When Religion Becomes a Trap Rather Than a Safety Net

ricksbook
Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story Book Cover Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story

Berkley Trade
2014

The title of Ingrid Ricks’s memoir Hippie Boy: A Girl’s Story comes from the nickname Ricks’s father, Jerry, gives her as a young girl with long, tangled hair. It’s the story of a family in Logan, Utah whose profound dysfunction is rooted in part in religion and in part in the economic and social upheavals of the mid-twentieth century. Born illegitimate in Austria at the beginning of World War II, Ricks’s mother relies on religion to give her life stability and converts to Mormonism when she is 16. A few years later, she meets Jerry Ricks, a handsome LDS missionary who sends her a plane ticket to Utah after he leaves Austria.

Jerry’s stint as a missionary exacerbates his hatred of rules; he’s unhappy to find himself saddled with a wife who insists everyone pray six or seven times a day and get out of bed early each morning for an hour of scripture reading. His wife, for her part, is beyond disappointed to find herself married to a man who cheats on her, uses his job as a traveling salesman to escape his obligations to his children, and rarely sends money home. During Jerry’s rare visits home, the parents’ fights are so destructive that Ricks and her sisters “often locked ourselves in the bathroom for protection when they started in on each other.”

Things improve when Ricks’s mother gets a job as a nurse and divorces Jerry. Too quickly, however, she reaches a point where she “didn’t want to make the decisions any more” and becomes desperate to marry a Mormon patriarch who will make decisions for her. And so, after dating him only a month, she agrees to marry Earl, a parasitic, abusive opportunist whom her children justifiably hate.

Unable to find a press interested in publishing a Mormon memoir, Ricks self-published Hippie Boy in 2011. Shortly thereafter, Seattle-area teacher Margie Bowker gave the book to her at-risk high school students. They had no problem relating to Ricks’s protagonist, a young girl trapped rather than supported by the safety net religion is supposed to supply, trying desperately to acquire some security despite parents who repeatedly put her in harm’s way. Ricks’s memoir inspired students to begin writing themselves; some of their short memoirs are compiled in a collection called We Are Absolutely Not Okay. Bowker and Ricks also produced a study guide for other teachers interested in using Hippie Boy and their approach to student writing.

Thanks to its popularity with teachers and students and Ricks’s own aggressive marketing, Hippie Boy ended up on the New York Times Best Seller list for e-book nonfiction in 2012 and was subsequently acquired by Penguin, which released the book under its Berkley imprint earlier this year.

I spoke to Ricks recently about the way religion functions in her memoir and how readers respond to her depiction of it.

Hippie Boy has been used in high school curricula for troubled youth. How do they respond to the religious aspects of the book?

Some have had very similar extremely religious experiences, but from Born Again backgrounds. A couple of them have similar experiences from a Mormon background. A lot of the kids relate to having an Earl character in their lives; they’ve had a stepdad who abuses power. Or they relate to having a mother who is powerless to it all and can’t protect them. Or they relate to the poverty. When it comes to religion, some of them say right off the bat, “Yeah, that’s my story.” Others say, “That’s my story—just replace it with this addiction.”

So they see religion as an addiction?

They see religious extremism as an addiction. I also see it as an addiction—at least my mother’s approach to religion. The church always came before her kids and her family. And because of that, there was nothing empowering to me about the religion.

Your mother realizes on the honeymoon that she’s made a huge mistake by marrying your stepfather Earl, but says she can’t do anything about it because she “couldn’t just tell the bishop that I wanted to get another temple divorce.” What sorts of beliefs and fears compelled her to try to make the best of what she knew was a terrible situation? How did she perceive what was supposed to be a loving, empowering religion as one that did not allow her to admit or correct mistakes? 

Everybody—including my dad’s mom, who my mother was close to at the time—told her, “Don’t do this. Don’t marry him.” And Mom said, “No, I’m marrying him.” I think as much as anything she was ashamed and didn’t want to admit that she’d made a mistake—particularly since she takes those temple vows so seriously and had committed to Earl for time and all eternity. So the idea that she could go back and say, “I screwed up”—for her, it was easier, at least initially, to just go with it than to admit that she was so wrong and that everyone who had been warning her against him had been right.

The church advocates fairly rigid roles, but people in your family stepped out of their roles in all sorts of ways. Your mother was the breadwinner, and your older sister, Connie, was the protector. This was done so that Earl could maintain the most important role of patriarch and leader, even though he did not fulfill any of its concomitant requirements: he didn’t provide for the family financially or protect anyone from danger. Why was his role as head of the house so important to your mother?

When she says she wanted someone to lead her, I think that says it all. She let me read some of the journals she kept at that time and she did complain about how authoritarian he was. And you also have to look at it in contrast to the dynamics with my dad. My dad hates rules of any kind. His personality isn’t to be domineering—he’d just leave. So it’s like, be careful what you wish for, right?

And then this guy comes in. And she wanted that priesthood holder, the guy who would sit next to her at church, she wanted that so desperately. She quickly found herself powerless because he used his position as a weapon. And when that was so much her belief system—that as a priesthood holder he held that power over her—I think she felt she had no choice but to be submissive.

I have to remind myself that your mother was abused from the day she was born in Austria in 1940, on top of which, she grew up in a war zone.

She just had such a hard, hard childhood. Religion even then was the only place where she found solace. She was Catholic as a child, but converted to Mormonism at age 16, after missionaries from the US showed up at her door. The Church became her family. Then she met my dad, who was serving a mission in Austria, and he helped her come to the U.S. It was supposed to be a dream come true for her—to marry a returned missionary from Utah. But my dad wasn’t the devout rule-following, church-going husband she had counted on. They were like oil and water and my dad was so unhappy that he quickly began leaving for months at a time. So here she is, alone in this strange foreign country and with this husband who hurt her in so many ways.

For many years I punished her for her decision to marry Earl and turn her parental power over to him because it hurt so much. But when I look at it through an adult lens, I understand that she felt so down and so powerless that she couldn’t stand up for us or protect us—because she couldn’t do it for herself.

Tell me about responses you’ve gotten from people who have read Hippie Boy.

The truth about your personal story is, until you start telling it, you think you’re alone, and then you realize, this is commonplace. My situation isn’t isolated to Mormonism. But to suggest that it doesn’t exist in Mormonism is just bullshit. Abuse of power happens in every religion. And when you give someone absolute power, absolute power corrupts. That more than anything is what frustrated me, because there’s still this sense of denial.

On Amazon at first I had a string of one-star reviews from people saying, “This doesn’t happen in Mormonism. If you want to know the truth, go to Mormon.org.” Or someone would say, “I can tell just from reading the description that this woman knows nothing about Mormonism. She ought to study what she’s writing about.” At first I was really hurt, but then you realize, well, it is what it is. But the idea that because it’s not someone else’s experience, they try to deny that it could ever happen, well, that allows it to keep happening.

Tell me more about the abuse and what it did to your relationships with your siblings.

I write about incidences between Earl and my sister Connie, or Earl and me in the book. I also write about once incident where I heard him hitting my little brother. But even more than the physical abuse was the psychological. And for me, part of the problem was that my mom enabled it. She let me read her journals and it got to a point where every other line was, “Poor Ingrid, she has Satan inside of her.” And that hurts. She really thought I was possessed because I wouldn’t conform, wouldn’t adhere to Earl’s authoritarian rule, wouldn’t call him “Father”—the name he demanded that I call him to show my respect.

You provide an afterword, informing readers that your father eventually made his million dollars and that your mother achieved a happy marriage with a Mormon man who was the husband she’d been looking for. It’s very satisfying to know that yours was not the only happy ending to emerge from the painful stories in the book. But can you tell us a little more about what your relationship is like with each parent?

I love both of my parents and have a great relationship with each of them. My relationship with my dad has always been an easy one because in some ways, we are very similar. We both hate rules, we are both dreamers and we both believe in “live and let live.” Our politics and many viewpoints are completely opposite, but it doesn’t matter because we respect each other and feel there is plenty of room for differing belief systems.

It’s been more difficult between my mom and me because she is still extremely devout. It’s hard for her not to continue to push her religious viewpoints on me because she believes my eternal salvation depends on it. But she’s really trying. Ironically, it took her going on a Mormon mission to India with her third husband for us to begin to develop a friendship and appreciate what we have in common.

Her mission was a public health mission and she wasn’t allowed to proselytize or even say anything about religion in her emails home. As a result, her emails were filled with stories about the people and life in India. I’ve traveled to Africa to write stories on behalf of a relief organization and we discovered that we are both adventurous, are both drawn to third world countries, and both deeply care about the struggles faced by people living in third-world conditions. Since then, we both do our best to focus on all of the wonderful things we have in common vs. those that polarize us.

holly.welker@gmail.com'

Holly Welker [@hollywelker] has an MFA in nonfiction writing and PhD in literature from the University of Iowa. Her poetry and prose have appeared in publication ranging from Seventeen to Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought to Bitch to the New York Times. Born and raised in southern Arizona, she currently lives in northern Utah.

