Huckabee = very very very bad guy

By Phil Plait | January 15, 2008 5:34 pm

I was going to sit down and write a lengthy diatribe about how Huckabee is insane, and wants to turn this country into a theocracy the likes of which hasn’t been seen since, well, the Taliban, but then PZ goes and beats me to it. I wouldn’t use that NSFW language on my blog, but you can bet I’m thinking it.

And here’s the money quote from Mullah Huckabee himself:

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

Actually, he’s not only demented, he’s wrong: the Bible has been rewritten countless times by small groups of men (that’s why there are different versions, Huck), but changing the Constitution requires a 2/3 majority in both the Senate and House, and then a 3/4 majority of state legislatures approving the proposed amendment. That’s a lot harder, which is why we have so few amendments.

Voting for Huckabee is essentially casting out your freedoms forever. Given everything — anything — he has said, I used to be amused thinking that anyone would take him at all seriously. Now I’m terrified too many people will.

Comments (135)

  1. I wonder when people like Huckabee will realize that the US is not solely a Christian nation, nor was it founded solely on Christian principles.

    Huckabee, Guiliani… they all terrify me. And the fact that there are people who will take what they say seriously–no matter how ludicrous (REWRITE the constitution?!)–terrifies me even more.

    I sincerely hope Obama or Kucinich wins.

  2. Paul T.

    Hickabee is a dimwitted fool, but he will have a lot of dimwitted fools voting for him. I can’t believe that the mainstream media is not all over this!

  3. Rav Winston

    Fortunately, my passport doesn’t expire until 2009. There’ll be time to flee after the results come in.

  4. Yeah, like I commented in PZ’s post, I didn’t realize until I got to “f***wit” that it was him writing, not you. *headdesk*

  5. Daffy

    And yet, if he were elected Republicans everywhere would support anything he does. Anything. Doubt me? Look at George W. Bush and the support he still has in spite of everything he has done to destroy this country’s foundations.

  6. Duane

    “Huck” doesn’t have a snail’s chance in a salt mine of even getting a decent seat at the convention, let alone actually getting nominated. Don’t worry about it. The race will come down to Giuliani v. Clinton, and Clinton will win in a photo finish.

  7. Max Fagin

    I am curious BA; while it is always fun to read a good negative review of a candidate (and Huckabee absolutely deserves it, Yikes!) who WOULD you consider voting for? If you HAD to write a positive review, for which candidate would it be?

    I agree that NONE of these people deserve to be president, but if you had to vote for someone, who would it be? Would it still be Paul? Which of them do you think is the lesser of all evils?

  8. Grand Lunar

    PZ seems less concerned with his language than you, Phil. That’s why I still think YOU rule. :)

    Anyway, I’m glad for posts like these. It helps narrow my choice down for whom to vote for.

    With this nutcase about, and Obama with his appearent desire to cut NASA’s already meger budget (or do worse), my vote is leaning more toward Clinton. She seems to be the better way for out country to go, far as science is concerned. I hope she doesn’t make me regret such a view.

  9. Christian X Burnham

    Here come the Christian Taleban.

  10. Max, I haven’t decided yet. My dog would be a safer bet than most of the Republicans right now, but I am still investigating the Democrats. I haven’t decided if I will endorse a candidate or not — I doubt my opinion carries enough weight to matter! — but I’ll be writing about them, no doubt.

  11. NeoGothic

    As I posted on Pharyngula in response to a commentor saying “Over my dead body” to the Huckster’s proposed “christianizing” of the Constitution….

    _______________________________

    The Mad Patriot @ #78 said:
    “Four words for the Huckster about Biblifying the Constitution:
    Over. My. Dead. Body.”

    Mad Patriot may have a point (and a really cool handle). If Huckabee wins the the Presidency we could be in for a very scary time indeed. The re-instatement of biblical law would have everyone posting [on this Pharyngula thread] condemed to death, probably by stoning. Also, evangelical fundies consider Catholics and the more “traditional” protestant denominations to be heretics, not to mention all the religious non-christians in this country. That’s a lot of people the newly biblically-oriented Department of Justice would be after. I don’t like thinking like this because it makes me feel like one of those right-wing militia guys in a shack in the backwoods of Michigan, but if any sort of signifigant change (such as the First Ammendment not applying to non-christians) towards theocratic rule happened in the United States what would be the chances of a second American Revolution or a second Civil War happening? How many would be willing to fight for their freedom? It would certainly be the end of the US as we know it. These are dark days indeed for the Union. I fear for my country.

  12. At least we are seeing his true color early in this process instead of after he gets elected! I hope this will make even some conservatives think twice.

    Phil,
    The first MESSENGER photos are out, and they started with a doozy!!!

  13. Michelle

    …I’m canadian and I felt outraged when I read these words. I sure as heck hope you guys are just as offended and will never let that guy get an ounce more of power.

  14. Mikhail Bragoria

    As an uninformed Australian, I’m somewhat ignorant of U.S. Constitutional Law, but I thought that the President played no formal role in passing Constitutional Amendments.

    Can someone tell me what role the President plays re. Amendments, even if it’s unofficial?

    btw – in Australia, Constitutional Amendments must be approved at a referendum by a majority of the people and a majority of the people in the majority of the states (e.g. 51% of all Australians, plus 51% of the people in four out of the six Australian States). If the U.S. doesn’t have the requirement of a referendum, does this mean that political and religious freedoms can be taken away without even having a popular vote?

  15. Impium Orexis

    I’m with NeoGothic. The idea of Huckabee being president chills my bowels. At the same time, having the country go communist under Clinton or Obama bothers me just as much. I won’t state my worst fears about it here, as my employer (the military) might not like them, but let’s just say I’m going to try to be stationed off the mainland for the next several years.

  16. Impium Orexis

    “If the U.S. doesn’t have the requirement of a referendum, does this mean that political and religious freedoms can be taken away without even having a popular vote?”

    If they can find a way to tie it to terrorism, our government can essentially take away any freedom without accountability. If they can’t tie it to terrorism, they can just chip away at it for years until one day it’s just gone. Easier to eat a watermelon one bite a time, I guess.

  17. Can someone tell me what role the President plays re. Amendments, even if it’s unofficial?

    Like a Budget (which must be from the House of Representatives), the President may _suggest_ legislation, but cannot actually create it.
    [exception: the 'signing statements' that the current officeholder has abused to a felonious level]

    J/P=?

  18. What I find most terrifying is the manner in which the reporters handled the situation. Look at the reluctance to condemn an obvious and monstrous attack on the most priceless values on which the Constitution is based. I’m particularly incensed by the final line:

    “… more of a /reach/… liberals would say a breach … of the line separating church and state.”

    EXCUSE ME. It /is/ a breach, by any measure, by any standard. What terrifies me more than anything is the apparently unspoken understanding that godless liberals are the only ones interested in defending the constitution, and that the fragile sensibilities of those who’d rather tear it to pieces warrant such evasive tap-dancing.

  19. Mutant Jedi

    I’m a Canadian looking across the boarder wondering about the collective sanity of our cousins to the South. But then, we have Stephen Harper here. He’s a founding member of the Reform Party. This is a party that Huckabee might be comfortable in. A lot has changed in Canadian politics over the last 10 years… but a lot, I think, has stayed the same.

    My question is why is this mindset getting such traction? What is happening in North America? Huckabee is a symptom of a disease. We need to understand that disease in order to give the best response.

