Pages

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Atheists Angry Over a Street Sign?

It appears that the secular militants are at it again.

You have to wonder if these people really have nothing better or more important to do with their time than pick churlish fights against all things even remotely and vaguely religious. Because these atheists also hold to a radical and nonsensical interpretation of the First Amendment that no Founding Father or Framer of the Constitution recognized, they end up wasting their time with petty lawsuits and making themselves look like fools.

This group of New York atheists has made four egregious mistakes.

1. They claim that the sign “Seven in Heaven Way” is a violation of the separation of church and state. It is not. What the First Amendment had in mind by the government not respecting an establishment of religion was not the total oblivion and banishment of all public expressions of religion. Atheists tend to do with the Constitution what they do with the Bible and read it with such literal myopia while ignoring the historical context and meaning framing the author’s words and intent. When the First Amendment referred to government, it was referring to the Federal government specifically, not state governments which had state established religions for many years after the Constitution was ratified. When it referred to not respecting an establishment of religion, it was referring to a specific state sanctioned church or denomination like the Church of England in Britain. The Founders established a functionally secular federal government that operated independently of any specific ecclesiastical power. However, the Founders never established a ceremonially secular government. God and Christianity in general has always been recognized as an integral part of American society by the U.S. government since its founding. If the Founders had intended even general references to Christianity to be removed from civil affairs, there would not have been such references.

In effect, what the Founders and Framers were trying to prevent was a state church and a theocracy, not the suffocation of religious expression from public life. These kind of atheists do not believe in freedom of religion (the constitutional right to believe and practice whatever you wish within the constraints of the law) but believe in freedom from religion (the fabricated, unconstitutional right to be sheltered and protected from religion through government force by silencing the free expression of everyone else in public).

So in order for the atheist to make the case that a street sign referencing heaven is a violation of the Establishment Clause, he or she would have to make the case that it somehow establishes a theocracy, that it measurably hinders the efficacy of our democratic republic, usurps the system of election and representation, and violates the Constitutional rights of others. Unfortunately, this cannot be done while maintaining either sanity or reason.

2. They claim that the use of the term “heaven” is a specifically Christian reference. It is not. Christianity is not the only religion with a concept of heaven or a pleasurable, joyous afterlife. However, I do admit that given the overwhelming Christian population and culture of the United States, any public reference to heaven is most likely referring to the Christian concept of heaven. Even so, this does nothing against the Establishment Clause. Moreover, there are thousands of streets, buildings, cities, and other public, tax-payer funded infrastructure that bear religious names and have existed for many years. Are we to remove or rename all those as well? Do any of these names drastically affect or harm society or even prevent individuals from living their lives as they see fit? No.

3. They forget that even Christians could have an intellectual objection to the sign. The sign itself refers to seven fire-fighters who bravely sacrificed their lives for their fellow citizens. But according to Christian theology there is no deed that grants you salvation, regardless of how virtuous it may be. Salvation is based on faith in Christ and is acquired solely through the grace of God. The sign actually implies that the seven men are in heaven for sacrificing their lives which is contrary to orthodox Christian theology. We can’t be certain, from a Christian standpoint, that all seven of these heroic fire-fighters are in heaven. Yet there is no Christian group that objects to a sign that could technically be considered heretical. Why? Because any decent person knows that it is in poor taste to condemn a symbol meant to honor the dead. And whether these brave souls are in heaven, their sacrifice deserves honor.

4. They had a chance to present their objections to the sign in the planning process which would have been the responsible thing to do. Why did they wait until the sign was posted to voice their concerns? Such behavior suggests the desire to stir up dissension more than a righteous crusade to defend the Constitution.

The atheist has no rational ground to be angry here and I suspect that any lawsuits pursued on this matter will be soundly rejected.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

In Honor of Easter, Why the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is Historically True


Needless to say, there have been many books written by devoted scholars to the subject of the Resurrection and the reliability of the Gospel accounts of Jesus of which go into far greater detail and length than I am able to do here. This is just a summary of the most important facts.


1. For being a fairly obscure figure with little significance among the Romans, Jesus Christ was remarkably well documented compared to other figures of antiquity. There are numerous sources attesting to his existence including Jewish and Roman historians in addition to the New Testament. Most of the extra-biblical sources seem to confirm the New Testament description of Jesus.

2. When the early church collected the various documents that became the NT, they followed proper historiography methods and chose the documents that were the earliest and closest to Christ and rejected those that were written later and obviously forgeries and fakes such as the gnostic/apocryphal gospels.

3. We have found sources in the gospels that date back to within just a few decades from when Christ was alive, including a creed that was used by the very earliest Christians. Compared to other ancient texts, the manuscripts we have are dated far closer to their originals which means they are more reliable. Most other ancient documents and literature manuscripts are hundreds or thousands of years later than their originals. As calculated by historians and scholars, the time it takes for a legendary account to accumulate and wipe out the core of historical fact requires more than two generations or more than a couple hundred years. The earliest records of Alexander the Great written by Plutarch, for example, are dated to 400 years after Alexander and yet historians consider them to be reliable. The New Testament is the best attested ancient text in history both in terms of the number of texts produced, and the nearness of the text to the originals. The New Testament as we have it today is over 99 percent accurate to the originals.

4. There was not sufficient time for legendary accounts to develop and expunge the facts. Legends develop over hundreds of years and only survive and propagate when the original eye witnesses of the event have died. The Gospels were written during the time when Jesus' followers and contemporaries were still alive and would have recognized any embellishments or outright lies. The Gospels all contain the same essential details on the burial account of Christ, drawing upon the earliest Gospel of Mark which contains source material which goes back to the AD 30s. The canonized Gospel accounts also do not bear the signs of legendary embellishments that the later gnostic and apocryphal gospels contain.

5. Jewish culture had a very refined and meticulous oral tradition where people learned to faithfully memorize tradition since childhood. The ability to memorize sacred tradition and large passages of scripture was a highly valued and developed skill. The Jews were very scrutinizing and exact about transcription, whether orally or in writing.

6. The gospel writers deliberately state that what they wrote is true. Luke especially comments that he carefully investigated the events for which he writes about and that they are based on eye-witness testimony. That is not opening for a work of metaphor or an allegorical tale or a legend. In fact, the opening of Luke was written in classical Greek, the learned language of historians. Luke did this to demonstrate to Theophilus his academic competency. Moreover, if the gospels are not literal, factual accounts, it would mean that Luke is lying and deliberately trying to deceive people if the events he describes never happened. That is nonsensical. What would Luke have to gain by lying? Death from the Romans? Ridicule and ostracizing by the Jews? Luke ,who also wrote the book of Acts, has proven to be repeatedly accurate in all his historical details when examined by historians and scholars. Luke's credibility and careful documentation has been repeatedly ascertained by historians and thus there is no reason to believe that Luke was lying or mistaken. "Luke is a historian of the first rank. This author should be placed among the very greatest of historians."- Sir William Ramsey, archeologist.

7. The disciples were martyred and the earliest Christians in Rome suffered from severe persecution by the Romans. These Christians would have known whether or not Christ rose from the dead because they lived during the time of Christ's life. The idea that the disciples and early Christians would have suffered and died for what they knew to be a lie defies all logic and understanding of basic human psychology. No one willingly makes such personal sacrifice for what they know to be a falsehood. Moreover, the very origin of the early Christian's beliefs would most likely never have arisen in classical pagan Roman and Jewish society due to profound hostility if they were not based on fact. The very idea of God raising Jesus from the dead confounded all traditional Jewish theology and thus Jewish influence is ruled out as an explanation for the disciples beliefs. Pagan influence is also highly unlikely as explained in point 9. The disciples and the early Christians had a belief which nothing in terms of antecedent historical influences can account for. If Christianity was founded on a myth, Christianity would never have survived its birth in classical Rome. In fact, it would never have been born at all.

8. The majority New Testament scholars, even liberal, skeptical, and non-Christian scholars agree that 4 details surrounding the resurrection of Christ are historically accurate: (1) that Jesus was honorably interred in a wealthy man's tomb and thus accessible to both Christians and Jews of the time, (2) that the tomb was found empty, (3) that the disciples, many other followers of Jesus, and even non-believers claim to have had the experience of seeing the resurrected Christ (a total of 500 people), and (4) the fact that the disciples sincerely believed that Jesus was the risen Lord when they had every predisposition not to as first century Jews (also ties into point 7 above).

9. Atheists and skeptics are forced to adopt ridiculous and desperate theories to try and rebut these facts such as:

-Conspiracy theory: such as Christ having a twin brother or the disciples stole the body of Christ and staged the whole event.

-Hallucination theory: that all the supposed witness of the resurrected Christ suffered from mass hallucinations, including the non-Christian witnesses. This theory is highly improbable because of the diversity of people, location, and circumstance regarding the witnesses, the disciples, as mostly Jewish men, would never have hallucinated images of Christ individually resurrected bodily and physically because there was no such concept in Jewish theology (Jewish theology held that resurrection did not happen until the end of the world and it was ubiquitous of all humanity at once), and the hallucination hypothesis does not explain the empty tomb.

