Sunday School

Sunday School August 20th 2017

This topic contains 24 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  physeter 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    Christians react to Charlottesville as they try to me their historical complicity with slavery. Non-violence is a more effective way of getting civil resistance to work.

    Catholic priests want to be allowed to discuss the details of their sexual abuse of children with each other in private.

    The more pious a Catholic is the more condescending they become.

    Christians in Texas again fail to pass laws allowing discrimination of LGBT citizens.

    An essay on how an oriental cult became one of the world’s dominant religions.

    This weeks’ Woo:  Functional Medicine, the next thing in the field of quackery.

    Climate Change: What do polar bears think when they see wildfires in the Arctic?

    Tomorrow is Solar Eclipse Day!! Could it be a message from a god??

    Whenever I encounter a racist I like to remind them we are all Africans.

    Evolution happens more quickly than you think. Humans will get quicker too but we should curb our enthusiasm when hearing about the latest scientific breakthroughs and we should learn the difference between legitimate science and junk science.

    Imagine if your shadow left the cave before you did? It left me thinking about electrons.

    Ten highlights of the 40 year Voyager 2 journey with Ann Druyan and that interstellar message in the bottle.

    Pizza helps us to smile.

    Ten things we did not know last week. Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil…..

    Coffee Break Video:  Richard Dawkins talks with Bill Maher. A discussion on secular and atheist parenting. A Ted Talk on the Solar Eclipse.


    Have a great week everyone!!

    And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence.

    – Bertrand Russell.


    Simon Paynton

    Why We Should Be Compassionate Toward Atheists:

    Whether or not Dr. Nagel intended to speak for anyone other than himself, I suspect his sentiments are shared by many atheists who not only don’t believe there is a God, but “don’t want there to be a God.”

    – Holy Crap.  I suspect that Dr Nagel is the only atheist in the history of the world who ever said this.

    I’ve seen a video by Paul Vitz of which he speaks, and it’s actually quite interesting and thought provoking.  He does some kind of round-up of prominent atheists from history, and it turns out that most of those have some kind of father issues.  He also says that male atheists tend to approach the subject intellectually, while [prominent past] female atheists see it in terms of relationships: out of a small sample, these have replaced relationship with God with relationships with people.  There’s a ridiculous video by Kristi Winters purporting to debunk Vitz’s video: she does nothing of the sort, and she’s a bat-shit crazy narcissist like Donald Trump, and a completely fake academic.

    Atheism is gaining converts every day, and we have a rather daunting job of evangelizing those who would rather God did not exist.

    – I’d say he has a rather daunting job keeping a grip on reality.

    From the comments:

    Save your compassion for those who might be moved by your compassion toward the Light.

    – awww, how sweet!  We love you too, Catholics, you’re just adorable.


    Having grown up in Catholic Ireland I would have viewed Catholicism as “normal”– not having much experience of other religions to contrast it with.  Over the years I have debated with people from various cults – Mormons, J.W.’s, Speaking in Tongues Evangelicals amongst others. I was wrong. They are all equally deluded. In fact I find many Catholics to be less informed about their faith than any other cult. They are either “Christmas Day” Catholics or total indoctrinated with horrible views towards minority groups and women’s rights. Most of them don’t even own a Bible and those that do seldom if ever read it.

    I have never heard or met with an atheist who hoped there were no gods. Atheism is not concerned with truth. It only relates to belief, or lack thereof. The rise of atheism has nothing to do with “the fall of the family” but rather the prevalence and ease of access to information. This is something the Catholic Church controlled for centuries. I would even argue (and often do) that this control led to the Dark Ages and Rome has fought against every scientific discovery made during that time only to end up using those same advances to support their faith. To see themselves tasked with evangelizing to atheists because we have “father issues” is hilarious and further shows how immature Christians can become when devoting their minds to maintaining a delusion.


    Simon Paynton

    All wack-groups control the supply of information, it’s in their own interests to keep people dumb.  On the other hand, I don’t think Dr Bob falls into this category – he’s got his shit together.

    catholic (adjective):  including a wide variety of things; all-embracing.

    If you ask me, atheists take a more “catholic” approach to information and ideas.

    because we have “father issues”

    – before you dismiss Paul Vitz, check out his talk, it’s very interesting.  We have to remember he’s talking about a bygone era when the relationship between atheism and the wider culture was totally different from what it is now.

