Guns II

Seems like only yesterday I posted my article (read: rant) about gun laws in the US. And here I am, again in a somber tone, reacting to yet another mass shooting. Only this time, my patience with the Christian response has worn thin. Never have I felt such anger towards religion than I did on Wednesday, when the ruthless murder of 17 people generated the typical, increasingly unacceptable response: prayer. “Oh, we’re sorry your kid is dead. But don’t worry. We’re all going to stand in a building for an hour and chit-chat with “God” about it, then have some coffee. That should make you feel better. And it will definitely prevent this from happening to anyone else’s child.”

“We’re going to send prayer chains around the country on Facebook Messenger.” Are you freaking kidding me? Chain letters? The equivalent of a seven-year-old’s financial scheme, or an Amish friendship cake is how we’re responding to a national crisis? I’m insulted. I’m angry. I’m afraid. I’m sick of the word “prayer.”

Donald Trump: “Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, continues to pray for the victims and their families in Parkland, Fl.” When asked whether more gun laws were needed to prevent school shootings, he did not respond. Because, clearly, there’s no problem with our gun laws when someone who has been expelled from school for erratic mental health issues, and who has had the police called on him 30 times for violent and threatening incidences, and who has already tweeted intentions to murder people can go to the corner store and purchase a gun. There is a more thorough investigation conducted when a single mom applies for food stamps, apparently, than when someone goes to buy a gun.

But we’re handling this. We’re praying about it. We’re all going to join hands and chant words to some fabled superhero who probably just didn’t notice this was happening, then go out for Chick-Fil-A. Let’s make a day of it! Let’s all post it as our status. “Praying for the families in Florida.” That should do the trick. Now, back to Candy Crush.

How about instead, we get our heads of our arses and out of the Middle Ages for a minute and do something that’s going to help, at least remotely or minutely, to prevent another tragedy like this? I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Prayer isn’t working. If you needed proof, let Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School be your proof. Now you can save your 15 minutes a day of doing nothing, and maybe get on the phone with your local government.

Imagine a “chain” of people donating an hour a week to acting on information their teenagers are providing about their own, or a friend’s mental illness. How about mentoring, tutoring, fostering, adopting, volunteering on a suicide prevention line, or serving in any arena where under-reached youth are crying out for help?  How about lobbying for stricter laws, or broader healthcare, or greater awareness? Imagine millions of people donating one dollar each towards school resources and equipment that may prevent another tragedy. How about donating time to raise awareness about depression, anxiety, or violent tendencies, or the resources available to report potential threats? How about everyone taking the time to actually respond when there are warning signs on social media, or concerns posted by classmates? If we have time to send chain letters and pray, we have ten minutes to listen and respond.

We could reach out to the family members and offer financial or emotional support. We could support groups that work tirelessly for safer schools. (According to one such group, the Sandyhook Promise, 80 % of school shooters told someone about their violent plan, or exhibited warning signs. )There is so much we can do. But our children go to school fearing for their lives. And who do they have to protect them? An older generation of idiots who are praying to supernatural beings to keep them safe.

“Kids are getting killed in school.  Let’s send chain letters to nobody! Let’s do absolute shit about it, and then pass it on to 1,000 people in a bulk email, so we look like we care.

Brilliant.

Now don’t get me wrong. If it’s not a cause you care about, you have every right to do nothing. Doing nothing is your prerogative. Go right ahead. But don’t invite me to do nothing with you, because it insults me. Don’t email me an invitation to sit in your church, behind closed doors, and wipe myself clean of my grown-up responsibility to act. And for the love of everything good, don’t send me a chain letter. Because I’m not seven, and you aren’t either. And it just makes me sick.

A mother lost her son on Wednesday, due to a fully preventable tragedy. A father lost his daughter. The world was robbed of three adults who were brave heroes in the face of a crisis. The youth who lived through this tragedy will be forever changed. The families who lost people will suffer the sorrow of a perpetual void. The time for talking to our imaginary friends about this is OVER.

450 thoughts on “Guns II

    1. I’m not sure if that was an ill attempt at humor, and I’m not in a very good mood. Not that this should be about me, but blogging is not the only thing I do, just so you know. It is one small way in which I attempt to reach out to my human family. I have donated to many violence prevention groups. I have volunteered on suicide and violence prevention lines. I fostered children, including troubled teens, for seven years. I currently work with underprivileged youth in an early childhood program and am finishing my degree to become a teacher, with an emphasis on cultural integration for under-reached and impoverished demographics. I give financial support to groups that lobby for stricter gun control. I also donate directly to victims of tragedies, whenever possible. And yes, in an attempt to spread the word, I blog.

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      1. My wrath is not at Christians. It’s at the Christian act of replacing action with prayer. Religion is a powerful institution with lots of people power that, if properly channeled, could affect change. Churchs can’t involve themselves with legislation. But they could host fundraising groups for school safety equipment, instead of prayer groups (which are self-serving.) They could send out awareness messages like, ‘In the wake of this disaster, we’re getting together to launch a new outreach program for our community’s youth.” That I would not knock. Individuals can opt for action over prayer at the family level (such as teaching your children about inclusion, caring, and awareness of mental health issues) all the way up to the presidential level (such as the Trump passing a law that would reduce the opportunity of future tragedies, instead of “praying” about them.)

        Prayer is self-serving. It helps YOU cope with the tragedy, not the family hurt by it. It helps you in the way having a martini helps me. But it would be ridiculous for me to post a message to the victims’ families that said, “I’m sorry this happened to you, but don’t worry. I’m doing everything I can about it. I’m on my second martini, and I already started a drinking game on Facebook, in your honor. In the same way, I am offended when Christians post their coping mechanisms as if they were helping the community. I’m especially angry when they actually replace action with prayer.

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      2. I don’t think anybody is claiming that prayer is a substitute for action. In fact there is scripture that condemns prayer in place of actual assistance.

        Most people are deeply saddened by these tragedies. Everyone acknowledges that this ought not happen.
        Do you have a suggestion for those of us who don’t write laws as to how we facilitate change?

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      3. You sound like a proactive parent that has done many things like our family does. I commend you for being active in your community as well as in the online forums.

        I have seen the damage done on both sides by just being a mouthpiece with no intent.

        I hope you don’t mind me going to the Bible, but James has great wisdom when it comes to this.

        “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.” James 1:22‭-‬24 NLT

        I don’t like to chop Scripture to use for my advantage, so I hope you will take the whole letter of James into account.

        Things like:

        “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1:27 NLT

        “Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.” James 2:8‭-‬9 NLT

        What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? “Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?” James 2:14-16 NLT

        All these things that you seem to agree with, so please bear with me when I quote James 5:13‭-‬18:

        Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

        I agree with you about the Facebook prayers, and the chain-letter style supplication. God does not work at a McDonald’s drive-thru! He takes time to get to know, and prayers need to be visited more than once in most cases from my observation. Being a Christian is a lifestyle, not a Sunday gathering. Many Western churches are damaging the messages with coffee, concerts, and crappy feel-good messages.

        This life that some of us live is not many, but please don’t discount the possible power of fervent prayer.

        I apologize for the lengthy post. Whether we can work together is not important, only truth.

        Gun control means aiming with both hands towards those despicable cowards that kill our brothers and sisters.

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      4. Thank you for your kind comment, though I don’t agree with all of it. For instance, most rational people understand that rain comes from a cycle of evaporation and precipitation, not prayer. By your example above, a person could pray to cause thousands to die in a drought and god would grant that prayer. I think that is mighty silly and unrealistic. By your same example, you suggest that a mother can pray her sick child into healing. If that were true, no child would die of cancer. And your suggestion that prayer can solve hardships is a complete slap in the face to children who are wasting away from starvation, while their parents and Christians all over the world “pray” for them. Your post is a great example of why I am so against prayer. It quite proves my point that prayer is not at all effective, and is something that detracts people from taking action. I think it’s time to become aware that there are physical laws that govern our universe, and political laws that goven our people. Prayer has no effect on either.

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      5. Corey,
        You sound like a nice person. Thoroughly indoctrinated, but nice. :). Just a couple of things, though. There’s no such thing as sin. Humans make mistakes – that’s it. OH, and the Lord does not make one person well – the Lord is invisible and unable to do much. Figments of imagination are like that. Nurses and Doctors do the healing and if that wasn’t true there would only be chapels in hospitals, now wouldn’t there?

        And reciting scripture is not like practicing a Jedi mind trick. (Ok, so more than a couple things.).

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      6. “There’s no such thing as sin. Humans make mistakes – that’s it.”
        A spelling error is a mistake.
        Dropping your phone in the toilet is a mistake.
        Forgetting a friend’s birthday is a mistake.

        Shooting 17 people in a school is NOT “a mistake”. It’s evil.

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      7. That’s your opinion. In my opinion there’s no such thing as evil either. That young man was not born ‘evil’. He was shaped by the things that happened in his life. Something went wrong in his brain for him to behave so horribly. You are suggesting something that religious people use for an excuse. Something that is contrived by the superstitious, uneducated mind. But cling to your delusions if you must, Branyan.

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      8. ‘an evil deed’

        SYNONYMS
        wicked, bad, wrong, morally wrong, wrongful, immoral, sinful, ungodly, unholy, foul, vile, base, ignoble, dishonourable, corrupt, iniquitous, depraved, degenerate, villainous, nefarious, sinister, vicious, malicious, malevolent, demonic, devilish, diabolic, diabolical, fiendish, dark, black-hearted

        monstrous, shocking, despicable, atrocious, heinous, odious, contemptible, “HORRIBLE,” execrable

        That’s from them uneducated Oxford people who wrote a thesaurus. You can continue to manipulate the words to try to avoid the truth, but is still there. People do evil things.

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      9. “In my opinion there’s no such thing as evil either.”
        Well, your opinion is proof that evil exists. Your opinion is a reflection of the ugliness in your heart. And your opinion would change if “that young man” shot one of your grandkids.

        My opinion is shared by everyone who hasn’t allowed the soulless doctrines of atheism to turn them into wretched beasts. And the wretched beasts are calling ME insensitive.

        If acknowledging wickedness makes me “deluded” then I will cling to that delusion. You keep talking, Carmen. The screenshots serve to demonstrate just how horrible godlessness is.

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      10. You’re sounding like the fundamentalist you are, Branyan. You know absolutely nothing about my life or my heart. As I said in my first comment, you’re just pissed off when others point out that your imaginary friend is just that. There is no such thing as evil — it’s an imaginary force by your imaginary ‘debbil’ and you probably know this, deep down.

        Grow up ffs.

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      11. “You know absolutely nothing about my life or my heart. ”
        I know you won’t call evil by it’s true name.
        You’ve said the “young man” in Florida just made “a mistake” when he gunned down those people.

        That makes you every bit as wicked as the gunman. The only difference is you aren’t breaking any laws.

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      12. Your reading comprehension weakness is showing again, JB. That isn’t what I said at all. That young man (from what I’ve read) had many social pressures in his life. He obviously had some mental health issues, was an ‘outcast’ and probably felt that a gun gave him power that he lacked. Unfortunately, in your country, access to lethal firearms guarantees that this sort of combination will produce the results we’ve recently seen in the news.
        Oh, and by the way – ‘wicked’ is a fairy tale word. Jesus, who uses these terms but fundamentalists??
        I’m going off to sewing class for the day so won’t have time to banter with you any more today but you take care, eh? And start using that brain of yours.

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      13. You memory retention weakness is showing. You said there is no such thing as evil.
        You said shooting kids in school is just “a mistake”.
        You would feel differently if your grandkid took a bullet from the gunman.
        You won’t ADMIT that because your heard is full of evil, wicked, sin.

        Have a great day a sewing class!

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      14. I’m grinning, JB. Actually, there’s a scientific explanation for the composition of the heart. If you are referring to my emotions . . . Well, that’s a different thing altogether! Yours have definitely be on display on this thread, along with that zany imagination of yours. 🙂 My suggestion is that you calm down and use your brain. Oh, and re-read Danica’s responses to you. She makes a great deal of sense. Then again, others who’ve tried to reason with you sensibly have failed in the past as well. Is there a pattern here? 😉

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      15. I thought you were going sewing…?

        The most sensible response to a school shooting is to condemn it as evil. I’ve done that. You have not.

        Is there a pattern here? 😉

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      16. The most sensible response to a school shooting is to condemn it as evil

        What an odd answer. I would have thought “the most sensible response” would be stopping the tools that KILL getting into peoples hands.

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      17. No, no… I heard you perfectly. You can stop talking. I understand your position.

        You’re fine with mentally sick and suicidal people walking around with guns.

        Be sure to deliver a good speech at your grandchildren’s funeral… before you go to visit Amanda in a psychiatric jail for the murder of her children. Because, you know, she just lost it. But there was nothing you could do, John.

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      18. Thoughts and prayers, John

        There was nothing you could have done to stop your psychotic daughter, Amanda, from killing all those kids.

        Nothing at all.

        Thoughts and prayers.

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      19. There was nothing you can do to stop psychotic people from shooting school kids.

        That’s why good people offer thoughts and prayers. Your wickedness makes everything worse.

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      20. Thoughts and prayers, John.

        Seriously, there was nothing, nothing at all you could have done to stop your mentally ill psychotic daughter, Amanda, from killing all those kids… with a gun, which she purchased, legally.

        Thoughts and prayers.

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      21. The dude who gunned down those kids in Florida wasn’t a Christian. I haven’t read a word of criticism for the guy who actually pulled the trigger.
        Your hateful rhetoric toward people of faith ugly and wicked. So much for “uniting all humanity” under the banner of Humanism.

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      22. Did you see the screenshot? Perhaps you should take a look.

        Now, from what I’ve heard, your daughter, Amanda, tried to kill you with a gun, didn’t she? Or did she try to kill herself?

        Would that situation have been a little less terrible if she didn’t have access to a gun?

