Did your absentee father make you an atheist?

A CONTROVERSIAL BOOK that links extreme atheism with shoddy fathering is attracting a resurgence of interest with a new printing.

“Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism” by Catholic psychologist Paul C.Vitz posits that “intense atheists” throughout history — Nietzsche, Voltaire and Madalyn Murray O’Hair — had absent or rotten fathers. This, he argues, damaged their ability to form a relationship with God.

Vitz also holds that many notable believers — Renaissance man Blaise Pascal, anti-slavery activist William Wilberforce and Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, among others — had great relationships with their dads, and were therefore more able to build relationships with God.

“We need to understand atheism has a lot to do with our emotional attitudes towards life, other people and a lot of other things,” Vitz said “I think that is an important thing for atheists and believers alike to take into consideration.”

The book has polarized critics.

Skeptic magazine panned it as “insulting to those of us who came to a point of non-belief as the result of careful study and consideration.”

Vitz makes an important point — the book does not try to prove or disprove the existence of God. Rather, its goal is to examine some of the “irrational” underlying reasons some people become atheists.

“I am certainly not predicting that every atheist is the result of one hypothesis, much less mine,” he said. “I am just saying there is a tendency for more things to go together than you’d expect normally,” like atheism and a poor relationship with one’s father.

Vitz, a Catholic who identified as an atheist in his youth, acknowledges there are exceptions to his theory. He identifies a big one in his book — Sam Harris, a New Atheist who hit the best-seller list with “The End of Faith,” has an apparently healthy relationship with his father, too.

“The best answer I have to explain that is I don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t studied them (the exceptions) enough.”

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190 thoughts on “Did your absentee father make you an atheist?

    • Depends on the reason why they are absent. If the absence is for a better lifestyle then yes a crappy parent. Anyone wants children then they need to be in for the long haul.

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      • If the ambition is:- ” to examine some of the “irrational” underlying reasons some people become atheists.”
        ….the first thing that should be noted is the ‘irrationality’ of coming to sweeping conclusions based on six examples out of a population of six BILLION. 😉

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      • I reiterate that definitions are important:- like “crappy” and “shoddy”.
        My father ~ like a few million others ~ came to australia from a war-shattered europe with a wife, two kids and about 30 shillings….. or about 20% of a basic week’s wage.
        Apart from wanting to take up any opportunity these migrants had to go to work anywhere they were required ~ often several hundred miles away: a very long way in the days before automobiles or much other transport.
        Consequently we didn’t see much of my father for sometimes months on end.
        But, like so many others, he provided for his family, and eventually built his own house (in his spare time) produced another kid and somehow raised us all at least as well as any of the ‘real’ australians.

        I was 12 or 13 yo before I realised how huge his efforts had been, prompted by a fiery rant from my mother, who’d also put in more than her fair share of work and sacrifice ~ “for a better lifestyle”.
        …..for their kids rather than themselves. It’s the very reason they came to this arse-end of the world in the first place,

        Religion never was much of a priority, though my mother always had a bit of a catholic streak. Never got a hint of it from my father ~ until a week before he died in 1993. At that point he took out a little Orthodox bible that he’d carried with him when he left home at the outbreak of civil war in Yugoslavia. He’d somehow managed to keep it with him through some vicious wartime experiences and a stint in a concentration camp (as a ‘subhuman’ he didn’t qualify for prisoner-of-war status), and then through a couple of years in a still-hostile germany and, finally a long sea-voyage and a 43-year life in a difficult australia.

        ….and never mentioned his religious proclivities until a week before he died, when he explained how fundamental ~ and personal ~ a thing it was to any peasant tradition, from which he’d come.
        ….and I understood that he never let his druthers get in the way of the real priorities: “a better lifestyle” for his family.

        Don’t knock it. There’re many that’d do well to follow his example ~ even if their oldest son turned out to be an atheist.

        .PS… and just for the record my brother turned out to be a real godbotherer: taught Sunday school in his early teens at our local Methodist church and married a girl from a devout salvation-army background.
        Now THAT’S crappy! (except that his middle daughter turned out, according to my mother, and his everlasting chagrin, “another Michael! Exactly!” )
        Go figure. 🙂

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      • The point of the profiling of atheists is to remove psychological motives from explaining religious belief. The ad hominem attack on theism posits an immature need for support, but there are psychological causes for atheism as well as theism. So when the atheist attacks a theists beliefs for being childish, the theist can counter, “and so’s your old man!” So, this argument more or less levels the playing field as far as psychological explanations of belief/disbelief are concerned.

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      • I find it hard to believe that there’s anyone on the planet, Ben, that hasn’t yet come to grips with the fact that ‘atheism’ isn’t ~ by definition ~ a ‘belief’, but simply means ‘without god’.
        And, strictly speaking one doesn’t even need to ‘DISbelieve’ in a god/s to be atheist. Anything that is ‘without god’ or ‘godless’ is by definition atheist, and that includes my dog and the rhododendrons outside the window.

        Atheism really is the default position across the board.

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    • Yes. Some of the worst examples of fatherhood are among the ones that stick around.

      That’s why children should be encouraged to see that ‘father’ is not the only aspect of God.

      I took my child out of Sunday School kinder when she came home with pictures of God sitting on a cloud. They said a childish concept was the most suitable for kinder age, but she was quite capable of visualising God as being more like the air, able to go anywhere that air can, and even where air can’t, and still have personhood.

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    • To say “there is no proof for God’s existence” is illogical because an atheist cannot know all things by which he could state that there is no proof. He can only say he has not yet seen a convincing proof; after all, there may be one he hasn’t yet seen.

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      • Hi Brad, I’m happy to state my position as that I’m aware of not convincing evidence for God’s existence.

        But how finely do we need to split hairs anyway ?

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  1. My dad was great. Probably one of the reasons I’ve never considered replacing him with some kind of perfect eternal father figure.

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    • If one believes in a personal God, life has obvious meaning, and one generally takes seriously the issues of moral and social responsibility. As Voltaire is reported to have said, “Don’t tell the servants there is no God, or they will steal the silver.” This view was later shared by Sigmund Freud, who believed that religion was necessary to keep the masses from acting on their sexual and aggressive impulses.

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    • If you say that atheism needs no evidence or reason, then you are holding a position that has no evidence or rational basis? If so, then isn’t that simply faith?

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      • Neatly put!
        Except, of course, it’s premised …er, ‘irrationally’.
        Your argument relies on ‘atheism’ being an existing entity; but it isn’t.
        It’s a non-existent non-entity, which plainly doesn’t need ~ or even provide room for ~ ‘evidence or reason’.

        “non-belief” doesn’t lend itself to theological haggling: there’s nothing to haggle over.

        Nice try though!

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    • Just as there are atheists with good families, fathers and home lives, there are probably believers with crappy families, crappy/absent fathers and crappy home lives. They may have taken comfort in belief whereas others apparently find anger and disbelief

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      • I have to laugh at the common sense part of atheists excuses. The overwhelming majority of all those who ever lived know the universe was designed–yet somehow these miniscule amount of fools imagine they are somehow diamonds of genius in the rough when the fact is they are just abnormal . In psychology, it’s not the abnormal who are spouting out the common sense.

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      • I note the article says the author was talking about “intense atheists”. I tend to agree with that.
        Most atheists I have know are not intense about the view. They simply have no religious sense, much as I have a tin ear for singing. There’s nothing wrong with that.
        But the foaming at the mouth atheists are a strange bunch. They seem to hold more hostility toward those who have a different view than they do for God.

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      • Some people will laugh at anything ~ and often as a distraction from the nonsense they’re perpetrating.

        “The overwhelming majority of those who ever lived DO NOT “know” “the universe was designed”. (Ask any newborn.)
        They were TAUGHT that by social-engineering adults even more ignorant than the children they were brainwashing, having spent a lifetime reinforcing their their ignorance.

        If any of them “knew” anything in line with your assertion ~ or even if there was anything of the sort to ‘know’ ~ there’d be one universal, unchanging religion.
        But as we ‘know’ there isn’t and while there are ignorant, superstitious people there never will be.

        That there ISN’T a design is the only excuse any existing god would have.

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      • Bullshit Bubba. There is no evidence for that. You really should think before you post.

        The myth of the Flat Earth is the modern misconception that the prevailing cosmological view during the Middle Ages saw the Earth as flat, instead of spherical.

        And where did the Bible stand on this issue? In the eighth century B.C.E., when the prevailing view was that the earth was flat, centuries before Greek philosophers theorized that the earth likely was spherical, and thousands of years before humans saw the earth as a globe from space, the Hebrew prophet Isaiah stated with remarkable simplicity: “There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth.” (Isaiah 40:22) The Hebrew word chugh, here translated “circle,” may also be rendered “sphere. Other Bible translations read, “the globe of the earth” (Douay Version) and “the round earth.”—Moffatt.

        The Bible writer Isaiah avoided the common myths about the earth. Instead, he penned a statement that was not threatened by the advances of scientific discovery.

        The use of an orb with a cross (globus cruciger) at the coronation of Christian monarchs for the last 1600 years is evidence that both the religious and the secular state thought the world was a sphere.

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      • And how could the prophet Isaiah have known that the earth was round if not by divine inspiration—to speak forth that which originates from God.

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      • HI Monica

        Well Eratosthenes was able to pretty accurately calculate the circumference of the earth by observation of the different angles of shadows in difference locations on the summer solstice. No divine nuthin needed.

