Monday, January 01, 2007

Jesus to Return in 2007, And Other Predictions

There are some things that you want to see in a survey, and some things you don't. It's important to know how people feel about a political trend, for instance, because the success of that trend depends on the public's vote. So when 70 percent of Americans oppose the war against Iraq, for instance, you can figure that any politician who wants to be elected next time around will adjust his stated opinions likewise.

On the other hand, you can ask people what they think the weather will be next year, and, yes, they'll tell you, but ... so what? You can ask them whether they think the stock market will go up or down, but responses will not correlate with the actual behavior of the market. You can ask them whether they believe the earth is warming up or not. These questions might be interesting for what they say about the public's attitude, their state of optimism, but you have to be careful not to read the majority's expressed belief as a substitute for fact. If ninety-nine percent of biologists take Darwinian evolution as a robust, comprehensive theoretical structure, but less than half of the public does, we need not consider the science of evolution to be in a state of controversy or challenge. It just means that the people have not been educated yet.

So read these results with skepticism. From the AP:
WASHINGTON - Another terrorist attack, a warmer planet, death and destruction from a natural disaster. These are among Americans' grim predictions for the United States in 2007.

Only a minority of people think the U.S. will go to war with Iran or North Korea over those countries' nuclear ambitions. An overwhelming majority of those surveyed think Congress will raise the federal minimum wage. One-third see hope for a cure to cancer.

These are among the findings of an Associated Press-AOL News poll that asked people in the U.S. to contemplate what 2007 holds for the country. Poll: Americans see gloom, doom in 2007

This is funny. For some reason, this reporter put all the cheerful stuff at the top of the story (after that first worried paragraph). No war, cure for cancer, woo-hoo, those Americans are looking forward to this next year!

But, uh:
Six in 10 people think the U.S. will be the victim of a terrorist attack. An identical percentage thinks it likely that a biological or nuclear weapon will be unleashed somewhere else in the world.

Seventy percent of people in the U.S. predict a major natural disaster in the country and an equal percentage expects worsening global warming. Also, 29 percent think it likely that the U.S. will withdraw its troops from
Iraq.

Among other predictions for the U.S. in 2007:

_35 percent predict the military draft will be reinstated.

_35 percent predict a cure for cancer will be found.

_25 percent anticipate the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Whoa, roll it back, Joe. A quarter of Americans think Jesus will come back in 2007?

A quarter of us?

This is all, of course, just a chance for me to tell you about my favorite bumper sticker. You've seen the one, I'm sure, that says, "In case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned." It's cool and evocative, and concretely reminds us that when Jesus comes, the true believers will be snatched away in an instant. It does make you worry about the traffic tie-ups, if it turns out there are a bunch of them. Cars crashing up against the curbs, pedestrians jumping out of the way, it could be rather chaotic.

But that's not my favorite bumper sticker, of course. My favorite is the one that says, "In case of Rapture, Dude, can I have your car?"

Because, as we have noted here, the problem with religion, really, is that the different ones don't agree. If they portray the One Perfect Reality, then they ought to say the same thing. But we have people sacrificing their lives in the name of Jesus, and in the name of Mohammed, and so on, and they can't all be right. If you asked around the Arabic lands, they will swear, insistently, that they're right and the Christians are wrong. But if you asked around Europe and the American continents, you'd hear just the opposite. The same amount of conviction, the same amount of doubt -- the same amount of erudition and intelligence in both populations.

So a full quarter of Americans think this is it, this is the year Jesus returns. That means we don't need to put much effort into building a secure future, we don't need to worry about stuff like the environment, health care, building a strong defense, because ... well, I don't understand the theory in its entirety, but I think this means that only sinners will remain to experience the consequences of any long-term planning. It's not clear if only Baptists and Pentacostals will be whisked away, or if Methodists and Presbyterians will also be taken by the Rapture, and it appears that Catholics expect to go, but do Mormons? What about the Anglicans? Depending, a guy like me might end up with a nice ride.

In some of these, I expect the public is a little gullible. How can we not attack Iran? Do people really think The Decider has not Decided on that one?
Fewer than half the public think it likely the U.S. will go to war with Iran or North Korea. Should it come down to that, 40 percent think the battle will be with Iran while 26 percent said North Korea.

Higher gas prices, legalized gay marriage and the possible arrival of bird flu also are seen as being in the cards.

More than 90 percent of people think higher gas prices are likely. A gallon of self-serve regular gasoline averaged $2.29 last week, compared with $3 over the summer.

Also, 57 percent said it is likely that another state will legalize gay marriage. Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts; four other states offer civil unions or domestic partnerships.

People were split on whether 2007 will bring the U.S. its first bird flu case. More than 150 people worldwide have died from the disease. Health officials fear a pandemic if the virus mutates into a form easily passed from person to person.

Women generally were more likely than men to expect some of the more dire predictions to come true, such as a worldwide terrorist attack and war with Iran or North Korea. Democrats and people under 35 were more likely than Republicans and older people to say global warming will worsen in 2007.

It is somewhat interesting to see what people expect to happen. Of course their expectations are based on what they read in the press and see on TV, which is based on ... whatever some publishers and editors decide, which is based on ... who owns the company. But, not to get too cynical about it, let's note that the American people are a little gullible and a lot smart. They tend to believe what they're told, but they're capable of changing their minds, and they're able to read between the lines. The last elections showed us that.

Well, here we are: 2007. Pull up a chair, let's watch the game, let's see who wins, and see if there are any good plays that we can talk about in 2008.

49 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim appears to resort to insulting Christianity whenever his blog starts slowing down. At least, at one point in this post, he admits that he doesn't know what he's talking about. Unfortunately, this self realization doesn't prevent him from continuing his tall tale session.

