Atheist Presidential Candidate Lashes Out At Religious People

New Atheist Zoltan Istvan considers himself the US Presidential candidate of the Transhumanist Party and has decided to use religious people as his scapegoats in his campaign.  He writes:

All around the world, religious terror is striking and threatening us. Whether in France, Turkey, London, or the USA, the threat is now constant. We can fight it all we want. We can send out our troops; we can chip refugees; we can try to monitor terrorist’s every move. We can even improve trauma medicine to deal with extreme violence they bring us. But none of this solves the underlying issue: Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Islam are fundamentally violent philosophies with violent Gods. Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and others have all reiterated essentially the same thing.

Christianity is not a violent philosophy with a violent God.  So, to support his assertion, Zoltan will cherry pick and quote-mine from the Bible to make it seem the same as the Koran:

Consider these verses from the Koran:

Koran (3:56): As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.

Koran (8:12): I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

And then consider these verses from the Bible:

Deuteronomy 17:12: Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the holy man who represents God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged.

Numbers: 31:17: Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

You would think that if you are going to make a claim about Christianity, you would quote from the New Covenant and not the Old Covenant.   As commenter Dhay wisely observed:

What would Rambow, Anderson and Harris have moderate Christians do each Sunday? Abandon Communion, perhaps and replace it with some Old Covenant ritual where you sacrifice a bull and re-affirm the Old Covenant – perhaps they would have us reinstate the whole Jerusalem Temple based Jewish sacrificial cultus, which is all explicitly there in the text of Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers and which on a Rambow/Anderson/Harris interpretation must be implemented.

Zoltan is clearly engaged in confirmation bias.  He wants to believe that Christianity is a violent philosophy so he pages through the Bible looking for something that will support his preconceived beliefs.  Once he finds it, he offers it up and goes not one step further.  Zoltan is not engaged in argument; he is engaged in some mental exercise that is rendered ludicrous by Dhay’s comment.

Zoltan then thinks he is anticipating objections to his point and tries to knock them down:

Of course, both the Koran and Bible have passages that highlight kindness too—but you don’t get a get-out-of-jail-free card in the 21st Century by being both violent and peaceful. If you beat your spouse, you’re an abuser and can face jail time (even if you’re a loving spouse other times).

Fail.  It’s not a question of the Koran or Bible also having passages about being nice.  It’s about understanding the core essence of Christianity.  While the Koran offers up another version of the Old Covenant, the Bible presents a New Covenant made possible through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Let me offer up a couple of Bible quotes:

 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man…”  (Eph. 2:13-15, ESV)

To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ)  (1 Cor 9:20-21)

Hmmm.

The problem is obvious – Zoltan doesn’t truly understand Christianity.  He is mentally enslaved to some form of stereotype that guides his efforts at confirmation bias.

Zoltan then expands his attack:

The fundamental problem with religion is that believers—about 5 billion people right now on Planet Earth—are so sure they’re “correct” on anything and everything they believe. This is, of course, a sure sign of insanity—especially since most of what people believe was taught to them when they were children (and they had no way to filter it out or reason about it).

First of all, how can Zoltan be so sure that 5 billion religious people “are so sure they’re “correct” on anything and everything they believe?”  He can’t.  Once again, his intellectually lazy stereotypes guide his thinking.  The only one coming across as being “so sure” of anything is Zoltan Istvan as he pontificates about “the fundamental problem.”

Second, I’m not surprised that an atheist candidate for President would engage in name calling.  Zoltan accuses 5 billion people of being insane, yet he is the one who comes across as being so sure of his position.  Thus, according to his own words, he is the insane one.  And it does not help that the man actually considers himself a candidate for President of the United States.

Third, Zoltan engages in stereotyping-squared.  It is simply not true that all religious people are religious because they were taught to be so as a child.  I myself never received any religious training or teaching as a child.

The only real truth out there, at least while our brains are just three pound bags of meat (and our senses—like our eyes—see just 1 percent of the visible universe), is to know “absolute truth” is something way too complex to understand.

More stereotypes.  I don’t claim to know absolute truth.  In fact, I fully recognize the role that faith plays in my beliefs.  If there was no uncertainty and no ambiguity, faith would not be needed.  We would just know.  Ironically, it is the atheists who insist faith is evil and pretend to get through life without it.

The only real thing to understand right now is the Scientific Method—the holy grail of wisdom that reason advocates follow. It states that if you test a hypothesis enough times, and the outcome seems to always be similar, then you can utilize that as a semi-truth and apply it functionally in one’s life (but beware: It could change anytime and it might). That’s the language of reason—the language of science.

