I spent a while thinking (hate-mail)

Published June 14th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

I spent a while thinking of a good reply to this, without sounding like some sort of inbred hick or perhaps maybe to get your attention. However, I realize that there pretty much is no way for that to happen, if you put this in your hate-mail section, I’ll probably be mocked just as much as the next guy, who put the stupid comment about how you could never buy a pirate ship. I’m OK with that, I just wish people will actually think about what I have to say rather then ignorantly mocking what I believe personally. Whatever may happen, I don’t really mind, except that I cannot bring myself to be silent on this issue.

I am a Christian, whatever you may think about me, or absurd assumptions you may have about what I look like, think like, or speak like, realize this, I think all beliefs should be treated with equality. Atheism, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Agonist, Voodoo, whatever, I don’t care, if you believe that you are correct, then you have every right in the world to believe that with all your heart, and nobody should force you to believe what they believe. Now I also believe in open criticism of any of these religions, meaning your Pastafarian view that openly mocks religion. However, it is also my right to criticize the criticism, meaning though while I believe it is your right to mock, harass, and generally make religious persons miserable, I don’t believe it is morally right.

Atheism is a belief just as much as Christianity. Say whatever you want about facts and how religion is stupid and all those who practice it are all idiots, but it still comes down to the fundamental truth that you must believe this to be more true over the other option. I am again, completely fine with that, and that is why I love America so much, because we CAN believe differently then one another, and still live peacefully (to a degree) together. However, mocking is not the right way to go about arguing your belief.
By the way, here is the definition of mocking:

1. Tease or laugh at in a scornful or contemptuous manner.

2. Make (something) seem laughably unreal or impossible.

To laugh at someone else’s belief that they dedicate their lives to is not funny or humorous, but I believe is rather childish and immature. This is the main reason why I would much rather sit down calmly with an atheist and have a rational discussion about each other’s beliefs, instead of smacking them in the face with a bible, and shouting how they are going to hell for not believing the undeniable truth that is the bible, or worse, calling their belief idiotic and getting my group of friends together and laughing and pointing in his face.

Of course there are people that do this, hence, you, and there will always be people like you. My job is try to convince you to be rational and discuss each others view points.

I could never put myself in your mindset and read this the same way through your eyes. To you, I just look like another idiot who took this seriously and decided to write a concerned letter and waste his time trying to teach you to be respectful, but the truth is, writing this helps me put my thoughts in order anyways.

If you do have one ounce of thought for my beliefs, at least view this letter with respect, and try to think about what I am thinking when I read this:


What I am thinking is that the joke has gone to far. Of course this letter asks for intelligent discussion, and that seems to have never existed in your website, so before I go, let my put it in your language.

Fuck you, and lay off religion asshole.


2,163 Responses to “I spent a while thinking (hate-mail)”

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  1. Ciappo says:

    First of all, this is not a mock. As you can read nearly everywhere, this is a religion of respect, we do not blame other religions for their believe, we do not blame people for what the have faith in. We just don’t like who tries to impose their view to other persons. This can either be catholics trying to forbid abortion and omosexual civil marriages or a atheist who asks for the abolotion of christmas trees.
    I would like also the remind you that it is not impossible to laugh at ourselves. Well, sometimes is a great choice, beacause laughing makes everything better, so i can happily say: “yes, i believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster” while eating some pasta at dinner with my friends. Why you can’t say, for example: “Yes, it’s quiete strange that God had to send his son to die and redeem us all just beacause a couple of us, long time ago, ate an apple”?
    Probably you have to read something more on this site, we are rational and respectful, even though you finally insult us. So I ask you, in our language, please, look carefully in the “hate mail” and you will see a lot of rational discussion, and, you wrote “fuck you” but, thanks you, i often have sex with myself without your advice.


    • Nachojarred says:

      i know its a typo but i think im going to become omosexual

      • Lavantant says:


      • Keith says:

        You’re going to have sex with washing powder? (Or is that a comment only Australians will understand?)

        • The Reverend Toni Rigatoni says:

          It’s UK friendly too Keith. And I’m old enough to remember it!

        • Keith says:

          Being in the UK you’d probably be familiar with “Old Harry’s Game”. That’s really what Hell is all about.

    • Lavantant says:

      “I often have sex with myself without your advice.”

      This right here is a win.

  2. Fiona says:

    Wow, a lot of effort in that one

  3. brian t says:

    “Atheism is a belief just as much as Christianity. ”

    Is that what your pastor / priest / reverend told you? Yeah, they’re certainly objective on the topic of atheism, right?

    • StJason says:

      If Atheism is a belief, then poverty has as much money as a millionaire. The inside of a cave is as brightly lit as the surface of the sun. And there is as much water in the middle of the desert as the middle of the ocean.

      Of course, that is neither here nor there. For we all are full of belief. We are buoyed by the Knowledge that our Great Noodly Lord loves us and wants us to be well fed.

      • Anthony Soto says:

        Good stuff dude (and not the spaghetti).

      • KiL says:

        But then again just a little as any believer can prove the existence of their god, you cannot prove the non-existence of a god, thus atheism can only revert to believing that there is no god. That is fine by me.

        But as long as you insist on saying “there is no god” without proving it scientifically, you are merely believing in your assumptions, which sound terribly like a religion to me.

        If you however say you follow the non-god theory, you act like a scientist, acknowledging the fact that it’s a non proven theory and nothing more. Even evolution is still a theory, too. I mean it sounds crazy, looking at all the evidence – everything indicates very, very strongly that it is the way things work in nature, but we don’t have full scientific proof for it. We don’t have all the missing links or any other way e.g. in genetics to completely proof how evolutions works. Just piles of evidence that seems to support the theory, so we assume we’re on the right track there. Maybe until another scientist finds out that we’ve all been genetically engineered by some sick aliens or some other crazy shit (maybe they find the EULA within our DNA some day ;-).

        • theFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

          Without explaining the difference between a belief and a scientific theory for the 782nd time on this site, let’s look at other things that have not been disproved:
          the Loch Ness monster
          Santa Claus
          the Tooth Fairy
          Catherine Zeta-Jones desire to leave Mr. Douglas for me
          a fine porcelin teapot orbiting the sun

        • Rev. wulff says:

          As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, there is a difference between “I believe there is no god” atheism and “Based on the evidence I’ve seen, I don’t think God exists” atheism, and the second group is different from “I don’t have enough evidence to make a decision” agnosticism. As I’ve told many x-tians over the years, though I do not think there is a god, if I find myself before it when I die, I will still be prepared to justify myself. I do think that many of the “true non-believers” would find themselves just as shocked at being proven wrong as the “true believers” would.

        • Mats says:

          Evolution is a fact, and the theory of evolution is just how we try to explain that fact. Just like we know gravity is a fact, and the theory of gravity tries to explain it.

          Furthermore, Atheism is by definition the lack of belif. An atheist don’t belive that there isn’t a god. They don’t belive in a god. There is a difference there, if one care to see it.

          But all that is pointless. The FSM created all and is our noodly lord. R’amen.

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          “just a little as any believer can prove the existence of their god, you cannot prove the non-existence of a god, thus atheism can only revert to believing that there is no god.”

          You are arguing belief in disbelief, which makes no sense. If you start with “Belief” then remove it, what remains is an absence of belief.

        • Lavantant says:

          Atheism isn’t necessarily the belief that there is no god, just that no one can even begin to prove at all that he exists. (“He”)

        • Ian Hall says:

          Sigh, not this again. We may not be able to prove the non-existence of the christian deity but we can demonstrate that almost every scientific claim made by christianity is nonsense, that the christian notion of god is as variable as the wind, that christian churches are corrupt, venal organisations operated by charlatans and frauds, that the central premises of christianity are ludicrous and foolish, that the core morality of christianity is inconsistent, illogical and based on bigotry, prejudice and hatred, and that your beliefs are nonsensical whimsy that are totally undeserving of respect. The fact is that the entire conceit of christianity has been exposed as a gross and embarassing lie, a meme, a contagion of the human spiriit. Your beliefs are ridiculous, unfounded in reason, and unsupportable by anything but a willful decision to stick one’s head in the ground, embrace ignorance and accept whatever the church is doing to your anus while your eyes are averted. I’d be prepared to be polite about religion if there was some part of it that made sense but it is, at the end of the day, the willful embrace of ignorance in support of prejudice and it has no place in the modern world. So, stop bleating about how science doesn’t provide all the answers and just grow the fuck up – your super fairy does not exist, your beliefs are ridiculous, you are a fool and you have no place in society.

