Very odd month, as the mailbag overflowed while the Net itself slowed. I suppose the Sanslorian (above) have been trying to do me some favors.

From the Mailbag

Here's one from the An Answer Instead of One I Don't Have category:

Just read your commentary on the Jephthah story in Judges.

I gotta say, fella--I'd love to have you as a lawyer if I ever got into serious legal trouble. For a textbook example of how to "prove" that black is white, your little exercise in obfuscation is hard to beat.

I think maybe your next assignment should be a dissertation on what the meaning of "is" is. I bet you could do much better than Bill ever did.

The story of Jephthah--at least in terms of what he vowed and what he wound up doing--is about as unambiguous as anything in the Bible. But since it doesn't fit in with your theology, you get out the smoke and mirrors. And I don't doubt you manage to bamboozle a lot of your readers.

Apologetics indeed. What really begs for an apology is your dishonesty.

And now this from the Hit and Run Department:

Do you mean to tell me that a man lived on this planet who could walk on water, raise people from the dead, heal the sick and do all sorts of wonderous feats? You also believe that this person rose from the dead and flew away to a magical never land up in the sky. One must have to be pretty gullable to believe that.

Had some nice words from a kook calling himself "owlafaye" who said, among many other things:

I like how Holding criticizes Cohen because he has a well rounded and extensive education.

You folks are insane, you know?

Cohen's review of the "Mind of the Bible Believer" had become the definitive reference for those seeking information on the phenomena of Fundamentalism in a modern, scientifically driven society,

The arguments of Fundamentals regarding evolution have been successfully defeated in every aspect through the most empirical of facts and repeatable, demonstrable experiments in the field and careful review by successive generations of Darwin's peers.. Evolution touches on and is responsible for the dramatic advancements in every aspect of human endeavor.

With reason, rational thought and that very logic that escapes belief and faith, the arguments of Fundamentals have also been re-evaluated each generation and they continue to fall in the face of simple truth and new factual information.

The mere fact that institutions such as the Academy of Science are the target of disbelief, ridicule and contempt is indicative of a movement within the Christian community, similiar to conspiracy theorists and other fanatic movements, that will not take no for an answer no matter what the presentation. This aberrancy is classified as "normatively insane" and demands a close watch on it's inherents.

No better reason for maintaining the separation between church and state exists.

Extremist Christian thought is not acceptable in most of all mainstream Christendom and a better understanding of the historicity of Christianity is beginning to emerge in this stream of reasonable, better educated religious thought.

The mere extremism of Fundamental doctrine has stimulated Christianity and has opened the minds of its scholars to the myriad evidences of unsupportable claims that point to the myth of Jesus .

It is more the spirit of the purported Word than the man himself that is beginning to emerge as the guiding "light" in Christian churches today.

The world's infrastructure and instant communication and information will drive the fundamental element into that silence from which it emerged in the 20th century.

Cohen's definitive review is accepted throughout the Internet...I can't see how someone without any similiar credentials and little experience can refute such a brillant, reviewed and fully accepted piece of writing.

You rant and rave and I pull your are a self-chained slave to your silly beliefs.

Well, of course. Messiah based religion is based on the fear of punishment. Instilling fear of not adhereing to the faith (being sent to hell). Fear based religionists are born to sorrow, constantly seek their guilt and forgiveness...No wonder they are believers in a punishing naturally follows that your God is a punisher...although I can't see why an omnipotent deity needs followers and worshippers. If he fears then he isn't a God.

....religious fanatics such as youirself Holding; are not known for character or a sense of humor.

Christians are an imperious, aroogant, sanctimonious and bigoted lot no matter where you find them...

Question a Christian, display incontrovertible fact and their eyes begin to reflect the fear within...they are running scared Holding...just like you.

The problem is that you do not have any recognition or basis for your article, whereas Cohen's as been acclaimed and referred throughout the Internet.

Just because you criticize him doesn't mean you are correct or an accepted critic. And of course, you are essentially a nobody outside of FunDumbMental circles.

I asked for references on the claims about Cohen, and didn't get any.

Next, this from the Department of Huh What:

If your Bible was written by God, why and who are you to "interpet" it? Are you saying God was not competent...are you saying God whispered new authority in your ear?

