Religion and The Celestial Teapot.

An absurd claim continues that the burden is on atheists to “prove” there is no god.  The claim has be ridiculed for decades, perhaps centuries, but explaining why it is absurd was best done by philosopher Burtrand Russell.

Suppose, Russell said, I claimed there is a teapot circling the sun between mars and earth.  Further, I was clever enough to make it so tiny it could not seen by any telescope.

Russell concluded it would be nonsensical to insist someone prove the teapot did not exist because it would be impossible to do so.  The person making such a nonsensical demand would be considered quite daft.

The irony of the real word, Russell continued, is that if existence of the teapot had been taught to children for centuries and was discussed in an ancient book, it be the skeptic who was considered the daft one.  Religion, of course, sets up its parameters in a way that not testable.

Richard Dawkins used the celestial teapot to address an argument within the doubting community.  He cautioned against accommodating the common version of agnosticism.

The most common agnostic view is that since we can’t prove there is no god the chances there is a god are 50 percent.  Dawkins cautioned that would require one to agree there is also a 50 percent the celestial teapot is circling the sun. All untestable claims would have a 50 percent chance of being true.

Unfortunately, the simple explanation of the celestial teapot does not stop many believers from demanding “proof” there is no god.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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120 Responses to Religion and The Celestial Teapot.

  1. Henry says:

    Jon:“Religion, of course, sets up its parameters in a way that not testable.”

    It is testable. Give it some time. You will find out.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 1:15 “It is testable. Give it some time. You will find out.”

      I’ve given it plenty of time–a couple of thousand years. During that time, several billion people have died and not one of them went to either heaven or hell.

      • Henry says:

        You don’t know that. You hypocritically have your own celestial pot in that claim.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 1:26 “You hypocritically have your own celestial pot in the claim.”

          WHAT? You made the claim. You said I would “find out.” What I would find out is that there is a celestial tea pot. But, of course, you will not know if I found it or not. Believers are cleaver. They always make threats which no one can disprove, like Russell’s celestial tea pot.

          • Henry says:

            Jon Lindgren claim:“During that time, several billion people have died and not one of them went to either heaven or hell.”

            Data please.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 2:18 “Jon..You will find out.”

            Data please.

          • Henry says:

            Time will tell.

          • entech says:

            Cryptic comments, this is a good game can anyone join in?
            Will it be an enduring game?
            Will it survive the test of time?

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry assures me the celestial teapot is up there, it’s just too tiny for anyone to see. It’s up to me to prove its not there.

          • Henry says:

            emtech called for a game. Jon obliges.

          • entech says:

            You started it, we are just obliging you.

          • entech says:

            Is there a clock inside the teapot?
            Will it tell the time, or, do we have to wait for time to tell itself.
            Perhaps it might be better to ask if time will reveal itself, perhaps, in time, there will be a revelation??

            Perhaps A. Marvel, had we but world enough and time.
            But ever at my back I hear times winged chariot hurrying near.

            How much time do you need Henry.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            If Henry could make the tea pot just a little bigger, big enough for just one person out of the nine billion on the planet to see, we could decide if it is really there or not.

            Maybe after Sunday mass, where Fr. James tells people about the tiny tea pot no one can see, he could help make it bigger.

          • entech says:

            Jon, Henry has something of a point @ 2:18 am.
            We can’t verify that any of the billions that have died did not go to heaven, hell, limbo, nirvana, paradise, the great social club in the sky or anywhere, conversely we can’t demonstrate that none of them did.

            All we need is one to come back, under reasonable verifiable conditions, and tell us all about it, in a reasonable verifiable report. This, it is claimed, has actually happened once before, but this is the one of the major topics of this blog, some think it is a verifiable and proven fact while you and I don’t agree.
            There are other ‘alleged’ events and we don’t believe them either Apollonius is a good example, here we have common ground the others don’t believe that one either – only theirs is the one and only.

        • Adam Heckathorn says:

          Henry time has proven the best way to accurate knowledge on any subject is The Scientific Method. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method The only reason I and many others still exist and have The Life expectancy We do Is the efforts made by Those following the facts to where They lead. Would You have Me believe something with no sound reason to believe it? My Friend got a letter from a Nigerian Gentleman Who needed his help with a Money problem. I won’t bore You with the details it was a pretty preposterous tale but for the risk of a substantial sum put up front The Nigerian Gentleman would reward My friend beyond His wildest dreams. It seemed to good to be true and My Friend did not take advantage of The opportunity. How is this any different than the pitch made by religion?

          • entech says:

            Reminds me of the number of lotteries I have won that I did not remember entering.
            My bank (and even banks with whom I do not have an account) send me emails from South Africa or Russia, going by the grammar and spelling they should go back to school.

          • Adam Heckathorn says:

            But what if it was true! I don’t know if I really want thirty Virgins but I’ve been interested in so many things One Hundred Lifetimes wouldn’t be enough to do all the things I’d like to do. To see Those I’ve lost to death. Religion makes these wonderful promises and all You have to do is believe. Oh and by the way we’re going to need a little Cash but only if You appreciate What God has done for You!

