Who Are the Waldensians and Why Did the Pope Ask for Their Forgiveness?

 

Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones/Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold… who kept thy truth so pure of old.

– John Milton on the 1655 slaughter of 1,700 Waldensians at the hands of the Catholic Duke of Savoy.

Late last month, Francis became the first pope to visit a Waldensian church in Turin, where he repented on behalf of the Catholic Church. It certainly wasn’t an isolated example of papal requests for forgiveness, which have been central to Vatican II rhetoric for half a century. In 1995 Pope John Paul II asked for forgiveness for the many persecutions which attended the Catholic Counter-Reformation and the early modern wars of religion, two years before that he made public penitence for the Church’s role in the African slave trade—in all there were over a hundred similar instances during his papacy. His successor Benedict XVI engaged in similar acts of ecumenical apology.

So why is Pope Francis’ visit with a relatively obscure 12th-century sect notable? There are two main reasons.

First, there’s the Waldensians’ historical importance as a precursor to the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Like the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of the century before or the many tales of martyrdom recounted in John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments the plight of the Waldensians would become a touchstone for many Protestants about their persecution at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church.

But it’s also the sect’s obscurity that makes for a notable reconciliation. Previous papal apologies to Galileo, or for the sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, garnered huge press attention.

This is not to cynically imply that those were public relations campaigns, but at the same time the Vatican is fully aware that a papal visit to a Waldensian church is not going to generate the same journalistic attention that those other examples did. With only a smattering of believers in Italy, South America and the United States (where they’re affiliated with the Presbyterian Church) it makes it that much more compelling as evidence of Pope Francis’ theological convictions, especially as they relate to the question of ecumenism.

In his address Pope Francis asked not just for forgiveness but said that wider Christian unity “does not mean uniformity.” The Pope’s namesake, St. Francis, was a contemporary of the Waldensian founder Peter Waldo, and in many ways they shared a similar theological perspective. Early Franciscans were often marked as heretics, and in many ways it’s a contingency of history that has one group gaining approval and the other being persecuted.

In addition, the past half century of historical scholarship has demonstrated how much of what we think of as the “Reformation” goes back well into the Middle Ages, whether among schismatic groups like the Hussites, the Brethren of the Free Spirit, and Waldensians; or within the Church itself with groups like the Beguines, the Beghards and indeed the Franciscans (all of whom also had their periods of persecution). Pope Francis’ Turin apology could be read as an acknowledgement of this historical complexity, and of the shared history between the Church and the many Protestant denominations.

His predecessor Pope Benedict XVI’s tenure was marked by a pivot towards Constantinople and Orthodoxy. Different popes of course orient themselves in different theological directions. Two years before the 500th anniversary of Luther’s 99 theses it will be interesting to see if Pope Francis pivots even further towards Wittenberg and Protestantism.

106 Comments

  • jimbentn@verizon.net' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    It’s a minor but annoying point that people always assume that Pope Francis named himself after Francis of Assisi. That may be part of the reason for his choice, but don’t forget that the second most important Jesuit was Francis Xavier. And if anyone combines the heart of Franciscans with the head of Jesuits, it is our Pope. He may not make me want to return to a Church I left over 50 years ago — as I’ve said, unlike most atheists I know, I realized I was and could only be an atheist, and only then left the Church I was part of — and still, in many ways, respect.

  • maloneywriting@att.net' Bryan J. Maloney says:

    The current Pope is not a protestantizer. He’s able to see the value in more than one Tradition at a time. He has not turned away from the Orthodox while turning toward Western groups like the Waldensians.

  • cgoslingpbc@aol.com' cgosling says:

    It is about time the Catholic Church admitted to and apologized for its sins. Unfortunately the Pope does not speak for all Catholics. For example, Catholic theologians still deny the extent of the inquisitions, claiming that secular forces were to blame for all but a few hundred incidents of torture and death during the inquisition. All religions tend to deny their notorious past. “Oh well, we are sorry for what happened but the Church was caught up in secular politics and is not to blame.” The actions of past Popes are still defended by Catholic theologians who are reluctant to admit there was and is something inherent in the Church that allows for child abuse, conspiracy with nazis, religious wars and persecutions. These cancers in Church policy are deeply ingrained in its theology, and a simple apology is inadequate. Any church, sponsored and directed by an all powerful and wise God could not have possibly caused so much human suffering and death. A just and loving God would not have allowed it. The obvious conclusion is that this Judea-ChristianGod is indifferent or impotent or nonexistent and is not worthy of human trust. The same seems to apply to most other religions.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    When are you atheists going to apologize for the Reign of Terror, the Leninist, Stalinist, Maoist, Pol Pot, North Korean, etc. mountians of corpses that dwarf those attributable to Catholics who, by the way, were breaking the commandments of Jesus and the other Jewish prophets in committing a single murder while atheism has no prohibition on murder, at all? Christians who kill are being bad at being Christians, they would be perfectly good at being atheists as they did so and lied about their inspiration which could not have come from the Gospels.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I have never, once, heard a Catholic refer to Francis Xavier as “Francis” but as “Francis Xavier”. I think it is universally the case that St. Francis means Francis of Assisi, St. Francis xxx means which ever other St. Francis when they are the ones talked bout. Though, if I’m not mistaken, Pope Francis has made it clear he meant St. Francis.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Pope Francis talks about environmentalism, and in America the congressmen and men running for president tell him to mind his own business. So now the pope visits our neighbor, South America and “Condemns Corruption And Unbridled Capitalism,” I guess he is afraid to say that directly to our face, he had to say it in South America. If this turns into a fight, he started it.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    We find that those Christians not guilty of evil deeds are too full of vanity. Those who are guilty of evil deeds ask for forgiveness, then they tend to get involved in the vanity thing too.

  • wesseldawn@gmail.com' Duck says:

    I’m surprised that after all this time and so many apologies (and more to come I’m sure) the Catholic Church puts up with itself. How can one man’s apology possibly atone for the sins of another? Those long dead will never get the satisfaction of hearing it and so it means nothing. If the repentance was truly sincere we should have seen the RCC quickly apologizing to the more recent victims of sexual abuse by priests and just as quickly backing it up with some kind of financial compensation but instead the church tried to deny all of it and made the victims appear as the evil ones. The RCC is obviously still persecuting and exonerating itself so that future papacy will have to atone for the sins of more recent Popes. The apologies are empty words.

    “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.” (Matthew 23:29)

    “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

  • wesseldawn@gmail.com' Duck says:

    Justifying one sin by drawing attention to the sins of others is like a child who when caught with his hand in the cookie jar, blames the cat. This attitude is the very reason why the present Pope has to make apologies for the actions of past ones.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    There was a time I’d be surprised that such an incoherent, irrelevant, deflection presented as an answer would be given by atheists but that was before neo-atheism and I got to read the unedited thoughts of thousands of atheists instead of the relative handful who are published and saw that dishonesty was part and parcel of atheism. When you don’t believe it’s a sin to tell a lie even the often ineffective impediment to lying among religious folks isn’t there and, unsurprisingly, lies are held to suffice among such people.

