This Is What An Atheist Looks Like?

A Portland, Oregon atheist group has their panties in a wad over some juvenile vandalism on one of their billboards. The Freedom From Religion Foundation placed a series 15 billboards on highways to introduce Portlanders to their “friendly neighborhood atheists.”

The billboard features Mark Hecate, an I.T. director for a local nonprofit, New Avenues for Youth, which works to empower homeless youth to exit street life.

“We learned about the defacement from someone in Portland who called it ‘fundamentalist humor,’ ” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “But here is someone helping others who is being demonized for being an atheist.”

Maybe I’m wrong, but if atheists don’t believe in God, wouldn’t they also not believe in the Devil?

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  • jim_m

    Of course the atheist looks nothing like that. The man in the picture is smiling. Longitudinal studies indicate that atheists are more prone to depression. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9334555

    • Brucehenry

      Not what your link says at all.

      • jim_m

        Au Contraire

        The offspring of Protestant or Catholic parents were 76 percent less
        likely than the offspring of non-religious parents to experience an
        episode of major depression, The American Journal of Psychiatry revealed.

        That is the findings of the report. The abstract did not detail that.

        • Brucehenry

          Well, admittedly I only saw the conclusion in the abstract, but that is not what IT says.

          • jim_m

            Abstracts are, unfortunately, lacking in full conclusions. As I admitted above, the abstract did not give you the info I added.

          • Brucehenry

            Hey, here’s a thought: Next time post the link that supports your point in the first place.

            Also, you said “longitudinal studies” — plural. Got any more?

            Also, too, meh. Just because people are happier being religious, if accurate, doesn’t make your particular dogma true, does it?

          • jim_m

            It does not make it true and I also wonder how much the data is skewed by some people of faith refusing to accurately disclose their mood. I have been in enough Christian churches that equate depression with sin to realize that some Christians would certainly mislead investigators about their real feelings.

          • Brucehenry

            Amen.

            Amen, get it?

  • UOG

    I wonder about his surname… born with it or taken later in life?

  • Brucehenry

    Hardly the point whether they believe in the devil or not. Private property has been vandalized.

    • UOG

      Absolutely so! No question on that issue. This is vandalism, they need to be identified, arrested and put through the legal system.

    • retired.military

      Bruce
      I wonder what you think of the OWS crowd (which Chico was in full support of) which did quite a bit of vandalism in their protests.
      In contrast the tea party protestors left places cleaner than they found them.

      • Brucehenry

        I don’t know, the situations seem different, not equivalent…I’ll give it some thought.

        • jim_m

          Yeah, because creating millions of dollars of damage to public property is OK as long as you do it in the name of a left wing agenda.

          I’ll bet if the culprit turned out to be just some teenage tagger who thought this was funny the furor would disappear in an instant. It’s only if the left can blame a Christian or conservative that this has any importance.

      • Commander_Chico

        FWIW, I think this is pretty funny.

        The damage to the billboard is more than made up for by the wider publicity for the message and the “Freedom from Religion Foundation.” FFRF should thank the vandal.

      • Commander_Chico

        FWIW, I think this is pretty funny.

        The damage to the billboard is more than made up for by the wider publicity for the message and the “Freedom from Religion Foundation.” FFRF should thank the vandal.

    • jim_m

      I’ll bet if they threatened to cut your head off you wouldn’t dare complain.

      • Brucehenry

        I don’t understand what you mean. What does cutting anyone’s head off have to do with this?

        • jim_m

          Because if Christians and conservatives really were the taliban that some on the left claim they are then you would never dare to complain about whatever excesses they commit.

          Am I advocating that people should follow their example…. Not yet, but the left keeps rewarding that kind of behavior so it becomes more and more difficult to say that it is wrong.

          • Brucehenry

            What an odd and disturbing couple of comments. Seek help.

          • jim_m

            Think of it this way: obama has pursued a policy of appeasement with Iran. What he has gotten is continued development of their nuclear weapons and promotion of radical islam.

            Behavior rewarded is repeated. Reward islamic threats and violence with appeasement and suppression of the rights of your own people and you will get more threats and violence. One need only look to the run up to WWII to see how effective appeasement was.

            My point is that the left nary says a word against muslims and their intolerance. It is a matter of time before people of other faiths take the hint and start acting in the same way. If the left will only respect people who threaten them then they will have lots of people making threats. It is what the left promotes.

            As I said, I do not advocate violence. I am merely stating that violence is an inevitable consequence of left wing appeasement policy.

          • Brucehenry

            LOL, I should have known you’d be able to twist a thread about vandalism of atheist billboards into an attack on Obama and “the left.” Awesome.

          • jim_m

            I’m disappointed that you failed to pick up that I was talking about the left from the beginning

          • 914

            Not surprising.

          • Brucehenry

            Well, yeah, but you’re ALWAYS talking about “the left.”

          • Ex Christian

            Just because Christians preach a fuzzy warm jesus as your friend spin today, gives us no right to forget what they did when they really had power. Inquisition, witch burning etc…

          • jim_m

            I missed it. WHen exactly did Christians have an inquisition? I thought that was the Catholic church. Also, no witches were burned in the Salem witch trials, they were hanged and I could argue that it wasn’t Christians,but the people of Massachusetts (one of our more lefty states) that did that.