        • TheFewTheProudTheMarinara says:

          “How do I know? The BuyBull tells me so!”

          Since there is no historical proof that Jesus even existed, let alone was divine or on a divine mission, Christians are left with only the Bible, which intrinsically has no more validity than the Quran, Torah, Book of Mormon or Dianetics.

          True, I can not prove the non-existence of your god, but the “evidence” of the Buybull is exceedingly weak. Various cornerstones – such as the Exodus, the gift of the 10 Commandments, the Slaughter of the Innocents, the conquest of Israel and the Great Flood have been DIS-proven by archaeology, while other areas are so plain ridiculous that common sense can rule them out.

        • Alphy says:

          Hey, Ignoramus,

          Yes. Evolution is a theory. It is a theory OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORTED by the findings of scientific research. We have evolved. It is an empirically verified fact. Religion is not empirically verified. Evolution is empirically verified. So called ‘creation scientists’ and ID nut cakes pick and choose only what seems to support their religious position. They make a conclusion based on religiousity, scripture, and then work backwards, like putting the cart before the horse, to justify the rediculous and unjustifiable. Their attempts to cloak creationism or ID in a scientic guise is intellectually dishonest. It is a lie! Scientist consider the whole body of data and decide what can be concluded from it. Creationist pick and choose bit and pieces that seem to support creationism and ignore the whole body of data. They have went so far as to vary the speed of light to support their creationist crap.

        • William says:

          Why should “we” have to prove a negative, i.e. that god does not exist? The burden of proof is on YOU! I guess when god created the universe, he said let there be the Higgs Boson right. Christianity is a short-circuit in the mind, and is nothing more than mere escapism.

        • Bleheh says:

          Okay, ignoring everything else, I just had to say that Atheism is NOT “believing there is no god,” it IS not believing in a god. There’s a big difference. One is actively rejecting without proof, one is passively disbelieving because of an absence of proof. The former could be construed as a religion, while the latter most definitely cannot.

        • JAJAJAJAJA says:

          -FOR “BROTHER” AUSTIN-

          “Blessed are ye when [men] shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you” (Matt 5:3-12, Luke 6:20-23)

          Austin, may be you should ask the holy spirit to penetrate you with some of those fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control) you should be filled with! (Galatians 5:22)


    • ronmac05ad says:

      All the while I thought that Atheism is Not Believing in a God/Deity for lack of evidence, unlike Christianity.
      Well what do I know, I’m just employing Critical Thinking instead of pulling Christian BS from my ass.
      Btw I Fuck myself too when my wife refuses to have sex.

      • Bob says:

        Atheism is denying the existence of a higher power. Atheists still have beliefs (some may believe in evolution). Not all atheists are without humor. I, for one, love Pastafarianism. It cracks me up. Obviously I don’t believe in any of the supernatural parts of it, but it’s still a good read.

        My only gripe is with people who take themselves too seriously. Otherwise, what does it matter if someone believes? If they believe in a God, as long as they don’t go about eating babies and kicking puppies, what do I care?

        • Drained and Washed Clean says:

          I do not “believe” in evolution. Belief is “confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof”. Evolution has plenty of “rigorous proof”. That is why it is a scientific theory in the first place.

        • Lavantant says:

          It is not a denial of a higher power, just a lack of belief in one.

    • Nefnora says:

      Technically, atheism IS a ‘belief’. But it isn’t a religion :P. The main problem is that many fail to see the difference between the two.

      • KiL says:

        I just wrote my lenghty post, just to find that you brought it to the point much better than I did in just one line.


      • Omnipotent Zombie says:

        Nefora, this argument has been made countless times over here; but, let’s run through it again

        Saying atheism is a belief is like saying bald is a hair color. It’s like like saying “not collecting stamps” is a hobby.Atheism is a choice; it is the willful choice to not believe.

        • Omnipotent Zombie says:

          “Nefnora” my apologies.

        • BrightWhite says:

          It would appear that many people on this forum would benefit from a dictionary. Fettucini for the win!

      • c nault says:

        As has been said by others, “atheism is a belief like not collecting stamps is a hobby”.

        • Gabe says:

          It appears you may be thinking too much about immediate cause and effect. Having faith won’t help someone in acing a final, or scoring a touchdown. These things are a matter of more human standards.

      • Alphy says:

        Atheism is NOT a believe. It is the absence of belief , the choice not to believe in any specific religion, God, believe system, etc. Atheism is NOT a system, as is organized religion, of not believing. That’s like a double negative. Atheism is chosing to not believe in the existence of God rather than chosing to believe that there is no God. Atheism does not involve believing. I choose not to believe I am bald but I believe I am hairless. Geez us Merry and Joestuff!

        • Gabe says:

          While atheism is the absence of religion, there are still beliefs involved, such as the argument that there is no higher power. It’s a belief because it can’t be scientifically proven that there is no higher power. Sure you can suggest the implausibility, but perhaps you’ve gotten the idea wrong.
          To be honest, I think dogmatism can be found in atheism just as much as religion, though it comes in different forms. When individual events are explored, religion seems more dogmatic by far. However, similar mentalities can be found either way.

        • UhOhSpaghettiO says:

          You go, Gabe. Anyone who states as fact something that cannot possibly be known is mired in dogma.

        • Gabe says:

          Well, I’m saying it can be found either way. One wouldn’t be automatically dogmatic if you hold a belief. Part of being a Christian is seeking God’s way, not just using the belief of God as justification for one’s own gain or principles. If the latter case occurs, faith becomes dogma. Faith and dogma aren’t the same thing, though.
          In the case of Atheism, one could easily hold onto disbelief of higher power and use science as a justification. While one might claim that science displays the implausibility God, I don’t believe it contradicts. Science sheds a new light on the universe, and for some Christians, a new light on God, in some ways.
          The image Atheists have in mind of God doesn’t really help; the image of an invisible magic man in the clouds. Perhaps it’s more clear to think about God as an omnipresent consciousness, just to give a new perspective.

        • Gabe says:

          Also, everyone who says Atheism doesn’t hold any beliefs, note my statement about how I don’t believe science and the belief of God are contradictory. I expressed a disbelief, and yet I have beliefs involved. There’s a belief behind every disbelief, no matter how absolute they are.

        • Gabe says:

          For example: I don’t believe in a higher power. Therefore, I believe there is no higher power.
          See how that works?

        • Gabe says:

          I wish i would’ve remembered to add quotation marks. Oh, well.

        • Rev. Wulff says:

          Actually, Gabe, I have to disagree with your example.

          “For example: I don’t believe in a higher power. Therefore, I believe there is no higher power.”

          Speaking from personal experience, I do not believe that there is *a* higher power. However, as I have seen and experienced things that cannot easily or satisfactorily explained by *current scientific theory*, I cannot say that I *believe* there isn’t a higher power. Therefore, a lack of a belief is not automatically a belief in the opposite.

          See the difference?

        • Gabe says:

          Yeah, I see the difference. My example is pretty absolute, and I realize that’s not the way things really are.
          However, I’d say that there are smaller beliefs within a lack of belief, because there are contributing factors to every reaction or perspective. I was trying to point out that no matter how absolute or unsure one’s perspective is, there are beliefs somewhere in there.

          Do you see where I’m getting at?

        • HotEnema says:

          Here we go again. Endless circular reasoning. Incessant crap! Fundies have endless explanations and reasons for endless nonsense. Oh, “God created light in coming”. “You need to think “spiritually”. The spiritual truth is what counts. “I feel it so I know its true.” “it’s a truth of the heart.” This site should be called Gabe’s spot. How can one person create so much incessant crap, so much endless shit?

        • Wayne says:

          Gabes come, and Gabes go, on off into the sunset. On that basis we have to deny the request for ‘Gabes Spot’.

        • UhOhSpaghettiO says:

          Hot Enema, maybe you’re in need of a hot enema? JK, but Gabe merely believes his version with the same passion as, apparently, you believe your version. Until science can say without a shadow of a doubt that the universe came into itself without an external catalyst, your reasoning remains as circular and endless as anyone else’s. This great blog post from NPR today admits to the simple fact that, as for now, we don’t really have any idea what caused life to come into existence:


          Thanks, and try not to get too dizzy.

