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When Bark Turns into Bite

I am one of many atheists who have gotten quite a number of death treats over the years because I just so happen to be skeptical about ridiculous claims of deities which come from a books thousands of years old and read like a bad fantasy novels complete with magic. I have never really taken any of those threats seriously. The one that I was most concerned about was an anonymous postcard I received in the mail following a story which appeared in the local newspaper about my trip to DC as an atheist during the “God in the Pledge” Supreme Court Case. My address was unlisted so I took that threat just a little more seriously than others which I had received. I showed it to a police officer friend of mine, but he informed me that there really wasn’t anything they could do any way.

Often times I would get threatening phone calls when one of my letters to the editor dealing with atheism made it into the paper. One guy even left the threat on my answering machine. That took some balls. But I never actually thought anyone was watching me or was actually going to do anything. It was all just talk; bark and no bite.

Over the years, I have debated and discussed religion with fundamentalists in person and on e-mail and message boards and continue to blog about religion every day. I have had fundamentalists walk over to my car window at gas stations to tell me about Jesus (I have atheist bumper stickers) and even had a Christian dent my car because of those bumper stickers. There have been many heated encounters with Christians in my life and even one who later ended up in prison. I have even met a Christian who told me that if he didn’t believe in God, he would have no problem raping women. Fundamentalists can be quite scary, but I really never felt like I was in danger. Like I said, these people are mostly all talk.

However, how can we tell who is all talk and who is really dangerous? YouTube Christian Anthony Powell, AKA “Tony48219” was one of those fundamentalists who people just wrote off as harmlessly nuts. Most people discussed religion with him thought he was all talk and no one took his anger, hate, threats, and plain old nastiness seriously… until Friday when he shoot and killed someone and then killed himself.

I am not saying that fundamentalist Christianity made him kill people. I am saying that fundamentalist Christianity attracts crazy people and hides their craziness under a cloak of acceptable craziness. When a fundamentalist Christian goes off on a rant about the evil gays and atheists and tells people that they will be tortured for all eternity in Hell, no one takes that seriously. When a fundamentalist Christian says that they hope someone will be tortured in Hell for all eternity, no one takes that seriously. When a fundamentalist Christian says that he or she is part of the Army of God and will bring God’s justice upon the agents of Satan, no one takes that seriously either. But maybe we as a society should take those things seriously. Maybe if we did, Asia McGowan might still be alive along with so many other people.

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  • http://Facebook Ed Baker

    I guess you have to be a ” Little ” mental to believe in the imaginary ?

  • Scott

    “when he shoot and killed someone and then killed himself.”

    Silly Christians, suicide and murder is a fast ticket into hell where they burn for eternity.

    • http://www.myspace.com/andrewtheatheist AndrewtheAtheist

      Nope. Tony is in heaven. If you are a true believer, and believe that it is through *faith alone* that you are saved, you believe Tony is in heaven. There is no question this nut accepted Jesus as his personal savior. That’s all the requirement is supposed to be. If you cannot gain entry to heaven through good works, you cannot lose access to heaven though evil works.

      And believers wonder why I wouldn’t want to go to heaven if I believed it was real…

      • Scott

        Delusional Christians that haven’t read the bible believe Tony went to heaven. But Jesus gives eight different answers as to how you get into heaven. One of them is to believe in Jesus and thy lord and because that one is the easiest, it’s the one they accept. They ignore where he says you need to follow the old testament including the commandments, sell all your possessions, become a disciple of Jesus, hate your family and only love god. Delusional people think he went to heaven but the bible says he went to hell. But in reality, he just went back into the ground to decompose and continue the circle of life.

  • BioKarla

    Yeah it’s easy for you to say, but honestly, after watching that video who really takes him serious?

  • http://www.myspace.com/rox1smf Rox

    fundamentalist Christianity attracts crazy people and hides their craziness under a cloak of acceptable craziness

    And they’d have us adopt it as “tradition” in America. Over my dead body! Delusional people are dangerous, that’s a fact.

  • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

    Yeah….this is one of those things that has always deeply deeply bothered me. When Christians do that crap it simply blackens what they SAY they stand for. Stains the name of Christ and misrepresents Christianity as a whole. I will never understand it. Since when did Jesus say, “if someone disagrees with you tell them to burn in hell.” Christ hung out with all the “bad” people of his day…tax collectors…fisherman…he transformed their lives which is one of the best proofs of his divinity. Why is it that Christians think it is there place to threaten or worse actually physically harm those of differing opinions? As if they can play God and judge to the point of death.

    • existential blues

      What do you think happens to people who die, never having agreed with you (i.e., not accepting Jesus as savior, etc.)? Do you believe what your bible says, or do you just believe the “nice” stuff?

      The problem with Christianity is that it inherently dehumanized those who disagree with its tenets. They are sinners, they are destined to burn in hell, so their life is worthless. Dehumanizing makes it very easy to kill.

      The Spanish had no problem slaughtering the Huguenots in Florida; they thought they were doing the world a favor. If what Christians post on blogs is any indication, then nothing has changed.

      • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

        lol the “nice” stuff….well I live in the real world…so I realize that life isn’t always “nice.”

        The message of salvation doesn’t “dehumanize” people that “disagree.” The message is one that most of the world can relate to, and can understand that they personally NEED a savior. We are spiritual beings, ever known culture that has ever existed has had some sort of spiritual ritual.

        The Bible is not written in a way to prove God’s existence (since God is the author…thats kind of silly) but is assumed he exists because it’s so ridiculously obvious. (No, I’m not going to debate creation vs. evolution right now….I’m just saying from the Christian and almost every other “religious” perspective….atheistic evolution makes as much sense as airplanes building themselves.)

        “They”? Don’t you mean “we”? Accepting Christ and starting a relationship with your creator doesn’t make you a holy righteous sin free human. Nothing in the Bible ever indicates that any human is or should be capable of judging his fellow man in this way. Unless we are talking about blatant crimes against man….murder ect.

        If a man came to this earth, preached a message of love, and was unjustly crucified because of it, rose on the 3rd day, (just like he said he would) drastically changed the lives of 12 common men (most of whom were fisherman, rough crowd) who would all but 1 be martyred for their preaching of his message, would that not catch a slight interest? On top of that, he appeared to people for 40 days after he resurrected and as many as 500 at a time.

        • http://shaunphilly.wordpress.com Shaun

          These comments of yours, and you’ll have to forgive my tone, reveal a level of ignorance that makes you look foolish. What is this obvious evidence for god? And what, sir, is evolution. Since your example implies you have fallen victim to the randomness causing the building of planes, you don’t seem to understand the nature of the theory, thus your dismissal of it needs to be challenged. I suggest that you read about the theory of evolution from someone that isn’t trying to sell you creationism. Actually look at what the theory claims and the evidence for it.

          Start here: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

          Have a nice day.

          • Scott

            I don’t really give this guy serious arguments anymore. I talked to him about evolution and the big bang once and it went over his head and pretty much just told me about “airplanes building themselves” which I suppose is some lame argument saying that we need a creator. Natural selection is not a subject that is easy to understand. Then I brought up how the creator would need a creator with his logic but alas his logic is flawed. Plus an airplane is apples and anything biological is oranges and comparing apples and oranges to him proves points. He also commonly accuses us scarecrows (strawman arguments) and says we take the bible out of context whenever we bring up an atrocity in the bible.

            His conclusion is that God and the bible (as it is in his mind) are real so he molds all evidence to fit the conclusion rather than letting the evidence reveal the real truth.

            • existential blues

              The last sentence hits the nail on the head. Unfortunately, it makes people lazy, and they think they can argue with people who really do understand evolution, cosmology, etc. from a position of complete ignorance and misinformation, and just spew bible passages that they don’t understand. It’s insulting. They are so cocksure of their beliefs, based on the warm fuzzy feeling it gives them, that they just don’t care.

              It’s why I have little respect for Matt. He won’t shut up, and he won’t learn about what he’s talking about.

            • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

              I mold the evidence…because it does fit the conclusion…..look, if you want to shut me up, all you have to do it prove that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. Even Paul said, without Christ’s resurrection everything is in vain. Good luck.

