Why are the young abandoning Christianity?

According to Wikipedia, the Barna Group is a polling firm run by evangelical Christians. Their self-stated “ultimate aim” is  “to partner with Christian ministries and individuals to be a catalyst in moral and spiritual transformation in the United States. It accomplishes these outcomes by providing vision, information, evaluation and resources through a network of intimate partnerships.”

And the Barna group carried out a five-year project to determine why so many young people are leaving Christian churces. The preceding link gives the results:

Overall, the research uncovered six significant themes why nearly three out of every five young Christians (59%) disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15.

Five of the reasons involve the church being overprotective, affording young people only a “shallow” Christian experience, being too simplistic and judgmental in sexual matters, being intolerant of other faiths, and being unfriendly to doubters.  These are all good reasons to abandon faith completely, and bode well for secularism.  But the most interesting reason is this one:

Reason #3 – Churches come across as antagonistic to science.
One of the reasons young adults feel disconnected from church or from faith is the tension they feel between Christianity and science. The most common of the perceptions in this arena is “Christians are too confident they know all the answers” (35%). Three out of ten young adults with a Christian background feel that “churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in” (29%). Another one-quarter embrace the perception that “Christianity is anti-science” (25%). And nearly the same proportion (23%) said they have “been turned off by the creation-versus-evolution debate.” Furthermore, the research shows that many science-minded young Christians are struggling to find ways of staying faithful to their beliefs and to their professional calling in science-related industries.

Of course, this is all the fault of atheists and scientists themselves.  As accommodationists always tell us, we’re the ones who turn the faithful away from science with our stridency and unfriendliness toward faith. Clearly, the “anti-science” attitudes of Christian churches are simply a reaction to atheism . . .

h/t: Scott

228 Comments

  1. sasqwatch
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    You were going great up until the end… I’m afraid I just cannot abide by your conclusion, though. Probably one of the most idiotic things I’ve read in a LONG time. Oh WAIT! I see what you did there… ;-)

    • Llwddythlw
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Doug Piranha has nothing on Jerry.

      • sasqwatch
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        …’e knew all the tricks.

  2. Posted November 15, 2011 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    I could almost feel sorry for the Christians, if it weren’t for the fact that they’re running the biggest and most “successful” confidence scam in all of human history.

    Almost.

    The chicks are coming home to roost, is all. The lies of Christianity are becoming harder and harder to maintain, and more and more people are waking up to those lies. One can hope that we’ll reach a tipping point in the not too terribly distant future — after all, it’s already happened in much of the rest of the civilized world.

    Cheers,

    b&

  3. Posted November 15, 2011 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Why are the young abandoning Christianity?

    A good question. Maybe, just maybe, contrary to what a lot of “old” people think of young people, they are not quite as stupid as is made out!

    Maybe the young people can see past the fraud and “control by fear” that is religion.

    Good on them I say!

    Cheers,
    Norm.

    • Posted November 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      At 16 I realised exactly that: organised religion, especially Christianity, is rife with control issues, fraud, lies, self-unawareness, stubborn refusal to accept facts and rank hypocrisy such that it couldn’t possibly be the superior moral force, societal glue and underpinning of modern democracy it insisted on telling everyone it was. In less than a week I went from doubting-but-loyal Christian to pissed-off deist (took a further 14 years to realise I’d spent that time effectively being an atheist).

  4. Sastra
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    I thought the most interesting reason (and one that also conflicts with accomodationism) was this one:

    Reason #6 – The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.
    Young adults with Christian experience say the church is not a place that allows them to express doubts. They do not feel safe admitting that sometimes Christianity does not make sense. In addition, many feel that the church’s response to doubt is trivial.

    Oh, really? The church’s response to doubt is no doubt “trivial” because the beliefs are with little doubt false. Even their best defenses fall apart under critical scrutiny. This is a Serious Problem for Christianity, and short-term fixes are unlikely to work in the long run.

    The church “feels” unfriendly to doubt because it IS unfriendly to doubt. Faith is supposed to use doubt only to make belief stronger — sort of like conquering a weakness. In religion doubt is, instead, the honest voice of our conscience. If Christianity doesn’t “make sense” then it’s not reasonable to believe this is a wonderful feature of its truth.

    Accomodationists think the science/religion conflict is best resolved by directing believers to evolution-friendly religions. To do this they find themselves in what ought to be the uncomfortable position of trying to make the apologetics better.

    • Tulse
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      They do not feel safe admitting that sometimes Christianity does not make sense.

      If it made sense it wouldn’t be called “faith”.

      • Stan Pak
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        They even claim that more harder nonsense is to believe it is more virtuous to believe it because it gives more proof of strength of your faith.

        I wonder how people can buy such logic.

        • Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

          Two words: “cognitive dissonance.” It’s literally a textbook example.

          Cheers,

          b&

  5. Godfrey Zone
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    The worry is, what will replace christianity for those who seem to need to worship something, and have not turned to science / secularism? If they turn in droves to islam as an alternative, it’s not much of an improvement, in fact it’s a retrograde step.

    • raven
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      They won’t turn to Islam, at least in the USA.

      Moslems are one of the most hated groups right now, according to polls. The other three are fundie xians, the Tea Party, and atheists.

      Here on the west coast, it’s mostly New Agers and Pagans. At least in my circle, they vastly outnumber the fundies.

      I don’t have a problem with them. They aren’t trying to destroy the USA or assassinate MD’s. And they throw some really great parties.

      • Tulse
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        Here on the west coast, it’s mostly New Agers and Pagans. [...] I don’t have a problem with them. They aren’t trying to destroy the USA or assassinate MD’s.

        But they’re likely anti-vaxxers, and into alternative medicine, which can also be deadly to themselves and their children. And I tend to give such folks much less of a pass on the irrationality of their beliefs, since they actually choose them rather than just grow up with them.

        • raven
          Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          “But they’re likely anti-vaxxers, and into alternative medicine,…”

          Some might be. The ones I know aren’t. But they tend to be well educated.

          Don’t kid yourself about New Agers and woo medicine. The fundie xians and Mormons are heavily into that too. What do you think faith healing is? Besides occasionally lethal.

          • Tulse
            Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:59 am | Permalink

            Don’t kid yourself about New Agers and woo medicine. The fundie xians and Mormons are heavily into that too.

            Most definitely. My point was simply that New Age beliefs are not benign.

        • Sajanas
          Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

          I’ve known a few pagans, all nice people, but I still find the level of cynicism, faith, or whatever that is required to basically craft your own personal religion to be mind boggling. Most of the pagans I’ve known personally cobbled together their own gods from bits and pieces in various quasi and non historical books. Maybe that’s how gods have always been created, but I’m still amazed people can believe in something they just made up.

          • Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

            “I’m still amazed people can believe in something they just made up.” – that’s why you are not a theologian Sajanas!

          • raven
            Posted November 15, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

            “Most of the pagans I’ve known personally cobbled together their own gods from bits and pieces in various quasi and non historical books. Maybe that’s how gods have always been created, but I’m still amazed people can believe in something they just made up.”

            Who says they believe it? For some or many these are just metaphors for timeless truths. Or something.

            I started to do the same thing one time. I didn’t get very far. So far our sacraments are spending time with the cats and drinking white wine. Which is what I do anyway.

            For now, I’m a follower of “Bob the Rain God”. Bob the Rain God is one of the few gods for which there is a lot of evidence. I’ll stop believing in him if people can prove that it never rains.

      • Sastra
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        New Agers and pagans are often every bit as anti-reason and anti-science as the more traditional religions, and when it comes to dealing with reasonable dissent with their beliefs they can be (and usually are) just as dishonest and peremptory. The cosmos is still perceived as a moral hierarchy. Those who believe are more humble, more sensitive, more open, more enlightened and more elevated than those who are still stuck in the ‘lower’ realms of the world. Cosmic and sacred knowledge is available only through subjective means. Thus, critical analysis is castigated as close-minded and unfair bullying and must be squashed in the name of harmony and respect.

        No good is going to come of this sort of divisive thinking. In our culture “fringe” religious beliefs will often make common cause with other people on the fringe, such as atheists — but I think this is more the result of politics than a genuinely open attitude. I’m with Tulse down below. New Age isn’t really benign: it’s just not in power.

        Give them the strength of majority and watch their scorn for atheism and their attempts to control the culture through pseudoscience and an unearned assumption of innate superiority take off.

        • Sastra
          Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink

          I’m with Tulse down below.

          Oh, I see Tulse is on top of me. I still have problems getting the hang of these damn nested comments.

          • Ichthyic
            Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink

            I see Tulse is on top of me.

            O.o

            Should I be filming this?

          • Tulse
            Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

            As hugely tempting as it is, there’s really no acceptable rejoinder, is there?

  6. GBJames
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this posting. It is a very nice way to begin my Tuesday.

  7. raven
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    What I’ve been saying for years.

    US xianity is dying. I use Barna as one of my data sources.

    FWIW, the hatred of science and scientists is obviously counterproductive. It’s mostly a USA fundie thing anyway.

    Most xian sects worldwide don’t have a problem with evolution and the Big Bang.

    My natal Protestant sect says that right on their website. They just said, god invented evolution and left it at that.

    When the churches drop their opposition to realities like the round earth, heliocentrism, the old universe, Germ Theory of Disease, and evolution, …nothing much happens. These are minor issues. The main purpose of xianity is to get your soul into heaven, salvation. Nothing else matters.

    • Jer
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      US xianity is dying. I use Barna as one of my data sources.

      Be somewhat careful of using Barna as one of your data sources.

      You need to know what the Barna Group is before you trust their conclusions. They are a marketing research/consulting firm that sells their services to evangelical churches. Their mission is to help churches drum up business by increasing membership. If they released data that said “things are going great” it would be much harder to spin their services. “Times are tough and young people are harder to reach than ever” is a great lead in to “and that’s why you need to hire one of our people to come out and show your church how to do outreach”.

      I’m not saying that their conclusions are wrong – I’m saying be aware that they are a consulting company out to sell services to churches. I don’t know if they’ve changed things, but they didn’t used to show the underlying data or their data collection methodology for their various surveys and reports on how terrible it is to be a church in the USA these days. It makes it hard to evaluate their conclusions when you know that their conclusions are good for their consulting business and they don’t show you the raw data.

      • raven
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        Barna is just one of many sources.

        I use Gallop, Pew, and ARIS surveys as well.

        And anything else that google can find. You have to get as much data from as many sources as possible to draw valid conclusions.

        It’s interesting that even though Barna is Evangelical xian, the data they come up with isn’t looking too good for the fundies.