This smells like the watered-down version of the scientific method.  The language of science entails not just “test the hypothesis,” but test the hypothesis which generates clear predictions entailed by the hypothesis with carefully designed experiments.  “Test the hypothesis” is just common day thinking that has no special track record of success.  So let’s play with Zoltan’s version.

The Scientific Method is also not the thinking method of the pilots who flew into the World Trade Center. Or of the murderer who gunned down people in Orlando. And it’s certainly not the method of thinking that the truck driver used to run down innocent people in Nice, France.

Well, if the scientific method of is just “test the hypothesis,” yes, it was part of the terrorist thinking.  The hypothesis would be that by committing such horrific acts, you can induce terror and chaos in your enemies.  And it works.  So that’s why they will keep doing it.  Not to mention that the scientific method provided the tools of terrorism (the planes and guns and trucks) and must be part of the planning.  So, According to Zoltan’s logic, the scientific method is part of terrorism.

Like the hundreds of millions of other nonreligious people out there, it’s hard for me to fathom how religious people got brainwashed into being this way—this ignorant. But bear in mind, it’s not just religious terrorism that is literally killing us—it’s much more.

So religious people are not only insane, but brainwashed and ignorant.  Once again, stereotypes guide his hateful rhetoric.  But if he is worried about things that are literally killing us, why doesn’t he mention the myriad of secular causes that exist?  For example, according to the CDC, in 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes.  From just that one secular cause, we have more dead people than with all of Zoltan’s examples of religious terrorism.  So why is he not lashing out at the consumption of alcohol?  Clearly, Zoltan is not concerned about things that are killing us.  He just hates religion and religious people.

Consider how many nonreligious secular people there are leading our nation right now. The answer is astonishing: It’s zero (at least publicly). All 535 members of Congress, all eight Supreme Court justices, and our President believe in God and an afterlife.

I see.  So Zoltan equates reality with what politicians say publicly.  What an incredibly simple-minded way to approach our social reality.  I think it a little more accurate to look at what politicians do.  And as such, there is very little evidence to think most of these politicians are guided by religion (unless we define their secular ideologies as religion).

Zoltan then swerves into CrazyTown:

No wonder life extension and anti-aging science is basically unfunded by the US Government. Why should the US care about whether you live longer or can overcome disease when you’re all going to wake up in Jesus’ arms after you die? Or in some heavenly Islamic paradise with a bunch of virgins?

Huh?  So all those religious politicians won’t fund life extension and anti-aging science because they all think they will end up in Jesus’s arms?  Up to this point, it is clear Zoltan has simply been trafficking in hateful stereotypes and cliches about religious people.  But now we need to begin wondering if this man, who throws around accusations of insanity, is himself delusional.

I’m a presidential candidate that wants you to live—not in some unknown paradise once you die that no one has ever seen before or can prove exists. I want you to live now, regardless what craziness or tragedy the world can throw at you. I want your loved ones to live too—and not die because of aging, disease, or terrorism. I want you all to survive as long as you want—and to try to find a perfect world here on Earth. Transhumanist science can give that to us, and it will soon. And maybe in a hundred years, we can all even venture somewhere else in the universe when space travel can get us there safely.

LOL!  An atheist presidential candidate who wants us to live.  You can’t make this stuff up.

If you want to live—and not be killed or die—make a point to criticize and disavow religion and religious people for being deathist: the idea that death is either welcome or acceptable (whether it comes via terrorism, disease, or aging).

Why are New Atheists so obsessed with coming up with more and more ways to hate on religious people?   So now, this atheist wants to blame death itself on religious people.  If it wasn’t for religious people, science would have discovered immortality!  And we’d all be flying around in Starships. Just like Star Trek!  Damn those religious people!  Damn  them!

It’s not that death is welcome or acceptable.  It’s inevitable.  Zoltan has been drinking from  transhumanist koolaid and is thus in a state of denial.

In the 21st Century, fundamental religion is a form of mental disease. And sadly, that disease continues to take lives everywhere, in the worst of ways.

More hateful rhetoric guided by simple-minded stereotypes.   Since religious people are insane, mentally diseased, and fatally dangerous, what does this presidential candidate propose we do about them?  Put them in some type of camp?  Atheist leaders throughout history have a track record of doing this.  Surely, he must have a plan.  So what is it?

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48 Responses to Atheist Presidential Candidate Lashes Out At Religious People

  1. SteveK says:

    Scratch a New Atheist, find a fundamentalist. Every. Time.