  20. Max Fagin

    You have an ad for Huckabee in the margin of the blog. . .

  21. Mutant Jedi
  22. Lets not get hysterical. The man’s a moron, and he’s never going to get elected, because of statements like this he’s made in the past. Even the evangelicals were upset with his ‘I’m a christian so vote for me’ comercial.

    And even if he did get elected, he’s not going to get the constitution changed, even if he claims terroism. The majority of our senators and representatives know the consequences of even trying. The backlash would be swift and heavy, without any need for armed revolt.

  23. Yo Phil, you da’ man! Emailed you, but I know you get a ton of stuff. Warning, shameless self-promotion follows …

    Huckabee is bad news, but he’s big news in Colorado Springs, the Fundie capital of the US. BA bloggers might be interested in this critical column from the Colorado Springs Gazette on Huckabee’s claims of supernatural intervention in his campaign:

    http://www.faginfamily.net/barry/columns/tear%20sheets/93%20Jan%2010th%202008.pdf

    Yours in egregious self-aggrandizement,

    –BF
    (Max’s father)

  24. riotshield

    Mikhail Bragoria, BA stated it in the blog post:

    “but changing the Constitution requires a 2/3 majority in both the Senate and House, and then a 3/4 majority of state legislatures approving the proposed amendment.”

    It’s difficult to do and the President doesn’t decide it. The worst (and it’s pretty bad) a president can do is suspend the Constitution via Executive Orders (which, by the way, aren’t in the constitution). But the president cannot rewrite, amend, or otherwise alter the constitution.

    The document remains sacrosanct at least, even if the rights it grants to the people do not.

  25. Chip

    I like many of the things Edwards and Obama have said and I like how Kucinich quotes from the Constitution. What a contrast from this weirdo Huckabee who wants to pollute it with superstition! Hillary has said a lot of sane things too though I wish she’d change her stay-in-Iraq stance.

    Anyway – it isn’t just that Huckabee and the rest of the Republican lineup are total losers, (which they all are) – what scares me is how will “Premier Election Solutions” i.e. Diebold try to steal the election, or if Bush will look for an excuse to start WWIII with Iran before his term runs out.

  26. Y’all need to understand, too, that up until today Huckabee was the Republican frontrunner. Romney just took Michigan, so that will help him, but it’s hard to say if he can pull it out.

    Scary times ahead, folks.

  27. Christian X Burnham

    According to this page, Huckabee is polling nationally for second place (behind McCain).

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/us/republican_presidential_nomination-192.html

    It will be interesting to see if his comments help or hurt his poll numbers.

    Are there any candidates speaking up for a secular America?

  28. I heard somewhere the saying, “You put your hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution; you don’t put your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.” Apparently Huck disagrees. If I thought he had a chance of getting nominated, I’d really panic. Instead I’m just a little depressed.

  29. Pyroclasm

    “Are there any candidates speaking up for a secular America?”

    Heck no. Even the Democrats are wh*ring out to the religious vote.

  30. We truly live at a crossroads that will determine if humanity finally breaks the cyclical nature of history, or fall back into another Dark Ages, as we are wont to do.

    Religion, in my opinion, is the greatest threat to human progress. Res ipsa loquitur.

  31. Radwaste

    You guys know a lot about astronomy, but you’re struggling with politics.

    Anyway. Here’s what Christopher Hitchens has to say about Hillary:

    “One also hears a great deal about how this awful joint tenure of the executive mansion was a good thing in that it conferred “experience” on the despised and much-deceived wife. Well, the main “experience” involved the comprehensive fouling-up of the nation’s health-care arrangements, so as to make them considerably worse than they had been before and to create an opening for the worst-of-all-worlds option of the so-called HMO, combining as it did the maximum of capitalist gouging with the maximum of socialistic bureaucracy. This abysmal outcome, forgiven for no reason that I can perceive, was the individual responsibility of the woman who now seems to think it entitles her to the presidency. But there was another “experience,” this time a collaborative one, that is even more significant.

    During the Senate debate on the intervention in Iraq, Sen. Clinton made considerable use of her background and “experience” to argue that, yes, Saddam Hussein was indeed a threat. She did not argue so much from the position adopted by the Bush administration as she emphasized the stand taken, by both her husband and Al Gore, when they were in office, to the effect that another and final confrontation with the Baathist regime was more or less inevitable. Now, it does not especially matter whether you agree or agreed with her about this (as I, for once, do and did). What does matter is that she has since altered her position and attempted, with her husband’s help, to make people forget that she ever held it. And this, on a grave matter of national honor and security, merely to influence her short-term standing in the Iowa caucuses. Surely that on its own should be sufficient to disqualify her from consideration? Indifferent to truth, willing to use police-state tactics and vulgar libels against inconvenient witnesses, hopeless on health care, and flippant and fast and loose with national security: The case against Hillary Clinton for president is open-and-shut. Of course, against all these considerations you might prefer the newly fashionable and more media-weighty notion that if you don’t show her enough appreciation, and after all she’s done for us, she may cry.”

    The real sickness is that Joe and Jane Public WON’T READ THEIR VOTING RECORD. That shows just how big of a fake these candidates are!

  32. Dan

    Let’s see… A rather fast and loose voting record versus the shredding of the Constitution in pursuit of driving America into a hellish theocracy?

    Yeah… Tough choice there.

  33. Daffy

    Isn’t it interesting that the same people who support Bush, also slam Hillary for having agreed with him about the Iraq War?

    Well, I disagreed with Bush’s war from the very start…so I guess you must think I am pretty cool, eh?

  34. The idea that the Republican party — and Huckabee in particular — represent conservatism any more is laughable. I ran across this cross mostly on Right Wing and conservative blogs blasting Huckabee for saying something so stupid, so wrong and so un-American.

  35. Michael Lonergan

    All I can say is, “Thank God I’m Canadian…” Oh wait…. Something doesn’t sound quite right….

  36. Kaptain K

    For a scary bit of deja vu, read the novella “If this goes on…” (written in 1940!) By Robert Heinlein.

  37. csrster

    Dan – Hitchens has a thing about the Clintons, but I don’t think even he would endorse Huckabee over Hillary.

  38. Rican

    Although it is a stupid and ignorant comment, you can’t say you don’t know where he stands. Very different from the candidates that claim to care for the “little people” while getting $200 haircuts.

  39. AstroSmurf

    Oh, for crying out loud!
    The idea was that I would take the US *off* the no-fly list in 2009…

  40. Gareth (bujin)

    It’s quite worrying that someone that demented can be a front-runner to the seat of the most powerful person in the world! This, obviously, does not just affect Americans, but everyone, everywhere in the world.

    Huckabee REALLY needs to be challenged on his statement by high profile people like Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Dan Dennett, and everyone else who speak on religion. He should also be challenged by more conservative church leaders – but I suspect that won’t happen!

    He should be asked just what he means by “making the constitution more biblical”. Does he mean reintroducing stonings for people who work on the Sabbath? Does he mean beating kids to death with sticks if they misbehave or speak out against their parents? Does he mean for the women of America to return to their “rightful” (biblically speaking) place as servants to the men? Does he mean that he will turn a blind eye to slavery, and beating slaves (as long as you don’t kill them)?

    Or is he going to cherry-pick the nice bits once again?

    “Oh, but those are all Old Testament things. Jesus came along and said that we should be nice to each other!”

