Rev. Samuel Krouse, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Colusa, California, has written a revealing article (link expired) on the “new atheism.” In it, he acknowledges several pivotal points long denied by most religious leaders and apologists:
- Atheism is far more predominant among the intellectual elite than the general population.
- New atheism represents a serious and ongoing challenge to Christianity that cannot be ignored.
- Atheists can have hope. In his words, they are “ambitious in hope.”
- Atheists are well aware of what they have rejected.
- There is no substantive philosophical position between biblical literalism and atheism.
Let’s discuss. These are simply stunning concessions from a Baptist pastor. Of course he sees the “new atheism” as a call-to-arms, but it’s not at all clear that he thinks it’s a battle that can be won. I can’t possibly read his mind. But reading between the lines of his editorial, it seems questionable to me that he intellectually believes in God. As Daniel Dennett has pointed out, professions of God-belief are not the same as belief itself. As a philosophy major (with a Ph.D.), Krouse knows he has a problem. As a pastor, he has to stick to his profession. I find his situation extremely intriguing, and I’d enjoy talking with him about it.
Point 1: Krouse reports atheists as a tiny minority of the population. While he correctly asserts that more intellectuals are atheists, he stops short of admitting the corollary that rational arguments lead to atheism. He also ignores the modern continuum of disbelief which includes the “spiritual but not religious” (updated link) category. Roughly, it goes like this: Theism > Deism > Agnosticism > Atheism. Adding up all the deists, agnostics, ignostics (people who don’t think the question is relevant to their lives), and atheists, it’s likely that the group of questioners or non-believers approaches 30 to 40 percent. This is the target audience for the authors of the “new atheism,” and this is why their books remain best-sellers. Books catering to the single-digit percentages (in America, at least) of hardcore atheists would not make such an impact.
Point 2: Many editorials written by pastors and religious philosophers are dismissive of atheism. They do not engage the arguments, and they fall back on typical tap-dancing apologetics. Krouse’ philosophy background makes him realize atheism is not so easily defeated. What’s interesting is that in spite of his larger philosophical concessions, he still tries to stick to the party line:
…the task is to articulate, communicate, and defend the Christian faith with intellectual integrity and evangelistic urgency. We should not assume that this task will be easy, and we must also refuse to withdraw from public debate and private conversation in light of this challenge.
It’s not really fair to fault the man for not laying out his strategy in a short editorial. But I’ve yet to hear any “defense” of the Christian faith which did not involve self-referential and circular scriptural citations, arguments from social consequence, or personal interior-subjective narrative. If he’s got a new angle, let’s hear it!
Point 3: Intellectually dishonest apologist writers (a few names come to mind, like Vox Day or Dinesh D’Souza) often try to maintain that atheists do not have hope. It’s a small scrap I know, but Krouse actually uses the words “hope” and “atheist” in the same sentence. The exact quote is “The New Atheists are, in their own way, evangelistic in intent and ambitious in hope.” He’s talking about atheists “hope” for progress of their non-theistic world view of course. But that’s still something to be hopeful about, and I thank the good reverend for mentioning it.
Point 4: The flimsiest of all the rhetorical devices used by religious writers is the accusation that atheists lack scholarship on religion. That they supposedly “don’t even understand what they have rejected.” This dismissive attitude is repeated ad nauseam in the popular media. While it’s true that few atheists have doctor-of-divinity degrees, it’s completely false that they therefore can’t understand theology. Two facts come to mind: 1) Rank-and-file atheists are far more facile with scripture than rank-and-file Christians, many of whom don’t even read their bibles. 2) Atheist scientists study religion from the perspective of social or brain-based phenomena. Dawkins, Pinker, Dennett and Harris fall into this category, and there are countless others. To understand them well enough to study them, such scientists must get deeply into the belief systems they are investigating. Still, the religious pull out their faithful old saw. They are used to religion being immune to outside criticism or evaluation. You can’t comment on the activities of their club unless you’re in it, and you can’t get in unless you have a favorable opinion.
In the final analysis, the New Atheism presents the Christian church with a great moment of clarification. The New Atheists do, in the end, understand what they are rejecting. When Sam Harris defines true religion as that “where participants’ avowed belief in a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is to be sought,” he understands what many mired in confusion do not. In the end, the existence of the supernatural, self-existent, and self-revealing God is the only starting point for Christian theology. God possesses all of the perfections revealed in Scripture, or there is no coherent theology presented in the Bible. The New Atheists are certainly right about one very important thing—it’s atheism or biblical theism. There is nothing in between.
Point 5: It’s really rich to see a Baptist pastor admitting what Sam Harris said in The End of Faith. There is no tenable philosophical position between literalism and atheism. Of course from a social standpoint, we can all hope that religions will moderate their literalism and extremism. Certainly the world would be a better place. But Harris’ point, which hasn’t been successfully challenged, is that moderates of all stripes make the world safe for extremists. They lend an air of legitimacy to belief as a state of mind. As Bill Maher is so fond of repeating on his show, “Once you believe in the talking snake, all bets are off,” or words to that effect. What Krouse is acknowledging is similar: that once you subject the premises of scripture (which are all based on presuppositions of divine inspiration) to scrutiny, you will eventually wind up being forced to make a leap of blind faith. Failing to make that leap leaves a religious person unable to prove or support their belief system. If all scriptures of all religions are equally unprovable (which they are), the unavoidable implication is that it’s a simple choice: either scripture or atheism. I think Krouse is perfectly accurate on this point. All the waffling ends up being simply an exercise in hedging and cognitive dissonance.
Excellent article! It’s very refreshing to see some rational thought from the other side.
Interesting article by Krouse, and nicely put together review of it.
It’s good to see a religious person not simply dismissing atheism
Do THEY really have a choice?!!
We are a natural outcome of their lies and deceptions thru history, we will become a greater Force in the cominng years to recon with!
It’s nature’s way of keeping truth and love real!!!
Mother Nature isn’t stupid, as Paris would say ‘SHE’S HOT” !
My hope is that as time goes on, more and more gentlemen like the Rev. Krouse will come over to our side. They have the intelligence – all they need is the courage to admit they’re wrong and the strength to fight the good fight.