          • entech says:

            Must be money in it somewhere, I just noticed the other day that one of the cable channels had 10 hours of Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn and others are regulars. I thought when we sent you Ken Ham it would be over :)

    • entech says:

      How many more thousands of years do you want?

      Perhaps you could outline a simple test for us.
      Just as Fr.J. an apologist like Craig love to talk about objective truth and objective that I would like you to talk about an objective test, one that does not depend on a still quiet internal voice. One that is available without dying. And one that will give a result in spite of what you and I may expect according to out different world views.

  2. entech says:

    Suppose, Russell said, I claimed there is a teapot circling the sun between mars and earth. Further, I was clever enough to make it so tiny it could not seen by any telescope.
    If we take into account Russell being dead for decades and that the sciences have increased in efficiency well beyond the telescope of which he spoke. A little modification, a little added qualification, is needed. Qualifications which will render it undetectable to any science that exists, qualifications that will allow for changes in the future of detection sciences, changes in the qualification that will make it forever impervious to detection. The teapot will not be tested, the teapot will not be seen, the teapot only requires faith.

    Seems to me that there is a parallel between celestial teapots and other heavenly bodies.
    Death by over qualification.

  3. Wanna B Sure says:

    The problem with the ” teapot” is that it is presented within our context and understanding of space and time. Using that, even if not verifiable by any means available, one could be there. The “onboard clock” would and has proven to change the nearer the vehicle or “pot” nears the border, simply with velocity. Eternity/ infinity is not within our perception of space or time. The best definition I’ve seen of eternity, ie “heaven/ hell etc. is; “a place, but not a location”. Quantum mechanics most recently reveals the possibilities of other dimensions, not within our understanding of space or time. “String theory” touches on this. Neither a teapot or train locomotive would be detectable in this scenario, but it would be difficult to deny it’s potential presence.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Wanna 2:03 “…but it would be difficult to deny it’s potential presence.”

      I’m afraid trying to slip religion into quantum physics will not work. Our current President of Red River Freethinkers is a Ph D and was chair of Physics at NDSU for a long time. I’ve heard him scoff at the notion this field can be used to make claims of heaven/hell/god.

      The arguments about quantum physics are structured to be refutable. Those of religion are not. If you can structure your arguments about the teapot and heaven/hell in a refutable way you could get somewhere.

      I found this little link to be helpful. Quantum means discreet. Quantum physics is about definable phenomenon, not make stuff up.

      https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061024212137AAMASyH

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        I’m afraid your defense of using the “teapot” in our current understanding of cosmology is false. I’m not using this as an apology for heaven/hell/God. I’m talking about dimensions only. If the finite wants to argue about the infinite, he is free to do so. Your president and PHD is limiting himself and the science he represents, and is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wanna 3:07 “I’m talking about dimensions only.”

          You said earlier you had “heard” of heaven as a “place”, not a location. Is that a belief of yours or a hypothesis that can be tested? The statement you “heard” such a thing does not help us know which.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Only a fool would try to use “science” to “prove” heaven/hell etc. But a fool might use science to try to disprove it. I know you have “heard” there is no heaven / hell or God. You have said as much. You didn’t invent it, yet you agree with it. “Such a thing does not help us know which”.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 4:45 “I know you have ‘heard’ there is no heaven/hell or God. You have said as much.”

            No I have not. I have said there is no evidence of them.

            My only reason for quoting you was to clarify what you meant.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            I know what you said. I don’t believe you when you say you have never heard it.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 5:09 We’re getting off the track here. Our efforts should be directed toward methodical thinking. To me that means asking for evidence that can be refuted. If there is some such evidence, and the effort to refute is unsuccessful, we have a god. If it is determined to be the Christian God, the Bible and everything related to it takes on significance.

            If there is not such evidence, the Bible is great literature, but has no importance as a religious tome.

          • Henry says:

            Jon:“No I have not [that there is no heaven / hell or God]. I have said there is no evidence of them.”

            Oh yes you have, in bold, capitalized letters.

            http://redriverfreethinkers.areavoices.com/2011/08/09/visit-hell-while-you-still-can/#comment-9319

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 6:13 Good work finding that. It was fun to read our exchanges almost three years ago. I had forgotten about how, even though children are born sinners, there still are no pictures of children burning in hell in the Sunday school materials. There was a lot of dancing around about that 2 1/2 years ago, would be today I suppose.

        • Wolfy32 says:

          I tend to agree with you Wanna on this. Though I’ve not actually seen you bow before science before.. Now that you’re worshipping it, just giving it a nod of respect that it has potential.

          I agree with Jon in that it’s not a 50% chance of a God.
          However, I disagree in that there is a 50% chance of something else. What I mean by that is, what is the chance there is nothing compared to the chance there is something.

          There’s a saying in management “We can only make decisions based on what we know factually now. If something makes our decision wrong in 5 minutes, we made the best decision we could now, not 5 minutes in the future.”

          So, right now we have no scientific factual evidence of God. That requires a faith and a belief, real or make believe, it is what it is. However, there’s a 100% possibility, with limited factual evidence (in the moment) of life in the universe (or multiverse). I present you with the greatest evidence known to mankind that something may be out in the universe…. That evidence is “us”, our planet teaming with life!