              ” brought up how the creator would need a creator with his logic but alas his logic is flawed.”

              This is a horrible argument because it fails to realize the point of saying design implies creation. The point is design, IN OUR REALM OF STUDY, (Universe…whatever you wanna call it…anything science tries to learn about) if it shows alot of signs of design, it probably was created by something intelligent. However, the atheist then extrapolates this and says “oh well then God must have to have a creator.” All that question does is reveal how ignorant you are about the concept of an omnipotent God.

              For God to even be able to create such a massive Universe…he would have to have exist OUTSIDE (but not limited too) of his creation before he created it. Therefore, he is obviously not bound to the same laws. The logic is not flawed, you are not thinking outside the box. God is outside of our box, he can come in whenever he wants, but he is not bound by the same rules. This whole idea also leads into another argument I talk about….

              God is described as an infinite being….well philosophically this is the only thing that makes sense….he would have to be infinite. If God was finite, then he had a beginning, if he had a beginning, then he came from somewhere, if he came from somewhere, he had a creator…then there is just an infinite digression of god’s creating gods…it makes no sense. God is infinite, and created that which is finite.

              The point is, the argument of God needing a creator just creates an illogical infinite digression that misunderstands the whole premise.

              • Scott

                “I mold the evidence…because it does fit the conclusion…..look, if you want to shut me up, all you have to do it prove that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. Even Paul said, without Christ’s resurrection everything is in vain. Good luck.”

                Prove to me that Osiris wasn’t resurrected then. Otherwise with your logic, since we can’t prove that Osiris and Jesus weren’t resurrected, they both therefore exist. But wait, two deities from the same religion coexisting? Contradiction! So thus, your logic is flawed in that it allows this contradiction to happen. And what you said about Paul is just filler content in your argument that really holds no bearing. I’m sure some Egyptians said similar things about Osiris.

                “This is a horrible argument because it fails to realize the point of saying design implies creation. The point is design, IN OUR REALM OF STUDY, (Universe…whatever you wanna call it…anything science tries to learn about) if it shows alot of signs of design, it probably was created by something intelligent.”

                I haven’t seen any sign of design. Why do oceans share the same megafauna but continents have different megafauna? Because the continents are largely separated today while the oceans are connected. Why did the continents largely share megafauna genera in the Mesozoic (dinosaur ages)? Because Pangaea didn’t isolate the continents.

                Why does all the temperate forests in the Northern Hemisphere share the same genera of flora (maples, beechs, oaks, walnuts, apples, chestnuts, cherries, poplars, elms, ashes, birches, sweetgums and why does the fossil evidence say that they all used to also contain redwoods, magnolias, hickories, zelkovias, wingnuts, golden larches, bald cypress, Douglas firs, among others that are now limited to one region?). Because of land bridges and a warmer climate allowed them to cross between Greenland to Europe and the Bering strait and geological evidence says this happened. Why do the rainforest regions of South America, Africa, and Asia have very different genera compared to the temperate flora? Because South America was isolated until the Miocene when it hit North America, Africa’s rainforest is separated by a desert known as the Sahara, while the trees in tropical Asia are contain close relatives of the temperate flora, especially from the oak and laurel family.

                Why does Australia contain less advanced marsupials and why does Madagascar contain primitive primates known as lemurs? Back before the Miocene, these animals were wipe spread but lemurs were replaced by monkeys and marsupials with placentals in areas large enough with big enough gene pools to push competition. Keep in mind that Africa, North America, and Eurasia, exchanged animals from time to time when land bridges appeared so we have four continents of competition.

                This isn’t design, its natures response to the effects of continental drift and the climate. Go study ecology and paleo-ecology before you try to tell me about design.

                “For God to even be able to create such a massive Universe…he would have to have exist OUTSIDE (but not limited too) of his creation before he created it. Therefore, he is obviously not bound to the same laws. The logic is not flawed, you are not thinking outside the box. God is outside of our box, he can come in whenever he wants, but he is not bound by the same rules. This whole idea also leads into another argument I talk about….”

                Before I rejected God I used to assume he lived outside the universe. You can’t assume there is a creator that designed us outside the universe that we can’t see. Then you have to explain the creator. And if there is some creator, why the fuck would it be the Christian God who is just as plausible as the other Gods you reject?

