Wanna go to hell?

Trade your soul for a DVD! All you have to do is post a video of yourself to youtube, stating that you deny the holy spirit, and you'll get a copy of The God Who Wasn't There. Why those magic words?

Whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit can never be forgiven.

Mark 3:29

More details on The Blasphemy Challenge are available online, and they have a trailer, even:

Some of the comments on that video are hilarious.

You know what I hate? Fanatic Christians? Know what I hate just as much? Fanatic Atheists. This 'challenge' is disrespectful on a level I can't even verbalize. It's juvenile and inane. What do you hope to accomplish by doing this? It's obvious the only purpose is to get a rise out of people. Disgusting.

Poor fellow. What he doesn't realize that there's nothing fanatical about this at all. Stating that I deny the holy spirit only means that I have made an unambiguous statement about what I believe. It does get a rise out of people, but the fault lies in them, not us; should I get outraged every time a Christian recites the Nicene creed? Isn't it more the case that a fanatical theist would get angry at people saying that they don't believe as he does?

Oh, and this one needs no comment, since the inanity is self-evident:

STOP THIS! Please, if you're thinking about blaspheming against the spirit, don't! It's no laughing matter, it's the worst thing you could ever do.

Who was Jesus Christ? Liar? Lunatic? Lord? Those are your options. Those 3. That's it. Liar? Yeah, right! He'd have to be a freakin' genius liar to fool everybody in the bible! Hahaha, puh-leeze! Lunatic? OMG! Hahaha! You're funny! That explains how He died for our sins then came back to life! Moron. He was Lord. Duh!

This one is also funny:

So athiests think their immortal soul is worth a free DVD. Intersting; sad, VERY sad, but interesting none the less.

Let's get all reverent about that all-important "immortal soul". What the complainers don't realize is that it doesn't exist, so it doesn't count: what this really represents is trading a few minutes of effort to make a 30-second video for a free DVD.

I already have the DVD, so I'll do this for free. I deny the holy spirit.

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The holy spirit exists, all right - as far as I'm concerned it's Armagnac.

I made my recording earlier this week. I had to install this crap-o web cam that I got for free when I first switched to DSL. The picture quality was bad and I think I screwed up the audio settings because you can barely hear me and the a/v is out of synch.

But despite all that, my denial was still good enough to generate Christian hate mail. Woohoo! I've joined the club.

heathen blasphemer! if any spirit were ever holy, it would have to be the MacAllan. we'll have to wage a holy war, now.

By Nomen Nescio (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

Do they accept comments posted to a blog? (I deny the holy spirit!), because i don't want to appear on video.

paulh- Armagnac is a strong candidate but I think there's something to be said for marc de Bourgogne as well. (Wish I knew where to find some here in the Cleveland area, where the state monopoly on liquor distribution results in pathetic selections and prices.)

By Steve LaBonne (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

It's a divide that's apparently impossible to get over. Atheists do not think their immortal soul is worth a DVD. Atheists think there is no such thing as an immortal soul. Would these Christians be offended if someone offered them a free DVD (not that it's free since you have to expend some effort) for making a video clip in which they said "I deny the effulgent blorbik"?

The problem is that they can't wrap their minds around people who honestly don't believe in the very existence of these things. Atheists must hate or repudiate or fear God, because no one can not believe in him. It's like saying "The Amish don't believe in cell phones or helicopters." Of course they do: they see them all the time. Or people saying "I don't believe in pre-marital sex." Of course they don't think it doesn't exist - they reject it.

That's the sense in which most of these religious interpret "I don't believe in God".

I deny the Holy Spirit. OK, funny, I have been an atheist for four years and never actually came right out and said it like that. But it's true. I deny the existence of any such thing as it is described in the Bible.

I'm too stingy to go buy a webcam or whatever just to record a YouTube with, though, so that will have to do. I like this site better anyway. :)

By speedwell (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

Well, I'm not going to say it!

I'm an atheist who likes to hedge his bets.

Candyman....

Candyman...

Candyma.....

By Christian Burnham (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

Hi, my name is cleek, (hi cleek!) and i deny the holy spirit.

well, kinda.... as noted above, how can you deny something that doesn't exist ? how's this: i deny that the "holy spirit" exists outside the imaginations of those who want to believe in it.

ashes to ashes. funk to funky.

The evangelicals cleave to what they like to call "systematic theology," which is a system of biblical exegesis (pronounced: Exit Jesus) that's concerned with finding loopholes in the sacred texts that will justify all kinds of patently unchristian behaviors. For a good example with respect to the subject chapter-and-verse, have a look here.

"Whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit can never be forgiven."

He said blasphemes.

So... the Holy Spirit is a stale fucking joke. And fuck off everyone who believes in something so much that they would stone another person to death for not believing. That was a bright idea. What psychotic sociopath came up with it? Fuck off Leviticus 24.

Leviticus 24
New American Standard Bible ©

11 The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name and cursed. So they brought him to Moses. (Now his mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.)

12 They put him in custody so that the command of the LORD might be made clear to them.

13 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

14 "Bring the one who has cursed outside the camp, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head; then let all the congregation stone him.

15 "You shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'If anyone curses his God, then he will bear his sin.

16 'Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.

I, too, deny the Holy Spirit as it's written in the bible.

I also deny the White Unicorn, Leprechauns, Sylphs, Gnomes, Trolls, and Bat Boy.

I feel better now. Did I just flip from Agnostic to Athiest?

Morph

By MorpheusPA (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

Always cracks me up that the unequivocal "One God" of the old testament was magically multiplied by the later "christians" into an oddly unexplained "triune" phenomenon. Father, yeah. Son, ok, but you're pushing it. Holy ghost? C'mon people. God may be forgiving, but I'm willing to bet he can count.

My opinion is, if there's blaspheming going on, in the One God's eyes, it's the holy ghosters who are doing the most of it. No question.

By just call me s… (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

(upping the ante)

I deny the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Muahahahaha...

By speedwell (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

I deny the Holy Spirit, the human spirit, and all other spirits.

I also pity those who, for whatever psychopathology, believe in such primitive nonsense.

I believe that the only love in this world is the love we show each other.

I also believe I will have a donut.

If you have to ask, then you're a filthy appeaser, and I'll have no truck with you. ;)

See, now this is interesting. Because I was raised Baptist, and I was taught that once you're saved there's no possible way to be unsaved. (Presumably not even by becoming atheist later on.) But here it clearly states that if you blaspheme the holy spirit you can never be forgiven, which to me sounds a lot like never being saved.