To correct one of his misleading implications, the Bible instructs Christians to be good stewards of our world until Christ returns and, indeed, warns against not being found doing that when he does return. So this fallacious idea- which Jim has concocted before- that Christians are trying to destroy the world so as to hasten Christ's return is a contemptible lie on the order of anti-semitic lies told about Jews.

Secondly, while I've heard the "Left Behind" books are entertaining (haven't read them myself), orthodox Christian doctrine does not support the idea of a rapture. Nothing in scripture implies that Christ will return twice more. It says he will return at a time that has been determined by God, is known to him alone and will be a singular event. This is the traditional interpretation of scripture. The verses used to support the idea that Christ will come first and collect believers and then return at a later date again to collect more believers and then judge the world seem to be taken out of context and are not interpretted that way by the majority of Christians.

Last week, an anon said:

"The Bible does mention that homosexuality can be the result of another decision."

To which, Jim replies:

"Sorry, Anon, the Bible doesn't say anything at all about sexual orientation."

"Orientation" is a misleading term which serves to confuse the public to the benefit of the gay agenda. "Preference" or "desire" would be more precise. Anyway, each should consider for themselves this passage (Book of Romans 1:24-28) which seems to say homosexual desire is the consequence of another decision:

"Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not be done."

Since there seems to be an interest of late here in biblical translations, I'll point out that this is from the English Standard Version, which is the most readable of the literal translations.

Believe, or believe not, but this is the passage the anon was no doubt referencing.

January 01, 2007 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Because, as we have noted here, the problem with religion, really, is that the different ones don't agree."

Actually, that would only be a problem for those who maintain all religions are the same. Few religions maintain this.

Atheism is nothing but another religious viewpoint. I might just as well say the problem with all other viewpoints than Christianity is that they all don't agree.

This would be ridiculous, of course, and untrue. There are different problems with all those viewpoints and the fact that they don't agree with one another is not among them.

Atheism has more problems than most other viewpoints, and, indeed, appears to be in its twilight as a world view. For you to claim that the problem with all non-atheistic views is that they don't agree with one another is self-centered.

January 01, 2007 4:10 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, re your "orientation" comments. You can pretend that sexual orientation is some kind of curveball, but that's really the topic here.

I remember talking to a young man who had been relieved of his duties at his church after he came out. The minister told him he could have his role back if he didn't "practice" homosexuality. The poor boy was nearly in tears, still, a year later. He had never "practiced" anything, that wasn't what he was talking about.

The Bible doesn't say anything at all about sexual orientation. Your Romans chapter is not about that, it's about behaviors, which is an entirely different topic.

You can try to wordsmith it away, but the fact is, some people have a homosexual orientation, some heterosexual. And the Christian Bible does not address that topic.

JimK

January 01, 2007 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I remember talking to a young man who had been relieved of his duties at his church after he came out. The minister told him he could have his role back if he didn't "practice" homosexuality. The poor boy was nearly in tears, still, a year later. He had never "practiced" anything, that wasn't what he was talking about."

Don't know what his "duties" were; don't what you mean by "came out". If he was merely acknowledging he is tempted by a certain sin, I can't imagine what kind of church wouldn't offer support.

Perhaps by "came out" you mean he began to tell people he believed homosexuality was morally neutral. If so, then he would hold a different position than the church and could hardly expect to represent it. Since there are apparently churches that also take a neutral position on the morality of homosexuality, why didn't he just become associated with those who agree with him?

"The Bible doesn't say anything at all about sexual orientation. Your Romans chapter is not about that, it's about behaviors, which is an entirely different topic."

Anyone who reads the passage above has seen that it refers to feelings primarily and secondarily to the resulting actions. This is a common theme in Christian thought, clearly articulated in the Sermon on the Mount. Far from a list of rules, Christianity concerns itself with the inner man not the outward manifestations.

"You can try to wordsmith it away, but the fact is, some people have a homosexual orientation, some heterosexual. And the Christian Bible does not address that topic."

Christianity view any desires outside the design of God as a corruption of true human nature. Men weren't designed that way.

January 01, 2007 10:16 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Yeah, anonymous, like your primitive bronze age fairy tales have anything of worth to say. Men weren't designed, they evolved over millions of years and its clear from the presence of gay people across all cultures throughout all recorded history that this is the way nature made a consistent minority of people.

A just and loving god that allows belief in him and his religion of preference to be debatable and who eternally tortures people for innocently believing otherwise cannot exist anymore than a square sphere can exist.

The foundation of your religious beliefs are non-sensicle. The idea that god kills his innocent self to appease himself to overlook the sins of others is absurd. If a mother said "Julie was so terrible I beat the daylights out of Joey" we'd rightfully condemn her as evil and crazy. Why would we have a lesser standard for your god?

January 02, 2007 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Men weren't designed, they evolved over millions of years"

That's a little far-fetched when you calculate the odds and look at the fossil record.

"and its clear from the presence of gay people across all cultures throughout all recorded history that this is the way nature made a consistent minority of people."

You could say the same thing about all kinds of twisted behavior. Persistence of occurence doesn't mean something is excusable by saying "that's just the way I am."

You seem to believe in natural selection but, by its logic, gay people shouldn't exist at all since there is no survival advantage to one's genes from abstaining from reproductive sexual relations. Indeed, it's hard to see how the genes would be passed at all.

"A just and loving god that allows belief in him and his religion of preference to be debatable and who eternally tortures people for innocently believing otherwise cannot exist anymore than a square sphere can exist."

Actually, the doctrine of hell is that it is the absence of God's presence. There is ample evidence in our world to demonstrate God's existence so disbelief is willful. After a certain time of rejection of God by the individual, the decision becomes final.

