Titus: Spreading the Good News

 

missionaries-teaching-black-woman

Enjoy the podcast

 

Let’s talk evangelism. It comes from a Greek word meaning “bringing good news.” Already, we have a problem. The gospel is a two part process. The second part is the good news. But it is meaningless without the bad news. The first job of the missionary is to establish the bad news. So is that still the gospel? Let’s just use the more common definition: Evangelism is the attempt to persuade another to buy into your religious message.

It is the religious version of sales. What you are selling is a membership service. And pretending that it is anything else is somewhat disingenuous. The whole point of evangelism is to get people to sign up to your way of thinking, to gain more followers, expand your brotherhood, and increase the size of your network. It requires a certain amount of buy-in. And the evangelist is the one who sells it.

Unfortunately, like most people who attempt sales, Christians are not particularly good at it. They employ clumsy and awkward methods that tend to turn off and annoy rather than intrigue and attract. Beyond that, there is something mildly offensive about the entire enterprise that assumes I need their product at all. Here is a little of what I find problematic about evangelism:

The Method

In sales, it is important that you properly identify your market. If you are selling advertising services to contractors, you don’t want to waste time trying to sell to bakers. You need to be able to tell the difference between someone who might potentially need your product and one who does not.

Christians have no way of differentiating between atheists and other Christians. Therefore, rather than targeting their message, they use a scattergun approach that randomly sprays bat shit buckshot to anyone in range. Compare this to the marching orders Jesus gave his handpicked missionaries on one occasion:

“Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you. Don’t move around from home to home. Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.

“If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you. Heal the sick, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near you now.’ But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, ‘We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!’ I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on judgment day.

I included this rather lengthy and somewhat repetitive passage to show how important and emphatic these instructions were to Jesus. It does not look anything like the typical door knocking campaign we are used to from today’s evangelistic Christians. They were to enter a house with something like a magical blessing. The owner would either be receptive or not. If not, the disciple would magically know. And they were instructed to move on.

The only random part of the process was finding that one receptive household. When they were rejected, they were not to stick around and try to persuade anyone of anything. They were to simply move on and keep moving until the blessing landed in a good place.

Once that good place was discovered, they were to stay put. They were not instructed to go door to door and recruit as many as possible. They were to find one place and stay there until the work was done. And what exactly was the work? It wasn’t persuasion, but healing. The news about Jesus was accompanied with healing magic. And their payment was food and lodging.

I am even more fascinated by their instructions for handling rejection. Again, they were not instructed to stick around and argue, discuss, or attempt to persuade in any way. If they were rejected by every home in the town, they were to make a showy, if not petulant declaration that they are leaving the town and shaking the dust of that town from their feet as a sign that they will have nothing more to do with it.

While that all seems a bit rude, I also find it rather refreshing. They offer. The people reject. They move on. That town never needs to worry about them again. This plan of action just doesn’t work for the modern-day missionary because they know they don’t have any kind of magical power to discern who is receptive and who isn’t. Furthermore, they don’t trust god to do the work. They go through all the effort to learn how to sell rather than making a simple offer and getting out of the way.

This is one of the few things I believe Jesus got right. Mission work for a god is not human work done by human means. If your mission work depends on you to do the selling, then it is wrong. That describes all mission work done today.

The message

While I find the method of evangelists offensive, I find the message even more so. It is the message of all religion: There is something wrong with you. Furthermore, that something is so wrong, you can’t fix it. You probably can’t even see it which is why you need someone like me to point it out to you.

Every religion of which I am aware make two basic presumptions: There is something wrong with you and something wrong with the world. I simply can’t get past these ideas which is probably the main reason I can’t get behind any religion. I defy the notion that there is anything wrong with me or the world. I find it extremely presumptuous that a perfect stranger believes they know anything about me, especially enough to make the judgement that there is something wrong with me that needs fixing.

The Christian version of this message is particularly galling to me because it presupposes the existence of a supernatural being to which I have no access. And my fatal flaw is that I am not living according to the terms of this invisible being. Beyond that, this being does not bother to talk to me directly to air his grievances with me. He talks to you about what is wrong with me. And I have to take your word for it.

The first job of the evangelist is to convince the victim that there is something wrong with them. I contend that this is not really something an evangelist can do. They have to find people who already believe there is something wrong with them. This is where things go from offensive to obscene.

Christians prey on vulnerable people. Wonder why so many people come to faith at youth camps in their teens? A teen’s emotions are a toxic witch’s brew that has been brought to a boil in a cauldron of religious manipulation. Put simply, teens are easy marks. They all believe there is something wrong with them.

Other easy marks are people who are grieving, sick, impoverished, or socially marginalized. For their whole lives, they have been told they are broken. The evidence of their brokenness is right there for all to see. This is especially true for people with drug and alcohol addictions.

Let’s not forget prison ministries. Who is more obviously broken than someone behind bars? Jesus didn’t come for those who are well. You send a doctor to those who are sick. This is the church’s excuse for preying on the weak and vulnerable in our society.

If you do not feel broken, the evangelist has to make you feel that way. They have to find something that makes you feel broken, feel weak, feel ashamed, feel sorry for who you are and what you have done. You have to feel unworthy before their god, feel separated from the life-giving force of the universe. And if they can’t manipulate you into doing what they want, they will manipulate the law to force you to do what they want. But that is another blog.

The second part of the evangelistic assumption is that the religionist can fix, or otherwise has the solution to what is wrong with you. I simply don’t buy it. They are the same type of human in the same busted world of sin as I am. So why has god opened their eyes to the greater reality and not mine? If he can directly convince them, then he can directly convince me. Otherwise, they are as broken and delusional as I am. So I see no reason to believe them. This is where the final insult comes in:

The miracle

Once the evangelist established his location in a person’s house, he was to heal the sick. There wasn’t just a message of words and manipulation. There was a practical sign that what they were saying was true. I imagine in the scenario, the sick were brought to them. There would have been no special healing services. It would have been a straightforward process without unnecessary fanfare.

I am frankly insulted when someone tells me I have to believe in their god without giving me a tangible reason to do so. There are plenty of things wrong with me that someone with the power of a god is welcome to heal. Instead, evangelists deliver words. Sometimes they deliver soup. But they never deliver healing as a sign of their good faith.

Worse, when you don’t take them at their word, they get offended or downright nasty as if you’re the one with the problem. They are the one with the claim that they can’t back up with anything. Jesus gave his missionaries something which with to back their claims. If they couldn’t deliver, people had the right to ignore them. We should be awarded the same respect.

Conclusion: Multiple choice

The Mormon comes to my door followed by a Jehovah’s witness, followed by a Baptist. And they all claim to have the message of salvation as delivered by Jesus. They all claim to be called as missionaries. They all claim to be supported by the Bible. Which one should I believe?

Because no one has a clear sign from god, they are all on equal footing. And it does no good to say that the individual has to do their own biblical research to see which is right. They have no idea. They wouldn’t know how to read the Bible. They are not versed in hermeneutics. And even if they were, there is still no way to tell who is right. People who devote their lives to understanding the Bible still disagree.

Furthermore, the person being accosted didn’t ask for any of them to come around. She was just happy living her life until these other people came to her door and convinced her that some powerful alien was going to torture her in hell for all eternity.

It seems rather unfair that you might devote yourself to god but still end up in hell because you believed the wrong evangelist. I suspect some of those in Matthew 7 were told to depart and that god never knew them because they were unlucky enough to be visited by the fraud instead of by the true representative of Jesus.

Those people often read their bibles and go to church for years before getting frustrated and leaving it all behind. They realize that the preacher isn’t teaching what the Bible seems to be saying. They realize that the church does not seem to be organized correctly. And the people are not the loving community promised by Jesus. So perhaps they lose faith and walk away. Why? Because they got an evangelist from the Westboro Baptist Church instead of from some place better.

That is not the fault of the person who did their best despite getting the wrong message from the wrong evangelist. That seems more like it is on god to police his own better. He is really bad at security. He offers no way to distinguish the true messengers from the fakes. It would be so much easier if a fake evangelist’s tongue just fell out when he tried to deceive. That sounds like the kind of thing the god of the Bible would be into.

Instead, he leaves us on our own to figure it all out. We get brow-beaten, manipulated into thinking there is something wrong with us, and left no way to tell which of the claimants, if any, are legitimate. These are just a few reasons why I believe evangelism is a really bad idea.

And that’s the view from the skeptic.

David Johnson

345 thoughts on “Titus: Spreading the Good News

  1. Holy mackerel, David,

    Have you resumed your role in the church again, because it sure seems like you were officiating an “anabaptism by fire.”😳😳😳🤣🤣🤣

    Barely beyond the half an hour mark before you got into the “Abraham challenge!” 😳😳😳😳😳 And, that was AFTER talking about porn, homosexuality, women’s rights, gender differences and slavery. 😳😳😳

    Glad you’re not letting grass grow under your feet!

    Titus, you’re doing a great job handling ALL of those tough questions! I’m very much enjoying listening to the conversation between you and David. I’ll try and catch more of it in a bit when I get back into my car. Great stuff!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Anabaptism by fire wins this week’s woodcraft award. Just note that it can be taken away and given to someone else without notice. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi, David,

        I was looking for the show you recently did with Justin Brierly on “Unbelievable?.” I couldn’t find anything on his show in late December or this year with your name on it. Where do I go to listen to it? I did, however, come across the show you did with Andrew and Justin regarding the book y’all did. That was a great show —nice and lively!

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        1. It hasn’t been posted yet. It will be a few weeks before it’s up

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          1. Hi, Davis,
            Thanks! I trust you’ll give us the “heads-up” when it’s posted. I’m quite curious about your resurrection theory!

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  2. Welcome, Titus!
    Just started listening to the podcast but I can’t go any further without pausing right now and saying David’s comment about ramming his jam, and this jewel of a sentence:
    “A teen’s emotions are a toxic witch’s brew that has been brought to a boil in a cauldron of religious manipulation. ”

    …are just too golden to miss.

    Like

  3. Hi David and Titus,

    Nice show from what I’ve heard so far.

    Fairly early on the topic of pornography was brought up. I do hope you will sometime do a show on it. Myself, I found people, such as Andrea Dworkin, to be a powerful voice. Especially her book “Pornography: Men Possessing Women” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography:_Men_Possessing_Women ). If you do such a show, I hope you’ll touch on current information as to sexual exploitation in pornography, etc.

    Looking forward to the rest of the show,
    Brian

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Brian: If you do such a show, I hope you’ll touch on current information as to sexual exploitation in pornography, etc.

      If he does do the show I hope he does do his homework as well. People like Andrea Dworkin are big on making claims, but not so big on demonstrating those claims are accurate. The sexual exploitation is largely overhyped and if you talk to the people actually doing the porn, it is just a job like any other.

      Much like everything else, it is the religion that is causing the problem. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/women-who-stray/201808/science-stopped-believing-in-porn-addiction-you-should-too

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I found the exact same data from people who are actually trained in the field. People like Dr Ray who say, it’s only when you create the shame/use cycle so prevalent in religious belief that these “addictions” are classed as a problem. First, it creates the notion it is a problem, then they sell a ‘Jesus will set you free/forgive you’ solution which tends to only compound it because it doesn’t work. People are caught up in horrible guilt cycles which set them up for wrecking their natural reactions to this area of their lives through repression. The greatest dysfunction the therapy contingent come across is with religious folk.

        It’s only when you come out of the belief you can look back and see how steeped it is in repression. VIRGIN births because, why? somehow you’re damaged if you have sex? Purity culture, celibate priests, male ownership or women, notions of virginity, condoning masturbation despite the fact any expert in the field will tell you this is critical to developing a healthy attitude and knowledge, early marriages, disgust as gays and lesbians etc etc.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Sarah: “VIRGIN births because, why? somehow you’re damaged if you have sex?”

          Hi Sarah,
          It was my impression (and I’m often wrong!) the concept of the Virgin Birth of Jesus was to give support to the claim that He was/is divine. If Mary never had sex, then Joseph couldn’t be the father, and that might lend credence to the miracle of Jesus being fully divine as well as fully human.

          I had never heard the claim that the Virgin Birth was to keep Mary undamaged. Is that what you were taught in your church?

          Brian

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hi Brian,
            The quote that Matthew took from Isaiah in Hebrew said alma, which is young woman. A young woman will be with child. Hardly sensational. However he read the Greek Parthenos which means young woman, maiden, virgin. Crowbaring it in retrospectively, we’ve translated it as virgin.
            Yes, I’m aware it’s to give credence to Jesus’ divinity, but there are those that think Mary stayed virginal till birth and even forever. The patriarchy Venerating a perpetual virgin. Nothing creepy about that. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            1. How can anyone think Mary remained a virgin? Jesus had half-siblings that were not deities. Yeah, yeah, I know —different church doctrines. That’s unlike anything I’ve learned from Orthodox, Baptist or Lutheran teachings.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Not only do people believe it, but they believe it is an essential doctrine. The search for real Christianity continues. 🙂

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual_virginity_of_Mary

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Hi, David,

                  This is why, as much as my personality type loves to get into the weeds about things, I have no burning need to nit pit history like this. It doesn’t surprise me or even really worry me if there are some discrepancies like this.

                  As an attorney, I am acutely cognizant that discrepancies in a story can be an indication that a person is lying OR that their memory is not that great. One’s earlier statement is more reliable than one’s later statement.

                  Also, various people can witness the same event and give conflicting reports without lying. (Think of the conflicting witness reports from when JFK was assassinated.

                  HOWEVER, with the Bible’s being passed down from an oral tradition, many of these people were specifically trained to memorize this information —it’s not like it was just a bunch of slackers telling campfire stories over the generations. If there are some variances in the story isn’t a big deal to me if there is an overarching consistency to the core message.

                  If there’s a consistent explanation for how Judas died, for example, isn’t overly relevant to me. We all know that the conveyance of some information can be inconsistent (at least as far as we can tell) without meaning that the overarching message is untrue.

                  I just need to know whether Jesus was who He said He was, if the Christian God exists, if there is an afterlife, what is the actual message God wants us to know, and what are the rules that I need to follow to both honor God and be in His good graces.

                  All of this is why the Shroud is so invaluable in its importance. It is a non-fleeting, lasting miracle that God has left for us to quell any of our uncertainties about whether He is real or not. The Shroud coats a believer in a Teflon of sorts to where meaningless information which can cause doubts just don’t stick.

                  As such, the Shroud braces my belief in God like nothing else can.

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              2. Teddi: “How can anyone think Mary remained a virgin? Jesus had half-siblings that were not deities. Yeah, yeah, I know —different church doctrines. That’s unlike anything I’ve learned from Orthodox, Baptist or Lutheran teachings.”

                Hi Teddi,
                David is absolutely correct that the perpetual virginity of Mary is a doctrine of the Catholic Church – I thought it was also held in the Orthodox Church. An article about this from a Greek Orthodox perspective can be read at https://www.goarch.org/-/the-ever-virginity-of-the-mother-of-god .

                Saint Jerome wrote, in 383 AD, “Against Helvidius” – also known as “The Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Mary”. It can be read at: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3007.htm .
                Apparently someone named Helvidius had written that Mary had children other than Jesus and St. Jerome was refuting him. St. Jerome seems to be saying that Helvidius’ claim was something that had never been raised before – leading many to have the opinion that Mary’s perpetual virginity was well established by then.

                With respect to the half-siblings, I’m told the word used for siblings was not restricted to just full-siblings or even half-siblings but could include step siblings, adopted siblings, cousins, as well as others. Heck, Ananias called Saul (St. Paul) his brother – and they weren’t related by blood at all.

                Teddi, it is my understanding that most Protestant denominations do not hold to the perpetual virginity of Mary (although some of the reformers did).

                Just one of the many differing opinions found within Christianity,
                Brian

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            2. Sarah: “The quote that Matthew took from Isaiah in Hebrew said alma, which is young woman. A young woman will be with child. Hardly sensational. However he read the Greek Parthenos which means young woman, maiden, virgin. Crowbaring it in retrospectively, we’ve translated it as virgin.
              Yes, I’m aware it’s to give credence to Jesus’ divinity, but there are those that think Mary stayed virginal till birth and even forever. The patriarchy Venerating a perpetual virgin. Nothing creepy about that.”

              Hi Sarah,
              I appreciate your responding. And, I fully understand that different words were used in the Hebrew and the Greek scriptures. I don’t know either language, so I just rely upon others to translate them into English.

              And, yes, I understand that some hold Mary remained a virgin forever. Again, my impression was it was to lend credence to Jesus’ divinity – not about Mary being damaged. If Mary had – say 4 kids – then, there might be some who would think that St. Joseph might be Jesus’ father. The other concept that I’ve heard is how St. Paul said something about having a family meant the person had to devote themselves to the family whereas someone without a family could devote themselves fully to God. The cross-over idea being that Mary and St. Joseph might want to devote themselves to God (Jesus) and they might not be able to fully do that with other kids.

              Sarah, I rather suspect it isn’t just the patriarchy who venerates Mary as a perpetual virgin – do you think the veneration is limited to the patriarchy?

              Sarah, if you answered then I missed it – were you taught in your church that the Virgin Birth was to keep Mary undamaged? I’m curious as to where the concept came from and if it is common in many denominations.

              Thanks,
              Brian

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Brian, and apologies for the ia inversion earlier. Eek.

                I wasn’t specifically taught Mary was ‘undamaged’ as such. I was a Protestant, not catholic so frankly, the less said about Mary the better. Mostly as a kid you’ve no idea what it means anyway. Then later, it’s just a fact and all about the immaculate conception. But the purity message especially for females is definitely a thread running through most churches and denominations on the Protestant side. Do I need to make a case for the catholics? 😉 You loop back on the Mary thing with hindsight maybe. It’s just an overall picture one gets, and yes I think it’s largely to do with religion having been mediated by the patriarchy.

                I mean ask yourself, why is having some sex going to take you away from god or interfere with your life? Geesh, it’s just a natural function of the human body like eating, sleeping. It doesn’t have to take up all your time!! All those pent up nuns and monks. It’s ridiculous. Why make humans with a sex drive, then have it restricted because that somehow pleases you, or is seen as noble. What is so weird about this god that he desires sexless people? Why associate godlessness with sexual ‘purity’ somehow making it icky? It’s unnatural and a quicker route to sexual dysfunction you will not find.

                ’The other concept that I’ve heard is how St. Paul said something about having a family meant the person had to devote themselves to the family whereas someone without a family could devote themselves fully to God.‘

                Doesn’t that strike you as odd? That god needs people to forgo the experience of family, kids etc to devote more time to him? What is it he needs exactly? Doesn’t he get eternal worship from us in the very near future anyway. Must he have our few miserable years on this planet too? Can’t we attend to the basic essentials of being human and still give him some time?

                Ref your question about how I had a relationship with God previously. I guess it’s the usual. You think god is listening to you, you count the hits when things work out, your brain pops up thing you think sound like god, a deep inner feeling, the bible having apt versus etc. The trouble is these things kinda happened for the most part when I stopped my side of it. Coincidences happened. The right people at the right time. Happy synchronicity and brain waves. It’s only the talking to a god I had to un train myself from. It stayed a reflex for a long time. Even now, I might go to do it. But there is a certain freedom knowing you don’t have to get back into that game of hope and fears, and prayers and pleads and trying to work out what god is or isn’t saying. Just be.

                In terms of conservatives and porn, well I think the message was pretty clear, anything and everything to do with it is without doubt or discussion, bad, dirty, shameful, wrong.

                Cheers

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Hi Sarah,
                  Thanks for taking the time to respond – you are an absolute delight to talk with! And, I apologize for teasing you about the typo in my name – typo me anytime you want.

                  You say, and ask: “But the purity message especially for females is definitely a thread running through most churches and denominations on the Protestant side. Do I need to make a case for the catholics?” I’m trying to remember what message I got (either direct or implicit) from my parents, church and school. Mostly it was from my parents and I think it was pretty much the same for my sisters. But… that is a pretty small sample size so it may well not be representative. I think some of the main messages were:
                  – Sex can be good and wonderful with the right person at the right time – and that time is within marriage. Marriage is for life. Even if there is a divorce the husband must always provide for the wife and child. (This was a long time ago – I don’t know if the message would be the same today.)
                  – That it can take some time for sex to become wonderful and great – so sex is usually better in a marriage than in a short term relationship.
                  – Whenever one has sex there is the possibility of a pregnancy – and a long time of caring for the child with the other parent – so think of that before deciding whom to have sex with.
                  – If there is a pregnancy outside of marriage the couple will have to decide if they will marry and if not, who will raise the child. The woman has first rights to raise the child, but if she doesn’t then it is up to the father to raise the child.
                  – Both my sisters and I were told to remember if there is a pregnancy and we decide not to marry, that doesn’t mean the other person will be out of our lives – the other parent may well want to stay connected with the child and we would have to deal with it.
                  – If we don’t marry the person we have a child with – and later find someone else – how fair will it be to that person to bring someone else’s child into the marriage?
                  – So, best to always ask if you want to be connected to this person for the rest of your life before having sex.
                  – The more people one has sex with the more likely there is to be STDs.
                  – If you love the person, then you want what is best for them – and is the possibility of a pregnancy, etc. what is best for them?
                  – Masturbation is sex without a partner. I remember being told it was the leading cause of sexual problems in a marriage. And what message does it tell your spouse that you cannot control yourself until the two of you are together and willing to share?
                  – Sex is a gift of oneself to the other – but it can also be a selfish act. Always think of the other person.

                  That is mostly what I remember the messages being. Less about purity and more about love and responsibility.

                  Wow! I remembered more than I thought I would! Again, I’m not sure if these messages were common to others – or just to my family.

                  I’ll respond to some of your other comments in a separate post.
                  Brian

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Yes, I think those messages were communicated too. Many perfectly wise such as those about pregnancy. Some patently wrong like about masturbation. Ask any sexpert. Or that only good sex is inside marriage; Yes people can hone their skills but they also know that it’s natural for desire and drive to wane over time. A great resource on the matter is Esther Perrel who is a therapist and has done ted talks etc.

                    Secular views on sex doesn’t necessarily mean giving way to irresponsible actions. Always practice mindfully as it were.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Sarah: “Yes, I think those messages were communicated too. Many perfectly wise such as those about pregnancy. Some patently wrong like about masturbation. Ask any sexpert. Or that only good sex is inside marriage; Yes people can hone their skills but they also know that it’s natural for desire and drive to wane over time. A great resource on the matter is Esther Perrel who is a therapist and has done ted talks etc.

                      Secular views on sex doesn’t necessarily mean giving way to irresponsible actions. Always practice mindfully as it were.”

                      Hi Sarah,
                      I don’t know that the messages I got growing up about sex were particularly religious. I rather suspect many in non-religious homes got similar messages. Looking back, one of the challenges is knowing what information is true – even when coming from expert secular sources. In the United States, at least, secular experts in psychology, sociology and even medicine have changed their views on things such as homosexuality and many other sexual areas over the past 20 – or 30 – or 40 years. Things that you say are patently wrong were taught as true by secular experts not long ago.

                      I think we are always being challenged to update our views in light of new evidence.

                      Sarah, I’m sorry but I don’t understand the point of your last paragraph. Did I suggest that secular views were at all connected with irresponsible actions? What actions were you thinking of that are irresponsible?

                      Thanks,
                      Brian

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                    2. In the United States, at least, secular experts in psychology, sociology and even medicine have changed their views on things such as homosexuality and many other sexual areas over the past 20 – or 30 – or 40 years. Things that you say are patently wrong were taught as true by secular experts not long ago.

                      Indeed that’s true, but generally secularism gets there a little quicker. EG homosexuality was declassed as illegal and a mental disorder in the 70’s, but the Conservative Christians are still having issue with it today.

                      Sarah, I’m sorry but I don’t understand the point of your last paragraph. Did I suggest that secular views were at all connected with irresponsible actions? What actions were you thinking of that are irresponsible?

                      Ref “Secular views on sex doesn’t necessarily mean giving way to irresponsible actions. Always practice mindfully as it were.”
                      I wasn’t suggesting you’d suggested anything. It’s just often the next thing theists jump to. Either it’s strict Christian chastity or the alternative is outright debauched mayhem. So I was just hedging against that and countering me view of being more liberal with that doesn’t mean I think anything goes.

                      Ie be Responsible, consensual, mindful practice. So irresponsible actions would be having a ton of partners without thought whilst putting yourself at risk and without examining why you may be engaging in such risky, possibly detrimental behaviour.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Sarah: “be Responsible, consensual, mindful practice. So irresponsible actions would be having a ton of partners without thought whilst putting yourself at risk and without examining why you may be engaging in such risky, possibly detrimental behaviour.”

                      Hi Sarah,
                      Sounds a lot like the messages I received as a child. That it is good to care about others – and not to harm others physically, emotionally or psychologically through acts of sex. That sex with the right person at the right time can be wonderful – but it can be harmful as well.

                      Of course, knowing what is responsible behavior can be a challenge – just as knowing what actions might harm others can be a challenge.

                      Seeing much agreement with your general views,
                      Brian

                      Liked by 1 person

                2. Sarah: “I mean ask yourself, why is having some sex going to take you away from god or interfere with your life? Geesh, it’s just a natural function of the human body like eating, sleeping. It doesn’t have to take up all your time!! All those pent up nuns and monks. It’s ridiculous. Why make humans with a sex drive, then have it restricted because that somehow pleases you, or is seen as noble. What is so weird about this god that he desires sexless people? Why associate godlessness with sexual ‘purity’ somehow making it icky? It’s unnatural and a quicker route to sexual dysfunction you will not find.”

                  Hi Sarah,
                  I hope I did not come across as saying I agreed with what you called the purity culture. I do think sex is a little different from eating and sleeping in that there is at least one other person involved – and the possibility of creating new people. As for nuns and monks, I don’t think it is up to me to be telling them how much sex to have. I rather think they should make up their own minds – and that I should accept their informed decisions. I never heard or felt that God wanted or needed sexless people – but rather some people might decide they wanted to abstain from sex to better serve or worship God. I understood that while sex can be self-giving it can also be selfish. And so, there are times in the Bible where it says to go without sex for a period of time before coming to an encounter with God. (An example was with Moses and the 10 Commandments – I think couple were told to skip sex for 3 days – something like that.)

                  Sarah, don’t look to me to defend the purity culture. Some of the things I’ve heard sound very strange to me. Have sociologists or psychologists done any studies determining how sexually dysfunctional it is?

                  Always appreciating your insights and comments,
                  Brian

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. It’s not up to tell monks/nuns how to live, they can do as they like. it’s just bizarre they equate serving god and godliness with chastity. It sends a message and frames sex as something god doesn’t like.

                    Yes, i think lots of experts have talked about religious belief being damaging in the area of sex. I listen to everyone’s agnostic and in the private forums people are deconstructing their beliefs and often talk about the harm done in this area. Dr Darrell Ray’s podcast also addresses it and challenges in-built assumptions we get in the culture eg masturbation is wrong, making self pleasure something that is shameful, when they know it is necessary for a better sex life with a partner. Remember, most of this knowledge and assumptions was pre scientific, pre medical and from the patriarchy.

                    Liked by 1 person

                3. Sarah: “In terms of conservatives and porn, well I think the message was pretty clear, anything and everything to do with it is without doubt or discussion, bad, dirty, shameful, wrong.”

                  Hi Sarah,
                  You sure brought up a lot of insightful comments in your post! Very impressive.

                  I agree with you that many conservatives are against the viewing of pornography. At the same time, my impression is that many liberals are against the sexual exploitation and the sexual trafficking of women and children in pornography. And that many liberals are against the dehumanizing way some women and children are depicted in pornography. But, I must admit that I don’t have any statistics on this.

                  Sarah, thank you very much for sharing what you felt your relationship with God was like back when you were a Christian. Myself, I don’t know that I’ve ever had anything that I would say was an encounter – well, maybe an intellectual encounter – but never anything like you describe. However, my mother would tell me to remember the Bible story of Doubting Thomas who believed because he saw (had encounters with God) – but more blessed are those who don’t see (don’t have any experiences with God).

                  Appreciating what you’ve shared,
                  Brian

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. “Sarah, thank you very much for sharing what you felt your relationship with God was like back when you were a Christian. Myself, I don’t know that I’ve ever had anything that I would say was an encounter – well, maybe an intellectual encounter – but never anything like you describe. However, my mother would tell me to remember the Bible story of Doubting Thomas who believed because he saw (had encounters with God) – but more blessed are those who don’t see (don’t have any experiences with God).”

                    Hmm, I’m not sure I describe an encounter. It was mostly quite dry, uneventful and underwhelming. In fact, it was the lack of encounter or experience that felt like a personal god wasn’t listening (ie the hiddeness of god) that had me first questioning. I did have a charismatic experience when I was about 13 at camp with some slaying in the HS. I doubt very much now that it was anything more than teenage enthusiasm, suggestion, peer situation and framing. Possibly even akin to hypnosis. Normally I was sceptical and not easily swayed even in a crowd setting, but I guess I wanted it badly enough then.

                    Why is the doubting Thomas idea something that is more blessed? I think someone who believes with even less evidence is just a person who is more gullible. They need less evidence to believe.

                    Are you still on the fence with the whole belief then Brian or deconstructing and reconstructing or both? You don’t have to answer.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Sarah: “Why is the doubting Thomas idea something that is more blessed? I think someone who believes with even less evidence is just a person who is more gullible. They need less evidence to believe.

                      Are you still on the fence with the whole belief then Brian or deconstructing and reconstructing or both? You don’t have to answer.”

                      Hi Sarah,
                      Why are those who don’t see God more blessed than those who do? I sure don’t know! The Bible is a bit silent on that. If I had to guess it would be because few will every really see/experience the risen Jesus as the apostles did. Maybe others here have more insights.

                      Myself, I guess I’m mostly interested in different people’s perspectives on these things – how and why their beliefs have changed – as well as what their beliefs are. I tend to see myself as sort-of a seeker of truth and a bit of a skeptic about some of what I’m told. Maybe a skeptical seeker? Or a seeking skeptic? I don’t know – I tend to avoid labels.

                      Thanks for asking,
                      Brian

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. I tend to see myself as sort-of a seeker of truth and a bit of a skeptic about some of what I’m told. Maybe a skeptical seeker? Or a seeking skeptic? I don’t know – I tend to avoid labels.

                      Good for you Brian. I mostly do too with labels. So do you accept Dale’s definition of real seeker for yourself?

                      When I can’t find my fishing kit and am scrabbling about, then that’s when I am a REEL seeker.😄

                      @Dale you missed a trick there. Reel seeker ministries could have had ‘fishing for men’ metaphors galore. Though I suspect if you put that phrase in as keywords you might not get the audience you’d hoped for.

                      Liked by 3 people

                    3. Sarah: “Good for you Brian. I mostly do too with labels. So do you accept Dale’s definition of real seeker for yourself?

                      When I can’t find my fishing kit and am scrabbling about, then that’s when I am a REEL seeker.😄”

                      Hi Sarah,
                      I’d have to look up Dale’s definition of “real seeker” to see if I agree with it. I’m not sure what one is if they don’t qualify – an “imaginary” seeker? An “unreal” seeker? A “surreal” seeker?

                      I accept that Dale’s definition is how Dale sees a real seeker. Myself, I’d say that anyone who is looking for truth (of any kind) and is open to changing their beliefs on the basis of evidence, reason or logic, would be a real seeker. What is your definition?

                      May all your reels be untangled and where you want them to be,
                      Brian

                      Liked by 3 people

                    4. Brian, I agree. It’s just being inquisitive and open to being challenged and change. Mostly, because it is the journey itself that can be rewarding, not necessarily having it all figured out. However, everyone has bias and baggage and come to conclusions, possibly too abruptly and close down their cases. We take short cuts and best guesses.

                      I don’t expect people to be put under undue burden to seek. Each to their own. That’s why I don’t accept the Real seeker definition as per Dale, because whilst it might be “rational” it is not a true reflection of humans, which is to say, emotional and a big ole bag of mess at times.
                      Thanks for your view.
                      Cheers

                      Liked by 2 people

                    5. Hi, Sarah,

                      I wanted to chime in on the question about why it is more blessed to believe without having evidence. I’d like to illustrate it with an example which I think will make it crystal clear.

                      Let’s say you are accused of stealing all of the presents at a birthday party. Your closest friends and family were not at the event. They find out about what you were accused of.

                      What does it say of your relationship with them, and their relationship with you if they will only believe that you are not a thief if they see video footage of the area where the presents were or they need compelling evidence of your innocence before they believe you?

                      Liked by 2 people

                    6. Teddi: “I wanted to chime in on the question about why it is more blessed to believe without having evidence. I’d like to illustrate it with an example which I think will make it crystal clear.

                      Let’s say you are accused of stealing all of the presents at a birthday party. Your closest friends and family were not at the event. They find out about what you were accused of.

                      What does it say of your relationship with them, and their relationship with you if they will only believe that you are not a thief if they see video footage of the area where the presents were or they need compelling evidence of your innocence before they believe you?”

                      Hi Teddi,
                      You raise some good points. And it isn’t like Thomas didn’t have reasons to believe. After all, he had lived with and trained and studied under Jesus for 3 years. Thomas had seen the miracles Jesus had performed – including raising the dead – and had heard Jesus make prophecies. Not only that, wasn’t he among those sent out by Jesus to make disciples and in doing so, healed the sick and cast out demons? Lastly, Thomas had the eye-witness testimony of 10 of the apostles who had encountered the risen Jesus. Maybe the issue was more about unreasonable doubt – or refusing to consider all of the evidence that Thomas had.

                      I don’t know. Just a little something from me to reflect upon.

                      Thanks for the comments,
                      Brian

                      Liked by 1 person

                    7. I see that very differently. First, I make this point often just hoping Christians will read their bible a little better. Thomas didn’t ask for anything the others didn’t get. Jesus showed them is death wounds too. Thomas wasn’t there. And when they told him about Jesus being back, he wanted to see the same evidence they did. He was not asking for anything special. He did not want to believe based on a story. He wanted to see based on the evidence.

                      The second thing that everyone misses is that there was some reason they all needed to see more evidence. It wasn’t enough for Jesus to just show up. I don’t think they recognized him in the same way no one else did. They needed to see that it was really him. With all the other resurrections, the families and friends knew and recognized the newly resurrected right away. There was no drama about identity. But with Jesus, no one believed it was him.

                      The real question Christians should be asking is why no one close to Jesus recognized him as their risen leader. I have a theory that explains the literary anomaly: The writers knew there was no compelling evidence. There was nothing they could offer their readers to convince them. There was no shroud, no magic artifacts, no witnesses, no nothing. They needed the readers to accept the message as offered.

                      That is why it is better for those who believe without seeing. That included pretty much everyone. It kept people from asking for more concrete evidence. Jesus said evidence was bad and faith was good. So don’t ask for evidence. Accept the story as told. This is not about trusting Jesus. It is about trusting the writers and evangelists.

                      You talk about the relative who is accused of a crime. I have relatives who are guilty of crimes. So I wouldn’t believe their protests of innocence for anything. Beyond that, your example is not analogous to the story at hand. It would be more like them coming to the family asking for trust. And they all say, “Who are you?” It was less about trusting Jesus and more about getting a positive identification. The punchline is that you will not be getting any better evidence than this story. So despite your misgivings, the story is what you will need to trust.

                      Like

                    8. What does it say of your relationship with them, and their relationship with you if they will only believe that you are not a thief if they see video footage of the area where the presents were or they need compelling evidence of your innocence before they believe you?

                      Hi Teddi,

                      Ok I understand the point you’re making: you’d want your friends to trust in your character as this is more meaningful. Fair enough.

                      That said, the example used isn’t quite analogous. There, the people know you and are asked to continue trust. However, Blessed are those who just believe, is more asking people to believe without prior knowledge of the person. It’s like saying believe in Santa because others say he’s true. (Besides, believe what? Believe Jesus’ parables? His instructions for life? The fact he’s part of the trinity which came centuries later?)

                      Secondly, it’s more akin to someone saying to someone who repeated the story for decades that ‘You know Teddi, well she flew to the moon on her own steam without oxygen’
                      I think it is reasonable for the people who do know you or who are looking to know you to request further evidence. Heck even your husband would probably want video evidence. When the claim is extraordinary, then the evidence needs to be compelling.

                      Ps, Are you aware there is whole debate within Christianity about whether it was a physical or spiritual resurrection? Paul saw a resurrected Christ, but in what way? It wasn’t a physical thing, it was a vision. All this floating up to heaven and walking through doors- more spiritual than physical, though they mix it up with a bit of broiled fish in some accounts.

                      Cheers

                      Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Darren,
        I fully agree with you that support for claims being made about pornography would be very helpful and important.

        Would you share your source for your claim that “sexual exploitation is largely overhyped and if you talk to the people actually doing the porn, it is just a job like any other” ? I had the impression, and I may well be wrong, that might depend upon where in the world the pornography was being produced – the age of the people involved – how the person became involved in pornography – as well as other factors.

        With respect to the article in Psychology Today, it seems to be mostly limited to the topic of sexual addiction. I suspect claims about sexual addiction is only one aspect about how pornography impacts people.

        I appreciate your comments and link,
        Brian

        Like

        1. Brian: Would you share your source for your claim that “sexual exploitation is largely overhyped and if you talk to the people actually doing the porn, it is just a job like any other” ?

          One of the hardest things is to find accurate information on the subject because there is so much religion thrown into the mix, and a lot of people that call themselves experts on the subject, aren’t experts.

          I would recommend finding the people that actually work in the porn industry and ask them directly. They will be able to give you an insider’s perspective, and most likely are willing to be honest about it.

          Sarah already gave some good suggestions, but ‘Two Girls one mic’ always has guests from the porn industry on and you can hear their day to day experience with it. A lot of porn stars have blogs you can read. There are even conferences like the AVN awards you can follow and talk with people.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Brian: Would you share your source for your claim that “sexual exploitation is largely overhyped and if you talk to the people actually doing the porn, it is just a job like any other” ?

            Darren: “One of the hardest things is to find accurate information on the subject because there is so much religion thrown into the mix, and a lot of people that call themselves experts on the subject, aren’t experts.

            I would recommend finding the people that actually work in the porn industry and ask them directly. They will be able to give you an insider’s perspective, and most likely are willing to be honest about it.

            Sarah already gave some good suggestions, but ‘Two Girls one mic’ always has guests from the porn industry on and you can hear their day to day experience with it. A lot of porn stars have blogs you can read. There are even conferences like the AVN awards you can follow and talk with people.”

            Hi Darren,
            I can well imagine that it was hard for you to get accurate information to form your claim about sexual exploitation being largely overhyped. Did you get it from interviewing people in the porn industry? Or from “Two Girls one mic”?

            Interested in people’s sources,
            Brian

            Like

            1. Did you get it from interviewing people in the porn industry?

              From a lot of places actually. It came up as a concern, I guess about 10 years ago now. I didn’t want my viewing habits to be actively supporting people being treated badly. So I did what I recommend you to do. I went to see what the people actually in the industry had to say on the subject. And over the years I keep an eye out to see if anything has changed.

              Liked by 1 person

          2. Hi, Darren (if that IS your real name)😆,
            Let’s be a skeptic about what these porn stars say about the industry. After all, they know that if they say they are being compelled to do it (and they are still active in the industry), they have every reason to lie about the industry. Otherwise, more people will try and crack down on the industry. If that happens, they will lose $$$. Moreover, maybe the person making these claims about how they voluntarily are involved in the business is being coerced. It’s hard to tell what’s true from the type of sources you mention.

            “Linda Lovelace” write a book about the porn industry many years ago. I forget what her real name is, but she had a very, very dim view of it.

            Like

        2. Here is an article that goes over the relationship of porn to rape statistics. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-about-sex/201601/evidence-mounts-more-porn-less-sexual-assault

          Like

          1. Darren: “Here is an article that goes over the relationship of porn to rape statistics. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-about-sex/201601/evidence-mounts-more-porn-less-sexual-assault

            Hi Darren,
            Very interesting! It appears there is a correlation between rape and porn. The more porn the less rape. Is that what you understand from the studies? I wonder how much porn would have to be produced to eliminate all rape? But, maybe there are other variables to rape than just lack of porn? I must admit that the article doesn’t go into detail on how they knew that none of the producers of the porn involved minors (so rape) – or that none of the people involved in the porn were in any way coerced. At first read, the article seems only to be measuring whether the people viewing the porn were rapists – not so much about the people involved in producing the porn.

            But, again, great points you raise that I hope will be addressed if they decide to do a podcast on pornography,
            Brian

            Like

        3. Brian,

          I just noticed your take on Real Seekers above, as ironic as it is, my definition is the same as yours and Sarah agrees with you but not me because she made up her own definition of real seeker and imposed it onto my own definition.

          My definition can be found here = https://realseekerministries.wordpress.com/mission-statement/

          or below;

          a) The Real Seeker must be sincerely open-minded to the truth about these matters.

          b) The Real Seeker must actively seek the truth via seriously considering all sides to the very best of their ability (this is relative to each individual’s best efforts as some have access to more resources and/or have more abilities than others and thus some may have more/less of a burden than other seekers).

          c) The Real Seeker must be willing to obey, follow and/or submit (in whatever way appropriate) to the truth about such matters upon discovery.

          I don’t think that is much different than your definition.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Dale: “a) The Real Seeker must be sincerely open-minded to the truth about these matters.

            b) The Real Seeker must actively seek the truth via seriously considering all sides to the very best of their ability (this is relative to each individual’s best efforts as some have access to more resources and/or have more abilities than others and thus some may have more/less of a burden than other seekers).

            c) The Real Seeker must be willing to obey, follow and/or submit (in whatever way appropriate) to the truth about such matters upon discovery.

            I don’t think that is much different than your definition.”

            Hi Dale,
            I fully accept the above is how you define a “real seeker.” I guess my differences might be quibbling or nit-picking – so feel free to ignore them.
            To me, I’m not sure there is a difference between a “seeker” and a “real seeker.” So, I don’t tend to use the adjective “real.” But, that might be just personal preference or maybe nit-picking.
            You are of a stronger opinion than I when you say one must seriously consider all sides to the very best of their abilities. However, maybe that depends upon what one is seeking. If someone is seeking to figure out which brand of something to buy – I wouldn’t say they have to consider all sides to the very best of their abilities. For some things a cursory consideration might suffice. But, again, that is me and I respect that you feel the way you do about this.
            Also, I think that when one discovers the truth, then one needs to believe it and accept it. I’m not sure one always has to obey, follow and submit. But, perhaps this depends upon what one is seeking. I think a person can be seeking just about anything and it doesn’t have to be restricted to God. Again, I respect that we may well differ on what obligations finding what we are seeking places upon us (if anything).

            Appreciating your feedback – and hope that I’m not nit-picking too much,
            Brian

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Hey Brian,

              No I don’t think you are nitpicking here and I guess I would just say my use of the term “real seeker” is really regarding seeking truth on specific issues like religion, God exists, etc. So, I’m not necessarily saying one has to be seeker in general about everything, I don’t seek knowledge about who won the Superbowl last year- I don’t care.

              In terms of seeking, I think it is important that we try our best to look at things from multiple perspectives if possible, sometimes you read a Bart Ehrman blog and hey sounds good but not until you read the other side do you realize there are good responses to them. Same deal, I can give you Gary Habermas’ article on the Rez and you might think, hey that sounds right to me, but only once you see the responses by skeptics do you have a sufficient picture to judge.

              Further if religious truth having to do with your ultimate desirable purpose in creation, than yeah I think you ought to be wiling to submit otherwise God doesn’t have to reveal the truth to you as doing so would only incur more judgement on you given you know the truth but you reject it.

              Anyways yes I think your three issues are solved by saying a “real seeker” is a seeker in regards to religious truth in particular

              Liked by 1 person

    2. Whilst there is undoubtedly exploitation in the sex industry, violence and misogyny, I have also listened to a number of interviews with “stars” on the David Smalley show and I think Joe Rogan podcast, which paint a different picture.
      Darrell Ray, a secular sex therapist also has some alternative insights on his show- such as in areas with more liberal views or street workers, (I can’t recall which), violent crimes against women actually went down. There is also much debate as to whether sex addiction is actually a thing and how repression, especially in religious communities, spills out in unhealthy ways.