-Attempting to attribute the beliefs of Christianity to the influence and plagiarism of pagan religions that happened to have similar motifs paralleling the core tenets of Christianity. However, these pagan parallels were only superficially similar to the Christian concept of Christ's resurrection and there simply is no causal link or historical trace of any pagan religion influencing the formation of early Christianity. The very idea of pagan influence was repugnant to early Christians. This is no less true with the most popular candidate of skeptics, the esoteric Roman cult of Mithras. In addition to all the other difficulties, Mithraism is an unlikely candidate for influencing the birth of Christianity because it was a cult almost totally exclusive to the Roman military which most certainly had little influence on the thinking of early Christians. There is no evidence that the disciples even had any meaningful contact with this pagan cult. These claims of pagan influence are almost entirely spurious.

-The Christ myth theory, simply dismissing the Gospel accounts and all other historical accounts as complete rubbish and declaring the Jesus Christ was never even a real figure at all. This is a view seriously entertained by only the most fringe and radical atheist scholars and diverges far from mainstream academia and scholarship regarding the historicity of Christ.

10. The gospels themselves show the signs of historicity that scholars use to analyze any literary text. One in particular is the test of embarrassment. One of the surest signs of a historically reliable document is one that does not hide the gruesome and embarrassing details related to the author or the author's beliefs. For example, many of the Biblical authors describe their own failures and flaws whereas a fictional account or a propaganda would attempt to make the proponents of the cause look as good as possible. Another example is the fact that the gospels describe women discovering the tomb being empty and seeing Jesus first. Women were not even considered reliable witnesses in Jewish society and court and so they would not have been an intelligent choice if you were trying to convince people of a lie. It would also be an embarrassment to Jewish men to admit that women made such a discovery. If the Gospels were propaganda, the authors would most certainly have made the male disciples discover the empty tomb. The empty tomb was also implicitly attested to by the Jewish polemics who were enemies to the early Christian movement who tried to explain it away by accusing the disciples of stealing the body.

11. Contrary to what critics believe, the discrepancies in the synoptic Gospels are a testament to their authenticity and reliability, not their forgery. Differing details are expected in eye witness accounts told by different individuals with different perspectives on the same event whereas if the Gospels were all fabricated as part of a collaborative conspiracy, all the details would be exactly the same.

12. If the resurrection of Christ never happened, a man like the apostle Paul, an ardent persecutor and hater of Christians, would never have converted to Christianity. Paul's radical conversion defies any logical explanation other than the fact that he saw the resurrected Christ and was transformed by his experience.

13. The explanation of Christianity, namely that Christ rose from the tomb is the best explanation for the historical facts surrounding the resurrection because it has the best explanatory scope and power compared to other explanations which only potentially explain some of the facts. The best explanation is the one that is both the most logical and parsimonious, coherently and adequately assimilating all the facts harmoniously. No other explanation succeeds at doing this but the one the disciples gave; namely, that God raised Jesus from the dead.



The resurrection of Christ is not only important in terms of its theological and philosophical implications for humanity and reality itself, but it is the very foundation on which Christianity stands or falls. If Christ never rose from the dead, then Christianity is a fraud. One need not even argue about the existence of God. If the resurrection was a true event, God's existence is necessarily evident. If it was a lie, then the prospects and hope of a loving, theistic God are grim and unlikely as is any higher meaning, value and purpose to life.

"If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." 1 Corinthians 15:13-19

"After more than 700 hours of studying this subject, and thoroughly investigating its foundation, I have come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted upon the minds of men, or it is the most fantastic fact of history." - Josh McDowell

Fortunately, the "myth" became and is reality. "The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy stories. They contain many marvels--peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: 'mythical' in their perfect, self-contained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. But this story has entered History and the primary world; the desire and aspiration of sub-creation has been raised to the fulfillment of Creation. The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man's history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the "inner consistency of reality.' There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many skeptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath....But this story is supreme; and it is true. Art has been verified." - J.R.R. Tolkien

Happy Easter, He is Risen

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Are You a Fundamentalist Atheist?

You may be a fundamentalist atheist if...