"The foundation of your religious beliefs are non-sensicle. The idea that god kills his innocent self to appease himself to overlook the sins of others is absurd. If a mother said "Julie was so terrible I beat the daylights out of Joey" we'd rightfully condemn her as evil and crazy. Why would we have a lesser standard for your god?"

Christ's sacrifice was made of his own volition. If Joey was killed saving Julie from some peril of her own making, we'd honor him as a hero. Your view is twisted.

January 02, 2007 3:22 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

I hope one of the whisked away people leaves a 2007 Jaguar. I have seen those stickers but -generally on SUVs- and I don't want one of those.

Andrea
gonna be Left Behind

January 02, 2007 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That'd be cool, Andrea.

You could park it in front of an embassy and stand on the hood in the rain!

January 02, 2007 9:11 PM  
Anonymous K.A. said...

Anonymous said:
"Since there seems to be an interest of late here in biblical translations, I'll point out that this is from the English Standard Version, which is the most readable of the literal translations."

You talk about taking verses out of context, and you do so yourself when it suits you. Hypocrite. Not to mention that any English version of the bible is just so not the original you know?

Anonymous said:
"Actually, that would only be a problem for those who maintain all religions are the same."

Duh, they're not the same, and that's the problem.

Anonymous said:
"Atheism is nothing but another religious viewpoint."

Convenient for you no?

Anonymous said:
"There are different problems with all those viewpoints and the fact that they don't agree with one another is not among them."

Oh? So which one viewpoint is correct then?

Anonymous said:
"Atheism has more problems than most other viewpoints, and, indeed, appears to be in its twilight as a world view."

Really? And what could they be?

Anonymous said:
"For you to claim that the problem with all non-atheistic views is that they don't agree with one another is self-centered."

Well it's good that you see it that way. You'll just have to deal with it the fact that beliefs conflict, and atheism lacks belief, thereby eliminating itself from the conflict.

But then that goes back to the way you choose to see things. It's convenient for you to see atheism as a belief system, as it allows you to position yourself in the same way as atheists position themselves, but by doing so you ignore the fact that atheism is not uniform, so every atheist can be different. Every religion (or denomination thereof) has a set of beliefs, and atheism simply doesn't fit that box.

Anonymous said:
"You could say the same thing about all kinds of twisted behavior. Persistence of occurence doesn't mean something is excusable by saying "that's just the way I am.""

What criteria do you use to judge whether something is natural and/or inexcusable? Religious? Man-made?

Anonymous said:
"You seem to believe in natural selection but, by its logic, gay people shouldn't exist at all since there is no survival advantage to one's genes from abstaining from reproductive sexual relations. Indeed, it's hard to see how the genes would be passed at all."

One could call it nature's way of controlling its populace.

Anonymous said:
"There is ample evidence in our world to demonstrate God's existence so disbelief is willful."

Absolutely outstanding. Are you ready to prove this to the world? It is time to eradicate belief in God.

Anonymous said:
"That's a little far-fetched when you calculate the odds and look at the fossil record."

Publish your calculations so you can inform the world. That's two pieces of world-shattering news now isn't it? I'll be waiting.

January 03, 2007 1:05 AM  
Blogger Secret Rapture said...

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Read My Inaugural Address
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January 03, 2007 7:45 AM  
Blogger digger said...

Anonymous quoted:

"Book of Romans 1:24-28"

Dear anonymous,

When you quote Romans 1:24-28 by itself, you label yourself as the ultimate in cherry-pcikers. Paul brings up the complaints of the Roman Christians against the Roman pagans so that he can instruct him in Romans 2:1-4. In that passage, Paul tells the Christians to mind their own business and look to their own sins. Romans 1:24-28 is a preface to a passage telling Christians not to be anti-gay activists. Even your use of scripture is inaccurate. Thanks for the demonstration.

Robert

January 03, 2007 9:32 AM  
Blogger digger said...

In the second sentence in that last post, I meant "instruct them", not "instruct him". Sorry.

rrjr

January 03, 2007 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When you quote Romans 1:24-28 by itself, you label yourself as the ultimate in cherry-pcikers. Paul brings up the complaints of the Roman Christians against the Roman pagans so that he can instruct him in Romans 2:1-4. In that passage, Paul tells the Christians to mind their own business and look to their own sins. Romans 1:24-28 is a preface to a passage telling Christians not to be anti-gay activists. Even your use of scripture is inaccurate. Thanks for the demonstration."

Robert

I don't have the text in front of me right now but I remember you bringing this up before. I seem to remember reading it and agreeing with your point generally. At least the admonition against judging seems an accurate. I really don't know what would constitute an "anti-gay activist" to you. If you mean that Christians shouldn't advocate correct moral teaching to kids then you're the one who has misinterpretted scripture.

I don't see, however, how this negates or puts a different context the passage I posted. Jim stated that the Bible didn't mention "sexual orientation". I posted this passage, without any personal interpretation, just to show that the Bible does discuss what Jim calls "sexual orientation".

Don't you agree?

January 03, 2007 10:51 AM  
Anonymous K.A. said...

Sexual orientation as it is commonly understood today is not addressed in that verse, or any other verse in the bible.

January 03, 2007 2:40 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Just for the record, "sexual orientation" as a scientific concept was created by the Germans in the 1870s. Before then, there was neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality. In some cultures today there still isn't any distinction.

January 03, 2007 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another"

Kay

How does this differ from how "sexual orientation" is "commonly understood today"?

January 03, 2007 3:11 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

I said "Men weren't designed, they evolved over millions of years"

Anonymous replied "That's a little far-fetched when you calculate the odds and look at the fossil record..

That's precisely what the fossil record shows. The famous "Lucy" ancestor (Australopithicine, I believe) was 2 or 3 million years old.

I said "and its clear from the presence of gay people across all cultures throughout all recorded history that this is the way nature made a consistent minority of people."