            Once again you are just showing your prejudice.

          • Jason Drummond

            Last I checked, Catholicism was a denomination of Christianity.
            Sorry bud, your team is held to account for that one.
            Hitler too. He was Catholic and claimed his religion is what influenced his hate of the Jews.

          • jim_m

            Moron. Go read some history. Hitler did not believe in Christianity nor was he Catholic. His religious faith, to the extent that he had one, tended more toward a neo-paganism and this was most prominently expressed by his lackey, Himler. His hatred of Jews was more complex that your idiotic claim and stemmed from many sources.

          • Jason Drummond

            Did you even read Mein Kampf? He was raised as a Catholic, which greatly influenced his dislike of the Jews.
            The Bible doesn’t exactly paint the Jews as very good people, I am actually surprised there hasn’t been another psychotic sociopath spawned out of your religion.
            The social climate at that time did not help, no, but you cannot deny that he was religious when he continually mentioned in his speeches that he WAS in fact doing everything based off what he believed was God’s will.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            The official religion of communism was atheism. One had to describe their conversion to atheism to join the Party.

            Atheism for the all time human suffering and body count win.

  • GarandFan

    They wanted attention. They got it.

  • http://twitter.com/Stephen_Macklin Stephen_Macklin

    God Fearing Atheists are among the most anoying people on the planet. That said, one bit of annoying idiocy does not justify another.

    • godlessveteran

      Not the most annoying, not by a long shot. They won’t be knocking on your door wanting to share the “good news” or baptize dead relatives.

      • jim_m

        They won’t be knocking on your door wanting to share the “good news” or baptize dead relatives.

        FYI, Jehovah’s Witnesses are a cult and just about any Christian will tell you that the Mormons are not considered a Christian denomination for numerous reasons. Just keep on showing your ignorance and bigotry.

        • godlessveteran

          It isn’t just JWs and Mormons who go door-to-door annoying people, you bigoted ass.

          • jim_m

            They are the stereotypical cases. I personally have never seen anyone else going door to door.

          • godlessveteran

            So you’re just talking out of your ass, then.

        • Ex Christian

          And just about every reformed christian and baptist thinks Catholics are a cult, and every Methodist thinks…well, there are about 3000 different sects of Christianity, all thinking they are right, and many of them think the others are going to hell…

          • jim_m

            There is a difference between thinking that you are right and thinking that the others are a cult. And while a very few do think that others are going to hell it is inaccurate to say that many think that way.

          • Jason Drummond

            Actually, Ex Christian, there is over 38,000 sects of Christianity and none of them can seem to agree on the most simple of questions.
            But ALL of them claim to have a close, personal relationship, with the imaginary friend they all claim to have in common.

    • Vagabond661

      “God Fearing Atheists are among the most anoying people on the planet”
      Them and Miami Hurricanes fans.

  • JWH

    Vandalism. Property crime. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

  • Vagabond661

    It would have been cheaper to photoshop the horns and post it on some social websites. Same reaction and no laws broken.

  • ackwired

    I guess nobody likes to be demonized. I wonder if they put up these billboards to counteract some of the prejudice and discrimination that they were experiencing. They do seem to be sensitive.

    • jim_m

      Please. This is as much demonization as when people deface advertizements in the subway. Get a sense of humor.

      As I have said before this is probably some tagger playing a joke. I’d hate to see how they react to a poster in the subway getting defaced with blacked-out teeth and other markings on it. I am sure they would leap to the conclusion that it could only have been some Christian activist and not one of the people who constantly deface posters. Because it makes soooo much sense to assume that people who almost never do this sort of thing MUST have done it in his case.

      Or maybe you just really wish that it was so you could then spit on Christians and feel more justified in doing so.

      • JWH

        I can’t speak to the particular community here, but some communities have reacted negatively to atheists, particularly atheists who assert themselves.

        • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

          Define “assert themselves.” Making complete jackasses out of themselves by prejudiciously attacking people of faith is not “asserting themselves.”

          • JWH

            “Asserting themselves” could be a lawsuit or other legal action asking for recognition or for gov’t to cease an establishment-clause violation. Or it could be the simple offense of being an atheist and saying so. Let’s start the ball rolling:

            http://www.kltv.com/story/20176502/atheist-cancels-lawsuit-after-numerous-threats

            Or how about this one?

            http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/26/us/26atheist.html?pagewanted=all

            Or this?

            http://www.examiner.com/article/religion-the-workplace-an-atheist-s-battle-against-discrimination-pt-1

          • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

            Link #1: Ah, yes. Patrick Greene. The atheist who attacked Christians, had Christians freely donate money to pay for a needed eye surgery, announced he was converting to Christianity and becoming a pastor, but then returned to atheism and started attacking Christians again. You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t uncritically trust his word like you do.

            Link #2: He said/he said situation. Complainant did not follow proper military procedures and instead took his lawsuit to civilian court. Nothing apparently ever came of the whole thing.

            Link #3: Another he said/she said situation of which nothing ever resulted. Convenient that her complaint happened when she was facing expensive cancer treatments…

      • ackwired

        There you go again, Jim. You still do not speak for me.

        It is hard to imagine that they would be that sensitive if drawing on billboards was the only thing that ever happened to them, isn’t it?

