237 Comments

"...traditional religious values such as kindness, empathy, self-restraint, grace, honesty and humility."

When was that?

Expand full comment

During the golden age of Unicorns and Pixie dust.

Expand full comment

Which we tried to bring back in the60's.

Expand full comment

Yeah, don't do that bellbottoms thing again. I didn't like it the first time around.

Expand full comment

Hey, I rocked bell bottoms in my youth. :)

Expand full comment

Bell bottoms in the 1860 ?

Expand full comment

Well, Navy uniforms during the Civil War weren't what we think of as bell bottoms today, so...

Expand full comment

Alexander Graham.......

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2021·edited Dec 31, 2021

My father was in the RN in World War II. The first thing that they did, was get rid of the government issue bellbottoms at 19 inches circumference or diameter or whatever, and go to a tailor and get some 22/3 inchers made up. Not to mention they threw away the pusser's cap and bought bigger ones as well. And got their tops taken in so they were skintight pretty much. It was all babe magnetism I guess. A long way from being easy enough to kick off when you were floundering in the sea after being sunk. Luckily he was transferred just before his ship was sunk in the Mediterranean, or he would have had to get rid of them. Or given that destroyers use to lose about half their ship's company when they were sunk anyway maybe I wouldn't be here. One of the reasons they improved damage control I do believe. In the Falklands they save pretty much all of them in spite of the faults that caused fires. Dammit, I've had a couple of predinner drinks and I'm wandering. I'll see myself out.

Expand full comment

Hell yes, my girlfriend made me a pair in red velvet. Ah nostalgia.

Expand full comment

https://youtu.be/l4hv_8TXFWg

Expand full comment

Oh gods, not Crapton.

Expand full comment

What was wrong about the uniform of my service to the country.

Expand full comment

Along with the Golden Age of Leather:

https://youtu.be/YfQCze7iG7w

Expand full comment

Pleather?

Expand full comment

Ah, before my time. ; )

Expand full comment

I believe it was a tuesday.

Expand full comment

About 0930. But it passed.

Expand full comment

That's about the time I do my morning passing.

Expand full comment

Kindness as shown to the Cathars, and to the “witches”. Empathy and self-restraint as shown to the “heretics”, intellectuals, inventors, scientists, writers, and philosophers. Grace, honesty and humility as shown to Muslims, Jews, Orthodox Christians, Pagans, Indigenous people ....

Expand full comment

It's – you know – aspirational. No one is perfect. As Christians are always telling us. :)

Expand full comment

At least, those are values worth having. Compared to the moral line of thinking that "he who dies with the most toys wins" or "greed is good", I'll take those values even though they are often not reached.

Expand full comment

They are not exclusively religious values.

Expand full comment
Dec 30, 2021·edited Dec 30, 2021

David is actually quoting a line from a movie ("greed is good") and believing it's a "moral" take when, in fact, it is the exact opposite of moral? Something filmmaker Oliver Stone went out of his way to illustrate.

It's projection. As we have seen, "greed is good" seems to be the mantra of rich white Republican Christians. And "he who dies with the most toys wins" is certainly something those same rich white Republican Christians would agree with.

Expand full comment

I've run into people who live their lives by those mantras and it's not hard to foresee a time when self-interest overrides that which is best for the society as a whole.

Expand full comment

I see that every day with MAGAs.

Expand full comment

"I've run into people who live their lives by those mantras...

That is an unverifiable personal assertion. Anecdotes are not evidence.

Expand full comment

Anecdotes are not evidence--that's the story of Christianity, one giant anecdote.

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2021·edited Dec 31, 2021

No. It's my testimony of my own experience. I've lived all across the nation and made my living in a number of different ways and have had a network which includes people from all over the ideological and religious spectrum. If you haven't run into people who believe in "looking out for number one" then you are fortunate.

Expand full comment

Time will tell the degree to which those will continue to be values we follow as we depart from the influence of religion. However, you are right that one can embrace those values without being religious.

Expand full comment

It’s funny how the folks claiming the most religious influence express those values the least. Madison Cawthorn screams his religiosity while also being quite vociferous about violence and self interest power grabbing, for just one example. Or we could talk about entire sects and whole churches who focus mainly on how they can make LGBT people’s lives worse. Where’s the kindness? Where’s the empathy and grace?

This article literally gave proof that non-religious walk the walk more than the religious. Time will tell, that’s for sure.

Expand full comment

We should all be "good" kkkhristains like little Jerry Failwell Jr then.

Expand full comment

I agree with you regarding the hypocrisy. The question is whether things such as kindness and empathy will still be considered virtues in a society unencumbered by Christianity. I hope they will be.