So if I, being saved, turn around and blaspheme the holy spirit, does that make me still saved or eternally unforgiven?

Oh, this is all so silly. At least the Daleks had an actual physical "god" to worship.

DO! NOT! BLAS! PHEME!
DO! NOT! BLAS! PHEME!
DO! NOT! BLAS! PHEME!

Sordid details following:

I also deny the existence of God, the Holy Spirit, and the divinity (and possibly existence) of Jesus Christ...until sufficient evidence for their existence is provided to me. A little weaselly, perhaps, but never let it be said I'm prejudiced.

Unfortunately, not having "come out" to virtually anyone who knows me personally, I won't be claiming my free video just yet. :/

You know what disturbs me? I am currently and athiest, but I was raised Catholic.
Despite my desire to run the inside of my head on rational lines, I still get a little dose of the old religious fear when I think about saying this.

So today, I'm going to keep saying it until another stupid, irrational bit of my brain that religious indoctrination built goes away.

I deny the Holy Spirit exists. -- still getting a frisson. Argh.

So if I, being saved, turn around and blaspheme the holy spirit, does that make me still saved or eternally unforgiven?

Ah, but you see Joshua, if you did that then you were never really saved in the first place. Otherwise, you couldn't possibly have blasphemed. Convenient, eh?

This same reasoning was presented to me in all seriousness as the solution to the faith vs. works problem: You are indeed saved by faith, but good works follow from TRUE faith...so if you do bad works, you're hellbound because your faith was false.

Because I was raised Baptist, and I was taught that once you're saved there's no possible way to be unsaved. (Presumably not even by becoming atheist later on.) But here it clearly states that if you blaspheme the holy spirit you can never be forgiven, which to me sounds a lot like never being saved.

This is true as you are being saved, having it done to you, not the other way around. Therefore it would be God violating his promise if he let you go even if you choose a different path.

It should be mentioned that most of the more knowledgeable scholars on this issue see this verse as a rejection of Jesus type thing and not a simple phrase to be said. Meaning if you don't accept Jesus it can't be overlooked or something to that effect.

In the end who can say what some dude 2000 years ago sitting in a dirt hut actually desired his meaning to be.

A DVD? Faust got 24 years to make mayhem with mephistophile for his soul. AND he got to do Helen of Troy. She fitted him in between launching a thousand ships. And that's a lot of broken champagne bottles.

I don't have the means of doing that on youtube but I do deny the spirit. I also deny that those other things that go bump in the night have a supernatural explanation. In other words there is not one bit of factual basis for such concerns.

...

...

"I deny the holy spirit" is not something I'd say ... because it's not pointed enough. Godders need to be reminded, in every expression of unbelief, that THEIR particular flavor of religion is only one of many, and ALL of them are empty and baseless.

Saying "I don't believe in God" is a statement of specific renouncement for the Christian deity, which backhandedly reinforces belief on the part of the dimwits who cleave to it. The fact that you're talking about "God," naming him specifically, causes the statement to translate, in their buzzing little heads, to "God exists; it's just that I'm evil enough to hate him."

To me, the REAL statement of unbelief is not "I don't believe in," or "I renounce" but "There are no such things as ..." followed by "godS" - which is carefully plural to indicate the real context of the statement: that there are thousands of deities mentioned in world religious literature. ALL of them are unbelievable fictions.

The very fact that there are SO MANY OF THEM, and that their descriptions vary so wildly - White Shell Woman, Coyote, the Hero Twins, Zeus, Apollo, Ganesh, Huitzilopochtli, Allah, Dagda, Matsu, Anubis, God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the Big Magic Juju Guy - is one of the strongest bits of evidence that they're made-up, and don't exist.

That being said, I'll paraphrase: "I deny any and all holy spiritS."

...

Just in case my link above didn't take: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deities

Delicious side-note: The Wikipedia section on religions lists "Pastafarian."

...

...

Very well - I deny that Laphroaig exists.

By Dr. Steve (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

As a former Christian, I experienced what I believed to be the 'feelings of the Holy Ghost' many times. But as I learned more, I came to realise that feelings and experiences aren't good evidence. It was difficult for me to have the humility to accept that I was wrong when I attributed my feelings to some supernatural entity.

But I'm now quite happy to type the blood-curdling words: I deny that the Holy Ghost exists.

Fancy imagining that saying (or typing) that is the worst thing you could ever do. Worse than murdering someone. Having sex with someone is number three, in case you're keeping track.

Poor fellow. What he doesn't realize that there's nothing fanatical about this at all. Stating that I deny the holy spirit only means that I have made an unambiguous statement about what I believe. It does get a rise out of people, but the fault lies in them, not us; should I get outraged every time a Christian recites the Nicene creed?

Any theist who would make videos of themselves saying a creed would also be an fanatic. I just don't see how this sort of thing helps. It just spreads the stereotype of atheists as assholes obsessed with religion. Whereas the whole point of most atheists, including myself, is that they don't find religion interesting.

Saying honestly "No, I don't believe in a god" when asked is one thing, but crap like this is as annoying as people saying uninvitedly that they've been born-again or something.

The worst thing that you can do? Worse than eating a ham sandwich on a Friday? Noooooooo!!!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, and again probably:

I deny the Holy Spirit.

Oh, and if you see someone of YouTube wearing a ski mask and denying the Holy Spirit, it's me.

I don't have a camera! Nooooooo!

This same reasoning was presented to me in all seriousness as the solution to the faith vs. works problem: You are indeed saved by faith, but good works follow from TRUE faith...so if you do bad works, you're hellbound because your faith was false

Nahhh, thats crap.Everyone 'saved' or 'not' behave basically the same way. We all make mistakes and seeing how most people are 'saved' in their childhood are we to believe they do nothing wrong ever again? Thats just BS.

Ted Haggard as case in point.

While sipping on the holy spirit of a good single malt scotch, I cheerfully deny the Holy Spirit.

"The God Who Wasn't There" is a great DVD.

PZ, thanks for starting this thread.

By waldteufel (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

I don't disagree, GH, but this person thought (and thinks) otherwise. They had a rude awakening recently...rather direct proof that Christians aren't inherently better...but it didn't sink in.