# You think that all Christians base their beliefs entirely on emotion and all atheists base their beliefs entirely on logic.*
# You insist that the genocidal crimes of atheistic, Communistic regimes during the 20th Century like Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot that resulted in the oppression and death of millions of people did not commit their crimes because of their atheism but all the self-proclaimed Christians throughout history who committed crimes or acts of violence did so solely because of their Christianity and were properly following the teachings of their faith.*
# You assert that the crimes and failings of some Christians (acting inconsistently with the teachings of Christ) disproves the whole edifice of Christianity but the crimes and failings of some atheists (acting consistently with the fact that atheism can provide no basis for objective morality) should on no account be held against the philosophy of atheism.*
# Your basic belief as an atheist is "God does not exist and he is responsible for all the evil in the world."*
# You take pride in the belief that you are in the elite and enlightened 10% of the Earth's population that does not believe in any kind of higher power or spiritual existence and that the rest of the 90 percent of humanity as well as they entirety and sum of human experience throughout time and geographical location is nothing more than a complete delusion.*
# You frequently commit the straw man fallacy and construct an inaccurate and overly-simplified version of Christianity suitable for a five-year old and make that the object of your attack.*
# You became an atheist when you were 10 years old, based on ideas of God that you learned in Sunday School. Your ideas about God haven't changed since.*
# You think that the primary aim of an omnibenevolent God is for people to have FUN.
# You believe that extra drippy ice-cream is a logical proof against the existence of God, because an omniscient God would know how to stop the ice-cream from being extra drippy, an omnipotent God would have the ability to stop the ice-cream from being extra drippy, and by golly, an omnibenevolent God wouldn't want your ice-cream to be extra drippy.
# Although you've memorized a half a dozen proofs that He doesn't exist, you still think you're God's gift to the ignorant masses.
# You believe the astronomical size of the universe somehow disproves God, as if God needed a tiny universe in order to exist.
# You think questions like, "Can God create a rock so big that He cannot lift it?" and, "Can God will Himself out of existence?" are perfect examples of how to disprove God's omnipotence and ultimately how to disprove God. When someone proves to you the false logic behind these questions (i.e. pitting God's omnipotence against itself), you desperately try to defend the questions, but then give up and go to a different Christian site to ask them.*
# You declare on a public forum that you are "furious at God for not existing."
# You declare that there is no objective standard of Right and Wrong yet you go back on this belief the moment someone wrongs you.*
# You spend hours arguing that a-theism actually means "without a belief in God" and not just "belief that there is no god" as if this is a meaningful distinction in real life.*
# You consistently deny the existence of God because you personally have never seen him but you reject out of hand personal testimony from theists who claim to have experienced God as a reality in their lives.*
# You can make the existence of pink unicorns the center-piece of a philosophical critique.*
# You insist that "the burden of proof is on he that alleges/accuses", and "it's impossible to prove a negative", then state "That's what Christians do. They lie. Their most common lie is that they were once atheists." When reminded about the burden of proof bit, you reply with, "Well, prove Christians don't lie!"*
# You adamantly believe that the "God of the gaps" idea is an essential tenet of orthodox Christian faith espoused by all the great Christian thinkers throughout history.*
# When you were a child, someone came down with a deadly disease and prayed and prayed for God to take it away. God did not remove the disease and your friend died. You ask other Christians why they had to die when they were such a nice person and never harmed anyone. Dissatisfied with their answers, you suddenly decide that there is no God and that all Christians are nothing but lying, conniving con artists and hypocrites....all that is except for your friend who died.
# You are passionate about the progressions of scientific inquiry and the advancement of mankind when you fail to realize that our ultimate fate is a hopeless extinction of our species by some catastrophic universal event and that even by the wondrous methods of science we cannot help what will eventually doom us all.*
# You think that by contributing work to mankind, you are working for a greater good, only to realize that by the end of your life, your existence will be null and all of mankind's progress into the envelope of the universe will be lost in an endless, infinite, hopeless darkness.*
# You call a view held by less than ten percent of the American public "common sense".*
# You attack your fellow atheists, who hold the "belief that there is no god", calling them "liars," and state that, "I do not deny the existence of any god. I just don't believe in any." Then you tell someone that their God is "made up." When someone calls you on this, you state, "I never made such a claim."
# You believe that if something cannot be touched, seen, heard, or measured in some way, then it must not exist, yet you fail to see the irony of your calling Christians "narrow-minded".*
# You say that there is no God and that those who believe in God do so in blind faith, yet your claim that there is no God also rests on blind faith.*
# While you don't believe in God, you feel justified on bashing God or attacking those who believe in something that you KNOW doesn't exist, fighting against or even discussing about a non-existent being are the symptoms of mental illness!*
# You not only spell "God" with a lower case "g," but you also add an "E" to "B.C.," and replace the word "Christ" with an "x." Yet, when asked to name the planets you have no problem with spouting out the appropriate list of Roman Gods. Heck, you'll even spell them with capital letters! Not only that, you can even spell and pronounce the name of the 800-mile-diameter Trans-Neptunian Object 'Quaoar', and are delighted that it comes from the creation mythology of the Tongva people (aka the San Gabrielino Native Americans).*
# You use one,or more,of the following alternate spellings: GOD-"gawd" JESUS-"jeeezus" "jayzus" "jebus" "jeebers" BIBLE-"bibble" "babble" "wholly babble" "buy-bull"*
# In addition, you say that terms like "AD", "BC" and "christmas" (as opposed to "winter holiday season") are medieval, outdated, bigoted poison and must be eliminated at all costs from the world, yet the fact that our months and days are largely named after Roman, viking etc. figures (eg. Janus - January, Thor - Thursday) is a glowing testimony to the diverse and wonderful nature of human history.*
# You complain when Christians appeal to their emotions when justifying their belief in God yet you feel justified on appealing to your emotions for lack of belief in God.*
# You refuse to believe in an unseen God creating the universe for which you claim there is no evidence yet you have no problem believing in an unseen multiverse for which there is no evidence.*
# You pride yourself of having a scientific approach and of following the evidence wherever it leads. But when the evidence for the big bang points to a beginning of the universe and when reason and evidence clearly refute the idea of an eternal universe, you resort to all sort of speculations about wormholes and multiverses taken straight out of Star Trek movies and without any evidential support.*
# You say that the existence of God is a "blank idea", since no one knows the universe's secrets, yet you continue to state your opinion of God not existing as a "fact".*
# You believe in many things about history and past events based on the eye-witness testimony of those who lived during those events (the culture of the ancient Mayans, egyptians, etc.), yet you refuse to accept the eye-witness testimony documented in better preserved ancient texts like the Gospels and the New Testament or the modern-day testimony from someone who has personally experienced God.*
# You ask Christians to come on to your forum to address issues you raise. When you don't like the answers or can't accept them, you either ignore them or proceed to delete the conversation.*
# You believe that planes, computers, calculators, compasses, etc, were "all obviously designed," yet the human body, being intricately more complex was "obviously a product of biological evolution." It seems the more complex the apparatus, the more obvious the "fact" that it was not designed.*
# As a member of the Skeptic's Society you pride yourself on being skeptical of extraordinary claims. You also pride yourself on silencing everyone who is skeptical of the extraordinary claims of evolution.*
# Isaac Newton does not count as an example of a great scientist who believed in the Bible since he died before the Origin of Species was published.*
# When you watch a punt returner run a 93 yard touchdown, you marvel at what evolution has done for the human race. But when someone gets cancer, you blame God for it.*
# When you're discussing the origin of the world, the phrase "uncaused cause (God)" is a stupid, meaningless thing to say. You will, however, settle for "uncaused effect (the world without God)".*
# You think you arrived at your position because you are a free-thinker who rationally weighed the evidence, and then freely chose atheism over theism. YET, you also believe that your thinking and actions are nothing more than the FIXED reactions of the atoms in your brain that are governed by the Laws of Chemistry and Physics.*
# When you ask the question "How can life arise from non life" you are told to "get a basic biology textbook". When you ask "if the answer is so easy why don't you tell me?" you are called an ignorant buffoon.*
# You love to castigate Christians for being "anti-science" if they deny evolution from goo to you via the zoo, and to preach that they should adapt their thinking to the "science" of our day. But you also castigate the Church of 400 years ago for being anti-science, when it DID adapt its thinking to the science of ITS day, i.e. Ptolemaic cosmology, then joined with the Aristotelian scientists of the universities in rejecting Galileo!*
# You think that some guy named "Dr Dino" with no scientific credentials represents mainstream Evangelical thinking and scholarship about evolution and creation, and thus by spending inordinate amounts of time attacking him you are somehow dismantling the arguments of scholarly dissenters from evolution, creationists with earned Ph. D.s in science, and of advocates of intelligent design.*
# You claim poker-faced that "social Darwinism" and its spawn of eugenics have absolutely no connection to the biological theories propounded by Charles Darwin in "On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life"*
# You have recently stuck a Darwin fish on your car in the hopes the people with the Jesus fish on theirs will be offended.*
# You also claim that not only is there no connection between Darwin's theories and the doctrines of social Darwinism and eugenics (despite the fact that the term eugenics was coined and advocated by Darwin's cousin Francis Galton), but that none of these philosophical positions have any connection to the modern fields of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology.*
# You say that Social Darwinism and Evolution are separate ideas, even though scientists like Stephen Jay Gould admitted that evolution has fueled arguments for racism and many studies show otherwise.*
# You say that Social Darwinism and Eugenics are a misapplication of evolutionary theory yet you entertain and support the idea of castrating or sterilizing religious people and anyone else you consider to be stupid or deficient.*
# You attempt to show the damage Christianity and religion have done to the world and how humanism is a much better moral alternative yet you completely ignore the fact that the largest and most successful charities in the world are run and supported by Christians and that the average American Christian gives close to at least 7 times the amount of their personal income to charity than atheists do.*
# You are perfectly willing to accept aid from the same faith-based organizations you routinely criticize when you are experiencing hard times.*
# You completely ignore the fact that faith-based organizations do an overwhelmingly better job at helping the poor, the disadvantaged, and the suffering than anyone else does and refuse to credit it to the religious belief that inspired it.*
# You firmly assert that there must be an objective standard by which we can determine what "true faith" is yet the idea that there must be an objective standard by which we can determine what is moral and what is not is ridiculous to you.*
# You can claim with a straight face on sites like Talk Origins that "Evolution does not have moral consequences" despite the fact that prominent evolutionary advocates like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett vehemently assert that evolution does transcend biology in a way that has a profound effects upon ethics.*
# When the Pope says that God may have used evolution, he is an enlightened religious leader whom Christians should listen to. When the Pope preaches on the sanctity of human life from conception, and thus denounces abortion, he's just a senile religious bigot who should keep his opinions to himself.*
# When you're shown that your view of origins is silly, you can only respond, "Well...at least it's better than believing in some invisible SKY DADDY!"*
# When a Christian points out the impossibility of a biological system (or feature) forming by pure chance you accuse them of invoking a "God of the gaps". YET, when you are asked how a particular feature could come about solely by chance you invoke "Evolution of the gaps" (i.e., we don't know HOW but we do know that Evolution MUST have done it!)*
# You think that the Spanish Inquisition killed millions (or at least hundreds of thousands), even though the population of all of Spain at the time of the Inquisition was only about five million, and the actual total killed numbers about 2000. When informed of this, you accuse the informer of belittling or being insensitive to the deaths of 2000 individuals.*
# In a coffee table conversation you hear religion represented in a positive light. You immediately start preaching about the Inquisition and the Crusades to put things back on track. After all, "we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door".*
# You continually argue that Hitler was a "real Christian" even when he and his fellow Nazis were slaughtering millions of people (and you "conveniently" ignore the very obvious distinction between someone claiming to be a Christian and someone actually living as a Christian, and the fact that the Nuremberg prosecutors denounced Nazism as fanatically ANTI-Christian!), but you deny that the scientists who rejected Galileo's work were real scientists.*
# You insist that the historical data is too sparse to know anything about the ancient world, but you then proceed to tell us what 'actually happened' anyway.*
# You use non-scholarly, ignorant sources like Losing Faith in Faith for your arguments, then complain that it is God's fault if he didn't make the Bible "clear" enough for you to understand it or not find problems in it without doing any homework in scholarly sources.*
# You believe that any public expression of faith is a violation of the First Amendment.*
# You believe that the First Amendment is suppose to guarantee you "freedom from religion."