        • jim_m

          Having been raised as an atheist I can affirm that yes, people discriminate against you. However, most of what atheists experience they bring on themselves by trying to force their crap on everyone else. I never tried to do that and got along quite well.

          I find it interesting that today’s atheists feel that they need to “save” everyone else by converting them to atheism. They are no different than the Christians they hate so much (except that the Christians are a whole lot more tolerant of other beliefs).

          • JWH

            I haven’t experienced much of that discrimination and such myself. I was kind of a dick about my atheism back in high school and college … but as an adult I’ve found a happy medium.

            I’m generally willing to go a round or two in debates in an online forum just to keep the ol’ heart pumping. But for the most part (and in real life) I don’t push atheism at other people at all. If somebody has some questions or a friend wants to debate, I’m happy to oblige. And if there’s a formal debate of some sort (and I’m bored), I’ll certainly contribute. But for the most part, I try to live and let live.

            That said, I do have barriers. More than once, I’ve pushed back hard at well-meaning folks who try to press religion on me. And while I’m not one to challenge such things as legislative prayer and nativity scenes on government property, I react very negatively to individuals who misconstrue government endorsement of religion as their “free exercise.”

          • jim_m

            I think the difficulty comes from the “freedom from religion” crowd that mistakenly believes that in order to have “separation of church and state”(a doctrine not found in the constitution) that religion must be banned from the public square, that a new form of religious test be administered to politicians and any who profess a meaningful faith should be barred from serving (evidence the uproar recently about Marco Rubio). and that the only way they can be free to exercise their atheism is if they never encounter any religious ideas or symbols.

            Thankfully there are very few of these types. But they give the rest a bad name. I wasn’t that way as an atheist and I’m not that way now that I have come to faith.

          • JWH

            A further thought, Jim: What constitutes atheists’ attempt to “force their crap on everyone else?”

            A few real-life scenarios, and I’d like your thoughts:

            1) In PIttsylvania County, Virginia, a local atheist has challenged the practice of opening county board meetings with legislative prayer. It’s a tradition that goes back a ways, but she says that the prayer violates the Establishment Clause.

            2) Atheists in a number of communities have put up billboards and bus advertisements with messages that range from “Atheists are just like you” to “Let’s celebrate reason this holiday season” to “Religion is wrong and we are right.”

            3) In Georgia, a school district faces a challenge from FFRF because a local has complained about team prayers and about the custom of high-school football students being taken to local churches for pre-game meals.

            4) In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a local humanist challenged the local government meeting opening with prayers. Rather than having the prayer banned outright, he agreed to a rotating system of prayers … and the humanist himself gave an opening invocation at one meeting.

            5) In an annual holiday parade, a group of atheists petitioned to be allowed to march. The formed the (only known, to date) atheist vuvuzela marching band. At least a couple locals complained about the atheists.

            6) In Rhode Island, high-school student Jessica Ahlquist sued her school system to remove a banner with a school prayer from the gymnasium. She won her lawsuit and its appeal.

            7) In Kountze, Texas, public high-school football games typically open thusly: The school cheerleaders unfurl banners adorned with Bible verses. When they are introduced at the beginning of the game, football players run through these Bible-versed banners to the crowd. A local (anonymous so far) has objected to this as violative of the Establishment Clause.

            8) Finally, there’s this case (http://www.examiner.com/article/religion-the-workplace-an-atheist-s-battle-against-discrimination-pt-1), where a relatively quiet atheist was dismissed from a “Christ-centered office.” Her offense, apparently, was that her husband had an atheist blog.

            9) Hemant Mehta, an atheist math teacher, maintains a blog called the Friendly Atheist. He is very careful to blog only on his own time, and he (as far as I know) keeps religious views (pro or con) out of his math classroom. A local religious group has tried several times to get him fired.

          • jim_m

            Jeez, you’re demanding.

            1) this does not violate the establishment clause. Strictly speaking the establishment clause prevents the state sponsorship of religion and saying an invocation at the opening of a meeting does not do that.

            2) You want to convert people? Don’t tell them how ignorant they are, tell them what is so good about what you have. Christianity is successful not because the apostles went around telling people what losers they were. They preached the “Good News” of Jesus Christ. Atheists are terrible marketers.

            3)Again this does not establish a religion. Technically, I would say that the exclusion of a prayer on legal grounds is establishment of atheism as the state religion.

            4)Sounds good to me

            5) Vuvuzelas suck! They should have been thrown in jail for that alone! Otherwise they were being deliberately disruptive and rude. Participating is fine but they took advantage of it and ruined the event for many. Your rights don’t extend to screwing up everyone else’s life.

            6) I’d have to know more about the banner, but as I have said before: allowing religious expression is not establishment of a state religion.

            7) I’m supposing that the Bible verses are something motivational for the game? If so then what is the difference from a Bible quote and a quote from Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde?

            8) The boss in this case was a jerk and should have his ass handed to him.

            9) If he teaches math and not atheism I really don’t care what he blogs about.

            Hope that helps define where I come from

          • JWH

            Please resubmit your answers. Write with a number 2 pencil.