Why do all newer "revised" editions of the Bible reflect the word of God? How could they? They simply reflect the ideas of the men that revised them.

And now this from the Cult of the Head in the Sand:

Just dropped into your website. what mumbo jumbo. what verbal flatulence. The muslim seeks to show that Jesus was not God and your response is an intellectual muddle of graduate school quasi-religious jargon and textual references that make the books on semantics I studied at Hebrew University look like primary school readers.

When I read this kind of Christian apologia, it shows me why muslims are rapidly gaining ground on Christians.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a very religious, Christ-oriented individual. But I didn't get my faith from intellecutal claptrap such as that offered here.

You know what...if Jesus was not a man, why bother trying to emulate him????

We know that Jesus was the Messiah because "he humanized humanity from his cross."

Please tell me where in the OT, the Messiah is declared to be God

Also, this answer to all answers arrived from the Land of Nanny Boo Boo:

You couldn't resist replying though I said I didn't care about your opinion. You lose. I even considered at one point to ask a history professor comment on your arguments, but couldn't be bothered. Your arguments are - I repeat - simply too lame.

From the "Blather On Without an Answer" Department:

Why go through so much trouble with this website? None of it is convincing.

Don't you begin to feel that something is wrong with the Bible when complex and deep knowledge of ancient Middle Eastern and Greek languages is required to explain away contradictions and flaws?

Your ability to twist and bend the Bible to say exactly what you want it to say is impressive in a sad way...

It is clear that you are not taking all the evidence in an objective manner and coming up with a conclusion, but are instead taking the already "Set-In-Stone" conclusion that the Bible is true and inerrant, and working backwards to prove it.

Despite your attempts to take a "Jus' Folks" down-to-Earth "really this is common sense" approach, and mix it with a "I know loads of Ancient languages and you don't, so nah nah" approach, the site still comes off as a weak and desperate last stand of Christian ideology against the onrushing realities of Science and modern knowledge.

Why you would choose to worship a God who very forthrightly states that all who do not act like he says they should act, and believe what he tells them to believe spend eternity in unimaginable agony, I do not know.

Personally, I would feel like a toady, who served a being who looked upon me as nothing more than an insect or a puppet. My life would be meaningless, and all I could look forward to was worshipping this same being, the one who would torture most of the people I knew forever. Kindness, or frienship with people who aren't exactly the same as me would be meaningless, because I would know the horrible fate that awaits them...

I couldn't stand worshipping a God who would do that, anymore than I would worship Hitler or Stalin... Because what could a mere man ever do that equals the horror of torturing and maiming billions upon billions of people without end, people that he ironically claims to love and cherish. What kind of a horrible sadist would do that?

Evil is evil. So, I feel either I use my common sense and see that the Bible is full of flaws, and represents humanity as useless puppets that serve an allmighty being who purposely created an enormous torture pit for the vast majority of them, and reject religion, or I worship an evil god who does not exist out of fear because someone says I should.

Love is not love that is given under fear of torment and unspeakable pain.

Atheist, free of doubt, fear, and hatred...

...and scholarship. Then this from a guy who did the usual shebang on Luke 14:26 and replied to my commentary on it with such works of genius as these:

As the passage stands Jesus does invite his followers to hate. That is what is written. Whether he said something completely different elsewhere (bearing in mind the writer did not know that at the time of writing because the New Testament was not yet edited down) is not a valid defence. If there are two contradictory statements I agree you have to use judgement to determine which is the more relevant but are you really arguing that the Bible has to be read using human, and therefore imperfect, judgement? Your views are an anathema to other Christian guides I have consulted (although admittedly they did demonstrate the intelligence to open a bottle of cola without using their teeth). The idea that your reply directly addressed this is obvious nonsense. Go on, try again, just for a laugh!

Obviously the word of a god would be outside that scenario (perfect idea and no errors) but, as you say, even the Bible needs interpretive context so clearly it is not the word of a god.

[I said]:Then it is time to do some homework. Try deSilva's Honor, Patronage, Kinship and Purity for a simple introduction.