                “God is described as an infinite being….well philosophically this is the only thing that makes sense….he would have to be infinite. If God was finite, then he had a beginning, if he had a beginning, then he came from somewhere, if he came from somewhere, he had a creator…then there is just an infinite digression of god’s creating gods…it makes no sense. God is infinite, and created that which is finite.”

                The universe is just as easily infinite.

                “The point is, the argument of God needing a creator just creates an illogical infinite digression that misunderstands the whole premise.”

                If God can just exist without a creator than so can the universe.

          • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

            To Shaun.

            I actually do understand the theory…I have actually read most of that from the exact link you sent me…because someone gave it to me awhile back. I am not going to talk about evolution like you would…. I pretty much reduce it to randomness, because thats what it boils down to. Survival of the fittest, or the power of natural selection is not an intelligent force that laid out a plan for everything to turn out like it did. So, I reduce it to randomness, because thats what it is….I have said this before, I have not done anywhere near a comprehensive study of evolution….and it makes no difference to me if it is factual or not, when I knock evolution…I always mean atheistic evolution….no evidence has persuaded me, so….yeah.

            “What is this obvious evidence for god?”

            Like I said…from the Christian/many various “religious” perspectives….I understand that atheism is almost always a long gradual process were people slow start rejecting thing after thing because the evidence has persuaded them. So, for you, undoubtedly not obvious….your worldview that you see the world in is completely different than mine.

            • admin

              Matt, Clearly you haven’t studied evolution enough if you think that it has anything at all to do with “Survival of the Fittest.” That is not evolution. Sometimes the fit don’t survive and in those cases, they don’t evolve. Evolution has more to do with Adaptability than fittest. And then you throw in the random chance thing again which is of course an obvious straw man. But this is not a blog about evolution, so I will leave it at that. Clearly science isn’t your strong suit.

              Finally, you acknowledge Shaun’s question: What is this obvious evidence for god? But instead of answering it, you avoid it. Why acknowledge it if you don’t intend to address it?
              -Staks

              • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

                noooooo, I typed a good response..and i lost it…sigh…no time, maybe i’ll be back tomorrow after my tests.

                Let me just say, thanks for not being a jerk staks, you just address what I say and question stuff without getting all edgy, and I appreciate it. I am sick of people being indignant and rude….so annoying. I like how they were talking about me too, funny stuff lol.

                • existential blues

                  People get indignant and rude when you say something uninformed or just plain wrong, they explain it to you, and then you do it again. And again. And again. It gets tedious.

                  I’m not saying that there are no Christian intellectuals, but they are very few in number on these blogs. What you normally get are the fire-breathing fundamentalists, or the folks who are desperately trying to defend their beliefs, but are intellectually seriously outgunned. By intellectual, in this case, I mean informed rather than intelligent.

                  You don’t know anything about science, but you keep arguing about it. It gets tedious. You are tedious. Why don’t you take some time and actually learn something about the subject? I promise you, your head won’t explode, and Jesus won’t be upset about it.

                  • Matt

                    “People get indignant and rude when you say something uninformed or just plain wrong, they explain it to you, and then you do it again. And again.”

                    Not everyone….and I say the same things, because clearly the rebuttles I hear are insuccient. Besides, usually these things get so unorganized, and I rant off topic, and you rant off topic…there is no one clear thing to look back to and say “Oh, you were uninformed about this, and wrong about this” Because it gets wayyy off topic and to much stuff is braught up. Which I am as much to blame….

                    “You don’t know anything about science, but you keep arguing about it.”

                    Like I said, I don’t talk in a way that respects evolution. I talk down on it, purposly, read my other comments I don’t wanna repeat myself, but i’ll give it a good hard look when time permits, for now I am not convinced by the evidence I have studied.

                    • Scott

                      “Like I said, I don’t talk in a way that respects evolution. I talk down on it, purposly, read my other comments I don’t wanna repeat myself, but i’ll give it a good hard look when time permits, for now I am not convinced by the evidence I have studied.”