          Because we exist there’s a strong possibility something else exists in the universe. Is that something else, new types of fish- fish that swim in methane gas? Or space fairing worm of some sort that’s adapted to living in a vaccum? Can forms of light / energy become an advanced form of intelligence?

          We have no evidence outside of us, however our existence is a strong case for something else in the universe. Whether that something else is strongly organized, highly advanced, and/or immensely more powerful and intelligent than us? Whether those unknown forces are acting against and for us some cosmic war we’re in the middle of? I have no fricken clue.

          It could be just chaos out there and we’re all just a fluke and the most advanced form of life in the universe is a brainless space amoeba.

          There could be less than 1 civilization aside from us in the universe since it’s beginning (Based on scientific calculations) or there could be as many as 10,000 other civilizations depending on the parameters used in the variables for the calculation.

          The chances though of something are 50%. There’s either some life or no other life than us. Two choices, and 100% chance of one of the 2 choices being right, means they both have equal chances. 50% chance each.

          If there is something else, the chance that something else is advanced enough to be some type of superbeing / God? Who knows?

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Wolfy @1:11; “Bow before science”–”Now that you’re worshiping it”. KMA ! science is what it is. You sound like a two dimensional flat earther now.

      • Nate H says:

        It is reasonable to believe that an acting president of an athiest group would scoff at any notion of a deity… whether he’s a physicist is immaterial. I can imagine one could find a number of agnostic or theistic physicists.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Nate H 3:56 Thanks for commenting. Please comment again.

          “I can imagine one could find a number of agnostic or theistic physicists.”

          That is no doubt true. The issue is whether they would use quantum physics to imply the existence of a god. I doubt it would be common among them.

  4. Bret Armstrong says:

    Have you guys seen this? It’s pretty great. I plan on kissing hanks ass later today. Wanna come with?
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zaFZQBb2srM

  5. Fr. James says:

    Jon, you stated that any source more then 20 years old was insufficient. Russell died longer then 20 years ago, so by your logic he can safely be dismissed.

    The point you miss is that you demand “proof” there is a God and then claim you need no proof for your belief that there isn’t one. I and many refuse to let you off the hook. Part of the problem is that you demand scientific proof and reject any other kinds of proof such as metaphysical. Not all truth is scientific truth. Science has limits.

    Christians believe that God is totally other and is not a part of creation. God is not a being, He is Being itself. Therefore, science cannot disprove God since he is not a material object. You need another way to talk about truth beyond science. Atheists avoid this like the plague. Once they move away from their facile position it becomes dangerous to their faith.

    • Adam Heckathorn says:

      “Therefore, science cannot disprove God since he is not a material object. You need another way to talk about truth beyond science.” Isn’t what Your describing just another version of
      the Celestial Tea Pot?

      • Fr. James says:

        No, just the opposite. You presuppose univocity of being. We do not.

        • Adam Heckathorn says:

          I think it’s obvious The Celestial Teapot also Can not Be measured with Human terms. A normal Teapot could be understood but this Teapot would have to exist in a higher realm. Much like The Emperors new clothes only the most refined could truly appreciate it for what it is.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Adam 2:27 “…the celestial teapot also cannot be measured with human terms.”

            Wonderful Adam. Seems like that to me, too. It makes to teapot and divine the same.

          • Fr. James says:

            What it means is that you have to use some other form of reasoning, besides scientific, to approach the issue. It has and is being done.

        • entech says:

          I suppose that univocity is a requirement when you want things to mean whatever you want them to mean, depending on your interpretation. That is why a satisfactory proof of non-existence is not possible, the words we use in a description don’t have the same meaning when applied to what we are trying to describe. This is how we can have a benevolent deity who loves all of his creation but will burn and torture them if they don’t love him back.

          For Humpty read Fr.J and for Alice anyone that has the audacity to question him.

          “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’?” Alice said.
          Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’?”
          “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
          “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
          “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
          “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
          Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

          • Fr. James says:

            What it means is that you attribute to God for example goodness that is the same as natural goodness. Christianity believes God is totally other and not part of creation. So many atheists don’t understand this.

          • entech says:

            @ 6:07 You got something right for a change. Good for God is different, it is something totally other. It certainly is something other, according to your Bible God is a genocidal maniac, spiteful, vindictive and so many other things that if the kind, just and benevolent God you want is not the God of the Bible. Marcion saw that and came close to being dominant.

          • Fr. James says:

            entech, you had it there for a sec. Then you went back to the usual atheist fallacies. You again show you have no real understanding of the Bible or how it is interpreted. Likewise you again show that you don’t understand the issue. If God is not part of creation science cannot say much about him. I don’t think I can put it much more simply. Do I need to draw you a picture?

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Fr. James 7:14 “Jon, you stated that any source more than 20 years old was insufficient.”

      I did not say this. I merely pointed out that arguments about theology move along. There are new ideas, new approaches and new discoveries of ancient material. Thus, a link like you referred us to, which was about theological arguments, talked about the things discussed 20 years ago. I did not say it was “insufficient” but just that it was written 20 years ago.

      I’ve read that the amount of work on the NT has skyrocketed in the last 20 years. The recent conference of NT scholars had 10,000 attending. I was not there. Were you?