          • JWH

            FWIW, my thoughts:

            1) I wouldn’t be inclined to challenge the prayers myself. While somebody could argue that legislative prayers violate the Establishment Clause, I tend to think of them as the the legislators’ free exercise of their religion. Unless the local gov’t is harassing somebody for refusing to participate in the prayer, then I’d leave it be. That said, if a local gov’t wants to do the prayers for community-building and so forth, I favor a regime under which any local leaders, whether Christian, Muslim, HIndu or even humanist, can give a quick invocation at the beginning of a meeting.

            2) Terrible marketers, yes. The ads seem to be about atheists going “We’re here, we’re faithless, and we’re not going anywhere.” The “Faithless? You’re not alone” ads are a good thing, I think. If somebody has questions about his religion, it’s nice to know other folks are out there. But the “we’re right, you’re wrong” stuff has got to go.

            3) The Georgia situation is somewhat precarious. The case is still developing, and it’s not entirely clear what the coach was doing. In one version, he simply kept his door open for folks who wanted to pray. In another version, he used his position as coach to coerce students into prayer, whether they were of faith or not. If you’ve got a state-paid coach leading kids in prayer, that has to go. Even if kids are given a choice to opt-out, there’s still something coercive about it. And as for the churches, at least one local church views the kids as a captive audience for proselytizing.

            My solution: Coach shouldn’t lead prayers. And the church dinners should be done as a parent-led thing, not an official or semi-official team activity.

            4)It works for me. In general I favor this sort of thing, where atheists and secularists advocate for a place at the civic table, rather than kicking everybody else off of it.

            5) The local comments complained about the atheists, not the vuvuzelas.

            6) The banner itself was billed as the official school prayer. This is one of those cases where I, personally, saw a potential Establishment Clause violation, but I would be content to leave it alone.

            7) The difference is that Bible is religious, Shakespeare and Wilde not so much. This is one of those cases where, IMO, standing should come into play. If one of the game spectators is upset at this, I would say he should leave it alone. He’s at best a tangential participant in the matter. But if the person objecting is a cheerleader or a football player (i.e., somebody who’s part of it), that person’s being pulled into a religious-themed public-school event against his will.

            8) Agreed.

            9) Agreed.

          • godlessveteran

            In other words “forcing their crap” means demanding the laws be upheld. Meh.

          • ackwired

            Interesting that you were raised an atheist. Many atheists that I know seem to base their “atheism” on a rejection of organized religion. In other words their negative feelings toward organized religion (or a particular type of organized religion) is the real core of their professed atheism. Others just don’t find it rational that a God exists.

            Do these observations align with what you saw growing up?

          • jim_m

            Those align with what my parents believed, especially the idea that religion is not rational (but then again, that is kind of the point of religion).

            My coming to believe in God was from philosophical necessity. I believe in right and wrong. There can be no objective moral truth without God. If man or society are the arbiters of moral truth then such truth is subjective and dependent upon the culture and the transient beliefs of man. This is the error of moral relativism, which ultimately condones the holocaust because Nazi society determined that it was just.

            My belief in moral truth necessitated my belief in God. My journey began there and has lead numerous other places.

          • ackwired

            Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

          • godlessveteran

            “There can be no objective moral truth without God.” A load of crap. Prove it.

          • jim_m

            What is the basis for moral truth then?

            If there is an objective moral truth, then by definition it comes from outside of man and man’s reasoning. Any morality that has its source in man is by definition subjective.

            Additionally, an objective moral truth is not conditional on circumstances. Thus we can say that it is always wrong to steal even if you are stealing to feed a staring family. While you do it with a good end in mind you do not know the consequences of your action and the harm that is does. Comparative benefit is also a subjective measure of morality and therefore rules out any morality based in circumstance. Objective moral truth is independent of circumstance.

            Can moral truth come from society? No. Society is nothing more than a collection of men. Groups do not gain greater moral insight than the greatest of their members. Any morality that derives its existence through the consensus of society is just as subjective as one derived from imposition of the individual, it may have the imprimatur of having the agreement of many people but they are not morally superior than you or I.

            Nor can morality be a function of evolution. Evolutionary theory simply states that that which gives an edge for survival is selected for. In that context an evolved morality simply states that certain behaviors confer better survival and are therefore moral. The Auca indians in S America found it “moral” to murder people from neighboring tribes/clans. This ceased when a more powerful culture imposed its own, different morality upon them. When survival needs changed then morality changed. Evolution can only create a morality that is conditioned on circumstance and that means that it can only create a subjective morality and not an objective one.

            Finally, for there to be an objective moral truth it must come from outside of man and outside of circumstance. Since there is nothing in nature that can provide us with such a truth there can only be two choices: 1) there is no moral truth and morality is simply something we make up and we can change that morality as we choose. or 2) there is a supernatural source for objective morality (call it God if you will for there is no reason to call it anything else and anything else that you make up will ultimately boil down to a word substitution for the concept of God).

            Just a note: From a Christian point of view we live in a broken world and are faced with bad choices. So while it is objectively wrong to lie to the axe murderer at your door seeking to murder your children it is also wrong to deliver them up to a horrible death. Hence why mankind needs a savior. In a broken world you can never successfully square the circle of living up to an objective morality. In a perfect world (Heaven) there would be no such challenge. Christ’s sacrifice pays for all the broken choices we have to make and pays for the bad choices we make when we could have done the right thing.