    Yes, but Jesus also turned a blind eye to slavery. He also said that the word of God (i.e. the in Old Testament) would stand forever. And why would an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient god make some laws, tell people to abide by them forever, then allow mere mortals to dictate what is and is not right about those laws? Why would a timeless being repeal laws which were supposed to stand forever?

    If Huckabee wants to make the constitution more biblical, then he has to make sure that all the laws fit in with what is in the Bible. And if that ever happens, the USA will become a lot more like Iran. Only worse.

  41. Falyne

    @Rican:

    Duuuuuuuude. If you’re on national television on a regular basis and dependent on your “charisma” for personal advancement, you invest in that charisma.

    Every. Single. Pundit. that commented on Edwards’ “OMG EXPENSIIIIIIVE HAIRCUT” has had haircuts that expensive themselves. It’s a fact of the TV business. Since JFK, politicians are also judged in large part by their personal appearance. It’s ludicrous to assume that politicians who can afford it (and, at that level, they all can afford it) would *not* get oh-so-expensive beauty treatments… and it’s even more ludicrous to still be talking about this Penultimate Non-Issue.

    (For the curious: I believe that the title of Ultimate Non-Issue goes to that whole kerfluffle about Hillary wearing a blouse that may or may not have shown the slightest dimpling of flesh that indicated that there may actually have been cleavage somewhere further down. Ay yi yi.)

  42. Sue Mitchell

    I appreciate your ban on unparliamentary language (in case The Littlest Astronomer gets to see it, yes?) Otherwise being a robust Brit who doesn’t mind calling a spade, a spade, rather than a digging implement when the occasion warrants, I’d suggest replacing the ‘H’ in Mad Mike’s surname with an ‘F’ and the ‘a’ with ‘up.’

    Frankly, I find the guy mega-scary, particularly as whatever happens on your side of The Pond tends to find its way over here sooner or later. “Vive le secular society!” say I.

    I did actually e-mail him about his view on abortion, asking if he considered himself to be the friend of the back-street abortionist. He hasn’t got back to me on that yet…

  43. Rub R. D'Key

    Ya’ think he scares you? I’m distantly related to him, and I can tell you he’s bat guano crazy!

  44. Actually, although it’s a widespread popular belief, there’s no reason at all to think the Bible has been “rewritten.” Translated, yes, but as the Dead Sea scrolls showed, there has been almost no change in the text over thousands of years.

  45. NeoGothic writes:

    [[The re-instatement of biblical law would have everyone posting [on this Pharyngula thread] condemed to death, probably by stoning. ]]

    Yes, but Huckabee isn’t talking about reinstating biblical law, and he couldn’t get such a thing through even a Republican congress. Those people are right-wing, but by and large they’re not crazy.

    Huckabee was talking about an amendment banning gay marriage. That’s bad enough on its own terms without having to exaggerate.

  46. Impium says:

    [[having the country go communist under Clinton or Obama bothers me just as much. ]]

    You don’t actually know what “communist” means, do you?

  47. AMDubbin writes:

    [[Religion, in my opinion, is the greatest threat to human progress.]]

    How about population growth? Global warming? Nuclear terrorism? Any of those ring a bell?

  48. A lurker

    Is Huckabee a “very very very bad guy”? No. By all accounts he is a nice guy.

    Is Huckabee proposing a very very very bad policy? Now that is the case.

    Dumbass ideas don’t make someone a bad guy but they do make someone a bad choice for president.

  49. Gareth writes:

    [[Huckabee REALLY needs to be challenged on his statement by high profile people like Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Dan Dennett, and everyone else who speak on religion.]]

    In other words, by the people who are just as dedicated in their evangelical atheism as Huckabee is in his religion.

    [[He should be asked just what he means by “making the constitution more biblical”. Does he mean reintroducing stonings for people who work on the Sabbath? Does he mean beating kids to death with sticks if they misbehave or speak out against their parents? Does he mean for the women of America to return to their “rightful” (biblically speaking) place as servants to the men? Does he mean that he will turn a blind eye to slavery, and beating slaves (as long as you don’t kill them)?]]

    No, he was talking about the anti-gay-marriage amendment.

    [[Or is he going to cherry-pick the nice bits once again?
    “Oh, but those are all Old Testament things. Jesus came along and said that we should be nice to each other!”
    Yes, but Jesus also turned a blind eye to slavery.
    ]]

    Darn that Jesus, what an evil guy!

    I’m always amused by the atheist fundamentalists who rant about how the Bible supports slavery. Slavery dying out in the Christian west in the middle ages and being regulated to death in the Byzantine Empire, only to come back with the Renaissance; the Abolitionist movement being started by Quakers and evangelical Christians, the slaves in the US risking torture and death to learn to read so they could read the Bible, it all doesn’t seem to register with them. Not to mention the central image of the Old Testament being the escape of a people from slavery. The slaves in the US knew it. “Tell ole Pharoah… let my people go.”

  50. Alan

    Barton: Years ago I spent some time looking at several different modern versions of the Bible, and (at least within the context of my religious views at the time) there were differences that altered the meaning of several verses. Maybe there’s very little change between the texts of the Dead Sea scrolls and the same books contained in some current version of the Bible, but in my opinion there has been some rewriting going on when it comes to the wide variety of English versions available today.

  51. Daffy

    Barton, I am always amazed how many people think the Bible is the Word of God and yet don’t bother to read it. The Bible DOES approve of slavery, most definitely:

    “Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever.” Lev.25:44-46

    I strongly urge you to read the entire Bible, npt just the bits you like.

  52. America is a joke these days anyway – You have a president who openly violates the constitution every step on the way, and farts into democracy’s general direction. You have lost your way, and you are paying for your lack of attention by witnessing the birth of the first American police state. If Huckabee won, that would at least be such a stark and terrible government, and would so openly lead the US into a dictatorship that I’d be hopeful that the Americans would finally rise and kick his butt back out and re-invent the United States as a country in which freedom, democracy, and justice are again actual values instead of paper tigers.

  53. SH

    “Actually, although it’s a widespread popular belief, there’s no reason at all to think the Bible has been “rewritten.” ”

    Except for the historical fact that entire books have been added and removed several times…

  54. Adam

    [i]I’m always amused by the atheist fundamentalists who rant about how the Bible supports slavery. Slavery dying out in the Christian west in the middle ages and being regulated to death in the Byzantine Empire, only to come back with the Renaissance [/i]

    Yes, slavery appeared because of the Renaissance. I suppose the fact that around that same time Europe’s population was devestated by plague AND they’d just found a couple more continents to expand into, thus dramatically increasing the need for labor, had absolutely nothing to do with it.

    [i] the Abolitionist movement being started by Quakers and evangelical Christians,[/i]

    Yes, and I admire them for it, but the people owning the slaves were using the exact same book to justify what they were doing.

    [i] the slaves in the US risking torture and death to learn to read so they could read the Bible,[/i]

    Exactly what does that prove? I’m confused on your point here. They would have been punished for knowing how to read at all, no matter what they were reading. Just because they really wanted to read it didn’t change their situation, nor does it change what the Bible actually says regarding slavery.

    [i]Not to mention the central image of the Old Testament being the escape of a people from slavery. The slaves in the US knew it. “Tell ole Pharoah… let my people go.”[/i]

    You mean the same Hebrews who kept slaves themselves and recorded the rules for it in the VERY BOOK YOU’RE CHAMPIONING? Kinda undermines the “theme” if your characters run off and do the exact same thing they just spent a whole chapter escaping from.

