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I wrote this as a retort to the feedback I received about yesterday's comic.
Cian McIntyre's profile photoTushar Tyagi's profile photoMatt Leger's profile photoDennis Bechtel's profile photo
I luv u. Do whatever the hell u want, u're incapable of doing anything wrong.
So confused, why didn't the mustache/beard guy kill the guy he was talking to?
You'll get my TI-85 when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
Pi is exactly 3.

There, I started a war in the name of math.
I think the fact that the Nazis closed so many churches and put so many Catholic priests in work camps indicates that if Hitler was a Catholic, he wasn't very big into it.
best. punchline. EVER! can't stop laughing xD
I totally get where you're coming from, and I love your comics Mr Oatmeal, but some things Stalin did WERE in the name of Atheism. Or rather, in the name of Communism, which hold the belief that "religion is the opiate of the masses" and needs to be abolished for there to be equality. Just sayin'.
"I believe I am acting in the accordance of the will of the Almighty Creator; by defending myself against the Jews, I am fighting for the Lord... I would like to thank Providence and the Almighty for choosing me above all people..." -Adolf Hitler

Seemed to be pretty religious to me.
See, it is moustaches not beards. Beards have been villified for so long by "chinnies" but everyone missed the hidden agenda of the moustache!
+Melissa Joanna You're right. It's true there's no "atheism handbook" to lay down all the rules atheists follow (although the Christian handbook doesn't push war or conquering people either, in fact it's quite anti-authoritarian) but when a political group pushes the idea that "religion is the opium of the masses" it's hard not to say that they acted in the name of atheism (although obviously it would be ignorant to blame all atheists for this).
One thing is for sure: militant atheists can exist, even if they don't today. Such people, if given power, will force everyone to renounce religion. And forcing people to do something (for whatever reason) is the very definition of evil.
If you read mein kampf it's chock full of religious rhetoric. Anyone who claims Hitler lacked any religious beliefs is wrong... His manifesto discusses his relationship with God and how it relates to his goals. Here is an example, "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.."
My Church of Christ, Oh HISD, Would you like to join me in the path? Or what? NO more fight and war! I don't talk about these men have to mustache/beard.. LOL!
Polynomials are the square root of all evil.
Woah, Hitler was a Catholic (at least at some point), Timothy McVeigh was a Catholic... You know what this means!
Let's just all agree that most people are screwed up and commit acts of violence in the name of things they shouldn't! This is why the World needs more lazy stoners...
For the love of mustaches, please make the parallel universe part into a shirt!
Luc Deon
People never seem to talk about the good things done in the name of religion, like charity, helping others, etc.
I thought Hitler was a non-practicing Catholic.

Edit: lol there was only about a gabillion people who made this point before me... before my stream even updated with the comments. My fail.
When God is the final authority of the people, government power is limited. In order to control the people, God must be replaced or eliminated. Whether the oppressors believe in God or not is irrelevant as long as they themselves are the God they allow their citizens to worship.
+Deb Pardee : I agree, being such an "average atheist" myself. :D
Atheism as an idea is based upon denying the existence of "God". It doesn't say anything about ethics, etc. So surely there's possibility of a militant atheist who forces everyone to deny "God", without fully understanding the ethics that goes along with being an atheist.
+Eric Musehl I totally get that and agree. I was just pointing out people seem to enjoy negativity, especially when it comes to religion.
That's just awesome. If I could hit like 10 more times, I would.
Wait, I thought statistics were evil??
Here's the answer to all of those questions, He believed that the race he defined is perfect, he believed in survival of the fittest. It is not atheism but a thing taught by nature and emphasized in evolution. Everyone knows should know Christians believe Jesus came for all the people and not only the fittest can be with him. As a shown in the comic segment. If wars were on say atheism, that is just one goofball, and if it was an act of religion, again that is just that goofball.
+Stelios Kalogreades Stalin most definitely did persecute and kill people because of their religion, so I don't see how +Melissa Joanna bringing that up is not rational. You'll have to clarify that one to me.
Atheism is a fundamental part of communist Ideology. I would agree that Hitler did not go to war for atheism but, Stalin and Mao did.
+Benjamin M Strozykowski Out of all the religious people you know, how many have committed violent acts in the name of their religion? How many have done good things?

I suppose historians aren't interested in positive things either.
And yet there are plenty of atheists who don't decide to go for bloody world domination. Fancy that.
+Alok Meshram Is it really "denying the existance of a 'God'" or is it recognizing and accepting that there is no scientific proof of one?
Well, then you'd be wrong, +Robert Bradley. Their ideology was in Communism. And Communism was threatened by religion. Atheism was a by-product of trying to maintain complete control and faith in the state.
More wars have been fought in the name of religion than atheism
Who do you call out to when you are on your death Bed? Hummm...oatmeal? I wonder

Always wondered about this one question and nobody's been able to truly answer it because they have not honestly faced death head on... so oatmeal which you will eventually return to just sqirmier who do believe in God wise, for we all believe in something, just curoius... Love to hear some feedback oaty what say ;) share some porage with a just person
I haven't been on my death bed but I'd love it if someone did actually call out to oatmeal. Everyone would say, That man really loved his breakfast.
hitler was a catholic
+Deb Pardee : "Statistics are like a bikini..." "Correlation does not imply causation" blah blah...
I don't intend to argue here! Just to point out that militant atheists can exist (even though they haven't existed in the past or aren't present now).
It's sad that most Christians try to force their views on other people. I (a Christian) believe in a strict separation of religion and state. Also atheists who believe all Christians are on like this are just as bad as the christian in this comic.
+Stelios Kalogreades Could you kindly point out one thing that either of us said that was illogical? I would like to know so I can amend it.

+Deb Pardee No it does not. When you consider the tiny number of powerful, out-of-the-closet atheist leaders in history prior to the 20th Century, they were never really given a chance to do much bad. However, religion (or at least a highly corrupt religious facade) has maintained power for hundreds of years, a long time of that being when people had no source of news or information besides some guy telling them "God wants you to kill those other guys".

Many of these people claiming they did their stuff "in the name of X religion" didn't behave very religiously (look at Reformation era Catholic church) and stood to gain a lot more power by taking more land and forcing people into fearing them. What better way to get the troops fired up than to tell them it's what God wants? However, if you find a Gospel quote that pushes war for Jesus, I will take back what I have said.
Look, I am an Atheist, and I was raised Atheist and I plan to raise any offspring of my own as Atheist.

But communism is a form of militant Atheism in that one of the movements stated political goals they used force to achieve was the destruction of religion and the promotion of an age of reason and the death of mysticism.

Yes they used violence to do that because they were twisted assholes. But that is why anyone who believes in anything (religion, philosophy, the best taco seasoning) uses violence to force others to agree with them.

Was Hitler an atheist? I doubt it, he believed in a lot of weird magical crap. But Stalin definitely was, as was Mao, Pol Pot and communism really was militant Atheism.

Yes that sounds completely alien to the way I was raised Atheist, like the problem is they are just assholes, but that really isn't any different than how Islamic people I know view Islamic terrorists or how Christian media immediately used the circular logic of a certain Nordic Nutball not being a Christian because killing people is against the Christian moral code.

I'd prefer if Atheism didn't develop the same bad habit of pretending there is no troubled past with Atheism. If anything it should be looked at, examined and learned from. People should say "Maybe the problem isn't with whether or not believe some invisible dude in the sky is spying on them 24/7, maybe the problem is trying to make other people agree with you by shooting them if they disagree"
+Robert Bradley Even if we grant the truth of that, patriotism and family values were part of the purported values of the Nazis, and they went to war to protect their idea of those values. That doesn't imply that everyone who loves their family, believes in the family unit, and is fond of their country is a fascist.

In any case, atheism is an absence of belief. It implies nothing else other than not believing in God. You can not believe in God and be the kindest most ethical human it's possible to meet, or you can not believe in God and be Stalin. Says nothing about people who don't believe in God, any more than not believing in unicorns implies some deficiency.

There are an infinite number of things there is not good reason to think exist, God is one of them, and an atheist is someone who doesn't deny that there is no reason to believe.
Death is an ideal time for a monologue. Who wouldn't take the opportunity?
Wars are not fought in the name of atheism, but they are fought over between otters and humans over what to call atheism.
Truth to tell this discussion seems to be putting down many of the TERRIBLE things that happened during the thirties -- including programmatic starvation in parts of the USSR as well as purges. China's "Liberation" of Tibet had a LOT of documented atrocities which they are of course trying to suppress -- to the point where they made a point of carrying the Olympic Torch through several centers of Tibetan Buddhism in the US and expressed outrage over the demonstrations. Atheists' and in particular MODERN Atheists' hands are NOT clean. As far as the numbers go, I'm sorry but I really do know fewer atheists than religious people (though I do know some Atheist Observant Jews.;_ylt=AnZzNqTWpcPUriFiPY4TNcrsy6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20120327131644AA9cl82
+Alton Griese : (Edited after +Cindy Brown's argument) The line between "denying the existence of God" and "recognizing and accepting there is no scientific proof of God" "refusing to accept there is a God because of lack of scientific proof" is a thin one, and both technically come under Atheism. I'm sure there can be an idiot who misunderstands Atheism and be militant about it.
+Alok Meshram , I suppose there is nothing that prevents a dictator from being a militant atheist... would be equally dangerous as a religious leader with malevolent intentions.

But here's the thing, If we consider a society of rationalists, the agenda of an Atheist dictator would go against the rationality of the individuals in the society leading to (hopefully) unrest and possibly instability in the society.

In a deeply religious society of highly indoctrinated individuals, it would be relatively easy for a malevolent spiritual leader to push his agenda as long as the society thinks he has 'God' on his side.

What I'm trying to say is the unquestionable nature of a higher power often prevents an individual to assess the situation rationally which is rather dangerous and makes him prone to manipulation.
No +Alok Meshram , I disagree completely. I know of people who accept that there is no scientific proof of God, and who choose to believe in God. I would never call these people atheists. Afterall, the definition of faith is to believe in what cannot be proven.
Wars are actually all fought for power and control. Religion is just one of the public justifications.
+John Platt If you're going to argue for collectivism, then there must be accountability for everyone. There is blood on all our hands.
+Deb Pardee thanks for the clarification! Your edited statement I agree with completely! :)
You are a troublemaker :)

What upsets me about the conversation is Christians (and maybe other religions) believe atheists souls are in a lot of trouble because we do not believe what they believe. Now, I do not believe that someone is a bad person just because they are a Christian, and I wish they would give me the same level of respect.
By the way, Joseph Stalin openly supported (and promoted) the Eastern Russian Orthodox church when the Germans invaded. He would do whatever necessary to gain power, it was irrelevant if the people believed in their gods or not. It was business as usual; same as during the time prior to the German invasion, the policies against specific religions would fluctuate. The fact that the ERO church was very wealthy and politically influential was always the rub.
LOL! What a wonderful response. Just love it.
+Deb Pardee I quite agree and I don't think a leader should ever have any religious power because it makes it far too easy to use fearmongering to sway the masses.
+Stelios Kalogreades : That is the central point of discussion here! If we assume that Atheism is harmless and cannot lead to evils (such as the ones humans have faced due to religion), we would be wrong, because the possibility of militant Atheists taking control and doing such evil acts exists (however unlikely it may seem). So Logically speaking, Atheism doesn't preclude the absence of evil.

+Deb Pardee : Yeah, idiots are everywhere! That's why it's important to be cautious and skeptical about any mass movement, however intelligent it sounds.
+Philip Balister It's impossible to be a Christian and give other belief systems the same level of respect. You can't say "God created the universe and Jesus Christ is my personal savior but these guys who think that's nonsense are pretty cool anyway"

Bigotry is inherent in dogmatic faith-based belief systems.
Thats the most stupid head up butt concept I've seen in a long time. So what you are saying is that no communist countries went to war for their ideals? If that is so it makes the USA the most stupid nation ever, because they spent most of the twentieth century sending themselves broke fighting a communist menace that you say never existed!

Fact - more people died in race based genocidal wars in the twentieth century than in all wars in prior history. The vast majority of these wars were about race, not religion. When Hitler tried to wipe out the Jews, he didn't care if they were practicing Jews or third generation Christian converts. He wanted to destroy the race.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster wishes me to kill all unbelievers! ;) Well, either kill or wrap in cooked noodles. The text is unclear. ;)
+Graeme Caldwell Why can't people say that? According to the Bible, we're supposed to love everyone equally, not matter what they've done or what their beliefs are. Respecting people and agreeing with their beliefs are two separate things.
+Cindy Brown : Whoops, you have me there. What I meant was people who say God doesn't exist because there's no scientific proof of the existence of God (I'm one such person myself). But I wasn't really talking about them... I was talking about the people who deny the existence of God .
+Graeme Caldwell Oh for goodness sakes, don't tell people what others believe if you don't believe it. Yeah, I believe God created the universe and Jesus Christ is my personal savoir but these guys who think that's nonsense are pretty cool anyway. You want to know why I can say that? Because I have no reason to condemn them for not believing what I believe.

Bigotry is inherent in society. It's just that when someone is an atheist, they don't get to justify their bigotry on an ancient book written by bigoted people. They reach for other logical fallacies.
+Abhishek Sarkar : The key point in your argument is when you mention "rationalism". Atheism != Rationalism. This is my argument in a very succinct form.
I have a feeling "Ich bin ein polynomial!" is going to be a thing now, isn't it?
+Philip Balister That's because us Christians do not see the problem between Christians and athiest, but between the entire human race and God. People can believe what they want to believe, but we believe and understand that we have our own problem with sins, and that God will judge evil, even the secret evils or those evil and injustices no one was ever punished for on the earth before they died; we will give an account for those things; only difference is God provided salvation from both our sins, and from the punishment for them, through the sacrifice of Jesus and His resurrection.

If you want equal ground, then I hope you are ready to give equal ground to hardcore satanism, a cult in which young girls are sacrificed to Satan every Halloween.
+Luc Deon John 15:6
"If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."