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      23. Bullshit, you lying sack of shit. The convenience is removed… But you’re fine with a suicidal daughter holding a gun under her chin… Because, hey, what else can I do?

        And FYI, suicides by gun plummeted in Australia by 65% after our gun ban.

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      24. LOL
        “Suicide by gun plummeted by 65% after your gun ban” — Amazing! I bet suicide by plastic bag suffocation will drop if you ban plastic too!

        You should just still to telling me to fuck off.
        That’s the most reasonable argument you’ve made so far.

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      25. OK, so you’re fine with suicidal people (mentally ill people) walking around with guns.

        Enjoy your daughters funeral… or your grandchildren’s funerals when Amanda looses it and kills them, with a gun.

        Thoughts and prayers.

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      26. The rate of success of suicide by gunshot is higher than by other methods. Most deaths by gunshot in the US are suicides. Over 105,000 people took their lives with guns in the United States, in the most recent five-year period of statistics.

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      27. OK! Here we go … I’m going to be “sensible” and condemn a school shooting as “evil.”

        Everything will be better now, right? All because we’ve done as JB has requested and stated that such incidents are “evil.” Wonderful! No more school shootings! And “thoughts and prayers ” will be the best antidote ever!

        Phew! So glad to have that out of the way.

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      28. Oops, forgot. There’s no such thing as hell either. Another thing that lurks in that zany imagination of yours. You really should be writing ominious fairytales.

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      29. I have a friend who doesn’t believe in evil, or that anyone can make “good/bad” judgments. So I asked him, “If, while we were sitting here having coffee, someone broke into your parents’ house, raped, tortured, and killed them, would you say that it was a bad thing?” He said, “I would say that it was an unfortunate event.”

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      30. Yeah and he would probably install a security system, and seek justice against the perpetrator, and maybe open a foundation for mental heath awareness, or something that would benefit others. Instead of going “Oh, the evil Satan did this. Let me go pray harder so evil Satan will go back to his cage.”

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      31. So, you’re speculating that my friend’s response to the hypothetical torture, rape, and murder of his parents would likely be to seek justice against the perpetrator (you mean “perpetrator” in the best sense of the word, right?), and then install a security system (a security system against people who might make a mistake and break into his home with murderous intent, right? I mean, “murderous” in the best sense of the word, of course. Sorry. I don’t mean to put a wet blanket on this conversation by using such an extreme term as “murder.”) and open a foundation for mental health awareness? Is that what you would do, danicanallen? If I was sitting across the table from you with a cup of coffee, and during our conversation, someone tortured and killed the person you love most in your life, would your first thoughts be, “Wow. I need to seek justice against this perpetrator, install a security system, and start a foundation to raise awareness for mental illness?”

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      32. Okay, but it seems like the implication on this thread is that people who pray and start prayer chains are doing absolutely nothing but that, which seems to be a ridiculous proposition. Do you personally know anyone who believes in prayer, or have you only encountered praying bloggers? The people I know who pray are also some of the most active people for the down and out you’ll ever meet. If you were wrong about prayer, would you want to know it?

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      33. Yes, the message in my blog is that I’m tired of prayer with no real action. If there’s real action, that’s great. My only problem with prayer is when it replaces real action, as my blog and all of my comments reflect. Just for your background info, I was a practicing Christian for 10 years. I was called a “prayer warrior” many times. I fasted, sometimes for partial days, weeks at a time, and participated in every form of Christian prayer, Catholic prayer recitals, pentacostal prayers with “speaking in tongues,” salvation prayers, online “petitions for prayer”, whole congregation prayers (after tragedies, for example) and individual “God time” prayers and Bible readings. I have participated in small groups, worship teams, and outreach missions. I have lived on both sides of this story, which is why I am confident and hold fast to my worldview, which was over 30 years in the making. But I do thank you for your input. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read and comment, even if our opinions differ.

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      34. “Wretched beasts” bahahahahaha! You are so entertaining, John. Wow, for someone who doesn’t like “wretched beasts,” you sure do dedicate a lot of your time to my blog. I’m starting to wonder if your wife is suspecting something. I mean, you’re like my biggest follower. I agree with Carmen. It is pretty deluded to think “evil roaming the earth” is why our nation’s children are being shot. It’s the imbeciles who don’t want people with mental health issues to go through background checks who are to blame. It is a country that cares more about money than lives. There is more security in malls than there is in schools. And sitting around behind closed doors chanting “ali baba bologna blessed are thee” is not going to stop this from happening.

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      35. You haven’t heard me make a case for closed door chanting as a solution. That’s a strawman.

        What you have heard me say is that shooting children in school is more than just “a mistake”. You would agree with me if it weren’t for your blind allegiance to godless dogma.

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      36. “Evil” is not why these things happen. It is the “belief in evil” that allows them. Because so many Americans believe everything is being controlled by supernatural entities, we can’t function, as a nation, in the real world. Believing “evil” did this is no different than the NT belief that “evil” spirits cause blindness.

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      37. I’d like to respond to Love Over Religion. My name is Mary and I used to think praying was just a bunch of mumbo jumbo until one day I found myself in a predicament that left me with no where to turn and no one to turn to, so I thought. I prayed for the first time that day, begging forgiveness, and asking Jesus to help me. Immediately I felt this immense weight lift from me. I felt a peace and calmness that I couldn’t explain. There in my living room, on my knees, in a pool of tears, I met Jesus for the first time. Did my problem just magically go away? Of course not! What was done was done. What I had now was HOPE . Just like He promised in the Bible in the book of Phillipians Chapter 4 verse 6-7. Have you read it by chance? I realized that God loves me so much that He was willing to let me make my own choices and suffer the consequences in order for the blinders to come off to reveal Himself to me. Maybe that’s why bad things happen to good people even children. He simple loves us too much to let us be our own gods.

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      38. Hello, Mary. I just returned home and was able to view and approve your comment. Thank you for joining the conversation. I’m glad you personally enjoy prayer and that you feel it has enriched your life. On my blog posts and comments you will find that the reason I am against prayer is because our society uses it in place of concrete and realistic steps towards solving problems. Let’s say I believe in the magic of crystals. A child who is starving comes to my door, and my fridge is full of food. But instead of handing the child some of my food, I bring out a whole bunch of crystals and start chanting in front of him. Society would view that as cruel and selfish. How about if I proceeded to show off online, boasting about how my magic crystals were going to make the starving child feel better. Maybe you would then understand the anger non-Christians feel when Christians take time-money-energy away from doing simple things that can actually help, in order to pray. President Trump refusing to acknowledge a question about gun legislation, while patting himself on the back for “continuing to pray” is a prime example of this.

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      39. Thank you, Nan! It’s a feisty crowd today. I’m just getting to my 100-plus messages. There have been many wonderful, rational points made by those dedicated to truth and reason. I am very thankful for the opportunity to have spurred this conversation. 🙂

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      40. True, but a black and white photograph without contrast would only be a gray image, one difficult for a discerning mind to decipher. I think the addition of the (sometimes shocking) Christian viewpoint makes my message all the more tangible and urgent to those who read, worldwide. Thanks for being a wonderful supporter of reason, Nan, and one of my favorite blogger friends. 🙂

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      41. Yes. And as I mentioned, there’s no harm in a person praying to console themselves, or to help deal with an issue. But the minute someone calls prayer “doing something,” I take offense. The words “prayers and thoughts” are tossed around after every mass shooting in the context of “action we’re taking.” weapons of war are available not just to the general public, (which is ridiculous enough) but also to those who have mental illnesses. And when completely preventable tragedies occur, instead of millions of people asking “how can we stop this?” we have millions of people “thinking and praying.” My blog post is about replacing prayer with action, to keep weapons of war out of our children’s schools.

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    2. Well, what do you know? John Branyan is showing his arse on yet another blog. He gets a heartache when someone insults his friends (and himself) who worship their (and his) invisible friend. Poor guy.

      Heartfelt and sensible blog post, Danica.

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  1. Danica I see Brainyawn has found another good blog to harass. When I heard the news of the shooting I did not turn on the tv or look it up online. My wife shared the “news” of the event my first thought was this is no longer news. I am uninterested. Nothing has changed with 50 dead or 75 dead, 17 dead will not even turn my head. It’s a shame.

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    1. But we cannot let something like this become acceptable. It is not acceptable. It has to stop, and it can change. Please don’t fall into whatever trap is the nonbeliever’s equivalent of prayer, or nonchalance. Together we can make a difference. 🙂

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      1. The “gun crowd” are the “Evangelicals”… It’s simply beyond perverse. You could not get a more perverted, sick, violent, racist, greedy, self-centred, backward, hypocritical group of people if you engineered them.

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      2. he things is, for all the postuing and chest beating and wailing and …. praying, they aren’t actually doing a damn thing have you noticed?
        Seriously, it is the strangest thing to witness.
        Branyan is typical. He goes to great lengths to deride those who are non believers or anti – gun but again, offers nothing as a solution.
        I asked several times to various commenters, so what do you think should be done and no one answered, merely insulted me as a ”liberal” or lefty or some crap.
        Oh, and Wally called me a facist!

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      3. Absolute lunacy. I mean, not one of them so much as suggested a damn thing.
        Not even the subject of background checks was raised!
        Oh, I lie. Someone suggested arming the teachers and putting armed guards and metal detectors outside every school in America!

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      4. Can you envisage for a few moments what a primary school would look like if all the teachers were armed!

        Don’t mess with Teach Carmen ‘cos she is one bad-assed bi*ch with a Magnum.

        ”Your dog ate your homework? Really. Are you feeling lucky …. punk? Want to run that by me again because I am having a rel bad day!”

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      5. I know! Me a fascist!

        Here’s the comment. I laughed

        Wally Fry
        10 hourstruthinpalmyra.wordpress.com

        Yeah, we know. Anybody who doesn’t agree with the great Stone Head god is a criminal. You say that pretty often.
        Here’s one that will torque you off for sure. Fascists like you are why I think we’ll keep that ole second amendment. Because your only hope since you and the whole lot are morons and have no case, is to enforce the thoughts you like by coercion and force.

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      6. Wally accused me of “HATING AMERICA!” because I expressed a want to not see them murder each other so regularly and so pointlessly.

        The mindset of the Evangelical is truly derranged.

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  2. An excellent post/rant Danica that sadly has been expressed way too many times going back to at least Columbine H.S. Since 1999 I have repeated, too many times to count, there are TWO pivotal problems with this lethal epidemic of violence:

    1. Non-existent extensive background checks prior to weapons purchases — in Texas, as in many states, it is harder to obtain a Driver’s License — a voter-registration ploy by one specific political party — than it is to find, buy, assemble, and use assault weapons.

    2. A severely lacking under-funded, under-staffed public mental-health/illness education, awareness, programs, and clinics/hospitals… and a private sector of the same that cannot get corporate insurances to step-up and HELP the very people and families that need it worst, i.e. from Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (and their parents) to Nikolas Cruz (and his parents), and still again for those acutely disturbed patients yet to commit more mass shootings.

    If these two problems are never addressed and extensively solved, along with other sub-related problems (political & monetary), America is going to need mass production of more body-bags. And I won’t even get into the upcoming psychological traumas that victim’s families will have to endure. 😢

    Regarding useless praying Danica, I’ve been working much of my adult life in the Psych/A&D rehab and therapy and believe me… there is NO TIME to pray! As you correctly pointed out to BrainYawn, that is strictly individual relaxation(?) therapy. Nothing more.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Prayer is a way to do nothing concrete…a way out of any real action.
    Blogging is a way to keep us informed and start organizing protests and calling on people to write their congressmen and organize marches and reminding people to vote for people who support their views.

    Admittedly it’s not much and may fall on deaf ears, but it sure beats the inaction of praying. It has to start somewhere.

    I thought Johns remarks were very condescending….a pity to have that kind of heart.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you for your comment, Mary. I also believe that doing very small, but concrete things is better than “indulging” in coping mechanisms that enable us to ignore a growing problem. I know that we all have a right to cope with tragedies in the way that best suits our personalities. Some meditate, others talk it over with friends, and others pray. But the hope is that these coping mechanisms are only preceding or following concrete action, and not replacing it. I appreciate your supportive words! 🙂

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      1. @Branyan.

        Instead of waving your plonker around in public do you perhaps have a workable solution that you could offer, or are all your suggestions as vacuous as your religious beliefs?

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  4. Seems appropriate to remind a certain segment of America of the thoughts of one of their greatest, Mr. Jefferson, who wrote this concerning the ‘solidness’ of the laws he helped forge, like the 2nd Amendment:

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Read through it. Oh, my. I knew I’d have my hand over my face and head shaking before I got through two comments. But you tried your best, I see! The unfortunate part is that none of those commenters will actually develop once ounce of empathy until one of theirs is a victim of gun violence. (As you pointed out)
    I am heartened, however, by the fact that many of those teenagers are organizing and there’s word of a teacher walk-out to demand gun restrictions. Let’s hope the young people can galvanize politicians to finally do something.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As I mentioned to CS and Tom, they are tacitly holding open the door to allow the next nutter in with a weapon, and they know it is going to happen again and all they do is argue semantics and how the ”left” are distorting facts and it’s not the same as Australia and … and …
      and the next batch of kiddies is already shuffling int line.

      It truly is utterly bizarre.

      Did you know that when Australia had their last mass shooting the NRA sent representatives from the US over to Australia to help defend those that wanted to prevent the Aussie government from banning firearms?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Didn’t know that. I do know, however, that – according to our Aussie son-in-law – people basically just handed in their guns after the massacre at Port Arthur, without much of a fight. He remembers it very clearly.

