Once again, it's getting close to the time when we'll be able to pick Platinum winners -- and some people are trying very hard for it.

From the Mailbag

For example, this fellow is already up for Platinum n00b of 2007 on TWeb, where he's now pushing even more stuff like this:

In 1 Peter 2:11is says "dear friends, as aliens and strangers in the world..." and thus peter thought he was writing to extra-terrestrials from another planet. How can we trust a book cobbled together by people who thought that they were writing to aliens?

Also I notice that whilst your site has responses to many of the rebuttals published on The Case for Christ you stear clear of Earl Dorothy's 'challenging the verdict' Is this because it' too good and difficult for you to challenge?

I also notice that on your website is a link to http://www.freechurch.org/pdf/monthlyrecord/nov07.pdf - yet another article I've come across to recommend The Dawkin's Letters which I've read and didn't like. If it's so good then why haven't you got any reviews of it and the other books mentioned in the article on your site? Because you haven't read them and just assume that they must be good. If you've read the God Delusion you'll know that on page 122 of the paperback edition it says that tekton does not mean carpenter and is a mistranslation with obvious theological consequences ... a bit embarrassing considering the name of your site! Maybe you should rename your website to naggar!

Sorry if this e-mail causes you to loose your faith.

When corrected on the use of "alien," this worthy said:

So the word alien could mean 'a person of another family, race, or nation' So couldn't we go through the bible and make it say whatever we want? The word Jesus could be referring to the film Jesus but you'd be stupid to think so. The point is that 99% of the time the word alien is used to mean extra-terrestrial so when used in the bible it musty be 99% likely to also mean ET I notice that Christians go along the lines 'if it could be true then it must be' and you even admit that alien means ET and so you can't prove a negative to prove a positive and thus you must prove that it can't possibly mean ET!

Meanwhile, someone from the SAB Fan Club wrote:

I agree that the SAB qoutes out of context -however it does make it easy to find the highlights instead of having to wade through the whole sick and evil text of the bible

But of the cities of these people which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance thou shalt save alive nothing that breathes, but thou shalt utterly destroy them:

namely the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. (Deuteronomy 20: 16-17)

And it came to pass when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field (of battle), all the Israelites returned to Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword and so it was all that fell that day - both men and women were … ….utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. (Joshua 8: 22)

but as you say its not an instruction to genocide but merely a cultural item taken out of context

of course

how silly of me

True, but here's sillier:

If Adam was created first why did he have a Penis ?

Was it an after thought ?

What was it for; only excrement ? Eve was not there yet for intercourse ?

Why is the woman's body more fluid & perfect.

Why does the limb come later on a tree ?

Was man then God's mistake ? He cannot procreate himself.

On the other hand, this one is just More Stupid:

As a Christian one should trade in the Old Testament for the New. I have yet to see what Bronze Age writings and musings have to do with the Sermon on the Mount. In the gospel of St Thomas Jesus said "It is not what you put into your mouth that defiles you but what comes out of it.". One may search the Old Testament and fail to find any matching insight.

Surely the screwballs are the people who call themselves Christians and then follow every word in the non-Christian part of the Bible. Remember that the original form of the seventh commandment was "Thou shalt not boil a kid in it's mother's milk.".

As is this one:

As far as the "may not" is concerned, it seems like your article simply attacks the (very convincing) hypothesis that Jesus is a derivation of the Mithra myth. I found no citing in your article proving that that Jesus is an actual historical figure. With all due respect, I believe that is because you can't do it. I have studied this subject for many years and with the exception of two short passages in a historical account by Josephus Flavius, around the year 93 (of which the veracity of has been questioned-biblical forgeries at this time in history were extremely common; and which, by the way, only mention Jesus as a righteous man, not a Christ figure!) and two small corroborations by the early Christian scholar Origen of Alexandria- some 60 years later, there is NO (repeat NO) historical record of the so-called Jesus the Christ figure.

When informed of his stupidity, this one said:

Now, now- ad hominum attacks are a refuge for the feeble-minded and provide basis only for arguments of last resort. I'm sure you'll admit that is a weak and pathetic way to prove a point.

Your assertion that "modern scholars do not question the veracity of the shorter reference" of Josephus Flavius is not correct. At best, scholars are divided on this accuracy of this account. You are slightly more accurate with your second assertion that "the longer reference is considered partially authentic", although I would point out that if an entire statement can only be deemed partially authentic than the entire statement, when taken as a whole, logically must be considered, at best simply incorrect or at worst, deceptive (which begs the question: why is deception necessary?). In any case, given the difficulties of accurately assigning the truth of a 2000-year-old document, I would propose that building a religion on this kind of (flimsy) evidence is either a reflection of mental-weakness or deceitful manipulation or (more likely) a combination of both.