“That they supposedly “donâ€™t even understand what they have rejected.” This dismissive attitude is repeated ad nauseam in the popular media. While itâ€™s true that few atheists have doctor-of-divinity degrees, itâ€™s completely false that they therefore canâ€™t understand theology.”
Some atheists were also raised in a religious setting, and thus have enduring vestigial memories of theology. Let’s face it, it’s not like something technical where you have to keep reading the new literature to keep up your knowledge.
I object to the pastor’s statement:
First of all, I doubt that all the new atheists can be lumped together as taking a simple either-or view. This is the pastor’s view, and a view that he would like all the atheists to have. He’s drawing a clear line in the sand that will stir up fundamentalist Christians–"you’re either with us or against us–but, more importantly, and ironically, he is trying to use the credibility of the new atheists to validate his theology.
Secondly, and to the point of his assertion, there, in fact, is quite a lot between atheism and biblical theism. As you pointed out, there are at least two categories that the Pastor overlooked:
Theism > Deism > Agnosticism > Atheism
His Biblical theism is included under "Theism," and so are other Christian views that include liberal theologies, Emergent theologies, and Neoorthodox theologies to name a few.
Not only is the Pastor wrong, but we had better hope that he is wrong, because we will not be successful in our fight with the fundies if we do not have the help of all those other Christians, and Jews, and Muslims, and Humanists, etc., that are moderate and not literalist, and that are willing to listen to reason.
Good points. I think we have to distinguish between philosophical positions and beliefs. For example, while deists don’t have any more evidence for their beliefs than theists, their belief allows for a coexistence with a creator God who is essentially invisible. There is no difference between a deist God and a non-existent one from the perspective of humanity. Theists, however see evidence of their god everywhere, even in human events.
Theists claim the divine authenticity of scripture, which can be shown to have human origins. Deists don’t really trust scripture anyway, and their position already eliminates the ability to look for evidence of a deity. So theirs is a position that cannot be proved or disproved. Which makes it really close to agnosticism and atheism.
In all three of these non-theistic positions, there are no concrete or closed answers, (which is what makes strong or positive atheism a hard-sell). We can only conclude that there is insufficient evidence for a creator or any theological entity.
Therefore, it is either a supernatural/natural dualist universe or a natural monist one–and nothing in between. The lack of evidence for the supernatural leaves us with a monist universe that is causal in nature, and whose beginnings and end will always be unclear. I think deists, agnostics and atheists all have the ability to make peace with the unknown, and this is the real philosophical divide we must bridge with the theists.
** “I have no need of that hypothesis” – LaPlace **
No god hypothesis is necessary. Was it only 200 years ago that LaPlace supposedly said this to Napoleon?
“Materialism”, “certainty”, “uniformity”, “induction”, “determinism”, “scientific law”, “universal causality” are as dead as god â€” the belief in them is no longer believable.
1.There is no such process as “induction” from “the facts” of nature.
2. There are no necessary empirical truths. (No science is certain.)
3. Every empirical statement is falsifiable in principle.
4. To be part of science, an empirical statement must be testable, hence refutable.
5. “Materialism” is no part of science
6. Mathematics makes models. Models, however refined, are not reality.
What follows from these now well-known propositions:
1. No part of science presupposes any “uniformity of nature.” (No faith needed!)
2. There are no “laws” in science â€” no need for a “law giverâ€ or any â€œsource.â€
3. If a religion makes an empirical claim; then, it could be false.
4. In order to be considered scientific, empirical claims made by religion must specify conditions to test it — that is, show how it could be falsified
5. â€œGodâ€ doesnâ€™t do mathematics. Mathematics doesnâ€™t â€œdescribeâ€ or â€œexplainâ€ the world.
In practice, what does science have to say about arrogant fundies?
With respect to science vs. western bible-based monotheism, the relationship is strongly asymmetrical in favor of science. Science is the arbiter of which statements about the world, empirical statements, are or are not â€œknownâ€ — that is, are given the always provisional metalinguistic accolade, â€˜is true.â€™
Such statements are â€˜methodologically fitâ€™ according to the relevant testing procedures within science itself. This is the meaning of â€˜the scientific revolutionâ€™ — in whom is power vested?, who shall decide what is true?, and by what criteria?
Neither â€˜ethical fitnessâ€™ as in Heraclitus and his Stoic followers, nor â€˜theological fitnessâ€™ as in Plato and his xian followers, is any longer considered a viable principle for assessing the truth of an empirical statement.
Methodologically, whenever so-called “sacred” writings make claims about the natural world, they are subject to exactly the same forces of potential refutation as any other empirical claim. There is no “executive privilege” for god.
Excellent article by the good Reverend, and spot-on anlysis on the part of Black Sun! A joy to read.
Blacksun, all you said made sense, but the Pastor, as I understand him, is not opposing a simple “supernatural/natural dualist universe” to atheism; he is proposing a “biblical theism” of the kind that professes a “Christian theology,” wherein “God possesses all of the perfections revealed in Scripture,” and has a “coherent theology presented in the Bible.”
Where is Islam here? Where is Judaism? And, in particular, where are all the other Christian theologies that recognize a God concept and use the Bible for their theology, but are not fundamentalist? These Christians, along with Muslims and Jews, have also been criticized by the new atheists.
In my view, it is a tactical mistake on the part of atheists, and probably an insult to these non-fundy Christians, Muslims, and Jews, to exclude them from the algebra of this struggle.
I realize that I forgot to mention all the other non-monotheistic faiths. They are also excluded from the us-versus-them formula of the Pastor. I would think that they might have certain misgivings about fundy Christians and their vision of remaking America in their image.
Logic beats faith every time. My father was a preacher, yet you can’t hide the truth from a hungry mind. My search for knowledge lead to answers, and I was able to eventually see through the blind faith that was washed into my brain and see the weakness of the “God” arguments. There is always hope, no matter how deep the faith runs, that one will see the light.
That having been said, I don’t really care of they ever do see the light. I don’t need the “other side” to tell me I have a strong argument. I am the other side because I already know that.
Thanks for the good post.
So, apparently the article is partially plagerized from an article by Albert Mohler.