    Kristi Winters has deleted my critical comments, bless her.  I don’t need to reproduce them here.  Paul Vitz:


    Dang Martin

    In thinking about why I’m an Atheist, I recognize that it has nothing to do with absent, abusive, or weak parents. Based on conversations with them, I’d conclude that they were lazy, although it could be more complicated.

    My parents never mentioned religion, and never talked about it when we kids were growing up. I’m almost 53 and learned a mere 10 years ago that my mother identifies as Catholic. Her Catholicism was so important to her that she failed to mention it for 43 years, until I asked about it.

    I based their lack of religious activity, to a high degree, on laziness, because they were too busy working to round us up and take us to anything. We went to the public pool for a handful of years. That was it. But I also attribute it to just how unimportant religion was to them.

    This upbringing means that I missed out on an activity that is VERY important when it comes to religious belief: Indoctrination. Because I missed out on indoctrination, I did not have the irrational fear that comes with this brand of brainwashing.

    When I was in first grade, a discussion ensued in the classroom after I questioned why everyone was praying before lunch. I did not understand it, had never seen it before, did not know what it was, and it just seemed creepy and odd to me. This lead the other kids to rightfully conclude that I did not believe in their god, had never read a bible, and had never gone to church.

    They also concluded that I was not worthy of being included in social circles. Childhood destroyed.

    I did read the bible as an early teen, just to see what all the fuss was about. It made no sense, contradicted itself, and so on. I was told that I needed to “read it through the eyes of faith” if it was going to mean anything. For it didn’t have to make sense to my head, but it did have to fill my heart. I failed to see how ANY of it was going to give me the tingles.

    Growing up, I was told that I’d “best keep my mouth shut, if I know what’s good for me.” They didn’t like my questions, and only after reading the bible did I understand that questioning is forbidden. This lead me to realize just how weak and fragile religious belief can be. One little question can bring the whole thing down.

    I adopted the label of “Atheist” when I was older, mainly to compensate for those decades where I was told to keep quiet, while Christians enjoyed being open about their beliefs.

    Sometimes the label would bring about confusion. Christians would declare, “Ah, an Atheist. So this means you believe there is no god, right?”

    Wrong. It is not a claim of belief in anything. Consider the fact that I’ve never believed, and then you come along and tell me of this philosophy in which you have belief. After hearing about it, and giving it consideration, I see no reason why I should believe that. In other words, I’m just not buying what you have for sale, for the low, low price of ten percent.

    Some would get so confused by the label of Atheist, pulling out a variety of different dictionary definitions, that I would often times offer to drop it completely.

    “I’m comfortable with dropping the label of Atheist, and don’t mind being referred to as ‘that guy who isn’t buying it.’ Are you comfortable with dropping the label of Christian?”

    I’ve rambled on with a big chunk of my life story here, mainly to cover why I don’t think that a weak or failed father is to blame for my non-belief.

    Most people have never met a person who has never, ever believed, so sometimes I do feel like a bit of a freak show. But I’ve taken the claims of the religious to heart, have read their religious texts, and have given their philosophy careful review and consideration. It is not clear how any of it provides a framework for morality, but it is also unclear why any thinking adult would believe in such nonsense, or why they’d offer such praise for this folly.


    I found it very difficult to get a straight answer from Dr. Bob.  Obfuscation is the word that comes to mind. He certainly has a practical outlook to dealing with issues that are common to us all and is an intelligent man. However I can only ever get so far into a conversation with a theist, no matter how intelligent or world-wise they are, without arriving at a place where “God” is introduced into the conversation. Any attempts by me to ascertain what they mean by “god” seldom get a coherent answer and anything that may explain what they mean is soon rendered logically inconsistent.

    I have to remind myself that this person actually believes that they are able to communicate telepathically with a god they believe to be the Creator of the Universe and that they are immortal.

    I will check out the video later, thanks for posting it Simon.


    tom sarbeck

    @simon; “Dr Bob falls into this category – he’s got his shit together.”

    I disagree, Simon. Dr.  Bob is intelligent and has built defenses too strong for most of us to penetrate. His defenses serve him well; they cause him to ignore serious challenges.



    tom sarbeck

    @Reg; “I found it very difficult to get a straight answer from Dr. Bob. Obfuscation is the word that comes to mind.”

    Reg, Dr. Bob obfuscates well. A nickel says that like many Catholics he has post-traumatic stress (PTS).