Jonathan: Can't I be an asshole obsessed with having theists recognize and respect my existence? That's not going to happen if I only speak when spoken to. (said the man afraid to tell his closest friends and family...)

Badger. That's just weird.

Alot of people hold onto their beliefs because of fear.
The videos show people with no fear to deny the existence of god.
Just making a simple statement. Imagine the power of one site with thousands of people
standing up for themselves.

It's empowering. If the fundies have a problem with it... tough.

"Or people saying "I don't believe in pre-marital sex." Of course they don't think it doesn't exist - they reject it. That's the sense in which most of these religious interpret "I don't believe in God"."

This suggests that the history of theology and atheism among English speakers could have been different if 'I don't believe in...' was two distinct phrases, one that meant 'I believe 'X' does not exist' and one that meant 'I disapprove of/refuse to participate in 'X''.

(I have had several disconcerting conversations with sincerely passionate people about what they meant when they used an unclear phrase. The number of people who use imprecise language without being aware of what they are trying to communicate is...disturbing.)

By Christopher Gwyn (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

Heh heh.

PZ said, "effulgent."

Heh.

PS: I deny, I deny, I deny the existence of God. Any God. All Gods. For I so love the world I refuse to crawl on my belly in the mud and grovel like a worm, but stand like a man ... er ... adult ... and marvel at what arose naturally.

Nomen Nescio - tell you what: if you could supply with a case of the 25-year old (cask strength) I'm sure I could give its merits serious consideration; never let it be said that I'm bigoted.

I deny the existence of any theistic gods, such as the Judeo-Christian one for instance, & all the schmuck associated with it, such as spirits, heaven & angels.

I don't think that a deistic god is very likely either, but its not totally ridiculuous. (And I don't mean that the Judeo-Christian god as portrayed is ridiculuous. Egotistical, vengeful, unjust, erratic, yes; in short, a total shit).

Now the sort of spirit I do believe in is a Canadian rye whisky, or a single malt Scotch.

By Richard Harris, FCD (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

I strongly deny the holy spirit. I also deny Zeus, Odin, and every other ancient myth.

I do not believe in God, a Father Almighty,
a Creator of heaven and earth,
nor in Jesus Christ, His alleged Son:

Who was, it is alleged, conceived of an imaginary Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried, and is alleged descended into an imaginary hell.

I do not believe He arose again from the dead.

Nor that He ascended into heaven
nor sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
nor that He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I do not believe in the Holy Spirit, the magical teachings of the holy *catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
nor life everlasting.

Badger, this isn't people going up to you and saying it to your face. It isn't a mob of atheists invading a church and professing heresy. This is more a matter of atheists talking to each other, taking a step towards building a bit of a community...and a few theists charging in and complaining about it.

Oh no Laphroig exits - well I've still got some left (and about 25 other single-malts: so there - I shall be enjoying Yule, without baby effing Yeshua or the "holy spirit" which does not exist (apart from the aforementioned Laphroig etc ...
Oh wait, that's holy spirits - PLURAl, isn't it?

Hmmm .....

By G. Tingey (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

Despite my desire to run the inside of my head on rational lines, I still get a little dose of the old religious fear when I think about saying this.

ditto. superstition's a nasty affliction.

believers will probably say that's God way of saying 'Hi!'

i think it's just my way of wondering how i can be right, and all those millions of people can be so wrong. how can i be smarter than 95% of everyone else ? i.e. it's humility and not trusting myself completely.

"Oh no Laphroig exits - well I've still got some left (and about 25 other single-malts: so there..."
G. Tingey

I move this discussion be reconvened over at G's crib.

By Jim in STL (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

Glenrothes is pretty nice as is Lagavulin.

This is more a matter of atheists talking to each other, taking a step towards building a bit of a community...and a few theists charging in and complaining about it.

I'm not so sure the first commenter you mention is a theist. He just thought it was rather juvenile and inane to bait theists. Which is as far as I can tell what the point of the "challenge" is. Where is this "community building" of which you speak?

i think it's just my way of wondering how i can be right, and all those millions of people can be so wrong. how can i be smarter than 95% of everyone else ? i.e. it's humility and not trusting myself completely.

1: It's far less than 95%

2: The millions don't all believe the same thing

3: It has nothing to do with how smart one is or isn't.

It's a challenge to ATHEISTS to state their denial.

Geee... I dunno thousands of likeminded people coming together to state a shared belief.

I dunno how that could possible build a community... I mean blogs don't even do that.

The only holy spirit I have is in a bottle that came from the Highlands of Scotland... oh, damn, I forgot, I drank it all.

It's a challenge to ATHEISTS to state their denial.

But it's couched in terms that are particularly inflammatory -- deliberately spitting on one particular form of theism (Christianity). If they weren't hoping to offend people there would be no point to doing it that way.

Geee... I dunno thousands of likeminded people coming together to state a shared belief.
I dunno how that could possible build a community... I mean blogs don't even do that.

Having people describe why and when they left their religion is interesting and constructive -- and indeed such articles have been discussed on blogs, including this one. That's a far cry from just roboticially repeating a statement designed to invoke offense.

You're missing the point. It's affirming ones atheism in terms christians understand.

It's almost an atheist pledge. An unequivocal statement former christians can make as a shedding of their former beliefs.

Why should chrstianity get so much unquestioned respect anyway? Because they give atheists so much?

1: It's far less than 95%

in the US at least, 95% is a pretty safe estimate. worldwide, yes, the number is much lower. but it's still a solid majority.

2: The millions don't all believe the same thing

but they believe in something, as opposed to nothing. it seems to me that believers in a supernatural overseeing entity, regardless of what they call that name, or how many chickens they believe they should sacrifice, have more in common with each other than those who deny the whole thing.

3: It has nothing to do with how smart one is or isn't.

maybe not how smart one is in general, no. but i really was referring to this specific question. clearly, smart people can be stupid about certain things (and vice versa). according to the tests i've taken, i'm pretty smart, but i absolutely suck at statistics (for example).

it's not easy for me to, essentially, forcefully declare that the vast majority of the people in the world are delusional without having that nagging voice ask "are you sure you're not the one who's delusional?"

As I understand it, to blaspheme the HS, one has to accept it as real and hold it in contempt. Thus atheists can't commit the unforgivable sin. We can still violate the MA anti-blasphemey law though, which only requires an expression of contempt for the HS but does not require that such contempt be genuine. As I recall, Randi or someone tried unsuccessfully to get them to enforce that law a while back so he could challenge it.

it's not easy for me to, essentially, forcefully declare that the vast majority of the people in the world are delusional without having that nagging voice ask "are you sure you're not the one who's delusional?"

