Still No Evidence the Muskogee Atheist Community Exists

Previously I noted there was no evidence the Muskogee Atheist Community even existed.   I could not find a single mention of it prior to the appearance of this story.  I could not find a web page for it.  In fact, there isn’t even a FaceBook page for it.  The fact there is no FB page for the group is very telling. As we all know, it costs no money and about 5 min of your time to set one up.After all, Matt Wilbourn has his own closed FaceBook group, with the following disclaimer:

 If anti-religious material offends you, you may not want to friend request me.

If you set up a personal anti-religious FB page, why not set up a FB page for the atheist group you supposedly co-founded?

Since that time, commenter TFBW found there is a domain page registered for the group.  One problem…

http://www.muskogeeatheistcommunity.com/ is a place-holder “under construction” page at time of writing. Domain was registered anonymously on 24-Aug-2016, so any actual connection is unverifiable.

So the domain for Muskogee Atheist Community was registered the day after the news story broke and Mehta’s blog posting about it.

According to the original news story, here is how this all started:

A group has started a GoFundMe page for a Muskogee children’s home after a man’s donation was allegedly denied.

Matt Wilbourn says his donation was denied by the Murrow Indian Children’s Home after he asked that the home put the donation in the name of the Muskogee Atheist Community.

“I filed out the paperwork and I put my wife and I’s name on the paperwork,” he said. “At the bottom, it asks if there is any person or organization you want to put it in memory of and I put the Muskogee Atheist Community.”

So Wilbourn expected the children’s charity to accept his donation contingent on them doing so in memory of……..a non-existent atheist group?

ETA: I stand corrected.  SteveK found evidence of their existence that works for me.

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175 Responses to Still No Evidence the Muskogee Atheist Community Exists

  1. HailNerdQueen says:

    It’s a private group. It’s been open quite some time with regular group meetings and events. The reason for privacy is the stigma of being an atheist in Muskogee could likely cost people their jobs, their friends or even their family. It is kept private, so no you can’t view it, for these reasons. Nice attempt, move along, troll.

  2. GEShores says:

    Our page is private and has been in existence longer than the recent awareness. But, we are here and have been here, nonetheless.

  3. KELI WILBOURN says:

    Lol! Our MAC page is a secret Facebook group in fact. For obvious reasons…We are working on a Web page. It is still under construction. We have a twitter. @MuskogeeAC if you were wondering…just fyi.

  4. There is at least some evidence, since the Friendly Atheist provided personal testimony to the existence of the group as a private Facebook group.

  5. Michael says:

    HailNerdQueen

    It’s a private group.

    You mean secret group.

    It’s been open quite some time with regular group meetings and events.

    Er….I don’t see any evidence of this.

    The reason for privacy is the stigma of being an atheist in Muskogee could likely cost people their jobs, their friends or even their family.

    So those worries are over now that y’all are going public?

    It is kept private, so no you can’t view it, for these reasons. Nice attempt, move along, troll.

    I’m a little confused as to why it is an atheist would think a focus on existing evidence could be trolling. Are you saying I should have somehow known your secret group exists?

  6. Michael says:

    Our page is private and has been in existence longer than the recent awareness. But, we are here and have been here, nonetheless.

    But prior to August 22, there is no evidence your secret group ever existed, right?

  7. Michael says:

    KELI WILBOURN

    Lol! Our MAC page is a secret Facebook group in fact. For obvious reasons…We are working on a Web page. It is still under construction. We have a twitter. @MuskogeeAC if you were wondering…just fyi.

    A twitter page? When did you set that up?

  8. Michael says:

    Daniel Vecchio

    There is at least some evidence, since the Friendly Atheist provided personal testimony to the existence of the group as a private Facebook group.

    So an atheist wanted me to accept personal testimony as evidence? That’s a new one.

    I didn’t consider that evidence for two reasons.

    1. Mehta is an activist with an axe to grind and not an objective observer.
    2. It didn’t make sense that Mehta could have seen a secret group since FB secret groups are closed to everyone but members. I asked him about that and he didn’t reply. So I figured I had only one way to get to the bottom of this – this blog posting.

    So let me see if I can get this straight. Are you four all members of the Muskogee Atheist Community secret FB group?

    ETA: I see Daniel provided a link to his blog and is not an atheist. Since all four comments came in roughly at the same time, my mistake for lumping them together. So I think it is the other three that are supposed to be members of the MAC.

  9. No, I am a Catholic. My point is just that Mehta’s testimony counts as some evidence. It is ironic that he should think his personal testimony should carry any weight though. Still, if he isn’t going to just lurk, perhaps he could provide evidence like a screen shot.

  10. Michael says:

    Still, if he isn’t going to just lurk, perhaps he could provide evidence like a screen shot.

    Yes. If he was willing to dialog, that’s what I was going to suggest. Since you have to be a member of a secret FB group in order to see it, and Mehta claimed he has seen it, that leaves only two options that I can think of: a) Mehta is a member or b) a member sent him a screen shot. And if MAC did indeed exist prior to Aug 22, there is no reason to keep it secret anymore since Matt has trumpeted their existence to the world.

  11. Kevin says:

    So the Muskogee Atheist Community is concerned about their reputation in their community, and they decide the best course of action is to take a reasonable declining of a public donation to the Unfriendly Atheist, a known anti-religious agitator, and get atheists from all over the country to smear and slander the charity until they have to shut down their public Internet presence? This helps your image?

    You guys need a new PR guy.

  12. TFBW says:

    @Michael:

    A twitter page? When did you set that up?

    Go to https://twitter.com/MuskogeeAC and observe the “Joined August 2016” under the name and logo on the left. Hover over this, and see what date and time it shows. I get “3:02 PM – 24 Aug 2016”, but I don’t know what time zone that’s expressed in. Note also that all the tweets on the account are dated 24 Aug, with one being a retweet of someone else’s 23 Aug tweet. This account was set up after the gofundme commenced, and is not evidence for the prior existence of “Muskogee Atheist Community”, any more than the place-holder web site, which has a similar history. The history of the secret FB group is unverifiable by outsiders.

    Publicly-available evidence so far suggests that “Muskogee Atheist Community” did not exist in any public form on or prior to 21-Aug-2016. It is reasonable to suppose that the name was invented specifically for the purpose of making Murrow publicly “honor” it, given the timeline and the hasty post-fact creation of artefacts which would normally be created well in advance.

  13. TFBW says:

    Let me take off the kid gloves for a moment. If someone were to have asked me about the gofundme campaign at the time (22 Aug), I would have concluded that “Muskogee Atheist Community” does not exist, and the fund-raiser is a hoax. I still consider it to be a hoax, although I suspect that the primary intent of the hoax is to cause grief for a Christian charity, not obtain financial gain. The post-fact establishment of an actual Muskogee Atheist Community does not make this any less of a hoax — it only serves to highlight the fact that the thing did not really exist at the time of its fund-raiser.

    Shame on the hoaxers, and shame on Mehta for being a willing or unwitting participant in it.

  14. Kevin says:

    Very well done, TFBW. Open and shut case, far as I’m concerned, unless they can demonstrate the FB page existed prior to August 2016.

  15. SteveK says:

    Here’s a 2015 article referencing the MAC.

    http://actok.org/events/sand-springs-tornado-damage-clean-up/

  16. TFBW says:

    @SteveK:
    You did well to find that. Even if I tell Google to restrict pages to dates before August, I get nothing but results relating to this incident, so the “filter by date” feature has limited utility. Unfortunately, that page isn’t available in the Internet Archive, so I can’t independently validate the date and contents. Can anyone find anything else? I’m prepared to withdraw my claim of “hoax” if we can find independently verifiable evidence that the name was in use for public activity prior to the gofundme.

  17. SteveK says:

    TFBW
    The link to the meetup.com page appears to be generated in a sequential manner. The numbering fits sequentially with the other events before and after. Seems legit.

  18. TFBW says:

    It seems legit, yes, but I can’t prove that the page hasn’t been edited to add the name recently. I’d normally give them the benefit of the doubt, but they’ve been producing things like the Twitter account and website as evidence, and these were manufactured after the event in question, so I have to apply a reasonable amount of suspicion here.

  19. Gary says:

    I’m a member. Raised in Muskogee and live in Tulsa now. I have a fire equipment business, donate to charities, although I didn’t donate to the Murrow home. We exist. We assure our members anonymity, in case they want to stay in the closet with their beliefs. I could care less who knows my beliefs. I don’t tell some of my family members how I feel, for a couple reasons, but if or when they hear, I won’t deny that I don’t believe their bible stories to be fictional tales.

  20. Gary says:

    I can also email or text you a picture or screenshots of some of my posts in our closed Facebook group that I made in July, but I don’t think you really care about evidence that we actually exist.

  21. Billy Squibs says:

    You can visit a page and in the URL bar type javascript:alert(document.lastModified). Chrome automatically strips out the “javascript:” part so you have to use the developer tools (F12 and then click on the console tab and copy and past the above and press return). Alternatively, you can simply paste the above into Firefox and manually add “javascript:” as this also gets stripped. Unlike Chrome it won’t keep stripping it.

    It’s not much help though as in the case of the actok.org site it will always report the time on your local system. By comparison, the Shadow to light has the same behavior as actok.org, whereas my own site displays the last time the file was modified.

    My own take is that the evidence suggests that the Muskogee Atheist Community existed prior to all of this unfortunate business but perhaps it only had a few members. If we apply the principle of charity here then we should conclude that the initial donation was offered with honorable intent – albeit there may have been some intent to push the boundaries. However, what has happened since then seems like a rather blatant attempt to manufacture controversy in order to push a narrative of persecution. I get that in the US atheists are a terribly mistrusted minority but this story doesn’t help anyone. As a strong voice in the atheist community, the self-styled ‘Friendly Atheist’ should not be promoting this transparent nonsense. Everyone loses here, including the kids. IMO, it’s this that you should be concentrating on, not when a domain was first registered.

  22. Michael says:

    I can also email or text you a picture or screenshots of some of my posts in our closed Facebook group that I made in July, but I don’t think you really care about evidence that we actually exist.

    No need. I see that SteveK has uncovered some evidence. Not sure why you think I don’t “really care about evidence.” I do. You need to consider things from our perspective – prior to SteveK’s discovery, there was no evidence of your existence. And if I had not posted this blog entry, that’s how things would stand.

    So now that I know y’all do exist and have your attention, the big question for me is – why it was so important that your group be honored/recognized for a $100 donation?