  55. Doc

    “Except for the historical fact that entire books have been added and removed several times…”

    … and that it’s no longer in Greek and Aramaic like it used to be. Amazing how it can suddenly become English without being rewritten.

  56. Daedalus

    Huckabee has a nice guy attitude, but once you look at his programs and what he REALLY represents, you see a socialist evangelical. I for one do not want to live in his type of world !!!

  57. I feel the argument about the Bible and the Constitution is kinda back-to-front. Fundamentalists see it as a strength of the Bible that it hasn’t changed in nearly two millenia (and, really, it hasn’t – the ‘versions’ are just English translations).

    I would see it as a strength of the Constitution that it can be changed by due process. Personally, I see that as adapting to changing social and historical circumstances, not converging on some imagined perfection. Banning gay marriage (which is what I believe Huckabee was referring to) is IMO going down a historical cul-de-sac, but I’d hope that Americans generally and presidential candidates in particular would be open to changing the Constitution when it no longer fits the needs of the nation.

    That’s why the above argument bugs me a little: I don’t think a ‘Constitutional fundamentalism’ is any healthier than the Biblical (or Islamic) kind.

  58. Doc

    Barton Paul Levenson,

    “… the Abolitionist movement being started by Quakers”

    Just a minor note here, but a large number of Quakers – and the majority of the ones that I know – do NOT see the bible as being the literal word of God. Further, they’re firmly opposed to the current erosion of the separation of church and state.

    Please do not attempt to lump Quakers in with the Evangelical Christians. Quakers have been pushing Christianity towards a more liberal form since 1652.

  59. @doc: I was just about to mention that whole “God didn’t write the Bible” thing. Seems like a lot of people are forgetting that nowadays.

  60. Daffy writes:

    [[Barton, I am always amazed how many people think the Bible is the Word of God and yet don’t bother to read it. The Bible DOES approve of slavery, most definitely:]]

    I’m familiar with the Old Testament slave code, thank you. You appear to have missed my point. Despite what the OT law says, the practical effect of following the Bible has been to make cultures give up slavery.

    [[I strongly urge you to read the entire Bible, npt just the bits you like.]]

    I’ve read it cover to cover twice, studied parts intensively, learned New Testament Greek (from Dr. William F. Orr, if that means anything to you), and am now studying Hebrew so I can read the OT in the original. Don’t assume you can tell what I know.

  61. Adam writes:

    [[You mean the same Hebrews who kept slaves themselves and recorded the rules for it in the VERY BOOK YOU’RE CHAMPIONING? Kinda undermines the “theme” if your characters run off and do the exact same thing they just spent a whole chapter escaping from.]]

    So how do you explain that reading the book, in practice, resulted in cultures giving up slavery, sometimes gradually (medieval Europe, the Byzantine Empire), sometimes violently (US)? What has the practical effect of the book been? Why don’t you think that matters?

    Evangelical atheists read the Bible like extreme fundamentalists. Only the most prosaic literal meaning counts; everything else and any other interpretation can be ignored.

  62. Doc writes:

    [[… and that it’s no longer in Greek and Aramaic like it used to be. Amazing how it can suddenly become English without being rewritten.]]

    You are assuming “translated” means the same as “rewritten.” It doesn’t. When Jules Verne is translated into English, the translator is not rewriting the book (or if he is, French speakers are going to call him on it).

  63. Doc writes:

    [[Just a minor note here, but a large number of Quakers - and the majority of the ones that I know - do NOT see the bible as being the literal word of God.]]

    Duh. My point. Neither have most Christians at most times.

    [[ Further, they’re firmly opposed to the current erosion of the separation of church and state.]]

    So are most Christians. Are you trying to say that Quakers aren’t Christians? That would be incorrect.

  64. Oh, and for those who worry that the Bible supports slavery — I assume you must be very opposed to slavery. So put your money where your mouth is. The British Anti-Slavery Society (yeah, the one started by the evangelical Christians) still exists, though it is now called Anti-Slavery International. I assume all of you, detesting slavery so much, would like to make a contribution. So here’s the contact info:

    Anti-Slavery International
    Thomas Clarkson House
    The Stableyard
    Broomgrove Road
    London SW9 9TL

    tel: +44 (0)20 7501 8920
    fax: +44 (0)20 7738 4110
    email: info@antislavery.org

    Or you can just go to their website:

    http://www.antislavery.org/

    and click on “donate.”

    -BPL

  65. Helena Constantine

    One can’e help but reminded of the famous vdeo clip of Jimmy Swaggert holding his copy of the Bible and shouting, “This is the Constitution of the United States.”

    I’m not quite sure what you mean however by Different versions of the Bible. In philological studies a version simply means a translation, but the Bible itself does not consist of any particular translation but in the Original Greek NT and the Masoretic text of the Hebrew bible (there is a little Aramaic in Daniel). Those texts are quite well established; its not as though one group has one text and another group has another, as you seem to imply.

    Of course, students at fundamentalsit semianries are generally required to swear fidelity to the autograph copy (i.e. the one written by the author himself as the exemplar) of the mss. (in order to get around the problem of variant readings), which is quite ridiculous since no one can possibly know what readings such a text would have, nor would it have been possible in antiquity to produce a manuscrpt of so large a doccument as either Testament without scribal errors.

  66. Philip

    Barton Paul Levenson, I agree with all you wrote.
    Also, although the bible has been rewritten and translated several times, it was inspired by God. The people who wrote the Bible were children of their time and wrote within the culture of the times they lived in. There are lots and lots of mistakes and misconceptions in the Bible if you read it literally. I am a dedicated Christian but do NOT read the BIble literally. I accept the findings of modern science including the Big bang theory as well as the role of evolution in the development of life. BUT I reject the notion that life ocurred spontaneously. I believe that God initiated and planned it all to its finest of detail. I am certain the atheists among you do not regard the constitution as being inspired by God!!
    I thank God very day for accepting me as his child with all my mistakes and flaws.

  67. Rub R. D'Key

    I find it amusing in his pedantic bloviations Barton Paul Levenson refers to nonbelievers as “fundamental atheist.” Obviously he’s not familiar with Blake’s Law. Blake’s Law is an adage Blake Stacey formulated in 2007, based in concept on Godwin’s Law. The law states:

    “In any discussion of atheism (skepticism, etc.), the probability that someone will compare a vocal atheist to religious fundamentalists increases to one. As with Godwin’s Law, the person who compares the atheist to a religious fundamentalist is considered to have lost the argument.”

  68. Daffy

    Barton, nice try. Here’s something from the NT for you:

    “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.” 1 Tim.6:1

    Would you like more? I would be happy to provide them for you. You say you have read the Bible…well, apparently not very carefully.

  69. Helena Constantine

    Doc wrote:

    ““Except for the historical fact that entire books have been added and removed several times…”

    … and that it’s no longer in Greek and Aramaic like it used to be. Amazing how it can suddenly become English without being rewritten.”

    The Hebrew Bible is an original document–the Aramaic translation of it is not held as scripture by any religious community.

    The Greek and Hebrew Originals still exist and are sacred scriptures. English translations have no evidentiariy value or cannonical status by themsevlves.

    The NT cannon was formed by a consensus of Christian communties in the secodn and third centuries and finally codified at the Councilof Nicea in the early 4th century. The cannon has not changed since then; nor was anything excluded that was not wildly different than the included texts.

    The cannon of the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible was established even earlier.

    So your statements merely show a complete unfamilairty with the scientific study of the Biblical text.