As far as Tacitus and Lucian are concerned: As I'm sure you're aware, the authenticity of Tacitus's writings has been questioned (once again, like many of the early Christian writers- why is the authenticity of so many Christian writers questioned? Rampant forgery perhaps?). Strangely enough, no early Christian writers make reference to Tacitus, even when they are discussing the Nero story As far as Lucian goes (assuming you are referring to the third century theologian Lucian Of Antioch and not the satirist Lucian of Samosate who live over 100 years earlier)-he lived over two hundred years after the (most likely) fictional character referred to as Jesus the Christ supposedly walked the dusty streets of ancient Israel

Finally, you still have not, despite personal attacks, supported your criticism of the Mithraic connection to the Christ fable- not to mention the relationship of this Christian allegory to Osiris, Horus, Krishna, Dionysus and many other mythological Man-God saviors.

I will respect your hesitance to engage in further dialogue. If I were you, I probably would be reluctant to try to defend such an untenable (and undeveloped) position as well. If you like, you can include these correspondences on your website. I'd love to see if any of your readers have more convincing evidence that you seem to be able to provide.

OK, so even if the "majority" (define majority?) of Josephean scholars see his small passages as authentic and even if you believe (!!) references from scholars who lived over 150 years after the supposed crucifixion (Jerome) and almost 300 years afterwards (Tertullian) and who were certainly not impartial observers of history, is this really enough evidence to support your belief in a patently ridiculous historical account that includes virgin birth, raising of the dead, and turning inert liquids into celebratory alcoholic beverages. This doesn't seem even a bit allegorical? Hmmmm-very intelligent and thoughtful of you.

Oh and by the way, why does the father of Orthodoxy, Paul not mention anything about a historical Jesus, and the biggest question of all: Why is everything we know about Jesus simply about Jesus? In other words: Why was the almost certainly literate Jesus (he was supposedly a rabbi of course) so reticent about providing any writings of his own.

I don't expect to hear back from you, but please be assured that I accept your sincere apologies for your very non-Christ-like and personal attacks on my stature, intelligence and character.

No problem. Meanwhile, this email from the La La League:

Dear Sirs/Madams,

Thank you for your informative site.

You say that Apollonius' story was only written down 150yrs after his death.

But the oldest copy of the Gospels that I know of is dated at 120 A.D. at the earliest.

Now, there are actual parchments that date back to ca. 300 B.C. yes? (A copy of Isaiah in the Dead Sea Scrolls--please correct me if I'm wrong).

It seems suspicious to me that there are no actual copies closer in time to Jesus time.

After all, there were just as horrible persecutions after 120 A.D. yes?

I've just finished Kersey Graves' "classic"--was intrigued by earlier examples of "Sons of God", "Saviours", etc, but was turned off by his emotional and pretzel-logic invective. Was disappointed to see that a modern "guru" (Acharya S.) could put their name to something that is at least 50% lawyer-like sophistry.

But surely, Jesus' uniqueness is now in question? I.e., surely not every previous "incarnate 2nd Person of supreme Trinity" has been falsified as to their very similar life events and titles to that of Jesus.

By the way, it was not this that led to my being an ex-Bible student.

The problem for me is the cruel and capricious nature of Yahveh as portrayed in "His own" book.

I mean, take just one example: the injunction for his chosen people to enter the "Promised Land" that "Yahveh was giving" them, and "wipe out every man, woman, child, including suckling babes, and domestic animals".

If the Canaanites WERE THAT bad, couldn't this "all-powerful God" simply snuff them quickly and humanely? I mean, think about it, the Israelites would've had to run them all through with their swords, arrows & spears, or maybe burn large numbers of them?

What was Yahveh trying to do? Was he trying to inculcate a sense of blood-lust in the Israelites?

That's what often happens on a battlefield where 'take no prisoners' is the order. Many personal accounts of such battles chronicle a kind of maniacal blood lust taking over.

As I look back on the Old Testament with a fresh, open mind, that's mostly what I see---a blood-hungry avenging "god" (Yahveh), needing humans to do his slaughtering for him! No wonder our "Christian" civilisation is full of wars of aggression and brutal suppressions of slave & peasant revolts---it's in the Bible! In fact, that's where the Moslems got most of their brutal practices (treatment of women, treatment of misdemeanors, attitude to Gentiles/Infidels). I don't see Jesus' "dad" in the Old Testament, though there are a lot of contradictory exceptions.

It's said that God has to let us make wrong choices so we learn for ourselves, but any decent human parent is better than that. There are many things we physically prevent our children from touching, many places we rightly physically prevent them from going, but "Yahveh" has left us on our own in a frightening world where wrong choices can lead to misery.

How many more children have to be born into starvation before Yahveh's Grand Plan of Salvation is complete?

A truly loving father would never let have things gone so far. A truly loving father would have "held back the arm that was poised to strike" as "Yahveh" (or his creators) have bragged in the Old Testament, he would have held back Cain's arm as it rose to strike Abel.

I'm sorry, I don't believe this affront to our Creator-given Reason: that there is an all-powerful, all loving God, who intervenes in our world, given the vast amount of human misery and suffering known as human history (His story). It is the story of at best a schizophrenic God, or at worst, Yahveh is just another name for Satan.