  23. Michael says:

    Here’s a 2015 article referencing the MAC.

    http://actok.org/events/sand-springs-tornado-damage-clean-up/

    Nice job! That’s the type of thing I was looking for.

  24. Michael says:

    My own take is that the evidence suggests that the Muskogee Atheist Community existed prior to all of this unfortunate business but perhaps it only had a few members. If we apply the principle of charity here then we should conclude that the initial donation was offered with honorable intent – albeit there may have been some intent to push the boundaries.

    Agreed. Seems like a social-skill blindpsot to me. I would have viewed donating “in memory of..” to be for people whose loved one’s recently passed away and not some FB group that I was part of.


    However, what has happened since then seems like a rather blatant attempt to manufacture controversy in order to push a narrative of persecution.

    Agreed. They were playing this actvist game that appeared to be a win-win. Either the charity digs in its heels to fuel the “they won’t take our atheist money” narrative or the charity gives in for more money to fuel the “everyone has their price” narrative (as Matt Wilbourn made clear). But they didn’t foresee a problem. Will MAC distance itself from the internet atheist behavior when it came to assaulting the charity’s FB page and forcing them to close it, especially since this hostility was based on misinformation – the notion the charity would not take the money simply because they were atheists?

    I get that in the US atheists are a terribly mistrusted minority but this story doesn’t help anyone.

    The USA is a big place. It depends on where you live.

    As a strong voice in the atheist community, the self-styled ‘Friendly Atheist’ should not be promoting this transparent nonsense.

    But he is on record of encouraging atheist journalists to write stories that put religion in a bad light. It’s all part of the agenda.

    Everyone loses here, including the kids. IMO, it’s this that you should be concentrating on, not when a domain was first registered.

    I haven’t had any real time to concentrate on anything the last few days. But I’ll see if I can put something together for tomorrow.

  25. Kevin says:

    We have members of the MAC showing up here. Are any of you going to acknowledge the despicable behavior from your fellow atheists as a result of your actions that has led to the charity being forced to shut down its page? That the charity was innocent and did nothing wrong in not wanting to honor a guy who openly hates their beliefs?

    Or are you going to claim that you are the victims here and nothing that atheists have done was out of line?

  26. Gary says:

    Donating 100.00 to charity for our group is despicable? When did wanting to help kids become despicable? You assume that we hate their beliefs? Wrong again! Do we think their beliefs are stupid? Probably, but we don’t hate that little kids believe in Santa either. The money raised still went to charity, so it’s all good in my book. Am I sorry their Facebook page was shutdown? Not really. If they would’ve put the kids best interest before their own stubbornness, we wouldn’t even be talking.

  27. Gary says:

    And I’m not saying I would have done it just like Matt, because I wouldn’t have donated to a church run charity in the first place.

  28. TFBW says:

    Donating 100.00 to charity for our group is despicable?
    No, and nobody said it was. Attaching unacceptable strings and demanding that it be accepted, on the other hand …
    When did wanting to help kids become despicable?
    Never, and nobody said it did. And if those were your actual motives, you would have acted differently.
    You assume that we hate their beliefs?
    Nobody said that, but boy, if you don’t, then we’d hate to see what you would have done if you did.
    If they would’ve put the kids best interest before their own stubbornness, we wouldn’t even be talking.
    Similarly, if you had put the kids best interest before your own stubbornness, we wouldn’t even be talking. Who escalated this into an Internet riot and media circus? For pity’s sake, get off your damned self-righteous high-horse and take a good hard look at yourselves. Can you not see that you are mired in hypocrisy here? Are you so very blind?

  29. Billy Squibs says:

    Donating 100.00 to charity for our group is despicable? When did wanting to help kids become despicable? You assume that we hate their beliefs? Wrong again! Do we think their beliefs are stupid? Probably, but we don’t hate that little kids believe in Santa either.

    Garry, in the interest of accountability, can you provide us with any evidence that suggests anyone here has said anything that justifies your answers?

    I think I’ve read through all the posts and comments on this blog that related to the story and I can’t recall anything that anyone has said that could be interpreted as them asking –

    a) Donating 100.00 to charity for our group is despicable?
    b) When did wanting to help kids become despicable?
    c) You assume that we hate their beliefs?

    I will grant that c) is very likely true. I personally assume as much. But I think that is so fundamental to anti-theism that it’s a tautology. Yet itt seems to me that you are arguing against arguments of your own invention.

    As I see it there are 3 possibilities to the origin of your questions –

    1) I’ve missed comments on this blog and you are completely justified in answering such silly claims (specifically questions a & b)
    2) You have some fundamental misunderstandings about what we are saying (perhaps this is because your reading comprehension on this matter is poor or you just couldn’t be bothered to understand what was being said)
    3) You are knowingly beating up on strawman. If this is the case then perhaps this is because you are aware of a fundamental weakness in the defense that the MAC can offer.

    I think that if the shoe was on the other foot my overriding reaction would be one of red-faced embarrassment. Like when I hear a Christians say something really crass or insensitive or just plain old dumb and I think to myself, “Oh please shut up. You aren’t helping”.

    And, yeah, what TFBW said.

  30. Michael says:

    Gary:
    Donating 100.00 to charity for our group is despicable? When did wanting to help kids become despicable?

    Why are you pretending that someone here made those claims?

    You assume that we hate their beliefs? Wrong again!

    So you say. Your groups commentary on religion is hidden from the world, so there is conveniently no way to confirm or deny your assertion.

    Am I sorry their Facebook page was shutdown? Not really.

    I’m not surprised. Did it make y’all feel good to have your Two Minutes Hate for the day?

    If they would’ve put the kids best interest before their own stubbornness, we wouldn’t even be talking.

    The sword cuts both ways. If your group would have put the kids best interest before your demands to be remembered and honored, we wouldn’t even be talking.

    Which gets back to my question that you did not answer: Why it was so important that your group be honored/recognized for a $100 donation?

    On one hand, you hide the very existence of your group from the world, but with the other hand, you set up a GoFundMe page to force the charity to honor your existence.

  31. Kevin says:

    Gary was “responding” to me. Rather than address the actual despicable behavior I was referencing – the hatred stirred up by the Unfriendly Atheist, Matt Wilbourn, and possibly the MAC as a group, against the charity – he tries to make it about the simple act of donating to a children’s charity. No one here is dumb enough to fall for that.

    However, he did briefly mention the hatred I was talking about – he doesn’t really care. Really compassionate member of a really compassionate group.

    Do I assume that all of you hate their beliefs? It’s possible, but I have no direct evidence of it – oh, except for Matt Wilbourn’s FB page saying as a disclaimer that if you don’t want to see a bunch of anti-religious material, then don’t friend him. Matt’s just a really swell guy who wanted to help the children by donating to this charity…and then demanding they honor an atheist group…and then contacting professional anti-religious agitator Hemant Mehta…and then sitting back laughing as atheists all over the place attack the charity online. And the equally compassionate members of his group of course opposed these actions…well not really.

    You may not hate their beliefs, but you couldn’t care less about that charity and the kids it helps.

    But you were honest, Gary – you said you would not have donated to a church-run charity in the first place. I have a friend who will not donate to the Salvation Army for the exact same reason. I don’t know anyone who donates money to groups they are ideologically at odds with, and have never heard of anyone doing so – except for some sort of gain for themselves. So Matt, a known anti-religious guy, donates to this charity…why? Demands they honor an atheist group…why? Immediately goes to anti-religious agitator Mehta…why?

    Why did he donate to this one and stir up all this crap against them, rather than simply donate to Camp Quest like he wound up doing, if his only thoughts were “for the children”?

  32. Doug says:

    Just another atheist pretending to demonstrate that he can be “good without God.”
    Just another atheist actually demonstrating something else entirely.

  33. Kevin says:

    He COULD have been good. Donate anonymously. Don’t stir up hatred against the charity, or at the very least speak out when the hatred begins flowing. Don’t make a spectacle by raising the amount in order to figure out their “price”.

    If the MAC is worried about its image, the first thing they should do is condemn Matt Wilbourn, Hemant Mehta, and all the hateful atheists who attacked the charity which did nothing wrong.

  34. Bob in Maryland says:

    “I don’t know anyone who donates money to groups they are ideologically at odds with, and have never heard of anyone doing so – except for some sort of gain for themselves.”

    Hmm… A little over two years ago, I gave a 10,000 dollar donation to the Salvation Army. As a Catholic, I regard all Protestant Christian entities as, at the least schismatic, and at the worst heretical.

    Yet I made the donation nevertheless, because I believed in the help it would provide people. There was no “gain” for myself in this transaction.

  35. Kevin says:

    You are the first I’ve heard of, but I suppose it must be more common than I realized. However, did you attempt to make sure they advertised your donation was from a Catholic, or did you just donate because you wanted to donate?

  36. FZM says:

    However, did you attempt to make sure they advertised your donation was from a Catholic, or did you just donate because you wanted to donate?

    Yes, I think something equivalent would be Bob giving a donation on the condition that it was described as ‘In honour of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and its ongoing vigilance against heresy and schism’ or something like that.

    This is because the founder of the guy giving the donation seems to be actively anti-religious, not just an individual who lacks belief in God and has no particular opinion about theistic religion and belief.

  37. Gary says:

    Matt did try to route the money anonymously, and he tried to route the money through a pastor. I am still glad he did what he did. He raised over 25000 for children in need. Isn’t that what really matters? He donated most of it to Camp Quest or something like that. Some of these comments are so stupid on here. You don’t like what Matt did, so you attack my reading comprehension level? Lol…you attack my ability as a human to do good without an imaginary god? Lol….you accuse Matt of demanding they put our groups name on the donation, but the donation asked what group you’d like to honor with your donation, and MAC is his group, and then when he tried to donate it anonymously, they refused. Get off your high horses, and let’s do good for the kids, and leave it alone.

  38. Billy Squibs says:

    That you for replying Gary.

    This is a general question to anyone in the know: Am I correct in thinking that in US Camp Quest does not have a charitable status? I can’t find anything that would indicate otherwise.

    Garry, I find it odd that you don’t seem to have a good grasp on who actually received the donations. Hence your line, “Camp Quest or something like that”. I wonder if you know the first thing about the charity, Murrow Indian Children’s Home. You can see from the link that, on the face of it, they help to protect and nurture disadvantaged children who have suffered abuse or neglect. While I don’t begrudge Camp Quest the donation, I wish that they had received it under kinder circumstances and not at a cost to this charity. So, yeah, let’s do good for the kids.

