Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – we’ve always done it so that makes it always okay

I thought I’d also add to the commentary about the recent US Supreme Court decision about allowing prayer at town meetings.  The excuse that the conservative judges used to allow this nonsense is no more than “we’ve always done it so that makes it always okay”.  If each state wants to have its own rules that ignore the Establishment Clause:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

it’s okay.

Which means that

those who argued that slavery was okay since it’s always been around

that child labor was okay since its always been around

that women being considered property or second class citizens was okay since it’s always been around

etc

were right per Scalia, Kennedy, Roberts, Thomas and Alito and everyone else who supports this decision.

Gee, they should be so “proud”.  As has been noted, these justices only consider the speech they agree with to be worthy of “free speech.”.  The rest of us?  We’re less than American citizens if we dare to insist on our rights.

Religion depends on arrogance, coercion and fear: arrogance that one religion is the only right one;  coercion in the idea that only one religion produces “good” people and fear that one will be excluded if one doesn’t follow the group.  That is exactly what these government sanctioned prayers do.

Addendum:  If one reads the opinion by Justice Kennedy, http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/12-696_4f57.pdf  one can see that Kennedy does a good job of showing that prayer is essentially worthless, by claiming it is only for “ceremony” aka tradition.  Unfortunately, for Justice Kennedy, the very nature of religion is to be intolerant and to claim that one group of people has the “truth” and all others will die or be damned to eternal torture for not having such “truth”.  No one is claiming that prayer should be forbidden.  If people need to pray to feel better about themselves, let them do so, but they do not have the right to do so in public and expect “respect” from others.   I would ask that any theists who read this blog post and feel the need to respond to consider how they would act if a religion that they did not agree with were to give required prayers at the beginning of each meeting they went to .  Should they be required to be “respectful” or should religion simply be left out of a venue where even the conservatives justices claim it is just a formality based on tradition and not belief?  Or are they willing to admit that they do want to force others to obey their religion and that they do want a theocracy?

 

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73 responses to “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – we’ve always done it so that makes it always okay

    • Not if I have anything to say about it. However, I can see the US splitting up with the east and west coasts remaining sane and the south and Midwest losing their minds and becoming not much better than North Korea or Somalia.

      • I don’t know if the net benefit of such separation will be good or bad, but the decline to religious madness in the US is alarming

      • Oh yes, I can see why.

        I have been reading the decision. Not that the conservative justices likely meant it the way it reads, it does a good job at showing that religion is essentially meaningless and is only made for people to make themselves feel important. Justice Kennedy has done a great job of saying that prayers are worthless, to be only “ceremonial” in nature. He guts the idea that these prayers actually mean anything and shows that they are only for control and patting fearful Christians on the head to make them feel superior.

      • You make no sense.

        “Kennedy is his write-up to keep your heads. It doesn’t look like a good beginning.”

        It certainly isn’t a good beginning for you. Try again.

    • Yes, he did, Robin. I can read the opinion just as well as you. He said that the prayers were ceremonial, aka done from tradition aka we have always done it so it’s okay to keep doing it. Shall I quote him? “That the prayer in Greece is delivered during the opening ceremonial portion of the town’s meeting, not the policymaking portion, also suggests that its purpose and effect are to acknowledge religious leaders and their institutions, not to exclude or coerce nonbelievers.” I do like how this does make prayer essentially worthless, so why even have one? Indeed, nothing fails like prayer.

      And “meant to lend gravity to the occasion and reflect values long part of the nation’s heritage.” That is also indeed quite a lie since not all Americans did or still hold Christianity to be their “values” nor do they believe that only Christianity is the only source of decent and humane people.

      And “These ceremonial prayers strive for the idea that people of many faiths may be united in a community of tolerance and devotion. Even those who dis- agree as to religious doctrine may find common ground inthe desire to show respect for the divine in all aspects of their lives and being. Our tradition assumes that adult citizens, firm in their own beliefs, can tolerate and perhaps appreciate a ceremonial prayer delivered by a personof a different faith.”

      unfortunately, this depends on the false idea that other faiths do not stand opposed to each other. Christians are sure that people who are not Christians are going to be annihilated at best and eternally tortured at worse for either disbelieving in the Christian god or believing in it in the wrong way. I was a Christian, Presbyterian sect, and I have read the entire bible as a believer and as not. I get to hear Christian after Christian insist that I am damned as an atheist. Religions are not tolerant, they are the most intolerant establishements of man in existence because they all think that they and only they have the “truth”. There is no need to show any respect for a divine being that cannot be shown to exist. To insist that other people must have this is indeed coercing an action in the name of religion.

      It seems that like many people, you rely on trying to claim that someone didn’t “exactly” say what one can show that they did indeed say in other words with the same meaning.

      Now, I wonder, what would you say if a prayer of a religion you did not agree with were said at the beginning of every government meeting? Would you feel uncomfortable if everyone expected everyone to respect that prayer and bow their heads to its beliefs? Would you feel uncomfortable if everyone looked at you if you chose not to bow your head? I’m guessing that you would be highly offended if you were required to remain silent if a Muslim, Satanist, Hindu, Wiccan invoked their god and said that this god was the only right one. I’ll ask you directly, would you accept the prayers of other religions you did not agree with and bow your head and remain silent during them? Do understand that I hope you will be honest with your response since you do appear to believe in a god that hates lies and liars, even lies supposedly told for its benefit (Romans 3).

      • Wow that’s a mouthful in your reply. Within it you asked me what kind of prayer I would offer at the beginning of such a meaning.. Here’s an idea. Something ceremonial as in:

        First Prayer of the Continental Congress, 1774

        O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. To Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, of own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle!

        Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.

        Amen.

        Reverend Jacob Duché
        Rector of Christ Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
        September 7, 1774, 9 o’clock a.m.

      • Ah, excellent, Robin. You have used the same argument that Kennedy did, that since we have had prayers, then we should always have prayers.

        The prayer you posted is anything but “ceremonial” aka done as part of a ceremony, without real power or influence (Merriam Webster dictionary). It is trying to get a god to do something, make British soldiers lose their nerve, etc, etc. Or you wish to admit that prayers don’t do anything, that they get no reaction from any gods or influence the real world? I’m good with that. Are you? It’s also good to note that Duche decided that his bible didn’t really apply when he went against a king that his bible says was put into place by his god. It’s always good to see that theists always apply what they claim as truth only as they want it to be. Duche also tried to get George Washington to negotiate for peace with this king, and became less than loved in this US Congress. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Duch%C3%A9

        I did not ask you what kind of prayer you would offer, Robin. I asked you this: “Now, I wonder, what would you say if a prayer of a religion you did not agree with were said at the beginning of every government meeting? Would you feel uncomfortable if everyone expected everyone to respect that prayer and bow their heads to its beliefs? Would you feel uncomfortable if everyone looked at you if you chose not to bow your head? I’m guessing that you would be highly offended if you were required to remain silent if a Muslim, Satanist, Hindu, Wiccan invoked their god and said that this god was the only right one. I’ll ask you directly, would you accept the prayers of other religions you did not agree with and bow your head and remain silent during them? Do understand that I hope you will be honest with your response since you do appear to believe in a god that hates lies and liars, even lies supposedly told for its benefit (Romans 3).”

        Now, if you would please answer my actual question and not something that you made up?

        We can take the prayer that you posted and let’s look at if if someone offered the same prayer but to another deity. Would you be fine with this?

        “Be Thou present, O Goddess of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and all worlds they are reincarnated into. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of your will, Goddess who danced the world into existence, whose made love with the Horned God to create life on this world.”

        Will you bow your head in respect of this prayer? Why or why not?

      • In using the same logic and insight as Kennedy, acknowledged by you, I am pleased indeed. You do however suppose that the First Continental Congress prayer that I posted needed to be strictly ceremonial to conform. That is split-brained thinking and not a hurdle that the majority of the Supremes thought at all important.

        You report that prayers are absolutely useless to you. Sorry. ..your comments generally suppose that Christianity should not have been tried through an expression of prayer in a public setting…that it is found wanting in public. WEIRD. In fact, To have the temperament to pray has been found hard, and not tried.

        So much for gracefully losing.

      • Robin, I know that you, and the justices, tried to say that prayers were only ceremonial and thus were not conflicting with the first amendment. Now, you want to claim that they don’t have to be only ceremonial. Which way to do you want it? Either they are entirely ceremonial and not of a certain religion or meant to invoke a certain god, or they are indeed religious and thus constitute the state approval of a religion. I now that some of the justices didn’t think important. That doesn’t mean it was not.

        Prayers are absolutely useless. I do encourage you show what use they have in being presented at a meeting or in any case at all other than making someone feel better.

        Anyone can pray. I have. Others have and get nothing in return, even you. So, again, what does your second paragraph mean, Robin?

      • No, that didn’t disturb anyone. However, this sentence of yours ““Kennedy is his write-up to keep your heads. It doesn’t look like a good beginning.” still is meaningless. “Kennedy is his write-up to keep your heads” means what?

      • Club…Responding to your reply containing nine divergent destracto-questions: your reply commits at least two logical fallacies: plurium interrogationum fallacy and argumentum verbosium not to mention your Tazmanian Devilisms. In short, you sound hysterical or rapid cycle bipolar.

        Responding to the broad premise is Chesterton’s fence : There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

      • Nice to see you making excuses, Robin. And aw, you can use Latin! Golly, how impressive. So please so show me exactly how I have committed the logical fallacies of complex question and proof by verbosity. I am always amused that just because *you* can’t or won’t answer questions, you think that you can blame the questioner and that leaves you off the hook. Where is this set of complex questions that you can’t “reasonably” answer that I have supposedly asked? Is it the question that makes you uncomfortable like when I ask you if you’d bow your head and respect another religion’s prayers? I do enjoy that you evidently are unable or unwilling to answer such a simple question. You may ignore my clarifying questions and just answer that one, Robin. “Will you bow your head in respect of this prayer?” (referring to the rewrite of the prayer you quoted from Duche I made using the Wiccan goddess)

        You see, Robin, I’ve encountered plenty of theists like you who try to throw shit at a wall and hope that some of it sticks. Your accusations are indeed fast and furious, but evidence to support them? Totally lacking. For someone who claims “Tasmanian Devilisms”, you certainly indulge in them yourself. I do find it rather sad that you have to insult people with actual bipolar disorder. But that’s what I expect from a TrueChristian, insults and no facts to support their claims.

        It’s always lovely to see you claim that I haven’t thought about what I’ve said. It’s the most simplistic of accusations, and one without evidence. Why should anyone admit that something has a use if it doesn’t and cannot be shown to have one? It’s so cute to see you and Chesterton try to bully someone into accepting nonsense, by trying to claim that only reasonable “intelligent” people agree with you aka “see the use of it”. As always, religion does seem to require fear and intimidation to exist. I wonder, if I apply Chesterton’s argument to other religions, does that make you believe that they have “use” too? Are they as valid as yours?

  1. Whenever someone appeals to tradition I’m remind me of that story about Grandma’s Ham:

    A wife is in the kitchen getting ready to make the Christmas ham when her husband walks in just as she’s cutting off the ends of the ham.

    He asks, “Why are you cutting of the ends of the ham?”

    She replies, “I cut off the end of the ham because my mother always cut off the ends of the ham.”