Folks on Friendly Atheist have noticed this.
flag on the play: loaded language, ten yards.
he “admitted” that there is no tenable position between biblical literalism and athiesm? wouldn’t the correct verb be “asserted”? or is there a proof of this statement somewhere, that i have overlooked?
sloppiness is a slippery slope. it leads to dishonesty, and dishonesty leads to religion.
the pastor plagiarized this article from albert mohler. search the web for “evangelistic in intent and ambitious in hope” and you will see the truth. bad pastor! bad!
Yeah, he probably didn’t even bother reading the original.
Interesting. I consider the Book of Mormon to be an exception to tha above faith based rules.
I do not expect you to believe in the Book of Mormon because it says it is true.
I do not expect you to believe in the Book of Mormon because there would be social consequences if it was not.
I do not expect you to believe in the Book of Mormon because I have received some kind of witness from God that it is true.
But… if you actually read the Book of Mormon and study it from a linguistic, sociological, literary, and archeological point of view, it could not possibly even exist except by some miracle. Neither Joseph Smith nor anyone in the 1800’s much less the present could have written it. It has simply too many Hebrew-isms, ancient American sociological nuances, literary Epic hallmarks, and other traits.
This is not some starry-eyed “oh it is true because the sprite told me so.” I am talking here about actual analysis of the text. The way non-Mormon scientists have put this is… “It is amazing how Joseph Smith intuited so much about Hebrew and Egyptian culture.”
Atheists are always saying ‘Show me a blatant miracle and I will believe. The Book of Mormon is that in-your-face miracle.
(ok, I agree that the aforementioned sciences are not overly precise, but they are what we have.)
(The above can not be said of the Bible. It is clearly the result of centuries of literary and cultural evolution to what it is.)
UR FUCKING GOD LET HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON BE CRUCIFIED – THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN SLAUGHTERED WHEN HE WAS BORN BECAUSE THE SO CALLED THREE WISE MEN OPENED THEIR BIG MOUTH TO KING HAROD !
THE FUCKING BOTTOM LINE HERE IS:
DOES ANY ONE WANT TO PRAY TO SOMETHING THAT ALLOWS SUCH THINGS, THINKING & TEACHING JUSTIFIABLY OF IT ALL?!!!!
UR AS SICK AS A THE PEOPLE WHO STILL IN THIS DAY & AGE KILL ANIMALS TO A GOD OR GODS !
JOSEPH SMITH WAS A FREEMASON,THE SYMBOLS ON LDS TEMPLES R FREEMASON !!!!!!!!!
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER & I KNOW ALL TO PERFECTLY WELL HOW U MORMONS WK & DENY THIS ORGANISATIONS ROOTS TO FREEMASONARY – JOSEPH SMITH HAD A FUNCTIONING LODGE WHEN HE STARTED LDS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
LIERS WALKING W/ HORSE BLINDERS !
DEFINITION TO LIE:
TO PASS ON FALSE INFORMATION OR CREATE A FALSE IMPRESSION
I know Sammy Krouse personally and the fact is, he flagrantly plagiarized his ideas about atheism from a book called Atheism Remix by Albert Mohler.
This is not the first time he has done this.
Two or three weeks ago he “wrote” a column called “A New Earth According to Oprah and Eckhart Tolle” which he stole from from an article called “Nothing New” by James A. Beverly on an evangelical Web site called christianitytoday.com.
Krouse is a hack and people should not read the words he steals from other people. He MIGHT be a man of God, I can’t say, but he IS a fake and a hack and should not try to lead other men.
These thefts are almost word-for-word and I wonder how he thought he could get away with it.
Pride is still a deadly sin, yeah?
I”m sure if you go back and check his other articles, the majority will be faked, copied, or massaged. And even if he only did it twice, he should still be fired from the colusa sunherald because he can’t write at all.
Check for yourself.
Shame on all theives.
So I had a thought, and I’m trying to figure out if there’s something to it.
I want to refer to religion, for fr*ming purposes, as the “xxx billion dollar religion industry.”
I think it points out quite a bit. I’m working on it as a frame. I think it’s potentially very powerful, especially if we always refer to religion as “the 130 billion dollar religion industry in this country.”
So I want to find out how large a sector of the american economy this actually is. This is where it gets interesting.
I can’t seem to find out.
For example, look here:
I might be blind, but it’s not even a listed sector of the American economy. Right?
This is a sector of the economy potentially as big as real estate or transportation. And it’s tax-free.
But it’s not listed. Why?
So I’d like to enlist your help. Can you help me find the number I’m looking for? How large IS the American religion industry? I caught a boston globe article that said that in 2001 the Catholic Church’s revenue in the US alone was $102 billion. That is staggering.
What say, does this sound like a constructive frame to you? I think it’s potentially very powerful, and frankly I’m surprised that it’s an angle I haven’t seen. I’m not talking about just bringing up the excesses of any one evangelist or one pope or one leader of a megachurch. I want to lump everything together into one big pile of tax-free money, and say “this is it. This is the size of the religion industry. This is what it costs our society to save souls.” People balk at what Scientology charges for their religion. I think it’s time we shone a bright light on what everyone’s paying for their indulgences.
Anyway, I’m asking your help. I’m going to post this to a few influential atheist bloggers with the hope that this can gain interest and bubble up. If you think it’s interesting, please do a blog post about it.
Thanks everyone for all the great comments. Why is it that traffic spikes happen and comments all pour in at the busiest times? Oh, well, I get to them when I can. Anyway, I went over and checked out Albert Mohler’s blog. Krouse didn’t just steal his ideas, he copied his blog post practically word-for-word. I have to agree with the others here who call him a hack. Who does that without giving attribution? You rarely even see that on blogs, let alone newspapers. What does that say about Krouse’s Christian ethics?
My bad for not catching it.