Ah, there is another one. Any more or is that it? Is deSilva a modern thinker? Does he share the status of Augustine (made saint by a grateful pope)? If not I will wait until I have exhausted those generally considered by a wide audience to have made a contribution to the debate. I do not dismiss deSilva, how can I, I have not read it, but my reading list is already long and your recommendations are not proving useful. Can you give me a précis?

[on crucifixion being shameful]: Furthermore why is it abhorrent if Jesus' message was dependent on his suffering on behalf of us all? Would it have worked if he had come down, preached, been betrayed, got a six month suspended sentence and went home? Surely the very essence of his being sent was that he had to suffer and die. Ergo it could not be abhorrent but part of the plan. I would agree that it is not the nicest way to breathe your last but there are worse. Flayed or hung drawn and quartered anyone?

Here's an email that wins the PC Open Self-Contradiction Award:

I'm sorry, I've been doing some reading here for the first time today on your website and I just don't know how to tell you how underwhelmed I've been so far by the level of intellectual, scholarly, or logical information/debate offered.I guess my hopes were too high to begin with. Although I understand that religion is about faith and not about logic, if you're going to set up a website as well as write books , articles, speeches, etc. on a subject, you'd think you'd try to be more rational and reasonable in your arguments.

One example of what I mean is that every time I read a response from your site to a critic, the point the person made is completely ignored and the writer is then in turn criticized for things that have nothing to do with the valid points made. You should be able to argue point for point and not have to rely on distortion, distraction, or just general name calling.If you could try to stick to the issues you could be taken more seriously. At least I know it would be more interesting for this reader.

I would not try to imply that atheists are somehow more open minded ( just because they are atheists), however, every atheist I know looks at every argument/important issue from every conceivable angle before forming an opinion and are then still willing to hear/read any contrasting opinions on the subject. Have you ever considered listening/reading with an open mind, taking into consideration the possibility that you might actually be wrong?

Also, if you guys are so certain of your beliefs, why do you feel the need to justify them at all? This is not meant to imply that you are somehow doing something wrong, or shouldn't be doing what you are doing, I'm just curious. Truthfully , it does smack a bit of desperation though.

And finally, on the lighter side, we have this from the Failure of Technology Department:


I recently find your site by searching Google for "jewellery" . I think our websites have a similar theme, so I am a bit interested in exchanging links.

If interested please send me the Title, URL and Description of your website or the HTML code, so that I can put them on my website of same category and in return you will provide a link from website.

Dang. The imitation ANE trinkets inscribed with Rangslinger might not be so valuable after all.

Life at Duh! Bunk N Ranch

"Doubting" John Loftus and his crew over at the Duh! Bunk n' Christianity Weblog are trying real hard these days to earn Screwball Awards. Let's introduce the winners first:

This is DJ chumming it with two of his latest and most talented finds, the Curry brothers -- Goat and Beef.

Collectively, they all win Gold for this month, starting with DJ himself, who wrote in his blog:

Let me state for the record that I am a freethinker first, and an atheist second. No freethinker faces a potential excommunication or heresy trial for not abiding by the party line as far as I'm concerned. I left Christianity partly over this party line attitude. Acharya S. was a Blog member here for a week until she recused herself because of her critics, and I have invited Bob to be a member here with no luck yet.

Where I agree with people, I agree. Where I disagree with people I disagree. That's it. For instance, I do believe Jesus was a historical figure in the 1st century, unlike them. But I learn from everyone.

The goal here at DC is to Debunk evangelical Christianity. This could be done by a Deist, a new age pantheist, an agnostic or an atheist. Where we agree we agree. Where we have our own disputes, we will dispute. Christians do the same thing when it comes to differing views of Calvinism, eschatology, baptism, pentecostal gifts, church polity, and so on. But unlike them such disputes do not undercut a common goal we have when it comes to Christianity.

I (along with Ed Babinski) do not put up barriers between freethinkers so long as we share the same goals. Where we disagree we will disagree, but our commond ground is still that we are freethinkers. We are not hamstrung by religious dogmas and creeds and scriptures that define whether or not we are allowed in the group. We just ask that people are able to back up their beliefs and defend them in areas where we share common ground. Even if someone is way out of bounds with what I think can be rationally defended, I can still say, "but she makes a good case against Christianity...she makes me think."

Acharya S makes him think. That speaks for itself.