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          I consider atheism to be a result, much like 1 – 1 = 0, in the case of religious faith it is faith – faith = Zero. Like any other simple equation there are no passive or active beliefs involved. How much belief is required to not believe in Allah, Vishnu, or the thousands of other major gods and goddesses which have been worshiped by all past civilizations and cultures? Chances are you place zero thought into those gods, does this mean you have belief in disbelief or that you simply hold an absence of belief towards these other contenders?

        • Gabe says:

          I’d say if one had absence for a specific belief, then some sort of other belief would be needed to consider it implausible. Sure atheism means an absence of religion, but beliefs don’t require a religion.
          In other words, think about why people become atheists.

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          “In other words, think about why people become atheists.”

          I did not “become” an atheist. By not having a belief in any higher power I am an atheist by definition, therefore the ‘result’ of ‘no belief’ is atheism. It’s like asking

          “I’d say if one had absence for a specific belief, then some sort of other belief would be needed to consider it implausible.”

          So what belief do you subscribe to consider Vishnu, the blue skinned multi-armed supreme being in Hinduism, implausible? Thor, the god of thunder? Etc? There are thousands of gods which precede yours, how much belief did you require to dismiss them?

        • Gabe says:

          To answer your question, not believing in something requires no DIRECT belief. But there are other beliefs I have which correlate with my perspective.
          Also, you said you were a Christian at one point, right? There has to be some sort of transition from believing into not. Therefore, the word “became” is relevant, or it isn’t as complex as 1-1=0.
          Think about WHY you decided to not believe. What contributed with your reasoning?

        • Gabe says:

          “So what belief do you subscribe to consider Vishnu, the blue skinned multi-armed supreme being in Hinduism, implausible? Thor, the god of thunder? Etc?”

          Well, my belief in God is why I don’t believe in any other. I’ll explain why I believe in him above all other beliefs.
          I posted somewhere that it doesn’t help to think about God as a magic man in the clouds. It might be more understandable to think of God as an omnipresent consciousness, but not one that needs a physical form in order to be at work.
          Think about consciousness and how it effects our actions. We’re given the ability to work, create, and relate with others.
          This is how we’re in the image of God. It’s not through physical image.
          God is there even when we don’t realize it. Feeling a lack of his presence is more on account of our unwillingness to release our burdens upon him. He gives us room to say yes or no.
          I can say I’ve experienced God, . I’ve opened up to God and asked him if he was real, after feeling discouraged about religion, and it’s negative effects. I said everything on my mind and released my instabilities. After that, God revealed his presence in a way I hadn’t experienced before. It was a wonderful feeling; the splendor of his works, the unstoppable acceptance, a feeling of vastness, yet, it was something so near. It was a blessing to be in God’s presence, because he accepted my struggles in faith. His presence also reminded me that he’s always there to guide and to comfort.
          In this busy world, I wish I had more time for prayer and reflection. My faith goes through mountains and valleys from time to time, but it gives me comfort to know that God is always there through the struggles of the day.

        • Gabe says:

          Sure, my belief doesn’t rely on scientific proof, but is that all there is to life?

        • Gabe says:

          Also, don’t get the impression that the results of my prayer were instantaneous.

        • Keith says:

          You say “My faith goes through mountains and valleys from time to time”. Do you mean that literally, and if so, where specifically is it heading?
          In another post you say that “I said everything on my mind and released my instabilities. After that, God revealed his presence in a way I hadn’t experienced before.” So how exactly did your god reveal its presence to you. I’m a pretty pragmatic person so if you can avoid all of the Yoda stuff I’d be much obliged.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          The belief/non-belief argument has (to me) echoes of the raging argument about whether coffee without milk is the same or different from coffee without cream. The problem I have (noting that both sides use “choose”) develops when either of the opposing sides begin to suggest that the opponent’s mother (or that of skeptical bystanders like myself) probably wears combat boots, which betrays a certain commitment beyond the cold and rational view of someone without a position on the one side or the appeal to the notion that there’s more to life than bloodless scientific inquiry. Someone I know once told me quite seriously that “God does not send you anything you cannot bear” (Said in a Mortimer Snerd voice.) Slipping off the wagon of impartiality, I think that is the single stupidest thing that has ever been said. Not only is there no proof that God exists, there is no proof that your prayers are EVER answered, Gabe.

        • Gabe says:

          When I said my faith goes through mountains and valleys, the valleys describe times when I’m not as confident in my faith, and the mountains are when I feel strength in my faith again. It’s a matter of what I’m going through in life.
          I find it hard to describe what God’s presence was like. You ask me how he revealed himself, and it’s actually kind of hard to describe. But it was something powerful. It’s not like a figure with a white robe walked in, or anything, but it was a feeling of renewal and joy.
          I had similar experiences before, but the way they happen are sometimes different. Sometimes God’s presence comforts, sometimes opens eyes, to name a few varying ways. I guess God reveals himself in different ways because the experiences one goes through are also different.

        • Gabe says:

          “Not only is there no proof that God exists, there is no proof that your prayers are EVER answered, Gabe.”

          I’m telling you why I believe in God, and I don’t take my experiences as scientific proof.
          If you were to tell me about a good friend of yours, how would you react to me saying that there’s no proof about your friendship? Sure you could prove your friend’s existence, but the quality of friendship is something YOU experience.

        • Gabe says:

          Also, Keith, if you’re looking for a pragmatic approach, I posted somewhere about God being more like an omnipresent consciousness, not an invisible man in the clouds.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          You’re probably familiar (and I am not, really) with a famous book by William James, called “The Variety of Religious Experience” now more than a hundred years old. Undoubtedly, more has been said since then, but it may encapsulate a lot of what you, Keith, TH, UOSO, et al have been so respectfully discussing. Science, psychology, and “value” as distinguished from “reality”. The last thing I would do is ridicule your internal experience, and if I have done that, I apologize sincerely. I must, however, insist that you ought not bother to argue that its validity for you trumps other perspectives. Pastafarians are, of course, actually not bloodless worshippers at the altar of Reason, strippers and beer figure in the iconology as well.

        • Gabe says:

          Actually, I’m not quite familiar with William James (though, I’m familiar with Thoreau and Emerson). I did some research, and he has some interesting ideas. This particular article was interesting to me.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          Thank you for the link, Gabe. I was going to recount a parable (or joke, or both?) from somewhere in Buddhism, I think; it takes another point of view: A novice studying meditation came to his Master and described a vision he had had while meditating. He described scenes of unbearable brilliance and great and peaceful beauty, sensing perhaps even the presence of some manifestation of the All Compassionate Himself. The Master is supposed to have replied: “If you will work harder at concentration, those things will go away.”

        • Gabe says:

          If you don’t mind, could you clarify your opinion of this Buddhist parable?

        • Gabe says:

          If you don’t mind, could you clarify your take on this Buddhist parable?

        • Gabe says:

          Sorry, didn’t realize I posted this twice.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          Briefly, my take was, first, that Buddhism might be as “valid” as Christianity. I don’t know of a mystical branch of Pastafarianism, but will surely be set straight if there is one. Second, even the most vivid individual, internal experiences may rest on illusory ground. (Think LSD trips?) Third, the “truth” , if it exists, is hard to reach.

        • Gabe says:

          In my case, my experience helped me face realities in my own life, resulting in existential peace. One would think that the delusion seen in LSD would do the opposite for one’s well-being of life and consciousness.
          Interesting phenomena of Christ revealing himself has occurred through out different cultures; particularly the Muslim culture. This article gives some of the stories to this phenomenon, and also provides an interesting perspective to spirituality:

        • Keith says:

          If that article had appeared in “New Scientist” or “Scientific American” or any reputable psychology magazine I’d be less inclined to question its authenticity but it didn’t: it appeared in an evangelical magazine.

          The first instance merely shows that Jesus should not be allowed to drive a car. There can be many psychological interpretations of car accident dreams. One, I would suspect, is that “Karima” (there is an asterisk by the name but no apparent explanation why) is not in control of her own life and that Jesus represents a radical alternative to her current lifestyle. No supernatural cause need be given for her decision to change. “Car” could be an anglicised dream pun on her name, if that was her name.