        FWIW, while Barna might be suspect as a xian organization, I’ve never seen any indication that they are cooking or faking their results.

        • Ichthyic
          Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          There was an article published in the CSM a while back supporting the idea that fundagelism is collapsing in the States too:

          http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0310/p09s01-coop.html

          • Achrachno
            Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

            While I hope he’s right, he didn’t present a lot of evidence. Maybe he has it, but just couldn’t fit it in a short article. But, predictions often go awry even when one has good evidence, so I’ll remain nervous about our evangelical neighbors.

      • abb3w
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Barna’s information can still be quite useful. You just have to read the list of things that they say are going wrong for the churches, and relabel it a list of things that Freethinkers can focus on to help peel away even more of the Millennial cohort.

        Some of those are relatively easy: up to date realistic attitudes on sexuality and on science, acceptance of whatever questions are considered pressing, and so on. Others, such as providing a social support framework (EG, to “help with depression or other emotional problems”), Freethinkers may have room for improvement.

      • Your Name's not Bruce?
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:59 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the background; most helpful.

    • Sajanas
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure my former church, the ELCA (the ‘good’ Lutherans, by and large) had much the same ‘god did it’ view of evolution. The problem is that viewpoint still isn’t really engaging with the issues that evolution brings up. You could practically paraphrase Epicurus’s trilemma to it.

      If God decided to use evolution, and told us the story of Genesis, then God is a liar.

      If God used evolution, he perhaps could not have directly created everything, and is therefore not omnipotent.

      If God used evolution, then death and struggle were part of how life arose, and there was no fall or rejection of God that cause our current lives, only a God that is comfortable with the painful deaths of every living thing to achieve his ends. Malevolence.

    • NoAstronomer
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      “The main purpose of xianity is to get your soul into heaven, salvation. Nothing else matters.”

      Surely the main purpose of xianity, and most (all?), religions is to get your money into their pocket.

      Is this sense xianity is like IBM in the early 1980′s. They can’t change the product without alienating the existing customer base, but the existing customer base is leaving in droves for a different product.

      • raven
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        “Surely the main purpose of xianity, and most (all?), religions is to get your money into their pocket.”

        You left out sex and power here.

        What they say they are about and what they do are two different things. You didn’t think salvation was free, did you?

        Much of religion is just a cover for the human drives for money, power, and sex.

  8. Insightful Ape
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    ” Of course, this is all the fault of atheists and scientists themselves. As accommodationists always tell us, we’re the ones who turn the faithful away from science with our stridency and unfriendliness toward faith.”
    In that case I m glad we have been doing a good job. Take that, Chris Mooney!

  9. Aidan Karley
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    You have me looking forward to the next appearance of American Evangelicals in town “to save us from ourselves.”
    We get occasional infestations of such saviours, from a church whose name I forget, because of a newspaper survey several years ago which gave Aberdeen as being “the most ungodly city in Britain” ; a reputation we do rather revel in.
    (The actual survey was about the proportion of people who are fee-paying members of a church ; I’m not sure if it was one specific church, or an agglomerate of all Christian churches, or all Abrahamic churches, or if they included the couple of Hindu temples and others too. Anyway, I suspect the causative factor was Aberdonian’s notorious tight-fistedness rather than ungodliness myself. But I prefer the “Most Ungodly City in Britain” headline.)
    I read to a friend of mine, from the newspaper article, that “every household in the city would receive a ministry visit.”
    “Oh Goody!” quoth Aly, “I’ll put on my goat mask and posing pouch in anticipation.”

    • sasqwatch
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      I had to look up “posing pouch”.

      Now I’m looking for eye bleach. Thanks.

    • TJR
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      I was working at Aberdeen University at the time of the 500th anniversary of the papal bull ordering it to be founded.

      We all got a big poster of the papal bull, which included a statement saying that this was for “the glorification of the catholic faith”.

      I didn’t put it on my office wall.

      • Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        I was picturing a mean-looking cow with a tall, stupid hat…then I read it the second time.

  10. raven
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Lately, some scholars have claimed that much of US xianity has already died. It’s come back as a demented Zombie trying to take over the USA and destroy it.

    Fundie xianity has morphed into right wing extremist politics with a few god stickers on it. Xian theocratic Dominionism. That isn’t much of a religion any more.

    The data such as it is.

    1. The fundies are lead by vaguely humanoid toads, a bunch of power mad, money hungry conmen who are often crazy.

    2. They don’t know their bible, never read it, have no idea what is in it.

    3. The three sacraments of fundie-ism are hate, lies, and hypocrisy. It looks more like satanism except the fundies exist and satanism more or less doesn’t.

    4. They certainly don’t walk their talk. Fundies are among the worst our society has produced by any objective measures of social problems, education, crime rates and so on.

    5. Xian terrorism is a serious problem in the USA. 2/3 of all terrorists incidents and plots since 9/11 have involved right wing extremists and/or fundie xians.

    That is the current theory of a lot of thinkers and some data supporting it. Make up your own mind but don’t ever take your eyes off the fundies or let them get behind you. They can be dangerous.

    • Jer
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      The fundies are lead by vaguely humanoid toads …

      Cthulhu Fhtagn!

      Ahem. I mean yeah – back when I was a believer I often made the argument that most “Christian” religions were actually the inverse of what they espoused. More “Satanic” than Christian.

      These days, though, the argument doesn’t wash. Christianity is what it is – if you look back at the history of the religion it’s been an awful blight on civilization punctuated by a few high points (like holding onto archives of books and artwork during the collapse of the Roman Empire, so that when things stabilized enough for a Renaissance, some of the older works were still around to be copied, or the Quaker movement in the US). It’s pretty much always been like that – a handful of malicious, greedy power-mongers at the top sucking the money out of those under them. Reality has never lived up to the ideal that Christians have projected for themselves, and sadly few of the Christians of the evangelical stripe (even the non-fundamentalists) tend to understand that.

      • Tulse
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:45 am | Permalink
        The fundies are lead by vaguely humanoid toads

        Cthulhu Fhtagn!

        Sound more like Tsathoggua to me…

    • Llwddythlw
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Can you point me in the direction of the data to support the numbers that you have stated in 5.? I searched the web, and I was only able to come up with this

      http://homegrown.newamerica.net/overview_nonjihadists

      and also this
      http://homegrown.newamerica.net/overview

    • Stan Pak
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      ad 1: But they are in large numbers and can do a lot of harm. Counts which matter.
      In other more catholic countries the situation is similar, but Church is rather more interested in power and money than sticking to doctrines more or less. They just edict that something in doctrine has shifted and sheeple will follow orders. Fundies are less compromising here in my opinion.

      ad 2: Knowledge of the scripture does not matter. Catholics and Mormons show it. They have transformed one BS into another. Stickiness of BS and replication is what matters.

      ad 3: I am not in Satanism, but I find them less hypocritical and they exist while I agree they are not important force in politics.

      ad 4: This rather follows from their hypocrysy. It is not a surprise in any measure. It is almost a law of physics.

      ad 5: I would like to see some reference here to those numbers you cite.

      • raven
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        The numbers for terrorism attacks were originally from Ed Brayton’s blog at sciblogs.

        Religion and Terrorism in Europe and America
        Posted on: July 27, 2011 11:02 AM, by Ed Brayton

        and

        Since the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, Muslims have been involved in 45 domestic terrorist plots. Meanwhile, non-Muslims have been involved in 80 terrorist plots.
        In fact, right-wing extremist and white supremacist attacks plots alone outnumber plots by Muslims, with both groups being involved in 63 terror plots, 18 more plots than Muslim Americans have been involved in.

        Read it yourself. FWIW, the same pattern holds in Europe. Anyone remember Anders Breivik?

        • Llwddythlw
          Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          Thanks. I’ll read them.

    • Achrachno
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      “The fundies are lead by vaguely humanoid toads”

      Disagree.

      Toads are benign creatures, as long as you’re not a slug or a worm — and they have about the most beautiful eyes among the vertebrates.

      If fundies were led by toads, they’d perhaps be tolerable.

  11. Jonathan Smith
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    SLIGHTLY OFF TOPIC. We have another sighting of Jesus, more evidence that god is reveals himself in mysterious ways. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/14/woman-photographs-jesus-on-cliff_n_1093107.html

    • Llwddythlw
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      According to my sister, it looks like my father, so that makes me God’s grandson.

      • InfiniteImprobabilit
        Posted November 21, 2011 at 1:48 am | Permalink

        I think it looks like Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster.

  12. Nom de Plume
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, the fact that younger people are beginning to show more trust in science than in Christianity will just lead fundamentalists to attack science all the more.

    • Kevin
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win…

      I think it goes like that.

  13. Steve Smith
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    h/t: Scott

    Eugenie?

  14. Kevin
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Well, it’s quite simple really.

    Kids these days are better at differentiating between myth and reality than us old fogies.

    Plus, they have way more access to information than we ever had or could possibly have. Especially unfiltered information (unprocessed by teachers, newspaper editors, etc.).

    I think this has resulted in a more finely tuned bullshit detector. The church tells them ‘teh gey’ is bad — but they have gay friends who aren’t bad. The church tells them sex is bad — but they have (protected consensual) sex and find that it’s pretty much fun. The church tells them they have to pray in this precise way and believe in this precise set of ideas or they’ll burn in hell forever — and they ask “where’s the evidence for that”?

    Kids: I love ‘em. In a totally non-Sandusky kind of way.

    • eric
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Plus, they have way more access to information than we ever had or could possibly have…

      That is a real key. Pre-internet, it was easy to keep information out of the hands of kids. They’d have to go to a library and look stuff up in a book (OMG!). Now you can type it into your phone.

      The informational difference between today’s youth and our (old fogie) childhood is practically the difference between today’s U.S.A and North Korea. Any fundamentalist theology in 2010 has information control problems that would’ve been inconceivable to previous generations of fundies. Of course faith organizations are fracturing – the internet is like the second coming of Gutenberg, only worse.

      • Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        Not only has the variety & amount of information (and access to it) expanded beyond the dreams of avarice, the ability to store it and hide it for later private consumption has also exploded. Any kid with a smartphone/pad/kindle/laptop can amass a veritable library of Alexandria’s worth of writing their parents might not necessarily approve of. Even if they don’t have a mobile device or their browsing/data is obsessively monitored, they can still go to a stationery store, spend five bucks on an easily-hidden flashdrive and load it up with whatever they want – a single GB can store more than you may be able to read in a whole year.

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:05 am | Permalink

        The internet works both ways. It’s strenghthening fundies, too.