  2. mechanar says:

    leave out any reference to religion and this is basically the speech of a skinhead.I actually feel pitty for this man, he has a simplistic view of the world and People. New atheism is the biggest offence to reason there is because its followers claim reason is just a matter of following simpel instructions when infact its hard work and constant self reevaluation. If they actually Bothered to use reason they would realize the nonsense they are speaking. Every person on this planet is first and foremost a individual not a country not a group not a worview but a PERSON! As a german the fact that these kind of Ideas become Popular again scares me.

  3. I’m an atheist and I don’t agree with a many points this guy makes, especially the ones about religion being a mental disease or a form of insanity. I don’t think he’s qualified to make such an assertion. If he thinks he’s a man of evidence, then he should be backing that sort of statement up with evidence.

    However, I do want to disagree with the author of this article as well – you don’t get to ignore huge chunks of the bible. Those violent parts are part of it and part of your religion and they are often sited to discriminate against minorities, such as homosexuals.

  4. Kevin says:

    Let’s pretend this guy isn’t insane and / or stupid and test his hypothesis. A simple logical exercise should suffice.

    A. If Christianity is fundamentally violent, then we would expect to find that the more devout a Christian is, the more violent and hate-filled he should be.

    B. We do not find this to be the case.

    Conclusion: Christianity is not fundamentally violent.

    It’s sad that the people who claim to be the champions of evidence-backed reasoning are so often incapable of utilizing it.

  5. Gottfried says:

    How have I not heard of this guy before?
    Among his many other achievements (he invented volcano boarding! Wikipedia: “…Zoltan Istvan credits himself with inventing the volcano boarding sport…”) he helped launch the world’s first atheist orphanage in Uganda.
    See! Atheists are just as charitable as religious people! More so, really, because of course their motives are much purer…
    From the website: “The parentless children living there will not be indoctrinated by religious creeds…” Yeah, right.
    http://brighterbrains.org/articles/entry/bizoha-the-worlds-first-atheist-orphanage-launched-by-brighter-brains-insti

  6. Kevin says:

    “However, I do want to disagree with the author of this article as well – you don’t get to ignore huge chunks of the bible. Those violent parts are part of it and part of your religion and they are often sited to discriminate against minorities, such as homosexuals.”

    A sign at a political event says “Democrats sit on the left side and clap your hands, Republicans sit on the right side and stomp your feet.”

    A Democrat goes to the right side and sits down and claps his hands and stomps his feet. An attendant goes up to him and says, “Sir would you be so kind as to sit on the left side and not stomp your feet?”

    The Democrat says, “The sign said to sit on the right side, and to clap hands and stomp feet.”

    The attendant says, “Sir, the sign says for Democrats to sit on the left and clap, not sit on the right and stomp.”

    The Democrat says, “Well that’s not how I read it. Besides, it’s the same sign, right? I can’t just ignore what the sign says.”

    To me, and to most Christians I suspect, the superceding of the Mosaic law with Christianity is just as clear as the sign at the political event. Most likely any attempt to apply the law would be an attempt at rationalizing a pre-existing hatred.

    In fact, it is those who attempt to apply the Old Testament to the church that are ignoring parts of the Bible. Those of us who understand why the law was fulfilled in Christ are ignoring nothing.

  7. SteveK says:

    “However, I do want to disagree with the author of this article as well – you don’t get to ignore huge chunks of the bible.”

    He’s not ignoring anything. He’s criticizing the fact that the guy is taking verses out of context.

    Those violent parts are part of it and part of your religion and they are often sited to discriminate against minorities, such as homosexuals.

    Are you living under a rock? Nobody is ignoring these parts. Library shelves are filled with books by Christians devoted to not ignoring these parts.

  8. Ryan says:

    Godless Cranium said:However, I do want to disagree with the author of this article as well – you don’t get to ignore huge chunks of the bible. Those violent parts are part of it and part of your religion and they are often sited to discriminate against minorities, such as homosexuals.

    As others have said, no one has said to ignore these verses, rather they must be understood within the larger context of Christianity. Forgiveness and mercy are central to Christianity, and Christianity provides a rational basis for mercy that atheism lacks.

  9. Ryan says:

    The only real thing to understand right now is the Scientific Method—the holy grail of wisdom that reason advocates follow.

    Ah yes, that religion called “scientism”.

    The fundamental problem with religion is that believers—about 5 billion people right now on Planet Earth—are so sure they’re “correct” on anything and everything they believe. This is, of course, a sure sign of insanity

    This is a sure sign of insanity, stating that %80 of the world population is the “problem”. Does he have an ideological “purification” plan in mind that might fix the problem that is %80 of humanity? What a nut. I would suggest a revision to his statement: The fundamental problem with New Atheism is that believers—about 5 people right now on Planet Earth—are so sure they’re “correct” on anything and everything they believe. This is, of course, a sure sign of insanity.