    The idea that atheists are less vain than Christians is hilarious for anyone who has read the scads of atheist literature, going back into the 17th century and earlier. The atheist who is unconvinced of their superiority to the majority of people is a very, very rare atheist, in deed and in fact.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Which is why I didn’t justify the sins of Christians BUT NOTED THAT THE CENTRAL FIGURE OF CHRISTIANITY SAID NOT TO DO IT. Really, the role of ideology in functional illiteracy is something that needs to be studied. I mean, it was in the very comment you responded to. Or what part of “breaking the commandments of Jesus and the other Jewish prophets” didn’t you get?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    That makes sense. You are doing your best to show us Christians are superior.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    If he apologizes for all past church sins it won’t make much difference. He is doing something better. He is calling the world out for not being pro environment. Now he is also telling the world not to be so obsessed with greed and capitalism. If these messages sink in, they may get more American Catholics to vote against Republicans, and that will help. At least it is something positive he can do that might make a difference.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Not at all, I’m just pointing out that atheists demonstrate a far higher rate or vanity than Christians and that their holding that there is no such thing as a sin, naturally, provides no inhibition to sinning, including lying. Considering Christianity, if it is based on the words of Jesus and his earliest followers contain encouragement to be humble, even requiring it.

    Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all. Mark 9:35

    “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest. Luke 9:48

    Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8

    Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10

    Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

    Romans 12:16

    If Christians are guilty of being arrogant and conceited, they’re violating the teachings of the scriptures they claim to believe. I would welcome a list of requirements to be humble that identify someone as being a good atheist.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The point is not to be good. The point is just to be more honest. A low bar, but better than nothing.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    You are dishonestly removing the question of honesty and dishonesty from morality when that is a moral assertion. And, as is so typical of atheists, trying to sidetrack the argument because you really don’t have any refutation of what I’m saying.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    What you are saying about non-Christians doesn’t matter. What you say about Christians just feeds the vanity scenario.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    What you say feeds the atheists trying to wriggle out of things scenario.

    Really, everyone is constantly reminded of just how humble, modest and self-effacing atheists are on this website. Not to mention at Alternet, Salon, Pandagon, The “Free Thought” blogs (PZ is just a model of modest self-effacement) not to mention the James Randi “Educational” Foundation, the websites of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, and a myriad of lesser but no less bad examples to prove your contention. And other such notably examples in the atheist communities as Steve Weinberg, Michael Shermer, James Watson, … really, too many to name but who could be. Not to mention such other atheists as the late Christopher Hitchens, Madalyn Murray O’Hair,

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I don’t think atheism is under question here. Christianity is.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    I notice these apologies for genocide etc by the Catholic Church doesn’t include any kind of compensations and the C. Church is very, very rich. Talk is cheap a sage once said.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    I do not recall Atheism was a cause of Lenin, Stalin & Mao. When was that? Oh they did it for their surrogate philosophy that substituted for their Christianity is what they did for not for Atheism. So no blame there. Atheism is simply the absence of Theism nothing more. It isn’t a philosophy or theosophy. A typical error.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Slaughtering every one in a country came right from the Jews and Christians.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Yet the central deity did call upon for mass murder, rape etc. so that is just ignored by you where convenient?

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    They are as they keep telling us. Even their deity tells them to to not boast too often.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    When you are in the minority, some need added ego boosts. And when those around you are hostile and have more than one used torture and murder to punish those not following “the Holy Gospel” can be hard on a person. Unlike those in charge, Christians again, who can still stab at those they find inferior and evil like Atheists.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    First you have to find the Atheists, most of us do not advertise.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Any who stands up loudly to the Godzilla would be considered anything but modest. We are supposed to keep quiet and hidden.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Oh, let me break a fact of life to you, when you make a critique of something you open yourself up to questioning on the same grounds you are criticizing others for. Atheists don’t get to dodge that fact and no matter how much they might hate it, religious folk aren’t under any obligation to kow tow to their whining and demands.

    A fact remains and that is atheists have to swipe moral positions, ironically enough from religion, in this case Christianity, to assert that any particular action of Christians has been immoral. It has to as atheism contains no moral positions. That, in itself, is an act of hypocrisy and the observation that professed Christians who break the commandments of Jesus and the other Jewish prophets are violating the religion they profess, they are violating nothing about atheism, they wouldn’t be even if they were atheists pretending to be Christians for some reason or other. Atheists can’t call them on their immorality without making use of moral teachings Christianity contains but atheism does not.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    The only atheists I find to be evil are atheists who do evil. While atheism is definitely inferior in many ways, some individual atheists don’t share in those limitations by being honest about the nature of their atheism. It is a fact that the large majority of atheists who appear in these comment threads often don’t have any idea what they are talking about and are often quite deficient in logic or coherence.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I’m assuming you haven’t been online or reading the newspapers for the past fourteen or so years.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Oh, one of the cheaper of the neo-atheists favorite whines.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Oh, you mean that Christians should apply to the city of Rome for compensation over the attempt to wipe out Christians in the early centuries of the Common Era? How about the United States compensating the native populations, how about the Brits compensating Ireland…

    How about atheists compensating the myriads of people murdered by atheist regimes from the 18th through the present century?

    Old line anti-Catholic bigotry is the common currency of neo-atheism and old line Protestant fundamentalism.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I think Christianity makes its first and biggest mistake when it claims to have some kind of divine connection. It just seems like the more deeply they believe this, and the more they act on it, the more crazy they become. With no actual divine connection they are stuck on a deception that just grows as the world matures.

    As for me, I always welcome any personal attacks, whether direct or indirect, and hopefully I haven’t said anything to make anyone not understand this.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Of course, if Christianity has a “divine connection” you are wrong about it being a mistake.

    What’s the excuse of atheists who are in no short supply of craziness, either. From that Reign of Terror, those atheists who held and hold that to be some great event of “enlightenment” the materialists who gave us such great things as eugenics, atomic and nuclear weapons, and other such great benefits, the line of atheists who gave us the world champion murderers of the 20th century Stalin, Mao, and a host of lesser but no more enthusiastic murderers, and who have done such things as advocating the benefits of nuking cities in the Muslim world “killing tens of millions in a day” in a preemptive strike, etc.

    Atheists’ double standard of measuring craziness is over, their double standard where everything that Christians have done, which doesn’t conform to anything found in the words of Jesus of his earliest followers, is counted against all Christians, including those who are opposed to such things, while no atheist is blamed for the crimes of atheists, which were done with the aid of other atheists and with the support of atheists here and elsewhere, are to be held against atheists even though their shared ideology contains no prohibitions on doing those things. The grand-daddy of neo-atheism, Corliss Lamont, was probably the biggest promoter of Stalin in the United States for decades after his crimes had been publicized, as late as the early 1950s advocating Stalinism in the United States. He was the one who gave Paul Kurtz his big start in being the father of neo-atheism, giving him more than just the seed money for him to start many of the atheism promoting groups, CFI, CSI(COP), Student Secular Union, etc. as well as buying out the “Humanists” in the 1950s and turning it into another of his propaganda tools. Yet the rule is no one is supposed to mention that connection.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Christianity is turning into a religion of hate.

