At the invitation of Professor Robert, I'm starting a new thread.

Dr Bob, you are continually trying to draw clear distinctions between Catholicism and other (especially Christian) religions. I grant that Catholics are (a little) different, but, as they still fundamentally believe in the magic, invisible daddy in the sky, there is really NO difference.

Two points: The Bible (whether or not you take it literally) is the foundation of your (and all Christian) religions. A cursory examination of the Bible reveals a SMALL handful of usable tenets along with pages and chapters FULL of utter nonsense. The fact that any religion would base itself upon such a holey book, makes that religion as creditable as Joseph's golden tablets from God which he, unfortunately, misplaced.

God: I will be heartily disagreed with here, but I find the idea of God to be completely understandable. Here we have, at the dawn of civilization, various groups of totally ignorant people trying to put words, meanings, and causes to all manner of things which they couldn't possible understand. Combine this with a clever but ruthless set who have come to realize that, if they ascribed words, meanings, and causes to the world around them, people would actually BELIEVE them (as they no other source of information). These priests could and did use this power to govern the people - insisting that everyone in the tribe bow before them.

Then came the age of knowledge. We could start to actually understand all these things that the priests had, up till then, kept to themselves. As the power base for all civilized people rested with these priests, they were (and, of course, still are) wildly defensive of their position.

There is, however, NO CONCEIVABLE REASON for any educated person to believe in the supernatural - aside from these historic pressures.,

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"and the pope did not try to save two priests who were fighting for the people, they were tortured and killed"

Ummm....  Not to disturb a good tale with facts, but the two priests were both released.  One is still alive and living in a monastery in Germany.  They were released through the intervention of Fr. Bergoglio, but it is true that they were tortured and afterwards one of them accused him of not doing enough to protect them or get them released more quickly. 

Might I suggest, rather than conspiracy theory websites or books by political opponents based on scanty research, you begin with the work of 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel who earned the prize for his work documenting the atrocities in the Argentinian "dirty war."  Esquivel's work does not pull a lot of punches, and is a sobering read.

@Nate - I don't take xians who come onto this site seriously - this bloke was supposed to a professor - whateverrrr - he is just like any other xia, not very well read, stuck in hi little catholic box. They never answer a question - even when people try to make it as simple as possible, with bullet points or just give a yes/no answer. I only answer them, until they bore me. Up until then, it can be good fun. It makes me realise, yet again, why I am an Atheist :)

@Robert Piano -I was fascinated with the ark when I was a kid. When I actually asked about kangaroos, koalas, and platypus, they really are hard little buggers to catch - that was one of the mysteries of god, and don't ask such stupid questions again.

OK.  That would be a bad thing to do to children in an educational environment.  Shut them down with some mind numbing and thought limiting responses.  What would you call it when it happens in a college class?  When the question was asked, "How do we know that the Catholic Church is the one true church?  The answer from the priest/professor was, "de fide."  Translation: "of faith".  He shouted that we had to accept it because that was what the holy church told us and the church was infallible in such things.  

I suppose he thought he was doing a good job.  I know it sent me further down the road to atheism and insight.  I was paying good money for an education and this clown was telling me to suspend all my thought and reason and blindly accept what he was saying.  But that is what religion is all about anyway, isn't it.  

"de fide" is probably more accurately translated "shut up" at least in this context.

@ StevenCO   You are absolutely right.  Blind acceptance was the currency of the realm.  I doubt he was capable of a more persuasive answer.  That was one of five 3 hour courses I had to take.  The only one that was worthwhile was a course on comparative religions.  It made me realize that religions were pretty much the same.  A few even had virgin births for their leaders. 

@ Prof. Robert   I guess my question to you would be;  If you were born into a Jewish or Muslim or Siek or Hindu family, would you be a blindly faithful to that religion?  

Since the answer would probably be yes (if you are honest)  that would put atheists on the intellectual "high ground" because we arrive at this point through logic and reason and not through inherited superstitious beliefs that can't be proven.  We have examined religion and found it not just lacking but plagued with faults. 