        As to the bible it also talks about the corners of the earth and the whole of the earth being visible from a high enough vantage point. Both of which are inconsistent with a round earth.

        But if you want on only selectively quote the bits that support your argument then that’s one way to look at it I guess.

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      • Most theologians agree that the one verse you’ve cherry picked refers to the four corners of the earth and is referring to the four directions – N S E W .

        The Sealed of Israel ] After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree.
        Revelation 7:1-3 (in Context) Revelation 7 (Whole Chapter)
        22.Revelation 20:8
        and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea

        People might assume Bubba that you got your theology degree in the same Weeties box you got your science degree.

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      • Good example of “irrationality”, Brad; not to mention shooting oneself in the foot.
        No matter how one tries to (or “may”) ‘interpret’ or ‘translate’ the terminology used, the quote your argument relies upon:-

        “There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth.” (Isaiah 40:22) ……makes it perfectly clear that it refers to a (flat) disc.
        It is not possible to dwell (or anything else) ABOVE a sphere.

        ‘Outside’ a sphere? Yep.
        ‘Around’ a sphere? Yep.
        Even ‘within’ a sphere.

        But NOT ‘above’ a sphere.

        ….and let’s face it, ‘Isaiah’ (if he ever existed at all, for which there’s also no proof) didn’t even know what dunny-paper is. Why anybody would take his utterances seriously says more about the mental condition or that person than anything else.

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      • Hi Bryan,

        I guess that’s one way to look at it. I’m not a theologian so when I read the bible I just assume it means what it says. And let’s for one moment assume that it really is the word of God, then why should I be second guessing what he actually meant ?

        I guess the edges or ends of the earth referred to in the bible aren’t literal either, or the pillars or being able to see the whole of the earth from a high enough vantage point.

        Oh and to correct the record none of my degrees are in either theology or science (I’m assuming you don’t count the social sciences).

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      • Some time ago. I’ve never quite worked out how adherents figure out which bits are to be taken literally and which are allegorical.

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      • Are you sure, Young Feller, that ~ prior to the advent (in china by all accounts) of the magnetic compass ANYbody had reason to refer to N,S,E,and W?
        The horizon, of course, ALWAYS forms a circle.

        Until proven otherwise , I’m prepared to strongly assert that “the theologians” are WRONG.

        As far as I can tell the only form of bluewater navigation known or practised
        in the ancient world (mainly in the Pacific Basin) was celestial, which DOESN’T refer to NSEW, and of which those in the biblical era and geographical region had absolutely NO concept. ( just possibly excepting the Pheonicians, though there’s no evidence of that.)
        Do you ever query what ‘the theologians’/apologists, etc. say?

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      • ??? “Reading the Bible is understanding that it has meanings on several levels.”

        Sez who?

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      • You seem to have a much higher opinion of the bible than those influential atheists Isaac Asimov and Penn Jillette.

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      • Bryan,
        all very well to describe how the Bible is to be read and understood in several layers of meaning. BUT I would point out that ever since Clement and Origen in the first couple of centuries there has been wild dispute about just what some of these layers might be, and just what crucial information one can legitimately get from them. ]

        I would take your assurance a little more truly if all Christians tended to agree on these allegorical layers. Classic amongst the interpretations are the innumerable meanings and prophecies that people right from the earliest days got out of the Revelation of St John the Divine. they are still doing it.

        Rian.

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  2. I guess if your father is a dogmatic, controlling believer and you like to think for yourself, then you’d probably find yourself offside with your father and offside with the dogma as well.

    Or even if you just like to think for yourself, whatever relationship you have with your father or anyone else.

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    • However prevalent the superficial motives for being an atheist, there still remain in many instances the deep and disturbing psychological sources as well. However easy it may be to state the hypothesis of the “defective father,” we must not forget the difficulty, the pain, and complexity that lie behind each individual case. And for those whose atheism has been conditioned by a father who rejected, who denied, who hated, who manipulated, or who physically or sexually abused them, there must be understanding and compassion. Certainly for a child to be forced to hate his own father-or even to despair because of his father’s weaknesses is a great tragedy. After all, the child only wants to love his father. For any unbeliever whose atheism is grounded in such experience, the believer, blessed by God’s love, should pray most especially that ultimately they will both meet in heaven. Meet and embrace and experience great joy. If so, perhaps the former atheist will experience even more joy than the believer. For, in addition to the happiness of the believer, the atheist will have that extra increment that comes from his surprise at finding himself surrounded by joy in, of all places, his Father’s house.

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      • Still on the wrong track.
        There are NO motives ~ including superficial ones ~ for atheism. It’s absurd to attribute motives or psychologies to something that doesn’t exist.

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      • Suzi, everything you wrote is highly offensive; starting with the presumption of superficial motives, the assumption that there must be something wrong in their lives, and concluding with the extreme arrogance that atheists are just deniers and should embrace their ‘father’. Have you got any idea what an atheist even is? You presume to ‘know’ and ‘think’ for me. How dare you! You can take your sanctimonious, superior, holier than thou attitudes and shove it!

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      • Why ignore the evidence Mag? Perhaps it is too confronting for you.

        The simple but compelling thesis of the Vitz book is that “the major barriers to belief in God are not rational but can be called, in a general sense, psychological”

        Vitz’s biographical survey of influential atheists of the past four centuries shows that this “defective father hypothesis” provides a consistent explanation of the “intense atheism” of these thinkers. A survey of the leading intellectual defenders of Christianity over the same period confirms the hypothesis, finding few defective fathers.

        Professor Vitz does not argue that atheism is psychologically determined. Each man, whatever his experiences, ultimately chooses to accept God or reject him
        .To identify a cause of a belief or behavior does not imply that the person is not morally responsible for it. So even if we can causally explain why some people reject God, this does not mean that they aren’t responsible for doing so. Rather, the lesson seems to be that having a defective father presents special challenges to faith, but that this kind of psychological wound can only predispose one to atheism

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      • Brad, I beg to differ. I did not even mention the book the author. My indignation was directed at Suzi only and her ludicrous comments. I would not have replied if not for this comment. Atheists and theists alike bring up stats and research to put either camp above the other. Be that more intelligent, more enlightened, able to detect things, knowledge, facts, faith as an asset or not. It matters not too me that others invent rubbish to make their dialectic superior to others. Both camps do this and it is all rather pathetic.

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      • “Vitz’s biographical survey of influential atheists”

        What’s an influential atheist ? How do they differ from a regular atheist? How did Vitz narrow the field down the those atheists that he choose ?

        Where’s Asimov, Sagan, Suzuki, Wozniak, Pratchett, Adams, Dawkins etc etc

        How did Vitz determine which atheists to include and which to ignore ?

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      • Ok so why is Nietzsche influential and Sagan isn’t ? Or Adams ?

        Got link to a pdf of the book or extract ?

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      • Try Amazon. There’s a new edition out this month which includes more atheist case histories…The original was published in the ’90s

        Sagan and Adams are not what I’d call “influential” atheists.

        In fact, Sagan said in 1981: “An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence.”

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      • Hi Bryan,

        Didn’t you recently post against consumerism, now you’re telling me I should buy books I don’t need 🙂

        Why is neither Adams or Sagan influential?

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      • Then Pirate Bay the book if you’re too mean to pay for it. Sagan wasn’t an atheist. Adams wasn’t really an extremist atheist either. Anyway read the book and that might answer your question..BTW I didn’t write the book so why are you directing the question at me?

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      • “Adams wasn’t really an extremist atheist either”

        I thought influential was the issue rather than extremist.

        I’m questioning you as you’ve devoted a topic on your blog to the book in question. I had assumed you’d read the book and were willing to enter into a discussion about it.

        Or is the purpose of the topic just a plug to encourage people to buy the book ?

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      • What a perfect example of strawman building!:- “An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence.”
        ……..and, typically, ‘certainly’ based on a false premise.

        I repeat yet again:- while anyone (or anything) may be ‘atheist’ ~ ie ‘godless’ ~ nobody can be ‘AN’ atheist.
        Let’s at least get the language right.
        One may be ‘brainless’ but one cannot be ‘A’ brainless.

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      • Of course that is a double edged sword for atheists… If atheism is a position of ignorance (babies know nothing) & the 96% of the population that are theists, converted FROM ATHEISM because of education and learning.

        If babies are atheists because they don’t know better and 9 out of 10 will covert to theism, what is the problem with the 1 out of 10 that remains an atheist?

        learning disablity perhaps?

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      • Hi Bryan,

        You sure you’ve read the book. If you asked me questions about a book I’d read I’m pretty sure I could answer them.

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      • “If babies are atheists because they don’t know better and 9 out of 10 will covert to theism,… ”

        How does that process occur ?

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      • Nice try! —> “If babies are atheists because they don’t know better and 9 out of 10 will covert to theism,”
        But…… they’re not atheist because they don’t “KNOW” any “better” ~ since
        adult theists don’t “know any better” either. That’s the point of ‘faith’.
        ie the young don’t “convert to theism”, but to ‘the faith’.
        A different kettle of fish altogether.

        ….and leave us not forget the recent haggle over the relevant statistics which clearly claimed that 30% (and increasing) of people in a given population were non-believers.

        Finally, no matter what the ‘conversion-rate’ I’d bet Pavlov could’ve done as well ~ if not better ~ with a bunch of mutts from the pound.