      As ever, it’s a nuanced subject with many different factors. Clearly, exploitation and abuse is never OK, so an interesting perspective would be to have the discussion from the POV of what they call ethical porn. Produced ‘responsibility’ with empowered workers – blah blah blah. Her voice trailed off whilst blushing since this is definitely not very British to talk about such matters. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sarah: “Whilst there is undoubtedly exploitation in the sex industry, violence and misogyny, …”

        Hi Sarah,
        Thanks for the comments. I think the term “sex industry” covers a wide range of activities and not just pornography. But, your point does raise questions of how much exploitation and abuse is involved, and whether one wants to contribute to it (as a customer or as a participant) and whether enough is being done to protect the victims. Several years ago, I read a booklet titled “The Links between Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: A Briefing Handbook” put out by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) and the European Women’s Lobby (EWL). (https://ec.europa.eu/anti-trafficking/publications/links-between-prostitution-and-sex-trafficking-briefing-handbook_en )

        I’m not sure how accurate this booklet is – nor if it is out-of-date, but some quotes that struck me include:

        “The methods and techniques of violence are similar to those that are used to subjugate women in prostitution, in pornography and in the home. They include: systematic and repetitive infliction of psychological trauma; organized techniques of disempowerment and disconnection; constant inducement of fear by inconsistent and unpredictable bursts of violence; threats to family and others; convincing the victim that the perpetrator is omnipotent and destroying the victim’s sense of autonomy.”

        “Total control is the power dynamic at the heart of pornography.”

        “In her research with 200 women in prostitution, Mimi Silbert also recognized the role played by pornography in legitimising victimization. … Many of the descriptions of these sexual assaults made reference to the role played by pornography.”

        Of course, there are multiple sides to the topic of pornography – which is why I think a show on it could be valuable.

        Brian

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Brain, I’m no an expert in the porn industry believe or not, lol, nor an apologetic for why it should/shouldn’t be around. Does a seedy exploitative world exist? yes of course. Some horrible harrowing stories. All I’m saying is that by listening to interviews of some of the sex workers, it wasn’t necessary only this terrible view told to us by conservatives. I never expected to hear another side to things.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Sarah: “Brain, I’m no an expert in the porn industry believe or not, lol, nor an apologetic for why it should/shouldn’t be around. Does a seedy exploitative world exist? yes of course. Some horrible harrowing stories. All I’m saying is that by listening to interviews of some of the sex workers, it wasn’t necessary only this terrible view told to us by conservatives. I never expected to hear another side to things.”

            Sarah, Sarah, Sarah…
            {sigh}
            Sarcasm? Teasing? Calling me “brain” instead of “Brian” – I get it! There is a dark side to you, isn’t there?
            {Just kidding! As king of the typos – I know a typo when I see it!}

            But, seriously, I do understand that there can be multiple views and many voices about about pornography and, indeed, the whole sex industry. My point was that I don’t think it is just about the customers. And, if they do a podcast about pornography, I hope they look at more than just the customers.

            Sarah, I’m a little confused about your use of the word “conservatives.” What were you told about pornography from conservatives – and how does that differ from the views of liberals or others?

            Thanks,
            Brian

            Liked by 1 person

      2. Sarah: “Darrell Ray, a secular sex therapist also has some alternative insights on his show…”

        Hi Sarah,
        I did look up Darrel Ray and listed to one of his talks called “Sex and the God Virus” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp9ChyUR85Q ) which was pretty interesting. Three little things that struck me:
        1. He had a slide and also stated that for humans: “Sex is for Bonding, Recreation & Health.” I had kind-of thought sex was also for reproduction.
        2. He gave an example of one result of shaming women. He shared how men and women were asked how many sexual partners they had. Men said 10 and women said 3. The same question was asked when they were to write their answers. Men still said 10 and women said 5 (I think that is what Dr. Ray said). Then both men and women were given what they were told was a lie detector test. Men still said 10 – women now also said 10. He said women had been shamed into not telling the truth whereas the men hadn’t been. This really surprised me as I had always thought men tended to exaggerate how many women they had sex with. I wonder if he give the source of this study in one of his books.
        3. He claims the pope said people should only have sex for procreation. Now, he didn’t say which pope made this statement, but he had a picture of Pope Benedict XVI on his slide. I know that the Catholic Church teaches that there should be a unitive aspect of sex – that sex should not just be for procreation but for the good of the couple as well. This has been explicitly taught in the Catholic Church since at least 1968 when Pope Paul VI wrote his encyclical Humanae Vitae. So, on this point, at least, I know he is in error.

        But, thanks for mentioning him – it was an interesting talk,
        Brian

        Like

        1. Interesting survey.

          3. He claims the pope said people should only have sex for procreation. Now, he didn’t say which pope made this statement, but he had a picture of Pope Benedict XVI on his slide. I know that the Catholic Church teaches that there should be a unitive aspect of sex – that sex should not just be for procreation but for the good of the couple as well. This has been explicitly taught in the Catholic Church since at least 1968 when Pope Paul VI wrote his encyclical Humanae Vitae. So, on this point, at least, I know he is in error.

          He may well have it wrong, but the take away point for me in this is, why in the hell should the church have a say in the private lives of individuals!!?? Why is anyone listening to what repressed, sex starved, chastised dudes who wear lace and nifty little red shoes say about what people do in the privacy of their bedroom? !!! They are the last people anyone should go to for advice on this matter. Literally the last. It’s borderline insane.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Sarah: “He may well have it wrong, but the take away point for me in this is, why in the hell should the church have a say in the private lives of individuals!!?? Why is anyone listening to what repressed, sex starved, chastised dudes who wear lace and nifty little red shoes say about what people do in the privacy of their bedroom? !!! They are the last people anyone should go to for advice on this matter. Literally the last. It’s borderline insane.”

            Hi Sarah,
            Why in the world does the clothes someone wears (lace; red shoes) have anything to do with the truth or falseness of what they say? Is that not clothes shaming??? Haven’t we read time-and-time again about how so many women have been judged for the clothes they wear and how wrong that is? Haven’t we learned to judge people by what they say and do rather than by the clothes they wear?

            While I don’t think anyone has an obligation to listen to what the Catholic Church recommends – I do think the Church should be allowed to have an opinion and express it. But, I feel the same about other organizations as well – whether the organization has a position on global warming or race relationships or war or pollution or sex abuse or sports.

            Clearly holding a slightly different point of view than you on this topic,
            Brian

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Fair point, Brian. I guess I have little respect or time for pomp and ceremony. I find it utterly pointless.

              People should be free to express themselves as they wish but I guess clergy gear is more imposed. It’s a uniform which they believe is infused with meaning and they want everyone to recognise it. But so is a clown’s get up. And, I don’t go to one for dental work.
              So for me it’s similar. We’re to take them (clergy) seriously about matters of the bedroom when in theory they should have no knowledge of the issue, whilst dressed in, what looks to me like clown gear.
              I support their right to dress that way, but I don’t have to agree with what they think it says.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Sarah: “Fair point, Brian. I guess I have little respect or time for pomp and ceremony. I find it utterly pointless.

                People should be free to express themselves as they wish but I guess clergy gear is more imposed. It’s a uniform which they believe is infused with meaning and they want everyone to recognise it. But so is a clown’s get up. And, I don’t go to one for dental work.
                So for me it’s similar. We’re to take them (clergy) seriously about matters of the bedroom when in theory they should have no knowledge of the issue, whilst dressed in, what looks to me like clown gear.
                I support their right to dress that way, but I don’t have to agree with what they think it says.”

                Hi Sarah,
                I mostly agree with you about pomp and ceremony. I would think that a history of why certain uniforms come into being (whether lace and the color of shoes for a cardinal – or the powdered wigs and robes in the British courts) might be interesting. The uniform that I hated for years was the suit and tie so many men had to wear in business!

                I fully agree with you that if one wants dental work, then they will get the best results if they go to someone who has the expertise and experience. But, I’m not sure that one must actually experience the things they are treating to be effective. A dentist might not have personally experienced a cavity to be able to treat one. A doctor might not personally have to experience cancer to be able to treat it. A therapist might not have to suffer sexual abuse to be able to give good advice to an abuse victim. A lot might depend upon their training and education. I don’t see why it would be different for religious people who are not currently in sexual relationship.

                Supporting the concept of getting help from those who have the expertise to provide it,
                Brian

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I’m not sure that one must actually experience the things they are treating to be effective. A dentist might not have personally experienced a cavity to be able to treat one. A doctor might not personally have to experience cancer to be able to treat it. A therapist might not have to suffer sexual abuse to be able to give good advice to an abuse victim. A lot might depend upon their training and education. I don’t see why it would be different for religious people who are not currently in sexual relationship.

                  Hi there,

                  I agree you don’t have to have actually experienced something to be able to assist a person. However, everyone you mention as an example are highly trained in the area (Dr, therapist,..,). Training (or at the very least in the case of therapy, excellent interpersonal skills) makes up for the lack of experience.

                  What sexual help/technical/
                  biological
                  /understanding are sexless clergy given? I would probably say none other than the vaguest of notions framed in theology.

                  If they were trained in the area, then fine. But I don’t suppose they are. So it’s more akin to an average Joe trying to give a PTSD victim help. Or a butcher wanting to operate on you. They could get it seriously wrong and end up doing more harm than good. And case in point, the Vatican’s view about contraception has caused huge harm from unwanted pregnancies, unwieldy large financially draining families and in the case of condoms, the spread of STD’s.
                  That’s what you get when you don’t ask experts in the field.

                  Furthermore, it’s often the case that those who have gone through certain experiences are the best to help others. EG alcoholics who mentor others in the 12 step programme. Survivors of abuse or grief also tend to clump together to set up support networks. Empathy is important in recovery.

                  I well informed, biologically conversant, trained Priest might be able to offer a couple some advice as to their sex life, but as a rule, it would be the very last place I would suggest they look. There is simply better help out there.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Hi Sarah,
                    As I mentioned before, I think getting help from someone who has expertise in the area one needs help in would be the smart thing to do. I think one would be wise to check out the person’s training and eduction and professional certifications in the area – and even interview some of the people who have used the expert before.

                    Sarah, you claim “And case in point, the Vatican’s view about contraception has caused huge harm from unwanted pregnancies, unwieldy large financially draining families and in the case of condoms, the spread of STD’s.” My understanding is that the Catholic Church’s view is that sexual intercourse is best when a man and woman commit themselves to be exclusive – and, if they don’t want a pregnancy, to use natural family planning – such as the Sympto-Thermal Method. Planned Parenthood (an expert in the field) used to have a chart showing some different methods of birth control and how effective it was (they may still have it – but I didn’t see it when I checked just now). Planned Parenthood’s chart indicated that Natural Family Planning, when properly and consistently used, was 98% effective in preventing conceptions. (The effective rate could drop to 80% if the couple didn’t properly use it.) If couples follow the Vatican’s views, how does that result in the spread of STDs or large unwanted families? The Catholic Church specifically states that part of being a responsible parent is knowing when “with due respect for the moral law, to avoid a new birth”. On the surface, it seems to me that it is when couples don’t follow the Vatican’s teaching that there is the unwanted pregnancies, large unwanted families and STDs.

                    Myself, I think if people don’t want to follow the Vatican’s suggestions then don’t. If the couple feels other ways of interacting are better – then they should follow their informed judgements.

                    Agreeing with you about using experts to help in decision making,
                    Brian

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Brian, you do know the joke that says, what you call people who follow the rhythm method?… Parents!!

                      It works if a woman is regular. It involves people abstaining which is hardly ideal for most and careful charting which is hardly spontaneous and fun. Miss out on bonding, fun etc because using contraception is… wrong? It seems absurd in it’s pointlessness .

                      It once again shrouds the entire thing in unnecessary restrictions and legalistic nonsense. Bonobos have sex for all kinds of reasons – to release stress, to bond, to sort out fights, for fun etc. Humans are the same. The Vatican are reducing the entire act as something for procreation, whilst simultaneously giving the less than satisfactory tools to avoid it. If they would just accepted it as part of the human condition and a good thing whilst also agreeing popping a sprog out every year for all your fertile life isn’t every little girl’s dream, then it’s not hard to come to the conclusion contraception is fine.

                      I believe in Africa the Catholic church has been tough on the use of condoms because they think people should practice abstinence. Instead of accepting it’s gonna happen and equipping people to protect themselves they’ve preached the shaming notion not to partake. Of course it still does. #headpalm This has led to the spread of aids and other STDs.
                      Catholics are well known to have large families. I know Catholics who had more kids than they ideally wanted. It’s immoral to guilt people into this way of planning their families, and it’s not even in the bible but made up by sexless patriarchal men. I fail to see how it could be more wrong.

                      Sexual intercourse is best when a man and woman commit themselves to be exclusive

                      That might be their view and they’re welcome to it. It’s not what the data suggest though. For a start, the natural wave of desire wanes over time for most people. It’s long enough to rear a child or two till age 7. That’s all it was designed to do. Therapists will tell you it’s obvious that sex in a newly in love couple will be more interesting and satisfying than someone you’ve been doing it with for 20 years. It’s just a sad fact. People put up with that for the other benefits of long term commitment. But from a purely sexual point of view variety, forbiddeness, newness, mystery are all things that fuel desire and therefore erotic interest. Again, Esther Perrel has lectured extensively about this and the inherent challenge it presents for marriages. It’s a problem. So I simply don’t buy 1 person for life is going to deliver you the best sex. It might, but it probably won’t.

                      There are plenty of people who will attest to having more satisfying and life giving exchanges once they let go of their religious notions. I’ve listened to many, many stories. The more your practice, then better you get. That one seems obvious to me.
                      I’m not suggesting being promiscuous is a good idea. Being mindful is what is needed.

                      Agreeing with you about using experts to help in decision making, which as I say, is exactly what the Catholic church doesn’t do. Even if the data showed categorically that a variety of partners delivered better sex, they wouldn’t care.

                      Like

                    2. Sarah: “Brian, you do know the joke that says, what you call people who follow the rhythm method?… Parents!!
                      It works if a woman is regular. It involves people abstaining which is hardly ideal for most and careful charting which is hardly spontaneous and fun. Miss out on bonding, fun etc because using contraception is… wrong? It seems absurd in it’s pointlessness .”

                      Hi Sarah,
                      Hmmm… we seem to be jumping from topic to topic here. But that is OK. Let me say once again that I believe we are in full agreement that a person looking for information or help will probably be best served by going to someone who has training and expertise in that area. Or maybe one needs multiple experts – the person one goes to for spiritual advice might not be the one to go to for birth control information who might be different from the person to go to for relationship advice. And getting a second opinion is often a smart thing to do.

                      Yes, I’ve heard the rhythm joke – and there is a certain amount of truth in it. Kind-of like using abstinence – it is 100% effective until one stops being abstinent. But let’s not forget that the rhythm method and abstinence are only two of the Natural Family Methods. There are methods to help even if the woman isn’t regular. Some fertility monitors claim they are very accurate even with women with irregular cycles. Again, if used properly some of these methods can be up to 98% effective. The problem, of course, is the same with any other method of birth control – it is less effective when not done properly.

                      Myself, I could see a couple jointly determining and charting the woman’s cycle and communicating about it to be a bonding experience – but can also see where it might not. It would certainly depend upon the couple and how they interact. I do know many couples don’t like using condoms and say the sexual experience is more enjoyable without – but I have no idea what percentage of couples feel this way. As for being spontaneous – is pausing in an intimate sexual encounter to run up to the store to buy a condom – or go put in a diaphragm – spontaneous and bonding? Maybe for some. But … I would certainly agree that all of these points you raise are well worth the couple looking at when deciding which method of birth control to use.

                      Speaking only for myself, I would think that in some poorer parts of the world – where couples don’t have the money for condoms and other birth control – that teaching them effective natural family planning methods would be empowering and allow them to take better control of how many children to have and when.

                      Sarah: “It once again shrouds the entire thing in unnecessary restrictions and legalistic nonsense. Bonobos have sex for all kinds of reasons – to release stress, to bond, to sort out fights, for fun etc. Humans are the same. The Vatican are reducing the entire act as something for procreation, whilst simultaneously giving the less than satisfactory tools to avoid it. If they would just accepted it as part of the human condition and a good thing whilst also agreeing popping a sprog out every year for all your fertile life isn’t every little girl’s dream, then it’s not hard to come to the conclusion contraception is fine.”

                      Sarah, you are certainly correct that Bonobos have sex for all sorts of reasons and with all sorts of partners. And if that is what someone wants to do, then that is their decision. I think it would be smart of these people to be aware of the possibilities of STDs and pregnancies. There are some studies about hormones being produced during sex that can increase bonding with one’s partner. They might want to be aware of that possibility when selecting their different partners.

                      Sarah, with all respect, you are wrong that the Vatican reduces sex to something only for procreation. The Catholic Church has explicated stated that sex should also be unitive – to bring the couple closer together – and sex should be for the benefit of the couple – so, as you say, to reduce stress, to bond and for fun – not merely procreation. Pope Paul VI in 1968 wrote in his encyclical “Humanae Vitae” that sex is for “uniting husband and wife in the closest intimacy” and that one of the “essential qualities” is the “unitive” part and that must be preserved. And that sex must always be “an act of mutual love.” (http://www.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae.html )

                      Sarah: “I believe in Africa the Catholic church has been tough on the use of condoms because they think people should practice abstinence. Instead of accepting it’s gonna happen and equipping people to protect themselves they’ve preached the shaming notion not to partake. Of course it still does. #headpalm This has led to the spread of aids and other STDs.
                      Catholics are well known to have large families. I know Catholics who had more kids than they ideally wanted. It’s immoral to guilt people into this way of planning their families, and it’s not even in the bible but made up by sexless patriarchal men. I fail to see how it could be more wrong.”

                      Sarah, how would following the Catholic Church’s teaching lead to the spread of AIDS and other STDs? Seems to me that it is Catholics not following the teaching that contributes to it. Sarah, you seem to be saying that Catholics will not follow the Church’s teaching about abstinence or being faithful to their spouse but will follow the Church’s teaching about not using condoms. Is that what you are saying? Why in the world would they follow the Church’s teaching about condoms while refusing to follow the Church’s teaching of being faithful to their spouse? That doesn’t make any sense to me. Would you have some documentation about why Catholics would do this?

                      I fully agree with you that couples who feel it is immoral or wrong to conceive more children should follow their consciences and not. I think the case can be made that the Catholic Church holds they should follow their informed consciences as well.

                      Sarah: “So I simply don’t buy 1 person for life is going to deliver you the best sex.”

                      And I fully support your right to have whatever type of consensual sex you want with whomever you want.

                      Sarah: “The more your practice, then better you get.”

                      I’ve heard that too. Some seem to think that might lead to couples who are exclusive having better sex – they have had lots of practice with each other.

                      Again, I’m not saying the Catholic Church is right on her teachings. And I’m certainly not saying that anyone should follow teachings that they feel are wrong. I merely think the teachings shouldn’t be misrepresented.

                      As always, appreciating your comments and insights,
                      Brian

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Ok I’m happy to accept the Vatican says more about sex than I’ve portrayed and it’s for unity. But what I don’t understand is that they support all this natural planning with the aim of avoiding pregnancy to a success rate of 98% effectiveness, yet make a distinction when it comes to other (modern?) forms of contraception. It’s like thinking medicine is good but only in the form of natural god given leeches. It’s not rooted in rationality. It just serves to create shame and weirdness around sex.

                      I think you’ll also agree that whilst the CC may uphold some of the aspects of sex for bonding, which can be a good thing, they propagate shame and have caused much harm to especially women right up into the 70’s and even 80’s by sending unwed girls to institutions to deliver their babies then take them away from them. Magdalene sisters is a good film. They infect entire generations of young people that self pleasure is somehow dirty and bad. Again not just not backed up but positively refuted by science.

                      Sarah, how would following the Catholic Church’s teaching lead to the spread of AIDS and other STDs? Seems to me that it is Catholics not following the teaching that contributes to it. Sarah, you seem to be saying that Catholics will not follow the Church’s teaching about abstinence or being faithful to their spouse but will follow the Church’s teaching about not using condom.

                      No, I’m saying that in places like Africa, they have taught people condoms are ‘bad’ and abstinence is the only way. Then they’re surprised when that advice fails. Of course teaching abstinence doesn’t work. It never has.

                      I was brought up in the height of the purity movement. It was diabolical. So much so, one guys who wrote an influential book on it recently has just recanted. Josh Harris I think his name was.

                      Sarah: “So I simply don’t buy 1 person for life is going to deliver you the best sex.”
                      And I fully support your right to have whatever type of consensual sex you want with whomever you want.

                      It’s not about my right and for the record I am happily married monogamous person. It’s that I don’t buy the idea that 1 partner for life results in the best sex, not because it’s to do with one’s right, but because the data says otherwise.

                      Anyway, I should probably stop talking to strangers about sex on the internet!! 😂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. Hi Sarah,
                      Just to be very clear – I am not an advocate for the Catholic Church and in hardly any cases can I tell why the Church (or Church members) do what they do. As I understand it, the Catholic Church says it is best if the sex act is open to procreation. But how an infertile person having sex is open to procreation and a person using a condom isn’t is beyond me. As with many things, the method one uses to reach the goal can range from good to bad – and I certainly think ongoing discussions with experts within the Catholic Church about legitimate methods to create unity while avoiding pregnancy would be smart. But – they don’t ask me!

                      I don’t want to open another can of worms here, but, I do think that when one spouse has an STD, a very strong case could be made for using condoms to prevent the spread of the STD to the other person. I think the argument could be made that not having sex would damage the unitive aspect of the marriage and spreading the STD would be morally wrong. The papal encyclical “Humanae Vitae” states “… the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from …” A condom to prevent the spread of a STD would seem to be in harmony with that statement. But, that is just my opinion.

                      Sarah, I don’t know enough about the situations in the United Kingdom that allowed for things like the Magdalene sisters to come into being and why the monarchy, parliament and/or government offices and/or the Church allowed these things to happen. To me the very basic function of government (and the Church) is to protect the citizens. At the same time, I am aware that what help the government or Church, or people feel should be given can change over time and with different situations. May the people in these situations get the compassionate help they need to live fulfilling lives.

                      Sarah: “No, I’m saying that in places like Africa, they have taught people condoms are ‘bad’ and abstinence is the only way. Then they’re surprised when that advice fails. Of course teaching abstinence doesn’t work. It never has.”

                      Sarah, if the Church’s advice fails then the people would be having sex AND using condoms. Isn’t that what you say you want? But… aren’t you really saying that the people don’t use condoms but do have sex? I’m asking why a Catholic who is going against the advice of the Church wouldn’t use condoms? Why in the world would they obey the advice about condoms but ignore the advice about sex? Any surveys or studies on why they do this?

                      Do you really think the Catholic Church is surprised when Catholics don’t follow the Church’s advice? Heck, if Catholics followed the Church’s advice then there would never be the need for Confession! Myself, I would think the Church would be more surprised if Catholics did follow her advice!

                      Sarah, I don’t know enough about the purity culture movement to really comment. I’m sorry that you were hurt by it.

                      Sarah: “It’s not about my right and for the record I am happily married monogamous person. It’s that I don’t buy the idea that 1 partner for life results in the best sex, not because it’s to do with one’s right, but because the data says otherwise.”

                      Sarah, you do strike me as a happy person – as a person who has had troubles but has overcome them enough and is happy. May you always be that way! Hmmm… it would be an interesting study to see why people who are in happily married monogamous relationships and who know that sex would be best with more than one partner – why they don’t have more than one partner. What is it about being in a happy married monogamous relationship that outweighs the better sex?

                      Delighted with our discussion,
                      Brian

                      Like

                    5. … it would be an interesting study to see why people who are in happily married monogamous relationships and who know that sex would be best with more than one partner – why they don’t have more than one partner.

                      I think most people know affair sex would be more ‘ interesting’ but they put that aside for the greater benefits of long term marriage. However, they are now increasingly open marriages which some report as being very fulfilling, though I think it does have a high chance of going wrong. Ironically, these people attest that it causes them to face all sort of things like jealousy insecurity and to work hard on communication. The personal growth is often huge. Not my bag but I wouldn’t be comfortable saying it was immoral as such.

                      Ok, understand if a couple is not following the church’s teaching then they’d have sex and use condoms so what’s the issue. Yes, but I am specifically referring to missionaries who preached abstinence only. They failed to educate people about condoms. They would tell people of another culture that they should be chaste and that condoms were wicked. As people get carried away they weren’t educated in what could protect them.

                      Why in the world would they obey the advice about condoms but ignore the advice about sex? Any surveys or studies on why they do this?

                      My mother in law worked for a Christian pregnancy crisis centre. She said many girls were good Christian girls who’d got caught out. Because they’d been told not to have sex, when and if they do, they hadn’t taken the necessary precautions. That’s the sort of harm I am talking about, Better to educate the youth properly And without shame because we know abstinence does not work.

                      My friends who are married now and who weren’t brought up in the purity culture and who had several long term relationship and,partners are not damaged like we were led to believe. They have funny stories, Found memories,learnt a lot and could bring different and new things to relationships. What or where does a 1 partner for life type get variety and info from? They could be doing it all wrong for all they know. 😂

                      Again Dr Ray says that he counsels more people with sexual dysfunctions because of religious indoctrination than anything else including those who have a few different partners.
                      It’s when you create shame and guilt over the issue that problems arise. Maybe it was different in biblical times as people married very young. But this is not what we’re into now. What do you say to a committed couple dating through university who are serious but can’t get married for many years? Wait? Deny yourselves? Repress you’re urges Over and over, Teaching your auto hard wired systems no, no, no. And that once you’ve made the right incantations in front of a priest suddenly you can tell your body the exact opposite message and all will be well. Good luck with that. I quicker path to dysfunction I struggle to see. It’s not a burden anyone should put on anyone else.
                      Cheers

                      Liked by 1 person

                    6. Sarah: “I think most people know affair sex would be more ‘ interesting’ but they put that aside for the greater benefits of long term marriage.”

                      Hi Sarah,
                      I wonder what they see the greater benefits of being in a long term marriage are. Hopefully people will be happy with their choices, whatever they are.

                      Sarah: “I am specifically referring to missionaries who preached abstinence only. They failed to educate people about condoms.”

                      I’m not up on what people are taught in different parts of the world – nor whose responsibility it is. I tend to think of education as the responsibility primarily of the parents, then of the local schools, then the government. With maybe doctors and health care providers helping in specific cases and with individuals about their individual sexual health. Not sure that I’d even include missionaries or the Church as a source of education – although I do know that the Church has often stepped in and helped with schools and hospitals when the government fails to do so. I’m all for people making informed decisions. Where they get their information from can be a challenge and not all information is equal (or correct). If your point is that missionaries don’t do a good job of teaching health, especially sexual health – then, I’d say it would be nice if the schools or government or doctors or health care providers did the teaching.

                      Sarah: “My mother in law worked for a Christian pregnancy crisis centre. She said many girls were good Christian girls who’d got caught out. Because they’d been told not to have sex, when and if they do, they hadn’t taken the necessary precautions.”

                      Again, I’m all for people being educated and being able to make informed decisions. It is too bad that these girls’ parents, their schools, their government, and their doctors and health care providers did such a poor job.

                      Thanks again for sharing your views on these things,
                      Brian

                      Like

  4. Titus. I thought you did a great job and hope to see you on more.

    Per David’s request. I will bring up the last comment so that it can be discussed farther. Plus I thought I would tie it in with the beginning of the podcast so that we can come around full circle.

    God is creating people he knows are going to not choose him. This means he is creating people he knows he is going to raise from the dead to beat with a stick and kill again. And somehow we are still trying to say he isn’t evil?

    I’m confused as to how this logic plays out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. REAL DARREN!!!!!!! You’re
      baaaaaaaaaack!!!!!😂😂😂😂,

      (I’ve been holding onto that for a while!!!)

      Can you tell us where David’s aliens took you? Or, was it other aliens? Or, was it mind control????? What did they do with “That Guy???” Enquiring minds what to know!🤣🤣🤣 Welcome back, er, I think.😳😉😆

      God created us with free will. Would you have preferred that God had not created us with free will? I doubt it, because then you wouldn’t be able to refuse Him like you do, right? Then, God would get the bad rap that he only wants pre-programmed human robots, and atheists would call God a loser for not giving humans the free-will to reject Him. God can’t win with some people.

      I heard it said beautifully, recently, that the same sun that can melt wax will harden clay.

      You mentioned on the podcast you were on that you grew up atheist —which was a MASSIVE surprise to me. Your comments on the boards carry the “energy” of an ex-Christian turned atheist. I don’t know how you would have come off on that “Prove it!” Podcast had you, actually, had the opportunity to be on it. 🙃

      So, since you have always struck me as being a thinker, I’ll give you the same benefit of the doubt that I hope that you’ll give me —we both still hold to the beliefs that we were brought up in, yet we have come into our own with our beliefs (and we’re not just sticking to the script our parents fed us.) Is that fair?
      Since the new atheists tend to do the whole, “I lack belief in God, but I hate that moral monster” thing, let me not make assumptions here and just ask you: if you had solid 97% proof that the Christian God is real, would you become a Christian? What if you had 99% proof? What about 100% proof?

      Oh, I forgot to tell you awhile back, I’ve got a shirt/bumper sticker logo for “Darrenian impostor.” I’m going to see if I can take a picture of my drawing and then cut and paste it onto the boards.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Teddi: “if you had solid 97% proof that the Christian God is real, would you become a Christian? What if you had 99% proof? What about 100% proof?”

        Hi Teddi,
        I hope Darren responds – I’d be interested in what he says. I think your questions are important – but maybe need to be unpacked a little.

        Teddi, i must admit that I don’t understand how one objectively determines the percentages. How does one determine if the solid proof is 97% or 99% or 51%? Is objectively determining percentages of solid proof something lawyers learn to do?

        There are so many different understandings of what/who the Christian God is and what this God does and wants. Does it matter which version of God is real? Maybe, for your question, it doesn’t matter. But the Christian God who is said to kill all life on earth (except Noah and the members of the ark) and the Christian God who wipes away every tear, seem to be very different (at least on the surface).

        Teddi, and what does it mean to become a Christian? Does it merely mean to believe this God exists? If someone has 97% or 100% proof that something exists, then i would think that would mean the person believes it exists. Of course, believing something exists can be very different from being of follower and worshiper of it. Or, does becoming a Christian mean being baptized using a specific formula – or does it mean never sinning again?

        Again, I’m looking forward to what Darren has to say – but there is a lot there in your questions to him.

        Thanks,
        Brian

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi, Bryan,
          In terms of the percentages for “reasonable doubt,” I’m talking about what people just assess in light of their (hopefully) good judgment. It’s what every juror has to do –just using common sense to get an idea of how certain one is of something vs. how much doubt one has. Honestly, the trusty, basic pro/con list works great, too. One just has to, also, factor in not just the amount of evidence but the quality and WEIGHT of the evidence.

          Yes, I agree that believing in something is very different from aligning with something or someone.

          To be a Christian, at minimum, means to believe in God (doubts can and will exist –totally normal and expected), and to accept Jesus as your Savior so that one’s sins can be forgiven. One goes forward, with one’s head down acknowledging God’s greatness and superiority. A Christian can disagree with God and even be angry with God. I think these things can be done, in a certain way, without being blasphemous. Which God? Whether some of it is hyperbole, figurative language or whatever, I just accept what the Bible says. Why should I? It is what it is. If a particular issue comes up, then I’ll do some digging, but, ultimately, there’s nothing in the Bible that would get me to not align with God. Nothing.

          The only real issue, in my view, is if the Christian God exists or not. Since Christianity is the best evidenced religion. I think that one should start with it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Teddi: In terms of the percentages for “reasonable doubt,” I’m talking about what people just assess in light of their (hopefully) good judgment. It’s what every juror has to do –just using common sense to get an idea of how certain one is of something vs. how much doubt one has. Honestly, the trusty, basic pro/con list works great, too. One just has to, also, factor in not just the amount of evidence but the quality and WEIGHT of the evidence.

            If this is your criteria, then I’m not sure how one gets over 0% for the probability that magic and gods exist.

            Like

            1. Hi, Real Darren,

              Now, I can give a 100% certainty rating that you are, indeed, back —despite your not having said “repugnant” or “moral monster“ YET.🤣

              We shall soon see about how much evidence exists for the Christian God’s existence. But, in the meantime, I’m sure you’ll continue to think that despite all of the evidence that says otherwise.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. We shall soon see about how much evidence exists for the Christian God’s existence. But, in the meantime, I’m sure you’ll continue to think that despite all of the evidence that says otherwise.

                I’ve been examining the apologist’s claims for the last 20 years, and have yet to find any that actually produce evidence to demonstrate their claims are actually true. Even your “evidence” for the shroud is not actually evidence for the shroud, it is evidence for a mystery. You then use a form of reasoning that is known to be flawed and a definition of a miracle that is guaranteed to produce false positives.

                So yes, I will continue to think it because that is, in fact, an accurate description of reality.

                Like

          2. Teddi: “In terms of the percentages for ‘reasonable doubt,’ I’m talking about what people just assess in light of their (hopefully) good judgment. It’s what every juror has to do –just using common sense to get an idea of how certain one is of something vs. how much doubt one has.”

            Hi Teddi,
            Thanks for the response. So, are you saying the percentages are subjective and not objective measurements? Do jurors have to assign a percentage to their beliefs of guilt vs innocence? (I’ve never been on a jury.) Myself, I’m not sure how to define common sense much less put a percentage on it. But, maybe that just my problem.

            Teddi: “To be a Christian, at minimum, means to believe in God (doubts can and will exist –totally normal and expected), and to accept Jesus as your Savior so that one’s sins can be forgiven. One goes forward, with one’s head down acknowledging God’s greatness and superiority.”

            Teddi, your Church doesn’t require baptism for one to become a Christian? (Or, is this something you hold a different opinion on than your Church does?) . Your definition seems pretty reasonable to me (but don’t ask me to assign a percentage as to how reasonable!).

            Thanks again,
            Brian

            Like

      2. Teddi: God created us with free will. Would you have preferred that God had not created us with free will?

        I’ve always wondered why Christians always use this as a goto for the question. It doesn’t actually make any difference to the question and doesn’t make god look any better. In fact, it just makes god look even worse and even more petty and repugnant.

        If you believe that God is all-knowing, then he knows beforehand what people are going to freely choose. So you still end up with a problem.

        Here is the updated critique: God is creating people he knows are not going to freely choose him. This means he is creating people he knows he is going to raise from the dead to beat with a stick and kill again. And somehow we are still trying to say he isn’t evil?

        Do you understand now why the “free will” defense is largely impotent and doesn’t actually justify gods actions?

        Then, God would get the bad rap that he only wants pre-programmed human robots, and atheists would call God a loser for not giving humans the free-will to reject Him. God can’t win with some people.

        He is supposedly giving people free will and then punishing them for all eternity for exercising that free will. A free-will that he knows before he makes them they will exercise. That is a repugnant thing to do. So yes god gets a bad rap since the things he is supposedly doing are bad things.

        Since the new atheists tend to do the whole, “I lack belief in God, but I hate that moral monster” thing, let me not make assumptions here and just ask you: if you had solid 97% proof that the Christian God is real, would you become a Christian? What if you had 99% proof? What about 100% proof?

        I’m not sure. The first question would be the same as Brian’s, I know how we get %’s in probabilities in science, but what criteria are you using to get percentages about a god? If you are just pulling the % out of a hat, probably not.

        If the % is an accurate description of reality, I would probably shop around for a good god. After all, Yahweh started out as a little tribe’s war god amidst thousands of other gods. So if Yahweh exists then it is only rational to think that the rest of the gods exist as well. I would want a preview of what all the different gods are offering to see who could give me the best deal.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi, Darren,

          You tried to squirm out of answering the last question directly. Checking out other gods isn’t an option. If the Christian God exists, there are no other gods. Either you fall in with God or you don’t and deal with the eternal consequences. How do you fall on this if it’s a 100% certainty the Christian God exists?

          Like

          1. Teddi: You tried to squirm out of answering the last question directly.

            No I didn’t. I answered the question directly.

            Checking out other gods isn’t an option. If the Christian God exists, there are no other gods.

            Says who? You god? And at what point did you demonstrate that your god is an honest god? Given the history of how your god got started, we already know his protestations of being the only god is false.

            Either you fall in with God or you don’t and deal with the eternal consequences. How do you fall on this if it’s a 100% certainty the Christian God exists?

            So we love your god or your god will torture us for all eternity?

            If we have a methodology to discover that it is ‘100% certainty the Christian God exists’ then we will also have the methodology to discover the other gods that exist. And why would I go for a god that is threatening me with eternal torture? I would check out the other gods and find one that is actually deserving of respect. They should be powerful enough to protect me from your god.

            Like

            1. Hi, Darren,

              Whether the Christian God is an honest God (as you seem to question) is irrelevant. The hypothetical involves if the Christian God is true, that means that He’s the only God around –so, no option for other gods that might comport to your preferences/standards. It’s a binary choice with no other possibilities. Either you pick God (the Christian God) and Jesus and go to Heaven or you don’t and you deal with whatever the consequences are. Are you heading North or South?

              Like

              1. Either you pick God (the Christian God) and Jesus and go to Heaven or you don’t and you deal with whatever the consequences are. Are you heading North or South?

                You may not like the answer, but that is the answer. There is no reason to think that a small Jewish tribe’s war god is the only god in existence. So if we find out the Christian god is real, then we find the other gods that are also real and see which I like the best.

                Like

        2. TeddiGod created us with free will. Would you have preferred that God had not created us with free will?

          Darren I’ve always wondered why Christians always use this as a goto for the question. It doesn’t actually make any difference to the question and doesn’t make god look any better. In fact, it just makes god look even worse and even more petty and repugnant…..

          Do you understand now why the “free will” defense is largely impotent and doesn’t actually justify gods actions?

          Not to mention, and I don’t see how believers miss this, but god can create a place void of suffering, in his presence, with freewill. Ie heaven. And while we’re at it, why does 1/3 of those he creates, who are there in heaven praising and worshiping him, unable not to rebellait this freewill? What are they not telling us?!! Is it a big disappointment up there? It’s gotta be surely? I knew singing praises would be dull, I had my suspicions all along.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I would love to hear a show where you two figure out if the god of the bible is good and wise. Because I’ve read the bible and the god portrayed in the bible is the most morally repugnant, and incompetent person I could ever imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Titus,

    What are your impressions of the people that have researched the religion and yet find it even more unbelievable after researching it than they did before they started?

    It is also worth pointing out that the main reason people become atheists seems to be researching the religion to try to demonstrate it is actually true. As David Smally puts it, they get so close to god they find out he doesn’t exist.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Alright, well hello David and Titus,

    Behold my replacement lol 🙂 Yeah as promised, I just wanted to reach out and give my take on Titus (so David if Titus is not on these Boards maybe email it to him).

    I thought Titus did a fantastic job on the show today. He said things that I disagree with and things I agree with myself. I was taken a back by his view on not voting due to not wanting to enforce morality. Now, I agree with Titus that things like enforcing no gay marriage on a political level is absurd in the same way using the law to enforce no no adultery or no lying, but I think that it is OK for us to enforce our morality on people sometimes. For example, I would be against a law prohibiting lying but I support having laws against slander or fraud for example. Further, I think that democracy allows me to be informed by knowledge and I’m allowed to vote accordingly based on what I know or think is right. Knowledge is knowledge regardless of the source and so as a Christian whether my knowledge comes from secular vs. religious sources is irrelevant to my role as a Christian citizen participating in a democratic society.

    So I agree that as a Christian, we have to follow the Bible and not enforce all of our Christian values on non-believing society, the Bible is clear on this front but that doesn’t mean the Bible doesn’t allow Christians operating on a political level to be informed by and act in accordance with Christian precepts.

    Just sort of my thoughts, hope you find them helpful and happy for you to give me your take as well if you disagree with me on this or to explain your own view on it.

    Anyways, just wanted to say great job Titus and I’m proud to have you be my successor occupying the Christian chair on S&S, despite any disagreements I have with you on some issues, I’m now confident I’m leaving it in good hands 🙂

    Dale

    P.S.- I noticed David and you sort of disagreed with my answer of yes to the Abraham Test. Here is a show where I explain myself a little more detail as to why I answer that way (the first 5-min intro is horribly biased so skip over that part), see here = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eB5SPnrXcI0

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Titus is away for a month. But keep those responses coming so he can be encouraged. Dale, to paraphrase Star Trek, Titus can only succeed you, never replace you. And he may not even want to do that for reasons of his own. But just so you and everyone knows, he has my full support. But I will bring on others to interview.

      I believe that Titus will be good for this community. And I care about the community we are all building here. It is far more important than a host on a mic. I am not Skeptics and Seekers. I am expendable. We have already seen the talent around here that can replace me. And I look forward to it. My legacy is the conversation, the community, and the camaraderie. If we continue to foster those things, it won’t matter who is in the chair.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hmm I have to admit, I kind of like the notion of having a community of people who all get to share in hosting and get a turn (if they want it) to have a say on the mic. That is an interesting idea for a Podcast and quite unique (at least in principle)- a show run by the audience as a whole. Obviously that isn’t practically possible as someone has to manage things officially, but I find the concept you have for S&S going forward to be intriguing.

        Yes and thank you for the compliment about Titus not being a successor and not a replacement, no idea where in Star Trek that is a saying but I trust you as I’m not a Trekkie but anyways I do hope that I’ve given this community at least some things worthy of their consideration or helped them to look at things from a different angle every now and then. Obviously, I intend to still be a part of the show myself whenever you need as well as per the Resurrection Round Table you have planned and I’m looking forward to (I think that will be a good show). But yeah, I agree that Titus is a welcome addition to S&S and a breath of fresh air for everyone on here; putting my ego aside, I think his involvement will be a welcome addition to the S&S family 🙂 So yeah, I hope he does decide to go on as the Christian host or at least be willing to participate on here if he doesn’t want to do the permanent thing each week.

        Please tell him I hope enjoys his vacation and if he ever needs any help, feedback or just some insight on your “skeptical tactics” (lol jk :P), let him know I will be willing to help him out in his ministry here in any way I can.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The reference is from Star Trek 6. Here is a blurb from Memory Alpha:

          Spock is soon going to retire, with this being his last voyage on the Enterprise as a member of the crew and he intends for Valeris to replace him. Valeris states that she could only succeed Spock.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well perhaps I shall have to give this Star Trek 6 a watch sometime then 🙂 I’m just afraid that if I do then I might catch the dreaded Trekitis syndrome, having that and my sin disease is probably more than I could handle lol 😛

            No but seriously, thanks for the kind words 🙂

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  8. Titus, welcome!! Whether you get the gig or not, I hope you’ll be back. You had an interesting story and a good dynamic with David.

    You guys covered a lot so I’ll start with just a couple of topics for feedback.

    Voting: I agree with Dale and I wasn’t a fan of your take on voting. I would consider your assessment that it’s “pushing my morality on other people” as a pretty rough strawman. Voting is raising your hand to weigh in on how our community should be. Which is something you advocated for throughout the show when it came to Christianity.

    You’re also an evangelist for Christianity which entails foisting a morality on to other people. So I found that incongruous.

    The Abraham Test: I think you contradicted yourself when this topic came up. You spent a lot of time early in the podcast saying that as a finite being, there’s probably a lot about mortality that a divine being would differ from you on and therefore you should defer to the divine being. If this is so, your take on the Abraham Test contradicts. How do you know that your take on the Abraham Test is right? How can you as a finite being say what a divine being would or wouldn’t command? So which is it? Can you judge a command by god or not?

    It’s also pretty rich to say god wouldn’t command it given that according to the Bible, he in fact did. If you’re going to cite that that was Old testament times and not now, then maybe your take on homosexuality on other issues should also be updated for modern times, no?

    Once again, great show, I enjoyed it very much.

    Bryan

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It is nice to her a Christian that is only 96% BSC!

    Like

    1. Drew…….. go flip a goat already!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Drew,

      I had to do a double take on your avatar. For a second, I thought it was Dr. Evil with Mr. Bigglesworth! But, wrong breed of cat.

      Someone in this group really needs to use that. 🤣🤣🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Here is the latest BSC Weekly. I just talk about a couple of episodes from my personal life. Does this stuff happen to you?

    https://anchor.fm/david-johnson46/episodes/Religious-Nutbags-In-Your-Face-ea9cdr

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      1. Christian privilege is such a pervasive part of the Christian life, they simply don’t recognize it. The privilege goes along with special pleading. They believe they should have the right to make a religious appeal, offer testimony, and deliver an alter call at any public event, in any public venue they like. But those same people would appeal to the Supreme Court to stop a Satan worshipper from doing the same for their cause.