            If you can think of a way to substantiate an objective moral truth without God I would be interested in hearing it, but I suspect that upon any thorough examination we will find that any non-supernatural source will prove to be subjective.

          • godlessveteran

            All I know is that if you use the Bible as your source of morality, I don’t want you anywhere near my kids or my government.

            Since there is no “God”, your god-blather is irrelevant.

          • jim_m

            The point was about morality and that there is no objective morality to be found without a god. You asked why that was and I explained it.

            In return for that explanation I get a hateful, bigoted response. You are no different than whites who defended segregation in the 60′s.

            I’m fine with the fact that you believe there is no objective morality. I’m just explaining to you where I come from. What I know now is that you really don’t care where other people get their views from. You are only interested in hating them for being different from you.

            As for not being around kids or government; I wouldn’t want tto be around your vulgar immoral brats, and people with religious beliefs founded this country so if you think that is a disqualifier move to some godless communist country where you will be more comfortable with the people controlling your life. I’m not interested in controlling anyone’s life.

          • godlessveteran

            There is only morality WITHOUT a god. People with god-belief use that as justification for the most horrible of crimes and atrocities. Like your white-trash brethren who defended segregation, which I do NOT, you liar. I’m not interested in hating others for being different, but I’m not going to stand by and let their ignorant beliefs dictate what I must or must not do.

            “people with religious beliefs founded this country”

            Men educated with principles of the Enlightenment and understanding of the theocracies of the early colonies (which persecuted and murdered those who dared think differently) are the ones who founded this country, with a Constitution which prohibited the imposition of any religious othodoxy on the unwilling. If you want a country founded on religious belief, YOU need to move to the repressive theocracy of your choice and leave America to real Americans who respect our freedoms to chose or reject religion outright.

          • jim_m

            I expected exactly this kind of bigotry from you.

            I never made any claims about religious people being sinless or even better than non religious people. And yes, people use religion to justify all sorts of immoral activity.

            I am not trying to impose any morality upon you. I am simply stating that whatever morality you believe in, it cannot be objective if it comes from man. Man based moral structures are by definition subjective. Being subjective they are subject to change. You can still have a subjective morality. It is imposed by force and threat of punishment. It can change with the changing of a government.

            The issue was where OBJECTIVE morality came from. You obviously do not believe in an objective morality. That’s OK. I believe that you are wrong. I believe that there really is a right or wrong and that it is not situational and it is not some cultural, relativistic bullshit.

            If you think that the founders did not believe in religious tests, think again. Many states had religious tests for holding office. The founders did not believe in being forced to support a government run religious organization. They believed that the church should be separate from the government. They did not support atheism at all and those states with religious tests did not allow non-Chistians to hold political office.

            You presume (falsely) that I want to impose some theocratic rule upon the nation. Frankly, if you want to go to Hell that is your choice and I really don’t care if you want to go there. I believe that God gave us choices and I think that you should be free to make those choices for yourself. Nothing I can do will stop you from making those choices. I am not under some delusion that by proscribing your behavior I can in any way affect your eternal soul. DO whatever you want. Just don’t be under the illusion that I care or that I am going to try to stop you.

          • godlessveteran

            Bigotry? From the one who appears to be boresighted on convincng me that his fairytale deity exists? Look, there is no “hell”, so I’m not concerned about going there, and I really couldn’t give a crap whether you’re worried I’ll end up there, because it’s none of your business. As for morality, I know what’s right and what’s wrong; there are values that are universal across nearly all cultures and civilizations and do not rely solely on a single fictional deity for validation.

          • jim_m

            Near universal agreement does not equal objectivity. I really don’t care if you believe in God or not. Get that through your head.

            You asked why I contended that objective morality had to originate from God and I explained that. You have offered no counter arguments other than to accuse me of proselytizing you. I haven’t even declared that a Christian God is necessary (in fact it is not).

            My point is that if you believe in an objective morality then you need to have an explanation for where it originates. Saying that a consensus of men demonstrate objectivity is BS. Men can make subjective judgements. Groups of men can agree on subjective judgements. So a societal definition of morality does not equate to an objective morality if the definition of morality is arrived at through agreement by subjective individuals.

            Your choice is that you either accept that all morality is subjective and based on human judgements or you find a non-human (ie objective) source for moral judgement.. That is all I am saying. You do whatever you want. I believe that God made you free to choose.

          • jim_m

            I might add that you have not provided one single reason for why there can be an objective morality apart from God. You have criticized religion, but that wasn’t really the issue.

            You asked me how it was that I could contend that objective morality was only possible with God and I supplied that argument plainly and did not ridicule other viewpoints.

            It is enlightening that your response is to make a personal attack on me and on people who believe in God. The issue was never whether people who believe in God are moral. The issue was where morality comes from and whether or not we can say that something is absolutely right or wrong. I provided you reasons and not a judgement of whether one person was better than another. You were the one who deviated into that realm. I would suggest that you do so because you know that there really is a right and wrong and you are offended by the idea that it might just have to come from God.

            If you don’t like that Idea you have two choices: 1) prove that objective morality can come from somewhere else. or 2) Choose to believe that right and wrong do not really exist apart from a subjective decision by a flawed human being who you might disagree with.