I think we might have read a different bible.
+Alok Meshram again, in a societal construct, it is arguably safer to have a large proportion of rational thinkers (atheists, agnostics etc) than believers of a particular faith for the very reason that the rational society will not achieve consensus on actions of questionable ethics committed by the leader of said society.

I believe it is unnecessary to quote past & present events involving entire sects and nations justifying acts of violence by twisting religion to fit their political agenda.

... Atheism does not preclude evil acts but deters it...Yes the need to be skeptical can never be stressed enough.
+Sean Livingston What in the hell are you talking about? Satanists don't kill women on Halloween. Oh for christsakes!
Ren S
Hitler and Stalin weren't Atheists (...doesn't everyone know that?...). Hitler actually thought that he was serving God and Jesus by killing off the Jews. I'm a Russian-American Atheist, but I have nothing against other religions, races, etc., and I believe that Hitler and Stalin were, in fact, merely stupid arses.~
+Graeme Caldwell Matthiew 5:44 "But I say, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

I think the verse you quoted is one of the those that aren't meant to be taken literally. People don't become branches. I think it just means they will be judged by God. I'm no expert in these things.
+Stelios Kalogreades it seems to me there is an -- actually awesomely good movie -- called Prince Vladimir which suggests the ERO is still very wealthy and politically influential. Which doesn't change the record of Stalin's activities which turned Robert Conquest and George Orwell off communism.
Well, in +Matthew Inman's defense, if he hadn't granted the false premise that Hitler and Stalin were both atheists, he could not have made this funny cartoon.
people will use any excuse to go to war.
+Alok Meshram : Very true about Atheism != Rationalism, However being born into religion (which is the case for almost all individuals), it does take some degree of rational thinking to even contemplate turning away from the 'One that giveth all'. :-)

Of course there might be atheists who are atheists just cause they don't give a crap about anything... but overall it seems to me atheists are much more likely to be rationalists than theists- A statistical probability, if you will. Not a guarantee.
I wonder if God could be an atheist. Not that I'm suggesting there is a God. And not that I'm suggesting there isn't a God. Fuck it. Let's bomb Iran.
It's "Ich bin ein Polynom", but still awesome.
+Abhishek Sarkar : When you say "large proportion of rational thinkers" and put "atheists, agnostics, etc." in the same category, you are being inconsistent. As I said before, the possibility of militant Atheists exists (and not just one person, a whole society consisting primarily of Militant Atheists). Such a state will not constitute of rational thinkers, and can quite possibly perpetrate evil acts.

I wholeheartedly agree when you say that faith has caused a lot of problems (I'm an atheist myself!), but atheism itself can become irrational...

(edit) Also, yeah, as I mentioned somewhere earlier, correlation does not imply causation.
+Luc Deon It's a very nice trick the religious have up their sleeves regarding their scriptures. The nice bits are literal, and the nasty bits are metaphors.

I'm not sure what "gathering up unbelievers and casting them into a fire" might be a metaphor for that isn't just a little bit demented.

I deliberately chose a quote from the New Testament, but the Old Testament is replete with heinous pronouncements from a God who is certainly not compatible with any modern system of ethics.
I love it. You crashed someone else's server with good intentions, Matt!
Adolf wasnt a christian...xD he was like killing everyone! christians are those like REALLY nice sweet loving caring people....hahahah
Don K
So, um, without spending hours wading through all the "NO U" type commentary about whether atheism is or is not the source of all evil, has anyone bothered to point out all the atrocities actually committed in the name of God and/or Jesus? Wonderful events like the Crusades, Inquisitions, etc.?
Please - one t-shirt (XL, cotton, in gunmetal grey) that says "Ich bein ein polynomial!!" on it. Thanks!
"I often feel that we will have to undergo all the trials the devil and hell can devise before we achieve Final Victory....I may be no pious churchgoer, but deep within me I am nevertheless a devout man. That is to say, I believe that he who fights valiantly obeying the laws which a god has established and who never capitulates but instead gathers his forces time after time and always pushes forward—such a man will not be abandoned by the Lawgiver. Rather he will ultimately receive the blessing of Providence. And that blessing has been imparted to all great spirits in history." - Adolf Hitler. ...Athiest?
+Graeme Caldwell Yes, I realize you think you're clever. Good on you. But taking scriptures out of context to suit them to support your personal ideology is the kind of bullshit I've been arguing against fellow Christians. Theology just doesn't work that way. That's just being an ignorant asshat. I take it you've met a lot of christians who were ignorant asshats and have accepted their ignorance as the rubrics.
+Graeme Caldwell Good point. I completely understand what you're saying. it seems like you can "make" the Bible say whatever you want, and that's what some people do. This is why it's so complicated. Even what are considered the "nice bits" "nasty bits" can be different for everyone, which is why Christians even argue over things amongst themselves.
that would be in cambodia between vietnam and the khmer rouge
+Alok Meshram , Its probably easier to get my point across with a Venn diagram ! :-)
All I am saying is to be an atheist or an agnostic, it is usually necessary to be a rationalist.. I am not putting them in the same basket...

With that established, what I am then stating is that in an atheistic society (Which will largely comprise of rational thinkers) it is very difficult to obtain a consensus on any act which is unethical in the large scheme of things- Like genocide for example.

This is possible much more easily in a religious society as long as you can convince the society that the actions are in the name of God. This is possible because belief in God needs faith not reason. And unquestionable faith can be used to validate questionable actions. We have seen it happen with the Crusades & the inquisitions in the past and in the Jihads at present.

And while a society might theoretically be established consisting entirely of militant atheists, what are the odds of that happening? History has no records of any such society.
Militant atheist dictator - Maybe (Stalin et al)
Militant atheist nation - Nope.
So if religious people start up wars then we better throw the Dalai Lama into prison before he goes berserk.... Either that or just realize that crazy people, whether religious or not, are the reason for wars and not religion itself.
I love the beautiful double-standard:
- Person is Christian + commits atrocious acts = Christianity causes evil (or religion in general)
- Person is atheist + commits atrocious acts = "twisted little assholes".
To be clear, I'm not trying to say that any atheist who does bad is doing it "in the name of atheism". But plenty of bad people twisted and manipulated religion for their own nefarious uses, doesn't mean that I'm evil.
Also, to avoid the argument "atheism is evil, because Hitler/Stalin/Evil dictator was atheist", all I want to say is this: Atheist extremists exist - they're the people that want to ban and often even kill or otherwise harm people of faith. That is my only problem with the original Oatmeal comic.
Today this is all moot. Religion doesn't matter, just oil and scare metals.
+Don K wow, mentioning the Crusades... How original!
Why is it that there is no more tension between US and Germany after just 70 or so years after WW2, but people still bring up the Crusades all the time? Gee, it's not like it was over 900 years ago (depending on Crusade). Does that mean that if "because Crusades, Xianity = Evil", then "because WW2, Germany = Evil"?
Just because two words end in 'ism' doesn't mean they are the same.
+Graeme Caldwell it is something you obviously have no understanding of, it's called Biblical interpretation, and you have just made a atheist school boy error, (speaking about something you are clueless about) question: is everything you say literal our do you also use illustrations and metaphors when you speak?

God is no different, in the word of God there are things to be understood as literal and things to be understood as being symbolic, the principles of Biblical interpretation enable the reader to know when God is speaking to us literally or metaphorically.

If you have no understanding of these principles then you still continue to reveal your ignorance and earn disrespect.

Lets not even talk about the dispensations of the word of God, this would really strain your brain.
+Dave Haenze There are people who still call all german people nazis, so yeah. I figure there's people who just love to be trolls on and off the internet.
+E L Weems ...very true. People tend to miss that the first people that Hitler conquered were the Germans.
You can pick on " ____ extremests " all you want. Thanks for making that distinction yesterday.
we need war to end all wars , when still there is good and evil there is a war , aggressor and defender there's a war ,the war is a natural thing need to accept it , if your body surrender with no war you will die duo viruses ^^.
Enjoyed your conversations, I think that somewhere everyone went left field but, it did spark a conversation to say in the least, I think what is important here is that we all should respect one another and have compassion for each other for we only have one world, one life and each other in the world, once its gone, well guys their's nothing.

I don't know about you but I like getting up in the morning and being thankful that I can see the sun shining into my home and hearing the birds sing and being able to watch my cat play and dog chase after a bunny rabbit. I love the fact that when I visit my grandmother even though she is over 100 years old and we have the same conversation about Family history and how she got so old and who's who and five minutes later she is asking me it al over again.

What is important when it comes down to it, is everyone has someone or came from someone and we are all interconnected wheather you want to deny it or not we are all FAMILY. To me Family is togetherness no matter what the other believes in for that is freedom and family is laughter and sharing like what you have been doing but most of all FAMILY is LOVE. Do not lose the Love...
Oh come on, be fair, there has never in the history of mankind been a war that wasn't about money or land. If you believe there has ever been a war over religion you are as naive as the footsoldiers that were told it was about religion. The difference is they couldn't read. What's your excuse?
Didn't Pythagoras throw Hippasus off of a boat or something after he proved the existence of irrational numbers? People can turn themselves into zealots over all kinds of idiotic things.
I find it interesting that atheists think religious people are intellectually inferior but at the same time religious people think the exact same thing about atheists. I spent a good amount of time around Yale's divinity school and spoke with a lot of very bright people of both opinions. After doing so, the only conclusion I was able to come to was that only an idiot judges an individual based upon a stereotype or their group's past.
...quite right, as if extremism is more convincing than a rational argument.The nature of extremism is to be idealistic in the face of common perceptions- generally when one can't quite make the argument concise because of another agenda, personal or professional.
If the whole world was aethiest there would still be plenty of wars about other things. In the past, what has been done in the name of religion has often been about other things socio-economic and politically inspired..or just nationalism aka racism. Don't forget also, how many good things have been in the name of religion. From the small parish communities helping out the local neighbourhood charities to a global level. Even if you want to judge good or evil purely on mortality rates, how many lives have been saved by organisations such as worldvison?
So wait... Hitler killed Jews because of his faith in a Jew who wanted to bring salvation to all but first to the Jews? The law non-contradiction foils the "Hitler was a Christian" argument every time. Megalomania was Hitler's religion. Don't get it twisted.
Evangelical Atheist, they all seem to suffer from autism. How can you be so blind to human nature?
Hitler was most likely a christian. Nevertheless, many communist leaders, including karl marx, wrote that communism was inherently anti-religion. There were no atrocities committed "in the name of atheism", but there were many atrocities were committed with the specific purpose of persecuting religion and with the goal of producing an atheist state. In other words, atheism may not have directly caused those atrocities, but they were the result of the atheistic elements of a political system they subscribed to.
Hitler a Christian? Perhaps he was raised one. Hitler was a Christian in name only. Only God can judge his heart, but the number of atrocities he committed convicts him of godlessness in my mind.
+Melissa Joanna Stalin never committed any of his atrocities in the name of Atheism. Stop equating Atheism with Communism, you should look up the definitions in a dictionary before spouting such nonsense.
if ur sexy snd u know it put ur hands up in the air!!!!
I love how atheist distance themselves from communism.
It's funny because it's true.
Cause rationalist would never do anything bad. Autism strikes aaaggaaiinn!
We're all born atheists, but some luck people become Christians and give to the poor, go on missions and heal the world. Why do you return hatred for good??? Doesn't make sense.
I think +Todd Schultz got closest to the answer on this one. It seems to me that wars are fought for just three reasons; to gain power, to gain territory or to gain resources (Usually involves gaining territory).

If you are the one making war then it is likely that many of your people will die in the process so you create a common enemy to stop them blaming you, and tell them it's the Jews or the Catholics or the Islamist's or the people with pink hair that are the problem or maybe it's everyone else except us Jews or Catholics or Islamist's or people with pink hair that are evil. Hey presto, you have a war fought on religious or racial grounds which nicely secures for you your power or territory or resource.

Wars do create problems it's true, but only for the losers and the poor saps that have to actually fight them. That's why governments are so keen to make war. For the government (as long as they win) they can be a real benefit, uniting the people, bringing kudos to the government's leaders and don't forget the power, territory or resource.
Hitler's Christianity involved changing the Christ's race and teaching to what he wanted it to be, and imprisoning huge numbers of clergy simply for teaching what the Bible said. If Hitler was a Christian then his Christianity was equivalent to an atheist's atheism if they state that they don't believe in a god, they just believe in an all powerful creator. I'm just saying.

Also, Stalin actively suppressed Christianity and imprisoned, tortured and even killed people just for being active Christians who were willing to say what they believed. As far as I'm aware, he never imprisoned anyone for poor maths or lack of facial hair. Hence his atheism and that of his government played a central role in his war.