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2021·edited Dec 31, 2021

Kindness and empathy were already virtues in many societies around the world for centuries BEFORE Christianity was ever introduced to them.

You may or may not be aware of doing it, but you phrasing it this way is from the Christianist dominionists playbook of claiming to be the source of all and everything good in this world.

Please stop doing that.

Expand full comment

What Matri said.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

No one said they were. The point was that statistically atheists live those values more than the others.

Trump claims religion, he is religious. Like it or not, your opinion of his religious expression is irrelevant. Even if he is claiming religion only as a manipulation. You can say the anti-transgender dipshit atheists prove your point, or the overlapping misogynistic atheist dipshits, or any number of other folks who claim atheism while being shïtty people prove your point. But if you have to point out that the person you want to use as an example is just not religious enough, then it doesn’t prove your point.

Expand full comment

"Trump claims religion"

Does he? The only thing I can think of is that he recently claimed to be a different sect than what he was bought up as. I don't really recall him talking about actually doing anything like praying or going to church. He's been in the company of others when they pray over him or for him, he's tried to do things to appease the religious right, but I can't think of anything he's actually done to show he is religious.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

How is Trump’s religiosity any different from any other person’s religiosity? Some may be more sincere about it than he, but it is all still born into it and/or opportunities.

The implication throughout the thread is that “ kindness, empathy, self-restraint, grace, honesty and humility” are human values and there are certain religious groups that interfere in them. And a specific mention that the group shown with evidence that most embodies them are the non-religious. No one has said that a religious person can’t live those values or that only atheists have them or even that all atheists have them. Talk about prehensile noses.

You didn’t understand what I was saying with the says you’re complaining about. I was giving you examples that make the point you were trying to make, not all atheists are kind and good and blah blah. Here are actual atheists to point to for that. Using Trump for that point doesn’t work as a decent example because he has always claimed religion. Mainly, I called out your no true Scotsman while giving your point credence despite it not being relevant to the conversation.

Expand full comment
Dec 30, 2021·edited Dec 30, 2021

"He who dies with the most toys wins" was coined by Malcolm Forbes, an ultra-rich Republican. A phrase a great many megachurch pastors certainly adhere to.

As for "greed is good?" You really didn't understand the movie "Wall Street," did you? "Greed is good" is also something those megachurch pastors would be in full agreement on.

Expand full comment

I understand "greed is good" very well having worked in corporations where managements embraced that idea for themselves and their stockholders. I have no doubt that many of our religious leaders have embraced that idea. Even the NT makes reference to those who were using Christianity to benefit themselves. Scammers go to where the money and power are.

Expand full comment

For MAGAt Christians...

This is what your bible and its god says about how believers should treat immigrants. I quote:

"When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God"

-- Leviticus 19:33-34

Pretty straightforward, believers. Why do you disobey your lord god?

Expand full comment

"The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. "

Well, we do kind of treat our native born like shit, so...

Expand full comment

Because jesus cancelled mosaic law (except for homosexuals and witches).

Expand full comment

When believers try to pull that one, I point out what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-18:

"Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets: I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, nor the least stroke of a pen, will by no means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."

By 'until everything is accomplished,' Jesus was talking about his return. This, of course, has not happened nor will it ever. 'Heaven' does not exist and the earth has quite obviously not disappeared, so the Old Law is still in place for believers.

Oops!

Expand full comment

You obviously do not know how to interpret scripture, let me help you out. The line “Do not think I have come to abolish the law or the prophets” this clearly means that Noah had dinos on the ark. Next the line “I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Is proof that a troo christian is to own at least half a dozen assault weapons. And the last line is so obviously an endorsement for plowing your car into a crowd of protesters, if they are protesting something you do not like, that a Sunday school student can see that.

Expand full comment

*smacks forehead* Ah! It's all so clear now! How blind I was! :)

Expand full comment

I don't understand your sarcasm. Whether one is religious or not, all that we have in accounts of the history of Christianity show that the overwhelming majority of Christians have never considered themselves to be obligated to follow the laws of Moses. In fact the phrase referring to "The New Testament" signifies that it has been superseded.

Expand full comment
Dec 30, 2021·edited Dec 30, 2021

"I don't understand your sarcasm."

You don't particularly strike one as having any sort of sense of humor at all. Little wonder you're so out-of-place here (aside from your religious beliefs, I mean). Given your religion's all-too-bloody history and current practices, it deserves far worse than sarcasm.

What I don't understand is how supposedly rational adults living in the 21st Century can willingly cede their intellect and embrace superstitious claptrap. Blatantly obvious claptrap.

