Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – and back around again to creationism and which version of Christianity is the “right” one

A friendly warning to those who followed my blog for food and drink posts. The below is my unvarnished opinions about religion.  You may wish to leave now.

Well, we have yet more creationist nonsense from Pastor Dave, who has spent a few days discussing how one should properly do baptism and communion; the two things that are probably most important about Christianity (only baptized believers can do miracles like JC per Mark, and one must take communion or not be Christian in more than a few sects) but no one can agree on how it should be done.  He will not allow comments nor will answer questions about his claims.

But here one can consider what he has claimed. He, of course, is not the only Christian who makes such claims; I use him and his posts as a starting point and as an example. These claims are nothing new or special. I’ve thought of a couple more new things to address about Genesis, but other than that, if you’ve read my posts before, you might find some of the information repetitive. I hadn’t realized that Pastor Dave had been once employed in the aerospace industry; one would have thought he would have developed better logic skills there than he demonstrates. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians apply a certain level of logic and rationality to the rest of their life, and their religion isn’t held under the same glass.

Dave demonstrates his ignorance of evolutionary theory, and of what scientists actually say about what we can say about the universe (aka reality as we know it).   Let’s look at some things that Dave calls lies.

We started our discussion about Creation and the Fall by naming some of the lies we can believe about this Universe. It is probably worth reminding ourselves of them.

–          That this world is just here by accident or chance. In earlier times, people saw this world as being the by-product of the wars and love affairs of gods. In modern times, we are more likely to see the world as it is resulting from atheistic evolution.”

Well, since scientists don’t think that the world is here by chance or accident, that’s a false claim made by Dave, either out of intent or ignorance.  The laws of physics work well in explaining how this world ended up as it is, and indeed as a “creator” with no end and no beginning.  Believing that some god created it is no more believable than other religions’ claims of the world being a byproduct of wars or the love affairs of gods.  More than a few religions claim that their god and only their god was the creator; none of them have evidence to support this.

–          That the world around us and God are one and the same thing. This is sometimes called pantheism. This leads to people worshipping nature.

Well, what is wrong with worshipping nature, other than you get nothing back from nature for such worship?   It’s the same problem that most theists have with people being of other religions than their own or believing in no religion at all.  Those people are a threat to their need for external validation and their belief.   The existence of other religions and agnostics/atheists seems to terrify theists.  We dare to not give them what they want.

–          That God is distant from this world. He may have been the first cause, but he has just put the rules in place and left the Universe to get on with running itself. This is usually referred to as Deism.

Of course, Dave can’t show that his version of his religion is true, and that other version of religion aren’t.  Since this god cannot be shown to do anything in this world, there is no reason to assume that this god is close to this world (or far away).  It is required for Dave’s version of Christianity, but it is not shown to be true.

–          That “matter” (physical creation) is evil and that only the spiritual world is good. This is known as Dualism and is particularly associated with Gnosticism.

Hmmm, some versions of Christianity make this exact claim.  And Dave calls it a lie.  Now, how does he know?  There’s also the problem that nonbelievers don’t think that matter is evil or good.  It just is.  Dualism is also when a believer claims that the body and soul are separate things, often making unsupportable claims that somehow the brain isn’t involved in what a person is.  Continue reading


Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – claims, evidence and research when debating a literalist Christian

Here on WordPress, you can search for blog posts on a certain subject by using keywords. As a blogger, you can set keywords yourself (you can see them at the bottom of this post) and I also think that the system also finds them to be able to bring back search results. I have a search set up to bring up posts that reference atheists and atheism. Most of these are from atheists, but about a third of them are by theists, usually Christians. Of these, in my experience about 90% of them do their best to try to convert atheists and to disparage them, often repeating false claims, making baseless claims without evidence and making some very poor arguments. The internet is certainly full of such nonsense, from conspiracy theorists, holocaust deniers, xenophobic twits, etc.