        All you’d need to do is substitute the word ‘Bikkies’ with the word ‘Jesus’ and you’d have them instantly salivating,
        …..just like any other Born-Againer. 🙂

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    • Vitz’s thesis does not imply that having a defective father guarantees one will become an atheist. He takes care to emphasize this point. This is because, as Vitz puts it, “all of us still have a free choice to accept or reject God. . . . As a consequence of particular past or present circumstances some may find it much harder to believe in God. But presumably they can still choose to move toward God or to move away.” In fact, some people with defective fathers do not turn away from God but become vibrant believers and faithful practitioners of their faith.Given the strong majority of religious believers, it appears that most children of defective fathers manage to resist the temptation of atheism. Still others, such as C. S. Lewis and Antony Flew, give up their atheism even after many years of unbelief. So the psychological dynamics of atheism are very complex, but the impact of the father relationship does appear to be profound.

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      • Presuppositional tripe; we don’t reject god, we don’t believe in god. That’s about it. I have no idea why psychological dynamics comes into it. It is really very simple. There is no empirical evidence currently that is acceptable. There may be evidence for you, that is great for you. Faith is not good enough for most atheist, again if you just know, fine.

        It appears to me that you want to find something wrong with people that don’t agree with you paradigm. Does that make you feel better about your religion by denigrating others?

        I have also seen stats that say atheists are more educated and generally have a higher IQ than theists. I will reject this as well as biased nonsense.

        Why can’t you just believe what you want without constantly ridiculing others that don’t belief what you do. Are you so desperate about your religion that you feel it incumbent upon you to vilify others that won’t see the world your way?

        If this is the case, you have my sympathies.

        Note: you will say that you are not trying to belittle people. You are!

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      • I’m not trying to belittle you, I’m sorry you feel that way.

        There are two reasons, which atheists do not understand, that prevent them from understanding God, their need for salvation, and God’s love for them.

        First, they want Christians to “prove it.” They are not sure what they want when they say this. They accept the presence of magnetic fields by how it affects other magnetized and metal objects. But, they do not accept how God affects the lives of those who love Him. Meanwhile, God gives so much proof, books about it would fill the world. Miraculous healings, unbelievable favor, scientific breakthroughs, healed relationships, raising the dead back to life, parting the Red Sea, the 10 plagues against the Egyptians, and much, much more.

        A second reason is that atheists embrace a world view that creates spiritual blocks, nets, snares and bondages over their minds.

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      • I believe that I covered all your probable assertions that you would make about your paradigm and faith. You came back with the obvious reply.

        As to atheists stating ‘prove it’, I am beyond that. You can’t except that anyone but you to accept your personal observations as evidential. If Christians want to see evidence, they invariably will find it everywhere. This is no surprise to me.

        As to spiritual woo-woo and souls. I don’t acknowledge any of of it. I keep hearing from Christians that I have a world view? News to me? I find it highly amusing that people have the audacity to tell me what I think. I would not have the impertinence to do that to you. Maybe you should follow my lead and desist with the Calvinistic dogma.

        I will conclude with a very simple statement. Atheism is the non belief of god, that’s it. You lot seem to want to build an entire rant with multiple reasons why atheists are atheists.

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      • That’s Presuppositional tripe, as some ranter said here earlier today. Even atheists have faith. It’s not genuine intellectual scepticism. They have faith that their atheism is true and just won’t accept any evidence to the contrary. It is ignorant, stubborn thinking, often matched with passive aggression exhibited by MAG on this very site. But I’d bet he doesn’t even recognise that. Put your head back in the sand matey.

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      • Croc, I am not going to get into a semantics argument with you about faith and atheism. I could, but your dogmatic approach to it is obvious. Any response from me would be irrelevant.

        As to me aggressive stance. What a joke. Atheists have been insulted about their upbringing by their fathers, etc. when we defend ourselves, we are aggressive?

        How would you like it if I stated that Christians were all mentally impaired, obviously unintelligent, and not very well educated. Would you accept that with a smile. I think not. Yet, I am supposed to accept you tirade with grace. Have a close look at yourself!

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      • Of course you are not getting into a debate MAG. It would probably be too challenging for you. I didn’t issue a tirade. Just what I believe to be true. I have several atheist friends who don’t indulge in passive aggression and are willing to talk about what we believe, what we have in common and what we disagree on. Perhaps you should take a lesson from that. I would guess you don’t have any close Christian friends. I would guess you would not have any close friends who don’t agree with you. Hopefully I am wrong.

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      • It’s funny Croc that many Christians seem to have atheist friends but many atheists don’t want to have Christian friends. As you said, it is too challenging for them.

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      • Hey Brad and Croc,

        Tell me what is it about your charming personalities that you’d expect atheists to be lining up to be your friends ?

        I’ve read your comments a couple of times now and I just can’t see it.

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      • “They accept the presence of magnetic fields by how it affects other magnetized and metal objects. But, they do not accept how God affects the lives of those who love Him.”

        Yeah funny that, maybe because magnetism can be reliably and repeatedly demonstrated.

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      • That’s interesting Bubba.

        Richard Holme, Professor of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences at Liverpool University, was quoted just today saying: “We do not fully understand how the Earth’s magnetic field is generated, why it is variable and the timescales of these variations.’

        But perhaps you know better. What are you scientific qualifications again Bubba?

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      • What is this, a tag team match?

        All I stated originally was that Suzi’s ideas about atheists and insults were ignorant. I have since defended my position. I have even gone so fat as stating that some of the generalisations aimed at theists by some atheists are incorrect.

        In turn you have decided to attack me personally, not by beliefs. Now you have decided to i’inform’ me that a probably have no Christian friends. Thanks for that.

        I never stated that I don’t debate theists, merely that I am not willing to get into a slanging match about the use of the word ‘faith’ because such a contest would be futile. You have decided to embellish this comment to presume that theistic arguments would be too challenging for me.

        Then you end by suggesting that I don’t have any friends that disagree with me. More assumptions on your behalf.

        From what I can surmise from your stance is that you really don’t like opposition and are willing to personally insult anybody that disagrees with you. Shame on both of you.

        I think you should both look at your methodologies of dealing with opponents. It is lacking in many areas.

        Thanks for the support Bubba.

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      • Well, much as I agree with you it seems you are also indulging in a slanging match MAG. And the generalisations are not exactly one-sided.

        Just curious though, do you have any close friends who are Christians?

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      • I’ve re read my comments and I can’t see where I’ve stated that magnetism etc is completely understood.

        As I understand it gravity isn’t completely understood either but it can be reliably and repeatedly demonstrated.

        As an example, despite the danger, I’ve found a compass to work reliably each and every time I’ve used one.

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      • again!….for the record…..”one will become an atheist”:- ‘atheist’ is the default position; one may choose to move away from that position, but may not “become” an atheist.
        That’d be like trying to “become” an egg after having been an omelette.

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      • Good to hear from you Bryan. Hope you are doing well?

        Of course I have engaged in a slanging match with these 2 culprits. I did not instigate it, naturally I will defend my position.

        I do know a lot of Christians and call them my best friends. I have enjoyed many a night supping wine arguing philosophy and Christian apologetics. The odd thing is that none of these friends assume things are deficient in my personality because of my atheism. I doubt that I could sit down and quaff a wine with either of these jokers.

        I like to think that a drink with you would be different?

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      • Hi Bryan,

        “maybe because magnetism can be reliably and repeatedly demonstrated.”

        I’m genuinely sorry if you found that confusing, or if I have somehow carelessly lead you astray. But in my experience magnetism can be reliably and repeatedly demonstrated.

        Who doesn’t remember the science school experiment with magnets and iron filings. Or when I was young dad and I made an electromagnet with a battery, some wire and a bolt. It worked every single time power was connected.

        And as I said earlier I’ve found a compass to be a reliable tool for navigation,

        For the life of me I can’t see in my earlier comment (as copied above) where I’ve claimed any specialist scientific knowledge or made any claim as to the state of the earth’s magnetic field.

        So I might understand your position better could you please explain how you came to that conclusion? And to provide some background could you also advise what branch of the sciences your degree was in ?

        Like

      • Good to know and with your knowledge as a biologist could you explain how my statement that ““maybe because magnetism can be reliably and repeatedly demonstrated.” was incorrect ?

        Oh and if you could please furnish that explanation as to how you interpreted that as a claim of specialist scientific knowledge on my part that would be great.

        Further if you could direct me to any book or magazine that shows magnetism CANNOT be reliably and repeatedly demonstrated I’ll give it some consideration.

        Like

      • As posted a little earlier

        Richard Holme, Professor of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences at Liverpool University, was quoted just today saying: “We do not fully understand how the Earth’s magnetic field is generated, why it is variable and the timescales of these variations.’

        It’s not that hard to understand is it? You could google Holme if you’re really interested.

        Like

      • er……. (“As you said, it is too challenging for them.”), perhaps ‘boring’. or ‘irritating’ is a better word than ‘challenging’.

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      • Well as I posted earlier

        ” if you could please furnish that explanation as to how you interpreted that as a claim of specialist scientific knowledge on my part that would be great.”

        So by reading Holme I’ll get an understanding of how you miscrued my earlier statement. I don’t really see how that follows.

        I also asked
        “Further if you could direct me to any book or magazine that shows magnetism CANNOT be reliably and repeatedly demonstrated I’ll give it some consideration”

        If any titles have come to mind in the interim please feel free to pass them on.

        Like

      • umm…….as regards spectacles and comprehension,

        …..and copouts comparing apples with oranges.

        How does this —>
        “We do not fully understand how the Earth’s magnetic field is generated, why it is variable and the timescales of these variations.”

        detract from this? —->
        “Yeah funny that, maybe because magnetism can be reliably and repeatedly demonstrated.”