          • godlessveteran

            One single reason: Your “god” does not exist. If you expect me to accept your viewpoint, then it’s up to you to prove he does.

            Morality is simple, and requires no celestial spooks to enforce it. If something would harm you, you should not do it to someone else. The golden rule, plain and simple. Minding one’s own business. So simple, even a Christian should be able to understand it.

          • jim_m

            Again, the issue is not whether morality exists. It is whether morality is objectively true or if it is subjectively determined.

            My point is that you should recognize that your morality is subjective since it originates solely in the judgement of man. Therefore your morality is subject to change. If you want to take that position then that’s fine. Just don’t claim that morality is objectively true and then have no source for that objective truth.

            I have supplied argument as to why man and society are insufficient origins for an objective morality. You have not supplied anything other than offense at the idea that God, or a god, must be the origin of morality. My point is that man can create a subjective and morally relativistic moral code. Secondary to that point is my belief that such moral codes are worthless since they are only codes of convenience and do not get at the point of whether an act really is right or wrong.

            A subjective moral code ultimate breaks down to whatever you can get away with is OK. If you believe otherwise you need to consider what the source is for a moral code. And again, I have already provided the argument why it is that man is an insufficient author of an objective moral code.

            Believe what you wish. Just be consistent in your beliefs.

          • godlessveteran

            Exactly which christians are more tolerant of other beliefs? I haven’t seen evidence any exist.

          • jim_m

            We are tolerating you here. There’s a pretty good proof.

    • retired.military

      ackwired.

      By “they do seem to be sensitive” are you saying that about Christians or Atheists.?

      For the record I am with both Bruce and Jim.
      I think that the person is probably just a tagger who thinks it is a funny joke because it is an atheist involved. The same tagger may put a halo on a billboard with a christian theme.
      I also think that this is defamation of private property and the person responsible (will never be caught) should make reparations.

      • ackwired

        I was speaking of the atheists. It’s hard to imagine that they would be that sensitive just because someone drew horns on their billboards. I would guess that this degree of sensitivity resulted from a number of experiences.

        • retired.military

          Thanks for clarifying.

        • Brucehenry

          When I worked for a Pizza Inn franchise group back in the late 90s, we mailed out a holiday coupon booklet with the title “Pizza On Earth.” We got 6 strongly worded letters and 2 irate phone calls accusing us of blasphemy and disrespecting Christianity. “Atheists are so sensitive” my ass.

          All you have to do is look at the ginned up outrage about the “War on Christmas” every year to see who the “sensitive” ones are.

          • jim_m

            I think there is a difference between your “Pizza on earth” protesters and people who are upset when companies and schools ban the expression “Merry Christmas” and when Christmas carols are banned from the holiday concert.

            There is a lot of left wing pc bullshit about Christmas in the name of so-called “tolerance”.

          • ackwired

            Why can it only be one or the other?

  • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

    Publicity stunt.

    • jim_m

      Like many recent so-called hate crimes, it would not surprise me to find out that the people who did this were the ones who owned the advertisement.

      • godlessveteran

        Nope. Bored kids or ignorant christers.

        • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

          “Christer.” The atheist version of “nigger.”

          • Brucehenry

            Get over yourself, you poor pathetic victim.

          • herddog505

            Absolutely. Christians are not allowed to feel insulted or put-upon, nor are we allowed to complain when we’re mocked, denigrated or otherwise insulted.

            Now, if the term had been “Camel Jockey”… WELL!

            The tolerant left for you, ladies and gentlemen. Some animals ARE more equal than others.

          • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

            An adage I came up with a while back: “There are none so intolerant than those who caterwaul most for ‘tolerance.’”

          • godlessveteran

            Or christians who whine about tolerance while they’re beating atheists over the head.

          • jim_m

            Really?

            Show us the arrest reports dumbass.

          • Ex Christian

            Actually, the point here is that Christians are the ones mocking the non-believers, and doing it illegally to boot. Nice…

          • jim_m

            There is no proof that Christians did this other than your prejudice

          • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

            Yeah, just like those poor, pathetic homosexual victims that Fred Phelps and his inbred clan target.

          • godlessveteran

            And I’m sure you use that term often.

          • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

            No, I don’t, nor do I use slurs like “fag” or “dyke” against homosexuals. You see, you completely missed my point about you and, in fact, you never contradicted it in any way, shape, or form — likely because you know it’s completely true. Just because you’re targeting Christians doesn’t make it acceptable. All it means is that you are no better than the prejudiced, hate-filled bigots who use racial or sexual slurs. You are simply the other side of the same coin as Fred Phelps and his merry band of hatemongers. Same garbage, different targets.

  • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

    Vandalism is a crime. Whining about how you are so vilified by society while at the same time vilifying those who choose to follow religion should be a crime. Sadly, all it is is rank hypocrisy.

    • jim_m

      Meh. If hypocrisy were a crime we would need close to 320,000,000 prison cells.

      • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

        You’re mighty conservative with your figures. :)

        • jim_m

          If it’s more than that you are including illegal aliens and there is no way the obama admin would ever prosecute an illegal alien for anything.

          • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

            I was thinking in terms of including the populations of other countries and their respective prisons.

            But you made a salient point nonetheless.