Your bible and the fictions contained within it are meaningless. The errors and contradictions found in its pages render it useless for a serious merit on...well, anything. Just another musty collection of fables of no more value than any other so-called 'sacred text.'

Expand full comment

You don't need to inform us but somebody should tell that jebus this.

Expand full comment

Please don't be silly.

Expand full comment

You have no power here. You are a believer on an atheist blog. As such, you are a guest in someone else's home. You'd do well to remember that.

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2021·edited Dec 31, 2021

You may want to remember that you are not the homeowner and do not determine what may and may not appear on this blog. If Hemant has an issue then he is able to communicate that to me directly. Considering that I've been banned on some Christian sites and accused of being an atheist in disguise claiming to a Christian when I bring up unsettling points, it's sad that I would be threatened on an atheist site.

Expand full comment

I think that most Christians would point to the accomplishment as being his atoning death which fulfilled what was said in Matthew that Jesus would save us from our sins. Plus, the book of Acts and other writings in the NT make it clear that Christians are not under obligation to the Mosaic law.

Expand full comment
Dec 30, 2021·edited Dec 30, 2021

We are, of course, talking about a fictitious being. There is no evidence whatsoever for his existence. Just as there is no evidence for the existence of his apostles.

The bible was written by anonymous authors based on purloined earlier myths and legends and oral tales from primitive, fearful, superstitious nomads who had no idea where the Sun went at night and believed disease was caused by demons. It is a book filled with scientific errors and massive contradictions. It is a false history containing manufactured people, places and events. It is worthless as history. It's even more worthless as a guide on how to live a moral life.

Expand full comment

Contemporary too, I saw a documentary yesterday about sects who thrived* at the same time than early christianity like Mithraism, Isis cult or John the Baptist followers. Obviously it's only a coincidence if some features from these religions are found in christianity.

*And why they finally disappeared.

Expand full comment

I think that's overrated especially when you look into the kinds of examples often cited as copying.

Expand full comment

Needless to say, I disagree with you but there's no real way to settle the differences within the confines of an online forum given how volumes have been written on these subjects.

Expand full comment

Christians are under no obligations to the Mosaic law until the Ten Commandments (you know, the laws Moses brought down from the mountain) are erected on municipal court property.

Spare me your lies and manipulation.

Expand full comment

I am well aware of the fetish that many Christians have made of the so-called ten commandments and how they use the erection of ten commandment monuments on public properties to show everyone else that we Christians rule the roost in many communities. However, I am also aware that it's an empty gesture which sure seems to have little to do with Jesus' command to love our neighbors. Please don't accuse me of being a liar. I've been banned by some Christian online forums for not being willing to go along with the religious right.

Expand full comment
Dec 30, 2021·edited Dec 30, 2021

I’m curious if you’ve ever heard of any Christians in the US openly opposing a 10 C monument on public property* on religious grounds. I haven’t researched it at all but I cannot think of a single instance. And yet such objections ought to be common given that the 10C monuments betray a grievous misunderstanding of Christianity.

*They could oppose it within their church too for the same reason.

Expand full comment

Just found this - Câlins pour le toutou bien aimée!

https://youtu.be/A7G5rBijlDM

Expand full comment

Merci beaucoup! I couldn't find my reference bible (probably too many layers of dust!), but had a notion that there was something about the treatment of those from away in it.

If people sat and thought long and hard about immigration maybe they would realize their way of life relies on it. Immigrant labour is the foundation of an economy that grows while the birthrate drops.

Expand full comment

Unless they are 100% Native American, they are ALL immigrants even if they were born in the country.

Expand full comment

But the SBC was the leading proponent of "legal immigration" in the 19th century, it's why they were founded. Maybe they are upset that they can no longer buy/sell, shackle, imprison and work to death the immigrants.

Expand full comment

For a given value of "legal immigration".

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2021·edited Dec 31, 2021

All of whom were using their "free" will to be slaves along with their families for generations.

Expand full comment

Gary Numan has an album out. I thought y'all might appreciate this song, "When You Fall". The lyrics are powerful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODoOq93YDLo

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2021·edited Dec 31, 2021

If you haven't already read "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" by Ursula K. Le Guin, read it. It won the 1974 Hugo Award for Best Short Story and is an SF classic. I will warn you, it is heart-wrenching. 😭

Good christians wouldn't walk away because Jebus.

Expand full comment

Fuck you SubStack.

Expand full comment

With a rusty chainsaw!