        The professor doesn’t for a minute suggest that magnetism can’t be “reliably and repeatedly demonstrated.”
        Does He?

        Like

      • Ok let’s strip this down to the basics. Earlier I said

        “Yeah funny that, maybe because magnetism can be reliably and repeatedly demonstrated.”

        Can you tell me how that above statement is in any way incorrect.

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      • It is not incorrect. But neither is the statement that scientists do not fully understand how the Earth’s magnetic field is generated, why it is variable and the timescales of these variations

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      • Hi Bryan,

        EXACTLY both statements are correct. I have absolutely no dispute with the notion that we do not fully understand the earth’s magnetic field.

        NONE. I would not wish to challenge that statement in any way.

        However I will stand by my earlier statement that magnetism can be reliably and repeatedly demonstrated. Simple as that.

        However I fail to see (as I have for this entire conversation) why there is any kind of conflict between the two concepts whatsoever.

        Like

  3. …..or even if your father had no influence at all, and you, yourself, just never saw any need or reason for there to be a god.

    Like

    • Call it whatever you want, but statistics overwhelmingly show a much higher rate of social problems and crime among adults (men in particular) who were raised without a father.

      Like

      • aha!! Statistics!:- Lies, damned lies and statistics!

        1……”social problems” exist not because of ‘fatherless’ children, but upon social mores.
        2……Ditto ‘crime’; crime is a result of ‘overwhelmingly’ excessive legislation, not predicated upon familial relationships ~ or lack of them.

        …..Although it COULD be said that your argument is biblically supported inasmuch as the “social problems” generated and “crimes” committed by that Jesus fellow were due to the fact that his father wasn’t around much.
        …..But that would, of course, suggest women are responsible for instilling the proclivity for crime and social disruption into their children. Yes?

        And such a proposition would be supported by the irrefutable statistical evidence that women are, in fact, directly responsible for 100% of all crime and social disruption (not to mention chicken-pox epidemics, runny noses and ingrown toenails, etc.) ~ according to any benchmark ~ simply because they didn’t keep their pants on and an asprin clamped firmly between their knees.

        😉

        Like

      • Hmm there are some statistics that show a higher rate of social problems among societies that have higher levels of religious belief too.

        Like

      • oooh! Snippy!. 🙂 …. “Overwhelmingly’ excessive legislation? Is that why people rob banks? Or rape women? Or become atheists?”

        ‘Bank-robbery’ and ‘rape’ are ONLY crimes becaus, neither of those activities would be crimes.

        …. and if atheism is ~ or has been or becomes ~ a crime it’ll be solely for the same reason.

        Incidentally, do keep in mind that god ~ or his kid, for that matter ~ nowhere prohibits bank-robbery or rape.
        Or atheism.

        But I understand Allah does (sort of)…especially of asses.
        Which is another good reason for not converting to that wet-blanket religion!

        Like

      • Reality check mate!!!!
        I think you are saying that rape and bank robbery are only crimes because of excessive legislation…You don’t think rape is a crime? Or should be?

        And you obviously don’t know much about what’s in the Bible. Did you get you theology degree from the same weeties pack as Bubba?

        Like

      • (In fact, I doubt there’d be any greek etymology for “atheism” ~ and suspect that’s a later (probably english, but definitely religious-based) addition which was snuck into the argument for sinister purposes.

        Burning an atheist at the stake might be a pleasureable transitory experience, but imagine the excitement inherent in hunting down ‘atheism’!

        Not unlike the difference between ‘christian’ and ‘christianity’, hey?

        Like

      • “Reality check”??
        ….from a christian??? 😆

        The “reality’ is that I KNOW ‘rape’ is a crime, BECAUSE it says so in the Crimes Act, and NOT for any other reason.
        Whether I think it “should be” (and any definition thereof) is an entirely different question.

        And where-ever I got my theology degree, or didn’t, I’d defy you to point out any mention of bank-robbery in any of the various versions of the bible.
        And the same challenge applies to any mention of ‘rape’…….unless you mean what god did to Eve and Adam ~ and to His Chosen People generally.

        Like

      • Should point out that part of a sentence got garbled in the transition:-

        ‘Bank-robbery’ and ‘rape’ are ONLY crimes becaus, neither of those activities would be crimes.,
        …should read:- “‘Bank-robbery’ and ‘rape’ are ONLY crimes because the Crimes Act 1958, As Amended, says they’re crimes; otherwise neither of those activities would be crimes.”

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      • Well of course they’re crimes….(“Well, they both ARE crimes…Some people get sent to jail for committing them.”)
        I’ve said so repeatedly.
        And also said that they ARE crimes BECAUSE the Crimes Act says so, and not for any other reason.

        ie. If, in fact, the Crimes Act (law of the land) DIDN’T stipulate rape and robbery as crimes then nobody would EVER go to gaol for them.
        In fact, nobody would ever even be charged with committing them.
        See?

        Like

      • Difficult to answer, since I don’t think it’s possible to separate the idea of ‘crime’ from the ‘legal aspect’.
        ….and any alternative would hinge on defing terms like ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ~ an endless and inescapable trap.

        But I think my take would revolve about what was ‘natural’, and what wasn’t, as an indicator of what should be ‘acceptable’
        or ‘acceptable’.

        In that context, for example, I’d probably say I have no in-principle problem with bank-robbery ~ the roots of which
        could be seen as a variation upon the natural theme of ‘territorialism’: the ‘fittest’ takes the ‘prize’, in terms of both property and power.
        But the ‘justification’ would be nullified by the use of excessive, gratuitous violence, because in nature only the necessary amount of violence is employed.
        Drug-fuelled rage and psychopathic sadism, overkill, etc., appears to be confined to the human species….and their gods.

        The issue of rape as ‘naturally unacceptable’ would probably fill a book or three just in the definition.
        Is the bitch in heat (ie. hormonally rendered incapable of resistance) being raped by the dogs lining up behind her?
        Is the primitive male who steals a female from a neighbouring tribe with whom to breed ~ and all unknowingly strengthening the human genome ~ committing rape?
        What if the abducted female ‘accepts her fate’ for cultural reasons and therefore doesn’t resist?
        What if the abducted female actually ‘falls in love’ with her abductor because of his obvious strength and intelligence in successfully stealing her, which suggests that his offspring will be successful and a credit to her?

        Was the abducted Helen of Troy raped?

        What about the girl who’s arbitrarily ‘sold’ into marriage for the highest bride-price ever paid locally, and who’s therefore proud of her status?

        Did King Solomon rape his politically-acquired wives and concubines?
        How about Jesus’ mum. Was she raped by god?….or by Joseph to whom she was betrothed apparently/possibly without her consent?

        Did Henry VIII rape the wives he accumulated for various reasons, but whose agreement was was never an issue?

        Were the women of 19th/20th-century Britain who had a say in who they married but yet were obliged to ‘do their marital duty’, whether they actually wanted to or not, raped?

        Or how about the adventurous 16-year old (as much in thrall of her hormones as the aforementioned bitch-in-heat) who has a few drinks, climbs into the cot with some kid who captures her fancy ~ or not! ~ and then complains the next morning that she never agreed to coitus….even though she may admit to having wanted to be ‘petted’?

        Possible scenarios are endless, but (feminist-type PC aside) the question of rape, I think should also be tested by the standard of ‘natural’; and also governed by the excessive/gratuitous violence benchmark.

        Personally, I wouldn’t think any of the above examples, on the face of it, “should” be “crimes”, since they also relate to the oldest instincts of ‘territorialism’ to which females, as well as males (of all species) are subject.

        That said ~ and given that the image-of-god homosaps are the only practitioners of ‘excessive and gratuitous violence’ ~ I, personally, would also say that sort of behavior (drug-fuelled brutality, psychopathic sadism, delusion of grandeur bastardries of the kind that results in cruelty to others/other animals etc. etc. etc., in fact ANY kind of excessive/gratuitious violence) ISN’T acceptable in nature or any sociocultural setting, and should be arbitrarily eradicated as a matter of course immediately it’s unearthed.

        footnote: the ‘power’ of females in any given (human) relationship ~ even the most severe sado-masochistic one ~ should never be underestimated. They’re tougher, more resilient, far more subtle, more resourceful and more manipulative and MUCH closer to the ‘nature of things’ than males have been for 40,000 years. And (excessive violence aside) they KNOW they can stop a ‘rapist’ in his tracks ~ that it only takes a giggle to shrivel an erection.

        That’s another inborn instinct!
        …a bit like the ‘shopping gene’ ~ which I saw unmistakingly operating in a cute three-year-old yesterday.

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    • Dabbles, that’s quite a frightening answer you’ve given there regarding rape.

      You do realise that God asked Mary what she wanted to do don’t you? She gave her consent.

      You do not ‘take’ sex from someone who isn’t fully consenting. They will not respect the person as being strong they will think he/she are evil pigs. Let me give you an example. Someone I know and love was abused, which is the same as it is not consensual. I asked her what would she do if she ever suspected that her daughter (who was then the same age) was in danger. She said she would kill, without any hesitation. I’m not condoning that, I’m just giving an example of how wrong it is.

      You can’t on the one hand complain that Government is stealing from you via taxes and call yourself an Anarchist and then on the other hand not quite clearly condemn stealing from others via a Bank Robbery (whether there violence involved or not).

      You’re just being effusive on purpose.

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      • Kathleen,
        Just what translation of the Gospel according to St Luke did you get it from that tells how –
        “God asked Mary what she wanted to do. ….. She gave her consent.”