  • cgoslingpbc@aol.com' cgosling says:

    Camera Obscura – You don’t seem to understand that atheists do not claim to be guided and inspired by a perfect diety. Modern atheists bear no guilt for past sins of atheists and readily admit that being an atheist simply means ” a lack of belief in a god or gods and has nothinf to do with morality. I suspect that you too do not believe in all Gods, but just in one God, so you are an atheist with the exception of one God. On the other hand, being a secular humanist is different. By definition that means one who does not believe in a diety and treats all other humans with respect and kindness. Atheists of the past were not necessarily secular humanists.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    A very real concern because families have been run out of small towns they lived in by your loving Christians.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    It was the hard liners in Christianity who fought some of those religious wars against each other and others.

    Atheism is the minus one to your religion. There were no “Atheist regimes” ever much less in the 18th century. What schools have you gone to?

    No one is safe from bigotry so Christians too live in glass cathedrals when they toss such stones.

    Oh, you mean that Christians should apply to the city of Rome for
    compensation over the attempt to wipe out Christians in the early
    centuries of the Common Era? How about the United States compensating
    the native populations, how about the Brits compensating Ireland…

    Yes an excellent idea. After everyone has done so to each other we might be a better species for it.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    So, you’re not much of an historian, are you.’

    I’d suggest anyone who was persecuted by Stalin sue the estate of his biggest backer in the United States, Corliss Lamont, the “Humanists” the other various atheist promotion groups he started and or bought out or fronted the money for.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Ah, it can never outdo atheism for that. Not if they are sincere about believing that what Jesus said was true.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I want names and locations before I’ll buy that. And a means of investigating the claims.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Being sincere about the myths might lead one into contradiction.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Only fools hate phantasms. However it is the human followers that can be to blame for the good they do as well as the evil.

    Sincerity is fine but it isn’t universally positive. Some of the worse things humans have done has been with sincerity.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    I did say everyone which would mean everyone would in some form or fashion who supported doing bad things to others. A regular round robin of apologies.

    One can’t be a Humanist if one acts terribly to one another now can they?

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Considering how Paul Kurtz acted, lying, defaming, incompetently vilifying, etc. as he was the editor of the Humanist’s magazine, yeah, right.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Ah, you mean “myths” like love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, forgive your brother seventy times seven times (meaning an infinite number of times), take the beam out of your eye so you can remove the mite from the eye of someone you find fault in, those who live by the sword will die by the sword, that which you do for the least among you you do unto me, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free, and the rest of the sayings of Jesus? I know that materialists hate those things because they are inconvenient to them, the same reason that the rich and powerful have shoved them aside but, no matter how much they hate that, those are the definition of someone who is being good at being a Christian.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The myth is Jesus himself. Those sayings were a collection of the best ancient sayings they could find when they wrote the gospels. The problems come when the myths lead to belief in heaven and hell, and dedicating your life to believing Jesus is in your heart and guiding you while the devil is guiding non-believers, and belief in end times and rapture. The golden rule is fine. Christianity is a mess.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    First, few Christians be live in “the rapture” which was a fairly recent thing not found in scripture but the product of a Brit clergyman which few denominations adopted. I never even heard of it till I was in my 30s. The idea that we might, well, bring an end to ourselves rather soon is hardly confined to Christians but has been a reasonable fear since the dawn of the atomic age, thanks to nuclear physics which I’m always being told is thanks to a bunch of atheists, me being told so by a bunch of atheists. On top of that man-made global warming has increased the odds of us living on borrowed time by quite a bit.

    The evidence that Jesus was a person and that the general outline of his late life are as they are described in the Gospels is persuasive to almost all legitimate scholars of the period who have mastered the languages and other studies to have a credible, academic opinion in that area. No one less than the atheists’ favorite New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman has made that point, saying that no more than two qualified scholars in the field hold your superstitious belief that Jesus was a myth.

    In the Gospels it is doing injustice to the least among us which damns people, abusing children, neglecting the sick, the poor and the starving. Belief might save people but not if they act like the rich man who let Lazarus die on his door step.

    I don’t know if the devil is an actual malignant personality or not or is merely a personification for the self-interest which so many atheists believe is the engine of progress, the winners rising on the corpses and bones of those who are to be considered lesser beings. Perhaps that’s why atheists have such a record of murder, impressive even when compared to that of a similar number of those who profess religion. As I will never stop pointing out, atheists have absolutely nothing from within their ideology to identify those evil acts as wrong and not right, they have to steal that moral position from religious people, most relevant to your comment, from sources such as Jesus. Atheists are dependent on the words of such as Jesus to make their criticism of Christianity, they can’t make it from within atheism.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    End times beliefs separate out Christians in making them more open to destruction, or even working toward it. Their religion depends on it. They do things like demand war with Iran. For others wiping out earth is a bad thing. For Christians, it is a necessary evil.

    Bart Ehrman wrote his Did Jesus Exist book, but then he got destroyed on the internet for bad logic, poor research, and including so much apologetic type nonsense. In his later writings, he is starting to seem less sure about some of those things he was saying.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    What a load of nonsense, virtually every culture has had “end-time” prophecies, science is rife with predictions of the ultimate fate of the Earth, with all species, including ours. Your complete ignorance includes recent atheist propaganda which has cited the Shiite “end-times” prophesy to insist on the especial dangers that Iran poses to “The West”

    Yeah, I’m sure Bart Ehrman is so worried about a bunch of people outside of his academic specialty “destroying him” from their base of vast ignorance and vast bigotry in place of any knowledge.

    The moral duties of Christians are to do to the least among as as we would do for God, to forgive our enemies and pray for them, to forgive those who wrong us an infinite number of times – something Jesus, specifically, said was a higher and more pressing moral duty than what is taken as a more direct act of worship of God, to freely give away money we have to those who need it and who will not pay us back, in secret, etc. The irony of your smear job is that the “Christians” who want to provoke wars in the middle-east to hasten those “end times” are about as good candidates for comprising the antiChrist as you could find, including ignoring or distorting the teachings of Jesus. An even greater irony, as mentioned above, is that among their strongest colleagues in fomenting strife and war are the neo-atheists like Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and many of the neo-cons, ex-Trotskyists who paved the well worn road of pseudo-leftists who end up as conservatives. They are all just variations of the same materialism.