So that is the test.   I'm an atheist because it is the only thing that makes sense to me, not because I was accidentally born into it.   So Professor, your disparaging remarks aside, atheism is clearly a higher form of consciousness than your thought limiting religion. 

@Professor Robert. This will answer some of history and why I stated that Chiristianity has done more harm than any other faith that I know. I also need to make it clear that religion in the whole not just the crhristian faith is violant and damaging. Starting with the bible and I need to quote you on this " From our perspective we wrote and compiled the book. Best to view the bible as carefully selected works which depict the unfolding of mans understanding of God over time."                                                                                  

   In the OT I calculated

People killed on Gods demand    1 904 220 

People killed by pestelance and plagues    132 700

Animal sacrifise  120 000 sheep and 22 000 oxen

Not include Sodom andGemora or the flood

Clear examples of the unfolding of mans understanding of god over time?

Now if you look at history and we leave the biblical deaths out :Wars that was because of religion or religions influence on politics.

  • 15th century: Crusades against Hussites, thousands slain. [DO30]
  • 1538 pope Paul III declared Crusade against apostate England and all English as slaves of Church (fortunately had not power to go into action). [DO31]
  • 1568 Spanish Inquisition Tribunal ordered extermination of 3 million rebels in (then Spanish) Netherlands. Thousands were actually slain. [DO31]
  • 1572 In France about 20,000 Huguenots were killed on command of pope Pius V. Until 17th century 200,000 flee. [DO31]
  • 17th century: Catholics slay Gaspard de Coligny, a Protestant leader. After murdering him, the Catholic mob mutilated his body, "cutting off his head, his hands, and his genitals... and then dumped him into the river [...but] then, deciding that it was not worthy of being food for the fish, they hauled it out again [... and] dragged what was left ... to the gallows of Montfaulcon, 'to be meat and carrion for maggots and crows'." [SH191]
  • 17th century: Catholics sack the city of Magdeburg/Germany: roughly 30,000 Protestants were slain. "In a single church fifty women were found beheaded," reported poet Friedrich Schiller, "and infants still sucking the breasts of their lifeless mothers." [SH191]
  • 17th century 30 years' war (Catholic vs. Protestant): at least 40% of population decimated, mostly in Germany. [DO31-32]

    • On every island he set foot on, Columbus planted a cross, "making the declarations that are required" - the requerimiento - to claim the ownership for his Catholic patrons in Spain. And "nobody objected." If the Indians refused or delayed their acceptance (or understanding), the requerimiento continued:

    I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter in your country and shall make war against you ... and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church ... and shall do you all mischief that we can, as to vassals who do not obey and refuse to receive their lord and resist and contradict him." [SH66]

    Rwanda Genocide

    "Anglican as well as Catholic priests and nuns are suspect of having actively participated in murders. Especially the conduct of a certain Catholic priest has been occupying the public mind in Rwanda's capital Kigali for months. He was minister of the church of the Holy Family and allegedly murdered Tutsis in the most brutal manner. He is reported to have accompanied marauding Hutu militia with a gun in his cowl. In fact there has been a bloody slaughter of Tutsis seeking shelter in his parish. Even two years after the massacres many Catholics refuse to set foot on the threshold of their church, because to them the participation of a certain part of the clergy in the slaughter is well established. There is almost no church in Rwanda that has not seen refugees - women, children, old - being brutally butchered facing the crucifix.

    According to eyewitnesses clergymen gave away hiding Tutsis and turned them over to the machetes of the Hutu militia.

    In connection with these events again and again two Benedictine nuns are mentioned, both of whom have fled into a Belgian monastery in the meantime to avoid prosecution. According to survivors one of them called the Hutu killers and led them to several thousand people who had sought shelter in her monastery. By force the doomed were driven out of the churchyard and were murdered in the presence of the nun right in front of the gate. The other one is also reported to have directly cooperated with the murderers of the Hutu militia. In her case again witnesses report that she watched the slaughtering of people in cold blood and without showing response. She is even accused of having procured some petrol used by the killers to set on fire and burn their victims alive..." [S2] 

    I can go on and on as the lists is never ending and if we have to bring the Jewish and Palestine wars, The Muslim wars ect. This blog will be dripping with blood.