        • Sajanas
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          It does to an extent, but I’d suggest that the internet makes it a lot harder for the fundies to hang on to the smart and curious. Sure, the people that want to have their own fundie sites and Christian Mingle and the like, but the nice thing about the internet is that you can get information without anyone seeing. There’s no need to be seen check a book out of the library, or buying it at a bookstore. Or really any big effort. Previously kids and adults could be isolated by their community, and now they don’t have to be. Sure, some religious people will choose to bury themselves further into their communities online, but I suspect those people would have done the same without the internet, through the techniques they’ve already been using.

  15. Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Of course, this is all the fault of atheists and scientists themselves. As accommodationists always tell us, we’re the ones who turn the faithful away from science with our stridency and unfriendliness toward faith.

    Oh yeah. Accommodationist burn!

  16. Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    This isn’t much hope IMO. Outside of the U.S. the Abrahamic religions are gathering ‘em in. China for example is going crazy for Christ.

    On a separate note ~ the Barna Group includes the Josiah Corps & their mission is to:

    “…identify young people between the ages of 8 and 12 whom God has called to lead the Church in the future, and to provide them with developmental resources and experiences over a decade-long period”

    nice

    • Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      In other words “get them at their most impressionable, destroy their mental independence and turn them into copy+pasting godbots forever.”

      Very nice.

  17. Hempenstein
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Is there any evidence that Muslim youth are following suit? I’m not thinking of those in Muslim countries so much as in US communities (NW Ohio / Detroit area?) with a reasonable first-generation density.

    • Posted November 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if “western society” makes a small group of any religious belief more fanatical while making a larger group less generally religious. Thoughts?

      • Hempenstein
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        Interesting question. I think it’s arguable that wherever the freedom exists to choose one’s religion vs. one state-sanctioned religion, the sects that get generated by the endless schisms wind up, as minorities, clamoring more loudly for attention. And probably almost by definition, whenever there’s a schism, one of those from the split will be more extreme. If instead there’s just one state-sanctioned religion, and the state is not a theocracy, then your choice is more closely a binary one – either follow that religion or not. If the state is like one of the Scandinavian countries, choosing no is easy. If it’s one like Iran, it’s a different matter.

  18. Steve Smith
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    One important reason not mentioned must be the impact of the internet, with all its immediate fact-checking and social interactivity.

    I became an atheist through the solitary processes of individual skepticism and independent reading with an archaic, non-hyperlinked and loosely cross-referenced technology called books. Kids these days have it easy, and that’s a good thing. There’s a zillion websites that counter the faithful’s nonsense and specious arguments. Anyone can download all classical and gnu atheist writing literally in seconds either on a kindle or free from a torrent. Anyone can interact with anyone else in the world with a few keystrokes, testing their ideas and arguments against the wisdom of the hive mind. Anyone who doubts their faith can see for themselves that rather than being alone, they are legion. Faith withers in this sunlight.

  19. anon
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    And the number one reason why young people are turning away from Christianity is….

    After 2000 years the shit still isn’t true.

    • daveau
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Srsly. I hope those frauds got paid well for their bullshit study. Because the real answer is that it’s lies all the way down.

  20. Ichthyic
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Where is Matzke to troll chide us?

    • Nick Andrew
      Posted November 17, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      It’s not often I see a really persistent Christian here, and “David” below
      is not only persistent but an unashamed apologist for the Catholic church.

      His arguments seem to be copied from the apologists’ playbook – long
      debunked, of course, and when challenged he fails to justify, instead
      starting some new argument under a different comment.

      Let’s play Apologists’ Bingo!

      Theology

      * The religion you argue against is not my religion

      * You don’t understand what the Pope meant

      * God is a mystery that we’re all too stupid to fathom

      * You don’t understand our sophisticated theology

      * God exists even though the concept is incoherent, because Love exists and you can’t explain it

      * I can explain the discrepancies in my holy book

      * “For those who believe, no evidence is necessary. For those who don’t, no amount of evidence is sufficient”

      * “X” is not punishment, but therapy (substitute excommunication, RPF, Hell)

      * Why don’t you ever criticize “X”? (substitute Islam, Protestants, Buddhists, etc)

      Science

      * My sect supports science

      * My sect predicted scientific discoveries

      * My sect invented the scientific method

      * Many great scientists belonged to my sect (which can therefore take credit)

      * We have no idea why “X” happens (substitute some biological process)

      Evolution

      * My sect agrees with evolution

      * Scare quotes around evolution

      * Microevolution and Macroevolution

      * Evolution doesn’t contradict the Bible

      * My sect doesn’t accept (Darwinian) Evolution

      Evidence

      * Can you prove the virgin birth and resurrection didn’t happen?

      * There is evidence for God

      * Do not seek evidence for God (“He will not be tested”)

      * You can’t prove that there is no God

      * I can prove that God exists

      * I refuse to prove that God exists

      * “X” is genuine (substitute Shroud of Turin or other relic)

      * My sect doesn’t claim that “X” is genuine (substitute Shroud of Turin or other relic)

      * Science said that “X” is genuine (substitute Shroud of Turin or other relic)

      * You can’t explain “Y” about “X” (substitute feature, then Shroud of Turin or other relic)

      * “X”, although genuine, does not confirm or deny Christianity

      Child Abuse

      * My sect wasn’t responsible for child abuse, only the individuals in it

      * Society approved of child abuse at the time

      * It was only a very few priests

      * It’s the fault of the gays

      Atheism

      * Atheists have a simplistic notion of God

      * God is Simple (Thomas Aquinas)

      * Atheists don’t know about religion

      * Misrepresents own sect’s holy book or other teaching

      * References Antony Flew

      * References Antony Flew and misspells his name

      Morality

      * My sect welcomes all

      * Sect “X” (some other sect) is bad

      * My sect doesn’t judge other sects

      * We hate the sin, not the sinner

      * Membership of my sect is voluntary

      * The teachings of my sect don’t change over time

      * The teachings of my sect change over time

      * My sect was at the forefront of social progress

      * Any complaints against my sect can be explained as the actions of imperfect individuals

      History

      * Nazis were atheists / Atheism was responsible for the Holocaust

      * Ignores the pagan roots of Christian festivals (Easter, Xmas etc)

  21. David
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    It seems like all of you who refer to Christianity at all, refer to non-Catholic Christianity. Because Catholics embrace science, in fact, with few limitations we agree with evolution, and the Big Bang theory. We also invite all-believers and doubters alike, to enter. All are welcome.

    In fact, in a recent interview, Fr. Robert Barron agrees with atheists that, if your idea of God is a bearded man in the sky, that’s a wrong impression.

    Catholics say that there’s a false dichotomy between faith and reason. It’s Protestants who want to eliminate science from the dialog.

    • raven
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      “It’s Protestants who want to eliminate science from the dialog.”

      Not even most Protestants.

      It’s mostly US fundies and their demon spawn around the world.

      • Stonyground
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Where does medicine based on bones and vials of blood fit into this scientific world-view? Just asking. I also think that science has pretty much disproved that a two day old corpse can come back to life.

      • Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        David clearly looks down on the poor protestants!

        • David
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

          How does disagreeing with them = ‘looking down on them’?

    • Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Who cares about the RC church attitude to science as such?

      The RC church has shown that it has no respect for the TRUTH where it really matters…

      The secular law ~ lying & hiding evidence to protect your evil, perverted priesthood. Paying off witnesses to the institutional abuse of your helpless flock.

      Pontiff Benedict’s remarks, back in 2009, about condoms not being the answer to the continent’s fight against HIV and Aids and could actually make the problem worse.

      The RC church disgusts me

      • Stonyground
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        Don’t forget that Ratty keeps on repeating the whopper that atheism was responsible for the Holocaust.

        • David
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

          What, would you say, was responsible for the Holocaust? Just curious…

          • Tulse
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

            Um…the Nazis?

            • David
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

              Nazis were atheists, by and large.

              • GBJames
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

                Please, Ceiling Cat, save us from this ignoramus.

              • truthspeaker
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

                No, they were Christian, by and large. Learn some history. You might also want to look at who was advocating the deportation and murder of European Jews for hundreds of years before the Nazis existed.

              • Tulse
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

                Nazis were atheists, by and large.

                Which is why the Wehrmacht had “Gott mit uns” on their uniform belt buckles?

                Which is why Hitler wrote “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord”?

                Which is why Joseph Goebells wrote “We have a feeling that Germany has been transformed into a great house of God, including all classes, professions and creeds, where the Führer as our mediator stood before the throne of the Almighty.”?

                Which is why Hermann Göring wrote “God gave the savior to the German people. We have faith, deep and unshakeable faith, that he [Hitler] was sent to us by God to save Germany.”?

                Which is why Rudolph Hess said “No matter what human beings do I shall some day stand before the judgement seat of the Eternal. I shall answer to Him, and I know he will judge me innocent.”

                Which is why all SS officers took an oath that said “I swear before God this holy oath, that I shall give absolute confidence to the Fuehrer of the German Reich and people.”

                And seriously, David, you do not want to get into the historical relationship between the Catholic Church and the Nazis. Such a discussion would not turn out well for your church.

              • Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

                Except for the 50% who were Catholics and the 50% who were Lutherans. Sorry, I being a tad unfair, I think Martin Bormann was an atheist, but I can’t think of any others off hand.

              • Tim
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

                It isn’t just the Catholics who have nurtured antisemitism. The Protestants were rotten from the beginning, what with Luther being one of most virulent antisemites who ever lived. You think Martin Luther might have had some influence on German culture?

                What a moron.

              • Écrasez l'infâme
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

                Nazis were atheists

                It’s hilarious when Catholics try out this line. For those who haven’t seen it, here’s Hitler’s 1931 painting:

                Mother Mary with the Holy Child Jesus Christ

                And a Hitler quote from Mein Kampf:

                The founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God.

                Hitler, of course, was a lifelong Catholic.

      • David
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        Can you prove an ounce of what you just said? It’s not the institution that abused children, it was individuals. It wasn’t the institution that treated those individuals as the secular world at the time said they could be treated, it was current, at the time, psychological thought. It wasn’t the protection of priests that led to secrecy, it was protection of those who were victimized.

        It’s folks like you who don’t read and attempt to understand what the pope actually said that leads to making problems worse. First of all, the Catholic Church has no power to ban condom use, yet millions of condoms sit rotting on loading docs because the people don’t want them. What the pope actually said is that condom use is not the best way to prevent HIV/AIDS. Abstinence is 100% effective every time its, tried. Condoms only work when applied properly, which is very seldom.

