, is that not reason enough for my worship? If I were to believe (however incorrectly) that said god would be able to occasionally grant me my wishes (or prayers) would I not be justified in my worship of a non-omnipotent god?

    I think that is where Epicurus falls apart in the case of polytheistic religions. Yes. Epicurus proves that god is not omnipotent. But, I think that polytheistic religions actually don’t make that claim about any god. If they did, why would anyone pray to Ganesh?

    I might ask the same about “Holy Mary Mother of God” or “Saint Anthony Saint Anthony please come around, something’s lost and must be found”, etc. This is why I say that Catholicism could easily just embrace their polytheism and be done with it. Then they could explain evil by simply acknowledging that God cannot rid the world of Satan. He simply is not powerful enough.

    Maybe people who acknowledge that would still find reason to pray to God, Mary, Peter, Paul, or Lucifer without any apparent contradiction. The prayers simply indicate a belief (however false) that a god can help in the current situation, even if not in all situations.

    So, my question to you would be, in your example where Zeus is all powerful and simply delegates to other gods, why pray to anyone other than Zeus?

  10. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    In a poly-monotheism (singular) mythology,
    ———–
    Sorry, but I couldn’t resist.

    ——–
    I think the top god simply is not omnipotent. I do not think it’s really correct to say that Zeus, Shiva, Vishnu, or Odin could rid the world of evil deities.
    ———

    That’s nonsensical, and would assume that there’s no order in said godly kingdom.

    In poly-monotheism, it’s the same as in any worldly kingdom that has ever existed, and all other gods fall under his majesty’s rule. And the king holds absolute control over his subjects – or did you miss that memo?

    So if even an immortal ruling god wished to vanquish said evil pestilence brought onto the world, then he’d have no problem in achieving that task because even the so-called evil gods were given their duties by said supreme deity, and if by chance his subject did not do
    as commanded, then he’d suffer under his majesty’s cruelty.
    It’s as simple as that.

    Btw, I believe it was king Henry the 8th that destroyed churches and killed about 100, 000 of his own to rid himself of the catholic pestilence and did achieved that task, did he not?

    —-
    Why not a god be omnipotent to be worthy of worship?
    —–

    No god is omnipotent, but only a reflection of ourselves. And being a mirrored image of of tyranny, and no prayers ever being answered…should he be worthy of your praise?

    Zeus included.

  11. The Expulsion Of Gods says:

    What, no rebuttal?

    In all seriousness, I’ve really enjoyed our discussion Scott, and am looking forward to more if you’re up to it, but that’s entirely up to you.

    Thanks

  12. I got a bit behind on replying. I don’t really have much to add.

    We’re basically speculating on our own interpretations of polytheistic religions. The fact is that some of these may have influenced each other and some not. I don’t know. It’s not as clear-cut as the case of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic desert war god. Clearly, these are all virtually the same from the standpoint of someone not in the middle of any of them.

    There are some slight differences in desert war god worship. Catholicism does have a higher rate of idol worship than most of the others. Judaism doesn’t proselytize, except to those whose mothers were born of Jewish mothers, etc., or whatever the exact definition of “born Jewish” means. Islam has a different wording of the first commandment that does not acknowledge the existence of other gods. These differences are minor.

    With polytheistic religions, I’m not sure the relationships between them are as clear.

    That said, even if one god is king of the gods, which I’m not sure to be the case in all polytheistic religions, there is no indication of which I’m aware that the king would be a more effective king of his subjects than a human king. To my knowledge, no human king has ever ruled so perfectly that no one could ever go against his wishes. Perhaps other gods are subject to the rule of the one, but can do as they please within some framework. Perhaps they can go around the rules when the king isn’t looking.

    I think we can agree to disagree regarding the degree to which a whole boatload of non-existent entities must follow the rule of another non-existent entity. At some point, the conversation borders on the absurd. In fact, it approaches the absurdity level of the absurd subject being discussed.

    • The Expulsion Of Gods says:

      I’ve only looked at this as just an exercise, Scott. I sometimes like to debate even my fellow Atheists to know what their feelings are on the subject, and of course to play the bad cop…so to speak.

      There are no real disagreements to speak of between you and I because I agree with you, but I just like to explore different avenues to see what answers I get.
      Really, I hope that I didn’t disappoint you.

      Religion is very absurd, but I hope you didn’t mind the exercise. I appreciate the conversation we’ve had, and the debate.