Part 2 of the stooge trio, Bill ("Beef") Curry, wins for this comment:

There are some pitfalls to using experts conclusions as evidence. It is quite likely that experts are influenced by things that should not affect ones reasoning, such as their background and/or funding. It is not that experts can't overcome biases, but I want to examine the evidence that should influence the experts. The evidences that really need explanation are aspects of existing documents. The existing documents are copies (of copies) of earlier reports.

"Skolarship? Wuz dat?" DJ needs to come clean this crap off my carpet for free. "Beef" Curry also offered this dumb statement in his own defense on Triablogue:

I understand that commentaries are very useful tools if you want to ignore a clear teaching in the text.

Consider Luke 6:30 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. The text is clear but you don't need a commentary to ignore it, you know it's ridiculous. I suspect that you know it's stupid and you run to a commentary to see the best rationalization that makes you feel good about ignoring the advice of Jesus.

Consider the very next verse: 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. I know I'm presuming that you and Steve don't enjoy personal invectives directed toward you, yet the invectives fly. I am sure that you and Steve can find the appropriate commentary showing how this verse isn't meant to apply to anyone as evil as us debunkers, (only to left-handed Calvinists on Tuesday's). So obviously you don't think Jesus was capable of clearly communicating his intent, or maybe he didn't know what he was talking about.

The last of the trio, Jon "Goat" Curry, wins Gold for his recent treatment of Eusebius (see here).

So Bad the Pulpit Got Up and Left

A reader nominates the Rev. Betsy Singleton, pastor of Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church in Little Rock. Rev. Singleton is probably better known as being the wife of U.S. Representative Vic Snyder. She did a series on "difficult questions Christians face". Among the "gems" in her sermon, which DEFINITELY qualify her for a Screwball award:

"My task here today is not to take us through a history of the development of world religions; others like writer Karen Armstrong can do that far better than I."

"I can imagine Jesus disagreeing theologically with someone, as he often did, but I cannot imagine him rejecting anyone. There is no biblical story that says he does so."

"I also cannot accept this view because it has contributed to Christian arrogance and historical evils like the Crusades in the name of God."

She also claims that the phrase "no one comes to the Father but my Me" actually is not an indication of Christianity's exclusiveness. No, instead, what it actually means is, "God's work in Christ is actually for all people and that God may apply his grace to anyone God chooses, including the faithful Hindu or Buddhist who does not know Christianity and never will."

"Let's go to the Bible first. Beginning with Christian scripture, we can locate a number of passages that refer to God's omnipotent power. ... That does not mean these portraits of God are accurate, but rather, it truthfully shows us how we limited human beings long for and try to develop answers to the problem of evil. Scripture contains some of these answers." She says the book of Job does not refer to Satan and compares politically activist Christians to the theologians who supported Hitler.

Also note that, in two of the sermons, she quotes the Bible 8 times and other sources (including Armstrong, NPR, poems, and a source titled "The Myth of Christian Uniqueness") 16 times.

Hey, Dan Barker Lives in a Cardboard Box, Right?

"Dimbo" (Brooks Trubee) supplements his Gold from June 2006 with this update to the Holding hate site:

(Holding) says that he does in fact use the donations that he receives for groceries and mortgage payments.

Oh, I am SO bad. In honor of Brooks' latest success in catching me at earning a living, my little bro "The Toa of Justice" has this for him:

Farrell Till shares the award with this evaluation of me:

I think that he no more believes most of the stuff that he recycles on his website from books and journals than he believes that cows can jump over the moon. He does what he does for the m-o-n-e-y. He apparently lacks the charismatic personality--and certainly the physical presence--to become a successful megachurch pastor, who could dazzle the gullible from the pulpit and really rake in the loot, as do the likes of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, James Dobson, etc.; otherwise, we would be having The Hour of Sarcasm beaming from Orlando and adding to the religious pollution of the airwaves.
Hence, (Holding) has had to settle for a much smaller piece of the pie baked from the fruits contributed by naive Bible-believers who deprive themselves of money most of them need themselves so that they can give millions of dollars each year to charlatans like him. As long as he can be the big fish in a little pond, he will no doubt continue to crank out internet hackwork that will give him at least a nominal PayPal income that will enable him to doodle in church during the sermons, spend only five minutes per day reading the Bible and five seconds praying at meals, while he sits in front of his computer at home munching on the little piece of the pie that the PayPal-take from his choir members has brought him that day."

