As a proud nonbeliever I watch documentaries on any given religious topic with a bias, a rather notable one. What I've found though is that, while on our side we have facts, logic, reason, and for the most part good intentions, we go about the whole thing with too much hostility. The religious people that convert and maintain faith are honestly good people who also have good intentions, as far as I can tell they all truly have faith and want to help those without. 

Even if the facts on our side are stronger, love doesn't flow from facts and unfortunately that is how the argument is presented from our side most of the time, as facts. Not to mention all the angry protests I have seen against the holy this or that. 

This is my main point, calm down Atheists. If you are forced to argue instead of debate, keep a cool head, and argue the indisputable facts with a smile. Sure, many of them are very stupid and will make this easy on you but the faster we can take the rage from our words, the faster our words will be heard.

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Not only do I not believe it, @Reg, my faith does not teach it.

Again, I think what you're calling "religion" is really just the fundamentalist fringe.  For my part, I agree with you.  I have issues with the fundamentalist fringe that are much the same as yours.  In fact, I do many of the same things you do in terms of helping them be thoughtful and questioning, and I honestly approve of what you describe.  My language is probably a bit more open/comfortable for them, so I also have a higher conversion rate <g>.

Again, I think what you're calling "religion" is really just the fundamentalist fringe.

Except that is not thought, it's wilful ignorance of what I pointed out below: "end times" fundamentalists are a mainstream religious belief, not a fringe.

Ah, back to the childish cartoons and name-calling again.

I was actually responding to @Reg, not to you Gallup. And you'll note that I spoke about myself and my own religion's teachings in this case. 

So, can you prove that I was wrong about my own beliefs and religion's teachings?  Or are you, in fact, doing the things of which you accuse me?

Jiminy

Ah, back to the childish cartoons and name-calling again.

Well no, Bob. It's back to the usual dead-on satire.

You know how we do this: (1) you do something intellectually dishonest, (2) I demonstrate your dishonesty in a fun way (often to your shame, which is an important secondary goal of satire), and (3) you ignore the demonstration and dismiss the satire, a sophisticated form of social criticism, as childish name-calling.

That's the thing Bob. There's no getting around it. If you lie and I call you a liar: it is factual. It is the correct name for what you did.

And speaking of this. Calling me childish? Hmm. That seems awfully ad hom, Bob. Careful, now.

I was actually responding to @Reg, not to you Gallup.

When you're on a public forum, posting in a public thread, you are responding to everyone and everyone is invited to post. Take it to private message if you don't want others to comment.

And you'll note that I spoke about myself and my own religion's teachings in this case.

You'll note that I spoke about you and your religion's teachings too. That post is six hours older than your post (the one I'm responding to now):

Reply by Gallup's Mirror 21 hours ago - (I comment on Bob's beliefs and the official teachings of Catholicism on End Times)

Reply by Dr. Bob 15 hours ago - (Bob comments apparently to the effect that I accused him and his religion of exclusivism: that non-believers go to hell at End Times.)

So, can you prove that I was wrong about my own beliefs and religion's teachings? Or are you, in fact, doing the things of which you accuse me?

Here is exactly the "accusation" I made. I credited you for not believing, and your Church for not officially teaching, that non-believers go to hell. I said you were right about that and included a link to the Vatican to prove it. 

"If [you] want to disown this abhorrent belief both personally and as a Catholic, that's a rare move to your credit. Because you were right that the Catholic Church does teach inclusivism on the Last Day: "Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgment of the Last Day in his preaching. Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light. Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God's grace as nothing be condemned. Our attitude to our neighbor will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love."

Or are you, in fact, doing the things of which you accuse me?

No, Bob. In fact, it's exactly like that except our positions are reversed. You misrepresent what I say-- completely make shit up-- and attack me falsely for it. Exactly like I said.

Jiminy

No, Bob. You're infamous for being dishonest, not for shaming others in their dishonesty. Pinocchio, you remain.

@ Bob – Are you saying that the Catholic Church does not teach that Jesus (i.e.  God) is expected to return to this planet. You are now claiming you do not believe this? For once Bob please explain what you do believe. I have never before heard a Catholic say that he did not believe Jesus would return. My next conversation with my theologian friend in Maynooth will be very interesting.

btw - I never used the word "religion" in the post you are referencing.