        If the Catholic Church disgusts you, and you think you’d like it to go away, what would you say to the millions in Africa who had AIDS/HIV and were treated and comforted by Catholic missionaries, when the rest of the world was too scared of the disease, and treated those in Africa like second-class humans? The rest of the world only jumped in when it became fashionable to do so.

        • Tulse
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

          It wasn’t the protection of priests that led to secrecy, it was protection of those who were victimized.

          What an absurd, disgusting, disingenuous lie.

          It was not protecting victims when accused priests were shuffled off to other parishes, without warning those parishes of the earlier crimes. It was not protecting victims to fail to report child rape to the police. It was not protecting victims to continually stonewall the authorities on this matter.

          How can any moral human being possibly justify the coverup of child rape? How can anyone with an ounce of decency not be profoundly disgusted by the repeated failure to address this issue in the most direct and serious fashion?

          Your apologetics for child rapists and their enablers are appalling.

          • David
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

            No, it was listening to secular ‘experts’, psychologists and psychiatrists, who recommended rehabilitation and relocation. If you study the time, you see that this was the established treatment. Aside from that, you hold the rest of institutional society to a different standard, when the Catholic Church’s current way is to turn over substantiated cases, while others such as public schools, still rehab and repopulate.

            I’m not apologizing for anyone, but you sure know how to look to the past with 20/20 vision. Had the Church done what was its first instinct, priests with this problem, a very, very small percentage, by the way, would have been placed in monasteries, which are jails for those who don’t want to be there, and harsher than any prison could ever be. When the common worldwide parlance was peace, love, harmony, understanding, sex with anyone and everyone, you sure know how to pick your wars. The truth is that the society produced the men who became priests, thus, society is as much to blame for their problem as any one other factor. Certainly, what they did was abominable, and the Catholic Church is the only institution to take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen, and to treat those instances where it does happen with alacrity and harshnes..

            • Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

              Of what use are your gods if they can’t even stop their terrestrial representatives from raping children en masse?

              And who do you think you’re kidding when you describe your church as the foundational rock of all morality if it is so easily swayed by the slightest cultural breeze?

              Keep spinning. You’re doing a far better job at convincing today’s youth to flee your international child prostitution syndicate in droves than any atheist could ever possibly hope to.

              Cheers,

              b&

            • truthspeaker
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

              Yes, back in the 1950s and 1960s, secular experts recommended rehabilitation (although not continued contact with children), and law enforcement didn’t take child-rape seriously.

              But by the 1980s all of that had changed in secular society, with, at least here in the states, a massive public education effort. But the church kept doing it the old way.

            • Tulse
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

              monasteries, which are jails for those who don’t want to be there, and harsher than any prison could ever be

              Seriously? Seriously?!?

              Son, I’ve spent several weeks at monasteries, and didn’t notice any significant risk of being shivved, or serving as someone’s buttboy, or being brutalized by guards. The music was lovely, the food was plain but good quality, and there was time for work and reflection. You have to be in profound denial to think that a monastery is adequate punishment for raping a child. I cannot comprehend your lack of moral compass.

              • Tulse
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

                Oh, yeah, and one can always legally leave a monastery…

    • Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Catholics most emphatically do not embrace science. All y’all do is coopt sciency-sounding terms and assign liturgical definitions to them.

      If you embraced science, you’d laugh at the notion of a shaman being able to transmute cheap wine and stale crackers into the living flesh and blood of an ancient zombie — even if said transmutation is somehow only “substantial” rather than “real” or whatever.

      As far as evolution goes, see Jerry’s recent take-downs of Catholic Andrew Sullivan on the “truth” of Adam and Eve, or his recent debate with Catholic John Haught on the compatibility of science and religion in which Haught badly shamed himself, or his not-quite-as-recent extended analysis of Catholic theologian Edward Fesser that revealed only nonsense and inanity.

      Christianity is sheer batshit fucking insane lunacy. It doesn’t matter what flavor — Catholic, Baptist, Moron — they’re all crazy. It’s the basic, unavoidable foundational premise at fault: that a badly-written ancient faery tale anthology that opens with a story about an enchanted garden with talking animals and an angry giant somehow is supposed to be the ultimate representation of Capital-T-Truth. Madness. Sheer, unadulterated madness.

      Cheers,

      b&

      • Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        Note also how the theology changes to fit the convenience of the church leaders – “The weathercock more constant is, that turns about in every wind”.

      • Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:48 am | Permalink

        +1!

      • David
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        I don’t particularly care what some people who might be nominally Catholic might say. I care what the Church teaches. And the Catholic Church teaches that both Creationism and Evolution (some forms of it) are not incompatible, and therefore, evolution could be true. Don’t forget that it was Catholic thought 1700 years ago that life on earth evolved. And it was Catholic science that posited the Big Bang Theory.
        The Bible does not try to tell us how everything happened, just that it happened, and that God did it. If that last sentence is what you think God is, I would agree, I don’t believe in that, either.

        • Tulse
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          the Catholic Church teaches that both Creationism and Evolution (some forms of it) are not incompatible

          Right, the “form” of evolution that posits direct divine intervention. Which isn’t evolution at all.

          it was Catholic science that posited the Big Bang Theory

          Um…what?

          (And since when are there sectarian sciences?)

          • David
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

            Your knowledge is…lacking. As someone else told me on this post, go check it out.

            • Tulse
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

              About which point are you speaking? Or is to be mystery?

            • Posted November 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

              It is true that a catholic was instrumental in creating the BBT. However, that has nothing to do with his faith; the contents of the theory are perfectly secular. Moreover, the incompatibility problem arises soon enough: the Catholics still insist, wrongly, on the misinterpretation that the BB is the beginning of the universe, when it is no such thing.

              As for evolution, evolution of human psychological faculties was explicitly denied by JP II.

              So sure, the Catholics aren’t 6000-year-old-earth fundies, but to say that they are ok with science is ridiculous.

    • Sastra
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      David #21 wrote:

      Because Catholics embrace science, in fact, with few limitations we agree with evolution, and the Big Bang theory.

      Catholics only “embrace” science when they can figure out a way to, as Jerry says, “turn a scientific necessity into a religious virtue.” When the faithful accept scientific discoveries only on the stipulation that these findings either don’t or won’t conflict with their religion, then they’re approaching science the wrong way. They’re “embracing science” with a religious fervor; they could reject it just as easily, and from the same motivation.

      How lucky it is that Catholics figured out a way to encorporate evolution and the Big Bang into their theology, since the rules of faith put faith above reason. But luck is a poor thing to bet on.

      We also invite all-believers and doubters alike, to enter. All are welcome.

      Really? Why, that is excellent!

      We doubters are bringing the scientific method with us. Let’s all get together then and place the existence of God, the incarnation of Jesus, and the truth of the supernatural into the category of hypotheses. Let’s examine each of them with the honesty, caution, rigor, and objectivity of rational and scientific analysis — and see where we all end up together, shall we?.

      If we’re really “welcome” then the motivated verification process of faith has no place among us. This will be so refreshing.

      • raven
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        “We also invite all-believers and doubters alike, to enter. All are welcome.”

        That is good to know.

        A few centuries ago, they would have burnt me and most of my friends at the stake.

        • truthspeaker
          Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          I wonder how welcoming most Catholic parents would be if their children expressed doubts about the faith and declined to participate in first communion or confirmation.

      • David
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Actually, if you think you doubters own the scientific method, and can change it to fit your ‘facts’ of evolution, you’re wrong. In fact, it was the Catholic world that developed the scientific method you so charmingly claim for your own.

        You’re welcome to come along, but to do that, you have to accept some basic premises. First being that, if you could adequately describe God, He wouldn’t be God. Your premise that it just happened by accident is even less believable.

        • Tulse
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          it was the Catholic world that developed the scientific method

          Huh? Yes, the scientific method developed during a period when most of the Western world adhered to the Catholic religion, but so what? It also largely developed in the complete absence of tomatoes, so it is the “a-tomatoist world” that also developed the scientific method?

          You’re welcome to come along

          Gosh, that’s awful generous of you, but I think I’ll stick to the science that doesn’t involve turning bread and wine into flesh and blood, or magic bits of dead people, or ghosts with healing powers appearing to children. (Oh yeah, and there’s also the small matter of child rape and the imprisonment of young Irish women…)

        • Posted November 16, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          Oh yes I had forgotten that the Catholic world developed the scientific method. After all both Copernicus and Galileo were Catholics. Copernicus was even ordained into one of the minor orders. The Catholic Church must have been justly proud to have such scientific giants in its ranks.

          • David
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            Actually, most of the most noted scientists in history were Catholic. Most of the discoveries of science in the Middle Ages were made by monks. The education system you have today, both elementary and higher, are Catholic, the hospital system you have today is Catholic, the banking system you have today is Catholic. Have there been mistakes? Yup, we’re also HUMAN.

            • Tulse
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

              Actually, most of the most noted scientists in history were Catholic.

              And most of the most noted murderers and rapists in history were Catholic. So? Are you really going to argue that there is a causal relationship here?

    • Sajanas
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      I would find that a lot more believable if Catholics weren’t constantly flocking to images of Jesus or the Virgin Mary, bleeding statues, or discredited miracles like the Shroud of Turn.

      And are non-believers really welcome? I once got up and took communion in a Catholic friend’s wedding, not realizing that doing so as a non Catholic actually damns me to hell forever. I was just trying to be polite (Lutherans always take communion), and no one told me that I was wrong to do so. How is having a philosophy like that at all welcoming? Heck, the Catholic notion of damnation and hell is *entirely* antagonistic to other religions.

      • Sastra
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        The Catholic Church “welcomes” everybody on the same terms that fundamentalist churches and New Age environs also welcome outsiders: everything is fine and dandy as long as you stay quiet, respect the hosts, and remain polite enough to either say or imply that you find the goings-on to be “interesting” and/or “intriguing” and/or “impressive” and/or “oddly compelling.” The outsider may or may not end up a convert, but the possibility is always there: thus, the welcome.

        What they term “welcoming” is what we see as “reaching out to the damned.”

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:11 am | Permalink

          as long as you stay quiet, respect the hosts, and remain polite enough to either say or imply that you find the goings-on to be “interesting” and/or “intriguing” and/or “impressive” and/or “oddly compelling.”

          And fergawdsake, hide your homosexuality.

          • David
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

            That’s not a requirement, either. Gosh, you people just have a very skewed view of what religion is, how can you be so against something you know nothing about???