    Let me get this straight, this site has an academic affiliation with a major department of a major university, yet it is full of this kind of nonsense. If it were me I’d rethink having comments, the major means by which many ideological groups, neo-atheism certainly high among them, spread lies and nonsense like your comment.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Personally, I think an end times kind of scenario would be bad. As far as I know, only Christians might see it as a good thing or a necessary evil to get to the world they are after.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I think this website appreciates the open discussion, and probably understands a discussion about Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist could lead to divisions if it got too deep. We have accomplished quite a bit here over the years. I don’t think we can know for sure what they think because they run the website without telling us too much about why.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    You certainly know very little about either the Gospels or Christians in general, committing the typical neo-atheist practice of pretending that a particularly narrow range of fundamentalists, mostly in the United States and other English speaking countries are typical of Christians when they are not. Their interpretation, generally from the same type of ignorance of the context of one book of the Bible, the last one in the New Testament, is ill-informed and their conclusions are often contradicted by the Gospels. One of the most telling practices of that group is the business of predicting the date and specifics about the end of the world, or the end of time, or the end of the age… Jesus said he hadn’t been told that, that only the Holy Spirit knew that, why any TV and radio preacher thinks they’re going to be let in on something that Jesus said he didn’t know might be a good question to ask them.

    Your feigned ignorance of the ubiquity of end-time prophesies among others doesn’t lend any credibility to your claims. Perhaps I’m better read when it comes to current atheist propaganda than you are.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Oh, yes, any credible academic institution would certainly not welcome a discussion getting too deep. would it. That’s such a credible position for an academic institution to take. It’s a wonder Ehrman has managed to keep a career in academia with those kinds of standards prevailing. I am assuming that the people who run this site aren’t in the pseudo-social sciences as that is generally the locus of enforced superficiality in academia. Though, unfortunately, their practices have pretty much invaded into even some of the sciences. I think that the field of New Testament studies does, generally practice a more exigent standard of academic practice, the real thing, not the popular junk which is often backed by nothing except the money of internet millionaires who hate religion and Christianity, in particular. That is when the millionaires aren’t the ones playing let’s pretend we’re New Testament scholars, taking the royal road of not having mastered the languages necessary, the historical, textual and archaeological background and other such topics to have any legitimate credibility in the field.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I certainly don’t believe that God called for mass murder, rape, etc. Though I have no problem believing that people gave that excuse for their committing murder, rape, etc.

    By the standards of atheist practice, the crimes of those who professed a belief in God are certainly a. contradicted within the very texts of the law as given in those same scriptures, b. certainly far fewer per-capita, per-annum. One of the great lessons of the 20th century was that atheists with political control can be counted on to be bloody despots, including the world champions of murder.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I’m always so interested in how atheists insist on the moral superiority of atheism by disclaiming any moral responsiblity for the acts of atheists because atheism is amoral.

    “Secular humanism” is an atheist religion. As it is used today it is primarily the promotion of Corliss Lamont, who stuck with Stalin even as the massive totals of his murder regime were well known in the West. I have studied it to some extent and it is certainly a religion that is way, way overdue from a hard external criticism which it has never gotten. It has no internal criticism that I’ve ever found. Unlike mainstream religion which inevitably has both.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I’ll add that to the myriad of other things you obviously don’t know. The information is certainly available and you’re not the first atheist who has made those claims. Try looking up Stalin’s Leagues of Militant Atheists, sometimes translated as “Militant Godless”.

    And thank you for again serving the purpose of illustrating my point that atheists don’t practice internal criticism and they hold themselves to be above external criticism.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    If that was what he was doing or just maybe he was telling the truth, pointing out faults in those who delighted in defaming themselves, vilifying isn’t wrong it it is true.

  • cgoslingpbc@aol.com' cgosling says:

    to Camera Obscura – Do you know many ateists upon which you base your opinions? I think not. How many atheists today are evil, start wars, abuse children and wives. I’m waiting to hear facts not rumors and bias opinion. The prisons are 99% filled with people who claim they believe in God. Does a lack of belief in the millions of religions other than yours make you a bad person? Because I am not superstitious, as I suspect you are, why does that make athiest me an immoral person. you don’t know a GD thing about me and the growing number of secular humanist atheists.You need to read about the studies done on the origins of human values. A sense of fair play and justice is evident in all primates and human societies long before any religions existed. Check out studies done by anthopologists and archeologists. Check out the studies of noted archeologist Ian Morris. Above all, do not lock your mind to evidence that disagrees with your long held beliefs. You might be wrong.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    There was no if about it. Try reading the account of his dishonesty, his lying, his incompetence and his vilifying of his opponents dishonestly by one of the co-founders of CSICOP, Dennis Rawlins in his sTARBABY expose, the accuracy of which was verified by a number of people, including Richard Kammann. You can add, as well, his lying to another of the co-founders of CSICOP, Marcello Truzzi who had made him promise that CSICOP would be independent of and not involved with the “Humanists” of whose journal Kurtz was the editor. He broke that promise before he engineered the ousting of Truzzi from CSICOP. That’s not to mention the frequent misrepresentations he made about other people in those publications and through the groups he was involved with.

  • davidpalmer@clear.net.nz' davidpalmer says:

    The three most murderous regimes in history (as in numbers of people killed) were those of Mao (atheist), Stalin (atheist) and Hitler (arguable, but probably more pagan than religious). You could also throw in Pol Pot (atheist) as an honourable mention. In other words, if you’re going to blame religion for the world’s evils also blame atheism. But, hold on, we’re intelligent people here, why don’t we rise above such stupid judgements and acknowledge that people who do evil things tend to justify their actions by invoking some authority that has meaning to their supporters and the general populace – whether secular or religious, they don’t care, just so long as it works for them.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Okay then this guy as an ass hole. What of it in your bringing him in as an example? Paul Kurtz exhibit “A” for what exactly? Being an Atheist doesn’t make you any different does it? No one says so do they? Except maybe you.

    I do need to understand your point here.

  • cgoslingpbc@aol.com' cgosling says:

    Davidpalmer – You probably meant to say modern history because there are some other candidates from the past. Does “murderous” mean killing with or without justification (whose rules?), does it mean by starvation, by the sword, by the bomb or by neglect. How about some new contendors for that “honor?”, all those who refuse to do anything about climate change. Imagine the world without water and food. As we sit idly by and do little to address the real threat to humanity, millions are dying every day in most of the world from disease and malnutrition. In the history of humankind, relatively few have died from war compared to disease and malnutrition. As the” haves” squander their resources the rest of the world has been dying by overpopulation and lack of resources. The “haves” do little except make birth control an evil act. By the way, none of those famous murderers of the past killed because they were inspired atheists. They killed and conquered because the thought they were gods or believed the gods favored them personally. There is no evidence that the “evil four” of the past were active because they were inspired by not believing in a god. How silly! In every instance they killed and conquered for power. Religious leaders gained power by both killing and forced conversion.Think about it. Such acusations about atheists are totally unfounded. Religion seldom deters violence, it usually inspires violence in order to convert and control populations. Look at the middle East. And, as science has demonstrated, human values were not invented by humans and their religions. Fairness, love, consideration of others, etc., all exist in atheist primates. Evolving humans eventually acquired the good and bad genes not from religion but from animal ancestors. I suggest you find some atheist friends and you may stop using atheism as the evil element in the world. Good luck to you.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Oh, dear, atheists have got to be just about the most ignorant group when it comes to the history of their own ideology. Paul Kurtz was the major figure in the promotion of Atheism in the United States for the past quarter of a century, perhaps in the past half-century, once you take into account the dotage and death of his primary backer, the trust-fund millionaire Stalinist, Corliss Lamont. his editorship of the “Humanists” journal, CSICOP, “Skeptical Inquirer” Prometheus publications, Secular Students Alliance, CFI, and a myriad of other alphabet soup acronyms of atheist promotion all flow from Paul Kurtz’s entrepreneurship . Virtually all of the big names in atheism, including many of the well known atheist bloggers and scribblers had an association with him or his groups.