If you don't buy into something minus evidence you can't be delusional. Your not the one imagining things. Secondly it's not so great a majority as you think. Even in the USA it is suspected the number of functional atheists is much higher but it's not culturally acceptable to call oneself an atheist yet. Once acceptence is found watch the polls jump amazingly in this regard.

I'm Jewish, does my denial count? I'm not sure. What do you mean by the holy spirit anyway? Like God? Or Jesus? Jesus is just a dead jewish guy, I'm pretty sure of that. As for 'God', whatever the heck that means, nobody knows, do they? You can affirm or deny it as much as you like, bottom line is nobody knows for sure. Doesn't sound very likely, but then the universe isn't very likely either. Personally, I'd kinda like it if some super benevolent diety type thing existed, and we all went on to eternal joyous afterlife, that would be quite cool, no? Or at least cooler than dying I think. But who knows? Do I get my DVD?

You're missing the point. It's affirming ones atheism in terms christians understand.
It's almost an atheist pledge. An unequivocal statement former christians can make as a shedding of their former beliefs.

Well, 1) making a pledge or an "almost pledge" is something that atheists could do very well without, IMHO. We can think for ourselves.

2) If an "almost pledge" is insisted upon, "I do not believe in the existence of god, or gods" is just as understandable -- just not as offensive.

Why should chrstianity get so much unquestioned respect anyway? Because they give atheists so much?

There is no point to give *anyone* offense if you can avoid it. Sometimes you can't, of course -- I can't avoid offending fundies with my research if they find evolutionary studies offensive. But this "challenge" offends people needlessly.

You're missing the point. It's affirming ones atheism in terms christians understand.
It's almost an atheist pledge. An unequivocal statement former christians can make as a shedding of their former beliefs.

Well, 1) making a pledge or an "almost pledge" is something that atheists could do very well without, IMHO. We can think for ourselves.

2) If an "almost pledge" is insisted upon, "I do not believe in the existence of god, or gods" is just as understandable -- just not as offensive.

Why should chrstianity get so much unquestioned respect anyway? Because they give atheists so much?

There is no point to give *anyone* offense if you can avoid it. Sometimes you can't, of course -- I can't avoid offending fundies with my research if they find evolutionary studies offensive. But this "challenge" offends people needlessly.

"Who was Jesus Christ? Liar? Lunatic? Lord? Those are your options. Those 3. That's it. Liar? Yeah, right! He'd have to be a freakin' genius liar to fool everybody in the bible! Hahaha, puh-leeze! Lunatic? OMG! Hahaha! You're funny! That explains how He died for our sins then came back to life! Moron. He was Lord. Duh!"

And i wouldn't have believed it was possible to dumb down CS Lewis.

So people shouldn't be making movies like "The God Who Wasn't There"?

You may be placing to much emphasis on the idea of a "challenge".

I'm an atheist. Always have been, always will be. I have no truck with any species of fictional sky (or other residence) fairy. I don't see much point to this YouTube excercise for a variety of reasons:

1) I'm in the UK/Europe. Atheism isn't as big an issue here. We can get elected. Let's be honest, this is about pissing god botherers off at christmas. Not necessarily a bad idea, but a tad sophomoric. Mind you, the outrage of the god squad is hilarious. Irrelevant, logically vapid, but hilarious.

2) How do I "deny" something that is an abject work of fiction? I deny Darth Vader and all his Dark Side works. So fucking what! I deny the holy spirit and every possible god conceived of throughout history including the FSM, IPU, GGA and Playboy Bunny. I'm not even too happy about non interventionist deist deities, Occam rulez. Big whoop. As Hank Fox accurately says, pissing about with these lunatic scriptures grants them an importance they don't have and certainly don't deserve. This is why I am not interested in being "unbaptised" or any such thing (unless of course the church in question is dishonestly using my infant baptism as part of some spurious statistics). It's a total waste of time that falsely credits these fictional phantasms and fantasies with some vague credence.

3) I already have the DVD.

4) There are better ways to wind up the god squadders, if such is your desire.

Now who thinks that #3 is the IMPORTANT reason ;-)

Louis

Doesn't atheism apply specifically to god and or gods?
Yes we tend to agree that god is a fictional character.
However no one is praying to Hamlet. This is about religion not fiction.

This is like the opposite of the magic Left Behind-ish words. I'd have to look it up, but it's along the lines of "I believe Jesus is the son of God who died for my sins and was resurrected." Say that 3 times while looking into a mirror and you're saved. Just killed a room full of schoolchildren? Doesn't matter. You were the 20th hijacker? No problem. You've found God's loophole, hahahahahah!

Unless, I guess you say these other magic words, the ones that make you go to hell. What happens if you say the bad magic words, followed by the good magic words? Does God's head explode?

"This is more a matter of atheists talking to each other, taking a step towards building a bit of a community..."

Yep this would be a good video for children to see. I can clearly remember when I was a boy, being deathly afraid of the Bible in our house (I refused to even open it), because I assumed it held magical powers to take over people's minds. My mind couldn't come up with any other explanation for belief.

Louis is my hero.

I find this whole YouTube/DVD stunt interesting. I have made a bit of hay over the years tweaking alleged atheists by saying, "great! Let's blaspheme!" That usually pulls the rug out from under most claims of absolute atheism.

I'm with Louis, though. DVD giveaways aside, I view this as "negative" in that it doesn't necessarily advance anything. As a non-theistic example, if I reject brussels sprouts, I'm not embracing something else, as such. I'd put more stock in something like "green beans are the perfect food," or equivalent. More to the point, I'd say something like "I accept the concept of infinity, and all that it implies."

Just the same, pretty gutsy stunt, and I'm amazed that the religious hordes aren't flooding the comments with Bible quotes and finger wagging.

Oh I hope they have good scotch at the company x-mas party tonight.

I have to say, I do really like the music from The God Delusion. Worth selling your soul for some of that electronic gospel!

By slashnull (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

Jonathan:

I understand this is echoing in part the old argument, so recently rehashed, between differing camps of atheists. So I'll try to be brief. I will happily grant that I'd prefer to speak my denial towards all gods and supernatural...um...things. But as has been pointed out by steve_c, this is not the point of the challenge. Actually, I think the real point is to sell DVDs...but it's not the purpose I'm attaching to it, and you seem to not recognize it at all. Indeed, you say:

But this "challenge" offends people needlessly.