        Every single translation I have in my library (about 9 of them) tell that the angel (not God) told Mary ‘YOU SHALL CONCEIVE AND BEAR A SON”. No ‘asking’ at all. A few verses later the angel goes on to say that ‘The Holy Spirit WILL come upon you…….’ Sure, we are told that the angel only left her after she had acknowledged what she was told, but there is not a single phrase there that suggests that Mary was asked.

        I am well aware that Catholic tradition has said for centuries in a most poetic and mythological way that the whole of creation held its breath and waited for those few moments until Mary gave her consent. But it is simply not in the text! Mary was given no choice!
        Rian.

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      • “Mary was a willing bearer of the Christ Child, as she said to Gabriel on his announcement of the Lord’s intentions “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word,” (Luke 1:38, NKJV)

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      • If mother Mary felt she had no choice, why even bother to let the Angel know she was willing and basically give consent for whatever God wanted?

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      • Hi Rian,

        I think you misunderstand the nature of ‘prophetic declaration/proclamation’.

        The Archangel Gabriel announces what is to be by virtue of the fact that God exists outside of time and can see the future. He already knows that Mary will consent to being impregnated by the Holy Spirit—-it’s a done deal, so to speak. So Gabriel speaks forth that which is about to happen.

        At any time she could have said no thank you and God would have respected her wishes, but God knew that she wouldn’t. She was never forced against her will.

        Did you know that ordinary people get impregnated by the Holy Spirit too?

        “God loves to work through regular ordinary people. In fact, ordinary people seem to be most often singled out by God for the most extra-ordinary purposes.

        And that’s what I love so much about the saga of Christ’s advent and birth. All the major players are so very ordinary. Who would you have picked for Jesus’ earthly father? How about Joseph, a carpenter from a small rural village?

        And where would you send the greatest birth announcement in all of human history? Well, God has it “air-mailed” by way of angels to shepherds in the fields outside of Bethlehem. Brothers and sisters, you won’t find a more lowly, “under the social radar” group than shepherds.

        And then there’s Mary, young, most likely a young teenager. She possessed no previous mothering experience. She had received no formal training or schooling. Her resume’ and list of credentials were noticeably blank, that is, she had none. All except for one critical factor… she was willing.

        Did you know that Mary was not the only one impregnated by the Holy Spirit? All New Testament believers are impregnated by the Holy Spirit! That’s right. And just as Christ grew in Mary, the mother of God, until He had to come out on Christmas day, Christ will grow in you and I until the same thing occurs, until He comes out.

        He will come out in our words, in our deeds, and in our actions. Every day we live can be a Christmas. You and I, ordinary people, just like Mary can deliver Christ into the world.

        Oswald Chambers writes, “What was true of the Virgin Mary in the history of the Son of God’s birth on earth is true of every saint. God’s Son is born into us through the direct act of the Holy Spirit.”

        Now please hear this, God was with Abraham, God was with David, and God was with Peter and the Apostles while He was here on earth. However, God is not just with us today, He is in us to live His life through us. Christianity is not a self-improvement it is a self-replacement. Christ in us, the hope of glory!”

        Growing In Grace Ministries

        Like

      • LUKE 1 (new international version)

        28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

        29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

        34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

        35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

        38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

        Hi guys as I’m reading the above passage it sure doesn’t seem that Mary had any choice in the matters. She gets told how it’s going to be. No-where does she get asked.

        Like

      • Hey Kathleen,

        The bible isn’t exactly completely consistent as to free will though, When Jonah ran away from God of his own free will God certainly didn’t respect that decision. God completely over-road Pharaoh’s free will when the slaves requested their freedom. I can’t recall where Job or his family had any choices as to what was to happen to them.

        There are instances where God completely ignores the free will of humanity and does what he wants.

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      • ??… ” He already knows that Mary will consent to being impregnated by the Holy Spirit—-”
        ……..just like any other other date-rape, d’you mean Mon, where the young bloke already ‘knows’ his girlfriend ‘wants it’ because she agreed to go out with him?

        Y’can’t have it both ways

        Like

      • “She was willing. She said “yes.” I am the female servant of the Lord; may it happen to me according to your word.

        She believed the promise. She believed the word of God. She said “yes.” “Yes, I believe that what you have promised will happen.” Yes, I am willing to let it happen and to be used by God as He desires.” “Yes, I believe – no matter how outrageous, how unlikely, how fanciful, your promise appears to be” Yes, I am willing to obey God’s will, to be used by Him in His way, to follow His command and His lead – no matter how inconvenient, no matter what the risk, no matter how my reputation suffers, no matter what the loss, no matter what. I am willing because I trust that God is good and therefore can be trusted.”

        Mary said “yes” and a child was conceived in her. A child who was the Son of God incarnate, a baby who was both God and man, developing in her womb like any other baby – except this baby was sinless, this baby had no earthly father, God was his father. He took his divine nature from His father, for he was eternally begotten; and his human nature from his mother. Mary said “yes” and a child was conceived in her who was the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior of the world.

        Mary said “yes.” That is another way of saying, “Mary believed.” For when one believes one of God’s promises, one is saying “yes” to that promise. Mary said “yes.” That is another way of saying, “Mary obeyed.” For Mary was willing to obey God’s plan, God’s command, God’s direction, God’s assignment for her life. She said “yes” let it happen to me as your word has decreed.

        Mary said “yes.” But she could have said, “no.” She could have said, “No, I don’t believe that what you say can or will come true.” “A virgin conceiving – fantasy!” “Me, giving birth to the Son of God? – lunacy!” “Me, the mother of the Messiah, the Savior of the World – yea, right! I don’t think so! How naive do you think I am? I’ve heard about the miracles of old. But things like that just don’t happen in real life, not anymore, not to me.” And if even if she had believed that such a thing was possible, Mary still could have said, “no.” She could have said, “No, I cannot do as God commands. I’m not cut out for this. I am not worthy. Find someone else.” Or she could have said, “No, I will not do what God wants. I refuse. This is MY life. What about all my plans with Joseph, what about my hopes and dreams and ambitions? This is MY life and I want to live it my way.”

        But Mary said, “Yes, I believe. Yes, I am willing. Yes, use me O God as you will, as Your instrument.”

        “Oh sure,” you probably say. “Who wouldn’t say “yes” to an angel? How can you turn an angel down? I’d say ‘yes’ also if an angel spoke to me!” The logic behind such words as these is the notion that it would easier to believe and obey God if a heavenly being, or perhaps God himself, spoke to us. Nice-sounding words, but they are just words. The fact is, and as God sees it, God’s Word is God’s Word, whether it comes through an angel, an apostle, a prophet, a pastor, or a donkey. God’s Word is God’s Word. If we are unwilling to accept it from a pastor, from a fellow Christian, or when we read it in the Bible, we will also be unwilling to accept it from an angel or some other heavenly messenger. Think of all those who said “no” to Jesus himself.

        Mary said “yes” to God and this is why we honor her. Because she said “yes,” she became the mother of our Lord, indeed the mother of God, because the child to whom she gave birth was God and man in one person. But our Lutheran Confessions have rightly said that the greatest honor we can give Mary is to imitate her faith.” That is why Elizabeth, speaking by the Holy Spirit, said about Mary,

        blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”

        Our Redeemer Lutheran Church

        Like

      • Monica and Kathleen, Continuing on the Annunciation…

        Yes your comments on prophecy and the angel’s announcement were interesting. But they were dogmatically based on pre-digested Christian exegesis. And so I believe that your comments should really have started something thus wise. – ‘We Christians dont take it as just an announcement of fact. We are taught (or we understand or it is revealed to us) that what it means is…. etc etc.’ Surely that would be the appropriate way to deliver your interpretation.

        So I repeat, – the text says something very specific. The Angel clearly stated that it WOULD HAPPEN.. No non Christion would ever take it as meaning otherwise. Naturally Mary simply wanted to understand the situation a bit better. So she asked for more info. She accepted the fate and the mission that the God had decreed for her. Text continues with words like ‘and how will this be?’ I notice she did NOT say ‘and how would this all come about, if I do accept this extraordinary mission?’

        Your argument simply wouldnt hold water for a non-Christian hearer.

        Anyway, I recall a Jewish writer making a comment to the effect of this… “There simply would not be a single pious and orthodox Jewish girl of past or present, who would ever say ‘No’ to the information or announcement from an angel that she had been chosen by God to be the mother of the Messiah. It would just be the very greatest honour”.

        Oh and Kathleen, I dont believe that any deity has ‘given’ us freewill. It is simply one of the natural attributes of humanity.

        Rian.

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      • Thanks Rian.

        I appreciate and have taken on board your constructive criticism. And now I am able to see your point of view, where previously I was unable to. Thank you.

        Cheers

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      • Indeed:- “Rape is NOT okay under any circumstances: ”

        …..and as I said at some length:- ‘rape’ to BE rape, needs to be defined.
        I just don’t think much of what passes for rape these days is, in reality, ‘rape’.

        eg. Note you don’t take issue with the list of examples I posted.
        As stated, I wouldn’t consider any of those cases (with the possible exception of god doing over Mary) a rape by any reasonable definition.
        But each one of those those examples would constitute ‘rape’ in most of the world’s courts today, and carry stiff penalties.

        And leave us never forget the old truism: if you play with fire you’ve got no right to bitch if you get your fingers burnt.