@RK, let’s assume that the Book of Mormon does in fact include such “unknowable” information (a point I’m definitely not conceding) how does that in any way prove a miracle? I’m sure this is a big part of Mormon apologetics. If you want to claim a miracle, you have to do a little better than that. The burden of proof is upon you. If you don’t provide something more concrete, then you are simply falling prey to the “god of the gaps” fallacy. Something like this: “there’s this information in the Book of Mormon and we don’t understand how it got there; therefore God did it.” It proves nothing. I’m sure you also realize that a big part of the Mormon history of the world has been undone by DNA analysis. There is just no basis at all to the idea that America had anything to do with the “twelve tribes.” I’m also sure that the LDS will simply update their apologetics to try and get around the new evidence. Why not just drop the whole charade?
@Siamang, I think this is a fantastic idea. I’ll look into it, but I suggest we all start adopting this meme right away. The “multi-billion dollar religion industry.” It might even be “the half-trillion dollar a year religion industry.” Sounds a lot different when you put it that way. Kind of similar in size to the “defense” industry. Yikes.
@AA Looks like your cap lock key is stuck. Maybe a new keyboard? They’re only about $10.
Anyway, from a narrow viewpoint and with assumptions about what God is thinking, you opinion is correct. But that is just not the plan. The best analogy I can think of is that we go to movies that have suffering in them. What’s wrong, is the producer a sadist? Maybe lost control of the camera? No, that is simply what the movie is about. This life contains suffering because that is what the experience is about.
I did not say the Book of Mormon contains unknowable information. (Is that an oxymoron?)
What I said was that the Book of Mormon contains currently known and verifiable archeological, social, and linguistic information that no one in the 1800’s knew.
One could say that J.S. got lucky and guessed correctly on some one single item, but the range and breadth of things he got right are waaaaaay to broad to be a scientific coincidence. What I am talking about here is directly verifiable and scientific style verification. For example any historical document can be analyzed to verify it’s origin, and to some degree of certanty you can say, yes this is an authentic historical document.
That is all I’m saying about the Book of Mormon, it is obviously is not an artifact of the 1800s. And if not, then what is it? From God? UFOs? Maybe Elvis wrote it?
I am most definitely not arguing a God of the gaps argument.
As far as the DNA issue is concerned, you are correct. There is no DNA evidence of a relationship between the 12 tribes of Israel and the Native Americans. There is a single genetic marker in some Native Americans that is ‘Jewish’ but a single marker is not statistically significant. And you are correct, Mormon apologists have update their arguments. That is to be expected in any conflict of ideas as new data is acquired.
It would have been a luck stroke indeed if several markers had survived from such a small population within a large population over so much time.
I am curious as to why this Baptist pastor speaks for all of Christianity. For a man who you all believe to stand for something so wrong, you sure give him an awful lot of credibility when he makes a comment.
A bunch of elitist pseudo-intellectuals here is all I’m seeing. I really enjoy how you’re all trying so hard to justify why you’re living the way you live. It’s almost as if all of you are completely aware that what you’re doing just causes massive conflict, seeing as you work SO hard to defend it.
Live your Agnostic lives, stop harassing everyone else who believes differently.
“Live your Agnostic lives, stop harassing everyone else who believes differently.”
So writing stuff on a blog you didn’t have to visit today is “harassing” you.
Thanks Black Sun…
“Just how big is the Religion industry, anyway?” is my new meme.
It’s a significant sector of the economy… so why isn’t it being tracked?
By the way, your comment violates the comment guidelines about three different ways–most objectionably the ad hominem. I allowed it today because I felt like a good rant on the subject. But for future reference:
To your point, no one is claiming Krouse spoke for all of Christianity. In fact, as it turns out, he was speaking for Albert Mohler.
As stated in the comment policy, the site is about discussing ideas. We do it because we enjoy it. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, remember? No one has to justify “how they live.” We have laws and a Constitution. As long as we obey them, we get to do and say whatever the hell we want.
Pastors by definition are spokesmen for Christianity. When they say things, especially in the newspaper, they can expect to be judged by the public. It’s called the marketplace of ideas. And they can also expect to be judged by their actions. Let’s just say all the sex scandals involving religious leaders haven’t helped.
As for you, you don’t have to be here. And in the public square, get used to the decline of Christian privilege. You’re going to see a lot more of that coming up. No one is harassing or attacking anyone. It’s more about a deliberate and targeted mockery of those who credulously lap up unsupportable nonsense. Such mockery is a vital and useful form of pressure to get people to drop patently absurd ideas out of sheer embarrassment. Belief in any form of the supernatural should be as much of an embarrassment to you as claiming the earth is flat. If it’s not–you should clearly be asking yourself how you got cheated out of a decent education.
We’re here to reinforce and strengthen the social prominence of scientific and critical thought. We also kind of like our secular freedoms and sort of object to religious people who brainwash their children into believing bronze-age creation myths.
Other than that, it’s all good ;-)
Unless proven otherwise, the book was written by a human being or human beings in the 1800s. There are about three choices as to what to call your argument. Look them up.
1) Argument from ignorance
2) God of the Gaps
3) Argument from personal incredulity
I’d be interested to see what secular scholars would make of these claims. I doubt you can really support the idea that a person in the 1800s couldn’t have known things that are in the book. That just doesn’t add up. It’s an easy claim to make (it’s a negative claim, therefore VERY hard to prove), backing it up in a manner which would survive hostile peer review is something else.
Again, if the book carbon-dates to the 1800s, and was written in ink traceable to the time period, we have to assume it was indeed written then.
Doing a little searching, it seems that there are other problems with the BoM: according to the secular web:
I know what all three of the styles of argument mean, and I’m not advocating any of them.
1) Argument from ignorance – Nope Neither I nor you are ignorant.
2) God of the Gaps – Nope, that is not the point at all.
3) Argument from personal incredulity – No I’m arguing from textual facts and analysis.
This is not just ‘oh the Book of Mormon is so nifty to read it must be from God’. I am saying that the statistical likelyhood of anyone in the 1800’s getting so much correct about a completely foreign culture is scientificly impossible (er, no, improbable).
The Book of Mormon was obviously written on paper with ink in the 1800s, that is not the argument. What I’m say is that it is a translation of a much older text.
The block quote you are inlcuding (Many of the historical claims … ) Says two things,
first that the Book of Mormon has supernatural claims, such as the resurection of Jesus.
that is true, but those claims do not prove the validity of the Book of Mormon.
the other claim about archeology and such ends with…
Oh realy? Has the person that wrote that even read the Book of Mormon? Have they studied anything about mesoamerican culture?