I don't have the physical presence to pastor a megachurch? Even if I wanted to (I don't), has he seen this guy lately?

And that reminds me, when was The Farrell Till Show gonna be on prime time again? This from a guy who goes into those instant photo booths and gets back messages that say SORRY, YOU HAVE BROKEN THE LENS.

Ring Around the Rosie

Of course, we can't miss a nomination for Rosie O'Donnell for her recent idiotic comments:

"And just one second, radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America."

Be sure and stop by your local Baptist church next week, they're having a beheading.

The New Math

Hereoisreal wins Gold for this knockoff of the BibleWheel, based on that virtuous and moral object, the RouletteWheel:

Jesus said, "I have choosen you twelve." (one is a booger)

12 + 12 = (3 x God) + (3 x Jesus)

The first, second, and third 12 total 666 ( 9 x Jesus )

Check out a roulette table. The 3rd 12 + 12 foundations = (6 x God) + (3 x Jesus) The first, second, third, and forth 12 = (3 x God) + (3 x Jesus) + 3 x AZ

AZ =(alpha & omega), (first x last), or (beginning x end)

The above numbers and the bible verses below all paint the same picture:

(AZ + half AZ) x (AZ + Love) = Iron

Rev 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and [to] his throne.

Eze 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

Zec 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he [is] just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Mat 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (AZ under)

"Word" x 3 AZ = Love x G x O x D

Jhn 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Give Him a Magic Happy Fun Version

Nanimose wins Gold for this:

If you not only look at the pictures but read the text also the point is right there. Why does an all-good God and son of God have knowledge of Sin. If you really are trying to turn yourself into an all-good person, does it make sense to be reading about all these bad things? Especially with acts of sin that are committed at the highest degree. What Lost said was irrelevant. What did I say about Bible Readers excusing these things?

I asked, "Your point being what? This sounds like the evening news." and was told:

what would you know about the news? I think you meant a movie. What the hell is mutually exclusive? My morals are better than any Christian who you never hear talk about Morals and are obsessed with who believes in God more or atleast sound like they do. Am I suppose to find your immaturity amusing, Jesus said "be like a child" then he slams a wineskin.
I still can't believe in the Bible regardless of if it's G or R rated. Can an all-knowing God really be all-Good? (an already established atheist argument)
The Latest in Crass Commercialism

Finally, my beloved wife submits a Screwball nomination of her own, for this credit card offer:

Hey, you don't think we could get one with a scene from The Passion on it, do ya?

"Science of Time" wins the Willie Wonka Tasty But Incomprehensible Fudge Award for these:

Read your scriptures. Do they provide any certainty for the next day, hour or so. To me the Qu'ran certainly provides certainty for the now. Do the other scriptures such as Thora and Gospels?
Sadly...there is no NO ONE left that teaches the true meaning of Islam. Islam is NOT a religion, but a state of being. A believer of the God of Noah, Abraham,.........need I go on?
The Koran is a small book, with text comprable to the KJV 1611 New Testament. A beliver is Muslim or infidel. A believer is Christian or heathen. The bottom line is a Muslim is a Christian, and an infidel is a heathen. A believer worships and honours God, and a heathen is a Satanist.

trex won the Messiah of the Week Award for his very first post on TWeb:

MasterPath is real science of God realization. Gary Olsen IS the current living and only spiritual master alive in this country. Astonishing, yes. True, nevertheless. Take an initiation (in soul) and enjoy the ride.
Their is NO deceit in this doctrine. Only in your own limited mind with its concepts and thoughts and basically erroneous conclusions. That is not intended as a slight. However, it IS the way it is.

Old fundy atheist hand Jim Eisele earns the Soap on a Rope Award for this one:

You're completely wrong here. We've already talked about a number of things. And I'm starting to feel bad about bursting your bubble. Could you handle the development of serious doubts about your faith? Christianity manipulates people. And you're showing the classic signs of being manipulated. I can show you why you're wrong. But I would feel remiss about proceeding without warning you.

