See all the hot summer screwball action here. But see the best of the best here.

From the Mailbag

Here's an old ghost subject:

I read your critique of Dr. Yosef ben-Jochanan writings, and I found it to be quite biased and antagonistic. I wondered if you had ever attempted to reach him or any of his students for a healthy debate of the various topics discussed in your essay? Secondly, it appeared that you feel threatened by this man? I challenge you to engage in healthy discussion, so we all may be able to achieve truth and understanding regarding ancient history and the sciences, regardless of an individuals ethnic or so-called racial makeup. Even your essay is full of conjecture, and limited with factual data. This is the main reason why scholars like Dr. Ben (as he is affectionately and respectfully known), appeared many decades ago to invalidate the literary works that appeared during the enslavement period of Blacks during the white supremacy movement in the US and Europe. These works during this time clearly were written full of lies and distortions concerning the history of Africans. Even a racist past or present could easily admit to the imbalance of information in many history books in the US school system during the 20Th century, for example. So, to call Dr. Ben a conspiracy theorist is somewhat juvenile and inaccurate. And, he does hold a doctorate, and I challenge you to respect your elders, even if it's difficult for you.

I also got a passel of emails from fans of Tim Leedom (The Book Your Church Doesn' Want You to Read):

Dear Mr. Hold, Regarding your article about the above book. Your ignorance is astounding. I'll only bother to make one point and that is your mention of Thomas Paine not knowing anything about religion and that he wasn't even noticed in his own time. You righteous Christians keep putting your misinformation out to the World now that you have a platform to do it on.

Paine not only knew more about religion than you are capable of understanding but his last book The Age of Reason is something you should read.

This is the book that wrote him out of his proper place in the history of the founding of the American Republic. When will you Christians ever become aware of the TRUTH? Everything you say in this review is wrong. It is obvious that you do not know the work of the people you are making your profound statements about.

Sorry to come down so hard on you...but Leedom's newest book The Book No Pope Would Want You To Read ...or Sam Warren's bookThe Bible Naked The Greatest Fraud Ever Told are two books you could use to start your education.

Or better yet why not read The Age of Reason. You would be surprised how many people over the past two centuries have awaken just by reading Paine's book.

I linked them to my point by point critique of Paine's AR, and then the toilet overflowed, starting with Leedom himself, who showed he knows how to stick to the topic:

when you can explain to me why your all powerful, loving god let's thousands of innocent lives come into the world, deformed, crippled, retarded and then survive a tortured life i might think your christian version god is more than a fabricated myth..after all he has had more than 6000 years, oh 3 billion years to get it right!

And one more sample (quotes of my article by the troll in bold):

background of the Trinity

Paine here only provided a couple of transitional statements with no arguments as such. Why should we question How God or LIFE inspired Thomas Paine, ME , or An Agnostic or even an Atheist, as the christian who believes God is the creator of ALL ? Deists of course never were numerous enough to get significant

The answer is a question the power of the ALL powerful God of Christiainity failed or political power and Christianity tries to have power of religion AND Politics, over ALL MEN ?

MY ANSWER

I DID Belive to KNW Christianity, UNTIL COMMON SENSE & REASON CAME TO ME !

NOW I Understand think ing

Yep. That much is clear.


The June 2011 John Loftus Collection

John's just not that creative any more, but his post at http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2011/05/where-are-women-atheist-scholars.html deserves a mention. He also wins for this episode of barely concealed self-promotion:

I would say this even if I was not the editor. Perhaps people don't understand this. Some people might think all I care about is self-promotion. That is emphatically not the case. They don't understand me. I care passionately about changing the religious landscape and that motivates me more than anything else. I basically live my life on the financial bubble, struggling to make a modicum of money to keep me alive. I have very few extras in life. I am not out to get famous or to get rich off of these books. People who have never written a book do not realize that a few hundred dollars every six months as royalties do not get you much for all of your efforts and does not a living make. There are a sizable number of Christians in my area who will not hire my services as a carpet cleaning company because of this site and my books. One good Christian told a friend of mine, "I would never let that man into my house." Others in my area agree, lots of them, since I was at one time an important minister and president of the ministerial association here in this small town where many people know each other. So I appreciate any donations you, my readers, send me when you click on the "Donate" button in the sidebar. It helps, all of it. It allows me to do what I do. Without these donations I would have to get a second job or move out of this area and start over, which could effectively silence me, since starting all over takes a great deal of work in a new community.