  10. Michael says:

    However, I do want to disagree with the author of this article as well – you don’t get to ignore huge chunks of the bible. Those violent parts are part of it and part of your religion and they are often sited to discriminate against minorities, such as homosexuals.

    It’s not a question of ignoring. It’s an issue of understanding. The quotes I provided show that a very significant change/transition was involved with the birth of Christianity and thus is entailed in Christianity. It’s silly and shallow to insist that True Christians should be ultra-orthodox Jews.

    Anyway, the point that Zoltan raised was that Christianity is a violent philosophy. Not only did he fail to make the case, the Bible verses I quoted show that his only evidence – the two Old Testament verses – collapsed. His argument, to the extent there was an argument, has been refuted.

  11. Okay. So let me ask you a question.

    What do you think happens to someone once they die if they spent their lives not believing in your god?

    Please be exact in your explanation and feel free to use bible quotes from either the NT or OT.

  12. Ryan says:

    Godless Cranium said:What do you think happens to someone once they die if they spent their lives not believing in your god?

    How does this question have any relevance? Do you think human life has intrinsic value? And if so, what is the intrinsic value of human life based upon? If not, what reason is there to care about human life?

  13. Michael says:

    Okay. So let me ask you a question.

    What do you think happens to someone once they die if they spent their lives not believing in your god?

    Sounds off topic, but I’ll tell you what I think. It’s not really an issue of whether someone believes in the God of the Bible. It’s an issue of what they do with their sin. Do they embrace it, revel in it, rationalize it, justify it, deny it exists? Or do they fight against it? If it’s the latter, they will come to the realization of their need for mercy, their need for salvation. And if they walk down that road, they will receive it.

    What happens after we die is a continuation and culmination of our choices.

  14. This sounds like a dodge to me, Michael. Almost a politician sort of answer.

    “What happens after we die is a continuation and culmination of our choices.”

    Please expand on this.

  15. SteveK says:

    Sounds like you’re trying to make a point, but what?

  16. Kevin says:

    Some Christians belive in universal salvation. Some believe that those who explicitly reject Christ are condemned, but those who never hear the gospel are not judged by it. Some believe in eternal damnation, some believe in eternal destruction, and some believe in temporary “burning” as a purification. In other words, there is not complete agreement.

    How is it relevant to the topic?

  17. Ryan says:

    Godless Cranium,

    Before you go where we all know you’re going: Is there an objective, absolute morality? Your answer to this will determine whether you have any justification to go where you’re going, and will lead to additional questions.

  18. Michael says:

    This sounds like a dodge to me, Michael. Almost a politician sort of answer.

    Huh? If I wanted to dodge your question, I could simply have not answered it given it was (as I noted) off topic.

    “What happens after we die is a continuation and culmination of our choices.”

    Please expand on this.

    I was. I wrote, “It’s not really an issue of whether someone believes in the God of the Bible. It’s an issue of what they do with their sin. Do they embrace it, revel in it, rationalize it, justify it, deny it exists? Or do they fight against it?”

  19. No. You would appear to answer the question but not really answer it. A politician doesn’t stay silent when asked a direct question, they spout things that sound like an answer while dodging the actual question.

    I didn’t ask what they do with their sin. I asked you directly what you believe happens after someone dies – including those that do not believe in your deity. I said be as specific as you can.

    Now please answer the question.

  20. Ryan says:

    Godless Cranium said:Now please answer the question.

    How about you explain the relevance of the question? Are you curious about becoming a Christian? Or are you trolling?

  21. Michael says:

    No. You would appear to answer the question but not really answer it. A politician doesn’t stay silent when asked a direct question, they spout things that sound like an answer while dodging the actual question.

    Your “direct question” was off topic. You seem to be oblivious to the fact that no one was/is going to think any less of me for not allowing you to derail the thread by forcing the discussion to remain on topic. Simply put, there was no “dodging” of your question as there was never a need to do so. Let it go.

    I didn’t ask what they do with their sin. I asked you directly what you believe happens after someone dies – including those that do not believe in your deity.

    You asked, ” What do you think happens to someone once they die if they spent their lives not believing in your god?”

    I answered: It’s not really an issue of whether someone believes in the God of the Bible. It’s an issue of what they do with their sin.

    My answer rejects the faulty premise of your question – that your fate after death is tied up in whether or not you believe in “my god.” Your fate is tied up in your sin.

    Now please answer the question.