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      2. Keep in mind that our son-in-law was a teenager when this happened and does not own a gun (has no use for one, as far as I know).
        The paranoia one reads in some of their responses (those gun-loving Christians who uphold their ‘right to bear arms’) is pitiful. I have to really wonder about those who live in abject fear of their house being broken into . . . What kind of society does that suggest? Perhaps if I lived in that environment, I’d be able to understand their stance. We don’t lock our doors at night, don’t take the keys out of our vehicles (they’re both clunkers), and if my neighbour is missing an egg for what’s she making, she comes in to take one out of my fridge if I’m not home. Except for the occasional tire-squealer (who was at it this morning at 1:30) we live a relatively peaceful life. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Wow! That is amazing. I wish I could say the same applied here. Alas …
        Hold on a sec, Carm, I must just go check on the eggs as the crew have a couple of cakes to bake this afternoon!

        ”One, two, three, four ….”

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Inanity went nuts at me last year when after another school shooting (forgotten which one, there’s so many) I said I had no sympathy at all. How could I be so callous! she hollered, to which I asked how could I when her and her evangelical friends did nothing to ever solve the problem. There will be another next week, I said, and the week after that, and the week after that, children will be murdered and they would continue to do nothing buy act heartbroken.

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      5. I wrote an off the cuff comment to Argus or Jim I think and picked a state and town at random for the next shooting.
        I suggested Lafayette and the number of dead 20.
        We should have a lottery and donate the money to a mental health program for idiotic gun happy bloggers.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Danica,
    You said:
    “Evil” is not why these things happen. It is the “belief in evil” that allows them. Because so many Americans believe everything is being controlled by supernatural entities, we can’t function, as a nation, in the real world. Believing “evil” did this is no different than the NT belief that “evil” spirits cause blindness.”

    Should the man who shot those school kids be arrested?
    How is that different from arresting a blind guy because he cant’ see?

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    1. I’m not sure why you think blind people were arrested in the Bible. I’m just saying that it is really shocking that people still believe “demons” are running around possessing people, in the year 2018.

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      1. I’m not sure why you think saying the school shooter is “evil” is equivalent to NT people using the word to describe blindness.
        Glad we agree about the false equivalence.

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      2. Call him evil if you like, but the implication is that “evil” is a characteristic. Mental illness is a disease. Mental illness can be treated. Evil can only be prayed away. I’ll choose the word that invokes preventative action.

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      3. This is why religion is so dangerous. You’re not even aware that there are medical treatments that effectively operate on psychological disorders? Do you think we should stop giving schizophrenia patients their medicine and start praying for them instead? Why don’t we just abandon all science and medicine? Prayer is just so doggone effective.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. This is why godlessness is so dangerous. You’re not even aware that there are no medical treatments that effectively eliminate school shootings? Do you think medicating schizophrenia patients will wipe out murder?

        All I said was it’s evil to shoot school children. That’s it.

        So far, I’m all alone in that opinion among all you compassionate, caring, humanists.

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      5. So, let me get this straight, Branyan:

        You believe dysfunctions in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala regions of the brain (physical impairments that result in psychopathy and that can isolated and measured) are “evil”?

        Have I got that right?

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      6. As Branyan won’t answer the question, let us answer it for him. He has two options:

        1. The kid’s actions were “evil.” This is so filled with special pleading that it’s impossible to even pick apart, but it is clear that by that by that reasoning, building a dam is also “evil.” Dams will collapse. That is inevitable. They will kill. The 1975 failure of the Banqiao Reservoir Dam, for example, killed an estimated 171,000 people… therefore, building the Banqiao dam was an act of evil.

        2. The kid was “evil.” What that actually means is Branyan believes physical dysfunctions in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala regions of the brain (either occurring during foetal development, or through later traumatic brain injury) are “evil.”

        By that reasoning, Parkinson’s is “evil.”

        By that reasoning, a drought is “evil.”

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Building a dam is not evil.
        Shooting children is school is evil.
        It is also evil to refuse to call school shootings evil.
        Your worldview is despicable.
        Draw your own conclusions about what that makes you.

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      8. By your reasoning, building a dam knowing it will one day collapse under to the forces you are attempting to, but cannot, tame, causing a certain (future) catastrophic disaster, is evil.

        So, what exactly is evil? Where does it reside?

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      9. No. Building a dam knowing it will collapse is not evil ‘by my reasoning’. Keep your strawman in your own field.

        “What exactly is evil? Where does it reside?”

        Finally! Two decent questions.
        I’ll spell it out for you not because you’ll understand or agree with me but because I don’t want to be accused of avoidance.

        Evil is anything other than “good”.
        “Good” is determined by a transcendent sense of morality.
        People are informed of this transcendent morality by our consciences.
        Nikolas Cruz has a conscience. He ignored it when he shot those children in school.
        That is evil.
        Building a dam doesn’t bother most people’s conscience.
        If your conscience tells you not to build a dam and you ignore it, then you do evil when you build a dam.
        Evil doesn’t “reside” anywhere, just like “heat” or “love” or “belches” don’t reside anywhere.
        People bring evil into existence when they do things like shoot children in school.

        You know all this because you are a human being with a conscience. You’ve just decided to ignore it.

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      10. Evil is anything other than “good”.

        Right: a dam, Parkinson’s disease, a drought are evil by your reasoning.

        “Good” is determined by a transcendent sense of morality.

        What on earth does that even mean? Give me an example of some objective truth.

        People are informed of this transcendent morality by our consciences.

        Self-evidently, this is false. Dysfunctions in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala regions of the brain (either occurring during foetal development, or through later traumatic brain injury) produce psychopaths.

        If it were “transcendent” it would be universal. It’s not.

        If it were “transcendent” it would not be affected by traumatic brain injury. It is.

        Care to try again?

        Nikolas Cruz has a conscience. He ignored it when he shot those children in school.

        No, the kid had/has a dysfunctioning prefrontal cortex and amygdala, probably having developed in the womb. He had/has a physically malfunctioning brain.

        Is that evil? You still haven’t directly answered that.

        Building a dam doesn’t bother most people’s conscience.

        You’d buy a house directly beneath a dam, in India?

        People bring evil into existence when they do things like shoot children in school.

        So evil doesn’t exist, just the results of bad decisions.

        Bad decisions exist, not evil.

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      11. You’re only saying these things because you’re talking to me. You wouldn’t suggest a “dysfunctioning prefrontal cortex and amygdala” to the family of those dead kids. That would be evil…

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      12. No, on this very day, it would be insensitive. If we ever want to have an actual discussion about the actual subject it would have to be discussed, and discussed in detail.

        So, tell me… Is it evil then when the person’s brain makes it impossible for them to make anything but what we would call a bad decision?

        Is that evil?

        What about Trump cancelling the Obama-era law that made it harder for mentally ill people to purchase guns? Was that terrible decision (which enabled this kid to buy a gun) evil?

        Liked by 2 people

      13. And Branyan, you avoided addressing this question, but I would like to hear your answer… If you will:

        How can it be “transcendent” if it is affected by faulty foetal development and/or traumatic brain injury?

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      14. Oh, yes it is. Psychopaths have uniformly malfunctioning brains. Psychopaths regularly make terrible decisions which you are calling “evil.”

        So, again: How can it be “transcendent” if it is affected by faulty foetal development or traumatic brain injury?

        Do explain…

        Liked by 1 person

      15. Oh, you “reject it,” do you?

        How thoroughly persuasive. Branyan dismisses established science. Branyan knows better than neurologists who actually STUDY this.

        You sir, are a grade A dickhead.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. No, evil would be, “Sorry your kid is dead. But I’m going to close myself in a room and chant ali baba bologna blessed are thee,” and make everything all better, instead of acting like a grown up.

        Liked by 1 person

      17. And you still haven’t answered the question:.

        Please do without your typical 100-COMMENT-SONG-AND-DANCE_EVASION-ROUTINE

        Are you describing that kid as “evil”, yes or no?

        Or, if you prefer, would you describe that kid as “evil”, yes or no?

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  7. Of course mental illness can be treated and helped, but not always cured. Stopping gun violence needs many things to happen, not just one. Families need to become less dysfunctional and I admit this is probably the hardest one of all and in this world, maybe impossible. So then there’s treatment for mental illness that could help some people, sane gun control laws, FBI following through on tips, although that’s harder for them than would appear and this fundamentalist nutty religion must fade away in time, but this too seems to attract more nuts rather than less at least here in the US.

    Evil is a term connected with religion. Sure this shooter seems evil and his act too, but in truth he is severely mentally ill and the act is a result from this and opportunity and access. And it is unfortunate that these kinds of things exist in society but it is not due to the devil or some mumbo jumbo.

    JB Seems so full of anger and sarcasm and not capable of rational thought. He typifies the problem with religion. Of course he will make some sarcastic remark and rail against this comment. He has a cold dry heart that is evident in his replies here and on other boards. It’s a shame.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “JB Seems so full of anger and sarcasm and not capable of rational thought. He typifies the problem with religion. Of course he will make some sarcastic remark and rail against this comment. He has a cold dry heart that is evident in his replies here and on other boards. It’s a shame.”

      Amazing. The only person in this conversation who condemns evil is the person with the ‘cold dry heart’.
      You atheists are no better than the shooter. I may be full of anger and sarcasm and incapable of rational thought but at least I’ve got the stones to say shooting school children isn’t just “a mistake”.

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      1. > You atheists are no better than the shooter.

        And that is where you lose me, John. Stop burning bridges and get off your high horse. We are all fallen.

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  8. It’s not just a mistake. It’s from all the reasons I listed above…did you read that?
    But it can’t be termed evil either, as that is strictly a religious term even though it feels evil. It is again from all the reasons plus a few I probably left out. Again did you read those points ?
    We atheists are far better than the shooter, and so are you, but you just can’t see the light of reason. It is your loss.

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    1. I read your list of reasons. Just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I don’t understand you.

      Yes, evil is a religious term. It’s also the only term that applies when we’re talking about shooting school children. There is no way to rationalize that action. There is no scientific explanation that will justify it. Mental illness doesn’t diminish the evil.

      You know this. You just won’t admit it.
      That’s what makes you evil too!

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      1. It’s also the only term that applies when we’re talking about shooting school children.

        Curious. So, but that assumption, the god you believe exists, Yhwh, is evil:

        “Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all, old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders. “Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded. “Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!” So they went throughout the city and did as they were told.” (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)

        You worship evil.

        That’s interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. “There’s is no scientific explanation that will satisfy this.”

    You know that there are scientific explanations . You just won’t admit this.
    That’s what makes you not evil as you accused me of being, but sadly ignorant.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I never said, if you will simply read my comments, that treatment of mental illness would work all the time or even in many cases. Plus I never equated it with irradiating evil. Evil is your word, not mine. But treating mental illness along with many other avenues to help stem gun violence is a must if we are ever going to have a liveable society for the future generations.
        This requires hard work and various tactics that have been suggested here and other places. You just pronouncing it as evil with no belief in psychological or medical help for the mentally ill is beyond useless.
        Religion already has blood on its hands in the past…let’s try a new way forward using medical help, sane gun laws and recognition that religion is not going to solve this ever.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. “You just pronouncing it as evil with no belief in psychological or medical help for the mentally ill is beyond useless”

        You just pronouncing is as mental illness is equally useless. Every act of evil can be labeled “mental illness”. What good does that do anybody?

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  10. I have a couple questions regarding the topic of mental illness.
    Is treatment for the medically ill only biological- or is there also behavior modification?
    If humans are only physical, meaning that human behavior is pre-determined by their brain’s physical functioning- what could be done to alter what is already determined to happen?

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    1. To answer that question, they will need to know whether or not you’re a Theist.

      If you’re a Theist, then F-off, Dickhead. 🙂

      (If you’re an Atheist, then you ought to know that only Theists are required to ANSWER questions… Please stop asking questions of other Atheists.)

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    2. If we are created in the image of your god, as the bible tells us, then he … sorry, Matthew … He already knew this, and everything else, was going to happen.
      He is aware, nay, responsible for mental illness, if indeed this is the case, or if as some are claiming , it is evil in a religious sense then he is responsible for this also. After all, he is the Creator. Ultimately, if we are the design of the Designer, who else could possibly be responsible?

      The only other likely option, of course, is evolution. And evolution explains such apparent abhorrent behavior.

      What do you think? The former or the latter?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sorry Ark, I didn’t see you answer either of my questions on mental illness. If you answer my questions, and I mean answer- not “reply to”- then I’ll give you my beliefs on what God foreknew and how evil originated. Ironically, both have nothing to do with whether or not I believe in an old or young earth.

        So please, if you want to hear my answers- offer yours first. It’s a conditional promise that you’ll have to meet.

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      2. @Matthew

        I have a couple questions regarding the topic of mental illness.
        Is treatment for the medically ill only biological- or is there also behaviour modification?
        If humans are only physical, meaning that human behaviour is pre-determined by their brain’s physical functioning – what could be done to alter what is already determined to happen?

        1. I am not a neurologist but I am sure some behaviour modification can be achieved, but this might simply be a question of a different way of thinking, i.e. reprogramming one’s beliefs – I no longer smoke and for me a lot of quitting smoking was establishing new thought processes regarding the way I saw cigarettes.
        I imagine we could draw similar parallels with religious de-conversion. And those brought up with fervent religious beliefs are invariably subject to reinforcement, overt or tacit until beliefs are generally so ingrained they become difficult to change. Very much like nicotine addiction I should think!
        Now I can look back and see that all the times I justified smoking I was merely pandering to my addiction – reinforcing such thinking as I went along.

        Problems such as depression in its various forms is treatable through drugs and in some (many?) cases drugs many eventually be unnecessary. I doubt that more serious forms of mentally illness can be treated in this manner. I understand there is currently no permanent cure for psychopathy for example, and the condition can only be managed.
        To what degree of success I am not qualified to say.

        2. ”If humans are only physical …” Yes, I would say, of course they are.

        I am not quite sure what you are trying to get at in the second part so you’ll have to reword this part of the question and elaborate.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Hey Ark, thank you for your answers.