    “Well”, he says, “Mom’s in the living room, let’s ask her why. Mom, why do you cut off the ends of the ham?”

    Mom replies, “I cut off the ends off the ham because my mother always cut off the ends of the ham.”

    The husband says, “Grandma is long distance, but let’s call her and get to the bottom of this three generation mystery.”

    On the phone, “Grandma, why did you cut off the ends of the ham?”

    Grandma replied, “I cut off the ends of the ham because my roasting pan was too small.”

  2. Robinobishop,

    We already have numerous places where people can pray in public. They’re called houses of worship. And those who feel compelled to pray 24/7/365 can do that as well&msah;quietly.

    Moreover, Jesus gave explicit instructions regarding this very issue. In Matthew 6:5–8 (NIV) we read:

    And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    And Jesus is shown to have followed his own advice. The gospels mention him praying in private on multiple occasions (Mt 14:23; 26:36-39; Mk 1:35; 6:46; 14:32-35; Lk 5:16; 6:12; 22:39-41)

    Likewise, here are the number of times they record Jesus praying at:

    a) council meetings: none
    b) grad ceremonies: none
    c) sporting events: none
    d) political gatherings: none

    So whenever Christians—and it’s always Christians—insist on praying out loud in public, they’re violating the very teachings of their own founder.

    • “Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save. Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him. Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening. Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies. Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness. Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase. …Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you” (Alma 34:18–27; see also 37:36–37).

      • Yet your present argument bringing Christ into it is Non sequitur. Christ has nothing to do with this ruling. The Bible and your interpretations or my interpretations have nothing to do with the ruling. Thinking it does is naive.

      • Hmmm, and what did the prayers offered by the council mention? Why yes, Jesus Christ, which is what make Christianity a specific religion. I do like to watch you denying your religion, Robin. Seems I do hear a cock crowing. The ruling says that sectarian prayer should be allowed because it has been “always” done, that it is a tradition, that it is “ceremonial”.

        Now, I am wondering, if prayer at meetings is only “ceremonial”, and per your words, the bible and Christ have “nothing to do with this ruling”, why do theists insist on having it if it isn’t religious? If it has no religious meaning, then theists should not miss it and thus it is not needed. Are you willing to state that prayers at meetings are worthless and not meant to address your god?

        oh and Robin, the mention of Christ is not a non-sequitur. A non sequitur is an argument where the conclusion doesn’t follow from the premises. In that the premises are built on the case which involved the use of Christian prayer in a public meeting, the mention of Christ is appropriate because Christ is what makes Christianity a unique religion. Unless you wish to claim it doesn’t?

      • Great. Based on that, we’ll recite a prayer whenever council meetings convene at your home, or on your fields or next to your flocks—but not when they convene in public buildings. Deal?

        And Jesus had everything to do with the ruling; invoking Christ’s name at town meetings was the very reason this court case came about.

      • Shucks, quoting Mormon religious nonsense, how rare! Shall we also see about how there are magical golden tablets and how black people were only considered worthy in the 1960s? Oh, how about the post-mortem baptisms of people of other faiths?

        “Cry” to this god all you’d like, Robin. Mormons are no more right than any one else in their nonsense and their prayers are no more answered.

        Again, will you bow your head to the prayers of other religions and respect them?

      • Everyone imagines they are entitled to their own opinion, based upon their own “facts”. I have found all kinds of people with all kinds of stories. Wise investigators know all too well how limited their time is and don’t waste it in the failed activity of forming their spiritual selves from the anonymity found in internet shadows. The quality investigator (champion) doesn’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice fed by the Spirit. And most important, they have the courage to follow the voice that travels from one heart to their own, as in prayer. They already know what they truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. Real knowledge, the knowledge needed to break through the cynicism and political faithless moroseness so prevalent among the diffused anti-God cynicism requires that authentic way of being.

      • Many people are deluded to think that they are entitled to their own opinions, despite the facts that show their opinions to be 100% wrong.

        It’s nice to see one more theist insist that anyone who disagrees with their claims is less than “wise”. Alas, there is nothing to show that a theist is wise in any sense of the term, Robin. As usual, you want to pretend that only “quality investigators (champion)” will agree with your nonsense. But of course you have no evidence at all for your claims.

        I have read many supposed “holy” books, many books of apologetics, etc. I have prayed when I was losing my faith. And I have found not one scrap of evidence that your or any religion is true or any resemblance of reality. Such lovely vague claims of “inner voice fed by the Spirit”. Now, how does it work that all religions claim this exact thing and you all get vastly differing answers from this “spirit”?

        Nice to see that yet again a poor theist must try to claim that atheists are only cynics and “faithless”. Indeed we are faithless, in that we have no belief that some magical being will do anything. We can be cynical but not all of us are. I do love to see that you have used a new word to lie about atheists, “moroseness”. At least you have a decent vocabulary. But alas, it isn’t true either. Atheists aren’t morose because we are atheists. We can be quite happy, in love, hopeful, etc as any theist and indeed many of us are quite a bit more happy than theists since we aren’t burdened by the delusion of some imaginary “sin” and a god that will “punish” people for it. It’s always fun to see how theists also can’t agree on what “sin” is either. My “way of being” is very authentic. I have all of the evidence of no gods on my side. And I do known what I want to truly become. I want to become a decent human being who isn’t afraid of some bogeyman invented by humans in order to have control over other humans and to pretend that I am somehow better than them because my imaginary friend is better than theirs. I don’t want to follow a book that says other people are less than human and deserve death for simply not believing in the “right” way. I want to be smart enough not to throw a hissy fit when a fig tree doesn’t have figs when fig trees aren’t supposed to have figs.

        So, Robin, show me evidence of your god since you are so sure it exists. Tell me how you know your “way of being” is the only authentic one and everyone else is wrong.

      • “…show me evidence of your god since you are so sure it exists…how you know your “way of being” is the only authentic one and everyone else is wrong.”

        Fair enough. Choose the Red Pill; become unplugged. Allow yourself a trip to my world to become immersed in the way I live. A plane flight here. That’s what showing is. At the end you will see God only because he reveals Himself to you.

        You must have been bored out of your head reading all those religious books. The God of the LDS is not a summoned cosmic bellboy who delivers fleeting emotional highs.

      • As usual, Robin, you are a theist who assumes that atheists have never be theists. I spend 20+ years “taking a trip” to your world where one believes in a god that does things. I used to pray every night. I went to church, sung in the choir and taught Bible School in the summer. I prayed for this god to help me retain my faith, even when I was losing it I still believed. I read the bible hoping I could find the truth in there, going to the “horse’s mouth” so to speak. Nothing at all happened. No revelation, not even a doubt that I was wrong to find that atheism is the correct conclusion, despite all of this and looking at other religions in case the Christianity I was raised in was wrong.

        So, the red pill doesn’t work because it is based on no evidence at all, only wishful thinking. Each religion has a “red pill” that supposedly is the “truth”, and again, none of you out of thousands of religions and sects can demonstrate this to be the case. Indeed, if we want to go with a Matrix motif, neither the blue pill or the red pill make any sense, both are based on a hilarious assumption that aliens need power from human bodies rather than, oh, nuclear energy, solar energy, etc, all which are vastly more effective than having to feed and maintain humans. It’s about as silly as imagining a magical being who needs humans to worship it or “love” it, who screwed up so massively in getting around to what it “really” decided that humans needed to do to get things “right”, claims of magical bushes, boxes, golden plates and glasses, a god that works with its arch-nemesis in killing more humans after killing all of the ones that disagreed with it in some magical “end times”, etc. No religion or sect can show that its god can make things any better for them, not even the LDS. Everyone says “you’ll see after you die” but that is just the convenience that no one has come back from that. Yes, we get claims of coming back from the dead, but funny how no theist agrees on what they saw, we get claims of seeing a blue-eyed Jesus, houris, etc, exactly like if religion was simply made up by humans.

        I do like that you think you and only you have the right way to get this god to reveal itself. The LDS is the one true religion, just like all of the other “one true religions”, take your “red pill” and not any others because they are wrong but you can’t show how. I wonder, why doesn’t simple prayer and belief work when a young woman is losing her faith and this god decides to ignore her and allow all evidence to point to its non-existence if it is indeed benevolent? I’ve been told by theists like you that I am not looking hard “enough”, I am not “sincere” enough, I’m not praying in the “right” way, and another host of excuses for their god and its evident lack of existence. Why can’t this woman get what Thomas got? Why do theists insist their god now plays hide and seek when “once upon a time” it used to directly interact with people and claimed that it would do *anything* to get back that “lost sheep”? Or will you claim that this god just hasn’t gotten around to it yet? When will it? When I’m dead like the LDS claims? That’s a bit too late according to the bible, which says that no one gets a chance after death, that it is all about what is in your “book of life” that determines what this god will do to you. It’s no surprise that the LDS has to add the bit about getting another chance since it does make their god a little more palatable, more evidence that humans created their gods, not the other way around.

        I wasn’t bored at all reading all of those religious books. I am amused that you would think so. Have you read anything beyond the Book of Mormon and the Bible, if even those? I found them very interesting, since I do like to read myths and legends of all cultures. I’m guessing that you find you must assume I was bored since again you think that all religions except yours are false. From all of that reading, I got to see that all religions claim that they are true and all the others false, or at least terribly mistaken. For example, I got to see exactly what the Bible says, in all of its violent and ignorant glory and not the expurgated version that priests and pastors natter from their pulpits. I find the book of Job very fascinating since that’s when God is shown to be an arrogant blowhard, willing to allow humans to be murdered in order to have some fun gambling with Satan, and having no knowledge at all of how weather, and the universe in general, really works. It doesn’t hurt that in the end, this god apologizes and is silly enough to think that giving a man a replacement family and lots of money is fine payment for allowing his first to be murdered. Sounds rather like a mafia don. I got to see how the Torah, the Bible and the Qu’ran adjust the stories to fit their individual sillyness. The Book of Mormon is a little more fun with magical artifacts and claims of prophesy but nothing to support that these stories are anything more than what the Mormon leaders back in the 1800s invented. I also know that the Book of Mormon says that your god does what the bible claims it does, anything asked of it will be granted “Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it.” It’s in Enos.

        Again, Robin, do you follow your religion and its holy books or are you as tolerant as you claim, something in opposition to that religion and holy books? Do you believe I am going to some “hell” for not agreeing with your religion? Do you think it is okay to “baptize” people post-mortem without their ability to say no? Do you think it’s okay to spend millions of dollars trying to prevent people from living the way *they* want to live like your church did? What about those nice young men who go door to door trying to convert people and those pretty young women who are stationed outside the tabernacle to talk to businessmen in SLC for conventions. My friend thought that was very funny when he was there, the LDS using sex to try to get attention for its “faith”. Why is it that Christian sects try to convert each other? Why are is the LDS and various Protestant sects trying their best to get believers in Catholic countries? Why does the RCC try their best to say you are wrong? So much for any tolerance and acceptance that other people can believe as they want there.

        And again, where is the harm if there is no religious prayers at public meetings where people of all faiths and none attend? Where is the harm to America? There is no harm if there is no prayers given, most especially since prayers fail universally. No god has shown gov’t officials how to act, no god has kept them from screwing up, stealing money, etc. Indeed, public prayers show exactly how much prayer fails in that it *never* changes how people act or how physics acts.