Anonymous replied "You could say the same thing about all kinds of twisted behavior. Persistence of occurence doesn't mean something is excusable by saying "that's just the way I am."

What is inexcusable is harming others. Any behavior that doesn't harm others is moral by definition. LGBTs like me having loving committed relationships harms no one, and helps us. It is by definition good and worthy. Your anti-gay bigotry harms those who do not harm you. Your behavior by definition is immoral and wrong.

Anonymous said "You seem to believe in natural selection but, by its logic, gay people shouldn't exist at all since there is no survival advantage to one's genes from abstaining from reproductive sexual relations. Indeed, it's hard to see how the genes would be passed at all.".

There are several ways in which this could happen and I'm not knowlegeable enough to go into all of them. One way is that it takes two or more alleles for a person to be gay. One allele might confere an evolutionary advantage such as female fertility, while the presence of two might result in gayness. Like the gene for sickle cell anemia provides protection against malaria if present in one allele but the anemia if present in two.

One theory that makes a great deal of sense to me is that each allele increases the feminitiy in the male. The genetic makeup of men varies between two extremes, a hyperagressive male on one exteme and a gay male on the other. A few alleles of feminity make men more nurturing and more in touch with women while too many make them gay. Too few of the alleles makes them hyperagressive and violent and also poorly adapted to being a nuturing parent. Natural selection alternates between the two polar opposites to find the optimum balance most of the time. This is in keeping with many mental health professionals belief and my own observation and experience that most of us are inherently bisexual.

I said "A just and loving god that allows belief in him and his religion of preference to be debatable and who eternally tortures people for innocently believing otherwise cannot exist anymore than a square sphere can exist."

Anonymous responded "Actually, the doctrine of hell is that it is the absence of God's presence.

That is SOME Christians' doctrine, not all, and is contradicted by the bible which talks of lakes of fire and Jesus's referring to hell as, if I remember correctly, "gehanna" which translates to something along the lines of "place of burning garbage". In any event the common Christian believe is in eternal torture.

Anonymous said "There is ample evidence in our world to demonstrate God's existence so disbelief is willful. After a certain time of rejection of God by the individual, the decision becomes final."

That's laughable. There is no evidence of god's existence. If god created the world its difficult to imagine why he saw the need for hundred's of different species of wood ticks. If god created the world DNA wouldn't contain 90% garbage with only a few sequences actuall coding for something useful. Thats evidence of bottom up tinkering not top down desiging.

No matter how people have looked there's never been any evidence of the supernatural. A just and loving god that allows belief in him and his religion of preference to be debatable and who eternally tortures people for innocently believing otherwise cannot exist anymore than a square sphere can exist. A few years ago some Afghani tribesmen skinned Christian aid workers alive. An omnipotent and moral god could never allow that to happen. Your god's inaction can only be excused by his non-existence.


I said "The foundation of your religious beliefs are non-sensicle. The idea that god kills his innocent self to appease himself to overlook the sins of others is absurd. If a mother said "Julie was so terrible I beat the daylights out of Joey" we'd rightfully condemn her as evil and crazy. Why would we have a lesser standard for your god?"

Anonymous replied "Christ's sacrifice was made of his own volition. If Joey was killed saving Julie from some peril of her own making, we'd honor him as a hero. Your view is twisted. ".

On the cross Jesus said "My god, my god, why have you forsaken me." He was not a willing participant in his own torture and murder. And Jesus wasn't killed saving humans from some peril of their own making. Your god killed him as an excuse to overlook mankind's real and imagined wrongdoings. Completely unnecessary. The idea that your god needs to kill his innocent self to appease himself to overlook the wrongdoings of others is nonsense.

It is your god that creates imperfect humans knowing he will eternally torture them for behaving exactly as he knows they will. If your god wants to overlook mankind's real and imagined wrongs he most certainly doesn't have to torture and kill the innocent Jesus to do so. It's like the justice system catching a murderer and killing an innocent jew as an excuse to let the murderer go free. In any event, man's incredible inhumanity to man and your god's eternally torturing innocent humans continues unabated despite Jesus's "sacrifice". The torture and murder of Jesus saved no one.

January 03, 2007 3:11 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon said: "men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another"

Kay

How does this differ from how "sexual orientation" is "commonly understood today"?


You really don't get this?

It is just as possible to be a gay virgin as a straight one. Sexual orientation has NOTHING AT ALL to do with being "consumed with passion." It doesn't have anything to do with passion, or behavior of any sort.

JimK

January 03, 2007 3:14 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said "men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another.

How does this differ from how "sexual orientation" is "commonly understood today"?".

We know today that gay men don't "give up" natural relations with women, they are not attracted to women in the first place, they are gay from the first experience of sexual attraction onwards.
This passage of the bible referes to heterosexual men giving up their natural orientation to have gay sex. It is just as wrong for a heterosexual to try to be gay as it is for a gay to try to be heterosexual. That is what this passage means.

January 03, 2007 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"Atheism has more problems than most other viewpoints, and, indeed, appears to be in its twilight as a world view."

Kay said:

"Really? And what could they be?"

You don't get around much, do you?

They are manifold problems but a few big ones are:

-scientists concluded in the last century that the universe is not timeless but had a beginning

-physicists have noted that the physical universe appears to be designed specifically to support life

-the most prominent proponent of atheism for several decades recently concluded that he has been wrong and that the universe appears designed by an intelligent being

-several countries in the last century became officially atheist and the result was evil regimes which murdered more innocent people than all the previous wars combined

If you want more historical details, try Alistair McGrath's 1994 book, The Twilight of Atheism.

If you want more details about the scientific evidence, try Hugh Ross's 1996 book, Creation in Science.

BTW, atheism isn't the absence of belief. Atheism is the belief that God doesn't exist.