Expand full comment

“its descent into MAGA politics, conspiratorial thinking and cult worship has had catastrophic results for the religious values evangelicals once held dear“

Religious values evangelicals once wielded as weapons against folks who showed them up by actually holding those values (if they were, in fact, valuable).

Evangelicals hold nothing dear aside from self interest. They’re highly allergic to empathy.

Expand full comment

I'm a big fan of the Sermon on the Mount, even though I'm agnostic, because the 'Golden Rule' has a universal application outside of religious doctrine. Medical doctors have as a motto: 'Do no harm' which puts the principle into practice. They need not be Christian (or atheist) to follow this guideline.

H.L. Mencken, the great American journalist, had nothing but contempt for the notion of the 'Christian businessman.' I deflect this contempt onto fundamentalists who ignore the biblical advice not to be worldly while they hitch their wagon to a fascist and spin in glee at the number of presumably anti-abortion justices elevated to the Supreme Court after nomination by Agent Orange. I save my respect for preachers who display a strong commitment to human rights, like MLK Jr., or Desmond Tutu, or M Ghandi. And people like John Lennon, who was 'crucified' but certainly not pious or religious. The politician who launched Medicare in Canada, Tommy Douglas, was a Baptist preacher. Canadians consistently vote him #1 Canadian.

I recoil at the word 'evil' or 'good' to describe people, because I aspire to not use words that have religious connotations and I use words like 'right' and 'wrong' instead. For me, it's personal, as a deliberately lapsed Catholic.

The religious leaders who bellow about freedom happily support politicians who seek to abuse a woman's right to bodily autonomy. This was an argument that was used to overturn Canada's abortion law over thirty years ago. I think that if the fundamentalists completely had their way, legal immigration would slow to a trickle. They should remember how their ancestors got here.

Expand full comment

The "Golden Rule" was around long before the Sermon on the Mount.

Expand full comment

It's just basic reciprocal social behavior- something that had to exist in order for humans to even evolve the capacity for building a civilization. You pick through my fur for lice and I'll pick through your fur for lice- that sort of thing. Rodents and birds exhibit this kind of reciprocal kindness- the "Golden Rule" as a social principle predates *humanity.* No religion has a legitimate claim to it.

Expand full comment

I saw a fundamentalist take on the golden rule once. The preacher read through various versions and basically mocked the cultures that they came from. But when he got to the Jesus version, he just about dropped his pants and started rubbing one out.

Expand full comment

Eww.

Expand full comment

History and even our own experience demonstrates that reciprocal social behavior need not be moral. For example, it is hard to understand the rise of civilization without the concomitant of slavery. The Roman civilization was certainly not one which had much use for the golden rule.

Expand full comment

Think back a little farther- when the first humans realized that they could ensure a more stable food supply by farming crops and breeding animals. That requires co-operation, which humans already had a knack for, because hunter-gatherer societies can't exist without it either (if you're out hunting, you're not gathering, or caring for the young, or making clothing when that becomes a necessity due to migration- you have to rely on other people to do those things). This is something far more fundamental to human nature (and that of any social animal) than any form of cruelty.

Cruelty arises when different social groups clash, and that only tends to happen once you make the move from small villages to larger towns and cities. Instead of the farmers being from the same community as the builders and the traders, all part of the same social group, you will instead have all of the traders in one group, all of the farmers in another, etc.- and this is what gives rise to class structures, caste systems, and what have you. Some groups will invariably come to see themselves and their part in civilization as more valuable than other groups. Slavery is a by-product of those power imbalances; it is a *consequence* of advanced civilization rather than a prerequisite for it.

Or, to put it more simply- civilization *can* exist without cruelty. It *cannot* exist without kindness.

Expand full comment
Dec 30, 2021·edited Dec 30, 2021

I can't agree. Farming communities needed protection from the hunter-gatherers and from threats within their community which gave rise to the need for government of some sort. However, given the lack of data, it really is just speculation on our part. I do agree that there is a need for cooperation in a society but that competes with self-interest which doesn't necessarily have a long-term perspective as seen in the phrase supposedly by Louis XV - after me, the deluge.

Expand full comment

Co-operation *serves* self-interest. They are not mutually exclusive, and they need not compete.

Thought experiment time. Two hunters meet on the savanna. Neither is certain they will find game, but both are pretty sure they've picked out the most likely place to find some. Now, a narrow view of selfishness would suggest that each would keep their hunting ground a secret from the other, to make sure they will have the best chance of making a kill. A *cruel* selfishness might even drive one to murder the other so that the other cannot compete for game. But... is that really the best way to gain advantage?