        It doesn’t surprise me at all that you use the exact same excuse for your version of God as every other Christian does. You want to claim that this god isn’t a “summoned bellboy who delivers fleeting emotional highs”. I do love that swipe at other Christian denominations e.g. “fleeting emotional highs”, but attacking other religions and denominations is nothing new for beleivers. Your god said it would answer all prayers immediately and positively, giving what was asked for (remember in Enos?). The mountain will move when asked, not some indefinite time later; the son will get a fish when asking for a fish, not a snake. Indeed, Jesus Christ said that *anything* asked in his name would occur. Now, are you saying that prayers asked in JC’s name don’t always work? How about those girls in Africa who were kidnapped, are you saying that they didn’t pray in the “right” way and that’s why your god failed to help them? Or perhaps you’d like to claim that this god has some “greater plan” involved where girls get to be raped and sold? For a omnipotent god, it’s funny how so many Christians claim that it needs to allow horrible things to happen and simply can’t to a thing otherwise. How about the prayers of their parents? The prayers of any decent human being who happens to be a theist for their rescue? Shucks, how dare I ask for a god that answers prayers as it claims to have done in the past and will do in the future? Robin, it is theists like you who have come up with the excuses on why your god can’t do anything at all, ignoring what you god has supposedly said since this god has failed every single time. You need to claim that this god “really” said “no, I’ll give you something else or wait” because this god doesn’t do anything. You’ve made up your own religion just like everyone else.

        Now, I’m guesing you will try to claim the Lord’s Prayer gives you an out, that everything prayed for has to be within your god’s “will”. So, how does this work with an omnipotent god that evidently doesn’t “will” it that those girls can be released by smiting all of those vermin who took them (for this god supposedly will damn you for even an improper thought, see where JC says that one should gouge out one’s eyes if they cause one to think “wrongly”)? I wonder, will you say that your god has some mysterious plan that requires such horrible things as so many Christians do? Or how about woman who will be stoned to death because she’s a Christian and is considered apostate by Muslims? Should be no problem with this god changing minds like with the pharaoh or just allowing her to walk out of prison like Paul or Daniel. But that doesn’t happen anymore does it, Robin? This god is just as much of a figment of the imagination as Zeus or Santa Claus. This god is certainly not a bellboy, it’s also not what theists claim it is either.

      • Club..

        You certainly have a great many questions. You should spend your time researching them for yourself; see for yourself. That way the answers become meaningful.

        We (the LDS) are not residents of the bathyal zone where light does not penetrate, sitting lazily, waiting for carcasses of rotting flesh to descend through the depths, thinking that rottenness as “nourishment”. Thousands of hagfish lay there disputing the dangers of light and the merits of darkness, having never seen the light – determined to haggle only. You write to one who lives in the brilliant light; I beckon to you from the reaches above: “Ascend to where you can see for yourself.”

      • I do indeed have many questions. I am still waiting for your answer to how there is harm if there are no prayers at public meetings. You made the claim that there is no harm if there are prayers and I showed that to be wrong. You made the claim that there will be harm if there aren’t prayers. But of course when I ask for evidence, you can’t provide any.

        It’s great to see you telling me that I should research my own questions. Hmm, since most are about you andn what you think, I am researching them by asking you the questions and hoping for answers. That’s how research is conducted, Robin, you interview people to see what they think if your questions are about that. I would find your answered meaningful because they would tell me the answers I am seeking. Again, where is that evidence for harm if no prayers are said? What do you think about your elders deciding to spend millions to take away the right to choose how to act and belief from others?

        The LDS certainly aren’t ocean inhabitants of the bathyal zone or even the abyssalpelagic zone where the carcasses actually end up. The bathyal zone is above the ocean floor by thousands of meters. They are a religious sect that has just as a hilarious mythos as Scientology, Roman Catholicism, Hindusim, Judaism, etc. Those golden plates and hat are just as good as the spaceships shaped like DC-10s and evil alien overlords who set off hydrogen bombs on volcanoes where they have strapped their enemies.

        Aw, calling me and others hagfish. How Christian of you! I’ve seen for myself and there is no evidence that your myths are any more true than any other theists. That’s where the rubber hits the road, Robin, can you show your claims are true and the claims of all other religions are false? CAn you show that any special event claimed in the Bible or the Book of Mormon ever actually happened? There is no evidence of any magical “flood”. There is no evidence of anyone from the middle east ending up in the US around 500 BC or whenever. There is no evidence of such cultures having steel. There is no more evidence of your magic plates than there is the tablets of the commandments or the plagues in Egypt or a magical man/god that died and rose. I have evidence that none of these things happened and other things happened in their place, all without any “gods”. I have “ascended” and there is nothing to see Robin, only excuses given. You have no “brilliant” light, you only have stories that are not true and you think you are the only one with the truth just like every other theist, even those you are sure are wrong and are damned. YOu want me to “join” you? Then show evidence that you are right and everyone else is wrong. Evidence, Robin, just like Thomas asked for and JC supposedly gave him. I’ve asked for this evidence again and again, and neither gods or believers can provide it.

        I know that religions are only created by humans because you change your “truth” just as often as other theists, which makes it not any truth at all. Your gods are only your personal hates and desires writ large so you can fantasize that you have special knowledge about the universe and that magical being agrees with you.

      • ” I am still waiting for your answer to how there is harm if there are no prayers at public meetings. ”

        Ground control to Major Tom. Take your protein pills and put you glasses on.

        Again, NO HARM. In fact I think they should all gather in a closet prior to the meeting to please all those with circuits dead.

      • Yep, glad to see that there would be no harm in having no prayers. Which is not what you claime initially. So, why is the SCOTUS ruling acceptable if having no prayers would cause no harm and having prayers does cause harm?

        And nice to see more insults. What a good Mormon thing to do, insist that my “circuts are dead” because I don’t agree with you and have evidence to support why. Please do show your claims to be true, Robin.

      • Lost sheep question: you don’t know much about the LDS do you.

        Hasn’t gotten around to it question: he was quite active in this way among the LDS.

        Reading question: I’m a high priest and to a lot of reading. I particularly enjoyed God makers, reading it before getting baptized.

        Follow my religion question: I am both tolerant and follow my religion.

        Going to hell question: you will end up going where you feel most comfortable.

        Baptism for the dead question: they say yes or no.

        Millions of dollars question: yes, people change their minds.

        Catholic countries question: because people live there to?

        RCC question: people try their best everywhere. Harm question undo that

        Harm question: there is no harm.

        Prayer question: the LDS know God does not answer all prayers immediately and positively. Like I said earlier God is not a cosmic gold boy

        Second prayer question: no, and to no.

        So many Christians question: do they?

        deist question: hah.?

        Third prayer question: HAH?

        God’s mysterious plan: you may find it mysterious.

        Muslim question: I wouldn’t know about them.

        Pharaoh question: right, there aren’t any more pharaohs.

        You close with the following statement “this God is certainly not a bellboy, it’s also not what theists claim it is either.” As you are only inclined to lump all theists together, you’re quite correct. Absolutely correct.

      • Sorry about the delay. Working at a grocery store is quite insane during Memorial Day weekend.

        Great work, Robin. Now let’s see if I can figure out what you are actually answering since you couldn’t take the time to be more clear about your answers.

        I know a lot about the LDS. I’ve read the BoM myself. I’ve known ex-Mormons (let me guess, you’ll claim they weren’t “really” Mormons?), and the church’s history is out there for everyone to see. Again, Robin, explain how a omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent god hasn’t been able to give evidence of its existence to those who are seeking it? If you don’t think I know much about the LDS, how about telling me what you think I don’t know? And as always give evidence of your claims. And which version of the LDS are you going to tell me is the true one? The fundamentalists always in the news? Those who don’t have quite as much problem with caffeine and alcohol as the rest? Even within your own church there is nothing saying that this is any magical “truth”.

        So, again you make a claim that all thesits make, that your god has actually done things, but of course you can’t show evidence of it. Per the Catholics, this god was doing bunches of things at Lourdes, the Bible makes claims of winning battles, etc, but again, your claims are no better than theirs, having no evidence to support them. You all discount the claimed “miracles” of other religions, saying that either they didn’t happen or they were demonic. The same claims are made back and forth and I just laugh at everyone insisting that their imaginary friend is better than someone else’s.

        So, you’re a high priest? Really? I’m a pope of the Church of Discordia which means I find claims of rank rather silly. The God Makers is an amusing book and a lovely example of how Christian sects really don’t like each other, so much for Christian love and tolerance, eh? It does do a wonderful job of showing just how ridiculous all Christian sects are. Yes, magical underwear is funny but so is eating a god as a cracker. I don’t believe an evangelist Christian who has an ax to grind any more than I believe you, Robin. I have no problem in doing my own research, reading what Mormons themselves have said, etc. That’s always a better idea, to go to primary sources rather than secondary and tertiary.

        You say that you can be both tolerant and follow your religion. You can indeed do this, it’s called being a hypocrite. You can ignore whatever you’d like from your religion and pretend that those parts are not what your god “really” meant. It’s cherry picking to create a god in your very own image, insisting that you and you alone know what this god “really” wants. But everyone can see you do that and see that even you don’t believe everything your supposed holy books claim as the “Word of God”. I can read your holy book and see that a religion that damns anyone that doesn’t agree with it to eternal torture isn’t advocating tolerance. And again, tolerance is allowing people to live their lives as they wish. Your church did not do this when it spent millions of dollars of your “tithes” trying to prevent gay people from being able to get married as they chose. Tolerance is not saying “do it my way or else”.

        It’s great to see you use one of the same excuses used by other theists. So, I’ll end up going where *I* feel most comfortable, a lovely attempt to absolve your god of all its supposed “judgment” because so many theists feel uncomfortable with their god as written. Does that mean DisneyWorld? Hmmm, if I am headed to where I’m most comfortable, then it’s not the Christian/Mormon fantasies of heaven or hell, it’s Valhalla. Your version of the afterlife is amusingly different from the afterlife promised by your bible. It says that one goes to hell thanks to the whims of your god, not where one wants to go. It also seems that you are using the tired old Christian trope that hell is merely separation from God, because the idea of a vicious hell makes you uncomfortable and is a public relations nightmare. Trying to redefine “hell” as being separated from this god makes this world nothing different from this “hell” since we see no evidence of your particular god at all, or any gods for that matter. Rather silly to make life a “hell” and then repeat it. But of course your holy books do say that hell is much more than just being separate from some god. It is a fantasy of eternal violence made up by humans who want to punish everyone who doesn’t agree with them . They have created a petty being who gets upset if it doesn’t get adulation from finite, flawed things it supposedly made.

        I wonder, how do you know that the dead “say yes or no”? Do you see, and hear, dead people, Robin? But let’s say there are souls who can say yes or no after they are dead. Then why do Mormons have to “baptize” them at all? Isn’t your god smart enough to do this when they are dead and needs humans to do its paperwork for it?

        People do change their minds. Many change their minds thanks to evidence. I reached the conclusion of atheism because of the evidence that no religion’s claims can be shown to be true. Many also change their minds if offered a better myth if they find their own myths to be failures. If one religion is the “truth” why do you all play the game of changing religions and why do you all need to get people to be on your team, spending millions of dollars in desperate attempts to pretend that each religion is the “truth”?
        Most religions, including Mormonism, do not say that “people try their best everywhere”. They all say, if you don’t believe in the one right way, you are damned. There is no prize for trying or “good intentions”, only unfortunate fantasies of “hell” where everyone who doesn’t agree with you is “punished”. Again, you show that religion is nothing more than human invention.