January 03, 2007 3:24 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous, Hitler was a Christian.

You talk about "the most prominent atheist" like there is a single atheist who heads up the beliefs of all followers like the Pope does. There is no such person. Attendence at religious services is dropping off all over North America. Religion is dying out. Try reading "The end of Faith" by Sam Harris and "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkings if you want a realistic and moral summary of the situation.

January 03, 2007 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, Hitler was a Christian."

No, he wasn't.

"You talk about "the most prominent atheist" like there is a single atheist who heads up the beliefs of all followers like the Pope does. There is no such person."

I said "most prominent proponent of atheism". This is the guy who would be the most likely to show up at forums debating theistic philosophers. His book on the topic was ubiquitous on college campuses for decades.

The most prominent current proponent of atheism is Richard Dawkins. Alister McGrath, who wrote the terrific book I cited before, "The Twilight of Atheism", has a book countering Dawkins' weak work in February called "The Dawkins Delusion". I've read books by Dawkins before. I didn't read the current one because the reviews I read said it presented no new ideas but was merely a work aimed at a lower reading level.

I make an effort to be familiar with the arguments of people who disagree with me. You should try it.

January 03, 2007 4:47 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

This just about wraps it up, right here:
"Anonymous, Hitler was a Christian."

No, he wasn't.


Anon has determined that Hitler was not a Christian. Hitler said he was a Christian, all historians consider him a Christians, his followers considered theirs a Christian movement (just like the Nazi movement in the US today is called the "Christian Identity" movement). HERE is a web site that links to relevant quotes and passages.

Here's what happens. Anon encounters a fact that does not fit his presumptions. Does he find out more, or find a way to integrate the fact - and I'm not talking about an opinion, but a matter of undisputed fact -- into his belief system?

No, Anon asserts that the fact is not true. Just waves his magic wand, and truth becomes falsehood.

He has generated an entirely fictional world inhabited by people he calls "homosexuals," who have nothing in common with the homosexual people who actually exist in our society. He has created a religion called Christianity" that only he subscribes to, where biblical scripture takes a unique interpretation that no other people who call themselves "Christians" agree to. He has invented a world that has something in it he calls "science," even though there is already something called that, which has none of the properties Anon attributes to his creation. He has invented a philosophy he calls "atheism," even though there are real people who call themselves atheists -- and have nothing in common with Anon's invented group. He has defined a new concept, which he calls "sexual orientation," which has something to do with uncontrolled passion and is nothing like the concept of sexual orientation that other people use.

You're living in a dream world, Anon.

JimK

January 03, 2007 5:56 PM  
Anonymous K.A. said...

Anonymous said:
"-scientists concluded in the last century that the universe is not timeless but had a beginning"

Right, and this is a problem because?

Anonymous said:
"-physicists have noted that the physical universe appears to be designed specifically to support life"

Right, and?

Anonymous said:
"-the most prominent proponent of atheism for several decades recently concluded that he has been wrong and that the universe appears designed by an intelligent being"

And that means nothing to anyone who doesn't agree with him. Like I said before, atheism is not uniform like Christianity or other religions.

Anonymous said:
"-several countries in the last century became officially atheist and the result was evil regimes which murdered more innocent people than all the previous wars combined"

Hah, and you really believe atheism was the cause? Well no surprise there, considering how convenient it is for you to group atheism as just another belief system. How incredibly naive.

Believing in some omnipotent transcendent intelligent creator without question is far more problematic.

And my name is not "Kay" either; if you're going to refer to me, you should simply use the initials I have provided.

January 03, 2007 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon has determined that Hitler was not a Christian. Hitler said he was a Christian, all historians consider him a Christians, his followers considered theirs a Christian movement (just like the Nazi movement in the US today is called the "Christian Identity" movement). HERE is a web site that links to relevant quotes and passages."

As usual, Jim has referenced a biased website. Nobelief.com, from where this article comes, also has many other anti-Christian articles, including one that argues that Jesus' teachings were immoral. As anyone who has ever read a biography of Hitler will attest, he was not a Christian unless you allow that one can make anything up they want, call it Christian and qualify. Here's an excerpt from Jim's most beloved source, wikipedia.com, about Hitler's religious beliefs.:

"Adolf Hitler was brought up in his family's religion by his Roman Catholic parents, but as a school boy he began to reject the Church and Catholicism. After he had left home, he never attended Mass or received the Sacraments.

In later life, Hitler's religious beliefs present a discrepant picture: In public statements, he frequently spoke positively about the Christian heritage of German culture and belief in Christ. Hitler’s private statements, reported by his intimates, are more mixed, showing Hitler as a religious but also anti-Christian man. However, in contrast to other Nazi leaders, Hitler did not adhere to esoteric ideas, occultism, or neo-paganism, and ridiculed such beliefs in his book Mein Kampf. Rather, Hitler advocated a "Positive Christianity", a belief system purged from what he objected to in traditional Christianity, and reinvented Jesus as a fighter against the Jews."

Jim's citing of "all historians" is similar to how he regularly cites "all scientists"- he's making it up.

"Here's what happens. Anon encounters a fact that does not fit his presumptions."

Sounds like what you just did, Jim.

"Does he find out more, or find a way to integrate the fact - and I'm not talking about an opinion, but a matter of undisputed fact -- into his belief system?

No, Anon asserts that the fact is not true. Just waves his magic wand, and truth becomes falsehood."

Sounds like what you just did, Jim.

"He has generated an entirely fictional world inhabited by people he calls "homosexuals," who have nothing in common with the homosexual people who actually exist in our society."

Unless you look at a quaint concept called evidence, that is. Your view of the typical homosexual is the fantasy. You're hoping you can train them to fit your view by incorporating it into the school curriculum.