No need? I take it you're satisfied with the state of public recognition, respect, understanding and acceptance of atheism, then? Because I am not. And I do not believe that being a good, quiet, inoffensive little atheist who stays in the closet is going to change that. I should be out organizing parades.

it's not easy for me to, essentially, forcefully declare that the vast majority of the people in the world are delusional without having that nagging voice ask "are you sure you're not the one who's delusional?"

Just remember Sturgeon's Law and you'll feel better.

By Steve LaBonne (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

I also deny the Xian Holy Spook, I mean Holy Ghost, er, Holy Spirit.

More seriously, it seems to be an odd choice of unforgivable sin. Why that and not something else?

By Loren Petrich (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

Joshua wrote...."See, now this is interesting. Because I was raised Baptist, and I was taught that once you're saved there's no possible way to be unsaved. (Presumably, not even by becoming atheist later on.) "

I'm a fellow, ex-baptist, who back in my early teens posed a similar question to our pastor. His pathetic answer was "a true Christian would never blaspheme the holy spirit in the first place ". Being a precocious youngster, of course I pressed him...."Well what if you got really mad at God and did something like that? Then would you go to hell? or What if you just tripped over your words and blashemed accidentally?". He stuck to his premise and said a true Christian could never do that.

I'm thinking, what the hell? When you're saved, does some switch get reset not allowing you to blaspheme the holy ghost? Is it something I just cannot ever do, like disappear or fly? Not long after that, I came to the obvious explanation that he probably didn't know himself and was just covering for contradictory theology. The bozo didn't like me much anyway. Maybe because there were other questions like, how did the penquins get on the ark, why couldn't God beat iron chariots etc. etc. followed by equally inane responses by our local holy man. The moron eventually told my parents my questions were getting a bit out of line.

Nevertheless, years later, I chucked the whole claptrap of contradictory bravo sierra and now the only spirits I believe in come from our local ABC store.

I have accepted the challenge! As I said in my blog entry about it "I fear not for my immortal soul for I believe not that I have one."

As for a holy spirit, I believe I'll have some Laphroaig.

STOP THIS! Please, if you're thinking about blaspheming against the Force, don't! It's no laughing matter, it's the worst thing you could ever do.

Who was Luke Skywalker? Liar? Lunatic? Jedi? Those are your options. Those 3. That's it. Liar? Yeah, right! He'd have to be a freakin' genius liar to fool everybody in the Rebel Alliance! Hahaha, puh-leeze! Lunatic? OMG! Hahaha! You're funny! That explains how He defeated Vader, and convinced him to turn on the Emperor ! Moron. He was JEDI. Duh!

If I deny the Balrog, will they send me a copy of the Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD too? How about KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! Wouldn't mind the complete Star Trek movie series. Oh, and a pony.......
(FWIW, I deny the existence of a cam to shoot the video, so even though I deny the fictitious spirit I deny myself the ability to snag the DVD)

I deny Xenu, does that count? In all actuality I like this challenge because every day I get told by Christians that I am evil because I don't believe in their imaginary friend, but they expect us to treat their belief as somehow above reproach. So, of course, I deny the holy spirit. I'm just cheap and don't have a webcam, so I'll just have netflix send me the DVD.

By Galphanore (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

Crosius: You're an agnostic. Welcome to the club.
Godol: Bingo.
llewelly: Great! That's how to argue against an "argument" that's based on questionable premises and a lack of evidence. I need to remember that. :-)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

I can think of some good reasons for this stunt.

1) It's a bit o' fun.

2) It's a statement that we exist and everyone had better get used to us. We're here and queer, like.

3) Anyone who gets wound up about it probably deserves it. They probably need their worldview shaken up a bit. I don't believe (there's that word again) in mollycoddling those who make themselves easy targets.

4) Christianists (notice the "ist" suffix) aren't going to afford us "courtesy" just because we extend it to them. I'm reminded of this lesson from high school on the Cherokees (or perhaps it was another southeastern USA tribe) who adopted a rather Western mode of society in the late 1700s and early 1800s to appease the white men. It didn't work, they got herded onto reservations like all the other Indians.

Of course, I don't have a webcam, nor do I want one. Couldn't I just borrow my brother's microphone?

I deny the existence of the Lords of Kobol. Can I get a copy of the BSG season 3 DVDs now?

No need? I take it you're satisfied with the state of public recognition, respect, understanding and acceptance of atheism, then?

I don't seem to be oppressed. And I don't hide my atheism. And even if I were, I wouldn't see how winding up theists by mocking their taboos is going to help. That's only going to confirm their stereotype of us as people who have a "negative religion" similar to Satanists.

Because I'm not. And I do not believe that being a good, quiet, inoffensive little atheist who stays in the closet is going to change that. I should be out organizing parades.

I've never understood this gay/atheist analogy. Gays are as they are. Atheists chose to be who they are. It's not really any different from political affiliation.

The "don't blaspheme" idea is so obviously the invention of a bunch of control freaks interested in enforcing allegiance to their deity that I'm more inclined to blaspheme the people who foisted their idiotic morality off on the world, and then blapheme all the fools who are too mentally lazy to question the control freaks.

Oh, but I forget, we must be nice. It's not okay to call fools fools. Never mind.

Maybe if enough people had said, "Moses, you are full of shit," when he told people not to blaspheme, the world would be a better place today.

This same reasoning was presented to me in all seriousness as the solution to the faith vs. works problem: You are indeed saved by faith, but good works follow from TRUE faith...so if you do bad works, you're hellbound because your faith was false

This in turn reminds me of the logic used by Christian Scientists when one of their own gets sick. They clearly just had imperfect faith! Shame on them!

Darn. I guess I should have scraped together money for that iSight after all ...

Is the DVD any good, compared to, say, the work of Earl Doherty?

Jonathan: Well...then...you're not invited to my parade! :)

Heh. Of course you're still invited. But looks to me like we're into the well-trodden "agree to disagree" territories.

Hmm, do I have to do it before Winter Solstice Giveaway Day? Because I won't have a camera till then.

Am I the only one here who learned the word "effulgent" from William the Bloody?

I don't know what I deny, exactly, but I can't bring myself to recite the Nicean Creed anymore. I can't force the words out of my mouth, even when I try. I stopped trying. And thanks in part to this blog, I no longer feel like there's something wrong with me. Thank you.