Also, the maths Nazis are kinda funny.
I have read about Hitler being into the occult and pagan/ancient religions... I find it really hard to believe that he was a follower of Christ simply because of the whole "JESUS IS A JEW", thing. He spoke a lot of lies to gain popularity with the masses. Talking like a Christian and living like a Christian are two different things.
Don K
+Dave Haenze the reason the Crusades and the Inquisitions get brought up time and again is pretty simple really. Everyone wants to blame all of the evils of men on atheism, yet some of the greatest atrocities in human history have been committed in the name of God. I don't know about you, but I consider having your testicles crushed because you refuse to denounce your own faith and convert to Christianity pretty damn gruesome and horrifying.
"Stalin followed the position adopted by Lenin that religion was an opiate that needed to be removed in order to construct the ideal communist society. His government promoted atheism through special atheistic education in schools, anti-religious propaganda, the antireligious work of public institutions (Society of the Godless), discriminatory laws, and a terror campaign against religious believers."
+Don K I'm not blaming anything on atheism, at least not the same tired shit of "this bad dictator was atheist, so all atheists are bad". My point is just that it's infuriating that "Forgive and forget" applies to everything except that which was commited by Christians.
I am not denying that stuff like the inquisition and whatnot was pretty damn gruesome. So were Nazi death camps. However, my point still stands: We don't believe that all Germans are evil because of Nazi Germany, and yet it seems that most athiests (at least in online discussions :P ) say that Christianity is evil because of something that happened a thousand years ago!
Ich bin ein polynomial, indeed...
I am an atheist. I have no problem with people who believe in something. I just wish they (the religious, mainly Christians) would let others believe what they want and not shove their views down the throats of others. 
actually Hitler claims himself to be Christian.
Of course wars are fought in the name of math. Hitler wanted to add Germany, Saddam wanted to add Kuwait...
I knew math was the root of all evil!
I'm an atheist but calling Hitler a Catholic (or for the less informed, an atheist) and then blaming that for his genocidal nature is the same as blaming blue eyes or brown hair or a person who spoke German or a male or a male with a foreskin or a someone whose name is Adolf or someone who is 5'8" tall... My point is religion or lack of doesn't define someone alone. Hitler was an academic too I believe.
Wow, I had no idea how "religious" Matthew was about his atheism. I guess everybody needs something to believe in, even if it's believing in the idea that there is nothing to believe in. ;-) If you don't think anyone has ever died because of atheist extremists, tell that to the religious people who were executed under atheistic regimes for their beliefs.
It's these kinds of posts that give a good grin. 
All hail the beardwielders!!!
Another government propaganda website helping the empowered evangelical faggot minorities oppress the real majority. Don't bother lying and say you aren't. Just shut up, hear me, shut the fuck up.
I'd like to point out that sometimes math IS a religion.
Yes, people do go to war over religion, there's no question about it. People also went to war for a twisted theory called social Darwinism, which relies on atheism. But to argue back and forth about who went to war over what is pointless. The question is, is it WORTH going to war over? War is a terrible thing, but if you ask any man if there are things he'll fight for, he will always say yes, because some things ARE worth fighting for. Freedom, for example, is a pretty universal one. The debate shouldn't center around who started which war, but who is right, that is, which one is true. Once this is established, case is closed. Anything else is a smear campaign, no matter which side you're on.
"The debate shouldn't center around who started which war, but who is right, that is, which one is true."

Now truth is a funny thing and depends on where you're standing, the colour of your skin (sometimes), your gender (other times), your sexuality (other times more) and that one just goes on and on....

Methinks it means a lot, who started the war...

And speaking of freedom, the U.S. of A., the country purported to be the land of the free, ain't near as free today as a few yesterday's ago...
+Connor O'Leary: Wut? One CAN be religious AND accept evolution.

I was raised Roman Catholic and in Catholic school we were taught religion AND evolution, there was no conflict because Catholics don't take the Bible literally (Genesis is a creation myth).
Bullshit! Relationship with Jesus is #1 and relationship does not come close to religion! Enjoy your poverty paradigm!
Secularism has killed and oppressed far more people than religion ever will. Mao, Hitler, Stalin, Marx and more were all anti religion. They were especially anti-Christianity because the Christian message is one that stresses the importance of the individual. That message runs counter to the "sacrifice yourself for the privileged few" message that Leftist Tyrants preach.
Hello ???? I am an ?????? If u can't prove that there is a god, then again why do u guys squabble about it ???? huh ????? Before declaring a WAR, just think, what good has religion done to mankind ????? How many non-religious, or Atheist guys have been terrorists in this world ?????? If u don't accept evolution, when evidence is in front of u, and u still wan't to argue that there is some bearded old guy sitting up in the Exosphere, who just created 14.5 million species , who are independent in thought, then it is YOU against whom war should be declared.....
The fact isn't that we can't prove there is a God, the fact is that you can't Prove there isn't one! Everyone is free to believe in whatever we want too, and by grouping all religious people into the group of terrorist is a very bias opinion.. therefore i reject your reality and substitute my own.
keep ur beliefs 2 urselff, dude
All this crap written above, is only further proof positive that being agnostic is far better than doubtless faith, or doubtless denial. We simply state that we don't or can't know. I highly doubt there was ever a war started on not knowing, but there have been entire crusades and jihads in the name of God. And, furthermore, the scientific community doesn't march out and kill people for not understanding or following any scientific theory. LoL
"KatsuDon WadaDon - Here's the answer to all of those questions, He believed that the race he defined is perfect, he believed in survival of the fittest. It is not atheism but a thing taught by nature and emphasized in evolution"

Actually evolution would suggest that a single race, however superior you tried to "breed" it, could only be inferior to a population of mixed races which would have greater diversity in genetics.
Frankly, I thought people would be more upset by a polar bear wasting a bottle of sriracha, than a comic pointing out that extremists are silly regardless of their beliefs.
+Alex Booth Being an atheist isn't usually among sensible people defined as "having proof there is no God". If you follow the implications of the idea that we can't know you end up being what most atheists, including those like Richard Dawkins who are accused of being militant, mean when they say atheist.

Knowledge is usually defined as justified true belief. Not having knowledge of the existence of God, not knowing or being able to know, is to lack justification for claiming that God exists.

But that doesn't mean that it's reasonable to claim that that both positions, theism and atheism, are equally valid. The burden of proof always rests on those who are making the positive claim. In the absence of evidence that there is a God, the rational position is not to believe in God until sufficient evidence is presented. Atheists don't generally claim that there is definitely not a God, just that there is no good reason to think that there is a God. Not having a good reason to believe something means that you shouldn't believe it and not believing it is what makes you an atheist.

From that position it is reasonable to claim that theists are wrong, because they hold a belief which cannot be justified. There are an infinite number of such beliefs. I might claim there is an invisible pixie sitting on my head that tells me what to do. You can't prove there isn't, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't be nuts to think there was.
hey is ur dad scott iman and does he teach at templeton
Ahahaha, touche good sir!

I guess you could say both hitler and stalin worshipped their ideologies as a religion. Any sort of dogmatic extremism is a form of religion in my books.
after 2 - the J's are aiming for WW III - again
religion is extremism too (extremely cool)
Actually +Alex Booth the burden of proof is on the person who claims something exists. Otherwise I could claim I believe magical unicorns exist and because there is no way you can prove me wrong you'd have to agree they do exist. That's pretty ridiculous.
Hey you got it right wish i can have that book too, how do I get it.
you catholics think transubstantiation is a thing! also the catholic faith teaches that evolution is guided by god. that's not the way evolution works.
+Michael James So, as often happens in these conversations, it's the good Christian who decides to behave like an asshole and start throwing insults around. Sure, I know about Biblical interpretation and I've read plenty of theology. But since you have absolutely failed to actually address any substantive point I made, and instead decided to spout ill-mannered insults, there's not really anything for me to respond to.

+Jason Murdock I don't think theists are all intellectually inferior; I just think they are wrong. Even the stupidest person can be right sometimes, and even the smartest person can be wrong. What matters is the reasoning and the evidence, not the IQ of the person making the argument.
I believe in evolution, accept the scientific explanation for the birth of our universe and I also believe in god. Science and religion are separate, non-competing disciplines to my mind. There are closed minded, sanctimonious douche bags on both sides of this argument. I know, because I get to argue with them both.
only a dumbass needs god ,, nt me !!! XD
+chris hatchett That's fine, except when religious people make claim that are directly contrary to scientific evidence. Like miracles, the transubstantiation etc.

Religions make claims about reality, and then they use those claims as the basis to make moral claims and encourage people to act in certain ways. For example, God doesn't like contraception, therefore people shouldn't use condoms, resulting in untold misery in unwanted pregnancies and STDs.

Religious beliefs have real world effects, and so they do actually compete with science in many different areas.
It appears to me that +Matthew Inman is not interested in resolving your debates, but rather is poking the bear and getting a laugh at people arguing over his comics.


You know what else is funny? Watching Catholics cringe at the thought that Catholics and Protestants are both Christians alike.
The biggest problem I have with this comic is that athiests seem to be some of the most religious people out there. They will basically fight you to the death (metaphorically) to defend their belief... of nothing. Which has always struck me as weird.
sux war is hell on earth .
No such thing as atheist. Rejection is not the same as denial.
ag·nos·tic /agˈnästik/Noun: A person who believes that nothing is known orcan be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena.
a·the·ist [ey-thee-ist] / noun/ a person who "denies" or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.
+Graeme Caldwell Good, honest religious contemplation can be uplifting and revelatory about our human existence, about ethics and morality. That is the strength of religion. Done poorly, well you can cite plenty of examples of the mischief that causes. But you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater any more than you would because people exploited Science, developed atomic bombs and dropped them on two cities in Japan. Neither Science or religion do evil, people do.
We don't need religion... we have the Internet. I believe everything I see on here. I'm sure I will be able to disprove everything I believe. I just buried my atheist friend.. he died of cancer last year. He converted real quick when his last days were coming.
+chris hatchett I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I think there is great benefit for well-being to be had from meditation and contemplation, but I don't think those are in any way confined to a religious context. We don't need to invent fictional constructs and then insist on their reality in order to get the benefits of contemplation. There is more than enough beauty and awe-inspiring wonder to be had from contemplating the universe and our human natures and lives. Introducing religion into that is in fact incredibly constricting and limiting.
It saddens me to share the name atheist with the same ilk of dogmatic intolerant assholes I was trying to escape when I left my southern evangelical church. There is a shrill quality to contemporary discourse which turns me off to both brands of interlocutors. American neo-atheist vs Biblical fundamentalists is the intellectual equivalent of a luchador wrestling match. Olé!
Shawn DeLorme, those aren't Christians. They're posers. Christianity should never be an imposition.
At the moment google+ is my limiting construct. It wont let me post with a tag in it.
Your logic is flawed if you are arguing that a religion is wrong because "atrocities" were committed in their name. IF a war was fought in the name of math, it would have no bearing on the "truth" of math. Oh and we should be able to agree that Hitler followed some form of eugenics which can be a result if naturalism is taken to an extreme.
The history still needs to show a war in the name of math... meanwhile, there had been plenty of wars in the name of "religion" . If you cannot use logic, at least use the statistics :^P
+Graeme Caldwell +Luc Deon When attempting to discuss the literal or figurative terminology used in a scripture, it's always a good idea to find out the actual word used in the original language, whether it be Ancient Greek, Hebrew or Armenian. As such, the word used for branch in John 15:2,4-6 is klema meaning a slip or cutting of the vine, especially one cut off to be grafted into another plant. The full context for this verse is:

_1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned_ (NIV)

Clearly (I hope) Jesus is using a metaphor in this verse to refer to those that don't remain in Him bearing no fruit, because they have not remained in the Vine, and when not in the Vine, a branch cannot produce fruit and the gardener burns it because it has no value.

Also, +Graeme Caldwell, miracles, by their very nature, defy scientific evidence. Science cannot explain supernatural occurrences.

edited for clarity of my statement of "not in the Vine"
Facts are cold, kind of hard to get worked up about facts. Religion, in large measure, is about belief, a very personal thing and not a cold thing at all. It can lead to good, can lead to evil. I believe more good has been done in the name of religion than evil.
U reealiez dat no won reeds all of yur heka long posts
Scott C
Wars are caused... by people. Not by religion, ideologies, creeds, prejudices or what have you -- by people. Certainly, there are the excuses for it, religion and ethnic prejudice being popular ones, since they have historically worked remarkably well. But to blame religion or any other ideology or prejudice would be to ignore the root of the problem: war, atrocities, evil -- it all invariably boils down to a person (indeed, a "twisted little asshole"); somebody with some semblance of power wanting something that doesn't belong to them. Or some variation of that theme.

Religion, for what it's worth, has been abused as a societal control mechanism for thousands of years -- it still is today. However, let's not shift the blame -- the evils of humanity should always be blamed on humanity. We are the problem.

Seriously. If anybody really wants to make a difference in the world and change how F%&$ed up it is for the better, they should first look in the mirror. Only after they've dealt with the person they see there do they have any right to complain about other people.
Religion is a guise under which the largest of mafias operate.
In a way, atheism and ideology are a kind of religion. Atrocities committed throughout human history have nothing to do with religion. It merely shows the dark side of the human nature. The book of Genesis reveals the origins of human evil.
Accepting the premise that the Creator of All exists, there is no conflict between the Bible and science.
Everyone is atheist at birth. It is through social conditioning that we are taught religion, taught a belief. When we are young, we may attempt to reason what we do not understand by piecing together our limited knowledge and using imagination to fill in the gaps. This is why kids are afraid of alleged monsters in closets or a tree branch tapping against their second story bedroom window. Atheism is not a belief system. It's the intellectual default.

It's really not a hard concept, people.

I'm religious and I'm pro-religion. I think you should do what blows your skirt up as long as it's not hurting other people. But I'm not going to be fooling anybody by making claims that Atheism is anything other than what it is. People who bad-mouth christians and other religious folk aren't doing so in the name of atheism or in the name of anything, really. They're just doing it because they lack class. Then they cry when someone's not nice to them because they don't have self-awareness to realize they were being rude. Lots of people don't have manners about sensitive subjects like religion and politics. That doesn't make them militant, it just makes them rude. Big deal.
I like how Atheists act as though religious propaganda is somehow different from non-religious propaganda. The only primary difference is that religious propaganda has been used and abused since near the dawn of man, and other forms are relatively new in comparison.

Anyone in the right position can use any form of information as propaganda to start or incite war with someone they want dead. The problem is as human as is possible to be human. The problem is not morals taught in the form of ancient tales passed from generation to generation that were eventually written into a book by some people gaining power during a political movement of the time.

In 3000 years our ancestors will look back and laugh at how we fought wars over color, or government, or oil, or whatever. Some of the people of their time will have fallen into "cults" (or whatever you want to call them). that they were "indoctrinated" into since birth about the glory of government in an anarchistic society, or perhaps the glory of anarchy in a socialist utopia. Maybe still, they will rediscover "god" and cast science into the religion barrel. They will look at the "religions" of their day, and our past, and laugh. They will repeat the same stupid story. Such is the human condition.