        See Wordweb: it’s got as good a (common) definition as any:-

        “Force (someone) to have sex against their will”

        As I stipulated, ‘excessive violence is the key to what’s ‘rape’.
        Bribing, cajoling, conning, even taking advantage of a drunk, etc etc etc, do NOT constitute “force”
        ……and particularly not “against their will”.

        Don’t forget people ~ and women in particular ~ often have unspoken and ‘unthinkable’ desires and (MORE particularly) tempting curiosities.

        Ask Eve. 😉
        ….or Delilah, Cleopatra, Pandora. etc. Virtually every ‘famous’ woman is famous because of her ‘kloset kinks’ !

        Any wonder I’m so fond of the beasties?? 🙂

        Like

      • “Prophecy: Noun.
        Knowledge of the future (usually said to be obtained from a divine source)”
        What’s to “understand”

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      • See?:- “I often wonder how Dabs might feel if he was anally raped.”

        Kinky.
        How “often” do you wonder about my tushie being violated, Mon? 🙂

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      • And to answer your question: dabbles wouldn’t be “feeling” anything; he’d be dead.
        Or the would-be attacker would be ~ that’s the best way of avoiding the excessive violence upon which ‘rape’ is predicated: violence that goes way beyond ‘excessive’, and strikes first, without warning.
        There were a few attempts when ~ as a rather pretty 15.y.o ~ I was first dumped in Pentridge. Immediate, extreme violence got the word out that trying it on could cost you your life ~ or worse.

        Never was much of a christian, I’m afraid.

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      • Why would you not condone killing as a means of protecting yourself or yours, Kate?
        Apart from that being a fundamental of the evolutionary processes which produced us, it’s actually accepted by diverse legal systems around the world.
        And isn’t that the same basis upon which god visited his duress upon the egyptians ~ even down to killing the smallest and least-threatening children?

        As I keep saying: the further we (as a species) get away from the natural rules the more confused and frusrated and helpless we become.

        *******************************

        As to the question re. bank-robbery vis-a-vis taxation, I will only say that the principle is the same.
        ….and while I resent the very concept of (institutionalised) tax, and do what I can not to co-operate, I’d never deny the taxman has the right to TRY to rob me.
        Again: the law of the nature decrees that Might makes Right.

        Even your god agrees…and drowned the whole world to prove the point.
        ……but that doesn’t suggest that others (apart from Noah) weren’t free to build a life-raft, in the best tradition of non-co-operation. (anarchy).
        (Or passive resistance, as Gandhi or MLKing might’ve said.)

        Anyway, bank-robbery is passe: banks carry so little cash these days you probably wouldn’t get the cab-fare home. 😉
        …….especially if you wanted to stop for a Big Mac on the way.

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      • Kathleen,
        I was interested to observe that in one of your posts there, you made reference to ‘Mother Mary’, a term that few if any Protestants would use. Now that of course is indicative of your approach based on the Catholic doctrines about her. Few outside the Catholic and the Orthodox and the Ethiopian churches adhere to those. Does this mean that you hold fast in belief about the four essential and infallible teachings taught about Mary?

        These of course are the ‘Immaculate Conception’ of Mary; the ‘Mother of God’ principle; that she is ‘Ever Virgin’ (at least before and after the birth of Jesus, though up till a little while ago, it included her miraculous retention of virginity during the birth); and of course the most recent declaration some 60 years back, that she was ‘Assumed’ body and soul into heaven at the time of her decease. (as you will of course be fully aware, the Immaculate Conception has absolutely nothing to do with the principle of the Virgin Conception and Virgin birth of Jesus)

        I presume that Monica, having converted some time back to the Protestant side of Christianity, will almost certainly accept that Mary did not remain virgin following the birth of Jesus, but bore several other children by Joseph. (If you are listening here, Monica, – can you confirm that you don’t hold to the Catholic tradition, or any of those four infallible doctrines?)

        My one other comment to both of you is that despite all the clever argument based on Biblical prophecy and Christian teaching about God, you still will not see the Annunciation by the Angel to be phrased as a Question. If you can prove to me that it is a question, I should be grateful. As I indicated in my argument yesterday, it was only natural within the story, that the Angel should wait until Mary indicated by her ‘acceptance speech’ her understanding of the miracle that was to occur.

        Without that explanation, the poor girl would have remained totally bewildered and lost, and of course deep in shame and disgrace.

        cheers, Rian

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      • Dabs,

        😆 Good for you! I am so glad you were able to protect your tushie’s honour. It’s just that, well…. if you have never been raped, then how come you are such an expert on what constitutes rape? And why do you seem so flippant and sexist when discussing rape?

        In truth, your attitude regarding this matter upsets me. You seem to think that women secretly love it! Well, as a woman who was raped, I can assure you that there was NOTHING about the experience that I loved, or even remotely liked. Violence? You bet! Although not necessarily physical. But certainly soul-wrenching!

        How can you speak from a position of true knowledge and empathy if you have never been raped or know of close beloved family members and friends who have suffered such a soul-destroying traumatic event, or seen first-hand the result of little children who have been raped and abused? Do you have any idea of the great ineffable affliction it has on the sufferer? It often takes decades, if not a lifetime, to pick-up and find the shattered pieces of one’s lost soul.

        Sorry Dabs, but when you go on about rape and the picture you paint of women….and of God; the God that I love with all my heart, well, I get to thinking that you don’t know what you are talking about.

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      • You are correct Rian,

        I no longer hold to the Catholic tradition, or any of those four infallible doctrines. Also add to the four: “Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix of all Graces, and Advocate”. I am now a Bible-believing Christian, particularly the part that says all have sinned and fallen short. I choose to make the Bible my final authority now, not the Catholic Church like I once did…..for my own spiritual safety and well-being.

        But having said that, whose to say that God has not revealed certain truths to the Catholics that we Protestants are not privy to? So, unless I am led to say something; to confront, by the Holy Spirit, I am quite happy to keep my peace now and leave their faith (and mine) in God’s capable hands.

        Like

      • Oh come off it Monica!
        (” if you have never been raped, then how come you are such an expert on what constitutes rape?”)
        Even if you HAVE been raped, what makes YOU think you’re an expert on what it is and how it effects people across the board ~ including their families and others?
        Your experience, whatever it may have been can ONLY be seen subjectively by, and the effects be applicable to, you. And the same applies to any victim of any attack.

        That sort of generalised by-rote (and dare I say politically-correct) attitude is exactly the sort of thing I object to.

        And, in fact, I’d be willing to bet I’ve been ‘deep and meaningful’ (in the exploration and discussion of the most intimate of issues) with a lot more women than you have.. about matters (quote) that I’d never discuss with my husband or my priest or my doctor (unquote)
        ………and your determined semi-hysteria isn’t shared by most of them.
        Women generally can be far more pragmatic and stoic then men.

        Just yesterday I half-heard a bunch of female ‘social commentators’ on tv discussing the issue, and they had stats (didn’t say where they came from ~ just stated them as an indisputable fact) that about 80% of ‘rapes’ weren’t even reported. How they were able to ‘know’ that is beyond me. But it makes the point that ‘rape’ is different things to different people, and any sensible discussion of the subject requires that FIRST OF ALL it must be decided exactly WHAT it is that we’re talking about.

        That’s what I intended to establish with those questions I posted, which none of the ‘outraged’ commentators bothered to address.

        So:- do YOU think King Solomon was a serial rapist in having “taken” 700 wives and 300 concubines, NONE of whom are recorded as having been asked for their consent?
        (Quite apart from the counts of ‘illegal’ mass-bigamy.)

        Sorry to sound sharpish, but until you arrive at a reasonable agreement about what ‘rape’ is, you’ve got no business accusing me of not knowing what I’m talking about.

        Like

      • Quite wrong:- “… was abused, which is the same as it is not consensual.”
        Entirely different.
        And please don’t accuse me of effusiveness. It’s not my style at all.

        Like

      • So:- do YOU think King Solomon was a serial rapist in having “taken” 700 wives and 300 concubines, NONE of whom are recorded as having been asked for their consent?
        (Quite apart from the counts of ‘illegal’ mass-bigamy.)

        YES!!!

        Like

      • ?? “I think every woman knows what rape is. And most men.”
        How?
        And if from personal experience why would you think the effects of the experience was the same for others as for yourself?

        How do you, then, define ‘rape’.

        Feel free to extrapolate from any of the scenarios/questions I posted.

        WAS Solomon a serial rapist?
        Was the hormonally-driven 16-y.o. ‘raped’?
        If you deliberately put yourself in ‘harm’s way’ may you legitimately complain about being consequently ‘harmed’?

        I just don’t think it’s that black-and-white.

        Like

      • That’s…> ““She was willing. She said “yes.” I am the female servant of the Lord; may it happen to me according to your word.” NOT consent!

        That’s surrender under duress.

        And illegal, in today’s world and according to today’s legal standards.
        Mary had about as much choice as did Monica….Lewinsky. 😉

        Henry Kissinger (ugly, sleazy and old) was another one who used to boast about having any woman he wanted because of his powerful position.

        ….and, as I understand it, god even outranked him!

        Like

      • ?? ““God asked Mary what she wanted to do. ….. She gave her consent.”

        No he didn’t, and no, she didn’t.
        Submitting to the demand of a most-powerful ‘authority’ is not consent, particularly in light of the reality that the basic ~ if not sole ~ role of females is to be used sexually. (I’m too polite to cite the more common expression here!)
        Evolution says females are sex-objects, and so does your god.