  • Jim Reed

    I guess you could look at one star as the top rating you could receive from a faithful Mormon. It is the same as 5 stars from an abused child. Kind of like up and down votes. What one side votes down, the other side votes up.

  • fiona64

    one star as the top rating you could receive from a faithful Mormon

    Most likely accompanied by a screed, LOL.

  • Ashley

    Far too much of this resonates with me as the daughter of a woman who has allowed her Jehovah’s Witness obligations to overthrow everything else in her life. Instead of it being a positive experience for her, which it certainly is for many Witnesses, it is a hyperreligious prison of her own making. She suffers from deep depression and anxiety due to her decision to consent to the pressure to disown her own children and the constant talk of the world ending.

    The Witnesses who are happiest and get benefit from it are the ones who don’t allow it to take over their whole life; the ones like my mother who follow every tiny rule and recommendation collapse as individuals and lose all the brightness in their eyes. It’s heartbreaking.

    I have many LDS and ex-LDS friends, and we often discuss the similarities in our experiences (especially as children), so it’s both saddening yet somehow comforting to see this is another area where we’re not alone. Thanks for sharing this.

  • apotropoxy

    Trap:
    My wife was killed in a bizarre and random accident (non-auto) and her mother has been plagued with the question Why did god take her daughter? As an atheist, I have never been burdened by the why. There was no “why” … there was only what.

  • Northern_Witness

    Some people may misunderstand and/or misuse religion. They’re doing so does not invalidate that religion.

    FYI: Religion is neither a trap nor a safety net. For the article’s headline to imply otherwise is to commit the logical error of bifurcation, also known as false dichotomy or the black and white fallacy. There are other legitimate reasons for religion.

  • Jim Reed

    Have any of the religions been validated?

  • Northern_Witness

    All of the world’s major religions have been validated by the transcendental experiences of their practitioners.

  • Jim Reed

    That must be why they need wars to complete the validation.

  • Northern_Witness

    Again, just because some people misuse or misunderstand a religion, their doing so does not invalidate that religion.

    FYI: It is a mistake to read scriptures literally. Their spiritual messages can only be presented as metaphor, allegory, parable, or some other figurative ways, With regard to Christianity, Jesus explicitly said that he speaks in parables.

    Your lack of understanding of Christianity is noted.

  • Jim Reed

    Christianity is what Christians believe. It’s their religion.

  • Northern_Witness

    For the third time, some people do not understand or misuse their religion, in this case, Christianity, but their doing so does not invalidate that religion.

    Not all people who profess Christianity understand it. What they believe about Christianity may have little or nothing to do with Christianity and be nothing more than their attempts to pigeonhole that religion in their minds. They settle for that because they are unable or unwilling to understand and integrate the core of Christianity into their lives and themselves.

  • Jim Reed

    I think it has become a religion that different groups can understand in their own way. The multiple denominations enables this because the problems can all be attributed to the other denominations or groups that are doing it wrong, and each group sees itself as the one doing it right. I am just trying to look at it as an outsider.

  • Northern_Witness

    As an outsider you are bringing all of your misconceptions, biases, and ill-will into your judgements of religion.

    You are not looking at religion. You are looking at examples of your own negativity being projected outward and ascribed to others.

    Think of a religion as a road with all of its sects and their adherents on different points of the road with some even taking sight-seeing detours and others taking up permanent residence at a spot they like instead of continuing on the difficult journey to the top of the mountain.

  • Jim Reed

    If religion can be anything, that sure does seem like it is nothing. The scientific world has questions, and as they find answers they also find new questions. If religion had questions it would be in big trouble because the answers they have don’t match up to any actual questions.

  • Lillith70

    The “otherization” of the Mormons given another boost. LOL at those strange Mormons who we define according to the rules of projection of self into all judgements and then hate them for being as we see them.

    They may question the verity but it is our truth?

  • Lillith70

    There are (sides”, are there? Making the Mormons to be the dehumanized “others” is not new to the world of pride, competition, and building “our side” up in comparison to others or “the others”.

  • Jim Reed

    “Our Truth” is kind of a statement of groupthink. Groupthink may be a component of many religions, but it seems especially strong with Mormons, kind of like those are the people who are recruited, and they are the ones who join.

  • Northern_Witness

    A bit convoluted. Can you explain yourself in any plainer language?

  • Jim Reed

    I guess it depends on your point of view. I thought the road trip up the mountain with sight seeing detours was kind of convoluted. Religion might be evolved to a point where it only makes sense to a religious person. Or maybe the modern scientific world has just raised standards too high.

  • Northern_Witness

    I take it you are unable to explain yourself any clearer. Oh well.

  • Christopher

    Validation is an individual validation, Jim. It is like coffee. Has it been validated for you? I am allergic to it.

    Mine is good for me. You may be allergic to it. No religion is one size fits all. Your religion seems to fit you just fine.

  • Christopher

    “Not all people who profess Christianity understand it.”

    Or even practice it.

  • Northern_Witness

    Just one point, the outer edges of science are just now starting to come together with religion via the quantum mechanics road.

    The plodding logic- and sense-based levels of science cannot access the wisdom of religion because religious wisdom is beyond the limits of time, space, sense impression, and logic.

  • Northern_Witness

    And, your point is????

  • Jim Reed

    too convoluted.

  • Jim Reed

    He is probably the only one who practices it, and certainly the only one who understands it.

  • fiona64

    My parents are Mormon, m’dear. I’ve seen how Mormons treat women and GLBT people. Your church has done real, particularized harm to my friends and family members.

    And “othering” of so-called “Gentiles” is what Mormons do best.

    Get down off the cross, “Sister”; someone needs the wood.

  • Christopher

    My religion is always full of questions since my religion warns me to: Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. So I am always asking questions and looking for answers. I got many new questions just last night and yet my religion is not in trouble as my religion is about finding truth.

    I watched a show on human DNA last night. It was from 2009 for National Geographic. The show ignored Neanderthal problems with male and female DNA and the scientific Adam and Eve. It ignored the Soultrians and their relationship to Clovis man. They say that Australian Aborigines came by sea between 70,000 to 42,000 years ago but never mention that if they had ships for 50,000 years why, without any physical evidence, do they claim Asians needed to walk to the Americas.

    They ignored the evidence that Neanderthals were using ships in the Mediterranean Sea up to 200,000 years ago.

    The FAITH of these alleged scientists was incredible to watch. They have a belief and they melted down all evidence to fit their faith. It was an obvious religion they preached. They didn’t want to find truth. They wanted to convince others that their theory was correct.

  • Christopher

    And so you have a belief in an “ultimate reality.”

    “There was no “why” … there was only what.”

    That is a religion according to the U.S. courts. Welcome to the crowd. And my complements to your great faith. No Christian has the faith an Atheist must have to maintain such a belief in a negative assumption that cannot be proved.

  • Christopher

    So it is your religion.

  • Christopher

    So the Mormons are like Atheist and Democrats and Republicans and Socialists but I repeat myself.

    They suffer from peer pressure and succumb to it. So they are like most people?

  • Jim Reed

    They seem more likely to believe strange things if they are told in a church setting.

  • Christopher

    That you are correct on your claim.

    They neither understand it or practice it.

    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.

  • Christopher

    They? You man Atheist or Democrats or Republicans or Socialists or Mormons?

    “I may be an atheist, but that does not mean I do not go to church. I do go to church. The church I go to is the one that emancipated the slaves, that gave women the right to vote, that gave us every freedom that we hold dear. My church is this very Chapel of Democracy that we sit in together, and I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes. I need my heart, my brain, and this church.” Lainie Hanson in the Contender (2000 A.D.)

    She covered Atheism and Socialism, humanism and was a Democrat. She only missed the Republican Church.

    So what is a “Church setting” JIm? The Chapel of Democracy?

  • Jim Reed

    I meant Mormon church setting. They seem to be the ones most likely to believe something that might sound strange to the rest of us, just because the church says it. I know other churches work like this, but doesn’t it seem like Mormons are more that way than anyone else, tight knit group, believe whatever the group believes, without question because they have also been told how well they are checking things out and proving it? They just seem like people who want to join a group, and have the group tell them what to think, and have the church tell them how smart they are for proving it to themselves.

  • Christopher

    Millions if not billions understand Christianity. I have known some Atheists that practiced it better than many Christians however. A dear friend of mine that was an Atheist recently died. I have no doubt that the gates of Heaven were opened wide for him as his works of kindness were many. He was a genuine good man.

  • Christopher

    You obviously really know JIm. Right on again.

    And that was a perfect description of religion. Well written.

  • Christopher

    You are very religious, Jim.

  • Northern_Witness

    It seems that you understand neither religion nor science…and yet feel qualified to talk about both.

  • Northern_Witness

    It is good to remember that science is faith-based.

  • Northern_Witness

    “Groupthink” is rampant in science too. One example, is the notion of peer review.