    Now to the meat of your response. Let’s be clear about one thing – we don’t like what Matt did because we think there is very good evidence that he manufactured an issue in order to get publicity.

    I suggest that you displayed poor reading comprehension when you took it upon yourself to answer questions that no one here had asked. I presented your poor reading comprehension skills as one option to explain this weird behaviour of yours. And now again you have displayed the same inability to accurately articulate the reasons why people here have taken such umbrage with the behaviour of MAC, Metha and the various bandwagon hangers-on. You may not agree with our assessment but please do us the courtesy to actually 1) understand what our complaint is and 2) address it.

    Also, please point me in the direction of the person here who claimed,”you can’t do good without God” and I’ll smack them down for you.

  39. Doug says:

    @Billy,
    I’m guessing Gary was taking my:

    Just another atheist pretending to demonstrate that he can be “good without God.”
    Just another atheist actually demonstrating something else entirely.

    personally.
    Funny: I had Wilbourn in mind when I wrote it, and not Gary at all!

  40. Kevin says:

    “Matt did try to route the money anonymously, and he tried to route the money through a pastor.”

    Before or after creating the controversy?

    “He raised over 25000 for children in need. Isn’t that what really matters?”

    The end justifies the means, eh? Who cares that a charity that did nothing wrong that I’m aware of got tarred and feathered by friendly atheists, so long as Matt came out a hero to his own, right?

    “Get off your high horses, and let’s do good for the kids, and leave it alone.”

    The first thing MAC can do for the kids is condemn the hatred stirred up against the charity by Wilbourn, Mehta, and all the atheist bigots who dog piled them for not wanting to accept donations fron someone who opposes their beliefs. Once you repair the damage to the charity your companion has caused, then we can discuss “getting off our high horses”.

    I look forward to hearing how you are making amends for Mehta and Wilbourn’s actions, in the name of the kids.

  41. Billy Squibs says:

    Yes, I see that now. OK, Matt Willbourn aside, some of the most generous and tender-hearted individuals I’ve met are have oscillated between non-belief and a nebulous sense of the divine. And because of this experience, any claim that non-Christians can’t do good seem so obviously false. Now if you are talking in a broader theological sense – specifically about the doctrine of total depravity – then this becomes trickier and I don’t think this is the place to have such a discussion (nor am I the man). I will say though that such an accusation seems like a sure-fire way of shutting a conversation down.

    WRT Matt Willbourn, I have stated previously that I think it’s right to take the charitable view that he mostly had good intent with his initial donation. (It also seems obvious that there was a bit of boundary pushing going on as well.) But then all those good intentions went out the window.

  42. pennywit says:

    Camp Quest is a 501(c)(3), according to its website.

  43. TFBW says:

    Meaning it’s a tax-exempt non-profit, but not necessarily a charity as such, just as not all religious organisations which have 501(c)(3) status are charities. I’d take a guess that Camp Quest claims its status as a provider of education, not charity.

  44. TFBW says:

    @Billy Squibs:

    And because of this experience, any claim that non-Christians can’t do good seem so obviously false.

    Has anyone actually made that claim? I’m not seeing it here. I see Gary responding as though someone had claimed that, with his herp-derp, “Lol…you attack my ability as a human to do good without an imaginary god?” remark, complete with obligatory herp-derp lower-case “g” god. I see Doug mention it in quote marks, in reference to the oft-repeated (by New Atheists) claim that atheists can be good without “god”. The people making the counter-claim that atheists can’t be good without “god” seem to be entirely missing, however. It’s just ironic that the folks who chant “good without god” are also the ones actively griefing a children’s charity and claiming the high moral ground for it.

  45. Doug says:

    @Billy,
    As the Famous one says, it was simply a reference to the common atheist confusion.

  46. Gary says:

    I think we are all half ass reading each other’s posts, because everything I’ve posted was in response to someone else’s post, so if someone said I pretend to do good without god, I responded to it. Please go back and read all the posts before you accuse me of making stuff up. I’m still a member of MAC, but I live in Tulsa now, so I don’t talk with Matt or the others from the group, besides a friendly Facebook post in our closed group, so I don’t know much or anything about the group he donated to, but I do know Matt, and if he donated, he did it out of the kindness of his heart. He’s worked the local soup kitchen for the homeless, and has done many charitable acts since I’ve known him, all without demanding any recognition. So, you keep thinking we are all douchebags, while we do charitable work, and you can give your extra money to Joel Olstein to help with his addon at his 10 million dollar mansion. Matt did a wonderful thing for the kids, and Murrow home was stupid for not taking the money. The kids deserved that money. Since it was run by Baptists, did they turn down Buddhist money, adulterers money, Catholic money, or just non believer money?

  47. TFBW says:

    @Gary:

    … you keep thinking we are all douchebags, while we do charitable work …

    It’s not your charitable work that has us thinking you’re douchebags. It’s the part where you all griefed a children’s charity for declining a strings-attached donation, and backed each other up for doing it. Griefing a charity is a douchebag thing to do, or do you disagree with that? You seem to be taking the line that they deserved the griefing. Am I wrong?

  48. Gary says:

    No, you are right. I think they are douchebags for not taking the money, and there were no strings attached. You are making that up yourself. He offered it anonymously, if your reading comprehension allows you to know what that means.

  49. Gary says:

    He offered it through a pastor, for god’s sake. He went a lot further than I would have.

  50. Michael says:

    Matt did try to route the money anonymously, and he tried to route the money through a pastor.

    This is not true. Matt wanted the money to be donated in the memory of your secret FB group. Later, after all the internet attention, and it became clear his “everyone has a price” approach to life was not working, he publicly announced he was going to anonymously donate a very specific amount – $5,106.47. Every aspect of this donation, from start to finish, was supposed to be very public. I don’t think you know what “anonymously” means.

    I wish you would explain why it was so important for your secret group to be honored by the donation. Was it a publicity stunt? That would explain why your oh-so-private group decided to piggyback on the exposure and register a domain for a shiny new web page on Aug 24, the same day y’all decided your group suddenly needed a twitter account.

    .you accuse Matt of demanding they put our groups name on the donation, but the donation asked what group you’d like to honor with your donation, and MAC is his group,

    His group is a secret little FB group and he wanted the donation to be made in its memory. When he learned that this made the charity uncomfortable, he dug in his heels, insisting the money be tied to publicly recognizing his hidden group. One the one hand, your group hid from the world, yet on the other hand, your group demanded recognition from an orphanage.

    and then when he tried to donate it anonymously, they refused.

    He never tried to donate it anonymously. Preening on the stage, while using a bullhorn to shout you are going to anonymously donate $5,106.47 is not an anonymous donation.

    I’m still a member of MAC, but I live in Tulsa now,

    So you don’t have to live in Muskogee to be part of the Muskogee Atheist Community.

    so I don’t know much or anything about the group he donated to

    Huh? According to Mehta, Matt and his wife spoke to you on Monday about all this. We’re you not paying attention?

    but I do know Matt, and if he donated, he did it out of the kindness of his heart.

    What are you talking about? “If he donated”? He donated your group’s money. How does your group manage its money? Is there one member you are all supposed to donate to?

    He’s worked the local soup kitchen for the homeless, and has done many charitable acts since I’ve known him, all without demanding any recognition.

    That’s irrelevant. He demand recognition this time around.

    Matt did a wonderful thing for the kids, and Murrow home was stupid for not taking the money.

    If Matt truly cared about the kids, he would not have made the donation contingent upon his secret FB group being praised. Why was it so important that your secret FB be praised for its donation?

    Since it was run by Baptists, did they turn down Buddhist money, adulterers money, Catholic money, or just non believer money?

    Actually, they have accepted donations from Cherokee Nation several times before, so your talking point is nonsense. You don’t seem to get it – you wanted your secret FB group to be recognized and remembered for its $100 donation.

  51. Kevin says:

    And Gary, even if all other details aren’t clear – he took it to Mehta, who is guaranteed to engineer a colossal atheist freakout over any perceived wrongdoing by a Christian, no matter how minor. All the hatred from atheists that has been slung against this charity, and likely harmed it financially, is the proud and intentional work of Matt Wilbourn and Hemant Mehta. All because a charity did not want to honor an ideologically opposed group, with an anti-theist being the actual donor.

    The atheist community is not looking good in this situation. I wonder if there are any reasonable atheists defending the charity?

  52. Michael says:

    And Gary, even if all other details aren’t clear – he took it to Mehta, who is guaranteed to engineer a colossal atheist freakout over any perceived wrongdoing by a Christian, no matter how minor.

    That’s a very good point. He took it to Mehta. Mr. Kindness of His Heart couldn’t wait to get his story shouted about by a popular anti-religious blog.

    Consider just how quickly this happened. Sometime on Monday, the donation was made and rejected. According to the initial news report, Matt began setting up his GoFundMe page that very night. Afterwards, he contacted the local news station. They posted about it Tuesday around 7PM and at that time, the fund had only about $400. Matt must have contacted them very early Tues, because the TV station reporter had time to interview Matt, go to the orphanage, and then file the report. A few hours later (when it was at $625), Mehta posts about it with details not in the news story. Clearly, Matt took it to Mehta within about 24 hours of it happening. At that point, the “they won’t take our money because we are atheists” narrative flooded the atheist cyberspace. The next day, Matt registered a domain for a webpage for his group and set up a twitter account.

  53. Dhay says:

    pennywit > Camp Quest is a 501(c)(3), according to its website.

    So it is, but what about Camp Quest Oklahoma? I did a search (site:campquestoklahoma.org/ charity) to see if Camp Quest Oklahoma is a charity, but drew a blank — actually, it pulled up a Partners page which tells us that one of the partners, Foundation Beyond Belief, is a charity — but not that Camp Quest Oklahoma itself is a charity. The [Donate] button goes straight to PayPal.

    I understand that in the USA a donor can claim back tax on donations (in the UK the recipient charity claims and reaps the tax benefit), so it is a wonder to me that a charity should hide or obscure any charitable status it does have — an inducement to donate, or to donate a larger amount, surely.

    So why might Camp Quest Oklahoma not declare itself a 501(c)(3) charity if it indeed is one?

  54. Dhay says:

    SteveK > Here’s a 2015 article referencing the MAC.

    Thank you SteveK for the first bit of substantive (or is it) evidence of anything that anyone could call, or has called, the “Muskogee Atheist Community”.