      • Fr. James says:

        That is exactly what you said Jon. You dismissed the arguments because they are 20 years old. Yes, that is ridiculous. But don’t back off now unless you want to admit that you were wrong.

        I must have missed that conference. But I have 3 degrees in religion and studied ancient languages. How about you?

      • Wolfy32 says:

        How many degrees do you have? How many are there that you could have? And which degree in which theology is the right one?

        How many credits do you have in which theology?
        What classes did you take to earn those credits?

        • Fr. James says:

          I have 3. 2 of them are graduate degrees. They are all from accredited schools. One is a Pontifical University. I studied theology, biblical languages, scripture, canon law, church history, philosophy, and a variety of other subjects. I am actually qualified to teach at a university level.

          So, Wolfy and Jon, let’s see your qualifications when it comes to religion and theology. Your turn.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Fr James 7:14 “Christians believe that God is totally other and is not part of creation. God is not a being. He is Being itself. Therefore, science cannot disprove God since he is not a material object…”

      I’m confident you would not recognize that Bertrand Russell was talking about you when he wrote about the celestial teapot, “I cleverly made it so small it could not be seen by the strongest of telescopes.”

      And, it is clever, the way you structure your argument so you, yourself, say only you knows the answer. It’s like the Bible which says I say I am the Almighty. No one else said it, but I said it, so that makes it true.

      • Fr. James says:

        I didn’t say only I could know the answer. Aquinas thought of this long ago. If you are willing to look at other forms of knowing the truth you could know the answer too. But none of this answers what I said. God is not physical and therefore cannot be measured, so science cannot answer the question you ask. You need to know the limits of science.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      “God is not a being, He is Being itself. ” This is the first time I’ve heard a christian say God is not God. So, you’re stating that God doesn’t exist, that simply existence of any being is a form of god existing?

      • Fr. James says:

        God is God. He is not a being that is part of creation, but Being itself. He does exist, but his existence is NOT like our existence.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Fr. James 6:08 “God is God. He is not a being that is part of creation, but Being itself. He does exist, but his existence in NOT like our existence.

          Your have paraphrased Bertrand Russell’s celestial teapot perfectly, “I cleverly stipulate that the teapot is so small it can not be seen by any telescope.”

          You keep coming on here to make the teapot smaller and smaller, always insisting that it is there. It is impossible to prove it is not there because you cleverly set up the proposition where you cannot prove it is there. This odd way of thinking explains why church membership is declining.

          • Fr. James says:

            Not at all. This is EXACTLY why I am the only one here who understands the issues. You don’t understand what I am talking about.

            The point is that the teapot doesn’t exist in the universe at all! It transcends the universe and is not part of it. To talk of it as if it were is to not be talking about it at all.

            So you cannot “prove” it exists or does not exist based on mere scientific models. That was my point! The fact you don’t get it shows why you need to study before you post your ignorance.

            It has nothing to do with membership decline.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            You’re not insane.. Everyone else around you is just out to get you and just won’t agree with you… How frustrating that no one around you thinks like you at all….. And we’re all out to get you!!

            Really! We are!

  6. Fr. James says:

    Jon, I want to make this clear. You have no idea of what you are talking about. If you had a medical blog and posted that eating prunes would cure cancer then a real doctor stated you were wrong which should I believe? The real doctor has an MD and is an expert. He practices medicine for a living. Obviously we should believe the doctor over you.

    The same goes for religion and theology. The only one posting here who has any education in those subjects is me. You have no degrees and quite obviously no real knowledge. You read only cherry picked books and articles that you already agree with and which you don’t really understand. You are not a scholar. I am. Yet when I point out where you go wrong what do you do? Research and investigate? No. You just insult me and start a new post to change the subject. You don’t even for a second start to wonder whether or not that I the only expert here just might know more then you do. Isn’t that a bit strange for someone who claims to be a freethinker and touts scholarship?

    So let me sum up Jon. I am the expert on the blog. You are just a mere novice, if that. You don’t know squat about theology or scripture, especially Catholic theology and scripture. That is more then obvious to those of us who do. Often you don’t even seem to understand my responses because you lack the background and understanding of basic concepts. It’s like trying to explain algebra to a 1st grader who can’t even add.

    So to those who pat Jon on the back and feed his ego…by doing so you just prove your own ignorance of the subject. I suggest Jon take about 4 years and earn an MA in theology. Then at least he can begin to understand the issues at a very basic level. It would at least be an attempt at intellectual integrity, which is sadly lacking in his current posts.

    • Jinx says:

      Fake Priest, your a pompous prick and from now on I will neither read or respond to your posts.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Fr. James 7:45 “The only one here who has any education in those subjects is me.”

      The most attractive thing about Christians is their humbleness. :)

      • entech says:

        Self appointed experts, self appointed representatives on God on earth, so clever. Shouldn’t we be on our knees to kiss his ring.

        I know he wants to convert everyone, so that he will be remembered as one of the intellectuals in the church, move over Aquinas make room for St. Jim. :lol:

        • Bret Armstrong says:

          I’m imagining a Star Trek convention where people are debating weather the Menagerie episode counts as one, or two. They get all worked up about it, quote “facts” about the star trek universe and create a rift resulting in two different frames of thought over an imaginary world. They are experts just like St Jim. Perhaps I’ll start a curriculum at a university for a degree in Star Trek so I can take people’s money and give them something else to puff up their point of view.