  • Christopher

    Like what? Feed the poor through voluntary charity? The family is important? Feed and care for your own family so others do not need to? How about the Helping Hands program where the Church puts feet on the ground to help in times of trouble. They sponsor more Boy Scout troops than anyone. Do you think the Boy Scouts are “strange”?

    Most Mormons don’t even follow the prophet on many issues. They are REQUIRED to “eschew socialism” as per Mormon doctrine but few do. They were to stay out of the Social Security system and yet they embraced it more than most Americans did in the 1930s. They were told by their leaders to send their children to private schools and yet they rebelled and went to government schools. They were told to get themselves a year supply ahead of essentials and so few did they dropped it to 3 months.

    Most people want to join a group of people that think and act as they do. I doubt that a Packer fan would rather be with Bears’ fans. Is that strange?

    Do you go out of your way to be with people that make you incomfortable?

    Oddly enough people that support the welfare State join the Democratic party while people that love money and oppression of the poor become Republicans. Does that make them “strange”?

  • Christopher

    Yes it is.

    Science is nothing more than the search for knowledge. Religion is the same.

    Law is the science of the difference between good and evil according to the maxims of the common law. So that means that English common law is essentially a religion.

  • Jim Reed

    That’s what we do here. We talk about these things.

  • Jim Reed

    In science, they try to knock down the other scientist, if possible. That is the strength of it. If you make any mistakes, they will rip you up.

  • Jim Reed

    I don’t find it strange that people that love money and oppression of the poor become Republicans. I do find it strange that Christians who are in no way from the top fraction of one percent getting rich from gaming the system become Republicans and vote for the party that will hold them down and keep pushing them lower. Joe the plumber was a great example. He was out of work, no plumber license, he was just a laborer, but he was a Republican because some day he planned to maybe own his own plumbing company and make over 250,000 per year, so he didn’t want rich people to be paying 1% more in tax.

  • Jim Reed

    There is a negative that you can prove. History and the Bible show there was no actual gospel Jesus, the man from Nazareth.

  • Christopher

    I despise the Republican party, JIm. That is because I hate Fascism even more than Socialism. But why are Mormons “something that might sound strange to the rest of us.”

    They believe in miracles but most Christian faiths believe in miracles. Most preach about prophets and tithing and offerings and doing good. What is so strange about Mormons. That they wear their religious clothing where you don’t have to look at it like the Catholics and Orthodox and Baptists and Evangelicals do?

    The Masons and Catholics etc. have religious rituals. have you seen what Washington wore to set the corner stone for Washington D.C.?

    Atheists and Communists have rituals too. In fact the rituals by Communists in the old USSR are one of the things that is used by scholars to show the relationship between Communism and OTHER religions.

    So why do you think Mormons are so strange?

    Do Hindus and Buddhists sound strange to you too?

    How about Gay pride parades. Do you consider those “normal”?

  • Christopher

    Since the Bible is an incomplete book written with a political agenda it “PROVES” nothing but the the book cannot be trusted.

    Science PROVED that Christopher Columbus was in the Americas before the Vikings. The absence of proof is not proof. Scientists were wrong about the Vikings and Clovis man and Neanderthals and ancient ship building skills and etc. etc.

    Here is an interesting tidbit on the Bible and why it is corrupt and cannot be believed. Just came across it this morning.

    “Σύμβολον τῆς Νίκαιας (Nicene Creed) was a political statement in 325 CE by the few bishops (not all bishops came under order by Constantine I) attending the Emperor’s council that introduced most outlandish things that ultimately became canon, but it was not accepted by all churches, and repudiated by the Armenian group. Its historicity is not certain as the oldest script dates to the fifth century (not the fourth). Since it was written as a refutation of the Arian theological statements (Arius the Libyan presbyter (bishop) in Alexandria, had declared that although the Son was divine, he was a created being and therefore not co-essential with the Father, and “there was when he was not”), it was repudiated by many even in the Eastern empire. The term “consubstantial” does not appear until 381, meaning that the creed was not a part of any church universal.” Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

  • Jim Reed

    I was trying to say their BELIEFS are something that might sound strange to the rest of us. I guess they are just typical beliefs from an American religion invented in the 19th century, but by today’s standards they seem strange. Also their books, written in King James English even though they were written in 19th century America. You have to look at the time period. Back then when people heard King James English they thought God and Christianity, so it was a good choice for making those people believe. Today it just seems a little strange.

  • Jim Reed

    It is not that the Bible is the word of God. It is from that period of history, and it can be studied who wrote what when and what can we know about why. The letters of Paul knew nothing of gospel Jesus, and no writings knew anything of this until the gospels were written around the end of the first century. Richard Carrier does a great job of analyzing why the 4 gospels were written as they were, and what they were trying to accomplish.

  • Christopher

    What kind of English would an poor uneducated boy who only had the KJV as an example of scripture use if he was writing/translating a book of scripture? Greek? Latin? Backwoods American English?

    So yes. You have to think of the time frame and if you don’t take that into consideration then you are ignorant. Ignorant people find anything that does not fit into their limited sphere of disinformation to be strange.

    I’ll tell you what is strange. That a man with a very limited education in Backwoods New York could write book with Arabic colloquialisms (enough to completely convince a modern day Saudi Arabian Arabic language scholar), unknown Hebrew poetry, use words properly that are from dead languages, Use a male name for an alleged Hebrew that was not known to be a Hebrew male name until it was discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and draw a map using only words and that map can be and was used to recently to find the things and places that he claims were in the Arabian peninsula in 600 BC.

    That this uneducated man claimed that the Church he founded would be in every country in the world circa 1835 AD and in 2014 that has almost occurred and appears that it will happen.

    Strange. Absolutely, But amazing and without a reasonable explanation as to how he did it. I have tried and I cannot see how it was done unless his claims are true.

    Can you explain it. How strange you cannot.

  • bbmike

    I agree with much of this post. Thanks for this article. This is good material that reflects the real world for many people.

    It seems a stretch for some Mormons and others to have the religion enrich their lives rather than define it.

    Generally, I find,that people (Mormons and others) with a predilection to finding and keeping to rules do not feel that they are in charge of their own lives, but they can’t seem to admit their dependency on rule-keeping as the path to meaning. Yet identifying and admitting that dependency is as necessary as identifying and admitting to sin before meaningful change (repentance) can be implemented.

    It is a contradiction to say that one is trying to become like Jesus and at the same time be refusing to take responsibility for your own life and its direction. Yet that’s what rule-addicts do. I think that’s one of the reasons the Jews of Moses’ day had so much difficulty being righteous enough to enter into the Promised Land – more focussed on rule-keeping than on living a rich and fulfilled life within the bounds The Lord has set..

    That is not to say that the fundamental tenets and doctrines of the Restored Gospel ought not to be given reverence as the strong guidelines that underpin a happy life. But they are not life, they are the guidelines for a happy life and reflect eternal truths that can be understood better as they are observed and followed in the context of a life well lived.

    It is no wonder to me that the mission to India was such a blessing to the mother. Kindness and pure knowledge applied freely under the influence of the Holy Ghost will always bring greater happiness than rule-keeping for its own sake.

    Mormonism is about happiness, not rule-finding,and making.

  • Christopher

    If you gave me a book you wrote about your family and I changed key parts of it like where you were born and who your aunt was, could that be used to prove your uncle was an alien?

    The Catholics changed what was in the books they had. The refused to include others.The Jews deleted key parts because those parts accused them of things they would do they did not like.

    They just found the bones of King Richard the III and guess what. His enemies that wrote the history lied about him.

    And yet you believe that you can trust ONE book to discredit Jesus and claim that PROVES IT when there are more than books to review.

    Why?

  • UJeans

    Non-belief doesn’t require “faith.” Non-belief is simply non-belief. Non-believers see insufficient evidence and no compelling reason to believe the fanciful, preposterous propositions of supposedly “revealed” religions—this despite beliefs to the contrary of believers who seem certain that unbelief requires “faith.”

  • Christopher

    Sure it does. Faith is believing in things that cannot be known by the senses. Atheism is such a belief. Call it a non-belief if you want to but it is a belief that there is no Creator. It is a belief in an ultimate reality that there is no afterlife. You must believe that Americans do not have unalienable rights granted by a Creator. It is the very foundation of a government that is totally opposed to the very foundations of the USA. It is a belief that leaves you subjects to the most powerful instead of individual sovereigns. How repulsive.

    If I don’t believe in Mathematics what I have is not really a non-belief but a rejection of a belief/science. But I believe in math and that is just ONE reason I reject Atheism as a false faith.

    Okay I’ll go with your definition. It is not that I believe in God. It is that I have no faith in the religion of Atheism. How’s that?

    I certainly see insufficient evidence and reason to believe in the fanciful, preposterous propositions of Atheism. Why Atheism denies mathematical probabilities and puts a level of faith in chance that only an addicted gambler could have faith in. Atheism is like believing that you can roll two dice and have a total count of 17 on one roll. Preposterous.