    I did. Your fate after death is not tied up in whether or not you believe in God; it is tied up in your sin.

    If someone embraces their sin, revels in it, rationalizes it, justifies it, denies it – they are defined by their sin. Now. And in the afterlife. What do I think happens to them? God, who cannot co-exist with sin, abandons them to their sin. Complete, total, eternal abandonment. The person who is defined by their sin gets what they chose. Sin instead of God.

  22. It’s not a derail. A significant portion of Christianity believes in hell. You say Christianity is not violent, but eternal torture is as violent as something gets. Your refusal to answer tge question would indicate you know this.

    Your holy book contains genocide after genocide. It is part of the religion you support. It supports slavery. It supports the killing of children. Your god supposedly did these things and whether it’s on the OT or NT it was supposedly YOUR god. And it’s your dogma that glorifies and justifies that violence.

    Jesus doesn’t nullify the atrociously violent acts described in your book of myths.

    I can understand why you want it to and why you want to seperate yourself from those violent passages but that is part of Christianity.

    So yes, he is absolutely correct that Christianity contains violent passages.

  23. Kevin says:

    Aaaand there it is. Biblical ignorance used to bash Christianity.

    Assuming Michael allows it, why don’t you explain why the Old Testament applies to Christians?

  24. Kevin says:

    “A significant portion of Christianity believes in hell.”

    Irrelevant to whether Christians are violent.

    “You say Christianity is not violent, but eternal torture is as violent as something gets. ”

    The subject is religious violence, as in the believers themselves being violent. Hell has zero bearing on this subject.

    “Your holy book contains genocide after genocide. It is part of the religion you support.”

    We aren’t Jews.

    “It supports slavery. It supports the killing of children. Your god supposedly did these things and whether it’s on the OT or NT it was supposedly YOUR god.”

    God does reserve the right to judge wicked societies, yes. Unfortunately, that is expressly forbidden to Christians, if you had even an ounce of knowledge beyond rationalwiki.org. Also, atheism does nothing to prevent those things. Know what does? Christianity.

    “Jesus doesn’t nullify the atrociously violent acts described in your book of myths.”

    How do you know they are atrocious?

    “I can understand why you want it to and why you want to seperate yourself from those violent passages but that is part of Christianity.”

    It is not a part of Christianity. Christianity began in the book of Acts. Something you would know, if you knew what you were talking about.

    “So yes, he is absolutely correct that Christianity contains violent passages.”

    He is completely wrong.

  25. Ryan says:

    Godless Cranium,

    Do you have solid evidence that believing the Bible correlates to violence? Is there concrete evidence that the act of believing the Bible makes a person more violent? And if not, then why do you care what the Bible teaches?

  26. Michael says:

    It’s not a derail. A significant portion of Christianity believes in hell. You say Christianity is not violent, but eternal torture is as violent as something gets. Your refusal to answer tge question would indicate you know this.

    My refusal to answer the question? I not only answered your question, I expanded on my answer. Why do you feel the need to lie about this?

    And yes, being eternally abandoned by God and given over to your sin would be torture. But I’m not so sure “violent” would be an accurate adjective.

    And yes, you were trying to derail the thread. It is clear from the context of Zoltan’s failed essay that he was not talking about hell. He was trying to link Christianity to Islam so he could blame Christianity for religious terrorism:

    Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Islam are fundamentally violent philosophies….. The Scientific Method is also not the thinking method of the pilots who flew into the World Trade Center. Or of the murderer who gunned down people in Orlando. And it’s certainly not the method of thinking that the truck driver used to run down innocent people in Nice, France…… But bear in mind, it’s not just religious terrorism that is literally killing us—it’s much more….. In the 21st Century, fundamental religion is a form of mental disease. And sadly, that disease continues to take lives everywhere, in the worst of ways.

    If you are going to try to defend the crackpot notion that Christianity is a violent philosophy engaged in acts of religious terrorism, don’t you think it would help if you had evidence apart from complaining about hell?

    Can you point to some examples where someone’s belief in hell caused them to gun down people in a dance club or run down innocent people at a public celebration?

  27. goldrushapple says:

    >>Abrahamic religions

    I know you’re an atheist when ….

  28. goldrushapple says:

    @ Godless Cranium: Man, atheists and the LGBT always like to point how the Bible hates homos. It’s strange because even despite such rhetoric it’s Islam that throws homos off of buildings and recently lite up a homo night club. But hey, those weird Westboro Baptists, eh? Gosh, whatever shall society do.

  29. “My refusal to answer the question? I not only answered your question, I expanded on my answer. Why do you feel the need to lie about this?”