        Your holy books do say that prayers will be answered immediately and positively. I am sorry if you haven’t read them. Mark 11, Matthew 7, Alma 34

        “Harm question: there is no harm.”
        So, are you saying that there is no harm in not saying prayers at public meetings? Great! This means that we don’t need them at all, since not having them makes everyone happy. I’m glad to have a Mormon who says that there is no need for prayers at public meetings.

        If, as you claim, the “LDS know God does not answer all prayers immediately and positively”, how do they know it? The Book of Mormon doesn’t say this, neither does the Bible. You have made up your supposed “knowledge” from what actually happens, ignoring your holy books’ promises (Mark 11, Matthew 7, Alma 34) all of which promise that prayers will be answered in time to be of help, not your excuses. Great to see that again. I’m never quite sure if you simply haven’t read your holy books or that you have and are hoping that I haven’t. Again, your god claims to answer prayers immediately and positively. Why hasn’t he answered prayers to save those girls who were kidnapped in Africa, Robin? Surely a benevolent god would want innocents saved, right, not sold into slavery, raped, etc? Do you want claim that no one is praying for this to happen? Do you want to claim that no one is doing it “right”?

        Now it seems you are making the following answers to my questions. I’ll post the question I asked that you seem to have been answering and put your answers under it. You may want to be clearer next time. You of course can correct me if I have associated the wrong answer with the wrong question.

        “Now, are you saying that prayers asked in JC’s name don’t always work? How about those girls in Africa who were kidnapped, are you saying that they didn’t pray in the “right” way and that’s why your god failed to help them? Or perhaps you’d like to claim that this god has some “greater plan” involved where girls get to be raped and sold? For a omnipotent god, it’s funny how so many Christians claim that it needs to allow horrible things to happen and simply can’t to a thing otherwise. How about the prayers of their parents?

        Your answers – “Second prayer question: no, and to no.” You seem to be saying that prayers in JC’s name always work and that the girls in Africa did pray the right way. So this would make one wonder, why they are still in danger?

        “The prayers of any decent human being who happens to be a theist for their rescue?”

        Your answer – “So many Christians question: do they?”

        Do they what? Pray for the help of those girls? Yep, I’m sure they do.

        I don’t see that I asked a “deist question: hah?” You’ll have to clarify what you mean here. I’m thinking you meant “theist” question and are addressing where I pointed out that your god has done nothing, despite its supposed promises, and where humans like you have created excuses of “no, I’ll give you something else and wait” to tell yourselves because this god does nothing as described in its holy books. There is no evidence that your religion, or any religion, is anything but the invention of humans.

        You seem to be indicated that you don’t find your god’s plan mysterious but that I do. So, tell me what is your god’s plan since as far as I can tell, your god either doesn’t exist or is playing a heck of a game of hide and seek, making sure that no evidence of its existence can be found. Tell me how not answering prayers for the rescues of those girls in Africa is part of this God’s plan since you claim that you don’t find it “mysterious”.

        I know you know little of other religions. Few theists do because that information would cause them to think about their own religion. I am asking why your god is doing nothing for a Christian woman who will be killed by Muslims who claim she is sinning because she is a Christian? You don’t have to know anything about Muslims to answer this. You have to explain your god.

        And oh my, I do love it when you ignore the question and try to answer one you’ve invented. “Pharaoh question: right, there aren’t any more pharaohs.” This is such a cute answer to my actual question which asked how does your excuses for your god work when this god of yours has killed people in the past for having wrong thoughts, much less wrong actions. Why can’t this god do like he did in the past and control the actions of people to get an action he wants and that would be benevolent, like helping those girls? You’re right, there are no more pharaohs, but that doesn’t matter since your god can do anything, right? Control the actions of anyone, including the lunatic who kidnapped those girls and who has sold them into slavery? Where is this god telling this lunatic to let the girls go, and forcing him to do God’s will just like God forced his will on the Pharaoh in the Exodus story so God could show off his powers?

        Finally, at least in this particular post, you say “You close with the following statement “this God is certainly not a bellboy, it’s also not what theists claim it is either.” As you are only inclined to lump all theists together, you’re quite correct. Absolutely correct.”

        You seem to forget you are a theist, Robin. You make claims that your god is certain things. You of course can’t show that this god is anything like you claim, any more than a Catholic does, a Hindu does, a Presbyterian does, A Wiccan does. That’s why I can “lump” you all together. God isn’t a bellboy since God doesn’t exist. God does nothing its followers claim it does. You are all insisting your god is the “real” one and you all have zero evidence that this is the case. Can you tell me why anyone should believe in your particular god and not some others or not believe in any gods at all?

  3. Certainly. I would be found most tolerant, my wife and I together. We believe there is not a atheist America nor agnostic America – there is the United States of America. There is not a protestant America and a Mormon America and Wicca America – there’s the United States of America. But for some, their rainy season just ain’t gonna slow down over it.

    As stated here, the ceremonial prayer given from whatever frame is the mark of America. Not believing in a God is tolerated under the constitution. I’d be the first to call you to the front to offer up your abject silence in the interval that would otherwise be prayer. What damage can there be done to America with a ceremonial prayer?

      • I see that as a Mormon, you and your religion love to proselytize. You hide behind “ceremony”. so again, I’ll ask you, what harm comes if no prayers are offered if these prayers are, as you say, entirely ceremonial and have no religious use at all.

        I wonder, how does a god regard claims that prayers to it are meaningless?

    • So, Robin, you would bow your head in respect for other religions and would allow them to be spoken, invoking a god that you don’t believe in to have power over the meeting. That does go well with the Mormon ideal of allowing all men to worship as they please. Unfortunately, it seems to not be quite that simple since your church spends millions of dollars to convert others and to oppose others from living as they want to live (see Proposition 8 in California where your church spent more than $30 million dollars just to prevent people from living their lives as they want.).

      We also have this quote from the Book of Mormon “”And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth” (1 Nephi 14:10)” Hmmm, everyone who doesn’t believe in the “right” way is satanic. Your church seems to indeed think that there should be a theistic America, and not a secular one. It also seems to have no problem in forcing its religion on the dead with those notorious post mortem baptisms of people like Anne Frank. It seems there is the ideal and what Mormons actually do, and what the book says.

      Perhaps you don’t agree with what your church has done or what your book says? Do you?

      The ceremonial prayer is not the “mark of America”. Other countries still do it and that makes is not unique nor “American”. Furthermore, it is still the argument from tradition, Robin, the logical fallacy that if we always have done something, we should keep on doing it no matter what because if it was okay then, it’s okay now.

      If we have no prayers, then everyone is happy since you don’t attribute any religious meaning to those prayers, right? Again, if the prayers are meaningless, what point is there to have them? Traditions are not sacrosanct, Robin. It used to be tradition that men all wore hats and had to do various things depending on the circumstances with those hats. That has gone by the wayside. Why not “ceremonial prayer” at meetings if it has no more meaning than taking your hate off inside a building or tipping it at a woman? Those things were for “respect” too, but are looked on as rather silly now. Should we still have our judges and lawyers still wear wigs like they do in the UK? Or is that just too silly and who cares about how ceremonial it is?

      Not believing in God is indeed allowed under the Constitution because the writers knew that having a state religion was very bad. In the American colonies there were all sorts of stupidities done in the name of a government religion, and your religion certainly got the bad end of the stick when others tried to say you weren’t Americans. We still have those TrueChristians calling you a cult. Funny how both sides are just as silly and cult like.

      Now, why should I offer “abject silence”, Robin? Abject means hopeless. I am anything but hopeless, Robin, though many many theists do try to lie and claim that atheists are hopeless.

      I have no intention of being silent either, though I am sure that theists do hope atheists would remain quiet. I would be happy to offer a small speech about how humanity has achieved much because we question authority. That we have said that ancient superstitions are nonsense and have nothing to with reality. I could offer a speech like Arizona Rep. Juan Mendez offered when he said ““Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads,” the lawmaker said. “I would like to ask that you not bow your heads. I would like to ask that you take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people in our state.”

      Indeed, I could use a excerpt from Robert Ingersoll’s great speeches where he said things like this “The Declaration of Independence announces the sublime truth, that all power comes from the people. This was a denial, and the first denial of a nation, of the infamous dogma that God confers the right upon one man to govern others. It was the first grand assertion of the dignity of the human race. It declared the governed to be the source of power, and in fact denied the authority of any and all gods. Through the ages of slavery — through the weary centuries of the lash and chain, God was the acknowledged ruler of the world. To enthrone man, was to dethrone God. “ (and he was referring to the nonsense in Romans 13 where it says that all leaders of men are placed by God, aka the Divine Right of Kings). Would you be okay with that? If you are, that’s great. But it is still no excuse to claim that we should have prayers or speeches before meetings to make them “solemn occasions”. Why bother anyone with stuff that has nothing to do with the business at hand?

      You ask what damage can there be done to American with a ceremonial prayer. Well, it can indicate that some people aren’t welcome in America when someone claims that a particular god will somehow control the fate of the country, which many prayers at gov’t meetings say direct by invoking this god’s interference with the outcome of the meeting. Most if not all religions are sure that they are the only “true” religion and that anyone who disagrees with them will go either be annihilated, reborn as a lower lifeform or tortured for eternity. Your religion has it, other sects of Christianity has it, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Wicca, etc etc all have it, no matter their claims of “tolerance”. Allowing any religion to have a special position in a meeting is allowing it to have a soapbox to spread its nonsense.

      So, I’ll ask you a question: How is America harmed if there are *no* ceremonial prayers? What happens if there are no prayers said at gov’t meetings at all? If they are entirely ceremonial, then no one should miss them any more than anyone misses men tipping their hats.

      • ‘What harm comes if no prayers are offered if these prayers are, as you say, entirely ceremonial and have no religious use at all?’

        Ceremonial Prayers are not without meaning and never without spiritual significance. I tell you what though, I’m off to pray about your question. Given your impoverishment on the offering, I’ll push it beyond the level of ceremonial for your sake.

      • Congratulations, Robin, for doing your best to avoid answering my question. I do understand that it is scary to actually admit what you do think. Again, what harms comes if no prayers are offered if these prayers are as you say entirely ceremonial and have no religious use at all? The SCOTUS said that these prayers are supposedly not religious and are only ceremonial and serve to solemnize the occasion. They claimed that any prayers that were divisive were to be ignored because *most* of the prayers were ceremonial and mentioned other things than religion. (page 16-17). We can also read page 19 where it says “The prayer opportunity in this case must be evaluated against the backdrop of historical practice. As a practice that has long endured, legislative prayer has become part of our heritage and tradition, part of our expressive idiom, similar to the Pledge of Allegiance, inaugural prayer, or the recitation of “God save the United States and this honorable Court” at the opening of this Court’s sessions. See Lynch, 465 U. S., at 693 (O’Connor, J., concurring). It is presumed that the reasonable observer is acquainted with this tradition and understands that its purposes are to lend gravity to public proceedings and to acknowledge the place religion holds in the lives of many private citizens, not to afford government an opportunity to proselytize or force truant constituents into the pews.”