        ….you know, the one who also didn’t give Eve a choice about being used sexually. He ‘created’ her specifically to be Adam’s ‘playmate’ then, ‘gave’ her to Adam and told them to get on with it. She had NO other reason for existence, and it was never even slightly implied that she had a choice but to be sexually used by Adam in the fulfilment of god’s instructions.
        No violence involved.
        Rape?

        It’s only been in the last half-century that all the contemporary knob-twiddling has confused a simple, billion-year-long reality.
        ,,,,and wrecked countless reasonably-content human relationships.

        Like

      • Hallelujah and PTL! ~ A straight answer! —-> “YES!!!”
        What’s this blog coming to ?! 😯

        So then, Mon, if Solomon was a serial rapist, how about Abraham…. and even more pointedly, Jacob?
        Oh,,,,and Jesus’ ‘earthly ancestor’, the profligate King David who went through women (and the odd boy?) like Dinkum through a bag of snags?

        (and does that mean Jesus may well have been the product of a rape victim? ~ other than Mary, I mean)

        …..and while Jesus wasn’t a ladies man himself, ( I’ve sometimes suspected the real context of “Get thee behind me Satan”) ~ he did confirm the Levirate law whereby he previously (as god) dictated that manless women should be passed on and used like any other property of a deceased estate…….and to hell with ‘consent’.

        Should god, therefore, be seen as an ‘instigator’ of serial rape or merely as an aider-and-abettor?

        Like

      • The problem with Mary is when you’re looking at a “primitive” people through they eyes of 21st century morality.

        Nowadays we view even “perfectly” consensual relationships with suspicion if there is any kind of power imbalance between the parties. Doctor / patient relationships or student / teacher ones come to mind.

        We consider it’s inappropriate for a doctor to have a sexual relationship with a patient in his care, due to the power imbalance between them. No matter how willing the patient might be,

        How great must the power imbalance between God and a willing follower be ?

        Of course this is 21st century morality being applied to a people who didn’t have any notion of such concepts. (I think)

        Yet if morality is timeless how can we not apply such moral values.

        It’s a perplexing question.

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  4. Note the massive insults “”AGAIN”
    In my case both my brother and I had the luxury of having a catholic father and presbyterian mother and their differences highlighted the absurdity of their beliefs.
    Basically give room for independent thinking that is frowned upon by any religion .
    What it come down to is the deep hatred of Atheists {independent thinking minds} by all religions going mack more than thirty thousand years .
    Catholic psychologist Paul C.Vitz is just another name on the list who really hate those who don,t have his fear of NON EXISTANCE

    Like

    • Dabbles old mate,
      this posting will show up miles from the context here on this topic. But I have to quote it. There were comments here about King Solomon and his multitude of partners. A very early joke I heard was one of what we used to call Schoolboy Howlers. Kid writes in his essay….

      King Solomon had 700 wives, and 300 porcupines.

      That used to be considered very funny in my youth. What might have been described as a good clean Methodist joke.
      Rian.

      Like

      • Prickly situation!

        But, come to think of it, he was a bit of a masochist wasn’t he?

        (…..and not real bright for being the world’s wisest man.
        ….700 wives!
        Fancy even just trying to remember the birthdays!) 😯

        Like

      • Dabbles,
        Oh, and a very old silly rhyme.

        Solomon had a thousand wives
        He was plenty tired all right.
        Had to ride a big bicycle
        To kiss all of them goodnight

        Rian.

        Like

      • Dabbles,
        Gee, just as well you reminded me there of the proclivities of the Methodist God. Thanks,
        Rian

        Like

      • Yep! He’s right on the ball! Wasn’t it the Methodist god who banned promiscuous sex….in case it led to dancing? 🙂

        Like

  5. I don’t think this study is true Bryan. The Bible tells the story of Jacob and Esau. Both had a model father but one became godless the other became godly. And then there is Saul and Jonathan. One was the father who rebelled against God, the other was the pious son who was obedient to the decision of God, despite the cost to himself.
    Having said this, the Bible makes a great deal about looking after the interests of the fatherless children. A godly father or godly role model can and does have much influence in shaping the character of children.

    Like

  6. I can understand agnosticism, but I just don’t understand atheism. Agnosticism says there is no proof of a God, which is a factual statement. Atheism says there is no God. That cannot be proved to be a statement of fact – it is a belief.

    Sorry to be so blunt with atheists I truly admire on this site, and often agree with their thinking. Whether atheism is a belief or not, is it all really worth worrying about? There are other things I for one might worry about.

    Like

    • Hey Strewth,

      Where do you draw the line? I’d call myself an atheist as I consider there to be nothing of an evidentiary nature that can establish a god. So yeah I guess there’s a chance and I’m completely wrong. that there is convincing evidence or it’s possible that there’s a god who’s just good at hiding.

      And, to me anyway, atheism isn’t a positive statement it’s just a lack of belief in god. a theism.

      Like

      • Definition of ATHEISM
        1 archaic : ungodliness, wickedness
        2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity
        b : the doctrine that there is no deity
        (Websters)

        Word Origin & History

        atheist
        1570s, from Fr. athéiste (16c.), from Gk. atheos “to deny the gods, godless,” from a- “without” + theos “a god” (see Thea).
        (Oxford Dictionary)

        Like

      • The two (Websters) citations contradict each other. —> 2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity;
        b : the doctrine that there is no deity

        ‘disbelief’ = ‘unbelief’ not only needs no “doctrine”, it couldn’t support one.

        Ditto the conflicting quotes from the Oxford —-> “a- “without” + theos “a god” & “godless'” are NOT the same as ” to deny the gods”

        BillyBob makes the point that being ‘flealess’ is NOT the same as disbelieving in the existence of fleas.

        In any case, to compare a definition for “atheism” with a definition for “atheist” is illegitimate and illogical. “Atheism” describes an entity, and may therefore, arguably, be called a ‘doctrine’;
        But the term at issue is ‘atheist’, which may NOT be called a ‘doctrine’, because it does NOT describe an entity, but, rather, a condition. eg ‘godless’ or ‘without god’.

        …..ask any Greek. 😉

        Like

      • afterthought:- In fact, I doubt there’d be any greek etymology for “atheism” ~ and suspect that’s a later (perhaps English, but definitely religious-based) addition which was snuck into the argument for sinister purposes.

        Burning an atheist at the stake might be a pleasureable transitory experience, but imagine the excitement inherent in hunting down ‘atheism’!

        Not unlike the difference between ‘christian’ and ‘christianity’, hey?

        Like

      • Do we really need some kind of definitional debate ?

        ” To say that atheism is the denial of God or the gods and that it is the opposite of theism, a system of belief that affirms the reality of God and seeks to demonstrate his existence, is inadequate in a number of ways.”

        and further

        “It may be retorted that to avoid apriorism and dogmatic atheism the existence of God should be regarded as a hypothesis. There are no ontological (purely a priori) proofs or disproofs of God’s existence. It is not reasonable to rule in advance that it makes no sense to say that God exists. What the atheist can reasonably claim is that there is no evidence that there is a God, and against that background he may very well be justified in asserting that there is no God.”

        Encyclopedia Britannica

        OR

        atheism
        NOUN
        disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

        Origin

        late 16th century: from French athéisme, from Greek atheos, from a- ‘without’ + theos ‘god’.

        Oxford dictionary

        Is there a point in continuing ? Does it really matter that I’m an Oxford atheist but not a Websters atheist?

        Like

      • Nonsense!….. “All the definitions you posted confirm my point. Atheism is a belief system .”

        NEITHER of these definitions:-

        “disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.
        late 16th century: from French athéisme, from Greek atheos, from a- ‘without’ + theos ‘god’.”

        may honestly be described as a “belief system”

        Heat getting to you??

        And yes, Bubba, definition of the subject and the terms are the first essential in any debate.
        ………unless one is a politician or an evangelist. 😆

        Like

      • You can think that if you like, you might event think that I just need insults. That’s fair enough it’s your blog.

        But an answer to the question would be fine with me.

        Like

      • as a PS I already have glasses, they work fine as does my comprehension.

        For example when I read the term “magnetism” I don’t confuse it with a synonym for the earth’s magnetic field. 😉

        Like

      • Hey Dabbles,

        That’s only useful if this is a debate, and I can’t see any reason for that.

        Like

      • Bubba: “So yeah I guess there’s a chance and I’m completely wrong. that there is convincing evidence or it’s possible that there’s a god who’s just good at hiding.”
        Equals agnosticism.

        “How is a “lack of belief” (Oxford) a belief system?

        But do you know any real atheists that have only a lack of belief? They go further than that, they have a belief there is no God.

        No Dabs, agnostics are not “just atheists who don’t want to run the risk of being ostracised…or barbequed.” I know very many and was one myself. Agnostics see no proof of a God, but concede the possibility.

        I agree with Bubba who says “Is there a point in continuing ? Does it really matter that I’m an Oxford atheist but not a Websters atheist?”

        Like

      • Option No.1 = I believe
        Option No. 2 = I don’t believe
        Option No. 3 = I’ve come to believe that there is no such thing as belief. By not believing there is anything such as belief. I believe that I can be free from being categorised or labelled or, or, or, held accountable. So there!

        Like

      • “How is an absence of a belief system a belief system?”
        As I understand it, in the same way that baldness is a hairstyle.

        Like

      • “Option No.1 = I believe
        Option No. 2 = I don’t believe
        Option No. 3 = I’ve come to believe that there is no such thing as belief. By not believing there is anything such as belief. I believe that I can be free from being categorised or labelled or, or, or, held accountable. So there!”