    So hear is just a small amount of evedince why I would claim christianity has done more harm than good.

@Jorita, I would love to know how you got Old Testament casualties down to six significant figures.  It reminds me of Bishop James Ussher's calculation of the date of creation.

Besides, I think you missed quite a few!

Just the combatants in the American Civil war numbered well over half a million dead.  That doesn't touch the "collateral damage" or injuries.  Add in the rest of America's wars, the decimation of Native Americans, the far flung military adventurism of the British Empire...

I think Democracy must be the thing that has done more harm than anything I know.

No, wait...  Speaking English.  That's it.  People who speak English have done more harm than anything I know.

I'm just joking with you a bit.  The point, though, is obvious.  When a king or other government goes to war, is it because of the language they speak, or because of economics, or their form of government, or their religion?  Those things are hard to separate.   If religious leaders go along with the king, is it because they are actually adhering to their religion, or because they are corrupt and will benefit personally, or because they are scared?

Plus, I think a claim like "more harm than any other faith" probably requires a comparison to at least some other faiths.  Stalin was an atheist, and he wiped out more people in a couple of decades than your entire total for Judeo-Christianity over 5 millenia.

Plus, I think a claim like "more harm than any other faith" probably requires a comparison to at least some other faiths.

It would be near impossible to meaningfully evaluate one way or the other. Using the number of people killed isn't a good measure. Increases in technology and population give modern monsters a substantial edge. But trying to work it into a different framework such as percentage of population starts to get morbid. What point could it possibly prove?

I think the point most atheists will raise, and which you have no doubt heard, is killing 'in the name of [religion x]'. It has some validity, but it is also unwieldy. I could kill in the name of atheism, but that doesn't mean killing in the name of atheism is actually meaningful or in any way logical. Conversely, I can't assume that an Islamic 'terrorist' is reasonably representing his faith. If I want to make that assertion, I'd have to back it up rationally. I'm not saying it's impossible; I just think it is a reasonable burden to bear for anyone making the claim.

If a Christian insists that Christians are intrinsically morally superior or good, we can point to  examples where we can see it isn't really true. I don't find most Christians I know make that claim though, and I won't assert on their behalf that they condone the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades, bear any significant connection to such events, or that I understand the full political stakes and the connection to theology as it was understood then and now. Too convoluted.

Dear professor, as I pointed out the list is endless but on the biblical figures Unless my calculator is on the frits I can give you the chapters and versus and you can calculate them yourself. 

1.How many men did god kill because someone decided to take a look inside the ark? 1Samual 6:19

2. How many men did Moses kill in one day because they failed to suport god? Exodus 32:26-28

3. How many people did god kill in a plague before someone ended the mixed marriage of a couple with the murder of the couple?  Numbers 25:6-9

4. How many animals did Solomon kill in a sacrifice to please the Lord? 1 Kings 8:63

5. Howmany Isrealites did god deliver to the people of Judah to slaughter?

    2 Chronicles 13:15-18

6. How many people of Judah were once killed or enslaved because they did not give god           his due?  2 Chronicles 28:6-8

7. How many Ethiopians did god kill for his chosen his chosen people?

    2 Chronicles 14 8-12

8. How many soldiers did god burn to death with fire from heaven because they confronted Elijah? 2 Chronicles 1:10-14

9. How many people did god kill in one day for premarital sex? 1 Corinthians10: 8

10. How many Israelites did god kill to punish David for counting them through pestilence?

      1 Chronicles 21: 1-14

11. How many people did god slaughter in a plague because they had questioned Moses and Aaron?   Numbers 16: 44-49   Numbers 16:35

12. How many Israelites did god slaughter in a plague for whoring around? Numbers 25:1-9

13. How many of other races and tribes did the lord deliver to be slaughtered by Israel because he favoured the Israelites and was prejudiced against other tribes? Judges1:4 and Judges3;28-29

14 How many Assyrians did god kill after their king and his servants made fun of him? Isaiah 37:1-36

Please read and do the Math.