I am still not an atheist (before I was a Bible student, I was a Marxist---of several varieties). I am still convinced by the scientific and philosophical arguments of modern scientific creationism (or intelligent design) that SOMEONE or SOME ONES made the incredibly complex and adaptive DNA, the incredible water molecule, in fact, everything looks engineered, including, as the Biblical Creationists admit, the biological features of carnivores and the defensive biological features of their prey.

What makes most sense to my Creator(s)-given Reason is a battle between two equally-powerful 'Gods'---one good, the other bad. Zoroastrianism is the only philosophy I know of to declare that. It was ruthlessly crushed by the emerging Islamic states.

Some of the Christ-worshipping Gnostics said almost the same thing. It has come to my attention that many of their earliest writings are just as old as the earliest copies of part of the New Testament "Canon"---codified, not by Jesus, or even his Disciples, but by Rome.

Also these early Gnostic writings were actually found before the Dead Sea Scrolls. (The "Nag Hammadi" scrolls---a large and diverse collection, not unlike the Dead Scrolls, yes?)

Um...yes. This also:

The author of the Mighty Mithraic Madness is so off his rocker it's unimaginable to think anyone would give him any credence at all. It's very clear that Christianity borrowed from many different religions and that the church and the followers don't want to open their eyes and hearts to the truth. They are happy to except whatever control oriented doctrine that the church throws at them. It's sad to me that people like you only enable the Christian mass to continue their non-pursuit of truth by putting forth such uneducated conclusions. For me, I knew that you were uneducated when you happily made the assumption that Judaism borrowed from Mithraism with Moses breaking the rock. If anyone was borrowing, it was Mithraism, because Mithraism came long after Judaism, and most importantly, Moses broke his rock before Mithra broke his. What's even more fascinating is that you so easily denigrate your own religious beginnings. Christianity, was born from Judaism, and thus if you seek to disprove Judaism, then you discredit Christianity along the way. What simple mind you have to not know this, but as I said before, you take no comfort in truth, but in proving your religious doctrine, despite the truth.

A little less coherent, meanwhile, was this, edited for language...the parts started with ** come from an article of mine this, er, answers...

hay arrogant __________,

**What data do we have about Nazareth and "Nazarene" from those times that would suggest a 'content' for this summary phrase?...What emerges from...the data about Nazareth is that the term "Nazarene" would have been quite a disparaging remark, conveying contempt and pointing to the insignificance of the community.

ok ___ show me the data.

**I believe both, and that we need to understand what 2 Peter 3:10is actually saying. It is Jewish apocalyptic hyperbole, representing the refashioning of the social and political order -- not a literal description of history as it shall happen. See more here...Pendragon may never have heard of my type of eschatology.

says u. did u write the bible? no, so quite ______ passing off your interpretation as god's word ____. again prove it. show me some scriptural proof.

**Ecclesiastes is an example of proverbial literature whose statements are not to be taken as absolutes.

says u. show me some scriptural proof coward.

**Do you support the death penalty for homosexuality? Your God does (Leviticus 20:13). Okay, by now it's getting ridiculous. PASS.

___ to answer?

616 (six hundred sixteen in American English, six hundred and sixteen elsewhere) is believed by some to have been the original Number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible. Different early versions of the Book of Revelation gave different numbers, and 666 had been widely accepted as the original number. In 2005, however, a fragment of papyrus was revealed, containing the earliest known version of that part of the Book of Revelation discussing the Number of the Beast. It gave the number as 616, suggesting that this may have been the original. [1] This caused Peter Sagal on the USA's National Public Radio program Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! to quip that Hell must be in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as Grand Rapids' area code is 616.

perect god cant get numbers right?

**Do you hate your mother and father? Jesus said that if you don't, you can't be his disciple (Luke 14:26). Are you disqualified from being a Christian? Isn't it time for you to repent of your sin of being a mother-lover? Nope, cuz you're missing it all over again. Abraham Rihbany (The Syrian Christ, 98f) points to the use of "hate" in the Bible as an example of linguistic extreme in an Eastern culture.

again your ______ opinion. Abraham Rihbany? ok some im supposed to take your and his word for it? when you get some bible proof let me know. then i'll slap you in your face and see if you turn the other cheek ___. to bad you weren't aborted becuase it would save us from your pathetic arguments. what if god decided to cut all your arms and legs off? would u still love him?

**Rabbits were forbidden for the same reason. As shown in Education in Ancient Israel by James Crenshaw, the ancients knew well that human society in their time was only a few steps away from anarchy and chaos

oh yah, eating rabbits would cause an entire society to fall into anarchy. boy are you a ____ stupid boy.

**. This is not just a brush-off or a simplistic solution, but is grounded in the realities and thought of the time of the Bible

exactly, the thought of the time which is completely useless for today.

**Ephesus was subject to a particular belief system that viewed women as BETTER than man, and Paul's response must be read in light of both of these facts.

proof?