One of the notable tie-ins to local culture in the Book of Mormon about Ammon and a fight to protect a flock of sheep is so exactly mesoamerican in cultural neuances as to seem wierd to modern readers. In fact it is often quoted by anti-mormons as an example of a ridiculous story and J.S. must have been smoking something to make it up.
There are several other very specific cultural subtelties in the Book of Mormon that are so Un-American-Western-Culture as to seem strange. On deeper reasearch into mesoamerican (or Hebrew, or Egyptian) culture you find them to be spot-on. (Which is the whole point I was trying to make in the first place.)
Another note: I noticed that your reasearch into the Book of Mormon is…
This is exactly what I see all the time. Most people never even read the actual book and think about what it says.
I suggest you get the actul book and read it. Even though I am a dyed-in-the-wool Mormon I have read the Bagavadghita (sic?), the Koran, The Origin of the Species, and even stooped so low as to read some books on Scientology. How can someone understand something they have not read?
Even if it does not convince you of what I have been saying, at least you would gain a great respect for the ability of J.S. to crank out an amazingly complex and epic novel in such a short time, with no previous experience as an author. And just maybe you would see that God is not so invisible as some TV preachers, or Carl Sagan would suggest.
Argument from Ignorance
Does not refer to yours or my level of intelligence. It’s a fallacy that says that if we don’t know something to be false, it must be true. In this case it applies because you are claiming that Joseph Smith could not have known certain things, therefore the book has divine or extraterrestrial origins. Loosely, this is argument from ignorance. Rather than provide proof-positive of divine origin (since none is available), you say it couldn’t have been of human origin, therefore…QED
In your latest comment you threw in a non sequitur:
How does J.S.’ ability to crank out a good novel have any bearing on the visibility or invisibility of a deity??
All scripture is fiction unless proven to have historical accuracy by corroborating sources. Trust me, if the Book of Mormon held up to historical scrutiny, it wouldn’t just be Mormons saying so. It’s pretty clearly got some serious problems, and if it was accurate, secular professors of history/anthropology/archaeology would be using it. After all, why waste a good resource? The only explanation as to why it’s not taught at mainstream universities as factual is because it hasn’t held up to academic peer review.
I don’t have to personally read every such scripture to dismiss its authenticity. That’s another fallacy. It is up to adherents and academia to resolve those disputes. It’s pretty easy to check the consensus. Books have an academic reputation, especially scriptures.
Neener! Neener! Right back atchya! Self-righteous prick.
Last time I checked, BlackSun Journal had a flavor that appealed to me. Pretty sure I post here and ‘NOT’ in another backyard sandbox made up of invisible castles. So I guess I can say ‘Done’ to the above quote.
However, if you want to come here and profess your delusional nonsense… fully expect to be confronted and challenged. If your tone is anything less than friendly, I’ll take of my kid-gloves and serve you exactly what you have coming. Sean will decide if it stays or goes. So far, I’ve navigated the lines without getting blurred, or baleeted.
“nor anyone in the 1800’s
Not Robert & Elizabeth Browning. Not Charles Dickens. Not Virginia Wolf. Not William Blake. Not Mary Shelley. Not Henry David Thoreau. Not Oscar Wilde… (saved the best for last.)
I think there are plenty of folk in the 1800’s completely competent and able to write material that included these ‘nuances.’ I could compile a list 10 times that long.
“much less the present could have written it.”
I swear, it’s like someone got internet access yesterday!
Have you ever heard of google?!
It was possible in the 1800’s, and though that would have been a smaller fraction of the populace of that day, the internet opens that possibility many times over to todays authors.
Research is easy with google; research wasn’t impossible in the 1800’s.
It is entirely within the realm of the possible that Joseph Smith made the whole thing up with materials of the day, at his disposal… of which his imagination would be a byproduct.
I don’t see anything miraculous here; just an L. Ron Hubbard of the 1800’s.
Some folk are so desperate for the imaginary magical solution (fix) they’ll throw critical analysis out the window in order to accept the illusory.
Care to give me one single citation from these alleged non-Mormon scientists? Like a name(‘s) with links.
What did I say “I know all to perfectly well how u Mormon’s wk & deny this organisation’s roots to Freemasonary”
So far R.K. hasn’t argued the fact.
The Bible’s story line along w/ all religous bks justifying murders, killings, deaths of all sorts, especially when it comes to giving lame explainations on the mass murders of babies or children gets me hissy / pissy on the disturbing distorted, warped teaching it develops in a humans psyche.. (for the record, psyche / mind is soul, so soul / psyche is mind, Chk out it’s etymology).
All organised religous bks are rated XXX, T.V MA, N.C 17 & of coarse R !!!
I don’t want that kind of shit in my kids head till he’s old enough to deal w/ it !!! Let alone telling a child it’s true !!! Talk about screwing w/ someones head, but a child’s, that’s a crime !!! Notice how children’s Bible versions are watered down for their ears, minds & eyes?!! Not untill they get old enough do they get the actual version.
The religous bks of the world have non-sense & ligitimate statements like “Treat others the way u want to be treated” wise & aggreeable, it’s the other crap that a rational mind should realise that is not a productive part of constructed developement for any individual at any age especially someone in emotional pain & desperation & that’s the lrg stream of individuals who gravitate to religion !! Hurting & seeking. It’s ONLY the wise beautiful statements that are helping the poor soul in desperation thru their trying period. The other stuff is unconsiously making them contridictory, developing an unpreparedness for real life. This is dangerous, especially for a child’s developement & the individual seeking comfort !!
I’m here for posterity’s sake, future generations need & deserve to here our experiances & lessons.
Love & Peace, Protect & Serve one another, inhumanity is our down fall :. (
Looks like the sun herald has taken down the original article.
Or should I say “original”?
Wondered why I couldn’t find it, thought it was my usual difficulty w/ comput features & sites! Thks! Did find the original, life is full of copy cats u know. Good we’re all wking to gether “Two brains r better than one” in our case a boat load. One man can’t do it all. Woman -person – human being… ; .)