        Again, claims that prayers are traditional and ceremonial, and that makes it okay to keep saying them. As I have said before, to claim that something is okay because it has always been done can also be applied to many other actions, some quite nasty like slavery.

        If one reads further, the argument is made that,, if there is any religious meaning, legislators are supposedly the only audience for that which ignores reality where everyone present is told to bow their heads. Which does beg the question, why is it necessary to parade one’s faith around in public and ignore something that the leader of the faith said was a bad idea, praying from public corners to show off how pious one is? This does come back to my question, what harm does it do if there are no prayers? What happens if people pray privately as their religion says to do and don’t try to force their religion into the public space?

        And here’s the last bit of Kennedy’s opinion, again affirming that the prayer is supposedly just ceremonial, an “acknowledgement” of the influence of religion and not an actual invocation of some deity “Ceremonial prayer is but a recognition that, since this Nation was founded and until the present day, many Americans deem that their own existence must be understood by precepts far beyond the authority of government to alter or define and that willing participation in civic affairs can be consistent with a brief acknowledgment of their belief in a higher power, always with due respect for those who adhere to other beliefs. The prayer in this case has a permissible ceremonial purpose.”

        Anyone can read the decision and you are welcome to support your claims with citations from it as I have. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/12-696_4f57.pdf

        Please do pray and tell me what answers you got from your god. I’m guessing you’ll say your god agrees with you, just like every other theist who says that their god wants exactly what they want. For so many people claiming to pray to the same god, you all get quite a range of different answers and you can’t show your answers the only right ones.

        What a curious phrase: “improverishment on the offering”. What does that actually mean, Robin? The phrase as it stands makes no sense considering the meaning of its individual words. Am I right if I guess it means that I haven’t prayed correctly and that’s why I don’t get an answer from your god?

        It is notable that you didn’t answer my question: do you agree with your church or not? Do you agree with your holy book or not? Should it be taken literally or is there a magic decoder ring that allows you to pick and choose what parts apply to you like so many other theists do? It seems that your protestations about how tolerant you are don’t quite match with what you claim to believe in your religion.

  4. “Mormons are no more right than any one else in their nonsense and their prayers are no more answered.”

    Obviously, You are not in the position even to imagine otherwise. All you want to do is dance.

  5. I don’t mind defending decisions of SCOTUS while you imagine incongruously to have room to quarrel with me about them. Such courage. You could find and read the answers to your own questions from their text of the case. As you mischaracterize me, Mormons, Christianity generally, you now set your hair ablaze to challenge SCOTUS.

    You propose incredulously “The SCOTUS said that these prayers are supposedly not religious and are only ceremonial and serve to solemnize the occasion. ”

    This proposition is false. Thus you engineer another logical fallacy: straw man. You defeated a false premise splendidly.

    No, they did not, citing several religious purposes as are permitted by the Constitution.

    SCROTUS remakes that the prayers delivered in Greece do not fall outside the important attributes that…” lends gravity to the occasion and reflect values long part of the Nation’s heritage, …(1) comprising the name of Jesus [is permitted], (2) [as they] also invoked universal [religious] themes, e.g., (3) by calling for a “spirit of cooperation…(4) striving for the idea that people of many faiths may be united in a community of tolerance and devotion, even if they disagree as to religious doctrine…[and] (5) reflect values long part of the Nation’s heritage.” These are values that for the most part are common to all civilize people, apart from yourselves apparently.

    SCROTUS admit as a point of law that “a challenge based solely on the content of a particular prayer will not likely establish a constitutional violation. See 463 U. S., at 794–795. …”

    SCOTuS specifically denies your proposition with “To hold that invocations must be nonsectarian would force the legislatures sponsoring prayers and the courts deciding these cases to act as supervisors and censors of religious speech, thus involving government in religious matters to a far greater degree than is the case under the town’s current practice of neither editing nor approving prayers in advance nor criticizing their content after the fact.”

    • I do wonder what is “incongruous” about me showing that you are wrong. Hmmm, is it lacking propriety? I could see that you might believe that since so many theists aren’t used to having their claims contested. Not conforming to your beliefs? Yep, it could be that too, alas much in the world doesn’t do that for theists. I have plenty of room to show you that your claim that no harm comes from religious prayer at public meetings is false. I also have plenty of room to show that you can’t answer my most basic questions. You, and the conservatives on the SCOTUS, have claimed that prayers are only ceremonial. At best, Kennedy says that they are only for the gov’t officials who have to show how pious they are and not for the audience, which is again rather amusing since the audience is requested to either participate or to “respect” the prayer. Now, if this were truly the case, why not have private prayers, as one is allowed to do in school or any public place? You know, like JC says to do, not to pray in public to show off. Kennedy says that the function of the prayer is to solemnize the occasion and to reflect what he claims have been American values, which is exactly the appeal to tradition, that if we have always done it, it’s okay to always do it.

      I quoted the decision, Robin, to support my position that Kennedy said that the prayers are ceremonial. It’s right on those pages that I cited. There is no strawman if there is evidence cited, as I have. It’s nice to see you familiar with logical fallacies but your accusations fail if you can’t show a logical fallacy being used. I’m wondering, could this be KD I’m speaking to since he also made false claims about my use of logical fallacies and was consistently unable to cite where I actually did this? But alas, there are plenty of dishonest theists out there, and the probability of you being the same Christian who made the same false accusations is low. Shall I quote Justice Kennedy again? “The relevant constraint derives from the prayer’s place at the open¬ing of legislative sessions, where it is meant to lend gravity to the oc¬casion and reflect values long part of the Nation’s heritage. “ – page 3 “In the town of Greece, the prayer is delivered during theceremonial portion of the town’s meeting.” – Page 21 “Ceremonial prayer is but a recognition that, since thisNation was founded and until the present day, many Americans deem that their own existence must be understood by precepts far beyond the authority of governmentto alter or define and that willing participation in civicaffairs can be consistent with a brief acknowledgment of their belief in a higher power, always with due respect forthose who adhere to other beliefs. The prayer in this casehas a permissible ceremonial purpose.” – page 23

      It’s amusing to see you insist that I am wrong but without any evidence, you are simply gainsaying me, saying no more than “nuh-uh” to evidence. Now, you are welcome to support your claim that the justices said anything like “the prayers are religious in nature and are not to solemnize the occasion and aren’t ceremonial”. I’m waiting. But I’m sure I’ll be waiting for a long time just like I’m waiting for you to show me how any harm is done if there are no prayers offered.

      I am heartened that you quoted things that support me, Robin. Yep, Kennedy did exactly say that the prayers did indeed “…” lends gravity to the occasion and reflect values long part of the Nation’s heritage, …(1) comprising the name of Jesus [is permitted], (2) [as they] also invoked universal [religious] themes, e.g., (3) by calling for a “spirit of cooperation…(4) striving for the idea that people of many faiths may be united in a community of tolerance and devotion, even if they disagree as to religious doctrine…[and] (5) reflect values long part of the Nation’s heritage.”

      First, we see that Kennedy did say that the prayers were to solemnize the occasion, e.g. “lend gravity”. He also says that he believes that prayers “reflect values long part of the Nation’s heritage” aka tradition. Thank you so much for citing such great things to show that the SCOTUS does believe that prayers can be used because they solemnize things and are “tradition” aka “values long part of the Nation’s heritage”, just like I argued in my original post that saying tradition is a reason for continuing to do things and thus can lead to making the same argument for things like slavery, considering women less than men. Those” values” were also long part of the nation’s heritage, so where is the difference here in the argument, Robin? Are some traditional values to be ignored and some not? How do you know which ones? Should we go with the ones that you like? The ones that you claim your god “really” meant and not those silly ignorant ones that are inconvenient to a modern person?

      Indeed, how does the prayer of one religion inspire a “spirit of cooperation”? I do recall that the bible says don’t be yoked to those who believe differently than you and says that no other gods should ever be worshipped.

      Congratulations for making another point of mine, that you want to pretend that anyone who is not religious can’t possibly have a “spirit of cooperation”, a “community of tolerance”, etc. Alas for you, my dear theist, atheists have plenty of tolerance and love cooperation. Now, we are indeed not tolerant of nonsense that says some magical being has declared some people to be better than others and that believers should control everyone’s actions. We know that religions don’t preach much tolerance in their holy books because many of us have been theists. In addition to that lovely bit about how one shouldn’t work with non-believers of all types, we also have the bible saying that everyone who doesn’t believe correctly is damned and should be brought before Jesus and killed. That certainly doesn’t seem like tolerance at all, just like how the LDS decided that the public shouldn’t be allowed to live their lives as they want and spent millions of dollars to try to enforce their beliefs on others. Tolerance means allowing people to acts as they believe, not to try to force them to act otherwise. For all of the claims of “tolerance”, all I see are theists who only want tolerance for *their* beliefs and no one elses. I’ll ask you again, what is your position on what your church did for Prop 8?

      The SCOTUS certainly does try to claim that only one violation of someone’s rights wouldn’t be considered a constitutional violation. So how about 10? 20? How about keeping the first 10 commandments in a courthouse that say that everyone should worship only one particular god and no others? Per your bible, if you don’t, you are worthy of death and so are your offspring. Is that tolerance?

      SCOTUS does not “specifically deny” my proposition that they have said that prayers are supposedly entirely ceremonial and thus to have no religious meaning. Thanks for mentioning this bit too since it does feed directly back to my question to you about what harm will happen if there is no prayers at all at public meetings. It doesn’t say that prayers aren’t ceremonial.

      ““To hold that invocations must be nonsectarian would force the legislatures sponsoring prayers and the courts deciding these cases to act as supervisors and censors of religious speech, thus involving government in religious matters to a far greater degree than is the case under the town’s current practice of neither editing nor approving prayers in advance nor criticizing their content after the fact.”

      If the gov’t doesn’t have to pick and choose religions by having no prayer at all there would be no “forcing” of legislatures to be censors of religious speech if there was none at all. People could pray privately like they already can, have prayer services in churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, as much as they wanted before or after the meetings, but during the meetings, no religion would need be mentioned at all.

      So, you having had several days to pray about my question, I’ll ask you it again: what harm will come if there are no prayers offered at public meetings? I’ve told you the harm that occurs when they do happen. It’s up to you to present your evidence that prayers should be offered regardless of what use they are. You also can show how prayers actually do any good? Where are the stats that show that prayers keep public officials from committing embezzlement? From abusing their power? From trying to hold meetings without the public’s knowledge? Can we have evidence that “Christians” are any better people or any better off because they pray and/or believe? If you can show any, I might agree with you that we ought to require prayers if it makes a shred of difference. If you can’t, then public prayer is nothing more than people pretending that religion makes a difference when it’s no more effective than invoking Odin or Tezcaltipoca.

      • “I do wonder what is “incongruous” about me showing that you are wrong. ”

        Because disagreeing with me on this is useless. You disagree with Scotus while disagreeing with me. If you can find a higher authority appeal further.

        Why ask me for clarification when the text is before you to read from the case?

      • It is not useless at all, Robin. I disagree with SCOTUS and I disagree with you. You have admitted that there would be no harm done if there were no prayers at public meetings but you claim that the SCOTUS decision is okay. If there is no harm in having no prayers, why is it okay to have prayers if they make some people uncomfortable? I have read the case and I have reached my conclusion. You have yet to provide evidence for your claims. This is why I ask for clarification. Support your claims. This may be hard to do since you have said that there is no harm in having no prayers.