          • Fr. James says:

            If someone saw all the episodes of Star Trek and you had seen none but had a blog on it who would be the expert Bret?

        • Fr. James says:

          Jon is the self-proclaimed expert. I have degrees conferred on me by experts. I said nothing about sanctity only about actual real knowledge.

        • Wolfy32 says:

          Sure he wants us to just kiss his ring?

          • entech says:

            Wolfy, how could you say something like that, it is all about faith and trust. You need that when you have a man in a dress and the ritual has you on your knees with your eye shut and your mouth open.

        • Fr. James says:

          I am not self-appointed. I am the only one with any expertise. That is a simple fact.

      • Fr. James says:

        It isn’t a matter of humility. A doctor could correct you based on his knowledge and it would not be a matter of pride. I correct you based on your ignorance of the subject. Ignorance is not attractive Jon. I simply state a fact. You have no scholarly background in this subject. I do. I am the expert, so when you attempt to correct me it is like a 1st grader telling his teacher that 2+2=5.

        • Wolfy32 says:

          There’s nothing scholarly about wonderland. How does one go about getting a PHD on wonderland?

          • entech says:

            Save the breakfast cereal labels.

          • Fr. James says:

            If you want to blog about wonderland and somone else has a degree in it then they are the expert, not you.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            You’re the only one claiming any sort of expertise… The rest of us just have opinions which you don’t agree with.

            So you’re saying we’re not allowed to have a difference of opinion because you’re the expert opinion?

          • Fr. James says:

            Wolfy, opinions based on ignorance of the subject are worth how much? If I commented on chemistry it wouldn’t not be worth much. If a chemist was commenting we should pay attention to him. Jon blogs about religion, but doesn’t know much about it. I do.

    • Bret Armstrong says:

      I. Eye. Aye! There is an awful lot in that about you and your importance and understanding. Doesn’t sound very godly to me. You make some pretty specific claims of knowledge of things relating to the metaphysical or what I call “things people make up”. You act like those are facts, but they are not, in fact they aren’t even in the bible. Sure, they can be “implied” by the bible, but that is subject to your interpretation so that you can tell people that they got it wrong or that they “don’t understand”. That sir, is the controlling aspect that has been used to manipulate people in every religion that has ever existed, and it is what people are growing to reject. Because when it comes down to it, I don’t believe you. Neither do many others. Your rhetoric has no substance (as you admit in stating God is not of the physical world), and your education seems to be mainly important to you.

      • Fr. James says:

        Bret, the fact is that I am the only one here with an expertise.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          JON! ! ! You simply need to reign in your fellow atheist posing as a priest, in the attempt to discredit Christianity. It’s getting far too obvious.

          • Henry says:

            Maybe Emily is back to join us.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            I’ve seen a couple priests that remind me of an Emily. I think they’d be called a “Sheila” ,down under.” Sorry Sheila.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 9:22 re Emily

            Emily was a joy to have here–I hope she is doing well and is happy somewhere.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 7:15 “JON!! You simply need to reign in your fellow atheist posing as a priest, in the attempt to discredit Christianity. It’s getting far too obvious.”

            That’s funny. That thought has actually occurred to me because over on a Christian parody site, one of the characters who posts regularly is an atheist posing as a priest for that very reason. And, what he writes fits our Fr James to a T.

          • entech says:

            I need to rethink my position on miracles, that anyone could get the few of us so close to agreement is surely a miracle.

            Perhaps this is the first step towards sainthood for the god father.

          • Fr. James says:

            My offer for help is still open Wanna.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            And that would be in the form of—-fire? The rack? House arrest? Dungeon? Stay after school to clean erasures? Take me on a youth trip?

          • Fr. James says:

            Wanna, the fire and rack were used on Catholics by good Protestants and atheists too. I can list them if you wish.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Which oil did you use on Pomponio Algerio? Olive oil? Corn oil and canola wasn’t popular then. What is preferred on a youth outing?

          • Fr. James says:

            St. Margaret Clitherow pray for us,

            “The martyr coming to the place, kneeled her down, and prayed to herself. The tormentors bade her pray with them, and they would pray with her. The martyr denied, and said, ‘I will not pray with you, and you shall not pray with me; neither will I say Amen to your prayers, nor shall you to mine.’ Then they all willed her to pray for the Queen’s Majesty. The martyr began in this order : First, in the hearing of them all, she prayed for the Catholic Church, then for the Pope’s Holiness, Cardinals, and other Fathers which have charge of souls, and then for all Christian princes. At which words the tormentors interrupted her, and willed her not to put her Majesty among that company; yet the martyr proceeded in this order: ‘And especially for Elizabeth, Queen of England, that God move her to the Catholic Faith…

            After this they laid weight upon her, which, when she first felt, she said, ‘Jesu! Jesu! Jesu! have mercy upon me!’ which were the last words which she was heard to speak. She was in dying one quarter of an hour. A sharp stone, as much as a man’s fist, was put under her back ; upon her was laid a quantity of seven or eight hundredweight at the least [406 Kgs/896 lbs], which breaking her ribs, caused them to burst forth of the skin.”