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        1. David,

          Your false generalizations about so-called Christian privilege aside, where do you stand on Quebec or France’s secular privilege where they feel the need to enforce all Government employees not to wear their religious paraphernalia like crosses or religious headgear while on the job?

          Isn’t it secular/Atheistic privilege to force religious adherents not to be able express themselves on pain of losing their jobs? Canada has various examples of Atheist privilege whereby Christian students who did not embrace homosexuality as being good were not allowed to get summer jobs working for the government. Innocent Christian parents who do not fully support their child’s claims to be another gender can be accused of child abuse and possibly have their kids taken from them (this is actually law here if you remember C.J. Morgan’s show).

          There are some that don’t just seek their own freedom of expression as Atheists but who also seek to impose their atheistic agendas on religious adherents under the name of “secularism”- it has actually happened in Canada and elsewhere so this isn’t conspiracy stuff. Perhaps addressing Atheist/secular privilege would be a good topic for your next BSC show or I guess we can add another Atheist privilege where David J. only calls out Christian craziness but not Atheist craziness. Just a suggestion to make you show be more balanced in recognizing that some privilege can and does exist on both sides perhaps- up to you.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. This does sound like a potential show. And I simply don’t have the time to write a proper blog post for the topic. But be sure to bring it up another time and I can see about putting a show together.

            I will tackle the religious symbols question for now: What you apparently don’t know about me is that I am not a proponent of unlimited free speech. In the US, our laws about free speech were intended to promote an open political debate so that none would be silenced for political oppression purposes. I frankly don’t know how other countries view it.

            As I understand it, freedom of speech was never intended to allow just anyone to say any old thing anywhere under any circumstances. So it is rather naive to irresponsibly cite freedom of speech for things that are not protected forms of speech under law.

            We have advanced the idea from free speech to free expression. That covers just about any insane thing a person wants to do. Further, when you toss in freedom of religion, you just have an unmanageable mess. I will have to defer to our resident attorney on how the law works in the US. But I’m pretty sure it isn’t how most people think it does. Freedom of religion does not allow you to sacrifice chickens in your apartment for voodoo worship. In other words, there is no such thing as absolute freedom of religious expression, or any other kind for that matter. This is a red herring we don’t need to chase.

            I am in favor of secular, pluralistic governments banning religious expressions in workers on duty and representing that government agency. It is a dress code. And I have no problem with enforcing dress codes. A Muslim should not have to stand trial before a judge and jury wearing symbols of the religious competition. This is the government, not the church. I don’t believe in all religions being represented in government. I believe in no religions being represented in government. A secular government should not establish or favor or promote a religion.

            To be clear, that is not the same as promoting atheism. They should also not be allowed to wear atheist symbols either, or promote the religion of no god. Theism simply has no place in the official operation of a secular government. I’ll let that do for now.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. David, it’s time to leave. Sounds like you’d do well in Europe. Besides that tangerine nightmare in charge has totally lost the plot.

              What on earth is he blathering about? B+ for his reading from a script especially on the bigly words. I mean “totalitarian impulse”, we were all impressed. However, his comprehension and free expression still need work, but a good effort from the Donald in his school work.

              Surely prayer in school is NOT illegal in the US? Compulsory prayer is, and rightly so. Would someone please give him your Constitution to read. 😉

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            2. Yeah it is an interesting topic, I think it would make a good or interesting show for sure 🙂

              I’m not an expert in American Constitutional law myself, but I was educated in Canadian Constitutional law so I can speak on that. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is new, only coming into effect in 1982 as part of the Constitution Act (replacing the old British North America Act from 1867). Section 2 of the Charter covers what are xalled our “fundamental freedoms” and these are said to be “entrenched” rights. Entrenched Rights can be defined as those rights which are explicitly protected by the Constitution. These rights will have a special status and will be immune from change by political whims through legislation. In order to change them, a Constitutional Amendment will be required.

              That said, I agree with you that these rights are not absolute or entirely without any provision for conditional limits. Section 1 of our Charter is called the “reasonable limits” clause and obviously it allows for the government to limit an individual’s Charter rights prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. There are three tests which a given situation must pass before courts will allow the use of the “reasonable limits” clause to go through and examples are things like laws against hate speech (legal definition not the SJW one) and/or forcing a Sikh to have to wear a safety helmet when working a dangerous construction job. Same deal with killing animals in a residential setting for Voodoo as that presents a health and safety factor. I have no issue with any of these types of “reasonable limits” but banning someone from wearing a cross or religious headgear in a government office building simply does not pass muster in terms qualifying as having passed the three tests for being a “reasonable limit”.

              The other issue is Section 33 called the “Notwithstanding clause”, this clause essentially says the Government can turn full on dictator and do whatever it wants in terms of violating our Section 2 and other rights. Section 33 is unique among the constitutions of countries with constitutional democracies and allows Parliament or the legislature of a province to derogate from certain sections of the Charter, namely section 2 (fundamental freedoms), sections 7 to 14 (legal rights) and section 15 (equality rights). It does not apply to democratic rights (section 3 — the right to vote or sections 4 and 5 — the sitting of the House of Commons or other Canadian legislatures), mobility rights (section 6) or language rights (sections 16 to 23). Once invoked, this section effectively precludes judicial review of the legislation under the listed sections. The declaration is only valid for 5 years. After this time period, it ceases to have any effect unless it is re-enacted.

              This Section is so radical that it has only ever been utilized once in all of Canadian politics (Quebec and its enforcing French over English use in stores, signs, etc.) and is only to be used in extreme circumstances. It’s use is so controversial that just recently the Ontario Premier was fed up with playing politics and threatened to invoke Section 33 to get his way and well let’s just say the media and many people lost their stuffing as a result.

              While, I agree with these limits on our freedom of religion, expression and belief, none of the examples above justify the limits on the religious rights of Christians in my opinion.

              Further, its is not really totally about legal rights here as your original complaint was about Christian privilege and whether a limit on Christians is legally justified or not, it can still be seen as a Secularist privilege when your religious beliefs or practices are being interfered with.

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              1. P.S. It was Section 33 that Quebec used to make its religious symbol ban by the way.

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              2. Meant to say none of the examples that I gave you originally in my first reply to you are justified limitations.

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              3. Thank you for sharing your expertise on Canadian law. I will skip to your last paragraph for brevity:

                What you are describing as secularist privilege is what I call a secular government. It is natural that would seem like special privilege for the other side from your perspective. But that is only because Christians have had privileges they shouldn’t have had in the first place. Taking those privileges away feels like giving privilege to the other side. But it is not. It is simply resetting the table as it should have been in the first place.

                Again, I think the major difference is that Christians want either an ecumenical government or an outright theocratic government. The rest of us are calling for a secular government where religion is stripped from the government altogether. Religion should not be outlawed. But it should be a strictly private enterprise.

                On the matter of dress codes and religious expression: Just remember what those expressions are. A religious symbol is a form of speech. So you have to ask what that speech is saying. The judge represents the court. And if the judge is saying that he is loyal to Allah, then the court is loyal to Allah. This is the message if the judge is allowed to speak that way while representing the state. The judge no more gets to do that than he gets to display his sports team preferences. What if the case involves sports teams? This is true whether it is a classroom teacher or road construction worker. You are not acting as a private individual. You are representing the state. and the state is secular, not religious.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Hi, David,

                  Judges can have particular biases for all sorts of reasons –e.g. they know the defendant or his family. Judges can either recuse themselves, or the complaining attorney can file a motion to have the judge recused/disqualified to preside over the case in question.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. That is what I thought. Judges are human, and therefore, bias. But they are not allowed to wear that bias on their sleeve, literally or figuratively. They put on a neutral robe and while representing the state, do not say they ought to obey god’s laws rather than man’s laws. The cross has no place in a court where justice is supposed to be blind. They don’t get to make speech that favors or promotes a religion. And that is exactly what religious symbols are there to do.

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                2. David,

                  Canadians are a salad bowl not a melting pot and thus the Government is made up of private individuals who can reasonably express themselves religiously by wearing a cross or turban or whatever so long as it doesn’t interfere with their doing their job. It is wrong to think that a reasonable display of freedom of religious expression makes a statement that the Government supports those religions, no its a statement that it supports the freedom of religious expression and Atheists are free to where Dawkins books around their necks if they want as well.

                  I think we border on the absurd when we pretend that some employee wearing a cross on their neck is the Government endorsing Christianity- most people agree with me on this issue- just look and see the outrage from pretty much everyone at this new law, so under your definition of “kook theology” or I guess rather “kook politics” you would qualify as having the minority opinion on this front. Just google search the recent federal election debates. Limiting me in this way is akin to imposing your Atheistic faith on to me and how I reasonable express myself as an individual in a free and democratic society.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. So you would be okay with your judges and public officials wearing swastikas and pentagrams while acting in an official capacity?

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                    1. David,

                      I would not be OK with them wearing Swastikas as that is prohibited based on a reasonable ground “hate speech” but as to Pentagrams, why on Earth not, there are “religions” that use that as a symbol, so I have no issue with someone wearing that around their neck. As long as their religious views don’t interfere with their performing their job duties than I have no issue.

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                    2. I don’t view a swastika as hate any more than I view the Confederate flag as hate. But it is speech in promotion of a particular ideology. The majority may not be in favor of that ideology. But surely that can’t be the measure of whether the speech is protected. I think you might be equivocating on the pentagram. But just to be sure, let’s say it is a pendant with the words, “I love and obey Satan.” Would that be okay for the judge to wear?

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                    3. P.S. Unless you mean that a Hindu is using the swastika symbol- yeah I think they used the symbol first and I would prefer it if we can reclaim that symbol to mean something good in a “bona fide” religious context. Just like the N word for example is hate speech but it seems that the word has been positively reclaimed by comedians or rappers- OK, then fine everyone should be able to use it in those contexts.

                      My main point is that we need to be limiting our restriction of people’s rights as much as is feasible or possible, some words or symbols may be hate speech in one context but not in others and trying to rehabilitate as many words or symbols that have been used hatefully in the past is a good thing to do. Why should evil hateful people be allowed to ruin things for everyone else forever. I shouldn’t be allowed to turn every single word or symbol into “hate speech/expression” for all time, No why should Hindus be punished because of what Hitler did with their symbol; they used the swastika millenia before Hitler was even born.

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                    4. David,

                      Again sorry the reply button issue is a real problem, is there nothing that can be done to fix that on your end as Admin????

                      On your question to me;

                      You ask- “But just to be sure, let’s say it is a pendant with the words, “I love and obey Satan.” Would that be okay for the judge to wear?”

                      My Answer- yeah if I have no reasonable proof his private religious beliefs in Satan are effecting his job performance, I’m perfectly fine with him wearing such a pendant- why on Earth not? I don’t impose my beliefs onto him so long as they don’t unreasonably effect me.

                      In the first place, if I thought the same way you do apparently then I wouldn’t be able to be judged by anyone who was a non-Christian as I literally believe you and every non-Christian is on team Satan whether they wear a pendant showing that or not. I have no issue being judged by other religious adherents or Atheists. I have no issue voting for an Atheist for President unless and until I see that his Atheism effects his job performance (or have a legally “reasonable” expectation that they would).

                      Secondly, now there may be ocxassions where one might have a legally “reasonable expectation” that one’s religious beliefs might affect their job performance such as a conflict of interest case. If I was attacked by a band of Satanists and I find out the judge is one of their members, well then I would ask the judge to recuse themselves as Teddi mentioned or I can ask for a new judge in that case. But there has to be a “reasonable” association between the person’s religious associations and their performance of their job- you can’t just be like “I don’t like their religious beliefs therefore they will rule against me”. We are not allowed to assert and assume that willy nilly.

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                    5. I’m just going to say that we are at an impasse. If a Judge wears speech that says he will obey god rather than the rules of men while representing the state, a nonChristian has reason to suspect his judgement. A cross is such a symbol as it speaks to a person’s loyalties. I don’t want a state that tries to accommodate all the religious ideas of its representatives. I call for a state that protects secular values by not promoting, or allowing its representatives to promote religious ideas while they are representing the state.

                      Liked by 2 people

                  2. Dale: “I think we border on the absurd when we pretend that some employee wearing a cross on their neck is the Government endorsing Christianity-…”

                    Hi Dale,
                    I could understand that a person might question just how objective their treatment was depending upon the symbols being displayed. Hopefully there is a review or appeal process if one feels their treatment wasn’t proper.

                    Brian

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Hey Brian,

                      I can understand it given our cultural thinking at the moment, but that is my point, we need to change the way we think to stop being so obsessed with mere appearances vs. what actually is the case. I can’t just assume that because my teacher wears a Christian cross that she will be teaching my kid about Jesus in class. Instead, you wait and see if she does or not and then take issue with it. Removing a personal symbol representing one’s own private religious views will not automatically remove any problems at all so the two things have no reasonably provable associated link.

                      It’s like saying that well if a teacher has nothing on then they must be teaching my kids Atheism and thus we should force all teachers to wear religious symbols to put everyone’s mind at ease.

                      How about we as a society smarten up and stop worrying about who is wearing what or what religious views are in fear of what might be, and instead focus on ensuring that what is actually the case is proper instead.

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                    2. You can’t have it both ways. It is either just a fashion statement or it’s speech. Furthermore, it is important speech. And if it is speech, you have to consider what the symbol is saying, what the person is saying when they wear it. You keep advocating for what I call a religiously ecumenical government. And that is not what I want at all. I am calling for a secular government. And that is very different.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Brian,

                      I’m a follower of the old school of thought, as I follow the Oakes Test standard for using Section 1 on “reasonable limits”

                      The Oakes test is the following = http://ojen.ca/wp-content/uploads/In-Brief_STUDENT_Section-1-and-Oakes_0.pdf;

                      1. There must a pressing and substantial
                      objective for the law or government action. &,

                      2. Proportionality- The means chosen to achieve the objective must be proportional to the burden on the rights of the claimant: i) The objective must be rationally connected, to the limit on the Charter right, ii) The limit must minimally impair the Charter right and iii) There should be an overall balance or proportionality between the benefits of the limit and its deleterious effects. = http://ojen.ca/en/resource/in-brief-section-1-of-the-charter-the-oakes-test

                      Though see some legal questions on applying the Oakes Test universally in all cases = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_1_of_the_Canadian_Charter_of_Rights_and_Freedoms

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            3. Hi, David,

              You’re right, this would make for a very interesting show topic. We, here in the United States, don’t have the freedom to yell “fire” in a crowded building, but our Founding Fathers and the Framers of the U.S. Constitution wanted freedom of speech and religion very, very protected. The most important type of speech that was and is meant to be protected is POLITICAL speech. That I can tell you 100%. I’d have to check into it, but I’m going to say I’m 99.99999% sure that religious speech is protected to the exact same degree as political speech –since the First Amendment to the United States Constitution deals with the freedoms of speech, press and religion.

              There was a famous United States Supreme Court case –National Socialist Party v. Skokie, where the Supreme Court ruled that a bunch of neo-Nazis COULD march (displaying swastikas, etc.) through a Jewish community in Skokie, Illinois where there was a significant number of the members of that community who were Jewish Holocaust survivors.

              This is the price for free speech. One will have to allow for heinous ideas to be expressed as well. There are some limits –in terms of, in certain places, needing permits, etc. but free political discourse is vitally important to what the United States is supposed to be all about. We’re supposed to duke it out so the best ideas (hopefully) win.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I agree with all that. But a judge can’t be the one wearing the swastika while he is acting in his official capacity. That is the question at hand. It is right to ban the wearing of religious symbols by people acting as representatives of the state. You need not bring other examples to the table as I probably agree with those already.

                Liked by 1 person

              2. Thanks Teddi,

                Interesting getting the American legal side here. I think that we are getting too foolish in pretending that everything we do represents the state so that tweets made as private citizens are used to fire us or a judge wearing a turban means the State endorses Sikhism. This is going way too far in stressing the perceptions of impartiality or secularism over actually being so. I think people need to be smarter in making proper distinctions and realizing that a judge or teacher wearing a cross on their neck on the job does not make a statement on behalf of the Government that Christianity is true. It would be different if a teacher was actually trying to impose their religious views onto their students like making them read the Bible all day instead of learning math or something, but that is not what is happening here.

                This is why we need to read the words properly, our individual rights and freedoms are only to be “reasonably limited” as is justified in a free and democratic society and the courts have agreed with me fully that this type of thinking leads to undue oppression of religious people’s rights in my view. That is why the only way Quebec could pass such a discriminatory and Satan-inspired law in the first place was by invoking the dictatorial powers granted in the controversial Section 33.

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  11. teddipappas January 19, 2020 — 8:38 pm
    Hi, Sarah,
    I wanted to chime in on the question about why it is more blessed to believe without having evidence. I’d like to illustrate it with an example which I think will make it crystal clear.
    Let’s say you are accused of stealing all of the presents at a birthday party. Your closest friends and family were not at the event. They find out about what you were accused of.
    What does it say of your relationship with them, and their relationship with you if they will only believe that you are not a thief if they see video footage of the area where the presents were or they need compelling evidence of your innocence before they believe you?

    This example demonstrates a misunderstanding of the burden of proof and the false equivalence of not believing X and believing not X.

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    1. Hi, Bryan,

      No, not at all. This example is a valid illustration of typical human emotions, reactions and behavior.

      It is typical human nature for someone to prefer to be trusted instead of doubted.

      You can refute this, but you’ll be unreasonable and irrational [“Non-Darren“/“That Guy” where are you??? Am I gonna hear crickets from you right now?] No, this is not an ad hominem, just truth.

      You have consumed too much of David’s Kool-Aid since the previous podcast.😆🤣😂🤣😆

      Like

      1. Teddi: You can refute this, but you’ll be unreasonable and irrational [“Non-Darren“/“That Guy” where are you??? Am I gonna hear crickets from you right now?] No, this is not an ad hominem, just truth.

        What is there to say? Your example and logic, like normal, are just obviously bad and you are calling anyone that points that out to you is being unreasonable and irrational.

        You aren’t interested in actually discussing the argument being put forth. Just making a strawman and claiming anyone that doesn’t agree with you is being irrational.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi, Darren,

          No, I’m not creating a straw man, and my example is totally ON POINT. You did a whole show on what’s reasonable and what’s rational, and you are so in the tank to be in lock step with the “skeptics” that you can’t even acknowledge a simple, obvious truth –that my example cuts to the heart of what the message is from Jesus to Thomas. I was curious to see if you were going to step-up on that one (a no-brainer), but, nope. “REAL DARREN” is definitely back with his heels dug even deeper.

          I’m giving a valid example of how human interaction works –something some people in this group seem to have a hard time grasping.

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          1. Teddi: No, I’m not creating a straw man, and my example is totally ON POINT.

            Really? Then why were you talking about people believing things about your character when you are accused by someone else of a crime, while Sara was talking about people believing your own claims about physically being raised from the dead?

            Do you honestly think that people should just be gullible and believe you if you start saying you sprouted wings and started flying? And do you honestly think that is anywhere in the same ballpark as someone else accusing you of stealing something?

            Like

      2. This has become the all too common Teddi playbook: ignore the substantive rebuttal, traffic in strawmen and move to reading people’s minds and empty boasting.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Teddi certainly has all the characteristics of an argument prostitute, er I mean lawyer.

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          1. Drew has all the characteristics of an “argument prostitute,” er, lawyer, wannabe. Too bad you’re not good enough to get paid for it, like I am.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH dang, you got em there Teddi- I had a good laugh at your zinger against Vile Lile there 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              1. 😆😆😆He asked for it.😆😆😆

                Liked by 1 person

        2. Hi, Bryan,

          I didn’t ignore your rebuttal –I replied to it. I found it to be way off point, and it was the furthest thing from having substance given what the issue was. The issue is about human emotions and how typical people feel in their friendships/relationships with others. Why am I not surprised that you or Darren didn’t want to respond to my hypothetical? Because you both know that I’m right –you just can’t bring yourselves to admit it (or y’all are clueless as to how typical human feelings and relationships work.) I’m guessing it’s the former.

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          1. LOL, Teddi, more boasting and missing the point. The example you gave was in response to why believing without evidence is blessed. I showed exactly why the example was invalid. You changed the subject to human emotions as a dodge.

            Try to follow the plot.

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            1. Hi, Bryan,

              I’m following the plot just fine, thank you. I think you are missing the actual point.

              You are trying to expand the notion of believing without evidence to things BEYOND a personal relationship. But, the example with Jesus and Thomas IS a PERSONAL relationship.

              Moreover, if you believed in God, you would know that that, too, is a PERSONAL relationship. Your cold, formulaic response is lacking an understanding of the nuance of what is involved between Jesus and Thomas (and, in a more general sense, humans with God.)

              Furthermore, my hypothetical (which you STILL have not answered) deals with a PERSONAL relationship.

              Everything is all comparing apples to apples.

              So, are you going to give a truthful answer and admit that you would prefer [in the hypothetical situation that I set up] that people (especially people close to you) take you at your word about not having stolen the gifts without needing evidence of your innocence?

              The point is WHY would Jesus tell Thomas that and how

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              1. I’m not sure what that final partial sentence is doing there. Please ignore it.

                Like

              2. Thanks for responding. But it’s clear you didn’t understand my objection, Which is why you contend that I didn’t answer your hypothetical when I most certainly did.

                The personal relationship is a red herring. It’s meaningless to the topic. We’re talking about epistemology.

                If someone I held dear was accused of stealing presents or anything else for that matter, I wouldn’t believe it BECAUSE no evidence had yet been proffered. An accusation isn’t evidence. It costs nothing to make one. I could accuse you of a heinous crime right now with just strokes on my keyboard and it wouldn’t have to be based in any truth whatsoever.

                Now, given what I know and feel about the person I may be inclined to not want to believe it. Or think it’s not possible or probable. But I wouldn’t be BELIEVING they didn’t do it, I would be withholding assent to the accusation’s truth pending the evidence.

                Now, if you provide good evidence the accusation is true, I am going to become convinced of it, regardless of my personal relationship. If I witness a close friend shoot someone in broad daylight, I may not like it, but I’m going to believe it.

                So, no, believing without evidence isn’t blessed. It’s dumb. It makes you prone to believing all kinds of BS. If one cares to form proper beliefs in true propositions, one should apportion their belief to the evidence. And withhold judgement until the evidence bears out.

                You’re a lawyer so you should know all this. A trial doesn’t end with the accusation, it begins with one.

                So, you are serving as another test case of why religious belief clouds otherwise well-working minds.

                BTW, we’re going to have some fun when we get on mic together. 🙂 Pascal’s wager is just a crumpled scratch ticket on the convenience store floor of failed apologetics.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Quite. You implicitly extend your trust to someone because of prior knowledge of them. You’re not making the assessment in the dark. You’re not being wise or noble by just believing them. You’re being reasonable because of knowledge. That’s the example being used here.

                  If you don’t know the person and you believe anything about them, you’re gullible.

                  If you know some things that seem contradictory about the person, even down right evil, you may want to suspend your trust of them. To trust and believe in them despite what you know, is blind faith. Or possibly stupidity.

                  Liked by 1 person

                2. Hi, Bryan,

                  Yes, indeed, it’s going to be great fun talking with you in real time! (I wonder if David will privilege you with a nickname.)

                  That “crumpled up scratch ticket” might just find its way into the incinerator. Just sayin.’

                  You say it’s about epistemology. I think that’s where we’re not on the same page. Epistemology is about the theory of knowledge and parsing out justified belief vs. opinion. I’m talking about personal relationships which involve emotion, trust, faith. When I responded to Sarah about “why it is more blessed to believe without having evidence” this was in the context of what she had posted –the situation with Jesus and Thomas. This is a personal relationship which is about FEELINGS.

                  There is no question that typical people prefer people to take them at their word and have faith in them than to require evidence.

                  I’m not saying that this standard should be applicable to things outside of relationships. And, it goes without say that with certain types of relationships, where trust, faith, etc. doesn’t exist or is questionable, evidence is needed.

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                  1. So, let’s see if we can pull this into shared agreement.

                    You disagree with those who interpret the Doubting Thomas story as being about epistemology. You agree with me that believing without evidence is a bad strategy.

                    You, therefore, fault Thomas for betraying his relationships (the disciples, Jesus) by not believing without evidence.

                    Had Thomas been told this story by non-friends about a non-friend, you would have agreed that he was rational and justified in his position to withhold believe until the evidence was marshalled.

                    Appreciate the back and forth!

                    Like

      3. I responded to this already but you might have missed it due to the crappy commenting system here: You talk about normal human relationships and emotions. I mentioned that I have a criminal element in my family. There are some family and friends that you simply don’t take at their word, especially when the police come to arrest them. You might bail them out. But it is not because you believe them. It is because you love them.

        I provided what I think is a good literary reason for Jesus saying what he did. If you did not get that post, I will repost it so that you can respond to it if you like. There is of course no requirement to respond. But you have gone on with your example as if it hasn’t been thoroughly refuted.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. I see people welcoming a “Titus” but I see no posts by “Titus.”

    What have I missed? Who is Titus?

    Thanks.

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    1. Titus was the Christian on this week’s show.

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      1. Thanks Dale! I’ll have to give it a listen.

        Welcome Titus! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. If it’s the Roman Emperor or early Christian leader with a Bible book named after him, I’d be pretty impressed!

      Liked by 2 people

  13. David,

    “The whole point of evangelism is to get people to sign up to your way of thinking, to gain more followers, expand your brotherhood, and increase the size of your network. It requires a certain amount of buy-in. And the evangelist is the one who sells it.”

    Yes, it’s obvious to anyone outside the brainwashing bubble. it’s designed by and exported to the credulous.

    And the scattershot approach you mention is apt – it’s sort of the equivalent of the Nigerian email with the promise of money sent out to millions of people. Christian apologists and evangelists will always be able to point to some level of success, just as the Nigerian scam letter writers do, and psychics, astrologers etc. There is always enough supply of the credulous to meet some level of quota.

    “Unfortunately, like most people who attempt sales, Christians are not particularly good at it.”

    Achingly true particularly in the face of critical thinking rather than credulous motivated thinking.

    Dale and Teddi’s blitzkrieg on The Shroud has only served to make many listeners never want to hear a d*amned thing about it again in their lives. Basically the opposite result of their efforts. Hardly effective evangelizing/arguing.

    But that doesn’t really matter, they have the in-built ways to dismiss the failure (close-minded skeptics/not “real-seekers,” blinded by sin, etc), and count the rare hits in snaring the credulous here and there.

    And thus is the way of religion, and on it goes….

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Vaal, not really many people were interested in and wanted more Shroud stuff. Even after I finished doing my Shroud series at David’s and the other skeptics request, the listnership to my Shroud shows only grew. I had demands to do Shroud Wars debates, I had requests to bring on more experts, it wasn’t even me pushing it anymore as I wanted to focus on other things after my series on it. I don’t like to dwell on any single topic, once I’ve said my piece than I like to move on to another topic for variety sake.

      You heard David, people are still demanding more Shroud with Teddi for example. So try to remember not everyone is like you and hates the Shroud, they seem to want more of it apparently. On my end, I’m focusing on other things, but I do intend to finish off my Shroud series on my own site eventually. That said, I understand your position on it given your hatred of the fact Christians have some good scientific evidence that makes skeptics like you seem silly for rejecting it, I get why that owuld be annoying and you would want it to stop 🙂

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      1. I don’t believe Vaal is wrong about his point that Christians are not making headway with regard to converting people with the shroud. That is separate from whether or not there is a large audience for shroud nonsense. As I have told you many times, I could dramatically increase the numbers by turning this into a shroud site. There are plenty of those already. But I have no desire to do so. I don’t care about numbers that much. And I don’t even want the kind of audience that cares about the shroud.

        Any kook theology topic will do the job whether it be eschatology, prophecy, or other relics. Hell! Even making this site about miracle healing would force me to have to hire staff to keep up. Step outside of religion and just see what I could do if I made this board entirely about ghosts. Nut-jobs abound. But that does not mean they are successfully recruiting. It just means that they are more engaged, almost desperately so. Again, I’m not interested in those topics or those audiences.

        I am giving Teddi some space for her shroud lunacy because she is the last Christian standing around here. And she happens to be a shroud-first Christian. I have to work with what I’ve got. Titus is charismatic. So you can imagine the nut jobery he will want to get up to. I can’t wait. :). All Christians are welcome here, even the ultraconservative ones. I will talk to almost anyone on mic, once.

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        1. David,

          Vaal’s point was the following- “Dale and Teddi’s blitzkrieg on The Shroud has only served to make many listeners never want to hear a danged thing about it again in their lives”. That isn’t true according to you people were demanding another Shroud Wars debate and hence why you wanted to set up another debate between Teddi and Darren.

          Its not about conversion at all as talking about the Resurrection or God’s existence or anything would have the same effect on skeptics like Vaal. Look at the sheer variety of topix I put on offer during my time on S&S, at least when I had control of the topic and wasn’t bound to talking about the specialization of a guest’s interests, its not like Vaal was converted when I spoke about Jericho or talking about the Trinity or talking about the historicity of Acts. In fact Vaal’s comments about any and all Christians even the world’s experts on Unbelievable shows exposes his sheer skeptical bias and closed-mindedness. His bias caused him to misrepresent me all the time as I did one series on the Shroud and didn’t even finish it- that was all I ever said about it but the topic exploded due to skeptics wanting to talk about it on the Boards, even having calls by Tyler to have me go on the Unbelievable show to speak on it which I wasn’t ready for back then. Demands from the audience for debates with Alan or to bring on experts went beyond what I had planned originally but I did it for the audience’s sake.

          Anyways, I don’t like the way you speak here, it goes against your stated goal of treating Christians better on here, it seems you are just using Teddi and going to cast her off the minute she is not longer needed- I thought you wanted us all to be a community participating in this show together; and what happened to you not wanting to treat us as irrational or unreasonable, now all of sudden to defend Vaal’s insults against me and Teddi you call us “kooks” and say that we advance “lunacy”. Further, Titus is a charismatic “nut-job”. Yet you want to be upset when a Christian calls someone a “lay skeptic” or “irrational”. Further, you have no issue with that vile Drew Lile, I’ll have to xall him “Vile Lile” as he of is own accord refers to me and Teddi very insultingly and even said in one of his posts that we should have our “mouths shut”. Its your Boards, but I know had I said to Darren, you would have freaked out saying how that is counter to what you want on the Boards and everyone has the right to share their opinion and have a voice, it would have been nice to have you address Drew Lile and knock him down a peg or two to remind him of your stated goals with these Boards.

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          1. Not sure why you are upset. But I wasn’t saying anything negative against you. This hair-trigger temper mood swing you have can be tiresome. Everyone I talk to on the mic knows exactly why I talk to them. I have more shows planned with Teddi and you don’t need to insert your baggage into the mix. So let’s go back to conversing about the issue, whatever that was. This is not an occasion for your personal drama. But you are more than welcome to critique issues and share useful insights. Thanks.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. David,

              I’m not upset, I’m just pointing out something that I think you need to be aware of. If you say that you don’t want to see your interlocutors as unreasonable, but then you call us “kooks”, believers in nonsense, or nut-jobs than I submit that is a contradiction in terms- please tell me you are not blind to this obvious point. So, my simply pointing this out to you is not a temper tantrum but just trying to highlight something you could do better on given your stated goals on here.

              The substantive point was that Vaal said my bringing up the Shroud made people not want to hear more about it, but in point of fact the opposite is the case. Vaal merely spouts his own personal opinions and pretends that he represents everyone else that was the substantive point of this thread in particular. You seem to do the same, you feel you are the arbiter of what is “kooky” or not, in a community of diverse opinions that isn’t up to you to decide what deserves to be taken seriously and what doesn’t. You are the host, so that means you get to select what topics you want to do or not, but you can’t pretend to see us as reasonable people with reasonable opinions but also say we are nut-jobs, etc.

              If you wish to move on to substantive points only, I’m on board with that, but I suggest in private you just go back and read what you said in your reply and see if you can’t see the issues I was raising at all. Try and pretend a Christian said what you did to a skeptic like Darren and instead of “nut-job” or “kook” they called them a “lay skeptic”- ask yourself wouldn’t that put you off and if so, then I suggest there is no difference between calling someone a lay skeptic vs. a nut-job.

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              1. On the subject of insults, I have always used the term “kook theology” to refer to a certain type of issue. I also refer to a certain category of believers as kooks in the same way I might refer to cultists. But I try to never refer to an individual as such. Can’t say I have never done so. But I see a difference there that I try to maintain. Individuals deserve respect, not groups, affiliations, or topics.

                As much as I enjoy talking to Teddi, I believe she has a kooky theology. Did I just insult Teddi? She believes I have a hard heart. Did she insult me? There is some nuance that can be challenging to sort. Most of us do pretty well with understanding the difference when others are writing about these things on the internet. I do not believe that is your strong suit. No insult intended.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. I guess I don’t understand as, believe it or not, I do see what you said as slightly worse than my terms (but not overly so). By saying someone or someone’s beliefs are “nut jobs” or “kooky” than I do think that reflects on what you think of the person who holds those belief.

                  I was the one who said it is OK to say when you feel someone is ignorant or unreasonable or irrational and I suppose the same can be said for “kook” or “nut-job” though the latter does seem a little more mean-spirited as it seems to be belittling or condescending in its usage (similar to when I referred to people as lay skeptics).

                  I guess maybe if whenever people used these terms, just give a head nod that we are not meaning it as an insult or something, but just describing how the ideas come across or something. I would like to see people be sincerely interested in engaging on a topic (or if not interested in researching it, then don’t pretend like you have a basis to say those who are so interested are stupid or whatever term it is). I get the feeling that I’m being insulted or mocked or made fun of in Drew Lile or Vaal or even your last reply.

                  Imagine how it would feel if after all of the topics and insights you’ve offered on a variety of topics on S&S (whether I agree with them or not) that all the Christians got out of everything you said on S&S was that you are a Mythicist whacko or nut-job or something. I’ve presented a lot more than just the Shroud on here and even on the Shroud most skeptics just picked one or two things they disliked or disagreed with so they could dismiss all the rest of the stuff I said as a whole (I can give specifics if you need but I’m guessing you don’t care about them so I just mention it to make the relevant point here). I bet if I asked the skeptics like Vaal or Drew what were all the points I made on the Shroud during my series or shows, he wouldn’t be able to name but a few of them that he feels makes me ridiculous or some things that some Shroud guests said that he is afraid to deny but don’t provide any challenge to his worldview like their being blood on it. It might be an interesting thing to test (not publicly but just for your own self), if you are one of the skeptics who dismisses my Shroud research as just a bunch of nonsense, than surely you seriously considered my main argument in coming to this conclusion, and as such surely Vaal or you or Darren or Drew or anyone else claiming to have listened to my arguments in the series would know that my main case is based on the “Minimal Relevant Features” of the Shroud images- so what are those? There are no “if’s” here, these are solid facts so how many of the 7 “MRF’s” I presented do you know about the Shroud images? If you only know? If you can’t name them or at least name a majority of them without going back to look, than you can understand why I say such skeptics are not behaving rationally in cutting my research up without knowing the very foundation of my case from the Shroud. If all you know is I don’t think the dating matters, I reject the Carbon 14 dating, I believe in Bob Rucker’s Neutron Radiation hypothesis and Barrie Schwortz said he doesn’t believe the Shroud is supernatural yet, then that is not a sufficient foundation for denying my Shroud argument.

                  Anyways, getting side tracked here, point is yeah it doesn’t sit well when you say Teddi believes in “kook theology”, its something that for us who believe in the Shroud that you are saying we must be kooks because we hold to it and that does comes across as annoying when you’ve presented a reasonable case and no one has been able to address the main substantive points but yet feel free to pronounce that they know enough to say we are “kooks”. I guess the Mythicism thing might be a good contrast for you to get where I’m coming from on this- most people at large see this view as being “kooky” and let’s say rather than assessing your substantive points, I pick out one or two stupid things you said (stupid in my view) and then ignore the rest of what you said (including the most important things) and just say that well since most people laugh at Mythicists therefore I can pronounce that David believes in “kook theology”. Now, if you ask me for my opinion and I respectfully say yes I do think its kooky or “unreasonable” is the way I would describe it, than if done respectfully and not mockingly and I had actually taken the time to have an informed opinion on your arguments first, then yeah that is OK. But most skeptics when critiquing my Shroud argument, mock rather than respectfully give their opinion on it and further they display no indication that they have an informed opinion that is relevant to my main argument (as per my test above, I bet you, Sarah, Vaal and Darren would all fail this test of telling me what the majority of the “MRF” are that I use to form the backbone of my entire argument from the Shroud yet you all feel qualified to tell me I’m an advocate of “kookery” or “nonsense”.

                  Hope that makes some sense 🙂

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                  1. Out of interest Dale, how to do you view people who believe in Sasquatch?

                    Have you looked into it? Are you a real Bigfoot seeker? 😉

                    It strikes me there are similarities with Shroudies, albeit the implications are less important if it were proven true.

                    There are articles in reputable mags like this https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/10/forensic-expert-says-bigfoot-is-real/

                    Which say things such as below by reputable professors …
                    “Given the scientific evidence that I have examined, I’m convinced there’s a creature out there that is yet to be identified,” said Jeff Meldrum, a professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University in Pocatello.

                    No one agrees with the data. Hair samples are from a unique primate (RightToReason podcast, covered it) – it’s sasquatch! A quick google shows it’s elk. It’s not sasquatch. There are photos where they look at body ratios that prove it’s not human (LOL,remember the long shroud arms!!) And round you go. You could lose days in a mire of info from kooky believers.

                    Do you have a preconceived idea about it already? I guess I do. I would probably say, most people think it’s a legend and until it’s the widespread, main consensus view, I’ll pass on researching it. That doesn’t make me “closed to new evidence”, just there’s limited time and resources, I can’t be bothered. People take short cuts. Just because some Bigfooterer released a podcast with tons of their info, I probably don’t care. They could be wrong. Biased, nuts.

                    Yet a group of people are ardent bigfoot believers, If only you saw the evidence, they say…..

                    PS: LOL Knowing you Dale, I’m sure you have spent 4 years researching Sasquatch and know all about it, so my analogy will flop!! 🙂 😉 But maybe you’ll get the point.

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                    1. Sarah,

                      I get your point and believe it or not, I have looked into Bigfoot a little bit in the context of comparing them to Resurrection appearances as one of my Atheist scholarly contacts mentioned them as being apt comparables when 2 or more people see/hear them at the same time.

                      So yes, I don’t believe they are real as the I find it an ad hoc hypothesis that lacks explanatory power (they say they are able to sense and effect electronic equipment for example), but I don’t see all Bigfooters as being totally “unreasonable” (my legal definition) on the issue, though I do think they are unwarranted.

                      If a Bigfoot person came on here, I wouldn’t mock them or say they loons or “kooks”; I would just ask for the evidence they use and assess in light of epistemic principles. In fact I remember also being interested in Les Stroud’s shows on Bigfoot as he is someone I find has integrity and doesn’t lie to just get ratings (he was mentioned in that same R2R show you mentioned) and was on the Joe Rogan show. But I’m not a huge real seeker when it comes to Bigfoot as obviously whether it exists or doesn’t makes little to no difference to me, but I xan say that I definitely wouldn’t rely on just saying while most people think you guys are nut jobs so I’m allowed to just assert and assume that is the (my legal definition) case.

                      The point is if you have reason to care about it and/or address and make judgements about it, then you had best be a real seeker on the issue and understand what their arguments are. You will never hear me speak out about the Lochness Monster or Bigfoot and say everyone who believes in them is a nut job just because I don’t believe they are real personally, I simply have not done the leg work to have a fully informed opinion on the matter and I don’t know all the main substantive arguments in that respect. When it comes to the Shroud, you are like me with Bigfoot, you don’t know the substantive arguments or relevant issues, but you feel free to make judgements that I’m nuts seemingly just because many people think this is the case. If you used my disbelief in Bigfoot as a reason for you not to believe, I would say that is foolish as I’m simply not well studied in it and when I did look into the matter it was in the context of something entirely different- I was only interested in a small subset of evidence related to Rez appearances; that is not good enough to matter if seriously considering whether Bigfoot or Big foots/Bigfeets (what is the plural of them) exists.

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                    2. One serious bit and one aside. Which would you like to hear first? Okay, the serious comment it is:

                      Is there anything you consider ridiculous? Is there any group or idea you consider pure nutjobbery? I think that is a part of the problem. You take everything seriously. I am a polemicist. I offer ridicule as a service. I talked about this when I was a guest on Matt’s show. We are a society that is losing the ability to differentiate between the serious and the ridiculous. Ridicule has a place in society. We ridicule the ridiculous so that it cannot take hold and choke out real things worth considering. If you don’t recognize any religious ideas as ridiculous, I think that is part of the problem.

                      Now for the issue that is really on my mind: I am uncomfortable with your usage of the word, “bigfooter.” Were this to be naturally shortened to “footer,” it could be confused with an aspect of the written document. That is no good. Also, a footer appears at the bottom, the end, almost an afterthought. I don’t believe this is the most respectful way to refer to those bat shit crazy freaks.

                      I prefer bigfootist. An “ist” is the follower of something, or a disciple, or a fan, constituent, or promoter. These bigfoot nutjobs deserve our respect. So let’s go for bigfootists rather than bigfooters.

                      Just to avoid the inevitable confusion, it is Treker and not Trekie. But I am lobbying for Trekist for consistency sake. And yes, I am a Trekist. Don’t mistake me for one of those bone-headed Warsers. Hope that helps. Probably doesn’t. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. believe it or not, I have looked into Bigfoot a little bit in the context of comparing them to Resurrection appearances

                      I wish I could say I believe not, but alas, I do believe you’ve studied it. Oh Dale, you really are a card.😉

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. I believe Dale is an afootist. But he might actually be an antifootist. He can clarify that if he chooses.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    5. P.S. Sarah there is a major difference on Bigfoot vs. the Shroud, the latter actually matters in that it potentially speaks to the truth of a religion whereby one might achieve their ultimate desirable purpose in creation. Belief or disbelief in Bigfoot simply does not have the same level of significant implications for my life- at most it would just make me go “Oh, I guess there is another primate species we discovered”.

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                    6. David,

                      There was no reply button, so I have to respond to you through Sarah here.

                      LOL on the Footist vs Footer or Trekist vs. Trekkie, OK happy to go with whatever term floats your boat.

                      On the serious note, well yes I do find some beliefs of people to be “irrational” or “unreasonable” as I’ve mentioned some that I think skeptics have and I think every group of people have some members of such beliefs- as to religious beliefs being “ridiculous” meaning “deserving or inviting derision or mockery”, no I don’t think the Polemicist approach is a good one to take in general, I’ve seen the negative implications where it prevents taking ideas seriously and instead an automatic dismissal of ideas.

                      I think there is a place for jokes and stuff, but not in the place of having a serious convo or give serious consideration about the truth of one’s beliefs. I’ve engaged in the polemical side myself as has Teddi, what do you think the “lay skeptic” thing was all about, when I felt a skeptic’s objections to my view was irrational or unwarranted or lacked serious consideration, then I’ve usually exposed the ridiculousness of their views on that front by saying polemical things to expose this (though whenever I do this, you guys seem to react very negatively against it, but not when you guys do it which is confusing at times as it seems like a double standard).

                      So perhaps that is the real problem with your approach, when it seems like that is all the skeptics have on offer and never seriously consider the substantive points, than it just gets in the way and ends in both sides talking past each other with clever and witty polemical little barbs but very little substantive dialogue. So if there is a way to do both/and then that would be more helpful.

                      As an example- Vaal, I can cut him up on the Shroud as he hasn’t showed me any sign of properly considering and understanding my case and instead just makes polemical jabs at me. However, I can also site another example of Vaal’s use of polemic that I found to be much less offensive and I even appreciated as being a thoughtful counter.