  • Jim Reed

    If people want something to be true, they will seem to find evidence. It could be astrology, numerology, or even pyramid power.

  • Jim Reed

    I read it.

  • Christopher

    Like the far out belief that Atheism is plausible or Socialism works and does not enslave people or income taxes are not actually voluntary or that having a Social Security number is a legal requirement and not voluntary or that ‘person’ in the RFRA does not mean for-profit corporations.

    People will believe most anything. Everybody knows that.

    The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. –Edmund Burke

    What luck for the rulers that men do not think. –Adolf Hitler

  • Christopher

    What did you read? Just the bible? Which version? There are about 100 different versions some with more books and some with less. How about the Dead sea scrolls or the Gospel of Mary or the Popol Vuh or the Gospel of Judas or the Doctrine and Covenants or the Book of Enoch or the oral traditions of dozens of American Indian tribes or the Book of Moses or the Book of Mormon or the…

  • Jim Reed

    I read the book by Richard Carrier, the historian. He read the others.

  • Lillith70

    Moderation in ALL things. Zealotry is the cause of strife and wars not religion who. when get down to the basics of it. teaches that selflessness is the way to happiness and being more godlike.

    More than Mormons may have lost sight of that and as the article states, it could have happened in any religions or groups.

  • UJeans

    Belief in Bible Gawd is like believing in Rumplestiltskin. Both exist in books, but have never been seen or touched.

    There’s no reason to believe in Bible Gawd as actually existing. You may passionately believe in Bible Gawd, but others don’t—just like some people passionately believe in the existence of Big Foot while others don’t. In the modern world we live in, it’s not general practice to be expected or required to suppose that imagined entities which can’t be verified and confirmed to exist should necessarily be assumed to exist, so why do so? Why SHOULD a modern person believe in Bible Gawd simply because many people believe it exists?

  • Christopher

    I do not believe in the “Bible Gawd” nor the Bible God. I don’t believe the Bible is anything more than a political tool used by wicked men to control women and men. But that does not mean I do not believe in God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I have other sources for my beliefs including personal testimony due to my own eyewitness of events including being saved by an angel that spoke to me in a triple rollover. Should I deny what I both heard and felt? Would you?

    Many people of your religion feel the way you do. Your religion is like unto a person in 1950 claiming that there were NOT billions of galaxies because no one had ever seen them.

    how about Black holes. Have you seen one. It a black hole like Rumplestiltskin? Both exist in books.

    I have wonderful reasons to believe in God. I have had many miracle that defy any other explanation. I have had a multitude of my prayers answered ‘yes’ and others answered ‘no’. To reject that God raised my son from the dead or healed my eldest son’s broken would be to deny what I witnessed personally with no other reasonable explanation. Even the doctors said what happened to my eldest son was a miracle and they had no other explanation.

    According to YOUR religion there were no coelacanths in 1915 AD but then a fisherman caught one and then they existed? Did they not exist except in the fossil record until 1916? New animal and insect species are discovered all the time. Are they just like Big Foot, by your beliefs, UNTIL they are discovered? Or were they there all the time but ignorant people like you just hadn’t found them yet?

    The reason a modern person should believe in God is because God answers their prayers and gives them miracles too amazing to deny. And then there are those that God doesn’t do these things for because they refuse to follow His prophets so they can learn how to receive His gifts. I know which group you are in and which one I am in. Your choice. My choice. I LOVE the choice I made. God has given me miracle after miracle to confirm to me HE LIVES. YOu just haven’t caught the coelacanth yet so you REFUSE to believe. That doesn’t mean He is not there. You just refuse to even fish to try to catch one.

  • Christopher

    You have a lot of faith in one man. And actually he hasn’t read them. I checked. You are getting desperate now, Jim. Why lie to me?

  • Christopher

    You read what? The book you wrote about your family that was changed?

  • Jim Reed

    It is about the history of early Christianity, first century. Christianity was a record of a celestial Jesus from older Jewish concepts and scriptures, then there was no more record after Paul for some decades, then it reappears as the gospels. The church worked its magic, and you have a new Christianity that lasts for millenia. Nobody notices until the historians start checking out that first century more closely..

  • UJeans

    You seem confused about your professed unbelief in the Bible. On the one hand you reject it, while at the same time picking and choosing from it what you choose to embrace, and in the process make your “God” into a magic tool with which, with a secret prophetic code, you believe you produce “miracles.”

    Believing in miracles-on-demand requires a process of rationalization: When “God” says “yes,” a miracle happened! When a miracle doesn’t happen, “God had other plans and said ‘no.’”

    Christopher, I’ve been there. Done that. Believed in that way, but I no longer do, and it’s not my experience that unbelief requires “faith.” When belief disappears, it’s gone—and the world looks much clearer.

  • Christopher

    It is ONE MAN’s opinion. Other scientists disagree.

    There was a record after Paul’s account. The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants are but two examples.

    “The church”? What is that? The corrupt, murderous, thieving, adulterous, Catholic priesthood?

    Many “historians: disagree with you and your ONE historian.

    Believe what you will. It is your unalienable right granted from God.

  • Christopher

    Not confused at all. If a cake recipe was handed down from Adam to me and it was obvious that many of the ingredients had been changed or lost then I could use the good parts and needfully reject the rest.

    The Mormons says it well: We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

    When God says “no” it is like when a parent says “no” to a baby that wants to run into the street. I am thankful for that protection by a wise and merciful God and thank Him for correcting me. “NO” is a better answer than yes quite often. Did you know that?

    Your experience includes being saved by an angel? Raising your son from the dead? A visit from Christ Himself? Really? I would love to hear about your experiences so I can HONESTLY reconsider my position. I am alway seeking truth.

    Your faith remains incredibly strong. Impressive.

  • Jim Reed

    The book of Mormon is not a first century document. That is the question. What did Christians think back then? The gospels came later. First century Christianity shows there was no actual Jesus, and the story of one was invented later.

  • UJeans

    LOL. Yes, Christopher. I know believers have faith that when the God they believe exists says no to their prayers, it’s because they believe their God knows better what they need than they themselves do. This, despite the Biblical promise that whatever is asked in Jesus’ name will be done. Such rationalization becomes necessary when what has been promised doesn’t happen as asked. This very situation is one of the reasons why I no longer believe in “God.” As I see it, once one has accepted the idea of a loving personal God, one has no choice but to endlessly, fabricate and devise reasons for why things so frequently turn out disappointingly and tragically, despite fervent prayer.

  • Christopher

    But it is. It is a document that goes from the Biblical tower to 400 AD. It has the visitation of Christ in the Americas in the First century written by contemporaries. He wasn’t a mortal man and was obviously a God in the Americas.

    Those people were ALSO First Century Christians. You just reject it like Scientists once rejected books written on metal plates, huge cities built by pre-classic Maya, that Vikings and/or Minoans were in the Pre-Columbus Americas and on and on. The Science of today is the humor of tomorrow.

    Just because YOU reject it means little. It is like scientists once rejected and in some cases still reject today’s historical facts does not mean it is not as true as Viking in the Americas. It is believed by millions to be true and is supported by respected scientist, scientific evidence and the science of mathematical probabilities.

    Scientist disagree on many things. You have the right to rejected respected scientists but don’t think I cannot also PICK AND CHOOSE like you do.

  • Christopher

    I have often times believed I knew better than an all knowing God. It is one of the reasons that I do my best to listen now. Trial and error led me to believe it was much easier to not step into the street with a car coming.

    I could care less about Biblical promises. I have been given promises DIRECTLY from the source. The Bible is a mess. Meant to confuse and destroy faith and especially knowledge.

    And the ACTUAL promise is anything that is asked in RIGHTEOUSNESS will be given. Your version is when Burger King says you can have it your way and then you think you DON’T have to pay for it. Those darn caveats. Guess what? You can have it your way IF you pay for it. Big difference. The same is true of God.

    Doctrine and Covenants 82:10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

    Simple contract law.

    What would you give to save the life of your son? I don’t need to fabricate God’s great miracles in my life. It is like a scientist that didn’t have a microscope so there were no little creatures. God gave me the microscope and so His miracles became as obvious as bacteria multiplying under the scope. I am sorry you never had the microscope from God or maybe the telescope but He gave it to me so I can see the galaxies that others who don’t have the equipment cannot see. I have no questions. I KNOW.

  • UJeans

    Ah, yes. I’m acquainted with a New Apostolic Reformation zealot who is absolutely certain he is both the new prophet Elijah, and is destined to be the savior of the planet, because “God” speaks to him directly.

  • Jim Reed

    It is an American book that was pulled out of a hat. Everything about it is 19th century American religion.

  • LegalizeLezMarriage

    ^this post brought to you by the good folks at mormon.org

  • Christopher

    I am acquainted with an atheist that believes that science will advance rapidly enough in his lifetime that humans will be immortal.