So STFU already and stay out of other people's lives. Then everyone will be happy, no matter what they believe.
+Tetsuo Taguchi Thousands of Christians off to Palestine to wade through rivers of blood on a whim? EVERYthing to do with religion, everything. You really think the crusades had nothing to do with religion? Please cite your sources < hint: the bible is a claim, not a source > for this marvellous insight.
+Mark Thurman really the Crusades were about money. The center of wealth was the middle east and the Mediterranean, Jerusalem was a big destination for pilgrims; alot of money there. Religion played a role of course, but without the promise of a big pay off it would not have happened. Money.
+chris hatchett Money is a deciding factor for religious leaders, but not for the followers, and you can bet money wasn't the lure to travel across the world and kill. Defending the faith and access to holy sites was the battle cty. Endorsed by the pope and given plenary indulgences that granted forgiveness (by a human being) in advance for the atrocities to come. How screwed up is that? Faith, and a misguided belief that they were doing gods work was what got the soldiers their, even if the Pope was after money.

EDIT: I think the separation of these two factors is important in any assessment of the reasons for war. The 'grunts' often have very different views on why they go to war - just look at the US incursion into the middle east. The two facets of oil & politics Vs terrorism vary in importance depending on the role - politician/soldier
I was assuming, of course, you believed in objective truth. Of course, if you don't, then really nothing is worth fighting for, because why fight for something that you can't truly know, or that will change over time?
Religious fervor and secular love of money. See, people are capable of being evil without god
Plus, you would not have needed forgiveness for killing heathens back then.
7th Day Adventist develop a great belief. They're exuberant about the end of days. They believe Christ is forgiving, and will erase suffering. But, not to get unrepented sinners into heaven for "it would better that you would have never born". Peace from the Creator. Eternal damnation, no. Hebrews and ancient Jews didn't know the concept or have a proper word for "resurrection". So, erasement would be better than eternal suffering.
Too true Chris. There are plenty of nutters everywhere. However, I think the biggest reason religion fails as much as it does and gets involved in violence is that natural tendencies are swayed and magnified by the fact that they teach that finite acts (violence) can result in infinite punishment or infinite reward.
Chris, mankind behaves as if it's ALWAYS been tormented somehow: retaliation or preservation.
Javier, I am indifferent about your comment. Lake of fire, no Lake of fire. Most people probably don't think eternally. End of days? Check out the paranoids on YouTube or news.
I still maintain that religion has been and will continue to be a net positive in this world. It is as imperfect as we are, the disappointment you feel toward it ,would be the same you would feel about people if God had not revealed himself to us.
+Matt Acuff I would dispute Einstein on your list on the basis that he was a deist rather than a theist. He was not a believer in a personal god, rather one like Spinoza - "I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. " I think Galileo would be an atheist these days, after years of house arrest for failing to recant on his heretical proposition of heliocentrism.

I wonder if they were all alive today what they would think, would they be swayed by evidence or still hold station? It's no surprise that when you look back these scientists were religious, it was the defacto position in Europe and almost demanded by society. If you looked back further to the Ancient Greeks there are lots of atheists there with a strong scientific enquiring mindset.
Science has its instances of faith too; gravity is the biggie. No wave, no particle has ever been detected but we can all agree it exist. So this fetish for absolute empirical proof...well are you know going to ridicule Newton, Einstein, Kepler?
+Cindy Brown Sorry you have asperbergers, I am pointing out that gravity has never been detected as either a wave or a particle. I am not disputing gravity, merely pointing out that in reality all we can measure is its effect.
Clever and all, but I just prefer webcomics that don't take sides on controversial issues. It stops being fun. I love The Oatmeal for bears, and unicorns, and Bobcats, and motherfucking pterodactyls.
shame on atheists. Hahaha, academics r like dat. Come 2 tink of it, if u fail 2 believe dat GOD dat itself is a religion. No one is free of a faith. Atheism says witout a proof, bt christianity has d proof in d bible. Atheism say it doesnt kill, but encourages abortionism, lesbianism n gayism. Take out d kabalas off d polynomials n see if u'v neva hated a catholic.
zay ya
do you carzy
it's a true say dat cud be painful. Thorne say places of proof. Am all ears.
+folarin eniayewu - Atheists need no proof to justify their position. The burden of proof lies on the party making extraordinary claims, i.e. theists. On the flip-side, the Bible isn't proof at all any more than War of the Worlds is proof of aliens. Why is the Bible the correct text too? What makes it more valid than the Quaran or the Bhagavad Gita?

With regards to the rest of your post, how does homosexuality lead to death? Why criticize someone else's love? The only arguments I've seen against homosexuality are basically "Because the Bible says so!" However, the Bible also says we should stone people to death for working on the Sabbath and can't wear clothes made out of mixed fibers. Seems like people just want to pick and choose verses to justify their anti-gay bigotry.
+Thorne Melcher - The Burden of Proof lies on anybody making any claim, not just the ontologically positive claim. If i denied the existence of Julius Ceasar, you'd probably think I was off. You may even, heaven forbid, ask me to justify my claim, and you'd think it odd if I said, "Hey, man. I can't be expected to justify a negative! Prove he DID exist or I won't believe!"

If we were being TRULY rational, we wouldn't be theists or atheists. We'd be agnostic. Atheism is just as irrational.
yes i get 2 understand dat people view killing as jst smthing directly linked. Wrong! It involves stimulants, which prevents growth n reproductivity. Homosexualism is one of it. So freedom as base 4 an atheism its quite unclear.
religion is not enough to believe in GOD, but sometimes, religion turned us away to believe in God..... we need faith in GOD....
+Cristofer Urlaub - Atheism and agnosticism answer two different questions, though. I'm, in reality, an "agnostic atheist." Atheism is about what you believe, agnosticism is about what you know. An agnostic atheist lives as if there is no God but also does not claim to be able to prove that God does not exist. I agree "gnostic atheism" is rather irrational, but most self-described atheists are agnostics, they just live as if God doesn't exist.

Another way to frame it is to do something like Dawkin's scale of theistic probability ( On that, I would be a 6: "De facto atheist. Very low probability, but short of zero. 'I don't know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.'"
Quick question: how many wars were started in the name of zen buddhism? Are there zen buddhist extremists?

Funny thing, science vs religion vs denouncement of religion is.

The monotheistic religion spends all its time trying to prove that what we can't see or measure is real,
Atheism spends all its time proving what we cannot see or measure isnt real,
while scientists spend all their time trying to disprove another scientist's hypothesis, experiments, conclusions and theories.

A theology student once told me that religion is not the same as faith or belief. People frequently confuse them. Religion, is that which you sacrifice all else for: such as family, money, career. That said, it is highly plausible that all people are religious. We just can't presume which altar they pray to.
Ich bin der Donut !
Donuts vs Croissants. Ve vill make you round !
Andrea Shorey? Really depends on your view of extreme, google 'self-immolation', remembering the leader that inspires this... 
how can every religion claim to be the only one, how can they preach love yet fight each other holding guns. id rather push peace and knowledge to defend our rights.
I'm only an atheist when there's a religious person in the room. Otherwise, I'm just a normal guy. It's all about perspective.
I don't wont to be an ahole about this, but this country was built on freedom. If we all would stop worrying about, and pushing our opion on others we'd all be better off.
This country was not built on freedom. It was built on discourse, debate, genocide and slavery.
Mr. Zabel: It is only like that if the person is not seroius in their faith, but if a so-called Christian is evil, then he can not be a Christian, because to be a Christian means that God has to live in u and God is Love
U go to war over it. U send ur preachers to other lands, to tell them that their religion is wrong and they should believe in your's. U burn down their shrines. U take their children and put them in a school, brainwash them,abuse them and you say I'm evil?

In my opinion it's all about your relegion. Accepting people for who they are and what they believe is not possible in your views. I was once ask what I believe by a very religious person and after I told him,his answerwas that my believe is wrong and I should in join their church. So much for tolerance.
There`s lots of things done `IN THE NAME` of something or other that has very little to do with the something or other.
+Matthew Inman Any chance you're going to create T-Shirts for the last panel? I know a couple of math geeks that would LOVE that.
Over 250 comments? And I just read them all? Best one so far (and you need to find it to see how it fits in):

+E L Weems I haven't been on my death bed but I'd love it if someone did actually call out to oatmeal. Everyone would say, That man really loved his breakfast.
The Killing Fields was kind of a war started by atheists. Don't know if the Khmer Rouge count as atheists, but they were definitely killing people for being religious.
instead of drinking, the atheists should have gone online to troll theists - then this comic would REALLY be true to life.
In any case, gravity is an entirely repeatable phenomenon. Get back to me when you can repeatably demonstrate the presence of God even if you can't explain it.
+Cindy Brown conquered that drool, I see! Good for you! You'll be ready to feed and bathe yourself in no time!
+Rick Wight Not so. From within the space/time distortion, the sphere remains a sphere, therefore Pi remains constant. However, from outside the distortion, the sphere is no longer a sphere, therefore Pi would not apply. Relativity and all that.
+chris hatchett I'm still caught on trying to decide if you're an ablist jackwagon who actually tries to claim Asperger's Syndrome renders someone incapable of countering your faulty arguments or if you're just a run of the mill idiot for misspelling the condition so horribly that it reads more like you're calling someone a vegan entree. "Asperbergers". Really? You're on the internet. A Google search acts as a spell check.
Just giving a big shout out fact finding mother fuckers. Ease up on the Massengill because really, no one cares. If you like The Oatmeal, read it, and have a laugh like people who care do. If you don't like it then fuck off.
+E L Weems you might want to do some research. Being that I know a converted satanist that can testify of this matter, and have seen video testimony of 3rd generation satanist who have been converted to Christianity testify of these things, I'm sure I know what I'm talking about . Not to mention Ive done my own research. Check it out for yourself and do some research if you dont believe me.
+E L Weems I misspelled, here's a word I can spell: retard. As in, E L Weems is a retard who is too retarded to understand a valid point.
No, just making you cry. Clean yourself up and be a big boy. My point stands.
Ahhh The Oatmeal.

Try not to let people drag you down too much. Just try to remember that fear is what's motivating them to attack you. If I could somehow threaten the foundation on which you've based your life and actions, you'd feel like you wanted to lash out too.

That doesn't make it ok, of course, but understanding it does make it more palatable.
any name will do. (iran)
+Sean Livingston Satanism was a "religion" created by Anton LaVey. It's an atheistic based organization that nurtures egoism and thrives on sexuality. Sammy Davis, Jr. tried it out for a while before he settled on Judaism. Their "churches", even the off-shoots, do not receive tax deductions. He named it Satanism just to be provocative. There are no "sacrifices", although there's altar services but these all involve consensual sex with adults in one way or another. It's like, Hey, let's all pretend we're mysterious gothic monks and have an orgy!

Mostly Harmless.

I'll give you credit that there are freaks out there who try to summon demons and claim devil worship and other silliness. They aren't at all organized and are short-lived little groups, mainly comprised of people who don't really believe in anything but just want to cause trouble. For one, these people have to believe in the Christian God in some form to be able to submit themselves in worship to Satan. It's theologically flawed from the beginning. The attraction is solely the naughtiness. So if a person dies, it's not in actual worship to anyone... it's just that these people wanted to commit murder. Crazy people do crazy shit. Read up on any state's death row list and you'll never want to leave your house.

My mother was a charismatic evangelical who bought into everything the televangelists told her. She had me read this book about how movie stars were signing contracts to the devil to sell their souls, meeting in this secret mansion in Beverly Hills and having sex with demons. This book was written by someone who claimed to have been involved directly with the whole thing (including the demon sex) and so it was totally true. It was a huge pile of dung. You just can't buy into that crap.
Those historical "psyhopats" as we label them are not so crazy as we like to think. They saw a problem and tried to deal with it as we all do. Nobody likes mosquitos and flies but we resort to "genocide" in our own habitat. Many other politicians would do same but they don't have power or balls.
Man, I wanna crack a "yo momma" joke so bad! Keep it classy, Chris. Keep it classy.
For me, the Bible is what God says. Religion is what man says God says. Without God we will always choose to live in ways that satisfy our desires. Without God our conscience (con: with, science: knowledge) written on the heart of every person, can be ignored often enough to justify every behavior. If we choose to believe there is no God, then that nagging conscience must be something we created and therefore we can follow it or throw it out the window. For me, I rely on the law God gave us because the laws man contructs are changeable according to what's popular whereas God's law is absolute and unchanging.

Having tried many lifestyles, I finally decided to follow Christ and I can tell you of dramatic changes in myself and my abilities. I can tell you of several experiences that defy explanation or any way of being proved, but they left me with no doubt that the word of God is true and that He is more real than anything I know. This I realize will make many cease to believe me or in me but knowing that God does more than makes up for it.

When God came to earth in the form of Jesus, it was to express to us His desire for a personal relationship with Him. We want Him to please us, so isn't it fair for Him to expect no less in return? It is this personal relationship that He set up from the beginning that works best. It was man who decided that we wanted men to be our leaders instead of God and man being covetous by nature will lead us not to God but to the desires of the governors. When the leaders get a large enough following the narcotic effects of power take over and God must be disparaged or even eliminated from our lives. These leaders under the influence of that which is not of God know that allowing the people to live in reckless abandon is the best way to retain their favor. Following God works, following men never has.

Finally, the early colonialists of the US found slavery to be reprehensible and long before the American revolution there were abolitionist societies set up to abolish slavery. However, King George delivered and required us to use slaves. As with anything, right or wrong, after a generation or two we get used to and feel entitled to things and will fight our neighbours to keep what we are used to having. Watch what happens in the US if and when they seek to end the unaffordable practice of taking money from responsible people and their families and giving it to the now third generation of people who choose not to provide for themselves in the form of food stamps, housing, and medical care. Another civil war is a certainty.