                      In countering my “Molinistic Defeater”, Vaal invented what he called a “Vaalistic Defeater” as a sort of argument via parody against my original argument. Now, in one sense, he was mocking me and saying that my Molinistic defeater is ridiculous in his view, but I appreciated the critique regardless as it was obvious that it took a good deal of understanding and consideration of my actual substantive argument in order to be able to construct a relevant parody in the way he did- he took the time to seriously consider my view and tried to come up with a way that to argue against it on a serious and substantive level despite utilizing a counter that mocked my views as being ridiculous in his eyes.

                      By contrast when someone like Darren just gives a lazy “that’s dumb or kooky” or “you haven’t demonstrated this to be true when I just have” or says “but my selected experts disagree with you” as rebuttals and show no level of a serious attempt to understand or consider the main argument on offer than the polemicism approach just comes off as unhelpful and disrespectful and breeds within me resentfulness so that I end up returning the favour to anything they say and thus we get the polemical convos we’ve had on here where we just keep saying the other side is “biased” or “kooks” or a “lay skeptic” or whatever else and it just goes no where.

                      Do you maybe see the difference in Vaal’s use of mockery in a more substantive way vs. Darren’s usage of it. The former, while I’m not a fan of mockery period, at least showed a sufficient understanding and consideration of my position otherwise the “Vaalistic Defeater” just wouldn’t have been applicable. Now, in the end I didn’t find Vaal’s argument to be comparable and thus it failed to refute the “Molinistic Defeater” but nevertheless it was obvious he put a great deal of serious thought into my argument and into making his counter be persuasive to me before he offered it and thus the mockery that was accompanied by it was at least a little less annoying to me so I could live with it a little better without feeling a need to respond in kind right away.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    7. My goodness no reply buttons on anything, this is going to be a mess. Anyways, thanks Sarah for saying I’m a card, I’ve always thought of myself as being an “Ace” so that follows. I hope that doesn’t make you a “joker” lol 😛

                      Anyways for David, yeah I’m probably a “Anti-Footer”, I lean in the direction of thinking they probably don’t exist based on the limited amount of evidence I’ve seen. But I admit I haven’t seen or researched a sufficient amount to have a high degree of confidence on that front. If I cared about the topic or was choosing to interact with a Footist and/or worse judge him and pronounce him/her to be a “nut job”, then I think I would owe it that person to look a little more into the evidence to a reasonable degree as a “real seeker”. Til then, I’m just stating my beliefs or opinions based on my limited exposure to the evidence.

                      Liked by 1 person

              2. So, my simply pointing this out to you is not a temper tantrum but just trying to highlight something you could do better on given your stated goals on here.

                Just some sincere feedback here, Dale, but it doesn’t have to be either or. I think you made some good critiques in your posts but it also came off as a rant and tantrum-like. Especially the laundry list of all the people you feel have wronged you and “need be knocked down a peg”. Wasn’t that the attitude that was the final straw on the camel?

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Hey Bryan,

                  Yea I went baxk and re-read what I posted, the part about “Vile Lile” was perhaps a bit much and did come across a little ranty as you say. I will try to phrase things better next time, that said when I use the example of others it is usually my way of demonstrating the type of thing I’m talking about but I should work on not making it sound like a whiny complaint against them.

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    2. Hi, Vaal,

      I think that you misunderstand what the goal is that Dale and I have with regard to our talking about and sharing what we know with others about the Shroud. Amongst this crowd, we’re not expecting anyone to comment or acknowledge that they’ve changed their mind.

      I have a firm understanding of how human psychology works and how admitting a change of position (especially on a board) is EXTREMELY unlikely to ever happen. That’s okay. We expect that. We’re playing the long game. We want to be sure that each of you have all of the information that you need in case you want it or need it in the future. We are, in earnest, wanting to be of service to you all.

      Life can have a way of bringing you down to your knees in an instant. What Dale and I share with you all might come in handy one day, and that is all the reward and encouragement that we need to do what we do.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Sarah and Brian,

    Couldn’t reply directly to your posts but wanted to weigh in on “real seeker”.

    My main problem with Dale’s definition is it’s question begging. The reason you should be a real seeker is because that’s what god wants. But how can I be a real seeker of god if I have to assume his existence to justify my seeking in the first place?

    I think you and Sarah hot the on the main reasons to be a seeker…it’s the best way for us mortal humans to navigate the world we’re in successfully.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Bryan,

      I get your point here, but just one point of clarification here, its not necessarily that the Christian God has to exist for it to make sense to be a “real seeker”, to me its only if it is possible that He exists and knowing His existence is even possibly relevant to our achieving our ultimate purpose that one ought to be a “real seeker”.

      So, I believe I have a duty to be a “real seeker” even if I rate there to be a 6/7 on the Atheism scale for example as there is a 1/7 chance that God does exist. Even if there were only 0.01% possibility that Christianity was true then I would be a real seeker provided its goals were desirable.

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      1. If I might interject, you are still question-begging as you assume there is an ultimate purpose to fulfill. I, for instance, do not believe in any sort of ultimate purpose. So you are yet to come up with a compelling reason to do this seeking in the first place.

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        1. David,

          Yes I think you are right there, that is where I say you must be real seeker in terms of the possibility of their being an ultimate purpose and that it is worthy of achieving- perhaps deciding that some claims for purposes are worthy should come first of course, but then after that, figuring out if there is an ultimate purpose or not is what real seeking is all about in the religious assessment way, so that latter part is not a presumption or preliminary step in the same adjudicating if the stated goals/purposes are even worth figuring if real or not is.

          Once I figure out that its possible and/or probable that the purposes of Christianity, Islam, General Theism and Hinduism (for example) are the goals worthy of pursuit, if true, then the next step is figuring out if any one of them are true (entailing there is an ultimate purpose as outlined by the religion).

          So yes, I agree that there needs to be a compelling reason to do the seeking in the first place, I’ve always said that. But so long as its possible that it is worth pursuing and its possible that an ultimate purpose is the right one than you ought to real seek.

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          1. The piece I see missing in this analysis is what responsibility does the deity have in this project? How am I to discern the difference between a deity that doesn’t exist and one that wants me to do all the heavy lifting in seeking? I could waste an entire life chasing down just one deity that doesn’t ultimately exist to the detriment of all other paths of seeking or not seeking at all and just living a good life.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Hey Bryan,

              Yes, I just mentioned the bit about the human’s responsibility to keep things simple and that seemed to be what people were objecting to. That said, as you know I do say God has a responsibility to reveal the truth and/or His endorsement to any and all real seekers “before the point of no return”. So if one is really seeking various religions that he/she deems worthy of pursuit, than its on God to ensure that person finds what they need before its too late.

              Now, if it turns out that God doesn’t exist and none of the religions are true, than yes it is possible that one will waste all their time real seeking and end up getting no where, but so what? I think the potential benefit alone is enough to warrant our seeking even if it turns out to be a bust, plus its not an either/or deal- Real Seeking does not entail that one can’t live a good and fulfilling life as well, the standards are not unreasonable in saying one needs to spend as much time and effort as I did and I myself took time outs to travel, watch movies, rest, hang out with friends, so the job of seeking is not at the expense of living a good life.

              But on the opposite end, if its possibly true and don’t spend anytime real seeking and just sit like a bum on the beach all day, I suggest that is foolish of you to privilege 80 years of beach sitting at the cost of potentially fulfilling your ultimate desirable purpose in creation.

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              1. Hi, Dale,

                I think I disagree with you on the idea that God has a responsibility to do anything for us. To me, “responsibilities“ are put on us by someone above us. Since there is no one above God, God has no duties or responsibilities.

                To fail in fulfilling one’s “duties“ or “responsibilities” is to open one up to criticism/judgment.

                I think this is why so many Christians have left the church. They don’t realize their/our place in the food chain. It’s like having megalomania, where they think they can stand in judgment of God.

                Well, technically they CAN judge God —because God gives us this power to see what we will do with it. But, very sadly, it won’t end well for them unless they have a change of heart.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Hey Teddi,

                  I think you are right that God doesn’t have duties or responsibilities in the same way we do as creatures. But God is bound by His essential nature and on that basis I do think there are some kinds of “expectations” we as humans can have about God’s actions. For example, I can say that God can’t lie or fail to fulfill His promises for example.

                  I as a human have the right to hold God to that expectation for example and act in accordance with it. In the same way, I think we as humans can “expect” that God, as a Maximal Great Being not willing that any should perish, will reveal the truth to any and all real seekers before the point of no return and that is what I’m trying to say, not that we as humans are placing demands on God out of arrogance or some misplaced sense of entitlement.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Hi, Dale,

                    I get that you are coming at it from an angle of respect, but, for me, we only have a “right” to something if God gives us that right. I still don’t think and feel that we as God’s creation have a “right” to have “expectations” of Him. To me, having an “expectation” of someone means you can try and hold their feet to the fire. We can’t do that with God.

                    I think the way that I would characterize it is that I have hope and trust that all that God promises will be true.

                    I think the best and wisest way to approach God is with one’s head bowed way down with the greatest of humility. I’m not saying at all that you’re approaching God with arrogance, it’s just that I take the humility down, perhaps, to a greater level than you do.

                    I’m not sure if one of us is incorrect here or not, but this is just how I, personally, think and feel.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. Hey Teddi,

                      Well put it this way, I would say that it is logically impossible for God not to fulfill His promises or to tell a lie for example- there are no “feasible” worlds where that can happen. It is important to note that these are not extrinsic limitations or constraints on God but intrinsic ones namely God must act in accordance with His essentially perfect nature. God cannot stop being God and as such we have the right to have some “expectations” as humans based on revealed knowledge given to us from God about His essential nature and its not based on a sort of external limit that we impose on God like we have the “right” to this or that. God must reveal Himself to all real seekers because He essentially loves us and wants to save us.

                      So I think it may be you here that is wrong as you don’t want God to be limited in anyway but I see that God can have internal constraints and not external ones (only the latter is problematic as it denies God’s Sovereignty over all of creation). I don’t think God can make 1+1=3 for example and you do- now if you don’t have a clever trick in mind when you say this but are saying in an ordinary sense then you are in error. Just as I would say you are in error to say there is a such thing as a three-sided square on the Shroud Man’s forehead- that isn’t a square by definition as it only has three sides and squares have 4, so when you say that is a three-sided square you aren’t being precise but calling something what it is not in that instance in a loose inaccurate way so one can picture what the three lines look like (i.e. picture a square but without the top horizontal side- by definition that isn’t a square technically speaking).

                      So, I think that is where our difference stems from as I view the laws of logic as necessary and supreme as part of God’s essential nature that cannot be false.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Hi, Dale,

                      Perhaps if we were to change the word “expectation” to “understanding” –our “understanding” that God will do “x.” For me, that functionally means the same thing without, potentially, having the appearance of us trying to hold God accountable for anything. One has to hold power over someone, if you ask me, in order to hold them accountable.

                      The other thing is that there is always the strong possibility that God’s definitions might not be in total sync with ours. Then, there is the additional issue of whether certain descriptions of God are generalities or hyperbole, and what happens when certain characteristics conflict a bit with one another. For example, Justice can conflict with Mercy/Grace and Goodness. I think that too much of God deciding how to exercise His judgment comes into play in how He will decide to do things.

                      Liked by 1 person

            2. Hi, Bryan,

              There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. In the same way that you don’t have to do heaving seeking on every historical figure or event, and in politics you don’t get to have face-to-face cross-examinations of everyone to ferret out the truth, we have to find experts in the field, try and figure out who we trust and then fine tune things if need be with some extra research.

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              1. Hey Teddi,

                I’m replying to your last post to me with no reply button there on understanding vs. expectation. I think I agree with your sentiments and to some extent its just semantics as I don’t see the negative connotations that you seem to associate with the word “expectation”.

                Perhaps a good way to think of it is that God is “faithful” and worthy of our placing our faith (meaning trust) in God given our understanding of Him that we know He can’t lie or that we know He will fulfill His promises. Phrased that way, it may be a little more acceptable to you 🙂

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Hi, Dale,

                  Well, apparently people are not, somehow, manipulating there not being a “reply” button under their posts —since I know that I just posted as usual. Huh, that’s strange why a reply button sometimes doesn’t pop up. It’s been happening more and more lately.

                  Yes, i think it is a semantics issue, but one that has connotations. I like the tweaked version you just mentioned.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Hey Look at that Teddi, two Christians with an apparent discrepancy in opinion, who seriously considered each other’s position and realized that they actually agreed with each other- maybe the skeptical argument from disunity is too quick as a “Go-to” tactic when two Christians disagree on a surface level- I guess harmonizations of different yet mutually consistent perspectives is valid after all 🙂

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                    1. That is not what I saw in the conversation. Even now, you would say that god is obligated to be truthful and not lie. He would be doing something wrong if he lied. You can hold him accountable for that. Teddi would say that even if god chose to lie for his own purposes, he has not done anything wrong for which you can hold him accountable. That doesn’t sound like harmonization to me. It just seems like you are desperately trying to avoid the appearance of disunity on a key issue. Perhaps others see it differently.

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  15. There is theology that even Christians like you would call kook theology. So where to draw the line? To most of the world, including Christians, the shroud is way out there. Did you ever listen to Art Bell? He was the leader of the kook pack. And most of those were atheist kooks. I have always been fair-handed in saying that there are as many nutty atheists as Christians. Don’t think your side holds the patent on kooky ideas. I don’t hold ideas sacred no matter which side they come from.

    Nut jobs may be a little harder to defend. 🙂 I used that word, or one similar to it in the title of my latest BSC Weekly. It’s in the name. This stuff is bat shit crazy to me. So I am actually using quite a bit of restraint by calling it nutjobbery. The examples I used were people yelling out crazy and offensive things to my wife and I in the service of their religion as we passed. Their religion is bat shit crazy, and so are they. I have no problem saying that. And I’m not in the least bit sorry. But many Christians would join me in expressing that sentiment.

    The other thing I talked about was a bus driver who called me to the front of the bus to prophesy my future. Just listen to the show. I was right to call them nut jobs. I’m not wrong. I’m not sorry. And I’m definitely going to do it again. 🙂

    Now I tend not to place the average Christian in that category. You just happen to be the proponent of a couple of things in my kook theology bucket. But I believe I am remembering accurately when I say that I have never dismissed arguments from you or Teddi simply because you believe in the shroud. So I can’t imagine what you are on about with that.

    While I am an unwilling mythicist, I never argue as such. I always argue as if Jesus were a real person more or less as portrayed in the bible except for the magic. So you would be out of line to cite mythicism as a reason to dismiss my substantive points on another issue. And again, that is not something that I do to you or anyone else.

    One of my favorite people to talk to is Natalie Collins. She believes that god talks to her and tells her specifics about choices she needs to make. That qualifies as nutjobbery. But I fully endorse her with regard to women’s equality. So again, I am not sure what you are on about. Perhaps your posts are landing with someone else. But I haven’t the foggiest.

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    1. David,

      Yes just to clarify I’m speaking generally and so not everything I mentioned were faults that you had even if some of them were, but I was more speaking to you and making a public statement for others as well to benefit from.

      Anyways I noticed an interesting definitional difference here. When you use terms “nut jobery” or “kookery” you use them in reference to consensus amoung Christians or people in general and so you almost make it seem as though all you are saying is that my view on the Shroud is not the standard view amoung Christians today (I’d put forward that just saying my and Teddi’s views are not the majority Christian view may be a better way to say it).

      But here is a possible substantive challenge for you, I think that your definitional use of these terms is wrong headed. In the first place, the number of people who hold a position or not is irrelevant to whether it is true or false and/or whether it is rational or irrational/ warranted vs. unwarranted (or what have you). Secondly, consensus views change, I bet the majority of Christians living in the 1300’s thought it was a real, that wouldn’t change the nature of the Shroud evidence.

      When I hear words like “nut job” or “kook”, I take it in a proper epistemic sense, you are saying that the person holding to such a view is totally foolish or irrational or unreasonable (albeit in a more colourful way), its a statement with epistemic import whereby the position held on that matter is deemed to be silly or stupid or something to that effect- certainly the word kook just means a crazy person in the dictionary (devoid of rational thinking). For me personally, it could perhaps be that someone is a “kook” or at least a “kook” on a given topic, but I think that judgement needs to be made only after serious consideration of their substantive reasons or arguments given in favour of their position (which is what that personal test about seeing if the skeptics who deride my Shroud research actually know at least 4/7 Minimal Relevant Features I use in my main argument was all about). It can’t just be done by saying but I have a general sense that most Christians don’t buy it (the vast majority of which are just ignorant about it and hence explaining perfectly why so many don’t believe in it).

      The point is maybe I am a “kook” or “irrational” or whatever term you want to use, so be it, but I think that one should only use those terms in a loving and respectful way and only after having seriously considered the main substantive arguments presented by the person advancing the position and/or based on serious consideration of the position in general (so if you already researched it and I offered nothing new to the case, then you can judge based on your prior research just as I would do a flat-earther).

      But yeah, I wouldn’t just take a head-count of Atheists who believe in Mythicism and pronounce you to be “kooky” or a believer in “kook theology” on the basis that most don’t believe that; that would be foolish on my part, instead I would ask you to present your reasons and seriously consider them and/or for example The Daily Atheist mentioned Horus being born of a Virgin, I knew that was false from prior research and he didn’t present any new info on that front to consider so thus I was able to say he is ignorant and/or was a “kook” in making this claim since I know that the goddess Isis had sex multiple times before conceiving Horus).

      So, I think that these terms need to be based on our honest and fair assessment of one’s epistemic judgments and not just based on nose-counting. That may be where the difference in our term use may be coming from.

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  16. Part way through the show so far.

    Christian: God wouldn’t ask me to kill my son. That’s a logical impossibility.

    Atheist: *lifts up bible, points to it with puzzled expression* “You have read this whole thing, haven’t you?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Speaking for almost all the Christians I’ve talked to who have given this answer for the Abraham test, they are mostly not denying the biblical record. They are saying that there was something special about that time and those people that does not apply to us today. God would never tell “ME” to kill my kid, not that he wouldn’t have done so back then. They tend not to explain why god has changed his mode of operation. They just know he has.

      That answer still does not address the question because what they should do is put themselves in Abraham’s place and time where and when god would and did demand such a thing. The only variable is whether they would say yes or no. It is telling that they try so hard to not face that scenario. Because for them to do so would break the cognitive wall they have erected and expose their god as the monster he is.

      To be clear, there are plenty of Christians who simply don’t know that god would and did command such a thing because they just don’t read their bible. Those that read their bible devotionally tend to allegorize all uncomfortable passages so they don’t have to deal with the monstrous nature of the passages. It is very ad hoc.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yeah, we know all the rationalizations. They aren’t designed to convince any rational thinker outside their religion. Their first and most important job is to reduce the cognitive dissonance of the believer so he/she can keep “the good stuff” and find ways of downplaying the “bad stuff.” “I view the OT through the lens of Jesus.”

        As I’ve said before, it’s like listening to Ted Bundy’s old groupies telling people “All you talk about are Ted’s supposed crimes. But you don’t really know Ted like I do. Ted writes me such wonderful, loving, encouraging notes. He sends me flowers. Declares his love. Ted’s REAL nature is a caring man, and I understand Ted’s nature through how he treats ME!” Everyone who hears these rationalizations is completely cognizant of how vivid and kooky an attempt at rationalization this is. But not the “believer.” It’s the same listening to Christians try to rationalize away the problems in the OT.

        And it’s really something for Titus to talk about a God as understood through Jesus, who is a Loving Moral God who would never do anything so immoral (and hence contrary to his character) as ask someone to kill his kid.
        Meanwhile, in the next moment he’s telling us God will raise you from the dead and torture you/kill you again in a “violent way.” That this does not immediately smack the head of the believer as an insane inconsistency is one of the Eighth Wonders Of The World. If not in the context of what God would do, you asked Titus “would YOU have me tortured and killed in a violent way for not being convinced by your view?” Titus like any other morally normal person would recoil “Of course not!” Anyone recognizes that as wrong, and how we should not go torturing and killing people because they don’t share our belief. And yet, simply bring in the word “God” and the switch in the mind of the believer gets switched, his moral reasoning turns around 180 degrees and “Well, sure, of course that’s how a Perfectly Loving Moral Being would act towards you. What’s the big deal?”

        The mental compartmentalization going on listening to Christians like Titus converse with you – happy and open and forgiving of your having different views on a personal level, but calling a God “Good: who acts exactly the opposite to such moral intuitions – is a class in human psychology.

        Liked by 2 people

  17. At one point the implications of evangelizing, the sheer obscenity, is drawn out. Titus had said he presents the Good News of God’s revelation to people “as I understand it.” David asks Titus “what happens if I don’t believe you?” It turns out David will not just lose out on an eternal life of bliss, he will die, be raised from the dead to be tortured and killed again violently!

    This is, by implication, the utterly mad predicament their God has left us in. God is Perfect and Loving and desires all to be saved and all to have equal opportunity to be saved. This God could make his existence and message known unequivocally to ALL people.

    And yet what we actually have is God placing this responsibility in to the hands of fallible human Christian evangelists! And it’s just luck of the draw as to whether you meet with an evangelist at all. Or if the one you meet will be competent enough to convince you the Bible is worth taking seriously at all. When I hear Titus talk, I hear a regular, fallible human being giving logically incoherent arguments and displaying obvious human rationalizations for his own belief. And he’s no doubt one of the BETTER and more practiced evangelists out there.

    So if you have the misfortune to meet a Christian evangelist who is a bumbling fool, who presents the gospel wrong, who makes Christianity look awful or just nuts and so you couldn’t believe this person if you tried…well, too bad for you! You got the short straw. This guy’s failure to convince you means you’ve missed out on the GREATEST GIFT TO ALL HUMANITY, that of eternal life with God, and instead you’ll be tortured and destroyed.

    This is the obscenity that flows between the Christian drive to evangelize and the stakes for not believing them.

    This is the “plan” of either the Most Perfectly Incompetent Being or at the very least indicates a God who really doesn’t give a f*ck.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. One more:

    The discussion turned to hell and the torment of unbelievers and bad guys.

    Titus asks “Wouldn’t you want Hitler tortured for a long time?”

    No1 No we really wouldn’t! Civilized societies moved on from torturing people! (Or are at least trying to).
    Once we have taken away a person’s ability to do harm – e.g. put him in prison – we don’t then TORTURE the person just because he’s now helpless. This is against the law for a good reason. (And it’s why there are even questions about the ethics of things like solitary confinement even for the worst criminals).

    What possible GOOD instincts would I be fulfilling if I would WANT to see someone…ANYONE…tortured?
    If even a Hitler were strapped to a table and someone was pouring boiling oil on his stomach, poking flaming embers in to his eyes, am I a BETTER PERSON for thinking “yes…YES…GOOD….GOOD! Keep going!” ????

    Most of us recognize this is playing to our most base instincts, not our most noble, which is why we outlaw torture. But…again…put the desire to torture in God’s hands and it becomes “Good” and praiseworthy.
    And not only in the case of a Hitler…but in the case of you and me, mere non-believers! We’ll be tortured and that’s what The Most Morally Praiseworthy Being would do to someone He “loves.”

    Trying to navigate the mind of a Christian is like entering a moral House Of Mirrors. You leave the world of all the things most people agree are civil, sane and ethical, to a realm that is utterly disorienting.

    This really belies the claims of Christian love, charity and forgiveness.

    It’s often seen as the height of being forgiving, of being Christ-like, when we see instances of a Christian family forgiving, say, the murderer of their child. It’s particularly ennobling apparently when this forgiveness is given even if the murderer does not return the sentiment. This is the ultimate expression of loving one’s enemies and ability to “forgive.”

    But we see in examples like Titus and so many Christians, this isn’t really “forgiving.” This is “forgiving with fingers crossed behind the back.” It’s a forgiveness that says “I’ll forgive you and not seek revenge…but that’s because I now you WILL get yours! God isn’t so forgiving and He’s Gonna Get You In The End!” It’s just off-loading the revenge, the desire for torturing the offender, to God. Talk about a paper-thin version of “forgiveness.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Vaal, as well as the disproportionate level of punishment for finite sins which, as you point out isn’t justice but torture, there is also the inherent contradiction which they seem to miss. Christians think it’s fair enough to punish/torture someone for unbelief, wrong belief or even sin because that’s justice. They think it’s perfectly acceptable that God needs himself some justice which on the surface may appear fair especially for those who have been harmed. It’s often phrased as ‘Would you want a murderer to go unpunished?” However, if you accept the right belief at the very last minute of your life, that punishment is never going to be meeted out. The “justice” vanishes. Where is the justice for the victim?

      It creates the often quoted scenario that Hitler could be praising in heaven for eternity for having repented on his death bed and Anne Frank is burning in hell for not quite having received the right theology whilst on earth.
      So the justice isn’t served, though that’s the number one reason people give for God allowing hell to be a thing. They appeal to our sense of justice to justify it, then forget that God waves it away with the right belief.

      Now, I appreciate that’s supposed to be the good news of Jesus, but it makes more sense from the POV of we are saved by the faithfulness OF Jesus rather than the Faithfulness IN Jesus. Remember that Unbelievable episode?!! OMG! They are still debating the translation. And it’s the view that Peter (with the rainbow) on the forums and the more progressives hold. The justice bit is writing those who have been wronged, not punishing people. That was the gift. That could legitimately be called good news; every wrong righted.

      Giving an account, saying sorry, seeing the error of our ways are, possibly, reasonable things to demand of your creations. But we literally all have mitigating circumstances (namely, we’re human)!! 😉 So a fair handed is required.

      A binary decision on earth with few facts to hand and eternal punishment with no ability to rehabilitate or change your mind is just plain vile as view.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Sarah,

        Yes, exactly! I was also going to point that out. My head was shaking listening to Titus explaining to David how the atheist just has to accept this “unfair” and unust version of reality because, without hell, a Hitler wouldn’t be punished and a decent, good kid in Africa would “just die.’

        Meanwhile, much of Christian theology tells us that if Hitler merely accepted Jesus as saviour on his death bed, and the African kid who-was-good-all-her-life did not, then Hitler gets a life of eternal bliss while the good African kid dies…and then is raised to be tormented and then killed again!

        And THIS is a vision of fairness, balance, justice and moral accountability????

        Again…the head spins just trying to keep up with all the inconsistencies spewed by Christians. Oh…and the fact we are going to hell for noticing them.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Titus is a young fella, though he does have kids, so should know better. The idea he’d give his child a binary decision aged 10 that he has to live with for the rest of his life, I’m sure as a loving father he would not do. How much more would a good god give. Stones/fishes.
          My impression is most people mellow on their view of hell overtime. Life teaches them that. They start off hard core evangelical and the only way is through Jesus. Tough titty Muslims. Then they open the door wider to include more people, some other faiths. They dial down the crazy to annihilation or universalism.

          It’s not necessarily the bible informing them though, it’s their moral conscience. At least it’s their conscience that drives them to go routing around for alternative views on the matter in the bible, and let’s face it, you can pretty much make it support any one of the 30,000 different strands.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Sarah: “It’s not necessarily the bible informing them though, it’s their moral conscience. At least it’s their conscience that drives them to go routing around for alternative views on the matter in the bible, and let’s face it, you can pretty much make it support any one of the 30,000 different strands.”

            Hi Sarah,
            Having an informed conscience is an important aspect in at least some denominations. I remember reading a book years and years ago titled: “Why You Can Disagree and Remain a Faithful Catholic” (https://www.amazon.com/Why-Disagree-Remain-Faithful-Catholic/dp/0824514726 ). It went over several hot buttons in the Church – birth control, divorce, abortion, etc. – and basically made the case that the Catholic Church teaches if one has a properly formed conscience then they are obligated to follow it, even if it means going against traditional Church teachings.

            In the Vatican II document “Gadium et spes” it says (in part):
            “In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience when necessary speaks to his heart: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged. Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths. In a wonderful manner conscience reveals that law which is fulfilled by love of God and neighbor.”

            May our consciences continue to grow and develop so that we do good and avoid bad,
            Brian

            Liked by 1 person

          2. I would like to acknowledge your point about Titus being young, but we see his opinion expressed by Christians of all ages who should “know better.”

            To put some more red marker under what I was saying: The idea of torture-as-fulfilling Justice is revenge and bass desire to see harm come to someone masquerading as a virtue. The concept of torture, in the context of “justice” or anything else, is clearly one that civil societies working out their best, most reasonable and consistent ethical moves have pushed in to the barbaric past, with of course decent Christians being part of that movement like anyone else.

            What Christians do, as usual, is try to have things both ways. They want to embrace and exemplify the ethics shared among most good, civilized people with whom they share the world. That is eschew torturing people for being infidels or atheists, eschew torturing even criminals who have done awful things, embrace forgiveness.

            But they have off-loaded their baser instincts for revenge-torture to the God they have envisioned. So long as that God is fulfilling their baser instincts for revenge, they can keep putting on the good face.

            In essence, they are operating on a Jekyll and Hyde paradigm. To deal with cognitive dissonance the Christian creates a fire-wall between his Jekyll good side (the one that goes along with all the ways we think right and good to treat one another) and his Hyde bad side (the one that thwarts normal human ethics and satisfies more atavistic desires for tyranny, revenge, punishment, torture etc). The Christian presents the Jekyll face to the public and to his own conscience, while behind the wall Mr. Hyde, his God, is allowed to run amok and take care of business in a way Mr Jekyll would never do. So while kind Dr. Jekyll would NEVER say we ought to torment those who don’t hold our same religious beliefs, behind the scenes Mr. Hyde is doing just that for them.

            What is particularly chilling is when a Christian actually starts to own his baser instincts and give voice to them. For me, and I’m sure many hear including David, this arose as Titus was defending God resurrecting “bad guys” and even unbelievers in order to torment them and kill them again. That this wasn’t just God’s way, but that it was what he, Titus himself, felt was right. This is like watching the Mr. Hyde emerge from behind the veil, like watching one of those old movie monster transformations begin, the hair growing on the arms, the eyes growing bloodshot, the teeth growing sharper. It is flat out creepy seeing an otherwise decent, polite person voicing these moral ideas.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. Allow me to place another log on the fire:

              Christians don’t just use their god as the instrument to do their worst bidding. But that is definitely a part of it. They use their religion as a form of delayed gratification. They pretend that they don’t care about such things as gaining wealth and power. But look at how they describe heaven. They will walk on golden streets to their own mansion while wearing a royal robe and crown. It is everything they want, but were denied in this life.

              The same goes for revenge and violence in the face of their current impotence. They want to punch the bully in the face. But they can’t. So they pretend to not care about revenge. But it is just the delayed gratification. One day, they will all get their revenge. Their big sky daddy is going to get us for all those times we mocked them and made them feel bad. I get it. I was one of them. And I wanted the same thing. This is why they are okay with some kind of hell. It represents the built up rage they cannot express right now. They can’t wait for Hitler to get his come upins.

              They are not people with different, more refined desires. They have all the base desires that get paid off after death.

              Liked by 3 people

  19. David,

    I just wanted to say thanks for the convo on legal limitations on religious rights, I think you are right that we have reached an impasse at this point. Though, I guess I’d just want to say this as a final parting thought for you to contemplate here.

    Why does a judge wearing a cross have to convey the message that “The State officially endorses Christianity”, why can’t we just see it as a message that “The State officially allows individuals to reasonably express themselves religiously so long as it doesn’t effect their own job performance”.

    We have several Sikhs in Parliament who wear their turbans proudly, I’m perfectly able to recognize that their wearing that as a personal religious expression has no bearing nor reflection on their performance of their job in representing their non-Sikh constituents or as being the State’s official position on the truth of the religion. All it is is a message that we are not afraid of having a public sector represented by various religious adherents and so long as they perform their jobs properly and keep their personal religious expressions within reasonable limits, than we can all get along.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hate ending a conversation on a question as much as you do. So I will go ahead and answer your question as best I can.

      I am not appearing before a judge for his personal opinion, or his individual take on extraneous matters. The Judge wears a black robe, not a Patriot’s jersey. I am going to the state for the state’s unbiased judgement. I am not going to see Jo the Christian for his best judgement. Jo the Christian can wear anything he wants when he is representing Christ. But the judge is representing the blind justice of the state, not his god, not his religion.

      Furthermore, I may have some kind of psychological problem worth considering. Perhaps I was abused by Catholic nuns as a kid and his Christian speech triggers it. I should not be subjected to that.

      His cross is speech that makes a statement about his faith. It would not be appropriate for him to interrupt the proceedings to verbally speak of his faith. Nor would it be right for him to have a printed sermon posted on the wall of the courtroom. It is no less speech as a symbol around his neck. And that speech goes on constantly. He cannot do his job without speaking a sermon because he is literally wearing it. That is incompatible with his job. The fact that the speech is not verbal does not make it more appropriate.

      Again, I have no interest in a religiously sensitive or religiously ecumenical government. I am going for a secular government. There is no place for religious symbology worn by acting representatives of a secular government.

      Good convo. Let’s have more like that.

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Christians generally don’t grasp how thin the moral line is between their beliefs and those of ISIS.

    ISIS thinks it is right that unbelievers are tormented and killed for their unbelief.

    Christians, like Titus, believe the same thing.

    The only real difference is ISIS is willing to do the job themselves. Christians have off-loaded that job to God.

    In off-loading the job to God, this makes the Christian feel as if his conscience has somehow been washed of guilt or responsibility. “It’s in God’s hands, and He’ll do whatever is Just and Good.” And yet, they will still admit, as Titus did, that what God is going to do ain’t pretty. It’s going to be some form of torment. But in keeping that torment undefined, as Titus tried to do, because it’s off in some mysterious realm where God is handling it, he gets to keep his eyes averted.

    But what happens when we actually see this ethic in action? This is the lesson taught to us by ISIS.
    ISIS actually broadcast to the world via youtube images of infidels, unbelievers being tortured and killed, put in cages, tortured with fire etc.

    When we actually SEE this happening everyone’s moral instinct recoils in horror. Including Christians.
    The only difference is that whatever God is doing to unbelievers isn’t being broadcast to us in a similar manner.

    WHAT IF: Tomorrow, God started broadcasting the fate of unbelievers to humanity? Suddenly at 8 PM every television set turned on and there were lines of unbelievers in cages being tormented by fire. We all saw people we had known, often good, decent, loving family, friends, acquaintances who died, in these cages screaming in fear and pain as fire scalded their bodies. The veil has been lifted. You knew God would torment non-Christians in “some way” but left it vague as to how? Well KNOW YOU KNOW. HERE IT IS. TAKE IT ALL IN.

    What would…could…the reaction of Christians be to such a spectacle? How could it be ANYTHING but moral horror?

    If they WOULD recoil in moral horror at the images of how God was tormenting unbelievers and killing them, how could it make sense to call that God “good” and the author and ground of our morality?

    If they WOULD NOT recoil in horror, but see the torment of unbelievers in those cages as “good” and fitting and deserved…how in the WORLD are these Christians ethically any better than ISIS?

    Christians put on their own cognitive blinders so as not to deal with these implications “God is taking care of it, don’t know how, but I’m sure He’s being Just.” But they won’t actually work through the implications of hell in the details, because to start voicing details start to put them more clearly face to face with their inner monster that they are trying to ignore.

    But, sorry, non-Christians see this monster lurking around the Christian and we’ll keep pointing to it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Vaal, you simply must stop refusing the invitation to appear on my show. I am sending a crew of thugs to your home to force you to record an episode of S&S with me. I will not take NO for an answer.

      Now, I just need to find some thugs who are willing to do the job for free. Also, I’m going to need your address. Or, you can just say yes like civilized people. I’ll wait…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Let me add to the peer pressure, please do it Vaal!

        Like

      2. Hi, David,

        Regarding strong-arming Vaal, don’t forget, I’m very well connected to people in low places!🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣. As for the free part, I don’t know that they’d be down with that. Save up!😆😆😆

        Liked by 1 person

      3. David,

        Thanks again but I’m still shy about the idea for reasons I’ve expressed before.

        Not that I don’t occasionally contemplate it 🙂

        In this fantasy world where I actually show up: What show topic/format would you suggest?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Here is an offer you can’t refuse. I mean you literally can’t refuse it. To refuse it would be logically contradictory and there are no possible worlds where refusal is possible. Anyway…

          Bryan, Darren, Sarah, and I are doing a roundtable tomorrow at 1:00 EST on the subject of Granting God. That is to say, we grant that the Christian god exists. Do we become Christians? If not, why not. It is going to be great.

          Join us on the Skype line. You don’t have to prepare or contribute. Be a fly on the wall. And if the spirit moves you, hop into the conversation. Shoot me an email at skepticsandseekers@gmail.com and we can take it from there. I’m pretty sure everyone on the panel and in the audience would be glad to have you. This way, your presence is not necessary. You have to put in zero prep. and you can stay out of the conversation if you like.

          But wait! There’s more… No, wait… Actually, that’s it. 🙂 Let me know. I’ll make it happen.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hi, Vaal,

            It’s great fun to talk with these cats in real time. You’ll have a blast. A friendly “heads-up,” David has already made a down-payment with that “arm-twister”I know!🤣

            Like

    2. The analogy really brings it home. Now go on the show already!!! 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

      Like

  21. Alright well the first of my big Real Seeker Ministries show announcements is here;

    1. Dr. Paul Bali, my former university philosopher professor joins me to speak about his own area of expertise, “prophecy”- what he sees as vertically inspired communications from a higher being.

    In the show we cover;

    i) the various mediums such a communication might take form in like miracles, “God winks” and even get into Paul’s own personal experience experimenting with LSD and other psychedelic drugs during his 20’s during his own search.

    ii) How to identify these communications through his use of communication theory and intelligent design.

    iii) How to identify who the Communicator or higher power might be; is it God, aliens, a simulator, demons????

    iv) What is prophecy’s role in relation to religious belief.

    All this and more is discussed in this episode with Paul, see the blog with sources here = https://realseekerministries.wordpress.com/2020/01/21/dr-paul-bali-view-on-prophecy-communications-from-god-higher-beings/.

    Anchor Podcast Link here = https://anchor.fm/real-seeker-ministries/episodes/Dr–Paul-Bali-on-Prophecies–Communications-from-on-High-eab5ju

    On Saturday, I will be hosting Marvin Wallace vs. David Johnson discussing the Meaning of Life and there other guests in store for the following week. I will keep you guys posted as these shows are put up 🙂

    Dale- The Real Seeker.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. So you’d claimed before that your philosophy professor gave you props and validated many of your arguments.
      Now I see:

      “Dr. Paul Bali, my former university philosopher professor joins me to speak about his own area of expertise, “prophecy”- what he sees as vertically inspired communications from a higher being.”

      Well, that’s starting to explain things 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. BTW, thanks for the links Dale. I’ll check them out when I have time. Cheers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool yeah I appreciate your giving it a listen for sure, but try to be cordial in your disagreements please. Paul is an Atheist, he doesn’t believe in God but he does think there is some kind of higher being or power that is intelligent and communicated to various people in history and he hints he thinks Jesus was special but not God on Earth or Resurrected or anything like that.

        So he is the thoughtful type, he doesn’t just dismiss Christian claims nor Atheist claims and I think both sides will find what he says helpful even if it will not make Christians or Atheists totally happy with what he says.

        Like

        1. Sorry Dale, I’ve got to break my New Year’s resolution of avoiding flaming on forums. But really, your Paul Bali discussion was really bad. I’ve hit the 20′ mark and I can’t go on. The guy is a new age kook (sorry for using your IP David), devoid of any semblance of critical or analytical substance. I wasn’t particularly impressed when I heard him on here, but I stayed quiet. But really, you’ve been getting your philosophical education from him??? Did you have to pay money? Can you demand a refund?

          In what sense is he an atheist? We barely got 4′ in and he was affirming entities equivalent to the Christian god. Have you been telling us a porky?

          I know…I’m only a biased lay skeptic. So now I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll try to remember my reasons for the resolution again.

          Like

          1. Anthony,

            We’ve been really trying not to get into heated convos on here, so I’m going to try and bite my tounge and speak professionally. I’m sorry you feel this way about him, but I would just suggest you give Paul more of a chance as the first part is us just speaking about the possible mechanisms that a higher power could use, not necessarily that these are true.

            He doesn’t believe that God is the higher power, but he is open to it being so, hence he is an Atheist- he lacks belief in God. I would just say that its weird coming from you to call him a “kook” as you yourself are one such in David’s books as well, Idealists are seen by David and the skeptics on here as “kooks” themselves, that doesn’t really make you one, does it? Are you a “kook” Anthony?

            So yeah, if you press on, I do think that there are some nuggets that are beneficial for all sides, that doesn’t mean I agree with him- obviously, everyone here knows that there was much that Paul said that I object to and Paul is the first to admit that he is not a good “analytic philosopher” in the same way I am- but I think his perspective is important to know about even if you respectfully disagree with him.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Dale,

              I’ve pressed on to 30′ before I had to stop again. And because you’re such a good, some might even say renowned, analytic philosopher, I might even press on to 40′. And if I get a real rush of kooks comradery, I may even shoot for the hour by weeks end.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Alright, well good on you Anthony for pressing on. The thing I like about Paul is he is genuinely interested in learning the truth and receptive to the Gospel message despite his not believing in it. God willing, in time, it may even be the case that he might come to Christ, who knows 🙂

                Like

          2. You are a better man than I. 10 minutes was all I could take. I had to check and make sure I hadn’t turned on the old Art Bell show. He started talking about “levels.” And I noticed a slight bleeding out of my ears. It just got worse. He didn’t start with anything that could be grounded in reality. It is worse than kook theology. It’s kook metaphysics. Thanks, but no thanks.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. David,

              I appreciate that you didn’t like Paul’s take on this topic and its not your cup of tea so to speak- again I was doing him a favour after all he has done for me by letting him pick a topic that he was passionate about and this is what he picked. He had certain desires for the convo in terms of not asking for specifics and not wanting to do a debate where I was challenging his view like what we did on S&S. So, I did sort of an exploratory interview type with him where people get a chance to learn what he thinks on this issue- as you once said in regards to Teddi and the Shroud, I was working with what I had. I think that it is good for Christians and Atheists to hear differing perspectives just to be aware of them if for no other reasons as the world is not just Atheists and Christians- this was something I felt was a major limitation of worldview scope on your part. I’m hoping that the next time I bring him on, happy with his view being seriously listened to, he may allow me to combine his interests with my own analytical philosophical interests in terms of discussing an Argument for God from Religious Experiences.

              My goal, even if it may not happen, is to perhaps over time get Paul to realize God exists and later that Christianity is true and that takes time to establish and a willingness to listen to his perspective on things first but imagine how amazing it would be to see a series of convos over time with Paul where it ends in him being saved. Now, I realize this is a high hope on my part and even if it fails, I think its important to try and offer the convos on their own merits for those interested in just learning how someone of Paul’s perspective thinks about these things.

              On my end, I’ve always tried to be supportive of your efforts even when I found them eye-roll inducing, you don’t represent substantive Atheism in my view (for that I look to people like Graham Oppy, Peter Millican or Stephen Law for example), you represent a weird hyper-skeptic subset of Atheism, with beliefs that at times, borders on being insane conspiracy level type reasoning. But I’ve always supported you and tried to be fair to you in your endeavours, I read your entire books and offer substantive feedback, I listened to not just one but your first three BSC podcasts fully and tried to offer you some helpful thoughts on that, I listened to full shows on Still Unbelievable and complimented you guys even though it was just 4 skeptics coming together and laughing at Christians on this or that- but instead of bashing you, I respected your efforts and tried to back you guys up when Marvin cut you guys up with a criticism that I personally agreed with in terms of the boring one-sidedness of the show and even on some S&S shows like the one with Darren I felt was boring and unremarkable or the show with Bryan wasn’t boring as Bryan was genuinely interesting in my view but the topic that you guys discussed was kind of what I view as “fluff” (again I did some of those myself) and even being a Shroudie myself, I have to say that I think the upcoming Shroud Wars debate sounds uninteresting to me as Darren said he wouldn’t be able to address the actual evidence itself, but instead just wants to speak about how Teddi is arguing from ignorance- boring, I’ve heard that garbage 1000X already- only if Teddi gets to present her actual findings and not have to play the game based on Darren’s limited perspective would the show inspire me to want to listen.