**II Samuel 12:15-20tells the story of God killing an infant because it was the product of its parents' adultery. If you were God, would you do such a thing? Please (a) explain to me the justification for this infanticide and (b) tell me what this incident reveals about the true character of Biblegod. That He was dealing with a collectivist, not an individualist, society. David was king, and set an example for his nation. A visible judgment was required to set against any idea that others could blithely follow in David's steps in sinning. We can hear the rising whine at once: "Who cares? Is God an egotist?" No, God is holy, and God is concerned that the greatest number of people will come to Him for their eternal salvation. Those who tend to think only of the moment have no conception of the out working ripple effect of individual actions (or inaction). If having no effect at all meant that thousands who otherwise would have come to God and found eternal life instead went to eternal condemnation, is that worth the physical (not eternal) life of one person? For Christians this is a no-brainer: The death of one man paid for the salvation of billions. Visible judgment upon a very public offense as the means to accomplish the same, though to a lesser extent.

to bad you werent that baby

**This idea of God acting through agents (for reasons of judgment, of mercy, of testing, etc.) occurs frequently in scripture. Job is a good example of reasons of testing. Our passage is a good example of reasons of judgment (on Israel). And Joseph's selling into slavery is a good example of reasons of mercy. In the story in Gen 37Joseph (of Technicolor Dreamcoat fame) is sold into slavery by his jealous, angry brothers.

talk is cheap boy. i'd be great for god to ___ with you and see how u like it. talk is cheap ___. lets meet in person and fight!

Also:

Why can't Christians just answer a question? Why do they resort to attacking the messenger and not the message? The earth is not 6,000 years old and there was no worldwide magical flood. you may call it Christian apologetics, but you can't explain the simplest of Biblical ______. No, you are into attacking the person that asks the question. Why is it that Christians can't agree on most of what the Bible says? Where is this "Holy Spirit" thing? With over 30,000 different sects of Christianity, where is your god? My question that you dodged is still open:

When did the magical flood happen, what year? To make it really easy, about what year?

I'm glad you published my notes, it's an honor to be considered a screwball by a deluded Christian. People get a good laugh at you when I show them your page with what I said on it! You will go down in history as the screwball with all your writings on the net, future generations will look at you as a complete moron. Many including myself already do!

There is no invisible naked 6' tall magic man hiding in the clouds that wants to torture us for eternity if we do not believe he exists, trust me on this one.

And to add to the screwiness....he sent that to Sheila's email. Then there was this:

As a new athiest I hopped on your website just to see if Chrisitianity could remotely defend itself logically. I am a former Chrisitian with many happy years spent in a small group where many loyal life devoted Chrisitians attempted to explain the "discrepancies" in the bible. Pick a topic of division in the church and they attempted to explain it away usually poorly. Hence my visit to your site. I figure someone has to know Hebrew around here. My question is why isn't there a good translation available? Should the everyday Chrisitian take Hebrew so they can know that every bible they have lacks the "real" Hebrew translation? Isn't the bible supposed to be the key to our salvation not a huge puzzle that needs to be translated by the learned Chrisitians of the world? Why wouldn't people doubt when you can't take the bible at face value? If someone writes that the earth has corners on a piece of paper, why should I have to figure out what historical context is played and how the "real" hebrew word was this and really means this? WTH? As far as I know most Christians can't even agree on the basics like Baptistism, Works, and when the second coming is supposed to be. Why should a skeptic or anyone who needs logical proof think you guys have any answers. Of course there is the rebuttal about how you all agree on the basics right??? Without Jesus there would be no salvation so that's what matters? As an athiest I can stand next to by fellow athiest and know we both lack belief. Can you say the same principal holds true when you stand next to a Catholic, or a Presbyterian? Until a bible comes out that is truly unflawed in any way I'll steer clear of Apologetics sites you guys can explain away anything perhaps you should be lawyers as well. As far as saying God was just killing only a small number of Egyptian males vs. the huge number of Hebrew babies that where slaughtered I'd say what other Athiest say. If God is love and is omnipotent he could have done other things to rectify the situation. And don't give me that free will crap if you are predestined to be a child of god you don't have free will. Give thanks that your loving but firm God has chosen you, after all he could have made you just to scorn him and burn in hell. Don't we have laws here about not hurting people just because you don't love them and don't accept that they are they only way your life will be good. And you can be with them forever if you just choose them? Yes, historically God is a stalker with a bad attitude. Good thing no one can see him ohh wait he's everywhere how is my restraining order going to work? Sorry about the sarcasm it comes with skepticism especially when Chrisitans throw around fire and brimstone.

And to close the month, this one:

Why do insist on promoting the notion that Christians are jerks? I'm hope you don't behave in person the way you sound on your website.

Huh. Take a guess why. :D


The November 2007 John Loftus Collection

How screwy is John Loftus and his gang of Useful Idiots? Sop screwy that to keep them from sweeping the Platinum categories, we've decided to create two new categories just for them -- for Loftus one, and for his crew one. Here are some good examples of why. Loftus himself has so often resorted to psychologization as an argument tactic that we have new term for it: "Loftuscizing". Here's an example.

NY Times writer Mark Oppenheimer raises some questions about the competency of Anthony Flew, the world's most famous ex-atheist. Christians like David Neff of Christianity Today, along with Victor Reppert, are responding with a letter from the co-author of Flew's soon to be released book, There is a God.

David Neff sums up the NY Times article by saying that Oppenheimer...