Since I do not like to allow such things to remain unaddressed, and don’t have an infinite amount of time, I occasionally pick one and ask questions about their post. In some cases, there are no comments allowed, so I ask questions through mail form. Sometimes I get a response, sometimes I don’t.  One of the other respondents is here, where again Pascal’s Wager is being touted.

Those readers who have been with me awhile may want to find other things to read since some of this may be repetitive for them. The bit below isn’t as biting as my writings usually are since I was behaving.

I recently found a post on a Christian pastor’s website that can be distilled down to: Richard Dawkins should believe in my god because there he says that there is a probability that this god exists and any possibility should be taken. Most will recognize this as a variant as Pascal’s Wager. I asked him this question about his assertion: “If your argument is valid (that Dawkins should worship a god since he says that there is a small probability of one), why do you not believe in other gods and live your life as if they aren’t there?”

We started off having a pleasant discussion, with him complimenting the question but it quickly turned south when he declared that nothing would change his mind and that he was not going to participate anymore, that how dare I explain what a circular argument is to someone who has taken years to get a philosophy degree, accusations that I was attempting to humiliate him, that I didn’t respect his religion, and told me that he wished me good luck because, as an atheist, I’d need it. Unfortunately, this is how more than a few of these interactions go; rather than answers, I get threats.

I informed him that I was going to use my correspondence to him as a basis for a blog post and asked if he would allow me to post his side of the correspondence to make sure everyone could see his side. I wasn’t too surprised that he refused, despite no reason given. So, I will use what I wrote in reply to address the general arguments that have been offered by various Christians in the past here and on the . No need to let research and writing go to waste.

Argument 1: I believe in only one god and the others don’t exist. I know that this is true because their claims are contradictory. The claims of other religions are untrue because there is no evidence to support them. I know this as a certainty; there is no probability of another god. It’s illogical not to believe in my god because there is a low possibility of it existing.    

The problem with this claim is that it needs evidence to support the claim that the theist’s god exists and no others do. The bible is offered as evidence, but what most theists don’t acknowledge is that the bible is the claim, not the evidence. The bible makes the claim that the god exists and the events therein are true; it cannot be used as evidence for the very claims it makes.   Dawkins, in the discussion of his seven point scale, admits that there may be some low probability of a god when he scores himself at 6.9, but there is the same probability for the existence of fairies. We can’t be absolutely sure that *some* god doesn’t exist. In that the theist’s argument depends on this probability, their claim that they know a certainty about other gods doesn’t work. Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – a peculiar Pollyanna

I’ve occasionally used the posts of a Christian minister to riff off of when it comes to showing how strange Christian arguments about their god and their religion.  It’s a way to have an actual Christian’s quotes to review and to point out how their claims don’t always work out quite like they intend.  For those who may not be familiar with the term “Pollyanna” it is from a movie, and has come to mean someone with a overly optimistic outlook, that every thing is wonderful and perfect, generally considered someone more than a bit naïve.

Pastor Dave has had a series of posts about creationism and his religion.  This is the most recent.  The basic argument is that the universe is evidence of this version of this religion’s god and that it is a result of this god’s “greatness”, which is a rather vague term, and its “goodness”, which shouldn’t be too hard to define but with many Christians, anything that this god can be claimed to do is “good” by default, a very circular argument.

He claims that “In Creation, we see God’s beauty, holiness and wisdom. For example, we see his holiness as God makes distinctions separating light from darkness, day from night, land from sea, sea from sky. This is the same God who will separate a people out for himself as a holy nation. This is also the God who, in his wisdom, creates an ordered and structured Universe.”

Now, considering what we know of the universe, it often isn’t very pleasant, and indeed, 99.999999999999…% of it is inimical to human life, supposedly this god’s favorite “creations”.   It includes the vacuum of space, guinea worms, gamma ray bursts, flesh eating bacteria (a some awful photos), water that is very deep with great pressures (also pretty gross), temperatures of millions of degrees and of many hundreds below zero, toxic gases, toxic liquids and things with lots of unpleasant venoms.   It takes an amazing amount of pure willful ignorance to try to make this argument, and an assumption that people are either too ignorant or simply too unintelligent to question it.  It could also simply be a lot of pure malice to control people by telling them such nonsense.