        ….any wonder I’ve always loved well-brought-up catholic women?!

        At a certain point of confusion they fall over backwards just to change the subject! 🙂

        Like

      • Hi Strewth

        “But do you know any real atheists that have only a lack of belief? They go further than that, they have a belief there is no God”

        Well there’s me. I consider my self a “real” atheist at the moment. But I’m basing that position on the lack of evidence to base a “god” conclusion on. And that could change at any time.

        Maybe I’m not a “real” atheist maybe I’m just a very skeptical agnostic. But if you asked me the simple question “do you believe in God” then I’d answer “no” and to me that’s good enough to consider myself an atheist.

        I’d agree with Dabbles about lack of belief is not belief. Otherwise I might as well call sitting in this chair a type of exercise.

        Like

      • Bryan,
        You say there that everything ‘proves that atheism is a belief system’. I think that the only actual belief intrinsic to it is simply that a Belief in Theism or in a god is of no significance or importance. Sure, SOME atheists do indicate that they specifically believe there is no god.

        Cant see though how it can be a ‘system’.
        Rian.

        Like

    • It’s been said before, Strewth:- ‘agnostics’ are just atheists who don’t want to run the risk of being ostracised…or barbequed.
      But strictly speaking, ‘atheism’ doesn’t “say” anything: “godlessness” a condition, not a position.

      Like

      • Oops! Replied in the wrong place. To repeat myself – No Dabs, agnostics are not “just atheists who don’t want to run the risk of being ostracised…or barbequed.” I know very many and was one myself. Agnostics see no proof of a God, but concede the possibility.

        Like

      • Hey Bryan,

        Here’s the thing people are going to misunderstand each other from time to time. It happens, as long a we talk to each other there will always be times we get our wires crossed.

        It’s going to happen. But what’s more important is that we keep talking to each other regardless and try and clear up miscommunications when they occur.

        I made a statement that magnetism can be reliably and repeatedly demonstrated (I’ll stick by that statement). You seem to have interpreted that as a claim that magnetism – in particular the earth’s magnetic field – is fully understood.

        Clearly you’ve gotten a crossed wire but that’s ok it’s going to happen.

        What’s more important is how you react afterwards – you can play some kind of silly games and avoid the issue if you like. Or you can just man up – admit you made an error and move on.

        From all I’ve seen of you to date I’m sure that you’d take the higher ground.

        Like

      • Seems I’m being clear enough for Dabbles and Rian. Which just gives more credence to the notion that the comprehension issues aren’t at my end.

        Like

    • “But anyway, look at your first post re magnetism and you will {probably) see what I mean. If not, I can’t help you.”

      Yep I’ve looked – I made the statement that magnetism can be reliably and repeatedly demonstrated.

      (I’ve even given some practical examples of that in action.)

      You’ve made some bizarre interpretation that that was my attempt to disagree with Professor Holme’s views on the earth’s magnetic field.

      You haven’t been able to explain how you came to that conclusion. Or show that my initial statement about magnetism was in anyway incorrect.

      There may indeed be a problem with comprehension during this discussion, but I’m far from convinced that the issues are at my end 😉

      Like

      • Bryan,
        I fear that you are wriggling away from the point raised here. I dont think our resident atheists are suggesting, in order to argue with the guy you quoted, that our earthly science UNDERSTANDS all about magnetism. They are simply saying and repeating over and over that magnetism can be clearly demonstrated over and over again, (and as far as I know) without any exception, that it works. And it can be shown to work for and by theists of all brands, as well as by atheists of all brands. Even that ignorant child who is something perhaps of an atheist by nature at that age, can observe it working. Similar demonstrations are not at all so readily reproduced about existence and faith in a deity.
        Rian.

        Like

  7. Hi Bryan,

    Lets make this as simple as we can. I said “magnetism can be reliably and repeatedly demonstrated”.

    Can you show me if:
    1) That statement is in anyway correct
    2) That statement in any way contradicts the work of Professor Holme.

    thanks.

    Bubba Ray

    Like

  8. “Did you know that Mary was not the only one impregnated by the Holy Spirit? All New Testament believers are impregnated by the Holy Spirit! That’s right. And just as Christ grew in Mary, the mother of God, until He had to come out on Christmas day, Christ will grow in you and I until the same thing occurs, until He comes out.

    He will come out in our words, in our deeds, and in our actions. Every day we live can be a Christmas. You and I, ordinary people, just like Mary can deliver Christ into the world.”

    You’ve outdone yourself Monica. That is beautiful.

    Like

    • Thanks Kathleen,

      Now have a read of this one. It’s spot-on. (Bryan recently mentioned “brick walls”, nudge, nudge, wink, wink) 🙂

      ‘Let It Be’: Mary’s Radical Declaration of Consent

      “A modern myth claims that the biblical account of Mary’s conception of the Christ child shows God to be a rapist.

      Last Christmas, placards proclaiming “God raped Mary” were posted around the property of a Youth for Christ chapter in Toronto, Canada. Likewise, an atheist web site claims of the biblical story, “There was no asking Mary ‘Hey, do you consent to this?’, she had no choice, god just knocked her up and told her afterwards.” Then there’s the Internet meme depicting an illustration of Mary emblazoned with the words, “You think you got it bad? God raped me.” Even some lighthearted half-believers—who concede the historicity of Mary, but not the supernatural circumstances around her son—theorize that she was raped, not by God, but by a Roman soldier, as portrayed in a 2002 BBC documentary.

      However, whether one considers the scriptural account to be the inspired word of God or merely a literary text, understanding it properly requires an accurate reading of its actual words. Whether one interprets the story of Christ’s birth as literal or metaphorical (or both), a faithful reading, as is true of the reading of all texts, starts at the literal level. I am a Christian, the kind who believes in the literal virgin birth of Christ, as well as his literal death and bodily resurrection. But I’m far less offended as a Christian by unbelieving than I am as an English professor by misreading.

      The literal words in the Bible (across various translations) make clear that the angel Gabriel’s words at the Annunciation convey to Mary what will happen, not what has happened, a future conception not a past one.

      As it turns out, the Annunciation offers an invitation to Mary to give a very modern turn to a very pre-modern event: verbal consent.

      In these modern times—marked by the kind of post-sexual revolution complexities and progressive sexual politics that make even the definitions of “rape,” “rapist,” and “nice men” points of conflict on both a personal and an international scale—verbal consent has been put forward in some quarters as the salvation of the sexually vulnerable.

      Consider the sexual conduct code enacted—to much national acclaim and infamy—by Antioch College in the mid-’90s. Among the long list of steps required or recommended by the code in order to stay this side of official sexual misconduct were these:

      ‘If sexual contact and/or conduct is not mutually and simultaneously initiated, then the person who initiates sexual contact/conduct is responsible for getting the verbal consent of the other individual(s) involved.

      The person with whom sexual contact/conduct is initiated is responsible to express verbally and/or physically her/his willingness or lack of willingness when reasonably possible.’

      These steps are followed quite neatly in the narration of the Annunciation in Luke’s gospel. God initiates, and Mary gives her verbal consent: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

      To be clear, in the sequence of events given, it is not until after Mary consents that the child is conceived (which, the story says, occurs through the “overshadowing” of the Holy Spirit, the same word used to describe what happens to the disciples years later at Christ’s transfiguration). Furthermore, Mary’s verbal consent to the conception of the Christ child by the Holy Spirit is premised on her informed consent since the words delivered by the angel foretell also the identity and future of the child she will conceive: “the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”

      So with Mary’s words of “let it be,” we have what just might be the first recorded instance of verbal consent in human history. And considering the times—ancient Middle Eastern cultures were not known for their justice toward women—this verbal consent to being the bearer of the Christ child is quite remarkable indeed.

      Of course, we don’t have Mary’s firsthand account of the events. What we do have is the report of Luke, who is traditionally said to have been a doctor and is characterized by modern scholars as among the most cultured writers of the New Testament, distinguished in his writings for his overriding (and uncommon) concern for women, the poor, the sick, and the outcast. Luke mentions Mary more than any other biblical author. One of my colleagues, a professor of philosophy and religion, tells me that it is likely that Mary was one of Luke’s firsthand sources for his gospel, given both textual and historical evidence. In the absence of a record of Mary’s own account, there could not be a more trustworthy record than this, one hardly less reliable than, say, Plato’s recordings of the dialogues of Socrates.

      Yet, some things don’t change: then as now, the woman’s word is given too little credence. But if we take the woman at her word, Luke’s account of Mary’s testimony portrays a God—whether real or mythical—who was way ahead of us. And with us, too.”

      http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2012/12/let-it-be-marys-radical-declaration-of-consent/266616/

      Like

  9. Bubba, God gave the Pharoah many signs and chances to soft his heart. A week’s worth.

    God was very patient. The Pharoah signed his own death sentence.

    Like

    • Yeah but if free will is at all an issue it should have gone something like this
      Moses “Pharaoh let my people go”
      Pharaoh “Nope”

      God “dammit he say no of his own free will, and I can’t put any pressure on him to change his mind. If I did that it wouldn’t be his free will anymore. Gee that’s tough for the Israelites they are going to have to be slaves for a while.”

      Like

      • Actually, a bias-free reading of the record would probably convince the pair of you that the jews didn’t decamp at all.

        They were evicted ~ for the same sort of practices as has seen them make enemies of their hosts and neighbours throughout their entire history.

        ….and where they can’t do it to ‘normal’ people, they do it to each other!
        Moral:- Never part with your foreskin!

        Like

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