        Here is my point Ark, if we are only physical beings, then telling somebody to change their behavior is merely telling their brains to alter their own functioning- which they could not do. That would presuppose the free-will of the brain, while also presupposing that the brain is determined by its own chemistry. They are contradictory claims.
        So you are left in two quandaries,
        1. If behavior modification is possible- then humans are more than just physical.
        2. If humans are only physical, there is nothing we can do to change their behavior.

        While presupposing determinism, then not only is prayer rendered useless- but any humanitarian action.

        Since you did answer my questions, I’ll make good on my promise.

        Foreknowledge does not dictate actions.
        There are many ideas of God’s omniscience, including Arminianism and Molinism- not just Calvinism.
        Humans have libertarian free-will.
        Evil is a privation of Good.
        Illness is a privation of health.

        I’ll be busy with educational matters, but I did not want you to think I was backing out of my promise.

        Bye, Ark.

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      4. Here is my point Ark, if we are only physical beings, then telling somebody to change their behavior is merely telling their brains to alter their own functioning- which they could not do

        As I mentioned I am not a neurologist, but this sounds daft to me.
        The brain responds to input – stimuli – and we act upon that.
        I gave you the example of me smoking and the problems I had quitting which can be traced to habits and chemicals – to put is bluntly.
        And such behaviour modification happens all the time.
        I also mentioned psychopathy, for which there is no known permanent cure.
        This, then immediately flies in the face of your argument, especially if we consider permanent brain damage that can and does completely change a person’s character and personality, if it does not reduce the to a vegetative state, of course. Thus, this renders your more than physical statement as a fallacy.

        Unfortunately, the rest of your comment sounds like apologetics and is, I’m afraid, water off a duck’s back to me.
        You are now trying to find a way to justify your god.
        And of course this is a patently futile exercise as you can not even demonstrate your god exists, and certainly not through philosophical meandering. in order to demonstrate the veracity of your claim.
        Let’s be honest here, Matthew, what need would an omniscient deity have of an indoctrinated member of a religion with over 40,000 separate sects to speak on its behalf? The mere notion is ridiculous.
        So we return to my initial comment.

        An omniscient creator would know everything. And thus, the ultimate responsibility for what and who we are is ”His”.
        Of course this could all be part of His plan. But then one has to wonder what sort of Creator this is that consider genocide a necessary pert of that plan?

        And to answer that question you have your work seriously cut out for you.

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      5. then telling somebody to change their behavior is merely telling their brains to alter their own functioning

        I would suggest you actually try to learn a little about brain function and synaptic rewiring before writing such ignorant nonsense.

        Just a suggestion.

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    3. Lots. Maybe you should look at a more apparent type of disease, like asthma. Medication, along with preventative action (such as avoiding triggers) and in some cases a specified diet can prevent a deadly attack of asthma. Medicine and science work. Praying, chanting, casting spells, lighting candles, these are superstitions. They don’t work. There have been many scientific studies on this. The worst tragedies occur when religious parents deny their children access to medication, preferring “prayer.” Thousands of children have died from perfectly curable illnesses, due to prayer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your thoughtful response Danica, it is rather refreshing.

        I have a few clarifying questions, however:
        1) Do you think that humans are merely physical?
        2) Do you think that when Christians are offerring prayers in these circumstances, that they are asking for God to heal mental illness? Or do you think they could be asking for other things?

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      2. 2. I think there is some possibility that humans could console “themselves” via prayer, by asking for peace. What they are really doing is telling their own brains to fill them with a sense of peace to accept a situation. (Like meditating, or running might do.) It doesn’t directly impact the external situation, regardless of what they are asking for. We know this because any Christian mother who has lost a child probably prayed for that child not to die with a dedication that neither of us, hopefully, will ever have to feel.
        1. I believe that there is a possibility of a something similar to a soul, like the unbound and universal collection of energy and mass that continues after death. Whether there is some form of conscious thought after death, I am undecided. I do know that I’m not going to leave my politics, my daughter’s life, or my moral decisions in the hands of the esoteric imaginings of humans, whether my own or those of others, when there are concrete steps I can take while I am alive.

        Hope that clarifies, and thank you for your respectful contribution to this conversation, despite a bit of chaos here today. 🙂

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      3. Again, thank you for your answers.

        I do agree that people can miss the obvious answer to a prayer of healing ( medical treatment). I do believe that is one of God’s provisions.

        I am curious about one more thing:

        What evidence, if any, would be enough to convince you that prayer works? Would you presuppose a natural explanation (not that it’s a necessarily bad thing) to the “answer of prayer”?

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      4. Well, the Christian belief is that God always answers prayer. He just answers “yes, no, or maybe.” Logically speaking, that is the exact same thing as leaving things to chance. So it’s not whether I could be convinced of prayer that even matters. It is useless, even by the Christian definition, except to console the one praying. So I chose to focus my efforts on actions that at least have a possiblity of impacting others, not just myself.

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      5. That isn’t “the” Christian belief, that’s “a” Christian belief. However, I know I’ve heard that a fair amount of times, so I understand where you can get the impression.

        I guess where I’m getting at is about the “yes” answers, if you will.

        What would be enough evidence for a “yes” answer to be considered an “answer”, in your mind- and not just a “coincidence” or “scientific anomaly”?

        I’m not talking about being gullible, but by looking at the evidence, not being able to deny that there is something supernatural.

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      6. I don’t think it would be possible. Not trying to dodge your question in any way. Let’s say there are three possible outcomes for someone who has cancer. They die of it, they are cured of it, or they continue to live but still affected by the disease. By scientific chance, one of those three outcomes has to happen, with or without prayer involved. And when you take into account that those who believe in God will always believe that he answered the prayer, regardless of which of those three scenarios play out, then you have an experiment which can never be answered. If prayer worked all the time, I could pray for something right now, and it would appear. Clearly that is not going to happen. If prayer works some of the time, well so does not praying. People who don’t pray (or maybe more importantly) who pray to gods other than yours, experience healing some of the time. Could be medicine, could be scientific chance, or could be that your God answers prayers made to other gods? There are too many variables to conduct an experiment that would prove the effectiveness of prayer to me. I did spend many years of my life praying and experienced what I believed to be “answered prayers” as well as “unanswered prayers.” My new name for these things is just “life.” Not praying hasn’t changed the ratio of good/bad outcomes in my daily life.

        Liked by 2 people

      7. I’m not sure where you get the impression that Christians believe that God always answers prayer.

        This is just a short video of Francis Chan pointing out scriptures that say otherwise.

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      8. I’ll check it out, but later tonight. Thanks for sharing it. I’m not sure why anyone would pray, especially armed with the knowledge that god wouldn’t always answer prayer, though. I think we need to take action, not trust in deities who may or may not acknowledge our prayers. Obviously, though, we’re coming from different stances. I thank you for the considerate input to the conversation, and I’ll check out the video later tonight. 🙂

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      9. If you think about prayer as communication with your Father, rather than a genie in a bottle- you don’t expect to get everything you’ve always asked for. There are many types of prayer, rather than only prayers of petition.

        But I appreciate your willingness to watch and listen.

        I’ll be busy tonight and tomorrow as I’ll be tutoring for my university. So I will be done with continuing this conversation- although it has been an enlightening time.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. For the record, though, the Christian god is not the type I would want as a father. He is abusive. I’ll take those 20 minutes a day and talk to my real father, the Earthly one, who is a loving and kind man, puts others first, is humble and loves me and my siblings regardless of our beliefs. So if it is just about talking to a Christian heavenly father, one who is planning on sending 4 out of 6 people to eternal hell, one who demands worship, one who tosses around threats of punishment, I have no interest in establishing a relationship with him.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. To follow up, I did watch the video. It looks very much like the Christian definition of prayer I’m used to. “God listens to me because he loves me and I pray honestly, yada yada.” It’s a pretty big slap in the face to any praying parent who has lost a child to gun violence, to disease, to starvation. How incredibly, sickeningly arrogant to stand up on stage, in nice clothes, obviously well paid for the “job” of being a preacher, and to condemn all of those whose prayers god didn’t answer. They just weren’t good enough, or faithful enough, or “Christian enough.” How ashamed I am that I ever called myself a Christian, with beliefs like these. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Wally’s words as shared via Ark’s comment way up there.

    Here’s one that will torque you off for sure. Fascists like you are why I think we’ll keep that ole second amendment.

    This looks honest to me and isn’t it the truth. At least he admits it.

    Because your only hope since you and the whole lot are morons and have no case, is to enforce the thoughts you like by coercion and force. ~ Wally

    Yeah just like the coercion and force that brought the 2nd amendment. Let’s get out there and kill those savages and their buffalo too! Hee Haw!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. The mere notion of something being ”evil” as we have (all) been brought up to understand the term has, in my experience, always gone hand-in-hand with what we would popularly know as the Devil: Satan, Lucifer, the Dark One etc.
    Playing your Black Sabbath records backwards to hear the Devil’s message. Come on, own up, you all did it.
    Or if you prefer …. The Dark Side. Thank you Darth, you may go back to fondling your light saber … but quietly, please.
    Of course, normal people don’t believe in such an individual any more than normal people don’t actually believe in gods.
    But I’ll wager the word evil is bandied about, by the religious and non-religious alike. Although there will be subtle differences in what is actually meant by the word’s usage depending on whether the user is religious or not. And in this context, Christian.
    And it is probably used by the non religious because most, if not all, of us have been brought up in a culture that has, by and large, been religious.

    However, to call the actions of the maniac who slaughtered those school children evil, in any sort of religious sense is just plain silly, the ”Devil made him do it”. Did he indeed?

    And of course if this is the criteria for such actions then we must attribute the same for all murders, for it is only a matter of the degree of evilness, all such acts being influenced by Satan.
    And we might as well include the NRA as well.

    And to reference JZs comment regarding Amanda Branyans actions with a firearm; are we to say her action was likewise evil, was Satan whispering in her ear? Had she begun to embrace the Dark Side?

    The more likely answer, though I do not know all the details, severe postpartum depression coupled with other internal issues. And there was the gun …
    Thank goodness common sense or someone’s intervention prevailed.

    Yes, the school shooting was a vile, horrendous act.
    Call it evil if you like. But don’t attribute it to some sort of Devil-influenced act as this just makes you sound as if you too are not playing with a full deck.

    The bloke went off his rocker. He snapped. There was obviously a degree of mental instability as normal people just don’t slaughter their fellow humans. Maybe he was chronically depressed? Maybe he took drugs and was off his head? I didn’t read all the details.

    These mass shootings are a feature of the American landscape. And there will be more. We all know it is going to happen.

    If the American public don’t do something, then …well … the clock is ticking.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. FYI, Ozzy has stated he’s a God-fearing Christian. And it’s quite obvious when you listen to “After Forever’ and “Lord of This World” forwards.

      Of course, he also claims he saw “Fairies with boots and dancing with a dwarf” in another song.

      . . . so there’s a strong possiblitiy these beiefs could be inspired by his love of “Sweet Leaf” and other entheogens. 😉

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      1. This could probably go on for a long time, so before we all get caught up in the wheels of confusion and in the interest of maintaining some semblance of sanity on Danica’s fine blog , I suggest we hope for changes and that tomorrows dream sees the masters of reality bring about a gun-free environment.

        That’s my lot …. 🙂

        I shall leave the last word to you , good sir!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. It just adds to the flavour that Branyan’s daughter popped over and also Matthew Cross, one of his blog pals. The Unholy Trio?
      Did you read his rant on his blog?
      I think John Z must upset him a tad!

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      1. Oh, and Mary. If you decide to comment over there – be warned. He (sweetheart that he is) decided to tell everyone my surname (I’m so trusting that I thought there was some kind of honour among ‘believers’ – you know, basic honesty, that kind of thing?) which appears in my address . . . so beware. He’ll stoop to anything to defend his imaginary friend. Guy just cannot seem to control his emotions. (you might have already deduced same).

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      2. Did I? Good.

        And apologies Danica, I rarely swear on blogs, but that comment (and general line of thought) from Branyan was just the sickest, most detestable, vile thing I’d seen in a long time.

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    1. That young fellow is impressive – sensible, articulate and intelligent. I am so hopeful that the student body can spur the gov’t to do something; they’re on the right track!

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  13. I’m certain there was not one single Christian who participated in the genocide of pagans and American Indians. I can’t remember Jesus ever saying that genocide in any form was okay. Anybody who participates in genocide and calls themselves a Christian is at least a liar…wait…I’m sorry…at least someone making a mistake and avoiding the truth. There. That’s a better way to put it. I would hate to hurt a genocidal-murderer-calling-himself-a-Christian’s feelings by calling him something as insensitive as a liar. Oh, and if I’m not mistaken, the people who lived on this continent before the Europeans showed up weren’t exactly joining together as one tribe around the fire singing Kum-Ba-Yah. It’s not like our ancestors stumbled on a big love fest when they landed on Plymouth Rock.

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    1. “Sometimes the scripture declareth that women and children must perish with their parents. Sometimes the case alters, but we will not dispute it now. We have suffient light from the word of God, for our proceedings.” –Captain John Underhill, after the Christian slaughter of the Pequot Indians.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry, danicanallen. Nobody who was a Christian killed anyone for the crime of “witchcraft.” Again, people have used the term “Christian” to justify all manner of horrible things. The people who killed those 50,000 women and men in the name of Christianity are probably burning in hell right now.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Celebrating the aftermath of the storming of Jerusalem by the Crusaders in 1099, Cleric Raymond of Aguilers gleefully remarked:

      “In the temple of Solomon, one rode in blood up to the knees and even to the horses’ bridles, by the just and marvellous judgment of God.”

      Liked by 3 people

  14. Mr. Zande, why were you apologizing for swearing on your blog? What standard of language are you appealing to? Are you implying there is a distinction between appropriate and inappropriate language? Where does that standard come from? If you truly feel the need to apologize, is it conceivable that the one you need to apologize to should be the one you called a f**kwit?