It also shows that the religious must try to convince themselves that they are special and above all other humans.  It’s not hard to see through history just what such ideas have done to humanity.

Pastor Dave tries to argue that this god cannot be a distant god, perhaps like the one that deists have invented, but a personal god that is constantly interfering with his creation, quoting John Calvin in that one cannot have a god that was just a momentary creator and claiming that “Here, especially, we must dissent from the profane, and maintain that the presence of the divine power is conspicuous, not less in the perpetual condition of the world then in its first creation.” The pastor makes the following claim: “God’s goodness, kindness, compassion and love are reflected in his providence.”   Calvin’s words reflect this: “After learning that there is a Creator, it must forthwith infer that he is also a Governor and Preserver, and that, not by producing a kind of general motion in the machine of the globe as well as in each of its parts, but by a special providence sustaining, cherishing, superintending, all the things which he has made, to the very minutest, even to a sparrow.”

Really?  Goodness, kindness, compassion and love.  In this world, shown by this god.  Hmmm.  I wonder, can we tell this to the children who have their body parts cut off in Africa?  I guess the sparrow gets cherished and screw the children.   I guess it’s easy if you are comfy in a first world country to make such baseless claims and need external validation for your religion.

We also have the claim of predestination, which means that this god intends that everything happens as it does and approves of it.  I guess again, this god needed children who were made amputees in one of the worst ways possible, hacked by a machete.  “Providence describes the way in which God is concerned for the well-being of his creatures and so orders and sustains the very detail of Creation. Providence is a consequence of God’s Will and Decrees. In other words, everything happens because God predestines it.”.  and we are told that miracles do occur and are “natural” and are part of predestination.   In that there is no evidence for miracles period, there is no reason to think they real, much less natural or supernatural.   Having been a Presbyterian, I know quite a bit about the claims of Calvinists and predestination, which is nothing more than excusing a god, and declaring oneself to be extra special that one will be saved because this god chose you.  They aren’t much different from the Jehovah’s Witnesses in this. And many Christians are sure that predestinationalists are entirely wrong.

Pastor Dave also wants us to know that this god works through “intermediate means” like him.  What he doesn’t explain is how does this work when pastors like him don’t agree on what this god wants.  He also wants us to believe that this god works through “processes of the water cycle and crop generation to bring this about”.  Hmmm, if this god can do miracles, why does it rely on natural processes that show that the claims of its bible never happened at all, and why does every other religion claim that their gods are responsible for the same natural processes?   And why do these natural processes fail sometimes and we have famines?  He also doesn’t quite get the “god of the gaps” idea.  The God of the gaps is a term where non-Christians have noted that the claims for his god aren’t true, and this god is only now able to be claimed as cause for processes we do not understand yet.  He wants to claim that his god is controlling all natural processes but that doesn’t work out very well for him because he wants to pick and choose when his god does something magical and when it does something by natural processes.   It’s awfully convenient to cherry pick like that, insisting that coincidence should be considered a miracle, and then be able to show no evidence at all that this god does anything.  It’s also quite funny to see him declare that his version of his god created a “mature universe” aka as it is right now,, when there is no evidence of that at all and indeed plenty of evidence that the universe became what it is today and wasn’t always this way.  Why some Christians try to lie about such things, when accepting the same science that shows that the universe has changed, as long as it makes them comfy, is rather ridiculous.  As for an orderly universe, yep, it does have certain physical laws that seem to control it, however, it’s a bit of a bummer when a star goes supernova and destroys what is around it.