            As if homosexuality is the only sin out there…we’re not called to hide our sins, we’re called to forsake them. It’s funny how people don’t like to give up what they embrace, and that those other guys are the sinners. Sorry, we’re all in the same boat, having different problems to deal with. Catholics just deal with them differently. All 1 billion of us.

            • truthspeaker
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

              The fact that you think homosexuality is a sin is pretty damning.

              • David
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

                Actually, the fact that you think it isn’t is.

              • truthspeaker
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

                Tell me again why you thought our criticisms of religion only applied to Protestant Christianity?

              • David
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

                And we don’t condemn the person, it’s not the person, it’s the act itself.

              • truthspeaker
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

                And that’s what makes you a bigot.

        • David
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          Ah, but we don’t force anyone to join if they don’t want to, or if they disagree with our teaching. That’s true of most faiths, except, like when it’s a state religion like Anglicanism was.

          Let’s look at it this way. If you see something you want to achieve, and you find out the requirements to get to that achievement, and decide you want to do it, your welcome. If you decide you don’t want to do it, that’s fine, too. But you can’t say that you weren’t welcome.

          • truthspeaker
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

            Ah, but we don’t force anyone to join if they don’t want to, or if they disagree with our teaching

            Not anymore, but that’s only within the last couple hundred years.

            • David
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

              Actually, the Church teaches nothing new. It’s taught the same thing since Christ walked the earth.

              • truthspeaker
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

                I was replying to this:

                Ah, but we don’t force anyone to join if they don’t want to, or if they disagree with our teaching

                For most of the Catholic church’s history, people were forced to join if they didn’t want to, and imprisoned, tortured, or killed if they disagreed with the church’s teaching.

          • Sajanas
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

            My point is more that you belong to a religion that, through no particular fault of my own, would damn me to hell forever for an honest mistake. Don’t you believe I’m damned for taking communion without being a confessed Catholic? To me, rituals like that are the epitome of unwelcoming… they presume infinite stakes, without instructions. Anyone could walk into a Catholic church and do the same without realizing it, just thinking they were supposed to do what everyone else does.

          • InfiniteImprobabilit
            Posted November 21, 2011 at 2:31 am | Permalink

            Jeeeezus! And I thought nothing could ever give me the impulse to defend the Church of England. You see (speaking as a lapsed-nominal-C of E), the great thing about the C of E is that nobody really believes in it, and hasn’t for some centuries. That’s one of the unintentional benefits of a state religion – it’s got so watered-down to accommodate everybody that it’s more like a tradition than a religion. People get the social benefits without too much holy woo. Which is why I find it hard to comprehend that atheists are so hated in the US – in the UK, nobody cares that much. They get much more excited about football.

            The last time anyone was ‘forced’ to join the C of E was, well, probably about the time the Catholics were burning heretics.

      • Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        “doing so as a non Catholic actually damns me to hell forever” Oh – then I will see you in hell! :) Whichever one of us gets there first, keep a seat warm for the other!

        • Sajanas
          Posted November 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          Will do! I hope I end up end up in the wintery part of hell.

          • Exrelayman
            Posted November 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            “wintry part of hell” – what? The Cubs won the world series?!

      • David
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        You would? I doubt it. Shroud of ‘Turn’ discredited? Nope. Absolutely credible.

        Regarding your unknowledgable misstep, that’s not a true understanding. It would only be damnable if you knew it was wrong and did it anyway. You obviously don’t know what the Catholic notion of damnation and hell is, so how can you say that it’s antagonistic to other religions? No one can go to hell for doing something that they had no knowledge of being wrong. You have to know it was wrong, and do it willingly, and not be sorry for it after you do it, in order to earn damnation.

        • Julien Rousseau
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          No one can go to hell for doing something that they had no knowledge of being wrong.

          But they can go to hell because of the (original) sin of another? How is that any better?

        • Sajanas
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

          Ah, oops, I replied further up before I got to this comment… lemme talk about the Shroud first though.

          The Shroud of Turin is a complete fake. It’s carbon dated to the 1300s, made with fabric much more advanced than other burial shrouds from the 100s, it has blood, not paint on it, it has no recorded history before 1300, and the guy that forged it confessed way back in the 1300s. But it makes money, so forget all that.

          As for my mistake, its just one example. You believe that people that don’t accept Jesus through the Catholic Church go to hell, right? Else, what would be the point of being Catholic. I find the notion of Hell antagonistic to all other faiths by its very existence. Its a your way or the highway philosophy that is drenched in smugness. Every religious person I’ve met thinks they’re going to heaven and a lot of them think everyone they hate is going to hell. And its just sick.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Because Catholics embrace science

      So no more virgin birth and resurrection?

      • anon
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        Those things obviously happened though. You see, the new testament isn’t all allegory like the old testament. Well, some of the new testament is, and some of the old testament isn’t – but not the crucial things that we built our whole religion on. THOSE things really did happen, but you have to be a dumb brick to believe that the earth is only 6000 years old – that’s impossible!

        But zombie Jesus is real.

      • David
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Can you scientifically prove they didn’t happen?

        Didn’t think so.

        • truthspeaker
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I can scientifically prove that it is impossible for a human female to give birth to a child without one of her eggs being fertilized by a male, and I can scientifically prove that it is impossible for someone to come back to life after being dead for two days.

          • David
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

            Impossible for you? Certainly. For humans? Yep. Yet Jesus brought back a man to life who had been dead four days…

            • truthspeaker
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

              That’s also impossible.

              • Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

                It’s not just impossible, but it’s all third-rate fantasy storytelling.

                We’ve got overwhelming volumes of contemporary and near-contemporary local and near-local documentation, including a vast cache of original documents in the form of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the well-provinanced writings of Philo, Pliny the Elder, the Roman Satirists, and more. The mere notion that any of them could overlook a genuine zombie invasion in their midst is beyond laughable.

                And not only do none of them mention any of these zombie orgies Christians fantasize so much about, they don’t even hint about mentions of Jesus — let alone the wacky new doomsday cult he’s supposed to have founded.

                The oldest mentions of Jesus are religious propaganda penned by Christians, and the beliefs and rituals they’re selling are impossible to distinguish from those of the surrounding cults. (But don’t take my word for it — read what Martyr and other second century Christian apologists had to write about the “Sons of Jupiter” and the Mithraic eucharist and the rest, or Lucian’s account of how Peregrinus duped the Christians into adopting pagan religious “revelations” as their own.)

                With time, more and more Christians started building more and more detailed fantasies. Eventually, about a century after the “fact,” non-Christians started reporting on the new lunatics on the block and the crazy nonsense they were spouting.

                Fast forward a couple more centuries still, and — just like Mormons today — they had built their cult into a political powerhouse and got the Empire to adopt it as the official state religion. The rest, as they write, is history.

                Cheers,

                b&

            • Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

              He should have stuck to turning water into wine. He’d have been far more popular. Think about it: would you crucify someone who did that on a regular basis?

              • truthspeaker
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

                It would depend on the quality of the wine.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      In fact, in a recent interview, Fr. Robert Barron agrees with atheists that, if your idea of God is a bearded man in the sky, that’s a wrong impression.

      That’s not agreeing with atheists. We reject all gods, not just bearded anthropomorphic gods.

      • anon
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Not to even mention that this was the standard view of god for centuries.

        Or the fact that god ‘made’ us in his own image.

        Or god revealing his ‘backside’ to Abraham.

        Everything in the bible would lead one to believe that god has distinct human features/characteristics. Well, since the bible is written so poorly, you could really come to any conclusion – which is why the 3 main christian groups (Catholics, protestants and evangelicals) disagree about so many ‘fundamental’ things.

        This is why christians like Andrew Sullivan can say that OF COURSE god isn’t some anthropomorphic dude in the sky, because god is just some magical feeling dude that gives us love and wonder and all the things we can’t quite describe (yet). And why they can affirm the big bang theory and evolution – it is pure, unaltered God of the Gaps, that is the best religious people can come up with.

        In a few years it will be: “OF COURSE god isn’t a bearded guy in the sky, or the essence of love (since we will figure out the brain eventually), or __________, it is obviously ______. Duh!”

        This is why young people aren’t buying the religious shit anymore – it just doesn’t make sense, AT ALL. Unfortunately we will have to chase them down the rabbit hole for a few more decades before it really catches on.

        • David
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:37 am | Permalink

          How else would you describe something that you have no words to describe?

          • truthspeaker
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

            If you have no words to describe it, how can you even think it exists?

            • David
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

              Does ‘love’ exist? Describe it.

              • truthspeaker
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

                A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, correlated with increased levels of oxytocin in the brain.

              • Sajanas
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

                My girlfriend and I like to say its the feeling of being sad if someone died. Less flippantly, ‘love’ is more than one emotion. The feelings for a good friend, a family member, a spouse, a child, they’re all different. But in general, I think is attachment, fondness, loyalty.

                You can pop someone into an fMRI and see the parts of the brain that light up when they think of love. You can find people who, through brain damage, developmental problems, or the like who don’t experience love, or empathy. You can also see animals that seem to have it to various degrees. Its not ineffable, or indescribable. Thousands of people have been trying to do it over the years in songs, poetry and novels.

    • Tulse
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Catholics embrace science

      This ex-Catholic says bullpucky.

      It’s not the Protestants who claim that a literal miracle happens in every church on Sunday when bread and wine are converted to flesh and blood. It’s not Protestants who officially recognize miracles, and have teams whose job it is to verify them. It’s not Protestants who have a bureaucracy designated to cast demons out of “possessed” people. It’s not Protestants who hang on to bits of bone and skin and organs of the dead in the belief that they have magic properties.

      Catholicism has a history of scholarly theology, but it also has a history of what could only be called fetishism and magic.

      • Kevin
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        You forgot saints. Regular old human beings only get to be saints if prayers directed through them result in a bona fide “miracle” or two.

        Miracles being a violation of the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology.

        And then there’s that whole non-sciency thing about the after-death. And their insistence that once sperm hits egg, a human soul is created. (Yes, you’re nothing more than a soul-making machine.)

        It’s patent anti-science.

        The fact that the church acknowledges our technological achievements and SOME of the theoretical underpinnings that go into them is quite beside the point. And probably only has come about since that whole Galileo episode and the 350+ years it took the church to stop being red-faced about it.

        • David
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          Actually, that’s not how regular humans become saints.

          Your understanding of the Galileo affair leaves a lot to be desired. Galileo didn’t have problems because of what he taught-that came from a Catholic priest, Copernicus. He got into trouble because he couldn’t prove it, and for saying that Scripture was wrong. That it was badly handled is very true, but doesn’t speaks against the Church-it is an institution run by humans.