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    1. Nope. He was apologizing for swearing on my blog, not for swearing at that individual. I appreciated his gesture towards me and thanked him for it. His language was completely appropriate here and anywhere, in response to the subject matter he was dealing with.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Not all, because the defiled, sick line of reasoning presented by Branyan was the most vile thing I had seen in a while. He deserved to be called a fuckwit. For even uttering those perverted words, I’m certain those survivors down in Florida would also call him a fuckwit, right to his face. Or are you missing that message completely?

      I apologised to Danica because it’s her blog and the tone she sets here does not include swearing. If you prefer people wearing clothes in your house, I would try to conform to that preferred tone, too. It’s called common sense and common decency.

      Clear now?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @JZ
        You would only try to conform? Does this mean there’s a fair chance you might come unglued, strip off and prance around my spot like Mary Poppins in your unmentionables singing Spoonful of Sugar or something?

        No, no, no, …. Now I shall have to have one of the kids read me bedtime stories for a week just so’s I don’t have nightmares.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have no idea who this Frank is, but you may have to use that fruitbowl hat to preserve a modicum of dignity.
        Or if not the whole damn hat at least a couple of cherries and a banana.
        My dogs scare easily, y’know?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No, still unclear. “Defiled,” “Perverted,” “Sick,” these are all terms that imply some moral standard. I’m just trying to figure out why a moral standard is being appealed to in this conversation. Without that standard, there is nothing to be angry about. There’s no reason to call someone a f**kwit because you disagree with their position. In a world where there is no moral standard, JB’s views are just as valid (or invalid) as anyone else’s. In fact, there is no such thing as a different opinion. The problem is, if all opinions are valid, then no opinions are valid, and I don’t think anyone on this thread believes that.

        Furthermore, I am pretty sure that Martin Luther hated Jews, so no, I don’t think he was a genuine Christian. But it starts turning into a semantics game at some point. By definition, genuine means something that is exactly what it says it is. By that definition, there is no such thing as a genuine Christian. The essence of the Good News, though, is that it’s not what we do, but what Christ has done on the cross. If the guy who rejoiced in bathing in the blood of the Crusades never changed his mind, he was definitely not following Christ.

        Concerning danicanallen’s prayer experience, nobody can argue with experience. But philosophically, is experience the only way to evaluate things? Pilots have flown planes straight into mountains at full speed because their experience was telling them that everything they were seeing on the instrument panels was legit. If 50,000,000 Elvis fans can’t be wrong, you should at least give 50,000,000+ people who believe in prayer the benefit of the doubt.

        I’m sorry this thread is such a hostile place to visit. I get the real impression that it would be near impossible to get to the “genuine” bottom of any real issues here. It’s an emotional time in history, and I think it’s sad that most debates eventually descend into shouting matches where people just start calling each other a** clowns and f**kwits.

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      4. Poor jtoaks. Actually, there were pilots who flew their planes directly into buildings – remember them? Remember why? They believed their god had spoken to them.

        You really need to stay on JB’s blog. Now there’s a man who never insults, demeans, or employs sarcasm. Such a peach that guy, and a ‘real’ christian! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. LOL!
        “the moral standard of our society”

        Yes! I do want you to go on!
        I’d love to hear the “moral standard of our society” explain why condemning school shootings is “sick, perverted and vile”.

        Again, I’m the only one saying it’s evil to kill children. You don’t have a problem with sick, perverted, vile people shooting kids. But you really hate it when they’re Christians.

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      6. Yes, it’s called “evolved societal norms.” Oh, but you already know that, don’t you. Those were YOUR words! Evolved societal norms.

        Damn, that’s awkward, isn’t it?

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      7. Evolved societal norms include religious thought. I said that at the time you took the screen shot but you were too giddy to pay attention.

        Which means “evolved societal norms” include concepts like “evil” and “sin”. Most human beings know this instinctively. Wicked people like you reject it and call it “enlightened”.

        Damn, that’s awkward, isn’t it?

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      8. Evolved societal norms include religious thought.

        Really? Could have sworn you were claiming earlier that your religion was the source of some “transcendent” moral truth.

        So, which is it, Branyan… Fluid and evolving standards, or a fixed line drawn by your god.

        Can’t have it both ways.

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      9. But you don’t believe in that transcendent thing, because, as you have already confirmed, our morality is an evolving thing.

        That’s the thing with liars… they always get caught in their own shifting stories.

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      10. No, no… Not “concepts,” you slippery little weasel. You were talking about “transcendent moral truth”

        So, Branyan, which is it: Transcendent, or Evolving?

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      11. It is a transcendent moral truth that killing children is wrong. We both know it. I’m the only one with the balls to say it.

        Maybe you’ll evolve a backbone and join me in advocating the truth?

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      12. It is a transcendent moral truth that killing children is wrong.

        Is it?

        “Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all, old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders. “Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded. “Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!” So they went throughout the city and did as they were told.” (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)

        So, I guess you’re mistaken.

        But OK, I think I’ve got it.

        So, for example:

        Killing children back then, Good.
        Killing children now, Bad.

        Slavery back then, Good.
        Slavery now, Bad.

        That’s great messaging for an apparently transcendent moral being.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. quoted scripture to demonstrate that killing is wrong!

        Awesome, so you admit you worship a vile an immoral being.

        Good for you.

        Question is: why do you worship a vile and immoral being knowing its vile and immoral?

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      14. You have no way to determine what is “vile” and “immoral”. Your morality shifts with time and culture. You are committed to your godless dogma, not truth. The worst thing is, you’re building your ego on the bodies of slaughtered children.

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      15. Goodness, you’ve gotten yourself all knotted up, haven’t you?

        Morality is Transcendent and fixed, until it’s Evolving. Killing kids is bad, except for when it’s good.

        Solid belief system you have there, Branyan. Golden.

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      16. My belief is that it was evil to shoot those school children in Florida. You believe it wasn’t a big deal. I believe that makes you evil too.

        Good thing there’s no such thing as evil, huh?

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      17. Yes, killing kids is evil. I heard you. Then I showed you this colossal piece of awkwardness…

        “[The LORD said] Kill them all, old and young, girls and women and little children. (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)

        By your words, you believe this (killing “little children”) was “evil,” right?

        By your words, you therefore believe Yhwh is evil.

        By your words, you worship evil.

        I think we’re clear now.

        And in advance, my thoughts and prayers, John.

        Seriously, there was nothing, nothing at all you or anyone could have done to stop your mentally ill psychotic daughter, Amanda, from killing all those kids… with a gun, which she purchased, legally.

        Thoughts and prayers.

        Thoughts and prayers.

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      18. I’m not surprised that you’re a fan of Ezekiel 9. All those faulty frontal cortex people slaughtering each other without guns.

        I’m still the only person on record that says the Florida shooting was evil. That’s gotta be awkward for you.

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      19. We all got that, JB. That was your response, just like Gov. Scott – “It’s evil, thoughts and prayers”. Meanwhile, teenagers – obviously more passionate, sensible, motivated, and intelligent – are doing something. Did you get THAT?

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      20. I’m telling dark hearted people like you that sin and evil are real things that kill people. I’m getting mocked and scorned for the effort. That’s how I know the message is being received. You’re just too full of hatred to let it change you.

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      21. sin and evil are real things that kill people No, guns in the hands of mentally unbalanced individuals kill people. BTW, CHRISTIANS (who should be FREE of “sin and evil”) have been known to kill a person or two as well. Hmmm.

        Liked by 1 person

      22. You’re self-projecting, John. I didn’t throw anything at Christians. I just pointed out that they have been known to kill a person or two as well , which kinda’ delfates your argument about evil being the culprit.

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      23. You haven’t pointed out that killing people is evil, so you haven’t ‘kinda deflated’ anything.

        If you don’t like the word “evil” then how about “godlessness”? Whatever word you want to use to describe the state of mind that condemns people of faith for praying while justifying the slaughter of innocent children.

        That’s what you are.

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      24. God justifies the slaughter of children throughout the Old Testament. So “Godless” is not a word I would pick, other than to describe someone who is NOT okay with killing children.

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      25. God justifies killing EVERYTHING. Not just children. The death rate is 100% among living things. Who are you to complain? You didn’t give life to yourself. Your life was given to you by God. You’ve decided to show your appreciation by spitting on Him.

        Keep telling yourself you’re morally superior to God. Keep sneering at Christians for praying. And most importantly, keep hoping that evil doesn’t exist.

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      26. By the way, JB says he’s the only one on this thread who believes that shooting up a school is an evil act, but I’ll put my vote in on that score, too.

        Evil.

        You’re not alone, JB.

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      27. Sorry, your Wickedness, I am right on the money. You said the Florida shooter was a young man who made a mistake. He didn’t sin. He isn’t evil.

        I’ll keep reminding you how awful you are in case you decide to do something about it someday.

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      28. I’m off to bed but just wanted to let you know, JB, that while you’ve been sitting around in the position I mentioned several times today, George and Amal Clooney have donated half a million dollars to the March for Life campaign. Oprah matched it. Now THAT’s doing something! Go students!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      29. Good for George and Amal!

        I just got back from a meeting at church where we arranged to send 36,000 meals to some hungry kids in Sudan.

        You are still a wretched, hateful person.

        Sleep tight.

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      30. . . . and you’re doing NOTHING except blathering on about your god. How is that constructive? Meanwhile, teenagers are protesting, others are writing their Congresspeople, and some are raising awareness by writing thought-provoking and passionate blog posts, encouraging other people to do something. But look, you just keep sitting there with your finger up your arse, John boy! What a hero! Thoughts and prayers, pal!

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      31. …and you’re doing NOTHING except raging at me. Raging about thoughts and prayers being useless against bullets.

        Have protests stopped a bullet?
        Has writing a congressman stopped a bullet?
        Has a blog post stopped a bullet?
        Has calling me a fuckwit stopped a bullet?

        You’re sitting there with your finger up your arse telling me there’s no such thing as evil while children shot to death in school. What a hero!

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      32. Actually protests have stopped countless injustices. Sitting by and allowing them to happen does nothing. The only way bad laws can be changed is by speaking out. (To real human beings, I’ll add.)

        Liked by 1 person

      33. I’m telling dark hearted people like you that sin and evil are real things that kill people.

        Oh, so you DO believe dysfunctions in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala regions of the brain (either occurring during foetal development, or through later traumatic brain injury, and which produce psychopaths) are evil.

        Neptune help us, your positions shift so quickly. Can you even keep track of what you believe from morning to afternoon?

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      34. I’ve rejected your prefrontal cortex trauma as evil twice.
        That is your religious doctrine, not mine.

        My position from the start has been that it is evil to shoot school children.
        You, Nan, Carmen and Danica disagree.
        You’re all just as wicked as the gunman, you just haven’t broken the law.

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      35. I’ve rejected your prefrontal cortex trauma as evil twice.

        Yes, you have… So I’m waiting for you to present your body of professional work, including published research papers authored by neurologists and psychoanalysts (specialists in brain dysfunctions and violent psychopathy), which support that position of yours.

        Until then Branyan, my position stands as correct.

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      36. So, ignoring for a moment the awkward fact that you worship something you yourself call “evil,” do tell me… Is this ‘moral truth’ you speak of transcendent, or evolving?

        I know you get all twisted up and hopelessly muddled in your forever shifting positions, but you’ve claimed both, John, and I’m afraid you just can’t have that.

        So, which is it: transcendent, or evolving?

        What position are you selecting today?

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      37. And which position is that? A transcendent (ie. fixed) moral truth?

        Well, I’m afraid, John, but that just doesn’t sit with another your positions…. God changes his mind.

        Those are your words (as you can see) not mine, and you were saying your god changed its mind on slavery.

        Am I to believe your god also changed its mind on killing little children?

        But do tell me, if your god changes its mind, regularly, as you say it does, then where, exactly, is this “fixed” truth you seem to believe exists?

        Liked by 2 people

      38. And you never did answer me: is it Transcendent, or Evolving?

        You’ve claimed both.

        So, is it this claim of fixed moral truth:

        Or is it this claim that morality is an evolving thing:

        Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways… Just saying.

        So do let me know which.

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      39. It’s wrong, huh? So if that is a fixed truth, why does Yhwh (the apparent source of this truth, yes?) kill little children?

        Somewhat confused messaging, isn’t it?

        Do please address this elephant in the room.

        Liked by 2 people

      40. The elephant in the room is your ego. The gigantic need to be worshiped for your infallible intellect. It’s an ugly, evil, elephant and it’s all yours.
        And your blind faith can’t see it.

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      41. No, the “elephant in the room” is you claiming 1) your god is the source of some fixed moral truth, and 2) your god doing the very thing you call “Evil,” which is to say, the very opposite of what you seem to think is a fixed moral truth, which is to say, killing little children.

        So, care to address that elephant in the room, Branyan?

        I’ll wait…

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      42. The elephant in the room is impossible to see because it is hidden by your ego.

        As I told Danica, God kills everyone, not just children. God is directly responsible for every single death that has occurred since the beginning of time. Who are you to say that’s wrong?

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      43. You’re conflating natural death with the deliberate murder of little children?

        What a thoroughly disgusting and vile person you are.

        You should not have any contact, whatsoever, with children.

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      44. A person who doesn’t believe in evil shouldn’t use words like disgusting and vile. You sound incoherent.

        There is no such thing as “natural death”. God literally kills every living thing. Again, who are you to criticize Him?

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      45. Not unlike the child who’s been chastised, knows he’s wrong, and will not give up and ‘take his medicine’, John Branyan has only one thing left after his fit of pique. “You’re all MEANIES!”, he cries out furiously.