Carpe wins the Lost in Time Award for not knowing the answer to this as a professed former Christian who allegedly went to seminary:

Your earlier comment was that god was not satisfied with anything but perfect morality. We are finite beings, NJon. According to your worldview, we were created so. Perfection is beyond us. Not to mention that we are constantly confronted with situations where we have to choose between the lesser of two evils.
And we are temporal. We live and breathe for a mere few decades, and accoridng to the Christian worldview, at the moment of our deaths it is the nature of those temporal lives that dictates how eternity is spent. At the instance of death, the choice is made for all eternity. Infinite consequence for finite transgressions.
The whole thing is so nonsensical - so irrational - it constantly amazes me that so many people just don't see it. Why at the instance of death? How can any notion of justice include eternal spiritual consequences for finite physical actions?

atheistthoughts wins the Pistis in the Wind Award for the following:

One main reason I will never become a Christian is because the bible is very anti-logic and anti-reason. Atheists constantly talk about how bad faith is. Those apologetical Christians out there usually try and counter with a definition of faith that suggests that it's believing based on evidence (note that this isn't backed up by the definition). Luckily for us, we don't have to use human definitions, since the bible provides one in Hebrews 11: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

I don't see anything about evidence there. In fact, it seems to support the dictionary definition. If this doesn't convince you, let's look at 2 Corinthians 5: We live by faith, not by sight.

Notice how fiaht is not only defined by lack of evidence, it is contrasted with belief based on evidence. These passages not only show what faith is, but that faith is good. Let's look at a verse later in Hebrews 11: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

This, I admit, seems contrary to my point if you look at it the right way. As an explanation of why faith is necessary, it onyl talks about believing in him. This leaves the door open to believing based on evidence. Unfortunately for Christian apologetics, the former passages contradict this idea, and leaves two possibilities. Either God wants us to believe without evidence, or the writers of the bible didn't expect there to be evidence for this God.

myth buster also has his share, earning him the Patriotic Paranoia Award:

The similarity of Military Service to slavery in the ANE is not a moral justification in my opinion. The Military is EVIL. They brainwash people. It's a liscence to murder.

Only an idiot would join the U.S. military. There's no way I would sign up to potentially die for these warmongers, these evil fools who start wars so corporations can profit from them and their rich friends can get richer. Who is stupid enough to think that going to war in Iraq is going to stop terrorism? It has only encouraged it ten-fold. We recently came close to enduring more terrorist attacks when those Islammo-fascists almost hijacked a bunch of planes. Our presence in Iraq did nothing to counter that terrorist attempt did it?

America is a hypocritical pile of trash. We bully and kill people all over the world, claiming to be spreading democracy and freedom. Do you have any idea how many democratically elected governments we have overthrown only to be replaced with a dictator we can more easily control? America really IS the great Satan! No way would I sign up to defend this country of lies. Democracy is dead in America. For anyone who cares to educate himself, it's common knowledge that the last two Presidential elections were rigged. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. laid out all the evidence in a recent Rolling Stone article. The once great country of America died a long time ago. In its place is something far more sinister and evil.

I don't know who Dan Barker is. I figured it out for myself. Holding is a good example. He apparently likes to be teased and ridiculed so he does so unto others. But some others may not like to be treated like that. Thus, we see a flaw with the Golden Rule in action. It doesn't have to be negative or "masochistic." Say I'm a really touchy-feely type and I like to put my hand on people when I talk to them and I appreciate it when people treat me the same way. But my friend doesn't like to be touched and resents it when I put my hand on his shoulder while speaking to him. Thus, the Golden Rule isn't mutually beneficial in this isntance. Thus, Jesus established a rule far from perfect, exposing his base humanity devoid of any divine connection. Only a moron could believe the Golden Rule is perfect and Jesus is a god! This little problem obviously doesn't exist in the negative which, as Confusius (sp?) put it, "What you do not want others to do to you, do not do to them," renders it closer to perfection.