  70. Unbebiblical

    It never ceases to amuse me how people point to “THE BIBLE” as if “it” weren’t a collection of books, filled with enough contradictions to make a fella’s head spin like Mercury, written by people who lived thousands of years ago. A series of books in which all of the stories are based on myths that can be traced back centuries before people invented paper and ink allow them to finally jot them down (and use for their own purpose?).

    And speaking of myths, how is it people over the years through good science have been able to dispel all of the myths believed by ancient people except religious myths? And how unfortunate.

    No matter how deeply we look into space, or into our own physicality, we can’t seem to shake the hold superstition has over the human species.

  71. Ken B

    Wow! Makes me want to go out and re-register as a Republican, just so I can vote for someone else.

    And to Unbebiblical… I thought the babelfish disproved G-d’s existence?

  72. Helena, if I’m reading you right, you’re saying there are “original” Hebrew texts?
    It’s my understanding that whatever is thought of as “the originals” is merely by accident as there are MANY versions of the books of Talmud and Torah. The Dead Sea Scrolls aren’t even the first documents to show that nearly every book of the Hebrew Bible had various versions with many changes.
    In fact, evidence in the now canonized Pentateuch even show there were many many pre-Levitical versions of the Hebrew mythology, what with the different versions of the Creation story and the Noah story smyooshed into one account.
    As for the NT, there are no originals of any of the gospels, acts, or epistles in existance. None. All are copies of copies, with many versions floating around out there. Even the first written gospel, Mark, had different versions being passed around the Middle East for a couple of centuries before one was adopted as “the right one” and even that was later changed as they decided centuries later to tack on the ending of a different version of Mark to what was already considered canon.

  73. I do not want the Constitution Huckabeed.

  74. tenacious

    Yet Huckabee made a profoundly positive impact on science, technology, and education here in Arkansas. Since when did any of you start believing a politician based on his words over his actions?

    If it’s just the speeches you care about then you should all be Bush fans. From listening to him the economy is strong and we’re winning the war. Anyone with a lick of sense knows actions speak louder than words. Interesting that Huckabee actually has some pretty nasty skeletons in his closet yet none of you have found them yet. It’s like you’re not even trying. If all you have are speeches then you’ve missed all the vitals.

    Warning: Something of actual relevance to follow…
    I don’t think Huckabee should be president because of the negative image we have with other countries based on the old white guy personna. Of course, going with that logic one would be lead to think Obama would make a good president based upon the view other nations would have on us if we elected a black president. I think we should have a black president, but I’m not convinced it should be him. I’m certain Huckabee would make a positive impact on domestic issues and could hold his own in international relations, but the opposition is so strong that he’d effectively be a lame-duck president from the start.

    Stop following speeches and start looking at records. Don’t just look at what was voted into law while someone was in office; look at the bills they introduced and the organizations they formed. Vote for the actions you want repeated.

  75. Mutant Jedi

    @ Rub R. D’Key
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharyngula_(blog)#Blake.27s_Law
    Where the atheist is the embodiment of the virtues of “critical thinking, flexibility, openness, verification, and evidence”, then, yes, by all means be fashionable and drop Blake’s Law. However, the atheist has no corner on those virtues nor is he immune to the sins of “dogma, faith, tradition, revelation, superstition, and the supernatural”.

    The criticisms I’ve read in the comments here about the Bible are popular dibble, reflective of a cursory understanding of the book and hardly the result of the aforementioned virtues. At times, I find it hard to find the substantive difference between atheists and religious fundamentalists.

    But the Bible has little to do with the issue the Huckabees of the world represent. God ought to have nothing to do with this race yet there It is. We all need to be a bit concerned when any polarizing and exclusive ideology becomes popular. (Good God! Is that Godwin standing in the wings?)

    What is happening in North America that is emboldening the likes of Huckabee?

  76. Matherly

    Liam said “Even the first written gospel, Mark, had different versions being passed around the Middle East…”

    I thought the gospel according to Luke was the first and Mark & Matthew’s were dervied from it.

    (Not a theology scholar. Take with a grain of salt)

  77. Daffy, still not getting the point, posts:

    [[Barton, nice try. Here’s something from the NT for you:
    “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.” 1 Tim.6:1
    Would you like more? I would be happy to provide them for you. You say you have read the Bible…well, apparently not very carefully.
    ]]

    I’m familiar with the passage, Daffy. Why you continue to think that only you are aware of these verses escapes me.

    Go back and read the original post. I was making a point about how the Bible has actually been used. You are still stuck on literalist interpretation of individual passages.

  78. Unbebilical writes:

    [[It never ceases to amuse me how people point to “THE BIBLE” as if “it” weren’t a collection of books, filled with enough contradictions to make a fella’s head spin like Mercury, written by people who lived thousands of years ago.]]

    I take it you don’t believe anything in Euclid’s Elements, since it was written by someone who lived thousands of years ago.

    And… I’m not sure I’m reading you right… are you under the impression that the planet Mercury spins quickly?

  79. GP

    [I take it you don’t believe anything in Euclid’s Elements, since it was written by someone who lived thousands of years ago.]

    Ummm, Barton? Aren’t you commiting a fallacy of some kind here? I definitely KNOW that Euclid (or the “author”) wrote a book called Elements and I KNOW that someone wrote the Bible. I assume that under “believing” you mean “thinking the information in the book describes the state of the real world at a certain point”. As an atheist I can not “believe” in the book. I can either verify the information is correct or decide to trust the (verified?) source (ex: “historian”) that something really (more or less – there is always a subjective element) happened as described. Or I can accept it as a work of fiction or myth. Based on what I know about the Bible I can only conclude that it is a religous book based on myths, stories and occasionally on real historic events that occured but have been distorted by author’s subjectivity and passing of time. Also based on what I know about religions I can not accept only christianity as the only and correct religion based on the fact I was born in the so called “western” and “christian” world.

    Please do not misuse the word “believe” – we have seen it so many times in relation to “believing in evolution”. Based on your posts I can see that you are a smart and educated man (yes, I met a lot of smart people that are religious – have no problem with that). As a result I believe :) that you must surely understand the difference between the scientific “believe” and the religious “believe”.

  80. Daffy

    Barton: “Go back and read the original post. I was making a point about how the Bible has actually been used. You are still stuck on literalist interpretation of individual passages.”

    I see. And which guru should I listen to to interpret it for me, since I am not supposed to read just what it says?

    What an interesting god you worship who cannot write a simple declarative sentence.

  81. GP

    Oh yeah and Elements is a !!!scientific!!!, not a historic book! Most of the information is easily VERIFIABLE, for example:

    “A straight line segment can be drawn by joining any two points.”

    Let me see…do I “believe” in that?

    I am actually getting a little bit dissapointed with the fact that a well read and educated man as you used this book as an example…

  82. Barton, we get your point; we’re just not buying it.

    If you reject the notion of a divinely inspired text, the OT is just three thousand year-old tribal propaganda. Similarly with the NT, even though the demographic has become a bit more complex in the fourth century. In the modern world, reasonable Christians have to “reinterpret” large chunks of the Bible to avoid being barbaric. Call it a “non-literalist interpretation”, it ultimately boils down to cherry-picking.

    You can’t get around the fact that both OT and NT explicitly endorse slavery (just not of Jews/Christians). That Christians have been at the forefront of the anti-slavery movement is neither here nor there: Christians have done both good things and horrible things in the name of the Bible. To claim that the Bible inspires to do good is cherry-picking from history.