Quoted from a talk I attended by Dr. Griggs (farms.byu.edu). He attends a lot of the biblical archeology type meetings to present scholarly papers, and was quoting what he has heard frequently.
Amen A. Sigala…
I don’t defend the Bible, especially the Old Testament. I consider them to be “correct so far as they are translated correctly” but that leaves a lot of room for error, and there are many very bad errors. The New Testament also has many errors and omissions. Both should be taken with a grain of salt.
This is what seems to me to be a strange position when conversing with Atheists. I am expected to agree with or rationalize every wild or literalistic interpretation that some so called Christian has made. In fact, most of the highly vocal ‘Born Again Christians’ are so out to lunch as to be laughable. Both religion and science are full of frauds that make money off of gullible people.
Amen A. Sigala…
As far as unprepared children of religious parents…
that is patently ridiculous. In many ways a purely secular upbringing also leaves children with blind spots. I have always taught my children to be critical thinkers. They are not fools and I always challenge their thinking.
Perhaps you are referring to a more general trend, that is that the majority of people are just not that bright, and critical thinking s very hard. Thus the vast majority of people like cut-n-dried answers to complex and difficult questions. This is true of Atheists as well as religious people. Thus most all people to some degree or another raise children that think the way they do with out critical thinking.
Amen A. Sigala…
On the Free Masonry issue, just what am I supposed to be denying?
Yes J.S. was a Mason.
Yes some church stuff is strikingly similar to Free Mason stuff.
What is the point?
You site many famous authors. they wrote great literature after decades of practice, and were obviously genius’ at it.
Yes google can let one do lots of research. But in J.S.’s time there was no internet, and very little if any books available to him. And he was very young and had never written a book before.
So we come back around to my original assertion, “The Book of Mormon was made up by Joseph Smith” (or anyone else in the 1800s) does not stand up to scientific analysis.
For me to say “QED it is really an ancient text” is one valid conclusion. Lack of any other conclusion that fits the facts is simple Occam’s Razor. The simplest and most reasonable conclusion is ‘correct’ until some other better reasoning comes along.
It seems to me more that there is an untested base assumption being made “God does not exist” therefor my conclusion is not the simplest.
Can you propose any other solution as to how the Book of Mormon came to exist?
Note: L. Ron Hubbard’s source of ideas is very obvious and direct palgerism.
(I can’t find the URL but there is a source doc from Germany in WW2 that LRH obviously copied from.)
A Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, in Utah of all places… go figure.
So he isn’t a scientist, but was quoting scientists… I see.
I need to go to him for the citations then?
Gosh, debating in this fashion sure is fun… NOT.
How do you know he had no books available? He hadn’t written a novel… he was able to write… and even translate, uh… ‘reformed Egyptian.’
From the article:
hmmm, I smell hogwash.
I think it does.
Valid conclusion? Your conclusion maybe. Valid to you, I guess so…
To answer the last question there, yes. The book of Mormon is a composite of many books, not some ore plates, written in a nonsense language. It is plagiarized material from other books equally filled with nonsense fully available in the 1800’s.
Seriously d00d, look at it!
Joseph Smith translates ore plates written by ancient prophets in a funny made up language, ore plates which don’t exist in any verifiable way… not much of a stretch to say, he borrowed crap from various texts and made up the whole thing to make some money.
Ya know cause the whole ginseng gig was like a total flop and the bills was a pillin up.
I see absolutely nothing here but another sham with religious apologetics ecus… I mean backing it up.
Mr. Hubbard and Mr. Smith aren’t that different at all.
I never wrote “As far as unprepared children of religious parents” so ur response didn’t mean anything to me, let alone it’s intellectual assement of the matter was an arrogant disrespect to parents who r trying hard, confused themselves & according to ur wording obviously u think higher than they do to have not made such a mistake. I know of stories of liberal non-religious mom’s who were open to abortion, yet their daughters did everything to cover up the prgnancy to keep, sustain the high image of themselves to their mom & then they’re all over the news for killing their baby !! Parent’s in general depending on their psychology put pressure & expectation on their kids & these types of children fall because the parent(s) ego isn’t balanced or realistic, this applies to anyone in any bkground or setting. Marie Osmond is a Mormon & her oldest got involved in drugs, last time I heard he was in rehab. His religion didn’t save him from this, he of all people should be the last to want to do drugs, close big loving fam & fianancialy well to do.
Religion always teaches we have free will, a convenient program everyone is walking around in their heads thks to organised religion but the evidence in human behavior says otherwise. We human beings r always following something, very rarely r we independantly thinking. True freedom is yet to be understood.
I’m a redefined atheist seeking a goal in realising how much organised religion has contributed to the hate, violence, abuse, uncivility among the human race. Not to say or prove God doesn’t exist, that argument is already being made! Organised religions r a danger & continue to be a danger to individuals, families, relationships, community harmony & trust of one another. I know of the story of a Mormon man who killed & dismemered a nice old fellow man of the community & LDS ethics didn’t keep this sad,sick, evil minded person from doing such a thing, let alone – Where in the world were those Guardian Angels & God when that poor man went thru what he did????!!! This was on 20/20 so was the story of the teen who covered her pregnancy.
Ur empty response is lacking & it shows the narrow veiw ur horse blinders lend u. If Freemason’s built , designed, formed, came up w/ The Declaration of Independance – Constitution of These United States, a powerful establishment that is not at all w/ out fault, of course J.S came up w/ his Freemason influenced, w/ out a formal edu Bk of Mormon. Freemasons r very resourceful w/ information & knowledge, they always have been. The Bk of Mormon is not a Miracle, it’s a human phenomena.
LDS didn’t accept black people till Africans in 1978 wrote asking how they can be baptised & missionaries. The Bk of Mormon teaches that the skin color of the people of these N & S Amer.continents r dark because they r from the tribe that disobeyed God, the tribe that obeyed God remained white. When a clinical psychologist was the spks person for the Sundy after serv Relief Society discusion, she talked about this part in the Bk of Mormon. I will never forget how submissive & aggreeable everyone was, let alone very uncomfortable that such a statement / teaching is in the Bk of Mormon. Many humans think because they r attracted to something that is flawed they have to stick w/ it, faking themselves in order to not make waves, when they really feel differently.