Quite a mix here. "NEOPLATONIC ONEIRONAUT" wins for bringing up the "Why does the God condone slavery?" question and for responding with this when someone referenced Glenn Miller's article on ANE practices and the Bible regarding slavery:

Wow, you found a webpage that is extremely elaborate in its evasion. It would like to suggest that the nature of slavery was different in biblical times. However, we have to assume the integrity of the word until it is disproven. Whatever the conditions of slavery were, the bible is pretty clear that a slave was someone who was owned by a master. So God condones slavery. Do you? reports this winner:

Speaking in tongues, weeping for salvation, praying for an end to abortion and worshipping a picture of President Bush - these are some of the activities at Pastor Becky Fischer's Bible camp in North Dakota, "Kids on Fire," subject of the provocative new documentary, "Jesus Camp."

"I want to see them as radically laying down their lives for the gospel as they are in Palestine, Pakistan and all those different places," Fisher said. "Because, excuse me, we have the truth."

"A lot of people die for God," one camper said, "and they're not afraid."

"We're kinda being trained to be warriors," said another, "only in a funner way." -- David C. Pack of the Retarded Church of Gob wins for this article:

Should Christians VOTE?

Millions believe voting is their civic and patriotic duty. It is the democratic way. But is it God's way? Christ's gospel is about government. If He were here today, would He vote? Would His servants participate in the politics of this world? Does His Church practice voting-to decide doctrine, or select board members and leaders? Are God's leaders chosen by men's ballots? Here is the Bible teaching on voting, made plain!

A Christian is one who follows-who copies-Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:21; Phil. 2:5). What would Christ do if He were on earth today? Would HE participate in the governments or politics of men? What does the Bible teach about voting to select leaders-either in national governments or in the selection of church leaders in various denominations?

Christ would not vote, because He understands the origin of the governments of this world and who is behind them.

Where did the governments of men come from? How did they originate? Who is behind them? Why is there so much strife and competition in the world today? Is this God's world-reflecting His way, and His direction and guidance?

Most theologians, religionists and churchmen blindly assume that it is. Therefore, they conclude that if "all Christians work together, in love and unity, to make this world and its governments a safer and better place for all, we can bring peace, happiness and prosperity to the world." This is a completely wrong viewpoint. Nowhere did Jesus say "go into all the world and strive to make it a better place by becoming part of it." Instead, He said, "Go you into all the world and preach the gospel." Christ did not come to make this world better. He announced the coming of a better world, under His government!

Blind, deceived men think they can bring about the kingdom of God through human effort. They see certain evil forces at work and feel compelled to "do something about it." They assume that Christ would be an "activist" striving to "make the world a better place."

An overseas news agency wins for this comment:

By unwittingly angering Muslims with his comments on Islam, Pope Benedict XVI has shown that he has yet to shake off his academic theological roots and master the global media machine with the same deftness as his predecessor.

Froth at the Mouth Award to: Choice tidbits...

Christianity is a "we're better that you" religion that openly disdains all other religions, including other Christians. It creates a highly exaggerated sense of self importance that is sustained by the oppression and judgment of others. Christians see the world as a battlefield where God is at war with the Devil who are fighting this war through human surrogates with Christians as the good guys, and everyone else as the bad guys. And since this is a holy war, all is fair. It is ok for Christians to be dishonest in order to gain power to fight for Jesus.

For example, if a Christian were to kill me for posting this web page, publicly the churches would condemn it as murder and wrong. However, in their heart they would be thankful that some one killed me because I am an instrument of Satan and therefore deserve to die. I would be an enemy killed in battle. At a minimum, they are out there praying for my soul, because I am lost and they are found.

From the perspective of a non-believer, I see Christians in general as self-righteous, hate filled, and indulging in behavior that is very bizarre. If someone is speaking in tongues, either God is speaking through them, or they are so mentally ill that they are hallucinating that God is speaking through them. Is God really speaking through them? Well, if God is all powerful, then can't he speak for himself? If not, God has a problem. If so, then the Christian who thinks he's speaking for God has a problem. The bottom line is, Christianity is a cult. (Actually, thousands of related cults) And as a culture, it sucks. --Yes, Marshall Brain is at it again. This time he's ripping of The Interview with God, right down to the music and style, to make claims that add up to, "Since God doesn't speak to me out loud, he must not exist," and blame things like traffic jams and world hunger on God. We especially liked:

Many people claim to hear God's perfect, all-knowing voice, [pictures of religious leaders and President Bush appear] but we know that they are lying. If they really heard a perfect, all-knowing voice, then their decisions would be perfect and all-knowing.

