Pastor vs Pastor

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    I am in Ireland, the most Western part of Europe. It is not so much a forced separation of Church and State in most nations but rather that many are secular nations. What I mean by Secular is that the governments protect the pluralist nature of society with laws. Members of all religions and those of us with none are treated equally before the law. The role of government is to ensure this is the case. No single religion is given any privilege over any other religion.

    In Ireland we have about 20K Hindus but over 2m Catholics (at least on paper). But both faiths have the same weighting when it comes to ensuring their rights to practice their religion – insofar as it does not impinge on the rights of other religions or those of us with no religion.

    E.G. Schools that are funded by the taxpayer cannot promote a specific religion. This is abused by Catholics who insist that they are faith-based schools and therefore have the right to indoctrinate young children.  Basically, Ireland’s school system is run by a foreign state called the Vatican. Not for much longer though.

    Not so long ago I had a mother phone me because her daughter came home in tears. The local priest had been in asking the students about Jesus. She did not know any of the answers or even what the questions meant. He shouted at her and told her she could go to Hell if she did not learn to love Jesus (I am paraphrasing that bit) but the picture painted is correct.

    I called to the priest’s house that evening and told him if he ever spoke to a 7-year-old child like that again that I would have the Satanists hold a Satanic Mass on the Church grounds on Easter Sunday. And if that did not work, he would answer to me. He agreed not to do so again.

    I met the mother afterwards, with her daughter and told them that Fr. Gunda Mota would not be speaking to her again. When their heard the name I called the priest they burst out laughing. “Where did you learn to speak Hindi”. (Father Fat and Dirty).

    I am not able, as an Irish citizen to become a high court judge or the President because I would have to swear an Oath to ask the Creator of the Universe to help me do my job. That is not equality. It is legalized religious privilege. Once as a witness I refused to swear on a Bible in a court case. The judge said had no problem with that. I said I did with the assumption. I once told a cop where to put the crucifix he wanted me to take home (from the station).  Arrest me or shut up. He decided not to. I was hoping he would because I would have made a disgrace of him in court and in the papers. In my mind he can just f**K off already.

    I did successfully stop polling booths from displaying Bibles on voting tables. (details another time).

    At the same time, I am not looking to live in an atheist state. I would be against that as much as I am against living in a Catholic one.  Freedom from religion is a human right too. I will fight for anyone right to believe in any god they want to believe in but they must respect my right not to want to hear about it. I don’t want it in Schools, The Law or the Government. Especially the Government. It’s role is to be neutral and act as an independent referee when any religion make any kind or power grab.

    Put it like this. Atheist Ireland work with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland and the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland to have their Human Rights protected. Atheist Ireland have even taken their case to the UNHRC. We all work together like this because the Catholic Church still thinks it is in charge and many people in positions of power are Catholics. (Think Bill Barr and you get the picture).

    I also campaign in the US to stop the encroachment of the religious right (Project Blitz). I have helped small community based atheist groups to setup and expand. I also have helped atheists fleeing religious persecution to find sanctuary. I have given shelter to ex-cult members until they recovered.

    But my main thing is debating with theists of all or any Faiths.

    After 2 hours the Jehovah Witnesses glanced at each other. They did not know what to do. Not only did the atheist (me) invite us into his house, he was still engaging with us and even amazing us with his knowledge of the Bible. He has the NIV and the KJV!! He can’t be a real atheist but he did swear to God that he was! It was new territory to them and they had no escape plan. Look he just lifted up the newspaper to “accidentally” reveal the Book of Mormon underneath it. Oh no, the competition must be after his soul too. Even though he said he did not have one! Emmm, would you mind if we called a halt to the discussion for today?

    Of course not. Jesus must be proud of you. But only on condition that you promise Jesus you will return next week? Eh, sure, OK, no problem. See you then.

    Oh, and could you do me a favor for the next visit? Just write down your top 5 beliefs about your God and the main reason you believe each of them without saying because the Bible tell you so. Then we will just discuss those points and see where we end up.

    There is only one test we should need to pass to be entitled to equal rights before the law and to have freedom of expression and religion. And to have them guaranteed by the Law of the land. And the test is only a single question. If you can answer Yes, then you qualify for all those rights on an equally footing to everyone else that said “Yes”.

    The question is “Are you a Human”?



    God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
    Friedrich Nietzsche

    Sapereaude What Is Enlightenment?” Kant?

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by  Karuna.


    Greetings Reg, @regthefronkeyfarmer,  Yes – I’m human!

    You said, “…my main thing is debating with theists of all or any Faiths.”  Interesting.  Hey, I’m game.  Is there a thread you want to start here on the, or do you want to do this via email one-on-one?  Either way, I’m game.  I’m confident I would learn something and who knows, maybe I could actually be “deconverted”.  I promise to do my best to be open minded (which is why I joined this web community in the first place!)