Loftus allowed a guest post by TGBaker that also wins for this sort of fail:

As an atheist I often quote from the Jehovah's Witness New Testament. Why? Because their translators are not effected by certain doctrines like Trinity. They rely on the most likely version of the Greek text under consideration. Most believers look at John 1:1-4 to argue for Jesus as God. Needless to say, what follows reflects an epic fail of Wisdom Christology.

Commenter Vic Tanner also wins:

Yes, I have heard that the JW bible is one of the more accurate translations out there.

The June 2011 Atheist Collection

Brett "Dumbass" Palmer wins again for suggesting in his latest effort that the Hebrews should have INVENTED a word for "sphere" just so poor little idiots like him wouldn't think the Bible was teaching a flat earth. He also wins for making an analogy to how modern languages frequently and quickly invent new words. Uh...hello? Anyone know the difference between a society that is highly literate and a society that is primarily oral? He also wins for this exchange with a reader:

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?146438-June-2011-Screwballs&p=3244189#post3244189

Yt whacko Thunderf00t wins for this:

Many of these selective liberals will be happy to defend biblical scholarship but didn't make a sound when Harold Camping (who let's be real, is a genuine biblical scholar who has spent decades studying the Bible) was making his farcical end times predictions.

Tassman still offers rub-off stupidity:

Perhaps a convenient rule-of-thumb would be to define Christian Fundamentalists as those who oppose the Jesus Seminar.

Youtuber FallofDarkness55 wins for supporting the pagan copycat thesis, as well as saying stuff like:

Saying god is imaginary is NOT a positive claim. It is the default claim seeing as there is no evidence for your god. Perhaps Paul and the other unknown authors were mistaken. Perhaps they were recording their dreams and could not discern the difference between reality and fantasy!

bertaberts: Platinum nominee, TWeb n00b. He wins the Victim Complex Award for this statement:

Incidentally Spartacus: The hatred and nastiness I've been shown, since I been here only goes to prove my point, those people, if they had the power would have had me burn at the stake. It just goes to show how damning the beliefs they hold are. Words like hate, enemy, kill should not be in the NT, a book that supposedly professes love.

YT user TheUKAtheist does a thorough job of research:

oh look ukchristian im ukatheist. at least we have one thing in common. seriously though if you think there is nothing wrong with the old testament you have severe mental issues or as dusty said, you simply have not read it. i suggest watching more or dusty smiths vids or have a look at the atheist experience show for answers . please don't embarrass our country again by saying such retarded things. thank you

And, a sample of his response to my detailed Elisha cycle of vids:

wow.. just wow . that is ridiculous!!! that is the kind of extent of rationalization im talking about. i watch it and it was hilarious to think that Christians actually use this to justify this verse. "Then two shebears came out of the woods and tore forty two of the children to pieces." how can you rationalize that! its [censored] ridiculous. im sorry but the little respect i had for you has now gone. its no longer an adult conversation as i fear you are a moron or a child.

Reader posted an argument that homosexuality wasn't natural, and an atheist styled "Doc" responded by trying to get them to define natural. In his diatribe, he said:

Does it mean “Doesn’t produce babies”? Then every activity outside of male/female sexual intercourse (including knitting and playing baseball) is unnatural and, by your logic, wrong.

YT user 083proudmama, on a vid in which I showed that Paul was being respectful to people:

All you seem to do is point to the fallible bible for your arguments. I am not impressed. So if paul was being respectful to them, why on earth wasn't jesus respectful to the romans to save his own life. That is a stupid and hypocritical.

SoundSurfr releases a host of Platinum-worthy comments:

So how many religious questions have been settled by Biblical scholars over the years, Pixie? How will apologists settle the question of whether Calvinism or Armenianism is true? Or for that matter, whether Christianity is true and Islam is false? There is no set of earthly data that one can obtain to prove one over the other. So you're all just bloviating. And the worst bloviators are the ones who claim to be PROFESSIONAL bloviators. Ultimately, there is no difference between JP Holding and Creflo Dollar. They can both hold up their bibles and shout over each other all the live long day, and neither can ever prove the other wrong. That's why Camping screwed up. He made a falsifiable claim. Otherwise, he'd still be just as credible (or not credible, depending on your viewpoint) as any other bloviator, including Holding. And what's Holding's claim for superiority? Well, his accusation that Camping is "self-studied", while Holding is....what?

So what you’re saying is, pretty much anyone who listens to Joyce Myer is Horsebutt the Clown. Or perhaps they’re all a bunch of retarded chimpanzees. Is that your position? If so, I’ll be glad to help publicize it on your behalf. Or is it that all these people really do know exactly how to tell the difference between an “expert” in the field of Christian ministry and a bloviating hack, and they’ve determined that Meyers is an expert and YOU’RE the hack?