Instead, they form an accord. Each hunter will go their own way, but if they make a kill, they will share it. By doing this, each hunter has now doubled their chances of eating tonight. If they further agree to share the locations of each others' hunting grounds, and to come to each others' aid, then they have increased their chances of survival if they are injured on the hunt.

Thus, instead of two lone hunters, we now have the makings of a society. They each advanced their own self-interest by co-operating rather than competing with the other. Plus, now they've got companionship, which is a benefit in and of itself.

Short-sighted selfishness- greed, by any other name- is a luxury. Greed is not a sound survival strategy unless you have some kind of overwhelming advantage (political power, religious authority, being twice the other poor sod's size, etc.) to insure yourself against someone else taking advantage of you in turn. Kindness, on the other hand, can be leveraged to *gain* advantage even if you start out on equal footing, or on the low side of a power imbalance.

Expand full comment

That's true. The bible cites him as promoting it. A certain level of civility is required for living among other people.

Expand full comment

I regard the Golden Rule as weak tea as a guide to morality. It is egocentric. Notably missing from it is any consideration of what another person may want or value if their wants/values differ from one’s own. There is something to be said for NOT treating others as you would want to be treated when they do not wish to be treated that way.

Expand full comment

That's a good point and not doing what someone else doesn't want done is probably a more realistic ask.

Expand full comment

The orange wotsit is their god.

Expand full comment

Why Trumpists still called themselves Christians is beyond me, since they’ve already incorporated him into their theology, and replaced Jesus with him as their new lord and savior.

Expand full comment

OT - Best martial arts movies

https://stacker.com/stories/13219/best-martial-arts-movies

Sadly only two Murikan films made the cut, both by Tarantino. Anyone care to guess which two?

Expand full comment

OT - He is doing it for god

California man allegedly planned to drive to White House, kill Joe Biden and Anthony Fauci

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/california-man-allegedly-planned-to-drive-to-white-house-kill-joe-biden-and-anthony-fauci/ar-AAShZ77?li=BBnb7Kz

Expand full comment

God only seems to talk to the crazies, why not talk to scientists and show them how to cure cancer?

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2021·edited Dec 31, 2021

But would a scientist *admit* god talked to zir?

Expand full comment

What?? And undo all of His Glorious Works? The impudence!

/s

Expand full comment

Be sure to show this to David Graf.

Couldn't help but notice Xiong didn't target a Catholic church for its rampant, millennia-long child sexual abuse.

Expand full comment

Priorities.

Expand full comment

For an excellent analysis of how Trump sucked the dick of the evangelical Christians, read The Useful Idiot: And Why We Aren't Done with Him, by S.V. Date (available on Amazon).

Expand full comment

OT: I love me some Oklahoma politics, I believe that this bill has a better chance of passing than he thinks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6esfj3x1f4

Expand full comment

Like I posted yesterday: Today's repukes are too stupid to think anything through.

Expand full comment

Like I posted yesterday: They outsource all their thinking.

Expand full comment

I wonder if a simple dictionary can be banned under this "so well thought and written" bill ?

And thanks for a video with captions.

Expand full comment

We all got a good look at Christian religious charity and cruelty after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. We learned that there are almost always "strings" with receiving 'charity' from these assholes. Most People seem to have forgotten that with the immigrant crisis.

Religious aid groups try to convert victims

Muslim clerics object as Western Christian groups hand out food and Bibles, reports Jason Burke in Banda Aceh

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/jan/16/tsunami2004.internationalaidanddevelopment1

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2021·edited Dec 31, 2021

Why? They were handing fuel to burn for warmth. Always a good thing.

And in such a compact form, easy to store and carry too!

Expand full comment

Let's understand this: It is the 'religious' community applying these 'ungodly' practices to everything and everyone who disagrees with the idea that only 'religious' people can act with empathy and morality. Christianity has traded its Judeo-Christianism for Trumpism. An ism is "a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement." We can see clearly that the hold of the omnipotent, omniscient god on his people is tenuous at best. His flighty 'bride' finds pleasure under the skirts of other tents.

When they have drained the MAGA movement for all its worth, they will move on to the next wannabe dictator and their next ism. Religion is a fickle slut.

The bible? They will hang on to that since it validates what ever Christians want to do because it has no value that can be proven or disputed. Its ambiguity is its best asset.

Expand full comment

Last day of 2021. Here's a song about New Years (and I don't mean "Auld Lang Syne")

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REgnv6y79ek

Expand full comment

And speaking of that old chestnut, here's my feelings about "Auld Lang Syne"

https://www.gocomics.com/frazz/2021/12/31

Expand full comment