Does baring my bum at the empty sky and giving God the finger count as denying the HS? If so, then I've already done it as a young man. Do I get the DVD now?

(Also, I seem to remember from seeing the movie that merely causing a fundie to read those words damns his unlucky soul to Hell for all eternity. So any believers who venture over here to debate or gape in horror at the unbelief do so at the peril of their immortal souls...)

By Homard Cayenne (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

I've never understood this gay/atheist analogy. Gays are as they are. Atheists chose to be who they are

Do you really think this is true?

How can you make someone believe what they do not believe and may not be capable of believing?

I'm Jewish, does my denial count? I'm not sure. What do you mean by the holy spirit anyway? Like God? Or Jesus? Jesus is just a dead jewish guy, I'm pretty sure of that.

The Holy Spirit is part of the Christian concept of the Trinity. Because Christianity depends on the idea that Jesus is God, and God is a single entity, they have a bit of a conundrum. Plus, all those 'manifestations' of God makes things a little complicated.

Thus, the Trinity: all three are just different versions of the same being. Jesus is the physical incarnation of God in the form of a man; the Holy Spirit is the disembodied form of God on Earth, the one that 'touches' people and inspires them; and then there's God in Heaven.

It's a bit messy but, essentially, denying the Holy Spirit is denial of God.

Has anybody here ever responded to the Liar/Lunatic/Lord false trichotomy with the fourth much likelier possibility - Legend?

I'ld *quite like* to see one of those people react to that...

I just take it for granted that founders of religions are lunatics. How could they not be?

P.S. There were a lot of itinerant messianic preachers around in that time and place so the existence of a particular one of them is not especially implausible.

By Steve LaBonne (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

It's not possible to blaspheme against a holy spirit because no such thing exists. It's only possible for the various believers to pretend that someone has blasphemed against their particular imaginary friend or its pet ghostie.

In the more archaic sense of piety one could blaspheme against one's parents etc though. So, would Skatje win anything for being sufficiently disrespectful to PZ? Calling him an animal certainly wouldn't qualify. ;-)

Perhaps a more useful direction to try instead would be insulting the favourite liquors of various nations. There's probably some scope for blasphemy against whisky for a start.

I blow my nose at the holy spirit...so called God and his only son.....I fart in his general direction....now go away or I shall taunt you a second time.....

(Apologies to the Pythons)

By Bob Russell (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

Hmmm ... is this the right door? ... sniff-sniff-sniff ... I'll just turn the knob and take a peek inside and ... sniff-sniff-sniff ... Smell that? Do you smell that? Evil, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I hate the smell of evil in the morning. You know, one time I had a room like this blessed, for twelve hours. When it was all over I walked in. We didn't find one of 'em, not one blasphemous atheist. Yeah, this smell reminds me ... reminds me of victory!

Earlier, I blasphemed the Holy Spirit. Just a little while ago, my dog farted and howled. I took this to mean that he also denies and blasphemes the Holy Spirit.

At least, my dawg and I will be together in hell. I understand that brimstone helps keep the fleas at bay.

By waldteufel (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

What is interesting to me is that a mostly forgotten/overlooked aspect of this challenge seems to be the statement's equally appropriate use by pagans, Buddhists, Shintoists, Taoists, Hindus, animists, Sihks, Jains, Scientologists, Jews and etc.

In fact, it is counter-challenge time: I dare Christians to deny the Logos of Zeus and be afflicted with both earthly suffering and eternal torment in Hades. (Unfortunately, I have the feeling the point and the logic of such will go right over the heads of the ones such is aimed at.)

However, I do think the challenge, as it is, is needlessly offensive and thus pointless -- it doesn't advance towards a goal of integration and education of the majority regarding their priveleged culture and system of beliefs.

Though in response to rrt's argument about that idea above, I also don't believe the above position has anything to do with being a good, quiet, inoffensive little anything (whatever one's particular minority happens to be).

Simply, one can rock the boat the same using positive behaviors that encourage change and understanding, without relying on aggressive triabalism and divisive, polarizing tactics. I think the world has seen enough of that over the past few thousand years. (I know I have.)

After all, if you want to get people thinking and empathizing, making them angry -- demeaning a "them" to make an "us" feel better -- is (provably) contrary to the goal.

"P.S. There were a lot of itinerant messianic preachers around in that time and place so the existence of a particular one of them is not especially implausible."

Indeed. What I find is that a Jesus who is an apocalyptic prophet (and yes, that does imply at least a bit of lunacy) with a heap of legend makes the most sense of the New Testament, including the warts and contradictions, and that this works much better than the orthodox Jesus or the Jesus-myth that Brian Flemming promotes.

Actually, I'm not sure that The God Who Wasn't There documentary is a good way to promote skeptical atheism, since it seems to get its facts way wrong, at least judging from the clips that Flemming made available. (As a caveat, I should warn that I have yet to see the documentary in full.) The clip about The Christs Before Christ asks people if they've ever heard of Dionysus, Osiris, and Mithras. Well I have. Mithras never died, and he was born of a rock, not a virgin. Osiris was resurrected by Isis just long enough to have sex with her and then dies again, becoming trapped in the underworld. Dionysus was alive all through his tour of the underworld, and for you Freke & Gandy fans, no, he wasn't crucified. The crucified Dionysus amulet shown in the documentary is a forgery, and the other "evidence" of crucifixion is a depictions of a crude Dionysus idol on Lenaia vases where, to quote Walter Burkert: "a bearded mask--or two masks facing opposite directions--hung on a column. A cloth is wound about the column to indicate the body, and is occasionally held by a cross-bar like a scarecrow." Not the most impressive resemblances to Christianity when viewed closely. I can also see in that clip what that moderate Christian was talking about with his criticism of the selective use of Justin Martyr quotes. As he pointed out, "though many people know that Justin used such an excuse to 'explain away' similarities between Christianity and pagan myths, you rarely see many of the actual parallels specified by Justin in any Jesus Myther books or websites." Anyway, what I've seen so far rings quite a few alarm bells. It looks like Flemming was relying on factoids that have circulated online and in some of the more careless anti-religious books. (That last link has a criticism of such books. Scroll down to the paragraph, "Third, we must continue to employ...")

BTW, shouldn't blaspheming the Lords of Kobol get one a DVD of the original BSG? :p And what if you blaspheme the Lords of Interkal?