          In the second one Omar dreamed of a messenger visiting her while she was locked up in a cell and having been “tortured for years”. I’m hardly surprised. How many times had she dreamed of the figure and the promise before she was released? The article says “one night” but that could have been one night out of many. Was the picture in the book a representation of the American “blue eyed Nordic” image of Jesus? Dreams, especially in people under severe emotional stress, often contain a strong element of wish fulfillment.

          I have cut and pasted the last one and interspersed it wit comments: Yasmin was fearful and anxious.(of what? how anxious? what were the circumstances?) She cried out to Allah, asking him to help her, but she remained unchanged. One night while visiting friends in the U.S., she was awakened from her darkness with an epiphany. (after talking to her friends? Were here friends evangelists or moderate people? Were they even christians?) “Walking around the house of my friend,” she now explains in broken English, “suddenly I felt that I was blind, [but] now I can see.”

          These instances are obviously given to impress the true believers. They don’t impress me.

        • Gabe says:

          The article doesn’t really verify these stories, I’ll admit to that. But the point I was trying to make was that if people have similar spiritual experiences, can that tell us about the truth of spirituality? The answer depends on the person.

        • Keith says:

          It may tell us something about dream imagery.

        • Gabe says:

          That’s where we disagree. William James talks about intellectuall barriers checking spiritality. It’s interesting food for thought. I think religious people also provide barriers through dogmatic mentalities.

        • Reverend SillyKiwiMan says:

          Yes, fellow Pastafarians,

          I’m now an actual reverend! Yay Me! (capitalisation intentional, I’m being naughty and “proud”, oooooh condemn me, I’ve been such a naughty boy…)

          Not that being a minister in the First Church of Atheism helps me a lot in Australia given that they’re an American mob, but what the hell? While I’d also like Pastafarian ordination, the FCA has legal standing (for the most part, even if only in the US). I’ll be happy to “patch over” when the Austalian political system grows the fuck up and shakes off the stranglehold that religion has over this rather lovely country.

        • Keith says:

          Don’t hold your breath too long Kiwiman! We still have an “atheist” PM who supports the National School Chaplaincy programme. I used to vote for the people I thought would do the least harm but now I wouldn’t even take the bother to spit on them in the street.

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          “Think about WHY you decided to not believe. What contributed with your reasoning?”

          I really love chocolate, the result is that I am a chocoholic. I did not ‘decide’ love chocolate and I did not ‘decide’ to not believe. I concluded that path of Catholicism was antithesis to the claims of morality. From here I took a step back and looked at other faiths, they too were contradictory. I took at another step back, spending years doing comparative studies of faith, all suffered the same hubris, contradictions, and false claims predicated on the unprovable. As I stated elsewhere, at some point one needs to settle on practical answers and accept the cold, but realistic, likelihood that the invisible and and nonexistent look alike because they are one in the same. Once peace is made with that answer, the result is someone who is labeled an atheist.

        • Gabe says:

          Note the connection between ‘decide’ and ‘conclude’. How is stepping out of religion a conclusion and not a decision?

        • Gabe says:

          It certainly wasn’t an immediate conclusion, but the process still applies.

        • Rev. Wulff says:

          Gabe, while the two words may be synonymous, a decision tends to be more of an emotional response than a reasoned one. Conclusions can force you to make decisions, and decisions can lead you to form more conclusions. Let me give you two examples.

          For the first example, let’s examine the following sentence: after inspecting my kitchen, I concluded that I had enough ingredients to make French Toast for breakfast, but I decided to just have cereal. The first part requires a gathering of data. What foods are available in my kitchen? I see eggs, milk, bread. I can look at the recipe and determine that I have enough of these ingredients. Do I have proper kitchenware? I find a skillet to cook on, and a spatula to flip it with. Since I have a recipe, enough ingredients and proper utensils, I can conclude that French Toast is a viable option for my breakfast. And as long as those variables stay true, the conclusion will always be true, and if one of these variables is lacking, the conclusion becomes false. But having reached this conclusion, there is nothing to say that I must have it. This leads to the second part. Suppose I was out too late last night, or the neighbor’s barking dog woke me up too early, or I’ve been eating too much rich food lately, or I don’t want to make a huge mess in the kitchen. These additional variables do not alter the conclusion, but affect my feelings about the conclusion. I can have it, but for whatever reason, I don’t want it. Tomorrow, given the same set of kitchen options, my decision may be different.

          For the second example, let us suppose that this afternoon is Great-Uncle Bobby’s funeral. Knowing how important it is to my mother, I decide to go even though I haven’t seen the man in twenty years. I look through my closet for appropriate attire, but the only thing I have to wear that’s clean is a Hawaiian shirt. Given the nature of the gathering (funeral), the state of my wardrobe (floral print), and the personality of my mother, I can conclude that I had better find my suit and haul ass to the one-hour dry cleaners.

          Now, let’s apply this to religion (and keep in mind that I’m simplifying things considerably for the sake of brevity). I was taught from an early age to believe in an all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful “God”. I was raised a Catholic, and attended a Catholic grammar school. Over time and for various reasons, I *concluded* that Catholicism was not right for me, so I *decided* to explore other x-tian faiths. After careful study, I *concluded* that Christianity could not provide me with the answers I was looking for, and I *decided* to explore other world religions. This led me to *conclude* that there was no religion I could comfortably affiliate with, which made me *decide* to question what I was looking for (and why) in the first place. This process continued as I studied science, philosophy, and the nature of theology, which eventually led me to the *conclusion* that the “God” I was taught to respect and fear does not exist.

          Hope this clarifies things for you.

        • Gabe says:

          It does clarify. But, you said your studies of religion made you “conclude” that God doesn’t exist. I don’t agree that studying systems of religion could make that conclusion. It can definitely highlight flaws in religion, but to make the conclusion that these errors would point to the non-existence of a higher power would require at least some belief. Based on your first couple of examples, your last “conclusion” sounds more like a decision.

        • Rev. Wulff says:

          Check again. I never said my study of *religion alone* brought me to my conclusion. You are absolutely correct that there was not enough information there to base a conclusion on. However, I specifically said I “studied science, philosophy, and the nature of theology”. This study included learning critical thinking, proper application of scientific method, philosophical applications of ethical behavior, among many other things. The process took me several years to complete, and cannot be completely covered in a few paragraphs, hence the simplification.

          Further, the nature of this particular argument was simply the difference between “decision” and “conclusion”, but if you wish to bring “belief” into it as well, fine.

          Every rational being will agree that 1+1=2. Yes? Given the equation “x+1=2, solve for x”, there is only one number that can satisfy the equation. X must equal 1, and given the laws of mathematics, it must be “concluded” that in this equation, x can never *not* equal 1. To “decide” otherwise gets you an F on your Algebra test. To “believe” otherwise shows a mind out of touch with reality.

        • Gabe says:

          Science can’t tell us with certainty what the reality is when it comes to a higher power, though. It isn’t as simple as x+1=2 (though, being an example). Some people view science and spirituality as being contradictory, while I don’t.
          Yes, it wasn’t simply religion you examined. You put together observable patterns and took it as an indication that there isn’t a higher power. However, two people can study the same things and come to separate “conclusions” in cases like these. There has to be some sort of belief involved in a conclusion when the data isn’t absolute or direct.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          @Gabe, @ Rev. Wulff: FWIW, I think you’re talking past one another, because there is plainly disagreement and ambiguity about whether “I do not believe in (a) god” is, or is not, equivalent to ” I believe that (a) god does not exist”. (I don’t – er – believe that they’re much different, but don’t need to be whupped about that, I’m ready to be corrected no matter what.) HOWEVER, a (no quotes) conclusion that there is no evidence for (a) god seems perfectly legitimate, and whether you want to go ahead and believe, disbelieve, or have no belief anyway is a separate issue. Gabe, your position is doubly hard for Pastafarians to swallow because you ascribe your internal experiences not just to (a) god, but to Yahweh, the GGod of ABraham, Isaac, and Pat Robertson. How did you write off Thor (You’re thore, I’m blithtered…), Jupiter, and the FSM????

        • Gabe says:

          I’m not trying to use my experience as proof, but perhaps to communicate that faith is deeper than a system. I realize that my description of the experience seems over the top, but it’s hard to describe for someone who hasn’t also experienced it.
          To answer your question a little bit, I’d like to also ask one (bear with me):

          In this forum conversation, I have no proof that I’m not speaking with internet robots. Yet, I have faith that I’m discussing with humans such as myself. Why do I have faith in this? Think about interaction before plausibility.