          • truthspeaker
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

            . He got into trouble because he couldn’t prove it, and for saying that Scripture was wrong.

            That’s exactly the problem.

            • David
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

              Yes, the problem was he wanted something to be true that he couldn’t prove. The authorities didn’t like it. Sort of like if you murder someone, but you can’t prove that you didn’t. The authorities don’t like it and they turn against you…

              • truthspeaker
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

                He had evidence that the earth orbited the sun. Why would the authorities be concerned with him presenting this evidence?

            • Posted November 16, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

              Precisely. Even if Galileo had no evidence for his views whatsoever, to threaten him with torture and put him under house arrest would be nothing short of obscene.

          • Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

            It’s actually quite difficult to know exactly what happened re the Galileo affair as the Vatican has always refused to allow independent historians access to the relevant archives. However, at his trial the accusation was that he had published his results in defiance of a specific instruction from the Inquisition not to do so. What he could or could not prove seems to have been irrelevant. The crucial point seems to have been that by publishing his ideas generally instead of restrictively “for mathematicians only” as Copernicus had done, ordinary people, who would be unable to understand how these views were nevertheless consistent with scripture, might be lead into heresy.

            I don’t know where you got the idea that Copernicus said that scripture was wrong. He took Aquinas’s line that scripture was true but not literally true and argued that his theories were consistent with a correct understanding of scripture. He even stated that if it should turn out that he was wrong on this point then it should be his theories and not scripture that should be abandoned.

            One can speculate that he felt it safe to defy the inquisition after his personal friend Maffeo Barberini was elected Pope Urban VIII and he seems to have expected Pope Urban to turn up to the trial and use his authority to stop it. However there seems to have been a power struggle at the time between the papacy and the inquisition which the papacy lost and Urban did not appear. There seems to have been a period during which the inquisition had more power and authority than the papacy. The Catholic Church implicitly admits this every time they deny responsibility for the excesses of the inquisition.

            I don’t deny that there is a good deal of speculation in what I have just said. However the Catholic Church could easily settle a lot of these issues by allowing historians access to relevant archives.

            Incidentally there is no evidence that Copernicus was ever a Catholic priest. He studied theology was ordained into one of the minor orders as this was a requirement of some of the posts he held. But this was quite common in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. For instance the same could be said of the composer Palestrina who was definitely not a priest as he was married.

            • David
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

              Yes, he published his findings as theology, not as science. That’s what he was forbidden to do. I didn’t say Copernicus said that Scripture was wrong. Galileo did. You’re right about Copernicus’ attitude.

      • Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, I am at an utter loss as to how to distinguish Catholicism from Greco-Roman paganism in any means other than the names in the dramatis personae.

        Olympus and the Olympians are faery tale characters, but Heaven and the Angels are real? Hades in the underworld is a tale told to frighten children but Satan in Hell is real? Ancestor spirits with their shrines are silly superstition but guardian angels are real?

        Give me a break.

        Hell, even the holidays are theologically indistinguishable, even down to the name in the case of Easter.

        Cheers,

        b&

        • anon
          Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          It is always interesting when I have to explain to christians that easter/xmas, etc. are based off of pagan holidays. Ones that christians co-opted when they realized they had to compete with the pagans for tithe money.

          • Sajanas
            Posted November 15, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

            What’s even more humorous is having Sunday schools trying to explain why the Easter Bunny, the Christmas Tree and Wreath, or the Easter Egg are really Christian symbols. I believe that the Egg was supposed to symbolize the Empty Tomb?

            They were really, really reaching, and I found it a little upsetting when our Sunday school teacher was contradicted by my pastor, who just told us the truth about them being pagan fertility symbols. All that stuff is really just the ancient version of Christian rock music… it seems the same, but just a little lamer and tamer.

            • David
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

              Bunnies, trees, eggs, etc are nothing but folk traditions. It’s means nothing to what those holy days are about. The reality is the birth and death of Christ.

              • Sajanas
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

                But the folk traditions existed long before Christianity ever did, or at least, before Christianity reached those regions.

                I watched a documentary about Sudanese refugees who came to America, and were confused by Christmas, because for them, it was a parade with lots of music, and, if I recall, waving sticks. I’m sure their priests/pastors had Christian sounding explanations for it all too, that were lies.

                I guess my point is that the Birth and Death of Jesus is pretty lame without a party… and that the Christians co-opted other people’s parties (OPP!), and seem to be continually fighting between trying to redefine them, repurpose them, or forget them ever since. But just going to church is lame. If thats all it was, Christmas and Easter would just end up being like Epiphany and Penticost.

          • David
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

            Probably because they know you’re lying through your teeth, or just ignorant.

        • David
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

          So because we use candles, and pagans use candles = candle use is pagan? Nope. And there’s scientific probability that Jesus was born on Dec 25, and it’s a historical fact that Jesus died the Friday before Passover, making Easter the Sunday after. Eggs, bunnies, trees, etc have nothing to do with those holy days.

          • Posted November 16, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            Wait a minute.

            You just called St. John a liar.

            John 18:27 Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.

            18:28 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.

            18:29 Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man

            If you’re going to lie to us about your own damned grimoire, what makes you think we’re going to do anything but laugh hysterically in your face when you start cannibalizing the zombie?

            And you do know that the name, “Easter,” is the English transliteration of “Oestre,” the Germanic fertility goddess whose spring festival was celebrated with those eggs and bunnies you’re so dismissive of?

            No, of course you don’t know that. Educated thought is clearly above your pay grade.

            Cheers,

            b&

            • David
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

              In no way did I call John a liar. And it’s your problem what you call the day, not mine. We call it Holy Week. And the Friday, Saturday, Sunday are caled the Triduum. Officially.
              The Greek word Πάσχα and hence the Latin form Pascha is derived from Hebrew Pesach (פֶּסַח) meaning the festival of Passover. In Greek the word Ἀνάστασις (upstanding, up-rising, resurrection) is used also as an alternative.

              Christians speaking Arabic or other Semitic languages generally use names cognate to Pesaḥ. For instance, the second word of the Arabic name of the festival عيد الفصح ʿĪd al-Fiṣḥ, [ʕiːd ælfisˤħ] has the root F-Ṣ-Ḥ, which given the sound laws applicable to Arabic is cognate to Hebrew P-S-Ḥ, with “Ḥ” realized as /x/ in Modern Hebrew and /ħ/ in Arabic. Arabic also uses the term عيد القيامة ʿĪd al-Qiyāmah, [ʕiːd ælqiyæːmæh], meaning “festival of the resurrection”, but this term is less common. In Maltese the word is L-Għid, where “Għ” stands for the common Semitic consonant Ayin, and is directly derived from Arabic ʿĪd, which in both cases means “festival”. In Ge’ez and the modern Ethiosemitic languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea, two forms exist: ፋሲካ (“Fasika”, fāsīkā) from Greek Pascha, and ትንሣኤ (“Tensae”, tinśā’ē), the latter from the Semitic root N-Ś-’, meaning “to rise” (cf. Arabic nasha’a—ś merged with “sh” in Arabic and most non-South Semitic languages).

              In all Romance languages, the name of the Easter festival is derived from the Latin Pascha. In Spanish, Easter is Pascua, in Italian and Catalan Pasqua, in Portuguese Páscoa and in Romanian Paşti. In French, the name of Easter Pâques also derives from the Latin word but the s following the a has been lost and the two letters have been transformed into a â with a circumflex accent by elision. Additionally in Romanian, the only Romance language of an Eastern church, the word Înviere (resurrection, cf. Greek Ἀνάστασις, [anástasis]) is also used.

              In all modern Celtic languages the term for Easter is derived from Latin. In Brythonic languages this has yielded Welsh Pasg, Cornish and Breton Pask. In Goidelic languages the word was borrowed before these languages had re-developed the /p/ sound and as a result the initial /p/ was replaced with /k/. This yielded Irish Cáisc, Gaelic Càisg and Manx Caisht. These terms are normally used with the definite article in Goidelic languages, causing lenition in all cases: An Cháisc, A’ Chàisg and Y Chaisht.

              In Dutch, Easter is known as Pasen and in the Scandinavian languages Easter is known as påske (Danish and Norwegian), påsk (Swedish), páskar (Icelandic) and páskir (Faeroese). The name is derived directly from Hebrew Pesach.[6] The letter å is pronounced /oː/, derived from an older aa, and an alternate spelling is paaske or paask.

              Knowledge of any religion is clearly above your paygrade.

              • Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

                In no way did I call John a liar.

                Bullshit. Pure, unadulterated bullshit.

                You wrote, “It’s a historical fact that Jesus died the Friday before Passover.” Yet John made it quite clear, both in the passage I quoted and in others, that the Crucifixion was after the Passover feast.

                How can you call yourself a Christian when you blaspheme the most sacred saints you bow down before? Have you no shame?

                And you dare suggest that it is I who is ignorant of religion!

                Cheers,

                b&

                P.S. You just plagiarized Wikipedia. In any academic setting I’m aware of, that would merit an instant flunking. In the academic settings I’m most recently familiar with, it would also warrant an investigation that would have a significant chance of resulting in expulsion. And it’s one of the stupidest things a student could do. Of course, such academic dishonesty pales before bearing false witness about your own gods; I’m just letting you know that you won’t get away with either ’round these here parts. b&

              • David
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

                The discrepancy between John and the other gospels is answered by the differences between the solar and lunar calendars of the time.

                Regardless of where the information comes from, it is correct. The correct term for the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ is “Pascha”, not Easter. Your ‘academics’ is lazy, so why do I need to do any work?

              • Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

                The discrepancy between John and the other gospels is answered by the differences between the solar and lunar calendars of the time.

                What the fuck does the Roman calendar have to do with whether Jesus was crucified before or after the Passover feast?

                The fact remains that you’re still calling John a liar. John said that they ate the feast, then they crucified him. Who are you to tell us that John was lying and that they crucified him before they ate the feast?

                b&

              • Sajanas
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

                David, the accounts Gospels don’t match. Trying to make them do so will just give you a headache. John killed Jesus on a different time, because it fit more with Jesus being the Lamb of God, like the passover lamb and those lambs only died on Thursdays.

                If you read the individual Gospels straight through as solo stories, rather than drinking a blendered up version of them, you’ll see a lot more inconsistencies. Each of the authors was working decades and decades after Jesus (if he existed at all) died. Matthew and Luke put Jesus’s birth in different times, with different, unrelated chronologies, for instance.