    Atheists can’t take refuge in the observation that their ideology recognizes no moral positions and expect people to pretend that doesn’t have an actual effect on their conduct in life and that any moral positions they do assert are not found in their own ideology. Atheism does make a difference in how atheists act, it isn’t just a nothing. Whatever moral behavior atheists exhibit is a vestigial remnant of religious culture. I don’t expect it endures very long in the familial culture of atheists who, then, merely have disinclination an a fear of not getting away with it to keep them from doing whatever they want to do. When you don’t believe in God you don’t have any restraints on your behavior except those two. You also have no reason to not be as selfish as you feel an inclination to be. Considering how easy it is for religious people to follow that inclination, believing it’s wrong, it would be willful blindness to not expect the absence of that belief won’t have a malignant result. I am convinced that accounts for the 100% record of governments in the control of atheists being oppressive, bloody, murderous dictatorships. I didn’t become convinced of that until I read the primary literature produced by atheists, themselves.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Atheism is not like religion. It is not a matter of seeing other atheists and wanting to follow them and believe what they believed. It is more about seeing how religion trains people to believe things that are rarely if ever true, and believe because others believe. Atheism is rejecting religious beliefs, and not about converting to atheist beliefs.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    What is it about atheists and the term “logical fallacy”? I think in the hands of atheists that term is a pretty reliable marker of someone who doesn’t know what one is. Nor are they able to honestly present the argument that was made against them.

    I no where made the statement that “everyone who rejects religious beliefs is following those killers,” that is a total distortion of what I did say, that you couldn’t have it both ways, that atheism is a total lack of moral holdings but that you could make moral criticisms of other people while remaining in the framing of atheism. I also noted that without whatever restraint that really believing, for example, that it is a sin to murder people might have on murdering people, the only restraints left to such atheists or others is a. a disinclination from killing people, b. a fear that they might not be able to get away with doing it. I gave the practical example of atheist governments which allowed people to get away with those murders that those governing such societies were inclined to commit as a demonstration that moral nihilism has real life consequences of the most obvious and most severe kind.

    Instead of refuting my argument and observation you lied about what I said, following the typical atheist habit of substituting an absurd argument which anyone would reject and which I would never make. Atheists, not believing in sins, don’t believe it’s a sin to lie or to bear false witness.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    You can’t solve the world’s problems by listing everyone’s faults. You are getting too worked up about things, and that doesn’t do anyone any good.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Sorry, I don’t track Atheists much. Unless they have something to say worth listening to. Oh dear I have a hierarchal means of deciding what I will spend my time with. BFD to you it seems. Not me.

    Most people come to the conclusion of no deities on their own. I know I did. There are no popes, evangelists etc. Some come to prominence then fall. No churches for Atheism since it would be stupid. Unless you consider libraries such places.

    Selfish, everyone has at one point or another. I have helped some and not others and I have been aided by strangers and family members.

    Bloody murderous Christian, Islamic, Judaic are all that way as long as they have narrow or no humanism. Narrow minds.

    I don’t need a fear of a possible eternal punishment to not do evil. But not all humans are that way. And it could change if the circumstances are in a bad way like war, famine, etc.

    Atheism is about ideas of what humans can do for humans. There is no other scape goat but ourselves!

    If you have no empathy you do evil to others. Sympathy is secondary.

    In the past most people had to simply hide. As things became more open then the skepticism started to come out. You just have all these false ideas about what an Atheist is. Just a person that has no illusions concerning reality and humanity. Nothing more.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    And now trying to convince themselves that they’re superior by attempting to condescend to me. You have not demonstrated any of what it takes to make me feel condescended to. I doubt you’re capable of that.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I am answering the atheists here, I am responding to what they’ve said, I have read an enormous amount of what atheists have said, their claims, their ideological stands.

    Anything that anyone says about what human beings allegedly thought and did from before recorded language is pure and utter Just-so story telling based on nothing except the imagination of the one telling the story. It isn’t science, it isn’t history, it doesn’t tell you about the thoughts and lives of our ancestors which has been lost for all time due to their not recording or not being able to record their thoughts and actions for posterity. We don’t know if there was a period in human history before there was religion, even more so our non-human ancestors.

    Considering your clear intention to deny the reality of what the atheists on this site, all over the internet, all over the media and in recordings and books going back centuries say as representing their thinking, it’s remarkable how easily you accept what soc-sci people, with the clearest of ideological axes to grind say about the thinking and lives of people they never even saw. You obviously don’t know the difference between evidence and “Clan of the Cave Bear” style fiction pretended to be science.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    And that would be because all of the other, previous and contemporary peoples of the world were not quite adept at slaughter. Oddly, enough, the Jewish scriptures are remarkably MORE restrained in the treatment of enemies, in almost every case, than the other writings which have come down to us from that period. Only you have to read them to know that instead of relying on cherry picked passages as reprinted by atheists and put online directly from the printed propaganda of past centuries.

    Christianity was, in its earliest decades and centuries, a pacifist religion, one of the things the Romans hated about it so much. It was corrupted by mixing it with European paganism during the period when it was adopted as the state religion of, first Rome, then other places. Most of the brutality attributed to it is entirely and directly in opposition to the teachings of Jesus and his earliest followers, it is entirely in keeping with pagan practices. The Jewish prophets constantly warned about what would happen if the religion of Jesus were to be mixed with paganism.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Another way to look at it is atheist morality is a more honest form of morality because it comes from the essence of being human. Religious morality is saying what you have been told to say, and believing what you have been told to believe, so in a way it is less honest and less true than the more humanistic form of atheist morality.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Wait a gosh, darn minute, there Jim Reed. You don’t get to both claim that atheism is amoral and then start talking about the “atheist morality” that you have disclaimed the existence of when it suits you. If atheism is amoral then any moral behavior that atheists practice it had to come into their lives from some other source.

    If, as I suspect, you are thinking of the current dodges of evidence free claims that morality is a product of natural selection, that is basically an incoherent account of natural selection which denies the definition of that as given from Charles Darwin and his closest followers up to and including conventional Darwinists up till today. Richard Dawkins is only one in a long stream of Darwinists who have said that materialism means that there is no such thing as right or wrong, morals etc.