    I know a Marxist that believes in dialectical materialism and that we can have a utopia on earth through Communism.

    I know an Atheist that was a good person. Why?

    I know a guy who tells stories about other people’s beliefs trying to mock then in a vain attempt to cover for his own outlandish ridiculous religious beliefs. I met him on RD.

    Are you done or do you want to try to keep up with the second hand personal attacks? I get a kick out of them so if you want to continue I have no problem with them.

    Have you heard the one about the Atheist that wasn’t a demented pervert? No? Neither have I.

  • Christopher

    Nice fantasy. I write fantasy too. Just started only third novel. You should try some non-fiction. I write non-function too. I published my first non-fiction over a decade ago. Or even try science. I love real science. I study it all the time. You really should try it with scientists that are actually respected in their fields. BYU is loaded with them. Would you like me to recommend a few?

  • Christopher

    I am not a Mormon. I admire many of their beliefs. I have researched the Book of Mormon and the science behind it. Impressive. I belong to a small fellowship.

  • Christopher

    I checked on mormon.org and can’t find anything on the Saudi professor. Do you have a link?

    I also could find nothing on the name Alma and the Dead Sea scrolls on mormon.org. Do you have a link?

    I have never been to mormon.org. before today. It seems to be just a bunch of stories about Mormons and has nothing to do with language in the Book of Mormon or the Dead Sea scrolls. Did you mean it was on some other Mormon web site and you just made a mistake?

  • UJeans

    Christopher, you need to make peace with with fact that because some people believe they’re in direct communication with “God” doesn’t mean that their “God” exists, doesn’t mean that they’re in communication with a “God,” nor that their claims are convincing.

    Have nice evening.

  • Christopher

    I am not angry at all. I enjoy the banter. I use it in my legal research. Why would I get angry at a test rat in a voluntary cage? If I was angry I would not continue to respond. Anger only hurts the person that is angry. “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” — The Buddha

    Don’t you love quotes from the Buddha? So calming and spiritual.

    I am at perfect peace that people have the right to worship idols and political theories and chess and whichever god/God/Gods they choose. I wear Mjölnir. Hail Thor! Valhalla will be my home!

    I totally support religious liberty even for atheists as long as they don’t try to get me to pay for it like Socialist atheists do. Like the Feminists and Socialists in the Hobby Lobby case did. (Thanks Kara for that new arrow in my quiver) Pay for your own faith and practice is what I believe in. Don’t you?

    I have no problem if your region is non-theist. The Supreme Court was very clear that many religions are non-theist. I agree wholeheartedly! Many of my best legal wins come from using the wonderful religious rulings achieved by non-theists or non-Christians.

    Didn’t you just love United States v. Seeger 380 U.S. 163 (1965) and Welsh v. United States 398 U.S. 333 (1970) You have read them of course?

    I just love the information I get from Secular Humanism sites. And thank God for Trotsky and his public admissions about Marx and Lenin being the religious leaders of Communism. Why it just makes my skin tingle every time I read it.

    TORCASO v. WATKINS, 367 U.S. 488 (1961) @ [Footnote 11] Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others. See Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia, 101 U.S. App. D.C. 371, 249 F.2d 127; Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda, 153 Cal. App. 2d 673, 315 P.2d 394; II Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences 293; 4 Encyclopaedia Britannica (1957 ed.) 325-327; 21 id., at 797; Archer, Faiths Men Live By (2d ed. revised by Purinton), 120-138, 254-313; 1961 World Almanac 695, 712; Year Book of American Churches for 1961, at 29, 47;

    Here is another one I just love: 7. Religions in the Modern World: Traditions and Transformations by Linda Woodhead Chapter 4, Titled Chinese Religions, page 99 states: “The Cultural Revolution can itself be viewed as a secular or civic religion and revitalization of revolution….This civic religion was enforced through education.”

    Of course the Federal government of the U.S. established the same basic civic religions and this civic religion is enforced through education, too.

  • UJeans

    You should realize that you’re a poor advocate for your cause. You sound disturbed, resentful, and spiteful. Seek help.

    Good-bye.

  • Christopher

    Nazis despise free men. They always say the same words you do for personal attacks instead of attacking the issues just like you do. No free man ever said anything a Nazis liked. You proved that once again.

  • UJeans

    The end, Christopher. The end.

  • Janice Best

    You know the other thing that gets me about this kind of thing (and my condolences to you and your mother-in-law and the rest of the family on the loss of your wife) is, are these people oblivious to the suffering of others? “Why *my* loved one?” When all around them, people are dying every day. I can sympathize with the pain of losing a loved one. But I don’t grasp the – well, I don’t know what it is – that would make a person think that their god(s) would never take their loved ones.

  • Christopher

    The end of me enjoying the pain and suffering of Atheists and Socialists since the Hobby Lobby ruling? It hasn’t even started.

    I am enjoying watching the Natural Selection process too much and this is research and you and Socialists Atheist like you are the rats in the Voluntary cage. Oh how many wonderful little bits of knowledge you Socialists have given to me (thanks to Kara especially) that have gone into my RFRA research files.

    I have been waiting for that ruling since 1997AD and even more since RLUIPA in 2000 AD, knowing full well that the RFRA had squashed all SCOTUS jurisprudence (like Alito admitted) concerning the Free Exercise Clause and establishing the new RFRA test while crushing the filthy ruling of LEE by the Miners and Sappers of the Court. And I am going to enjoy every minute of the fall of ObamaCare and other Socialist filth on the sword of liberty that has been handed, by Congress and the Courts, to those of us that know how to use it.

    I am not here to preach or convert. I am here to gloat.

    If you don’t want more from me directed toward you then just stop writing. You have my permission. But if you want to continue please do. You cannot imagine how much fun I am having. it’s like a never ending roller coaster ride right now. A virtual Las Vegas buffet of juicy tidbits and humor.

    FEED ME, SEYMOUR. FEED ME! My need for laughter is insatiable.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ the Old Adam

    Great post!

    God hates religion!

    Religion being that which ‘we do’ to try and become better in God’s eyes. And He just hates that. Because we have nothing that He wants, or needs. And, all that He does want was accomplished for us by Christ on the Cross. There’s nothing left for us to do…where God is concerned.

    But our neighbors do need what we have to offer. So we are free (from religion) to live our lives…and help out where we can, or where we will.

    Thanks.

  • Jim Reed

    So you are saying the Bible is a mess, and to get the real contracts signed by God you have to go to the Mormon books.

  • Christopher

    No book is anything more than a help. Like a book on carpentry. You can read it all you want to but until you put it into practice you will never get the rewards of being a carpenter. The Bible does not say: If any of you lack wisdom read the Bible. It says if you lack wisdom ask God. Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants all say the same basic things.

    If you love your neighbor. If you love God. If you pray for help and talk to God. If you treat others as Christ would treat them then, like a garden that is well tended, after time you will start to see the good fruits. Lets weeds and vermin into your garden/heart and you will have no fruit at all. It takes work to be virtuous and a people that is not virtuous is an enslaved people or soon to be enslaved people.

    Eschewing Socialism and promoting liberty is a major, if not the most important part of Christianity for without liberty Christianity ceases to be. Christianity can never be forced. Charity can never be through enforced taxation, That is Satanic.

  • Christopher

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/25/jesus-crucifixion-date-possible_n_1546351.html

    Jesus’ Crucifixion Date Possibly Friday April 3, 33 A.D., According To Earthquake Study

  • GeniusPhx

    you cant read this and conclude religion isnt harmful to society.

  • fiona64

    Eschewing Socialism and promoting liberty is a major, if not the most
    important part of Christianity for without liberty Christianity ceases
    to be.

    Yes, Jesus was well-known for telling his followers that they should be selfish jerks and not help anyone.

    Oh, wait.

  • Christopher

    So you believe that voluntary charity is the same as the government taking what they demand by force, taking their CUT and then giving it to everyone from the super rich international corporations and bankers, to Arab nations and Israel and illegal aliens and poor people?

    Is that that you are claiming? Because to me that is theft not charity.

    Because to me when a man robs me at the point of gun (like income and payroll taxes are collected) so that he can give it to corporations or even other people HE FEELS are worthy of receiving MY MONEY then I still consider that to be theft.

    Now when I adopted a special needs child and saved the government over a million FRNS and opened my home repeatedly to homeless people so they could get on their feet, That to me was how Christ would have done it. So I do it that way.

    But you support the theft and call it charity.

  • fiona64

    You have taken an awfully long time to write a post that is nothing but a gigantic straw man.

    Congratulations on completely missing the point. Way to go!

  • Christopher

    Short and sweet. Socialism, aka Welfare state, is Satanic.

    Voluntary Charity is Christ’s way and the Way to go!

  • fiona64

    You’re a funny little zealot, I’ll give you that.

    Making sure everyone has access to health care is not Satanic. Making sure everyone has enough food is not Satanic. In fact, those are two of the things that Christ commanded of his followers: comfort the afflicted and feed the hungry. You also seem to be flunking out on “love your neighbor as yourself,” Christopher. ::shrug::

    I doubt Jesus would recognize his words in your hateful mouth. Jesus was the *first* Socialist, when you get right down to it.