  83. Jeffersonian

    The Constitution IS the United States – it’s the entire concept behind the exercise. This equates to hating the country. If you hate a country and announce that you want to take it over, then what are you? A despot? The office of president begins with SWEARING TO UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION.

    Anecdote regarding Republicanism – my neighbor is the biggest monetary contributor to the Repub party in my city. Our gardens touch each other. When I’m out gardening, I have to sit out there with a person that
    -to this day thinks Bush is the greatest man to have walked the planet.
    -thinks Climate Change doesn’t exist (not that it’s anthropogenic but that there’s zero indication it’s occurring)
    -thinks we need to end separation of church and state
    -will barely speak to me, not because of inequal ideologies, but because I’m unmarried (and yes I’m straight)
    -thinks the bible is some sort of encylopedia rather than a great work of literature/group of religious documents
    -currently SUPPORTS HUCKABEE

    Phil, he won’t last. Remember David Duke? He was on the ballot (at least in Boulder he was), had enough dollars to campaign, and received a pittance of votes but served to be more curiosity than threat. Huckabee IS raising the ire of people who are more sensible about the big picture. The problem, as I see it, is two-sided. a) The candidates don’t see their position as educational and therefore segments of the population do not fully understand the office to begin with (face it, most Americans do NOT know the issues, the three branches of government NOR how Congress works). b)Television does everything it can to pander to this rather than tackle issues. People vote based on emotional impressions.

    Freaking Huckabee. What a rube.

  84. Jeffersonian

    Also, I don’t believe the adage that Huckabee=good for Arkansas=Good for the Nation. This isn’t some mere campaign promise, it’s a declaration of an underlying philosophy. There’s a difference.

  85. Alan

    Huckabee is talking about a Constitutional Amendment to ban abortion – a position he is well known for supporting.

    You may disagree, but it is a question to be debated, not to be derided.

    Get a life, folks.

  86. Daffy writes:

    [[I see. And which guru should I listen to to interpret it for me, since I am not supposed to read just what it says?]]

    You are allowed to read what it says, but it helps to interpret it intelligently and in context. If you’re having trouble, you might read Augustine, Aquinas, or C.S. Lewis.

    What an interesting god you worship who cannot write a simple declarative sentence.]]

    God is a master writer, and uses all the tricks of the literary trade, including parable, allegory and symbolism. There are things in the Bible for everybody and there are things intended just for the great saints and mystics. I don’t understand everything in the Bible, but I don’t have to, because I can make out the central message: God is real, Jesus is God, human beings are estranged from God and are headed for misery if they can’t get back to God; Jesus is the way back.

  87. Pieter Kok writes:

    [[If you reject the notion of a divinely inspired text, the OT is just three thousand year-old tribal propaganda.]]

    Not true. I was an atheist most of my life, and even when I was an atheist I had more respect for the Bible (and other major religious works) than that. Whether I agree with the authors or not, they were human beings trying to describe something overwhelming that they had experienced. You can pick out bad parts, but you can also find parts that no one should want to get rid of: “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies… but let justice run down like a river, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” “What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God?” “A certain man went down to Jerusalem and was set upon by robbers… a priest walked by on the other side of the road… a Samaritan came by and bound up his wounds…”

    Do you want to throw all of that away? Yes, people 2,000 and 3,000 years ago knew a lot less science and history than we know. They had blind spots, like tolerating a slave code. That doesn’t mean all their insights are worthless.

  88. The Bible is out-dated, that’s why it needs to be reinterpreted if it is read as a modern moral guide (incidentally, this shows that our moral code does not come from the Bible). It is a piece of literature that has had a profound influence on world history, and as such is worthy of study. Just don’t force it down others’ throats as “Truth”.

  89. Daffy

    Barton: “You are allowed to read what it says, but it helps to interpret it intelligently and in context. If you’re having trouble, you might read Augustine, Aquinas, or C.S. Lewis.”

    I am not having trouble (and have read 2 of the 3 writers you mentioned). It appears that you are, though. Please tell me (Either your own thoughts or those of Lewis, Aquinas or Augustine) how I misunderstood the 2 verses I quoted. And not vague generalities either! I say the 2 verses clearly support the institution of slavery. You say that because of my lack of intelligent reading skills I don’t understand the verses true meaning.

    Enlighten me with your intelligence. And be specific.

  90. R A VARGA

    The best answer to religious mania is humour:

    Norris Arm, Newfoundlan, Canada
    It was a dark & windy, stormy night, impossible to see more than arm’s lenght when a hitchhiker, wet, cold desperte, literally bumped(how else?) into a car stopped on the mountainous road! Great luck, he opened the door, got in, and saw that there was NO ONE at the wheel! The car started to move slowly down the road, the puzzled hitchhiker watched a curve coming up, should he get out & risk dieing of the storm, stay & die in the wreck? He broke into prayer “Please save me, Lord!” Just before the car reached the curve – a hand suddenly appeared through the window & moved the steering wheel! Disaster was averted! The hitchhiker, paralysed with fear & confusion sat staring at the road,the car came to more curves, each time the hand appeared and steered the car to safety, suddenly he saw lights at the roadside, he leapt out, ran to the lights of what was a roadside bar, entered, soaked, freezing, in a state of shock, he drank a shot of screech (Newfoundland rum, drink it & the name becomes obvious), he started telling everyone of his strange experience, praising the Lord. At this point two completely soaked & near-frozen men walked into the bar. One says to the other: ” Lard Thunderin’ Jayzus! Deres dat arse’ole ‘ho got hin de car while we wuz pushing it down de hill!” A logical explanation to a supposed case of divine intervention.

  91. Pieter Kok writes:

    [[The Bible is out-dated]]

    Truth doesn’t get outdated.

  92. Daffy, still not getting it, posts:

    [[ Please tell me (Either your own thoughts or those of Lewis, Aquinas or Augustine) how I misunderstood the 2 verses I quoted.]]

    Daffy, try to understand this. I’ll make it as simple as I can.

    You can’t build a theology or an ethic on a single verse, or any number of verses taken by themselves. You have to take the message as a whole.

    Yes, there are unpleasant verses in the Bible. I know. Everybody knows.

    I know the verses. Lots of people know the verses.

    They don’t prove what you think they prove.

  93. Al

    It may be worth pointing out that many of those who worked and fought for the abolition of slavery were not christians or even religious.

    And that the, albeit forcible, evangelising effect of servitude was used as a defence of slavery to the bitter end.

  94. Truth doesn’t get outdated.

    Nice one! The intellectual version of sticking your fingers in your ears and sing “Lalalalala”.

  95. Daffy

    Barton,
    I asked you to be specific in saying how, through my lack of intelligent reading skills, I had misinterpreted those verses. You didn’t do so; I can only assume it is because you can’t.

    It seems that you can build a theology based on the inspired Word of God with “unpleasant verses” in it that are to be ignored. I wonder how one is supposed to know which verses are to be kept and which are to be ignored?

    I wonder why God need human editors?

  96. Daffy

    Btw, Barton, I would like to clarify something. For many, many years I refused to attack another person’s religion in any way. The reason being that if they found something to comfort themselves, why would I want to take that away?

    My position changed when the Christian Right started coming dangerously close to destroying the very foundations on my country. A theocratic dictatorship is something many of these people want and are actively working for (are you one of them?); they need to be fought at every turn by all Americans who value our personal freedoms.