    If you are going to go on the other atheist dodge that morality is a product of social consensus, that means any in society which held that atheists had no right to equality, to equal treatment, to live, even, then atheists in that society have no rights, at all. And, by that atheist definition of rights, that would be the case and any atheist who claimed to possess such rights would be delusional. In fact in any society which held that any group or individual of any identity had no rights and could be killed without violating morality those people would, in fact, have no rights and until that consensus changed, any assertion of rights on their part would be a delusion which no one was under any moral obligation to consider as a possibility.

    Myself, I’d rather stick with the holding that our Creator bestowed rights equally on all and that those were not alienable by any government or society which has made the extension of the exercise of those rights possible in democratic countries.

    “Humanism” cannot generate durable and effective rights without that origin of rights, better minds than that of those who have striven to create those had to admit that was the origin of rights when they asserted them in the Declaration of Independence and other such documents. There always has to be a source of appeal above social consensus, current understanding and any current theory of science in order for those to be secure. “Humanists” care far less for human rights and dignity than they do with killing off God and destroying religion, the main project of the materialist intellectuals for centuries, now, all else being in service to that. Nothing is too great a price to be paid in the pursuit of that goal.

  • cgoslingpbc@aol.com' cgosling says:

    Obscura – WOW! That is some statement. You evidently mean to say, if we don’t witness something with our own eyes it never happened. You want to throw our every thing that happened before we were born to witness it. Yours is an amazingly stupid opinion. You can’t really mean it. I give up.You are beyond reach. I wish you the best.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I said that your statement about morality and religion in the period before people wrote down language and your contention of morality preceeding religion is based on absolutely nothing since only those people telling us what their thoughts were and how life was among them could reveal that, you and those who do what you did are making up stuff. It tells me that you are an atheist who hates religion and wants to discredit it but can’t based on evidence, those stories made up about people whose thoughts could never be revealed to you only reveal your thinking, not theirs.

    If you think that it’s a stupid observation that unless someone tells you what they’re thinking you can’t know what they’re thinking, that’s a pretty stupid idea on your part. How do you do that? Posthumous mind reading? Mediumship? I thought those things were anethma to atheists like you.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I have never in any of my responses used the word “amoral”.

    Also, if God can be killed and religion destroyed then that would be a good thing to do so you have no complaint to make here.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    If atheism is the mere rejection of the reality of God and of religion then it is amoral, it contains nothing else. You have claimed that. You have, also, clearly falsely, claimed that atheists don’t proselytize when that has been the major activity of atheists during the past dozen years of neo-atheist activity and back into history.

    The history of atheists with control of governments proves it is more apt to be unrestrainedly criminal and homicidal than governments which are not in the control of atheists. Atheists with such control have a 100% record of producing a bloody, terror based dictatorship. Even accounting for the dismal record of government, in general, that 100% record is significant in drawing conclusions as to the desirability of atheism over religious belief. That many atheists in the West, even as they enjoyed the relative freedoms and liberty of governments such as those in the United States, Canada, etc. were wildly enthusiastic for Lenin, Stalin, Mao, etc. proves something about the propensity of atheists to value atheism over all other aspects of life. Corliss Lamont was emblematic of that ideological position. That some, especially the Trotskyites, when it was clear that their hero would never succeed in gaining political power in the Soviet Union and after his murder by Stalin’s agents (to the support of the Stalinists in the West) fled to the quite similar ideology of the capitalist-fascist materialists and became the neo-cons. Christopher Hitchens took that leisurely stroll across the isle, himself during the neo-atheist period without losing the adoration of so many atheists on the pseudo-left.

    You see, I have, actually, made a detailed study of atheism in the last dozen years, reading what atheists, themselves say, with which they refute themselves.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    No, I have not claimed that. You have claimed that. You have given a few examples of evil people, but I don’t think it is enough to influence any of us. I think you would need far more examples before you prove your point.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    OK, if you want to disclaim that argument, where in atheism do you locate durable and effective moral stands that are part of what defines someone as an atheist?

    More examples of what? Athiests who have supported depraved mass murderers? Anyone who has excused the massive bloodletting of the French Revolution, including numerous atrocities, the wholesale slaughter of clergy and religious and religious lay people as well as those who were merely innocent of any crimes in the kangaroo courts and those executed by the army and the state without even that charade as an excuse, the numerous fans of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Trotsky, and a host of lesser heroes of atheists in the West. Anyone who was either a Stalinist or Leninist in the 1920s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, if not even after the period when even the hard core members of the CP here followed the party line in admitting what others had brought to light thirty years earlier. And then there were the Maoists. Anyone who was part of the “Progressive Labor” idiocy of the 1960s through the 70s, including many of those who brought down the SDS fall into that Maoist category. You can, as mentioned, include the Trotskyites who, with his murder by ice axe on orders from Stalin, realized they were one god-man short and who took that tiny step that marks the materialist pseudo-left from the materialist, capitalist right. As I mentioned, the same short path that Christopher Hitchens took beginning in the 1990s as he was adored by atheists all over the world for kicking around an old nun who had devoted her life to serving destitute people.

    I would include such atheists who I actually admire, otherwise, such as I. F. Stone who briefly flirted with Stalinism under the name “Abelard Stone” and who, as late as the 1970s proved himself to have that blind spot when it came to Pol Pot’s regime, he was hardly the only one who defended the indefensible in that way, though he did quickly reject Stalin I am not going to overlook his shortsightedness in Cambodia. The list of names is so long it would take a long time to list them. It would include such names as Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who, after decades of misinformation, which I bought at the time, turn out to have, actually, tried to give the bomb to one of the greatest if not the greatest mass murderer in history. I look on that as equivalent to trying to give it to Hitler. That’s a position I’d probably not have taken without reading the thinking of lots of allegedly leftist atheists who always have two categories of their evil mass murderers and “our” good mass murderers who killed scores of millions of people, but with a good reason. Inevitably, among those who were murdered are those who were killed on account of their religion.

  • nightgaunt@graffiti.net' nightgaunt says:

    Remember what happened to Canaan when Jehovah ordered them to slaughter everyone even the animals? So that they could take over?

    When you are in the minority have the majority criticize one is more in the line of bullying. And as for internal criticism I do plenty of it. I am not part of any group for that kind of criticism. I see none from you on your own side. Zero. So you are one big shining honking exhibit A of the militant holy warrior. Thank you in spades for that.

    However I have found that most people of any persuasion don’t do internal criticism. They think it too vainglorious which it isn’t if done properly.