        • Artoo Deetoo says:

          So, Gabe, you don’t know for sure do you?


        • Gabe says:


        • Gabe says:

          The point isn’t the robot part, though.

        • Gabe says:

          Here’s a hint: There are multiple possibilities in this situation without proof. So, the explanation I believe is through the interaction.

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          ” So, the explanation I believe is through the interaction.”

          It’s called emotional coherence, its a form of self deception, basically it is the ability to believe something because it results in a real stimulus. It is easiest to identify in children. My son fears the monster under the bed, he feels real fear therefore the monster must be real. In the case of faith, people can feel uplifted when they believe an all-powerfull entity is looking out for them, therefore the entity must be real. Here is a wonderful example:


          Jim Lawry saw the image of jesus in bird shit, he felt “amazed”, therefore the bird shit must mean something.

        • Keith says:

          Regarding the bird shit simulacrum. There is a regular feature in “Fortean Times” on simulacra and they are recognised simply as that. A couple of years ago I had a blob of bird shit on the rear window of my car. It looked almost exactly the same shape as the Sailor Moon sticker we had on the other side: an inappropriate critique from a bird, as I like Sailor Moon. Someone who was no doubt deeply devout would have seen a full body image of the Virgin Mary. Others would, of course, merely see a blob of bird droppings.

        • TiltedHorizon says:


          This phenomenon has a lot of names. Apophenia, pareidolia, patternicity.

        • Gabe says:

          TiltedHorizon, you cited simulacrum (apophenia). I’d say this phenomenon has more to do with superstition than faith (which are more different than you seem to think). Superstition has more to do with applying patterns to fortune/religion.


        • TiltedHorion says:


          The difference between superstition and faith is consensus.

        • Gabe says:

          It appears you may be thinking too much about immediate cause and effect. Having faith won’t help someone in acing a final, or scoring a touchdown. These things are a matter of more human standards.

        • Gabe says:

          This article adresses a lot of the things we’ve been talking about.

        • Gabe says:

          The link I provided is an interview with atheist-turned-Christian scientist, Francis Collins.

        • UhOhSpaghettiO says:

          Gabe! Thanks be to the particular higher power of our individual choice! You’re back! I had taken some time off after you posted the link to the story about Muslims seeing Jesus. PURE HOGWASH! I’m surprised you went there. Your previous arguments were too well constructed to start throwing around fanatical propaganda.

          However, you have redeemed yourself (in my humble eyes) by posting the link to the Francis Collins interview. Powerful stuff. This is a website I can respect, in its attempt to see both sides. Long live the freedom that comes with accepting that we will never know for sure!

          Glad to see you speaking up again — I’m looking forward to your fine observations and the fervently passionate responses that usually follow.

        • Gabe says:

          Don’t expect that my arguments will be perfect. I go through a process of understanding, and I won’t have all the answers.
          With the first article, I tried to establish an understanding of common, individual revelations. As my ideas process, my point wasn’t well enough developed. Sometimes if you have a point in mind, it can be hard to describe. So, don’t be discouraged.

        • Gabe says:

          The second article addresses almost everything we’ve talked about, and is honest. I actually stumbled across this guy without looking.

        • Gabe says:

          In other words, the second article is a lot better.

        • Gabe says:

          I know it surprised you that I would post the first article, but I tried to come across a point and it didn’t work. The important thing is that one’s thinking process is abled to move forward.

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          “The second article addresses almost everything we’ve talked about, and is honest.”

          I’ve know of Francis Collins, brilliant man IMHO, but intellectually dishonest when it comes to his faith. He predicates his belief on his inability to explain to himself why humans know right from wrong, citing that it cannot be an evolutionary construct because it goes against the “survival of the fittest” mantra. His conclusion ignores and omits several facts from contention.

          First, “survival of the fittest” (i.e. Natural Selection) is a description of one process covered by the theory of evolution. There is also mutation, migration, and genetic drift. Natural selection implies variation, differential reproduction, and heredity; specifically how these sub-mechanics contribute to the survivability of a species. These are results born of *natural* progression, not cognitive choice. Therefore Collins’ example of leaving a drowning man to drown is a strawman argument; this is a cognitive choice, not Natural Selection.

          Second, this claim of knowing what is “right from wrong”. If we truly knew the difference then why does “right” or “wrong” change? History offers numerous examples. It was NOT “wrong” to own slaves at for nearly 2500 years, then suddenly; it is wrong. It was once “wrong” to marry outside of one’s race. It was once “wrong” to marry outside of one’s religion. Collins also ignores the Theory of Mind. What you call morality is simply a choice, a firing of the neural networks in the temporoparietal junction of the brain to form a conclusion. Ultimately the conclusion one makes is influenced by the state of mind one is in, did they sleep enough, are they stressed, are they on drugs, or where they dropped on their heads as a child. The state of mind alters what is the brain perceives to be ‘moral’. This is why the claim of ‘knowing’ “right from wrong” is wrong; it is subjective to the individual and shaped by their current state of mind. Google: “right temporo-parietal junction” Scientists can use a transcranial perfusion sonography to influence one’s temporoparietal junctions, which alters one’s concepts of morality.

          Lastly is Collins attempt to discredit and dismiss the possibility that morality IS an evolutionary construct. He does this via the “survival of the fittest” example which I have already explained and by ignoring ‘moral’ displays in the animal kingdom. Natural selection speaks of the survivability of the individual AND of the species. Therefore, by saving the drowning man in Collins example, saving him is in the interest of the human species. Watch NatGeo or open a copy of National Geographic and sooner or later you will see a mother (bear, wolf, seal, bird, etc) protect her young from a starving predator. Search on Youtube for ‘moral’ animals and you will find a dog that pulls another dog out of a burning car, dogs protecting their human care takers, a female gorilla protecting a small child from other gorillas. I am not arguing that these animals are making moral choices but explaining how in Collins example, he assumes that humans, with all our advantages over these animals, would not make the same choices these animals do.

        • Keith says:

          When talking about “natural selection”, we should not forget “sexual selection”. I know this part of the theory has been given some more pretentious sounding names over the years but it basically refers to the practice of tarting yourself up and/or performing some antic to attract a mate. We see behavioural patterns in humans that are virtually indistinguishable from those of other animals: trying to look pretty or impressive, flexing the muscles and fighting to gain possession of someone else, offering tangible inducements such as food or money. The only major difference is that humans are less discriminating when it comes to one night stands and, in SOME cases, as in the wild, they bugger off as soon as they’ve had their way or the offspring appears. No moral judgement is involved in these cases: just a desire to satisfy an immediate need.

        • Gabe says:

          TiltedHorizon, you pointed out how there are many variables to an individual’s morality. This article provides another perspective to that point:

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          “you pointed out how there are many variables to an individual’s morality”

          Actually Gabe, I pointed out what Collin chose to ignore or dismiss in his conclusions. On the subject of morality I stated that it can’t be absolute because history shows “right & wrong” changes. I also stated it is subjective and listed a few stimuli that can influence it. Morality is a label, a category given to one’s perceived notion of “right & wrong”. As I stated, what you perceive is a byproduct of one’s state of mind.

        • UhOhSpaghettiO says:

          Keep trying to prove there’s no supreme being, guys. It’s the same as trying to prove that there is one. I’ll be interested to know how it feels when you finally catch your tail.

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          “I’ll be interested to know how it feels when you finally catch your tail.”

          I spend 99% of my day working, when I am finally blessed with a moment of having nothing better to do, I’ll chase my tail if I wanna.

        • Gabe says:

          “On the subject of morality I stated that it can’t be absolute because history shows “right & wrong” changes.”

          The standards of a culture or society definitely change, but if you look at the individual it may be a different case. They have a choice in what they want to follow. Contrasting society and the individual by standards of today, they are separate things. However, I was never there thousands of years ago to note an individual’s experience. There could’ve been an alternative factor to morality.

          “I also stated it is subjective and listed a few stimuli that can influence it.”

          That’s what I meant by variables. The reason why I posted the last link was because it contains an insight to how the brain functions, relating to belief in the metaphysical. Even though there’s different stimuli, the function is still there, even if the different stimuli are enough to effect one’s choice.