        Can’t you just go to your room, kick a few stuffed animals and sulk? After all, tomorrow’s a new day. 🙂

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      46. Whoops, JB! Where you are now is what we’d refer to as being between a rock and hard place.
        Meanwhile, your weak contention (and I see you share this same reaction with Gov. Scott of Florida) to the latest school shooting is, “It’s EVIL – thoughts and prayers!”. Which Danica has highlighted, explained how it’s equivalent to sticking your finger up your arse, and debunked thoroughly.
        NOW, guess who’s actually trying to do something and exhibiting a passionate, well-articulated rebuttal to all those ‘christians’ out there (including the Republichristians)? TEENAGERS. Teenagers, JB – the ones who actually survived a horrendous act and are determined to finally get something else done besides ‘thoughts and prayers’ in response to a national disgrace.
        You disgust me, Branyan. You and all those other smug, self-righteous asses who just close your eyes and ears and repeat, “(My) god is good and so am I for imagining it”. Sick bastards, as John Zande has rightly pointed out.

        Liked by 2 people

      47. Most of the people in the Old Testament that the New Testament speaks favorably about were mass murderers, like David, who killed tens of thousands, and Moses. Especially God. “That is why the Lord takes no pleasure in the young men and shows no mercy even to the widows and the orphans.” (Isa. 9:17) Seems like the Bible supports genocide, from the big dog all the way down to his followers.

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      1. The thing with John Branyan is this: his history with commenters follows the same pattern. Every one of us began conversing with him using diplomacy and common decency. In fact, I started out believing that he was genuinely seeking answers and responded to him with compassion. However, it didn’t/doesn’t take long to realize that his disdain for others’ opinions – and the fact that they aren’t members of the Jesus Club – immediately makes them a target for his arrogant reproach. 😦

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Initially, I sincerely believed his blog was pure satire, much like when I first came across a YEC blog.
        It was quite difficult at first to readjust my thought process and face the fact he really did believe the utter garbage he wrote … and still does.
        These days, if ever I engage him directly , I have to temporarily down tune all intellectual faculties to around Coco level , and that is probably an insult to her.

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      3. Oh, the naivety. Is this the remnants of the whole Christian pure at heart thing?
        Lol …
        Maybe in time Wally (have you met him yet?) will tell you your father is the Devil!

        Aaah … so much to look forward to, you lucky thing.
        Have been told you have no morality other than what is god given …. even though you don’t believe on gods anymore?

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      4. Dani, I hope you’re figured out by now that JB and his ridiculous remarks are anything but satire. More accurately, his forté is sarcasm … and since he calls himself a comedian, I guess he thinks what he says is funny. In reality? Not so much.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Okay, okay, you twisted my arm!

        I’ll give you one. A small nugget. A carrot on a string. This guy was not even remotely a Christian, nor did he have anything to do with writing the Bible. His name was Cornelius Tacitus, a historian of ancient Rome. He lived from 55-120 AD, and confirmed the torture of Christians under Nero, citing Jesus’ execution under Pontious Pilate.

        Cue eye rolls…NOW!

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  15. @JTOAKS

    Sorry, danicanallen. Nobody who was a Christian killed anyone for the crime of “witchcraft.” Again, people have used the term “Christian” to justify all manner of horrible things. The people who killed those 50,000 women and men in the name of Christianity are probably burning in hell right now.

    Hell as portrayed in your comment is a Christian construct .

    There is no such ”place”.

    Would you consider Martin Luther an example of a genuine Christian?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. @JTOAKS

    Furthermore, I am pretty sure that Martin Luther hated Jews, so no, I don’t think he was a genuine Christian. But it starts turning into a semantics game at some point. By definition, genuine means something that is exactly what it says it is. By that definition, there is no such thing as a genuine Christian. The essence of the Good News, though, is that it’s not what we do, but what Christ has done on the cross.

    As you correctly state , there is no such thing as a genuine Christian, and yet every individual who would call themselves thus are no doubt adamant they are genuine.

    And exactly how does the (claimed) execution of the character Jesus of Nazareth
    have any bearing on how one defines a genuine Christian?

    By your tone can one presume you consider yourself Christian?

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    1. “By your tone can one presume you consider yourself Christian?”

      Yes.

      “And exactly how does the (claimed) execution of the character Jesus of Nazareth have any bearing on how one defines a genuine Christian?”

      If history matters, the execution of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the most historically verifiable events of antiquity. If history means nothing, then I can’t argue with you. If you can write off one historical event as “claimed,” you can write off any historical event (e.g. the “claimed” assassination of Abraham Lincoln…the “claimed” concentration camps of Nazi Germany…the “claimed” crusades of the middle ages…the “claimed” military campaigns of Napoleon…)

      Jesus of Nazareth’s death on the cross was an atoning death, and it’s the central issue of the Christian faith. If Jesus wasn’t killed, buried, and resurrected, the whole thing falls like Congress (a House of Cards). Nothing a human does makes one a Christian. Only what Christ has already done.

      The Apostle Paul quoted the Psalmist: “No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”

      Believe it or not, there is freedom in realizing that you’re no good, rotten, foolish. If one of the founders of Christianity believed this about himself, how much more should I?

      This guy got no earthly benefit from this belief. In fact, he was killed for it. He was either right, or crazy.

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      1. “or a myth.”

        like George Washington. Or Henry VIII. Or Julius Caesar. Or Atila the Hun. Or JFK. Or Martin Luther King, Jr. Or Joseph Stalin. Or Mohammed. Or Ghandi. Or Sir Isaac Newton. Or Thomas Alva Edison. Or Galileo. Or Janis Joplin. Or Michelangelo. Or John Lennon. Or Sitting Bull. Or Ian Fraser Kilmister. Or Jimmy Hoffa. Or you, after you die. Dead people don’t have the luxury of defending themselves. Legitimate historians do that, and do it very well.

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      2. If you think George Washington was a myth, you’re in real trouble. Jesus Christ – Who knows? Where’s your evidence? (Outside of the Bible)
        Are you relatively new to all this, or what? I am shaking my head here.

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      3. JTOAKS wrote … there is freedom in realizing that you’re no good, rotten, foolish. .

        OMGawd! To believe you must devalue and debase yourself in order to be a “good Christian” is SICK! And I truly, truly feel sorry for those who feel they must see themselves this way.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Let’s start with this, shall we?

        If history matters, the execution of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the most historically verifiable events of antiquity

        Exactly what contemporary verifiable evidence do you have outside of the bible?

        Bear in mind, I am not necessarily saying he wasn’t crucified I just want to read the verified evidence you have. Thanks a lot.

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      5. I would be happy to provide evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, although I fully expect the evidence to be disregarded on this thread as unreliable and “fake.” I think “fake” should be the adjective of the decade, because it can be applied to anything one doesn’t want to believe. The same kind of historical verification that would be used to prove the existence of George Washington and Atila the Hun can be used to prove the existence of Jesus Christ. To claim that Jesus was a myth is simple, willful ignorance.

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      6. So I am waiting.
        Rather than continuing to flap around like a flag in the wind , provide the verifiable evidence, and contemporary evidence too if you believe you have it.
        Let’s stop mucking about and get cracking already.
        We can discuss your morality question/ issues afterwards ….
        Over to you.

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      7. I don’t have internet at home, so that explains the delayed response.

        If I listed pages of historical evidence, you wouldn’t read it. Steinbeck said, “No one wants advice – only corroboration.” All the evidence is there, written by people whose names one can barely pronounce, but you won’t believe it. If I told you I could call on God right now to burn a hole in the earth between us with a big fireball, and God actually did that, you’d say, “There must be another explanation.”

        You’ve already decided what you believe, and no amount of evidence will convince you otherwise. That’s why I asked Danicanallen a few posts ago, “If you were wrong, would you want to know it?”

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      8. Of course I would read it. ( unless I have read it already,and then I can tell you my views and we can test it for its veracity)
        So please, don’t make judgments before even offering your evidence, that’s just plain silly, and it makes you worse that what you are presupposing I am like.

        Go ahead.list the pages of historical evidence and I can evaluate them.

        I thoroughly enjoy religious history so if you have something you consider worthwhile I will most definitely read it.

        Please … list you evidence.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Is that what you are afraid of, JT? Can you remember anything before you were born? Why do you think it’s going to be any different after you die? You do know what death is, right? D E A D. It does not mean you get another life – face it.

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      10. Okay, I know we keep hashing and re-hashing this, but I’m having fun. How about y’all?

        If there is no such thing as evil, why do the crusades and the witch trials make people mad? Aren’t the people who murdered “witches” and crusaders who murdered “infidels” well within their rights to choose their own moralities? How can any of this be wrong if there is no such thing as wrong? Why would anyone call someone else a f**kwit unless they thought that f**kwit was wrong?

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  17. Oh I was so hoping not to have to play this “game” with the crazies again today. By acknowledging and replying to JB we are feeding his huge ego and his need to be the obnoxious kid on the block. He clearly gets his jollies off by being sarcastic, obnoxious and very un christian like.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. “For every one of them is godless and an evildoer,
    And every mouth is speaking foolishness.
    In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away
    And His hand is still stretched out.” (Isa. 9:17)

    Keep spitting on the One who gave you life, Danica.
    Israel did! You can read how that worked out for them…

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    1. Sorry, your words don’t touch me, since I don’t believe your god gave me life. However, if there is “evil” it is well-depicted in your imaginary god. It only takes one good read through of the Old Testament to confirm my view.

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      1. Sorry, your words don’t touch me, since I don’t believe you have rendered a coherent statement. I hope you haven’t misunderstood my intentions. I’m not trying to persuade you to my point of view. I’m just exposing the mindless futility of YOUR point of view.

        You claim to be inclusive of all people, regardless of beliefs. That’s obviously a crock.
        I’ve been personally demeaned, belittled, mocked and ostracized with your approval. I believe you even told JZ you “loved” him after the fuckwit quote. The whole lot of you STILL refuses to condemn the guy who killed school children. Instead, you’re ganging up on me for suggesting the act was evil.

        I couldn’t care less whether or not my words ‘touch you’. My job is to speak the truth. It doesn’t matter to me if you believe it.

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      2. I can’t control how other people treat you, JB. I post my own thoughts and opinions on my own blog, and others comment according to theirs. I do feel love for those who I believe are standing up for an unpopular but urgent truth. I don’t spend my time blogging about you, as you do about me. I blog about topics that matter deeply to me. It’s up to you if you want to continue blogging about me, or continue posting comments that oppose my sentiments and the general sentiments of my readership. I’m not going to ask you not to do it. I’m also not going to change my mind about how I stand up for my beliefs when you throw childish Biblical threats at me. If I’m not listening to them from the wicked mouth of your imaginary god, I am certainly not going to be phased by them from you. If your feelings are hurt, then find another place to preach your backwards, ridiculous notions. Again, I’m not asking you to leave, but if you expect me not to support the readership who support my thoughts, my ideals, my beliefs and my opinions, I can’t offer you that. Likewise, I don’t suppose you would go out of your way to defend KIA or JZ if one of your readers was hurling their Christianese insults at them. At the end of the day, I expect you to do you, and you can expect the same from me. Have a good rest.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “If your feelings are hurt, then find another place to preach your backwards, ridiculous notions.”
        LOL! This is my favorite comment on this thread!

        My backwards, ridiculous notion is that it’s evil to shoot school children.
        And it doesn’t hurt my feelings that you disagree.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Can’t we just settle this and move on to something else ? My brain hurts.

    If we take the word evil literally….it means work of the devil or Satan. It is a religious word or a phrase to others.
    But I’ve probably said it at times..something or someone is evil, but when I say it I don’t mean it literally. I mean all the other adjectives like crazy, awful, terrible, psychopathic , insane, no conscience , no compassion, a truly horrible person or thing or event.

    Why are we going on and on about a word when the real problem is trying to curb violence in our country being it with guns or bombs or hate and judgement.

    We have wasted days with a person who delights and lives for discourse and sarcasm. And he brings his buddies.
    Please let’s move on……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because the religious not only want you to admit that evil is ever present that it is the work of the Satan, the total antithesis of Yahweh … who is good and just and only commits genocide when he has a migraine.

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  20. @JB

    My backwards, ridiculous notion is that it’s evil to shoot school children.

    Under the generally understood term then, yes, we can call such mass shootings evil. I have no problems with this.
    Of course, my usage of the term will not have any religious connotations, and evil would be the off-the-wall seriously vile and apparently insane action that no normal person would contemplate.

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  21. J. Warner Wallace’s “Cold-Case Christianity”. It is a book to read if you are a skeptic convinced that faith demands the absence of reason.

    John B., atheists and whatever else they call themselves have a “darkened” mind…2 Corinthians 4:4 says “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
    John 12:40 says “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.” And the big one : Romans 1:18-31 God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity
    The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.”
    So, no argument from us will reach them, it needs an act of God. And, isn’t it odd that they use selective scripture (and even believe it, so it seems), when they do not believe that God exists? How’s that, again??? It’s very sad….and I’m going to say it…these people need PRAYER! Do not stoop to their level, and be angered by them….for you give power over to the principalities of this world…you know the one…his only trick is deception…and he’ll use it by any means….leave these folks to muddle around in their own vises…they’re not going anywhere effectual with their thoughts….God is in control.

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    1. I’ll approve this comment with a gigantic “sigh.” I don’t think you’re going to reach many people here by throwing around Bible verses. It’s exactly the kind of thing that drove me from Christianity. Blind faith without reason, indoctrination, and yes, discrimination. (see above.) But I do welcome comments from every angle, so thank you for participating.

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      1. Thank you kindly for your consideration! If you were driven from Christianity…then you most likely were never truly converted to begin with (wrong theology can do that)…or God simply isn’t through with you yet ;>). Sanctification IS a process…sometimes “we doth protest too much”. As long as a person is drawing breath there is hope of salvation. We Christians risk sowing seeds…but risk it we must…God decides where they land. We must needs to know when to step back and let Him do His work, in His way, in His timing…His will be done, always.

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      2. @Danica.