Following any leader whether he believes himself to be the voice of God or superior to God or God is a recipe for disaster and you can count on wars both civil and foreign.
+Bill Saunders The main reason I believe that no banner will be raised to commit atrocities in the name of atheism is because the only thing atheists have in common is what they aren't. It would be just as likely for people who aren't fans of football to band together and commit atrocities in the name of not liking football.
+Paul Hickey If you need a book to tell you that murder's bad, cheating is bad, stealing is bad... wow, I'm sorry for you. And don't stop using that book, m'kay?

But don't assume that everyone needs a prop like that to be good.
I find it funny that the evilest empire in recent history furthers the belief in Pi. Good thing we have America and their view on Tau! 6.283 for life.
Atheists would have a crap battle call anyway - "Nothing is on our side".
+Cindy Brown "Based on the scientific calculations of the equipment and experience of our army in contrast to the equipment and experience of your army on this terrain during these weather conditions with an x-factor of the personal drive of our army to win this particular confrontation boosts our odds of maintaining a higher survivor-to-perished ratio than yours!"

With some practice, it rolls right off the tongue.
You might even fit it on a banner if you were creative... :)
+Cindy Brown But don't assume that everyone needs a prop like that to be good.

It's not a matter of being good. Those of us that believe what the Bible says know that "being a good person" is not good enough.

There's no debating that you can be a "good person" and be an athiest, or agnostic, or Muslim, or even a Christian.
Not according to a fair number of christians I have tangled with.

Still funny to see who gets lectured about that, though. 
Very many wonderful, beautiful things have been done in the name of religion, also; much more so that wars have been fought. It's easy to point to the lives that have been lost due to wars, we keep statistics on that kind of thing. The lives that have been saved by people who acted out of a commitment to their faith is a much harder number to pin down, but probably much larger, also.
Religion hasn't saved lives.. People have. You do not have to be religious to have a good heart and be productive/artistic etc
Likewise, Religion hasn't started wars, people have. Why are people always so one sided?
Sorry Matt, not a fan of this whole religion thing you're doing. Stick with grammar and funny descriptions of things like farting and sex.
The surest evidence of God is the existence of miracles. Example: An Oatmeal comic inspiring over 300 comments of more-or-less philosophical debate. Call the Pope.
After reading about 50 of these comments (some are just plain jabs) it reinforces the adage that religion truly is morphine for the masses. Organized religion is truly a scary thing, makes people do insane (and often inane) things, and reinforces my non believe in any sort of deity. Yes, I'm an atheist. It's a good thing to be.
I actually just got into a debate with an atheist over the existence of God. Personally, I can respect the choice to not believe - I won't preach to anyone about how he's going to Hell or whatever, because I don't know. I could be wrong. I don't think I am (otherwise it wouldn't be much of a faith, would it?), but I could be. The same goes with other religions: if they're right and I'm wrong, hopefully their deity will see that I wasn't an awful person who persecuted his/her people.

And David, the people who follow an "organized religion" don't necessarily do crazy or stupid things. Anyone with a brain will rebel against something like that. It's the people who'd rather not think for themselves or are religious fanatics. Don't paint all believers with such a broad brush, because I'm not doing it to you just because you're an atheist.
+Hattie Gunter "I don't know, I could be wrong, I don't think I am" You call this faith?! We, atheists, KNOW! We know there is no god! We know that all religions were created by feeble-minded humans. We know that people like you who invite irrational beliefs based on medieval superstition into their heads and call it faith are weak! And our iron-clad faith is in humanity alone! Not in some bearded dude in the sky!
+Hattie Gunter : Hattie - getting on your knees and calling a painted image your savior or paying some cloaked pedophile to offer you the manifested "body" of a son of someone or something never known or seen as normal behavior? Every conflict, every ill of mankind and diseased delusion that deeds are justified by are done in the name of religion. I hate his god, he hates my god - his god isn't real. At least here in the real world (atheists) there isn't anything we can't prove with rationale, scientific thought - while in your world - there isn't anything that can be. How do religious people think for themselves when they live the codes of their lives by the words of foolish men written thousands of years ago? That's crazy.
Uhm. Not sure where all the rage came from when I was perfectly respectful, but okeydokes. 1) You're generalizing again. Not all clergymen are pedophiles, just like not all Muslims are terrorists. 2) As for the horrific things done in the name of religion: Yes, that's awful. However, those were fanatics and the idiot masses. 3) You're talking to a biology major. Don't try to tell me that I don't have rational, scientific thought. As soon as you show me scientific proof that my God isn't real, I'll stop believing. As you'll never manage that, don't insult me or my intelligence. And if you think it's "foolish" to not steal, kill, covet, etc., then I'm a touch worried about the people you're around every day. I'm not crazy for having a set of morals. In fact, my personal code isn't even FROM the Bible, it's from the Upanishads. Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Maybe you could learn something from those directives.
Pink. Unicorns. They're all around you. For realsies.

Oh, wait -- you mean that the burden of proof for idea X is upon the person making the claim?

You mean I can't just make a wild claim then say that it must be true because it's logically impossible to prove a negative statement?

Oh. Well that's weird, because those are my words coming out of your mouth, then. For anyone with any actual grounding in actual science, you don't submit a hypothesis untested. You run your double-blind and you post results, which others may then verify. They don't have to do all the work for you. The only place it works that way is the pharmaceutical industry, and that's an entirely different conversation.

Additionally: if you need a millenia-old book and/or a non-corporeal father figure to tell you how to behave morally in society, that says way, way more about you than it does about me. Morality is not tied to any type of dogma. No one group has a monopoly on just action.
+Hattie Gunter A biology major but apparently not aware that the burden of proof is on claimant.

It's a scary thought that these types of "biology majors" who are completely oblivious to fundamental tenets of science then graduate to become stool and urine analysts in a clinic near you.
Matthew, you don't believe in atheism. You believe in the power of comments and being hot on google.
+Hattie Gunter Hostile? LOL - quite the opposite - I think your points are comical. The burden of proof lies on your m'dear as you are the one claiming their is a "supreme being". I claim there is not - I have nothing to prove. I think it is "foolish" that you need zealots to teach you common sense instead of relying on your own inner fortitude. Stealing, murder and sordid crimes don't require you to get on your knees and ask the invisible boogie man if he'll support you in quelling your desires to commit said acts. Be an individual - listen to your own inner voice - you may find that you're smarter than you realize.
+David J. Monahan - The Burden of Proof is on ANYone making ANY claim. Atheists make the claim that there is no God, but they have no reason to think this. Atheism is not simply the rejection of the theist's clam, but also the ASSERTION of an opposing claim. You must justify any claim you assert.Otherwise, I cold deny the existence of all sorts of things and fool myself into thinking that I'm being rational.

If we are truly rational, we would be agnostic. Not theists or atheists.
+Cristofer Urlaub

I'm curious if you read (and understood) your own link.

[if someone says, "There is a God," then it is up to them to prove it. A person cannot be expected to prove a claim such as, "There is no God."]

[Philosopher Paul Chamberlain says it is inaccurate to assert that positive truth claims bear a burden of proof while negative truth claims do not. He notes that all truth claims bear a burden of proof...]

How do you wish me to prove what I see as not real? I make no claim to any deity, no supreme being, no heaven and no hell. You say I have no reason to think this way - I have searched, researched and scoured sources upon sources looking for any shred of scientific proof of a "god" and I have found nothing. Agnostics are in denial - non committal at best.

We can't we, for a refreshing change, start treating each others as humans, worthy of respect and admiration, responsible for our individual actions and accountable to no one but ourselves for the fortunes / misfortunes of this world.

Why wait? Your god's not coming.
I'm quite aware the burden of proof is mine to bear. Just because I don't choose to share with you the reasons I have to believe doesn't mean I don't have my own evidence.

I do not need a book to tell me what is wrong or right. I'm quite capable of knowing the difference myself. Honestly, what is so horrific about believing in a higher being that y'all feel the need to attack anyone of faith? The Bible isn't even something I look to for guidance, in all honesty. It's not particularly applicable in most situations, and for the most part is a giant, boring storybook.

Here's my point: who's going to be in a worse position if he's wrong? You, or me? If I'm wrong, I'll simply die and that will be that. If YOU'RE wrong, you will have to face whichever supreme being is up there (or whichever direction it's in) and eat shame for breakfast. Maybe that's an awful reason to have faith. Probably you're going to call me stupid and "m'dear" (and oh mylanta I hate condescending pet names) again. That doesn't particularly bother me. At least I don't feel the need to insult someone simply for having faith in something beyond his range of senses.

After all, you can't see or feel love. And yet you know it's real. You can see it in brain imaging as neurons firing in certain parts of the brain, yes. But you can see faith that way too. So shut up and let people believe what they want. If it's not hurting anyone and it's not breaking a basic human code of ethics, why should you care if I believe in God, or pink unicorns, or talking ducks?
+Matthew Inman Thanks for a great comic. Brought lots of LOLz
+David J. Monahan - I agree that if a person says, "There is a God," then it is up to them to prove it. This is why I said that theism is not rational. I wonder if you read (and understood) what I said.

However, if somebody says, "there is no God," then that is not simply denying the theistic claim, but also asserting its own claim, so the burden of proof is ALSO on the atheist.

Honestly, I do not expect you to disprove God, but I expect you to have a better reason to believe something than simply because it cannot be disproved.

Nevertheless, God, if false, can be disproved, but philosophy has a better shot at it than science. There are some decent logical proofs against God. Look there. The problem with looking for scientific evidence is that many churches claim that god is non-physical and therefore not an "empirical" thing. It's an odd idea, but it is, at least, consistent with their other claims, so we must consider it. By looking to science to disprove God, you're barking up the wrong tree, so to speak. Blood from a stone.

I admire that you have scoured sources, etc, that's more than what most atheists (and theists) bother to do, but keep in mind that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. This is another fallacy that could lead us into all sorts of stupid beliefs. For example, ultimately, I have no evidence that you are human, and not a bot. That does not mean you are a bot.

Agnostics may be non-committal, but, logically, that may be the best way to go. No matter how controversial an issue is, or how trendy a position is, you should not adopt a proposition which is not proven. The fact that theism is not proved does not mean that atheism is. There is no conclusive evidence either for or against God, therefore we cannot say, "There is/is not a God." We can only say, "We don't know."

You may say that despite God's non-existence being unproven, you simply find him improbable, but if that's the case then you must admit that you are only speculating. Therefore, you are not making a claim about the actual state of things, but only about your perception of them. So even if you find God improbable, when speaking about the actual state of things, you can still say only, "I don't know."

"Why can't we, for a refreshing change, start treating each others as humans, worthy of respect and admiration, responsible for our individual actions and accountable to no one but ourselves for the fortunes / misfortunes of this world."

Why couldn't we do that if there was a God? I'll be the first to stand with any atheist and say that many churches, especially Christian churches, have screwed that up, but don't confuse "church" with "religion."
Cristofer; I do not ask for proof that you are a human. You merely possess a strong number of consistent behaviors that heavily imply a human. You are performing with the consistency of something tangible and provable. Since there is a constant action/ reaction from you, there is no need for proof.

On the other hand, since there is no measurable reactions from this "God" person, the burden of proof still lies upon the person(s) making the claim - with measurable reactions/actions.
For the third time, now, I agree that the burden of proof lies on the theist. I am only saying it does not ONLY lie on the theist.
people who are religious aren't stupid, religion itself is. correction any form of faith is stupid. The fact that most people deny that, is stupid.
+aaron carroll People who make broad generalizations about people based upon bigoted presumptions about something they have clearly made no attempt to understand are stupid if you ask me.

Just so you know, I'm not a member of any religious order, but you don't have to be black to hate racists, ya dig?
... I actually said that religious people are in fact NOT stupid, but that faith is. that's not a generalization about people... in fact it wasn't about people at all. it was merely a statement of fact, that believing something without any evidence of truth (you know that faith stuff) is stupid. if you can't see that that's true, that is your problem. in fact faith has nothing to do with religion, which is why I corrected myself if you'll look back at the conversation, unfortunately religion is usually founded on faith, but I didn't make it that way, and if your religion is not founded on faith but is instead founded on facts and information and evidence, well that's not stupid... and race doesn't exist you close minded fool, why does skin tone separate people when hair and eye color doesn't? social constructs aren't reality.... which makes them like like faith!!!!!!
also, it's rude to use the word retard in that manner Clint, how insulting. oh, and calling an individual stupid.... well that's just mean.
Hitler was Christian?; there's no way I can believe that, and atheism is stupid anyway.
why is atheism stupid? I'm interested.
Calling Hitler a Christian is like Calling China a Communist state. They and others might think they are but they are not practicing what they preach. And I agree that wars are started by people who want to start wars not religion or atheism for that matter. Inequality starts wars.
+Andrew Martin "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders." -- Adolf Fucking Hitler, 1922.
... wait Christofer... that doesn't answer anything, I asked why, not "who is someone that once said 'blablabla'"
+Aaron Carroll I actually hadnt read your question until just now. I didnt understand what I was supposed to be answering =P. I just like that Sagan said that, so i posted it.

Atheism is stupid because it makes a claim that is not supported by any evidence.

+Josef Esparza True, but the difference between atheism and agnosticism is that atheism makes a claim. It claims that there is no God. Agnosticism makes no claim.

If there is no evidence, there should be no claim. Therefore, agnosticism is the more rational position.
+Hattie Gunter

Evidence unshared is no evidence at all. There's a reason most people outside of the Mormon faith believe Joseph Smith was a charlatan. "Oh, hey, I uh...found these plates! Turns out Jesus lived here in America! want to see them? ...well, I'm not supposed to show them to anyone. Cool?"

I'm well versed in Pascal's Cop-Out. You're right -- it's a very weak reason to believe in something. After all, if god or whatever is all-knowing and all-powerful and for whatever reason genuinely cares about what beings he created think of him (which absolutely wouldn't be petty at all), don't you think he knows you don't really believe, and that you're just hedging your bets?