  • Fooey

    It takes more faith to believe that nothing created something, than Somebody created everything!
    ATHEIST: “I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that which is unknowable based on a total lack of evidence in support of my position.”
    ATHEISM: Belief that nothing created everything out of nothing for no particular reason.
    100% of prophecy to date contained in the Bible has occurred exactly as described hundreds or thousands of years before it occured. Science to date supports all biblical information such as a young earth, a worldwide Flood, parting of the Red Sea, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and so on. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

    • Commander_Chico

      If you wait long enough, everything will happen.

      Or, if you put enough monkeys on typewriters long enough, eventually they will turn out the Bible, Quran and Rig Veda.

      • http://opinion.ak4mc.us/ Scribe of Slog

        Or a comment by Carl.

      • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

        “If you wait long enough, everything will happen.”

        Everything? Even God existing?

        “Or, if you put enough monkeys on typewriters long enough, eventually they will turn out the Bible, Quran and Rig Veda.”

        You know that’s a logical fallacy, right? Also, by that absurd stretch of imagination, they would also turn out On the Origin of Species and the God Delusion.

        I had a good laugh at this from Wikipedia:

        “In 2003, lecturers and students from the University of Plymouth MediaLab Arts course used a £2,000 grant from the Arts Council to study the literary output of real monkeys. They left a computer keyboard in the enclosure of six Celebes Crested Macaques in Paignton Zoo in Devon in England for a month, with a radio link to broadcast the results on a website.

        “Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five pages consisting largely of the letter S, the lead male began by bashing the keyboard with a stone, and the monkeys continued by urinating and defecating on it. Phillips said that the artist-funded project was primarily performance art, and they had learned “an awful lot” from it. He concluded that monkeys “are not random generators. They’re more complex than that. … They were quite interested in the screen, and they saw that when they typed a letter, something happened. There was a level of intention there.”

        • Alexander Moskowitz

          You took the monkey-typewriter thing too literally. Here’s the basic idea: patterns APPEAR to emerge in infinite strings of random information. If you have an INFINITE string of random letters, numbers, punctuation, and spaces, you should expect to find patterns that you would have thought had to have been conceived by some intelligence. These ‘patterns’ are merely an illusion.

          • jim_m

            If you have an INFINITE string of random letters…

            Except that you don’t have an infinite amount of time. You have a fixed amount of time and it is highly questionable as to whether or not there is enough time for evolution to have produced not just the diversity we see today, but also all the diversity we see in the fossil record on top of that. Nor has evolution done anything to produce a rational explanation on how highly complex biological systems arose. Multiple mutations would be simultaneously required in many cases. No such genetic mechanism has ever been seen in nature.

            Also, with regard to the Big Bang Theory (not the worthless TV show) all that does is describe the moment of creation. Currently any speculation about what occurred before is only speculative since there are no records or evidence of what happened before then. Such speculation is little different from the first chapter of Genesis.

          • Alexander Moskowitz

            The monkey-typewriter thing doesn’t really apply to evolution by natural selection, since evolution by natural selection is not random. But once you accept the indisputable notion that it is possible for something “designed” to emerge in nature without consciousness, whether random forces dictate this emergence or not, then it becomes irrational to rely on a teleological argument for the supernatural (regardless of your position on evolutionary theory).

          • jim_m

            the indisputable notion that it is possible for something “designed” to emerge in nature without consciousness,

            Not certain what you mean by this. It is certainly not indisputable that life emerged through the random actions of chemistry (at best it has been demonstrated that certain chemical constituents can be created in a laboratory setting intended to simulate a possible natural condition, but even those experiments are limited and left more questions than they answered). It is not indisputable that God (or gods) created life either.

            My point is that current theory lacks the ability to account fully for what we see. In believing in science you require at least the same leap of faith as religion. THe only difference is in the god you worship.

          • Alexander Moskowitz

            Here’s what I mean – by conducting the monkey-typewriter thought experiment, this becomes a logical fallacy: Cells appear designed, thus cells were created by a supernatural, intelligent being. But we both know it is possible for patterns to emerge independent of intelligence. If anything, our ability to see patterns/design in nature is a testament to our own intelligence.

            And nobody believes in science, because science is a process, not a set of beliefs. People DO science to make pragmatic, temporary, falsifiable conclusions about reality.

            Falsifiability is the most important part. It means that any scientific “belief” you make must have the capacity to be proven wrong. God cannot be proved/disproved, and thus cannot be taken as a legitimate scientific claim. Any claim about evolutionary theory (Ex. organisms that do not mate cannot pass on their genes) can be proved/disproved, giving it legitimacy.

          • jim_m

            Let me try to take this sequentially.

            The fact that patterns can emerge independent of intelligence does not preclude that intelligence caused those patterns too. You make a serious error that by demonstrating more than one solution that you have proven it is he only solution. Furthermore, as I have stated before there has not been a convincing proof that evolution can account for what is nothing more than spontaneous generation of life.

            People do believe in science. Evolution is a great example. It cannot account for the explosive diversity in the fossil record. It cannot account for the complexity of cell biology. People believe in it without question anyway. In fact, it is nearly impossible to mention that it has these failings in many academic circles. AGW is another example. Despite having demonstrated that many of its claims are bogus (Himalayan glaciers, Mann Hockey stick, polar ice, polar bears, etc), people believe it is true.