    Nice try. The first time I asked you said it depends on this and that. You didn’t answer what happens.

    You only actually answered it after I pressed you and pointed out you hadn’t answered it.

    “And yes, you were trying to derail the thread”

    No. I was answering your comment in answer to mine that Christianity isn’t at all violent. I’ve given you several examples of how it is. It’s right there in your holy book.

    Hell is in the NT and it is violent. It’s actually more violent than anything found in the OT. At least in the OT you die and that’s it. In the NT you supposedly die and get tortured.

    “He was trying to link Christianity to Islam so he could blame Christianity for religious terrorism”

    And I already said I disagreed with his ‘mental illness’ crap.

    Both Christianity and Islam are Abrahamic religions.

    “If you are going to try to defend the crackpot notion that Christianity is a violent philosophy engaged in acts of religious terrorism, don’t you think it would help if you had evidence apart from complaining about hell?”

    I said nothing about religious terrorism. I said it too is a violent religion and that its passages (including those in the OT) are used by Christians to opprerss homosexuals. In fact, you can just look in your own comment section and see that this is true, as your own readers (at least the one on the bottom at the moment of this writing) are calling them homos.

    And if you want to see violence perpetrated in the name of religion, simply look at what is happening in Russia where they’re terrorizing homosexuals: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/14/vice-young-gay-russia_n_4595791.html

    If you’re going to try and tell me that has nothing to do with Christianity, you’re off your freaking rocker. Or that the oppression of gay people in the US has nothing to do with oppressive and violent texts in your Christian holy book. History is littered with examples of Christianity and its violent passages being used to justify atrocities.

    Yes. The bible is violent. That is so and you can’t seperate the OT from the NT. When you buy the freaking bible, they come together and Christians routinely use the OT in sermons and to justify their stances on social issues.

  30. Kevin says:

    Someone who ignores questions accuses someone who answers questions of ignoring questions. Cute.

    Ignoring all the other points in which you were refuted, how do you know that “oppressing homosexuals” is a bad thing?

  31. TFBW says:

    Godless Cranium said:

    I was answering your comment in answer to mine that Christianity isn’t at all violent. I’ve given you several examples of how it is. It’s right there in your holy book.

    You have demonstrated that the Bible contains violence. I’m even prepared to concede that you’ve demonstrated that the God of the Bible employs violence. What you haven’t demonstrated is that Christianity is a violent religion. In order to do that, you should show where Jesus (the “Christ” in Christianity) promotes violence as part of his teaching.

  32. Dhay says:

    > New Atheist Zoltan Istvan considers himself the US Presidential candidate of the Transhumanist Party and has decided to use religious people as his scapegoats in his campaign. …

    Wiki: “In late 2014, he announced his intent to run for President of the United States in the 2016 elections to raise awareness for transhumanist politics issues.”

    I’d say his article is only incidentally about religion, and all about using the “throw the dead cat upon the table and whatever the previous discussion and however important, relevant and serious that discussion might have been, the cat will dominate attention and discussion thereafter” tactic to generate attention and publicity for his “transhumanist politics issues”.

    So how much attention should we give to the publicity-seeking flaming troll Istvan and his dead cat?

    *

    > It’s silly and shallow to insist that True Christians should be ultra-orthodox Jews.

    Beautifully succinct and to the point.

  33. FZM says:

    It’s not a derail. A significant portion of Christianity believes in hell. You say Christianity is not violent, but eternal torture is as violent as something gets.

    Well, belief in hell is part of mainstream Christianity. But in mainstream Christianity there is belief in heaven as well. Heaven seems about as opposite to anything violent as something gets.

  34. FZM says:

    If you’re going to try and tell me that has nothing to do with Christianity, you’re off your freaking rocker.

    Since Russia was ruled by a totalitarian militant atheist regime between 1917 and 1992 (which categorised homosexuality as a crime and/or mental illness), and the ideology of this regime is still highly influential, I’d say the attitude towards homosexuals is not just down to the influence of violent Christianity.

  35. Ryan says:

    Empty Cranium,

    Are you saying that Christians are more violent than atheists?
    Or are you saying that Christians should be more violent than atheists because of our book of myths?

    If you’re arguing that Christians are more violent than atheists, then give evidence in the form of statistics or something. Otherwise you’re just an angry person that hates religion and wants to rant.

    Many believe that the government has the right to punish criminals, but that does not lead them to conclude that they have the right to punish criminals.

    Many believe that God has the right punish evil, but that does not lead them to conclude that they have the right to punish evil.