"He has created a religion called Christianity" that only he subscribes to, where biblical scripture takes a unique interpretation that no other people who call themselves "Christians" agree to."

Like where? If you mean your strange interpretation of Romans, you're the one in the minority. You've obviously been subjected to alot of propaganda.

"He has invented a world that has something in it he calls "science," even though there is already something called that, which has none of the properties Anon attributes to his creation."

You're the one whose done that, Jim. You believe science can read minds and find things unteachable. Science hasn't provided any of the evidence on sexuality you credit it with. Indeed, most of the evidence presented on this blog could just as easily be considered proof that homosexuality is a chosen and developed inclination. You should read some books on the theory of logic.

"He has invented a philosophy he calls "atheism," even though there are real people who call themselves atheists -- and have nothing in common with Anon's invented group."

Atheists are people who believe there is no God. Get a dictionary. Your buddies seem to believe atheists are synonymous with agnostics.

"He has defined a new concept, which he calls "sexual orientation," which has something to do with uncontrolled passion and is nothing like the concept of sexual orientation that other people use."

Actually, I always put the term in quotes because I think it's misleading. The term is used by gay advocates to refer to the direction of an individual's sexuality. I prefer the term sexual preference because it doesn't confuse how fluid sexual attraction can be, absent societal norms.

The Romans passage, which you would like to distort, refers to those who become sexually directed toward their own gender. It characterizes this as a consequence of a materialistic outlook. Everyone who has read through this thread has seen it, so you're not fooling anybody.

When you awake, Jim, you will remember everything.

January 03, 2007 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hah, and you really believe atheism was the cause?"

Oh, no. It's just one of those coincidences that happens every time.

January 03, 2007 7:11 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Adolph Hitler, 1922:

My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.

In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison.

Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross.

As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice...

And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly, it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people. And when I look on my people I see them work and work and toil and labor, and at the end of the week they have only for their wages wretchedness and misery.

When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil, if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom today this poor people are plundered and exploited.


Tweak it how you want to, Anon. there's no ambiguity here.

Oh, and I would love to see you try to distinguish between "real" Christians and "hypocritical" Christians, e.g., people who claim to be Christian but really aren't. That ought to be good. (I'm going to want to hear where Our President fits in that scheme.)

JimK

January 03, 2007 9:21 PM  
Anonymous K.A. said...

Anonymous said:
"Your buddies seem to believe atheists are synonymous with agnostics."

Ah, excellent. So what do you think of agnostics then? They belong to no religion, yet aren't atheists, so how would you categorise them? How would you differentiate between a country that is "officially" atheist, and one that is "officially" agnostic?

People who don't give a rat's ass about belief systems are most likely either agnostic or atheist, but they could care less about what they label themselves.

Anonymous said:
"Oh, no. It's just one of those coincidences that happens every time."

At least that's sorted then :)

January 03, 2007 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For anyone who questions what the bible says about Homosexuality just read Leviticus 20:13 and the answer is as plain as day.

"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

If that is not clear to a person that God doesn't like the act performed then that person just doesn't want to listen.

January 03, 2007 10:11 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon, you really don't understand. We're talking about sexual orientation, not about "lying" with anybody.

Listen, tell me this -- is it possible to be heterosexual and a virgin?

Sexual orientation is not an act.

(I'll leave it to the others to puncture the other false assumptions in your comment.)

JimK

January 03, 2007 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Tweak it how you want to, Anon. there's no ambiguity here.

Oh, and I would love to see you try to distinguish between "real" Christians and "hypocritical" Christians, e.g., people who claim to be Christian but really aren't. That ought to be good. (I'm going to want to hear where Our President fits in that scheme.)"

It's not a matter of hypocrisy, Jim. There's no performance standard for Christianity. It's not some title you earn, it's a matter of faith. Looking at this quote, I don't see any Christian doctrine. I just see someone throwing the word around.

January 03, 2007 10:53 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

So the guy claims to be a Christian, ties his whole movement to Christianity, builds his following on that basis, but doesn't cite "Christian doctrine?" And so in your world, he's not a Christian? What's he got to do, pass your test or something?

OK, what about Our Leader? --Christian, or Not-Christian (some of our readers know which tasteless SNL skit I'm playing off of there). (At least I think it was SNL.)

JimK

January 03, 2007 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim

Looking at your quote again from Hitler and I think I can see your confusion. After all, I realize you're not a Christian believer yourself so you may not realize how utterly anti-Christian his quote was. Consider this again:

"In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison.

Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross."

Jesus shed his blood to fight "Jewish poison"? This is blasphemy and heresy of a very high order. Jesus shed his blood to atone for the personal sins of those who believe in him. Hitler isn't disqualified from the title "Christian" because he said one thing and did another. He was definitely not a Christian because he attacked the very heart of Christian belief.

January 03, 2007 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"OK, what about Our Leader? --Christian, or Not-Christian (some of our readers know which tasteless SNL skit I'm playing off of there). (At least I think it was SNL.)"

You seem to be trying to get some criticism of our President going. I tell I once had my doubts about him and I'll tell you why. Back when he was running for President, I heard a tape of an interview with him where he was about if he would consider commuting the death sentence of someone in Texas who had converted to Christianity in prison. He went into a whole routine mocking the person's conversion story and even mimicing her voice. I thought how could someone who had received forgiveness himself treat someone else's story with such ridicule? After reading more about his story, I've changed my view.

Any thoughts?

January 03, 2007 11:32 PM  
Blogger digger said...

Anon said a while back:

"I don't see, however, how this negates or puts a different context the passage I posted. Jim stated that the Bible didn't mention "sexual orientation". I posted this passage, without any personal interpretation, just to show that the Bible does discuss what Jim calls "sexual orientation".