              That said, regardless of my own feelings about some of the shows or work you do, I realize that it is important to you guys and I try to respect that these shows are important to you even if not to me personally and I put in the effort to listen to your full shows and provide some kind of positive and/or substantively critical feedback on it rather than just “sheet” on your efforts. I don’t know why you guys have to always undermine my hard work and efforts no matter what I do and I find it a little disrespectful esp. as I don’t treat you or the other skeptics work like that when they put in the effort to present what is important to them publicly even when I feel what is offered is garbage and rubbage in my own view- I’ve even got a term that I invented when Sarah recommended two Atheist shows to me whereby the Atheists were talking to people who deconverted and my honest opinion was it was just “skeptical filth”, but I saw that these shows were important to Sarah and she thought they would be helpful to me in understanding the other side and so instead of just cutting it up as garbage, I listened to the full shows and tried to think through the points made and look for the positive, I didn’t just listen to 10 mins of them swearing, mocking God on baseless grounds and their just making nonsense up- no I tried to look for the positive and the negative to show Sarah I carefully considered what was important to her, I didn’t just dismiss it as soon as I heard something I didn’t like or that I thought was Atheistic kookery.

              I don’t want to sound like I’m totally complaining, as I recognize all you’ve done for me and that you are supporting me via being willing to be a guest on my shows and having me as a guest on S&S from time to time- so please don’t think I’m being totally ungrateful to you here as I’m not, I’m appreciative on those fronts. I don’t know, I guess I’m just venting a little here as, given your and Anthony’s comments, its frustrating to see how closed-minded the skeptics are on here, as soon as they hear something they don’t like, its used as an excuse to instantly condemn someone. Again, I get where you guys are coming from, I don’t agree with Paul myself and as a Christian I share the view that his ideas are somewhat vague and undefined at the moment, but I recognize that a good deal of critical thought, effort and research was put into his opinions and I care enough about people to take them where they are at, let them present their own views as best they can and listen to them fully and respectfully before I make a judgement on their views.

              Like

              1. Dale I’ve even got a term that I invented when Sarah recommended two Atheist shows to me whereby the Atheists were talking to people who deconverted and my honest opinion was it was just “skeptical filth”, but I saw that these shows were important to Sarah and she thought they would be helpful to me in understanding the other side and so instead of just cutting it up as garbage,

                I appreciate the fact you did listen to a couple of the links I sent you, really. But how on earth can you say it was ‘Skeptical filth’ when it describes people (often clergy) subjective experiences and traumatic Deconversions? People like Dave Warnock, who I put in touch with Matt to interview on AAAA, who is dying of ALS and his Christian daughters want nothing to do with him since he doesn’t hold the same beliefs as them. He doesn’t see them or his grand kids. So horrified by his dilemma when he came out on the show, that I invited him to come and visit the french alps before his body packs up. Give him some moments, here. Now. He’s hoping to come this May, fingers crossed.

                You might not agree with their views, their approach or conclusions but this is what you lack in your mathematical framework of god, the human aspect. Tell me who is being more Christ-like in this scenario: his daughters who shun him, or someone who offers their hospitality? (Not that i want to blow my own trumpet but I’m pretty sure who Jesus would endorse).

                But the point is, people’s experiences aren’t ‘filth’ they’re lived lives. Something you seem unable or unwilling to grasp since day one.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Sarah: “… who shun him …”

                  Hi Sarah,
                  I’ve never understood the shunning of someone. I don’t see how that is an act of love or kindness or compassion.

                  May compassion and empathy increase,
                  Brian

                  Like

                  1. Luke 12 says this though
                    51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

                    Following Jesus has a cost, they say. Well this is the ugly working out of it. 😔

                    Liked by 1 person

                2. Sarah,

                  I know I was just saying this is how I felt when I listened to it, and I felt this way due to the lack of proper reasoning vs. emotional motivated reasoning, lack of fairness on the Atheists part to the other side and just down right rudeness in how they spoke about us.

                  But yeah, I’m not saying the people or their bad emotional experiences are “filth”- it was more how I saw their reasoning and manner that really put me off. The one that I remember still is the woman who had a horrible marriage and needed a divorce and had a miscarriage, again its been a while so I forget the details now, but I just remember being disgusted with how they treated the subject matter of her bad experiences , as it was used more as a punchline in a joke to show how Christians are stupid, rather than really grappling with her bad experience and trying to fairly evaluate the merits vs. cons of the Christian position on her situation. So that is what I meant by “skeptical filth” there, I’m not saying the skeptics themselves or the issues that were important to those people were filth, just their treatment of the subject matter is what I’m referring to there.

                  Again though, my point is that I didn’t just base my judgements on these reactions and I certainly never presented my ill-feelings to you as though it were “substantive feedback”, instead I tried to be charitable to them and mention the parts I objected to without feeling the need to just say that what they did was garbage imo based on my initial reactions. Just obviously from the fact that my feelings on this are news to you shows that I’ve always tried to be careful and considerate of things of my feedback comments on shows or blogs or whatever that others think are important and offered to me in good faith. I force myself to look past my own initial feelings and look at it from the other’s perspective (as best I can), especially when someone I know thinks its a good or helpful source that might they found to be beneficial or important on their end. Geez, I even just 2 weeks ago or so listened to a source that Tara recommended to me on Idealism and I tried my best to take it seriously rather than just dismiss him as a nut job based on the first thing he said that I disagreed with.

                  So yes I think the daughters are behaving horribly and may even be fake Christians but I’d need to understand things from their side first before I could make a judgement on that front. Can you understand why when someone uses these emotionally traumatic experiences in a disrespectful manner, not to the experiencer but toward the Christian position and any Christians who hold it, that is unhelpful “filth” to me/Christians, its using someone’s horrible life experiences as a cruel and unloving joke to make Christianity look bad in an unfair or at least inconsiderate way via their showing no effort to understand and grapple with what real Christians think. Does that makes sense, can you see why I might think of those shows that way, at least based on my hearing those two shows you sent me- try looking at it from our side, imagine I brought on a bunch of Christian guests on my show talking about all the horrible experiences they had as Atheists and how Atheism ruined their lives (and they are out there too) and instead of seriously trying to be fair to the position of Atheism, I just used these as a crude way of showing that Atheism and everyone who subscribes to that title is soulless evil demon who devours little babies and has no sense morality or rationality- I’d wager you would take issue with such a show and dare I say even consider it “filth” even if you don’t think the Christians themselves or what they went through are unimportant or worthy of sympathy.

                  Like

                  1. ‘proper reasoning vs. emotional motivated’

                    I think that’s your problem. You think all people should operate like you. i don’t think most do. How dull the world would be if we were all the same.

                    ‘But yeah, I’m not saying the people or their bad emotional experiences are “filth”- it was more how I saw their reasoning and manner that really put me off. ‘

                    Your back pedalling Makes little difference either way. And you kinda did. I don’t recall them especially mocking anyone, or being offensive. They maybe talked about the BSC ideas they were exposed to in reference to their particular denomination. And? Have you never come across people who’ve been hurt and who may use flippancy or humour to deal with it?

                    ‘ the woman who had a horrible marriage and needed a divorce and had a miscarriage, again its been a while so I forget the details now, but I just remember being disgusted with how they treated the subject matter of her bad experiences , as it was used more as a punchline in a joke to show how Christians are stupid, rather than really grappling with her bad experience and trying to fairly evaluate the merits vs. cons of the Christian position on her situation.’.

                    Seriously, this isn’t always people’s usual reaction

                    ‘So yes I think the daughters are behaving horribly and may even be fake Christians but I’d need to understand things from their side first before I could make a judgement on that front

                    That wasn’t the question. And No one is asking you to, it’s not your job, and maybe listen to the first 3 mins of Jordan on here. https://youtu.be/n2py4aBpmko

                    ‘Can you understand why when someone uses these emotionally traumatic experiences in a disrespectful manner, not to the experiencer but toward the Christian position and any Christians who hold it, that is unhelpful “filth” to me/Christians,’.

                    I think they are free to work out their trauma their way. They were maybe flippant, humours and emotional creatures that might be less sophisticated than you in their reasoning. You should be more concerned by the injustice and pain they suffered at the hand of their churches than getting all offended by them trampling your precious dogmas. wwjd?

                    ‘ its using someone’s horrible life experiences as a cruel and unloving joke to make Christianity look bad in an unfair or at least inconsiderate way via their showing no effort to understand and grapple with what real Christians think’.

                    How do you know they didn’t? Last time I looked you were not omniscient.

                    Like

                    1. Sarah,

                      I’m not back pedeling at all, please stop telling me what I mean when I say something- I tell you, you don’t tell me. I said what I said, period and their reasoning and mocking and disrespectful toward Christians disgusted me, are you omniscient- no than don’t dare tell me what I meant when I said this show was “filth”.

                      Secondly, I notice hypocrisy on your part here. You seem fine when what I think is important is mocked and called inhuman by you people- no problem when you do it to us, but return the favour and you implode. Sarah, I’m a human being and I was telling you my thoughts when I listened to your shows, who are you to tell me my experience was wrong or ought to like what you have on offer but you get to tell me my stuff is kookery or nut-jobbery or inhumane. The point of my saying this, is skeptics on here just feel free to spout their mean-spirited opinions whenever they want instead of trying to be charitable to those they disagree with- 10-20 mins and that’s enough for you all-knowing skeptics to deem someone and their experiences as total B.S., but I actually take the time to have an informed opinion by listening fully to various sources and then come to my own opinion which I didn’t feel the need to share until now to make my point that I don’t feel the need to make such mean-spirited assessments even when its how I feel or think- I try to control myself and be fair and stick to giving a substantive point of agreement and/or disagreement instead. Again just ask yourself, I didn’t say it was filth for what like 8-9 months, how long ago did you tell me about that show???? I only brought it up here to make a point and you feel the need to discredit my opinion- why, I put more into it then the skeptics did into listening to Paul before they deemed him a new age fool and you have no issue with them doing that.

                      Why are you not able to go “Oh cool, thanks for listening, good on you for thinking its filth or garbage”- you certainly have no issue telling me that’s what you think about what I feel is important?

                      In terms of people’s bad experiences, if that is your thing fine but I’m not interested in Dr. Phil- my interest is in the truth of the religion and the truth is these people’s bad experiences have little to nothing to do with the truth of falsity of Christianity and as per the “filth” part they used very poor reasoning and rude mocking swearing and name-calling against people like me to try and establish any kind of connection out of desperation. Think of it this way, I revealed to you a little about my own personal experience, you didn’t care at all, it mattered nothing to you even though it supported Christianity- you rightly surmised that my good experience didn’t prove the truth of it and it is the same deal with just listening to people who had bad times in the church due to human sinners and fake Christians and having nothing to do with God or Jesus being at fault at all. I look for substantive convos where Atheists know how to make logical and rational arguments to prove their claims and not rely on filthy tactics of using emotionally heart-breaking stories to bamboozle people into thinking a religion and its adherents are a vile joke amoung humanity.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    2. I listened to an episode of EA last nights to see if I could remotely see what you mean about ‘their reasoning and mocking and disrespectful toward Christians’ ‘disgusting’ ‘a vile joke’

                      I personally can’t see it. Worse, I think you are grossly misrepresented it. You’ve made it out as some horrid filth show with filthy tactics and filthy reasoning. This is disingenuous.

                      people’s bad experiences have little to nothing to do with the truth of falsity of Christianity and as per the “filth” part they used very poor reasoning and rude mocking swearing and name-calling against people like me’
                      I’m sorry, not every show can be high brow debate as you expect. It’s not suppose to be a show about logical arguments for/against Christianity. It’s stories of what people have gone through, processed the way many people deal with hurt and pain. The other show was a gay guy who’d be rejected to illustrate the outworking of LGBT dogma over love. I appreciate not your thing normally (and, as I said in my first post, I appreciate you listening to it) but thought it might give a human face to suffering and a purely ’logic’ view.

                      They do not especially name call people as far as I recall. There is a little causal swearing in convo. I’m afraid you need to toughen up a little when you step outside of your Christian bubble to interact with the real world. People speak like that. No different to RTR or Dogma Debate. It doesn’t make it a ‘filth’ show. It’s interesting that you seem more outraged by the odd word than the way the church treated the people. Right doctrine, dogma, lists, prescriptions and frameworks above humans, humanity. Tony Campolo used to do this as way of illustration: he’d say ‘people are dying in shxtty poverty’ the church would gasp at his language and then he’d ask them why they were offended at that rather than the poverty. Jesus uses rough language at times and he was definitely was more bothered by poverty.

                      This is one of my favourite episodes as Rosie is from an almost identical background to me in a charismatic UK church.

                      I would very much respect anyone such as Teddi, Arthur or Brian listening to a sample of few minutes listen to see if I’m off my rocker and so far gone up Satan’s backside I have lost the plot. Teddi, do I have a case for liable against Dale’s unfair and unrepresentative assessment ? 😉 There’s a few thoughts at the start and then the interview starts about 12 mins in. I think it’s pretty representative of the tone of the show.

                      Ps
                      I revealed to you a little about my own personal experience, you didn’t care at all, it mattered nothing to you
                      Please don’t lie. I had every sympathy with the experience you went through and said so along with asking if you got the help you needed. You said a form of logic / reasoning got you out, fine. Good. I said it can’t help everyone as emotions play a bigger part for most folk. It didn’t prove Christianity, it was just your method that helped you. Or in other words it fitted in to your Christianity model and supported your view. I may not have agreed with you as it being ’ The way’, but I didn’t and don’t say it didn’t help you and could be ‘a way’ for some. How many times have I said, you do you, Dale?

                      Once again, I’d appreciate if you would please stop using other people’s interaction with you as if I had anything to do with it. Thanks.

                      Like

                    3. Sarah: “This is one of my favourite episodes as Rosie is from an almost identical background to me in a charismatic UK church.

                      I would very much respect anyone such as Teddi, Arthur or Brian listening to a sample of few minutes listen to see if I’m off my rocker and so far gone up Satan’s backside I have lost the plot.”

                      Hi Sarah,
                      I listened to the Rosie episodes that you linked to. Very moving.
                      I enjoy learning why people change their beliefs. Why they go from an atheist to Christian – or Christian to atheist. Or change religions – going from Christian to Buddhist. To read or hear their story from their perspective is powerful.

                      At the same time I have to be aware that there may well be other perspectives to their story – their family and friends may view the journey differently. Rosie mentioned that some incidents she remembers differently than her sisters. Our memories can play tricks on us – and how we remember something from 10 or 20 years ago may not exactly match reality. I know when talking with my siblings about our childhoods we sometimes have very different takes on the same episodes.

                      I sometimes like the stories when there is a researcher or reporter involved who takes a critical look at the person’s testimony and interviews family and friends and the people involved in the story.

                      How people see their life experiences are great stories that we can all, hopefully. learn from,
                      Brian

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. Thanks Brian for listening to it. I hope that you could see it’s not the debauched show of mockery Dale has tried to paint it as. I’m sure you don’t wish to be drawn on it, but suffice to say I’m pleased you enjoyed it and found it moving.

                      As for the other perspectives to her story, of course we all misremember, but Rosie’s experience for me (and I have no reason to assume she is making this up), is totally coherent with what those churches were like. I’m not sure what other people could add. They are what she experienced and I know the types of thing went on.

                      The way they would have viewed her shaking and crying during the exorcism makes total sense to me. This is exactly the kind of thing I witness, though luckily never experienced. Having to fake healing albeit subconsciously, also pretty common.

                      What she said about seeking God’s plan, marrying young (for the very reasons we were speaking about a couple of days ago), also banal in their ubiquity. Again this is the outworking of doctrine. Humanise it. always. As Peterson says, don’t tell someone what to do that you wouldn’t be prepared to do yourself.

                      The talk about the worship services and the effect of music are also spot on. My denomination had links with New Frontiers and was very similar. Many churches in the UK are still very much like this. It’s not fringe, it’s pretty mainstream. I was lucky to miss the neurons that make me susceptible to manipulation, so I was always wary and sceptical. I didn’t tend to get swept along. As she said, it causes people like that more issues with ‘why aren’t I feeling this’.

                      If you want a more documentary style version of this sort of thing, there’s Jesus Camp on netflix which is like that.
                      There’s also one about Hasidic Jew leaving the community in New York on there.

                      But what is good about the podcast is they have people from all the spectrum of faith so there’s been a wide range of views expressed. They just tell their story. Pretty much every single one of them say that they truly believed, worked hard to keep their faith and deconverted by mistake. They report healing and more freedom and happiness the other side.
                      Personally, I see that as a problem for Christianity, especially when you hear 100’s of stories saying of the same thing. God shouldn’t be letting people go. I’d only ever heard testimonies the other way round.

                      The gay fella’s story is also heartwrenching. I hoped it would put a human face to the outworking of dogma over kindness. I am particularly perturbed that it’s been mischaracterized.
                      Oh well.

                      Like

                    5. Sarah,

                      No reply button under your latest comment. Sarah, I’m not misrepresenting them, I’m giving you my own personal feelings when I listened to two shows- I realize you as a fan may have heard other shows where they did better idk I’m not a fan of the show overall like you are, but the point is that is what I remembered when I listened and that is how I felt when I listened to the two shows you told me about- I’m not a fan of lazy reasoning and pandering to mere emotional appeal on the part of skeptics as though that somehow proves something. In the same way you treated me with my good experience, you didn’t care at all in terms of that proving my religious views to be true and that is all that matters for my purposes.

                      Now there were some potential for substantive things that they could have treated more seriously- for example the girl’s problem with needing a divorce (in her view), yeah that is something with a link to the Bible and therefore has a means of falsifying the religion but there was just no effort to treat the matter seriously and be fair and understanding to both sides and instead mocked Christians for their beliefs- absolute filth in my books, a waste of time with respect to figuring out whether Christianity is true or false.

                      If your goal wasn’t to prove that Atheism is true and/or Christianity is false but rather that human beings have suffered and they falsely attribute that to Christianity- well yes sure, but I already knew that just as I knew that many people live in joy and peace as a result of being true Christians. Your goal was already accomplished well before you sent me those two shows and frankly its insulting as heck for you to pretend that I just wouldn’t be aware of this basic fact of reality until you came along to enlighten me- I think I’m more in tune with humans than you will ever be, I’ve spoken to so many people throughout my journey both scholar and layperson- I’ve literally heard it all before and you have no idea what I’ve been through in my own life- I’ve known both joy and pain like you (personally) can’t even imagine (not a puffery statement but just based on what you told me about your life, I’ve had experiences that I know you personally haven’t had). Now, I’m sorry RTR and Dogma Debates are entirely different, yes they have mocking and swearing and filth like that, but that isn’t as bothersome to me personally as at least they attempt to represent the other side fairly in order to arrive at truth in the form of bringing on real Christians like me to represent our side, your show is one-sided and shows no understanding of what real Christians think- we are just a joke to them.

                      Finally, I know you don’t want to be wrapped up in my convo with others, but you kind of have to do so here as you took my comment of my listening to another show within the context of another convo I had with David and Anthony. The point was that regardless of my feelings, I didn’t instantly condemn these guys but listened to the full show and this was still my overall sense based on the two shows I listened to at least and this is what stuck with me all these months later (I vaguely remember them telling some religious figure who tried to help the women with his advice to to F-off or something like along those lines). Again Sarah, you have no business lecturing me and telling my that my opinion is disingenuous when this is how I felt listening to that utter swill of yours and remember I didn’t offer this as a substantive feedback to you, did I????? Two episodes are not enough to make overall judgements about them and as I said I tried to be more charitable to them when I gave my own take on them to you back in the day- the whole point of why I mentioned these shows of yours was to say this was how I felt about them when I initially listened and out of respect and common decency I DIDN’T just come out and judge them in this way, that was the whole point of why I brought them up as it shows how I showed restraint in not making instant condemnations and tried to seriously consider their view and offer helpful feedback rather than just saying “Oh I listened to 3 mins, the approach of these guys is garbage, bla, bla, bla”.

                      So what are your complaints here Sarah- are you saying I don’t have the right to a personal opinion when I listen to something, am I not allowed to be a human being?????? Am I not allowed to share those opinions if I want like you and Skeptics do against Christians all the time on these Boards??????? Do I not deserve credit for the fact that even though I felt this way about your shows at the time, I saw that my saying this about your shows would be unhelpful and thus I restrained myself to try to be fair to listening fully and straining to find any kind of meaningful substance so I could give you some honest yet more productive and non-insulting feedback after I had listened????? I could have just been like you, listen to a few minutes of material, fall asleep through the rest and then instantly judge and condemn them as being wrong based on one or two things that I heard and understood- that’s what you did to me, would you take less of an issue with me if I treated their shows the same way you treated mine (totally unfairly and disingenuously)?????

                      Again you take no issue when skeptics just speak off the cuff and offer their unfair opinions of my work or the work of Christians and you fully support them when they do so, heck you do it yourself all the time- so you involve yourself in my affairs with other skeptics in this way.

                      Like

                    6. You’re entitled to your view but maybe expect to have it challenged. Especially if someone thinks your wrong and are grossly misrepresenting the show. Anyone listening to a few mins can judge themselves. I invite them to do just that.

                      If you’d said it wasn’t your bag/too basic/don’t value it, I’d have no issue with that. It misses entirely the point since it was precisely to illustrate dogma over real life, but ok.

                      You used the word ‘Skeptical filth’ and other inflammatory terms. It’s more a moral judgement and I asked how people‘s stories can be filth? You’ve tried to pin it on reasoning/language. I hardly know how reasoning can be filthy. Bad as in wrong/basic maybe. They are concluding from their experiences, maybe ineptly IYO, but that doesn’t make it ‘filthy’, especially since their reasoning was done as Christians.

                      You claim you know about people’s suffering in life and ‘how dare‘ I point you to this. I’d say you know it in your head but you’ve not really connected with it in other ways. The proof? Exactly what I’m saying to you; you are outraged by a bit of language rather than the cruel ways they were treated at the hands of the church and the disastrous out-workings of dogma over kindness. You literally couldn’t be making the point more clearly for me.

                      The bad language is a red herring thrown in to try and justify yourself. It’s ironic you admit to magically not finding it ‘bothersome’ on DD /RTR. It gets a pass since they deal with ‘reason.‘ Not so for people in pain. The double standard it noted.

                      You’re misrepresenting a show, and I didn’t care for it. It is not a show that seeks to mock Christianity and insult people, full of Skeptical filth and name calling. It’s people telling their stories. Many who have lost everything in the pursuit of truth as best they knew. I had hoped you could connect with it and human face to all the theorising you do.

                      I accept now you don’t operate at this level and it is pointless trying to get you to see it. You rarely answer the moral/human questions in my post. The one about outrage for example or what Jordan says.
                      Regards

                      Like

                    7. Sarah: ” … and maybe listen to the first 3 mins of Jordan on here. https://youtu.be/n2py4aBpmko …”

                      Hi Sarah,
                      I listen to the clip you linked to. Clearly it was a short clip which I don’t have the context for – but the speaker sure doesn’t have a very high opinion of people – saying how evil everyone is – and that everyone has the capacity for terrible evil. I’ll just say that I’ve been blessed that I’ve met many people whom I don’t believe are terrible – nor have the capacity for doing terrible evil.

                      May the speaker be blessed to meet some nicer people during his life,
                      Brian

                      Like

                    8. Brian, the speaker is Jordan Peterson. He’s kinda a big deal right now. One of the great thinkers of our time, maybe.. He has a very strangle delivery style which can come across as if he’s extremely annoyed. He also stares angrily at people in interview and It can be off putting. But I think it’s just one of his idiosyncrasies. And not meant in that way. If you listened to him over a few interviews, He’s very measured with his words. I go through phases of liking it, and then being jaded by him. But on balance I think he’s an important voice of our time.
                      This is a good talk by him. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnUfXYGtT5Q&feature=share

                      I was hoping to throw some of these views into the podcast I was due to have.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    9. Hi Sarah,
                      I’ve heard the name Jordan Peterson but don’t know anything about him. Some of the things he made claims about in that first little clip included:
                      “The probability that they are more evil than you is quite low because evil as they may be, you are in the same damned boat.”
                      “You have to recognize yourself as a perpetrator of great evil and that is what you are.”
                      “Who brought on the horror of the Communist system and the horror of the Nazi system and the answer is people just like you! … If you think that answer is wrong then you are not very wise.”
                      “Human beings are terrible creatures. I think we are also very remarkable creatures and wonderful creatures, but we have an absolutely unlimited capacity for brutality and evil. And every one of us carries it.”

                      Sarah, when he says “you”, I’m not sure if he only means the members in his audience or all humans. My sense was he means all humans but since he didn’t say in the clip I’m not sure. He didn’t say how he ranks evil – how one measures if someone is more evil or less evil than someone else. Nor does he say how he determines the probability for one person being more evil than another. I assume he shares this information somewhere else.

                      He makes a factual claim that each member of his audience is a “perpetrator of great evil.” He doesn’t share his evidence of that claim. Note, he is saying they are perpetrators – not that they might someday be perpetrators – not that they have the capacity to be perpetrators – but they have each actually perpetrated great evils. Has he alerted the authorities and given the authorities his proof so these perpetrators may be brought to justice?

                      Again, I will say that I’ve been blessed and that not everyone whom I know have perpetrated great evils. And that I’ve known some wonderful people who, I don’t believe, have an unlimited capacity for brutality and evil.

                      Sarah, I’ll listen to your other link from him – I’m merely sharing my thoughts on that first little clip.
                      Sarah, have you ever met anyone whom you feel has not perpetrated great evils? Anyone you know who lacks the unlimited capacity for brutality and evil? Or, do you agree with him?

                      Thanks,
                      Brian

                      Liked by 1 person

                    10. Hi Brian, again Peterson’s tone takes a bit to get use to. And, I think his particular trait of being a bit of a deep thinker goes hand in hand with a slightly melancholy personality.

                      Often the greatest artists, musicians, geniuses have a sort of tormented aspect to them.

                      Peterson has thought long and hard about the human heart and evil. He’s talking about the dark shadow that Carl Yung’s alludes to. The messages of murderous Cain and Abel. The failings of humans. He’s read books from the Gulags in Russia and how perfectly decent people become Nazi’s. What it takes to twist somoene.

                      He may have a point that it lurks in all of us. I don’t know, i hope not and I hope I never get to find out. I don’t tend to view people as evil anymore. His view is more in line with biblical thinking.

                      I agree, it’s a bit of bleak perspective and I don’t know that I fully agree with him. Much could be explained by neuroscience etc.

                      As you can imagine, he has his fans and detractors. Just an interesting voice. (His debate with Douglas Murray and Sam Harris was fantastic if you’re ever bored one day)!

                      Cheers

                      Liked by 1 person

                    11. Sarah: “Hi Brian, again Peterson’s tone takes a bit to get use to. And, I think his particular trait of being a bit of a deep thinker goes hand in hand with a slightly melancholy personality. …”

                      Hi Sarah,
                      I was trying to go by his actual words rather than his tone or looks or personality. Perhaps his tone, looks or personality influences me – I don’t know – I truly tried to focus on his word and, what appeared to me, to be his claims.

                      Again, I’ll listen to the other link you shared – maybe he will go into the evidence for his claims.

                      Brian

                      Liked by 1 person

                    12. He’s a bit full on in that clip.
                      Normally he is very measured and backs up everything he says. His 12 rules for life book is a best seller and YouTube talks on that are good too.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  2. Oops here’s the link to the Rosie interview.

                    I take it you didn’t listen to Jordan.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. P.S. On a playful joking level, this is the second time you’ve offered to use Teddi as a lawyer to sue me for liable- I guess I need to give you a lesson in how the legal system works- Teddi is a criminal defense attorney- that means;

                      a) She would be on my side as the Defendant and not yours if you brought a claim against me.

                      b) Libel is a matter of civil law not Criminal law, so Teddi is useless here- its not her area of law.

                      c) Libel laws in Xanada allow for = “Qualified Privilege,” which means that the communication was given in a non-malicious and well-intentioned context and therefore ought to be excused: for example, giving an honest but negative opinion of something on a Discussion Board.

                      Like

                    2. I know what a Defence
                      lawyer means. It’s a silly joke.

                      ‘On a playful joking level,
                      .. .. I need to give you a lesson in how the legal system works’ started no playful joke ever, anywhere by anyone. 😂😂😂😂

                      Like

                    3. Sarah,

                      I didn’t listen to the full 3 mins originally so I’m sorry for that, but I have now went back and listened to the first 3 mins.

                      To be honest, I saw a few different points he made that I would take issue with so I’m not sure what it was you wanted me to get out of that- was that I think I’m in the Positive category and there being a 0% likelihood I’m part of the solution, is it you think that I don’t recognize my own sinfulness in relation to non-Christians. What does this have to do with my own personal opinions about a Podcast that I didn’t think was substantive or helpful?

                      What is the message you want me to get out of this as I can think of at least 3 maybe 4 different ones based on the first 3 mins I saw?

                      Like

                    4. Tbh the first 35 seconds gives one enough to ponder. Take what you want from it.

                      It wasn’t to do with the podcast, more to do with characterisation of fake Christians and your assessment of people as in/out according to a ticked set of rules. It’s also because on the unbelievable boards the other day, you are talking about your ‘enemies’, ‘ those who hate’. You’ve refer to people many times as ‘inspired by Satan’.
                      I don’t find it helpful or unifying language. It’s genuinely sad you view humanity like that.

                      Jordan rightly says good and evil runs down the middle of everyone’s heart. Everyone has their Satan (adversary). I’d say that is far more wise approach to speak of things in this way. It doesn’t divide. We’re all in the same boat. Rainbow Peter was saying just that on the boards. We’re one big group of humanity doing the best we can.

                      Then you went on to say how you’re on a mission from god, you are doing his very work and you have these adversaries. You seem awfully sure you know the mind of god. I don’t think all Christians would be so forthright. To presume to know the mind of god is a serious matter. They are abstract terms which mean many different things, in different ways to different people and at different times. Even as a believer I would have trodden more carefully. As Peterson might say, it’s a hell of a claim.

                      You repeatedly categorise people as in out, saved/unsaved. real seekers, what’s the opposite, flakers? That’s maybe the grouping idea Jordan mentions which you could ponder.

                      ‘ my own personal opinions about a Podcast that I didn’t think was substantive or helpful’. . Ahh much better. Of course, many on the interviews witness to the fact the podcast and private forum has been a life line, so that’s it’s your subjective opinion, which is fine. Clearly It’s not objectively not helpful. But that’s quite different from calling it Skeptical filth. I appreciate the tone down in rhetoric.

                      It’s a shame the gay guy’s story wasn’t helpful in presenting another aspect, another experience, how religiosity can be harmful. I remember picking it because it was particularly poignant and moving. I’d really hoped it might have pulled a heart string and I would think someone who is actually gay could enlighten all of us all on how beliefs around this might affect them. Once again the out-workings of dogma over kindness. That could be helpful. I guess not.

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    3. Marvin the V of N and …. David??? For realzzz?? Oh my!!! When does that show come out? Saturday?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Let’s show a little respect for Marvin. Distorting his name like that isn’t right. He is a respected member of the community and will be addressed by his actual name: Vortex of Nonsense. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Well OK nicknames are fine, but just realize you asked for it- I know first-hand that Marvin has some interesting little pet names for you as well lol 😛

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          1. I’m looking forward to hearing them. Just know that I didn’t give him that name. It is just the one that stuck with the community. Frankly, I could make that one work for me. I’m surprised he doesn’t own it and run with it.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. It was I who christened him the V of N in the dystopian future of 3025 where the Daleians had taken over the world and Tara had uploaded herself to the cloud of consciousness.
              It was, and remains, my greatest contribution to date.

              Please don’t pull your punches. Take the gloves off. I am expecting bare-knuckle fighting. 😉 May the force be with you. And also with you. Amen.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I’m flexible in terms of format so that my guests shine through or present their cases at their best. At the end of the day, if I want RSM to be about finding truth, then I have to let both sides present at their best. With Paul Bali, that means having more a low-key “exploratory type conversation” with David, I know that means allowing for polemical debate. Obviously, I know Marvin is a formally trained apologist and so I also included a more formal debate portion as well for his benefit. So yeah, we’ll see how that format works, but I hope both parties will be happy and feel they got to present their best case when all is said and done.

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                1. Marvin is a formally trained apologist

                  He is?!!! But he’s such a…….. voice trails off

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                  1. Yeah, he went to Biola and was taught by Gary Habermas, JP Moreland and others.

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            2. LOL, well so long as it’s all done in good fun- how about we call you the “Whirlwind of BSC” idk

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I’m all in on that. Sew the wind, reap the whirlwind. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

      2. For Realzzz Sarah and yes we are recording this Saturday (if all goes according to plan). I will make the announcement on here and Unbelievable when that is posted 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Sarah,

        I was about to go off on you but I saw Bryan’s post to you and your s to him, so I get you aren’t feeling well so I will de-escalate here.

        I’m glad that you appreciate the tone-down but I re-listened to the show today and I re-affirm my original feelings. Let me just explain, its not just about swearing, the reason I’m so outraged as to say it is “skeptical filth” is because people’s souls are being damned because of this lazy bad reasoning and mocking jokes at Christians and Christianity. When you use people’s misfortunate experiences in such an irresponsible way, like a true human being, this outrages me- people are going to Hell because of this stuff and they shouldn’t be. Don’t hide the bad stuff, these things happened and we should be angry at the injustice in this world, but what gets me even more angry is a couple of skeptics using these things unfairly (not even trying to give the other side a fair shot) and it leads to many people falsely thinking this stuff proves Christianity is false and thus they go to Hell as a result.

        My goodness who cares about just swearing- I personally don’t care at all about it believe it or not (I only ever did for the Christians in the audience) however, what is a pet peeve of mine is when swearing is used as a tactic to make fun of or belittle Christianity- its an unfair strategy as it makes many people stupid and they laugh instead of focusing on the substantive material and the two shows I listened to sounded like exploitation of these poor people just to make Christianity the butt of a joke and look deeply immoral and show no effort to care or know what the truth is. That is filth to me. Now, if you feel I’ve given these guys a bum-rap then fine send me the links to a few examples that you feel is their best work where they try to be fair to Christians and I’ll give them a listen and let you know if my impressions were any different.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. people are going to Hell because of this stuff and they shouldn’t be

          And what a ridiculous worldview you hold to if it come to this. Wake up Dale.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Shut the heck up Anthony- mind your biz, you piece of hypocritical garbage- you don’t DARE think you have the right to spout your BS to me after what you said about Paul and think I’m in the wrong for saying what I did about some skeptical filth Podcast- shut up already, just SHUT UP!

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            1. Anthony,

              This reply was too much, I’m sorry I didn’t mean the name calling, but the hypocrisy of you criticizing me when it was you that started this whole thing and I was using that example to say we shouldn’t just react emotionally and say our immediate reactions without first thinking things through and giving the perspective of others due consideration.

              Sarah is biased here as I was saying that this is how I felt at the time I listened and yet I DIDN’T offer this as substantive feedback 8-9 months ago. Instead I took a deep breath and listened to the full thing and tried to give helpful criticism in my response- this was in direct contrast to what you and the skeptics do on here. That was my original point before Sarah pathetically used my reporting of my personal feelings, which I didn’t offer as feedback at the time, to judge me while she doesn’t give a “fluck” about me or anyone else other than defending her fellow skeptics whenever they get defamed in a way she doesn’t like. She doesn’t give a dang that Paul was really disheartened by your and the other initial reaction of the thoughtless immediate condemnation feedback by skeptics toward him that showed no attempt to understand or be fair to the subject matter or his presentation at all- fine by her because Paul’s not one of her own.

              But then she feigns outrage when I simply report my initial feelings about some filthy Podcast that I listened to for her benefit months ago and to which I made sure not to say my feelings to her at the time precisely in order to be more fair- I was citing this as an example showing that we ought not to do this type of thing like how you and David reacted to the Paul show, but Sarah seems to feel that we are not entitled to have any feelings at all- only the lay skeptics get to be emotional little brats and share their feelings unmolested in her books apparently.

              Anyways, I’m starting to go too far again, so I will stop here and just say, man the hypocrisy stinks to high heaven up in here.

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              1. I feel you have some heightened sensitivity to negative comments about your former professor. This is a typical reaction from you when you sense that your scholarly friends are under assault. You can correct me if I’m wrong. But that’s how it looks.

                Allow me to try and explain some of our reactions to what he had to say, and how you handled the interview:

                First, I would say that we tried to push beyond our initial reaction. Some of us listened beyond the 10 or 20 minutes we first reported. I even enlisted Andrew to give it a listen because he has interviewed Paul before. So I wanted to check my reaction against that of someone who has spoken to him and might have a different impression. He tried to listen to the podcast as well with no better results.

                Speaking only for myself, I found the content rather jarring. There was no introducing the topic. We just dived right into things that sound crazy without any background to root them in reality, science, or accepted theory. It goes from zero to higher beings communicating from other levels in six seconds flat. This guy is an atheist and a philosophy professor. So these pronouncements were unexpected and unexplained.

                You do not need to debate him or make him feel uncomfortable. No one expected that from you. But I personally needed to hear you ask some leveling questions such as the following:

                1. If you don’t believe in god, who are the higher beings?
                2. What are these higher levels?
                3. Why would they want to communicate with us?
                4. Why would there be data loss?

                I could go on. but I think you get the point. It would have helped your listeners gain some connection with the topic and ideas being presented. And that was just the first 10 minutes.

                The next 10 minutes got us into getting higher communications from road signs. Frankly, you are asking a lot of someone to listen past this point. We are just into what most people would think of as unabashed kookery. The followup questions practically ask themselves. Throw in a dash of astrology, and most people expecting a reasonable conversation about theology are out.

                If you just take a step back for a moment, you will be able to see why we reacted the way we did. No offense to you or your friend was intended.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Thank you David,

                  Yes I do think there is some emotional element here as Paul saw it and took it hard, he was even questioning whether he was doing any good as a teacher afterward, so hearing that reaction as a result of his coming on my show really bothered me. This guy is a beloved teacher and professor and does such a great job, literally everyone thinks he has a lot to offer, just see his Rate My Professor feedback if you think I’m biased here = https://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=418392 — he gets like 4/5 or 5/5 ratings most of the time.

                  In terms of the constructive critical feedback- thank you very much for that David as that is the kind of feedback that I really value personally and find to be helpful even if it’s something that says I’m wrong or did something bad. I think you give good advice here and the things you mention were my failing as a host more than Paul’s as a guest- another thing I spent way too much time speaking about the various mechanisms than I ought to have- a whole hour so I recognize that I didn’t do an optimal job as host here.

                  On that front my breakdown was to do the following;

                  1. First cover the what- what is prophecy and what kinds messages or means are we talking about.

                  2. Then, how do we identify them

                  3. Then question who is the communicator stuff.

                  and so on.

                  So, I was building up and trying to take it one step at a time, so I felt if I just ask up front that isn’t good. Paul likes to keep things vague as he doesn’t know or have ready answers to the kinds of questions, so I felt it was important to first keep things vague and wide at first- you know what are we talking about, how do we identify these prophecies and only then start asking well who is communicating and stuff like that. Also, I do have to go with topics he feels happy talking about, even the Argument from Religious Experience he told me isn’t his thing, so with Paul he is really careful about what he feels comfortable speaking on and he knows his limitations on that front- we even had to meet in person to ensure I was only asking things he was confident he was competent to speak on and I don’t want to run a gottcha ya type show, I really wanted Paul to be able to share his view in the best light and have people judge it that way.

                  Let me ask this, do you have any advice on how I could have hosted better given my plan- trying to not to hone in on who the communicator is right away?

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. My only advice would be that if you are going to have someone come on who has things to say that are somewhat off the reservation, you should prepare your audience for that. When I saw that the topic was on prophecy, I thought I knew what it was about. But it was nothing like prophecy in the context most people would expect. Managing expectations is important. The name of the restaurant was Fried Chicken Palace. But all they served was couscous. Even if it were the best couscous in the world, it would be rather disappointing to one expecting fried chicken.

                    I appreciate you asking these questions later in the show. But I submit that people would have already formed opinions and checked out by the time you got around to it. The time for a followup question is right after the questionable statement is made. Again, these are important establishing questions for the audience.

                    As an example, I would present my conversations with Natalie Collins. Our conversations were not adversarial. But they did explore some topics that were pretty far out there, even for Christians. It is okay to have that kind of conversation. Just try to bring the audience along for the ride. Also, remember that you have both Christians and atheists listening to your program. The conversation you had left both sides adrift for too long.

                    That said, you are doing an excellent job as a moderator. You will only get better with experience. Tell Paul that I found him to be very thoughtful and likable. And I would be happy to explore the supernatural with him.

                    I have often refuted the Christian claim that atheists are materialists. That is far from true. The field of atheist supernaturalism is broader than Christian supernaturalism. He is welcome to chat with me on S&S about that topic.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. OK thank you David, I think this form of criticism is a lot more constructive for me rather than things that come across as just insulting, so this is the kind of thing I look for in feedback.

                      I will definitely study your convo with Natalie Collins as I think that might be an apt comparison- I assume you mean I was there for as that was where we spoke about her talking to God and try my best to glean some tips on how to better host for the audience. It sounds to me like you did listen to the full thing, so you probably know that I originally thought he meant prophecy in the way you did as well but then I quickly realized he had something else in mind when we chatted. He just isn’t knowledgeable about Bible predictive prophecies or that sort of thing. One idea I just had is maybe I need to lay out at the start exactly what the main topic sections are going to be so people know to hang on for the better stuff later on. But yeah, when he said prophecy, I myself had the same thoughts that you and everyone else did in terms of what he meant, but he meant something a little more abstract and general by it and so I was happy to go with what he wanted to speak on.

                      That said, yes Paul did express a lot of interest in doing another show with Andrew and Matt sometime as he really likes them and I’m sure he’d be up to do something with you and me at some point later on down the road. Both you and Teddi have made some fine suggestions for potential topics so I will mention them to him at some point and see what he thinks, but for right now I just want things to settle down a bit first, its too soon to bug him again I think.

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              2. Any hint of magnanimity was quickly snuffed out here. But you did put 3 arrogant and hypocritical skeptics in their place so that is something for you I guess.

                I’m curious if hypocritical garbage is an ontological category. Or is it merely an aspect of Imago Dei?

                Look, one day you might make a good living out of a relative paucity of intellectual gifting, perhaps at a third-tier university, or more likely with a para church ministry where the need is great for confused ideas for uninformed minds. But you really are going to have to learn to control your outbursts. If you implode every time someone points out that you received your education from the nursery, or when they highlight the formidable internal contradictions in your formulations, your employer will just pat you on the head and remind you of the shortest path to the soup kitchen.

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                1. Anthony,

                  OK fine, I guess I don’t apologize to you for calling you a “piece of hypocritical garbage” then- since you seem to want to own that description then so be it, I’m happy to request your wish. Weird I thought you wouldn’t like it so that was the only reason I apologized. So I’m sorry for saying I was sorry for calling you that- I promise I won’t do that again as you claim to be such as part of your inherent ontological nature and that is entirely cool with me as I’m happy to oblige and call you that name as per your request.

                  That said, on my end I don’t like your using thoughtless insults toward me and so I request that you apologize for it and stop it right now. I think you could learn a lot by reading what you wrote here and applying it to yourself, you are the one that needs to control yourself as it seems you can’t even say anything without accompanying that comment by immature and unproven insults and if that is the case then you are simply not a person worthy of speaking to or my spending time educating you in the proper manner of how to think critically.

                  You have yet to provide any substantive feedback at all toward me or my ideas ever. In the entire history of your leaving comments (or at least nothing that stands out as being memorable) to me have you proven a single contradiction in my thinking.

                  “A paucity of intellectual gifting and formidable internal contradictions in your (Dale) formulations” you say- well in the words of Darren, “Except you have never been able to stand up to my intellectual rigour and actually prove that these fantastical claims of yours about me are true”, you are literally all talk and no substance Anthony and its ironic because I’ve asked you to use your expertise and prove your claims about prior probability of miracles or whatever else it is you take issue with me on.

                  I, on the other hand, have a proven track record of having various people at a higher scholarly level agree with me when they properly understand my ideas. Secular PhD statisticians at my university affirmed my mathematical approach as valid as have you in one limited instance by the way. Yes Paul Bali is another expert who has affirmed the intelligence that I have and the well-thought out research I have on offer and you personally don’t like him– fine how about the other world’s experts who taught me and affirmed my worthiness to have my ideas taken seriously- I was invited to join a philosophical society for graduates only despite not even being an undergrad student run by one of the world’s experts- Dr. K (not giving his name cause of Tara, but he is considered a scholar’s scholar and is known internationally around the world. Here is just the latest on we had as it relates to next week’s topic with Teddi and Bryan and so they might find the Abstract helpful though I’m not allowed to share the papers and stuff publicly.