  • Christopher

    You’re a funny little thief. I’ll give you that.

    To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical. –Thomas Jefferson

    My wife has MS. She went to her new doctor last week, her old one retired. The Doctor told her she could go on 100% disability and have all her medication and visits and treatments paid for (as long as they were not natural or homeopathic) by the government. Naturally she declined because she is not a thief that would steal from you or your children to have her medical costs paid for. But you would have no problem at all taking from me at the point of an IRS gun to pay for your medical needs from Big Pharma that I abhor. We don’t use Big Phrama drugs.

    Christ did not command people to steal property from others to give to the hungry or sick. People gave out of love and concern for their brothers and sisters not out of threats by the government to audit them or throw them in prison if they do not give AS ORDERED. Christian charity has NOTHING to do with force. That is the difference between your Christ and mine. My Christ was not a thief. Your Christ is a Marxist/thief.

    When I adopted a special needs child and in doing so saved the government over a million in cash did I not understand about loving my neighbor. Or did I not understand it when I opened my home to homeless kids my children brought home that needed help? Maybe you can explain it to me.

  • fiona64

    At this point, I’ve become convinced that you a) either never adopted such a child or b) if you did so, did not do it from a place of love but from a place of “Look at me!” You’re all about the glory and, of course, performing character assassination in the name of Jesus.

    I work for a living, jerkwad. I get to make my medical choices, and you get to make yours. What you do is irrelevant to me. However, *UNLIKE YOU,* I do believe that people have the right to medical care. The fact that you brag about your wife allegedly opting out of the most appropriate treatment per her physicians tells me that you are an undereducated twit. ::shrug::

    Like I said, Jesus wouldn’t recognize your words in his mouth. Maybe you’ve forgotten these verses: Matthew 22:20-22, Matthew 19:21 and, most importantly, Matthew 6:6.

    Good day to you, little man.

  • Christopher

    Her name is Angela. My wife had to defy a court order to keep her away from her drug addicted parents that were abusing her. We had to FIGHT to keep her. She is now an adult and I comment on her to demonstrate how a Christian can give charity, all Glory be unto God. The Apostles wrote about what they did. Were they bragging or just telling the truth?

    I work for a living too. So what? People NEVER have the right to the property of other people. That is what you believe. YOu believe you have the right to get the government to STEAL for YOU so that you can have the medical care you want and not just wheat you can afford.

    I want a new car. Should I have the government increase your taxes so I can have one?

    Do you know who Caesar is in America? Of course you do not. In Chisholm v. Georgia The Supreme Court ruled, “[A]t the Revolution, the sovereignty devolved on the people; and they are truly the sovereigns of the country…”

    So by Matt 22:21 standard we American sovereigns are to render unto ourselves that which is our own. We Americans are individual Caesars by law. Don’t you understand “created equal.” There is no Caesar/king that we are to render to in the USA. The Government is to be the SERVANT, not the Master/Caesar.

    Matt 19:21 SELL and GIVE not STEAL and GIVE. You are to give unto the poor. It doesn’t say: The government is to TAKE from you in taxation and give to Corporations and the rich and support wars and murder and give to the poor.

    Here is one you need to consider. Romans 2:21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?

  • fiona64

    Sorry; I don’t buy into Pauline doctrine. I read the red letters in the Bible; you might want to try that.

    If this “Angela” is not a figment of your imagination, I thank you for letting the world know that you and your wife broke the law. I think that makes you kidnappers, when you refuse to return a child to his or her legal guardians. Hmm.

    I hope you don’t use roads, electricity, police, fire services, water, or anything else paid for by those sinful taxes.

    You aren’t paying for my medical care, sweetums. I have health insurance, which I earn as part of my compensation package and for which I pay a portion of my premiums. Stop foaming at the mouth with your Randtard bullshit.

    PS: John Galt ain’t real.

  • Murmur1

    On the aspect of zealotry and hyper-religiosity, it’s important to remember that Jesus often lambasted the Pharisees, who took pride in following the Jewish law to the letter. Christianity is about principles, not rules. There are only two great commandments in Christianity: Matthew 22:36-40.

  • Murmur1

    Well, I believe it was a Black Christian preacher who pointed out that there was a God for a very long time before there was a Bible.

  • Murmur1

    I believe the author’s point is that HER MOTHER’S religion became a trap. She is speaking of personal beliefs and practices rather than the official church doctrine. I don’t know much about Mormonism, but I have never heard, for example, that it requires family prayers seven times a day. It’s fine to let one’s husband be the leader (if that’s what you want to do), but if he abuses or neglects your children, you need to call him on it, because he’s not fulfilling his Christian or fatherly or husbandly role when he does that.

  • Northern_Witness

    As I said, some people may misunderstand and/or misuse/abuse their religion. Their doing so has zero to do with the religion itself.

  • Northern_Witness

    “Unbelief” most certainly requires faith. Usually it is faith in the primacy of sense impression (despite the limits and fallibility of same); in the comparing and contrasting of sense impression, also known as the scientific method; in reason and logic, also dependent on sense impression; and that there is no other way or method for knowing truth except for the above three.

    Atheists posit an individuated God and then attack that notion. It is bit like watching a dog chase its own tail – somewhat amusing for a moment but of no significance.

  • Christopher

    Why would I use YOUR Bible? Why not the New American or King James or Catholic or the Geneva Bibles. I have studies all of those and a dozen more including the Nag Hammadi Library and the Dead Sea Scrolls. You should try them all.

    And I pay taxes like gas taxes that go to the roads. I also pay sales taxes, property taxes, entertainment taxes and many more. I just don’t pay Socialist/Marxist taxes you do, like Income taxes and Social Security taxes that DO NOT PAY for “roads, electricity, police, fire services, water”. But you didn’t know that because you have NOT studied the voluntary federal tax system like I have for 35 years so you volunteer wrongly thinking you pay for things like roads.

    Here is what the GOVERNMENT said income taxes paid for: “100% of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the Federal Debt… all individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services taxpayers expect from government.” –1984 Grace Commission report submitted to President Ronald Reagan

    John Galt isn’t real but Ronald Reagan was. Wake up to the reality of YOUR incorrect beliefs. REPENT!

    Chew on that while you PAY the bankers welfare out of your check. Render unto the bankers that which is theirs. Look upon the “Federal Reserve Note” and realize WHO YOUR Caesar is.Then bow down and pay tithing to them. I don’t.

  • Christopher

    I loved Dr. King and have read many of his works. My black grandchild will be offered his works to read along with many other religious beliefs so she can choose for herself.

    All I ask is just don’t try to force me to practice your religion. I could care less if you believe Marx was a prophet, like Trotsky did. Or that Mao is a god as he is currently worship by many. Or that Christ was a Socialist and wanted to force people through the power of government to be Charitable Christians.

    I just totally oppose anyone being required by the government to pay for anyone’s “Sacred Trust” or “Sacred compact between the generations” or any other Civic Religion of Mao or Marx or Socialism.

    Do you believe that you should be forced by the government to pay for MY religion? Well I don’t believe I should be forced to pay for any religion. I should not even be forced to pay for my own religion? Religious contributions MUST be voluntary or they are theft. Do you disagree?

  • fiona64

    My preferred translation is the Douay-Rheims … when I’m not reading in the original languages. How much of that can you do, again? Oh, none? Yeah, that’s about what I thought.

    Thanks for admitting that you’re a criminal, Christopher. I’m sure Jesus would be proud. Or, you know, not.

    Thanks for proving yet again that there’s no such thing as a sane Randtard, though. You’re doing my work for me.

  • fiona64

    You sound disturbed, resentful, and spiteful.

    Yep, he does … just like every other Randian “objectivist” nutter I’ve ever run across.

  • Christopher

    Dear ēreptōrem,

    A criminal is a person convicted of a crime. In the USA we are innocent until proved to be guilt in a court of law. Didn’t you know that? I have never even been arrested for a tax crime or been convicted of anything worse than speeding as a teenager.

    I NEVER evade taxes. That is illegal. I avoid them legally. But you don’t approve because you love your ObamaCare religion. I just know where the free bridge is. It is called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and was just used to avoid taxes by Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court AGREED,

    So thanks for proving you are a liar and a promoter of government theft.

    Justice Louis D. Brandeis defined what I do that you abhor:

    “I live in Alexandria, Virginia. Near the Supreme Court Chambers is a toll bridge across the Potomac. When in a rush, I pay the dollar toll & get home early. However, I usually drive outside the downtown section of the city and cross the Potomac on the free bridge. This bridge was placed outside the downtown Washington DC area to serve a useful social service getting drivers to drive the extra mile & help alleviate congestion during the rush hour. If I went over the toll bridge and through the barrier without paying the toll, I would be committing tax evasion. If, however, I drive the extra mile & drive outside the city of Washington to the free bridge, I am using a legitimate, logical & suitable method of tax avoidance, & I am performing a useful social service by doing so. For my tax evasion, I should be punished. For my tax avoidance, I should be commended. The tragedy of life today is that so few people know that the free bridge even exists.”