By J. J. Ramsey (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink

I was under the impression that "blaspheming the holy spirit" meant essentially saying that Jesus got his powers from Satan, or that Jesus was the devil or a demon or what not. If I remember correctly the verse comes up in the context of the Pharisees accusing Jesus of performing magic with Satans power (which Christians should find somewhat reasonable upon reflection- after all, wouldnt Christians make the same accusation if they were to encounter a modern day guru who performed "miracles" and retro-fitted himself into the Gospels? I suspect said guru could give exactly the same response to Christians that Jesus gives to the Pharisee for whatever little difference it makes).

xiaan

I say you're ALL in denial. ;)
I found this particularly amusing:
"He'd have to be a freakin' genius liar to fool everybody in the bible!"
I suppose that means sweet jebus was a time-traveler? He managed to fool Moses, Ezekiel, all those other fellas?
I deny, decry, & otherwise defoliate the HO-LEE Spir-IT!
Do I get my secret decoder ring? Please? Pretty please?
"jesus saves, moses invests"

And Muhammad prophets.

Anyway, halfway through these 100+ comments, someone actually gets around to mentioning that the denial thing that everyone wants to do is not, in fact, the sin that the Bible text is talking about. Killjoy. All that effort wasted on something that isn't even considered unforgivable.

Loren Petrich asks very sensibly why this particular sin gets chosen as being so awful. And Xiaan gives a closer definition of the what's actually meant by the sin, but the answer to the question is still not clear.

Actually, the thing to do might be to read the context and see what the idea is. Like, you know, evidence. Not evidence of what's true, of course: this is a story written in a book -- it doesn't prove anything about what's true. But evidence of what the book means.

And Xiaan doesn't quite get it right. Say that Jesus is nasty and works for the Devil: that's blaspheming against Jesus of Nazareth, and such a thing can be forgiven. I mean, like, can you read? It's right there in plain English, unless you make the mistake of relying on the King James, which of course is not so plain.

No, here's the setup: somebody is going around curing sick people and crazy people and making the blind see, and you say "Bad man! He must be working for the Devil if he does that stuff." (Must I remind you that we are looking for the meaning of the story and not its truth value?)

The orthodox explanation of the story, then, is that if you do that, and start convincing yourself that it's true, you're in deep shit, because you're losing the ability to tell good stuff from bad. Having lost your conscience, to put it in more modern language, you can never have an attack of conscience and want to reform. So you've lost the ability to be forgiven.

Of course you (the actual you this time) don't care, especially about all that forgiveness stuff, which is so often a cover for hypocrisy. And you have the satisfaction of annoying a lot of people who think you really are Blaspheming Against The Holy Spirit (hereafter, BATHS) because they haven't bothered to understand what they say they believe; there's some satisfaction in that.

But isn't it a little embarrassing to find that in showing your rejection of this arbitrary ban by defying and thereby doing supposedly the worst thing possible, you actually have been doing (on the assumption that the story in Mark were true) something fairly minor?

Watch out, brothers and sisters! If you stop caring about getting things right, you moving toward Blasphemy Against Reason. You could become a Postmodern Philosophy stereotype who rejects any difference between Ways of Knowing that work and those that in fact represent no knowing at all. Deny reason and you could lose it; lose it, and you lose the power to recover from losing it. Stuck believing in homeopathy and chelation therapy forever! Or anyway for the rest of your life. There's a blasphemy you don't want to commit.

I have updated Wikipedia to include info on FSM's trusty assistant - The Effulgent Blorbik.
Only two thousand years of repetition until national leaders are guided by him!

By Kendolances (not verified) on 16 Dec 2006 #permalink

I get it! It's ironic!

Still and all. I -- who have no need of the "no God" hypothesis -- find more in common with those atheists and agnostics who have studied the God issue and decided, as fellow grown-ups, that they don't have need of the "God" hypothesis. And yet, we choose to live in relative harmony with each other, as mature adults.

I haven't figured out at this point whether my unconcern for folks who have rejected (or whatever) belief in God is "unChristian" or not. My take is: let rational, thinking, feeling men make up their own minds. I don't feel an obligation to bring everyone into the camp.

I feel I would apologize for all the idiocies committed by believers in general and Christians in specific, but for the fact that I don't feel responsible for their decisions, anymore than I think any atheist owes me an apology for all the idiocies committed by atheists.

Sheesh.

I had a friend back at UCSB, who wrote the most astonishingly blasphemous song as an illustration of the American ideal of freedom of speech -- this was back in the 80's, when Tipper Gore was bringing warning stickers into popular music. It was horrifying, repulsive -- and probably one of the funniest satires I've ever heard. I miss that guy. I've got a tape of some of his work somewhere, and often wonder what happened to him.

If I can dig up that tape, I'll send a digital copy to PZ. I know he'd like it.

P.S., PZ -- congrats on the 2006 weblog award finalist thingy. Good on ya!

"More to the point, I'd say something like "I accept the concept of infinity, and all that it implies."

Nice thing to say, but you can say it all you want, even an infinite number of times, and, apparently, it will not get you a DVD. :)

Funny how superstition affects people who think they're immune:

An aquaintance had a hobby where he'd buy souls at science fiction conventions. It was a real offer: $50 or $100 (I think the latter), paper contract, lancets to get the drop of blood needed to finalize the contract. The contract stipulated that the soul could be resold, etc.

It was a profitable hobby. Within a few hours or days a great many people would come back to him, wanting to cancel the contract and buy back their soul. He'd let them, but for more than the original price.

By Kathryn from S… (not verified) on 20 Dec 2006 #permalink

It's easy enough to deny the existence of the Holy Ghost, since nobody is really sure what his job description would be. But to deny God and Jesus -- they are recurring characters on South Park -- that would be an abomination.

"Deus does not exist,
But if does, he lives above me,
In the fattest, largest cloud up there,
He is whiter than white and cleaner than clean,
He wants to reach me
...
I thought I had seen everything,
He wasn't white and fluffy,
He just had sideburns,
He just had sideburns,
And a quiff"

-- "Deus", Björk (Sugar Cubes)

John Pieret,

I'm sorry PZ, but it is my considered legal opinion that any second-year law student could get you off and that you are not yet damned to hell.