                  Title: An Epistemic Version of Pascal’s Wager

                  Speaker: Dr. LJ (ANU/Ryerson)

                  Abstract: Imagine you had an unlimited amount of time to ask an omniscient being anything you wanted. The potential epistemic benefits would be enormous, if not infinite: endless pieces of significant knowledge/true belief/justified belief. I argue that considerations like these point to an epistemic version of Pascal’s wager. Pascal’s wager normally utilizes conventional decision theory, a formal framework that prescribes action on the basis of one’s credences and utilities. However, decision theory has epistemic analogues used to prescribe belief—namely, epistemic decision theory and epistemic consequentialism. Using tools from both frameworks, I argue that there is a strong epistemic reason to believe in God. I compare and contrast this version of the wager with the traditional wager, and argue that the epistemic version has several notable advantages.

                  Or I was also acknowledged as very knowledgeable and intelligent and given a superb recommendation by another Atheist teacher of mine Dr. DS (again no names due to Tara) who is essentially Darren Lute personified as a teacher- he literally says the same things as Darren and rags on philosophy as a non-subject (he literally said my intelligence would be wasted if I went into doing a Masters of Phil but I was adamant that is what I wanted to do)- he is one of the world’s experts in the Philosophy of Science today and I invited him on the Podcast but he said no to it.

                  Or I was again likewise taught and recognized by Dr. DM from Harvard University one of the world’s experts on Hinduism and Eastern thought as being an amazingly smart and knowledgeable student; I revolutionized his understanding of the Cosmological argument as I was writing it up as part of my Essay. This is a guy who personally knew Indian philosophers like President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (a major player in bringing Hinduism to the West).

                  Or shocking to me, I took a philosophy of law class over 10 years ago and my professor still remembered me and said I was the best student in the class, I was shocked she didn’t just forget about me.

                  So yeah, the opinion of a biased skeptic like you is meaningless in terms of proving that my ideas are unworthy of due consideration and your insults are as worthless as the 1’s and 0’s used to convey them unless and until you put your money where your mouth is actually prove what you say about me and my ideas are true- list off the “formidable internal contradictions” you mention and prove they actually violate the logical law of non-contradiction instead of just asserting and assuming it mindlessly as you usually do.

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                  1. As a matter of fact I don’t take kindly to the description of a “piece of hypocritical garbage”. I was prepared to let it pass with your “apology” but you voided that within an hour with your hypocritical skeptic reference (to Vaal). That reeks of insincerity.

                    You were caught with your pants down. You trumpeted your philosophical credentials, going to a university under the tutelage of….an “atheist”. First we found out it was at Ryerson, an institution ranked somewhere near 1000 in the world. Most technical colleges that were founded upon training people to do an oil change are ranked around 500. Then we met the said atheist, except he wasn’t actually an atheist. And then we learned why your enchantingly childish thought patterns have not undergone the expected refinement. Paul seems a nice guy but the way of the new age adherent is not one of challenge.

                    OK you’ve got a few individuals from your esteemed institution of higher learning who you think agree with your formulations. Frankly I’m suspicious. You still think I’ve given the nod to your “Bayesian proof”. Yes you got the 1+1 part right. You butchered the mathematical logic. And yes, some have afforded you some encouragement over the years. That’s nice.

                    As to providing substantive feedback, I think I’ve shared before that my research agency has to deal with “helpful” ideas from the public. We do that in a 2-phase process. The first phase is built on the premise that you can’t or shouldn’t respond to the ridiculous. Only those ideas that pass this sanity test, are afforded serious analysis. So I’m sorry that many of us aren’t gullible enough or lacking a reasonable grasp on the workings of this world to give the shroud or the McGrew’s 10^44 Bayes factor a second look. Life is too short.

                    So I think we can agree that I’ll pass on you educating me in the proper manner of how to think critically. You can keep thinking that if one can’t identify a formal contradiction with an idea, then it must be a live option worthy of sinking hours into. I’m sure you’ll find like minded folk at Ryerson. Perhaps Elizabeth J might be susceptible to the whacky while her oxygen levels are still low as a result of the smoke in Canberra. But be quick, she does have exposure to a serious academic institution which will likely drive the vestiges of faith based thinking out of her in due course.

                    I’ll take my instruction from those that have survived the rigors of a serious institution and have a demonstrated critical thinking and judgement thank you.

                    The final volley is yours. Make it a good one.

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                    1. Anthony,

                      You literally make no sense, how does what I said to Vaal void my apology for calling you that name, no where did I say to Vaal that I thought it was good that I called you that name. I told Vaal, I was fed up as I had to address 3 skeptics that night who were being very arrogant and hypocritical- even in my apology to you I still maintained that I saw your response to me as such.

                      Look at how you replied to me originally Anthony, first place you feel that insults count as substantive feedback- whether to me or to Paul or anyone— are you for real???? Yet I looked past it and said I would ignore that and I responded as nicely as I could- something that you would not have done had the situation been reversed and I was giving you my feedback of you doing a show.

                      Then, you take it upon yourself to insert yourself into a heated convo between me and Sarah, ignore anything bad she is saying to me and make fun of me based on the notion of Hell- do you talk to your Christian wife that way when she tells you about her beliefs in Hell or in the Atonement of Jesus, or whatever else it is that you disagree with as an Idealist. This is hypocrisy on your part plain and simple, and it shows a lack of critical thinking on your part if you can’t even recognize that Christians believe in Hell and that the use of mocking tactics is one that is used by Atheists all the time to get people not to take religious ideas seriously but instead laugh at them and dismiss the without serious thought- this is what David and the Simpsons and many other comedians do all the time as a way to make Christianity look stupid when its really not, it is only such to those who don’t think to hard and try their best to be fair in evaluating various alternatives.

                      Also, yes congratulations you finally found a meaningless attack on me that works- Ryerson is not a world class school though it is improving and we do have some individuals that I mentioned to you and others in the past that teach there who are world-renowned scholars and I’ve been lucky to be privy to some of them- again I wish I could reveal the names so you could confirm what I’m saying but Tara makes that impossible for me to do as she will immediately email and bug them about my show on R2R so I guess you can be suspicious due to your bias against me if you want.

                      Finally, I love the fact that you at this supposed world class research institution (undisclosed name) would not waste time on the McGrews’ Rez take or the Shroud— Uh, OK not sure whoever asked you to do that at your job. The point was YOU of your own accord promised publically on the Boards to do your own personal statistical analysis of the Resurrection evidence and/or at least do the prior probability assessment and send it up for people to see- so everyone could see what factors you used or deemed to be relevant and assign not just normative values but statistical values to those factors in arriving at your final overall prior probability of the Rez of Jesus asyou like to pretend I don’t know what I’m talking about when I know more than you apparently.

                      I have called on you in sincerity many times to provide this as I want to see what you have on offer but you slink away each time hoping I and the public will forget, I suspect because you know that your claims are ridiculous and calculating the odds of the prior prob of the Rez of Jesus is simply inscrutable in the way you propose to be able to do it- you secretly know that you will be exposed as a hypocrite if you ever do so and the factors you provide will be dismissed as being totally irrelevant to the question at hand. Really Anthony and you claim to run a world-class research agency- I’m suspicious personally, but I’m wanting you to prove yourself- put your money where your mouth is and do the calculation of the prior prob where you identify the various factors involved, the stat values you assign to them and your reasons as to why you assigned those values, you promised you would do this in the summer I think it was, so why now all of a sudden is it a problem for you– surely you are not afraid to be exposed of being all talk and no substance; c’mon Anthony show me what that undisclosed world-renowned research agency of yours can do; my goodness even Brian Blaise had enough guts to post up his own prior prob assessment on his blog site and I thanked him for it and read it respectfully and mentioned where I thought he was wrong in his assessment but he doesn’t have a world-class research institution like you do, so surely you will be willing international prizes after you do this and be able to publish your prior prob values in the peer-reviewed literature and everything- I look forward to all of that.

                      It’s time Anthony, stop the skeptical bluster and begin calculating, show us Christians how its done already or if not then forever shut up with your grandiose claims whereby you are too cowardly to back them up. I and Brian Blaise have had the balls to explain what are prior prob values are and how we got them, you on the other hand just like to mock from the sidelines despite having a PhD in math; you are missing a golden opportunity to have Christians change their mind about the truth of Christianity here- pathetic!

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                    2. P.S.- I guess they need to teach the English language to you at these world-class schools as first you say that I have “formidable internal contradictions in your (Dale) formulations”. The use of the word “internal” and not external means that you are talking strict logical contradiction in what I said as though I said something to the effect of “My Molinistic Defeater explains the killing in the Bible” at one time and then later I said something to the effect of “My Molinistic Defeater does NOT explain the killing in the Bible”.

                      Thank you for unwittingly affirming that you are not able to prove with any examples what you said about me having “INTERNAL” contradictions by saying this = “You can keep thinking that if one can’t identify a formal contradiction with an idea, then it must be a live option worthy of sinking hours into”. Really???? I think that a lot of things don’t entail a formal contradiction but are not worthy of “sinking hours into”- Bugs Bunny or Santa Claus or even things that really exist like sports for example.

                      The fact is you changed the subject of your attack on me because you know your bias was exposed here, I don’t have any internal contradictions in my formulations but you just don’t think my notions are true (i.e. the contradict external reality)- Wow, everyone can say the same about literally everyone they disagree with, so this was meant to be some devastating attack on me- literally many of the skeptics on here can say the same to you as an Idealist whacko they think you must have “formidable internal contradictions in your (Anthony) formulations” as well (obviously where internal is corrected to mean your intention of being contradictory to external reality).

                      I find that many times the skeptics react emotionally in their attacks against me and my ideas but don’t think through their critiques to ensure they are accurate or fair representations of their opponents and I find they are simply unable to look beyond their own horizons to fairly evaluate alternative explanations and hypotheses- its weird as they are perfectly able to do it when it suits them like in looking at eternal models of the Universe as opposed to the Standard Big Bang model- as a Christian who believes the Big Bang, I’m perfectly able to look at things and fairly consider alternative scenarios (I provide this in all my shows where by I evaluate counter evidences or theories all the time) but anything that supports the Christian side just seems totally beyond their capability to seriously consider. Maybe in your case think of your wife and remember many of the insults you level at me simply for my beliefs that you disagree with would apply to your wife as well- do you think your wife is ridiculous for believing that Jesus died and rose from the dead, I bet she doesn’t care about all those billions of random people who God didn’t raise- try calling your Christian wife ludicrous and ridiculous tonight- I hope you have a comfy couch to sleep on.

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        2. I was about to go off on you . How very Christian of you, Dale. I can’t possibly see why. My comments have been perfectly calm. 

          the reason I’m so outraged as to say it is “sceptical filth” is because people’s souls are being damned because of this lazy bad reasoning and mocking jokes at Christians and Christianity.

          There wasn’t any mocking of Christianity/Christians. If you’re so concerned, why did you do shows with David? His criticism/ takedowns are far more polemic and hard-hitting. It was just experiences that were weird, hurtful and wrong. Was Rosie saying she was scared as a kid the rapture would happen when she was on the toilet, too much for your delicate ears? I think that’s amusing whether you believe or not and hardly a big deal. But either way, it points to a deeper truth about how religion and beliefs can affect children and cause fear.  May I suggest you toughen up if this sort of comment makes you burst into outrage. I find it hard to buy. You’ve heard worse.

          If mocking is your no 1 take away, it’s truly bizarre.  Rosie spoke well of her husband and her father. Brian heard it and seems to have understood Rosie’s story and pain. I think most people would. They might not agree with her conclusion and might find it’s uncomfortable listening to hear things one believes in, go wrong. I don’t get the impression Brian was in the least perturbed by the show. He found it moving and was interested. 

          You’re outraged by ‘lazy bad reasoning’?  Oh dear. How terrible for you. And Rosie is lazy in her reasoning, how? I wonder when she could have fitted in the study you personally require not to be tarred with *that* brush? Between her eating disorder and subsequent exorcism that made her conceal it and paranoia about more demons coming back, or maybe her trying to work out god’s will and who to marry, marrying far too young because she thought it was right, grieving her lost child, dealing with a violent autistic child they couldn’t cope with 24/7, plus her two other kids and her divorce? I think Rosie has plenty on her plate. 

          Maybe she’s not researched enough for you or was it in the wrong way because, after her best attempts, she concluded along with many, many others, god isn’t listening? You seem to think you’re in a position to judge this. Not just judge, but become ‘outraged’ by it. How extraordinary. I guess if you are the sole definer of ‘real seeker’ it also gives you magical abilities to spot one whenever needed.  Too bad Rosie was brought up in what you’ll no doubt consider the wrong kind of denomination. Yes, absolutely, Dale, that does sound like something people should be sent to hell for. Do you ever ask yourself whether the vile, harsh god you portray pushes people away? I can certainly attest to the fact that you have inoculated me for good on your version. 

          Besides, Rosie said when she had doubts she studied as best she could. Too bad she didn’t have the enlightened Dale’s 95 point argument, definitions of real seeker, shroud evidence to help her and 15 years at her disposal to study. Stupid Rosie, what a loser she is, as well as any fool who has the misfortune to hear her story, off to hell she and they, must surely go. Makes perfect sense.🤦🏽‍♀️

          When you use people’s misfortunate experiences in such an irresponsible way, like a true human being, this outrages me- people are going to Hell because of this stuff and they shouldn’t be.

          “Use”, “irresponsible” – all completely inappropriate words to employ in this instance. Who is “using” the story? To what end? This is a platform for people to share their story. Do you feel the same about AA gatherings where people relate their experiences about alcohol? How unfair they make alcohol look bad! If only they employed a sommelier to balance it out and talk about its benefits. 

          This community helps each other. These people have been loving and supporting people like Rosie and the lady (Zoe) at the end whose husband killed himself. It has been truly amazing to watch total strangers from around the world rally, send money and encouragement her and people like Dave Warnock. Sorry, there’s NO exploitation and it does much good. Most people say it has been a lifeline. 

          If your god sends people to hell for listening to a podcast and coming to the wrong conclusion, then he is the most petty deity I can conceive of. Evil, deranged and lacking in the most basic of compassion. 

          we should be angry at the injustice in this world, but what gets me even more angry is a couple of skeptics using these things unfairly (not even trying to give the other side a fair shot) .  
          Not everything in the world is scholarly evaluation, calculating probabilities to the nth degree in an oxford style debate. It’s not that kind of show.  Who should be presenting the other side to Rosie’s story? God maybe? I’m sure they’d have listened if he’d have turned up.

          Also, as mentioned before, you’re outraged and woke about entirely the wrong thing. Especially when it came to the way the gay guy was treated. Never mind his pain and abuse (ALSO condemned in the bible), it’s the doctrine God disapproves of ‘gay’ that is the takeaway point. 🤦🏽‍♀️
          and it leads to many people falsely thinking this stuff proves Christianity is false and thus they go to Hell as a result. Oh dear, he doesn’t sound very nice at all. Poor fools believing their version of Christianity but being quite wrong. What bits represented Christianity as false? The exorcism? I can assure you plenty of denominations think that. The trite tropes said to Rosie? the word of knowledge her dad had? Once again, you seem to have the corner on the market of exactly which Christianity is the right one. Aside from the stunning arrogance of this, how was Rosie even to know?

          My goodness who cares about just swearing- I personally don’t care . Please make up your mind. This was one of your main issues with this SECULAR show, that they have some bad language. Pointing out your double standards seems to have made you backtrack. 

          a pet peeve of mine is when swearing is used as a tactic to make fun of or belittle Christianity- its an unfair strategy as it makes many people stupid and they laugh instead of focusing on the substantive material
          Pet peeve? I suggest you find something more worthwhile to peeve about. I had no idea swearing decreased brain cells and made you stupid. Enlightening. How very strange to call it a tactic. What, pray tell, should have been the reaction when misplaced horrible tropes were trotted out to Rosie when she lost the baby? ‘God needed your baby more than you did’. The right reaction is absolutely an exclamatory F8#£!!.  At the very least it’s a perfectly normal human reaction. If you think the right one is a Bayesian calculation on the probability of that being true, then I have no words. 

          and the two shows I listened to sounded like exploitation of these poor people just to make Christianity the butt of a joke and look deeply immoral and show no effort to care or know what the truth is. That is filth to me.

          Filth? So you’re going with doubling down?!  Poor people? You don’t give two shits about the people. You’ve made that abundantly clear.  Their injustice is whatevs to you, but what really grinds your gears, what really causes you the outrage is that your particular version of your particular god with your particular precious doctrines haven’t presented quite “on brand”.  The idea someone is exploiting these people is laughable. I know cos I talk to them, they’ve not been exploited. You are mischaracterising the show once again. No one is making Christianity the butt of the jokes. There was no example where they made Christianity, which is a broad terms anyway, look immoral. Why? Because it. spoke.for. itself. through their experience. 

          Conversely and quite ironically, I would suggest your unwise defence of the Abraham test and the discussion you had with David, that in the OT days it would have been morally OK/justified to stone gay people, does exactly that; Make Christianity look immoral. You seem fine about it. Most of us sicked up a bit in our mouths, but not you. Rosie saying she looks back at her exorcism with alarm is somehow maligning Christianity unfairly and that flips you out, but a bit of child sacrifice, no, that’s fine and dandy. Ok then🤦🏽‍♀️. And someone like Bob on the show, who has never been a believer, and comes to it with fresh eyes, reacts in an aghast way, is cause for outrage and claims of Skeptical filth. I don’t buy your BS one bit. This is broken thinking on your part. And we’re the ones supposed to have that in spades, as you never tire of telling us. 

          No effort/care for the truth? You act as if you’ve never come across different genres. They are people’s  stories which I have no reason to believe she made up. They aren’t a deep dive into scholarship or an investigative journalism type show to cover all side. Who is going to arbitrate on the truth of Rosie’s story? You want a corroboration – I saw those types of exorcism. They happened. It’s a true account.

          You’re just plain wrong on this one. I hope some of the other take 3 mins to listen.
          I’m out.

          Like

          1. Sarah,

            Grow up, I told you my feelings about your filthy and perverted interests in exploiting the horrible experiences of others as a way to mock true Christianity with no effort to understand or represent the other side fairly. I don’t have to explain to you my feelings and I don’t have to be consistent in them either- feelings are feelings and they are not always consistent and this is why I didn’t provide it as substantive feedback. Last time I looked, David does try to have Christians on his show to represent us properly, where was the true Christian present in your filth to provide a fair perspective rather than just mocking insults.

            That poor woman Rose’s baby dies and a loving Christian reaches out to tell her that the baby is in a better place and how do those Satan-inspired hosts respond- mocking the Christians with their VILE UTTER FILTH!!!!!!!! I feel dirty even discussing their filthy ways with you at this point, maybe you like to wallow in the pig sty but I sure don’t, I have civilized standards- maybe you should listen to how its done on my latest show with David and Marvin, two enemies coming together to better understand each other’s position and take each other seriously- end up as friends as the end, that is how its done!

            Don’t you EVER judge me for my opinions again Sarah, you have no right to judge or challenge me on that front.

            Like

            1. Dale: Don’t you EVER judge me for my opinions again Sarah, you have no right to judge or challenge me on that front.

              Dale. Stop being a hypocrite. You are judging other people for their opinions, you have to expect people to do the same to you. At this point, you are just being an ass. Its time to just walk away. And no I’m not going to debate the issue or be pulled into your drama. So you can reply to me all you like, but I’m not going to reply back.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Darren,

                Your reply is skeptical filth and hypocrisy on your part- yes I think its best you mind your business if you have no intention of being fair and proper in your judgements.

                I have no interest in debating you on this or anything else for that matter- just go back to ignoring me please.

                Like

            2. 🤦🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️Stop lying, mischaracterising. All of it was questioned perfectly respectfully, not used ’pathetically’, to address your only valid claim at the start that it’s not oxford style debate format, but you backed yourself into a corner so have gone mad dog. Now all you can do is repeat untruth, try and distract to another issue, make moral high ground grabs and big up your messiah complex image. I mean, listen to yourself my ‘perverted filthy interest’ with ‘Satan inspired hosts‘ and their ‘utter vile filth’. Gee that’ll have peeked people’s interest for sure. Prepare to be severely disappointed folks, judge for yourself just how dirty, filthy and vile it is. 😂

              you have no right to judge or challenge me 😂😂😂

              As for Sarah ‘not giving a dang about Paul’. Desperate much? I don’t know Paul or anything about it.

              Like

              1. Stop lying Sarah you are obsessed with defending vile filth and you know it.

                How convenient that you are once again blissfully unaware of the skeptics misdoings on the Paul show- I call BS on this little charade of yours, it was literally the comments I was responding to where I mentioned your filth shows and we all know that you saw those and didn’t care at all.

                You obviously read my comments and thus you must have gleaned from that at minimum what the Paul thing was about and my take on it.

                I reported my feelings for a purpose- what was that purpose Sarah, why didn’t you know I felt this way until now????????? Try and be fair to me for once, do you agree with my point in that original comment- was I wrong to not tell you when you asked me for my substantive feedback on those shows to immediately condemn them as skeptical filth based on my own initial feelings, but instead tried to give them a chance by listening fully and trying to focus on whatever substance I could get out of that and then rely what I thought on that front to you- am I wrong on this??? Was I wrong to respect you and Rose so much that I tried my best to push past my initial gut reaction to the dirty tactics I was hearing??????? Should I have just went- yeah I feel this is filth and then reported immediately to you the show was filth, was the right thing I should have done like you and Darren and Anthony do to me and the Christians on here???????

                You yourself mentioned several places where you pointed out their filth and tried desperately to defend it by mocking me and my opinions. Anthony pretends that I’m nuts for saying people go to Hell due to the use of such tactics but fails to realize that he says David must be an idiot as he himself employs the polemics for this very purpose– to get people to stop believing what he sees as “ridiculous”. Now am I having different standards with not calling David or R2R or Dogma Debates skeptical filth even though these guys also employ some of the same tactics that I called filth in your shows- no not at all, why?????

                1. All of these people give the Christian side a fair shot as much as they can- I personally was invited on all of their shows to give my take as a counter so at least the audience had a fair shot and they don’t just do that for me but want as many Christian views as they can get to ensure they are being fair.

                2. Here’s something that should illustrate clearly my perspective on this- all of you skeptics were outraged at Robert Stanley when I did the Abraham Test show, remember that 5 min intro- that was what I mean by “skeptical filth”- totally unfair and uncharitable tactic just to make me look bad, but I was less offended by it then you were Sarah because I knew that he gave me a fair chance to give my side of things during the show and so I let it go, but I still say that intro was filth in my view and people are going to Hell because of that. They don’t go past the intro and just think Wow Christianity is nuts. For me, the major problem with this filth in your shows is that the filth is all people know about Christianity and Christians from listening to this thing; so when you present only one side and do so in a manner that is not fair or charitable to the other side then that is filth in my books and it leads to people not to knowing that there is a better case to be made on behalf of Christians. If people just listen to one side swearing, mocking and making Christians seem like whackos, then of course they will not evaluate the religion seriously and be damned as a result.

                3. David my goodness that man deserves a lot of credit even though he knows how much I loathe his polemical approach and think it is filth. Again he gives many different Christians a chance to defend their views in front of people so it is not just polemic on his part and since I’ve left the show, he has taken massive efforts in not wanting to see Christians as ridiculous or unreasonable and irrational- he has publically stated that he doesn’t want to play this game anymore and that deserves massive respect. Show me the episode where these hosts of yours recognize the damage they’ve done toward Christians in their off the cuff insults, mocking and just plain carelessness to properly understand these people’s experiences in light of true Christianity. You pretend they have no agenda, I’m sorry these guys do, they are not therapists, they want to use these experiences as a way to besmirch Christianity and make it look bad- that is the whole point of their Podcast to coax more people into disbelief. So yes, I’m sure they want to provide help to skeptics who need a community and I support that goal, but I don’t get the sense that is their main aim at all- instead it is to make Christianity look as bad as they can via the use of emotional and heart-wrenching stories about how the bad Christians treated these poor people- that’s what they really care about and that is why there is no effort to try and discern if their experiences relate to true Christianity or not, they literally don’t care so long as the person doing bad stuff calls themselves a Christian.

                Finally as to the swearing thing, you pretend like I’m crazy in saying its use can be used as a tactic and makes people stupid in the sense they stop seriously considering the substance- remember David’s “F-God” line he used in the 1st season of the show rarely. Tyler B. loved that line and I remember him saying how he forgot everything and couldn’t stop laughing at David saying that and how he hoped he could hear David say that vile filthy phrase more in the 2nd Season. Thank goodness he agreed not to do so, but still Tyler’s reaction proves my point- David said a funny line was more important to him than the substantive content of the issue we were discussing.

                Like

                1. Stop lying Sarah you are obsessed with defending vile filth and you know it.

                  Would you agree that’s quite the accusation, Dale? A bit OTT maybe?

                  Not least because, I’m not lying. I’ve not said a peep about your podcast/Paul. Yes, sure, I briefly saw something criticising Paul & podcast flying about. I’m not denying that. I simply said the comment that ‘Sarah doesn’t give a dang about Paul being upset’ wasn’t true.

                  I have no idea if Paul reads the SS board or that he was/is upset until I was accused of not caring about it. A bit baffling might you agree?

                  I’ve nothing against the dude. I’m sorry he feels upset. It literally has nothing to do with me. So to find myself accused of lying about something I don’t know that I am not caring about, and furthermore I am obsessed with since I love defending vile filth, might give you an inkling into why a person might not feel disposed to responding kindly to that.

                  No idea about Marvin’s spat either, which I clarified previously, so not sure why you are bringing this up. I don’t appreciate the insinuation I am somehow lying.

                  Now with that cleared up, I will reply later to your other points as I think you have missed why I challenged you about the podcast from the beginning. Your last post has clarified something.

                  Like

                2. Dale,
                  Stop lying Sarah you are obsessed with defending vile filth and you know it.

                  As you can appreciate Dale, that is quite the claim. Not only am I lying, but also obsessed with it and in particular vile file.
                  I am not lying. I’ve not said a peep about your podcast/Paul. Yes, sure, I briefly saw something criticising Paul & podcast. I’m not denying that. Your comment was ‘Sarah doesn’t give a dang about Paul being upset’ which I said was untrue.

                  Genuinely, I have no idea if he reads the SS board or that he was/is upset until I was accused of not caring about it. That’s what I was responding to. I’ve nothing against the dude. I’m sorry he feels upset. It literally has nothing to do with me.

                  (No idea about Marvin’s spat either, which I clarified previously). Bringing that up again is disingenuous and seeks to caste dispersion on me. I don’t want people thinking I lie. I don’t.

                  You can call me a sarky beach and worse, but somehow unfairly accusing me of lying is not something I’m keen on.

                  If you understood me wrong, that’s Ok, but then make sure you’re double sure when you make such an accusation.

                  Anyway. I’ve said my bit about that, water under the bridge, but it might highlight how in this convo you’re not being quite as squeaky clean as you think.

                  Now with that cleared up, I will be taking on the issue of the podcast comment because I think you have missed the point from the start about why I challenged you and it feeds in to a jolly good point I’m sure you will want to consider since it deals with one of your theories. Possibly a molonistic defeater defeater.

                  Tune in next time folks.

                  Like

                  1. Sarah,

                    I read and liked a comment that you made yesterday where I thought you sort of de-escalated and as such I gave you the last word on the matter and thought it was closed- the one where you asked me to go back to re-read your first two posts to me in this thread argument.

                    But I find yet more comments on this matter again today- which is fine if we do so in the spirit of Marvin and David. So, I heard you that you feel the convo went down hill once I started telling you not to Tell me what I mean by that term. Great having looked again at the start of this thing, I do see where on my end why I started saying that as my initial reply to you was calm as well- ironically the point you are complaining about here is relevant to how I see this whole thing getting started but I don’t want to provide my explanation to you unless you care about it or think it will be helpful to you. Again I will do whatever you want, but if you ask me for my view on things for your consideration, than please don’t get upset about it or feel the need to defend yourself when I provide that to you- just as I didn’t get upset when you identified to me where you thought I started things on my end.

                    If not, than I’m happy with giving you the final word on your view as to how this whole thing got started and I thought the whole thing was resolved with your reply yesterday on it- that’s why I just liked it and said nothing in response.

                    Like

                    1. I do see where on my end why I started saying that as my initial reply to you was calm as well- ironically the point you are complaining about here is relevant to how I see this whole thing getting started but I don’t want to provide my explanation to you unless you care about it or think it will be helpful to you.

                      Ok, thanks. You were initially calm. As far as I was concerned it was ticking along then bang. The language ramped up and you didn’t answer the points. If you’ve felt I contributed, feel free to explain where.

                      Then we’ll have a calm convo about it because it leads to of my molinistic defeater defeater. For realz.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  2. Sarah,

                    OK cool, I will take some time tomorrow- I’m helping my bro prep for a job interview but I will show you my perspective and I’m interested to know your defeater for the Molinistix Defeater- I’m not sure where that is coming from but I will be interested in hearing what you got for sure 🙂

                    Liked by 1 person

    4. Hi, Dale,

      CONGRATULATIONS!!! Talk about starting off with a bang! Looking forward to listening to the podcasts!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Teddi, I’m hoping to find a way to make my audio sound better, Paul is a music fan like David, so he was giving me pointers on how to improve the quality but when I set it to “Insane” in Audacity, the file was too big for Anchor.

        I’m hoping David will give me some pointers about how to convert MP4 in Skype video to audio Mp3 if there is a free software converter as I realize I have to try and find some way to make the quality sound better.

        But yeah substance wise- thanks, I’m off and running for sure 🙂

        Like

        1. Hi, Dale,

          Yeah, I don’t know what your tech talk means, so I’m just going to nod up and down.😆

          I haven’t had a chance to listen yet. My 91 year old uncle (who’s like a father to me) went into the hospital Sunday, then out then back in again yesterday. I’ve been on the phone left and right with folks for several days now. I’ll try to catch the new show you did very soon. If the usual suspects didn’t like it, that’s an excellent indication that I will think it’s fantastic!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hey Teddi,

            Lol never mind then. But yeah, you know what you might actually as I remember you are into things like astrology (in some respects) and my guest Paul is open to these sorts of things as communications from God or a higher being in ways that I’m not totally comfortable with myself (as per our private convo on it). So yeah, I think you may definitely get more out of what Paul said as he isn’t a Christian but he isn’t one of the “lay skeptic” types either (just a joke guys, don’t freak out everyone as there was no insult intended there lol :P). At one point he even semi-jokingly said that skeptics like “the Real Darren” almost conspiratorially invented the supernatural vs. natural divide as a way to dismiss the strong evidence- so I knew stuff like that they would take issue with him on for sure.

            Anyways, on Sat we will be back to the stuff they care about with David vs. Marvin and then I got two other shows in the works that they will like or be more interested in topic wise as well as I continue to plug away on my Cosmological argument write-up (let’s just say when I finally get that done, it will be a doozy of a show/blog) 🙂

            Like

            1. Hi, Dale,

              That what as interesting show with your former professor. It got more interesting towards the middle portion of the show. I was having a bit of a tough time getting into the subject matter that he was talking about. He sounds like a very interesting person —I’d love to hear his opinions on some other topics —like free-will and the status of ethics/morals among the godless.

              That was interesting that he discussed the use of mind-“enhancing”/altering drugs like LSD to help people communicate with higher beings. Yeah, now the skeptics’ ears have perked up!😆 I wonder how one would know the difference between a real communication from a higher being as opposed to it’s just being drug-induced? Seems like those people just really want to go on a “trip” if you ask me. 😉

              With me, the whole astrology thing is only relevant in terms of personality traits tied into one’s astrological sign. I view it in terms of God’s having created 12 different, general personality types. There’s some natural variance, but there tends to be a strong trend.

              I, however, put absolutely no stock into looking at astrological signs to foretell anything about the future (like when people examine their daily horoscope in the newspaper.) I think that’s total bunk.

              Bali mentioned something, briefly, about the 4 yogis or something dealing with personality, but I had no idea what that meant.

              I agreed with Bali’s position on miracles that they should be big enough to announce themselves as miracles do that we know they are from God.

              There’s a lot of substance to him, and you did a great job with your questions and comments! I’d like to hear his take on some additional subjects.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Hi Teddi,

                I have to confess to being quite surprised by this comment.
                With me, the whole astrology thing is only relevant in terms of personality traits tied into one’s astrological sign. I view it in terms of God’s having created 12 different, general personality types. There’s some natural variance, but there tends to be a strong trend.

                Is there scientific, peer-reviewed data suggesting the position of stars, billions of lightyears away, as viewed from a particular place in the universe has an affect on human personality to the extent we can see correlation? Does it include explanatory mechanisms as to how this works aside from God did it? Gravitational effects on the brain, some sort of quantum entanglement maybe?

                I somehow sincerely doubt it.

                Given the traits are banal generalisations like ‘you like to be sociable’ meaning hits can easily be counted and misses disregarded, it’s also not very convincing.

                Are you able to tell which sign I am ? Do i need to give you some more personality traits for you to work it out?

                I , however, put absolutely no stock into looking at astrological signs to foretell anything about the future. Thanks goodness there’s a line. I guess you wouldn’t to be associated with those nutters now would you?😉 Perish thé thought.

                Not to mention that in our denomination, anything like that came straight from the occult and you would do well to stay away. Worse, any involvement needed to be dealt with with prayer, quite possibly spiritual warfare in the form of some demon binding. It put you in the same category as a witch and sorcerer. And suffer not a witch to live and all that.

                I do hope Dale doesn’t get too outraged by this, as he’s particularly sensitive to bad, lazy reasoning. Astrology is pretty much up there with that. He may even chide you for misrepresenting a false type of Christianity that thinks it’s ok to dabble in these things, as this is sending people straight to hell. Be prepared for the onslaught, though you can rest easy since, like with the gays, their stoning and that of witches, which according to him is fully justifiable and the moral thing to do in the OT days, it’s not something he thinks should happen now. Phewee, huh?

                Looking forward to the scientific reviews on astrology. Does sturp produce them ? 😉. Cheap shot, but I couldn’t resist.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Sarah,

                  I ended things with you on a Positive note given your feeling unwell and you try to start stuff up with me again- you like drama don’t you.

                  Anyways, I’m too busy editing David vs. Marvin right now to get into it again with you- I’ll just say this, I would say your comment was a good example of “skeptical filth”- all you can do is mock and joke about Teddi’s views- look I don’t agree with her views on the birth signs and I told Teddi this privately, but unlike you I don’t instantly condemn people and I try my best to consider their views so Teddi gave me some sources of her view and I gave her some from mine.

                  Again, I’m on your side in not believing what Teddi does on this issue in particular and some of the stuff you said are concerns I have myself and she is well aware of my stance on it. But I recognize Teddi as an intelligent human being whose views deserve more consideration than just a mindless dismissal in the form of “I disagree therefore you are nuts”- have you looked into Teddi’s sources like I have before judging her beliefs to be false or “nutty”????? The way you treated her beliefs here Sarah is just filthy to me and its the same garbage those hosts did to the Christians in general- waste of time no effort to sincerely grapple with and understand people’s beliefs before resorting to childish mockery and provocative statements. This is the kind of thing that disgusts me on Boards, not that people can have honestly mistaken beliefs of bad reasoning at times- all of us do that from time to time- what matters is the attitude that comes attached to such that really gets under my skin.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. You’re really Crowbaring that filth word in there were you can aren’t you? Never has it been so used since 18th landed gentry described urchins.

                    Teddi, is the bear, she can defend herself. If legitimate questions/challenges to the astrology are squirm inducing, that’ll largely be because they reveal the absurdity of the idea. Blame the idea,not me. And maybe unlike you, I don’t feel I need to show deference to every crackpot theory out there. That doesn’t mean Teddi is nuts. Astrology is.
                    No need to ask me if I checked out her sources. Of course I didn’t. It’s astrology.

                    Teddi tells us she follows the evidence and science. I think she can expect to be challenged on kooky nonsense. And she more than robust enough to reply.

                    As for ‘No time to get into it with me’. Good, please don’t. I’ve said my piece. You are talking rubbish about the show which is about people’s experiences , as demonstrated by you’re whining, again, that it doesn’t fit the Dale format of balanced debate and the message isn’t on brand !! It been explained why a post ago.
                    And I don’t buy moral outrage or schooling from a guy who would gut his kid if god told him to, thinks stoning gays at any time was ok, defends ot slavery and genocide and worships a god that puts people in hell/time out’ or whatever theory he’s concocted to help him sleep at night.
                    So, I’m not interested in a reply and would beg of you not to.

                    Like

                    1. Sarah,

                      David, Marvin and Bryan have shown everyone on here how to properly relate to those they disagree with, I will take Marvin’s advice about you and just ignore- which apparently is a win-win for everyone.

                      When your ready to grow up and treat those of us with differing opinions than yours respectfully in dialogue instead of mocking, insulting or belittling them than feel free to let me know, as a loving Christian I’m always willing to forgive people like my Lord and Saviour forgives me for my sins.

                      Like

                    2. Dale, read the first post few posts I wrote to you on this again. I did. They were respectful. I genuinely tried to make sure they were as I wanted to see if we could even have a convo that went well.

                      Tone is hard sometimes – face to face is better as we’ve all seen this week.

                      I don’t deny you may feel a bit of emotion in some of the questions. But they were legit questions. I was not outwardly rude to you.

                      You were the first to start throwing the toys out with “How dare you” “I tell you, you don’t tell me” “grow up” “your perverted interests ” and other inflammatory language about people (immoral, satan driven etc)

                      I may have reacted in the later responses and I am sarky at times, but you must understand if you use language like that, you will rile people up.

                      Furthermore, as far as I could see you have failed to articulate how and why your claim the podcast is filthy and immoral.

                      I have no issue you with you not liking the show.

                      (Just for the record, I ignore Marvin. But that said, he came across, umm don’t make me say it, well).

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Sarah,
                      David, Marvin and Bryan have shown everyone on here how to properly relate to those they disagree with, I will take Marvin’s advice about you and just ignore- which apparently is a win-win for everyone.
                      When your ready to grow up and treat those of us with differing opinions than yours respectfully in dialogue instead of mocking, insulting or belittling them than feel free to let me know, as a loving Christian I’m always willing to forgive people like my Lord and Saviour forgives me for my sins.
                      —————————————-

                      Dale,
                      Picking up on a few things ref this comment. If you’ve noticed, I’ve had perfectly pleasant convos with Brian and others who hold a different view. It’s not normally a problem, whereas do I need to point out to you, you have repeatedly deleted accounts, disappeared in huffs and had clashes with every sceptic on here including ones that know you well personally.
                      There seems to be something in the way you communicate that causes convos to veer. Personally, and others have pointed it out it’s this kind of Messiah complex, whether intentional or unintentional that I think irritates and riles people. No doubt my sark does you. More about that later.
                      An example could be seen in your post above: You’re extending forgiveness which whilst appears noble it’s not without a certain …superiority.
                      Maybe you genuinely don’t mean it that way. But using this as the example (and I actually don’t have an issue with it btw, so no need to explain) but it could be taken this way
                      -you decide to pop in to “school me on the issue of forum etiquette” and to “grow up”.
                      – You cast yourself as the “loving Christian”- the insinuation being the opposite is, what?-filthy? unloving ? sinner? All not unreasonable things to assume since you chose to use language like that all the time elsewhere. In any case you are the bigger man and everyone need to see it.
                      -You float in as the only offended party “dispensing” forgiveness and only if I meet certain criteria, right after having patronised me and insulted me (so maybe you’re not the only offended party here).
                      Anyway, no need to explain, as I say, I will take it in the spirit I hope it was meant. That you wanted to highlight progress made this week and I think we all agree voices V written have been a revelation. But, it’s that type of thing that might wind people up. On tape you sound humble, in written form you can sound like a d1ck. And I am sure I do too.
                      You seem easily offended by what I consider is light sarcasm used to make a point. Things like “Never has the world filth been used so much since landed gentry referred to urchins’ is for me, an amusing way to say, OI!, you’re being a bit of a twit.
                      I don’t mind banter back especially if it’s true and I don’t see it as moral/immoral. Mostly I’m having some fun. So I don’t see any issue with for example writing a snarky point to Teddi about you, (because I suspect it was that, that triggered you). You’d been going crazy about lazy thinking and then that drops in. Sorry man, it’s a gift horse. I think it makes the point well. A bit sarcastically, but well.
                      Most of the time, I’m saying this stuff with a twinkle in my eye. Remember that. But I will try to keep the snark down.
                      Incidentally, I tend to try and forgive people whether or not they ask, repent. Not for them, but for me. For mental wellness. It’s about what is helpful/good/taking up brain real estate in yourself and what you chose to concentrate on. If I hate, am bitter towards someone it ultimately hurts me. It’s not what Christianity taught you about forgiveness, where you have to essentially do it for Jesus. You do it because it’s good for yourself. Otherwise it’s toxic. Letting go is hard, but you remind yourself it’s doing you harm and let go of anger/hate etc.
                      And, I’m not there with you yet…. (joking), but I am going to address something else on the matter.
                      TBC 😉 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                  2. Hi, Dale,

                    Because I do tend to pay attention where the evidence leads me, that’s why I’ve found zodiac signs to give a pretty good indication for what a particular person is like. It’s bizarrely fascinating –like it might be a part of God’s design for having people with different natures/personalities. What I’ve noticed is anecdotal, but I’m not the only one that’s noticed the strong correlation between zodiac signs and one’s actual personality traits.

                    Also, personality stuff is, arguably, a soft science. Yet, most people can spot “easy-going” personalities, “difficult” personalities, warm, caring, aloof, self-sacrificing vs selfish personalities. We don’t need scientists to tell us what we can easily observe for ourselves. I’m going to find that article that I sent you and post it.

                    Liked by 1 person

                2. Hi, Sarah,

                  As to being quite surprised by my comment on astrology –and how the church (depending upon which church) is against it, they are against it when astrology is looked at as a way to foretell the future. As I mentioned in my comment, I don’t believe in astrology as a way to divine the future. Furthermore, I agree that, for example, newspaper horoscopes and the like that tell you what will happen or “professional” fortune tellers, etc. are all just using keen observation skills and generalities that apply to most people. Again, bunk. I have, actually, read that the Catholic Church, a long time ago, used to pay a lot of credence to astrology, and that they have a huge library containing information on astrology.

                  Again, I only think think that zodiac signs are useful regarding getting a very good picture of a person’s overall personality. It probably won’t be 100%, but it will probably be very close –far more so than detailed personality descriptions for the other signs that the person is not. My theory is that it was part of God’s intelligent design that he created these 12 archetypal personalities. There is, of course, a natural overlap of traits between some of the different zodiac signs. But, from what I have seen with friends of mine, their personalities are very much so lined up with their personality type. The personality descriptions tend to be even more spot on if you look up your precise birthday. While I, naturally, think that nurture can overcome nature, overcoming our natural personality traits is quite difficult at best.

                  As far as overlap of certain personality traits, there are 4 categories: Fire, Earth, Air and Water. Yes, I know this sounds, kooky, but whatevs. (As they say, if they’re really after you, it’s not paranoia!) Lol! Three zodiac signs per category. The zodiac signs in a particular category will tend to have a good number of traits in common, but they will still have enough differences to differentiate themselves from each other. I’m a Libra, and I’ve noticed that my favorite friends to hang out with tend to be in my category (which is “air.”) The “air” signs are Libra, Aquarius and Geminis. We get along FAMOUSLY with each other. Libras get along famously with Pisces, as well. In terms of how Libras and Pisces treat our friends, we’re practically identical. Even though Pisces is a water sign, I’ve known some Pisces that I have mistaken for Libras. Pisces have some very distinguishing traits from Libras –just like the rest of the zodiac signs.

                  I started to give zodiac signs some credence about three years ago. Most of my life, I had not encountered many Libras that I knew of. All of a sudden, I started getting more and more Libra friends within a few years time. I started noticing how incredibly similar we were with our core personality traits and how we analyzed situations extremely dispassionately –even when it dealt with our kids. While certain personality traits can overlap with other signs (especially signs within one’s own category [like the “air” sign for Libra], you judge personality traits by the degree that a person has them –and whether that extends to just a few things or with everything.