            One need only turn to an issue of Scientific American to see evidence of this religion. I recall an article entitled something like “The Evolution of the Immune System”. I read it eager to learn something new. Instead I was disappointed to be treated to what was little more than the spinning of a story using the idea of evolution to explain why the immune system was the way that it is. It could have been compared fairly to an ancient grecian polytheist using the gods to explain why the seasons changed. There was nothing scientific about the article. It was an appeal to religious authority.

            Lastly, Evolution and AGW are not falsifiable. Evolution has become a belief on how the world is organized and observations are explained in light of evolutionary beliefs. Hardly a week goes by when we do not hear that heat waves are evidence of AGW and blizzards are evidence of AGW. Neither theory is capable of predicting any outcomes. Both are used to explain the evidence and provide an interpretation of the evidence. Neither makes predictions that can be demonstrated.

            Please. science has become religion for many millions of people.

          • Alexander Moskowitz

            1) “You make a serious error that by demonstrating more than one solution that you have proven it is he only solution.” Oh, no! Sorry if I didn’t express myself clearly. You are absolutely right that it is not at all impossible for patterns in nature to be conceived by a supernatural intelligence. What I’m saying is there is no reason to take that position. The question everyone should be asking is, “What is the most pragmatic position I can take on this issue?” If there is no clear, evidence-based answer, then the most pragmatic position should be to suspend judgement.

            2) I am not a biologist, nor am I credentialed in the life sciences, so I will not attempt to address anything said here about the empirical evidence for evolutionary biology with which I have no experience. It is still true, though, that claims in biology can at least be tested, wrong or right. The same cannot be said about the supernatural.

            3) It is perfectly reasonable to believe there are credentialed scientists who do bad science. No question.

          • herddog505

            Well said!

      • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

        It’s interesting to note that Richard Dawkins wrote a computer program (yeah, I know — who knew!) where he attempted to prove the “monkeys on typewriters” thing while applying it to evolution. Unfortunately, he made two critical errors. First off, he started with a goal in mind: the first line of one of Shakespeare’s plays. Evolution, as its dogma goes, has no preset goal to reach. Second, his random letter generation (which was intended to represent genes) “locked” letters in place when they matched the phrase chosen as a goal — essentially implying that evolution “locks” genes in place when they become the “right” ones.

        These people are not as smart as they always tell us they are.

      • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

        Still wondering on the question whether or not God’s existence is included in the part about “if you wait long enough, everything will happen.”

    • JWH

      Completely irrelevant.

      • JWH

        To revise and extend: Belief in a god, or lack thereof, is not the issue here. The issue is vandalism.

        • jim_m

          Actually the issue is whether there is reason to accuse Christians of the vandalism with no evidence to support that claim.

          • JWH

            If they were Unitarians, they would have scrawled question marks on the sign.

    • Par4Course

      This argument is specious and silly. If something can’t come from nothing, then what created god? It is theists who ought to produce some evidence of god, not atheists who need to prove god’s non-existence. I am an atheist because I don’t believe that existence = god, and other than the fact of existence itself, I see no evidence of god. Of course, if there were solid evidence, then it would not require faith to believe in god.

      As for the billboard, I think the theist vandals did an effective job of asserting their point of view – but it’s still just their opinion and they are criminals.

      • JWH

        I think Antony Flew initially conceptualized this. Interestingly, he shifted from atheism to deism not too long ago.

  • The_Weege_99

    I dunno… maybe this is like many of the more recent racial incidents – self-inflicted in order to “raise awareness” or “speak a greater truth” or simply just to get more attention for it.
    What was the point of the billboard, anyway? Because, if you get down to it, that is what a serial murderer, child abuser, pedophile, neo-nazi, wife-beater, pimp or any other number of people “look like.”

    • 914

      I was thinking the same thing. Neighborhood watch awareness for sex offenders.

    • http://www.shockandblog.com/ Jay McHue

      What? You didn’t see Sandusky’s horns, dripping fangs, and cloven hooves, either?

  • jim_m

    The billboard features Mark Hecate…

    Ironically named after the Greek goddess of witchcraft.

    • 914

      Bloodlines

  • 914

    Looks like an improvement to me.

  • Ex Christian

    Not wanting to be demonized has nothing to do with your belief, or non-belief in any deity. No one wants people to think poorly of them, and people that stereotype all persons from one group and call them bad things are bigots. Doing it on the sign and vandalizing is even worse, since this was obviously done by a theist. Pot calling the kettle black?

  • RichFader

    My answer to Mark and FFRF: Toughen up, buttercups.

  • Jason Drummond

    Woah, hold up….
    If this were done to a Christians billboard (and it has been done in the past) they would raise hell and the media would stand behind them completely and call it a hate crime (and that has been done too).
    But somehow it is perfectly okay for Christians to do this, regardless of how petty it is, and all the so-called ‘Good Christian folk’ can do is say that since Atheists don’t believe in God, they must not believe in the devil, so they can’t see themselves as being demonized?
    The problem isn’t with how WE see this, but with how the public see’s this. They see it as totally justifiable when it is not done to them; am I the only one that has an issue with this?

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