Don't you agree?"

Anon, my friend:

You are not simply an innocent debating biblical references to sexual orientation. You are an anti-gay blogger. Nor do you seem mostly concerned with the moral instruction of student; you appear to be most interested in labelling lgbt people as morally suspect. Here is where I say you are a cherry-picker, in quoting Romans 1:24-28. In that passage, Paul explains to the Roman Christians that the pagans in Rome are sinners because the don't know god. That's not Paul's point. In Romans 2:1, he says "what then is your excuse, O man?" He asks the Roman Christians why they are sinful, if they do know god.

My point is this: if you know Romans 1:24-28 without knowing Romans 2:1-4, you are misconstruing scripture, missing the point of the whole passage, taking the verses our of context to bash gays. Don't you see the problem here? My advice is this: if you're going to quote scripture, don't use Romans 1:24-28. It ruins your credibility. Stick with Leviticus.

And finally, "What is your excuse, O Anon?" In other words, don't ask why I'm a sinner, explain why you are.

Yours in biblical literalism,

Robert

January 04, 2007 9:53 AM  
Blogger digger said...

Anonymous quotes scripture:

"For anyone who questions what the bible says about Homosexuality just read Leviticus 20:13 and the answer is as plain as day."

My dear Anon:

Have you read the rest of Leviticus?

For example, Leviticus 19:19

"Do not mate one kind of animal with another; do not plant two kinds of seeds in one field; do not mix two fibers in one cloth."

Modern farming methods and my hat are immoral (the hat is acrylic and cotton; my socks, on the other hand, are safe, since they are all cotton).

Again, quoting only Leviticus 20:19 is cherry-picking. you seem mostly interested in putting down queer people. Why is this?

January 04, 2007 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert

There are more than one anon around here. The one who has been discussing Romans is not the same as whoever has posted Leviticus.

However, with your knowledge of scripture, you must be familiar with the Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15:19,20) where early church fathers specified which parts of the law were meant specifically for the nation of Israel and which applied more broadly to Gentiles as well. Sexual immorality, as defined by the Law, is advisable to avoid. Mixing different types of plants is not mentioned as something that would apply. The prohibition against homosexuality would apply then, while more arcane rules only applied to those still "under the law".

January 04, 2007 10:41 AM  
Blogger digger said...

Dear anonymous,

Can't y'all adopt some sort of pseudonym or handle, so that we can distinguish among you?

Anyway, doesn't the Jerusalem counsel ask gentiles to conform to certain dietary requirements? Are there any antigay churches out there that also require that their congregants not eat meat from animals that are strangled, or not drained? I still see people picking out biblical passages that malign gay people, without attending to the part of the scriptures that apply to themselves. My reading of Romans is that people shouldn't go around quoting scripture at other people, but rather should attend to their own morality.

BTW, I found this interesting interpretation of the Council at Jerusalem that maintains that most of the law (excepting that requiring adult circumscission) should apply to gentile converts:

http://users.aristotle.net/~bhuie/acts15.htm

It's interesting; you should read it.

rrjr

January 04, 2007 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My reading of Romans is that people shouldn't go around quoting scripture at other people, but rather should attend to their own morality."

If you think the Bible says people shouldn't talk about scripture but keep it to themselves, you've missed the boat.

As a matter of fact, I only quoted it because I was countering a false claim by Jim that the Bible doesn't mention "sexual orientation". You may remember that I added originally that this is one scenario mentioned where a same sex gender might be developed but there might be other scenarios.

January 04, 2007 1:14 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Anon said: ...I was countering a false claim by Jim that the Bible doesn't mention "sexual orientation" ...

Anon, you gave a couple of examples where the Bible seems to say it is not right for straight men to have sex with other men. That doesn't have anything to do with sexual orientation.

To continue to assert that I was incorrect is just BS. The Bible does not address the topic of sexual orientation anywhere.

JimK

January 04, 2007 1:38 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous said "Indeed, most of the evidence presented on this blog could just as easily be considered proof that homosexuality is a chosen and developed inclination.".

Ridiculous. There is no evidence that could easily be considered proof that being gay is a "chosen and developed inclination".

The vast majority of people acknowledge that they have not chosen their sexual orientation, that desires for one sex or the other simply appeared without being conciously willed. The studies by Shidlo and Schroeder and Spitzer show that in the vast majority of cases people determined to choose a different orientation failed to do so. If there was any truth to the idea that orientation is chosen people would be going from gay to straight and vice versa all the time. That we don't see this despite determined efforts to do so is overwhelming evidence that people do not choose their orientation.

Anonymous said "Hitler isn't disqualified from the title "Christian" because he said one thing and did another. He was definitely not a Christian because he attacked the very heart of Christian belief.".

That's absurd. A Christian is merely somone who's religion is based on the belief in Jesus. Hitler believed in Jesus as much as everyone else, and had just as much right to judge what Jesus was about as any other Christian. That he came to different conclusions about some aspects of Jesus doesn't make him less Christian in any way. The idea that it does is the same excuse the hundreds (if not thousands) of different denominations of Christianity use to claim all the others are not true Christian religions. It is merely the belief in Jesus that makes one a Christian, not the huge number of differences in theology.

Anonymous quoted Leviticus 20:13's a man shall not lay with a man as with a woman as the final word. Relgigous scholars have pointed out that this reference refers to the act of homosexual sex as a religious ritual in another religion. The form of the word abomination means specifically a religious impurity, and is different from the word for abomination that refers to a general impurity.

January 04, 2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger digger said...

Anonymous,

Didn't you say you don't recognize the concept of sexual orientation (prefering non-neutral terms such as "preference" or "desire") because sexuality is fluid.

Your sexuality is fluid? Ah.

rrjr

January 04, 2007 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I said fluid in the absence of societal standards.