Dear me.   Not to jump in with any facts to mess with your world-view,

Success, Bob. Your jump-in was indeed fact-free.

but what you describe with respect to "rapture" applies to only a fraction of one somewhat odd branch of one religion, not to "the religious", and its an unfair characterization of most of them.

The Barna Group just did a poll for the Washington times. 45 percent of Catholics, 54 percent of Protestants, and 77 percent of evangelicals in the United States agreed with the statement that “the world is currently living in the ‘end times’ as described by prophesies in the Bible.” 

Do the math. That is by far the majority view of the religious in the United States. If that's not enough, read this (rather long) list of crackpot statements about the apocalypse and note how many were made by mainstream religious and political figures.

Congresswoman Michelle Bachman tops the list for having stated on Saturday, "“The United States is willingly, knowingly, intentionally sending arms to terrorists, now what this says to me, I’m a believer in Jesus Christ, as I look at the End Times scripture, this says to me that the leaf is on the fig tree and we are to understand the signs of the times, which is your ministry, we are to understand where we are in God’s end times history.”

As a Catholic I read statements like this and immediately dismiss them as ignorant, even more than I do with our apocalyptic Baptist brethren. 

Of course you'll dismiss them, Pinocchio. That's your standard move: when reality gets in the way, you ignore it. Hence, the length of your nose.

The religious are seeking the end of humanity in some form of mass murder-suicide?  

Yeah, Bob. It's an openly stated goal of mainstream religious America to bring about the return of Jesus, an event they believe coincides with the end of the world. One example is the billion souls network, which has a global membership of 1.4 million churches and a doctrinal statement that it eagerly seeks to bring about "the End" by converting all nations to Christianity (a goal reflected in their namesake):

"We believe that Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly, in power and glory, to consummate his salvation and his judgment. This promise of his coming is a further spur to our evangelism, for we remember his words that the gospel must first be preached to all nations. We believe that the interim period between Christ’s ascension and return is to be filled with the mission of the people of God, who have no liberty to stop before the End. [...] Our Christian confidence is that God will perfect his kingdom, and we look forward with eager anticipation to that day, and to the new heaven and earth in which righteousness will dwell and God will reign forever."

That sort of calumny to me illustrates the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of atheism.  

No, Bob. It illustrates that we do our homework and you don't, so you make a fool of yourself once again.

It shouldn't be necessary to dehumanize and vilify others to make a point, and if it is necessary then your argument probably isn't very good.  The people who make such bizarre claims to stir up hatred or fear of another group are the ones who themselves lead pogroms or genocides and inspire others to do so.
Now what do you suppose the End Times seekers believe will happen to atheists like me, or Muslims, or Hindus, or Buddhists, who don't believe Jesus is a god? We are cast into the fiery furnace and suffer for all eternity. This is what they are trying to bring about: heavenly bliss for themselves and eternal torture in hell for everyone else.

How sweet.

I don't have to demonize and vilify them for seeking that. They do it to themselves just fine without my help.

So the result of the approach is the natural one to any anti-intellectual hate speech.  It's revulsion by people of good will.   I'm not sure how you can make your point that way.

Atheists aren't the ones you should be scolding about anti-intellectualism and hate speech, Bob. Start with yourself. Finish with the millions of "good will" Christians who really do want to bring about the End of the world, and the death and damnation of all non-believers.

@Gallup - thank you for taking the time to school this skypilot on such a regular basis.

Surely you are joking.  Do you actually read and evaluate these arguments, @Heather?  Or just skim them and buy in because of length? <g>

The Barna Group just did a poll for the Washington times...

The United States is not the world, @Gallup.  I will agree, the United States is an odd outlier because of the history of the Great Awakening religions and their impact on U.S. society and culture.  Even so, the poll question you report is a very, very different claim than the one that was being made.  Believing they may be living in "end times" means very different things between the various religions, and in most of them does not mean what you claim.

That's your standard move: when reality gets in the way, you ignore it.

So your claim is that it is "reality" that "the religious have no intent or belief that the world and humankind go on", that we're all setting up everyone for a Jim Jones-style murder-suicide?   That's the version of "reality" that you actually believe in?

No wonder you find it necessary to use playground names to try to make a point.

One example is the billion souls network,

So your evidence for intent of genocidal murder-suicide is a goofball website making ridiculous claims about evangelism, but nowhere suggests murder-suicide?

This is what they are trying to bring about: heavenly bliss for themselves and eternal torture in hell for everyone else.