                      I already addressed you about evolution more seriously up the page. But you seem to not understand evolution. Us atheists have learned both the bible and evolution and evolution prevailed as the superior explanation. You have only studied one and reject the other without even considering it because the bible says to reject it.

        • existential blues

          1. Your coyness is tantamount to lying. Your ideology makes those who disagree less than you, and thus less than human. Do you have any explanation for why religious fanatics so often find human life so cheap and easy to take away? When you’re doing God’s work, rather than guilt, you feel great about yourself.

          2. The bible was written by men with an agenda. God has no typewriter. There is no rational reason to believe that the bible was anything but the work of man.

          3. It’s good that you’re not going to say anything about the theory of evolution versus the myth of biblical creation. You would just further embarrass yourself. You don’t know a damn thing about evolution or science in general. I don’t know where you went to school, but you remind me of how woeful science and math education is in this country.

          4. If God wrote your bible, then he’s not a very wise God. He seems to have little understanding of the human psyche. He was always flummoxed by what people did, which is surprising, since he allegedly created everything with the full knowledge of everything it would ever do. That includes all the people. Then he set the example by going on murderous rampages, mainly because people didn’t kiss his jealous and vengeful ass the right way. People read that violent horror show and get the idea that violence is the right answer. Jesus wasn’t a hippie either. He came with a sword. He spoke of hell and damnation. In any case, your God seems to need godly training wheels; he is a moron. Or at least, that is what the writers of the bible created. A moron. You worship a moron. And a psychopath. The love is buried way under all the blood and gore and murder.

          I am certain that you will justify God’s murderous ways, saying that people didn’t do what he wanted to do, didn’t give the bully the proper deference. You will justify his despotism. Do you see what your faith has turned you into? You justify mass slaughter because the Great Bully was insulted. Would you treat your own children that way? Why does God get a pass? Don’t you have any moral sense?

          Faith in that monstrous creature has turned you into a monster.

          5. There is no “Christ” to establish a relationship with, brainwashed guy. You can say it a million times, believe it as hard as you want, hold your breath until you turn blue, and there will still be no “Christ”.

          6. The resurrection story was a lie. Were you there? It was written long after Jesus died. It’s funny how credulous you are willing to be when it comes to the narrative your culture has brainwashed you with. If you had been born in Afghanistan, you’d be a clueless Muslim instead of a clueless Christian.

          You are a near-perfect example why fundamentalism is so contemptible. Your kind of Christianity is a cancer on our society. I await anxiously for the chemotherapy. (In fact, the evangelical marriage to failed right-wing politics may turn out to be that chemotherapy.)

          • Scott

            Osiris was born on December 25th and was resurrected and later on became the ruler of the afterlife. Osiris, who represented the fertile lands of the Nile died at the hands of Set, who represents the desert and foreign invaders. You’d better believe in Osiris (Jesus 1.0), his son Horus (Jesus 2.0) whom drove Set (Satan) out of Egypt and Osiris’s wife, Isis (Mary), and his great grandfather Atum-Ra (God) because Osiris died for any Egyptian ancestors we might have had!

            I am convinced that Judaism and later Christianity borrowed alot from Egyptian Mythology. Only the Egyptian Gods aren’t assholes like the Christian God.

            • existential blues

              I agree, and I wouldn’t be surprised of the ancient Egyptians borrowed from their predecessors’ mythologies.

          • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

            “1. Your coyness is tantamount to lying. Your ideology makes those who disagree less than you, and thus less than human. Do you have any explanation for why religious fanatics so often find human life so cheap and easy to take away? When you’re doing God’s work, rather than guilt, you feel great about yourself.”

            Less than human? What are you talking about!!! Ahhhhhh, way to extrapolate what I said into this huge scarecrow. I have never, and will never say, or mean, or think, that you, or anyone else that “disagree’s with me” (yes yes, it’s always about me when I talk to yall…sigh) is less than human or less than me on a human level. We are all humans….and I am no better than you because God chose me….

            #2 There are a many reasons…but you don’t care….because you are just as closed minded as I am accused of being.

            #3 “3. It’s good that you’re not going to say anything about the theory of evolution versus the myth of biblical creation. You would just further embarrass yourself. You don’t know a damn thing about evolution or science in general. I don’t know where you went to school, but you remind me of how woeful science and math education is in this country.”