*
# You say that if a Christian reads their Bible a lot, they are brainwashing themselves. But if they don't read it much, you accuse them of being ignorant.*
# Missionaries who give up their personal comfort to aid starving, impoverished and persecuted third-world people are actually "corrupting ancient tribal cultures with western religious dogma", while you sit at home and complain about the price of KFC.*
# You assert that there is no absolute categories of good and evil, that all morals are merely personal, social and evolutionary constructs but then you can still describe Christians and Christianity as absolutely immoral, repugnant and evil and a danger to humanity and not feel even a twinge of hypocrisy at the monumentally fallacious logic of your position.*
# You think that taking the Bible seriously is the obsession of a fanatical fringe group of right-wing, extremist Christians who do not represent the views of the historic Church or of contemporary enlightened, liberal, skeptical "Christians" who according to you supposedly "fill" the mainstream churches and who on close inspection pretty much reflect your own politically correct views and values - and skepticism - about God.*
# You get angry when Christians tell you you're going to a place that you don't think exists.*
# You're convinced that people only believe in God because they're afraid of going to hell...despite the fact that if there is no God, then there's probably no hell either. (A tautological argument)*
# When a group of Sydney University (Australia) academics, including a historian, sign a public statement saying the Jesus Christ is "one of the great figures of history" and that his claims to be Son of God "bear up under closest scrutiny", this is a gross abuse of their position. But when Richard Dawkins uses his position as an Oxford professor to pontificate on his atheistic religion and related philosophical matters outside HIS field (animal behavior), that is a responsible use of academic freedom.*
# You think it is a "slam dunk" proof against God when you ask why He doesn't stop horrible things like child rape, but evade the reply that you obviously don't want God stopping your own sins by pointing out that it isn't your problem because you don't believe in God in the first place.*
# You're convinced that all Christians are idiots. But when you meet the "rare" Christian who's clearly intelligent, you can only conclude that he was fooled into believing...by the idiots.*
# You're proud of being completely free of prejudice, unlike the "typical sociopathic Christian".*
# You don't like Christians because they are stuffy, hateful, bigoted and judgmental and you don't like judgmental people. You also don't see the irony in this.*
# You feel that the separation of church and state is a much more important issue than abortion, euthanasia, or infanticide.*
# You label any positive change whatsoever in Christian theology or behavior as 'secularization.'*
# You deface money by scribbling God off of dollar bills.
# You think the USA is a theocracy.*
# You are angry at President Obama for betraying atheists everywhere for choosing Rick Warren to give the prayer at the Inauguration Ceremony, even though Obama openly declared himself as a Christian and has every right to pick anyone he wants to.*
# You are disgusted with Doctor Paul Vitz's book "Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism" because an educated person with a degree has linked atheism as a psychological condition. Yet, you have no remorse when you tell believers that they are a product of brainwashing, psycho conditioning and wishful thinking.*
# You quite rightly denounce the methods of those who deny the historicity of the Holocaust, then use the same methods (inventing excuses to ignore evidence) to deny the historicity of Jesus.*
# You support the Jesus Myth theory which is a rehashing of the same failed theory that was rejected back in the 1940s and is still rejected by the overwhelming majority of legitimate scholars and historians.*
# You believe that nativity scenes should be banned from public view, but that anyone objecting to pornography only has to look the other way.*
# You object to any mention of "God" and "Jesus" in the media and education systems - except as swear words.*
# You think marriage is an obsolete fundy institution - except for homosexuals.*
# You believe that when our forefathers are framing the Constitution, they're staunch deists, but when they're beating their slaves, they're Bible-believing Christians.*
# You think that it's wrong to execute a convicted serial killer, but abortion on demand is a constitutional right.*
# You uphold a woman’s right to choose, unless a woman chooses adoption, chooses to be a stay-at-home mom, chooses to homeschool, or chooses to start a business.*
# You think you have refuted the whole Trilemma because you've added another alternative to it.*
# You believe that the Trinity is absurd because of the erroneous mathematical equation 1+1+1= 3. You completely ignore the possibility of 1 cubed or 1 to the third power which equates to 1 being multiplied by itself three times and still equaling one (or one object having 3 dimensions) which is more accurately representative of what the Trinity is than three ones added together.*
# You dismiss any attempt to harmonize the resurrection accounts by saying "one says A, the other says B, but none say A+B", then go on to offer your own elaborate conspiracy theory of what happened to the Jesus' body, describing A+B+C+D, none of which are said ANYWHERE let alone together.*
# You become upset when a Christian says that not everything in the Bible should be taken literally.*
# You dislike how liberal theists try to interpret the Bible for themselves, while you create your own interpretations of the Bible for yourself: (a) Exodus 34 contains a new set of 10 Commandments; (b) Jesus asked His disciples to slay all His enemies.*
# When a Christian's interpretation of a passage (based on the social/literary context) solves one of your favorite contradictions, it is only their personal interpretation, and can be dismissed as such. But your interpretation (based on a "plain" reading of the text) to arrive at the contradiction in the first place is entirely objective, and is obviously THE correct interpretation.*
# You consistently appear on discussion lists demanding that Christians accept your literal interpretation of various scriptural passages just so you can then launch into the usual "argument by outrage" - despite being told over and over that no Bible scholar or school of Christianity shares your particular bizarre literal interpretation.*
# You pontificate about the Bible as if you are an expert in theology, textual criticism, ancient languages & cultures and much more besides, when your knowledge of the Bible is just cut and paste from atheist discussion lists which cut and paste it from atheist websites which cut and paste it from embarrassingly unscholarly rantings by the likes of Messer's Freke & Gandy and Acharya S, etc.*
# You decry Christian missionaries for denying cultural relativism; denouncing their efforts to reform cannibalism, slavery and fear of animist spirits as judgmental intolerance. But your attacks on the Bible merely comprise anguished cries of "how barbaric" rather than reasoned arguments; and ignore all considerations of ritual cleanness, the evils of the Canaanites and the fact that ancient society was always one step from anarchy.*
# Archaeology continually frustrates your attempts to find errors and contradictions in the Bible, but you continually use the same outdated accusations anyway since you're running out of material.*
# When you go to bookstores, you move all the Bibles to the "fiction" section, or at least support the idea.*
# You then proceed to move copies of The DaVinci Code to the "non-fiction" shelves.
# When you say "I don't know" you are being brave and honest. When a theist says "I don't know" they are being dishonest and are trying to dodge the question.*
# You have never pondered the question: why did a really smart guy like Bertrand Russell write such a pathetically limp, uninformed and adolescent critique of Christianity in "Why I Am Not A Christian"?*
# You say you don't believe in objective morals, but....come on, admit it, you think God did some screwed up things, don't you?*
# You say things like, "I can't tolerate religion because religion is intolerant. And no type of intolerance should be tolerated."*
# You can't believe in a book that was created over two thousand years ago because "we're not sure WHAT happened", but you know for a fact that religion was created tens of thousands of years ago specifically to control the brainwashed public.*
# You boast that you are strong, have no regrets, that you are better because of the trials in your life, but when God is mentioned, those same trials are all of the sudden a testament to his cruelty.*
# You claim antibiotic-resistant bacteria is proof protozoa evolved into a person.*
# You insist that science is completely partial to all ideas, is not dogmatic and researches all possibilities -- except creationism and/or intelligent design.*
# When a creationist points out problems with the evolutionist model you claim that the whole point of science is to answer problems like these. But if you can point out even one problem in the creationist model it should instantly be abandoned as absurd.*
# You are a person who absolutely believes that life came from nonlife, yet absolutely deny the possibility of anyone rising from the dead.*
# Engaging the "slippery slope" fallacy, you think you can invalidate the whole bible by discrediting Genesis, since 'the whole bible either stands together or falls apart'. However, when a creationist tries to invalidate the whole doctrine of naturalistic evolution by exposing the sheer improbability and lack of evidence for abiogenesis, you note this point as 'irrelevant'.*
# You demand that Christians study advanced evolutionary biology before making claims about Natural Selection. You then claim that their theological ideas, which you have never examined before, are pure nonsense.*
# When reputable scientists like Paul Davies, a professor of Mathematical Physics, come to the conclusion that the discoveries of physics prove that the universe is "no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here," you disregard it as bad science or "just their personal opinion."*
# Even though there are numerous events and phenomena supported by science that the mechanics of evolution fail to explain or do not apply to like the existence of physical laws, the Anthropic Principle and fine tuning of the universe, the reality that the universe had a beginning, the Cambrian Explosion, the improbability and inconsistency surrounding abiogenesis, and the fact that all of humanity can be traced back to a single woman via mitochondiral DNA, you automatically preclude and ignore any possibility outside a naturalistic one even if it better fits the evidence.*
# You fail to consider for even a moment the fact that human beings are the only creatures on Earth and possibly the universe that possess abstract reasoning, a moral conscience, free will, the ability to contemplate time, meaning, and purpose, the ability to create and appreciate art, music, and beauty, and the ability to manipulate the environment around them and that this amazing phenomenon might be better and more simply explained by the more probable idea that an Intelligent Being with similar traits made them in its likeness than an unintelligent, accidental process which just "happened" to yield a single species utterly and fundamentally different than all other sentient beings.*
# There are 100 billion galaxies in the universe. Each one contains around 250 million stars. Many of these stars have small bits of matter pointlessly circling them that are commonly referred to as planets. Around one of the smaller of these stars spins a rather smaller than average, insignificant planet. On this unimportant speck, over hundreds of millions of years, which is an insignificantly short length of time when compared to the age of the universe, totally random chemical reactions brought about complex though meaningless organisms who eventually evolved through totally random mutations into bipedal life forms. These life forms engage in a behavior they call thinking, which involves the exchange of tiny bits of electrical and chemical energy being passed from one single cell to another. None of the tiny bits of energy even realize that the bipedal life form exists. And if they did, they wouldn't care. All of these reactions are simply the byproduct of previous events that were also the results of events before them, beginning initially as a random quantum event that happened so long ago that there is really no point at all in trying to conceive of it. If one of these fatuous beings on an inconsequential planet in a faceless galaxy in the meaningless universe, randomly happens to think there is a non existent deity, and you argue with him...............you might be a fundamentalist atheist.
# You point to Talk Origins in defense of biological evolution yet you say that "theistic evolution" is a joke when Talk Origins says otherwise.*
# You say that you "worship" science.
# You cite "Talkorigins.org" as a reliable source.*
# You insist that "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", then claim that Jesus never existed.*
# You contend that no war in history has ever been created by non-belief. Yet, when you are told that 176 million people lost their lives in wars during the last century, created by non-believers like Stalin, Lenin, Mao and Hitler, to name only a few, you reply that those wars fought were fought in the name of ideology and not 'atheism' as atheists "…don't fly planes into buildings or start wars."*
# You accept (and quote back to Christians) any number of works that say Jesus wasn't the Son of God and call them "honest", "thought-provoking" and 'scholarly" proof, even when they completely contradict each other and come to completely different conclusions.*
# You think it's entirely possible for documents dated to the 10th century to have been forged in the 14th. (Used of Tacitus once.)
# You think that the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional because it mentions "the creator".*
# On that basis, you think that the Declaration is therefore void and the United States should return to British rule.
# When it is returned to British rule, you plan to go straight to London and tell those Brits that having the Anglican church as a state church violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
# When you use a historical point to prove Christianity is false (i.e., pagan parallel to Christianity), history is objective truth. When a Christian uses real historical scholarship to prove you false, history was written by subjective men and therefore cannot be trusted.*
# You reject what Cornelius Tacitus wrote about Jesus, dismissing it as "too late", but you readily accept what he wrote about Tiberius and Augustus.*
# 100+ year old scholarship is good enough for you.*
# You think Bolshevik Revolution leader Leon Trotsky was a far better person than Mother Theresa.*
# When Christians tell you that The Bible is inerrant you go on and list a bunch of "contradictions"; when the Christian shows to you that those are not contradictions but the result of taking things out of context you list more "contradictions" when the Christian does the same with those you complain that he/she is just making stuff up and/or that the answer the Christian gives you are not "satisfactory" and proceed of course to list more "contradictions".*
# You like to complain about the wars and killings found in the Bible and like to claim that this is some sort of proof to conclude that it is not The Word of God. When the Christian points out that the Bible is about reality and that it exposes humanity and all what comes with it, you complain that it is nonsense and that no good God would allow for that to happen. You would then just claim that it is too perfect and not true.