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Responding to a savory blend of God claims

I've received a long comment on the page If you don't believe in God, how can you believe in love?, claiming faith as a way of knowing the reality of the Christian god (among other digressions). This may be from the same person making other comments on the page; I can't be certain.

Nor can I be certain that it's legitimate. Putting nearly every repeatedly-shot-down defense of Christian belief into one mega-comment feels a bit like a pull o' the leg. But what the heck. Believers do put forth each of the claims from time to time, so I'll take this opportunity to play apologetics Whack-a-Mole and set some thoughts in text.

Long back-and-forth comments on web pages get hard to read, though. (I need to change this site's layout to one allowing flexible widths.) To keep things legible, I'll post my reply below in this new blog post (followed by the full original comment, as I don't want to make out-of-context misrepresentations).

I can't say that my reply is buddy-buddy friendly. Hearing claims for some particular religious beliefs, which double as claims against competing religious beliefs, all without anything of substance telling us why the claimant believes so, gets exasperating.

Still, I do appreciate the input. Here goes: Readeth thou more

"No atheists in foxholes"? Try saying that to these godless warriors.

While I recently had the kind attention of the President of the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers (MAAF), I asked a question I'd pondered before. Specifically:

Whenever I'd heard the "no atheists in foxholes" insult, I always assumed it meant "Sure, you think you're an atheist, but when your life's on the line you'll pray like everyone else."

But I've since learned that many atheists hear it a different way, as a charge of "Atheists don't fight for their country."

So I asked Jason Torpy at the MAAF:

Which of these two meanings do you, or MAAF members in general, hear? Or does it appear that believers use the insult with both meanings, depending on the believer?

The reply: Readeth thou more

Correcting a Jefferson quote on separation of church and state

Jason Torpy, President of the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers, contacted me with my favorite kind of message: neither praise nor opprobrium nor even a random "howdy", but a friendly correction with the aim of making improvements. I take the correction with humble gratitude; I may not be right on a whole lot of things, but I do want to be. (Hence the atheism.)

(Click to enlarge image in new tab)

His message concerned a quote from Thomas Jefferson that I used in a series of "posters" contrasting quotations from parties for and againt the separation of church and state. The original quotes, from the second "poster" in my series: Readeth thou more

Signs of the End: Good news from the religion front

Sometimes depression comes easily. News from the world of religion is too often unhappy, involving moneyed scandals, gender-related bigotry, abuse of members (or their children...), anti-secular antics, and, making all of that worse, a societal willingness to overlook such deeds precisely because religion is involved. As reminders of the harm that faith brings, I keep a growing list of story links at Revelations: Religion. Readeth thou more

Questival offers UK young adults an alternative to religious summer camp (Aug 3-5)

The folks at the AHS – the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Student Societies (UK and Northern Ireland) – kindly sent word of the upcoming Questival event for young freethinkers, information that I'm happy to pass along. I'm not making any recommendation – it's the first I've heard of the event – but it looks great; if I were in the region, I'd certainly want to consider it for young friends and family! Readeth thou more

My first God-questioning hero: Bob Lassiter

When I was shedding religion in the mid- and late-eighties, there was no open Internet, no websites, no podcasts. Printed material aside, information and thoughts from far-away minds came only over the airwaves – but how much atheist- or freethinker-friendly material was there on American network television and commercial radio stations? Readeth thou more

A piece of evidence in the "America is a Christian nation" debate

This month, Norway took the wonderfully purifying step of officially separating church and state via consitutional amendment. While I suspect the divorce will be a happy one, sometimes break-ups can get messily weird. Take the United States, which wisely split up church and state well over 200 years ago – yet today is plagued by citizens who demand that the comfortably separated couple re-engage in sweaty embrace. (It's like some heavy-breathing neighbor phoning to insist that you and your ex get busy on the kitchen linoleum. Readeth thou more

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