It's not a legal system. It's magic. If you are a magician (saved) and you say the right magic incantation, the demon (holy ghost) will do your bidding. If you say the wrong incantation, the demon gets to eat you. There appears to be some disagreement over whether badly pronounced Latin is necessary for a magic incantation, or whether pagan Germanic languages will do just as well.
This is, of course, stupid. But as the kerfluffle over Harry Potter made clear, some Christians do believe in magic. The rest ... well most of the rest will probably have the sense not to draw attention to the Blasphemy Project.

By Andrew Wade (not verified) on 20 Dec 2006 #permalink

(How I was damned. A brief dialogue, with blocking...)

THE HOLY SPIRIT: Yeeeeah... You ain't comin' near this, baby... (fakes left... dribbles right, goes for the layup...)

ME: (Smashing the ball away, mid-shot) Denied, sucker!!

THE HOLY SPIRIT: Well, to hell with you, then.

I can't deny the holy spirit on YouTube because I don't have a video cam or a DVD burner and anyway I'm an anonymous blogger and my picture would give me away (although, to be fair, many people believe I look just like Paul Newman, so it's possible they'd think he was denying the holy spirit; and to be double fair, some people think I look like Robert Redford, and they'd think he would be denying the holy spirit; and to be triple fair, my wife thinks I look like Woody Allen, so maybe Andre Previn would think I was denying the holy spirit).

For the record: I deny the holy spirit. However I can't see how this will consign me to hell, because I don't have the faintest idea what it means.

I deny the Holy Spirit, as well as most of the unholy ones. Also, Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice, and Hastur. Um...Shazam?

By Anton Mates (not verified) on 20 Dec 2006 #permalink

I think that something like the challenge does have a use beyond simply offending Christians. I grew up in a fairly religious community, and hung out with only very religious people; it might be beyond belief for a lot of "regular" people, but I honestly didn't really know any atheists when I was growing up. Or, at least, I didn't think that I did. (In the olden days before the internet and all) Even thinking about rejecting religion would have been anathema. Where I think something like this has value is in illustrating that there are a lot of people, normal people at that, who don't believe in all that stuff. Why pick on Christianity more than the others? Because it's the most prevalent, most prominent, and most in-your-face offensive at the moment.

Oh, the irony in a naive use of negative entelechy.

Peter Barber, scientist, denies the Holy Spirit. This is well worth listening to!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAUilxUedTU

The best 5 minutes and 31 seconds I've spent in awhile on "empirical evidence" of the supernatural.

It's not a legal system. It's magic.
Ah! Now all you have to do is show why the legal system isn't a form of magic.

Ah. Um ... er ... well, in the legal system the judges don't have supernatural powers, and they aren't allowed to eat you if you loose a motion. And in theory, there are supposed to be good reasons for the rules.

By Andrew Wade (not verified) on 21 Dec 2006 #permalink

Anyone keeping up with the Blasphemy Challenge... I was tricked by Christian Fundamentalists. They said, "You believe in God," ... the bible says everyone believes in God, and of course, being Deist, I couldn't rightly argue that point personally, honestly I have belief a Deity exists, but its not the Christian God. I replied a second time, but they refused to approve the post. It really scorned, because they're wrong, the statement made is a lie. Deists are not at all comparable to Agnostics and Atheists. But the hateful windbag would not publish my response. I deleted my comments and carried them to Theology Web to expose this act of hypocrisy theology web. We do not believe in the Christian God. Deists do exist, we're just the all too silent silent majority. (According to one study, youths are becoming more Deist).

"Today's teenagers are deists. Maybe there's hope for the world after all."

Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers Christian Smith with Melinda Lundquist Denton (Oxford)

Christianity Today calls the above book, a masterful, scholarly study of spirituality. What American youth mostly hold to--what Smith and Denton call Moralistic Therapeutic Deism--is, sadly, a long way from full-blooded, traditional Christian faith.

As a Christian, I don't find the Blasphemy Challenge particularly offensive or, well, blasphemous. I find it disheartening, but I'm not in control of what anyone else chooses to do, say, or believe.

I suppose my own biggest worry is that the people who do it do so out of unthinking adherence to yet another dogma. Or is it impossible to be a dogmatic atheist? Or is asserting the existence of a dogmatic atheist a heresy? And if so does the existence of an atheist heresy in fact demonstrate that there is such a thing as a dogmatic atheist?

I think I need another beer.

It's not about atheist dogma. There's no such thing. It's about using the terms christians can understand. The complete lack of fear and absolute disbelief in a god or holy spirit.

That's all atheism is. Disbelief. No other requirement.

Sorry I'm late: the whole family came down with strep.

I deny the existence of any holy spirits, unholy spirits, and chaotic neutral spirits, except as imaginative works by humans.

Was that blasphemous enough?

Just for fun.

Girl of sixteen, whole life ahead of her
Slashed her wrists, bored with life
Didnt succeed, thank the lord
For small mercies

Fighting back the tears, mother reads the note again
Sixteen candles burn in her mind
She takes the blame, its always the same
She goes down on her knees and prays

I dont want to start any blasphemous rumours
But I think that gods got a sick sense of humor
And when I die I expect to find him laughing

Girl of eighteen, fell in love with everything
Found new life in jesus christ
Hit by a car, ended up
On a life support machine

Summers day, as she passed away
Birds were singing in the summer sky
Then came the rain, and once again
A tear fell from her mothers eye

I dont want to start any blasphemous rumours
But I think that gods got a sick sense of humor
And when I die I expect to find him laughing

Hi,

I just read about your debate with kirk cameron and the comfort (forgot his first name) at slate.com.

Your blank slate view of morality (conscience and morality is taught over generations) isn't exactly current. There is a lot of evidence for the evolutionary basis of morality. Check out the wide body of literature on sociobiology. There have also been a lot of interesting experiments in science involving chimps and bonobos that could mean that morality began with cooperation back when we were primates. Unfortunately this would be somewhat of a nuanced and complicated argument for such platforms as television, but it is more evidence of the lack of necessity for god as a moral authority.

Keep up the good work,

Ben Turner

When I wrote "a lot of interesting experiments in science involving chimps and bonobos" I meant Science the renowned scientific journal.

Happy hunting - keep building those arguments to fend off the ignorant and primitive beliefs.

Crosius: You're an agnostic. Welcome to the club.
Godol: Bingo.
llewelly: Great! That's how to argue against an "argument" that's based on questionable premises and a lack of evidence. I need to remember that. :-)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 15 Dec 2006 #permalink