            I talk down on evolution, on purpose, and I do not give it any sort of respect, because I have non for it. So, I guess that appears like I don’t know anything about it…but thats not true. Yeah, I’m no expert…duh….maybe when I get the time and give it a crazy detailed study I’ll be so convinced of the evidence that I’ll just have to believe in it…i don’t know…but for now, I have not been convinced. I have studied alot on creation…and that evidence is more persuading for now…that may change….idk…and idc! It doesn’t matter!! ahhhh Also…I have taken almost every single availible upper math course in college…diffy q….calc 1-3….linear algebra….hmmm…1 other…can’t remember. Now your just assuming things and being a jerk, jerkface….your like….2 years older than me…and way cockier and ruder and do the exact same things you acuse me of…and holy crap that is a horribly organized paragraph…rofl, but i’m not going to fix it…because….i have 2 tests tomorrow.

            #4 doesn’t deserve a response….wait wait…

            “Faith in that monstrous creature has turned you into a monster.”

            I’m a monster?! Seriously?! I am 1 of the most down to earth, laid back people on the planet. I never push Jesus on people (in “real life”, I just like to talk and debate online, which I guess can be pushy at times) and I only talk about this stuff in person if someone else is genuinally interested. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time. I do this here, to hear other opinions, state my arguments, see how crappy/good they are…learn from mistakes….ect. ect. Also, I enjoy random bombings and rape sessions….stealing…tha usual monstrous things.

            #5 Your logic is good….saying something doesn’t make it true…yes yes I know.

            #6 Rofl, why would you even say “Was I there?” WERE YOU, holy crap, thats the stupidest thing you could have said…thats a retarded argument…niether of us were there, duh, why even bring that up?! That helps niether of us….sheesh.

            “It was written long after Jesus died.” That is simply a lie, and nonfactual.

            “You are a near-perfect example why fundamentalism is so contemptible. Your kind of Christianity is a cancer on our society. ”

            Please please explain. Since you know me so well, and now want to attack me as a person, rather than my philosophical/belief in the Biblical God. So my version of “fundamentalism” is contemptible….because? I feel like I should be a comp 1 teacher writing questions in the margins and saying you need to back up what you say with examples/evidence.

            Oh, so I’m also a cancer? Interesting….because I’m just so horribly immature and like every single other youth…I still live at home…mooch off my parents till about 25….don’t pay any bills…rarely work…make d’s and c’s in all my classes….Dude, your a jerk, and ignorant jerk who has said nothing and proved nothing except you’ve done EXACTLY what you’ve accused me of….only TRULY studying 1 side of the argument…. Maybe my arguments suck sometimes, and maybe I’m wrong alot, but I like to learn from it. Don’t be such a jerk, it serves no purpose except it grow’s your e-penis.

            • existential blues

              You just don’t get it. I’m not sure I can make you understand; you are resistant to thinking. Try this:

              “The darker aspects of the chaplaincy will appear in Burton’s anthology, including one chilling story concerning a six-year-old Iraqi girl who was operated on by the U.S. military after being critically wounded by an improvised explosive device. After two hours of surgery, the girl died. While the medical team stood around the operating table mourning her death, the chaplain on hand said, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter. She’s going to hell anyway.’”
              – Brandon Burton, formerly of the Navy and currently a lead clinical research coordinator at the Center for the Department of Health Research in Great Lakes, Illinois

              And you believe I’m going to hell because I don’t believe as you do? you can take your e-penis and fuck yourself with it, halfwit.

              2. You are deluded. You are living a lie. Deal with it.

              3. Every time you speak of evolution you make an ass of yourself, and you embarrass Christians everywhere. You have no concept of science or evolution, because you are anti-intellectual and arrogant as hell. You can’t critique something you know nothing about.

              You can study the bible creation myth until the cows come home, but your studying doesn’t make it any more true than Harry Potter. I sorely doubt that you understand much of what you read in the Old Testament, the issues with translation, or that the miracles it claims are scientifically implausible. I doubt that you care.