    An answer to this report was found when Nazi Germany invaded in 1941. Churches were re-opened under the German occupation,
    while believers flocked to them in the millions. In order to gain
    support for the war effort (both domestic and foreign); the allies would
    not support Stalin if he continued the campaign[54]
    against the German forces that were effectively “liberating” religious
    believers from the persecution against them, Stalin ended the
    antireligious persecution[54][55] and the LMG was disbanded.[11]
    All LMG periodicals ceased to publish by September 1941. Its official
    disbandment date is unknown, but traced somewhere between 1941 and 1947.[53] Yaroslavsky turned his attention to other pursuits and in 1942, he published an article on Orthodox writer Dostoevsky, for his alleged hatred of the Germans.[51]

    Nice to see they stopped that. When you have no love of human life and freedom you get murderous dictatorship whether religious or the surrogate religion of Soviet Communism.

    I am against attacking religion just because it is one. Why I like my science and religion separate and of course religion and state.Persecution I am against. I hope you and I can at least agree on that…

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    You can’t solve the world’s problems by listing everyone’s faults. You are getting too worked up about these things. The flaw is trying to solve things in a Christian environment because we are discovering Jesus is a myth, developed by the church, at the end of the first century and into the following centuries.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    You should have kept on in Soviet history as Kruschiev reignited the anti-religious persecution, though without the overt campaigns of wholesale mass murder that Stalin had conducted. It continues in places such as North Korea and lesser persecutions and smaller numbers of murder continue in other such atheist paradises as China.

    It’s funny how atheists who don’t believe in God are always demanding that people blame the God they don’t believe in for all of the passages in the Bible where PEOPLE attribute the command to commit murder to God. Of course such statements about mass murders, wiping out opponents were common in the literature of that period. There is one on a wall in Egypt about the Hebrews being utterly destroyed, yet they weren’t.

    You expect me to defend the literal truth of the entire Bible when I’ve never been a Biblical fundamentalist. I have no doubt that the entire thing is written by people, not dictated by God, though I also have no doubt that parts of it are inspired. I have no doubt that those parts of the Bible which are at odds with Thou shalt not kill are entirely more human than inspired.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I notice you haven’t identified where morals either reside in or are generated by atheism. My point which you objected to is an inevitable and necessary result of it being true.

    I answered you on your superstition that Jesus never existed, I don’t have anything more to say to you about that.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    It is safe to say Jesus didn’t exist because of the Bible. It is the story of the Christianity of Paul in the middle of the first century, followed by the gospels from the following decades on through the end of the first century. The gospels write a story of gospel Jesus that wasn’t known when Paul was writing. The Christianity of Paul was about the Jesus he was finding in old testament references, and in visions. The later Christianity of Jesus is stories about a Jesus who lived earlier than the time of Paul, and worked miracles, and was born of a virgin. Through the decades, each new gospel adds to the miracles and makes Jesus into more of a God. It is the fact that gospel Jesus the man and miracle worker was unknown in the middle of the century that shows it is all made up.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Wow, that’s convoluted even for atheist superstition. Let me know when you know what you’re talking about.

    And I still notice you haven’t located morals within atheism.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I’m not the judge. People are responsible for what they do.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Why don’t you just admit it can’t be done, better minds than yours have conceded that point.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    You live in a Christian world. Atheists are not your enemy.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    If you think I won’t notice you haven’t located morality within atheism because of such lame diversionary tactics, that’s not going to work.

    “You live in a Christian world.” Oh, give me a break. If there has been an excess of people treating the least among us as we would God, of doing to others as we’d have done to us, of caring for the destitute and the poor, of loving enemies and praying for them, etc. I’ve not noticed it. Furthermore there are people killed for being Christians just about every day in one place or another. I don’t mistake the United States for 1. the whole world, 2. a country especially good at following the teachings of Jesus. The United States waged terror wars all over Latin America when they feared too much following the gospels were a danger, murdering tens of thousands of people to prevent that happening.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I don’t understand?

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    Is that a question?

    Atheists love to critisize Christians for their moral lapses, sins and crimes. They love it so much that they blame Christians in general for crimes that other Christians committed. In the case of this comment thread, Pope Francis for crimes done decades and centuriees before he was born. Even for crimes he condemns and the intellectual framing for which, he rejects.

    But when they are held to the same standard of assigning vicarious blame. when they are asked about the responsibility of atheism for the massive record of far more recent and continuing moral lapses, sins and crimes of even living atheists, atheists suddenly want to change the rules in several ways. They want it to be different for atheism, which is self serving as well as entirely intellectually dishonest and irrational. Either the rules cover everyone, no matter of their identity, or they can’t be used against one group as desired when some atheist or religious person wants to.

    I’m not going to agree to allowing anyone to apply a double standard of judgement.

    Atheists want to irrationally absolve atheism of moral culpability due to the claim that atheism is the mere negation of a belief in God, when it is far more than just that, it negates the absolute reality of morals along with its denial of God. Atheism, by atheists own admission, contains no moral content. Which, by the way, is no absolution of atheism in the question of the immoral acts of atheists, to hold that standard of culpability would absolve Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, the Tamil Tigers, etc from guilt for the enormous numbers of murders they committed, not to mention any religious cults who had no prohibition on murder of their opponents. By his lights, Osama bin Ladin wasn’t committing any wrong because his peculiar moral calculus – in violation of the scriptures of Islam – didn’t hold it was immoral to murder some people. Of course, in common with those atheist murderers, he got to make up the list of people it was permissible to murder. Ironically, he and the atheists making that argument hold the same moral standard in that regard. The standard that is used by atheists to white wash the enormous numbers of crimes committed through atheism can work just as well for the Nazis, who believed they were doing nothing wrong in attempting to commit genocide, killing tens of millions of people – a large number for religious identity, including Jews and Christians – on their sincerely held and believed basis of scientific and biological imperatives. They believed they were acting in accord with natural selection, getting rid of the inferior members of the human species so the fittest could flourish.

    Atheists’ amorality does have a real effect in the real world, about as dramatic and drastic an effect as it is possible to calculate.

    Now you will feign being totally confused so I’ll leave you with that to gape at.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The point of being a non-believer is Christianity does not have any actual divine connection. You are redirecting the issue to a list of all the evils in the world currently and in history. You are just getting yourself worked up, and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Both Christianity and non-belief have no divine connection, but Christianity even more so because they are faking it.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    “Is that a question?”

    I didn’t understand your statement,

    “”You live in a Christian world.” Oh, give me a break. If there has been an excess of people treating the least among us as we would God, of doing to others as we’d have done to us, of caring for the destitute and the poor, of loving enemies and praying for them, etc. I’ve not noticed it. Furthermore there are people killed for being Christians just about every day in one place or another. I don’t mistake the United States for 1. the whole world, 2. a country especially good at following the teachings of Jesus. The United States waged terror wars all over Latin America when they feared too much following the gospels were a danger, murdering tens of thousands of people to prevent that happening.”

    This is more than a list of evils of atheists, but I wasn’t sure what you were saying here?

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    You said I lived in a Christian world, I was listing the reasons that your statement is untrue.