  97. Barton, I take it that you regard the “Truth” as you read it in the Bible as an objective truth? (Otherwise, why capitalize?) How do you reconcile that with your claim that you need to interpret the Bible? An interpretation is by definition a subjective matter.

    Taking the Bible literally lands you on shaky moral and scientific grounds; regarding the Bible as a document of its time, written by people (with some unpalatable passages) directly undermines the interpretation as the “word of God”. Modern European theologians (I do not know about US theologians) struggle with this very much.

  98. Rub R. D'Key

    B. P. Levenson writes: “Truth doesn’t get outdated.”

    What hogwash! Pure clap-trap! That’s assuming you know or have the “truth” which you don’t. Truth, my ass. You wouldn’t recognize ‘truth’ if it bit you on the butt. All your arguments are based on lies and myths. You can prove nothing you say is true. I agree with Daffy, your type, no matter your degree of involvement in religious fanaticism, are currently a threat to my country and freedoms. I’m afraid you won’t find any converts here for your imaginary friend.

  99. MH

    And what does god need with a starship?!

  100. [[Truth doesn’t get outdated.

    Nice one! The intellectual version of sticking your fingers in your ears and sing “Lalalalala”.]]

    No. Just a statement that the advance of time doesn’t make true things less true. 2 + 2 = 4 now, and 2 + 2 = 4 during the Pleistocene. You can probably think of additional examples yourself.

  101. Daffy, we aren’t communicating. There’s no point going on.

  102. Pieter Kok writes:

    [[Taking the Bible literally lands you on shaky moral and scientific grounds; regarding the Bible as a document of its time, written by people (with some unpalatable passages) directly undermines the interpretation as the “word of God”. Modern European theologians (I do not know about US theologians) struggle with this very much.]]

    How about regarding it as the inspired word of God and nonetheless recognizing that the people who wrote it were limited human beings?

  103. Rub R. says (or rather, rants):

    [[What hogwash! Pure clap-trap! That’s assuming you know or have the “truth” which you don’t. Truth, my ass. You wouldn’t recognize ‘truth’ if it bit you on the butt. All your arguments are based on lies and myths. You can prove nothing you say is true. I agree with Daffy, your type, no matter your degree of involvement in religious fanaticism, are currently a threat to my country and freedoms. I’m afraid you won’t find any converts here for your imaginary friend.]]

    So merely by holding the beliefs I hold, I am a threat to your country and your freedoms? Wow. How do you propose to deal with the problem? In the Soviet Union they tried massive exercise of state power, but it didn’t seem to work very well. What’s your solution? Daniel Dennett wants to lock up people like me; Richard Dawkins says religion is a “mental illness,” with the clear implication that it should be treated, and that the patients are not competent to object. Gee, it’s almost as if people of your beliefs were more of threat to my freedoms than the reverse.

  104. Daffy

    Barton: “How about regarding it as the inspired word of God and nonetheless recognizing that the people who wrote it were limited human beings?”

    What a self contradictory and meaningless statement. How do YOU know which parts are by flawed men and which parts are by divine inspiration?

    To do so would imply that you have a moral and ethical compass that exists outside of the Bible and fear of divine retribution. Congratulations; there is hope for you yet.

  105. Unfriendlyfire

    The bad news here is that the Huckster is contending strongly enough to possibly win the Republic nomination. The good news is that the kind of backward thickwits who would vote for him pretty much ONLY vote Republican, when they can be bothered to leave their shantytowns deep in the hills of third-world states like South Carolina to get to the polling places.

    Sadly, regressive, stupid fanatics like these provide the marching orders from the Republican party, so a candidate that panders to them has a real shot at the nomination. Luckily, they do not connect at all to the American mainstream or have much of an impact on national political races. Huckster is doomed in a general election.

  106. Rub R. D'Key

    B. P. Levenson writes: “Gee, it’s almost as if people of your beliefs were more of threat to my freedoms than the reverse.”

    What nonsense. You’d like nothing better than to claim religious persecution. That would make you a true soldier of the cross, wouldn’t it? Pompous, theocratic, self-righteous bigots like yourself can be dealt with by speaking out against the deceit, ignorance and hypocrisy of reveal and through political action. However, I think Dawkins has the right idea, you may wish to seek professional help for your delusions.

  107. No. Just a statement that the advance of time doesn’t make true things less true. 2 + 2 = 4 now, and 2 + 2 = 4 during the Pleistocene.

    Yes, these a literal truths (definitions, in fact). But you already indicated that you don’t want to interpret the Bible literally.

    How about regarding it as the inspired word of God and nonetheless recognizing that the people who wrote it were limited human beings?

    That makes it a fallible text, just like any other; “divinely inspired” or not. You can argue that JS Bach’s Cantatas are divinely inspired (I think they were, since Bach was a very religious man). But the Cantatas and the Bible are not on a equal footing for most religious people.

    Let’s face it: you elevate a fairly arbitrary ancient text, dressed with a pleasant interpretation, to “Absolute Truth”. What you do in your own bedroom is your business, but I have a real problem when this arbitrary “Truth” is imposed on others, whether it by physical or psychological violence.

  108. Doc

    Barton,

    “So are most Christians. Are you trying to say that Quakers aren’t Christians? That would be incorrect.”

    Actually, I know more than a few Quakers who don’t consider themselves to be Christian (and I’m one of them). A couple of the members of our Quaker meeting are atheists. As for Quakers in the past, their views were far enough from those of the Church of England that they were sometimes imprisoned and put to death.

    Of course, a lot depends on your definition of the word “Christian”. If by Christian you mean “Takes inspiration from the teachings attributed to Jesus,” then I’d say a majority of Quakers fall into that category. However, if you mean “The only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ,” then it’d be the exact opposite. Other uses of “Christian” will yield other answers, and there has been an ongoing debate on whether Quakers are Christians for many years.

  109. captain swoop

    Barton Paul Levensonon writes:

    [[If you reject the notion of a divinely inspired text, the OT is just three thousand year-old tribal propaganda.]]

    ‘ I was an atheist most of my life, ‘

    It’s amazing how many Bible Bashers start with this line.
    Am I supposed to be more influenced by your argumentsbecause you claim you were an atheist but now have seen the light?

  110. [[Truth doesn’t get outdated.

    Nice one! The intellectual version of sticking your fingers in your ears and sing “Lalalalala”.]]

    No. Just a statement that the advance of time doesn’t make true things less true. 2 + 2 = 4 now, and 2 + 2 = 4 during the Pleistocene.

    Herein lies the difference between Truth and reality. Reality is objective: it’s what stays, no matter who sees it. The TRUTH, on the other hand, is entirely subjective: not only does it have to be witnessed, but it must be interpreted by the viewer and judged to be Truth or not.

    Granite is harder than pine wood = reality.
    Granite is more beautiful than pine wood = truth.
    The bible was written = reality.
    The bible is the literal word of god = Truth.

    See the difference there?

    As for Huckabee, he’s simply the result of the Republicans publicly courting fundies since Reagan was babbling about this being “the last generation” and the repeated use of dog-whistle politics throughout the current president’s speeches. Why Republicans are surprised that a True Believer has emerged as a front runner is a result of them not paying attention to who is voting for them. Having pushed away moderates from the party, the die-hards have become proportionately larger.

    Dear Republicans: Sorry if it comes as a surprise, but if the percentage of fundies gets larger, it becomes more likely to have one elected. That’s how voting works, guys.