Now, we get to the part where Pastor Dave claims this: “Providence encourages us to trust God’s provision and to depend on him every day.”  So how does that work out with the people who were murdered in that church down in Texas?  How many people does Dave think were praying desperately as the murderer was methodically walking around and shooting people in the head?  Did God need a baby to die of a high-power gunshot wound?  How about a good part of a family?  How about those people who were in the assisted living home in Philadelphia just today which burnt in a 5 alarm fire? Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – wanting a theocracy? Certainly seems so. Also, cheating for fun and profit

not really sure who he is other than an actor and Catholic

In my last blog post, I pointed out how Trump and his minion Sessions are doing their best to create a theocracy in favor of their supporters conservative Christians. I then had some a conservative Christian, silenceofmind, participate in my comments. He asked what religion was being favored, and promised as soon as I told him, he would answer my questions. He of course lied and never answered the questions put to him. Still waiting, but why would one expect a conservative Christian to be honorable at this point?

He did his best to try to convince me, and others, that the “religious freedom” document released by Trump and Sessions wasn’t only for conservative Christians who have repeatedly tried to get their version of their religion treated as law. Seems he forgot this gem of Donnie’s: “I’ll tell you one thing: I get elected president, we’re going to be saying “Merry Christmas” again. Just remember that. And by the way, Christianity will have power, without having to form. Because if I’m there, you’re going to have plenty of power. You don’t need anybody else. You’re going to have someone representing you very, very well. Remember that.”- January 23, 2016, Dordt College, Sioux City, Iowa.

Always fun to see again and again how wrong someone can be and how hard they try to avoid being caught.

He kept on with this on his own blog where more lies were told by an even greater number of TrueChristians™.   Oh, the hairshirts were worn and the ashes were scattered on how anyone daring to disagree with their version of their religion was a “mortal danger” to that religion. They of course forget that there are plenty of Christians who don’t agree with them at all.

And now we have even more evidence that yes, Trump and Sessions are indeed trying to create a theocracy for their conservative Christian followers, followers who ignore their very own bible when it comes following a man like Trump: Exodus 23:1 You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with the wicked to act as a malicious witness” (and yes, Christians I can quote the bible and hold you accountable to that which you claim is the “truth”.  Also, humans being against liars and lying isn’t anything new to the human race.  It’s really pathetic when you try to claim that it is only a Christian view. See Code of Hammurabi)

Sessions, when building this memo, had “listening sessions” that unknown people were invited to. The Department of Justice has yet to release this information on who got a chance to give input to this memo. However, we can count on conservative Christian groups to be loud when they want to make their version of their religion law. The Alliance Defending Freedom, a group that has to spell that out in their name since no one could tell from their actions, has spilled the beans and let everyone know that they were invited and they are please that they, an organization that only defends conservative Christians, got their way. The Family Research Council (only for families that fit their description) was also hot to trot on this memo, to the point of already having things in place for it before it was announced. Most curious, that. It seems that Tony Perkins, often a guest of the White House, may have had a hand in the cookie jar, when the memo has that religious groups may be funded by the gov’t, who would choose one sect of a religion over another and one religion over another to make these decisions.

Of course, not one liberal Christian group has announced their involvement in these “listening sessions”. What they are doing is denouncing the memo and pointing out that it is indeed only meant to protect bigotry and ignorance.

We also have a lovely story today about Roy Moore, the fellow in Alabama who tried to get the ten commandments into a courthouse. Well, evidently those commandments and that bible doesn’t mean much to ol’ Roy since he intentionally lied when he said he wasn’t paid by his non-profit, ironically called The Foundation for Moral Law. It’s amazing how being paid $180,000 a year and needing a bodyguard (so much for faith, eh?) might slip a man’s mind and just be “forgotten” to be put on the major form that the IRS requires from charities, the 990 (I worked for a non-profit so know these well). It’s a shame that he and his family (they are of course employed by the onstensible “charity”) decided to lie to the government that is put into place by his god, if one believes Romans 13. One can guarantee many excuses will be given by TrueChristians™ about this, desperate to acknowledge that one more Christian has lied and has profited by the lying.