    SteveK’s reference is to an Atheist Community of Tulsa Events webpage. For the record, I did a Google “site:” search of that linked ACT website for any further reference to “Muskogee”, and found only Muskogee High School Gymnasium, ie the venue to practice ACT dodgeball skills. Other than SteveK’s one link, there’s total silence.

    SteveK’s reference to the Atheist Community of Tulsa site, which affords me the opportunity to draw out a modicum of information about the Muskogee community by comparing and contrasting.

    * The Tulsa community has been going since 2003; it has a well-developed and extensive website. It is intentionally highly visible in the general community, doing much community work under its “Good without God” project. If I were still an atheist, group-minded, and lived in the Bible Belt, that’s probably the sort of group I might want to be part of.

    It doesn’t say how many members it has, but it had a 2015 budget of $2,900 and membership dues of $20, implying (if there are no other sources of income) a fairly sizeable membership, of up to 145.

    * The Muskogee community hides itself very, very thoroughly from the general community (or used to). It has now created both an inactive stub of an “under development” website and a barely-active twitter account, but only after the “donation”; bearing in mind the “hundreds” trolling the Home’s FaceBook page, the near-absence of activity on the MAC twitter account amounts to deafening silence.

    How big might the Muskogee community be? Well, we know that the GoFundMe money was being held in Keli Wilbourn’s personal bank account, so plainly there’s no MAC bank account; therefore there’s no treasurer (or committee, so everything has to be settled by informal consensus, so MAC must total very few people indeed); likewise, there’s no membership dues to bank, so no formal membership, no officers, no constitution; if there’s no formal membership, can there be said to be a formal Muskogee Atheist Community.

    The reference on the ACT website to “teaming up with MAC (Muskogee Atheist Community)” is a bit of fluff as evidence: what else would the writer call atheists from Muskogee who are (bar Gary?) not members of ACT. “Who are you guys?” “Oh, we’re the Muskogee Atheist Community.”

    Gary refers to posting, as recently as July, “in our closed Facebook group” – referred to in two separate responses as “closed”, not “secret”, I note, raising the question of whether Gary was posting to Matt Wilbourn’s closed FaceBook page. If you ever do want to send those screenshots, Gary, the [E-Mail Shadow to Light] link is in the Blogroll, up top, goes to Michael.

    My suspicion is that the MAC FaceBook page is actually and only Matt Wilbourn’s – why have two? – and that the MAC is simply the people who post there, and occasionally meet up socially or to clean up, under the hegemonic leadership of Matt Wilbourn. There’s no evidence for anything more substantial, whereas there is evidence of something too insubstantial to call a community or a formal group.

    I meet up with a small group of like-minded people on a Tuesday evening at my home to chat in a particular language, helps us learn it. We attend other like-minded groups at different venues, and recently went on a walk and pub lunch, likewise occasional sing-songs and cultural events, with the larger learner community of my area of the County. Does any of this justify me claiming to be in the [Town] [Language] capital-C Community. I’d say that’s really pushing the limits.

  55. Gary says:

    We have over 150 members.

  56. Gary says:

    We are 195 strong, and it’s a secret group not a closed group. I’ve only been in the group for about a year, but it’s a pretty big group with regular meetings. No dues, or anything like that yet. Really great group of people. Anyways, y’all have a good day.

  57. Michael says:

    Gary: We are 195 strong, and it’s a secret group not a closed group. I’ve only been in the group for about a year, but it’s a pretty big group with regular meetings. No dues, or anything like that yet.

    Wow. So it’s the Mighty Muskogee Atheist Community. Let me guess. And the 195 strong hold their meetings at the Invisible Hall of Atheism. For y’see, there is no evidence of such regular meetings with so many people. And how is it y’all have funds if no dues are collected?

  58. Doug says:

    @Michael,
    Suppose the secret FB group had 195 members, but the regular meet-ups are typically a dozen or so. That would be congruent with Gary’s claim. And not at all far-fetched. This way, Mehta can in fact be a “member” (explaining how he has seen the secret group), while never actually attending any meetings (or even visiting Muskogee, for that matter).

  59. Michael says:

    @Michael,
    Suppose the secret FB group had 195 members, but the regular meet-ups are typically a dozen or so. That would be congruent with Gary’s claim. And not at all far-fetched. This way, Mehta can in fact be a “member” (explaining how he has seen the secret group), while never actually attending any meetings (or even visiting Muskogee, for that matter).

    Indeed. And the dozen or so members who meet in Muskogee are the ones who actually live in Muskogee. After all, it’s been two weeks since MAC set up its twitter account and it still has only 17 followers.

    And it Mehta is/was a member, he should have mentioned that in his multiple postings on this issue.

  60. Gary says:

    @Michael
    I could care less what you believe about our group. I’m finished answering your questions. Muskogee has a great atheist group, and the group is fairly new, but growing fast. It is my desire to see a world that is through with lies, fear tactics, and brainwashing of children to believe in a hoax. Like I said, I wouldn’t have donated a red dime to the Murrow home. I look forward to the day this hoax called Christianity is dead, and the same for the other religions. If you haven’t noticed, our nation is headed that way. Christianity is a dying religion, and I for one will be happy to see it go. It’s not that we are “anti theists”, it’s just that it’s plain silly to believe and pray to an adult Santa Clause, and I for one, don’t approve of any group telling kids that there is a Santa in the sky, and that if you don’t worship him, he’ll burn you forever when you die. To me, that’s called child abuse, and is why I’d never support a Christian children’s home. There’s other ways to support children that need it. Lying to them is not helping them. You can deny we exist, but although our group is only 195, I assure you there are thousands of atheists in Muskogee. The next generation of kids aren’t buying this Christian bs. My kid studies science, and he already believes in evolution, which proves there was no Adam and Eve. They are finished with dark ages superstition, based on a book written by goat herders. Science will be here long after Christianity is gone. So keep clinging to your bible while your religion is gasping for air. It’s almost dead. Maybe not in my lifetime, but I’ll get to see it on its deathbed.

  61. Michael says:

    Gary (from Muskogee Atheist Community):

    I could care less what you believe about our group. I’m finished answering your questions. Muskogee has a great atheist group, and the group is fairly new, but growing fast. It is my desire to see a world that is through with lies, fear tactics, and brainwashing of children to believe in a hoax. Like I said, I wouldn’t have donated a red dime to the Murrow home. I look forward to the day this hoax called Christianity is dead, and the same for the other religions. If you haven’t noticed, our nation is headed that way. Christianity is a dying religion, and I for one will be happy to see it go. It’s not that we are “anti theists”, it’s just that it’s plain silly to believe and pray to an adult Santa Clause, and I for one, don’t approve of any group telling kids that there is a Santa in the sky, and that if you don’t worship him, he’ll burn you forever when you die. To me, that’s called child abuse, and is why I’d never support a Christian children’s home. There’s other ways to support children that need it. Lying to them is not helping them. You can deny we exist, but although our group is only 195, I assure you there are thousands of atheists in Muskogee. The next generation of kids aren’t buying this Christian bs. My kid studies science, and he already believes in evolution, which proves there was no Adam and Eve. They are finished with dark ages superstition, based on a book written by goat herders. Science will be here long after Christianity is gone. So keep clinging to your bible while your religion is gasping for air. It’s almost dead. Maybe not in my lifetime, but I’ll get to see it on its deathbed.

    Thar she blows! Now that’s the atheist hate we’ve all come to know. So Gary was proud of Matt for donating the group’s money to a bunch of child abusers.

  62. Kevin says:

    Typical anti-theist. Spouts off nonsense like he knows something, exhibiting a health dose of faith as defined by fellow anti-theist Peter Boghossian – pretending to know what he doesn’t know.

    If two random members of the MAC (Matt and Gary) just happen to be ignorant anti-religious bigots, and the rest of the MAC tolerates them in their group – and tolerates getting a king-size ignorant anti-religious bigot like Mehta involved – then we can safely determine what sort of people are within the MAC. Far as I’m concerned, the charity is completely innocent of all wrongdoing and I applaud them for standing up against the pathetic hatred displayed by Gary and his fellow like-minded atheists.

    The MAC members were doing well to hide their status to save their reputation, since all they are is a bunch of know-nothing bigots who think they are the Enlightened Ones. It’s pretty sad, every time the atheist community has a chance to stand up and do the right thing and demonstrate they can be good without God – well, here you go. Yet again.

  63. SteveK says:

    Matt wanted to donate money to a home run by child abusers. Nice group leader you have there, Gary.

  64. Dhay says:

    Let’s do the maths. That $100 “from MAC” works out at 51 cents each; and as there is no Treasurer and no money held in a treasurer’s bank account — the GoFundMe monies were paid into Keli Welbourn’s personal account — that 51 cents has to be collected from each member. Yeah, yeah.

    Then there’s the question of the status of Matt Wilbourn, who has said nothing — nothing that I’ve seen, anyway — to indicate that he is MAC’s Secretary, or that he holds any other position of office.

    I’m also interested in Gary’s original “We have over 150 members.” When first I stumbled upon the page displaying ‘GoFundMes near “Fort Gibson, OK”‘, early on, it reported that Matt Wilbourn had 155 (currently 353) Facebook Friends, which tallies nicely with Gary’s figure, and indicates that Matt Wilbourn’s closed Facebook page probably doubled as the allegedly “secret” MAC Facebook page.

  65. Gary says:

    You are the child abusers, liars, and bigots. I won’t even say you are a “know-nothing bigot” because I believe you know exactly what kind of hate you are spreading. You are the bigot, period. And your reading comprehension is pretty bad, as well. I’m not proud Matt donated to child abusers at all. He must’ve seen something that made him want to donate, but I wouldn’t have. I try not to give my money to Christians, at all, if I can help it. Money is power, and I don’t want people with radical right wing beliefs having power.

  66. Doug says:

    @Gary,
    Please remember to take your meds?

  67. Kevin says:

    Yes, I do tend to dislike people who attack children’s charities, and I tend to vocally spread that “hatred”. Proud of it, too.

  68. Gary says:

    Just as I hate people that try to brainwash small children.

  69. SteveK says:

    You try not to give money to Christians, and the Murrow Home returns the favor. You’re welcome.

  70. Gary says:

    I’m glad they didn’t take the money. Wish they would quit taking kids and abusing them.

  71. Kevin says:

    “Just as I hate people that try to brainwash small children.”

    Well I don’t hate people that literally have no idea what they are talking about, such as yourself, but your own hatred against people who believe things you don’t is a definite sign of bigotry, and maybe you should do a little self-reflection on that.