      Troy

  13. I’m always up for a debate, even when we’re quite literally debating the characteristics of nothing. I was just coming to the conclusion that we were at an impasse, and one with no relevance to the real world at that.

  14. Boss Random says:

    I did find one problem with the article – they got one wrong. Murder isn’t specifically forbidden by the U.S. legal code. *Unauthorized* murder is. If all murder was forbidden, (and the Commandments don’t leave convenient legal loopholes – they’re supposed to be absolute) we wouldn’t have the electric chair, lethal injection, or other forms of capital punishment. We’d also have to deal with folks who kill intruders ‘in self defense’ far more harshly, since they get away with a slap on the wrist in the deep south.

    Ironically, both capital punishment and ‘guns for home defense’ are defended more by the right wing of American politics, who are also the ones trying to abolish Separation of Church and State the most.

    (Incidentally, although I’m a lefty, I’m not particularly against capital punishment or for heavier gun control. However, as an atheist I’m not the one with a religious stricture to consider all life sacred.)

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Murder is unlawful killing and is “always” wrong. Its the opposite of legal killing of which there are many examples.

      The bible says do not kill. No government does that as killing is crucial to the maintenance of the State.

      Some religions/sects take that as do not kill human beings. Others use it against all/most animals. No one uses that against plants.

      slice and dice.

  15. Guys,

    I’m not sure what impression you have of the bible. On one hand, in a list of 17 or 18 commandments that people somehow condense into 10, there is an admonition against killing. On the other, the penalty for breaking any commandment is death by public stoning. The penalty for a female virgin who is raped inside city limits is the same (had she cried out, someone would have heard her, so she wasn’t raped and hath made a whore of herself of the house of Israel. Can’t make this shit up. Though … someone did. Deut 22:22-24, or just read that whole chapter for a scary laugh. The bit about the parents of the bride keeping the bloody sheet from the wedding night is also amusing.)

    In addition, the Old Testament can easily be treated as an instruction manual for genocide. Deuteronomy 20 is a nasty little chapter. Consider Deut 20:16:

    Howbeit of the cities of these peoples, that the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth,

    So, as for the babble stating that killing is wrong, I think it sends rather a mixed message on the subject. In fact, that commandment against killing is so often contradicted in the babble that one could easily ignore it and probably still get the main gist of the babble.

    As for the question of capital punishment, I prefer Capital Punnishment. (Please don’t send me to the punitentiary.) The problem with the death penalty for me isn’t the morality of killing a murderer. It’s about fairness in implementation. In one state, for many years and possibly still today, no one who could afford their own lawyer was ever sentenced to death. In another, no white had ever been sentenced to death for killing one or more black people. But, blacks who killed whites were often sentenced to death.

    Then, there’s the little issue of all of those death row inmates being freed due to DNA evidence that was not available at the trial. How many innocent people are we willing to put to death to get the guilty?

    So, I’ll remain opposed to the death penalty until we become a more equal society and become more confident of not executing the innocent, i.e. probably for the rest of my life.

    As for gun control, I support the right of a law abiding sane citizen to own a gun. I do not support the right of any private citizen to own a fully automatic weapon or a bazooka or a tank. I also do not see the harm in background checks to make sure that it is only law abiding and sane citizens who get the guns. So, somewhere there is a middle ground where reasonable people can reasonably own reasonable weapons, whatever that means.

  16. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Scotty–what idea, notion, or right is being supported by thinking that “a law abiding sane citizen” should be able to own a gun?

    WHY??????????????

    When you allow the sane citizen to have guns, its UNAVOIDABLE, that insane citizens will get them too if by no other mechanism than theft. The person MOST LIKELY to be shot by a gun in the house—-is the home owner and his family.

    Guns are very ineffective for home protection===and not worth it as sport.

    No…. you are still overly stimulated by the 2 Amendment. Fair enough but when discussing whether or not guns should be allowed, we can discuss it on its merits—or let the Supremes tell us the way its going to be. No mixing and matching.

    • Yes bobbo. I was not trying to change that part of the constitution. I don’t have a strong enough feeling about the second amendment. I was looking for a middle ground and one that doesn’t involve overturning the constitution.

      The only issue on which I personally feel strongly enough to want to overturn our constitution is regarding the electoral college. The rest of the constitution is good enough as is, especially if we stop circumventing it with religious laws and laws designed by the corporation for the corporation.