*
# You evidently think that slaughtering 6,000,000 Jews is no different from using sugar in your porridge,since whenever someone points out that Hitler's actions show him to VERY UN-Christian,you exclaim "No true Scotsman uses sugar in his porridge!"*
# You think historians Michael Grant and Robin Lane Fox are "religious nutcases" for believing Jesus existed.
# You refuse to use the word "excruciating" because of its origins in describing the agonies of crucifixion. (ex crucis - "from the cross")
# You absolutely insist a Christian recognize your nonscholar as an expert (G. A. Wells) but refuse to recognize his legitimate scholar as expert (Colin Hemer).*
# You think that religious wars have killed more people than any other kind of war, even though the largest wars of the last 200 years (World War I and II, Civil War, etc.) had no discernible religious causes.*
# You believe that Christians burned down the Great Library of Alexandria. When you learn that this was impossible, you assert that it is obvious that Christians did burn a lot of ancient books. When you are shown that this too is false, you wait a while, then make the same claim again, hoping that the person who corrected you with the facts won't notice.*
# You desperately confer with other skeptics to try and refute the evidence that Hitler's Holocaust was evolution-inspired, because, darn it, you just GOTTA prove that Hitler was a Christian.*
# You're convinced, despite evidence to the contrary, that Christianity was responsible for the Jewish holocaust because, dang it, that just SEEMS like something Christians would do.*
# You believe that Hitler claiming to be a Christian is undeniable proof that he was a Christian, while George Washington only claimed to be a Christian in order to win the people's favor.*
# You adamantly refuse to recognize the historical fact that "scientific atheism" was both a foundational philosophical position and an actual policy of the Soviet Union from the time of Lenin on, responsible for untold persecution, torture, suffering, humiliation and death far in excess of the numbers of the "victims" of Christianity.*
# On the other hand you further show your ignorance of history by constantly repeating "whoppers" about the numbers of victims of Christian Inquisitions, crusades and witchhunts dredged up from various unscholarly hate sites and passed off as historical fact.*
# You really believe that the Enlightenment made people more enlightened.*
# You think that Robert Green Ingersoll and Joseph McCabe are two of the greatest philosophers of religion ever to have lived - certainly far superior to nobodies like Thomas Aquinas or Blaise Pascal.
# You think that Pope Leo X may have really called Christ a fable, because it's "the type of thing he would say," but you deny that God could have said what the Bible attributes to Him because it is recorded by "anonymous" witnesses.
# You've never understood why merely uttering the phrase "Christian America" is not considered to be a declaration of treason against the "TRUE" United States of America.*
# You think there's more evidence for the existence of Wonder Woman than for Jesus.*
# You complain about desecrating the Koran while holding a burning Bible.
# You think religion is "the original war crime".*
# You think the Ku Klux Klan and the Christian Identity movement are representative of "mainstream" Christianity.*
# You think serial killer Dennis "BTK" Rader is a "model Christian" and Olympic Park/abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph is a "good Christian boy". Anyone who argues otherwise is committing the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.*
# You believe that "if it weren't for the U.S. Constitution, Christian leaders would be burning women at the stake."*
# You think that Bible translators whose names, and reasons for their word choices, are unknown to you, provide a much better argument for a specific reading of the text, while Bible commentaries by named authors, with in-depth arguments, are obviously trying to cover up the truth.*
# You are outraged at the slaughters in the Bible ordered by God because of the need at the time (such as the Midianite children's tendency to avenge their parents after growing up), but then vigourously defend the bombing of Hiroshima on the grounds that the Japanese would fight to the death.
# You want the symbol of the cross to be removed from burial grounds in order to enforce "religious tolerance" all the while claiming that the symbol of the cross now used to symbolize Christianity was copied from earlier pagan religions.*
# You think that Josh McDowell represents the apex of Christian scholarly apologetical thinking.*
# You lump all Christians in with whatever religious fruitcake is the flavour of the month, while living with the delusion that there are no atheistic weirdos out there.*
# You KNOW that religion causes violence and repeatedly tell this to everyone, hoping to save the world, but you don't believe that TV violence causes any real life violence. In fact, you are offended by this objection, and you have already started to figure out how to refute it. To increase your fundy factor, you have decided not to study social sciences. (Once you heard about Rodney Stark's For the Glory of God - you certainly would not bother reading it - you thought that sociologists were Christian fundamentalists in stealth mode, trying to push religious worldviews.*
# You think that 'mission statements' on Christian websites proves the authors are biased which automatically renders the material on those sites weak and unscholarly yet you see no problem with 'mission statements' glorifying naturalism found on atheistic websites.*
# You're paranoid that these Christian academics will discriminate against you, even though their statement hasn't the remotest hint of that. But you applaud Michael Dini, a professor at Texas Tech, who refuses to recommend students for Medical School, even if they got "A"s in their courses, unless they not only understand but BELIEVE in goo-to-you evolution. And you're disgusted that creationist medical doctors have the gall to think they know more about medicine than Dini (who never practiced medicine or even went to medical school), because by definition an evolutionist is more knowledgeable than a creationist on ANY subject!*
# You feel that Christians who go into atheist chat rooms are "shoving their beliefs down people's throats", and that atheists who go into Christian chat rooms are only trying to educate.*
# You believe Freud's theory that all religious experiences are delusions, as the most revolutionary and truthful thought of all times. Yet, you overlook his heavy use of cocaine because "it can't be proven."
# You recommend Michael Shermer's book "How We Believe" to all of your friends who are believers and believe that somehow his opinion will give insight into how we actually think. Yet of course, you ignore that Shermer doesn't have any education in Anthropology. Must be a coincidence.
# You think that the words "Christian" and "sane" are mutually exclusive.*
# You think that no Christian can ever be a patriotic American, because he will always side with the enemies of truth.
# You think Satanists are Christians because they "worship a Christian god".
# You can quote the latter part of Psalm 14:1 as proof that the Bible claims there is no God. If a Christian tries to point out the context (ie. "The fool says in his heart 'there is no God'") you claim they were already predisposed toward the existance of God and can therefore be safely ignored.*
# You demand that theists explain news items where bad things have happened to theists, even though no theists on the board have claimed that belief in God is some kind of a lucky charm that wards off bad luck.*
# You demand that theists explain news items where theists do bad things, even though no theists on the board have claimed that it is impossible for theists to do bad things.*
# The only Commandments you know are the ones that are unconstitutional.
# You can't remember if she was Mother or Sister Teresa, but you can name every pedophile priest listed in the media over the last seven years.
# You feel that Marilyn Manson is really, really profound.*
# You think the song "Dear God" by XTC is really, really, really................really meaningful.
# You believe that emotional response interferes with rational thinking. Yet, you think George Carlin is was the greatest comedian of all times, because he makes made you laugh.*
# You're saving up to move to some more enlightened place, like Sweden.
# You were too sophisticated to be afraid of (very real) "Reds under the bed" but you nevertheless see Christians behind every act of "evil" in the western world.
# You think God was cruel for killing all of those innocent babies in the flood, and that Christians are cruel for opposing a woman's right to kill her baby.*
# You think that Reverend Fred Phelps does what he does because of his Christianity, but Reverend Fred Rogers did what he did in spite of his Christianity.*
# Public acknowledgments of God remind you of 9/11.*
# You spell America "AermiKKKa" and Christian "KKKristian".*
# You go to a church wedding or funeral, but only to pray ostentatiously to "the woman upstairs".
# You have not seen "The Passion of the Christ," and you don’t know anyone who has seen it.
# You think that protesters outside nuclear power plants are dedicated activists, but protestors outside abortion clinics are dangerous zealots interfering with a legal activity.*
# You start a lawsuit to expunge Christian books from the school libraries in your state because it violates "separation of church and state" that you insist is in the Constitution. Simultaneously you start a lawsuit to defend the right to have books in the same school libraries advocating the religion of Wicca.
# When someone refers to an unborn baby as a baby, you say, "Don't you mean fetus?"*
# You are infuriated that a school in Pennsylvania would issue a statement to its students about intelligent design and direct them to the library for more information, citing the separation of church and state, but you have no problem with a school in California having kids "act out" one of the five Muslim pillars of faith.*
# You have actually calculated, for purposes of "argument by outrage," an estimate of the number of people drowned in The Flood.
# You can quote from the bible better than most missionaries...at least the parts where someone dies.
# You label all scholars that actually believe the Bible as "biased fundies" while those who don't believe it are known as "honest" and "accepted scholarship."*
# You think that Isaac Asimov was a world-class authority in Biblical Studies.
# You refer to the crucifixion of Jesus as the "cruci-fiction".*
# Your only knowledge of The Bible comes from searching 'bible contradictions' in Google.
# Everytime you don't understand a passage in The Bible, instead of trying to figure it out you blame God for not writing it better.*
# You think that God would have made things a lot clearer for everyone, ranging from the medieval knight to the Chinese peasant, had He inspired His Word in modern English in words and concepts you could understand. You also ask, when told of the scarceness of paper in the ancient world, why God didn't provide enough paper to write a longer story.
# You adamantly believe that "the Bible says pi equals 3" in 1 Kings 7:23 even though: (1) the verse does not make the slightest reference to the calculation of pi, (2) there are more measurements of the bowl from that verse in subsequent verses, (3) the bowl in question could very likely not have been a "perfect" circle with "perfect" measurements, (4) it's not unusual for ancient peoples using ancient tools (or even modern peoples using modern tools) to use round, easy to remember numbers, (5) asking an online math forum results in a refutation of your belief but you ignore what professional mathematicians plainly say (including that the Bible is not in error in this place) and twist their words to make it appear as if they are backing your assertion in order to continue to justify your belief (not that you ever had any intention of doing otherwise in the first place).
# You can quote Acharya S, Kersey Graves, John Remsburg, and Earl Doherty more fluently than Laurence Olivier could quote Shakespeare.
# You create a web site: http://www.EvilBible.com, post an Evil Bible Quote of the Day on usenet. The quotes always end with: "What kind of person would get their moral guidance from an ancient book of myths and magic that says it is OK to murder, rape, pillage, and plunder?"*
# You claim to hold no Dogma. Yet, you're just as rigid and stubborn with your beliefs as any Dogmatist.*
# The only reason you go to hear a concert pianist play Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata is to complain to him afterward about the name. Obviously it was chosen as part of a conspiracy to hide the fact that the Bible's mentions of the moon giving light were errors rather than phenomenological language.
# You insist on capitalizing "atheist".
# You take the lack of evidence for the Jesus story being a hoax as evidence that Christians got rid of all the evidence.
# You claim that there is no way a book thousands of years old can be relevant today, but refuse to do the necessary homework to see how it could apply in modern situations, preferring instead to argue that God should have provided an updated version.*
# You respond to arguments about the different points of view in the society of the ancient world by calling ancient people and their way of thinking "stupid".*
# You once heard something about some document in the Catholic Church which says the resurrection never happened. And despite your never having seen it or even met anyone who claims to have seen it (and despite having no idea who wrote it, when they wrote it, or what exactly it says), you're convinced that this document is far more reliable than the Gospels and thus disproves Christianity, and that the church is hiding it so that they can keep the money rolling in.
# You believe that priests are only in it for the money, despite the fact that they make less than almost anyone else with their level of education.
# You can't understand why people can't see the logic in your question,"The Lord of the Rings is a book. The Bible is a book. What makes one fiction, and the other true?"*
# You find you have a grudging respect for fundy theists for 'sticking to their guns' even while complaining they don't think for themselves.*
# 'Thinking for yourself' means adopting an atheist viewpoint.*
# Your thoughts on any complex matter are sensible and clear, while a theist's thoughts on any complex matter are mental gymnastics.*
# You leave 'freethought' tracts lying around, like the littering missionaries.
# If someone says 'God Bless' when you sneeze, you make them 'take it back!'
# Although you are a 'free-thinker' and 'rational' person, you lose all reason when reading The Bible.*
# You think religious tolerance does not apply to Christians.*
# You debate (argue, vilify, etc.) as if every theist was a Jack Chick fan, and as if every Biblical inerrantist was a Ruckmanite who believes that the KJV was specially inspired.
# You think that Christianity is a 'virulent memeplex' and that atheism is the 'cure.'*
# You're infuriated by the term "village atheist." You prefer "right-thinking urban humanist."
# You can gladly believe any number of conflicting philosophical positions, as long as they're atheistic.*
# You start a local Atheists and Agnostics Society, the goal of which is to prove through good deeds that atheists and agnostics can be just as generous and caring as some Christians are. When nobody joins, and the club eventually folds, you are flustered. You have no idea why a group of people who by definition do not base their morality on anything greater than their own ideas wouldn't jump at the chance to be self-sacrificing for no logical reason.
# You get a big kick out of either spamming online Christian forums with offensive material or posing as a grossly over-the-top parody of a Christian on such websites.*
# You quote The God Delusion like Christians quote the Bible.
# You refuse to give your children any name that appears in The Bible.
# You don't realize that Landover Baptist Church's website is a parody.
# Even when you do realize it is a parody, you think that it's implied arguments are suitable for use as a reply rather than Biblical scholarship.
# You call God "she" in the presence of Christians simply out of sheer spite.*
# You create an Atheist Missionary organization and then call it a think-tank, in a small town in Virginia. Then you heap scorn on Christians for "proselytizing"*
# You are part of a non-belief organization such as American Atheists, Church of Freethought, Humanist Association of Canada, Student Freethought Alliance and/or the Council of Secular Humanism. You claim these organizations have absolutely no creeds and that the people involved independently think of different things from one another. Yet of course, on your organization's website they define the commonalities that all non-believers follow.*
# You think that spamming Christian chatgroups and discussion lists with expletives and insults demonstrates superior free-thinking, rational, atheistic logic.*
# You think that it is possible to talk meaningfully about "good and evil" "right and wrong" when decrying the sins of the Church while simultaneously subscribing to the notion that neither sin nor good and evil exist as ultimate categories but only as personal and social constructs.*
# You have never pondered the question: why does a smart guy like Richard Dawkins regularly give atheists a bad name by putting his foot in his mouth with his inane and ridiculous pronouncements about God and religion?*
# You assert that "faith is believing things which you know aren't true".*
# You really "believe" that many human beings actually believe things they know aren't true.*
# You believe the movie Dogma gives the most accurate portrayal of Christian theology.
# You feel that prefacing your responses to Christians with the word bull$#@! somehow makes your argument a little more valid.*
# You take a self-righteous pedantic "stand on principle" against Christian apologists writing under pseudonyms, but always refer to the "Endarkenment" French infidel writer Fran├žois Marie Arouet by HIS pseudonym "Voltaire".
# You find the term 'fundy atheist' meaningless, baffling, illogical and just plain oxymoronic/self-contradictory even though the two terms are not exclusive of each other (except in the minds of fundy atheists, of course).*
# You've ever called a Christian a "Paulian".*
# You deny that someone can possibly know they know the truth ('It's just belief, not knowledge,") while at the same time claiming to know the truth.
# You write books like Warren Allen Smith's "Who's Who In Hell: A Handbook and International Directory for Humanists, Freethinkers, Naturalists, Rationalists and Non-Theists." You label 10,000 of these famous non-believers, as good, peaceful people who will be rotting in hell because they are or were infidels. While of course you also fail to realize that for every 10,000 of the world's peaceful non-believers, anyone can come up with a book that lists 10,000 peaceful, loving and famous historical believers. Of course, you also fail to realize that you've wasted your time researching 10,000 historical and modern names just because you want people to think 'peaceful' people will be rotting in an afterlife that you don't believe exists.*
# You think that logical fallacies are only fallacies when theists use them.*
# You think when atheist, left-wing journalist Christopher Hitchens slammed Mother Theresa, calling her a "ghoul", he's a genius, but when he slams Michael Moore's propagandizing "Fahrenheit 9/11", he's just a drunk.*
# You hate Christianity because "...it destroys everything that makes us human," and think Christians "have lost whatever vestiges of humanity they had left.*
# You just can't see any difference between Pat Robertson Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, etc, and Osama bin Laden.*
# You go to work on Christmas and instead take Halloween off.
# You go to an Atheism versus Christianity debate in which you must vote for whoever you think wins. The Christian side is represented by a highly prestigious historian and theologian, and the atheist side is represented by a dog that's able to bark the theme song to "I Dream of Jeannie" off key. You vote for the dog.
# Every December 25th you celebrate the day stupidity was born.
# You think eating bread and drinking wine (the Eucharist) is cannibalism.*
# You try to prove that the bible contradicts itself by producing out of context quotes like "God...is...a...liar...." (Genesis 1:3 - 1 John 3:4)
# You think the fact that God can't make purple burps or squared circles keeps Christians up at night.*
# You feel guilty whenever you use the word faith and have decided to remove it from your vocabulary unless you are criticizing it.*
# You have fallen for the post-9/11 religious paranoia and think that all Christians are "potential" kamikazes.
# You complain to Christians that "all your music sucks." When asked what kind of music you listen to you give a list of bands including POD. When someone points out that POD is a Christian band you say "They can't be, I hear them on the radio."*
# Once someone finds quotes and/or lyrics proving they are, in fact, a Christian band, you immediately respond, "Well, I don't really care what they believe, I just like their music."
# You believe any person who writes a book critical of Christianity is doing it for "education" purposes. Conversely, you believe that any person who writes a book defending Christianity is "just in it to make money."
# You go around amazon.com posting 1000 word prefab rebuttals to religious books you've never actually read.*
# You call all Christians Nazis.*
# Your best argument against Christianity is the fact YOU don't believe in it.*
# You think Deicide is the best death metal band.
# And, for that matter, you actually think metal bands have deep insight into religion in the first place.
# You think the Satanic Bible is of more value than the Judeo-Christian Bible.
# You attempt to make an objective list at amazon.com entitled "Did Jesus Exist?", and cite "The Da Vinci Code" as a work that argues for the historicity of Jesus.
# You refer to Christians in the neuter gender ("it").
# You think large female breasts are a good argument against the existence of God.
# You think Christians are the "new Nazis" and atheists are the "new Jews", and think yourself the "probable victim of a future holocaust".*
# You think The Jesus Camp is indoctrination, but feel that the new atheist camps are liberating for free thinking.*
# You get real excited over being labeled a 'deophobe'. Especially right after calling all Christians 'homophobes' because they don't support tax increases for 'gay studies' in state colleges.
# You think it's bad that God committed genocide, murder, etc., but get mad when Christians tell you something you're doing is wrong because the Bible says "Do not judge."*
# You criticize Christians for not accepting the reasons for your deconversion to atheism yet you consider yourself "a former fundamentalist."
# You say that religion is ruining your life and the society you live in and you spend every day of your life obsessing on ways to rid the world of it.
# You complain about religion infringing on the first amendment of separation of church and state yet you say that religion is dangerous and should be forbidden by the government.*
# You say that having faith in something is "evil" yet you do not believe in absolute wrong or right but despise the words "moral relativity" when attributed to atheism.*
# You are all for abortion and say that it is a woman's right to abort, but you are against the mother' s right to educate the child in accord with her beliefs. The mother has a right to kill the baby in her womb, but she has no right to educate the baby once it is born.*
# You complain about prayer in public schools or churches talking about politics because you do not want your taxes supporting it but if Christians are forced to pay taxes to support abortion or educational programs that they find to be immoral, you demand that they just deal with it and you even fight against their right to oppose it.*
# You claim that Judeo-Christianity borrowed from other religions, despite clear instances in the Bible specifically forbidding such a practice and the structure of the Jewish culture Christianity grew out of which despised any interaction with pagan and heathen religions.*
# You believe that because someone is an atheist, they are more educated and more open minded than a religious person.*
# You ask of scientific evidence for the existence of an unfathomable incomprehensible non-material deity, and say that historical evidence for God is a "poor medium."*
# You think Richard Dawkins' analogies of God and theism are sound and the examples of the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" and Zeus make an excellent argument against the existence of God.*
# You run an atheist message board just for the purpose of insulting any theist or Christian that may decide to post there.*
# You think that by criticizing a God belief (i.e. theism) that you are aiding in the destruction of religion and leading an optimistic future for atheism.*
# You think that within the near future ALL individuals will come to be atheists and that the word itself will disappear.
# You say that all morals are relative, yet fail to see that that is an "absolute" statement about morals.*
# When told that the idea of the universe always existing is silly, you respond with, "you believe that God always existed, so why not the universe?"*
# You perceive that religious people and theologians sincerely believe in an "invisible man" who is literally sitting on a cloud high up in the sky.*
# You willingly partake in the "Blasphemy Challenge" and you believe that dressing up like Satan in gothic clothes and listening to heavy metal will hopefully upset your Catholic neighbors next door.
# You go out of your way to advertise yourself in allegiance with Satan (a mythical being) and make a short video clip with you saying "I deny the Holy Spirit" when God is clearly a myth and does not exist.
# You say that all humans are "naturally born atheists" yet you contend that all religious doctrine and modern-day perceived morality comes from a common psychological product of modification by millions of years.*
# You say that religious morals are "common sense" yet you fail to see that most people have a tendency to not follow them very well.*
# You believe that Paul existed but Jesus and his disciples did not.*
# You think that Paul invented Christianity for some political gain and personal greed without given any explanations for why.*
# You say that the Bible is "100% fiction" just because it speaks of supernatural events without realizing the major flaw in your reasoning.*
# You think that almost every genre of thinking MUST envoke scientific argumentation.*
# You say there is a lack of scientific evidence for God's existence when you fail to explain what "scientific evidence" could possibly constitute the existence of a sentient non-material omnipresent being.*
# You praise the "beauty" of evolution but when God is put into the scene you object to God being malevolent and cruel to his creation.*
# You believe that by making more scientific discoveries the chances of God existing are becoming more and more slim, when you fail to acknowledge that the further science advances, the more complex and complicated our understanding of the universe becomes.*
# You plea that Darwin's racist views were due to the culture of that time, but when someone says the same about Moses and the Israelites, you immediately object to their standards as immoral and primitive.*
# You get frustrated if Christians are SKEPTICAL about atheism.*
# Ridicule and sarcasm are your best weapons in an informal debate. However when Christians do those things you will say "How Christian like of you!"*
# You feel superior over Christians because you’re an atheist.*
# You assert that religion is childish yet you suggest instead that we resort to atheism as we are all atheists during our childhood years.*
# You believe that Christians intend on censoring atheists through medieval torture.
# You say Einstein only used "God" in the poetic sense to suggest he was some sort of atheist when Einstein specifically spoke out against atheists and their quoting of him to support the atheist worldview.*
# You claim that no one can be a true atheist and convert to religion, whilst still suggesting that atheism is the default position by birth.*
# You point to a congregation consisting of less than 100 inbred family relatives residing in the infamous Topeka, Kansas area, using them as examples of contemporary religion compared to the millions of other Christians in the entire nation.*
# You repeatedly state that Catholic priests are child-molesting pedophiles.*
# You have a convenient "copy and paste" popular skeptic phrase on a Word document because you can't come up with any real arguments.
# You've become an atheist by listening to Rational Response Squad sermons.
# You say that Christians uncritically swallow and parrot whatever their pastors tell them, then turn around and wonder why no two Christians can agree on anything.*
# You argue that morality is relative but you condemn anyone who believes that goodness is from God by making these types of comments: "You aren't saying you do good things only because of your belief in God are you?"*
# You believe "there is no such thing as an atheist terrorist" because they don't believe in killing others and/or themselves in the name of a deity or supernatural power.*
# You claim to know more about the Bible and Christianity then 99.999% of Christians, then go on to say that Jesus is a rip-off of Mithras.*
# You accuse a Christian of "quote mining."
# You accuse a Christian of acting "Holier than thou" even though you act "Holier than all."*
# You call God the magic man.*
# You criticize Pascal's Wager because you think it is only dealing with two possibilities when you fail to see what it is really getting at.*
# You claim that "morality is subjective" and "natural law is a myth" then go on to say "morality comes from evolution" often in the same sentence.*
# You think that "Expelled" should be dismissed as unprofessional and not scholarly because Ben Stein is a comedian, but the movie "Religulous" is insightful, even though it's by a comedian (Bill Maher).*
# You think screaming "Godbot" "Buybull" and "Cheezits" over and over are valid arguments.
# You say you have studied the Bible in the original languages, and that you know more than 99% of Christians, then go on to demand an explanation of why God 'hates' amputees.*
# You claim all thinking men are atheists, but ignore the fact that many of the best thinking men in history have been theists.*
# You seriously believe Jesus could have survived hours of flogging and crucifixion.*
# You think that the Albigensian Crusades are proof that in the first century the Catholic Church suppressed the Gnostic Gospels.
# You think that if a Gnostic Gospel says something it must be true, but the Canonical Gospels are worthless toilet paper.*
# You think saying 'Jesus did X, (insert ancient Pagan God) did something similar to X' disproves Christianity.*
# You think that the word 'Christ' comes from Krishna, and therefore Christianity is a lie.
# You're a spoiled fifteen year old boy who lives in the suburbs and you go into a chat room to declare that, "I know there is no God because no loving God would allow anyone to suffer as much as I...hold on. My cell phone's ringing."
# You insist on eradicating the crutch that is religion and argue fervently for atheism and 'science' yet you insist it will allow for more tolerant people.
# You have your own list of how to tell who is a Christian that runs on Fundy Atheist principles itself.
# You get apoplectic about being called a Fundy Atheist for believing all those self-evidently true propositions above. And you label all theists as "fundies".*


I know that any atheist who read this would get upset and state this is just a list of idiotic straw men statements but every one that has an asterisk (*) by it is a statement that I have personally witnessed atheists saying, believing, or using in arguments whether they were atheists I've known in person, online, or popular atheist writers, thinkers, and commentators or atheists in general. Or if not that exact same thing something very much like it.

If anyone wonders why I cannot intellectually or emotionally accept atheism and why I am so critical towards it, this list pretty much summarizes it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Brief History of Thanksgiving


Close to 400 years ago in the early 1600's, a mere 102 people who had come from a small group of separatists in England sailed from Europe across the Atlantic in the autumn, in the hope of escaping the persecution of the corrupt Church of England, which had established royalty as head of the Church, in favor of establishing their own form of worship where Christ was recognized as the head of the Church as dictated by their Christian conscience. They had initially left to Holland and the Netherlands where religious tolerance was common but they found that the worldly debauchery and materialism of Amsterdam, even back then, was a troubling environment and so the more daring of them suggested sailing to new lands. They sought a place where they could honor their relationship with Christ without interruption or compromise. These separatists who came to America were what we know as the pilgrims.

William Bradford who later became the governor of Plymouth colony documented the journey. He wrote: When they [the pilgrims]came to Delfshaven, they found the ship and all things ready and such of their friends could not come with them followed after them and sundry came back from Amsterdam to see them shipped and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse and other expressions of true Christian love. The next day they went on board and their friends with them where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them. What tears did gush from every eye and pithy speeches pierced each others heart that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the [dock] as spectators could not refrain from tears, but the tide which stays for no man calling them away that were thus loathe to depart. Their reverent pastor falling down on his knees and they all with him with watery cheeks commended them the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing. And then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leaves one of another which proved to be the last leave for many of them.

Upon the Mayflower and the Speedwell, an smaller ship that accompanied the Mayflower, most of the passengers were crammed into stuffy, dark, wooden rooms where the stench of human, the pains of hunger from having little to eat but salted pork, sickness, and the incessant rolling of the sea made the journey particularly unpleasant. The deeply religious separatists were also accompanied by bigoted sailors who would often mock and harass them for their pious devotion, that is until the self-identified leader of them, who had laughed at their sea-sickness and told them how he looked forward to sowing up their shrouds and feeding them to the fishes, came down with a mysterious fever and died. It was his body ended up being thrown to the fishes and no one harassed the pilgrims again.

The Mayflower had intended to reach New York but the navigation of the sailors was not exactly accurate and instead they ended up in Cape Cod. Unfortunately, the land was too desolate to build a colony and the windy air and sea were too turbulent and bitterly cold. It was late November already. So the crew sent out a small boat of men to explore the coast of the bay and against all odds and the miserable, lethal weather that turned the spray of the sea waves into ice on their clothing, they found the harbor of Plymouth which proved to be much more hospitable and suitable for habitation. The exploring party then returned to the Mayflower only to find that William Bradford's wife had committed suicide by throwing herself into the sea in despair.

Upon first seeing the new land that is now America, Bradford wrote in his account: Being now past the vast ocean and a sea of troubles before them and expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses or much less towns to repair unto to seek for succor, and for the season it was winter and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places much more to search unknown coasts. Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness full of wild beasts and wild men and what multitudes of them there were they then knew not, for which way so ever they turned their eyes save upward to heaven, they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward objects. For summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weather-beaten face and the whole country full of woods and thickets represented a wild and savage hue. If they looked behind them, there was a mighty ocean which they had passed and now as a main bar or gulf to separate them from all the civil parts of the world. Let it also be considered what weak hope of supply and succor they left behind them what could now sustain them but the spirit of God and His grace?"

Winter came and the new settlers did not even have enough provisions and had to little time to build much more than crude shelter, mainly an unfinished church building which they called the "meeting house." The separatists did not believe that any building should be called or considered a church because they emphasized that THE Church is the body of believers and so they used ordinary meeting houses for worship as well as many other activities. Out of 102 people, half of them died during the grim winter from sickness and malnutrition. By February the death rate was at least two people per day or more. By March, 13 out of 18 wives had died, mainly because they devoted their energies to protecting their children of whom most survived. Keep in mind that there had been several other attempts to set up colonies that proved unsuccessful because most of the people either died or disappeared entirely. It must have seemed utterly hopeless to the bereft pilgrims.

At last, a ray of hope seemed to shine on the devastated settlers in the middle of March when the weather cleared and the sky was fair. On that day, the 16th, they saw a very formidable native, tall and muscular coming towards them and they shouted "Indian coming!" and picked up their weapons to face him. But then the Indian shouted with a deep and resonant voice, and in perfect English surprisingly enough: "Welcome!" The pilgrims responded in kind and then, at one of the most pivotal and profound moments in American and human history, the great native asked the stirring question of the ages...


"Have you got
any beer?"


Unfortunately, the pilgrims had no beer but they did have Brandy to offer instead and the Indian, a sagamore (subordinate chief) of Chief Massasoit and originally from the Abenaki tribe named Samoset, gladly accepted. Through Samoset, the pilgrims were introduced to Squanto, a Christian Native American who was literally considered a godsend because he ended up helping and teaching the pilgrims how to find and best utilize resources, where to build, where to fish, and where to plant crop.

As the summer passed and autumn fell upon them again, the pilgrims where fairing much better and they declared a day of thanksgiving to celebrate their survival and success. They invited Massasoit to join them in the first thanksgiving feast sometime in October of 1621 but they had not expected the 90 Indian men who came along with the chief. It was up to four women to prepare and cook the food for 140 people. Fortunately, the braves helped to lighten the load by providing several dressed deer, wild fowl and fish.

The typical menu of the modern day American Thanksgiving feast is quite different from the original. Venison, duck, goose, cod, and sea bass, made up the bulk of the main meat dishes. There was some turkey but it certainly was not the central focal point. There may have been cranberries but certainly no cranberry sauce and no pumpkin pie I'm afraid. The first thanksgiving feast also lasted for three days, not just one.

It was not until much later that Thanksgiving became an official holiday recognized by the government. Samuel Adams was the first since after the American Revolution to call for a national day of thanksgiving on December 18, 1777 after the colonists had won the battle of Saratoga. Adams issued a resolution which said: with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor; and that together with their sincere acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favour, and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance; that it may please him graciously to afford his blessing on the governments of these states respectively, and prosper the public council of the whole; to inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace; that it may please him to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people and the labour of the husbandman, that our land may yet yield its increase; to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under his nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth "in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost."

Later in 1782, John Hanson made a proclamation that was unanimously agreed upon and adopted by Congress.

IT being the indispensable duty of all Nations, not only to offer up their supplications to almighty God, the giver of all good, for his gracious assistance in a time of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner to give him praise for his goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of his providence in their behalf: Therefore the United States in Congress assembled, taking into their consideration the many instances of divine goodness to these States, in the course of the important conflict in which they have been so long engaged; the present happy and promising state of public affairs; and the events of the war, in the course of the year now drawing to a close; particularly the harmony of the public Councils, which is so necessary to the success of the public cause; the perfect union and good understanding which has hitherto subsisted between them and their Allies, notwithstanding the artful and unwearied attempts of the common enemy to divide them; the success of the arms of the United States, and those of their Allies, and the acknowledgment of their independence by another European power, whose friendship and commerce must be of great and lasting advantage to these States:----- Do hereby recommend to the inhabitants of these States in general, to observe, and request the several States to interpose their authority in appointing and commanding the observation of Thursday the twenty-eight day of November next, as a day of solemn thanksgiving to God for all his mercies: and they do further recommend to all ranks, to testify to their gratitude to God for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience of his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.




And finally, there was Abraham Lincoln who issued the Thanksgiving proclamation in 1863 where he said: “the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies...which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God....No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God…[and] they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.”

When you look at the history of the United States, particularly the story of Thanksgiving, a common theme, a single thread, a singular song seems to weave and dance through it all: the hand of providence, the hand of God. First and foremost the extraordinary "coincidences" and near miracles such as the fact that only two people had died on the Mayflower voyage when other ships had lost almost their entire crew to sickness, the improbable chance that the exploring party managed to find such a beautiful and practical location to set up their colony in such abysmal weather conditions, an area that had been previously inhabited by a tribe of natives who just happened to die not long before hand leaving the land free for the pilgrims, the fact that even sick men rolling on the floor in agony found the unnatural strength to save their meeting house from burning to the ground, the fact that the first native was both friendly and English speaking, and that through him they met another Indian who just happened to be a devout Christian (an extreme rarity at that time) willing to show and teach the pilgrims all the techniques on how to survive and prosper in the new land.

Moreover, the entire tradition of Thanksgiving is a deeply religious one, nay a Christian one. It was established by profoundly religious (and also scholarly) people who came to this land not to seek and establish a secular society based on pluralistic relativism but a free Christian utopia based on the inherent and absolute nature of divine moral law and human dignity. Without God, Thanksgiving could not exist because it was precisely God who was the subject of gratitude. The pilgrims and most of the Founding Fathers were thankful to God for the freedoms and blessings they received because they understood that all freedom, goodness, and blessing originate and emanate from God and God alone. And we certainly should thank God, for the very reason why the United States is what it is today is because of the devout nature of the pilgrims' legacy. The very reason why the United States is such a richly diverse amalgam of culture, thought, and worldviews is because of the reformed Christian ideals like religious freedom and respect to personal conscience that the separatists brought with them.



Have a happy Thanksgiving and DO NOT forget the beer ;)