  72. Gary says:

    And all of your comments aren’t bigotry? You should read all of your own comments and shine the light of introspection back at yourself.

  73. Gary says:

    And I don’t hate people who believe in Sky Santa, I just hate the ones that forcibly brainwash people or kids into believing that crap. It’s abuse, when it’s done to children.

  74. Gary says:

    You tell kids they are worthless without sky daddy, and they will burn forever, knowing good and well we all take the same dirt nap when this is over.

  75. Kevin says:

    No, my comments are not bigotry. Bigotry is intolerance against those who are different or hold different views. The difference between you and me is that you lash out against the charity and Christians because they believe things you don’t. I lash out against you and your fellow anti-theists because of your actions motivated by your hatred. It’s not what you believe, it’s what you are DOING. See the difference? I think anti-theism is idiotic, but people can believe what they want up until the moment their beliefs cause harm, such as what these atheists are doing to the charity.

    Now it’s possible that you yourself did not participate in the hatred spewed against the charity that forced them to shut down some of their online presence, but you certainly have no problem with those that did. It’s disgusting behavior, and you support it because you dislike Christianity. And I speak out against what your group is doing, because of how disgusting it is.

    See the difference?

  76. Kevin says:

    And you tell kids they are no more important than a housefly. That will sure give their life meaning.

  77. Kevin says:

    “It’s abuse, when it’s done to children.”

    Let’s see the evidence that teaching Christianity to children is child abuse. Oh wait, there is none. Numerous scientific studies indicate a strong positive correlation between high religiosity and mental and physical health. Let’s see some studies that religious children aren’t as healthy or happy as non-religious children.

    Also, what’s the difference between “brainwashing” and “teaching” children? Let me guess, it’s “teaching” if Gary agrees with it, and it’s “brainwashing” if it’s Christianity. Is that about right?

    P.S. Equating God to “Sky Santa” indicates you truly have no idea what any of the arguments for God are. And I’m not talking about the arguments from Bubba Ray Smith who goes to First Baptist Church on Easter and Christmas, either.

  78. Doug says:

    big·ot
    ˈbiɡət/
    noun
    a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions.

  79. Gary says:

    Which you people obviously are.

  80. Doug says:

    @Gary,
    evidence, please?

  81. Gary says:

    By telling children they are nothing without Christ, and they will burn forever in a lake of fire without Christ, constitutes child abuse. If they don’t agree with your beliefs, they are scarred forever by the lies you told them, making them doubt their self worth as a human being. Abuse!

  82. Gary says:

    Just as I speak out against what you are doing.

  83. Gary says:

    I believe the horse fly is just as important as us. Consider the bee. Without it, we would surely have famine throughout the world. I would say the bee is just as important as us.

  84. Doug says:

    @Gary,
    You keep repeating yourself. But you have no evidence whatsoever that anyone on this thread tells children that they are nothing without Christ, or that they will burn forever in a lake of fire without Christ. But if it makes your bigotry easier for you to deal with, go ahead and keep deceiving yourself.

  85. Gary says:

    Maybe not, but I grew up in church, and that’s what I was indoctrinated with. I was mentally abused, and I consider it abuse. I haven’t seen too many Christians that don’t believe people go to hell if they don’t believe in god. Couple of Presbyterians is about all. I know Baptists, including the ones that support the Murrow home believe this. It’s not a deception to me.

  86. SteveK says:

    Gary,
    ” I haven’t seen too many Christians that don’t believe people go to hell if they don’t believe in god.”

    Whoever says this needs to have their sloppy theology corrected. If a person does not repent (turn from) from their sins and choose (turn toward) Christ the redeemer to actually redeem them – THEN they will go to hell. Mere belief in God does nothing – nothing! Satan himself believes in God and look at what that mere belief gets him.

  87. SteveK says:

    Teaching children that they need to turn from their evil doings and choose to be redeemed is not a message of abuse. It’s called parenting.

  88. Michael says:

    You are the child abusers, liars, and bigots.

    That’s your faulty opinion. Look, you are the one who is part of a 195-person group that harassed a small orphanage. I’ve never harassed any orphanage or any other charity.

    And your reading comprehension is pretty bad, as well. I’m not proud Matt donated to child abusers at all.

    According to Hemant Mehta, “Matt and his wife Keli spoke to their atheist group and it became very clear that none of the members wanted the money back. They were proud that Matt made a donation on their behalf to help those children, and they wanted the money to go toward that cause.”

    You are part of the group that was proud Matt made a donation on your behalf to help those children.

    Here, you tell us you also think the charity abuses children.

    Put it together – you were proud that Matt donated money to child abusers.

    He must’ve seen something that made him want to donate,

    Sure. As an atheist activist, he saw the opening for his 15 min of fame among the New Atheists. After all, within hours of the donation being denied, he was seeking out the press.

  89. TFBW says:

    Gary said:

    I don’t hate people who believe in Sky Santa, I just hate the ones that forcibly brainwash people or kids into believing that crap.

    “Sky Santa?” “Forcibly brainwash?” What’s your version of “forcibly brainwash?” Does it pass for normal teaching in most parts of the world? Seriously, with hyperbole like this, there’s really no point in trying to engage a conversation with you. You’re determined to take a stance of opposition, and fling around the most exaggerated and outlandish accusations possible in order to do so. You, sir, are completely and utterly unreasonable, at least when it comes to this subject.

  90. FZM says:

    TFBW,

    Does it pass for normal teaching in most parts of the world?

    I get a feeling it could include any mention of God, Christianity, probably any other religion or deity that isn’t mocking or derogatory. If children are ‘exposed’ to anything like this, it is evil and abusive.

    You, sir, are completely and utterly unreasonable, at least when it comes to this subject.

    From what I’ve seen so far, this is probably accurate.

  91. pennywit says:

    It seems to me that Gary has been exposed to extreme Christians, and he assumes all Christians are of the same extreme.

  92. Billy Squibs says:

    If nothing else Gary’s reaction is a testimony to what a rotten job some churches are doing on theological, moral and intellectual levels. And perhaps this goes some way to explaining his hostility.

    What I’ve noticed when engaging with some of those that have left Conservative Christianity behind (in particular a narrow and rigid version of Christianity) is that they remain inexorably tethered to their former beliefs. You are battling against their inability to truly move beyond their former beliefs and listen to yours which may be entirely different. For example, on multiple occasions, Gary has answered a number of claims that no one here has made. And all the time the ‘conversation’ is peppered with atheism 101 tropes. I think John Loftus is a great example of a former Conservative Christian who is in many respects locked into arguing against these beliefs. That Christianity is a broad church, even within conservative Christian circles, is a very elusive fact for such people.

    You have apparently had a bad experience, Gary and I’m sorry for this. However, given your rhetoric on this blog I can’t see that there is much profit in anyone here talking with you beyond the pleasure people derive from arguing on the internet.

  93. Doug says:

    While it may indeed be the case that Gary is unable to shake off some nastiness in the context of Conservative Christianity, I’m afraid that I’ve known too many folks of Gary’s ilk who simply want to justify their own life-choices. Their anti-Christian stance makes their choices (not even classically “sinful” choices) easier to justify — having had very little in the realm of “bad experiences”. NB: I’m not “judging”, I’m just not so quick to rationalize Gary’s irrationality.😉

  94. pennywit says:

    I think it also comes down to managing conversations with such folk. The last time somebody really tried to “witness” to me, it was an earnest young man at a zoo who had not learned that inquiring of strangers’ religious beliefs — and attempting to challenge them — is incredibly rude. That was about eight years ago. Since then, I’ve deliberately disengaged from folks when I sense they want to proselytize; it works wonders for my mental health if I respond to such people with “No, thank you,” and then walk away.

    When I was younger, I might have gone down Gary’s route (although I don’t think I ever used the phrase “magical sky Santa”), but somewhere along the lines I realized that a) I was just as obnoxious as the theists I deplored and b) I have better things to do than deal with proselytization or with religious extremists. In this country, they have the freedom to preach. I have the freedom to walk away.

    On the ‘Net, I engage occasionally if something looks interesting, but for the most part I try to relax. Can’t stand Scientology, though.

  95. Michael says:

    The way I see it, Gary is responsible for his beliefs and approach, especially if he is going to adopt the modern day atheist posture as one who so highly values reason and evidence. A committment to rational approach to living is incompatible with peddling stereotypes and adopting crackpot notions (i.e., religion = child abuse).

  96. Gary says:

    I don’t believe in a god to justify my life choices. I don’t believe in a god because the bible is just not believable, and with scientific facts like evolution, the evidence is overwhelming against a god.

  97. Gary says:

    And if I perpetuated a lie like that, I’d consider it abuse.

  98. Gary says:

    As a matter of fact, I believe most of you use religion to make you feel better about your life choices. You can sin and feel absolved when you ask for forgiveness.

  99. Gary says:

    I’ve never been hostile on here, and I’m not sure why you think I have. Just because I don’t believe like you doesn’t mean I’m hostile. I’m a business owner, and a very friendly and happy person. My life is going great and wouldn’t change a thing. I do believe as a human species we would be better off without religion. There are countries that are already almost all secular, and they are doing fine. They are not running around in chaos without sky daddy. I wasn’t raised in some crazy sect of Christians, I was raised in St Paul Methodist and the the assemblies of god churches in Muskogee. I was raised middle to upper class, graduated from Muskogee and went to college at NSU. I have no traumatic experiences with or without church. I just simply don’t believe that garbage. You don’t have to try and guess reasons why I don’t.

  100. TFBW says:

    Gary said:

    … the evidence is overwhelming against a god.

    That’s a bridge or two further than most New Atheists are willing to go. Most stop at, “there’s no evidence for god.” So, what sort of evidence are we talking about here? Scientific evidence? A philosophical argument? Presumably this argument is so strong that you can accuse anyone who thinks otherwise of wilful ignorance — because that seems to be more or less what you’re doing. Well, let’s have it then. Lots of people here profess to be rational sorts who will accept reasonable arguments, and I’m sure we’d all find it entertaining to see you attempt to clear a bar you’ve set so high. Go ahead: overwhelm us with the evidence.

  101. Michael says:

    Gary: I’ve never been hostile on here, and I’m not sure why you think I have.

    Yesterday, you wrote: “You are the child abusers, liars, and bigots. I won’t even say you are a “know-nothing bigot” because I believe you know exactly what kind of hate you are spreading. You are the bigot, period.”

    That’s hostile, especially given you have no evidence for such nasty accusations.

    I’m a business owner, and a very friendly and happy person.