    I have many questions based on your main thing:

    1. Were you ever a believer? Of what ilk?  When did you stop believing?
    2. What is your current situation?  Are you retired?  Still working?  Teach philosophy at a University?
    3. Why is “debating with theists of all or any Faiths” your main thing?  What led up to this practice?
    4. Have you ever interacted with someone like Dr. Francis Collins – one of the scientist that helped to map the human genome, but is also a theist.  Dr. Collins fully embraces what many in the Christian community would call Theistic Evolution?  Aside from your overt disagreement with such an idea, did said person at least seem reasonable to you?  Again, putting  aside your overt non-belief, did they at least seem reasonable?

    That’s it for now.  I’ll send you a private message, too!



    fuller, just curious whether you have wondered if your upbringing is the reason for your belief in your particular religion. Do you think you would have same degree of faith or belief if you had been born to and lived among Muslims? If you answer in the affirmative then what distinguishes one irrational belief from the other?

    You do strike me as unusually honest and courageous as a theist. So there is a chance you will be deconverted. Be careful!



    Guess it’s about trying to figure out some basic stuff we all want to have answers to,?

    Like why there is natural evil in the world, even if there is a free will defence by Alvin Plantiga.

    Why do innocents suffer?

    In the old testament in the book of Job.

    theodicy has some good explanation, but so has Jung

    In “Answer to Job”


    Or even Euthyphro dilemma?



    @fullermingjr – I will re-purpose a debate question I setup on another site for a discussion here along the lines you suggest. There will be some rules to it  but the “the game” will only begin once you are happy with them. The main one is that quoting the Bible will not count as an answer. I suspect you already agree to that. It is almost 2am here so I will get it posted in 12-15 hours time.

    The point of the discussion is the discussion itself rather than to convert or de-convert anyone. It is just to help us to see each others point of view. If that happens, we both “win”.


    You said, “…my main thing is debating with theists of all or any Faiths.” 

    Some people do golf or football.  I am fascinated by the very nature of religious belief. That is my thing. I am always on fire 🙂




    Reg, if you are up to it…whatever you meant to say about Ethiopia..


    Have you ever interacted with someone like Dr. Francis Collins – one of the scientist that helped to map the human genome, but is also a theist.

    Yes I spoke with him once in Dublin 2 years ago. Ten minutes later I got to speak with Dan Dennett. Event.

    What is your current situation? Are you retired? Still working? Teach philosophy at a University.

    I have various jobs. I do some consultancy for IT systems and methods for Architectural firms. I manage a decontamination unit for a major hospital. I have a share in some businesses. If I get bored with any of it I do something else. Currently I am helping a few legal firms to reduce their paperwork so they can actually work remotely! “I think we are going to need a bigger scanner” was today’s talking point. I have managed a pub, worked as an economist and I happily live as a degenerate waster in party mode every so often and discuss philosophy or debauchery. Tomorrow I am looking a a business opportunity in Moldova. I spend a month a year in the USA. I am game for anything so long as it is fun. But I still average 11k fitbit steps a day 🙂



    @jakelafort, Yes I was raised in church.  Not sure how much you know about black church culture, but I was in a small church outside of Washington DC.  As a high school student (way back before the Internet) I had questions and so I did something novel – I went to the library and looked things up!  I wouldn’t have put it this way back then, but I figured, as an adult, if I was going to believe in a metaphysical reality, I better be sure about “which one”. To make a long story short, my questioning and checking things out took a few years, worried my mother, and led me down some interesting paths, but in the end – in my early 20’s, I landed on Christianity.  If I had grown up in say, Saudi Arabia, or Iran – I don’t know; I guess I would grown up in an Islamic community as a Muslim, and my “investigation phase” may have had me land on Islam.  Maybe in a parallel universe I would be a Muslim – I have no idea.  I will say that the during my “studies” the history of how Islam began with Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdullāh around 570 CE was very different than a bunch of no-named Jewish fisherman, turned preachers a little over 500 years earlier.

    Now, just to feed a little into your comment about faith being irrational – I would like to think that if I was meant to be what I am, then “fate” would have played out in such a way that I would be who and what I am.  NOW, of course, the question is really irrelevant in respect to me because there is no way you or I could hypothesize a different reality for me. (I’m an old Star Trek, TOS fan and I love they way Gene Roddenberry played with time travel as well as the parallel universe in the episode, Mirror Mirror from 1967) I was born here, in the USA, in one of the few hospitals that black folk could be born in back then in the Washington DC area (the legacy of segregation in the US).  I had the parents I had, and I am what I am.  I guess time and chance happens to us all!



    fullermingrjr, we both questioned. I was brought up in an atheist family. Never heard the religious nonsense…woops…PERSPECTIVE…phew. So when i was 11 or 12 i realized i’d be no better…woops…DIFFERENT.. than a religious kid if i simply adopted the position of my family. So i read theologians and apologists. Wow was i shocked how stupid (YES STUPID!) the arguments and defenses of theism…but the point is ya should always investigate the enemy camp. If your views can’t be challenged then your views are worthless and you are gutless. or sumpin like that.