  • fiona64

    I suggest that you seek psychiatric help for your delusions.

    Oh … and that you not use Google translator when trying to pretend that you understand Latin. It tends to mess up your tenses for you.

    Casse-toi.

    No love, a linguist.

  • Christopher

    I had to take my adopted daughter to a psychiatrist for a decade. She believed I was a very stable and wonderful man or would not have allowed us to adopt her. Naturally she was correct and you are a bitter, bitter voluntary tax slave (along with being ignorant) needing to kick against the pricks.

    I didn’t use Google. I did use a translator. And you played right into it. Sucker. I am a professional researcher. I know how to look things up like law and words, and history and the tax code and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

    Did you want to continue this banter? I think you need to get a little more anger out. You feminist always do.

  • fiona64

    I did use a translator.

    I’m well aware of that, thanks,

    And you played right into it.

    You’re just pissed because you got called out on it. Stop lying to yourself and everyone else.

    I’m not angry, sweetie. In fact, I’m laughing hysterically. You, OTOH, are foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog.

    And why am I laughing? Because you’re a tiny, insignificant, angry, impotent little boy having a giant temper tantrum.

    Go color while the adults talk.

  • Christopher

    I am thrilled you didn’t use a translator. You have an amazing talent. Good for you. So do I. It is called researching and art, and being a father and a contractor and a paralegal and religious expert and a… etc.

    I have been “CALLED OUT” for decades but the KKK and Republicans and Democrats and Libertarians. I have changed law politically and changed law with court cases. I have been called everything from an “extreme conservative” to a “Marxist” to a “racist” to a “homophobe” to a “True American Patriot” by Aaron Russo, to a criminal by thieves like you. You are a light weight if you think you called me out. I haven’t paid income taxes in over 35 years. I have taken on Harry Reid face to face and he hates my guts. I don’t have a Social Security Number and neither do my children or grandchildren. I drive without a driver’s license and I have won on court on that issue repeatedly. I have worked hand in hand with the ACLU in fighting the USA PATRIOT ACT and newspaper censorship. My daughter is Gay and is my business partner. My grandchildren are many nationalities and races including Danish, Chinese, Italian, Black, Polynesian, Mexican, English, Irish, Swedish, Scottish and regrettably even some French.

    This little boy is easily your match. But that is easy with feminists. So much hatred it leaks out of them like sweat. Real women, like my wife, who at 18, told me she would divorce me if I ever filed another tax return, such women are a force of nature. My gay daughter is such a woman!

  • UJeans

    Atheists reject the god of popular faith—the god as described in creeds and articles of faith, as celebrated in accordance with the liturgical year, and as prayed to and described by myriad petitioners in the pews. IMO, it’s disingenuous and dodgy to pretend that atheists rejecting the god of popular christian faith is like a dog chasing its own tail.

  • Northern_Witness

    So you are saying that Atheists only disagree with fundamentalist/literalist religion. Generally Atheists, however, are only capable of a fundamentalist/literalist approach to religion. They fight with other each other as to whose literalist religion is the best.

    Somewhat amusing but of no significance.

  • UJeans

    Have non-fundamentalist denominations stopped reciting creeds and have they abandoned their articles of faith? Do they no longer celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus at Christmas, and the resurrection of Christ at Easter? If not, it seems to me that they too fall into the category of popular religion—the popular religion atheists reject. There are, of course, clergy like John Spong and Harry Cook who still recite creeds and follow the liturgical year, but attach their own interpretations to the words, but they are post-theist and are making a new thing of Christianity. Seems to me that eventually it might be possible for there to be cordiality between atheists and post-theists.

  • Northern_Witness

    So now you are expanding beyond fundamentalist religion to include all religion.

    There is no such thing as “post-theism”. Religion is, by definition, collections of practices that move the practitioner beyond the confines of sense impression, ego, bias, and hatred. That is, beyond the morass in which Atheism wallows.

    Religion and science already meet at the extreme edges of quantum mechanics – but science still has a long way to go before it arrives at the core of religion.

  • UJeans

    Well, yes. As I understand atheism, it does reject all theistic religions as they are commonly understood and practiced. It was you, after all, not me, who declared that atheists are capable of understanding only fundamentalist religion.

    I think you err in declaring that post-theism doesn’t exist. It’s a fact, after all, that people experience themselves as being post-theist religionists—and it seems to me that you’re trying to unilaterally nail down for all eternity what religion is and can be. Religions have always changed, and I see no reason why post-theism is impossible.

    As for religion and science meeting, seems to me that if and when that eventually happens, theism as popularly understood today will be a thing of the past, just as myriad gods before have passed away.

  • Northern_Witness

    All you are doing is repeating your erroneous view of religion. It is the logical fallacy of argumentum ad nauseum.

    I did not say that Atheist were capable of only understanding only fundamentalist religion. I said that Atheism’s argument is only with fundamentalist religions.

    Your subsequent comments show that you do not have a solid grasp of the common core of the world’s major religions.

    You also argued against the existence of an individuated Supreme Being, known to you as God. Now you are arguing against any and all gods. Your arguments change shape like quicksilver when challenged.

  • fiona64

    religious expert

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    women, like my imaginarywife

    There. I fixed it for you.

    Go color while the adults talk, loser.

  • fiona64

    I have no doubt that any child within or near your household required psychiatric help.

  • UJeans

    You most recently wrote: I did not say that Atheist were capable only of understanding only fundamentalist religion.

    Previously you wrote: “Generally Atheists, however, are only capable of a fundamentalist/literalist approach to religion.”

    You wrote: “You also argued against the existence of an individuated Supreme Being, known to you as God. Now you are arguing against any and all gods. Your arguments change shape like quicksilver when challenged.”

    Previously you wrote: “Atheists posit an individuated God and then attack that notion. It is bit like watching a dog chase its own tail – somewhat amusing for a moment but of no significance.”

    These things having been written by you, fundamentalists posit an individuated God, and you see fundamentalism as a poor example of religion, and claim that atheists are like dogs chasing their tails arguing against such a god, what sort of god are you positing?

  • UJeans

    That last paragraph should read: These things having been written by you, if fundamentalists posit an individuated God and you see fundamentalism as a poor example of religion and claim that atheists are like dogs chasing their tails arguing against such a god, what sort of god are you positing?

  • Northern_Witness

    God is not an individuated entity and so is beyond description, measuring, contrasting, bias.

  • UJeans

    If you reject the individuated god of popular belief, and can’t describe the god you claim to believe in, how can you legitimately criticize atheists for not believing in it, and why do you even care that they don’t believe in it?

  • Northern_Witness

    To describe God means there must be something that is not-God and that is not the case. Description depends on difference and it’s all God.

    Moreover, it is not a matter of belief but direct experience. Belief, like description, entails dualism.

    Atheists claim to rely on reason, logic, science and yet those too are dualistic and inadequate for wisdom of God.

  • UJeans

    Okay, you sound like my Vedantist best friend. Non-dualist. It’s All God. That’s a whole different thing than traditional Christianity. Post-theist. Somewhat Deist. Like I previously said, it seems to me that if the day comes when science and religion meet, atheists and post-theists may well come together.

    But you didn’t answer my question: Why do you care that atheists don’t believe as you do? Why should they consider your subjective direct experience something they should want? What exceptional divine “wisdom” do you believe you’ve absorbed as a result of your non-dualist direct experiences?

    BTW, my friend used to talk about her yearning for direct experiences all the time thirty years ago, but she no longer does.

  • Northern_Witness

    The core of Christianity is non-dual. The core of all religions is non-dual.

    I don’t care whether Atheists believe that.

    I do care when Atheists vilify others.

    I do care when Atheists try to force others to believe as they do.

    I do care when Atheists attack others for having a different religious faith.

    I do care when Atheists seek to gain political power as the expense of others.

    I do care when Atheists seek to prevent others from expressing their own faith.

    I do care about Atheists claiming to value reason and logic and then being incapable of being reasonable and logical about their belief systems and in their denigrations of other religions.

  • Christopher

    Yes. Called upon as an expert in court and approved by both sides and the judge. Laughing and non-belief does nothing to change the facts.