And just for the fun

> How does god punish those who break his commandments? Leviticus 26:14-22 and Deuternonomy 28:15-28

> How does god deal with people that have a different religion? Deuternonmy 32:17-25 and Psalm 2:8

> How does god kill whiners? Numbers 11:1

>How does god torture those who somehow became enemies of his chosen people? Numbers24:8  Deuternonomy 7:20-21  Isaiah 49:26

>How does god kill those who vacation in Egypt?  Jeremiah 42:15-17

> Whom does god slaughter when he gets jealous because a community is worshiping someone else? Hosea13:16

> In Jesus time how did the trinity deal with nonbelievers? Acts12;23 and Acts 13:8-11

> What to do with female prisoners Numbers 31:26-54 

Atheism Is not a faith I have no faith! And the fact that Stalin murderd so many people sad, but it came to a stop! Religion still kills on a daily basis. As I pointed out that it is not possible to give all the information as there is just to much, it would help if you started reading and did some research of your own. And from the stats that I have seen Christianity is the dominat faith world wide then Muslim and so the list goes on.

@Prof Robert.

I asked you why you are (still) a Catholic. What is it about Catholicism that you have decided that your belief in it is justified? However you answered my question with another question. So I will answer it first. I am an Atheist because I do not believe in the existence of any god. Why do I think that? I have been unable to find any evidence to justify holding any such belief.

While not answering my question you continued with such a very poor understanding of what Atheism is (and in particular what Atheism is not).

“Atheism as a social theory is largely a failure”

Atheism is a lack of belief in the existence of Gods. It is not a social theory. I may be wrong but reading between the lines you may be implying that communism or more likely Stalinism was inspired by some Atheistic philosophy. In case I have assumed that I will just say that concept is nonsense.

“...tends to be limited to those who nurse anger toward organized religion for personal reasons”

I am often angry at what is done in the name of religion. I detest it for the way it indoctrinates young minds. I abhor its treatment of women. I could keep listing my reasons for being angry. But my anger is calm. It is also not for personal reasons. I am angry on behalf of the vulnerable young minds it tries to capture in order for it to survive. On a personal level I am frustrated that so many people around me still hold these beliefs and yet not one of them can justify to me what they continue to hold them.

Now there is a philosophy to life that comes about from being an Atheist and maybe you are referencing this (I am being generous here). This philosophy has enables me and those Atheists I know to understand the world around us and our role in it with a much greater clarity than any theist that holds supernatural beliefs. It may seem natural that there must be a god but that does not make it a belief in something that is of the natural world.

Christians are commanded to be good. However the philosophy that flows from living our lives in the “belief” that there is no personal intervening god involved, leads us to what I would consider a more mature level of ethical behaviour towards our fellow brothers and sisters. I could do a thesis on this topic alone. I will just say, to quote Hitchens - Atheists “do not swallow their moral code in tablet form”. When I hear someone say the words “I am an Atheist” I will automatically trust them for I know they have undertaking a journey of self-discovery to get to that place. At the same time I am not inferring (as you seem to be doing with Atheists) that Theism and therefore Theists are somehow weaker. I do not need to be told how to behave.

“it has little success in moving people to sacrifice for the good of the whole”.

Please - another Thesis in the making here. Surely I don’t need to address this?? What would (say) Bill Gates et al think?

“it offers neither comfort for the afflicted”

A belief may offer comfort but it does not make it true. People do fear death and granted religion may remove that fear. Epicurus would say that it irrelevant because the fear it tries to assuage in offering Heaven or Hell is caused by the religion itself.

“It would tear down religion or social structures that it feels are outmoded, but does not offer any satisfying replacement”

Exactly! I doubt if I will live long enough to see it happen but it would be a great day. Religion is a carbuncle on the back of humanity. It does not need a replacement. There is no void once religion is removed from a person’s life. I have seen and helped many people to de-convert over the last 25 years. No a single person has ever looked to have a replacement. Why would they when their lives become more purposeful when they are able to think freely and critically to view the world without the fear that religion instils.  Robert - do you actually belief you will become immortal when you die?