  36. FZM says:

    Your holy book contains genocide after genocide. It is part of the religion you support. It supports slavery. It supports the killing of children. Your god supposedly did these things and whether it’s on the OT or NT it was supposedly YOUR god. And it’s your dogma that glorifies and justifies that violence.

    This kind of condemnation seems to involve adopting very high moral standards; ‘genocide’ of the kinds described in the Bible can never be justifiable, killing of children can in no way ever be justified and so on.

    So, I suppose people who adopt such standards must also condemn the Allied war effort in 1939-45, because of the ‘genocides’ it involved (on a much vaster scale than anything in the Bible), the killing of children, the rape, destruction of property and so on. They would also have to condemn any military defence of the current social order in Western countries because integral to this is the threat that if outsiders try and interfere with it they will be met with an extremely violent response.

  37. John says:

    ”You say Christianity is not violent, but eternal torture is as violent as something gets.”

    Except that it’s not necessarily torture.
    There are many Christians who believe that Hell isn’t physical torture.

    An alternative, and probably more likely view of Hell, is that it is eternal shame.Shame that is proportional to your sins.

  38. Dhay says:

    I see that like a number of other New Atheists, Istvan is a journalist, who earns his living by writing.

    If I were to be even more cynical than I was earlier, I could assume that what Istvan is doing in both running for President and writing this article is a) publicising his “philosophical novel” The Transhumanist Wager to attract more sales and royalties, and b) advertising himself to newspapers etc as a go-to journalist writing eye-catching controversial articles designed to attract newspaper purchases and online clicks — he seems to have produced a small flood of such articles, for which he is no doubt well paid.

  39. Michael says:

    Nice try. The first time I asked you said it depends on this and that. You didn’t answer what happens.
    You only actually answered it after I pressed you and pointed out you hadn’t answered it.

    You are wrong. You asked, ” What do you think happens to someone once they die if they spent their lives not believing in your god?”

    I answered: It’s not really an issue of whether someone believes in the God of the Bible. It’s an issue of what they do with their sin.
    My answer rejects the faulty premise of your question – that your fate after death is tied up in whether or not you believe in “my god.” Your fate is tied up in your sin.

    So when you asked again,
    “Now please answer the question.”

    I replied: I did. Your fate after death is not tied up in whether or not you believe in God; it is tied up in your sin.
    If someone embraces their sin, revels in it, rationalizes it, justifies it, denies it – they aredefined by their sin. Now. And in the afterlife. What do I think happens to them? God, who cannot co-exist with sin, abandons them to their sin. Complete, total, eternal abandonment. The person who is defined by their sin gets what they chose. Sin instead of God.

    I answered your question and then expanded on it. It was obvious you breathlessly wanted to sprint to the issue of hell, but I chose to walk patiently toward the topic to highlight the faulty premise in your question.

    No. I was answering your comment in answer to mine that Christianity isn’t at all violent. I’ve given you several examples of how it is. It’s right there in your holy book.

    Hell is in the NT and it is violent. It’s actually more violent than anything found in the OT. At least in the OT you die and that’s it. In the NT you supposedly die and get tortured.

    I see that you are not ignoring my answer. I wrote:And yes, being eternally abandoned by God and given over to your sin would be torture. But I’m not so sure “violent” would be an accurate adjective.

    Your idea of hell as a place/state where you “get violently tortured” is just that – your personal idea. I don’t agree with it. However “torture” is involved in hell, I think it akin to being a meth addict. A meth addict leads a tortured life brought about upon by a series of their choices, such that the effect of those choices consumes them.

    I noted “He was trying to link Christianity to Islam so he could blame Christianity for religious terrorism”

    And gc replied:

    And I already said I disagreed with his ‘mental illness’ crap.

    Actually, his mental illness crap is standard New Atheist talk, as many leaders of the New Atheist movement make the same accusations.

    But the point is that Zoltan was trying to link Christianity to Islamic acts of terrorism. Since you think beliefs about hell are evidence of Christianity’s violent essence, I asked you: Can you point to some examples where someone’s belief in hell caused them to gun down people in a dance club or run down innocent people at a public celebration?

    And you answered…..er, you didn’t answer. You dodged my question. My oh my, Godless Cranium shows up to accuse me of dodging his question when I clearly did not. Yet it turns out that is Godless Cranium who dodges my question. LOL!

  40. I don’t know why being seperated from god is considered a torture. Or how this is accomplished. But fair enough, that’s your idea of hell and I’d rather the church taught that than the traditional vision of hell they often teach.

    And unlike religion, just because another atheist or a bunch of atheists say it, doesn’t mean I have to agree. I have no atheist bible.