        You should consider having a *Sigh* post of the week, and feature such comments, tag it humour and create a special award Widget featuring a beatific Jesus clapping, maybe?
        Although, John Branyan would likely be hogging the limelight so you might have to include a proviso
        that stipulates a maximum of three entries per week per nominee.
        But this comment from I’m Spare is a definite shoe-in as an inaugural winner.

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      3. Ark, I am gathering more sighs than a lifetime of blogging would permit, haha. But I do have a few key points from this thread that will definitely appear in the upcoming weeks at Love over Religion. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. @ I’m Spare.

      If Wallace’s forensics were anything but a load of bollocks every member of every homicide division in the US would have converted to Christianity already and solved all the cold case murders. Wallace is an indoctrinated Nob of the first order.
      I think this is succinct enough, yes?

      Oh, and please don’t offer Strobel, or Habermas, or Licona or William Lane Craig, or Kenneth Kitchen, or John Lennox, or tell us about Anthony Flew.

      Have a day.

      Next ….

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    1. My night is complete – a sanctimonious comment from a virtue-signalling christian who is grinning, thinking, “She’s going to hell in an handbasket!” 🙂

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      1. Nope, Carmen, not as long as you draw breath…there is still hope. God has the final say. On the note…let me ask you a question, Would you rather die believing there is no God, and then finding out there is one, or, would you rather die believing in God and finding out there isn’t one? Ponder the ramifications…. night night! ;>0

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      2. I totally can believe it! After I watched a video on this thread that said “God only answers the prayers of super Christian, perfect people, and that’s why other people die, fall ill, face starvation, yada yada….they’re just not “Christian” enough……after that one, I can believe anything! I answered our Pascal-pusher.

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      3. Not the question was asked of me, but I would rather live my life, my one life, not under the command of a superstition. What if this is the only life you have to live, and you have basically wasted it, believing in a fictional character and living your life accordingly? There are many, many harmful messages in Christianity. Personally, I won’t “Wager” my life, my sanity, my daughter’s emotional health, or my interactions with my human family on an ancient (and cruel) myth of god who is either inept at his job, evil, or fictional.

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  22. “To believe you must devalue and debase yourself in order to be a “good Christian” is SICK! And I truly, truly feel sorry for those who feel they must see themselves this way.”

    When I finally admitted I was rotten to the core, I discovered I was valued and enhanced, not devalued and debased. There is great value and beauty that comes from admitting you are wrong. If you can’t admit you’re wrong, you look as ridiculous as Fonzie on that episode of Happy Days where he couldn’t apologize. Repentance is a concept that changed my life for the better. I feel sorry for anyone who never feels the need to apologize or repent. What a miserable way to live!

    I am a terrible Christian, but I’m willing to admit it. There is no good inside me, and that awareness fills me with indescribable joy. On the goodness gauge, when do you know you’re good enough? You never do.

    There is no such thing as a good Christian. That is a myth.

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    1. Apologizing and admitting you are wrong when you really are is one thing. Being battered down by a religion that calls infants “sinners” and asks me to accept that I am “rotten to the core” is a doctrine of emotional abuse. There is absolutely no comparison.

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      1. Most Christians don’t believe the things the Bible teaches. That I have learned. Repeatedly God punishes and threatens to punish children for the iniquities of prior generations. Also, the concept of “original sin” suggests that we are all born sinners and separated from God because of Adam and Eve. No one gets a fair shake in Christianity, not even from birth.

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  23. Just chiming in with some evidence you were looking for. Contrary to popular belief there is quite a bit of extra-biblical evidence for Jesus’ existence. Two well-known writers Pliny and Tacitus wrote about man named Jesus who was crucified under the order of Pontius Pilate. Josephus, considered one of the greatest Jewish historians, also wrote of this man.

    Now, if you admit he lived and also admit the gospels spoke of him you are left with two possible scenarios. Either, he believed he was who he claimed to be or he was insane, those are the only possible conclusions.

    Keep in mind this tiny Jewish sect was perpetuated by 12 men who would and- it is believed by many-did die for what they believed about this simple man from Galilee. In fact, this tiny group of tax-collectors,fisherman and others were so influential that Christianity was made the official Roman religion after less than 400 years. This was in large part due to the immense number of those who were willing to die (ironically, called atheists because they would not worship Caesar) rather than betray their Savior.

    This is most definitely not a fantasy -based belief system. Several famous former atheists have become believers after trying to discredit this faith, such as C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell. My hope is you will open your hearts, honestly seek the evidence and do the same.

    The only one who can change evil is the one who changes hearts. Lost, desperate people have always found ways to do desperate things. Only fundamental heart-level change can truly cure this tragic, broken humanity and creation.

    Thanks for reading and considering my thoughts. Take care.

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    1. My assumption, then, is that you believe the suicide bombers (who are willing to die for their beliefs) are also following a true savior? Being willing to die for a belief does not make it true. If anything, it is often extremist delusions that cause killing and suicide.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No true Christian would take innocents with them. These are totally different belief systems. I am referring to people who would choose being torn apart by lions or dogs, being boiled in oil, burned at the stake, dragged through the streets tied to wild animals, etc. rather than deny their God. Taking innocents while “martyring ” yourself has to be considered an egregiously selfish act by all caring persons.

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  24. Carmen, I’m a she…and you didn’t answer the question, but I didn’t really ask it so you would. It was just to make you think about the ramifications. Danicanallen, you actually used the word “evil”. Congratulations! And I think you have put all people who call themselves Christians into one big bad category. A genuine Christian believes everything in the Bible…otherwise they are not a Christian. It’s black and white…either you believe in the Trinity or you don’t, it’s that simple…there is no grey area in true Christianity. .Have you ever seen the movie “God’s Not Dead”? If so you’ll know why I’m asking this: What happened to you? And JTOakes, we’re ALL sinners from conception due to the fall (sorry Danicanallen, it’s true, and it’s our own fault.) There was only one person that never sinned…Jesus. Yes, God is still in control, if anyone could truly answer the “Why’s..” we all have, we’d be God…and we aren’t, so we can’t. A genuine Christian has faith that God knows what He’s doing and we trust in His promises…and nothing man says or does will ever change that. An unregenerate heart simply cannot understand the ways of the the Lord. So I won’t argue with anyone else on this blog, because I understand the antagonism and it’s source. Jesus also suffered persecution, and I’m no better than Him, so I expect it. I can state what I know to be true, and admit what I don’t know. I don’t hate anyone, and I certainly don’t put myself on a pedestal. I know I’m not God, just like I know that I am human and therefore fallible. We’re all on the same playing ground here, we’re just on different teams. We can agree to disagree and simply move on to other more profitable things. No two people think exactly alike, or agree on everything. So, do we run around hating and disparaging others just because we don’t agree? If that’s the case, none of us would have any friends. So, I have my beliefs, (because God chose me) and state the truth as I know it, and others will do the same. It all gets sorted out in the end….yes, by God. And that is the truth. Great blogging with you all….and may God have mercy on us all!

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      1. Yes, that’s the way it works (not that I, or anyone else, could ever deserve it, or earn it)…. thanks be to God!…because on our own, we’d never choose Him. Thank you for your patience! Make it a great day!

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      2. I’m assuming you feel very special, being chosen and all. (Cue the hokey-pokey song, “And that’s what it’s all about”. 🙂

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      1. So, in fact, you do not have any, verifiable evidence, let alone contemporary evidence.
        This is disappointing, though not surprising if I am honest.

        If I may, question right back at you JT: What were the circumstances and the evidence that convinced you to consider becoming a Christian?

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      2. I don’t have any evidence, ancient, modern, or verifiable in any way that cannot be dismissed as hearsay. I don’t think such evidence exists.

        What would you accept as real evidence?

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      3. Because I fell in love with Jesus. Because He gives me purpose, hope, and promise. Because I’m going to die, and He is the only person in history who ever came back from the dead. Even if there wasn’t any evidence for His resurrection (which I still believe there is. I know…hearsay, lies, propaganda, emotional abuse…), I haven’t heard anything else that addresses mortality with any hope.

        Has there ever been anything in your life that you have believed, experienced, embraced, enjoyed, committed to, that you didn’t have verifiable, documented, scientific evidence of? You must have fallen in love at some point, since you have two sons. Did you demand modern historical evidence of your wife, or did you trust the evidence of your hearts? Did you cultivate your love for her in a petri dish, or did it grow out of gradually developing certainties, lightning bolts of passion, lumps in your throat, and stirrings in your stomach. Love affects us scientifically, but it can’t be proven on a slide rule or with a doctoral thesis.

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      4. Great, so you fell in love with Jesus.

        Why? What happened in your life that caused you to fall in love with a character from a book and make the conscious decision to become a – I presume – born again Christian with all that this entails, confession asking for forgiveness etc etc?

        What was wrong with your world at this time?

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      5. At JTOaks, do you believe the Bible is a historical account? You mentioned that Jesus is the only person who has ever come back to life. But the Bible itself mentions at least nine other people who died and were resurrected. Elijah raised a boy from the dead by praying over him. Elisha raised two people from the dead. Jesus raised several people from the dead , including the well-known story of Lazarus. After Jesus’s own resurrection, several dead followers rose to life, according to the gospel of Matthew. Peter raised Tabitha from the dead. Paul raised Eutychus. As you can see, people being raised from the dead is a prominent religious myth. It surprises me that, as a Christian, you were not aware that Jesus is not the only person who resurrected from the dead, assuming you believe the Bible.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Actually, I said Jesus is the only one who came back from the dead, but to clarify, He is the only one who claimed He was going to do it, and did. Sorry to be vague.

        Yes, I believe the Bible is a historical account. It is also a book of poetry and love songs. It also contains prophecy, and every other kind of writing style imaginable.

        But when it all comes down, it is still about falling in love with Jesus—who He is, and what He says.

        I love Him, and I wish y’all would give Him a chance. Believe it or not, that is my prime motive for engaging you folks. I know I can’t convince you to change your mind, but I certainly can tell you that He loves you.

        I would like to know what kind of evidence might sway an atheist, though. If we rule out the ancient hearsay of sources like The Gospel of Thomas, Ignatius, The Jewish Talmud, Josephus, Justin Martyr, etc. . . , the modern apologists like Zacharias, McDowell, Lewis, Keller, etc. . . , the various archaeological discoveries that directly reference scripture, and so on, it seems a near impossible task to find source material that anyone would accept as valid.

        And, if I’m being honest, if someone was able to come up with any archaeological evidence that disproved the Bible, I would be very skeptical (incidentally, I don’t think anyone ever has).

        So I understand the skepticism.

        Does it trouble any of you all how much spite and vitriol gets spilled around discussions like this? One of my favorite David Wilcox lyrics comes from his song, “Covert War.” It says:

        “Of course, there will be anger where the love is strong
        Spilled like gasoline
        It’s a power we can draw upon
        If it fuels the right machine.”

        When the anger in these discussions spills over into hate, it’s very disturbing. It’s scary to watch one human being unload on another human being, and then watch everyone on their side pat them on the back (wink-wink, nudge-nudge), glad-hand them, and pass around virtual high fives.

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      7. I think it boils down to the way Christianity has monopolized society, controlled laws, impeded the rights of women, halted the efforts of science, trampled and bullied the LGBTQ community, indoctrinated toddlers, and permitted emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of children. We are not going to stand for it anymore. Enough is enough. Do we need to bond together to make our voices heard? Yes, we do. If those who visit here are uncomfortable with others challenging their beliefs, their Bible verses, etc, then they have every right not to visit or comment. My purpose for blogging is to support the nonbelieiving community and its efforts to better our society. If you are feelign in any way that your opinions are being judged, condemned, or ridiculed, you are feeling only a fraction what nonbelievers have experiened throughout American history. My voice is the voice of a generation that refuses to be manipulated by myth, threatened by superstition, or demeaned and insulted by religious propaganda or its followers.

        I’m not sure what the meaning of the song is, but I like it. I feel like there is anger where love is strong. I am angry for my human family that has not experienced basic human dignities, due to religion. I will spill my anger like gasoline, through the words on my blog posts, and light a fire of radical love that illuminates the free will and the inherant worth of every human being. I I will walk with them, or I will walk for them, through the fire.

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      8. Wonderful response Danica.

        jt – Jesus doesn’t love you, he’s imaginary. An imaginary being cannot love anyone nor can you love it back. I really hope you decide to love the people who actually EXIST in your life – they are much more deserving of it than a figment of your mind. You are wasting your time and energy on something that does not exist except in your wildest dreams. You seem nice enough, but you are deluded. Grow up. If you don’t like to hear the truth, don’t visit blogs such as this where you will get your bubble burst. Rational, sensible people do not take kindly to being lectured by someone who clings to superstition and nonsense.

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      9. “I think it boils down to the way Christianity has monopolized society, controlled laws, impeded the rights of women, halted the efforts of science, trampled and bullied the LGBTQ community, indoctrinated toddlers, and permitted emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of children. We are not going to stand for it anymore. Enough is enough.”

        It sounds like the only Christians you have ever met are monopolizing, controlling, rights-impeding, unscientific, homophobic, toddler-indoctrinating, and emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive.

        I have met thousands of Christians throughout my life, and they have all been exactly the opposite of this list. There have been and continue to be plenty of Christians who do not fit into your stereotypes at all. The Christians you are describing sound like the ones who make the headlines and blogs. I’m not saying they don’t exist, but they are a minority.

        You don’t have to search too far to find plenty of non-Christians who monopolize society, bully and indoctrinate people, and permit…yea…and even encourage oppression and child abuse (see Hollywood and almost every elected official in the United States Government). Danicanallen, you have described the entire human race in your rant. Humans are horrible creatures who need a Savior. If you feel anger and frustration, it’s because you know in your heart that these things are wrong. Bullying, indoctrination, abuse…these are evils that will continue to be perpetrated as long as people keep denying they are evils. Without Evil and Wrong, your anger is completely unfounded and ridiculous.