I'm lost.  Are you really worried about eternal torture in hell?  Are you really concerned about Christians who are hoping for the Second Coming (which is not necessarily the End of the World)?  I thought you were an atheist. 

Jim Jones committed real-world murder-suicide.  That I can see caring about,  that is what was mentioned above in terms of what we religious folks intended, and that is clearly nonsense.

The United States is not the world, @Gallup.

Robert Piano didn't specify if he meant the religious of the world or the United States. You assumed the world. I assumed the United States. The US is where I, you and Robert Piano all live, and where I found the most data to examine the issue, so here we are.

Even so, the poll question you report is a very, very different claim than the one that was being made. 

The claim being made: "...the religious have no intent or belief that the world and humankind go on. Their scriptures and leaders are hell-bent on the end-of-times prophesy and they aim to see it through. Think the Reverend Jim Jones on a grand scale. Al-hah Snack Bar, The Rapture, Take me Jesus."

The poll question: “[Do you agree or disagree] the world is currently living in the ‘end times’ as described by prophesies in the Bible.”

You're saying these two claims, which both refer to belief in Biblical end-times prophecy-- Jesus returning to judge mankind at the apocalypse-- are "very, very different?"

Get fucking real, Bob.

Believing they may be living in "end times" means very different things between the various religions, and in most of them does not mean what you claim.

To the fundamentalists-- who ARE as I said most of the religious in the United States-- it means exactly what they believe it means. When the world ends, everyone who isn't a Jesus crackpot is going to hell.

  • The Princeton Religion Research Center estimates that 6 in 10 Americans "completely agree that the only assurance of eternal life is a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Since the PRRC estimates that 8 out of 10 Americans regard themselves as Christians, then about 75% of Christian adults hold some doubt about inclusivism [the belief if is not necessary to believe in Jesus and the gospel to be saved]." (source)
  • According to the Barna Research Group, among adult Americans: 86% believe that "eventually all people will be judged by God, 57% believe that good people will go to Heaven, 39% believe that those who do not accept Christ as savior will go to Hell, and 46% agree and 47% disagree that all good people will go to Heaven. (source)
  • Billy Graham - The Amsterdam Affirmations - (Used as a definitive handbook of Christian teachings by evangelicals throughout the world)  6. God loves every human being, who, apart from faith in Christ, is under God's judgment and destined for hell.

This is a mainstream religious belief in the United States, not a fringe. Don't just ignore the research, offer none of your own and tell me it's not true. It is.

If want to disown this abhorrent belief, both personally and as a Catholic, that's a rare move to your credit. Because you were right that the Catholic Church does teach inclusivism on the Last Day:

"Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgment of the Last Day in his preaching. Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light. Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God's grace as nothing be condemned. Our attitude to our neighbor will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love."

This is not to say that all Catholics believe it, though. To put it as you often do: you are "not fundamentalists".

You're saying these two claims, which both refer to belief in Biblical end-times prophecy-- Jesus returning to judge mankind at the apocalypse-- are "very, very different?"

Jim Jones' murder-suicide cult and the Second Coming of Christ are very, very different?  Let me think for a nanosecond.  YES.

The claim was that the religious intend a Jim Jones style (i.e. human-caused) murder-suicide of all humanity.  You can't support the claim because it's not true, so you offer a bunch of other obliquely related stuff to pretend there is evidence.   That's been a common tactic of those preaching hate since the dawn of time.  Anyone who suggests that perhaps the hated group isn't all that bad gets ridiculed and set upon.

The only question is how you can justify this as rational?

The method was not the claim, it's the impending doom heard over the megaphone and pulpit and there is no argument about that. All religions differ as to the details. You may also argue it's not the reason Israel was put back as prophesized and it's not the reason for all the odd burial rituals that religions are so keen on. You may argue that it's not a cause of  poor stewardship of mother earth. You may argue that Iran should be allowed nuclear weapons because of how responsible religious-states are.

Please tell us why should us atheists should "be nice" and pretend that the majority of the people on this planet do not have the attitude that their deity will end our sinful species and pass eternal judgment and that it will happen in the fairly close future and it will all begin in the Middle East. It's the "we told you so" moment of enforcement and authoritarianism.

At some point when the religious fail to be "fundamentalists" as in not believing in the fundamentals, I do not see them as religious. Congrats Dr Bob.

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