        • Gabe says:

          When I said, “There could’ve been an alternative factor to morality”, I meant that something else could’ve been effecting an individual’s choice besides a lesser morality, such as higher cultural pressure.

        • Gabe says:

          Even with progressive change in individual morality, morality can still tell us something about who we are today, and what we’re moving towards, as you can probably agree with. I’d say that the concept of free will has a lot to do with morality as well as identity. These things can be viewed in more than one light, but these different viewpoints aren’t necessarily contradictory (but can be made out to be so).

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          “This article provides another perspective to that point”

          It is the same perspective, someone has an ‘experience’, this revelatory evidence triggers emotional coherence, the ‘experience’ then becomes the basis for belief. Sorry, not good enough. These communications with divinity are experienced and presented in the same ways as alien encounters, UFO sightings, ghosts, and haunting. The only difference is that evidence is required for these other experiences.

        • Keith says:

          UhOhSpaghettiO says:
          March 14, 2013 at 3:24 PM

          Keep trying to prove there’s no supreme being, guys. It’s the same as trying to prove that there is one. I’ll be interested to know how it feels when you finally catch your tail.

          UhOhSpaghettio: In reply to your above post, I don’t think it’s necessarily a case of people trying to prove there is no god. I think it is more a case of people’s reaction against those who go out of their way try to give credence to what is essentially a book of fable. Saying things like “you don’t understand the bible” “they are analogies” “it is a poetic expression” “you’ve not interpreted it correctly” “how do you define…..” is not going resolve anything either way: like hoisting a moonraker when there is no wind for the normal sails. I could just as easily say the same things about the “Iliad”, the “Chanson de Roland” or “Morte de Artur”: they are all fiction. If you quote from the bible (according to some) it must be fact, because it is about their god. Despite there being more poetry and insight into humanity in the books I have mentioned than there is in the bible some people cling to it as a reference book for daily living. If we chose a work of fiction as the guideline for our life I’d probably be sitting astride a charger dressed in anachronistic plate armour and cleaving people from chape to nave. Fortunately I don’t.

        • Gabe says:

          As the article mentions, these kinds of experiences can change a person. Francis Collins didn’t become a Christian simply because there wasn’t a good enough explanation for morality. He saw the effect it had on people and wanted to understand what Christianity was all about.

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          “Francis Collins didn’t become a Christian simply because there wasn’t a good enough explanation for morality. He saw the effect it had on people and wanted to understand what Christianity was all about.”

          Not according to Collins.

          “And the argument that Lewis made there — the one that I think was most surprising, most earth-shattering, and most life-changing — is the argument about the existence of the moral law. How is it that we, and all other members of our species, unique in the animal kingdom, know what’s right and what’s wrong? In every culture one looks at, that knowledge is there.”

          Key words: surprising, earth-shattering, life-changing.

    • Alphy says:

      Geezuz, Merry and Joestuff,

      Atheism is not a belief or a belief system. It is the absence of believe in any deity or belief system. Some of these people might be “learned” and we need to take a good look at what they have “learned”. But they are damn sure as their fundamentalist hell NOT educated.

      Religion has become a license and cover for insanity and delusion. So long as religion or religious believe is invoked as a basis or support for that which is totally unrealistic and otherwise incredulous, insanity will flourish in the safety and protected sacred cocoon of religion. So, long as insanity is rooted in religion it will remain untreatable. Since treating the insanity will be viewed as an “attack on one’s religion” or belief system.

      • UhOhSpaghettiO says:

        Atheism might not be a belief, but science has been known to rely on the “make believe” when it can’t fully explain certain phenomena. Cases in point, Dark Matter and Dark Energy.

        Can you possibly know what happened before the Big Bang? What caused the Big Bang? If you say yes to either, please take your place among the religious.

        For the record, I’m not a Christian, but I’m also not someone who can show the audacity to proclaim that there is no God. I can certainly respect anyone for having their own personal belief system or disbelief system. After all, we’re all hoping to know the final answer. It’s just the manner of ascertaining the unknowable (for now, at least) that differs.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          @UOSO: There’s a little more to it than that. There was a time when the observed orbit of Uranus couldn’t be explained unless there was another planet to be found. There was a time when energy and momentum were observed to NOT be conserved in certain nuclear decay processes. “Make believe” generated a new planet and a new particle, and Neptune and the neutrino were both found by a combination of theory and experiment. Right now, the same thing is happening with regard to the cosmological issues that you’ve noted: your derision is justified only if nothing further is done to clear things up. I feel secure in saying YES: you may be surprised at what might be worked out as physics and cosmology advance in the upcoming years – without taking questions to the Lord in prayer. FWIW, your last paragraph is quite easy to agree with and in fact to respect.

        • UhOhSpaghettiO says:

          Thanks Apprentice, you’ve opened my eyes. I now believe in Neptune! Just kidding. I can only speak for myself, but I’ve worked hard to become comfortable with the fact that none of us will ever likely know for sure. I’m embracing my agnosticism to the fullest and not disbelieving in anything! One of the best gifts my epiphany has given me is acceptance of any belief or disbelief as the exclusive property of the individual possessing it, and a true respect for anyone who respects the Big Question by engaging in dialogue that is considerate to all views.

        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          Nice reply, UOSO. A last thing to emphasize is that approximations are useful, even if we never learn the “whole truth”, with the absolute certainty that characterizes folks that get their “truth” from the Almighty. Wish the FSM would drop a few more hints…

        • ReligiousCyclops says:

          Satan is duping you into being one of his agents. Can’t you see that? He is the great deceiver. Don’t listen to these spaghetti fools. They are bound for hell and they want to take you with them!

          Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! If you do not believe you are condemned already. Do you want to spend your eternity in hell?????

        • Wayne says:

          No, but I will pop in now and then, because Satan has an amazing pastry cook and the Chocolate Cake in Hell is to die for.

        • Keith says:

          Aye aye! (Or rather only aye) RC is back!

        • TheFewTheProudTheMarinara says:

          Science acknowledges that it doesn’t know all, and sets about to find more facts. Religion claims to know the will of god in detail, and discourages any effort to prove otherwise. In fact, to SUGGEST otherwise is the “sin” of heresy.

        • ReligiousCyclops says:

          I am a descendant of the Biblical Patriarch Joseph, from the Hebrew tribe of Ephriam. I developed a unique “attribute” that God answers all my prayers.

          I have been persecuted, tortured, kidnapped, held by covens of secular humanists and tortured to be rescued by the local SWAT teams (God bless them) But this all pails in comparison to what I have experienced in the spiritual realms.

          I am actually a broken and humble man, who loves God with all my heart for rescuing me from all my enemies. Who hate me for the only crime of being a friend of God. So yes, I discern the will of God, and have much personal contact with Him, since I have a personal relationship with him. I am able to discern His voice in the intuition of my conscience, where He abides and takes up residence in my body. I am a man after God’s heart, to do all according to His will. If you don’t believe me, that is your problem.

          Turn from your evil ways and see Christ you died for you, rose from the dead and walked on water for you. Fall on your knees and beg his forgiveness! For tommorrow may be to late!

        • Keith says:

          Rescued by SWAT teams, eh? You must be really important. (Oh no, I forgot: you are a humble man: you were boasting about it.)

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          “Rescued by SWAT teams, eh? You must be really important.”


          I suspect we may have a legitimate nutter in our midst. RC’s latest testament to chemical imbalance is cut & pasted from ‘WingedLion’s’ posts at Godlikeproductions. A website dedicated to “UFOs”, “Conspiracy Theorists” and the “Lunatic Fringe”.


          This is what happens when the internet meets Arkham Asylum.

        • Keith says:

          Well, Tilted: I was reading the postings at the link you provided. As I read, one of my cats who was sitting at my feet started playing the banjo. To steady himself, he dug his claws into my naked foot. I took that to be a message from gaawd to stop reading. Lunacy is infectious.

        • Atsap Revol says:

          I’ll think about it tommorrow.

        • ReligiousCyclops says:

          God is not neutral with regard to the inclination of our hearts. He desires that we find Him. He yearns for those who delight in Him. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8). Yet there is a danger: we must not deceive ourselves that we are seeking God if in fact it is only certain blessings from God that we seek. Resisting the tendency to focus on ourselves, we must learn to seek Him, simply and contentedly. When we diligently do so, our reward will be God Himself and He will fill our deepest longings according to the design of His own love. Having sought God earnestly, we will be enriched by the joy of a heart that overflows with His glory.