My problem isn't with people having faith in and of itself. It's the absolute arrogance of people who are unwilling to answer any question with a simple "I don't know." Unwilling to the point that they'll try their damnedest to convince everyone within shouting distance, or have the nerve to knock on my door unsolicited no matter how many "No Soliciting" signs I put up, or try to put it into the school systems to masquerade as science while we continue to plunge lower in the rankings of mathematical and scientific understanding amongst our peers in the world -- all so they can have their nice, warm, fuzzy feeling confirmed by other people who like having a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling at night when they drift off to sleep.

I respect the right of anyone to freely choose and practice a religion. I do not, however, have to respect the religion itself. I can and do reserve the right to hear anyone's beliefs and then promptly say, "That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard." If I walked up to you and asked "Have you heard the Good News about Odin dying for us at the cruel maw of Fenrir, and Thor slaying the devilish great serpent?" you'd treat me like I must have just had a stroke and call for help -- and rightly so.

Biology -- your own field! -- has explanations for love. Mating for life benefits the species in that offspring often fare better with two dedicated caregivers -- one to babysit, one to gather food, etc.

+Josef Esparza is accurate in his assessment that most who say they're atheists when asked about their faith merely find the idea of a deity improbable (or in at least my own opinion, unnecessary) rather than impossible. Other people within this thread have been beating around the bush between weak and strong atheism, I.E., "I have no reason to conclude that a god or gods exist" versus "I do not believe god or gods exist." An argument could be made that strong atheism is tantamount to a faith, because it's an inherent acceptance of a negative statement -- logically impossible to prove, as I mentioned before, because it would require one to look all over the universe, and find zero instances of X. This seems to be your working definition of atheism, +Cristofer Urlaub. This definition does describe absolutely irrational behavior, and in my opinion such behavior deserves as much ridicule as anything else in that vein.

Weak atheism, on the other hand, makes no such claims. It is the lack of a claim either way on the existence of a god or gods. The difference between agnosticism and this is basically "Well, we don't know, I'm open to the idea" versus "How about we worry about that when the data gives us a reason to do so?" I have no questions I can ask for which supposing the existence of an omnipotent being cannot raise further questions. Aristotle and Aquinas' Unmoved Mover does not answer the question of the Prime Cause. It merely shifts it from the the Prime Cause of the universe to the Prime Cause of the Unmoved Mover, and the infinite regress continues. Occam's Razor comes in handy here; adding the existence of a god or gods without any evidence to support the idea is unnecessarily complicating matters. Right now, we don't know everything about the nature of existence and time and space and infinity. That's fine; we can and should keep looking. Should evidence come to light that makes it necessary (and I really have no idea what said evidence would consist of) for a god or gods to exist...that would be another matter entirely. Since the concept is heretofore posited without evidence, however, I feel no qualms dismissing it without evidence.

(Edits for clarity and syntax)
just for a moment...
Jesus said...
I am the way, the truth and the life,
no one should come to my Father except by me....
believe first before you complain...
we speak of religion, what is meant of this? if it is not the way,
if I can speak to someone who not believe in God (atheist),
what words can tell me to believe for...
+Josef Esparza - Atheism does make a claim. It makes the claim that "there is no God." Agnosticism, not atheism, is the rejection of a claim. More on this in a second.

+Jonathan Ammerman - Weak atheism. Now THATS semantics. I admit that what I am about to say is purely my opinion, so if you disagree, then so be it, but I see no difference between "weak" atheism and agnosticism. If you are believe God exists, youre a theist. If you believe he does not, you're an atheist. If you are not certain, then you're agnostic. If somebody tells me theyre a weak atheist, I agree to be civil, but I classify that as agnosticism. If you claim uncertainty, then you're agnostic.

If you have no evidence for something, then by all means, dismiss it. But remember that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Dismissal of theism does not require the acceptance of atheism.

Also, use Occam;s Razor with caution. There are many cases in which it has hindered science. For example, appeals to simplicity were used to deny meteorites, ball lightning, continental drift, DNA, atomic theory, and reverse transcriptase.
I agreed with Cristofer that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence....

as additional God show himself to his creation because He is creator, initiator, giving cause of everything...
like watch, we used watch as time indicator and where is the inventor?
it doesn't mean that the absence of creator,initiator, etc is the absence of evidence... hahaha... just think of this....
what can a man profit saying that there is no God and not believing it?
what if you died now, and the certain things you hold and believe is there is no God and found out that there is God.. what will you do?
so believe it, it's not a loss but an added value to you....
no more comment? hahaha...
is this war already finished? =)
wish I had gotten into this sooner but... agnosticism, while similar to, is not the same as, atheism.... because an atheist believes there is no god, and an agnostic has no opinion on the matter... To say they are the same is kind of foolish, after all a man who doesn't believe in something is by definition different than a man who chooses not to have an opinion. Also to believe there is a god, just-in-case is a lie. that isn't belief, and to say it is shows that you have no respect for religion... come to think of it, you should spread that idea around a bit lulz.
+Cristofer Urlaub We're actually in agreement on the semantics of weak atheism -- it is difficult to clearly define the difference between that and agnosticism. I'd say the difference is that agnostics are willing to discuss the idea, where as proponents of weak atheism see no reason to bother, and live life as though there were no god or gods with which to be concerned. With no evidence to believe there were pink unicorns floating invisibly around you, would you say you were open to the idea, or would you trust your senses and call the idea ridiculous? I favor the latter idea.

I also agree with the call for caution on Occam -- and you raise good counter-points. In the same vein, the "absence of evidence" claim was used by Rumsfeld to justify Gulf War 2.0 vis-a-vis weapons of mass destruction. It's called an argument from ignorance for a reason.

+Valentin Canale No, we weren't finished -- we all simply had better things to do than watch a post on the internet for two hours awaiting a response to our blurb.

Your argument from irreducible complexity is useless for virtually any specific case you wish to make -- the common ones being biological (things like the eye and the heart). Biology has several primitive examples of single celled organisms that have photosensitive organelles, and divergent evolution demonstrates the development of the heart and the circulatory system.

As far as your statement regarding "what can a man profit" -- again, look up Pascal's Wager. Simply put, if your god or gods know and see all and this is your justification for believing, s/he/they know(s) you don't really have faith. Don't you think they'd see through your flimsy, mortal logic? Don't you think they'd resent your blasphemous lack of faith?
Jonathan... it is not really meant as just as I said IF...
anyway, for me, our faith is not based on our knowledge and knowing...
it is God who put faith in the heart of a person... faith is not made by man's decision, it comes from GOD.... God knows everything...
let us simplify, bible tell us that there is a sheep and goat...
sheep is that belong to believe in God
and goat that is belong to not believe in God...
what is your faith?
religion is a matter of faith....
no, atheism is the rejection of religion, it is making the statement there is no god. If you are think that a god is possible then you aren't atheist, you are agnostic.
and, once again, faith is stupid. If there were a god, and he wanted us to have faith he would have made us as dumb as any other animal. because choosing faith is choosing stupidity.
and ONCE AGAIN............

FAITH is cometh by hearing, and hearing, and hearing the WORD OF GOD!!! if you would not believe the WORD OF GOD... faith is void...

this is FAITH....
JESUS IS LORD AND SAVIOUR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
yeah upon re inspection, I'll have to concede that perhaps you are correct Josef. and Valentin, Faith is void because of logic, and quit trying to equate faith with the christian religion, faith has been around far longer than your religion. It's been stupid the whole time, yes, but faith does not equal christianity. also, faith is stupid.
I'm not in religion, I am believer of Jesus Christ...
If YOU confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that JESUS is LORD and He died and rose again... you will be saved...

Call upon the name of the LORD and you will be saved....
I can't tell if you are serious or just a troll....
+Josef Esparza - Well, Richard Dawkins would still be an atheist. He likes to talk like he thinks God is possible, but he clearly thinks the idea is absurd.
+Cristofer Urlaub That's what I'm getting at with the concept of weak atheism. Any idea posited without substantial evidence is absurd, and therefore worthy of dismissal. We don't make any claim either way. There's no evidence to support it in either direction. I do not believe in a deity or deities, nor do I not not believe. You are also an atheist to a degree -- presumably you see no reason to worship Odin or Zeus or Ra, and so you dismiss it. It's the same thing for proponents of weak atheism. There is no more reason for me to form an opinion about the idea of god or gods than there is for anyone to form an opinion about my invisible pink unicorns. They are, ultimately, equally baseless claims, and as such are tossed aside.

With that said -- faith is another matter, and beyond what reason can affect. It does not respond to reason or logic by its nature, as faith necessarily requires a lack of evidence (indeed, if our conclusions are supported, they then become reasonable). Most apologists I have spoken with accept this premise; you or others may not. Some people are comfortable taking things on faith. I see no reason to ever stop asking "why." This is the reason that although I do not seek conversations of this nature, I do not shy away from them. If someone is attempting to use reason or claims to have evidence to justify what they call their faith, they are attempting to speak a language I can understand. At that point, we simply explore and discover whose argument has more merit.
+aaron carroll Don't be dumber than you actually are. Saying "I don't think religious people are stupid but I think religion is stupid and I think faith is stupid" is like saying "I don't hate black people, I hate black culture"

I actually don't really have any religious friends, haven't met too many religious people recently. but you should look at it this way, a kid makes an F in a class right, let's say history. He did something stupid, he got an F, prototypical stupid act. The kid goes on to be a world renowned mathematician.... wait he did one thing stupid so he must be stupid right? that's what Clint thinks at least, because obviously having one stupid characteristic defines a person, right Clint? And Clint you should avoid insulting people directly it really makes your points seem worse than they are. by the way didn't I already enlighten you? race doesn't exist, it's a social construct, that has been perpetuated by ignorance for far too long

so besides race not actually existing, and therefore race dependent culture not really existing either, you simile falls short because, not all "Black" people live in a "black culture." I'm going to change your broken comparison how's this. Let's replace "black people" with chinese people (not race, but nationality ;) because it actually exists) and "black culture" with china... wait, you could hate china and not hate chinese people... how shocking!!! furthermore, if someone really wanted to hate this thing you call "black culture" that doesn't mean they hate anyone who's black. People are defined by more than one characteristic. Religious people can be amazing, and intelligent, but that one thing, that faith they have. It is stupid and illogical, that is just what faith is. because it is unfounded. so all kidding aside, if you are following what I'm saying at all maybe you'll rebut with a bit more interesting and worthwhile statement Clint, I can call you Clint right? I'm sure that's what all your friends call you.
also, it's impossible to be dumber than you are, because you are what you are.... that's common sense Clint.
Hi, Jonathan Ammerman! Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. I had class and stuff.

Okay. I don't technically have "evidence" as the word is meant, which makes sense, because this stuff IS called faith. Anyway. I suppose what I meant to say is that I've gone through some stuff in my life that have made me believe that there is a benign God out there who cares for me and loves me. I don't share my reasoning because I doubt you want hear about a five year old wishing she were dead because her own father hates her and she feels like everyone must see some horrid, ugly thing wrong with her and so they all hate her too. Other stuff factored in, of course, and my faith is what kept me steady and from becoming a hateful, self-debasing woman.

You're right; God would see that you're hedging your bets. However, that can be your starting point of belief. As you grow in your faith, you'd develop more mature reasons to believe and become a true believer. That's what growing in faith is all about.

What you have a problem with isn't what I do as a Christian. If someone asks me what happens after we die, I say "I don't know. But if you want to know what I think might be the case, I'll tell you." I don't try to force my beliefs on others, because I don't want others' beliefs forced on me. It irks me too that people are trying to force religion into schools - it shouldn't be there, as that's not what school is about. But honestly, all the stupid "let's make every kid feel like a winner" stuff is worse.

Calling someone's beliefs stupid is a bit harsh. I'm blunt, but usually not cruel. You can think it all you want, but maybe you could think about what your response might do to a person's psyche first. As for the Odin thing - that made me laugh. But I wouldn't treat you like a simpleton if you honestly believed it. I'd say that that's just dandy for you, but I don't believe it, and could you please get off my porch?

Biology does explain love. You're right. It also explains faith. And to argue that faith is no longer relevant biologically and thus should be stomped out (I'm preemptively debating, here), then you should also say that love should be stomped out. It's no longer relevant biologically either. At least not for humans. In today's society, a woman can raise a perfectly healthy baby alone (or a man, to keep things PC). She doesn't need help from a mate. So really, we should just stop loving others too. Now doesn't that sound silly?
Another example Clint my boy, everyone used to believe the world was flat. Why? Faith mostly. Most of us would agree that believing the world was flat was stupid. But those people themselves, weren't stupid, they merely believed what was commonly accepted for the times.
your last name is very fitting by the way.
hahahahahah, best argument you've made all day, so are you a troll I'm assuming. At first I thought you were serious, but after that. I'm sure you're just trolling, how cute.
also, you misquoted me earlier. I would appreciate it if you didn't do that again.
What I am saying, kid, is you are still wet behind the ears. You are trying to talk about the faith of others when you don't even know who you are yet. Calling someone's beliefs stupid is arrogant. Who the hell are you to make that judgement?
Also when you experience more of the world you will realize that not all religion is based in faith
... I specifically stated earlier that if a religion isn't founded on faith than it wasn't stupid... have you not been following me, I was getting hopeful too. who are you to tell me what I have said was arrogant? Faith when being used to describe a firm belief for that which there is no evidence, is stupid, because intelligent opinions are by nature backed up by facts and evidence. If a politician were to get on a podium and state "I am going to get rid of public electricity because I have an unfounded faith that by doing that we will become a better nation." is that smart? He has faith... but sadly faith is not enough to make something true or probable or even realistic. Faith is stupid. any religion could end up being true, I doubt it, but one of them could. that would be damned cool, but the fact remains that believing in it for no other reason than faith is a stupid act. just as believing in unicorns by faith would be stupid, if unicorns ended up being real, having believed them by faith, would, in hindsight, still be stupid.
No, I have not looked at all of the diarrhea that erupted from your keyboard when you were fighting with a half dozen other people. Point is, you're wrong because you are a bigot and nothing good can come out of bigotry
how am I a bigot? that's a bold-faced lie, either that or you are ignorant.
in fact, I'm the only person between the two of us that has backed up anything that was said. and I would contend that your belief in race is far more bigoted than my disgust at faith. nothing more than faith, and not at those with faith. I think lying is stupid too, I do it though, we all do stupid shit, I haven't once stated that I think I am better than anyone who has faith, I think faith is badt, yes, but we all have multiple faults. so you should perhaps rethink your position Clint, because factually you are incorrect.
but I guess you are what you are, Vitriol.
+Hattie Gunter Ah... I miss school. If I could get someone to pay me to go, I'd die perfectly happy. No such luck there, but at least I'm fortunate enough to have an occasional moment of downtime at the office.