  111. matt

    God you all are uninformed, I more of you including phil hasn’t ever voted for Republican but would it kill you to know something about the person your putting hit piece out on. I haven’t seen your write any blogs about how Obama has said that does want to found Nasa(well till gets to Florida now he for change[ing his position]). No Republican is going to may America A theocracy I don’t know why people that people that believe in god get such a rise out of you people when you know what your accusing him of isn’t going to happen. Because unlike liberals we don’t believe in forcing our will on people via the courts. What I worry about in Obama or Clinton running the Economy into the ground my increasing taxes in an already soft economy. And they lets make it illegal not to have health insurance. Thats Democrats health care play well that and higher more bureaucrats and take more of your money…yeah that so much better than what we have.

    And all of you that aren’t happy in the country LEAVE. That makes my vote count for more.

    One last point look at Russia and how a simple Flat Tax can jump start an economy and who is pushing the Fair Tax while would most likely become a simple Flat Tax if he were elected and thats Huckabee sorry Phil but your wrong.

  112. Daffy

    Matt: “And all of you that aren’t happy in the country LEAVE. That makes my vote count for more.”

    I love my country. I HATE what the Republicans have done to it. Perhaps they should all leave.

    I won’t even get into using Russia as an example of how we should run the US.

  113. Dude

    I agree. Hucklebigot is also a bigot because he hates Mormons. He not only wants to force everyone to go along with his beliefs, but he doesn’t want to let anyone else believe what they want.

  114. Huckabye? He’s toast I think. I don’t think he really wants a theocracy though, I think he just wants the votes from those who he thinks want one. Huckabee wants to have adulterers, homosexuals and rape victims stoned to death. He also wants to make alcohol and music videos illegal, and make women 2nd class citizens and to take all girls out of school.

    Oops, my bad, that’s another ‘religion’.

    Hey, anybody but the PIAPS!
    .
    if you’re MAD
    punish your country
    VOTE for Hillary
    .
    http://haltterrorism.com/

    http://absurdthoughtsaboutgod.blogspot.com/
    .

  115. Jon

    you know what i love about this? huck gets all flustered when the subject of religion comes up. he always pulls the “i’m the only candidate who gets asked about my faith” card when that happens. apparently when you make wacky religious statements, people are going to ask you about your faith. if only huckabee knew that from the starting gate….

  116. Rub writes (or rather, rants):

    [[Pompous, theocratic, self-righteous bigots like yourself ]]

    I’m not for theocracy. Where did you get the idea that I was? Oh, I forgot — all Christians are crazy, dangerous fanatics.

  117. Pieter Kok writes:

    [[I have a real problem when this arbitrary “Truth” is imposed on others, whether it by physical or psychological violence.]]

    I’m not for imposing my beliefs on anyone by violence of any kind. Where did you get the idea that I did? Oh, I forgot — all Christians are crazy, dangerous fanatics.

  118. Doc says:

    [[Actually, I know more than a few Quakers who don’t consider themselves to be Christian (and I’m one of them).]]

    Well, I doubt William Penn would know what they were talking about.

  119. captain swoop writes:

    [[It’s amazing how many Bible Bashers start with this line.
    Am I supposed to be more influenced by your argumentsbecause you claim you were an atheist but now have seen the light?
    ]]

    No. I was pointing out that even as an atheist I placed a high value on the Bible as a cultural document and source of historical information. Read for context.

  120. USpace posts:

    [[Huckabee wants to have adulterers, homosexuals and rape victims stoned to death. He also wants to make alcohol and music videos illegal, and make women 2nd class citizens and to take all girls out of school.
    ]]

    I don’t think any of that is correct. I think you’re confusing the Christian Right with the Phineas Brotherhood.

  121. Doc

    Barton,

    [[Actually, I know more than a few Quakers who don’t consider themselves to be Christian (and I’m one of them).]]

    “Well, I doubt William Penn would know what they were talking about.”

    Seeing as William Penn was once imprisoned for writing a tract which attacked the doctrine of the trinity, I’m pretty sure he would know exactly what they were talking about.

  122. Rub R. D'Key

    B.P. Levenson pontificates: “Oh, I forgot — all Christians are crazy, dangerous fanatics.”

    Your words, not mine. If nothing else you certainly represent the role of enabler of a sickness that has taken over our country and government for the last seven years. Thus, you become guilty by association with the loony fundamentalist, America’s answer to the Taliban. Mene, mene, taekle umpharsin. With that, I rest my case. It’s folly to argue with a fool who wears his faith in myths like a turtle’s shell where nothing, not even truth, may pierce his carapace.

  123. Rub posts:

    [[Thus, you become guilty by association with the loony fundamentalist, ]]

    Rub, you do realize that “guilt by association” is a subset of the ad hominem fallacy, don’t you? It’s a specimen of a logical error. Remember Joe McCarthy?

    [[ It’s folly to argue with a fool who wears his faith in myths like a turtle’s shell where nothing, not even truth, may pierce his carapace.
    ]]

    I know, but for some reason I keep responding to you anyway.

  124. Rick

    Wow, some really great posts here.
    I want to mention a wonderful organization in our midst.
    The Freedom From Religion Foundation is an organization that constantly battles any and all groups trying to circumvent the separation of church and state throughout the country. They are a credit to Freethinkers and Humanists everywhere and are worth having you check out their website.

    http://www.ffrf.org

  125. I love that word, “freethinkers,” with the implication that those who disagree with them aren’t free to think. Kind of like “brights,” although “freethinkers” is much, much older — 18th century if I remember correctly. Ad hominem lives.

  126. StevoR

    Gee Phil, don’t hold back – tell us what you _really_ think! ;-)

  127. AstroDevo

    If “Dubya’ can get elected … Huckabee can.

    There are enough fools as has been proven already.

    I forget who said it but there’s a quote somewhere that goes something like :

    “The best thing about America is that anybody can get elected President.
    The worst thing about America is that anybody can get elected President!”

    George II & the nominations of the likes of Huckabee (& in the past Reagun, Quayle, Buchanan, Duke, etc … ) demonstatre the sad truth of that flipside.

    If Iwere AmercianI’d be very worried when I see front running candadidates like Huckabigot..

    Heck as a human on this planet I am very worried by the potential for disaster, death and suffering as a result of intolerant bigots running teh only superpower standing and the world’s biggest rogue nation .. the US of A.

    On the bright side I hear Hucka~nut’s running short of cash.
    On the bad side Idon’t think teh Retardican party nomination is anywhere nearsettled yet -and nor is your Presidential election.

    For rational voters or intelligent people the Democratic Party should be a shoe-in & Obama should become the first non-White Old-Man in aptly-named “White” House.

    Unfortunately, on past form (most of present company excluded of course!) rational folk seem thin on the ground in America … :-(

  128. StevoR

    So Phil, I take it Mike Huckabee gets your vote then? ;-)

    (Joking!!!)

  129. Gary Ansorge

    As my Bro, the Old retired rocket scientist said, when I told him I was in favor of Obama,
    ” Oh Good. You get to vote for the captain of the Titanic,,,”

    Reference to Heinliens “If this Goes On,,,” took the wind from my sails. We’re not the first(few)generations to be aware of the insidious nature of religious extremism. I expect(but cannot prove) Europeans were quite happy when their religious extremists migrated to the new world. Probably took a deep breath of relief and said, ” Golly, what a vast improvement to the neighborhood,,,”.
    Likely they had no idea we’d ever return,,,

    GAry 7

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »