With the "tomb of Jesus" nonsense filling the airwaves, it wouldn't seem like there'd be much to top the list in screwiness, right?

You know better....


Goodness, but the insanity was widespread in the mailbox this round. Equal oppotunity screwiness, perhaps. Here's one from the Sanitized Jesus Church of Holeyness:

hello i was reading your responce to the Packman letters. I have to say as an outsider to either of you ,he seems to have the edge on logic. one in particular is the jesus telling others not to call one a fool{the use of denagrading another person} something I think is a good thing to follow. But it appears your responce to this problem saying that jesus said not to denagrate other brothers in the faith , but it is ok to do so with others not part of the faith such as the pharoah ,seems to me just like the muslims saying it is ok to lie and cheat a non believer, but not all right to do it to a brother Muslim.To me one should treat all with respect , not just people who are part ofa group you belong to . you may want to re think your veiw on this one

Yeah, you bet I want to "re think" from a guy who spells so many words wrong. Meanwhile, from the Head in Clouds Ranch:

It's funny that for every "positive" thing Dyer said, you had something negative to say. Much like me growing up in a church which said "If you...you'll go to Hell"

Jesus said the same things that Dyer said. We come from God.

You are right to approach the world and its problems as you do. We need people with ideas and solutions. But you putting down Dyer, just tells me that he was powerful.

I'll look at your web site to see what you say with an open mind.

Bring people up. Don't bring people down.

I sure wish I could set the rules that way, so that "put down" = powerful opposition. By that standard, I'm practically deity.

We also made a discovery: Johnny Skeptic has a twin brother in Australia. Here's his letters to me this month, with the highlights in bold, and with rap about creationism left out:

You seem to be like most other Christians I have met in my lifetime. Most who have never read the bible, but believe purely because their parents believe.

You NEED to believe for some reason that it is a book of fact and prophecy,not just a fiction novel written by one of the world's first authors. Like an Alcoholic needs alcohol, you need the bible.

If you had studied Constantine and Theodosius vigilantly, you would realise that the bible was written in about 400 AD.

Constantines influence was huge.

Did you know that there is not one single shred of proof to the existence of any of the characters in the bible? Find me one grave and some DNA. You can't and won't because it doesn't exist. What about the Dead Sea Scrolls??

Are you so naive as to believe that forgery only exists in recent times? Explain the Sumerian tablets!!....

God is explained as being Omniscient. He knows all that has been and all that ever will be.

Therefore we don't have free will. How so you say. Easy, for the bible to be written and Adam and Eve to be expelled from the garden of Eden and all of the other happenings in the bible to take place, the sequence of events had to happen in a given order.

Adam had to be created, Eve also. Eve had to eat from the tree of knowledge to be expelled from the garden of Eden. Cain had to murder Abel. If any of these events did not take place in a sequence, the bible could not be written as it was. Therefore God had to make it happen as it reads. If God exists, he knows that I am typing this email right now and he knows you will receive and read it. He also would know if you did not read it. You believe that your destiny is in your own hands. Crap.

If you truly believe in God the way you say you do, you do not have 1 choice to make in your life because control is all his.

Judgement day. God already knows who the people to be judged are if he is truly omniscient. So for these people to pass judgment and others to fail, they must enact their lives in a certain way. Do yourself a favour. Pull your head out of your bum, look around at the world we live in and try to heal it with something other than a fiction novel. Criticise people like Dr. Long if you wish, but have some believable and credible proof when you do. I haven't read his book, but have had some email correspondence with him. His mission is to dispel the biblical nonsense.

Mine isn't. I believe there is a creator. I just don't know what our purpose is. Did you know that the female human being is the only female animal on the planet with a clitoris and the ability to orgasm? The only one. Why??

By the way, it is interesting to note the number of different authors of the bible and the corrections they supposedly made to Moses first writings. 77 authors?? Theodosius collated all of these writings and combined them into one single document creating the Christian religion. About 400 AD. Effectively, Christianity did not exist before this time. Do your groundwork properly before you open up a website which is so critically and predictably one-sided. Every child that has died or been abused, every disease that exists, every murder that has taken place is all his work if you truly believe he is omniscient.

Some say that the snake that spoke to Eve was possessed by Satan. Problem with that theory is that the heaven's were newly created and Satan had not yet been cast down. I can put a hole in any biblical story you wish to throw at me.

Try me out. The gauntlet is on the table. Or you could go and hide in a corner with your bible and pray that I'll go away.

Fat chance mate. Gravity ane Relativity are your biggest enemies, along with Science and Genetics....

The Sun and all the other planets revolved around the Earth, until science disproved this. Interesting thing is that the Bible has had no additions since about 80 AD. Has God decided that there is no-one on the planet worth talking to so that more psalms can be added to it?? Who examined the Virgin Mary to make sure she was actually a virgin??

Since by scientific records the hymen wasn't discovered until around 550 AD. Do you know what Etymology is?? Word study. It's a fascinating science because it alone proves the bible could not have been written by anyone prior to 400 AD. Most of our words and their history have only been developed in the last 1600 years.

For the record, I attended Sunday school when I was a child of about 5 years of age. After hearing the stories it contained, at that age I was clever enough to see the wool was pulled over my eyes. Obviously you are not yet. I look forward to browsing your website and knocking over your Christian mythology piece by piece.

Our Aussie friend is on TWeb now as "stevec" where he is being dismantled after the manner of Monty Python's knight.

Now this from the Semantics Police:

I was Googling around looking for examples of religious individuals reacting negatively to the Human Papillomavirus vaccine, and came across your quote in response to "Letter to a Christian Nation": "Why have you misled your readers by saying that Christians 'want to preserve cervical cancer as an incentive towards abstinence'? That is false. The reasoning is rather than[sic] such a vaccine would encourage more wanton behavior, thereby increasing the risks."

I fail to see any substantive difference between the two statements. Casual sex is a problem even if one of the potentially fatal consequences is removed; there are certainly plenty of other consequences to worry about. Let's illustrate this with a thought experiment. Imagine someone came up with a vaccine that prevented tooth decay. Would you oppose such vaccination because, without the threat of cavities, they might eat more sweets, leading to obesity? I have to admit I find it hard to believe anyone would.

So: There's no difference between describing your opponents' views in terms of them wanting people to become deathly sick and wanting them to have better health. Then this from the Thorough Refutation Commission:

Yeah,

Praise Hercules

Sevivon1913 of TWeb is going for the Email Platinum, since he missed one last time; he wrote me this under another name, but we found him out:

Dear Mr James/ "Pea-Brain" Holding,

Having just read rest your - let's be generous - "article" concerning the so-called trilemma, after being pointed to your site by a Christian (alas, a naive victim to the lie) onTheologyWeb, I was forced to conclude that you are completely and purposefully ignorant. Your entire article can be disproven by the fact that the overwhelming majority of human beings consider YESHU neither to have been a liar nor a lunatic; and the notion that they must, by default (as the only remaining possibility), beleive he is Lord is idiotic at best. The matter of YESHU's identity is far more complex than your simpleton mind is capable of grasping; in other words, your entire approach is based on the HUGE ASSUMPTION that the "Gospels" and the letters of Saul the Apostate actually wrote the true words of YESHU. Thus, you must add to your little cliche: "Lord, Linar, Lunatic, OR Lied about".

Also, you fail to address the traditional Jewish view of YESHU in your section addressing the people who considered YESHU to be a liar. Basically, you assume that everyone who considers YESHU to be a liar also considers him to have been a good person; RUBBISH. I must inform you that many Jews - myself included - consider YESHU to have been an EVIL DEMON-POSSESSED LIAR, the MAMZER son of an ADULTERESS. This is also the view of the Talmud. You may disagree, but I'd recommend you try to include people of that opinion into your little paradigm. Outside of the view that YESHU was Lord, I think the idea that he was an EVIL (as opposed to "good") LIAR is the best alternative: and when the REAL King-Messiah arrives, EVERYONE on the Earth will realize what a rotton BEAST your YESHU idol [and the other 77.7% of the three-headed-God-head] was.

I don't want an award; but I do welcome an explanation for how you counter the argument of those that consider Yeshu to have been a wicked liar, as opposed to a "good" liar. It's an infallible view; and infact, it's the only view other than that Jesus was God (because, let's be fair to the chronology, the Gospels are pretty much an accurate account of Jesus' own delusions about himself).

LOL - your entire argument is based on the assertion that Jesus Christ was good. Maybe you could write an article which actually deals with the opposition posed to Christianity by Traditional Judaism, instead of by crackpot atheists and fruitloop cultists. Could you have won the Debate at Barcelona in 1263, James; how about you answer all the points raised by Ramban, instead of the points raised by hair-brained pseudo-intellectual "skeptics"? Well, it's just an idea for your website; and I'd certainly read it. Here's the primary source material :

The "primary source material" was an account of a debate between a Jew and a Christian in the medieval era. Yep. That's an authoritative source on the subject.

Back at the New Age Ranch:

"Tom Harpur doesn't have the courage to reply to this article."

You flatter yourself. Anyone who says anything countering Christian dogma gets flooded with email. Yours likely just got lost in the shuffle.

It requires no courage at all to respond to email, just time.

The above writer apparently missed that Harpur had acknowledged my article and refused to answer it. Then this from the other end of the sanitarium:

Give up !!! The Roman Catholic Church has been exposed for what it is; rampant slayers of the Truth. A conglomeration of licentious soddimites. Even if you manage to have your adherents whipped into a frenzy of opposition to all the books now being published about the Roman Catholic Church, you will not succede in portraying it in a better light. The history of the Popes is now in the open forum and nothing - nothing, will change the facts about them. It doesn't matter who said what to whom in the scriptures, it all boils down to the fact that the RCC is, was and always will be bogus. To defend it is to try and give credence to the lie. It is also pathetic to try.

Then, from the God Kiss My Hiney Department:

Well laid out website you guys have! I linked to it from Skeptics Annotated Bible......In order to defeat Atheists you simply need to do objective demonstrations of the supernatural, e.g. putting arms, legs, and other missing body parts on Iraq veterans, or replacing the face of a burn victim, stop the sun, or cause the sun to go backwards, even causing an iron axehead to swim will suffice. How hard can that possibly be? Biblegod says he will do supernatural miracles in answer to prayer and the bible is filled with Biblegod's exploits. Matt 12:38-39 is easily refuted by thinking people, so humans making excuses for their gods inaction is unbecoming for an actual god......Christians don't "think" they "rationalize" They rationalize away the bibles errors, contradictions, and various inaccuracies, and it's not that difficult to demonstrate that apologists are intellectually dishonest. I'm an apologists worst nightmare, I was a highly committed born-again Christian for over 24yrs, and for 20 of those years I went through the OT 4 times a year and the NT 12 times a year. I am a lion amongst christian mice, and have deconverted MANY of them. Since all they have is words from an ancient errant book, and since there is no holy spirit to help them, and Biblegod is an obviously negligent parent, I have been able to restore Biblegod's blood-bought former children to a life free from bible mythology and superstition. Biblegod is unable to humble me or to bring the proud low - But!!!!! An actual demonstration of the supernatural would silence me! If Biblegod really cared about the ETERNAL souls of his own children he would OBEY his own word! But a "bookgod" is incapable of doing anything either good or bad, and such is the true nature of Biblegod, Korangod, Zeus or Shiva...

Told he'd won a Screwball Award, this reply came:

Thanks for such a prompt return James! Your non-reply though has given me even more ammunition to use against Biblegods helpless children, my most devastating attacks on gullible christians is the responses I've gotten from apologists - Paul said that the gospel is not "word" only, but a "demonstration" of the spirits power! Is your god so impotent that he has to have man argue his case for him? That he has to have an army of intellectually dishonest apologists pull the wool over the eyes of the ignorent? Demonstrate the power of your bookgod James, and then and only then will Atheists be forced to bow.....
James, are you a child? Your actions give you away as one. Are you ever honest enough, at least to yourself, to ask why Biblegod does nothing supernatural? Especially when he says he will? You have nothing but rationalizations on bible errors, mere words. Two friends of mine that I've deconverted came over to watch a movie with me tonight, I showed them your responses to my e-mails, my friend Tim asked: Is that the best he can do? How does someone who's so immature have an apologetics website? You do a disservice to your religion James....

(response to http://www.tektonics.org/af/calcon.html):

Does anyone actually buy into your reasoning on this page? You have just established the Catholic Church's authority and reasoning during the Middle Ages on why the laity should not have the bible in their own languages - only the priests were trained and educated fully enough to "understand" the book, and they despised the masses as do you...So in other words, Biblegod was so incompetent when he inspired his bible writers that only the most educated and intelligent amongst the masses could understand the book and avoid the bibles Hell. That book has spawned over 30 thousand different sects throughout the ages all claiming to have exclusive rights to bible interpretation. That's the best a Biblegod can do, have 1000's of competing sects run by pious dictators who state that you're not saved unless you believe their interpretation? Is such a god even worth worshipping? Biblegod is but a piece of paper James, no more no less, and as childishly arrogant as you are, if you were a god you could do better than that book....
James, please tell me you're not one of those on the lunatic fringe that believe the Universe is only 6k years old? Have you lost all reason? Have you totally abdicated your responsibility to think? Dear Zeus, arrogance and all (that psycho-babble about INTJs is a real hoot) I was willing to give you your due for being a reasonably intelligent fellow - but young-earth creationism???? I don't know how else to say this, but only the most thoroughly brain washed have purchased that bill of goods...

Now an early run at Christian Platinum....I've been threatened with hellfire by a passive-aggressive!

How did the Apostles, and the martyrs for the faith, survive, without you stellar instruction on how to properly render the commandments of Christ null and void through the Semitic totality concept. I knew you were an eternal securest since you consistently conclude the acts of disobedience (sin) as common and unavoidable for anyone that is a follower of Christ. Without the STC method, how do you interpret Jesus conclusion of the sermon when He said,

(Mat 7:26) And every one that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand:

According to the Lord of the universe, anyone that doesn't obey what He just taught, by conforming his soul and life to it, and notwithstanding is fully convinced of final blessedness, is a fool. I'm sure the STC method can prove that the one who obeys what Jesus said with a "faith that worketh by love" is the real fool, but we'll see whose word will stand in the end, yours or Christ Jesus. Then it will be hopelessly to late James. At least take heed to the Apostles warning,

Jam 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

If your doctrine is not according to godliness, and does not preserve someone in the faith, you will receive a greater punishment than the outright sinners. I apply the same warning to myself. Hold on to your position of authority for your own glory James. You're going to lose your soul in the wager friend. Your opposing Jesus doctrine which is "according to godliness".

Told he'd won a Screwball Award, this response came:

I'm confident your response comes strait from the heart of a true prophet James. I feel so ashamed to discover that I don't meet your approval. I'm sure you take much comfort in the empty flatteries of your blind followers. Carry on James, it's glaringly clear that your determined to stay in the ditch.

Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to(authority over) the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

This scripture in no way applies in the literal sense of the meaning. Certainly not to you James.

At least examine yourself while you still have breath. Just a suggestion from the Apostle.

Which text gets the award? Or is it my complete inability to uncover the hidden license within the gospel? Mysteries that one can only discover after a thorough study of the tekton analysis archives. You'll fleece the flock despite any warning James. Your wisdom exceeds that of the Apostles, since they weren't as logically "sound" in thier reasoning as you pretend. You can't be bitter and unforgiving, yet still expect to inherit eternal life James. You would fit right in with the philosophers, whose folly is easily discovered in light of the scriptures. I think they may have given out a similar "screwball award" to anyone that disagreed with their vain imaginations. Don't forget that Christ's words will judge you on that terrible day. I stumbled onto your article via a google search. I witnessed the classic Calvanistic foolishness, but he was more subtile than you. It's been interesting James. I'll hold fast to what Jesus taught and walk circumspectly. I hope you make it James. If your doctrine is wrong, you'll be left speechless. Your pleas for the right to self worship will be refuted in the presence of the holy assembly by the great and righteous judge. Is it worth the risk to have a little bit of fleeting glory in this world?

Not outright James. Your conclusions are mixed with error or simply unsound regardless. No wonder you're not very effective against the pagans. No compassion James. When you're challenged, you morph into a living /ad-hominem, /that displays how well you can live out the part of the scarecrow, always building the strawman. James, tell me you don't believe that the only Calvanist are the outspoken ones. You're right there with them on their sacred cow doctrine of security in sin. You boldly profess it in your opinion papers. I'm still looking for your classic replies in the Scriptures. I am certain someone wise as yourself would be trying to rescue my soul from error. Naturally out of love. Almost forgot to add that in, and it's so obvious. Don't respond James. Take your deluded opinions all the way to judgement. You're 100% correct in all your interpretations, and your worshippers are 99% accurate (giving the master the higher esteem) in their conclusions. I must be deceived for sure. You didn't try to convert me though James. You gave me three awards in succession which could lead me into idolatry. My T-shirt says "JPH still has time to turn". I don't want any one to burn.

Then this from The Society for the Preservation and Use of the Caps Key:

SON OF GOD WAS AN EARLY TITLE. TO SHOW RESPECT TO THOSE MEN WHO WERE HOLY AND UPSTANDING . IT DIDN'T MEAN THAT THEY WERE REALLY SONS OF GOD THE FATHER IN HEAVEN. ALSO THERE WERE MANY CALLED MY FIRST BEGOTTEN SONS IN THE BIBLE , JESUS WAS NOT UNIQUE OR THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD !

MANY IN GREEK MYTHOLOGY WERE CALLED SONS OF GOD ALSO. ITS ALL SYMBOLIC & METAPHORICAL WHEN IT COMES TO JESUS CHRIST. AS AN EX CATHOLIC I HAVE SEEN HOW WRONG & CORRUPT THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IS IN ITS PAGAN DOCTRINES & DOGMAS .AND ALL OTHER CHRISTIAN DOMINATIONS ARE JUST A ROOT OF THE MOTHER CATHOLIC CHURCH. AND BELIEVE IN THE SAME PAGAN MYTHOLOGY. CHRIST DIEING ON A CROSS . OR A STAKE ( STUROOS ) JESUS ( YESHUA ) WAS NO MORE A GOD THEN MICKEY MOUSE. ( Enslave the minds of a Nation & You Own it through Ignorance & Fear !

From the How Stupid Can You Get Department, Nadir Ahmed sent me this on http://www.tektoonics.com/etc/parody/muslyduh.html This was a response I had written toAhmed, a Muslim. Being that his replies were so stupid, I moved them to the toon site and let Annabelle be the one who answered. Now the poor guy is confused, and sent me these emails:

as I understand it James, I debated you, not this other person. Please confirm. listen James, we have alot of witnesses which can testify that I debated you, not this alleged woman. dont do what Im thinking you are doing.

We'll just let him figure it out....one of these days.


An obvious gold, of course, for Cameron, Tabor, etc and the entire crew pushing this "tomb of Jesus" nonsense....come on....

Campbell's Soup...From a Nut

TWeb vet Scruffy wins Gold for not realzing Joseph Campbell is dead, and that "exegesis" isn't spelled with a K.

"I AM" is one of the names of God, isn't it? "I AM" the truth..."I AM" the way..."I AM" the light...Didn't Jesus say, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM."

Now, comparing alleged statements of Jesus to the works of countless other mystics throughout history who achieved a similar Unitive state, and we see similar patterns and "I AM" statements.

"...The universe was not there; only I was.

Adam wasn't there; only I was.

That light of unity was "I"; I am the Everlasting, and I am

the prophet Elias.

The universe gets its light from me;

Adam took his form from me;

I am the All-Wise, the Knower, the Judge of all judges." -Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273)

Have you read much of Rumi's poetry? It really is beautiful. He was a mystic gifted with a flair for poetry.

During the mystical Unitive state, everything becomes identified with the self. Distinctions between self-other, subject-object become impossible to make, and it's hard to describe because words make distinctions. During the grip of an intense unitive state, the mystic can only use words which don't create distinctions...namely, "I AM". Such as "I AM" God, "I AM" the universe, "I AM" all, "I AM" you, "I AM" light, etc.

It's a very consciousness-expanding experience, since everything is percieved by the mystic to be part of the self, self seems to expand to include all. A feeling of omniscience is the result. These temporary experiences make a permanent imprint on the mystic.

You don't get it, do you? Any apparent contradictions are only skin-deep, and they are the result of non-mystic / exoteric / literalist Christians misunderstanding his mystical words...twisting and editing them to support a non-mystic, exoteric, literal interpretation, either out of ignorance or ambition.

The Feb 07 Loftus Collectiom

John Loftus and his Cast of Idiots win some more this month. Troy Waller wins for being an uncritical stoolie of Bart Ehrman; Ed "I'm Talking and I Can't Shut Up" Babinski wins for trying to paint the mustache of his own pompous secularism onto the Mona Lisa of the activity of William Wilberforce. And of course, Loftus himself wins many awards: For thinking the "tomb of Jesus" nonsense is something worth thinking about; and for these dumb statements:

In the first place these Christians don't believe there is such a thing as an apostate, so the Bible doesn't explicitly speak to the issue of how to them people like us.

Even if Jesus, Paul and Elijah did what was right in taunting and demeaning their detractors, there is a difference that makes all of the difference. They knew with a much greater certainty than these Christians will ever know that they were right. These Christians do not have the same assuredness they did, to do what they did. Are you Jesus? No?

His behavior is not a model for what anyone should do, since he allowed himself to be crucified, and he was sent just to the Jews, and he purportedly did miracles, which these Christians cannot do.

The same hermeneutics these Christians use to interpret and apply the Bible in dealing with false teachers, was also used to justify southern slavery.

But on they go. They are right about everything. Everyone else, even many other Christians, are wrong, which is another personality induced my-way-or-the-highway type interpretation of what an apologist is supposed to do.

Even if they are right about Jesus, Paul, and Elijah, who cares? We live in an opinionated society; one that values the free expression of ideas and where educated and intelligent people realize we will not all agree. That's the difference that makes all the difference. So these Christians should adjust, just like they've done with their liberal views on women

One possible suggestion for why the tomb of Jesus wasn't venerated for the first few centuries is made by Bryon McCane. He argued that Jesus was given a shameful burial, based upon Jewish customs of that day, along with hints in the gospel texts themselves. He then concludes by saying, "The shame of Jesus' burial is not only consistent with the best evidence, but can also help to account for an historical fact which has long been puzzling to historians of early Christianity: why did the primitive church not venerate the tomb of Jesus? It is a striking fact--and not at all unthinkable--that the tomb of Jesus was not venerated until it was no longer remembered as a place of shame."

For this would've been a completely new situation, unlike any other shameful burial these Jews had previously known. The early church would've believed that the empty tomb signifies hope in a resurrection, like Jesus had experienced. To stand near the opening would've been to stand on the very ground the resurrected body of Jesus stood, if that's what they believed.

You cannot effectively use historical studies to defend a historical religion that has claims of miracles in the ancient past, even if they really happened.

Holly Would!

ScienceChick," a frequent commenter on Marshall Brain's videos, wins Gold for this anti-testimony:

"If the Bible isn't true, it should be rejected because it's false. If the Bible is true, it should be rejected because it's evil."

Hello. My name is Holly. I'm an ex-Christian who stopped wasting my mind on the Bible. I gave more than three decades of my life to that despicable baby killer called God. I actually defended the Bible. The same Christians who once nicknamed me Holly Holy and said my arguments were brilliant now call me Satan and say I'm stupid. Well, the word Satan means "accuser" so it actually applies. Stupid doesn't. Far from it. I'm thinking straighter now than ever before. If the biblical God is real, he's a psychopath and one of the greatest mass murderers in history. If he's imaginary, the biblical "prophets" were madmen who raped, stole, and slaughtered their way into power all under the guise of God's authority. At best, the Bible is the sick record of insane marauding rapists, murderers, slave owners, and thieves. At worst, the entire world is under the tyrannical thumbnail of the most evil, vile, and vicious ethereal monster.

As you may gather from my comments, I love children. I love them enough to fight for them. Even die for them if necessary. And I absolutely will not stop until the entire world knows of the detestable atrocities visited upon them in that horrendous murder book known as the Bible. I will not stop until the Bible is disgraced, discredited, and disregarded.

When I think of the innocent children that are mercilessly slaughtered in the Bible, I am enraged. Even more outrageous is the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish sanitization of these senseless slaughters. Following are the Christian apologetic reasons for the massacres of thousands upon thousands of children in the Bible:

1) Children are born bad people. Children are evil.

2) These children's parents were evil and it's justified to murder children for what their parents have done.

3) It's okay to kill children for what they might do in the future.

4) God did them a favor by killing them. He saved them from future problems.

5) God can kill anyone he wants and no one has the right to question it.

As anyone with any morals can see, these reasons are pure lunacy. And these are the very best excuses Christians can come up with. They are essentially the same excuses Jews and Muslims conjure. With these excuses, biblical based religionists seek to wipe these atrocities cleanly from the minds of their believers. They do not preach these atrocities in church and if a member asks about them directly, they will receive some sanitized version of one of the above excuses. In the meantime, the unheard voices of these innocent murdered children demand to be recognized. These injustices deserve to be examined and placed into the only proper perspective - the Bible is evil. We must expose this vile book for the atrocities contained therein and then eradicate it from all public discourse. We must take steps to permanently negate its vile messages and ensure this type of filth never again is allowed to enter and decay the conscious minds of humanity. Biblical based teachings are mind cancer. If we do not destroy religion - it will destroy us.

"One cannot be misled to the truth."

He'll Be Worse When He Turns 21

Glaswegian, a fellow at "freethinkingteens.com," is so bad that the regulars there are starting to jump on him:

Lurking at the back of the Christian's mind is a terrible suspicion which must be blocked from his conscious awareness at all costs: namely, the suspicion that when he talks to Jesus he is only talking to another part of himself. The Christian's secret suspicion is correct. Let me explain...

When the Christian talks to Jesus he is really carrying out an internal dialogue with himself. That is, he splits one part of his self off, calls it 'Jesus', and then puts words into its mouth. The Christian's conversations with Jesus are really a form of religious ventriloquism: and deep down he knows this because, like every other ventriloquist's dummy, the Jesus dummy never answers the Christian back. The Christian must do its talking for it. When the Christian talks to Jesus what he is actually doing is no different from what Norman Bates did in the film Psycho. Norman kept the mother he loved and worshipped 'alive' by pretending that one part of his personality was her. Thus, to make Jesus believable, to make this fantasy-figure seem real and plausible, the Christian's personality must undergo a form of schizophrenic splitting similar to Norman's in order to keep Jesus 'alive' in the fruit-cellar of his mind.

Another way to understand the Christian's 'relationship' with Jesus is to think of Jesus as the Christian's imaginary play-friend. As is well known, many children invent an imaginary play-friend - a play-friend whom no one else can see - when they feel lonely, abandoned, vulnerable, troubled and when no one in the world seems to understand or care about them. In the eyes of the child, as is also well known, the imaginary play-friend can do anything and is always there to talk to, to listen, and to share worries, sorrows and joys with, and even to lend advice. But there is a difference between the imaginary play-friend invented by the child and the one the Christian has called 'Jesus'. And the difference is this - Whereas the child is extraordinarily creative with regard to his imaginary play-friend inasmuch as he fashions the latter's mind and character all by himself using his own inner resources, the Christian is not so creative since the mind and character of his imaginary play-friend come ready-made for him by his religion. Needless to say, when the child matures and grows more confident and secure in himself his imaginary play-friend disappears from his life. But the Christian remains dependent on his imaginary play-friend even as an adult and never emerges from his infantile fantasy until he abandons his religion.

The schizophrenic splitting of the personality which underpins the Christian's 'relationship' with Jesus also underpins the Muslim's 'relationship' with Allah, the Jew's 'relationship' with Jehovah, the Catholic's 'relationship' with the Virgin Mary, etc. - but here I'm telling the rational person something he already knows.

It is generally agreed by rational individuals that Religion is rooted in fear, ignorance and self-deception. But Religion has a further source which is in no way reprehensible like the three just mentioned: namely, a powerful metaphysical need. This metaphysical need is a natural consequence of simply being alive in the world. The need is tied to a momentous awareness which comes to all thinking creatures sooner or later concerning themselves and their situation, and it usually expresses itself in the form of a question - the most fundamental question: viz. Why is there such a thing as existence as opposed to complete nothingness? Why does the universe exist, along with myself, and all these other living things that I see around me? Instead of nothing, why is there anything at all?...

Unfortunately, there are many individuals who find submission to Religion extremely seductive and they are only too ready to be dominated and mentally enslaved by it. One of the reasons why these individuals are happy to surrender control over their life and mind to Religion is because this allows them to escape the responsibility of having to think and act for themselves. It is evident that at some level within the religious believer the prospect of taking charge of his own life arouses a feeling of dread (angst). Therefore, the believer's surrender of his personal autonomy to Religion is an attempt on his part to eliminate the occurrence of this unpleasant affective state. However, making Religion (and 'God') the master and regulator of one's life has a detrimental effect on one's development as a human being for it results in psychological weakness and dependency. This becomes clear if we look at how religious mental enslavement works in general. Viz....

The type of religious attitude fostered by all authoritarian religions is characterised by submission to an external authority or power. Under the direction of monotheistic creeds like Christianity and Islam, the sense of power and value which individuals feel in themselves are projected onto a 'Deity'. The more steadily individuals remove power and value from themselves and accord them to a 'Deity' the more impoverished they become: so much so, that their centre of gravity shifts from within themselves and they cease to be the active propellant in their own life. Thus, the general effect of authoritarian religion is to remove any autonomy which an individual might possess and replace it with a state of dependency. In other words, authoritarian religion seeks to turn its adherents into Big Infants, or as its velvet-tongued spokesmen put it: 'little children of God'.

As was noted above, the hijacking and perversion of the metaphysical need by Religion has been tragic for humanity historically. For instead of this need being allowed to manifest itself naturally - that is, as the fundamental driving force behind every attempt to understand the universe and increase human knowledge - it was channelled by Religion into myriad worthless endeavours (e.g., endless pilgrimages), preposterous theological speculation (e.g., 'How many angels can stand on the end of a pin?'), and some of the vilest conflicts on record (e.g., the Crusades)...among other lunacies. And this tragedy continues in the present day under new forms (e.g., the rise of the Religious Right in America).

In their heart of hearts, believers in monotheistic religions like Christianity, Islam and Judaism harbour a deep hostility towards them. The reason for the believer's secret hatred of monotheistic religion has a great deal to do with its authoritarian nature. Monotheistic religions are clearly authoritarian because their adherents are obliged to believe in them. Thus, anyone who refuses to believe in them is promised the worst fate imaginable - viz. Hell.

The obligation to believe in their religion places an enormous psychological strain on monotheists because it requires them to believe in things for which there is no evidence whatsoever (e.g., 'God'); to swallow doctrines which are patently absurd (e.g., 'Virgin Birth'); to regard themselves as abject, pitiful and corrupt (e.g., as 'sinners'); and to embrace a religious system which has inflicted, and continues to inflict, appalling mental, emotional and physical suffering on the human race (e.g., Christianity and Islam). But what is most psychologically grating to the monotheistic believer, what really eats away at him in the innermost core of his being, is that his authoritarian creed obliges him not to think and act for himself (viz. 'God', the Bible, the Torah, the Pope, the Imam, etc. determine these things for him). Monotheistic religions, then, effectively require their adherents to commit, to a large degree, intellectual and moral suicide. And this is deeply offensive to all self-respecting human beings.

Given that the authoritarianism inherent in monotheistic religions has a deleterious effect on the human being's capacity for autonomous moral and intellectual development it is hardly surprising, then, that the adherents of these religions unconsciously loathe them. That the hatred which believers feel towards monotheistic religion tends to exist at a subterranean level within them is largely a result of the severity of the penalties meted out (historically and in the present day) against those who openly condemn and despise such religion. Needless to say, the believer in monotheistic religion experiences a powerful and recurrent need to give expression to his repressed hatred of it in order to maintain a modicum of psychological health, and this need usually manifests itself as an irrational compulsion to commit blasphemy...

We should suspect that ex-Christians, Muslims and Jews who are unwilling to express their contempt for the religion which they have abandoned and who instead advocate toleration towards it are still polluted by it. That is, although they now claim to be agnostics - or even atheists - the religious poison which once ran freely and potently in their veins has not been fully cleansed from their nervous system.

Ex-religionists who profess that they are atheists or agnostics but who feel the need to defend monotheistic religion in any way are, to some degree, still under its sway: that is, they remain somewhat fearful of the God they claim no longer to believe in, and their apologetics (or efforts to defuse criticism of monotheism by others) are a covert attempt not to draw His wrath down upon themselves. However, it is possible that their reluctance to go on the offensive against their former religion is simply due to natural moral cowardice.

It should be clear from the above that blasphemy is a valuable tool: for by enabling the believer to emerge from the mental enslavement imposed by monotheistic religion it opens the way for him to psychological health, autonomy and maturity.

The Ego Centric Universe

TWeb nOOb Nickcopernicus goes in the running for Platinum with these:

Don't you want me to be saved? Would you like me to scream in horror until the end of time, and beyond? Would it make you that happy to see the skeptical atheist laid low? My upper lip trembling before the might of the ineffable?

Please pray for Jesus to appear to me like he did to Paul* If I become a Christain again

And ask him to tell me something that it would be impossible for me to know without god's help. Not something like "It's going to rain in Bagdad tommorrow" How about "Actually, cold fussion is really simple. Here's a DVD showing how to do it" I will give god the glory, for ever and ever.

Before we have a "Look" You asked me what I knew that the ancients did not know. It was an absurd question. Let me tell you one of the myriad of things that I know that the "ancients" did not know.

The Colts won the Superbowl.

In the book of Luke, chapter 19, Jesus say's this.

"BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." 40 But Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!" http://bible.cc/luke/19-1.htm

Does God want attention that much? is he that full of himself, or insecure?

Love is an emotion; as such it is a chemical reaction in the brain. It stems from reproductive urges onset by genetic programming. Parents don't "love" their children. Rather they feel a strong attachment to their own genes. "romantic" love stems from the need to reproduce. When copulation or the possibility of it occurs, the need to reproduce is also an element. Of course you don't have to take my word for it.

If you ever read a biology textbook then you would know that people don't rise from the dead, humans are sexual, so Mary probably wasn't a virgin after all. Also. The world was not made in 6 days, and many of the other absurdities in the bible probably did not happen.

Speaking of ego, here's a similar response from a Skeptic elsewhere:

I'm not like any "Skeptic" you have met or been given description of - I HAVE BROKEN MANY PEOPLE'S FAITHS.

I have looked at (Tekton) before even sending you that response message. That website follows the same old tactics any religion has performed to protect their ideals, but instead of grounding their belief with [blind] faith, this website for apologetics "apologizes" for the SUPPOSED mistaken views society has incurred upon them and tries to formulate it so that society may NOT criticise it as badly as it potentially could be.

Examples of "apologizing":

1) Article called "Leading Christian Myths" is "apologizing" or trying to change nostalgic christian tradition to something more suitable for today's current standard of acceptability in effect not having christianity die out or have as much influence. The changes would be due to the susceptibility of old traditional ideals to criticism, i.e. in the article it says, "OT prophecy fulfillment is a good apologetic. It actually isn't useful in the way it was at first. We need to understand (as do Skeptics) Jewish exegesis of the first century. It is not so much that the OT predicted the NT events as that the NT writers looked at history and sought OT passages that echoed what they had seen. This does not mean that there is not actual predictive prophecy at all (for even then God may have orchestrated the pattern) but rather that we cannot present an apologetic on this basis as we normally have; or else we are forced into a corner of explaining ie, why the NT allegedly uses OT passages out of context," it tells the apologetic to explain the similar events reoccuring between the OT and the NT when traditional christians would explain it by saying, "godditit," content with a sigh of leap faith.

2) Article called, "Why Johnny can't Believe," apologizes for old chrisitian doctrines and practices and explains what changes to them "need" to be done in order to not be criticized.

3) Article called, "Why Critics of the bible do not Deserve Benefit of the Doubt" and "Tutorial of Logical Errors," tries to finessely fit it into society. This is done by explaining why critics should not even be listened to and the second article tries to add logic to a school of thought that does not coordinate well with logic, FOR IT IS THE IDEA OF A GOD THAT BREAKS THE FIRST THREE LAWS OF LOGIC.

** NOTE: Your site is written mostly by ONE individual and that individual is skewed in thought - religion and tries to argue against skeptics who each have individual ways of arguing with the religious whereas the religious have much fewer arguments to implement b/c they are spoonfed words.

This individual who manages the site is not even considered an expert in the field of religion; he has a masters in library science - he looks up information, so what? He doesn't have a theology major, etc. etc.

Why do you refer to a site, like a dictionary, where all it is, is feeding you faith junk? The site even tries to coherently gather each piece of the pie so that they conform to logic. FAITH AND LOGIC DON'T MIX - THE GOD IDEALISM HAS GOD TO DO WHAT HE INFINITELY CAN WANT TO DO. CAN GOD MAKE A SQUARISH CIRCLE? THIS BREAKS THE THIRD LAW OF LOGIC: THE LAW OF NONCONTRADICTION. A SQUARE IS SHAPED AS A SQUARE AND A CIRCLE IS SHAPED AS A CIRCLE OTHERWISE THEY WILL NOT BE THEIR RESPECTIVE SHAPES. Why do you think that in your earlier years of growing up, religion is not a class in school? So that they can choose? If so, then why didn't any child's parents let them choose? Most parents wouldn't. So if choice is not the answer, well then.

First, You have the burden of proof and opening statement of the debate so I do not have to propose anything. Second, what does it mean when you say, "high-cost to spend a lot of time with one indivdual when I can help many"? You make it sound like I am wrong or deluded so that you have to help those who don't have the same views as you. EVEN YOU HAVEN'T EVEN ANSWERED MY QUESTION IN THE FACEBOOK GROUP. Trying to do "traditional missionary" work to convert the heathens on this Earth? America's past is haunted by those conversions as it was being populated. So was Spain's past with the Spanish Inquisition.

Farrell Goes Over Viagra Falls

Farrell Till is really packing 'em in over at his new forum. 13 registered users, less than 30 posts in the last 6 months, and now check this latest message:

I like the design of www.theskepticalreview.com

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thanks everyone at www.theskepticalreview.com I hope it helped someone. I tried. Night

Watch out, TWeb. Pretty soon Farrell's gonna be a lot bigger than you are...Till should have gracefully retired years ago, but he keeps on making a fool of himself; here's an example, as he wins the Extra Dense to Satire Award. I said:

And now to "cut off" at the pass. The word for "cut off" in Gen. 17:14 is (WARNING: Though I use Strong's as a source, this means I know Hebrew better than 10,000 Hebrew scholars)

Oblivious to sarcasm as a brick wall, Foo Foo replies:

This is a typically ambiguous (Holding)ism. I suspect that he meant to say that even though he uses Strong's as a source, this doesn't mean that he knows Hebrew better than 10,000 Hebrew scholars. If he didn't mean that, I don't know what he meant, except that as the statement reads, it doesn't make sense or else indicates that he is even more arrogant about his skills in biblical languages than I had previously thought.

Yes, folks, there he is: Farrell Till....the original Too Stupid To Reply To.

Mixed Gold Nuts

And to close the Gold for this round, a pastiche of some of the lesser quality winners....

BurntOffering:

And what if Jesus refused to marry, until our father in heaven gave him a wife just like God provided Adam, Abraham, Moses, David and even Joseph his step father. I do not believe Jesus was married to Mary Mag, because of what Bathsheba's husband did. Knowing that He would die on the cross, I dont believe Jesus would have taken a wife. Of course that's not to say the Bridegroom to Come will not have a wife of his own.

Very good question! Which is why I said although the Bride is the Church, the Bride is also a Real Woman, Wife and Queen for the Son of God, Lord of Lord and King of Kings. Jesus had to wait until Our Father in Heaven gave him a wife; just like God provided Adam, Abraham, Moses, Joseph etc. I believe when Jesus died on the cross and the gruard opened his side with the spear, that the water and blood that fell to the ground, defeated the powers of Satan. Then just like with Adam God used the Earth, Water and Blood to make Jesus a Wife of His own, who is now Satan, Risen, Reborn, the Sister Spirit and Bride of Jesus Christ.

I am suggesting that God used the same principle to make Eve as S/He did with making a Wife suittible for Jesus. As Jesus slept on the cross, or died, God used the Water, Blood and Earth to create Jesus a wife. This is why his wife could not be Mary Mag.

The death of Jesus on the cross overcame Satan's powers, then Satan as the Queen like Jesibell was cast into a Bed, told to play dead for 1000 years until Jesus allowed Her to Rise, Speak, and send out the invitation to a Wedding designed to end all creation.

It is this marriage that was planned by God from the Start and these are the failthful and true sayings of God.

Sylvius, as candidate for 2007 Platinum Award, Veteran TWebber:

first: what's wrong about being a quote miner?

second: who are you to judge?

show me your licence.

didn't Jesus himself say, Matthew 13:52 "Then every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old."

Okieshowedem:

In answer to the question, "does God's Spirit have a gender?" Yes God has a gender and it is female. Father Yahweh on the other hand is a MALE.

Ceridwen:

Dolphins? Whales? Chimpanzees? Dogs? I have seen some YouTube videos that make me genuinely concerned about the vicious nature of their behavior, and it is definitely worthwhile to find out how we can annoint them with the justifying blood of Christ shed on Calvary. I think inter-species evangelism will be the next frontier in the Christian missions movement.

Julian :

It only becomes "blasphemy" when you decide to turn a charlatan and a con man with a temper, prone to cursing and fits of pique, documented as a thief, into a "perfect" "god". There is no blasphemy, and obscenity is in the eye of the beholder - ergo YOU ARE REPRESSED!

He was an idiot. He thought he was special. He thought there was a global flood. He thought stars were stuck in the firmament. He cursed thousands of people to eternal hellfire because they didn't want to listen to his crap. He farted. He ****. He screwed guys - Mark was later edited to remove this. The church also systematically befouled Mary Magdelene and erased his relationship with her. He was a man. He lied. He cried. He admitted he came to start wars and cause division. He lied to the Pharisees. He thought epilepsy was caused my demons. He was arrogant. He was racist. He was a mysogynist. He condoned slavery. He was a complete hypocrite. He wanted to keep the Levitican Laws. He could only recite 6 of the 10 commandments and they were the revised set that matched Babylonian standards. He was a host to trillions of bacteria all over his skin, in his gut and mouth.

What part of this is your repressed pea brain having trouble with boy?

For Acheivement in Paranoia we have this forum nomination for Spreadtheword :

Today when I was at my aunt's party my cousin who was looking out the window saw a dark man with a hat.She said he was scary and I think she said that he had a mask.I told her that it was probably some evil spirit or something.

"Zorro is the devil!"

And also, Prophet Michael Mullen:

When the veil is "thinning" you are not supposed to see them. That is why they are usually seen quickly darting in your peripheral vision. Most people would not see them, but you are more accutely aware of your surroundings than most people.

Have you described them as best you can? I have seen strange looking creatures in the bottomless pit who are fallen angels that God has changed into ugliness.

Ugly Betty Angels.

They are very short, like dwarfs. They have color, but very feint color, some dirty brown (or tan) and some brownish-green. Their appearance is distorted with funny looking faces.

They are the fallen angels who "mingled" with humans. I don't know if this has anything to do with what you saw, so I am just asking for more details.

And, Romans 15:

A new boy just moved into our church. Let's call him Bob. Bob is really really nice, and friendly, and funny. The Word of God is strong with him, and he always holds God's Word above all else. I try to do the same. I believe that the Bible is the final authority on what God believes.

Anyway, Bob wants to be my friend. The only problem is that Bob is overweight. While it might not be within my right to judge anyone, I've always seen being overweight as a form of sinful nature. Seeing overweight people (gluttons) in church tends to bother me. It bothers me like those people who smoke or drink, even get tattoos or piercings. In fact, the Bible associates gluttons with drunkards - "And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard" (Deut 21:20). What they do is mostly bad for them. There's no way it pleases God to treat our bodies that way. He made us in His perfect image. We weren't made gluttons.

And, saved4ever:

Here's a verse to think about:

"A companion of fools shall be destroyed." - Proverbs 13:20

If you get a group of 30 2nd graders together, what do you have? You have a companion of fools. The same thing works for the older ones. If you get a group of 20 - 30 10th graders together, more than likely there is going to be one or two kids who become the leaders and they are going to lead everyone. A group of 10th graders are going to want to get into trouble and have "fun", etc. They are also a companion of fools. If you do not want your children to be brought to either physical or spiritual destruction, I would recommend that you homeschool your kids!

A reader gives his boss, Angie, the Off the Wall Award for such statements as: "God created us because He was bored."

John Powell earns the Rehabilitative Indifference Trophy for these comments:

A person who does not understand the intricacies of their native language is not in a good position to argue concerning the intricacies of a foreign language. Someone who frequently errs in their own writing is not in a good position to debate Biblical inerrancy.

If a poster doesn't take care what she writes, why should people carefully read and respond to her?

Apparently, what the Bible writer meant by saying that Adam and Eve were made in the image of God was that God LOOKED LIKE a human, rather than like a dog or a bird or something else like that.

ageeagee earns the Lantern on a Spit Medal for his search for real bible believers:

no hater God my witness. no phony either so that will offend phonies only. okay here's the deal im not mad at anybody. i keep it real all the time and never carry grudges for perfect people ever nor do i carry grudges for the wittiest people all the time. simply finding out with the book on whether you phony or not. cant be a lier if the bible talks about tare and about the urgency for equally yoked fellowship of people only. you a unbeliever in 10 or 15% of the bible im not mad at you at all. Just saving my time for folks that 100% bible believing people only. just tell your reaction to these bible verses and where we stand to do unity in Christ correctly and completely:

you a amos 3:3 bible believer if i test your response to 1 timothy 2:9-14 ? you a psalms 133:1 bible believer if i test your response to 1 timothy 2:9-14? you a galations 1:8-9 bible believer if i test your response to romans 7:2-3? you a 2 corinthians 6:14-17 bible believer if i test your response to romans 7:2-3? you a 2 peter 1:20-21 bible believer if i test your response to 2 timothy 3:16? you a matthew 5:18-20 bible believer if i test your response to romans 6:1? i know folks believe bible verses on loving. thats good except you cant filter out the phonies. the spirit of God or the Word encourages Christ unity correctly and completely as we find out in the above information thats in the book.

you know you not a phony with anything in this book then we can go on and be real with God and do this unity effort in Christ correctly and completely. Certainly 2 timothy 3:16 encourages unphony people to acknowledge this book correctly and completely verse for verse with the book and the book only. certainly we have motivational people and lovers enough but more than likely were getting phonies that are unbelievers in 10 or 20% of the bible somewhere. filtering out the phonies is the ultimate job of a real believer. certainly its a real believer's business to know how real confessing people are with the book verse for verse or all over. the above verses bring this out. i got nothing to give you but the book. our 2cents with comments and philosophy dont mean anything to make it to heaven.

Febble picks up the Excellence in Theistic Coherence Award for posting this:

Another clinger here! Except that I've been clinging for so long, it's come to seem like quite a comfortable position. Perhaps I'm really a bat. I enjoyed your post. I've been thinking along some parallel lines. I work in the field of cognitive neuroscience, which poses some interesting questions regarding the nature of knowledge and belief. Here's a slightly edited version of something I posted to the Infidels recently. I had been trying to express the idea that as far as I am concerned, "God" is something I postulate as a key component of the mental model I have regarding the way I relate to the rest of the universe. So, OK, I'll take the bull by the horns and try and say what it is that makes me describe myself as a Christian theist.

I didn't actually say that God was a mental model - I said I had a mental model that included something I call God. Actually, all I have for anything is a mental model, including evolution, of course. So the issue isn't whether God is a mental model or not, but what kind of mental model something called God might be part of.

God fits into my model of moral responsibility - of free will. As I've said upthread, I do not consider that "free will" is something for which there is (or can be) objective evidence. I think our behaviour can probably be expressed by an equation something like this:

behaviour = f(inherited neural architecture) + f(developmental factors] + f(stuff that life threw at you) + f(stuff that life is throwing at you now) + f(some kind of quantum uncertainty).

or it could be expressed by this:

behaviour = f(inherited neural architecture) + f(developmental factors] + f(stuff that life threw at you) + f(stuff that life is throwing at you now) + f(some kind of quantum uncertainty) + f(W).

where W is something like Will (or it could of course be woo). And there is no way, nor can there be a way, in which we could ever know whether that last term is actually necessary. Neuroscience can certainly account for our behaviour, in principle at least, in terms of the other stuff.

But it isn't of course the way we actually perceive our own intentions and behaviour. We have such a strong impression that we ourselves exist that psychologists and neuroscientists end up tying themselves in knots, talking about "top down" and "bottom up" attentional processes, and trying not to talk about the Elephant in the Room, which is not in fact an Elephant but a little homunculus that is implicit in the model.

Which makes it a bad model for neuroscience, and one that has been overtaken of late by "salience" models of attention in which neural representations of ideas compete for dominance by means of what are essentially evolutionary algorithms.

But if the implicit homunculus is an embarassment for neuroscience it remains a useful model for living. We evolved (I assume) with a brain capable of the powerful illusion (if illusion it be) that we exist. My brain would work perfectly well without "me" in it, I presume - I'm not in yours, and yours seems to work fine without me in it. Trying even to think about oneself without a word for whatever that homunculus-for-which-there-is-no-evidence is pretty well impossible (well beyond my own capacity, anyway).

A theory must not be required to be true, said Mr. H. Poincare, more or less, it must be required to be useable.

The Secular Web's Mike Chege picks up the Steady Descent into Imbecility Award with this sort of drivel:

While Christianity professes belief in the existence of one god, the careful observer will find that Christianity actually presents us with three gods: the Tribal God, the Cerebral God, and the Absentee Landlord God. It is my argument that each of these three gods corresponds with a different stage in the development of human consciousness or awareness, with each stage representing a different conception of deity and the nature of the world. As a result, these three gods are ultimately irreconcilable, forming what I call an Irreconcilable Trinity.

The god of the Jews, Yahweh, is himself no different from the gods of the surrounding peoples. Like the other gods he probably began his career as a weather or mountain god, a personification of the fearful and uncontrollable forces of nature, and his main concern is the welfare of his people. In return his people have to obey him and appease him with sacrifices (this might include the occasional human sacrifice: Judges 11:28-40).

The concept of the tribal god conveniently brings us to what theologians refer to as the "scandal of particularity." This is the very pertinent question of why the One True God chose to reveal himself to an obscure people in an obscure corner of the Mediterranean above all others. But if one is talking about a tribal god, and considering that there may be as many tribal gods as there are tribes, how can there be a scandal of particularity when clearly it is man who chooses his god and not the other way round? To put it another way, as a tribal god, Yahweh is no more unique than the Moabite Chemosh, the Assyrian Ashur, the Aztec Quetzaquatl, or the Kikuyu Ngai wa Kirinyaga. Nevertheless, to the extent that a "scandal of particularity" is still claimed, then one must look for the answers not in the machinations of some supreme being, but in the intricate twists and turns of human history, as the discussion on Paul in the next section will hopefully demonstrate.

The life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are an enigma. Was he just an inspired but misunderstood rabbi, a dangerous political agitator, or a loony with a messianic complex and delusions of grandeur (after all, I believe it was the British psychologist Henry Havelock Ellis who suggested that the whole religious character of the modern world may be attributable to the absence in Jerusalem of a mental asylum)? Since Jesus, rather unhelpfully, did not put anything down on paper (that we know of) and with the authorship and accuracy of many of the New Testament documents in doubt, we can only make educated guesses about what he really believed and taught. For their part the first century Romans seemed to regard him as a minor political rebel who, according to the Roman historian Tacitus, "was crucified under Emperor Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate." Jesus and his followers would eventually have disappeared into obscurity, but for a short, slightly bow-legged man who came trudging down the road to Damascus in 36 C.E. That man was Paul of Tarsus.

In arriving at this new conception of Jesus, it is quite possible that Paul was influenced by the popular mystery cults of the day which promised immortality to their converts through mystic union with a savior-god who had died and then triumphed over death by resurrection to a renewed divine life.

The Cerebral God is not the kind of god who appears in burning bushes. He is not the kind of god who goes around parting seas, incinerating wayward cities, or snuffing people out for misguidedly practicing birth control (Genesis 38:9-10). He is not the kind of god who can be swayed with sacrifices, animal or human. The Cerebral God is not a capricious, anthropomorphic, ethnocentric god. Instead, he is a sublime, cosmic, ivory-tower god, the product of a totally different mentality from that which produced the Tribal God.

AgnosticAtheist1 takes the I Shouldn't Be Alive Award for:

One, The Second Law of Thermo Dynamics says all energy goes to heat eventually. Just because we do not know a way of turning heat back into energy does not mean it's not possible. Perhaps the very high pressures present at the Big Bang(at the infinitith Big Bang, which is our current one) can convert it back. Regardless, until we see the evidence, we should not conclude.

Secondly, the definition of life... is iffy. There is no full comprehensive definition. In fact, for all we know, there is nothing that sets apart a rock from a person(in terms of life)

Observer gets the Hungry Hungry Humean Hippo Triphy for these words of wisdom:

You really don't get it, do you Gman? You are trying to attempt a rational case for an irrational dogma; that the vast majority in this self obsessed, materialistic world, simply won't buy into.
It's because, their plight is so desperate, they need to believe there is something better after this life! Hence "the opiate of the people"; it has the added advantage of keeping the poor in their place, and accepting their plight as "the will of god".
Perhaps it's an inner struggle to preserve his own beliefs?!
Here's one for Gman to play with: interesting prog on TV the other night, which claimed that Jesus had a wider family (incl 3 brothers and 2 sisters). That John the Baptist created the Jewish faction, which Jesus was babtised into; and was the mentor of Jesus. That the family of Jesus would have regarded themselves as Jews, and Jesus as a profit. Following the crusifixion, a schism occured with the more gentile followers moving to Rome following the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The "new" relion, led by Paul, then proceeded to deify Jesus; and in the process wrote out his family and humanity.
Don't discount the history; merely the belief!
All you prove to me Gman, is that there can be a huge difference between Education and Intelligence; and that some forms of education are a complete waste of time and energy and of no practicle use to our wider society.

Mr Frank Zito gets the Spoiled Rotten Affirmation for his "case against prayer":

One of the most perplexing elements of religious faith is prayer-the notion that, by pleading with God, one actually can cause changes for the better in the world. Of course, we see this strange practice in a great many of the world's thousands of faiths, meaning multitudes of God characters all are being bombarded with requests great and small. The natural question, of course, is whether prayer actually does anything. In truth, I think most people already know the answer to that question; I make this judgment not based on what people do pray for, but based on what they do not. There is a tremendously interesting website called "Why Won't God Heal Amputees?", which hits upon an oft-ignored, yet universal, phenomenon: People do not pray for "impossible" things, but rather only things that possibly could happen by natural means. Essentially never do you see somebody pray for an amputee's lost limb to grow back spontaneously. It is an incredibly rare occurrence for a grieving widow to pray that her deceased husband rise from the grave to rejoin her in matrimony. It is exceedingly uncommon for parents who wanted a baby girl, but got a baby boy, to pray that the infant's gender changes. Why are flat-out impossible things hardly ever prayed for, when most God conceptions seem not to be limited by the natural principles under which we live?

Earlier I asked if prayer actually works, and said I have a tentative hypothesis with regard to what people truly believe about this. In the conscious mind, those infected with religious fervor are fully confident that their prayers are heard, and occasionally answered. In the subconscious, people realize that prayer suffers from the ultimate limit: It is bounded by what is possible through natural means, and pure chance. Essentially automatically and unbeknownst to them, people filter out the impossible requests and amass those that might be able to reinforce the illusion of prayer's efficacy. A man prays that he gets a job, so he can support his family. A woman prays that her father recovers from a serious illness. Parents pray that their baby is born healthy. A community prays that an approaching storm does not wreak havoc. These are good things for which to pray; nature can do the job where God does not exist.

My dwindling religious readers might object at this point: "God can do anything, and my prayers are not limited to the mundane! Nothing is impossible for God, and thus, prayer potentially is capable of delivering any desired result!" OK, although this is a metaphysical proposition, it certainly could be tested by scientific means. Invite Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Sam Brownback and 200-some other Christians to put their money where their mouth is and board an airplane. At 38,000 feet, the pilot and co-pilot will dive into the sky, with only parachutes to potentially save their lives. Autopilot will not be turned on at any point. Precisely three minutes before that happens, every Christian onboard the flight will begin to pray for the plane's safe landing and every passenger's survival. The prayer will continue until one minute after the pilots dive out. If God's hands guide the aircraft to a safe, smooth landing, prayer's efficacy will be proved. If the plane crashes, prayer will be disproved. I wonder if Pat Robertson's confidence in prayer reaches that level.

My guess would be no, since prayer already has been tested scientifically. The Harvard Medical School Office of Public Affairs issued a news release entitled "Largest Study of Third-Party Prayer Suggests Such Prayer Not Effective In Reducing Complications Following Heart Surgery" on March 31, 2006. See selected passages below.

"For those facing surgery or battling disease, the prayers of others can be a comfort. Researchers in the Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP), the largest study to examine the effects of intercessory prayer--prayer provided by others--evaluated the impact of such prayer on patients recovering from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

Wyzaard earns the Legal Beagle Collar for:

Problem is, who has established the "standards of legal evidence" as an authoritative justificational methodology? Again, you're on that ladder...

Oh, and you're misapplying the standards anyways: Jesus is not, as Lee Strobel and other hacks would have it, on the stand being accused of being or not being the 'son of god' with the 'facts' of the resurrection being the established parameters of 'guilt'. Problem:

Frist, it is not Jesus on the stand... reality is the one on trial for being a chistian cosmology! You and others put forth evidence (resurections and so forth) as to convict reality of being christian. Note that by this more accurate formulation, reality is presumed innocent of being christian until proven guilty; unless you can definitively show that reality is as the christian faith describes it, then it is free of your accusations.

Finally, this for a reviewer of the book "Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?" on Amazon, named Mr. N. Pugh "frodo-the-cat" :

This book is a live debate transcribed into book form, which is something that doesn't usually work very well, and it doesn't here in my opinion. Antony Flew has some good pointed arguments in places, but too often fails to respond to the specific charges made against his rather woolly atheistic case against the resurrection (namely, that it doesn't make philosophically credible sense). Although, I think we have to admire him for daring to step into the pit to take on the best that academic evangelicalism has to throw at him - they 'gang up'on him rather too obviously towards the end, when the chairman/editor of the book starts laying into Flew's case too. Habermas is one of the most erudite defenders of the resurrection of Jesus around today, and yet somehow he likewise fails to convince - I could not help feeling that without the resurrection belief he too would be an atheist, which seems utterly absurd. If you had to understand a fraction of the evidence and data as Professor Habermas does to come into a faith in God then most of humanity will remain 'lost'.In short, you expect a good old fashioned punch up of a debate, and you get a mildly interesting, but essentially disappointing book - I hoped it would be one I could get friends to read, but they'd be bored by it, more than I was. It has a promising title, and the vote that goes against Flew sounds interesting, but I was glad when I got to the end and simply disagreed with the voting which could have been a foregone conclusion given its evangelical audience. There are better books than this: try Josh McDowell's The Resurrection Factor for starters.
It fascinates me to think that most of humanity since the dawn of our emergence, have no clue about the fuss that is made about Jesus and his life, and yet to some in our age certain particular beliefs about his life are said to be so important that all our eternal fates rest upon them... which seems to me absurd. Something deeper is surely going on, if anything... "

There's also a ite award for my prior emailer re Tom Harpur, who referred me to his site:

http://mindprod.com/religion/biblestudy.html

which offers such idiotic gems in his "Bible Study" as:

Luke 2:23 Male obstetricians who do Caesarians are holy.

Luke 20:28-32 God forces women to marry dead husband's brothers

Luke :21:1-4 Widow's mite (tiny contribution) considered worthy because it was all she had. First recorded example of evangelist taking advantage of gullible, poor, old lady.

Acts 4:32-35 The Communist phrase "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" was lifted from this verse. It is amazing how the religious right imagines the bible condemns sharing as a sin. Perhaps they have never read it.

1 Cor 1:14:34-35 Women must keep silent in church

1 Cor. 1:15:18 Jesus warns sex partners not to fall asleep without withdrawing.

Hebrews 11:35 Woman tortured for rejecting Christianity

Note that that last refers rather to Jews of the pre-NT era tortured by Hellenizers under Antiochus. It's like SAB...only more stupider.

Nomination for Rosie O'Donnel and her clown retinue; one of her gems: "You know, wasn't the bible written 200 years after Jesus..."

http://isbushantichrist.blogspot.com/

http://theroadtofreedom.ytmnd.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_road_to_freedom

John Edwards' bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwen win for such statements as:

Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?

A: You'd have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology.

http://naturalskeptic.blogspot.com/2007/01/very-brief-dismissal-of-cosmological.html

http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2007/02/christian-intolerance-wal-mart-and.html

But what makes all of this fascinating, as I mentioned, is some reading from Dawkins' book, in particular the chapter on the so-called moral foundations of the badly mislabeled "good book." It turns out that, if one reads the Bible carefully, not only are LaHaye and Jenkins right, but in fact they really don't go far enough! The book of Revelation in fact mentions only 144,000 slots for people to go to Heaven, as the Jehovah' Witnesses claim, and - moreover - it's clear that those slots are for Jews only (12,000 for each of the 12 original tribes), not for American Christians (or, a fortiori, Muslims). Not only that, but since Revelation specifically states that the lucky ones will be those who "did not defile themselves with women," only virgin men (and, obviously, no women) will be let in. I wonder if this sort of information is to be found in the instructions on how to play Left Behind.

http://www.kerusso.com/detail.taf?listing_id=3&r=1134919094

http://demonbuster.com/

HOW YOU CAN, AND DO, HAVE DEMONS

When you are Born Again as a Christian/Believer/True Worshipper, JESUS/Holy Spirit comes to abide in your SPIRIT. Demons CANNOT get INTO your Spirit. You are a tri-une being - BODY, SOUL and SPIRIT. Your SOUL is your MIND, WILL and EMOTIONS. First is your BODY. Christians can have a sickness/disease just like the unSaved. That's caused by demons (if not caused by other factors). Second is your SOUL. Do you have a bad temper? That's a demon. Is there mental illness in your family background? That is a demon. Do you have trouble serving God? That's a demon. Do you have problems with bad thoughts? That is a demon. Third is your SPIRIT. Demons cannot get into your SPIRIT, but, the demons surround your SPIRIT like a glass jar surrounds its contents, and you have trouble serving the Lord JESUS the way the bible tells you to do or that you want. The contents of the jar cannot get out until you remove the lid (demons). Deliverance can get rid of the demons.,/P>

BOYCE and BOICE are two demons that interfere with any electronic equipment, i.e., phone, computer, printer, automobile. If something malfunctions, command these two demons to leave your equipment, in the name of Jesus.

http://www.objectivistcenter.org/cth-32-452-FAQ_Objectivist_Position_Morality_Ethics.aspx

http://rapturealert.blogspot.com/2007/02/quartet-meets-and-us-takes-beating.html

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=113171924

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGKVj0chYGE

Gaytheist (answering question, "The Bible is a compendium of different genres... What should it read like if it was inspired by God?"): Who knows? Since God isn't real, His advocates can accept any form of literature and ascribe it to His inspiration, no matter how barbaric, explicit, nonsensical, incomprehensible, obviously fictional, contradictory, etc. After all, God's ways are not knowable to us.

Lindstrom: I got a personal grudge agaist medical science. Think about it they use nitroglycerine to prevent heart attacks. It is nitroglycerine. I can make bombs out of it. I don't like that idea. They cure cancer with radiation which comes from substances similar to the active ingreidence of a atombomb. And when they do not manage to heal a person, which most often are made bacause of the placebo effect togather with the treatment. And the person dies. All the doctors say... opps they died. Jesus can for sure treat illness. He can cure. A doctor is a modern sorcerer... Nothing else

Setesh: Religion starts with hallucination. I've been convinced for many years that religious leaders spring from listening to someone babble while hallucinating wildly. If you look into the origins of circumcision, you find a mushroom. Yes the origin of **Edited by a Moderator** was to make it look like mushroom the early hebrew people ingested as a holy hallucinagen.

beloved57, arguing that TULIP is the gospel: Tulip is the gospel so therefore Mk 16 15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Pirate Fish: In the 30+ years I was a follower of the Christian faith, I never once was provided evidence to support what I was suppose to believe. I just had to believe because "it was the truth" - that's how I was raised.