So, SOM, JB and all the other conservative Christians out there seeking to try to spread false information, your fellow Christians just let the figurative cat out of the bag and have indeed been behaving badly.   Your supposed messiah president lied to one group when he said he supported LGBT people and then betrayed them. He can be quoted as promising worldly power to conservative Christians. A much lauded conservative Christian has been discovered to be ignoring his ever-so important godly commandments Now, what does the bible say about liars and those who follow them?   What verse says this is just peachy and okay?

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Trump and Sessions want a theocracy, and this is the latest way they’re trying to do it

(If you’ve come to this website following a link from a conservative Christian blog by someone named SilenceofMind, welcome!  I do invite you to read my blog and comment if you’d like Please see here for my words about how comments work on this site).  Please evaluate if SilenceOfMind’s comments about my blog are false or true from what you read.  He has claimed that my blog is an example of “virulent hatred” that is a mortal threat to Christians.  I wonder how that works when I allow his posts to exist on my blog? You may want to ask SOM about his actions and how they square with Christianity.)

From the Freedom From Religion Foundation:

Sessions’ theocratic memo on ‘religious liberty protections’ will unleash legal chaos

The Trump administration today unveiled a series of theocratic interpretations of “religious liberty protections” that will unleash legal chaos and discrimination, charges the Freedom From Religion Foundation.   The executive orders and memos largely redefine religious liberty as the right to discriminate and deny others civil rights. Earlier today, President Trump signed two executive orders under the auspices of religious liberty permitting employers to deny women workers contraceptive coverage, in a move condemned by FFRF.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions today, at Trump’s behest, has now issued a list of 20 far-reaching “Principles of Religious Liberty” that all federal agencies must implement. The goal appears to be to exempt Christians and other religionists from the rules and regulations of civil society, including rules that prevent discrimination.

Read the  entire thing here.

Now, this will require that the government now get in the business of deciding who has a valid religion to figure out how this nonsense will be applied.  Will there now be sects of Christianity that say that they can’t possibly interact with people of color?  Will there be Catholics who will refuse Protestants?  And how will people know who is what? Will we all get to wear nice little yellow stars if we are Jewish?  Perhaps a red latin cross if we are Christian?  And then how will we tell which Christian is what?  Who will get to claim the mantle of TrueChristian(tm)?

Trump and his minions are vermin out to sow hate and fear.


Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – more inept lies and intentional deceit from TrueChristians™ , Natural Disaster edition

(note to my readers: if you followed this blog for food and travel, you may want to skip this post.  It is my unvarnished views on politics and religion)

I believe in contesting the lies of bullies and cowards at every turn. Susan Stamper Brown is a conservative Christian opinion writer. In that, we can expect her to be as deceitful as possible in her writings and her attempts to have her very own “facts”. In her recent opinion piece “Global Warning Alarmist Need to Lose the Arrogance”, she has tried to claim that one shouldn’t assign blame to humanity for natural disasters and complains when comedians point out that the theists, who have repeatedly threatened anyone who didn’t do as they wanted, suffer from these disasters too.  She whines about how dare they make natural disasters “leftwing attack dogs”.   (she also is a coward on Facebook, inventing her own echo chamber, but she can be reached at as per the link above)

Now, how many times have we heard threats about natural disasters from TrueChristians™?

Many Christians have made these threats often, with a local example of how Pat Robertson claiming that Dover, PA would have “problems” after removing creationism from its schools: “God is tolerant and loving, but we can’t keep sticking our finger in his eye forever. If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them.”  

Pat also claimed that the Haiti earthquake in 2010 was a result of this god of his getting rather late revenge on Haitians since they rebelled against slavery. Jerry Falwell is famous for claiming that the 9/11 attacks were the fault of people not obeying his god, and once called on it apologized for his false claims. Since he said similar things after this, his apology was not something to take seriously. Franklin Graham, son of the evangelist Billy Graham, claimed that Hurricane Katrina was punishment. The American Family Association claimed that Hurricane Isaac was punishment.