          Fall down on your knees, sinners, and seek God with all your heart.

        • Keith says:

          Cyclops, you must have a hell of a lot of time on your hands. Your life must be one crashing bore.

        • TheFewTheProudTheMarinara says:

          Instead of falling on my knees and trying real hard to believe in all the crap of ANY religion (OK, maybe I’ll give the Buddhists a pass), I prefer to stand on my own two feet – a symbol of accepting responsibility for my fate – and thinking for myself, RC.

    • jmtnvalley says:

      Yes! I also believe that abstinence is a sexually position and that not playing tennis is a sport. Thanks!

  4. kingoflondon says:

    “Atheism is a belief just as much as Christianity”

    Being born and raised in North London, I am a supporter of Tottenham Hostpur Football Club. This places me in conflict with my grandfather, who supports Arsenal Football Club – our sworn enemies. I believe Tottenham to be the superior club, not due to footballing prowess per se, but more because of our history, fans, feel etc. My grandfather sees his club as superior. We often argue about our football clubs, and discuss other football teams. My grandmother on the other hand, does not care about football in the slightest. She does not support either team, and sees football as a stupid game that grown men should not be wasting their time watching.

    My grandmother’s view is not in the same sphere as mine or my grandfather’s. She places herself outside of the whole football discussion. She thinks it is stupid, and fair enough – it probably is. However, we are not hurting anyone with our support for our football teams. It’s all harmless, it’s all good fun. You could argue that Football is actually a good thing – it helps communities, provides entertainments and employment. Yes, sometimes football fans go on a rampage trying to kill each other, but on the whole it’s a good thing.

    If however, Tottenham Hostpur and Arsenal started influencing control over things that affected my grandmother – I think she would have good reason to be upset. If football started eating up her taxes, or started invading into areas that had nothing to do with football, or if she was judged on the basis of her apathy towards the sport by various important aspects of society… she would have every right to be upset and feel that this was unfair. She may even have to label herself as a ‘football atheist’ in order to highlight her position towards the matter.

    Why is religion/atheism any different? Why is atheism viewed as a belief system that competes or operates in the same sphere of understanding as religion? If there was no religion, there would be no atheism. It’s not something that I ‘believe’ in. It’s a position that I am forced to take in a society where religion still plays a major role in order to highlight the fact that we do not all believe in religion, and so we should not have to be influenced by it. And I live in the UK – it’s a million times worse in the US.

    Athiesm and religion are not the same thing, and should not be viewed as such. My grandmother does not support a non-football team. It’s illogical. They are not competing belief systems. I see Athiesm as a position that I am forced to take as a result of the continuing influence of religion into the society in which I live – something that strikes me as deeply unfair.

    • B. says:

      Very well put and a striking analogy that deserves spontaneous applauding.

      *pause for applause*

      I get slightly annoyed, personally, by the insistence from some groups that atheism is a belief. I don’t believe in Santa, but it’s not a “belief system” or my strong belief that Santa doesn’t exist. I just see no reason why he should exist and therefore have a non-stance against him. If suddenly a jolly fat man would come down my chimney in the midst of winter, I will reconsider my stance.

      • Jakob says:

        If a jolly fat man would come down your chimney, i would suggest you getting a new chimney.

        • Thomas L. Nielsen says:

          ….or a Taser.

          I mean seriously (to paraphrase Jeff Dunham/Peanut): You let a fat guy in a dress come down your chimney because he says he has something for your kids? Seriously?

          Regards & all,

          Thomas L. Nielsen
          Cattleprods R’ Us
          Luxembourg Office

        • Drained and Washed Clean says:

          I LOVE PEANUT!!!

      • Bob says:

        Same answer as I gave above: Atheists simply deny the existence of a higher power. There are different levels of atheism, but all basically fall under nontheism. Still, some atheists have belief systems such as evolution. If you follow Molloy’s eight elements of religion (which I don’t, but it adds to my point) you can certainly make a case for atheism as a religion.

        Ultimately, however, you don’t need to name your beliefs. The Japanese religion of Shinto didn’t have a name until Buddhists arrived and wondered what the Japanese called their belief system. Shinto (or Shen-dao) literally means “way of the gods,” and existed for at least hundreds of years without any sort of official title. It was just “the way.” Why do we need to qualify everything with a word?

        • JimmyB says:

          Stop calling evolution a belief system, that is so unbelievably retarded its unreal. Evolution has endless amounts of evidence proving its existence and therefore is not a belief. Whether you CHOOSE to believe evolution is real or not is completely irrelevant, the evidence is in the ground for all to see, it is real, fact.

          A belief is not tangible; there is as much real evidence for the FSM as there is for any other religion, it is not real, fact.

          Religion is highly illogical and frankly stupid, fact. The quicker people realise this the better IMO, call it tough love.

          Kingoflondon – History? A history of kissing Arsenals rear end, there’s only one team in North London, come on you Gunners, nice analogy tho.

      • Amber says:

        It’s called faith. You have faith that God does not exist, nor created the universe. That is a belief. I am a Christian, but I HATE the word “religion”. It’s just another dumb label/classifier, and honestly, it makes me think of someone forcing beliefs, that’s just unpleasing. Anyways, Atheism is typically considered a “religion” by many different belief systems because you’re putting your “all” in that belief, or faith, hence why Atheism is considered a “religion”.

        • TiltedHorizon says:

          “You have faith that God does not exist”

          Um. No. Faith is belief in something without evidence. How much faith is needed to not believe in Allah or Vishnu?

        • Mal says:


          As has been stated many, many times, atheism is the lack of belief in the existence of a deity. It is not the belief that there is no deity. There is a difference. I do not believe that supernatural beings do not exist; I simply do not believe they do exist.

          For the best explanation I’ve ever seen regarding this topic, look below to Rev Toni’s post from June 14, 2011. It sums up the argument against “Atheism as religion” perfectly.

        • Gabe says:

          “Faith is belief in something without evidence.”

          Perhaps SCIENTIFIC evidence, but think about faith in terms of an everyday relationship with family. There’s certainly no scientific evidence for that, but one can know the character of their family’s faith of each other because they’ve experienced it for themselves.

        • Gabe says:

          It could be family OR friends, or anyone interacted with.

    • Inda says:

      Nice thinking. I like it.

      And we are superior. Yid army! (am I allowed to say that here?) :)

      • MNUfan1991 says:

        Glory Glory Man United
        Sorry, couldn’t help it

    • Rev Toni Rigatoni says:

      A poetic analogy kingoflondon, very well put. Go back through old posts and it may surpise you (or may not) how often the old chestnut ‘atheism as a belief system’ rears it’s ugly head. Many intelligent and erudite responses have failed, as will yours I’m sad to say, falling as it were, on deaf ears, or stony ground to use a biblical phrase. Placing yourself in the mindset of the religiously inclined may give a clue as to why the religious will see atheism as a belief. When aproaching the subject from the point of view of someone who believes without evidence it is easy to see how they would see atheism as CHOOSING to believe that a god doesn’t exist just as they choose to believe it does. Their entire mindset being based on belief without evidence, they assume that the atheist chooses to believe that NO god exists, again without evidence. Of course, as you no doubt know, from our point of view, that is the atheistic point of view, we need evidence that something exists before we believe, and no evidence exists. We no more need to ‘believe’ there is no god than we need to ‘believe’ that santa doesn’t exist, that Russel’s teapot doesn’t exist, that there is no Invisible Pink Unicorn or, FSM help me, no Flying Spaghetti Monster, indeed, any more than any christian making the argument needs to believe that thor, mithra and the thousands of other deities that exist or have existed in the minds of man don’t in their view, exist in reality. They are unlikely I’m sure to describe their lack of belief in those circumstances as a belief system , after all to believe in a giant Norseman with a hammer would be ridiculous wouldn’t it? Of course it would, but it must take a lot of faith to believe that an old man with a long white beard that lives in the sky doesn’t exist because that’s what they believe, and it’s true, it says so in the bible!!

      I’m not sure about religion’s influence forcing you into atheism, but otherwise your post is intelligent and well presented with an analogy that is clear and precise but I am sorry to say it will not make an iota of difference to the argument, the religious mind set will forever be incapable of grasping the concept, or maybe acknowledging it but ignoring it because they see it as one of the few defences they have left.