    I know PTS well. It is not a disorder. It’s analogous to the immune defense. The immune defense protects the body from infections and PTS protects the mind from trauma. They are signs of good health.

    Many explanations of PTS describe four stages. The second stage is emotional avoidance of further trauma.  Dr. Bob is intelligent and his obfuscations (aka defenses or defense mechanisms) have protected him from the attempts by people at TA to penetrate them.




    Most people have never met a person who has never, ever believed, so sometimes I do feel like a bit of a freak show. […] It is not clear how any of it provides a framework for morality, but it is also unclear why any thinking adult would believe in such nonsense, or why they’d offer such praise for this folly.

    My ideas about this haven’t gotten me very far yet wrt evangelizing simple and credible convincing argument for atheism, but I feel strongly that 1) science (in spite of how it’s often portrayed) is not out to prove or disprove what people of faith believe in, but is out to prove or disprove how empirical observations match scientific hypotheses, theories, and so on; 2) religion is forced sometimes to invalidate specific, widely accepted science only when it conflicts with specific religious belief.

    I.e. the only permit-able selections from the Scientific Theory Cafeteria are those that can compliment people’s Religious Cafeteria selection.

    OK, that rant might not be very helpful (?), but/so more to your point, human nature evolved from animal nature, and human intellect being largely just made up by humans, and has taken thousands of years to culturally evolve, from animal scratch. Ridiculous beliefs culturally evolved and were re-enforced long before empirical methods were invented… in fact even long before written language became yet an additional major tool of cultural standardization and psychic rigidity.

    Most people have no clue how powerfully cultural peer pressure molds their animal and tribal psyche into a locally standardized/tribalish human psyche. To wit, notice our current Trump Reality. Local culturalisation made us more powerful and dangerous than other animals, and now it makes us more powerful and dangerous to even ourselves on a global scale. The most viral religion(s) might some day kill us all, in the name of some form of psychopathic, omnipotent Santa Clause.

    Reg the Fronkey Farmer wrote:

    He certainly has a practical outlook to dealing with issues that are common to us all and is an intelligent man.

    He helped me learn how to keep thinking clearly and dispassionately, even in the face of challenging obscurationism. (That is a real word, right? Anyway, you know what I mean!) He  is in the front lines wrt influencing uni students.


    Simon Paynton

    I’d put Dr Bob at least on a level with the average atheist.  Unlike the majority of ideologues, he’s willing to admit that his own side might be wrong, and the other side might have a point.  He does obfuscate a bit, but at least he talks plain English and his “lights are on and somebody’s in”.  Also, he asks relevant questions.  All in all, he’s in the same reality as the rest of us.  Nearly everybody is attached to their own position and very few people are completely open minded.

    If he can’t answer questions about what God is like, or whatever, that’s not really a failing as nobody knows this answer.


    If he can’t answer questions about what God is like, or whatever, that’s not really a failing as nobody knows this answer.

    Simon he often described God to us. “God is a concept”, “God is like Energy”, and my favorite, “God is an idea”. I asked him more than once to explain this and again we got a master class in “smoke and mirrors” or just plain evasion.

    He had a problem answering relevant questions.


    All in all, he’s in the same reality as the rest of us…

    No, he is not. Not just Dr. Bob but all Catholics have a different reality to atheists. Atheists do not claim to be in contact with the Creator of the Universe. My reality has no gods, angels, demons, miracles, saints watching over us, the dead rising from their graves, sin, daily rituals of prayer, eating god in haunted wafers or the promise of immortality for believing a personal god died for me because of the sins of my ancestors.


    Simon Paynton

    My point is that he’s at the upper end of “this is as good as it gets”.  He’s no worse, and probably better, than the majority of atheists.  Even Richard Dawkins, that famous rationalist, can be a total klutz.  We have to expect a normal person with a strong attachment to a point of view, to dance around when asked a straight question.  The problem with that post is that people weren’t asking him the right questions.  His descriptions of God translate to “iunno”.  That’s a valid position, and, yes, he should state that.  But he’s still a reasonable person that reasonable people can deal with.

    All in all, he’s in the same reality as the rest of us…

    – he’s got his eyes open about everyday life, and respects the rules of rationality.  I’m contrasting him to those hilarious Mens Rights Activists, whose heads are stuck firmly up their own arses, who don’t see reality as a “thing”, and who laugh cynically at the idea of valid rationality.



    @Reg even the Bible makes no attempt to define God…only to discuss God’s nature.

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