“Intellectually, I personally find it largely shallow and lacking nuance”,

Do you consider your Faith to be arrived at through an intellectual process? That is exactly how I removed mine. The reason I am an Atheist still (to answer your question again) is because of my intellect.  Theist may consider my “unbelief a sin” as Aquinas did. My disbelief resides in and stems from an intellectual process. However I am unable to believe in your or any other God. It is not because I am sometimes (often) angry with religion.  It is because of the intellectual journey I have undertaken that I am a non- believer, an Atheist. Unlike Aquinas I do not hold faith as somehow superior to intellectual reasoning. To many theists it is because they have believed in something for so long and put so much effort into the theology that surrounds it that it appears to them to be “knowledge” in the sense that it is intellectually justified. You have referenced many philosophers down through the ages. I, at an intellectual level can appreciate the value in studying them. I would agree with Hegel that the study of philosophy is just the introduction to philosophy. Then, once we understand the meanings of words in a philosophical discussion we can have informative debates. Philosophy cannot be taught. It must be, as Kant would say, an exercise in reason.

We can go from Anselm, to Descartes and all the way to apologists like W.L. Craig arguments that assert that a god must exist based on arguments that at first seem to have merit. The Summa Theologica or the Kalam Cosmological Argument may have merit but only in the sense they are arguments worth debating on occasion.

I agree with Thomas Paine that “Theology is the study of nothing and has nothing to offer”.

We can argue and debate all day long but in the end I am left with no option but to reject holding any affirmative belief in your god’s existence.

Why? Well because all philosophy is just argument. To quote a Hawking (a Scientist for a change), “Philosophy is dead. It has not kept up with science”. Today Science is “the bearer of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge”. The role of religion or philosophy is obsolete as a source for any answers. Science has superseded and replaced religion completely. Just in case – No, I have not made Science my god.  However I gained my knowledge from Science. Whatever beliefs I have formed about the big questions in life – those once considered to be answered by religion and philosophy – are justified to me by Science because they are falsifiable. They can be deemed “knowledge” because they can be objectified with the Scientific Method.

 

At the risk of contradicting myself I will quote Locke “Knowledge is based on reason but belief derives from judgement”.  As an Atheist I want some evidence to justify KEEPING my beliefs. I have that through Science. That is why I am (still) an Atheist. Can you Robert offer me any reason to change my mind?

So once again please would you mind answering me? Why do you remain a Catholic? How do you “justify” holding your belief in God. I am prepared to change my mind if you can offer me some reason to. I am not looking for proof of your god’s existence only some small shred of evidence that can be tested. I will publically renounce my membership of this “relatively small fringe cult” if you can do so. If not will you admit that you only believe in your god because of your Faith. I would suggest that Atheism is a more solid position to hold, especially on an intellectual level.

Thanks Nate. Most of the Theists here are incapable of being serious Apologists. They generally just waffle on about it as in a standard monologue of platitudes. So when the occasional more educated defender of the Faith comes along I look forward to a more serious debate. But it is always like banging my head against a wall only to discover that stopping is the best thing. For all the theological knowledge they seem to have acquired to defend their faith, they don’t understand what Atheism is.

Their job is to explain matters of faith to their flock. That is their training. They are used to this role and it seems they think they are defenders of it from the “onslaught of atheism” or some such rubbish. Many think we are angry because we don’t have their god in our lives. They are blind to seeing the bad side of their religion. They never seem to be able to distinguish argument from evidence. “My faith is all the evidence I need” is a terrible motto. If I was in a room with the 1.2 billion of the world’s Catholics I would still maintain that I am correct in my thinking and that they are all suffering a delusion.

As for Prof. Robert (apologies for discussing you in the third party) I have to conclude that he does not understand what Atheism and what it is not. I suspect his University may have a lot of iconography on its walls and wooden crosses to remind its students that they are sinners.

One thing I have been reminded of in the last few days is that Catholics have many of the strangest beliefs and practises of them all. Take a look at some of the stuff on Catholic Answers if you dare. I feel so dirty when I go there but I keep going back for more because I like the feeling. I don’t know why, I just do!!!!There must be a bit of catholic guilt in me still. lol. Yes,Catholics are different.

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