As I mentioned in my last post, I cannot dissuade anyone who justifies their position through faith. It is by its nature irrational, and I would like to think that the majority of believers understand this. Let's not pretend that people simply need to endure hardship in order to "find god," however. I mean not to take away from your experiences, but others in seemingly hopeless situations find solace elsewhere. For me, it was existential philosophy. Your mileage may vary, obviously. For the record, I really, really tried to make religion work for me. For me, there were too few answers, and too many questions raised. And yes, Pascal's Wager (I believe I used the term "Cop-Out" previously) was a jumping point for me. The fact that it required me to stop asking questions and just accept something at face value "just in case" was anathema to me, and that phase did not last long.

I don't begrudge anyone their faith, in all honesty. I generally match the mood of the person with whom I am speaking. I honestly don't mind if religion comes up in conversation and they ask me if I've heard the good news. Once I've made it clear that I'm an atheist and there's nothing they could say that I've not considered at this point, however, if they press the issue, then the barbs come out. I will afford others the exact same measures of respect they afford me. Speaking of Christians and speaking of existentialism, the only Christian I know of whom I would say got it right (if I bought into the idea) is Søren Kierkegaard. For Kierkegaard, your relationship with god was your relationship with god, and nobody else had anything worth saying about it. If god reveals some insightful truth to John, it is indeed a Revelation for John. For everyone else, it would be hearsay. Given that idea of a personal god, Kierkegaard was also highly critical of the concept of a Christian nation. Just a fun little side fact.

If that's what you do as a Christian, you are in the minority. I live in the bible belt and am openly atheistic. The fact that I am also openly pro-Second Amendment is a likely reason I have not encountered any trouble. Frankly, if they're dead set on teaching creationism in science classrooms, I also want them to teach evolution in churches and alchemy in chemistry class. After all, it's only fair to give equal time to competing theories, isn't it? And I'm in agreement on the "make every kid feel like a winner" epidemic, but that's more indicative of parents believing their children are extra special snowflakes that can do no wrong, which is a tangent for another conversation.

About calling someone's beliefs foolish -- again, I simply said I reserve the right. I don't open my conversations with that approach. We are capable of disagreeing with people civilly -- this conversation qualifies as proof, I would argue. If I am met with venom, I respond in kind, and I will feel no remorse. Honestly, why should I? If their faith is that strong, then they can surely handle a little ridicule -- and if it isn't able to withstand my jabs, then it was clearly undeserved.

Faith was useful in primitive ages, yes; it gave tribes and cultures a common rallying point given a lack of understanding of the processes of diurnal cycles, and love, and why some things were tasty, and why some almost always made you sick (clearly that bacon-wrapped shrimp is delicious ceremonially unclean) and what happens after death. I do not argue that religion needs to be actively exterminated, however; I argue that religion will gradually die off of its own accord, given that the population is adequately educated. It is irresponsible to allow religious dogma to encourage people to actively deny the leaps and bounds scientific rigor and study have made throughout the years. Example: the Catholic Church only apologized and acknowledged that Galileo was right (regarding the heliocentric model of the solar system) in 1992. The man died in 1642. It took them 350 years to come around to admitting something that basic.

This is a travesty.

For every step science takes forward, light is cast deeper into the shadowy crevices over which faith presently holds sovereignty. God -- or gods -- should s/he/they exist, continue(s) to lose ground. We have the capacity to answer the questions that we could not dream of answering before. To adopt ignorance willingly to perpetuate the reign of this god of the gaps is to willingly place a yolk upon one's shoulders.

Faith says that god made everything just for us -- science says we're not even a drop in the bucket, and can prove it with telemetry.

Faith says life requires god to kick start things -- science counters with abiogenesis, and has decoded the genome of humanity and other species to boot.

Faith dictates that we reject all of our instincts in the interest of pleasing a god that supposedly gave them to us in the first place for a spot in his Cool Dude's Club -- science has by and large found a cause for any such instinct we can find, and our temperance in heeding them need not in fact be due to the influence of god or gods. Our own capacity for thought and reason have enabled us to develop models of ethics and society, to harness the energy and resources of this diminutive little speck of a planet upon which we live, and begin searching for new worlds to explore. We need not reject the life we can concretely say we know exists just for the sake of that hedged bet!

We are capable of so much more.

I'll leave you with a favorite quote of mine:

“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”

--Charles Bukowski. I lament that I never had the opportunity to have a beer with him.
I like you, Jonathan. You're much more polite and reasonable than some of the others who have directly addressed me here. Like you, I don't get upset until someone else acts hostile/rude. That's why some of my earlier posts were perhaps a touch snippy. (Seriously, when that guy called me m'dear I saw red... it's lucky this isn't in person, I'd have gotten such a thick Southern drawl I'd be imcomprehensible.)

I'm aware that others don't need hardship to find God and that those who suffer don't necessarily find God and find solace elsewhere. I didn't "find" him either. I'd been raised a Lutheran all my life, so He was already there waiting to catch me when I stumbled. I count myself lucky in this.

Personally, I'd say my view of God is similar to Kierkegaard's. I go to a Lutheran church and call myself a Lutheran, but in the loosest way possible. My vision of God is different from anyone else I've ever known, but it's close to the generalized version (well, ELCA) Lutheran version. Church helps me to figure out what exactly I think - if I disagree with something said, then that's fine. I'm certainly not the type to gad about saying that my church is right and everyone else is wrong and neener neener neener.

It really is funny that I had this argument with a guy the night before this thread started. He, an atheist, patronized me for believing (at two points he called me "sweetie" and I nearly murdered him) and insulted me. Like you, I've thought long and hard about this stuff, and I simply can't accept the fact that there is nothing beyond this physical world.

At least for me, the big questions are just as unanswered as they are for you. On the detail level, anyway. I believe God is at the core, that He gives us the power to learn the hows and whatfors. Every new thing learned simply proves to me just how powerful God is.

My favourite series of all time is His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. I'm not sure if you know anything about him or the series, but he's an atheist and the series is definitely atheistic. God is nothing more than the very first angel, who told everyone else created after him that HE was the one who created them. However, one of the things I like about the books is that Pullman doesn't state that there is no higher power. He leaves it up to the reader. When people found out that I liked it, they asked how I could reconcile the content with my faith (those people hadn't read the series, which is certainly irksome). My response is this: there's nothing to reconcile. Even if Pullman HAD said there was no God, I'm secure enough in my faith to not be shaken by another's beliefs.

Anyway. If I missed anything, sorry. I just got back from class (again!), and am trying to get this out of the way for going and working on my novel (I'm probably better suited to English than biology, but I feel called [by God, no less haha] to study wildlife biology).
faith motivate more than religion...........

for faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen...
+Jonathan Ammerman - I see what you mean about weak atheism, but I still dont see the difference between that and agnosticism. I suppose I have some more study to do...

I dont agree that faith "requires" a lack of evidence either. I think that faith is a type of evidence, but it is far from proof, and it is not a type of evidence that would be accepted in a philosophical debate or a scientific paper. However, there are many types of evidence. Faith is a type that must be experienced. If I were a believer, then I could not convince you of my "religious exerience," but I could invite you to do things that would give you the opportunity to experience it yourself.

For example, if I were to discover a new planet, I couldn't really prove to you what it was I saw through the telescope, but I would invite you to look for yourself. It would be silly of you to refuse to look until I could prove the existence of that planet with some sort of logical syllogism. You would just look through the telescope.

Granted, religious experience could be crap. It could be hallucination or neural misfires, etc, just like it may not really be a planet through the telescope. It could be a large asteroid, a weather balloon, or a small china teapot. But you don't know that until you look.

The point is, though, that it does not require ignorance. I think that's a myth spread around by crazy fundamentalist types or corrupt preachers who find it easier to herd around sheeple. The Bible contains repeated commands to acquire as much learning and knowledge as possible.

In addition, there are more kinds of evidence than the scientifically/philosophically acceptable type.
I'd say faith is a type of evidence in the same way black or white are colors, +Cristofer Urlaub. It may be acceptable to refer to it as such colloquially, but by definition they are something else. The pressure I experience on my body when diving 132 feet below the surface of the ocean multiplies the pressure on my body by five - you would have nothing but my word if you didn't experience it for yourself or send a probe down. The difference is that this phenomenon is predictable, testable and repeatable.

Using your example of discovering a new planet supports my own argument in the same fashion. When you invite me to take a look through your telescope, you are attempting to prove your point with predictable, testable, and presumably repeatable data. Upon finding something, I would say "Yes, let's see what we can find. Oh, I do see something. Let's give our measurements to my colleague on the other side of the country and see if they can confirm this."

If you can't tell me exactly what I'm looking for, you are wasting my time, is my point. I'm willing to accept that some people are willing to use personal anecdotes as justifications for faith. I'm fine with that, but evidence by definition is objectively true.

Also, I'm not sure what Bible you refer to because in the one I'm thinking of, god punishes humanity for desiring and obtaining knowledge on the second page (Genesis 3).

As I alluded to before, hearsay and conjecture are not evidence. If I tried to write down stories that my family had passed down orally since before the Civil War stating that Abraham Lincoln was actually a cyborg from the future, you might think it was an entertaining read, but you would not use it as a history book even without my lack of sources or citations.
faith, according to the miriam-webster dictionary, is a "firm belief in something for which there is no proof."
i'd go with Occam's razor on god (any god) existing in this universe.
+Jonathan Ammerman - Good point. I agree. Anecdotes are not an acceptable form of evidence. If someone came to me saying Buddha told me that the western world was evil, I would not be nearly convinced. However, if Buddha actually appeared to me, personally, then it would be a very different issue. That's my point. I admit that it could be hallucination, etc, but at very least I have to admit that I would give something like that much deeper consideration.

My feeble understanding of the doctrines surrounding the Genesis account gets into deeper issues than I'm willing to spend time on here. In short, it was part of God's plan that they would eat from the tree. Or else, why would he put the tree there in the first place? Are we to think that Satan outsmarted God by tempting adam and eve? Not the case. You can go discuss it with a priest if youre curious, but I'll just say that the "punishment" was not really a punishment.

+aaron carroll - Im not sure if youre aware of this, but the Miriam-Webster Dictionary is not Christian canon. I can't judge the validity of Islam by reading the Bible can I? I can't judge Hinduism by reading the Torah, can I? I can't learn Calculus from a cookbook, can I? If you're going to assess Christianity, you have to do it by evaluating the claims made by Christianity, not by the claims made by non-christian sources about Christianity.

+Christian Beauregard - Use Occam's Razor with caution.
I'm not assessing christianity, I am assessing faith, a word, by using a prominent dictionary. to define faith otherwise is a misuse of language, if you mean something besides what faith is defined as meaning, you need to use a new word. language has meaning only when rules are followed, so to do otherwise is to undermine the very act of speaking, or conveying information. On the topic of the forbidden fruit, if god is omnipotent then he knew that Eve would eat it, if he knew that would happen than he was creating a system of entrapment by placing the forbidden fruit there. if he didn't know, then he wouldn't seem omnipotent.
christianity requires faith, faith does not require christianity, I think a lot of people have misunderstood what I've been talking about because they've assumed that faith=religion, I just want to say, besides the point above about the forbidden fruit, I have not meant to talk about christianity, or even religion, so much as faith, which just happens to be required by most religions.
+Cristofer Urlaub That is my understanding of personal faith. The evidence that is so clear to you or +Hattie Gunter from earlier may be as objectively solid as a cinder block to you - though science has offered explanations for religious and near death experiences, only those who live through them may interpret them on the subjective level. Nevertheless, it is hearsay to everyone else. Those who would attempt to bring others into their fold must crouch their language in universally objective terms if they wish to be taken seriously.

That certainly is one school of thought regarding the Christian creation myth. It seems like an awfully roundabout way for an all-powerful being to let his children into heaven, but ok. I'll say this much: I'm not one to trust people when they slander and decry the first person to suggest critical thinking as the embodiment of evil.

Hattie - I'd suggest you take a look at some works by Camus or Sartre for an easy introduction into some existential philosophy if you would care for some insight to at least a few of us on this side of the fence. I'd suggest starting with The Myth of Sisyphus.
Oh lawdy, existentialism. I adored As I Lay Dying, but some of that "I am was" and "My mother is a fish" nonsense was a little much. However, I do love to read and do research... characters don't have the same views I do, after all! (My current MC is actually an atheist, funnily enough.)

I actually think God of the Old Testament was a bit of jerk. Like with Cain and Abel. Way to treat Cain like shit. I'm not surprised Cain killed Abel when the omnipotent creator looked at his hard work and said, "Eh. Abel's lambs are better, even though he doesn't have to work near as hard as you." And so on with those stories. One of the perks of being God, I suppose. Being able to be awful and still have millions of people think you're the best thing ever.

"Show me a worm that can fully understand man and
I will show a man that can fully understand GOD."

John Wesley
+aaron carroll - Point still stands. If I convince enough people that atheism is about wearing a science-related tee-shirt that it becomes common use and gets into a prominent dictionary, then does that make that definition correct? No. Same is true of faith. You must use a definition which is accepted by the person or people in question.