Of course, the best in irony is that Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBT group, had his house flooded in a hurricane after claiming that natural disasters were punishment for non-Christians. He claimed that natural disasters were “God is trying to send us a message.” When he was agreeing with Jonathan Cahn who claimed that Hurricane Joaquin would hit Washington DC. Let’s see what exactly was said (transcript from Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation: Antics of Christians in the news, in a blog, and in a newsletter(NSFW because of what they said)

(note to my readers: if you followed this blog because of your interest in my recipes, brewing or drink reviews, you may want to back out now.  Anything that is titled “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation” is my unvarnished views of politics and/or religion. You’ve been warned 🙂 ).

Here are a few random things about religion. The first is about an opinion piece published in the New York Times by someone who really is afraid of anyone not like him. The second is a brief bit about what a pastor thinks about justice and the bible, and the third is just a few bits of crank mail from my FFRF newspaper and a link to a good blog post about the new bible “club” in the White House. The newspaper also has some very nice essays written by young atheists of color for a scholarship contest.

The NYT ran an opinion piece by Rob Dreher, a conservative Christian, “Trump Can’t Save American Christianity”.   Of course, Mr. Dreher is certain that his version of Christianity is the only true one.  He’s also one of the fellows who thinks that Christians really need to segregate themselves from anyone who disagrees with them.   Of course, that’s rather inconvenient and even he doesn’t follow his own recommendations.  Writing for the NYT isn’t exactly conducive to doing what he says.

He’s also jumped from Methodism, to Roman Catholicism, and now is with the Eastern Orthodox church.   Funny how the magical and divine “truth” can change, isn’t it?

In the article, Dreher wonders if Trump can do anything to alienate conservative Christians.  At this point, it certainly doesn’t seem to be anything, considering the circus that has been going on for more than 6 months.  Ah, but Dreher is sure that Trump isnt’ the problem, it’s is an “increasingly faithless people” aka those who don’t agree with Mr. Dreher.  He claims that the lack of people who agree with him will lead to a “calamity for civil society in ways secular Americans do not appreciate”.   Of course, all we have is this chicken little nonsense about how bad it will be, nothing to show what this would be or anything to support the claim.

One of the claims that Mr. Dreher makes is that Americans are not following “authentic Christianity” and are following something a Notre Dame researcher calls “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”, something that Mr. Dreher insists is a “pseudoreligion” and it isn’t his version of Christianity.   The problem here is what is “authentic Christianity”?  We see that Mr. Dreher has gone from one sect to another, which would seem to indicate that Mr. Dreher has no idea what it is either.  If he gets disappointed with one, he decides another might have the right answers, and that certainly isn’t an unusual thing for Christians.

Now, Mr. Dreher is sure that all of the nonsense that conservative Christians have done with the Republican Party aren’t enough, and that the GOP isn’t doing what he wants.  The slide into the secular abyss is because his religion failed somehow.  Ah, but how you may ask?  He’s sure that Trump is a symptom of this problem, which at least he may seem to realize that Trump is no kind of Christian, literalist or liberal, a thing that many Christians can’t quite seem to grasp.  What he returns to is that Christians (again only those who agree with him) need to separate themselves from the world.   They cannot listen to anyone who has a different opinion, they cannot consider that they are wrong.

Conservative Christianity has been its own enemy when it comes to losing believers.  The constant adherence to outright lies is rather stupid in this age where information is easily available.  People have realized that the myths of the religion are nonsense and that morality does not come from one sect of one religion.  As always, this particular form of Christianity depends on fear and ignorance to exist, and Mr. Dreher certainly uses those tactics in his article.  “You must run away! You must not listen to anyone else except me!”   Everyone else must be cast as an enemy to fear.

As much as Dreher may see Trump as a symptom, Dreher is using the same pathetic attempts at controlling people.  He seems to need external validation and keeps poking his head out of his imaginary fortress to get it.     Continue reading