            That’s your history. I am sure the atheists here appreciate you joining them in hating Catholics. Hate makes for strange bedfellows. You certainly do not like losing an argument do you? Most OCD folks just can’t let it go.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            “That’s your history” ? ? See my may 8 2014 @1:16. You don’t know your history. Fraud.

          • Fr. James says:

            Wanna, you are welcome to look up St. Margaret in secular sources. It must be a shock for you to discover this part of your history. It is easier to just hate Catholics isn’t it?

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Priest; @8:27– Missed this one. Not my history, nor was Ireland, of which you also made false accusations. Bearing false witness.- – - – - – again. Back to the public side of the confessional.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            @12:35; “back to the confessional”;(for you). Had to be clear. Thought you may try to twist that around too.

          • entech says:

            Of course it is your “history”, you are not Catholic and therefore must be anti. If you are not for us you are against us.
            So by the strange logic of the padre anything he doesn’t like is “your history”, strange for an organisation that claims to be so old it doesn’t have any “history”, at least any that he is prepared to recognise.

            The good father keeps telling me I am ignorant about Catholicism, some of his words have sent me more frequently to one of the Catholic online Encyclopedias. He should leave that out of his argument the more you learn the less respect you can raise. Just another mystery I guess.

          • Fr. James says:

            entech, Wanna conceals her denominational affiliation. However, she is Protestant. She likes to bash Catholicism in general. I am just returning the favor, she doesn’t like it. Nor do atheists when I point it back at them. None of you seem to get the point.

            If we are wrong because of bad Catholics then so are Protestants and atheists because they have had some bad adherents too.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Even more funnier; (yes, I meant to say that), “the priest” does indeed have problem with sex. He? makes assumptions on many things. Aargh. Now I have two anathemas against me. 1. non Catholic, 2. woman. If you must boil me, please use olive oil. It has a lower flash point.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Priest; Why do you have such a fascination with Sarah Palin? She IS a Protestant. Is it her glasses, pheromones, or something else you would not rather talk about?

          • Fr. James says:

            Wanna, so I guess that you don’t care much for Down’s Syndrome children either. Bashing them must be okay with you eh?

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Why do you care? She is a Protestant you know.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Why do you care? Had to correct the typo. It’s so easy for you misunderstand.

          • Henry says:

            “Down’s Syndrome”

            ?????

    • Adam Heckathorn says:

      I once Sheetrocked and finished a basement for A Man Who had taught Greek and Hebrew In a Theological College. In an effort to start a discussion (I was one of JW’s at the time) I tactfully and politely asked Him His opinion about Greek and Hebrew words relating to The Trinity, Immortality of the Soul, Hell, and every other subject I could Think of Assuming He was going to interpret These words differently than I was taught And He graciously spoke at length on all these Things in complete agreement with My understanding. JW’s book reasoning from the scriptures quotes extensively from The New Catholic Encyclopedia because it supports what They want to teach on so many subjects. To be more effective I memorized where all these subjects were in the Encyclopedia. When speaking to Catholics I would say if You go to The Hibbing Library and then I would give them detailed directions how to find the Encyclopedia which volume etc. These things aren’t Rocket Science Yes I Think there is a value in education and I certainly appreciate Your posts and I consider and will consider what You have to say but having read the Bible through many times and different translations I believe Reason leads to disbelief.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        I would recommend going to the library and getting “Thirty Years A Watchtower Slave”, “Into the Light Of Christianity”(Schnell); ” Crisis Of Conscience”, “In Search of Christian Freedom” (Raymond Franz); “Reasoning From The Scriptures With the Jehovah’s Witnesses” (A subject by subject examination of “Reasoning” revealing the blatant misuse of ellipsis to completely change the content, context, and intent of quotes and sources. Also the common practice of using a part of a paragraph thereby bypassing what the paragraph was all about. Examples of which are revealed by the misuse of the Catholic Encyclopedia, McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, and many others. Another source to consider is in the case of the JW’s booklet; “Should you believe in the Trinity?”, the antithesis is “Yes, You Should Believe In The Trinity!!!” “A Page-by page response to the Watchtower Society’s brochure:” Harvey, which reveals the same dishonest practices the JW’s use to press their point. All of this points to the flawed “Reason” of “The Organization”, and the unintended consequences of it.

      • Fr. James says:

        I used my education once on some JW’s who thought they knew our faith. They never came back.

        • entech says:

          If your presence and personality in person are anything like that in writing I am not surprised. I would imagine they were unusually quick to leave.

          • Fr. James says:

            Like many they thought they knew about Catholicism. They didn’t. Nor does Jon, nor do you.

  7. Matt Noah says:

    If God does not exist and the teapot does not exist, then why are atheists like Jon obsessed with God but really care less about teapot? God is, after all, non-existent (according to atheists). I believe in God. My actions are based on that faith.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Matt 11:52 “…why are atheists like Jon obsessed with God but really care less about the teapot?”

      We like arguments to proceed in rational ways and wish we could do this with religion.

      I like your sentence, “I believe in God.” That is a simple statement that does not get into the absurd argument that atheists need to “prove God does not exist.” The celestial teapot problem is avoided when you express your faith in that way.