                  I started looking up detailed descriptions of some of my close friends’ zodiac signs, and it was nuts how on point they were. I am familiar with the “Barnum effect,” so I was being careful to guard against that. Then, I started to guess what the signs were for some friends of mine whose birthdays I didn’t know, and I was getting them right –sometimes on the first try and, if wrong, I was getting it on the second try. There was a mother and daughter that I met at a party, and in speaking with the 15 year old daughter and her mother for over an hour, I asked the daughter if she was a Libra –she said she was. (It had to do with her extremely cool, detached/dispassionate examination of information –even with things that she would have had a natural bias towards.

                  When having that conversation a few months ago with Dale about zodiac signs and personality traits, I accurately guessed Dale’s zodiac sign on the first try, and I got David’s on the second try. Turns out, they’re the same sign. Go figure!

                  Sarah, while I don’t know that I know you terribly well, I’m still going to take a guess based on a couple of personality traits I’ve seen of yours. First, I can say with 99.999% certainty that you are NOT a Libra. While we share some similar traits, I can easily rule you out as a Libra based on.

                  I’ve seen you exhibit fairness a number of times (one of the most important Libra traits) by granting points that I have made –while your fellow skeptics have NEVER, EVER, NEVER, not ever conceded a single point that I have ever made that I can recall –even when they really should have. However, I have seen you be not quite so fair at other times. I’d say that this might be indicative of your having a “dual nature”. As such, I’m going to guess that you’re a Gemini –the twins (get it, dual nature?) Gemini is an “air” sign (like Libra) which might account for why I do see some similarities in our personalities. Geminis are, also, more likely to live in move to another country –like you have– and be adventure seeking. So, that’s my best guess given the limited information I have on you. Am I right? If not, and I’m not overly certain about this –I’d need to know you much better– but, maybe Leo?

                  Another person that I’d love to guess is Brian’s (with an i) zodiac sign. I have a very strong suspicion that he is a Pisces.

                  A couple of months ago, my Libra friend mentioned this very popular, supposedly spot-on personality test called “Enneagram.” I decided to check it out and I took the short test. The results were crazy spot-on, AND they were totally in line with Libra personality traits. My Libra friends had the same experience. And, the Enneagram is based on the responses you give to questions –so, it’s not just a random list of personality traits that you might say that somebody randomly put together. You (and everyone else who’s game) should take the test (if you haven’t already) and see if the results are accurate, and then see if it links up with your zodiac sign. I’d be very, very curious to see how accurate the results are. I’d love to do a huge study on it to see how the numbers pan out.

                  One last thing, I had pulled a detailed description of the personality traits for a Libra. Of the entire long description of traits, only 4 did not apply. When I looked up the personality traits for people with my EXACT BIRTHDAY (not just the same sign), there were only two traits in a long list of traits that didn’t apply. With the same website, I googled a friend’s sign (Virgo) to see how many of those personality traits applied (or not) to me. TWENTY of those traits did NOT apply to me. (I just looked all of this up from an old text that I saved for a conversation just like this.) While I can’t find the comparison that I did with my husband’s sign (Scorpio), it was something like 35 or 40 of the traits didn’t apply to me.

                  Anyhow, I hope you (and others) take the Enneagram test and report back with whether it links up with your zodiac sign. (Libra are known for being extremely curious, too! Go figure!) And, are you (Sarah) a Gemini –since you asked me to guess– a Gemini? And Brian, if you want to tell us, did I guess correctly that you are a Pisces?

                  Like

                  1. Hi Teddi,

                    Thanks for the response. I’ve heard/taken the Enneagram test a few times and on a few different websites, as well as many others over time, for example as part of a work courses.

                    What I tend to find is that they vary and I can even make them vary by priming myself first. I’ll do one specifically concentrating on ‘feeling confident’ and it is amazing how accurate they are reflecting what I’m channeling that particular day. It’s easy to see how cog biais can slip in. That’s why they are useful, but as you say soft science. I tend to fall bang in the middle of all of them, it’s always been a problem determining them. I though I’d Fair better with the enneagram and so far, I haven’t.

                    They are however, based on data that you provide and possibly psychological theories. They can be useful tools to reveal how your operate and your strengths and weaknesses. But it’s based on something and I’ve no issue in grouping character traits/ types of people and calling them what you like -air, water, cats, dogs. That you want to think there are 12 main character types, not an issue either.

                    It’s linking it to something like star position that is a next step up.

                    Here are some things that don’t make something automatically true:-
                    – That people have done it for a long time. (The article you linked to said it’s ancient, that’s about all) Yes, sure. So was believing in a flat earth, so were all manner of superstitions. Longevity doesn’t mean true. If it did we should probably all should be Hindus.

                    – That people, including respectable ,or known, people still do it eg Catholic Church, doesn’t make it true. Demi Moore still uses leeches, apparently. Jordan Peterson only eats beef.

                    – making it complicated and detailed, also doesn’t make it true or meaningful. I can concoct a very complicated system which charts the place of a colony of ants in my garden. It’s very detailed as the exact velocity of each ant has to be tracked. I combine it with some quantum physics data and there are a few more steps after that. I use it to determine how much snow will fall in Whistler Canada. I have yet to interest the ski resort into buying it – But it’s very complicated I tell them! I’m right in my assessment 20% of the time!

                    -personal anecdotes does not a theory make.
                    You’d need to be keeping a record of all your guesses on people right or wrong, so you don’t count the two party-lady-guesses without counting the 2 guess on me that you’ve had (which are both wrong). People would need to feed it in bottom up. Ie take all 12 character traits blind and come out correct a statistically amount of time for it to be meaningful. Instead it’s fed top down so you take the one you’re in and see how many matches there are to characteristics that we all share whilst having a few the highlighted. The cog biais is baked in.

                    – spooky coincidences, like having a lot of Libra friends. Do you know how many random people you need in a room before it’s likely you find 2 with the same birthday? Not just same month, same day? It’s something like 40-45 from memory. Very low numbers for the probability to work. It doesn’t therefore surprise me you have a lot of libra friends. There are 4 friends that share a birthday within + a few days. Stats baby.

                    The issue with astrology, is that it links personality types with random star formations as viewed from a certain rock in the solar system.
                    Their gravitational fields have no influence as the distances and certainly none on the human brain/physiology. Earths gravity barely affects ants, hence why they can walk up vertical walls. What makes you think a star millions of lightyears affects us? Why these stars and not the one sat right next to it that doesn’t fall into a constellation? Constellations aren’t a thing, they’re a construct we’ve given a set of points.

                    If your claim is god set it out that way, then you have the right to that belief, but don’t expect to be taken seriously from a scientific point of view.

                    Grouping people into types-ok yes.
                    Linking it this to random stars- not without corroborating evidence I’m afraid.
                    And since correlation doesn’t mean causation, then explaining how and what mechanics operate here to produce this effect is required.

                    You’ve provided no such explanation, data or links. Once again peer reviewed scientific studies showing a) a correlation between types of people all round the world and the month you’re born in and b) a theory as to the mechanism producing this affect more than stars/god.

                    Sorry Teddi, this is the realm of the gullible. There is no distinction between using it to predict the future and assessing character traits. Both are nonsense.

                    Liked by 3 people

                    1. Hi, Sarah,

                      I totally agree with you on what you list for things that don’t make something automatically true. I hold to that. I, also, don’t know why star positions, etc. on one’s birthdate would do anything, but that might be, somehow, how God designed the “system” for allotting personality types. I don’t know. I can tell you that it was downright bizarre how my husband’s personality type was MASSIVELY consistent to his zodiac sign. I mean, down to fine details –like being observant of the smallest, little things. For example, this has happened many times –someone will break a glass in the kitchen or dining area. I’ll spend about an hour cleaning it up –making sure I get every tiny bit. He’ll walk in the house (not knowing a glass has broken), he’ll walk in the kitchen and BOOM –he’ll spot the tiniest fleck of glass in some unobvious position. He detects things like this CONSTANTLY. That’s not a common personality trait to the extreme extent that he has it –but, Scorpios are known to be this way. My uncle and mother are both Virgos –and they are the “worry worts” of the zodiac, and my uncle and mother have this trait (and a vast number of the other Virgo traits) in spades.

                      Anyhow, there’s no gullibility involved with this, because I’m not (and have not) used such awareness for any real purpose. Like I said, it’s more of a curiosity.

                      One doesn’t need to know the mechanism of action in order for appreciating that a certain tool tends to correlate highly with one’s nature. Since I’ve noticed the correlation in people that I know very well, and since I’ve predicted a number of peoples’ zodiac sign based upon some very noticeable traits they have, I’d say that I’ve got a better method of figuring out what someone is like –much sooner than having to know them for a long time– than someone who doesn’t have such a tool. Of course, I’m not suggesting that we avoid or discriminate against certain people because of what sign they are.

                      Were your Enneagram results consistent with the traits listed for your zodiac sign? Although, I don’t know that I have a strong enough sense of your overall personality, my initial guess was your being a Gemini. Am I right? The Libra in me is very curious! 😉

                      Like

                    2. Hi Teddi,

                      So the explanation is God’s set it up that way. Random points in the sky, or essentially just the 12 months of the year, mean that you’ll be given one of 12 personalities on offer. Shame God didn’t base it on the Chinese calendar, he could have had a 13th one. 😉

                      At least you’re honest.

                      But would it be fair to say you’re not basing it on peer-reviewed, scientific studies, more you’re experience of folk around you showing strong correlation?

                      Did you notice a pattern of 12 personalities prior to this and then subsequently discover the info about zodiacs? Or did you discover the zodiac existed, then, as a known libra, start looking at the info? It sounds like the latter?

                      Anyway no, I did not link enneagram with zodiacs, I didn’t know there was a link. I never got into zodiacs as a kid when most people do as it I considered it part of the occult. Without a scientific study showing a proper correlation, I could only conclude it now, as nonsense. I mean there’d simply be no other choice. If the correlation couldn’t be demonstrated, (and we’re even not talking about causation here) then its’s bogus. Presumably, someone has done this or it’s just hearsay and anecdotal?

                      Here are some traits to help you guess. I won’t answer on Gemini just yet so we’re still at 1/10 chance.

                      As I say I always come out even across the board on every test. I’m 50:50 on left brain/ right brain, extrovert/introvert, melancholy / upbeat. Spontaneous/inflexible. I’m fine working on my own for myself like a programmer, but I’m also fine in a team enviro. I can get caught up in details, but if need be I can step back and think strategically. I naturally like an ordered house, but I’ve adapted to live in chaos and tuned it out. I love to get it nice when people come over, as what would they think of me😱 but I also don’t give a monkeys if they turn up and it’s not -stuff them, I’m perfectly secure. I like and can follow routine and rules, but I also have a criminal mind and am always finding ways to break them and love going off trail. Exploration and curiosity have increased since deconverting. i have also become increasingly liberal. I can judge but if I empathise with you, I’ll still judge, but I’ll be quiet and help you 😂😂
                      I need to hear about your pain to care about it, or I can naturally not sympathise. Face to face I read people well until I don’t. I can just as easily hermit away as live in a group more sociably.

                      I will not stop until I’ve got my point across or exhausted all the possibilities (as Dale’s discovering to his chagrin). Dog with a bone. But I can also give up, pack up and go home as I don’t give fig at many levels,life isn’t that serious.
                      I’m good with money always have been. I spend it wisely and thoughtfully but when it counts, I don’t count.

                      The only trait I could say is especially strong and has been prevalent throughout is, I really hate being unjustly accused. Totes hate it. I think it comes from trying hard to be Jesus-like, so when the effort was put in and someone accused me of not doing/doing something it’s just No, man! Like being accused of lying, or doing something I have proof I haven’t done.

                      Have a stab. What am I?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Have a stab. What am I?

                      100% human… or possibly bonobo. I think I’m going to need more information. Nevermind. I’ll see myself out.

                      Like

                    4. Hi, David,

                      I had guessed yours and Dale’s correctly a few months ago. I got yours right on the second try (Aries), and I got Dale’s right on the second try as well (Aries.). Go figure!😆😆😆. Correction: [I think I mentioned earlier in the comments that I got Dale’s right on the first try, but I had forgotten that it was actually on the second.

                      So, Sarah, so are you a Gemini or an Aquarius?

                      David, did you happen upon the new nickname I gave you????!

                      Like

                  2. Teddi: “Again, I only think think that zodiac signs are useful regarding getting a very good picture of a person’s overall personality. It probably won’t be 100%, but it will probably be very close –far more so than detailed personality descriptions for the other signs that the person is not.”

                    Hi Teddi,
                    Have you compared this method to others – such as Myers-Briggs? Or the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)?
                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers%E2%80%93Briggs_Type_Indicator
                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Multiphasic_Personality_Inventory

                    Are there any academic or psychological studies comparing different ways of understanding people’s personalities?

                    Curious,
                    Brian

                    Like

                    1. Hi, Bryan,

                      I don’t know if there are any studies comparing different ways of understanding peoples’ personalities, but I have read a study talking about how, for example, schizophrenia tends to occur more (to a statistically significant degree) to people born (I think it said from December, definitely January and maybe February as well They think that pregnant women are more likely to get hit with colds, etc. (perhaps taking more medication if they have a cold) and that this might, somehow, make it more likely that the genetic feature will manifest itself. I saw some other study that was indicating that people tend to have a certain trait when born in certain months (where they think, again, that the weather and stuff like that might have some sort of effect on the baby in utero. But, of course, this doesn’t account for the myriad of different personality traits exhibited in the 12 zodiac signs. As for Myer-Briggs type personality tests, the problem with this is that you’d have to get everyone you encounter to take the test and show you (or tell you) about what the results are for it to be of any benefit to other people. With trying to get an idea about someone’s personality by way of their zodiac sign, all you need to know is what sign they are or when their birthday is.

                      Personality types like Aries, Capricorn, Scorpio and Taurus tend to be a lot more impulsive, combative and quick-tempered. That’s a trait that is easily discernible after not too spending too much time engaging with a person. Every person who I’ve ever met that has those traits in a strong way has been one of those 4 signs. If you understand that’s their nature, you understand them a lot better and don’t take things too personally. You understand that that’s just how they are –like it or lump it.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Teddi: “As for Myer-Briggs type personality tests, the problem with this is that you’d have to get everyone you encounter to take the test and show you (or tell you) about what the results are for it to be of any benefit to other people. ”

                      Hi Teddi,
                      Good point!

                      Brian

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Teddi,
                      Is schizophrenia classed as a personality trait or is it mental illness?
                      If I get clinical depression and become consequently down, weepy and crotchety- does my birthday change?
                      Are people with multiple personality disorders born across a few months?

                      It tends to occur more (to a statistically significant degree) to people born (I think it said from December, definitely January and maybe February as well They think that pregnant women are more likely to get hit with colds, etc. (perhaps taking more medication if they have a cold) and that this might, somehow, make it more likely that the genetic feature will manifest itself.

                      That almost sounded like data, and I’d thought earlier, maybe there could be correlation with the actual months of the year in terms of seasons and personality traits. Now that has some explanatory power to see some correlation. Things like the effect of sunlight on early characteristics could play a part, I grant you. Then I remembered the flipping SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE and that put pay to the fact seasons would form part of this 12 personality types, dispensed by God because the exact opposite would be happening on the other side of the world. I mean, those ruddy Aussies celebrate Christmas in shorts on the beach.

                      I think we can at least therefore establish from this, whatever environmental factors causes schizophrenia in dec,jan,feb in the Northern hemisphere, will cause it in June,july, august in the southern hemisphere. If it forms part of the personality traits, of which there are twelve, then you’ve got a 1/2 chance of being born in a month that has it as a characteristic. I’m surprised it’s not more common.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. An interesting article. I found this one as I was looking for the other one that I read –talking about the correlation between mental illnesses and other illnesses with birth month.

                      I do think, however, like they say that it’s due to environmental factors. I wonder if you and David were born in months where BSC diagnoses are higher??? 😉 (KIDDING!!!)

                      https://www.mdedge.com/psychiatry/article/191756/seasonality-birth-and-psychiatric-illness

                      Like

                    5. Teddi, the study said exactly what I pointed out about schizophrenia and the Southern Hemisphere. They have also found many links between when you’re born and other diseases.

                      This is completely believable because they’re saying there is a correlation. Which means studies have been done using DATA and there are perfectly rational explanations which explain how it might be caused.

                      Diseases aren’t personality traits. Apples and oranges.

                      Where is the data that shows that David and I’s propensity of not being able to swallow large chunks of BS mean the earth was in the same position relative to the earth when were born?

                      To date, Teddi’s evidence= 0
                      Teddi’s guess test = 100% fail
                      Chance of Teddi continuing to believe this BS – very high to certain.
                      Causing factor= cognitive biais (reinforcement of what we already believe) human pattern searching propensity (seeing patterns to help make sense of life, and attributing meaning) and emotional attachment/investment (Subject has spent along time buying into this and has may social group connections reinforcing the belief)

                      Liked by 1 person

                    6. Hi, Sarah,

                      Here’s another interesting one. I just scanned the abstract really quickly –I’ve got to get back to helping my son with his homework– but this one talks about how the temperature, season, etc. could impact (they didn’t use the word gene expression, but it was something like that) –which, maybe that has an impact on not only certain types of illnesses but personality as well.

                      You can’t tell me that it’s not a fascinating area to look into. Why we have the natures that we do is, I think, extremely fascinating. I find it odd that others don’t find it interesting –just as they find me odd for finding that it does.

                      P.S. –if you read about “middle-Libras” [like me] that are born in the middle of the time period for Libras –they say we’re a little weird. BOOM!!! Yeah, NOW y’all are agreeing with the zodiac thing, aren’t y’all??? CHECKMATE.

                      Hey, another thing, too many of the commenters on this board seem to belong to whatever zodiac sign lacks a a sense of humor as a personality trait –I’ll exclude David from this since he regularly makes me laugh [actually, I mean this sincerely –not as an insult (although, come to think of it, he makes me laugh that way, too!) My best guess is he must still have some “light” deeply embedded within him since he used to preach.)

                      Nobody has even commented on my Snow White Teddy Bear avatar that I put up prior to our “cage match.” C’mon, people –that was priceless! I had to look through quite a few Teddy bear images to find the right one. Not a peep from the peeps. Loosen up! All that energy spent hating God must suck the joy out of y’all. Or, maybe many of the commenters need to stop sucking on those lemons. 😉

                      Liked by 1 person

                    7. I noticed your bear, it brought a smile.

                      I think I’ve contributed my fair share of bantering jokes on here. Much of the time I am wetting myself at the comments too. You seem game for a laugh, which is great.

                      Dale is the guy you go to for serious stuff.

                      Like

                  3. Teddi: “And Brian, if you want to tell us, did I guess correctly that you are a Pisces?”

                    Hi Teddi,
                    I was born in July – a Leo.

                    Brian

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Hi, Brian,

                      Well, that’s a SHOCKER! (!!!) Are you POSITIVE that you weren’t born in March and your parents just tinkered with the birth certificate for the classic reasons??? (KIDDING!!!!!!) Your personality is so peaceful, gentle and non-confrontational here on the boards –which was why I was thinking you were a Pisces. I have a close friend who is a Pisces, and he will go to the ends of the earth to avoid confrontation. I suppose if I really think about it now, you do always pop back with an answer with something you don’t agree with –which could POTENTIALLY start up a confrontation– but, your manner is so gentle in how you do it that it never ruffles anyone’s feathers. Still, that’s not at all how Leos classically operate. They tend to be very prideful and polemic –like the rest of us on the board. Lol. I’m wondering if you go down the list of personality traits of a Leo, how many of them are valid for you. With me, again, there were 4 that didn’t apply when I looked at Libras in general, and only 2 that didn’t apply when I looked up my exact birthdate. Hmmmmmm. I’m wondering if you took the Enneagram test if it would list off the personality traits that are for Leos. That would be fascinating to know if you ever wanted to take the test and tell us about it. Of course, if you’re not interested or curious, no worries.

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                  4. Teddi, it takes all my effort not to be dismissive of your contributions. You are into zodiacs and elementals and theories that include archetypal personalities written in the stars from the beginning of the Big Bang.

                    You claim to respect science and reason. Yet when I look at the list of things you believe, it makes me wonder if we are talking about the same thing. Science and reason simply do not allow for zodiac signs. Earth, wind, and fire is a rock band, not spirit elements that control personality traits. When you start banging on about the shroud, it feels no more worthy of attention than your speculation on zodiacs.

                    About personality types, if god made our souls to fit into one of the zodiac signs, then doesn’t that take away from free will? After all, I can’t help it that I am quick tempered or violent if that is what my sign dictates. So why should I be held accountable for those personality traits? I believe this is only part of the reason why most Christians don’t give these signs any credence.

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                    1. Hi, David,

                      You must have become non compos mentis if it just took ALL of your effort to NOT be dismissive of my contributions to S & S. As such, I’ll be nice and not kick a man when he’s down. 😉

                      I never said that the zodiac stuff regarding personality traits is rooted in science. I don’t know what the deal is with it –as I said, I think it may have something to do with how God designed us– but there seems to be something to it. But, you know what, I don’t use science (and I don’t know that anybody else does, either) to understand people. It’s not like I can walk around hooking people up to do a functional MRI on them to see how their brain reacts to different things, right? Everything doesn’t boil down to science. Peoples’ natures aren’t, for the most part, based in science. You can see babies exhibiting their personalities/nature quite early. Some are people pleasers, some are super-fussy, some are rebels and combative, etc. Nurture hasn’t even really come into the picture yet.

                      Of course, the Shroud evidence that I have talked about is ABSOLUTELY rooted in science. Your attempts to make it sound cuckoo just make you look anti-science. Logically, of course, you should realize [as I’m sure you really do –although you are not demonstrating that because it doesn’t advance your purpose) that my observation about a noticeable correlation between personality traits and one’s zodiac sign has nothing to do with the scientific evidence that exists concerning the Shroud, the resurrection and the existence of God. Those are non sequiturs.

                      I don’t see why one should ignore one’s own observations (as well as the observations of a great many others) that one’s zodiac sign is usually very tied into one’s personality. Again, everyone acknowledges that a person isn’t going to have every single trait that is listed in one’s zodiac. But, it’s about whether, statistically, if a person is far more in line with their zodiac personality traits compared to the personality traits of other zodiac signs. I’ve gone down the list of my own –as I mentioned in my first comment, and out of all the traits listed for my general sign (not my specific birthday), only 2 didn’t apply. When I looked at two other zodiac personality traits, there were 20 traits that were inconsistent with my personality for Virgo and around 35-40 which were inconsistent with my personality for Scorpio. That’s a HUGE difference. It’s jaw-dropping how strikingly similar all the Libras are who I know.

                      Worst case scenario, let me put it this way. If there is an easy, systematic method that gives you a fast, easy way to give you a quick picture of what a person is like –why would you ignore it if –from what you and many others have seen– it’s pretty reliable for that overall picture [even when taking the Barnum effect into consideration –as I have.] Everything I believe in doesn’t have to be proven scientifically. Many things I believe in have not been proven to my scientifically –such as when I believe that people care for me or love me. I can use my brain to make observations and judgments.

                      It’s so transparent to me that you and Sarah are trying to just seize upon this non-scientific observation of mine (which I have never claimed is rooted in science) to try and use it to discredit me when I bring up the actual, scientific evidence in support of the Shroud, the resurrection and the existence of God. That’s like comparing apples and oranges. Nice try (kind of like with your “Shroud-first Christianity” — better luck next time.

                      Moreover, you can boost your credibility in attacking mine regarding the Shroud evidence once you show me where the totality of your evidence trumps mine. It won’t –because it doesn’t exist, and I know it. I have yet to hear any objections from you as to the science that I have presented you with concerning the blood evidence. If you think that saying that you haven’t read any of it gives you immunity, it doesn’t. If you want to discredit something, you need to attack it –not just brush it off saying that you can’t attack it because it’s not worth your time to read it. That kind of an attack isn’t worth a hill of beans.

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                    2. I don’t want to go too deep down the zodiac hole. I will just say that your belief that you can take a supernatural shortcut to getting to know a person and figuring them out via the stars is no less damaging than people who think they can do the same via race or gender.

                      I respectfully bow out of this conversation and leave you with the last word.

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                    3. Hi, David,

                      How interesting that you are pulling the race card on someone who can pull the sex card (I’m not sure that came out right, but I’m goin’ with it.) 😳😂

                      While I am confident that it is not your intention to do so, (see, we Libras try to be diplomatic and fair even when dealing with an unfair argument), you cheapen the very real struggles that oppressed people have gone through —and do go through— when you compare them to someone whose overarching personality traits can be surmised by way of knowing their birthday.

                      C’mon, this is an argumentum ab snowflakiam.

                      Anyhow, every zodiac sign has its strengths and weaknesses. So, in the end, it’s kind of like we’re all either “Rock,” “Paper“ or “Scissors.”

                      Life, however, is different from the game, because we can use our free-will and intelligence to maximize our assets and minimize our weaknesses. As such, a children’s game of chance can be transformed into a strategic game of chess.

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                    4. You can have the last word after this. 🙂

                      The comparison is quite apt. There is no difference in an employer denying a black person a job because those people are not smart enough, or denying a woman a job because those people are too emotional, or denying an Ares a job because those people are too hot-headed, or a Christian a job because those people are too superstitious. None of these shortcuts work. They are all damaging. But you can’t see that because you happen to believe at least one of them is an accurate way to assess people.

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                    5. Hi, David,

                      You are still comparing apples to oranges. One can’t “free-will” oneself into a different race or gender. I’ve known many “hot-heads” who easily control their temper at work, because they are incentivized enough to not lose their job over their mouth. They pop off with their family and friends, because their friends don’t pay their bills. Plus, many “hot-heads” have other personality traits that balance them out.

                      Libras are known, for example, for being very analytical. However, a down-side of our personality is that we can sometimes analyze something to death and take forever to make a decision because we’re still weighing the pros and cons. Depending upon what job you put us in, this can be a positive or a negative. Why shouldn’t a potential employer have a heads-up about that? The odds that the zodiac is more accurate on that point (to be a good indicator if one will be a good fit for a job/workplace) might very well be better than one’s GPA or one’s appearance or how impressive one comes off in an interview..

                      Race and gender were always a bad way of sizing someone up because there is zero correlation between that and one’s character. Moreover, one cannot (at least not yet) truly change one’s race if one wanted to or, actually, change one’s gender [their DNA still says they are female, although sometimes they can convincingly change their outward appearance.]

                      Personality traits , that’s a different story. It’s not the equivalent of character, but it can (potentially) have some degree or effect on it. For example, a person whose nature is very impulsive is far more likely to get into trouble and do things they will regret than someone who is very measured before they act.

                      If you think about it, why shouldn’t that be just as up for grabs by an employer as the facade people present at interviews or one’s GPA (what about the less smart people who get discriminated against?) or the beautiful people who routinely are advantaged in getting certain types of jobs over the ugly or less beautiful?

                      Like it or not, there’s a certain amount of discrimination that routinely goes on as we navigate our way through life. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, we don’t always have time to get to know someone for 10 years before we can make a decent “judgment” about them. People hiring employees certainly don’t.

                      Now, because my Libra nature 🙃makes me so fair and curious, I am going to CHOOSE (I really could easily not do so in order to have the coveted last word, but I won’t) to encourage you to respond [and not stick to your saying you’d leave me with the last word] — because this subject is getting even juicer, and I’d be interested in your thoughts as well as the thoughts of others.

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                    6. However, a down-side of our personality is that we can sometimes analyze something to death and take forever to make a decision because we’re still weighing the pros and cons. Depending upon what job you put us in, this can be a positive or a negative. Totes me too, that. What am i?

                      Why shouldn’t a potential employer have a heads-up about that? Because it’s not a thing. They should maybe try throwing chicken bones and rolling dice to hire staff. About a scientific.

                      Evidence personality is linked to months, please!!!???

                      Take a psychometric test to determine whether someone is a thinker or a doer, fine. Data in, data out.
                      Look at environmental factors (such as weather) that can affect a body/disease/life expectancy, fine. Data in, data out.

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                    7. Hi, Sarah,

                      I’m still confident you’re not a Libra. If you are, you come across as one as much as Brian comes off as a Leo —which he doesn’t at all from what I can see. (Even Brian said that he’s unlike the other Leos he knows.). I see Libra characteristics in you —but there’s a little something off —that’s why I think you’re an “air” sign (of which Libra is in.) That’s why Gemini is my first guess, I’ll guess the other Aquarius sign as second.

                      Let me ask you these questions —to smoke you if you are a Libra.

                      Is it next to impossible for you to say “no” when someone asks you for a favor? Are you a very strong people pleaser —to where you will do things you hate just to make others happy? Are you a perennial peacemaker between your friends? Do you enjoy hanging out at home? Do you buy the best you can buy in terms of home furnishings and decorative items, and do many of them have an artistic flair to them? Do you value kindness over truth —in cases where the truth doesn’t really matter? [That’s the only time I can be rude to anyone. Otherwise, I go to the ends of the earth to not cause anybody to have hurt feelings. Are you very charitable with forgiving people? (You do seem to do be from what I have observed.). Do you instinctively detach from a situation in order to coldly analyze the facts (and not let your emotions or bias influence you? Are you (or were you) quite shy in romantic relationships— waiting for the other person to make the first move? Are you a “natural” at understanding human behavior and you can easily and (often accurately) predict how a situation is going to go down?
                      Can you and do you put yourself in someone else’s shoes so well that you really feel their pain? Are you intensely curious about things? Do you love to debate? (Obviously, but so does everyone else here.) Do you have an intense desire to persuade people you are right? (More so than the average person?)

                      If you answer “yes” to most of these attributes, I’ll say you fit the bill for a Libra —and what I noticed about you that made me think that you weren’t a Libra was an outlier —like the radiocarbon dating on the Shroud (!!!) 😂😂😂😂😂

                      Let me know how many of those traits you hit. I’m intensely curious —as a Libra would be!🤣🤣🤣

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                    8. Is it next to impossible for you to say “no” when someone asks you for a favor?
                      Nope. I have good boundaries but I will accommodate where possible.

                      Are you a very strong people pleaser —to where you will do things you hate just to make others happy?
                      Nope, but I try to please where possible, but if people don’t like something, it’s not my issue.

                      Are you a perennial peacemaker between your friends?
                      Yes and no. Happy to disrupt if necessary, but always want to find an agreement with friends. Probably like most people.

                      Do you enjoy hanging out at home? Yes.

                      Do you buy the best you can buy in terms of home furnishings and decorative items, and do many of them have an artistic flair to them?
                      Yes. I love interior design.

                      Do you value kindness over truth —in cases where the truth doesn’t really matter? [That’s the only time I can be rude to anyone.
                      It depends. Probably like most people. If you have a nazi at the door and you’re hiding jews, I’d lie. But sometimes in the heat of the argument, I prefer being right.

                      Otherwise, I go to the ends of the earth to not cause anybody to have hurt feelings.
                      Ha, what do you think?! I don’t like causing people pain. If they have an issue with something reasonable, umm, their issue. I’ll work it out for a long time if they’re a buddy.

                      Are you very charitable with forgiving people? (You do seem to do be from what I have observed.).
                      Probably average. Like most people. I don’t give up on friends.

                      Do you instinctively detach from a situation in order to coldly analyze the facts (and not let your emotions or bias influence you?
                      Yes for certain things. No for others.

                      Are you (or were you) quite shy in romantic relationships— waiting for the other person to make the first move?
                      Too young to remember. I’d be “normal” now. Confident enough but a little worried about rejection.

                      Are you a “natural” at understanding human behaviour and you can easily and (often accurately) predict how a situation is going to go down?
                      Average. Yes, no. Sometimes.

                      Can you and do you put yourself in someone else’s shoes so well that you really feel their pain?
                      I have to, to make sense of them.

                      Are you intensely curious about things?
                      Yes, no, depends on the subject. The human condition is endlessly fascinating

                      Do you love to debate? (Obviously, but so does everyone else here.)
                      Yes. But sometimes it’s pointless. This is a distraction and for fun.

                      Do you have an intense desire to persuade people you are right? (More so than the average person?)
                      That might be an 8 out of 10 towards yes.

                      These are all questions that are sufficiently vague and generic as to apply meaninglessly to everyone. “Are you friends with your good friends but keep really personal things to yourself.” Duh!! Like, yeah, everyone.

                      This very Cosmo/Vogue back in the 90’s.
                      What am I?

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                    9. You are so very un-Libra. Lol. I knew it! Yes, other people can have some of these traits to a certain extent, but Libras will have them to a very strong extent –like a 9 or 10 out of 10. My Libra friends and I have such similar natures that if personality traits were like looks, we’d look like two siblings who very clearly come from the same family –as opposed to just comparing them to some random person. It’s not that we’re totally identical, but there’s a striking similarity to us on a deep level.

                      While I agree it’s not (to my knowledge) scientific, I don’t know what it is. I’d love to do a study on it to see what kind of numbers I’d churn up.

                      Do you know what else isn’t scientific? Intuition. Yet, some people have it in spades, and they tend to be correct far more times than not. Should they ignore that, too? I don’t think that the ability to psychoanalyze someone is scientific, either, but some people can do it very well if they understand human nature. This can’t really be proven scientifically, either, yet people can be surprisingly accurate in their assessment of others.

                      What’s your basis for thinking that it is smart to ignore an easy way to get a sense of what a person’s like very quickly if one has found (along with a great many others) this to be pretty accurate?

                      That’s like saying that someone with good instincts/intuition should just chuck it because it’s not scientific. In the words of the Brits –rubbish! Lol.

                      Nobody’s saying (least of all I) that we shouldn’t hang out with certain “types.” Also, we can’t be sure which traits a particular person will lack –it’s not common for a description to be 100% accurate.

                      We make little preliminary assessments about what a person is like based on how they dress, their hairstyle, whether they have tattoos or not, etc. These assessments might not be right, but they can, often, be informative.

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                    10. OK, Sweets, I think we’ve indulged this long enough.

                      You’ve been asked to provide scientific data at the start, all you have provided are anecdotal observation you’ve had along with a few friends.

                      It’s not that we’re totally identical, but there’s a striking similarity to us on a deep level. Yes, we’re all pretty much human. People share similar traits, sometimes. You’re trying to ground these in specific times of the month. No correlation has ever been shown.

                      While I agree it’s not (to my knowledge) scientific, I don’t know what it is. I’d love to do a study on it to see what kind of numbers I’d churn up. It’s absolutely, CATEGORICALLY not. And please do churn the numbers if it can assist you towards having a more accurate view of the world. Studies they ,/i> have done in a scientific way eg double blind/ unprimed suspects have churned up that there is NO correlation. It doesn’t fair any better than chance. The scientific community puts zero stock in it. Bunkum. Nonsense pseudoscience that appears complicated like my garden ant analogy.

                      The hits you see are entirely explainable by our pattern seeking, meaning making a propensity we all share that helped us survive.

                      http://thescienceexplorer.com/brain-and-body/explainer-there-any-science-behind-astrology
                      ” , a study tested the accuracy of astrological charts in describing the personality traits of 193 study participants, and the results indicated that the scores were at a level consistent with chance.”
                      https://www.academia.edu/22318941/Psychology_of_Astrology_The_relationship_between_zodiac_signs_and_the_personality_of_an_individual
                      Study showed no significance between personality and astrological sign.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrology_and_science
                      Astrology is a belief system and is rejected by the scientific community. It has not demonstrated its effectiveness in controlled studies and has no scientific validity.

                      The Carlosn experiment – refutes astrological hypothesis

                      Dean & Kelly – Found no support for the idea.

                      Other tests – over 40 studies all showed no correlation, no better than chance.

                      How much more do you need, Teddi?

                      Do you know what else isn’t scientific? Intuition. Not necessarily true. There’s a known link between the brain and gut, the gut and the immune system and a host of subconscious process that go on that we’re not consciously aware of. They think it’s things like that which may be at the base of it.

                      I don’t think that the ability to psychoanalyze someone is scientific, either, but some people can do it very well if they understand human nature. This can’t really be proven scientifically, Oh dear. No, not true. Whilst these sciences are softer and harder to gauge because we are complex, they are absolutely based on data and studies. That’s how we know 99% of people prefer pleasure to pain and the 1% who don’t, we can class as masochists. Studies will reveal all manner of things, like abusive parenting are likely to produce certain effects later on. Data- study -Conclusions.

                      What’s your basis for thinking that it is smart to ignore an easy way to get a sense of what a person’s like very quickly if one has found (along with a great many others) this to be pretty accurate? My basis is, the fact you’ve seen some hits to suitable vague terms isn’t in the least convincing, however the studies done that show NO CORRELEATION, nada, nothing more than chance and no explanatory power say it’s bunkum. IT’s a pretty solid basis. Whilst you had a 1/12 chance of guessing right for David and Dale and got that correct, you’ve been wrong with Brian, and with me over 4 guesses. In a study that would net out pretty much at “chance”. I am not a Pisces, Gemini or Aquarius.
                      (I looked back at my enneagram and I was a 4,5,6. Another time I took it, I was something completely different.)

                      It’s clear that you are very enthusiastic it about this, so let me make a prediction using the way the tea leaves have arranged themselves in my cup today. Actually, no, according to observed and scientific studies on psychology phenomena of how people react.

                      You have been shown evidence astrology is inaccurate and nonsense, but you will continue to believe, so strong is your buy-in. Repeated pattern observation will continue to remain convincing. The neuro pathways that you have created through counting the hits over time will have reinforced this so strongly, you will likely be unable to change this view. This is too entrenched. You have built friendships, had talks and continued to amaze yourself at coincidences. For you the construct is REAL. No study in the world will convince you otherwise.

                      These are cognitive bias, deep programming, barnum effect and limited lived experience which we all have. It’s not unlike a religious belief. You should try and see if you can make yourself no-longer believe in it just for 5 mins and note and observe just how much your brain kicks back. What will it say ‘Yes!! but uncle Bob answered yes to liking staying at home, so this supports he’s from the Pisces.” Everyone likes being at home. It’s home.

                      New information takes time to assimilate. You won’t believe any of what we’ve told you and you will continue to hold your view. It will take time and repetition + research and credible people telling you otherwise over a period of time to change the narrative. World view changes is like turning course with the Titantic.

                      But, in the meantime, I think it’s fair to say ‘you’re not going where the evidence leads’, non of us do all the time. And, I’m sure the great minds on here have had quite enough of this women’s natter-group topic.

                      Now that’s exactly what a non Aquarius, Pisces, Gemini would say!

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                    11. Hi, Sarah,

                      I know that you keep harping on my not having provided scientific data regarding my having said that I do think that there tends to be a striking amount of correlation between zodiac signs and peoples’ personality traits from what I (and a great many others) have observed. Well, I have never tried to claim that this was backed by science, although that doesn’t mean that it might not be.

                      I know that you have provided some links to studies. Here are some reasons why these studies could be wrong. First of all, who’s judging as to whether the person’s personality traits are on point with their zodiac symbol? Do I really need to take a poll of every therapist, psychologist and psychiatrist for you to be convinced that a great many people lack self-awareness and objectivity when judging themselves and others?

                      Secondly, I’ve taken the Enneagram test twice, both times it was the same, and it was in lock-step with the personality traits of a Libra. My Libra friend took the Enneagram test, also, and the traits that the Enneagram listed off for her were, also, in lock-step with being a Libra. I had my husband take the Enneagram test to see if it would be in lock-step with his zodiac symbol (and how he is in reality) and it’s absolutely stunning how on-point it was. These traits that it was referencing were not just the type of traits that most people have to a certain degree. But, of course, personality traits are only “traits” if one exhibits them to a very high degree. Otherwise, they’re not really. My mother and a uncle are both Virgos, and they are the biggest worriers of the zodiac, and that’s totally true with them. I know that lots of people have anxiety and depression, but this is similar but different.

                      I find it interesting that your Enneagram results have vacillated. That must mean that either your personality is not stable [you weren’t born in one of those winter months, were you????? Lol], or you’re not a good judge of your own character. (!!!) Sorry (ok, not totally sorry) –you walked right into that! Lol! 😉

                      You say that we all share similar traits, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about what one’s DOMINANT traits are. Like I said, there were 35 or 40 (I can’t remember 100%) of traits listed for Scorpio that did not apply to me. The Scorpio description was eerily on point –very, very few traits didn’t apply to him.

                      When I mentioned that intuition isn’t scientific, you said that’s not necessarily true because of the “known” link between the brain and gut. First of all, what does one’s gut have to do with whether your brain is sharp enough to pick up on subtle clues that most people miss? Nothing. That’s not science.

                      Also, with those studies, I’d like to see what personality traits they were using for each zodiac sign. I’ve seen some descriptions on websites that are a lot more detailed than others. They get into weird quirks that are just not terribly common with most people. I know a couple of Geminis (“the twins.”) The ones that I am friends with really do have a dual nature, and I’ve noticed that people either love them or they hate them.

                      As to why 99% of people prefer pleasure to pain, that’s because pain hurts! The ones that really enjoy pain tend to have psychological reasons for that. But, this has nothing to do with the point that you were responding to –that the ABILITY to psychoanalyze someone isn’t scientific. Most people can do it a bit, others can do it much better, and some can’t do it at all.

                      Regardless of all you have said, I have no reason to disregard the impressive (yet not perfect) degree of accuracy in how zodiac signs correlate with dominant personality traits. Again, nurture (and environment) can, of course, interfere and even overcome nature.

                      Since this is nothing more than something I find to be a fascinating curiosity, I don’t need to substitute the judgment of others (or science) for my own. I don’t need to fall into the whole line of thinking of, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes.” There are all sorts of reasons why those prior studies could have been flawed. I’ve been, actually, wanting to do a bit of a study on it with traits that appear to be the most dominant. I’d, actually, like to see how many other people find that their Enneagram profile is the same as their zodiac.

                      Anecdotal evidence isn’t necessarily false. Of course, it isn’t necessarily true, either. No, it’s not fair to say that I’m going where the evidence leads, because I AM going where the rather compelling evidence that I (and others) have noticed leads. And, since I’m a Libra, I’m an authority on what’s fair and what’s not. ;-p

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                    12. Hi, Teddi, I see the brain thing of kicking back I mentioned, has swung in hard. 😉

                      Well, I have never tried to claim that this was backed by science, although that doesn’t mean that it might not be.
                      No, But it isn’t. The scientific community as whole, and the studies in particular have demonstrated it’s bunkum.

                      First of all, who’s judging as to whether the person’s personality traits are on point with their zodiac symbol? Do I really need to take a poll of every therapist, psychologist and psychiatrist for you to be convinced that a great many people lack self-awareness and objectivity when judging themselves and others?

                      It’s a scientific study run by people who describe their methodology. (Eg They ask people to pick which sign they are without the sign being revealed. Going in blind, showed people were as likely to get it right as with chance.) There is no correlation to personality type to stars.

                      Of course studies can be wrong, but all of them? And not when they follow the scientific method. Do youapply the same skepticism to the shroud science? Do I really need to remind you many people have a vested interest in that to be true. Whereas zodiac signs, it would be interesting to see if it it. So they studied it and there no correlation.

                      Virgos, biggest worriers
                      My friend is a worrier. She’s not born in Virgo months. She just has bad thinking. I used to be when I was younger because I had limited tools at my disposal. I learnt to become equipped. Worry is a non value activity, so I trained myself not to bother with it.

                      As mentioned, no surprise on the enneagram. It’s not hard science. They’re only a guide, base on generalities. At best they’re a useful tool. A positive attitude can change the results which is why I specifically took them with 2 attitudes, the same day. Different websites/tests.

                      When I mentioned that intuition isn’t scientific, you said that’s not necessarily true because of the “known” link between the brain and gut. First of all, what does one’s gut have to do with whether your brain is sharp enough to pick up on subtle clues that most people miss? Nothing. That’s not science

                      Yes, it is. That’s the point. They’re finding the gut and brain are a two way street informing each other. What seems a ‘mystery’ and unexplainable intuition is starting to be explainable. I can’t recall what, but something like those who are more intuitive are getting feeds of information from the gut that others don’t.
                      Or this article for example.
                      https://bigthink.com/philip-perry/do-you-follow-your-gut-scientists-are-zeroing-in-on-where-intuition-comes-from-biologically

                      I don’t need to substitute the judgment of others (or science) for my own.
                      🤦🏽‍♀️ Oh dear god. Yes you do, or at least one does if one wants to stay current, informed, well reasoned – one absolutely does need to heed science over one’s own fallible, biaised, and limited knowledge.
                      But if your enjoy it, and the demons aren’t assailing you from you dabbling in the occult, knock yourself out petal. 😉

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                    13. Teddi: “(Even Brian said that he’s unlike the other Leos he knows.)”