    “list of evils of atheists” I’ve acknowledged from the start of this discussion that there are many Christians who are quite unsuccessful in following the teachings of Jesus, the very definition of what Christianity has to be since Jesus is the foremost of the prophets and much more. Many Christians have been and are far better at practicing atheist amorality.

    Now, tell me you don’t get that.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    “much more” is your problem. Does much more mean walking on water and raising the dead? Does it mean born of a virgin? Does it mean taking believers to heaven, or even rapture? Nobody can say what the much more part is supposed to be without the whole thing collapsing, which is what is starting to happen. Without much more Christianity has no value. With it, everything gets worse.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    I don’t find any of those ideas more incredible than the multi-verse theories that atheists invented because they didn’t like the argument from fine tuning which has persuaded some people that the universe is designed to produce intelligent life. We’ve been through the “rapture” here which is a belief of a relatively few Christians who were influenced by a late 18th century British preacher who invented the idea, it’s not found in scripture.

    Personally, I don’t happen to believe in the Virgin Birth, though I wasn’t there and accept that it is possible it happened, even more so the Resurrection of Jesus of which there are multiple independent sources of attestation.

    That’s the raspberry seed that’s under your denture, is it? Considering what I’ve been talking about, on which human equality, justice and the moral obligation to respect those rest – all of which have been denied and attacked by atheists – and on which democracy is absolutely dependent, you have chosen some rather odd things to fixate on.

    I think, considering your kind of obsessive hatred of the foundation of those proven and positive goods in human life that gives some credibility as to why the salvation narrative and theology would have been necessary, just in human terms. People are so self-centered, so stiff necked and so hypocritical that it would take at least the Son of God becoming human, dying at the hands of a corrupt government and rising from the dead to make the slightest impression. I hadn’t had that thought until a few months back but I think it’s a good argument for the truth of that narrative, though I take no position on its actual, literal truth. I could believe it and may in the future. As I said, it makes more sense than much of the stuff that materialists come up with and which they insist everyone pretends makes sense without any evidence, whatsoever that it’s true.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    So science and Christianity are incompatible.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    That would be news to Copernicus, Galileo, Steno, Descartes, Bacon, Boyle, Newton, Dalton, Volta, Galvani, Faraday, Mendel, Kelvin, Grey, Maxwell, Eddington, Lemaitre, etc. etc. etc.

    You really should look into your reading disorder, the one that makes you read something and translate it into what you want it to say because you can’t deal with what it does say. Of course, the atheist god-man, Bertrand Russell had an explanation for that, “A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.” Works with a dishonest man who is otherwise not stupid, as well.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    That shows the power that Christianity had over society, and now that the church is on the way down, it needs to be logically crushed so it can never do that kind of thing again.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    The old atheist bait and switch, your contention raised was incompatibility of Christianity and science. THAT SCIENCE AROSE AMONG VERY SERIOUS CHRISTIANS, in the very age when you claim it had power over society definitively refutes that old atheist canard. That many of the founder of science, all of them I’m aware of, in fact, regarded science as a means of discerning the mind of God as made manifest in the physical universe makes that frequently asserted atheist superstition utterly and absolutely debunked. And it is as true today. Anyone who believes the first sentence in The Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth,” could have no argument with whatever scientists can possibly discover about the universe, the heavens and the Earth because anything they find is entirely compatible with that belief. Atheists who mistakenly believe that the universe, physical and all, and science is their private property, no God allowed, are merely deluding themselves, yet again.

    The definitive disproof of your contention are the many, many scientists who have contained both Christian religion and first rate science in their one and only mind with no damage to science resulting, at all. I would say, considering the crap atheists among scientists have dreamed up to try to make atheism the servant of their atheistic materialism give a far better case that science has been damaged by an ideological insertion of atheism into it. Multi-universes, the Miller Urey experiment and others in “abiogenesis” the totally illogical “brain only” model of the mind, etc. All explicitly invented by scientists to try to shoehorn the universe into their atheist-materialist ideology.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    It is not a matter of hating religion. You are the one who has been expressing hate. Christianity discredited itself when they made up their evidence for Jesus.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    We’ve been through that before, I have no intention of doing it again. The people who have put the time into mastering the languages, the historical and literary background, etc. to study that issue have a nearly 100% consensus that Jesus was real, that many of his teachings are known to us through that record.

    I know the reason that atheists feel so compelled to convince themselves and to dupe others that he wasn’t real, they hate his radical egalitarian vision and the moral requirement to respect the rights of others. Dressed up in many disguises, that’s their real motivation. They can’t believe they’re so special as they like to believe and they refuse to share. At the bottom, that is what it’s all about.

    You don’t address my point about how eager atheists who claim that Jesus is a myth, nevertheless are the first to make up and buy the most extravagant myths, even the most logically incoherent of those, to support their scientistic materialism.

    And you never told me how atheism can generate durable, effective morals. You can’t even tell me how atheism can hold it is wrong to tell a lie, without which your moral indignation about the alleged lies of Christians making up Jesus are incoherent and incompatible with atheism.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The consensus that Jesus was real is based on a long history of apologetics, which is people telling themselves what they want to believe, and then believing each other. That record of His teachings comes from the gospels that were written after the time of Paul, and in the time of Paul none of that stuff was known because it hadn’t been made up yet.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    OK, so you know absolutely nothing about the field of New Testament scholarship in the modern era. Which is so telling in that all of the lines you’re using were provided by the higher criticism of the Gospels and other texts within that and the extra-canonical books.

    It is believed by many such scholars that the Letter of James is older than the Pauline epistles, which is a line distinctly different from the genuine Pauline texts. At least that’s what I’ve read of them. The arguments that Crossan makes for the age and nature of the writings in the appendix to his book The Historical Jesus both acknowledges the importance of the Pauline texts but also of other lines of information.

    The absurdity of your argument is that it could be used to “prove” the non-existence of any historical person to whose existence there remain fewer lines of attestation than those we have for Jesus. And the number of those who figure as classical heroes of atheism are numerous, Socrates being the quintessential example. Not to mention that they have to distort the record to turn him into a hero of modern atheism.

    Jesus was a real person, the belief he didn’t exist is certainly more superstitious than the disbelief in natural selection and as superstitious as the refusal to believe in evolution of species. You are an atheist fundamentalist not as different from creationists as you’d like to believe.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    “The epistles of James and I Peter are also oddly silent about a historical Jesus”
    Richard Carrier, On the Historicity of Jesus

    There was other Christianities distinct from Paul, but the important thing is the gospel stories that were written later were not known in the time of Paul. Christianity was initially a religion based on a Christ found in the old testament, and not based on Jesus of Nazareth, or any historical person. That Jesus was written up and believed in later.

  • thinkingcriminal@gmail.com' Camera Obscura says:

    The Epistle of James was written to people who would already be familiar with Jesus, as were those of Paul which were written to Christian communities. There is nothing odd about them not going over things such people would already have known and could be assumed to know. So, sorry, your point is pointless.

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