  6. Is anyone surprised that most atheists become non believing during adolescence?
    does anyone actually believe that one becomes nonbelieving in adolescence as a result of a great deal of reading?

    • Well, since I didn’t become an atheist during adolescence, your assumption is wrong *again*. Indeed, from my own experience talking to other atheists, most don’t become atheists during adolescence. It is only after encountering the contradictions in religion that they consider if what they were taught to believe was true. Most people accept the religion of the culture they were raised in. It is no surprise that the majority of people who are raised in Iran become Muslims, raised in India become Hindu, in the US become some variant of Christian. It’s not as if a young man becomes a Christian in New Guinea without any exposure to any Christianity. One accepts religion because it is taught to you by people you have a reason to trust. You apply this trust to silly things like accepting that gods exist and that Santa Claus will bring presents because your parents have earned your trust. They just abuse it out of ignorance or the need to confirm their belief so they can continue to feel special. It’s very hard to relinquish the delusion that one is the special friend of something that is omnipotent and omniscient, which you have been told has your best interests at heart.

      Quite a few people “actually believe” that one becomes an atheist because of reading about other religions. I’d invite you to go to the forum at Why Won’t God Heal Amputees and ask the folks there how they became atheists and when they did. You cann also go to Richard Dawkin’s Converts Corner page http://www.richarddawkins.net/letters?category=Converts to see how people have converted from theism. Indeed, many people have become atheists when they actually read their holy book of the religion they were in. The bible is one of the best ways to make an atheist. You also forget the millions of people around the world who were not raised in religion and never found a need for it.

      You’ll find that your assumptions aren’t true and I would hope that would get you to realize that many of your other “beliefs” aren’t true either. Just because you want to believe in something doesn’t make it true, and that goes double with your assumptions that have no evidence at all to support them.

      It’s so good to see you unable to answer my questions. So again, show me how there will be harm if there are no prayers at public meetings. You’ve made the claim now back it up.

  7. ” explain how a omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent god hasn’t been able to give evidence of its existence to those who are seeking it?”

    Christ gives evidence all the time in this world through those who reject. His presence is evident in His absence. By example consider the most current mass murderer, atheist Elliot Rodger. A man who considered himself has God mirrors so many here. He is the antithesis of God. He was impotent, self-absorbed and a black empty hole of need in his Godlessness.

    • ROFL. Oh my, Robin, that is a “great” argument. Let’s see, how does your god give evidence through the existence of those who don’t believe in him. You can make vague claims but I want to know how this works. Your third sentence doesn’t make much sense “A man who consider himself has god mirrors so many here” means nothing. But let me see if I can figure out what you wanted to say. Elliot Rodger was a misogynist who was whining that he didn’t get what he wanted and therefore everyone was going to suffer. One can see his whining right here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/05/24/the-perfect-guy-the-supreme-gentleman/

      You seem to be claiming that this sad little twit thinks he’s god. He does say this “Well now, I will be a God compared to you. You will all be animals. You are animals, and I will slaughter you like animals. I will be a God, exacting my retribution, on all those who deserve it.” This does mirror your god very well, since this is exactly what it claims it will do. The Book of Revelation does a lovely job of showing that. It’s a revenge fantasy, nothing more than powerless people writing up what they want to happen to anyone who disagrees with them, just like Rodger. It’s even worse than most since this god has to work with what is supposedly its archenemy to kill enough people to slake its murderous thirst.

      You seem to also want to claim that I, and others, want to claim we are gods. Where have we done that, Robin? I certainly wouldn’t want to be a god, since I am so much more decent and humane than most, if not all, gods that theists claim exist. I would and do help people if it’s in my power to do so. Your god? Not so much.

      Now, seeing that your god can’t do anything and there is no evidence that it merely exists much less has ever done anything, what is more impotent than that? Do you think anyone was praying to be helped by your god in these situations?

  8. John, you are quite confused about my position of prayer in public meeting. I say it doesn’t matter one way or the other whether lawmakers pray at meetings but the atheists violate the constitution in regulating (stopping) it.I They cannot constitutionally censor it’s content. SCOTUS says so. Live without God by yourselves. Be grateful we allow free speech to the Godless.

    • Robin, let’s review what you said. I originally posted that there was harm in allowing prayer at public meetings because it can cause people to feel disenfranchised because gov’t is approving of religion. I said that the justices’ argument, that tradition allows prayer, could also be argued for any other old activity that can be claimed to be “American”, like slavery, considering women as second class citizens, allowing children to be used as workers, etc.

      You said that the justices argument was valid and that prayer should be allowed. Now you say that if we do not have public prayers, there is no harm done. Which would mean that there *is* no harm caused and your claim that atheists are “violating” anything is a lie and the justices’ argument fails because we do not need prayer for tradition, ceremony, American “values”, etc at all. They did their best to pretend that these prayers were anything but religious in their argument, but in doing that they have made their prayers meaningless. If we need no prayers, then public prayer serves no purpose other than to make people feel excluded, because all religions believe that everyone else is mortally wrong or at best horribly misguided and to be punished by the god involved.

      If there are no prayers then no one, not atheists or the gov’t has to censor anything. If you insist on having public prayers that by their very nature exclude some Americans, then yes, speech can be limited because of the first amendment, where gov’t cannot show preference for religions. We know that prayers have been offered repeatedly in many venues that condemn, that say that any other religions are wrong, that only one god can do something. The justices did their best to ignore the many times this has occurred and were forced to admit that if this continues then the law is being broken. Theists seem to want to have it both ways, pretending prayers are meaningless so they can force them into public meetings and then whining if their particular versions are considered divisive if they claim them to have meaning.

      And aw, more threats. I do love when I get told by someone who calls himself “tolerant” that I should be “grateful” that he and his kind *allows* people to have free speech. Again, how much money did your church spend on trying to take away that ability in California? We have free speech because we constantly fight against people like you who would take it away. You haven’t “allowed” us anything. The people who founded this country knew that people would always try to force their religion on others. They had personal experience of this in the state religions of the 18th century. They did their best speak against this in our earliest documents. it has been the actions of freethinkers, both theists and non-theists, who have preserved this by fighting those who would claim that they have some “divine right” every step of the way.

      • Wow, like you’ve quoted my comments? 🙂 Shucks, you must not be persuasive at all then, Robin. So, you seem to be thinking that people can’t just look upwards on the page and read your exact words in context. What would prevent them from doing that, Robin? A stuck scroll bar? You also seem to be thinking that I am somehow magically making people “wildly interpret” your claims. Can you show where I have done that? You have said that there is no harm for having no prayers at a public meeting, correct? You have said that the SCOTUS decision is right and you support it, correct? You called me a hagfish and claimed that you were tolerant but still follow your religion that says that anyone who disagrees with you goes to hell, right?

        Let’s quote you directly for a great set of baseless claims “Christ gives evidence all the time in this world through those who reject. His presence is evident in His absence. By example consider the most current mass murderer, atheist Elliot Rodger. A man who considered himself has God mirrors so many here. He is the antithesis of God. He was impotent, self-absorbed and a black empty hole of need in his Godlessness.”

        This is just great, more claims of evidence and of course none actually presented. By your argument, Zeus gives us evidence all of the time in this world through those who reject him. His presence is evidence in his absence. Golly, Robin, Zeus, Odin, Tezcatlipoca, Anasi, all exist since they all give evidence in their absence! Just by your rejecting them, you prove they exist! Hallelujah! What a great example of how theists have no actual evidence, only rather silly attempts to make believe their imaginary friends are real.

      • No, it isn’t a “fair request”. It’s the action of someone who is again delaying the inevitable, and who seems too lazy to actually finish what he started. Poor Robin, doesn’t have the patience to read someone’s reply to him even though he’s read far longer posts before with no complaints. Golly, it’s just so convenient for you, isn’t it?

        I do love how you think you can tell me how to write. Sorry, Robin, you came here to claim I was wrong. It is your responsibility to support your claims and to read posts that are addressed to you to answer your nonsense. If you don’t, then you were just looking for a soapbox, some easy win to spew your garbage and not have to defend it. Your excuse is just wonderful, as good as other theists, who when they can’t actually answer questions or defend their claims, suddenly insist that they have no time. One could set a clock by how predictable TrueChristians are in their nonsense. Still waiting for evidence of your god, Robin.

      • Another piece of advice. Respond to my post by adding something new.

        Failing that your readers might doubt you have answers for my challenges. Those who promote prayer at the onset of a public meeting do not demand a divine right to do it. They, like you, demand the freedom to speak. Scotus has affirmed that. Had you read the affirmation by them carefully, you would have understood that very basic opinion. They say the contents of the speaking (prayer) cannot be denied given conditions are met. Read it again.

      • Why should I add anything new if you haven’t addressed what I have already asked? And my readers have expressed no doubt at all, so your hopes for this seem to be rather in vain. Those who claim that prayers must be said before a public meeting do claim a divine right to do it because they believe that their god demands it.

        People can speak freely. It is only when they claim to speak for the gov’t that their free speech rights become limited. If you note, the Bill of Rights itself says that gov’t can’t support a religion and that means it, or its representatives don’t have free speech in that position. As you have said, Robin, there is no harm done to have no prayers at a public meeting at all. Therefore no one’s free speech is being harmed. You can stand outside and have a pray vigil, but as soon as you pretend that the gov’t support one religion over others, there is a problem under the First Amendment.

        No one is saying no one can pray, but they can’t pray as a representative of the gov’t or pretending that their god somehow influences government which the invocation of divine right and power does. I have read the affirmation and I have understood exactly what they have said. They have made the claim that prayers are fine as long as they are ceremonial, lending “solemnity” to an occasion, claiming that they have no real religious purpose. They then tried to claim that the “real” audience for the prayers was the gov’t officials, not the audience of the proceedings, which is belied by any request for “respect” which puts those who do not respect such things into an uncomfortable position. They then end up with claiming that the issue can be revisited if it is shown that prayers are divisive, amusingly they cite exact times when prayers have done exactly this but they want to ignore them because they are in the past.

        Since you have stated that there is no harm in not praying, why do you so want to put people into an uncomfortable position, Robin? Why do you not support no prayers at all so no one has to censor prayers nor do they have to waste time with what the SCOTUS has declared as useless?

      • You ask, Again, how much money did your church spend on trying to take away that ability in California?

        Again, Not a dime. Personal donations did not pass through the LDS Church. Those who supported it made a free will donation directly to the organization in support of traditional marriage by mail. People donating it mailed their donations personally. I chose not to support it. We do not share political sentiments in the LDS Church. We are certainly not instructed in those matters. Attend and watch some time.

      • One more example on how reality doesn’t support the claims of the theist. The LDS directly donated to the fight against Prop 8. Let’s see what one of you folks said: ““We’ve spoken out on other issues, we’ve spoken out on abortion, we’ve spoken out on those other kinds of things,” said Michael R. Otterson, the managing director of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormons are formally called, in Salt Lake City. “But we don’t get involved to the degree we did on this.”

        So, Robin, tell me that you didn’t support your Church when Mr. Otterson says that they used their money and resources to support the campaign against gay marriage. You do tithe don’t you? And where does you money go? Ah yes, to the Church to do with what it wants.