There is a famous study done in the 50’s, a test really. A room of a couple of students, different ea time, repeatedly was set up to have smoke enter from under the entrance door as to appear there was a fire. Only one student of all the repeated times they did this stood up & yelled fire. This test has been redone & the results were the same!! Unbelievable!! Individuals don’t like to bring attention, r raised to not stand up for themselves, to scared to show an emotion of fear perhapes?! I’m not surprised, we r as Americans to stuck on appearance, it’s reflective of American highschools, though i’d be more scared to burn in a fire that didn’t drive many students to do the natural & expected thing. Animals every day warn ea other of danger, baboons have warned humans studing them of near by predators, no one taught them this, they had a natural instinct to tell these humans studing them of the predators near by, this is out of character for them being they usualy warn only their own. Scientists spend hrs studing animals when they r sick to see what they do & eat to understand better what we should do when we r ill & improve the practice of medicine. Many so called bks from God teach animals to be inferior, how can this be when humans have always been looking to animals for guidance & understanding, especially help in protecting themselves & their families!!
LDS presidency is taught to members to be a Prophet. This is NOT an independant thinking organisation. Having a Prophet shows clearly they r not promoting an independent relationship w/ this God, but through their hierachy!. I’ve met LDS Preisthood in many different locations, they r arrogant & self-rightous in character! LDS has a predjudice, dishonest & hypocritical history. I wouldn’t ever seperate LDS from the Catholic Church’s own.
Liers, Liers Liers ! And r in absence of Love!
The Bk of Mormon is NOT any different than the Bible, it’s Blasphemous to Human Existence and Our struggle for a Civilisation !!
The above statement is addressed to R.K. And oh yeah! Hello, similartities! Uv admitted it’s connected, stolen, copied…bla bla bla bla..the simple fact it has a teaching of the skin color of the native people in this land is a bad, dirty, stained, narrow minded naughty bk!!! KKK must love that part of the Bk of Mormon!!! Good bye, I can not possibly write any more to prove how man made this bk is!!! U don’t deserve any more of my attention. Believing in a God is a waste of time!
Love Rules God Druels! As my boy would say!
User Friendly is right on today, and relevant to this conversation…
UserFirendly on Forums…
we weren’t having a conversation! U cold, Heartless, freakish Robot of a human being!! There is Racist teaching in the Bk of Mormon & that’s all u have to come up w/? Well it’s reflective to what u started, we Made Our Point u haven’t!!
Ur still trying!
U Pointless Sad Jerk!!
Mean Man, Mean Man!
Or should I say …
Bad Man, Bad Man!
Amen A. Sigala …
I see you have degenerated to Ad Hominem attacks so I won’t respond to your posts any more.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED !!! : .)
ALL IN A HARD DAYS WK!
I CAN GO PLAY W/ MY BOY NOW! THAT’S MORE FUN!
The Book of Mormon never claimed that Reformed Egyptian was some language of the Egyptians that we should now understand and be able to translate. In fact it explicitly states that it is an amalgam or made up language that they had adapted. In J.S.’s time the Rosetta Stone had not been figured out so no body new how to read Egyptian. It sounds like the entire Charles Anton story is simply two different persons account of the same happening. J.S. tried to get some validation on the characters they had copied and failed.
The only odd thing is that the copied letters seem to be all over the map linguisticly and my be a fairly inaccurate copy.
He never claimed to have done som scholarly translation, it was by the gift and power of God, which is the whole point. If the Book of Mormon is what is says it is, then God exists.
As far as books available to J.S. there have been may searches to find such soure books that probably would have been available. There was one specific book, and also a general idea floating around at the time about Christ having visited the Americas, and also one world map that showed the town in Africa called Moroni.
That still would not explain the depth and breadth of the Book of Mormon text.
So we circle back to the original issue being discussed, just how complex and deep is the Book of Mormon vs. Could J.S. have written anything even close to it. I guess you’d just have to actualy read the book and see for your self. With google you can find zillions of articles on both sides of the issue, and in this case they are all just peoples opinions. (Social and cultural issues never have concrete data due to the fuzzy nature of those sciences and the partial nature of historical data.) I see similar prolems with the online debate about politics, global warmin/cooling/climate change, alternate energy and the end of oil, etc.
In all cases the only way to cut throught the BS is to read the actual book / vetted scientific paper / or actual politicians speach.
P.S. Professor Griggs is no slouch. He has umpteen degrees in boblical scholorship, reads Greek and other languages fluently, and is well respected in the New Testament area of archeology. His central area of study is Christians near Alexandria in the first and second century after Chirst. that all doesn’t make him correct, but it does mean his opinion shold be taken seriously. He does not make frivolous statements.
Amen A. Sigala …
My son’s out w/ his scooter now & saw u had to say something.
U forgot how to spell Bible & forgot to put the word be in between actually & thinking. Ur point is?
U have stooped to condescending me, u just should have kept ur “mouth” shut if u r soooo polite!
Just to keeping it “polite” & to ur STUCK-UP STANDARDS !!! Snob of a man !
I really think you’re going too far. It’s not necessary to call someone a mean, freakish, cold-hearted robot or asshole to get your point across. Please stick to the ideas, we don’t need to be abusive. (We win on the facts). That’s what the comment guidelines are for, and I much as I appreciate your support, you will force me to block you if you can’t be civil.
R.K. u also forgot the xtra l in actually!
This forum is not about our grammer but the seriousness of the damages that the belief in God & religion has had on the Human Race & will continue to have as long as those of us who have the power to speak up w/ our veiws against it & negative experiences from it
keep silent !!!
Religion is Swiss Cheese!
Artistic expression is my medium of thought, not boring so called intellectualism!!!!!!!!
Gag me w/ a spoon! Babble babble babble!
Sorry u couldn’t keep up w/ my line of thought!!!
Not everybody understands Piccaso, doesn’t mean his art was meaningless, so nor is my writting!!!