    So if a potential customer comes into your store wearing a “Jesus Lives” t-shirt, do you say, “You are a child abuser, liar, and bigot.” If not, why not?

    There are countries that are already almost all secular, and they are doing fine. They are not running around in chaos without sky daddy.

    I’d say the jury is still out on that one. 😉

    I wasn’t raised in some crazy sect of Christians, I was raised in St Paul Methodist and the the assemblies of god churches in Muskogee. I was raised middle to upper class, graduated from Muskogee and went to college at NSU. I have no traumatic experiences with or without church. I just simply don’t believe that garbage.

    But yesterday, you told us: “Maybe not, but I grew up in church, and that’s what I was indoctrinated with. I was mentally abused, and I consider it abuse.”

    You keep talking out both sides of your mouth.

  102. Michael says:

    Gary: And if I perpetuated a lie like that, I’d consider it abuse.

    This is wild-eyed extremism. In Gary’s extremist mind, he disagrees with Christianity, so it must be a LIE. And raising a child in the church is considered abuse because….well, it just is.

    Gary, do you favor putting Christian parents in jail? Or do you think the government should look the other way when it comes to child abuse?

  103. Doug says:

    @Gary,
    I’ll grant that the evidence is weak for “a god”. But who believes in “a god” these days, anyway? The evidence for God, on the other hand, is quite remarkable. The universe is full of it. What’s your experience handling evidence, anyway? Done any science?

  104. Kevin says:

    “and with scientific facts like evolution, the evidence is overwhelming against a god.”

    Not even close to true.

    “And if I perpetuated a lie like that, I’d consider it abuse.”

    Do you think we believe it is false but teach it anyway? Any evidence for this?

    “As a matter of fact, I believe most of you use religion to make you feel better about your life choices.”

    Evidence?

  105. Ryan says:

    Gary: And if I perpetuated a lie like that, I’d consider it abuse.

    The word ‘lie’ implies malicious intent and knowledge of falsity. So, if Christians really believe what they say then they are not perpetuating a ‘lie’. If they don’t believe what they say then they are atheists that are using religion for personal gain. Do you believe that Christians are really atheists that are using religion for personal gain? Or do you believe Christians really believe what they say?

  106. FZM says:

    There are countries that are already almost all secular, and they are doing fine. They are not running around in chaos without sky daddy.

    Comparing countries in which the kind of anti-theistic line Gary is peddling on this thread has been adopted officially (China, Cuba etc.) and actual theocracies or governments in which religion is highly influential (Iran, Saudi Arabia etc.) it isn’t obvious that the anti-theistic countries are any better than the theocratic ones.

  107. Gary says:

    I was talking about Norway, France, and Spain, but our atheistic community in the US is 5 times larger than in 1980. It’s just a matter of time. Religion will go out kicking and screaming, but it’s going out. Christianity had a good run compared to the thousands of religions before it, but it’s almost over.

  108. FZM says:

    I was talking about Norway, France, and Spain, but our atheistic community in the US is 5 times larger than in 1980. It’s just a matter of time. Religion will go out kicking and screaming, but it’s going out. Christianity had a good run compared to the thousands of religions before it, but it’s almost over.

    I don’t know if you are just seeing what you want to see or are focused only on Western Christianity in terms of world trends but there are now more Muslims than ever before, more Muslims in Western European secular countries than ever before and the proportion of Muslims in these countries, over time, is only set to increase relative to the rest of the population. I guess something similar is true of Hindus, Sikhs, African Christians and so on as well.

    If the demographic imbalance between ever shrinking populations of Western European secular people and the rest continues, who knows what the future will be like.

  109. Gary says:

    Yes, I wasn’t talking about 3rd world countries.

  110. Isaac says:

    This thread is fascinating. You can pinpoint the exact moment when Gary couldn’t keep up the facade of “civil human being having a dialog” any longer, and just reverted to being the embodiment of every ugly atheist stereotype there is.

  111. TFBW says:

    You can also see the point where the questions got too tricky for him, and he limited his responses to the low-hanging fruit.

  112. Frankie Lee says:

    In my experience, people such as Gary are anti-Christian bigots first and atheists a distant second. It’s why they spend so much time arguing with us on the internet. People who genuinely do “simply lack belief in a god” generally have more constructive things to do with their time.

  113. FZM says:

    I was talking about Norway, France, and Spain, but our atheistic community in the US is 5 times larger than in 1980.

    It also came into my mind after I wrote my first response that in 1980 one of the two world superpowers of that era was dedicated to the propagation of a ‘scientific atheist’ world view and had had a fair amount of success in eradicating religious belief and practice within its extensive territorial borders. But 15 years later that superpower was gone and religious belief and practice was re-emerging in the ideological debris it left behind.

  114. Doug says:

    @Gary,

    There are countries that are already almost all secular, and they are doing fine. They are not running around in chaos…

    Then there (was) Albania, the first “entirely atheist” country in history under Enver Hoxha, forcibly eliminating any expression of religion in 1967. But how things change! In the 2011 census, only 2.5% of the population were atheists. Go figure.

  115. Gary says:

    I’m not talking about forced atheism like communism. The US is following in Norways footsteps, except our churches will go down kicking and screaming.

  116. FZM says:

    I’m not talking about forced atheism like communism. The US is following in Norways footsteps, except our churches will go down kicking and screaming.

    The (anti-theistic, overtly anti-religious) atheism you have been talking on this thread sounds not unlike the Communist kind to me. Albania was unusual among Communist countries in openly banning religion. Others like the USSR guaranteed ‘freedom of religion’, provided the state was allowed to engage in anti-religious propaganda, propagation of ‘scientific atheism’ via the education system and mass media, and anti-religious activists were allowed to target believers for personal re-education… pretty much what Gnus seem to wish for.

    I think one of my previous posts was about the question of whether the US was going to follow in the footsteps of more secular Western European countries like France, the UK, Sweden etc. and end up with an ever growing proportion of its population being made up of post-1950 migrants from outside of Europe and their descendants.

  117. Kevin says:

    Exactly how would things be better without Christianity, pray tell?

  118. Gary says:

    I’m sure any atheist sounds like a communist atheist to you. We are exposing as many as possible to science and facts, while you people expose as many as you can to superstition and magic. You all will lose. Their may be pockets of 3rd world countries where you will advance your theism, but in the long run, the 3rd world countries will change with education as well. Religion and education don’t mix very well, especially when our kids are ten times smarter than the sheep herders that wrote their embellished stories on scrolls 1900 years ago. When our country is a majority of atheists, which is coming very soon, then we can start to move forward as humans that care about humans, and not people that just do things for a god that is not there.

  119. Kevin says:

    “I’m sure any atheist sounds like a communist atheist to you.”

    Nope, only anti-theists such as yourself.

    “We are exposing as many as possible to science and facts, while you people expose as many as you can to superstition and magic.”

    This is laughably false on both sides. Snti-theists such as yourself couldn’t care less about science unless some specific finding can be used to attack some specific religious belief, and anti-theists such as yourself don’t care about facts at all. Attacking religion is all that matters.

    “Religion and education don’t mix very well”

    Brainwashing people into believing atheism is true and religion is evil does result in people like you, who have no issue with attacking children’s charities.

    “When our country is a majority of atheists, which is coming very soon, then we can start to move forward as humans that care about humans, and not people that just do things for a god that is not there.”

    There is literally zero evidence that atheism results in better morality, but then anti-theists such as yourself neither care about nor perceive reality. All that matters is attacking religion.

    How will society improve without Christianity? Specifics with evidence please.

  120. TFBW says:

    Meh. The world would be a better place for Gary without Christianity because he hates Christianity. Let’s not pretend that there’s any more depth to it than that. In any case, he’s not here to talk reasons; he’s here to chest-thump and smack-talk.

  121. Gary says:

    I don’t hate Christianity any more than I hate Santa. It’s just stupid. There’s not a single shred of evidence for any god, and there’s been thousands of made up gods before yours, and I’m supposed to believe your made up god is the real deal? Lol!! No, I do not hate Christians or Christianity. I hate that you are so easily brainwashed, I hate when you try to pass laws based on your belief, I hate that you try to convince people that your sky daddy is real, and I hate that there are gullible enough people out there that will believe it. You prey on the broken or weak with promises of a mansion made of gold in the sky, only if they’ll give 10% of their income here (plus some seed money) and accept sky daddy in their heart. No I don’t hate your belief, I hate that you try to propagate your belief on everyone else, I hate that you use scare tactics or false promises of a reward after death, but I don’t hate Christians and it’s hard to hate something like God, when you don’t believe in him.

  122. TFBW says:

    You’re kidding yourself if you think you can hate everything that Christianity does and stands for without hating Christianity. Talk about distinctions with no difference. You just don’t want to admit to hate. It’s okay — you don’t need to admit it. Your ranting speaks for itself.

  123. Gary says:

    I don’t hate kids that don’t believe in Santa, even though I know it’s not real. It’s the same thing. I feel sorry for them, that they were lied to, and they believed it. I feel the same for you.

  124. TFBW says:

    Rubbish. Don’t try changing your story now. You didn’t come here to express pity or sympathy to anyone. You came to gloat over your ideological enemies. We have substantial proof of this already in your comments so far. It’s far too late to make out otherwise. You’re only kidding yourself, Gary. Nobody else is buying the make-nice cover-up nonsense. Why even pretend?

  125. Gary says:

    I’m not pretending crap, and I could care less if you think otherwise.

  126. FZM says:

    I’m sure any atheist sounds like a communist atheist to you.

    Well, an atheist like you sounds like a Soviet style atheist/anti-theist to me because the opinions you have been expressing on this thread are so close to those of Soviet atheists.

  127. Gary says:

    And you are not my “ideological enemies”. Most of my family and a lot of my friends are Christian. I don’t hate them. I tell them the truth, and they accept me for who I am, and I accept them. I don’t have to accept their beliefs nor do I hate them, or you. I could care less about you and your beliefs, until you start trying to shove them down my throat, and then we have a problem.

  128. Billy Squibs says:

    I would suggest that when anyone reads a two hundred word comment that is comprised of slogans you are dealing with a closed-mind activist. One who may never have thought seriously thought about his opponent’s perspective.

    But let’s not lose sight of what sparked all of this. Gary has been unable to mount a robust defence of Matt Wilbourn’s actions and instead he has engaged in some frantic handwaving. While this could simply because Gary is not equipped to make such a defence, I think it’s more likely that there really isn’t much to defend. But I’m thinking that Gary is just too close to MAC to see anything wrong with their actions. Instead, we’ll just get more of the same slogans but each time they will be delivered with more bitterness.