    I led you to water but you did not even look in the river…alter your reality and imagine your life (same fetus) as a son of hasidic Jews or of Sunnis in Saudi. Isn’t it possible or even probable that you would become as devout or perhaps more so?

    If you conclude in the affirmative then you ought to realize that your adherence to your branch of Christianity is inherently unreliable. It is an accident of your geography. It is not like making a choice about a world view after having grown and having developed your mind so that ratiocination is at play in adopting some position or other.



    Hey Reg. Yeah that’s why I said “continental Europe”. I’ve never considered the UK or Ireland as high on the “strict separation of church and state” as say Germany or the Netherlands or even Spain. Though it does seem inevitable that they will one day.



    Davis, i dont know a lot about it but am pretty sure that Germany does not have separation of church and state. It has certain protections for theists but there is some entanglement between religion and the state. Have heard that Catholic chuch is pretty influential in some rural areas.



    Yeah as I implied Jake, if I were in a place with a more menacing religious influence I very well might be anti-theist.

    I do recall, that on no less than four occasions while visiting the U.S. various times (and two occasions while meeting U.S travelers outside the US) that I was randomly “god talked” by strangers. Something I had never experienced otherwise. Almost always it was a neighbor on public transportation. We would chat a little bit and almost always at the end of the conversation they would tell me to never forget that God was with you or worse a speech about their religion. When I was young I just smiled and nodded. Later I told them sorry but it’s not my way and I’m not interested (once to a sudden radical shift from very friendly to aggressively indignant person). I always found this extremely intrusive and very distasteful. In all my many trips in other countries (15 muslim countries, 5 Bhuddist ones and 2 hindu ones) I never had anyone do something similar (except for the fairly automatic “inshalla” in all conversation in Muslim countries which is hardly proselytizing). I remember seeing speakers talking about God on street corners in Buffalo New York and Philadelphia and Seattle. It’s pretty incredible to see deranged people screaming bible text over a microphone thinking anyone would stop and rethink their world view. And that’s not even evangelical land. So yes, I can very well sympathize with anti-theists dealing with religious folk who won’t leave them alone.

    I think one of the greater threats are the non-religious defenders of religion. For example after Charlie Hebdo, many of my non-religious but highly exotic-religions-woke friends went on about how the worst outcome of the whole thing is how dare we offend the deeply held beliefs of those poor people struggling in Islamic countries (who by the way don’t have to pick up the newspaper and read it…most of whom don’t even live in a country where it is published or sold). Not the fact that people were warned not to publish something that conflicted with their world view and then gunned down for doing so (none of this is to say that actual daily discrimination against muslims in France isn’t a problem but that’s not the same as publishing editorial cartoons which criticize a set of religious ideas). I’ve seen the same vein of conversation of mixing antisemitism (of which by no doubt antisemitism is still very real and a very serious problem in most of the world) with criticism of Israeli settlements or the never ending occupation. There is even the banter of those who think it is morally wrong to criticize things like traditional Chinese medicine (think…offensive). I find these people more of an attack on secular humanism (the right to criticize a world view, even if it hurts the sensibilities of those who hold them as “deeply held beliefs” than theists themselves.



    @jakelafort, Jake, you are funny! Please continue to use your colorful adjectives- it’s what you believe… woops… KNOW to be true. Like you, I am an “atheist” too, right? Regarding Osiris, Marduke,  Apsu, Tiamat, Enlil, Ahura Mazda, Gilgamesh’s supreme God Anu,  as well as Zeus, Apollo,  and all the rest… if I met someone who seriously worshiped any of these (especially Apsu and Tiamat since other gods killed them), I would consider them beyond foolish and incredibly deluded, right? So please continue.

    I know I reacted a few days ago to your strong and condemning language and I do apologize although I was not so much offended as surpised by your level of animus.  I know it is not personal. (I still think you attract more flies with honey than  with vinegar).

    Finally, I am assuming you are convinced that if you were raised by devout Hindus, Catholics, Muslims, etc then you would be a devout whatever and it is truly an “accident of your geography”. You do realize that your line of thinking is a logical fallacy, a genetic fallacy based on the source. Logically, such background (a) may or may not have relevance to a given individual and more importantly (b) it has no bearing on the truthfulness of any religious or philosophical system.

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