        “I am angry for my human family that has not experienced basic human dignities, due to religion.”

        What about the members of your human family who are constantly denied dignities and rights by people who have nothing to do with religion? Are you okay with being oppressed as long as your oppressors don’t bring God into the picture?

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      10. No oppression is okay. It’s just that, for some reason, the world accepts oppression when it is tied to religion. Quite to the contrary of your opinion, I think anger would be completely unfounded and ridiculous if I did believe in “evil.” It’s like being mad at Thor because it’s raining, or being mad at Santa Claus if I don’t have enough money to buy a particular Christmas gift. If we direct our anger at superstitions (understanding that I don’t believe in a “devil”) then we are missing an opportunity to address the real problem.

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      11. Jtoaks – since you believe humans are horrible(the way your god created them), I’d suggest that’s the thing you are looking for — under those circumstances you’ll always have your outlook validated. I (and many other humanists) happen to believe that humans are inherently good, so that’s what we look for. I think it’s more than just being an optimist as opposed to being a pessimist, it’s believing that all people have the capacity for good. I think it’s sad that so many people prefer pessimism; I can’t think that it’s a progressive attitude. I can certainly understand it, however, since so many christians seem to start from this ‘filthy worm’ idea. How sad. You really need to examine this god of yours – you seem to have so many more morals than IT. 😦

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      12. I did not say God created us horrible. Everything God created is good. We make the choice to be horrible. We were created with the capacity to choose, and we all eventually make bad, selfish choices. Why do you never have to teach a child to misbehave or disobey? It comes naturally, because we were designed with the ability to make decisions. Without that, we would be mindless robots.

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      13. I agree that humans have free will and the capacity to make choices. I’m not sure how that is an argument for a god, though. It would seem to be an argument against a god, unless that god were content to see random choices play out in human history. God displays anger at human choices throughout the Old and New Testament. I’m not saying free will disproves God. I’m only saying it appears, at least by the response of the Judeo-Christian God, to provide further evidence against, not for, divine creation and rule.

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      14. “When the anger in these discussions spills over into hate, it’s very disturbing. It’s scary to watch one human being unload on another human being, and then watch everyone on their side pat them on the back (wink-wink, nudge-nudge), glad-hand them, and pass around virtual high fives.”
        If that kind of thing bothers you, jt, I would suggest you steer clear of Branyan’s blog. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! 😉

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      15. Evidence did not convince me to become a Christian. I was born into a Christian family, and I am also a preacher’s kid (that should give y’all some ammo!). My heart convinced me to become a Christian. My parents did not beat me over the head with a Bible, but I met Jesus in early childhood. The Holy Spirit embraced me when I was very young, and I have always known a deep need for God’s guiding hand in my life. My decision to follow Jesus was emotional, but as an adult, I’ve found countless reasons to keep following Him, the main one being (as I have said) that we are all going to die. No other philosophy, social system, self help guide, government, or blog offers any hope beyond this life.

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      16. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your journey. I hope the replies to you will be respectful. I would only add that, contrary to what you mentioned, there are several religions and philosophies that offer hope of an afterlife. Actually, your sect of Christianity is just one of 4,200 religions. That’s not to mention the vast array of personal, nonreligious beliefs that encompass some sort of faith in an afterlife. Just adding a tidbit of info to your well-
        presented answer. 🙂

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  25. I’ll give you one. A small nugget. A carrot on a string. This guy was not even remotely a Christian, nor did he have anything to do with writing the Bible. His name was Cornelius Tacitus, a historian of ancient Rome. He lived from 55-120 AD, and confirmed the torture of Christians under Nero, citing Jesus’ execution under Pontious Pilate.

    Cue eye rolls…NOW!

    .
    I feel somewhat insulted that you would for one second presume the average Christian-savvy atheist had not heard of Tacitus. I have a copy of both Tacitus’ annals and histories. And yes, I have read the passage in question

    For the record, this is not verified, contemporary history and although most scholars have traditionally accepted that the Chrestus passage is not an interpolation this view is by no means unanimous.
    Furthermore, all one can say is what he wrote in this very brief passage is hearsay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I will add as a ”Just in case …”

      If you were thinking about offering Josephus next – the TF as well as the James reference … please don’t.

      I am hoping almost against hope, that I have not just pulled your one remaining arrow from your quiver and you do in fact have some verifiable contemporary evidence.

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      1. Ummm, how about a 2000+ year old book, still being published in this day and age (imagine that). I’d say that’s constitutes a full quiver, and, verifiable contemporary evidence. Of course, it would probably take another atheist, or the devil himself, to convince you of that. Not that that is likely to happen. Be at peace, Arkenaten….true Christians are not the threat you should be concerned about. “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Mat. 10:28

        You can role your eyes….but at least I didn’t use James! LOL!

        Moving on…..make it a great day!

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      2. The only evidence I, or anyone else has is the evidence of changed lives. I gave you just a few contemporary examples already but here is one more.

        There was a book written a few years ago. called Son of Hamas written by the son of one of the the leaders of the organization, Mosab Hassan Yousef who is now a Christian (find him on Wikipedia if interested). He is one among a literal flood of Muslims coming to Christ in recent years for the hope they see in a compassionate King. There are many stories on YouTube from many Muslims saying the same. These stories are everywhere to be found for those that seek them out.

        If you would be good enough to treat me as an intellectual I would be glad to continue this talk at a later date but I must go now.

        Have a good day and spend some time with someone you love. I’m going to!

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      3. The only evidence I, or anyone else has is the evidence of changed lives.

        And what exactly was it that happened which you felt required the intervention of your god?

        He is one among a literal flood of Muslims coming to Christ in recent years for the hope they see in a compassionate King.

        Are you aware of the number of Christians and Jews converting to Islam?

        If you would be good enough to treat me as an intellectual

        Sure , no problems. What relevant qualifications do you hold, if I might ask?

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    2. My point was only to offer evidence that there is extra-biblical evidence supporting the tenets of Christianity. The fact that he was not a sympathizer only strengthens the point. He simply wrote what he knew was occurring in his world.

      I have no idea of your scholarly knowledge but I simply shared a relevant resource germaine to the discussion. I assume you will probably ignore the rest of my statement as you may consider it worthless and beneath you. I only shared it in the spirit of charity and love. Do with it as you will. Take care, all of you.

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      1. Well, we may differ on the definition of evidence.
        It would have demonstrated a measure of respect if you had asked if we( I ) were aware of Tacitus?
        I wonder how much of the history of this passage you have bothered to research, or in fact whether you have bothered to read any more of Annals or are you simply quoting something you have read on one of your fundamentalist Christian sites?

        I will share Edward Gibbons in a similar spirit. And you can go read what he thought about Tacitus.
        It’ll give you something to do and you might learn a little history as well.

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    1. @JZ
      You know, I was thinking exactly the same thing and even had a comment typed expressing this sentiment and then I was called to dinner and didn’t post it.
      Do you think it’s Branyan dressing up in one of his Dior numbers and putting on his wife’s makeup again?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ark,
        I’ve been at the hospital all day with a family member who’s had a spinal fusion. Thanks, once again, for the laughs – don’t worry, I haven’t shared with anyone here in the waiting room. :). I would hope that no one feels Branyan doesn’t deserve what he gets – you can see that he loves to dish it out. A charming christian, that guy.

        Like

      2. @ Carmen

        I would hope that no one feels Branyan doesn’t deserve what he gets –

        I have to confess, I have suspected for some time now that there is something sinister … nay, evil about John Branyan. I have no physical evidence, no actual hard core proof, of course, for who has evidence from outside the naturalist world? But because of the inciteful and erudite blogging skills of Mel I have deduced this through intuition .
        I am just surprised I am the only one who seems to have noticed this.
        I just hope we can find a Priest able to perform the necessary proctology before it’s too late and he becomes completely lost to the Dark Side and proposes to Wally.
        Shall we join hands and say a prayer to the god of atheism?
        ”Oh Dawkins who are in England …”

        ( You know the rest, I’m sure?)

        Liked by 1 person

  26. @ I’m Spare

    true Christians are not the threat you should be concerned about.

    As a rule I do not concern myself with idiots such as you, other than for the comedic value, though it occasionally worries me how many others you might hurt when you throw yourself under the bus.
    I commend your typing skills, though. Quite adept it seems. How do you manage with your fingers stuck in you ears?
    Do you have a voice sensitive program?

    Like

    1. Name calling…how adult of you, and proud of it, too. Proverbs 16:18 states it pretty clearly and it can be said of most of Danicanallen and her bloggers/fans: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” So sad, you all have to resort to such childish ways, though it does attest to your character(s). Danicanallen, and others who take scripture out of context to prove your point, when you’ve already made it quite clear you don’t even believe in God, is also attesting to your character(s). It’s a ruse to deflect truth…proof of the scriptures I previously posted, in context, mind you. You’ve all apparently bought into the lies and deceit of the devil…who, by the way, believes in God, good and evil and he can quote scripture, too. Why else would he be so busy in this world? I’m guessing by the brief time I’ve spent on this blog that you all are intelligent people, and I’d probably like you if i met you in line at the grocery store (perhaps I already have for that matter) but, intelligent, or not, whether or not any of you believe in God or the Devil, good or bad, or evil, is moot. Totally and utterly moot. Truth is always the victor; and when we’ve chosen to ignore it, we’ve all experienced our lack of wisdom coming back to bite us in our hindquarters. Ouch!
      This mass killing, as with all mass killings (premeditated murder) like this, are travesties. Blame it on what ever you want, but it’s still a travesty. Can we at least agree on that? The title of this blog is “Love Over Religion.” Well, I haven’t seen much love on this blog. And I fail to see what ‘religion’ has to do with any of it. If someone wants to pray about it, so what? If someone chooses to protest, so what? In this society change is decided by politicians, not by ‘the people’….hasn’t anyone figured that out yet? ( Of course I believe that God does His part, but you don’t want to hear about that, because you don’t agree with it.) And it doesn’t appear to matter who we vote for, in the end, whatever special interest group pays the most $ gets their way. All special interest groups have their own agenda and will do whatever it takes to push it upon us all. From what I hear and see, this is only okay when we agree with the agenda being pushed.
      I don’t try to shove my faith onto anyone, unless I’m called on it. Even then, I will speak about it, but in the end it’s not up to me what that person does with the information (again, I can refer to God, but that will just get your knickers in a knot), and I don’t need to call anyone vulgar names if they don’t agree with me. Now, how about you all go do something productive with your intelligence and energies….instead of being so disparaging to those who do not agree with you, or think differently from you. Use your intelligence for the greater good, or in your vernacular, for the better welfare of ALL. And not just to those who agree with you. It’s not about you…society is so wrong in pushing “My rights trump your rights” mind set. I don’t believe in that. Where can one possibly go from there, that’s moral, compassionate, empathetic and civil? Just be gracious….wow, isn’t that a novel idea? Isn’t that what you folks are all about, diversity, tolerance, and love? Seriously, walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk. Imagine a world where everyone gets along…because they truly care about one another, and want the very best for one another, and not just for selfish or prideful gain. Sigh…..

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      1. I appreciate your thoughts, and I’ll add a couple points for clarity. This is a Humanist blog that supports a world free from religious oppression, such as Biblical threats, condemnation, insults, etc. My writing reflects my beliefs and a large portion of my readers are adamant atheists, Humanists, agnostics, etc. Naturally, if Christians come to my blog telling my readers they are sinners, bound for hell, “there’s still time to change,” or quoting the Bible, obviously it is not going to be met well by those readers. I think if the intention is to engage on a religious level with others who agree, this is not the blog for you. I welcome your thoughts and opinions, but they will certainly be met with resistance here. Those are just the ropes when we engage in an online community that opposes our worldview. In your first paragraph, you insulted me and everyone here with words like “proud” “deceitful” “haughty” “childish.” And you wrapped up by saying that everything we’re doing is for “selfish, prideful gain.” If you are interested in honestly engaging with others, maybe a first step would be to examine your own methods of speaking to those who disagree with your opinions. For some reason, the Christian viewpoint is that it’s okay to hurl threats and insults at nonbelievers, as long as they are rooted in scripture. Please explain why my readership is selfish and prideful? Because we want the same rights to express our opinions as everyone else? Because we’re speaking up against the bullying and discrimination that come with religious dogma?

        Everyone is allowed to quote the Bible, not just Christians. You may be surprised to learn that most of us lived a decade or more as followers of religion. We are well-versed and familiar with the Bible, apologetics, and every argument for the existence of God. Many of us literally lived through each one of these arguments as, time and time again, we challenged ourselves to come to a rational conclusion about belief in the supernatural. The reason we are all speaking so loudly is that it is time for our voices to be heard. Christians have oppressed society for long enough, and it is time for change. Love over Religion reflects my own personal commitment to love others, myself, and the Earth outside of the confines of religion. I do love you, as a person, I just hate your belief system. (Sound familiar?)
        Hope this clarifies and please feel free to continue voicing your opinion, with the understanding that we are not going to change ours.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If you were prepared to offer a reasonable argument for your beliefs instead of posting theologically inspire drivel I am sure we could get along like a maison en flambé

        But while your worldview is based on adherence to nonsensical doctrine, and you attempt to indoctrinate others then I fear we shall always be at odds.

        If you do like the epithet of ”idiot” or similar then please, recognise that this is a blog run by an atheist and any attempt at proselytizing, no matter how oblique will be treated with the contempt it deserves.
        However, if you would like to earn a little respect then please tell the reason you became a Christian and cite any relevant evidence that underpinned this decision.
        Thanks.

        Like

    1. John Zande is renowned for it. I think it’s his diet of fried christian babies, it does something to the circuitry of his brain.
      We are all a bit worried about him, to be honest.
      But then, he is Australian .. so …

      Liked by 1 person

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