...questions the degree of Flew's involvement in writing the book, the credibility of scientists whose perspective Flew adopted, and even Flew's mental competence at the advanced age of 84. (Oppenheimer suggests that Flew may be "a senescent scholar possibly being exploited by his associates" and raises the possibility that his "memory [is] failing" and that "his powers [are] in decline.")

None of this is about whether or not God exists, but it is interesting to get at the truth. Is Flew being manipulated by Christians in the interests of spreading their message about the gospel? Is that possible? Would they do this?

Of course, an atheist like Loftus has a right to talk about this when he's the one who starts fake blogs and lies about reviewing his own book....

Soaking-wet-rodent Matthew Green also wins again, for the following:

I am going to be discussing the case for evolution and shaming Tekton Ministries for their skepticism of evolution. It's my contention that Tekton and its readers are pitiful, ignorant (or stupid), and silly people for their skepticism of evolution. I'll be charitable and go with ignorance. As for Tekton's president, I am not sure whether his skepticism is a matter of ignorance, stupidity, or both! Anyways, I definitely plan to shame him for his skepticism.

Yep. So what about non-Christians who are skeptical of evolution? I suppose they're stupid or ignorant too, huh? But here's the real reason Matt's not too stable, anyway:

When I look back at the life that I left, I realize how creepy it was. Having a deity plan your life out in great detail, where every "t" was crossed and every "i" was dotted is a scary picture. When I look back and realize that, today, many Christians still believe that they have to go out of their way to constantly monitor their thoughts, being careful to edit their thinking and desires all because they're scared that Yahweh, being a peevish being, is all-knowing and monitoring their thoughts, their feelings, and just itching to damn them for the slightest slip-up, I am amazed and delighted that I completely left that life This doesn't sound like a god of love to me; it sounds like something straight out of George Orwell's novel 1984. That's what I think of when I think of many Christians today- I think of them as wanting to love a deity that is a very peevish and totalitarian being, as if the "Holy Spirit" essentially functions as "Big Brother". For me, that's the way it was. I recall the frustration and fright of having to constantly monitor my thoughts and feelings, careful not to say anything even slightly disrespectful or do anything even remotely less than holy and perfect, or else I would really be in for it! I wonder how many of Tekton's fans are this way?

More screwies for Matthew come from that he spouted off on the Land Promise issue, declaring Farrell Till had it right.....and proved it by not interacting one bit with anything I wrote about it. But he doesn't mind the award:

Being labeled a 'screwball' by Tekton fans is as meaningful to me as being labeled a '******-lover' by the Ku Klux Klan. I really have no plans to ever return to 'Theology Web' to debate any of the folks there. I have come to conclude that some of the Christians there have no real interest in a civil debate."

Aside from his gross abuse of polemic, he seems blissfully unaware that his own blog is as uncivil as you can get. But the dumbest statement of all is where he addresses me directly:

quit evading your responsibility to be informed on the subject of evolution and try and tackle the actual case for it instead of complaining about unsatisfactory analogies! You don't have to be an expert to do this and there is no reason why you shouldn't even try. I am not an expert on evolution but I understand the theory and the evidence for it because scientists have taken the time to explain their theories and the case for them.

Speaks for itself.

Finally, Loftus' Useful Idiot Valerie Tarico does the Decontextualized Whine-Whine:

Perhaps the best argument against the time-worn understanding of Christianity is that it is vile. It is selfish, materialist, and morally repugnant. The heart of orthodox theology is a god who demands human sacrifice. The Bible gives sacred status to some of the ugliest impulses of the human heart: tribalism, sexism, vengeance, rape, genocide, and a host of other brutish self-indulgences. Ironically, it corrupts the deepest values of Christianity itself, the love of Love and the love of Truth. It promises an afterlife in which the saved will be as rich as Paris Hilton (not just gold jewelry, streets of gold; not just gem studded purses and high heels, gem studded walls; not just good make-up but eternal youth) and as blissfully indifferent to the exquisite suffering of their brethren as, well, Paris Hilton (partying it up with their riches and friends including the Jesus friend-- while Baghdad or Southern California or Hell--burns). It isn't just misguided. It's disgusting.
The Rest of the Skeptics

With DJ and the Gang in their own Platinum catrgory, these guys don't need to try as hard, but they do. William T. Dietrich wins for his Review of Dinesh D'Souza's "What's So Great About Christianity" found on Amazon where he used Acharya S' and Earl Doherty's "scholarship" to disprove what D'Souza wrote RE: Jesus as a historical figure. In a comment he also recommended the Zeitgesit movie (which has no parallel for Platinum in the Skeptical website category), Kersey Graves, Joseph Wheless, T. W. Doane, Tom Harpur, Tony Bushby, Freke and Gandy, and too many other nuts to name.

Bart Ehrman wins an award for publishing a book on the problem of evil -- which he is not expert enough to comment on with authority.

Award for Paul Jacobsen for his recent reply to Strobel's new book "The Case for the Real Jesus" - in which his reply against Paul Copan offers a number of four letter Anglo-Saxonisms.