      Sauce be with you

      The Reverend

      • Saucerer says:

        I have a theopastalogical question from Far North Queenland.
        When I presuppose that FSM exists, he instantly also exists for my neighbours (they just don’t know it yet). Thus, when I say to them for the second time, “Aaaarghhh. Do you believe?”, and they tell me to fuck off, may I logically assume that, because they knew God and rejected Him, they are apastates? If so, it seems logical to boil them for my sins.

        (Do I get a Doctorate of Divinity or Saucery?)

        • Keith says:

          They are only apostates if the FSM knows they exist. If the FSM does not know they exist they presumably do not exist and cannot be accountable for any non opinions or non beliefs.

        • Saucerer says:

          Do you mean that FSM can only know my neighbours if they reach out to Him first? But they look so tasty…..and presupposition is so handy…. surely, their apastacy must be a belief?


        • Keith says:

          I imagine the FSM loves everyone by default, but knowing them is a different matter. Do you greet everyone who walks by you in the street? Do you even acknowlege their existence? Multiply that ten billion billion times (the English billion I mean) and I think you’ll get the idea. Even if the FSM shook noodley appendages with your next door neighbours he/she/it (the FSM) would probably have forgotten them the next day in the fog of Holy Perpetual Inebriation. It is important to maintain a constant relationship with the FSM. Is your neighbour doing that? If not, although the FSM loves them he/she/it does not know they exist. Apastacy from someone whos existence is not acknowledged by their creator is irrelevent.

    • Whitleylad says:

      Newcastle United for my sins. Well it’s where I’m from so it chooses me more than I it.

      By the way Mike Ashley’s a Spurs supporter please take him back!

    • Bolognese says:

      To kingdomoflondon->
      Quick question.
      I quite enjoy all this intelligent and witty banter. It definitely starts my “brain juices ‘a pump’in”.
      I agree with a large portion of your contribution to the board and I appreciate the points you have brought up.
      Feel free to correct me, or teach me, if my grey matter has missed a point or two.

      To continue with your analogy (which is fantastic by the way), your grandmother does not care for football one way or another and is therefore the equivalent of a “football atheist”, as you put it. I can understand that. The absence of any alignment because one simply just not have strong feeling for it one way or another would be considered atheist, in your analogy, correct?

      Now if your grandmother were to turn around and have a strong opinion that football should not be in her house and that those in her house are idiots what would that be called?

      I do not believe that there is a God. I also do not believe there isn’t a God. I feel no strong feelings that there is or isn’t a God. I am somewhere between Atheist and Agnostic. I do not expect to be proven that god exists or does not exist as is defined by Agnosticism, I simply don’t care. If god were to show himself then I am definitely going to re-define my stance. Or if he is proven to not exist perhaps. In the absence of proof (not unquestionable proof but, enough proof for me). I could simply not care. I also don’t care to try and prove that there is no God, such as in Atheism.

      In conclusion I agree with the Pastafarian position which is not “hate religion!” but more do not let ORGANIZED religion control my life or affect it negatively without my consent.

      My quick question is: What would I be defined as?

      May a feast of beefy broth and frothy beer find you well.

      • TiltedHorizon says:

        @ Bolognese who sez:” My quick question is: What would I be defined as?”

        I’ve always preferred the term freethinker.

      • PeriwinklePanda says:

        An apatheist, perhaps?

    • Roam says:

      I personally would like to see a “non-football team” formed on the premise of not playing. Sounds like an easy job!

    • Greg says:

      THIS is a good response, just as the majority of the original letter was, atheism is not a system of belief, it is the idea that belief is not a good way to live your life, ideas and theories are good guidelines for a lifestyle becuase they are influenced by science and logical thought. Personally, I think that the attacks on pastafarians in the main article are unjust, I have yet to see a pastafarian to be as mocking as the author suggests, (I can of course sight many examples of christians mocking pastafarians but thats always a good intro for a serious discussion on the nature of belief systems. And when you come down to the basic premise of this religion: creationism is not science becuase it relies on the premise that it cannot be tested, i think you would find it hard to disagree, personally my reasons for being a pastafarian is the simplicity of the moral stance: being nice to everyone is more important that praying to god every day. The author sounds like a nice guy and I would LOVE to have a conversation with him, but some religious people (christians and others) seem to rely more on the “take no god before me” and the concept of salvation that they do on the idea of “do unto others as you would have done unto yourself”

      essentially, I’m a pastafarian becuase I would rather everyone was garaunteed a great life than myself having the possiblity of a perfect afterlife, any heaven that accepts on faith above actions is no heaven of mine

    • PieMan says:

      HOLY SHIT (<-lol) That is a amazing. I'm going to put this on my facebook, giving you credit, of course. I am not articulate as you clearly are, so I will just say that it's PERFECT!

    • Lavantant says:

      King, you get all my internets XD

  5. heirofnorthlondon says:

    I live in the Arsenal football club controlled parking zone, and the club and its supporters, ably assisted by Islington Borough Council, are making my life miserable, costing me money and controlling the way I live. If there’s one thing that’s as close as you can ever get to religion, it’s football. As a Crystal Palace supporter I am ruled by a merciless and cruel god.

    Personally I see the fervor that atheists whip up against religion as equivalent to religious doctrine and very much a belief system. I would argue your Grandmother is agnostic.

    • Doggy says:

      Tip/s Of the Day: Atheism is not mutually exclusive with agnosticism. Most atheists are also agnostic. The opposite of agnostic is gnostic. Few atheists are gnostic. Far more religious people are gnostic.

    • Insightful Ape says:

      That is called false equivalency. Atheism is not based on faith, as religion is. If you want to call anything involving “fervor” a religion then the definition gets so broad that it becomes completely useless: it can mean anything including sports, technology, arts, entertainment or whatever.

      • Lavantant says:

        I like going to school, now all of a sudden this means I am religious?

  6. B. says:

    Austin should get credit for his mainly well thought out letter and lack of grammatical errors. Although, if Austin would have bothered looking closer he might have found that this discussion he claims not to exist here, can be found in the forum. If he did went in to the forum and still claimed there is no discussion about religion or its place in the world, I’d say he’s irredeemable.

    Rrom the recess in “Religion and film” (University course)

  7. RegsaGC says:

    This is the first(maybe second) intelligent hate-mailer I have ever seen. This person deserve respect though, I do not share his views. First, I am amused that some people still think that atheism is a religion, but it may be because some atheists use it as so. But no matter how one look upon it, atheism is not based on faith and is therefore not a religion.
    And I see in no way that The Church of the Flying Spaghettimonster is mocking anyone. The only thing that come close is when we use the church to politically point out something or other that is completely ridiculous.

    After a lot of thinking and some reading I have come to the conclusion that the only reason someone would get angry on this peace-loving community is if they have been pumped so full of dogma (either by them self or by a religious leader) that the only option they have when something question their belief is hatred.

    And as it is said in the Holy Gospel:
    “(…) I’ve received much more flak over the term midgets from fully grown men people than from little people themselves”
    Don’t fight other’s battles as you may far too late find out, that you are the only one fighting.

    • Janus says:

      I also want to applaud Austin for putting forward a well spoken reply to the FSM movement, even if I also believe that he seems to not fully see the point of Pastafarianism. I also hope he does take the time to read these responses, so he can see the wide variety of people that are here.

      There are many types of faithful in many different religions, and while you may pride yourself on being one of the very many open minded members of your faith, you need to realize a very ugly fact; there are a number of people that justify campaigns of ignorance and exclusion on the basis of their expression of faith. Have you ever attempted to talk to people like the Westboro Church, attempt to show them the importance of respect? And I’m not talking about asking them to see the rationality of an agnostic or athiest “truth”, but in a fair and peaceful coexistance that keeps with your own holy texts?

      Pastafarians are here as a response to the increasingly widespread use of faith to force political agendas, not as a way to somehow battle or bring down tolerant faithful of any creed. What you see as rude mocking, please take another look and see it as a call for the faithful to examine the motivations and the actions of mortal humans hiding behind a sacrosanct defense that has become tarnished by their hate. And if you are unable to examine and question these motivations within your own community because it will label you as “lacking in faith”, then I do mourn the loss of another reasonable mind.

  8. Insightful Ape says:

    Hmmm. So using insults and curses is “puttin it in our language”?
    Well, let me put it in his.
    “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”
    — Thomas Jefferson

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