The June 2011 Christian and Theist Collection

Harold Camping wins for not shutting up yet:

While President Obama and the rest of the nation spent Memorial Day paying tribute to American veterans, doomsday preacher Harold Camping predicted Monday that corpses of the "unsaved," which includes those in the U.S. armed services, will be flung out of their graves and on the ground like "manure" on October 21. ...

It is very proper for a person to be buried when he dies, acknowledged Camping, but on October 21 those who are "unsaved" will not remain that way.

"On the last day, all the unsaved are going to come under the curse of God. They are going to be thrown out of the grave if there are still a corpse there or bones. If they are in the grave, they will be shamed in the eyes of God. If they die on that day, they're not going to be buried. They're going to be shamed in the eyes of God," Camping predicted.

The radio broadcaster went on to explain that the person himself will never experience any of this since they are dead and no longer have any consciousness. "But they will be shamed," he reiterated.

Cu Mhorrigan gone wild:

No I firmly believe that fundie christians wanted an excuse to kill muslims...and the Corporate owned politicians wanted to justify committing troops overseas so that the corporations could seize the oil assets in Iraq. but like i said, People are too bigoted to see the truth.

Someone designated "the Vessel" said a lot of wacky stuff, but this alone warranted Platinum:

The only problem with the Dead Sea Scrolls is that it's all in Islamic

Mormon OtherCheek follows his paradigm:

Look, JB, I am a person with a certain personality ans style, but with deep, deep seated convictions of my faith. I will not denounce a prophet as a false prophet because of the depth of that conviction. I am also a person who expresses himself with a little passion, because of how I feel about my faith. I don't just believe because I posses an argument. I believe for much deeper reasons--reasons that cannot be explained my mere argument.

I noticed that none of your suggestions mentioned the conviction of faith that Mormons have, and that it is far more than an excellent argument that established our beliefs. They are threaded into my deepest core.

So, I'll take your suggestions as they were intended, and thank you for them, and move on with a continued conviction of the divine calling of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor and all of our modern prophets, but with knowledge that they are men, and make mistakes, and those mistakes often have ramifications that are not desirable.

I also believe that the "racism" card would NOT be a strong argument 80 years ago. It is a change in culture, and stigmatization of that term, that has made it the kind of criticism that gets a lot of mileage today.

God would need to convince me that God himself is a being of spiritual darkness. That way he could correct the way I've been discerning light from darkness. That way I would re-evaluate Moses.

God would need to convince me that God himself is a being of spiritual darkness. That way he could correct the way I've been discerning light from darkness. That way I would re-evaluate Brigham Young.

***

Take a look at the N.T. Greek Bible, for all we know, it came from the same writer (or translator) when it appeared somewhere between 150 A.D. and 250 A.D. Before that it was just oral tradition, apparently.

Has the N.T. had a word-print analysis done on it (like the BoM has) to show that it was written by many different authors instead of just one?

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4076176,00.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8pgcbbjD4c&feature=related

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/06/02/prayer-prohibited-at-graduation-ceremony/

http://religionatthemargins.com/2011/05/enemy-of-the-state/

http://www.scifiwright.com/2011/06/arrested-for-feeding-the-poor/

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/os-attempted-rape-daytona-20110606,0,4557757.story

http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/4871

http://choiceindying.com/2011/06/06/the-intellectual-irresponsibility-of-william-lane-craig/

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/geoffrey-dickens/2011/06/10/matthews-weiner-trouble-because-his-behavior-offends-culturally-ba

http://www.freethunk.net/comics_general/virginia-tech-shooting-comic-strip.php

http://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/09/law-bans-internet-images-that-cause-emotional-distress

http://www.nhne.org/about/AboutNHNE/tabid/416/language/en-US/Default.aspx

http://www.thelocal.se/34370/20110615/

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2011-05-01-America-the-biblical-nation_n.htm

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/06/20/137297305/nbc-cutting-under-god-from-pledge-was-mistake

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/jun/20/dating-website-beautiful-people-members

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/06/21/new-york-atheists-angry-over-heaven-street-sign-honoring-11victims/?test=latestnews -- Famous Atheist Platinum nominee.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7xt5LtgsxQ

http://www.asianage.com/international/swedish-school-bans-him-her-foster-equality-between-sexes-792

http://www.mandm.org.nz/2011/06/hector-avalos-and-careful-non-selective-citation-of-sources.html (for Avalos)

http://www.hyssophealth.com/