      • David
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        Actually, there is proof that the host and wine turns into the body and blood of Christ literally. And to describe something that has no explanation is a miracle. I think every breath is a miracle. Because we have no idea how or why it happens. Sure, you can describe the mechanics of it, but ultimately you come to the unexplainable. Science is just too inadequate. Most of what you’re saying is grossly misleading. Most Catholics do not believe, and the Church does not teach, that pieces of bone etc have magic properties. In fact, it’s heretical. You have to learn to divide what people do and what the Church actually teaches.

        • Posted November 16, 2011 at 10:21 am | Permalink

          Oh, man. They’ve not only taken you hook, line, and sinker, but you’ve swallowed the pole as well.

          The Bedsheet of Turning real? Proof that bread and wine literally turns into flesh and blood?

          Damn, but you’re one stupid, gullible git.

          Say…I’ve got some prime Arizona beachfront property for sale real cheap, what with the housing market crash and all. You’re guaranteed to make a fortune on it once the economy picks up again. Can I put you down for a few hundred grand?

          Cheers,

          b&

          • David
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

            Well, let’s start by you telling me what the Shroud of Turin is? Was it painted? By whom? How do you account for blood stains? How do you account for the three-dimensional image of the man, the AB- blood, and the spores that come from Ancient Israel?

            Regarding the body and blood, do you have an explanation for the following event?
            Ancient Anxanum, the city of the Frentanese, has contained for over twelve centuries the first and greatest Eucharistic Miracle of the Catholic Church. This wondrous Event took place in the 8th century A.D. in the little Church of St. Legontian, as a divine response to a Basilian monk’s doubt about Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist.

            During Holy Mass, after the two-fold consecration, the host was changed into live Flesh and the wine was changed into live Blood, which coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size.

            The Host-Flesh, as can be very distinctly observed today, has the same dimensions as the large host used today in the Latin church; it is light brown and appears rose-colored when lighted from the back.

            The Blood is coagulated and has an earthy color resembling the yellow of ochre.

            Various ecclesiastical investigation (“Recognitions”) were conducted since 1574.

            In 1970-’71 and taken up again partly in 1981 there took place a scientific investigation by the most illustrious scientist Prof. Odoardo Linoli, eminent Professor in Anatomy and Pathological Histology and in Chemistry and Clinical Microscopy. He was assisted by Prof. Ruggero Bertelli of the University of Siena.

            The analyses were conducted with absolute and unquestionable scientific precision and they were documented with a series of microscopic photographs.
            These analyses sustained the following conclusions:

            The Flesh is real Flesh. The Blood is real Blood.

            The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.

            The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.

            In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.

            The Flesh is a “HEART” complete in its essential structure.

            The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).

            In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood.

            In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.

            The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.

            • GBJames
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

              Oh, for Jeebus’ sake. Use your Google machine. Go type in “shroud of turin debunked” and hit . And leave the rediculous Flesh and Blood nonsense at home. There aren’t enough children around for you to impress anyone.

              • David
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

                Look at you. You know there’s a Shroud of Turin. You think it’s fake, but you don’t have any idea why. You’ve never even looked at a replica of it. On the other hand, I approached it as a skeptic, and found it to be credible. I’ve seen the overwhelming evidence for it. It’s not painted, it’s not photographed, it is a 3 dimensional representation on a 2 dimensional medium, it has evidence of a man who had been scourged 120 times, nailed through his wrists and feet and puncture wounds in his head, all as relates to what is written in scripture.

                All that said, it makes no statement about the truth of Christianity, one way or the other. As someone once said, for those who believe, no further evidence is necessary, for those who don’t, no further evidence is possible.

              • Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

                Dude.

                The earliest reports of the Shroud (in the 14th century) described it as looking so fresh it was as if Jesus had bled on it only yesterday — and the miraculous nature of its preservation then was cited as proof of its authenticity.

                And the picture painted on it is a crude caricature that, were it made from a real human, you’d run screaming from the monster in horror. The arms aren’t even the same length! Yet the caricature is consistent with a classic, popular 14th-century style.

                As with the rest of Christianity, it’s such a laughably pathetic scam. You really have to be desperate and / or dumb to fall for these things. I’m not talking, “if you squint hard enough you can convince yourself,” but, “snort this white powder while I whack you over the head with this baseball bat, and then you’ll believe me.”

                Seriously. Get help before they con you into giving a significant percentage of your income to support their child prostitution racket.

                b&

              • David
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

                Dude. No paint. No pigment. And if you’d been tortured the way He was, the image would be pretty horrific, even if you look like Brad Pitt. The image literally had skin falling from the bones.

                Regardless, it proves nothing. Again, believe it…or not. And the Church doesn’t tell you that you should or shouldn’t. But there’s overwhelming scientific evidence of its authenticity.

                Of course you haven’t touched the three-dimensional aspect of the picture. That is patently impossible at the time. And being a painting does not address the spores, seeds, DNA, AB- blood, and so on. Different length arms? Dislocated shoulder.

                And again, you approach the matter with a prejudiced point of view. I approach it with an open mind. Whatever.

            • Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

              Our host does not take kindly to those who plagiarize the works of others at length. Nor does he look favorably upon those who make unsupported assertions or who sermonize.

              In which peer-reviewed journal did Linoli and Bertelli publish their findings? Somehow, I very much doubt that you will even pretend to answer that question — and I can all but guarantee that, if you do, you will regret it.

              b&

              • David
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

                Who is the publisher of Wikipedia? Who wrote the article? IT’s public domain, and if you know where to get the information, it ain’t plagerized.

                Quaderni Sclavo di diagnostica clinica e di laboratorio, 1971, verified by the World Health Organization in 1973, published by the WHO in 1976.

              • Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

                First, any unattributed quotation is plagiarism, regardless of the copyright status of the work.

                Second, neither the ASU library (which is extensive and just up the road from me) nor the University of Chicago library (which is very well respected and available to Jerry) nor the University of California library (which is legendary) knows anything about this journal of yours, including through interlibrary loan. Even if it exists, it’s so far from the scientific mainstream that it might as well be the Journal of the Martin Yeti Elvis Society.

                Once again, you unequivocally prove yourself to be a bullshitter.

                Cheers,

                b&

              • Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

                As editor in chief of the Journal of the Martin Yeti Elvis Society I take great exception to this esteemed publication being compared with the Quaderni Sclavo di diagnostica clinica e di laboratorio. I can assure you that every article we publish is peer reviewed by my pet canary. I doubt very much that the editor in chief of that other publication even has a pet canary.

            • Julien Rousseau
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

              You said in another post that John was not a liar.

              Then how do you account for John 19:40:

              “Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.”

              How can a body wrapped in strips leave a mark on a piece of cloth that is not a strip?

        • Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

          Than you for the information that the host and wine turns into the body and blood of Christ literally. I was under the impression that it was a matter of faith; obviously I have not been keeping up with the relevant literature — mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima cupla.

          If there is proof that the host and wine turns into the body and blood of Christ literally then there must be some test whereby we can tell the difference between transsubstantiated and untranssubstantiated bread. Since you know that this proof exists then you must either be able to carry out this test yourself or must know someone who can. So I propose the following experiment, which to ensure the greatest publicity can be the subject of a television documentary:

          Take 20 believing ordained Catholic priests who have not been forbidden to say mass and 20 male atheist actors who have learned to perform the ceremony.

          Make sure that the identity of the priests and actors is known only to an independent scrutineer who assigns a random number from 1 to 40 to each of them but takes no further part in the experiment except to reveal this knowledge at the end. Furthermore steps are taken to ensure that no one else involved in the experiment has any knowledge of any of the celebrants and that none of them is allowed to interact with the celebrants except as is made necessary by their performing mass.

          Have a second independent scrutineer too assign random numbers from 1 to 40 to 40 Catholic congregations having taken care that the congregations are statistically identical as regards, size, race, sex, age etc.

          Now have each celebrant celebrate mass in front of his assigned congregation. In this mass there will be no sermon or any other interaction between the celebrant and anyone else that is not strictly necessary for the celebration of said mass. Supply each celebrant with equal amounts of wine, holy water and and 201 untransubstantiated hosts. Since the communion of the faithful is not essential to the transubstantiation being valid it can be omitted and at the end there will be 200 hosts left for each celebrant. In order not to be disrespectful to the body of Christ supply each celebrant with 200 identical envelopes into each of which he places , with due decorum, a host and then have him place the host into a box numbered with his random number.

          The boxes are then passed to a third independent scrutineer who empties the boxes assigning to each envelope a random number from 1 to 8000. This scrutineer keeps a record of which hosts correspond to which celebrants. This information is kept in a safe place and the scrutineer takes no further part in the experiment except to reveal the information at the end.

          Now is the time for you and your fellow testers, who will have played no role in the experiment except to apply your test to distinguish the body of Christ from ordinary bread. You supply your results as a list of numbers from 1 to 8000 stating beside each number whether the corresponding host is the body of Christ or is ordinary bread.

          Your results and the information from the scrutineers are then analysed by an independent group of statisticians to see if there is any evidence that your test can distinguish between those hosts that have been transubstantiated and those that have not.

          There would, of course be independent observers from various scientific foundations and from the Vatican to ensure fair play and the all was above board. I can see no reason why the Vatican should object to funding such an experiment. After all, given their professed beliefs, they must be confident that it would furnish a public proof of one of the central doctrines of the Catholic faith. They would be in line to win a million dollars but this would count as nothing compared with the extra income they would obtain from the millions of converts that would result. As a welcome side effect they would also have saved the souls of these converts.

          I look forward to your enthusiastic acceptance of this proposal and, when you have recommended it to your pope, as you no doubt will having realized the great good that would come from such an experiment, I look forward to enthusiastic acceptance by His Holyness himself.

          • David
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

            You shall not put the Lord your God to the test. Either believe it or not.

            • Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

              Oh, so you do admit it’s a shameless confidence scam! Why didn’t you just say as much up front? It would have saved us so many spilled electrons.

              And what makes you think anybody else is stupid enough to fall for the racket now that you’ve just given it up? Are you just hoping that we’re even more idiotic than you were when you got taken?

              God damn, but these Christers get dumber by the iteration….

              b&

              • David
                Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

                Cummon, BG, prove that there is no God. Go ahead, I dare you. I can prove there is one, though…

              • Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

                You think you can prove that there are gods? Good luck with that. I very much doubt you’ll even be able to offer up a definition of the term that isn’t a self-contained contradiction.

                b&

            • truthspeaker
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

              In another post you said there was evidence of transubstantiation. Which is it? Is there evidence or not?