        Your elders issued a decree that was read to you all that encouraged you to take a political stand. Here are some excerpts from that letter to Mormons: “”We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to ensure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman,” “”Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.” “”The church’s teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan for His children,” One can see the entire letter right here: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/california-and-same-sex-marriage

        Mr. Otterson again “Mr. Otterson said it was too early to tell what the long-term implications might be for the church, but in any case, he added, none of that factored into the decision by church leaders to order a march into battle. “They felt there was only one way we could stand on such a fundamental moral issue, and they took that stand,” he said. “It was a matter of standing up for what the church believes is right.” – http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/15/us/politics/15marriage.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

        Hmmm, march into battle, eh? A letter that says what to do politically is read to congregations. Now, would that be your elders, “First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ” directly instructing Mormons in “those matters” on June 29, 2008? Why yes, it does. Now, if I attended another day, what inconvenient directive to the congregation might be read?

      • Hahhahaah! Oh my, Robin. You said that *you* allow us to have free speech. “Be grateful we allow free speech to the Godless.” Now, can we be sure that you and your religious brethren did not give us the right of free speech or were founders? Yep. The architects of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights knew that some theists would always try to take the rights of others to worship or not to worship away. The Bill of Rights is intended to protect the minority from the majority.

        Now, in Iran, one religion insists that it has the right to tell everyone what to do. Hmmm, now let’s look at how religions in this country are doing their best to do this. Insisting that the “Ten Commandments” be put in every courthouse and public space. Insisting that useless prayers be said at public meetings. Insisting that creationism be taught in schools. Insisting that only certain people can be married. Insisting that only certain people can have “real” families. Insisting that only certain types of religious structures be allowed in their communities. I am always amused that Mormons can be just as ignorant as any other theist when they so recently were attacked for their beliefs. You are such a great example of how the oppressed do their best to become the oppressors. I can also remember how Catholics were very intensely disliked where I grew up, a Protestant heavy area. Religions are notorious for wanting anything that is “other” to them to be restricted and banned. Again, I see no “tolerance” only attempts to declare a theocracy of only one type.

      • If you really want to make a case, you would identify sources. You spin a tale of a sort of building doom. Definitely not good stuff to read.

        You need to bring dignity, as Stalin did and Putin does, to the radical atheist lifestyle. Teach us the benefits of atheist traditions: fuzzy conflicted ideologies, black potato salad picnics,your acceptance within some religious and spiritual belief systems, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Raelism, Neopagan movements such as Wicca, and nontheistic religions. Own up to your religious traditions as you face the truth about running from a burden of proof and evidence of your belief that worship among you IS diverse in gods.

      • Always anything to put off the inevitable, right, Robin? I did identify sources. See those lovely links to the original source of the LDS command for their followers to engage in political action? Yep, right there, the sources you demand. If you want a certain source and I haven’t posted it, please quote to me what you are looking for. I am sure that you don’t like what I write, Robin. Alas, it is only your opinion that it is “not good stuff to read”. I know you don’t like facts that show you to be a liar when you claim how your church never ever tells its membership how to act.

        Aw, and more insults. You’re doing so well, Robin. Please do tell me how atheism is related to “fuzzy conflicted ideologies, black potato salad picnics”. Or are you just making the good ol’ false claim that Soviet Communism is the same as atheism? Indeed, what exact are “black potato salad picnics”? Stalin and Putin are very nasty men, and that’s because they are nasty narcissistic men sure that they can command anything to be done, not because they may or may not believe in gods. Now, if we go with your reasoning, belief in a deity will universally make people act one way. So, can I say you are as much of a jerk as Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church? Pat Robertson? The rather nutty other Mormons who differ with you? You both believe in God, so why should I think you any different from them?

        Where have Hindus, Jains, neopagans, “accepted” me or other atheists, Robin? And, please do tell me what a “nontheistic religion” is. And Raelism? Oh yes, those silly people who believe that they come from aliens. Hmmm, seems rather like the LDS belief that people, oh excuse me, white men, will get their very own planets as their personal heaven. They even have bishops and high priests, just like you!

        Of course we now get the usual theist claim that atheism simply must be a religion. Nope, it’s not. It’s just the conclusion that there are no deities, that your deity is just as silly as the Wicca Goddess, Krishna, Ameratsu, etc. I believe in no deities, Robin, so again I get to see a Christian bear false witness against me. It does amaze me that your supposed “immortal soul” is so meaningless that you have no problem in lying again and again. Atheists have many different lifestyles and beliefs. Some do believe in panspermia, but some don’t. Some believe in the ridiculous Ayn Rand writings, some don’t. The one thing we have in common is that we don’t believe that there are gods. My personal ideology is that religion is harmful and any good it may have done has long been outweighed by the harm it causes e.g. wars on whose imaginary friend is the best, murdering children in the delusion that some god will heal them of disease, etc. I believe that I should always stand up for those who are told to sit down because they are not of the “majority”. I think that people deserve the same rights, until they show that they are willing to take those rights away from others. I believe that the US bill of rights is a great document, but not perfect, a document to protect the minority from the majority. I believe that we should take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. I am fairly tolerant, though I do not tolerate those who spread hate or those who want to say that some people can’t have the same rights as others. I do not believe in killing people for disagreeing with me, rather unlike your god.

      • Robin, I did want to ask you something since you are a “high priest” as you claimed. As a “high priest” surely you can do what Elijah did. In the bible, this god of yours had no problem in showing that it exists by demonstrating this with his man building an altar, soaking it with water and then praying for this god to light it.

        Can you do this? Or will you offer an excuse? I’m not sure where you live but we can meet somewhere between our domiciles and have a contest. I’ll have a Zippo and gasoline and you can pray to see who gets results first.

  9. I am not Elijah. I do not have the authority for such an act. No such promise to me has been made as it was to Elijah. Study “foreordination”. Again, if you would do a modicum of personal research, it would begin to help you with simple questions.

    • You’ve claimed you are a high priest, Robin. Why don’t you have authority for such an act? Surely someone who has claimed to have a direct line to his god can do what another person who claimed to have a direct line to his god supposedly did. God didn’t promise Elijah that only he could ask God to light a fire. Indeed, your god says that anything asked in his name will be done, not only for certain people. I have done quite a bit of research on it, reading 1 Kings, seeing just what God said about Elijah (who is quite amusing, healing people, running like the Flash, etc. Funny after all of this, Elijah is still terrified of things.). Now, tell me what “promise” your god made to Elijah that makes you unable to do what Elijah supposedly did? How about a quote right from the bible since you claim this promise is in there? Elijah said that only being a man of god allowed him the power (2 Kings 1). James says that Elijah was just like him and the believers and all prayer from them is “righteous and effective” (James 5). Are you not a man of god?

  10. Your comments are bereft with logical fallacies. They overwhelm give and take with red herrings, complex and loaded questions. this has obviously been your mode of writing for a long time at your blog

    “my readers have expressed no doubt at all, so your hopes for this seem to be rather in vain.” Argumentum ad populum appeal to band wagon

    Because you have a group that for the most part follow you in silence, that lends no evidence or proof to your position even within your group. Plurium interrogationum – you ask question after question that presuppose something that has not been proven. (Wiki)

    “Those who claim that prayers must be said before a public meeting do claim a divine right to do it because they believe that their god demands it.”

    SCOTUS found no such argument occurring in the pleadings before them, nor is it evident in their summary judgment. Congratulations, you have reached an irrelevant conclusion …. fallacy: Ignoratio elenchi (irrelevant conclusion).

    “Where have Hindus, Jains, neopagans, “accepted” (sic) me or other atheists, Robin?”

    There all kinds of atheists who associate themselves loosely with religious orders. I do not suppose you have applied; I do not care if you had. It also is irrelevant. But you consistently do not speak merely for yourself; you imagine you speak for all atheists as if they are singular contiguous group held together by common philosophy and notions on religion. Also, You condemn Christianity as if they are a singular contiguous group of “Deists”. A great many self-ascribed Christians do not live their lives any differently than do atheists. they cannot be differentiated from atheists accept in speech.

    Clearly, so many of your assertions have nothing to do with the summary judgment of SCOTUS in your own topic.

    • oh my. I do love how you now want to claim I have offered an ad populum argument. Sorry, no. It’s so cute to watch a TrueChristian lie. No, Robin, it isn’t that at all. It is a reply to your positive claim that my audience is somehow disappointed with my posts “Failing that your readers might doubt you have answers for my challenges. ” https://clubschadenfreude.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/not-so-polite-dinner-conversation-weve-always-done-it-so-that-makes-it-always-okay/#comment-3362 . They haven’t expressed anything of the sort, so your claim is false. I stated a fact, not a logical fallacy. If I appealed to “everyone” agreeing with me, that would be a argument ad populum: http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-popularity.html . I recommend the Nizkor website for educating yourself on logical fallacies.

      Sigh, the people who have tried to have prayer before a public meeting have invoked divine right because their god demands that prayers be said. The conservative members of the SCOTUS did find that prayers can be and are divisive because of this and thus those instances can be brought up as separate cases, they tried to ignore all of those instances insisting that the prayers were only ceremonial and traditional (and thus supporting my point that argument can be used to argue for continuing slavery, the lack of women’s rights, etc).

      Who are these “all kinds of atheists associate themselves loosely with religious orders”? Who Robin, because all your claims are baseless nonsense. You are doing that time honored theist nonsense of trying to throw shit at a wall and hoping some of it sticks. I want evidence of your claims. I do not claim to speak for all atheists. I can speak for them in that all atheists do not believe in any gods and that is *it*. But if you want to show me evidence of where I’ve done this, please do.

      Deists are not Christians. Deists have specific beliefs. Theists, on the other hand, can be Christians, Hindus, Wiccans, Jews, etc. Please do look up terms before using them incorrectly. I know that all Christians don’t agree on much at all, that’s no surprise. It’s so funny to watch you all insist that American is a “Christian Nation” and that there are billions of you in the world, but when asked if you think each other are TrueChritians,, that number shrinks drastically so you can pretend you are some put upon minority. Golly, a Christian who is sure that other Christians are so much less than him. Yep, that lovely “self-ascribed” insult, when you are so sure that your sect is the only true one. Of course, you can’t show this to be the case, can you, Robin? Facts are indeed anthema to so many TrueChristians like yourself. You’ll just try to make up nonsense and when facts are given to you to show you that your lies are just that, you just try to ignore them.

      So, how again are Mormons “never ever ever” told what to do politically in church? How is it that the LDS church contributed money, time and resources to the support of Prop 8 and you said it didn’t with your tithes?

      And again, these questions too need to be answered to support your claims: Please do tell me how atheism is related to “fuzzy conflicted ideologies, black potato salad picnics”. Or are you just making the good ol’ false claim that Soviet Communism is the same as atheism? Indeed, what exact are “black potato salad picnics”? Stalin and Putin are very nasty men, and that’s because they are nasty narcissistic men sure that they can command anything to be done, not because they may or may not believe in gods. Now, if we go with your reasoning, belief in a deity will universally make people act one way. So, can I say you are as much of a jerk as Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church? Pat Robertson? The rather nutty other Mormons who differ with you? You both believe in God, so why should I think you any different from them?

      Where have Hindus, Jains, neopagans, “accepted” me or other atheists, Robin? And, please do tell me what a “nontheistic religion” is. And Raelism? Oh yes, those silly people who believe that they come from aliens. Hmmm, seems rather like the LDS belief that people, oh excuse me, white men, will get their very own planets as their personal heaven. They even have bishops and high priests, just like you!