    Good job on enforcing the village atheist stereotype, Gary.

  129. Gary says:

    @FZM
    BS. I’ve never tried to force anything on anyone, so Soviet Union style atheist is out. I just tell the truth, and you spread what you believe to be true even without a shred of evidence. I’m not even sure if most of you believe that crap. You’ve just been doing it so long that you will not stop.

  130. Gary says:

    @Billy
    That’s funny…closed minded atheist? Lol!! The topic of the article was “Does MAC exist?”. It wasn’t whether I believe what Matt did was right or wrong. To me, yes it was wrong. He shouldn’t have donated to a Christian group, and them turning down money from an honest, hard working, local man, because of his beliefs, well, that’s debatable, but I feel that was wrong as well. I came on here to prove that we existed before the incident. I didn’t come here to take up for Matt, even though I’m glad he raised over 25,000 for kids. Kudos to Matt!!

  131. Gary says:

    I did finally read up on Camp Quest. I’m glad the money went there instead of Murrow home. That charity aligns with our beliefs.

  132. FZM says:

    I’ve never tried to force anything on anyone, so Soviet Union style atheist is out.

    I’ve never come across a Soviet style anti-theist who believed that they were forcing anything onto anyone and who didn’t protest if anyone suggested as much. But in the USSR atheism was presented as the inevitable conclusion of receiving the best education available, what the best available science proves to be true etc. and any alternative view was presented as deluded, dangerous, immoral, held by insincere, exploitative people etc.

    So far I don’t see a shred of evidence that would give grounds to doubt what Billy Squibs wrote:

    I would suggest that when anyone reads a two hundred word comment that is comprised of slogans you are dealing with a closed-mind activist.

  133. Gary says:

    That’s your opinion, but we are headed to a Norway style of atheism. Deny it all you want, but it’s close. You all will be the minority pretty soon, and we won’t put up with discrimination based on religion, sex, sexual preference, or anything else y’all like to discriminate against.

  134. Doug says:

    @Gary,
    Do us all a favor? When your prediction (i.e., “…minority pretty soon”) doesn’t come to pass, please re-think your incredibly misinformed prejudice? Thanks. Until then — we’re all just laughing at you. Why waste your time entertaining us?

  135. Gary says:

    I’m glad I can make you laugh. I laugh inside everytime I hear someone tell me they believe in a magical man or woman in the sky. When my prediction does come to pass, maybe you’ll rethink your religious preferences using logic this time.

  136. Ryan says:

    Gary, Norway still has a state church that is funded by the government: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Norway “72.9% of Norwegians were members of the state Church of Norway as of the end of 2015” taken from the same wikipedia article. So, are you talking about a Norway in a parallel universe?

    Also, you haven’t addressed my question:

    Gary: And if I perpetuated a lie like that, I’d consider it abuse.

    The word ‘lie’ implies malicious intent and knowledge of falsity. So, if Christians really believe what they say then they are not perpetuating a ‘lie’. If they don’t believe what they say then they are atheists that are using religion for personal gain. Do you believe that Christians are really atheists that are using religion for personal gain? Or do you believe Christians really believe what they say?

  137. Doug says:

    Gary (very conveniently) confuses the “Nones” (who, surveys indicate, overwhelmingly believe in God) with his tribe. Could it be because he believes in the great, all-powerful Nothing?

  138. Gary says:

    Lol!! Yes, that’s it, I worship the all powerful nothing….good day gentlemen.

  139. Kevin says:

    Never mind Gary’s predictable caricatures of religious ideas that only 14 year olds and New Atheists think are clever, when all they accomplish is making themselves look ridiculous and uninformed. We know he hates religion and supports the attacking of children’s charities, as do the MAC and the New Atheist community at large.

    Notice what Gary says here:

    “I just tell the truth, and you spread what you believe to be true even without a shred of evidence. I’m not even sure if most of you believe that crap. You’ve just been doing it so long that you will not stop.”

    Notice how we believe we know the truth, but Gary KNOWS that he knows the truth. Gary is a 7 on the Richard Dawkins belief scale. He has Certainty. I’ve seen this Certainty before from New Atheists when I ask them how my life would improve going from believing in God to being an atheist – apparently one of the perks is “seeing reality as it is”. So being a New Atheist involves Super Insight which leads to Certainty That Cannot Be Wrong.

    No wonder New Atheists come across as being smug. They know the Truth.

  140. Michael says:

    Gary: I came on here to prove that we existed before the incident.

    But you never did. We’ve simply chosen to accept your word on faith. After all, any anonymous guy could post here claiming a secret atheist group exists. And of course you don’t want to answer any questions about your secretive group.

  141. Gary says:

    And, Doug, you don’t have to talk to me in the 3rd person like I’m not here. Unlike god, I exist.

  142. Kevin says:

    Which is also why he suspects we are actually atheists. His Certainty of the truth means he can’t fathom people reasonably disagreeing with him.

  143. Gary says:

    Kevin, I’m right here. I exist. You don’t have to talk to me in the 3rd person either, unless you just are purposely ignoring me and talking amongst yourselves. I said I speak the truth. Truth, as I see it, has evidence of being real. Show me evidence of a god, and I’ll believe. You can’t, and I know you can’t, so when I say I speak the truth, I do. I could say….there is a magical penguin named Eric that eats gods, therefore your god no longer exists because of Eric. Now, you can try to prove Eric doesn’t exist, and if you do prove it, the same theory must apply to your god. If you can’t prove Eric doesn’t exist, then your god is gone. Either way, your god does not exist.

  144. Gary says:

    I feel like a lab rat on here being examined as some kind of oddity, while everyone pretends I can’t hear you. Lol.

  145. Billy Squibs says:

    I actually said ‘activist’, not ‘atheist’. But mistake aside, I fail to see why you are LOLing. Can atheists not be closed minded about matters of religion? I personally think close-mindedness is a feature of fundamentalists. New Atheists fit the fundamentalist bill, especially the chest beating, slogan quoting activist types.

    One other thing to note.Your attempt to evade my charge that you have not been able to offer a solid defense of Matt Wilbourn’s actions is transparent. Instead of addressing my point you tell us that you think MACs was wrong to offer money to a Christian charity. This is no way addresses my initial statement about your inability to defend what I’ve claimed was Matt Wilbourn hair-trigger response and you know this.

    It is worth pointing out yet again that you seem to have a habit of answering questions that no one here has asked.

  146. Michael says:

    Gary: I feel like a lab rat on here being examined as some kind of oddity, while everyone pretends I can’t hear you. Lol.

    It’s probably because you stink at communicating. You don’t answer questions, go off on tangents, and accuse people of things simply on the basis of your own stereotypes. Oh, and you like to posture as if you, and you alone here, care about the “truth.” If you fail at dialog, after multiple attempts with multiple people, it’s likely because of a problem with you. So, in essence, you are turning yourself into a specimen.

  147. Billy Squibs says:

    Instead of us offering you a set of arguments for the existence of God simpliciter (bet it cosmological, moral or whatever) or a more specific set of arguments for the God of the Bible (arguing for the reliability of Biblical texts etc) that we know all you won’t find convincing, can you instead list what you think are the best arguments for either a supreme being or a specific deity?

    A few words on why you think this amongst the best arguments would suffice.

  148. Gary says:

    Michael, you are very condescending. My communication skills are just fine. You sir, are no better than me, and maybe you just feel superior to me since sky daddy is on your side. I’m a high school and college graduate, and I don’t need you critiquing my communication skills. Save that for a different forum.

  149. Gary says:

    @Billy
    You want me to give you my best argument for a deity? Ummm, I don’t believe in a deity, but if I did, it would be because he or she appeared to me. I might could be convinced with a burning, talking bush, or trumpets knocking down stone walls, or my favorite…turning water into wine.

  150. Gary says:

    And, I apologize for not answering everyone’s questions. I’m on a cell phone, and I usually read the last post directed at me and respond, so I may not get to everyone, since there is 3 or 4 people analyzing me.

  151. Kevin says:

    So Gary, the only thing you would consider evidence for God is a miracle?

  152. Gary says:

    Not a miracle that could be explained by science.

  153. Kevin says:

    Wanting to make sure I’m not misunderstanding. I’m assuming you mean that something would be evidence for God if it was a miracle that science could not explain?

  154. Kevin says:

    I should have possibly changed my “would be evidence” to “could be evidence”.

  155. Gary says:

    Exactly, Kevin. It’s not that I don’t believe in the possibility of some magical, supreme being. It’s only the fact I’ve seen no proof of one that was convincing enough to me.

  156. Kevin says:

    Fair enough. Thank you for your response. Follow-up question: What’s your opinion of God of the Gaps reasoning, which is considering God as the explanation, or a possible explanation, for something that science can’t explain?

  157. Billy Squibs says:

    OK, I guess I was expecting a more formal argument. Perhaps something along the lines of the moral or a cosmological argument. However, you have gone down the gap route and people here will have more to say on this.

    But I’m curious, are you simply saying that you personally don’t see any evidence for God? Because in your earlier comments it sure seemed like you were saying something much more definitive. Somebody actually complimented you because you appeared to be in the process of making a positive case for the non-existence of God. (Incidentally, I don’t think you actually followed up on this.).

  158. Doug says:

    Gary simply does not understand evidence. There is a huge difference between evidence-per-se and perceived-evidence. For example, one could correctly say that the universe has always been full of evidence for “Newton’s law of gravity”. But it is a fact of history that nobody perceived any of it as evidence for such a law until Sir Isaac. For evidence-per-se to become perceived evidence, there needs to be the expectation of a manifestation of a causal relationship between the-thing-that-there-might-be-evidence-for and the evidence itself. When there is no such expectation, there cannot be any perception of evidence — even in the presence of mountains of evidence-per-se. When Gary claims that there is no evidence for God, he is not — cannot, with even a modicum of intellectual honesty, be! — saying that there is no evidence-per-se for God. Rather, it is simply tautological: he has no expectation of the necessary causal relationship, therefore he perceives no evidence.

  159. Gary says:

    Doug, please stop with the 3rd person. I’m right here listening to you, for Pete’s sake. I do get your point though. I consider myself more agnostic than atheist, but I also consider both of those to be in the same group. I remember when my step mother told my mom that she’d never have a child with diabetes, because she would be on her knees until that was healed. 10 years later, guess what, she has diabetes. You can’t pray away diabetes. My brother has had it since he was 8, and the preachers said that if we believed and prayed in the name of Jesus, he’d be healed. The entire church prayed for him, including my 12 year old self who still believed, and he’s still a diabetic at 43 years old. My opinion? It does not work. It’s a lie, and I’m not saying that because I hate you or what you believe. It just doesn’t work. It’s just not real.