      The electoral college is the real abomination in my mind. A person living in Wyoming does not have greater value as a human being due to place of residence than a person living in Texas, California, or New York.

      Land doesn’t get a vote. If land ever did get a vote, it sure as hell wouldn’t vote the way that it is voting today in AK, ID, WY, etc.

    • What about guns as a source of meat, so to speak? Isn’t it more ethical to have a deer run free and live the good life until one day having his/her brains blown out by a hunter, assuming a clean kill, than it is to raise a steer in a CAFO in such miserable conditions that he must be fed antibiotics along with his corn while living in his own feces only to finally be killed? At least the hypothetical deer had a good life.

      Now, for my taste, going out and killing someone (deer are living beings, not things) is not my idea of a good time. But, as ethics go, I can’t fault the hunter here. Unless you’re a vegan, you probably shouldn’t take a holier than thou stance on the subject either. Or, you could eat only kosher organic meat to make sure that it was treated humanely during life (organic) and slaughtered humanely at the end (kosher). Good luck with that. It’s not impossible, but probably will get rather expensive.

  17. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Electoral College?–I agree. An artifact of history that should be dealt with. How else to establish a check and balance on legislative power? A multitude of ways. Even just a Senate being popularly elected and having a longer term would do it.

    All beings are things. Its definitional.
    Someone = human beings. Deer are not human beings. With your similar insight into Corporations, I’m surprised you fubared this one.

    Outlaw guns. Allow bow hunting. Its even more sporting.

  18. bobbo,

    I think you missed the boat on this one completely and on all three points.

    “Electoral College?–I agree. An artifact of history that should be dealt with. How else to establish a check and balance on legislative power?”

    The electoral college has nothing to do with checks and balances. It has to do with A) giving small states more power in the election of the president and B) not trusting the people to vote.

    Point A notes how the electoral college can produce different results than the popular vote by virtue of states with fewer people having more voting power.

    Point B notes that the electoral college is not bound in any way. 100% of the people in a given state can vote for candidate A and the electoral college can simply choose to vote for candidate B instead. The founding fathers really didn’t trust us to vote for president.

    “All beings are things. Its definitional.
    Someone = human beings. Deer are not human beings. With your similar insight into Corporations, I’m surprised you fubared this one.”

    I fubared this one??!!? I think not. In fact, I’m sure it’s you that fubared this one. You’re just flat dead wrong here.

    You say things are definitional but once again show that you do not own a dictionary or have any interest in the actual definitions of words. Once again bobbo, you make up your own definitions all the freakin’ time and then complain that others are doing so. Here’s a clue for you. It ain’t others who have problems with definitions. It’s you.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/thing

    thing
    1 [thing] noun
    1. a material object without life or consciousness; an inanimate object.
    2. some entity, object, or creature that is not or cannot be specifically designated or precisely described: The stick had a brass thing on it.
    3. anything that is or may become an object of thought: things of the spirit.
    4. things, matters; affairs: Things are going well now.
    5. a fact, circumstance, or state of affairs: It is a curious thing.

    “Outlaw guns. Allow bow hunting. Its even more sporting.”

    Arm the deer. That’d be sporting. Make the hunter kill the deer with his/her bare hands. That’d be sporting.

    Why’s sporting important to you? If I were a deer choosing the method of my execution, I’d prefer a nice clean rifle shot to the head than a slow death by arrow.

    What’s so good about sporting?

    If sporting is the goal in killing, how about if Texas implements the death penalty by lions in the local stadium? The convicted criminal would then have about the same sporting chance against the lions that a deer does against a bow hunter.

    My point in allowing guns (again, a point that is not on my list of particularly important points) was to provide meat for one’s family, not sport. If you want sport, try baseball, football (a.k.a. soccer), American football (a game played with the hands and with an object that is not round or even roundish), basketball, skiing, running, gymnastics, or what the hell … even curling.

    Deer were an example of an animal that can be sustainably hunted for meat and an example of an animal that can be allowed to live free until death rather than living in squalor until death. Since we generally treat the animals in our care very very badly, it seems to me that there are ways that our food can be allowed a better life prior to reaching our plates.

    Regardless, if you want to allow hunting, do the animals a favor and either allow guns or disallow all weapons … or arm the non-human animals.

    Or you could adopt this attitude.

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