An unnamed member of freefromthinkingteens.com wins for this retort to the point that we have little reason to doubt Wiccan claims to be able to perform magic: The only problem with this answer (assuming you're christian) is that christians believe that Pagans and Wiccans are evil witches and that they should die (hints the Salem witch trials). Let's think about this though... Pegans are evil because they don't believe in juses and they worship the earth and everything natural but the christians aren't even though they forced the Irish Celts to either convert to christianity or die (I'm not even gonna go into what they did to the Native Americans cuz that's a long ass schpeal). And Wiccans are evil because they do magic but the christians worship a man who (supposedly) not only walked on water and turned water into wine but returned from the dead. Can you say HYPOCRISY?!

TWeb member Ratnat just nominated for Platinum for a whole lot, but a couple of things that sum it up:

No, you pay attention. The particulars of the text are irrelevant.

How boring to just place everything into 2 piles--one true and one false.

Oh wow. An entertainment-based epistemology!

TWeb member Wyzaard nominates Platinum for this rant:

First, you (or CS) are deploying the metaphor, dear... one that portrays women's bodies as ciggarette cartons; this is patently misogynist and degrading, the same sick illogic that informs 'honor-crimes' against middle-eastern women who either choose to have sex with someone their family abhors, or is taken advantage of agianst her will. Either way, she is considered polluted and a source of shame to her family... and sometimes, she is killed.

Second... I don't treat women badly; just because and and someone else ahve chosen to have sex with one another does not mean that either one of us are bad people, polluted, etc. This is ALSO a misogynist view of yours, putting down women for choices that adhere to a different standard than your own patriarchal one.

Amnouy also tries hard by ranting:

ALL the referrences given above are to JP Holding articles and he, as are many in TWEB, is a biblical inerrancist. Therefore his biblical "research" is biased and his conclusions cannot be trusted. He and his ilk begin with the unsubstantiated assumption of an inerrant bible which inevitably skews research and results in distorted results.

While many Christians are able to incorporate the findings of modern science into their theology, biblical inerrant fundamentalists seem incapable of doing so. They cannot adapt their religious beliefs to accommodate modern knowledge. Instead, as we see on these boards all too frequently, they ignore, denigrate and deny all modern knowledge that contradicts their close-minded theology.

As science progresses and knowledge about our origins, earth's history, and biblical origins advances, it is likely that fundamentalist Christians, who continue to desperately cling to ludicrous, literalist concepts like young earth creationism, Adam and Eve, Noah's Flood etc will be increasingly marginalized in the Christian community. One can only trust in the common sense of educated people.

How silly! You believe in a tasteless, odorless, invisible sky-god for whom there is NO evidence whatsoever but you are blind to the fact that we are surrounded by evolved intelligence, limited in snails and brilliant in Einstein with a full range in between for which there is considerable evidence and a long history of evolving humans from Australopithecus 30 million years ago through, Neanderthal Man (The origin of the Bush family tree) to us Homo Sapiens Sapiens of today. There is no doubt about this and whoever says otherwise is ignorant…or a Christian fundamentalist which is the same thing.

BTW: "Unintelligence" didn't cause "intelligence". Unintelligence evolved, by natural selection into greater intelligence.

John Powell slides further into the abyss this month:

It's based on the willingness of skeptics to believe extraordinary claims when they are presented extraordinary evidence.

The N.T. portrayal of skeptics not believing even when they saw the miracles for themselves is evidence that the stories are fictional. Real skeptics believe EO claims with EO evidence.

The Three Stooges (jimbo/Brooks Trubee, stevec, and Amnouy) score a trifecta:

Originally posted by Dimbo aka Larry: If your god has perfect foreknowledge of any future action I will take, then my future is set in stone and I cannot do anything other than what your god knows that I will do. The only way we can have free will is if we can surprise your god (If your god exists, which, of course, I disbelieve)

Originally posted by SteveClueless aka Moe: If I throw a ball at someone and hit them in the head, it doesn't matter whether I "chose" to use my left hand or my right, does it?? Only one problem, Gods foreknowledge only gives one option. If he knows that I will use my right hand, then it is impossible for me to use my left one. Unless, of course, you can demonstrate to me otherwise. He already knows which hand I will use before I do throw that ball. So I cannot even make a simple "choice" like that one.

Originally posted by AmN00by aka Curly Joe: And could I have chosen to throw the ball with my left hand, or was it already decided that the ball would be thrown with my right hand? If so when did I decide. Because god's foreknowledge about me throwing the ball with my right hand was there from the beginning of time. So did I really have a choice? I don't think so.

Carpedm9587, the Apostate with No Answers, scores:

I would add that much of JPH's approach suffers from two major flaws: the first is the assumption of rational behavior. Much of his argument reduces to "reasonable people wouldn't X."

But nowhere can he support or defend the assumption. Beliefs spring up at the hands of both reasonable and unreasonable people all of the time. Some of them succeed.

The second error he makes is the assumption that success is itself an indicator of truth. By that measure, most of the ancient polytheisms should be judged "true." They succeeded for far longer than has Christianity.