            • Julien Rousseau
              Posted November 16, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

              Matthew 19:20

              19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

              You and the pope would be “two of you” so it would be one for you.

              1 John 4:1

              “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. ”

              We are not testing god; we are just testing whether you and your church are from god or false prophets, as commanded by scripture.

        • truthspeaker
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          Actually, there is proof that the host and wine turns into the body and blood of Christ literally.

          Oh really? Care to share it?

    • truthspeaker
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      And I hope you wouldn’t insult our intelligence by trying to claim the Catholic church is not “being too simplistic and judgmental in sexual matters, being intolerant of other faiths”.

      • David
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        Catholics are judgemental of sin, period. And we know we’re all sinners, every one of us. And in fact, we’re not judgemental of other faiths. In fact, the Catholic hierarchy just hosted a day of prayer and invited every faith to attend. And while some Protestant sects say that Catholics aren’t Christian, Catholics say that Protestants are indeed part of the body of Christ.

        • RR
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          And in fact, we’re not judgemental of other faiths

          Sorry, that’s just not true:

          “She [the Catholic Church] alone, by herself, and under the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit, is the source of truth.” -Pope Pius XII

          “They could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it, or to remain in it.” -Second Vatican Council

          And if one doesn’t believe in the Jesus myth at all, then you won’t be “saved,” end of story. Sure there’s a lot of cover-your-ass going on so the RCC looks like it tolerates other religions, but, like every other church, the RCC believes it has the real truth, and the others don’t.

    • Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      “with few limitations we agree with evolution”.
      Well, that is big of you. The problem is David, that evolution is not like religion, it is not a pick & mix, you cannot just take the bits you like because they conveniently fit in with your god-view. We are all insignificant dots with no meaning to our miserable lives – for goodness sake get over it!

      • David
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        No, there are quite a few different theories of evolution. To name two, there’s macroevolution, and there’s microevolution. Darwinian evolution is not something we believe.

        If your idea is right, when you die, you’ll never know, but if you’re wrong, you’ll know for certain, won’t you. What do you have to say about Anthony Flue, a lifelong atheist who died admitting that there is a God?

        • truthspeaker
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          No, there are quite a few different theories of evolution. To name two, there’s macroevolution, and there’s microevolution

          Macro- and microevolution are not two different theories. How can you say something so idiotic and still claim that it’s only Protestants we’re criticizing?

        • Julien Rousseau
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          You should stop listening to YEC propaganda.

          And about Anthony Flew, he died a deist, which means that, not having accepted jesus, he is now burning in hell (assuming arguando that you are right).

          Do you really want to try to spin him being tortured for eternity as a victory?

    • David Ratnasabapathy
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Roman Catholics mostly agree with science? Google “Gloria Polo Testimony”. She, she says, was hit by lightning. Died. Rescuers couldn’t touch her because of the electricity suffusing her body. While she was dead she went on a tour of hell with Jesus, who told her that the Pope was da man and sex, birth control, abortions, womens’ rights and evolution were evil. She then came back to life miraculously healed (mostly) of her injuries.

      She’s a Catholic, she speaks in Catholic churches, and her testimony, from what I know, is found to be not contrary to Catholic teachings. Nor is she the only one of her ilk. Anti-evolutionism, acceptance of the Bible, misogyny and belief in demons and hell are widespread among Sri Lankan Catholics at least.

      You might want to revise your opinion.

      • Julien Rousseau
        Posted November 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        “womens’ rights [...] were evil”

        “She’s a Catholic, she speaks in Catholic churches”

        If women’s right are evil then by her own admission she is not worth listening to, especially in a church.

        While I wouldn’t apply such a judgement to other women I have no problem disregarding the opinion of those women who hold the opinion (through vilifying women’s right) that their own opinion is worthless.

        • David Ratnasabapathy
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

          But Jesus Himself told her to tell people that; and the Church does not disagree. Surely that trumps the Bible.

          • David
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

            Church does not hold an opinion is different than church does not disagree…

          • Julien Rousseau
            Posted November 16, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

            But Jesus Himself told her to tell people that

            But we cannot go as far as “jesus told her” as before going that far we need to clarify the “what I may say is useless because I am a woman” bit and the only way to do that is for her to admit that part of her message is wrong and if part of her message is wrong then how can we trust the rest of it?

            • David Ratnasabapathy
              Posted November 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

              1. Wait, the bit about women being required to be silent refers to women in general. She can to be a special case.
              2. Since when are these people intellectually honest?

      • David
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        That’s personal belief, not that of the Catholic Church. We don’t say you have to accept evolution, but that it does not contradict what the Bible teaches.

        No need for me to revise what the Church teaches. That’s above my pay-grade.

  22. David Leech
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Of course the kids are leaving christianity and I can think of a few more reasons: sex, music, computer games, DVD’s, home entertainment systems, the Internet, clubs/bars and just hanging around the mall. All of the above is so much more fun than “itchy church pants” to quote Homer.

  23. Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    In the 60′s I would have confidently predicted that religion would have been more or less a thing of the past by the end of the century. Obviously it didn’t happen, so while it’s good news that the young are abandoning Christianity, don’t count your chickens.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Hell, in the 1960s a lot of people thought marijuana would soon be legal and the US would no longer send people to die in senseless wars just so profiteers can make money. Look how THAT turned out.

      • Posted November 15, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        Hell, there are people today, camped out in city parks, who think capitalism is on its last legs.

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:14 am | Permalink

      Exactly my reaction.

  24. FastLane
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    We also invite all-believers and doubters alike, to enter. All are welcome.

    Unless you’re a young girl who was raped and had an abortion to save your life, then you’re excommunicated.

    Or if you’re a young man who takes a communion wafer to show a non catholic what it’s all about. Then you get months of death threats and castigation within the community.

    Or if you’re a relatively poor person in Africa who believes the lies of the pope douchebag XVI that condoms don’t do anything to help protect from AIDs, and that they are a sin even to help keep you from making another baby that’s likely to starve to death anyway.

    Or if you happen to be gay and want to marry the person you love.

    Yeah, they catlicks are oh, so welcoming…. Fuck that noise.

    • David
      Posted November 16, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Again, misstatement. Excommunication is not a punishment, it’s a therapy to avoid going to hell.

      Look, I can’t help what humans do to other humans, the Church simply doesn’t teach any of that.

      The Church proposes a better way of life. People are absolutely free to choose what they want to do. We only tell the truth about what might happen afterward.

      • truthspeaker
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        So you think that someone deserves to go to hell because they abort a fetus that would kill her if she carries to term?

      • RR
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        The Church proposes a better way of life. People are absolutely free to choose what they want to do.

        Right, just like I’m free to tell a mugger that I won’t hand over my wallet.

      • whyevolutionistrue
        Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Okay David, that’s enough. When religious folks like you come onto the site, I often ask them to give us the evidence you have for believing in God. You will not post here any more until you write all of us what you see as the evidence for God, and then defend it against those who criticize it.

        Capiche?

        • GBJames
          Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          Thanks be to Ceiling Cat!

        • Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          He’s even claimed that he can prove that his gods exist:

          Posted November 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm

          Cummon, BG, prove that there is no God. Go ahead, I dare you. I can prove there is one, though…

          David, all you have to do is ante up this proof you’re bragging about.

          (Incidentally, you’ll also become the most famous person in all of human history by doing so, and you’ll save more souls than any other Christian ever has. So what’re you waiting for?)

          Cheers,

          b&

  25. James
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Llwddythlw
    Thanks for the link to the Jebus images. What a hoot (or maybe ‘crock’ ). The wife who fled the recently refurbished bathroom after spotting the devil in the tile is priceless.

  26. Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    This Observer article from October has some suggested reasons for this -
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/01/atheism-america-religious-right

  27. MadScientist
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    “churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in”

    The church is out of step with reality – it always has been, but 2000 years ago most people didn’t know better. Of course there were still quite a few people who saw religious claims as silly fabrications even back then. Even Plato’s Socrates would ask people “how do you know the gods would want that?”

  28. Posted November 15, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    How odd that one of the big reasons wasn’t simply that the claims of Christianity *make no sense*!

    The closest I saw to this was in Reason #6: “They do not feel safe admitting that sometimes Christianity does not make sense.” But still, the overriding reason there is that they feel the Church is unfriendly to their skepticism, not that the young people are actually concluding that the beliefs are false.

  29. Torbjorn Larsson, OM
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    One of the reasons young adults feel disconnected from church or from faith is the tension they feel between Christianity and science. The most common of the perceptions in this arena is “Christians are too confident they know all the answers” (35%). Three out of ten young adults with a Christian background feel that “churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in” (29%). Another one-quarter embrace the perception that “Christianity is anti-science” (25%). And nearly the same proportion (23%) said they have “been turned off by the creation-versus-evolution debate.”

    Ha! Accommodate that!

  30. Posted November 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Why don’t they start turning water into wine again? That might get the young people back.

  31. Posted November 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Don’t they think it might be their own fault? After all, they are the ones who take things “leterally”. Young people, more that any other thing, have common sense.

  32. Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    WOW! I have been saying that for years. I feel vindicated. Religious people struggle through life with contradictory beliefs because they don’t have the nerve to come out of the closet and disappoint their family and friends. They feel it is better to stay quiet and not rock the boat as Dan Barker did. It is a tough choice.

  33. Tim
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I think it is interesting that it among the reasons young people are growing more antagonistic towards christianity they do not include the alliance between the most aggressively proselytizing christians and right-wing assholery. Many bright young people are not only put off the anti-science message of christian wing-nuts, but they’re also acutely attuned of the shimmering hypocrisy found in the contradiction between “what Jesus would supposedly do” and the “greed is good” philosophy the megachurch assholes espouse.

    • Diane G.
      Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:19 am | Permalink

      Yeah, but there’s this long-standing trend, see, of youthful liberalism fading to later-life conservatism as soon as they have something to lose.

      Depressing but true.

  34. truthspeaker
    Posted November 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Proof of transubstantiation? I don’t see it in any of your comments.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted November 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Oh, I see, it was the cockamamie story about a “miracle” in the 8th Century.

      I know a former government minister in Nigeria you might want to meet.

  35. fester60613
    Posted November 19, 2011 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    It is obvious that science is destroying religion’s hard-and-fast view of reality.
    What science has discovered about the world we live in and the cosmos in which our tiny little blue dot exists in supreme insignificance belies all religious belief.
    Science belies religion’s outrageous claims at every turn – and religion is revealed as preposterous bullshit.

  36. whyevolutionistrue
    Posted November 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I SAID, write a comment giving what you see of proof of God’s existence, or you can make no more posts here.


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