      • Matt Noah says:

        People who don’t believe in God have always been perplexed by people who do believe. Yet, people who don’t believe in God do believe in things they can’t prove. That seems to be less troubling to them but it provides a whale of a contradiction in their lives.

        The trouble comes when people are persecuted because of their beliefs. It may not be more prevalent in history than it is right now; from America to any corner of the world. President Obama and democrats don’t think twice about persecuting Christians who won’t bake cakes for homosexual weddings. Or take pictures for homosexual weddings. Or refuse to pay for abortions or contraception in the healthcare plans they offer their employees. Imprisonment and fines are persecution.

        Christian churches are set ablaze and worshippers slaughtered in intolerant places on earth. It’s not limited to Christians. Jews are persecuted and threatened around the globe.

        I believe in God because I accepted the gift of Faith. We are all given that gift. I was reinforced in that Faith by the examples of parents, relatives, classmates, teachers and the absolute logic of seeing how people live their Faith vs. people who have no Faith or are of a different Faith. Some religions have elements of the truth but not the whole truth.

        I know some readers are busily typing retorts to my proclamation of some knowledge of truth. There is absolute truth in some areas of our lives. God is not both pro-abortion and pro-life. God does have something to teach about the truth of marriage. There are absolute rights and absolute wrongs.

        And if the atheist were true to logic, he would see that regardless of their opinion of Christianity, Christian moral principles would lead to a better society; love of one’s fellow man, abstinence before marriage, true marriage. We’d have much less disease, broken homes, troubled people, mess-up kids, drug addiction, etc.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Matt 3:21 Thanks for taking the time to share your views, Matt.

          “Christian moral principles would lead to a better society….less disease, broken homes, troubled people, messed-up kids, drug addiction, etc.”

          I wish it were possible to verify that this is true. The case for this view has been stated many times here and I always counter with statistics I saw a while back that said atheists are under represented in prisons compared to their population in society while Christians are over represented in prisons.

          I’ve never seen any information to suggest atheists are more troubled, have more disease, broken homes, drug addictions etc than Christians. The highest rates of spousal abuse are in the Bible belt. The lowest rates of divorce are in the least Christian areas. My guess is that morally Christians and atheists are the same.

        • entech says:

          Noah, I would invite you to consider a couple of things about persecution. You say Christians are being persecuted for their faith – churches burned worshipers killed. This is being done by people with a strong faith of their own, one that is different from yours. As well as being on the receiving end Christians have been the perpetrators of persecution at different times in history.
          Could the problem be faith itself? Faith that my deity is the one and only true deity, faith that my religious leaders know the mind and requirements of their deity. And so often it seems to be a requirement that the followers of one deity are required to be dominant and prove that there is only one true and real faith (this would include followers with the same deity but with leaders that interpret it all differently).
          On the question of Gay Wedding Cakes, it is possible that the gay couples consider they are being persecuted and are simply fighting back.

          Christian moral principles are not the only moral ideas that are viable and that can lead to a good society. I say can, about 25 years ago I was in San Francisco on my way to a holiday in Mexico, there were more beggars and people sleeping in shop doorways than there were in Mexico.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            Think about two children on a playground.. arguing, My dad’s a fireman, but my dad’s a policeman.. My dad could beat up your dad…

            Replace dad with the word God, and replace policeman with Christian and Muslim.

            My God is Muslim, well, my God is Christian it’s the one God, Oh yeah, well, My God could beat up your God anyday.. Oh yeAH? Well, I could just blow you up and lets see who’s God is truly better.

            This is where I have issues with religion / God. I don’t care if people do believe the magic tea pot is real. Fine, let them believe what they want. But, when we start wars and global battles, and oppress people for believing or not believing a certain way? come on? Get off the play ground and be real!! Be better than we are!

            Who cares if I believe different or if you believe different? Stop putting everyond down for not believing like you.. It’d be amazing to see what society we could create if we stopped fighting about our differences and started simply recognizing we’re both humans trying to make it through life. And if one is more right than the other, the truth should become self evident. No amount of play ground antics is going to change anything but cause people to get put in prison or end up being hurt and at a global level, endless persecutions and attacks on innocent people.

            My last thought on this, is persecution would decrease and/or end if people weren’t so defensive about everything. Just because I think something differently than you is no way meant to be an attack on anyone.. I just think differently… If God created me, then my thoughts are what God wanted me to be capable of having.

    • Adam Heckathorn says:

      Matt I appreciate Your post and think it a reasonable question why would an Atheist care about a nonexistent God? For me it is because We are effected whether We like it or not by The religious beliefs of Others. The entire course of Human History to the remotest corner of the Earth has been effected by Religious belief.

      • entech says:

        Adam, I have to agree, it is the way in which the followers of “the non-existent God” that claim to know the mind and will of God and want to see it implemented “on earth as it is in heaven” that cause some concern. The problem is that some, not all, not even a majority, but certainly the most vocal and demanding want the law of God to become the law of the land, it has happened in some places, it is called Sharia. They claim we have freewill and then do their best to make sure we are not in a position to use it.

        Why keep on about it? Self defense!

  8. Matt Noah says:

    To be ignorant of statistics is quite different than refusing to accept the truth behind them.

    I would be quite interested in Jon’s assertion that more prison inmates are Christian than atheist.

    Jon wishes it were true to prove my recitation of the facts of Christian moral practice and things like broken homes, disease, abortion, teen pregnancy, etc. If I provide references to such, would Jon then become a Christian? Or at least follow those Christian principles which lead to less broken homes, disease, abortion, etc.? What if it all boiled down to actually believing in God so you had the strength to discipline one’s self to abstain from certain destructive behaviors?

    That is a totally logical argument. Will belief follow the logical, provable set of actions? I anticipate some walls being thrown up even prior to accepting my challenge.

    Actually, some things don’t even need a statistic. Here are some examples.

    Following the Christian moral teaching of abstaining from sex before marriage will lead to zero premarital pregnancy, zero venereal disease, zero abortion.

    Following the Christian moral teaching of no extra-marital sex will reduce the divorce rate from infidelity to zero.

    Here are two gems I know free-thinkers will despise. The divorce rate for couples who attend weekly church service is dramatically lower than for couples who don’t attend weekly church service. The divorce rate for couples who attend weekly church service AND do not engage in contraception is almost zero. Now I await the first free-thinker who states, “So, what’s wrong with divorce!” Go ahead, show your true colors.

    • entech says:

      It would be interesting to see the source for these “examples”. Especially where you speak of not using contraception, that is a very personal subject and I would not expect total honesty in a situation where it was considered a sin.

      Although not a believer and my wife was not a believer we married in a church, back in the mid sixties it was expected, never went to church always used contraception and never divorced.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Matt 1:23 Thanks for your views on morals. You would have to admit views of morals change–moral condemnation of sex and pregnancy out of marriage is changing. Religion tends to follow societal trends so these will not be issues discussed by Christians in time.

      There are lots of other moral issues that seem to be ignored by the Christian faith. I’ve discussed here many times deaths from car wrecks. Frequently, innocent children and adults are killed and permanently injured by moral lapses of other drivers. Over 30,000 people are killed every year, most of these are preventable. This seems like a much more important issue than children born out of wedlock, divorces or infidelity. I wish there were religious expressions of outrage.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      Is it possible to accept there are really messed up people? There are priests that think it’s o.k. to rape young girls and molest boys. There’s non christians that think it’s o.k. to kidnap 3 or more women, keep them in a dungeon and repeatedly rape, impregnate, physically abuse, and cause abortions over a period of 10+ years. There’s teachers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, cousins, and so on, that do everything from murder, emotionally abuse, physically abuse, and take advantage of others.

      These people that do these things are both non christian and christian. The only reason christians would have more that do these things is because there’s more humans out there that are christian than there are athiest. So, it would be normal for there to be more christians imprisoned. Simply because there’s more of them.

      That’s not to say athiests are any worse or better. Religion does not dictate our actions. Our upbringing, being punished when we misbehave, being taught to respect others by our parents, family, school teachers, and friends. Psychology has worked on this for several hundred years, there’s strong evidence that our surroundings of how we’re treated, how we’re raised instills in us the basics for how we treat others as adults. For some religious involvement instills those basic tenets of human behavior. That’s not to say God puts them there, it’s just that adults in churches, sunday schools, etc, instill a mutual respect and consideration based on how they act and treat others and based on how they set bounderies for children. Repetitive conditioning for what’s right and wrong.. Repeatedly being put in timeout for biting a fellow classmate, is going to teach most kids that biting is wrong.

      Why is it wrong? Because it hurts others and because the other person said don’t bite me at some point most likely. Why do human behaviors have to come from God? When ultimately how we treat our kids determines much of how they behave.

      Yes, there’s deviations from the rule of environment- nurture.. There’s also nature. Some kids don’t respond to bounderies. They learn how to act out, and rebel, either due to poor surroundings, or something mentally is wrong with them. THere’s a million possible reasons now for issues with child / adult behaviors. From the dyes in foods, to chemicals in processed foods, artificial sugars, chlorine in the water, to aluminum in cans and plastics from bottles. Put that on top of whatever radiation batteries of cell phones and cell phones themselves emit and we’ve got ourselves a society that is struggling to deal with human behavior deviations. Is it because belief in God is less or because big companies now have the power and resources to hide critical data from the public? Smoking was once advertised as being good for you… Look at how far that got us? How many things are as bad as smoking and we eat or drink them every day?

      In short, morals can be taught based on adult behavior and actions and through respectful bounderies. That said, there are outside influences that cause children to grow into bad humans. These bad humans are as much christian as athiest. God didn’t make them bad nor did he make the humans that turned out o.k. good. We as a society are responsible for both the good and bad people. We seem to have lost that along the way.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Wolfy32 5:53 “That’s not to say atheists are any worse or better. Religion does not dictate our morals.”

        Good point. I get the feeling some religious people are so defensive about the unseen spiritual world they reside in they feel the need to say it is about something else as well. So, they arbitrarily better select morals as a claim. It could have been better health or faster cars, but those can be measured. So they stick with the another vague and sort of unseen something or other.

        • Fr. James says:

          Atheists may be moral, but they don’t have the ability to discover what morality actually is. If everything is relative then what is moral?

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