The good old Retarded Response Squad wins the Delusions of Grandeur Gold:

The Rational Response Squad Academy is a new effort for us here at the Squad (2-07). We're proud to announce that we will be dedicating some energy into bringing you college level courses for free (thanks to those who donate for enabling us) in one of our webcam rooms. The format of these lectures/lessons will be that we will expect "students" to register and the classes will be geared towards registered students so that discussions will start with a particular topic and go through a logical progression from start to finish, registered "students" will not be sidetracked by onlookers who ask questions that have already been covered. In other words if you miss part of a series, you're likely to not have your questions addressed in these rooms if your question deals with an area covered in a past discussion from that specific "teacher." Registering for a class will be as easy as responding in the thread describing that course.

We hope to have a varying selection of experts ranging from fields in evolutionary biology to astrophysics to philosophy. If you have a professor or know of an expert who would be willing to give a few lectures/classes please inform him/her of this and have them contact us (or help arrange the discussion yourself).

Look in this forum for the RRS Academy Admins to post course information, and get ready to learn, discussions are on the way. A large portion of these discussions will be recorded via audio or video and available for later download or viewing. NOTE: Classes not made available to theists.

The Christian Collection

But of course not all screwballs are atheists. Here's a selection from the other side of the fence.

L. Ray Smith wins again -- just because.

"Near" wins for this exercise in postmodern selfishness which nominates Platinum in the Christian category:

My passion has been horses since I was eight. I have just begun my show career, without a trainer. I know this is my desired path, but I feel that Satan is trying to stop me from fulfilling it. I know God revealed to me I would do well and he would bless me, but I keep running into these obstacles. First, I went from trainer-to-trainer and yet I realized I hated having someone 'boss' me about my riding. And now I am stuck on should I train myself and find a horse or should I go to a trainer again?

I know this is one of my many talents He has given me but I am confused on how to fulfill it. I know I have seen the jumper from my dreams - a gray gelding (male horse). I know he is the one but I feel I cannot afford him, because my mother has set me on a limit for $5000 and this horse is $32,000. I've cried to God and asked him why this can't be simpler and why can't I just have my horse? I need help but don't know where to go. Prayer and helpful advice are welcome.

No, Near...you can't have a pony. Finally, Incrus wins for this, among other things:

he says that "Christ" is Jesus' NAME'

Jesus Christ, Christ, Christ Jesus is a NAME. His TITLE is LORD. Listen to Paul NOT to your elders: "there is actually to us ONE God the Father, ..... and there is ONE Lord, Jesus Christ..." (1 Cor. 8:6NWT)

JESUS is the NAME given to the CHILD that was born to Mary. But CHRIST is the NAME given to JESUS who died on the cross.

First award is an institutional one reported by a reader:

Screwball nom for a pastor I spoke with yesterday who scoffed at the idea that apologetics was an important evangelistic tool. He said that people in general are less skeptical of Christianity than they were, say, 20-years ago, so it's really not something they need to emphasize (I didn't say anything, but inside I was thinking, "And what reality do you live in?"). He said he thinks its more important to be able to tell your "story" (i.e your "personal testimony") and that you should practice it so you can pull it out at a moments notice. He even cited the Apostle Paul as an example of someone who used his "story" as an evangelistic tool. I pointed out that actually, Paul used his "testimony" to establish his authority and credibility and that his primary evangelistic tool was pointing to the evidence of the resurrection. He avoided the point and instead went on to talk about how "successful" he and his church were at evangelism because they had seen 700 "decisions" in the past few months, though he did concede that not everybody sticks with their "decision", but then he seemed to excuse it by saying it was just a fulfillment of Jesus' parable of the sower, as if there was nothing they could do to increase their success rate.
Oh, and this was the church's evangelism pastor. And he had a doctorate in evangelism.

http://www.truthortradition.com/

Rook Hawkins on the basis of idiocy and imitating sophisticated intellectual thought: http://rookthehistorian.blogspot.com

http://youtube.com/watch?v=oIFzpQAyeyU

http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20071104085911106C728167

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Evils%20in%20America/Hellivision/hee_haw.htm -- this one is a Platinum nominee for Christian website:

HEE HAW is of the Devil By David J. Stewart
The HEE HAW television series debuted on CBS on June 15, 1969 and ran weekly for more than 20 years. By 1977, HEE HAW was the nation's No.1-rated non-network show and it ultimately became one of the longest-running syndicated TV shows in history with more than 585 one-hour shows produced. HEE HAW reached 90 percent of U.S. households and was seen on 220 television stations at its height. HEE HAW attracted hundreds of celebrity guests from virtually every segment of the entertainment industry, including Hugh Hefner, Dolly Parton, Minnesota Fats, Garth Brooks and Richard Petty. Quite risqué for its time, HEE HAW is still remembered by many for the group of women cast members known collectively as the "HEE HAW Honeys." "HEE HAW Whores" is more appropriate.
HEE HAW was one of the most godless and evil television shows ever produced; yet, many Christians watched it regularly because Roy Clark, Buck Owens, and others, sang a Gospel song towards the end of each show. During the rest of the show, much of what you saw was women's breasts exposed, whores laying in suggestive positions, dirty jokes, women wearing miniskirts, women being sensual, women and men flirting with each other, men looking at women's breasts, etc. It wasn't just clean fun. There's nothing "clean" about lasciviousness. Reprobate Playboy magazine founder, Hugh Hefner, even made guest appearances on the show. How wicked and sinful. The producers of Hee Haw were godless heathens who exploited Christianity to boost their ratings, and corrupted society. No doubt, Hee Haw destroyed many marriages and families with their whorish lascivious programming. The producers of Hee Haw have greatly contributed to the spiritual deterioration of America. To no surprise, some of the women who posed on Hee Haw have been featured in Playboy magazine. If you don't see the evil harm in a show such as Hee Haw, then you are not right with God!