Award to Richard Dawkins for "The God Delusion," excerpts of which are put up on the BBC website:

And last, a Skeptical website that presents Skepticism in the proper light: Yep.

tresangels - what percentage of atheists beleive that unborn babies in the womb should be protected from abortion after,ADTER, the third trimester?

mekanikalmekka -- you're right on - except it should be the grand alliance of buddhists, taoists, daoists and hindus against the christians, jews and muslims. the three "main" religions of the west ARE the source of all earths problems. while christians, jews and muslims are clearinghouse religions for slaughter and hatred in the name of some mangod figure, the others are NOT since they embrace nature and man's relationship to that nature - christianity, judaism and islam are all environmentally destructive as are the narrow mindsets of their fock." "my point was that all religions that deal with some mangod figure are steeped in false perceptions of reality whereas most eastern religions recognize what we really are - god. the war and hatred stems from externalizing god! when one internalizes, there is no need to "prove" anything or to indoctrinate unwilling others! the stupid three CJ&I are really that - forceful and intolerant. look at history. they gotta go. god is god, no definition necessary since we are "he". :)"

i was making a kind of ironic point - it being that the elimination of "religion" as a doctrinated force for intolerance is perhaps only achievable by equal doses of reality based "action". get it? example - buddha, jesus, shiva, mohammed, moses, etal are simply evolutionary vessels for the divine conciousness - "GOD" (UNIVERSAL AWARENESS?) simply takes over a body from time to time in order to experience and teach from a standard we can understand. they've all basically said the same thing over and over yet major world religions DO EXACTLY the opposite as do their blind and ignorant flock of sheep. independant and critical thinking populace will spell less and less religion until hopefully the folly they represent dies off. we have outgrown the need for magical explanations for events and should claim our rightful inheritance as the very image of god itself! then, WITHOUT fear, we eliminate hatred. fear being the sole source for this. think of death as a welcome next step and eachother as simply another manifestation in quantum existence as ourselves in another form!

Mastralvarado -- Hello people, I was wondering if you would be so kind as to count how many trees of life are mentioned here:

Apocalypse 22:2. In the midst of the street thereof, and on both sides of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruits every month: the leaves of the tree for the healing of the nations.

In medio plateae eius et ex utraque parte fluminis lignum vitae adferens fructus duodecim per menses singula reddentia fructum suum et folia ligni ad sanitatem gentium

Its in this thread I post because I am a muslim.

The majority wins*.

*Restrictions apply. Restricted everywhere except democratic countries.

(Later, after being ignored:)

No one wants to participate in my poll then?

You leave me no choice but to give you a trinity of possible answers (only one is correct):

A) The word tree used here is plural and there are three trees: one in the middle of the city and one on each side of the river. B) The word tree is singular. The tree's presence extends beyond the city to the river and past it. C) The word tree is plural and the tree is everywhere.

gardenweed -- Jesus is God? God cannot die? Jesus = God= died on the cross= God was dead for 3 days! Is Jesus man. Many men have died for their belief= not such a big deal to kill a "man". Sacrifice? where, he knew he would be alive again in three (A bit less actually) days.

But if Jesus is God and God knows everything and only God knows the hour of the coming, jesus must have lied when he said he didn't know. In fact he said only God knew. . . . But Jesus is God and God cannot lie? and that makes sense?

elimax76 -- The plane airjackers in 9/11, the inquisitors who killed Giordano Bruno and humilliated Galileo, all they had sticked to what they believed, too.

krizzymoo -- Ah just get over it, God is a load of rubbish. A lame old fairytale. Adam and eve was demolished with evolution. Noahs ark, he 'drowns' all living creatures.. What about fish? Plus noah is 200 years old accoridng to the bible.. If that was true then wouldn't it be in the guinness book of records? Well it's not. So nuhh! The bible was written by a bunch of crack heads with weird imagination.

squarepants -- I consider myself to be on the christian side of things. Yes, it was ignorant for SOME muslims to do the violence they did as a result of what the pope said, and it's WRONG. HOWEVER, looking at the history of the carnage that some christians have caused since time began, to others......