January 04, 2007 2:25 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous, roughly the same percentage of the population turns out gay regardless of "societal standards". This yet again overwhelminng evidence that sexuality is not fluid.

The fact that you think sexuality is fluid in the absence of "societal standards" is also powerful evidence that you yourself have same sex attractions - apparently you believe all that keeps you from going gay is societal disapproval.

January 04, 2007 5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"""Anonymous said "Hitler isn't disqualified from the title "Christian" because he said one thing and did another. He was definitely not a Christian because he attacked the very heart of Christian belief.".
"Anonymous said "Hitler isn't disqualified from the title "Christian" because he said one thing and did another. He was definitely not a Christian because he attacked the very heart of Christian belief.".

That's absurd. A Christian is merely somone who's religion is based on the belief in Jesus. Hitler believed in Jesus as much as everyone else, and had just as much right to judge what Jesus was about as any other Christian. That he came to different conclusions about some aspects of Jesus doesn't make him less Christian in any way. The idea that it does is the same excuse the hundreds (if not thousands) of different denominations of Christianity use to claim all the others are not true Christian religions. It is merely the belief in Jesus that makes one a Christian, not the huge number of differences in theology."""

Randi

You've allowed your desperation to discredit Christianity to turn you into a nut.

Just saying you believe in Jesus, as Hitler apparently did wouldn't make you qualify as a Christian. You actually have to believe in him. Hitler's quote, which Jim posted, showed he didn't. Being a slick, indeed possibly demonic orator, he tried to redefine Jesus to manipulate the German people. We all remember Shakespeare's line: "the devil can quote scripture for his own purposes". Hitler didn't even do that. He just used Jesus' name but not his words.

Hitler didn't just come to "different conclusions about some aspects of Jesus". He didn't accept Christ's teaching at all.

To use an analogy you might understand, suppose someone said "I'm gay. I want to have more women than Wilt Chamberlain." Would he be gay? Of course not. He'd either be joking, crazy or lying.

January 05, 2007 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"""Anonymous said "Indeed, most of the evidence presented on this blog could just as easily be considered proof that homosexuality is a chosen and developed inclination.".

Ridiculous. There is no evidence that could easily be considered proof that being gay is a "chosen and developed inclination"."""

Randi

Have ever actually read these studies? They all show some slight but signicant correlation of some characteristic with homosexuality. However, since none of them are correlated 100%, or even close, they could easily be taken to mean that these characteristics increase one's susceptibility to these attractions but that many (100% minus the correlation %) sucessfully choose to resist these inclinations.

I know you could say it's just because there are a number of characteristics which combine to create these irresistable attractions. That's possible but there is no reason that it's more likely than the explanation I just mentioned.

You simply believe it because you want to believe it.

January 05, 2007 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, roughly the same percentage of the population turns out gay regardless of "societal standards".

Really? Where do you get your stats on the Ming Dynasty or the Golden Age of Athens? The truth is, the number is nebulous even in our time and for our country. How can you speak with such certainty about every time and everywhere? Are you omniscient?

"The fact that you think sexuality is fluid in the absence of "societal standards" is also powerful evidence that you yourself have same sex attractions - apparently you believe all that keeps you from going gay is societal disapproval."

Don't you understand that the restraint of societal standards isn't just a fear of consequences? In a healthy society, people identify with and internalize societal standards.

January 05, 2007 7:37 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous at January 05, 2007 7:20 PM

Anonymous, a Christian by definition is someone who's religion is based on the belief in Jesus. Hitler's own words clearly showed he believed in Jesus and his religion was based on that. Hitler was a Christian and there is no way around it. Hitler was no less a Christian than any of those hundred's or thousands of versions of Christian churchs are any less Christian because they have differing beliefs from the Catholic Church.

I said "There is no evidence that could easily be considered proof that being gay is a "chosen and developed inclination".".

Anonymous at January 05, 2007 7:29 PM said "Have ever actually read these studies? They all show some slight but signicant correlation of some characteristic with homosexuality. However, since none of them are correlated 100%, or even close, they could easily be taken to mean that these characteristics increase one's susceptibility to these attractions but that many (100% minus the correlation %) sucessfully choose to resist these inclinations.".

What studies, anonymous? That was meaningless nonsense.

Anonymous at January 05, 2007 7:37 PM said "The truth is, the number [of gays] is nebulous even in our time and for our country".

Funny how quickly your story changes 180 degrees. In this thread:

http://www.teachthefacts.org/2007/01/tomorrow-we-get-to-see-it.html#comments

At January 05, 2007 2:48 PM
you said "Only 2% of gay men are exclusively gay so the other 98% are bisexual. That’s just a fact. Look it up."

When I gave you numbers that show the figure is more like 10% and the studies to back it up you got all indignant and at January 05, 2007 5:09 PM again made the baseless claim "randi shumockski you are a fool only 2.5% of the male population ever ingages in homosexuality of that 2.5% only 2% are exsclusive".

So, which is it do you want to say the number is nebulous or stick with your baseless figure of exactly 2%?

The percentage of gays in the population has always been consistent in any time and place where its been studied - based on self-admission around 3% to 5% and based on behavior around 10% There is no reason to believe its varied from that in any other time and place either.

Anonymous said "Don't you understand that the restraint of societal standards isn't just a fear of consequences? In a healthy society, people identify with and internalize societal standards."

A healthy society doesn't reject and stigmatize people for behavior that hurts no one. Obviously you've internalized societal homophobia to your own detriment. Its time you positively accepted your same sex desires and stopped hurting yourself and others with this unhealthy anti-gay obsession.
Don't waste your life hating yourself and others.

January 06, 2007 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Phentermine said...

Nice design of blog.

August 13, 2007 3:38 PM  

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