                      Hi Teddi,
                      Just to be clear, the other Leos whom I know are not all of one personality grouping. They each have very unique personalities.

                      Brian the Lion!!!

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                    14. Hi, Sarah,

                      What an AWESOME nickname for Brian!!! I’ve tried to think of one for David, but nothing had been coming to mind.

                      “Double-Down David?” “The Rev in Reverse?” “David —I Don’t Believe in Magic!— Johnson.” Bam!!!

                      Yep, I’ve still got it. 😂😂😂

                      I think we have a clear winner, huh?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    15. Hi, Brian the Lion (!!!),

                      I think I was in err and thought Sarah wrote this and responded, specifically, to her regarding this. My apologies —YOU are the one that came up with your FANTASTIC nickname! Kudos!

                      Yes, there can be some variances among the different people that have the same zodiac sign, but they still trr Ed Nd to share a much higher percentage than average number of the traits that mss as me up their sign.

                      I’ve read that there can be some subtle shifts regarding whether someone’s birthday falls in the earlier, middle or latter part of the applicable calendar dates. While I have not checked this aspect of it out with others, I did notice that the almost all of the few traits that didn’t apply to me for the general description were left out of the specific description for my birthday. Specifically, it said (in the general Libra description) that they can be lazy and they like to delegate tasks. I’m the opposite on both of those, and the description for my birthday reflected that —I thought that was pretty bizarre! But, looking up the description for which third you’re in can yield more accurate results.

                      Maybe you’re in a different group than the other Leos?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    16. Again, everyone acknowledges that a person isn’t going to have every single trait that is listed in one’s zodiac. But, it’s about whether, statistically, if a person is far more in line with their zodiac personality traits compared to the personality traits of other zodiac signs.

                      Bingo Teddi! Yes! it is absolutely about whether it is STATISTICALLY demonstrable that there is a correlation between personality types as defined by a set of parameters and the month you were born in. Prove it.

                      That we can usefully categorise people into 12 basic types, I have no issue with. Granted. Make it 4, 12, 150, I don’t care.

                      But you’re linking it to a particular month in the year. I don’t mind if you link to the month, the stars or the flowers in bloom at that time, but the claim is time determines personality.

                      Demonstrate it with evidence.

                      I don’t give a monkey’s you’ve found a correlation, personally. Nor, that your friends have either. A women’s natter-group chat is not a peer reviewed study demonstrating people’s personalities are linked to the time they were born as defined by our position to the sun, which we’ve adopted for many practical reasons as being a full earth rotation.

                      If not, it’s bogus nonsense and should be dismissed. Hiding behind it’s people, soft science etc doesn’t get you off the hook. You keep repeating there is a correlation, so where is the evidence.

                      All you’ve got is, I like it. God did it and I’ve seen it myself (though I’ll conveniently forget I’ve guessed 100% wrong so far on the board (exc Gemini so as to keep a. 1/10 chance on me))

                      Like

                3. The Church has a dim view of astrology and the like for looking into the future or as a guide as to what to do in the future. As I mentioned, I don’t put any stock whatsoever in astrology for this purpose. I, solely, think that it seems to just be an interesting, fascinating way to get a faster insight into someone’s personality. That’s it. Tons of people think this, as well, and for very good reason –it’s based upon the evidence that they see. We don’t always have to have scientists tell us what we can, easily, observe for ourselves.

                  https://www.uscatholic.org/articles/201507/can-catholics-consult-their-horoscopes-30212

                  Like

                  1. Teddi: “The Church has a dim view of astrology and the like for looking into the future or as a guide as to what to do in the future. As I mentioned, I don’t put any stock whatsoever in astrology for this purpose. I, solely, think that it seems to just be an interesting, fascinating way to get a faster insight into someone’s personality. That’s it. Tons of people think this, as well, and for very good reason –it’s based upon the evidence that they see. We don’t always have to have scientists tell us what we can, easily, observe for ourselves.

                    https://www.uscatholic.org/articles/201507/can-catholics-consult-their-horoscopes-30212

                    Hi Teddi,
                    Some hold that the Magi – or the wise men – who followed the star to visit Jesus – were using astrology. But, others dispute this.
                    For whatever it is worth (and I’m not saying it is correct nor that the Church always held this view), the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
                    Divination and magic

                    2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

                    2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

                    2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others – even if this were for the sake of restoring their health – are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity.

                    Brian

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Hi, Brian,

                      I don’t disagree with what you’ve posted. What I’m talking about has nothing to do with divination of the future and looking to astrology for guidance as to how to act or live. It has to do with what a great many people have noticed for a long time that the characteristics of one’s zodiac symbol tend to be strongly indicative of one’s overall personality. Some personality types and correlating zodiac symbols are easier to predict, I think, than others. Libras, like me, are rather easy to predict, I think. Aries, Capricorn, Scorpio and Taurus are pretty easy to predict as well –often within 1-2 guesses (at most, 4 out of 12 personality types.

                      Having recently met some Pisces, I think that I can pick them out if I have enough information about them. They can come across as being Libras but with some differences –Pisces tend to abhor getting into confrontations with others. Libras, also, tend to be this way and we place a premium on maintaining or acquiring peace between people; but, we’ll get into an argument/fight with someone if we think they are being unfair or unjust. Libras LOVE to debate as well and to get endlessly curious about things –can’t you tell?

                      Anyhow, none of this is predictive of the future –it’s just observing that there seem to be different personality types that seem to go with zodiac symbols. From what I (and many others) have observed, it’s a pretty great predictor of how someone you don’t know very well is –so, it is just a tool of sorts as to understanding someone else’s nature. Also, if you, for example, see a person engaging in a behavior that is in his nature, then that give one a “heads-up” that trying to change that personality trait is highly unlikely –because it’s in his nature. So, it’s useful in that sense. I just find it to be an interesting curiosity, and I think that this was part of God’s design. As such, I don’t think that this is in the same category at all as consulting mediums, looking at daily horoscopes, mapping one’s destiny or any of that stuff. I don’t base any of my decisions on it. I just think that it’s interesting that we seem to be imbued with certain personality traits from birth. This, however, should not be seen as conflicting with free-will, however. I can override my nature if I want to, and there have been times when I have.

                      Also, I’ve read that, also, about questions as to whether the 3 Wise Men were astrologers. Who knows, maybe, maybe not. They might have been astronomers (as opposed to astrologers.) Or, I’ve seen where some people think that the Star of Bethlehem might not have, literally, been a star. Unlike many of the atheists, I don’t get caught up in having to figure out what “the truth” is about these details –as in, whether it’s figurative language and allegory or not. I look at the big picture and go with the “take-away” that God wants us to understand. It seems like so many atheists lost their religion through trying to nit-pick everything to death; and that’s what they did –they killed off their faith, because they just MUST know and understand every single thing.

                      That’s one of the things that is very emphasized in the Greek Orthodox church, and that is that there is a lot of mystery to God. (This, really, should be obvious.) I think it’s both unwise and a mistake when churches/pastors try to be too detailed with trying to make out who God is. This is where the atheist will find some sort of a discrepancy and then their spiritual world crumbles. It strikes me as a simplistic view of God that is untenable. I think that God is so much more than we could ever even imagine.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Teddi: “Having recently met some Pisces, I think that I can pick them out if I have enough information about them. ”

                      Hi Teddi,
                      I know next to nothing about astrology. But, I do know that I’ve met a lot of people born the same month that I was who have very different personalities. I would assume there has been some good studies done on personalities and birthdates – but I’m not familiar with them.

                      I’m a little skeptical about Myers-Briggs – and even more about personalities being connected to birthdates – but, don’t go by me for this isn’t an area that I’ve researched,
                      Brian

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Teddi: “What I’m talking about has nothing to do with divination of the future and looking to astrology for guidance as to how to act or live. It has to do with what a great many people have noticed for a long time that the characteristics of one’s zodiac symbol tend to be strongly indicative of one’s overall personality. Some personality types and correlating zodiac symbols are easier to predict, I think, than others.”

                      Hi Teddi,
                      I am in the process of re-reading St. Augustine’s “Confessions” and came across a tiny section in which he talks about getting information from astrologers. As a Christian, he now regrets doing so. He seems to feel that, if the stars determine what we do, then that means we are not responsible for our misdeeds and that God is. He doesn’t specifically talk about personalities but my impression would be that if our personalities are caused by the stars – and our personalities cause us to act in certain ways – then we wouldn’t be responsible for how we act – that our actions would be the result of the stars – and since God caused the stars, then God would be responsible.

                      But, I may not be understanding St. Augustine correctly – or he may be wrong. I just thought it was interesting that I came across this while you were sharing your thoughts on the zodiac and astrology. You had also shared an article on how the Catholic Church had viewed astrology and since St. Augustine wrote this way back in about 397 AD, it was interesting to me how at least this one Church Father viewed astrology.

                      “The same reasoning did not prevent me from consulting those impostors, the astrologers, … Nevertheless, true Christian piety rightly rejects and condemns what they do. ‘For sweet it is to praise the Lord’ and say ‘Have mercy on me; give healing to a soul that has sinned against you.’ And it is wrong to impose upon your readiness to forgive, taking it as licence to commit sin. Instead we must remember Our Lord’s words to the cripple: ‘You have recovered your strength. Do not sin any more, for fear that worse should befall you.’ This truth is our whole salvation, but the astrologers try to do away with it. They tell us that the cause of sin is determined in the heavens and we cannot escape it, and that this or that is the work of Venus or Saturn or Mars. They want us to believe that man is guiltless, flesh and blood though he is and doomed to die despite his pride. Instead they have it that the blame is to be laid on the Creator and Ruler of the heavens and the stars, none other than our God, himself the very source of justice, from whom its sweetness is derived – on you, O God, who ‘will award to every man what his acts have deserved,’ you who ‘will never disdain a heart that is humbled and contrite.’”

                      But, if one doesn’t think that a person’s personality is a cause of how they act (sin) then I suspect St. Augustine’s objections wouldn’t apply,
                      Brian

                      Like

                    4. Hi, Brian the Lion,

                      Thanks for the information on Aquinas. I do agree that to use astrology as a way to foretell the future or to guide you in life (such as, is today a lucky day for me) is wrong and not what a God wants us to do —because it has us looking to something other than Him and our free-will for guidance. Moreover, I’ve not encountered any evidence that there is even the remotest bit of accuracy to daily horoscopes and the like —since they tend to be vague and are subject to becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.

                      However, —and you know how I am very strong in my beliefs concerning humans having free-will— I have, actually, considered the question of how much free-will do we have when certain traits make up our nature/personality.

                      The only reason I even considered that was because of how bizarrely spot on the descriptions are that I have seen —especially with my husband, myself, my mother, my uncle and a couple of close friends. Yes, we all have some overlapping traits, but we have some that are in the spotlight. I started to question whether this “pre-programming” undermines the argument that we have free-will.

                      We can all, however, overcome our personal inclinations in the same way that just because someone might be genetically predisposed to become an alcoholic can still control one’s behavior and not drink in excess. Recovering addicts of all varieties manage to control their impulses. We’re all predisposed towards positive and negative traits.

                      For example, I’ve known people who have quick tempers who, somehow, manage to control their tempers when they are at work —because they don’t want to get fired. So, they can control their temper WHEN THEY WANT TO with their free-will. So, while they have predispositions, they can override them if they want to.

                      Our genetics predispose us to behave in certain ways as well, but we are more than just the sum total of our genes.

                      Richard Dawkins said that we do nothing but “dance to our DNA.” From what I’ve noticed, we “dance” to a lot of our personality traits as well (I certainly do)—but, we can still control how we both harness and express our traits when we decide what we want to do.

                      Our having free-will is at its most important when it comes to choosing or rejecting God. There are countless Christians who represent all of the 12 astrological signs. So, that could never be an excuse for why someone could not accept and love God.

                      As an aside, I’ve noticed a certain rigid thinking pattern in ex-Christians atheists. If God doesn’t square with what they want or expect, he just can’t possibly exist. That’s fallacious thinking. The Bible could be a total, 100% lie, or some of the descriptions of God could be mistaken, or the Bible might not, exactly be the “word of God,” etc. —all of this can be true, and God could, in fact, still exist.

                      But, a house built of cards won’t withstand wind.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. I am very strong in my beliefs concerning humans having free-will
                      Of course, it’s far from a slam dunk. A case can be made for determinism, libertarian free-will and something in between like Compatableism. Choices and actions made, have scientifically been shown in some instances to precede conscious thought about them. Sometimes up to several seconds. Things are happening and being done before we are aware and therefore without what we understand as our freewill being exercised.
                      You can’t choose many things in life. Whether you are prone to depression, schizophrenia, received a bad education, were badly abused as a kid causing all manner of issues, whether you were given good coping strategies, socialised properly before age 4 which determines how likely you are to succeed later. Etc etc. I personally don’t know whether we have true free will. I certainly accept we have the feeling we do, but like the self, this might be illusionary.

                      We can all, however, overcome our personal inclinations in the same way that just because someone might be genetically predisposed to become an alcoholic can still control one’s behavior and not drink in excess. Recovering addicts of all varieties manage to control their impulses.

                      Addicts have different brain circuitry with regards to the rewards centre of the brain. A perfectly balanced person can take a hit of crack and not become addicted. Another perfectly balanced person who has the addict gene (doesn’t even know) will become instantly addicted.

                      Addicts can no more control their craving and addiction than we can control our basic need for food. They have no choice in the matter with regards the overwhelming drive/craving and how their brain responds. Which is why it’s often called an illness. It is literally agony not to give in and since most of us will choose relief and pleasure over overwhelming pain, it is understandable they reach for another hit. If they’re lucky enough to get help and can break the chemical cycle ruling them, then yes, they have some free-will to not go towards the grips of addiction again. But you have to be out of the chemical dependency. Once out, it has to be managed daily through abstinence. Nothing else works. That’s why you are always a recovering addict. You are never cured. One drink and the brian circuit fires like nothing else.

                      Abusing alcohol and a full-blown addict are different things. Russell Brand has some good films about it. He was an addict and now has to abstain from any and every type of thing that could get him addicted, even though he doesn’t see the problem with something like cannabis. For many, it won’t be the slightest issue to take it once in a while. For him, it would be disastrous.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    6. Teddi: “Thanks for the information on Aquinas. I do agree that to use astrology as a way to foretell the future or to guide you in life (such as, is today a lucky day for me) is wrong and not what a God wants us to do —because it has us looking to something other than Him and our free-will for guidance. …”

                      Hi Teddi,
                      If the stars determine our personalities which greatly influence how we act – or if God does – or if our culture and society does – then I’m not sure exactly how much free will we have and just what we are to be held responsible for. Little things like how much sunlight a person gets can impact their mood and actions – so is a person who is stuck in a state with little sunshine during the winter as responsible for their actions as one who lives in a sunny state? And, if sunshine can change one’s mood, think about what hunger will do – or an illness.

                      We may still be able to make a choice – say between A and B – but the factors which cause us to choose A (or B) might not be in our control.

                      Just sharing my own skepticism on whether our choices are without undue influence,
                      Brian

                      Like

                    7. Hi, Brian,

                      I think we’re in agreement with your last sentence. However, I place a very big emphasis on the fact that we almost always have, at least, a binary choice. I say “almost always” because I can conceive of situations where we don’t —if we’re in a coma, if we’re burning in Hell eternally without the opportunity for a “do over.” (I do believe that the best that we can understand Hell from the Bible is that it is eternal and it’s, well, (to not coin a phrase) “meant to be hell.”😳😆. Maybe it’s figurative language (I hope so for my disbelieving friends), but I like to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

                      Liked by 1 person

              2. Hey Teddi,

                Thank you very much for your kind words about Paul, yes he has put a lot of work into his opinions and I think has some valuable insights to offer on various areas. Obviously, there are many things that you or I would take issue with him on as Christians.

                That said, I think you raise some excellent potential areas of topic that may be interesting to get his take on freewill and morality- believe it or not, he let me co-teach his class on the issue of morality- I posted that on here for people but the University has rules that forced me to take it down. By the way, if interested in hearing what Paul thinks about other matters- I did a show with him, Andrew and Matt here = https://skepticsandseekers.wordpress.com/2019/08/12/4a-supplemental-dales-university-professor-paul-bali-guest-stars-philosophy-science-religion/

                As to the 4 Yogas, I spoke of them myself in the Season 1 Finale, see here to learn what they are = https://skepticsandseekers.wordpress.com/2019/05/19/finale-to-thine-one-self/ (see my blog and/or the show on it). Or if you want just ask me and I xan give you more details about what we were going on about here in the comments 🙂

                Thanks again Teddi 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

  22. The new blog post is available for consumption now. And I don’t mean the disease. 🙂

    https://skepticsandseekers.wordpress.com/2020/01/23/granting-god/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😂😂 😂 So, it won’t be TB announced???😂😂😂😂😂

      Like

  23. Actually, I’m pretty sure Vaal needs to take my place. I’ve been on the sofa with a temperature and a pointless non value added cold/flu. It’s probably this coronavirus. These could be my last words.

    Unless I am miraculously healed overnight, I’m pretty sure I’m going to feel too awful to be useful. My nonsensical ramblings would be even worse than I’m expecting. Shame as I’ve been swotting up.

    So that settles it. Vaal needs to step up. If not, what about Matt?
    I can review tomorrow but I fear the lurgy is strong this time. 🤒🤧

    Like

    1. i don’t believe I have ever had you on a show where you didn’t try to back out. You should know by now there is no escape clause. However, if you would like to just hang out on skype and join in as led by the spirit, that would be acceptable. Also, if you show up for the call tomorrow, I will perform a miraculous healing.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Ha! I only usually say I’m not equipped and know nuffink.

        This evil that besets me is different. It may even be fatal.

        And i am pished I can’t partake as I’d done some research and had lots of curve balls to throw. But really, I’ve a temperature and coughing and spluttering constantly which makes for poor audio. I sound like Barry White with the head clarity of a stoner. Happy to reschedule.

        If not, I offer Vaal as a living sacrifice as is my birthright.

        And in the last words of Mr White as he died “Leave me alone. I’m fine.”
        Though

        “Tomorrow, at sunrise, I shall no longer be here.” – Nostradamus’ last words might be more apt.

        So long.

        Like

        1. Hi Sarah,
          May your recovery be swift!

          Brian

          Like

    2. So that settles it. Vaal needs to step up.

      “It’s a trap!!!”

      Hope you feel better soon, Sarah. Prayers sent 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Vaal, you’re on.
        Your thoughts and prayers have not done the trick. I am not long for this world.
        I shall come back to haunt you all.

        Like

        1. He should have prayed to Cthulhu.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Get well soon, Sarah! And I might suggest a vociferous character debate with Dale on the interwebs isn’t part of the healing path ;-p

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks. It passes the time? (reevaluates life choices)
            I hope I’m not being vociferous. I’ve tried to keep the tone respectful & short. But I am out of it on cough meds, so who knows. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Sarah,

              As promised I wanted to take some time to explain my perspective on the heated convo. It was helpful that for you it all started with the 4th comment where I started saying “Don’t tell me, I tell you……….”- great I used that as a good reference point to see the surrounding context of the prior comments, so here is my take on this.

              First, you mentioned that you took issue with my telling you to “stop lying” about the Paul thing, amoung other things your complaint included the following, “You can call me a sarky beach and worse, but somehow unfairly accusing me of lying is not something I’m keen on”.

              Great, but understand I feel the same way when in the immediately prior comment you call me a liar, you said, “Stop lying, mischaracterizing. All of it was questioned perfectly respectfully, not used ’pathetically’, to address your only valid claim at the start that it’s not oxford style debate format, but you backed yourself into a corner so have gone mad dog….”. I wasn’t lying here either Sarah and I take just as much of an issue being called a liar as you do, esp. when I’m being as honest as I can be in what I’m saying to you. So, you can disagree with me, but I wish you guys will stop calling me dishonest, liar, disingenuous, or whatever version of that word you want to use.

              Next onto the start of this whole thing and my take. So in a way, I can see if you want to say I started things in that it was I that chose to name drop you and use your example and called it “skeptical filth”, so perhaps you took this as a provocative gesture on my part but I assure you when I do this or name drop people it usually always a way of providing illustrations or examples to prove the point that I’m saying to that other person at the time. In this case, all I wanted to prove was that there were times when I had certain negative emotions toward some skeptical thing but instead of reporting that emotion as though it substantive feedback, I restrained myself and tried to give something more substantive and thoughtful as my feedback instead as I realize these things are important to the skeptics who recommend them to me. That was the whole original point of my mentioning your example to David in that post. Note that the examples I gave were not meant to be logical arguments or substantive feedback, I was simply reporting on my own subjective emotional reactions to these things, to say this is how I felt yet I didn’t immediately react based on them.

              That said, you took my mentioning your name and shows as an invite to address me (again no problem as I did use your name there) and thus you reached out to me in utter bafflement as to how I could call those shows “skeptical filth”- for the most part despite some obvious exasperation on your part this reply was perfectly understandable and respectable. That said there were a couple things that sort got to me a little bit even in this response, for example you said, “ You might not agree with their views, their approach or conclusions but this is what you lack in your mathematical framework of god, the human aspect” and “But the point is, people’s experiences aren’t ‘filth’ they’re lived lives. Something you seem unable or unwilling to grasp since day one.” Right away these little lines are aggravations as you have a history of exaggerating my lack of empathy toward fellow humans to make it seem like I’m a total robot and you seemed (to me) to be implying that my own feelings are somehow invalid or unimportant as I’m not a real human being who empathizes with people and thus my feelings deserve to be dismissed.
              Anyways, I look past these small slights and responded calmly and respectfully, even trying to honour some of the valid points you made such as the fact that the people themselves and what they went through is not filth and instead I tried my best to explain or clarify what I meant when I said what I did originally.

              Your next reply sort of doubled down on some of the minor aggravations or annoyances in your first post to me- again you dismiss my feelings by saying, “I think that’s your problem. You think all people should operate like you. i don’t think most do…..Seriously, this isn’t always people’s usual reaction”. Further you also implied that I was somehow not being honest in what I said as though I contradicted myself when I didn’t- I said they were filth and then explained to you what I felt that filth involved but you responded thusly, “Your back pedalling Makes little difference either way. And you kinda did”- this implies I lied or sheepishly changed my mind when you challenged me when I did no such thing.

              Lastly, you said this, “You should be more concerned by the injustice and pain they suffered at the hand of their churches than getting all offended by them trampling your precious dogmas. wwjd?”- which not only implies I’m a bad follower of Jesus but you also assumed a skeptical position whereby doctrines are just totally unimportant and that is not true, for Christians, they are way more important as people’s eternal destinies hang in the balance and you know this full well, so it was disingenuous for you to invoke Jesus example as a means to say I was not behaving like a good Christian or was totally unfeeling toward the people and their experiences. I was judging a Podcast in relation to the truth or falsity of the doctrines at the time I listened as that is what matters to me but that doesn’t mean I can’t also take issue with the bad experiences people go through at the same time- my goodness when I see the horrible things Atheism has contributed to the world, all I have to do is link to YouTube video on Stalin and Pol Pot and when you come back and say this has nothing to do with Atheism (which actually it does as under Atheism all things are ultimately permitted) than I can say how unfeeling you are not to care about the killing of these poor innocent Christian people at the hands of Atheists- you are outraged by wrong definitions of “Atheist” rather than caring about the trauma these Christians went through. That would be disingenuous of me as I’m presenting this a reason to think Atheism is wrong or something, then you will assess my source in that light, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t care about the people.

              This was why I got annoyed and responded in the way I did in the next reply to you with “You don’t tell me bla bla bla”, it seemed you were putting words into my mouth and disingenuously trying to discredit my emotional feelings under the unfair guise that my opinions are not based on caring about the people and that I’m a weirdo for feeling the way I did and again we have a history where this is your go to move to discredit me- you always mock everything I say as being weird or unnormal or that my opinions or interests don’t matter because hey I’m not a normal human being like the rest of you but instead some math robot or whatever- it gets to be too much when this tactic is used over and over again against me instead of people focusing on actually offering substantive rebuttals to what I say.

              I don’t know if that helps at all, but maybe it’ll give you some idea as to where I was coming from, my reaction certainly wasn’t just out of no where on my end but it was based in some of the things you said in your prior responses and our history of getting into heated convos in this vein that I just got tired of it and said what I said- I found it so ironic that one of the few times I just simply reported my emotional feelings on something rather than assessing it logically, you tried to discredit me as an emotionless robot. So that is my take on what went wrong, hope its informative to you in some way 😊

              Take care,

              Dale

              Like

              1. Thanks for your take, Dale,

                I appreciate you had your opinions about a podcast, and as I say, that’s fine. You can not like its style, production, content, even find it a bit offensive etc as that’s subjective. However, if you’re going to make a moral judgement, and I think Sceptical filth, so filthy that you even “feel dirty talking about it” and it’s my “filthy perverted interest” counts as that, then it’s OK to ask you a question and especially if I believe it mischaracterizes a show I have listened to for hours.
                I thought and still think you are grossly mischaracterizing it. I also think you’ve not been able to support your claim in anyway.

                But first to address your points above about where you think the convo went wayward.
                Some of what you are aggrieved towards me about I can understand. I DONT think your feelings are to be dismissed as you claim. I’m sorry if you think that’s what I have said or felt that.

                However, my issue is I think you lack empathy or real world application. You seem to be annoyed by this too, but I’m afraid that’s the impression many have of you, that you have even confessed yourself is not your strong area. If you behave a certain way, and talk about killing kids and people burning in hell, don’t be too surprised if you find people have an issue with how they view you. As Tara would say, you’re behaving badly, Son.

                Even this week, you’ve not managed to connect with the Sanjib/Jacob story which sort of supports this view of you we have. I honestly think you have no idea how to deal with this aspect of life. I do think you operate differently to a lot of people. You’re is a more academic approach, which is fine for you, but isn’t for others. I don’t think you are feeling-less, and I was genuinely touched by your offer to get others to pray, and I was sorry for you that you were crestfallen at thinking David was going to take you up on a matter. I think you do care and do have feelings, but when you’re in full apologetic mode defending your framework, you lose sight of …humanness.

                Lastly, you said this, “You should be more concerned by the injustice and pain they suffered at the hand of their churches than getting all offended by them trampling your precious dogmas. wwjd?”-

                Yes, and it’s a perfectly legit thing to point out and ask. Again the tone was pretty calm when I wrote it. I guess you could take it as implying you’re “a bad follower of Jesus” but I didn’t say that and aren’t we all in the grand scheme anyway? You don’t mind telling us weekly we are Satan inspired so to ask WWJD, is hardly insulting. Frankly, I hoped to make you think and it was a genuine question that you’ve still not answered btw. But it was not rude.

                “but you also assumed a sceptical position whereby doctrines are just totally unimportant and that is not true, for Christians, they are way more important as people’s eternal destinies hang in the balance and you know this full well, so it was disingenuous for you to invoke Jesus example as a means to say I was not behaving like a good Christian or was totally unfeeling toward the people and their experiences.

                Not even slightly. This is talk from my progressive Christian friends who revolted by the weaponising of the bible against LGBT namely, and dogma over are kindness. I’m talking their language here, so not sceptical language. Their Christian language if you will.

                The problem was, and is Dale, that I think you weren’t able to articulate what your issue with the podcast actually was. You used inflammatory language, I mean, heck, you’d think I was listening to the glorification gang rape for entertainment on this podcast the way you described it. I therefore questioned you. The short version was “how is Rosie’s interview FILTH.” Filth. Not, “boring to me”, not “don’t like”. Filth. I genuinely have no idea.

                I’m afraid it had me baffled because you kept critising things like it wasn’t an Oxford style debate, not representing two sides, not being fair, vile, satan inspired, it had poor reasoning, it misrepresented Christian doctrine (though you’ve yet to give one single example since you said I was judging a Podcast in relation to the truth or falsity of the doctrines ) and I’ve still not recevied one example of what you’re referring to) etc.

                And I’m like, umm, it’s not supposed to be that kind of show. That’s like moaning about a show that’s about daffodils by saying it’s not covering vegetable gardens or trees. It’s not supposed to be, it’s someone’s story, it doesn’t deal with doctrine etc. So this is not a reason to call something filth. It’s not even something to get upset about since you’re getting what it says on the tin.
                It was all very confusing.

                I think by about post 4, you may have agreed, Katie and her story aren’t the vile part. It seems you have an issue with the hosts.

                However, other than the reaction they had to a trope, and, if, as you claim, you understand humanity far better than I, then unhelpful tropes about god ‘needing your baby more than you’, is pretty much the last thing you say to someone who’s lost a kid, I’ve no idea what you’re referring to. BTW, Go find a few grieving parents and lovingly tell them that trope. Then report back as to how many black eyes you get. 😉

                Other than that, I’m not sure what you are referring to. Bob on the show has NO axe to grind, he has never been or was a Christian. If he’s shocked by something, it’s because he has outsiders eyes. A nicer guy you could not meet. I would gladly leave my hypothetical children with him anytime.

                All you’ve provided is the RTR podcast as an example of how editing is also manipulated to make Christianity look bad. No such thing is/was used on this show however. You said bad language was a tactic used and gave another example. Once again that’s not applicable in this case, since it was a real time exclamation. There was no premeditation.

                Anyway, anyway, whatever, I think I have understood your point. Finally. You’re getting upset by this : Someone could conclude Christianity is false because they listened to this show. People’s literal eternal lives are at stake because of this and hence why you are so peeved/outraged as this literally has eternal life consequences.

                Is that what you issue is? Is that why it’s upset you so much? It’s just an overall feeling about the show and that it could have a detrimental impact on someone’s eternal life consequences?
                I guess that is a legitimate thing to be worried about if that is what you believe.

                But have I got to the nub of it? Is this what we have been arguing about and not actually defining well?

                Regards

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Hey Sarah,

                  I see that you’ve responded with your take on my take, but yeah I’m happy to end it here as I think you understand a little about why and how I reacted the way I did and I have a better understanding of how you mean things as again it’s all in the reading- I remember I myself was baffled when you pointed to Marvin’s posts as though they were outrageous and I honestly couldn’t see the big deal in what he said, so I’m learning how much bias can make people misread things others say and I see this on both sides in ways that leave me utterly spellbound as to how we can possibly misunderstand each other so badly.

                  That said, you ask me a question here, so I will answer it for you. In the first place the perverted stuff or “VILE UTTER FILTH” or “Satan-inspired hosts” is just anger-induced exaggeration based on your further replies to me- the main thing here is that I really did feel the show you gave me was “skeptical filth” for the reasons I listed. But I think when you say this;

                  “Anyway, anyway, whatever, I think I have understood your point. Finally. You’re getting upset by this : Someone could conclude Christianity is false because they listened to this show. People’s literal eternal lives are at stake because of this and hence why you are so peeved/outraged as this literally has eternal life consequences.

                  Is that what you issue is? Is that why it’s upset you so much? It’s just an overall feeling about the show and that it could have a detrimental impact on someone’s eternal life consequences?
                  I guess that is a legitimate thing to be worried about if that is what you believe.

                  But have I got to the nub of it? Is this what we have been arguing about and not actually defining well?”

                  Dale’s Answer- Yes exactly, I’m mildly annoyed by games where people have persistent hypocrisy and biased standards so seeing the media bias against Conservatives bugs me somewhat, but hardly something that I lose sleep over, but that said when it comes to mocking of religion, esp. Christianity as that is the one that gets most picked on in the West does outrage me as it fosters an uncritical attitude within people to treat it as a joke that warrant no further serious scrutiny and people’s eternal destinies are on the line- literally the most important thing to think about in life is treated as the least important and things that do this give me this immediate sense of revulsion. As a case in point, I’ve refused to watch an episode of the Simpsons since I was young because of Ned Flanders, I was taught by my mom that the show unfairly mocks Christianity and makes us look stupid when we aren’t and this revulsion or feeling of it being “skeptical filth” has stuck with me to this day so that when I see media or comedians mock Christianity based on their ignorance and lack of critical or fair thinking it just really bugs me. Again, Simpsons is just an entertaining show and like a hypocrite I’ve watched similar shows like Futurama that are the same in this way at times, but there is this sense I have whether warranted or not, just on an immediate gut level that things that mock religion and Christianity in particular as though it is the butt of an easy to make joke than that is “filth” to me as most people just take that as the end of the issue- that settles it for them, Christianity is a farce and a joke cause the Simpsons or CNN or this Podcast told them so and there is no need to go further and seriously consider the merits of the religion for themselves.

                  But as I was saying, this is just my own immediate feelings, the point I was making is that I don’t take this to be a substantive opinion of Simpsons or a Comedian or your shows and I tried my best to push past this when I listen, but demanding that I justify my feelings are not valid Sarah, people just feel they way they do in the moment, I don’t have to have a logiCally Consistent answer or justifiCation for why I felt the way I did- I’m not making an argument here, I was just reproting how I felt listening to your shows.

                  Like

                  1. Ok Dale, that was useful.

                    It is helpful to realise that even the character in the Simpson (Ned) causes you an issue and is offensive. (It never caused me the slightest issue even as a believer, as I understand it as parody and a mick take of fundy American type Christians. ) So, if that is vile/filth, then I guess your bar is set to a more sensitive level, even if you’ve taken heat in podcasts which made it appear it was higher.

                    In the first place the perverted stuff or “VILE UTTER FILTH” or “Satan-inspired hosts” is just anger-induced exaggeration based on your further replies to me. That would be fair if you had been angered from the start, but initially all I asked was in what way was it filth. You doubled down on the language without giving any examples which produced some minor snark back, but it was definitely a visceral reaction from you initially.

                    Incidentally, I still have NO examples of what you are referring to with the hosts. They are facilitating a convo. They have one reaction which you didn’t like, but you don’t seem to be able to give me ANY evidence of how they misrepresented theology, had bad or lazy thinking etc. It seems you are sensitive enough that it’s just the mere topic of conversation not undertaken in the way you want, that is upsetting you. And that’s fine, as you say, it’s your reaction, but I can’t see how you can back it up in the slightest.

                    Either way, you’ve answered enough to explain this stuff really annoys you as it fosters an uncritical attitude within people to treat it as a joke that warrant no further serious scrutiny and people’s eternal destinies are on the line- literally the most important thing to think about in life is treated as the least important and things that do this give me this immediate sense of revulsion

                    And, that’s key to my next point.

                    WHY YOU DON’T BELIEVE YOUR REAL SEEKER THEORY EITHER.

                    We brought this up with you ages ago as an objection to the RS theory, in the form of asking you, ‘how it’s fair people go to hell if they’ve been given duff info/met the wrong people/ had a bad pastor/read the wrong scholar/been put off?’ How biddies who were terrified of the internet should be held accountable.

                    You were pretty clear. They should remain real seekers. Anything less and it was their own damn fault. If they gave up, they weren’t real seekers. Simple.

                    I therefore have no idea why any misrepresentation or mocking should exercise you so much and for the reasons you state; that it could affect a person’s eternal life.

                    If people are real seekers they would continue to look and remain open, right? For, one I’m pretty sure almost no one takes their cues of what Christianity is from the Simpson or a one off interview of someone who has deconverted, but either way it should not matter to you in the slightest if you believe your own theory.

                    THIS, most people just take that as the end of the issue- that settles it for them, Christianity is a farce and a joke cause the Simpsons or CNN or this Podcast told them so and there is no need to go further and seriously consider the merits of the religion for themselves. IS NOT POSSIBLE.

                    These poor fools are not real seekers then are they?!!

                    If they keep looking they’ll realise the podcast is filth and get a balanced view and immediately love all things WLC. OR they’re golden anyway with God as long as they keep looking and are real seekers, God lets them off if they croak it half way through. This is how you set it up, right; In a way your God can’t lose. Well it seems clear you don’t believe it yourself either.

                    Hearing an episode of the Simpsons and dismissing Christianity leading to eternal damnation CAN’T HAPPEN according to your OWN THEORY.

                    Either, you’re going to have to agree we’re right; That it’s a random process that means the luck of the draw determines whether you’ve run the gauntlet of misinformation and come out believing, which makes it unfair.

                    OR, you have to really believe your theory and therefore not be bothered in the SLIGHTEST by a Simpson episode as it has NO EFFECT on eternal damnation.

                    You literally can’t have it both ways.

                    Like

                    1. Sarah, I’ve given you some examples of what I mean by filth and that isn’t a visceral reaction immediately, I explained to you that I didn’t even start displaying annoyance with you until the 4th comment, so calling it skeptical filth was not an immediate visceral reaction, its just saying I found it repugnant having to listen to that stuff and again both you and I’ve already given specific examples of the kind of thing that I meant and you’ve acknowledged those examples via your effort to dismiss them as not being good examples already. So yeah, having listened again I maintain my filth feeling about their show- sorry just how it is, you’ll have to learn to live with it, it’s not the end of the world after all.

                      Not sure how that contradicts my RS notion at all, yes the individual people are to blame as they should do more than that, but sadly this type of show promotes not being a real seeker as it emphasizes intellectually laziness and just writing off Christianity as a bad joke in the same way they do with Ned Flanders on Simpsons. I see no contradiction in my views here at all as shows like this enforce the idea that its cool not to be a real seeker, but yeah for people that are real seekers and have the will power to persist as such, it won’t do anything in the grand scheme of things.

                      Again ultimately yes it will be their own fault no matter what, but nonetheless I don’t like bad influences that promote sinful choices in this regard. If you were trying to encourage me to kill or rape someone, it would still be my fault if I do that but nonetheless I would think you were filth for being an bad influence on that front, just cause you were sitting on the sidelines doesn’t mean you don’t have some kind of culpability for encouraging my bad behaviour. Same deal with the hosts and anyone who after listening to their show does not behave like a real seeker.

                      So, it seems like you are trying to find a problem here that just isn’t there- I guess to somehow get me to say I was wrong in what I said, but as I told you before that will never happen- nothing you say will ever change the fact that this was how I felt when I listened originally and yet I showed restraint in not reporting my feelings as though it were helpful or substantive feedback.

                      It’s funny the feedback I’ve received from the Skeptics while on S&S is by in large way worse than what I said about these guys being skeptical filth- why are you being a dog with a bone on this one issue? Are the hosts personal friends of yours or something?

                      Like

                    2. Dale,
                      Are the hosts personal friends of yours or something? I would consider them friends, yes. Irrelevant to the point though.

                      You didn’t give examples, you gave analogies such as the RTR interview editing you to create sensation. No such thing is used in my podcast.
                      You gave an example of Tyler swearing as a tactic. No such thing is done in the podcast. Normal convo, normal human reactions.
                      How does the show ‘promote not being a real seeker’ and “enforce the idea it’s cool not to be”. Surely being a RS involves listening to a wide range of opinions? How/what way does it misrepresent Christianity when they describe their Christian experience within churches???BACK UP YOUR VIEW

                      I get you had a visceral reaction initially and I’m not denying your right to it. But give substantive feedback as to why you think it does the things you claim.

                      Not sure how that contradicts my RS notion at all

                      Umm, c’mon Dale, it wasn’t that hard to follow. To be exercised about the podcast shows you don’t believe in your RS theory either.

                      If listeners are RS, then duff info/bumsteers doesn’t hurt their cause; They’ll find the truth or get let off anyway. No one goes to hell. Nothing to get upset about.

                      If it derails them, then they weren’t RS in the first place. They’ve got what’s coming. It would have happened anyway, nothing changes. Nothing to get upset about either.

                      If you say it can make the difference between them choosing right or wrong, then you prove our point about it being random.

                      (Whether the hosts are culpable or not isn’t the issue, you said it was sending listeners to hell)

                      Like

  24. only just got round to listening to this.

    Oh boy, the god being promoted here is a god I can’t respect, or even like. eww.

    And on the subject of Christians doing work overseas, in the name of spreading the good news, Christians have decimated local cultures and customs, replacing them with their own imported ideals, education and and medical care is given side by side with the bible, creating a level of peer pressure to convert and conform. This isn’t love and I genuinely have an issue with this negative side of missionary work. By all means help people, but don’t bring your own baggage and impose it on those you are helping.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Matt,

      I was wondering if you wanted to make the announcement about my posting the Miracles show on the Unbelievable Boards for me as I tried myself but once again, I’m being spammed right away.

      I only make these announcements when its a special show or one with guests for their sake (your and Robert’s)- would you mind letting people know on that Board that the show is not up. Here is the thing I said on here.

      “RSM Announcement:

      Alright well this has been a busy couple of weeks for me, looking forward to things slowing down a bit but I just posted my newest show on the subject of Miracles (finally). The first time around both Matthew Taylor and I were not happy with the outcome and so Matthew asked me to try again and so we did.

      In this show, we have a much better and substantive conversation and we are joined by a newby and fellow Christian Podcaster Robert L. White- all three of us had a great discussion on the prior probability of the plausibility of the supernatural (both sides took on the burden of proof), how to identify miracles (including Robert’s helpful holistic heuristic approach to miracles) and finally spend over an hour going back and forth on discussing real examples of miracle healings.

      Please have a listen and/or check out the sources of my guests for their sake as I think you’ll find this was a bit of treat after how the first round went, all three of us really enjoyed our time together and David just so you know I took your advice and laid the groundwork of who is who and what will be discussed right at the beginning of the show and Robert is interested in coming back and doing shows with me, Matt and you again- one thing he mentioned is he really like John Loftus’ Outsider Test and I remember that was something you said you wanted to do with me earlier in Season 2- so maybe at some point we can do a show on that with you, me and Robert or even maybe John Loftus himself if we can manage it 🙂

      See the blog with sources here = https://realseekerministries.wordpress.com/2020/01/30/signs-wonders-part-3-miracles-debated-with-robert-l-white-christian-matthew-taylor-atheist/

      Or the Anchor Audio link here = https://anchor.fm/real-seeker-ministries/episodes/Signs%E2%80%93Wonders-Part-3%E2%80%93Miracles-Debated-with-Robert-L%E2%80%93White-Christian%E2%80%93Matthew-Taylor-Atheist-eahkrj

      For next week- David J. and Robert Stanley come on to speak to me about; i) Is the Bible true/false, ii) Religion and Politics and, iii) the Morality of the Bible (Robert selected these topixs as being important to him).”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a few podcasts I want to get through first, but I’ll probably listen to the one you’ve just linked to. Thanks Dale.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dale I just checked those links. Is there anyway to play the show with control over the timeline?
        Right now there only seems to be a “play” button and I’m not sure I’m going to wait through the whole thing.
        Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hey Vaal,

          Yeah in Anchor you have to click on the timeline itself at the timestamp place that you want to listen at and then it skips over the prior stuff.

          It works on my end so let me know if it does the same for you or not- apparently it takes time for Apple and other platforms to register me so that is why I’m only up on 2 platforms right now.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. If you start the podcast in Anchor, depending on your phone, it will continue to play in the background when your display is off. When you activate the lock screen, there will be media controls that let you skip around as well as play/pause. That works for most audio you play from the web. This is the way it is on an iPhone. I suspect Android is similar.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Thanks Dale and David.

            So if I get this right: I’d have to download the Anchor app and play it within the app in order to have the controls I need, correct? I downloaded the app but it looks like it’s more for content creation than playback?
            Wants me to make an account (unlike normal podcast apps).

            Liked by 1 person

            1. No you do not have to download the app. This works from within the browser. Just start playing the podcast and see if controls don’t show up on the lock screen.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. David I tried your suggestion and it worked. Thank you.
                Still it seems a bit of a kludge. I wonder why a timeline is not offered on the linked page. Isn’t there a more elegant way of playing the podcast? It’s not available for the usual podcast apps from apple, PocketCasts etc?

                Dale?

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Anchor has changed and so it takes some time for Apple and other players to register my show, David has the same issue with his BSX show- I’m told it only takes a month or so to go through and I’m near the 1 month mark sinxe I started so I hope it goes thru soon. I think I submitted it on Jan 2nd, so we’ll see if its up in afew days on the others platforms

                  Like

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