    I didn’t dodge your question. I made no claim about Christian terrorism. I said your religion can be violent when you said it wasn’t and that it is often used to oppress minorities. I even gave you a news story showing this.

    You chose to ignore that because you want me to show something uou claimed. I never said any such thing. I’ve clearly shown your religion can be violent and used to oppress people and history shows this as well.

  41. By the way, I thought according to your theology you had to ask Jesus for forgiveness to get to heaven and have your sins forgiven?

    Or did this go out the window with the way hell was taught traditionally?

    Because if you have to go to Jesus and your not Christian or you’re an atheist then you’re destined for that separation thing you believe in. If you don’t have to go to Jesus, and living a good life is good enough, then your theology isn’t even needed, right?

    My money is on your being disingenuous about hell or separation from your deity (which amounts to torture but not actually violent…) and instead of saying atheists are just destined for this type of torture for eternity, you want to put it on this sin or whatever, when in reality – as much as can be applied to us talking about something that likely isn’t going to happen and that you have actually changed and your religion has changed several times over the course of centuries – atheists would go to hell regardless of how they handled their sin. You could live a well meaning life and still go to hell.

    Either that or your book is wrong.

  42. TFBW says:

    Godless Cranium, I find your ideological extremism disturbing.

  43. SteveK says:

    Cranium thinks scripture teaches that Christians are to conduct acts of terrorism???

    Wow!

  44. Why are you guys bothering to feed this troll? Nothing good ever comes from doing that.

  45. Michael says:

    Christian terrorist attacks: http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/10-worst-terror-attacks-extreme-christians-and-far-right-white-men

    Ah, the smell of desperate confirmation bias. After reading through the first example, it became clear that article was not trustworthy and comes with an agenda. Was Wade Michael Page a Christian?

    Well, the man was obviously a drunkard. From wiki:

    He was demoted and received a general discharge for “patterns of misconduct,” including being drunk while on duty and going absent without leave.

    And

    Page worked as a truck driver from 2006 to 2010, but was fired after receiving a citation for impaired driving due to drinking.

    Doesn’t sound like a Christian to me.

    Then there is this:

    Page had ties to white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, and was reportedly a member of the Hammerskins.

    From Wiki: The Hammerskins emerged in the late 1980s from the Dallas based Confederate Hammerskins. Its name is based on a scene in the 1982 film Pink Floyd – The Wall.

    Hmmm.

    He entered the white power music scene in 2000, becoming involved in several neo-Nazi bands.

    The White power music scene:

    National Socialist black metal (NSBM) is black metal that promotes National Socialist (Nazi) beliefs through their lyrics and imagery. These beliefs often include: white supremacy, racial separatism[disambiguation needed], antisemitism, heterosexism, and Nazi interpretations of paganism or Satanism (Nazi mysticism).

    Page was a drunkard who participated intimately in community that was into Nazi interpretations of paganism or Satanism. He was clearly not a Christian. If we are to go down this road, there is better evidence that Craig Hicks was a New Atheist terrorist than Page was a Christian terrorist.

    You show up accusing me of dodging your question when I clearly did not. You then hypocritically dodge my question and have now begun the process of trying to spin my honest attempts to explain my thoughts as me “being disingenuous about hell.” And now you try to pass off some drunken, pagan, neo-Nazi as a “Christian.”

    The evidence indicates Bob was right – you are trolling and I could be using this time to write more about Zoltan’s weird transhumanist views.

    Thus…

  46. Michael says:

    Godless Cranium’s attempt to spin Wade Michael Page as a “Christian terrorist” was quite the jump-the-shark moment. According to a report from the SPLC, my inference about Page was confirmed. I noted that Page was a drunkard, given he was kicked out of the Army for drinking and later lost a job because of drinking. The SPLC fills in some more details:

    A heavy drinker, Page eventually sank his military career by showing up for work drunk, another Army friend, Christopher Robillard, told theJournal Sentinel. When he refused treatment, the Army discharged Page in 1998, Robillard said.

    and

    He couldn’t hold a regular job because he drank so heavily that he would pass out and miss work the next day, Simi said.

    You’ll notice the SPLC report makes zero mention of any involvement with Christianity. If there was such involvement, the SPLC would have loved to highlight it. In fact, Google searches of this guy also fail to come up with any report of him being involved with Christianity. Instead, the various reports out there make it clear Page was a heavily tattooed neo-nazi skinhead who was deeply into booze and punk rock-type music. In other words, he was a secularist.

  47. Kevin says:

    At least Stardusty will answer questions. Godless Cranium is apparently one of those atheists who is terrified of being on defense.

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