  160. Michael says:

    Gary: Michael, you are very condescending.

    But not close to being as condescending as you. You are the one who calls us all “child abusers, liars, and bigots.”

    Or

    ” I just tell the truth, and you spread what you believe to be true even without a shred of evidence. I’m not even sure if most of you believe that crap. You’ve just been doing it so long that you will not stop.”

    The problem is that your condescension is rooted in simple-minded stereotypes and delusions.

    My communication skills are just fine.

    Wrong. A key communication skill is the ability to listen. Your stereotypes, chest-thumping, and posturing prevent that from happening.

    You sir, are no better than me, and maybe you just feel superior to me since sky daddy is on your side.

    I feel superior because I am not a member of some secretive group that blind-sides orphanages and then spreads lies about them to enrage the easily enraged atheist community to get the orphanage’s FB shut down.

    I’m a high school and college graduate,

    No evidence of this.

    and I don’t need you critiquing my communication skills. Save that for a different forum.

    LOL. It’s my blog. My questions clearly make you uncomfortable. So if my comments also make you uncomfortable, leave.

  161. Michael says:

    Doug, please stop with the 3rd person. I’m right here listening to you, for Pete’s sake. I do get your point though. I consider myself more agnostic than atheist, but I also consider both of those to be in the same group. I remember when my step mother told my mom that she’d never have a child with diabetes, because she would be on her knees until that was healed. 10 years later, guess what, she has diabetes. You can’t pray away diabetes. My brother has had it since he was 8, and the preachers said that if we believed and prayed in the name of Jesus, he’d be healed. The entire church prayed for him, including my 12 year old self who still believed, and he’s still a diabetic at 43 years old. My opinion? It does not work. It’s a lie, and I’m not saying that because I hate you or what you believe. It just doesn’t work. It’s just not real.

    That settles it. Gary’s brother has diabetes, therefore God does not exist.

  162. TFBW says:

    @Michael:

    But not close to being as condescending as you. You are the one who calls us all “child abusers, liars, and bigots.”

    Never mind that — Gary also said:

    I don’t hate kids that don’t believe in Santa, even though I know it’s not real. It’s the same thing. I feel sorry for them, that they were lied to, and they believed it. I feel the same for you.

    Contempt under a thin veil of condescending pity.

  163. Gary says:

    Haha, clearly my responses make you uncomfortable. I never called you child abusers, but I feel that indoctrination of children in fiction is, so you are assuming I’m calling you child abusers, but I never did that, so obviously you are the ones lacking in communication skills. You assume and make up reasons why I’m atheist, just like you assume and make up a god. Why don’t y’all go fuck yourselves, and I’ll see you in hell, if it’s really there! Lol!!

  164. Michael says:

    Haha, clearly my responses make you uncomfortable. I never called you child abusers, but I feel that indoctrination of children in fiction is, so you are assuming I’m calling you child abusers, but I never did that, so obviously you are the ones lacking in communication skills.

    Er…..
    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2016/09/03/still-no-evidence-the-muskogee-atheist-community-exists/#comment-14592

    You assume and make up reasons why I’m atheist,

    Hallucination

    just like you assume and make up a god.

    Talking point.

    Why don’t y’all go fuck yourselves, and I’ll see you in hell, if it’s really there! Lol!!

    Now THAT’S the spirit of the Muskogee Atheist Community.

  165. Dhay says:

    Gary > Donating 100.00 to charity for our group is despicable?

    I see that in 2013 your ACT Tulsa group gave Camp Quest Oklahoma $500. $100 seems like a proportionate amount for a smaller group to give to CQO, so probably $100 was destined for CQO anyway.

    With the Murrow Home obviously unwilling to accept $100 (or more) to publicise your group, that $100 for CQO could be waved in the direction of the Home first, at no cost. Free publicity, perhaps?

    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/does-the-muskogee-atheist-community-exist/#comment-14657

  166. Billy Squibs says:

    Ugh, well that went south pretty damn fast. I’m not sure what Gary was attempting to do on this thread. All he seemed to achieve was to get some New Atheist talking points off his chest – you know, throw around some insults and make some secular prophecies about the end of religion and the beginnings of a godless utopia. Beyond these vacuous words, he was utterly unable to mount a defence of MAC’s actions. He demonstrated poor knowledge of the breath of what Christians actually believe. And ultimately, while he seemed initially unclear on the specifics of the whole children’s charity debacle, I don’t think he ever demonstrated that he was particularly clear on his own beliefs. For example, I would have liked to hear him tell us more why he thinks the horse fly is as important as us. That statement alone is potentially so troubling that I can’t imagine that he has really thought about the ramifications.

    All things considered, I think it’s clear that Gary has found his niche in anti-theism. Why he ended up at this particularly corrosive worldview is anybody’s guess but it doesn’t appear as if he got there by rigorous study and rejection of his opponents beliefs.

  167. TFBW says:

    We see some interesting characters here. Stardusty Psyche was the epistemic solipsist, accepting no judgement over his own. Gary’s comments, in contrast, are a logjam of thought-terminating New Atheist clichés.

  168. Ryan says:

    Gary: Why don’t y’all go fuck yourselves, and I’ll see you in hell, if it’s really there! Lol!!

    This is the argument for atheism known as “Gary’s Wager”. It’s a very intricate and complex argument, one that those lacking a background in philosophy will not easily grasp.

  169. Vy says:

    Sorry to break it to you Gary but In The Beginning…Was Atheism:

    Earliest evidence for atheism predates Jesus by at least 500 years, Cambridge professor argues
    By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor, The Telegraph

    A new Cambridge University study argues that atheism is in fact one of the world’s oldest religions – long predating Christianity and Islam.

    Far from being the result of scientific breakthroughs or modern mass education, the belief that there were no gods was relatively common in the ancient world, research by Prof Tim Whitmarsh, a leading Cambridge classicist, concludes.

    How does it feel to know that you’ve been brainwas… I mean have your 3 pound meaningless meat washed over? How long do you think before “[Athiesm] will go out kicking and screaming”? Or is it already taking its dying breaths?

    Why don’t you sign up and be counted. Perhaps one day, you guys will reach a few million. THEN, we can maybe think about if it’s worth worrying about a self-contradictory religion displacing Christianity. Just maybe.

  170. goldrushapple says:

    Atheists talk about the mean Christians. At least this post, with its comments, is showing how despicable modern atheists are. But you know, keep saying Christianity messed up the world and the gay people. It’s all good. I’ll just laugh.

  171. Vy says:

    … France, and Spain

    This France? Certainly not this Spain, right? I’m not a Catholic but I don’t see how ~77% of Spaniards being Catholics = poster child of the awesomeness of Atheism.

    … but our atheistic community in the US is 5 times larger than in 1980.

    OOOoooo tell me more!

  172. Billy Squibs says:

    Some nuance should be introduced to your comment, goldrushapple There are certain atheists who engage in unsavory behaviours. But there are many outstanding people out there who are atheists.

  173. Isaac says:

    Do people still name-drop Norway (or Sweden, etc.) as a positive example of an atheist country? Seriously? Norwegians were among the first to accept Protestantism, and were at the forefront of prosperity, social justice, and general Christian ethics…until very, VERY, recently. They didn’t even have separation of Church and State until 2013! Does Gary think that Norway was a top-notch country for 200 years because atheism showed up 20 years ago? Don’t think maybe the whole “generations of Protestant work ethic and values” had anything to do with it?

    (PS: the first atheist generation in Norway is still just now reproducing, but the cracks in the culture and values are already showing. They’ve got the oil money to hold out for a while economically, but here’s a bold prediction: they’re screwed as a culture either way. Expect race wars and more mass shootings in your lifetime.)

  174. Dhay says:

    > em>I could not find a web page for it. … Since that time, commenter TFBW found there is a domain page registered for the group. One problem: http://www.muskogeeatheistcommunity.com/ is a place-holder “under construction” page at time of writing. Domain was registered anonymously on 24-Aug-2016, so any actual connection is unverifiable. So the domain for Muskogee Atheist Community was registered the day after the news story broke and Mehta’s blog posting about it.

    For interest’s sake I clicked the link to take a look at what the website currently looks like; and found:

    You have reached a domain that is pending ICANN verification.

    As of January 1, 2014 the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will mandate that all ICANN accredited registrars begin verifying the Registrant WHOIS contact information for all new domain registrations and Registrant contact modifications.

    Why this domain has been suspended
    Email address has not been verified.
    This is a new domain registration and the Registrant email address has not been verified.
    —–or—–
    The Registrant contact data for this domain was modified but still requires verification.
    Specifically the First Name, Last Name and/or email address have been changed and never verified.

    If you’re the site owner, reactivate your site
    Resend the verification email.
    This will be sent to the Registrant email address populated in your WHOIS data. If you are unsure what email address is listed, please log into your account with the provider where you currently manage this domain to view and/or update the info.
    [“Resend email” button provided here]

    Click the link in the email
    and your contact information will be immediately verified. We estimate the site will come back online within 24 to 48 hours.

    Frequently asked questions
    Why was my domain suspended?
    ICANN requires that the domain registrant’s contact information or changes to the registrant’s WHOIS information be verified within 15 calendar days. If the data is not verified in this timeframe, ICANN mandates that the website be suspended pending the verification. [Continues …]

    The executive summary is that someone registered the web page, but then didn’t confirm contact and ownership details, ignoring the prompting email asking for the confirmation of details. After 15 days this “suspension” page was put up as a further reminder, complete with the opportunity to get that prompting email re-sent.

    Fifty days after registering the domain, the owner has not done anything with the website; indeed, it is now thirty five days since the suspension notice appeared, so with all that’s necessary to remove the suspension notice being to click the link in the email, it seems certain that the owner hasn’t even looked at the site since registering it.

    So no, there wasn’t a Muskogee Atheist Community website and despite brief indications that one had been registered and would possibly soon be under development, they haven’t even bothered to complete the registration formalities.

    And if they haven’t taken a simple, indeed trivial step to complete the formalities, even after 50 days, I’d say they probably never will.

    The Muskogee Atheist Community, whatever and however many people that is, don’t intend to have a website; registering a domain was purely for display purposes.

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