Also, I'm not an expert on Christian doctrine. Go ask a Christian about the complications involved in Genesis. If I were to offer an opinion, it would be that our lives had to have a certain degree of difficulty in order for us to be happen. I sometimes see people who don't have any difficulty in their lives, who never have to worry or be uncomfortable, and have everything they need or want handed to them. They're called "spoiled little brats" and, ironically, they seem to do a whole lot more complaining than those who have to "eat their bread by the sweat of their brow," so to speak. If it was entrapment, I say it was worth it.

+Jonathan Ammerman True, but whether or not you, for example, can take a theist seriously has no bearing on whether or not their message is true or false. If I can't describe the color blue to the blind, it doesn't mean there is no color blue.

And I agree. Those who use the story of adam and eve to encourage ignorance are clearly mistaken. That interpretation contradicts other verses which have more to say about human knowledge.

+Hattie Gunter - There was a doctrinal reason to the Lord's rejection of Cain's offering. Almost every Old Testament reference to "lamb" is a symbol of Christ (the lamb of God). This is why the lamb was used in sacrifices. Its a reference to Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

Abel offering a lamb was symbolic of his being cleansed by the blood of Christ. Cain, however, offered the fruits of his own labors, the symbolic message being,"I don't need the Lamb, I am saved by my own efforts. I can save myself." It was, in some ways, a rejection of Christ and the atonement.

Of course, in reality, Cain was likely not considering ways he could spite God when he chose his career path and it would be odd of God to be generally anti-agriculture, so this story lends support to the idea that none of this actually happened, and that they are just there for the doctrinal background. Same for Adam and Eve. Even among Christians, there is disagreement about how much of this should be taken literally.

A. Cosmological Argument.
from the greek word kosmos which means world by Thomas Aquinas.
The world and/or everything in it must have a first cause or uncaused cause ( or a Creator ).

Riddle: which came first - chicken or the egg?
Answer: God was there first, then He created the chicken that laid the egg.

B. Teleological Argument.
from the greek word teleos which means design by Thomas Aquinas.
" For every design there must be a designer."

a watch is designed with parts made for motion for the purpose of telling time. although we did not see the watchmaker, it does not mean that he does not exist and made the watch...

C. Anthropological Argument.
from the greek word anthropos which means man by Immanuel Kant.
man has a moral nature, a man conscience which gives him a sense of right and wrong.
if there is no GOD, how will man know what is right or wrong...

illustration: everywhere you go in the world, you will find that no country legalized murder. why? because the same God has placed morality conscience in all of them.
which came first the chicken or the egg? the egg did, from a less evolved proto-chicken, so the answer to your cosmological argument is Abiogenesis and then evolution.

your telelogical argument is a straw man argument which was quite handily, i.e. utterly, defeated by this video

Evolution IS a Blind Watchmaker

and as for your anthropological argument, man doesn't know what is right or wrong, or else we wouldn't have multiple different systems of morality that in multiple situation contradict each other, i.e. a trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people who are stuck for some reason. You are on a bridge under which it will pass, and you can stop it by dropping a heavy weight in front of it. As it happens, there is a very fat man next to you - your only way to stop the trolley is to push him over the bridge and onto the track, killing him to save five. Should you proceed? from a utilitarian standpoint you would, but, according to the doctrine of double effect you shouldn't.
But what you misunderstand Christofer, is that the word "faith" as it's used by christians, to mean their belief in god, is the same faith that i stated. a belief in something for which there is no proof. Also to say faith is evidence is useless, because even if it were evidence. there is faith for every religion, and faith in atheism, therefore balancing itself out, by giving evidence of contradicting beliefs. so it can be considered to not be evidence at all, because either way it has not effect on the system.
and if that is not what you mean by faith, then you are using the wrong word. If I said my leg hurts, but in my sentence leg meant finger, it would be me who made the mistake. because the word has been defined as meaning the portion of the body from hip to ankle.

cosmological ( cause and uncaused caused - creator ) and
teleological ( for every design must every designer ) argument
about GOD proved that there is a GOD...
another illustration for teleological argument is the earth's design.
earth was designed to rotate every 24 hours. if it would be less than 24 hours, we will find it difficult to walk as there willbe too much gravity, on the other hand, if it's rotate more than 24 hours, it will cause us to fly, the earth also revolve around the sun in 92,9000,00 mi/orbit. less distance cause earth to burn and more distance would freeze the earth.
with such intricate design of the the earth, we can conclude that
"SOMEONE" is behind it and that is GOD....

1. ATHEISM. atheist believe in the absence of GOD.
natural: atheists do not care about GOD.
practical: those who question GOD's existence because of bad experiences in life and people with full of knowledge...

to counter: PSALMS 14:1
"the fool says in his heart, " there is no GOD "

2.AGNOSTICISM. the root word "gnosis" means to know, agnosis then means that man cannot know or experience God. the agnostics deny the human ability to know God because God is transcendent, or the wholly other.

to counter: CHRISTIANS don't fully know GOD, but we can know and experienced Him.

3. POLYTHEISM. belief in many gods.
but the bible said.
DEUT4:6 hear O Israel: The Lord our GOD, the Lord is one.
+Valentin Canale - I think the cosmological argument shows that there is, in fact, some entity which must have existed forever, but it does not show that it is God. Why couldn't it just be the universe?

+aaron carroll - I'm sorry, I thought you said you were not referring specifically to Christianity. Different religions define faith in different ways, which is why I said you need to look at how a specific religion uses it. You say that Faith is defined that way by "christians," as though they all agree. That's just demonstrably false. I know of several denominations that don't define faith that way. But even when speaking of religion in general, do you know if Muslims define it that way? Jews? Hindus? Taoists? Buddhists? Baha'i? Native Americans? Neo-Pagans? Asatru? I'm guessing they don't all define faith that way.

What if I were a christian. What if you said to me, "Faith is belief in something for which there is no evidence," and then I disagree (And if I were a Christian, I really would disagree)? Would you insist that your dictionary is a greater authority on the doctrines of my church than me, as a member of whatever church? Doesn't that seem silly?

I think it's much more reasonable to say that the dictionary is using it wrong. In fact it has to be. In order to be accurate, it would have to have thousands of entries such as "Catholic concept of Faith," "Protestant concept of faith," "Methodist concept of faith," "Baptist concept of Faith," "Baha'i..." "Hindu..." "Native American..." "Taoist..." "Pagan...", etc.

I don't even know whether the Miriam-Webster dictionary was written by a religious person, let alone a christian. So it could very well be the case that a bunch of irreligious people got together and decided what other people believe for them.

About faith as evidence, go back and read more carefully what I said. I admitted that there are problems with faith as evidence. It is not a strictly "rational" type of evidence. Its not a type of evidence that I can put in an evidence bag and show to a jury, or a type that I could put into the form of a syllogism and present as a philosophical argument, but that does not mean that it is not a valid form of evidence. It just happens to be the case that it can only prove the truth or falsity of a claim to the one who experiences it.

A decent example is the telescope bit from earlier. If I look through a telescope and see Russel's Teapot floating through space, I wouldn't be able to construct a logical proof that I saw it, but that does not change that I saw it.

Regarding all the different types of faith you mention, I agree. It's a messy situation. I mean, if there is a God, then there must only be one true church, since they all contradict each others' teachings and a God of truth can't do that. That means that the "faiths" of all religions but one is hallucination, delusion, brainwashing, etc. But that still would have no bearing on the truth or falsity of that one that is genuine. If I got thousands of people together to pretend that they were the President of the United States, even though they weren't, it would not change the fact that there is, in fact, a President of the United States.

In the beginning, GOD created heaven and the earth.........

and the GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the faithful One...
and that is JESUS... the author and the finisher of FAITH...
hahaha... one true church is not the true church...
because the church is the individual person....

my faith is based on what I read in the bible...
the awesome and greatness of GOD...
for me, GOD made known to men first by His creation
and His word ( the Bible )
we have a different faith... but who is the founder of our faith we're intend to see to all of us?
this is FAITH....

JESUS said, I am: and you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming clouds of heaven....

neither is there salvation in any other:
for there is none other name under heaven given among men,
whereby we must be saved...
this is FAITH......

John 3:16 -18
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
+Cristofer Urlaub The difference between personal experiences as faith and the color blue is that I can still tell someone who is color blind that "blue" is any light in the visible spectrum in the range of 450-490nm. That is, it's still quantifiable and measurable through means other than the naked eye. Science is not a one-trick pony.

I say again: if you cannot prove something true in universal language, you are wasting your time in trying to communicate with those outside of your faith.

I'd also recommend not engaging the crazies. I offered counter arguments to Aquinas' ramblings a long time ago and they clearly weren't read.

The problem with the whole literal vs. figurative argument is that there's no metric by which you can clearly say what is literal and what is not. What allegory could there be in telling me who descended from Adam and Eve, and how old they were? It encourages cherry picking.
As science progresses, the undeniable proofs of yesterday become replaced by absolute truths based on todays level of knowledge. God has given indisputable proof and should not be expected to entertain and amaze each new generation. Science keeps changing their story, God never does. I would suspect that He is amused and perhaps at times impressed at our attempts to explain what He has done.
God is a God of yesterday, today and tomorrow .......
Words are a property of language, and are therefore defined by authorities of language, like dictionaries. religion has control over its own doctrine, not language. if you use words to mean things for which they are not defined lingual authorities then you are illiterate, just as if you used punctuation in whatever way you made up you'd be wrong. Otherwise miriam-webster can choose to define religious doctrine as poopy doopy pumpkin nanners, and that's perfectly fine. so no, I don't have to stoop to using words as other people have decided they should be used, nor should people use a word my way if I am incorrect, instead we should all decide on what a word means, and use it that way... oh shit, we already have, it's a dictionary.
+aaron carroll - You're committing an appeal to authority, which is a logical fallacy. It's true that the editors of miriam-webster are lingual authorities, but "faith" is not a lingual concept. It is not an idea that falls within their realm of expertise.

If you wake up one day feeling sick, would you go to a mechanic to get diagnosed? No, you'd go to a doctor.

I'm sure the editors try their best to provide accurate definitions, but those definitions are based on their understanding of the common usage. What if the general public has a false idea of faith? And if the dictionary is the ultimate authority on truth and understanding, then how do you explain the fact that many dictionaries disagree? What if I were to look in a chinese dictionary? Or a spanish one? Or a biblical dictionary?

Even miriam-webster disagrees with you.

The last line there says that the dictionary is authoritative, but not authoritarian, meaning that conformity to standards set by it is not required.

In any case, as I've said, the definition set by them is more than demonstrably false. While some (especially christian) religions fall into that category, many religions have a conception of faith which does not fit that definition.

It would be stupid of me to go up to a Hindu and say, "I dont care what your Bhagavad Gita says about faith. You're wrong because Miriam-Webster defines it this way and the miriam-webster dictionary is a greater authority on Hinduism than the Bhagavad Gita."
+Jonathan Ammerman - Ah, I see what you're saying,

"If you cannot prove something true in universal language, you are wasting your time in trying to communicate with those outside of your faith."

I agree wholeheartedly with this, i just don't think something needs to be communicable to be true. In other words, if i see something through a telescope but Im not sure how to describe it, whether because Im not an astronomer or have the necessary technical vocabulary, that doesn't mean I didn't see it. People will disbelieve me, and they're right to do so, but that doesn't mean I didn't see something.

In other other words, I don't think I would believe because somebody had a "religious experience," but at the same time, I have no reason to think they didn't. Once again, agnosticism ;).
then faith as you mean it means what? Because you've told me it doesn't mean a belief in god, because that is the same faith I am referring to, so what do you mean?
+aaron carroll - No, the faith you are referring to is not "a belief in god." It is a "firm belief in something for which there is no proof." That's the definition you offered, and I simply said that that definition does not apply to all religions, so you can't really make blanket statements. You have to evaluate it on a case by case basis, because they're not all the same. The objections you raise against one may not apply against another.

Also, I did not say that faith "doesn't mean a belief in god," I only said that ignorance is not always a necessary part of that. Many religions encourage their members to learn and understand as much as possible about their doctrine, as well as secular subjects.
+Cristofer Urlaub We have found an agreement, then. I can't take faith from anyone if they accept something on that merit alone. Neither can they present it as proof of their beliefs.

Enjoyable discussion. Be well.
I think it boils down to this:

There will be loud, dumb people in any crowd.

There will occasionally be loud, dumb people at the HEAD of a crowd.

Even more occasionally, the loud, dumb people at the head of the crowd will have real power.

When this happens in a religious crowd, people blame religion.
To be fair, Adolf Hitler was not so much a Christian as he was a superstitious man with many beliefs (some of which were Christian) and Joseph Stalin imposed an Atheistic rule, condemning anyone who claimed theistic beliefs.

I personally believe there is extremism in Atheism. It's called Antitheism.
You know, given my druthers, religion simply would not be an issue for me. You wanna worship some nonesensical construct? PLEASE, BE MY GUEST. In an ideal world that would work fine.

Unfortunately in THIS world, religious people won't leave me alone. They prescribe and prohibit and mandate things FOR ME based on THEIR religion. And then when I object, I'm suddenly the militant atheist.
+Cindy Brown I find the opposite to be true, certainly on the internet. I know there are people who like to go around insisting you believe the same thing as them, just that they are a tiny fringe minority. And I highly doubt anyone calls you "militant" if they started telling you what to believe.
This reminds me of a south-park episode (Go God Go), set in the future, wherein the idea of religion has been dropped from the minds of people and whole world is divided into various atheist organisations, each of which fights with others for supreme control of the world. This is one of the few episodes of south park which is not about bullcrap but actually holds a meaning within it.
It's the general tendency of humans to superimpose their ideas, their thinking upon fellow human beings. And it becomes really easy to do when you have an army and lots of guns and when your opposition lacks both. Like in the case of Hitler, Stalin and numerous others.
a boss 500th comments!!!!!!!!!!
i have a moustache does that make me an atheist""
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