      • You justified your correctness because you have so many that agree with you. That is irrational in defining truth.

        “Deists are not Christians. Deists have specific beliefs. Theists, on the other hand, can be Christians…” Thanks for the clarification 🙂

        You ask: “So, how again are Mormons “never ever ever” told what to do politically in church? How is it that the LDS church contributed money, time and resources to the support of Prop 8 and you said it didn’t with your tithes?

        There is no method that Church leadership do not do something.

        The “never ever ever” or “never ever” quote was not mine; It was yours twice. If you attribute anything to me, be accurate. Use real quotes. Leadership asked us to consider supporting the effort. What monetary support was received did not pass through the church. If Church leadership approved their own funding (which I have no knowledge of and have no interest in) would obviously been done legally.

        “Soviet Communism is the same as atheism” comment. I did not intimate that either.

        It is absurd that I spend my time on this blog simply protecting myself from your ad hominems. But If I remain, that is the necessary garbage I must haul away.

        “Where have Hindus, Jains, neopagans, “accepted” me or other atheists, Robin?”

        Bad question. I gave you a source to research that yourself. Can you begin?

        “So, can I say you are as much of a jerk as Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church? Pat Robertson? The rather nutty other Mormons who differ with you? You both believe in God, so why should I think you any different from them?”

        If all atheists are not necessarily alike (some worshipping themselves as Gods), do some research in earnest and you will realize, that there are equally profound differences in the Christian world. If you were to read what Phelps and Robertson have said about the LDS, denying we are Christians, you would certainly see us more favorably. Promise.

      • No, Robin, I did not justify my correctness because so many supposedly agree with me. I said that no one agreed with *you*. You said ““Failing that your readers might doubt you have answers for my challenges. ” I replied “And my readers have expressed no doubt at all, so your hopes for this seem to be rather in vain.” My readers have expressed nothing, no doubts, no support of your nonsense, indeed, as far as I can tell, “my readers” haven’t even looked at this thread of comments. No one is here but you and me. So, no, I have not justified anything by saying people agree with me.

        It’s also amusing to see you claim “Your comments are bereft with logical fallacies.” Do you know what “bereft” means? It means without. At best your claim is that my comments are without logical fallacies, at worst it is a meaningless sentence.

        It’s nice to see you thank me for a clarification and still not admit that you are wrong in your claims about deists and your false claims about them.

        Another quote from you that is meaningless “There is no method that Church leadership do not do something.” Is English your first language, Robin? If so, you really need to watch what you are typing. If not, you generally write well but sometimes you really miss the mark. You have said that “We do not share political sentiments in the LDS Church. We are certainly not instructed in those matters.”.- https://clubschadenfreude.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/not-so-polite-dinner-conversation-weve-always-done-it-so-that-makes-it-always-okay/#comment-3363 So, yes, you have said that the church never ever tells you what to do politically and the letter from your church to its members in CA shows you to be completely wrong in your claim. One can see exactly what your church tells its members in my earlier post here: https://clubschadenfreude.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/not-so-polite-dinner-conversation-weve-always-done-it-so-that-makes-it-always-okay/#comment-3372 Now, I have used your quote, so please tell me how I have been supposed inaccurate in what you have said when I have indicated that you said that your church “never ever” tells its members what to do politically. You said that you were “certainly not” instructed in those matters. And the letter does exactly that.

        I am ridiculing your claims and how I can show you to be lying by showing that the LDS church has indeed said that you should do something political. I have shown that the LDS did contribute money and resources to a campaign that you said they did not right here “Again, Not a dime. Personal donations did not pass through the LDS Church. Those who supported it made a free will donation directly to the organization in support of traditional marriage by mail. People donating it mailed their donations personally” – https://clubschadenfreude.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/not-so-polite-dinner-conversation-weve-always-done-it-so-that-makes-it-always-okay/#comment-3363
        One can also see that the LDS spokesman has said that it has indeed used its money and resources to support the campaign: https://clubschadenfreude.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/not-so-polite-dinner-conversation-weve-always-done-it-so-that-makes-it-always-okay/#comment-3372

        Your church did not say what you claim, Robin, “Leadership asked us to consider supporting the effort.” It said “We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.” – http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/california-and-same-sex-marriage . It says that: “The Church’s teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and the formation of families is central to the Creator’s plan for His children. Children are entitled to be born within this bond of marriage.” The facts again show you to be lying. It’s also great to see you say that you aren’t interested in the facts about what your church leadership has done. Then you claim that no money went through the church, which it did and then we get you insisting that, if it did, why I just have to believe you when you claim that it “would obviously been done legally”. It’s always amusing to see someone insist that they aren’t interested in the actual facts but make claims that they have facts that they can’t present. The legality is not the issue here, Robin. What is at issue here is your false claims that your church did not support the retention of Prop 8.

        You have also lied when you claim that you did not try to intimate that communism was the same as atheism. Sure, Robin, sure you didn’t when mentioning Putin and Stalin. Oh my. Let’s see what you said “You need to bring dignity, as Stalin did and Putin does, to the radical atheist lifestyle. Teach us the benefits of atheist traditions: fuzzy conflicted ideologies, black potato salad picnics,your acceptance within some religious and spiritual belief systems, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Raelism, Neopagan movements such as Wicca, and nontheistic religions. Own up to your religious traditions as you face the truth about running from a burden of proof and evidence of your belief that worship among you IS diverse in gods.”
        You chose to mention only Soviet/Russia men. Now, why not any other atheists, Robin?

        Ah yes, that whole thing about Stalin, Putin, ideologies, whatever the hell “black potato salad picnics” are, and the usual attempts by a theist to claim that everyone is a theist, in the evident attempt to squeeze out some external validation from anyone and everything for your religious nonsense. But please do explain why you did mention Stalin and Putin in regards to atheism and “fuzzy conflicted ideologies”. I’m willing to see your reasoning behind this and how it doesn’t directly compare Soviet communism to atheism.

        Robin, please do show me where I have used an ad hominem argument. You do know what those are, right? Where someone brings up a totally unrelated reason not to believe in the arguments of another? Now, if I said that Robin’s mom dressed him funny and one shouldn’t believe his claims because of that, it would be an ad hominem argument. http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ad-hominem.html I haven’t done that. I have shown where you have made claims that are false and how you cannot support them.

        Again, Robin, where are all of the “your acceptance within some religious and spiritual belief systems, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Raelism, Neopagan movements such as Wicca, and nontheistic religions. Own up to your religious traditions as you face the truth about running from a burden of proof and evidence of your belief that worship among you IS diverse in gods.” Where have Hindus, Jains, neopagans, “accepted” me or other atheists, Robin? It’s cute to watch you claim that I have asked a “bad question” when you can’t answer it. You have also said this, Robin: “There all kinds of atheists who associate themselves loosely with religious orders. I do not suppose you have applied; I do not care if you had. It also is irrelevant. But you consistently do not speak merely for yourself; you imagine you speak for all atheists as if they are singular contiguous group held together by common philosophy and notions on religion. Also, You condemn Christianity as if they are a singular contiguous group of “Deists”. A great many self-ascribed Christians do not live their lives any differently than do atheists. they cannot be differentiated from atheists accept in speech.”

        Now, where is this “I gave you a source to research that yourself. Can you begin?” I do not see a source, or a link or anything that supports your claims that “there are all kinds of atheists who associate themselves loosely with religious orders”. Who are these atheists, Robin? Now, I could be missing it. Please give it again if you gave a source in the first place, or at least cite the date and time of your post that contains this source. I do know that some atheists do like the social interaction with people and do attend Universalist Unitarian churches. Does that mean all do and all atheists are simply closet theists? Nope. But Hindus, Jains, neopagans? Nope. I do associate with theists all of the time, Robin, but that doesn’t make me religious in any sense of the term. But again, tell me what “religious traditions” I have and what other atheists have if you sure you have evidence of this.

        Aw, more baseless claims, that atheists worship themselves as gods. Being an atheist, I do not worship myself as a god, so your claims are false when you try to claim that all atheists do so. I can ask John Zande and Noel (Makagutu) and everyone else that frequents my blog and ask them if they worship themselves as a god. Now, if they say “no”, where does that leave you, Robin? A theist who makes things up and lies about other people? Indeed, there are megalomaniacs who were also atheists. Did their atheism make them automatically megalomaniacs? Can you show the cause and effect? And explain on how it doesn’t happen all of, or even most of, the time?

        Why yes, Robin, if atheists are not necessarily alike, then theists aren’t either. However, Christians claim to believe in the same things, which atheists claim to not believe in one thing, gods. We vary vastly apart from that. It is not me claiming that Christian sects all believe in Jesus Christ, miracles, hell, heaven, salvation, etc. You do indeed disagree on what your god “really means”, which shows that you all do not have any divine magical truth but your own very human opinions. Fred Phelps is no more trustworthy about what some god wants than you are, Robin. Just because idiots say you are wrong doesn’t mean you are right or any less ludicrous or more ludicrous than they are.

        The LDS says everyone else is wrong too, Robin, so should I find Phelps and Robertson in any better a light? Your sect has done horrible things like so many other religious sects has done. Your beliefs are just as ridiculous as any religions’, but again no more or less ridiculous. You have no more evidence for your religion to be true than any other religion does. This is why I think you are very much the same. You might “Promise.” something but that doesn’t make it true either. I find nothing to respect about religions. Most religions, if not all, depend on divisiveness in their claims of having some “truth”; they must because if they did not, they would have no power if everyone was considered equal and having no special access to a magical being. They waste money and resources in order to force others to believe and gain external validation from the size of the “flock”. They keep useless and ridiculous beliefs alive, holding humanity back. This is why I am anti-religion *and* an atheist.

        Now, I do wonder, will you answer the other questions I have asked that you have done your best to avoid? Ones like “And oh my, I do love it when you ignore the question and try to answer one you’ve invented. “Pharaoh question: right, there aren’t any more pharaohs.” This is such a cute answer to my actual question which asked how does your excuses for your god work when this god of yours has killed people in the past for having wrong thoughts, much less wrong actions. Why can’t this god do like he did in the past and control the actions of people to get an action he wants and that would be benevolent, like helping those girls? You’re right, there are no more pharaohs, but that doesn’t matter since your god can do anything, right? Control the actions of anyone, including the lunatic who kidnapped those girls and who has sold them into slavery? Where is this god telling this lunatic to let the girls go, and forcing him to do God’s will just like God forced his will on the Pharaoh in the Exodus story so God could show off his powers?” There are so many others but this set I find very important on establishing the actions of supposed gods.

        And I did look up “foreordination”. I had read about this before, where the LDS has made up its own “what God really meant” bit just like how Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that only certain people will be taken to heaven, where Calvinists say that people are predestined, where Catholics say that one has to have a saint rooting for you. It’s great to see that the LDS says that it doesn’t mean the same as predestination but it means exactly that, that some omnipotent and omniscient god says that some person will do something at a predestined aka “ordained” time. It is a lovely example of the acrobatics taken by humans to make up things to set them apart and claim that they are some magical truth, all with no evidence whatsoever.

  11. Pingback: Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Surprise! No, not really. Theists lie to Supreme Court. | Club Schadenfreude

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