Ur Loving God, Angels & Holy spirit is nowhere to be found in ur responses to me!! I’ve met Atheist’s w/ more kindness & respect for my hard ship w/ spelling, punctuation & illiteracy!!
I was hit by a car & my head doesn’t wk like everyone else’s! But I shouldn’t have to go around explaining that to people, their intelligence should be able to figure out there’s something’s up w/ my difficulties!!!! That’s when manners come in, something u clearly don’t have to those u feel superior to!
Love & Humility is suppose to be a Christian’s attainment & mastery! U sure don’t have it !
It’s Dinner time! Got to go!
To me Christianity has been the Mental & Verbal Abuser to long
And my verbal discriptions & choice of adjectives were in no way intended to be abusive but again my expressivness to his absense of any strong feelings toward the racial references I pointed out in the Bk of Mormon
Civil I can be,
tolerant to hearlessness & insensitivity to a reference to someone’s skin color being part of sin or a disobedience is intolerable for me
There is something seriously wrong w/ a significantly lrg amount of people who follow in an organisation w/ such racial teachings & ideas, testifying it’s the word of a loving God
Mormons r a people to be concerned about,
they r a sly bunch, they camoflage themselves well & move quiet as a venomous snake
My Bad, thought I had the liberty to express my self as I artisticly felt
Crying Babies still get attention no matter how old they
I will be sure to remember to Conform to these Standards
Yes an adaptive language written by alleged ancient prophets (notice the plural there) living on the North American Continent (actually says western hemisphere… so that may have included South America?) on plates of ore.
Scholars can find no other examples of this language anywhere in the Western hemisphere, or anywhere for that matter.
Also as Athon states, “the paper contained any thing else but ‘Egyptian Hieroglyphics’.”
Why would an amalgamated language not contain any semblance of its named origins? Why dub it ‘Reformed Eygyptian’?
I am curious, and frankly a tad concerned that this doesn’t give you pause.
This is the most troubling thing for me. All these spiritualistic claims of ‘Angelic Tongues’ and communications that aren’t meant to be understood or translated; so as to fool the devils and arrogant, etc. This ‘caveat’ has left a door miles wide open for every huckster and fraud to stroll right through.
If this was the wisdom of the ‘Divine’ to convolute the message so it can never be verified… well that is just seamless. Seamless in stupidity that is!
Why deliver a message at all?
The above means I am all love… trust me it does… don’t question it, just believe that it means I am all love. It’s a tongue of the holy spirit, meant to confuse devils and the arrogant.
So it comes down to, “I am speaking to your heart with the above gibberish.” And that is what will cut, or not cut the mustard.
Well it isn’t mustard at all, is it? It’s a heap of rubbish.
Cons and Frauds are given full license with this exact same nonsense. Circus side shows, or the equivalent is center stage, and pure unmitigated nonsense is what is lapped up by a sad portion of the populace.
It is ridiculous and it needs to be said again and again.
Gave J.S a bit of leeway to say whatever he wanted at that time. Thankfully today we can look at this with a great degree of scrutiny and see, he was flying by the seat of his pants.
The Kinderhook Plate Story is a good example of that.
Yes failed, and not just with Charles Anton. Every scholar that was shown the ‘Caractors document’ scoffed at the scribblings.
Again, you do not pause? No suspicions raised, not even one eyebrow?
Or, the characters were in fact all over the map because that is what the document looked like. Something copied out of a book containing various alphabet characters from different languages in an attempt to make it appear like something antiquated.
Yet he still sought out and attempted to get scholarly verification of the ‘Reformed Egyptian…’
Great Googly Moogly! Shazam! MARY FREAKIN’ POPPINS RIDIN’ HER UNICYCLE IN CIRCLES ON SUNDAY!
And if it is a fakery bamboozled upon some unsuspecting poor farm folk? Guess the big guy is screwed then, huh?
Your hanging the big guy on one book? Unfathomable!
Sorry but that last bit kicked on my sarcasm super burners and I went into schtick overdrive… anyway.
Even the Fair Mormon apologetics site lists 9 books…
It is a sufficient enough explanation to bring the whole thing into question for me. Couple these books with values of the day and the imagination of the author(‘s) and you could very well have something exactly like the book of Mormon.
The very base claim that it originated from an amalgamated language doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
We are definitely looking at this through different glasses, because I just don’t see the depth and breadth you are talking about… It just isn’t there.
He also doesn’t cite the scientist that make these alleged claims about the book of Mormon. Guess it was a lazy day.
He teaches at a Mormon backed and built University and has an opinion that is pro Mormon. He may have umpteen degrees, but that doesn’t mean I have no cause to question his motive. His opinion will have to stand up to scrutiny, just like every other Joe Schmo with a claim out there.
The "Book of Morman" is a "miracle"? It is as blatantly false and contrived as scientology. Anyone that believes
either is so hopelessly deluded that no amount of facts or logic can save them.
All religions are fake, but these two are especially odious. All religions should be treated for what they are, a business
designed to make money by deluding the gullible. They should pay taxes, conform to the law, and be as liable as
say, the pharmaceutical industry. Let's see how they do in a court of law where questions are the order of the day
and truth is required.
R.K., I have carefully read the Book of Mormon (BoM) and comment on it in four chapters starting at http://zenofzero.net/docs/Qx21_LDS_Ludicrousness_… . Should you be interested in determining the author of the BoM, I suggest that you read the old book by W.H. Whitsitt entitled "Sidney Rigdon, The Real Founder of Mormonism" (available at http://sidneyrigdon.com/wht/1891WhtB.htm ) and the new book by Craig Criddle entitled "Sidney Rigdon: Creating the Book of Mormon" (available at http://www.i4m.com/think/history/Book-of-Mormon.p… ). To learn about the quackery promoted by Joseph Smith pretending to be able to translate anything, you really should look into his claims about the Book of Abraham, which I summarize at http://zenofzero.blogspot.com/2009/07/clerical-qu… and which is described more completely in the book by Charles Larson entitled"By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look At The Joseph Smith Papyri" (available at http://www.irr.org/mit/bhoh-pt1.html ). In short: if you'd spend more time investigating and less time defending Mormonism, then you'll rather quickly find that you've been duped.
Hello. And Bye.