William T. Dietrich wins an institutional award not only for his Review of Dinesh D'Souza's "What's So Great About Christianity" found on Amazon, but for where he used Achrya S and Earl Doherty's "scholarship" to disprove what D'Souza wrote RE: Jesus as a historical figure.

http://www.theisticsatanism.com/geifodd/intro.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7074007.stm

http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=AndrewcBain&p=r

http://www.prime.org/

http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=mosaic&div=176

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bradford/7093068.stm -- as reported:

A religious father put safety pins through the tongues and lips of his two children and slit their mouths with scalpel blades, a court has heard. The father, from Nigeria, told the boys he inflicted the injuries because God had his tongue cut off in the Bible, a jury at Bradford Crown Court was told.

Actor Will Smith wins an at-large award:

"... in all of the experiences I've had with Tom [Cruise] and Scientology, like 98 percent of the principles are identical to the principles of the Bible," [Will] Smith tells Men's Vogue writer Hudson Morgan.

"The Bible talks about your spirit being immortal, that you were created for existence beyond your physical body. Well, that's no different from Scientology. I don't think that because the word someone uses for 'spirit' is 'thetan' that the definition becomes any different."

http://www.gnostic.info/

http://www.warrington-worldwide.co.uk/scripts/bulletin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=000457

http://www.flashaddictivegames.net/game/20936/Running-Jesus.html

http://www.religiouscartoons.net/

http://jesuschristarcade.com/

Nomination for Philip Pullman and the film promoters of his books (for presenting occult and (at least) suggestive sexual acts to children:

For example, one of the main supporting characters, Dr. Mary Malone, is a former Catholic nun who abandoned her vocation to pursue sex and science. The reader does not meet her until the second book, by which time the young reader is already engrossed in the story. By the third book, Dr. Malone is engaging in occult practices to lead the two main characters, a 12-year-old boy and girl, to sleep in the same bed and engage in - at the very least - heavy kissing. This is the act through which they renew the multiple universes created by Pullman.

Pullman's also promoting the view that God is a liar and a perverse representation of the Jewish Angel Metatron....and the death of God.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2sgAJ-bFi4&feature=user

http://youtube.com/watch?v=bjz_qhlYDQY

Cindy Jacobs and her group Generals International beleive that Isaiah 35:8 literally refers to Interstate Highway 35, and so become Christian nominees for Platinum:

http://www.generals.org/index.php?id=896

A worldwide movement to bring reformation to cities, regions and entire nations as thousands of believers commit themselves to personal and corporate holiness along their highway.

Isaiah 35:8 reads, "A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it."

God has given this scripture to us, not as a word of encouragement, but as a commission. We are to make our highways, interstates, roads, rivers, and all other means of travel "highways of holiness". In response to this prophetic leading, we have begun a global initiative called Light The Highway.

Generals International is situated on Interstate Highway 35 in Red Oak, Texas. We have joined with many others to bring holiness to our highway (I-35), and you can too! Keep reading to find out how…

Prophecies for I-35

"October 27, 2005 Sam Brassfield " . . . I turned to Dallas and He said, it splits here and Highway 35 goes west & east and makes a circle . . . and Dallas is the black, white, oriental - it is every color mixed in there . . ." Read entire prophecy

"October 29, 2005 Mahesh Chavda " . . . He declares that Texas is an instrument the Lord is going to use to spread the Gospel across the Earth. . . ." Read entire prophecy

"August 1, 2006 Sam Brassfield "The I-35 corridor is now being opened! This is the first of the eighth month! New beginnings! September is the ninth month and time for birthing . . ." Read entire prophecy

"August 2, 2006 Sam Brassfield "a spirit of intercession will hit both men and women! Until now, the women have borne the heat of the day, now I will ignite the men to pray . . ." Read entire prophecy

"August 15, 2006 Cindy Jacobs "The Lord says, 'I desire a royal road for my glory across the earth: A way for My holiness, power and anointing to pour out upon. It is time for a new holiness move. This new move will not be like the last one, but it will flow with new wine and miracles...'" Read entire prophecy

Richard Dawkins for this:

It is the mark of the religious mind that it cares more about private than public morality. As the bumper sticker slogan put it, "When Clinton lied, nobody died." Officially, Bill Clinton was impeached not for sexual misconduct but for lying about it. But he was entitled to lie about his private life: one could even make a case that he had a positive duty to do so.