    You poor little feminists male or female makes no real difference, just hurt by living in a world dominated by men. My lesbian daughter considers you a plague on women’s rights. The more I have conversations here on RD with Feminists who demand others pay for their reproductive rights like they did to Hobby Lobby and Conestoga I haves begun to see why she believes that. You don’t want equal rights, you want reparations. What a joke you are all becoming. The RFRA has taken your dreams and flushed them away with other waste and it will only get worse for you feminists as you try to use the RFRA for your religion of “positive rights” aka Socialism. (Thanks Kara Loewentheil)

    Thanks for the continued help with my research preparing for my RFRA/Establishment clause case. The proof of the Feminist and Marxist religion that I have been working on for years is just being handed to me on a silver plater following the Hobby Lobby ruling as, like cockroaches running from under YOUR stove, they clamor to expose the fact that they have long been a cult themselves. I am being handed these Feminist/Marxist/socialist civic religion revelations like like a sandwich made just for me in the kitchen by a barefoot pregnant feminists just before she goes to an abortion clinic. I wouldn’t eat it but I sure can put in into my files. So keep it up because I am really enjoying this gift you feminists just keep giving.

  • Christopher

    We adopted her at 7. She “split” at 2 when the Cops used her to try to get the step-father to rollover on a drug dealer. She split because she was abused by the foster home where she was taken. We couldn’t get her out of the abuse until she was 6. We found her once, with the parents and other people passed out all over the apartment due to drugs, standing on a chair eating beans out of a pot on the stove that was filled with maggots. She was only 4. We tried to take her then but Social Services wouldn’t help us. When we finally got her out of the abuse she was so filthy and covered with lice we had to shave her head and cover her with medicines from all the bed bug and lice bites. It was horrible. So laugh away.

    She remembered the day she first split and told the psychiatrist even the hour it happened. She could tell the psychiatrist the day every new personality had been “born”. One of her violent personalities took a razor knife to the leather seats of our car. Do you want to laugh at that too? She ended up being the youngest diagnosed case of MPD known. It’s called Dissociative Identity Disorder today. Other children were discovered after her that were younger. She had male and female personalities and even one animal personality. That is the one that would describe the abuse she went through more than any other personality. She would get behind a wood chair and hold on to the spindles like she was looking out of a cage as she told us what had been done to her. Some personalities were young and some old. Her mind was incredible. It showed me that we can barely tap into what the mind can do.

    So you can mock what we did (without getting the government to pay for it) but once again it does not change the truth. My other children are happy and healthy with only my lesbian daughter not yet married with children. I hope that happens soon.

    Two of the kids that were homeless we took in consider me a father figure. My wife and I were even invited to sit at the groom’s family table when he was married a few years ago. I hadn’t expected it. So laugh or ridicule away. It does not change the facts.

    Feminist so often have nothing in their lives but bitterness they need to mock the happiness and good works of others. So go ahead and laugh if you need to. I am a strong man and I can take it. It could make you feel better about yourself and you obviously need that.

  • fiona64

    Called upon as an expert in court and approved by both sides and the judge.

    Of course you are, sweetie. And I’m an astronaut and a coloratura soprano with the Metropolitan Opera.

  • fiona64

    You have a vivid imagination. You should become a novelist; it’s quite clear that you’re experienced at writing fiction already.

  • UJeans

    Christianity has a long history of being imperialist, dogmatic, uncompromising, and punitively exclusionary, which history is at the root of what you’re unhappy about: Atheists no longer hide in the shadows and aren’t being exterminated as apostates and heretics. Their non-belief is spoken of aloud and publicly. However, in fact, atheists are still a small minority of the greater population, albeit a growing one. Atheists are the people most despised by theist believers. They are usually believed by theists to be necessarily amoral, immoral, and criminal, none of which is demonstrably true. You are objecting to non-believers having a voice and a place in a theist culture that doesn’t shrink from trying to impose its theist beliefs on the whole society. Such an attitude is simply the past being repeated in the present—but so far, without public executions. A very good thing, in my opinion.

  • Christopher

    It was an IRS tax court case. I testified on the plaintiff’s religion since he is a member of our fellowship. I am THE expert on it since I am one of the founders. I testified concerning what a dollar is and how the RFRA creates a difficulty for the IRS since Federal Reserve Notes are not dollars and have no value in and of themselves. The “least restrictive” upon our Fellowship is to allow us to calculate income in Biblically allowable money.

    FRNs do not meet the biblical standards but the new U.S. Silver dollars minted since 1985 AD do meet the Biblical standards.

    Prov. 11: 1 A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight
    Prov. 20: 10 Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.
    Prov. 20: 23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.

    You would make a poor lawyer as you ask questions you do not know the answer too. I do hope you keep trying though. It is very good for my research.

    Thanks. And good luck with the singing lessons.

  • Christopher

    Since I lived it I need not imagine it. But Feminists and voluntary slaves have such difficulty with truth that I can understand you can’t believe it.

  • UJeans

    Try putting yourself in the shoes of atheists who have experienced actual violent persecution for centuries—and still do in many regions of the world. Your frustrations about living in a relatively free society and having to share space with articulate honest non-believers pales by comparison.

    Try to have a nice evening. ;)

  • fiona64

    Oh, so you invented your own religion, too. Okey-dokey.

    You make sure that tin-foil beanie of yours fits securely, there, buddy.

  • Northern_Witness

    Your first mistake is to confuse Christianity with how people misuse, abuse or misunderstand it.

    I am not “unhappy” about Christianity as you mistakenly claim.

    Your strident, erroneous, and hateful tirade against religions is an example of what I said about Atheism in my preceding post.Thanks for proving my points.

    Your performance brings to mind the dog chasing its own tail.

  • Northern_Witness

    Atheism is intent upon violently persecuting other religions. There is no such thing as an honest, rational, truthful Atheist. Their statements about other religions are either erroneous, illogical or both.

  • UJeans

    Upon what do you base your certainty that atheism is intent upon violently persecuting other religions, and that there is no such thing as an honest, rational, truthful atheist, and that their statements about other religions are either erroneous illogical, or both? How many atheists to you actually know well enough to make such assertions?
    Isn’t it possible that your assertions are irrational and illogical? Even if they were true, it’s worth remembering that Christianity has a historical record of engaging in exactly those things. It’s also possible that your certainties and virulent antagonism directed against atheists is of such a nature that it might well encourage others to violence.

  • UJeans

    I’m reasonably certain that you aren’t the world’s highest authority on what Christianity is. I didn’t say you were unhappy with Christianity. I said you’re unhappy with articulate forthright atheists, and I’m not aware of having issued a hateful tirade against religions. Perhaps you can quote the “tirade” you think I issued.

  • Northern_Witness

    The evidence, for starters, is in your last statement and last statement of this last comment of yours.

    I have pointed out sufficient factual and logical errors in just your statements alone that do so stands as proof that rest of the Atheists are similarly wrong and illogical because you repeat the same cant they do.

    Once again, despite having this error pointed out in your past statements, you make the logical error of converse accident in mistakenly assuming that because some people misunderstand, misuse or abuse religion their doing so magically invalidates their professed religion.

    My comments about Atheism and Atheists are merely correcting errors of fact and/or logic.

    For example, you ended your comment with the logical error of argumentum ad baculum in suggesting Atheists might act violently toward me because I point the errors of their statements.

  • Northern_Witness

    There are no articulate forthright Atheists who are factually and logically correct in their statements about other religions.

    You need to reread your statements objectively to notice the hate and mean-spiritedness embedded in them. Perhaps, if you pretended that I was saying about Atheism exactly what you say about other religions, your mean-spiritedness and fear might become more obvious to you.

  • Christopher

    Specifically to fight against the Civic Religion of Socialism promoted by people like you. And it has been working perfectly. Thanks Kara for telling me all about your feminist religion.

    Ridicule all you want to. Then read the Hobby Lobby ruling and weep. And it is only going to get worse for “folks” like you. Isn’t it exciting?

  • UJeans

    I did NOT suggest that atheists might act violently toward you. I suggested that your virulent antagonism toward atheists could inspire your hearers to violence against atheists—”hearers” meaning those who might see you as a leader. Had I meant inspire atheists to violence against you, I’d have said “atheists,” but it context, that doesn’t even make sense.

    Given that you placed such weight upon that sentence which you failed to properly understand—perhaps willfully—your response utterly fails. You also wrongly understood a previous comment of mine which suggests a pattern of failure to properly understand the written word. Therefore, I see no reason to continue this discussion with you.

  • Northern_Witness

    Next time try to make clear the first time what it is you are trying to say.

    As for your accusation of “virulent antagonism” toward Atheists, once again pointing out the flaws, logical and factual, in Atheist beliefs and statements about other religions does is not antagonistic but rather educational. It seems odd that Atheists who claim to value reason and logic would object to having the factual and errors of their beliefs pointed out to them. The reason for their doing so, is that if they recognize the errors upon which their belief system rests, they would have to discard that belief system and they are at a loss on how or with what they could replace it.

  • smg45acp

    It’s not religion,
    it’s extreme zealous devotion to a cause.

    I’ve read similar stories about childhoods and families ruined because one or
    both parents were completely devoted to some cause like anti-nuclear power,
    banning nuclear weapons, saving the environment or any number of both right and
    left leaning causes.
    While the parent(s) were trying to save the world they neglected or abused their family for what they thought at the time was the greater good.
    So don’t blame religion. If you do you’re missing the real story here.