              The problem is that you you must think you’re preaching to a bunch of morons, and we are insulted by you. If you don’t understand that, then you’re in pretty rough shape.

              4. You excuse God’s insanity the way a loving parent excuses the deeds of her serial killer child. You think you’re going to be in heaven, looking down on the majority of people, many of whom are better than you in every way, and feel noting. You are a monster in the same way that the supporters of Hitler, the ones who knew about the death camps, were monsters.

              5. You are refractory to logic, so it’s a moot point.

              6. Dumbass, if it happened, no one who was there wrote about it. If you’d take the time to research it, you’d realize how thin the evidence is. Do you believe with all your heart everything that’s practically devoid of evidence? Faith makes people stupid.

              > “It was written long after Jesus died.” That is simply a lie, and nonfactual.

              Okay genius, when was it written? Are you going to make up some bullshit history now? You obviously have no idea about the historicity of the New Testament writings. Yet you believe what you want to believe. Not impressive, to say the least.

              7. Backing up with evidence? You have not presented a shred of empirical evidence. Are you playing the “how big a hypocrite can I be” game?

              For someone who brings so little to the table, you have an awful lot of strong opinions. It’s interesting, how the most sure in their beliefs are the people who are least justified in being so.

              What do you think I need to prove? You are making the affirmative statements about God and all the related magic. What claims do you think I’m making? You need to back up your claims, or I’ll tell you you’re full of shit.

              You are full of shit. And stop obsessing over my e-penis.

  • http://www.myspace.com/itsahicke Her3tiK

    All this trouble simply because its not crazy if enough people believe it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/illicit_paradigm Illicit Paradigm

    Behind any issue with emotion there is the possibility of violence or aggression. It’s human nature. You can find examples within any sliver of extremism whether it be within religion, animal rights, or simple, downhome bigotry. There is no tenet in Christianity (as it ‘commonly’ exists today) that supports this behavior. One has to look at the overall character, personality and behavior of the individual when diagnosing any behavior like this. This type of behavior actually does more damage to the cause the offender touts than do the people they rail on against. Mostly because they are misguided and outright wrong in how they behave, they no longer embody the cause they declare in most cases. They are human after all and confused, though that doesn’t excuse any of the actions they may take.

    Oftentimes it is a scare tactic Christians use when witnessing. I don’t agree with the method, the results are almost constantly negative. Then again scare tactics are nothing new, this blog being a prime example. Stand against Christianity or more people may die, those fundamentalists are nuts. Kind’ve the gist I got from it.

    Fundamentalist Christianity isn’t the only cause or belief that attracts crazies. Any emotional or strongly built belief has a tendency to attract those of unclear will, psychological issues or even anger problems. They may seek the comfort found in belonging or having someone to share like beliefs with. You see articles of PETA supporters assaulting in public or sending death threats. You see immigrants tired of being pushed around feeling they are getting the bad end of the deal. You see anti-war activists and hippies (whom you would assume to be a peaceable lot) arrested for assault and battery with intent. You see the self-proclaimed Christian champion murder a woman and then turn the gun upon himself. It’s sad the ways humans find reason and justify what they do when events like these occur.

    As for Tony, Tony is a classic case of the ‘bad apple’. He hardly represents the movement or the cause. The tragedy that occured should sadden and sicken everyone. He was a troubled person with issues not only dealing with and sharing his Christianity, but also his relationships with women and his life in general. Had he bore the banner of any other belief then there would still be the antagonists creating a blog identical to this one, blaming not the person, but the cause. That’s the issue with the world today, we’re so busy tacking on blame, we sometimes forget to be horrified about the circumstances themselves. It’s macabre to say the least. Did Tony act solely on his belief in Christianity? Who knows? With all his other issues, can anyone but Tony say for sure? Does it matter either way?

    • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

      Thank you, well said. I too cannot stand “scare tactics” especially when it comes to witnessing…..as if someone can freely choose to love their creator when all they are being told is they will burn in hell unless they do.

      • admin

        Doesn’t the Bible say that if someone is not saved they will god to Hell? Isn’t that a “scare tactic?” So if you believe that to be true, than why can’t you stand it when people state it?
        -Staks

        • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

          No, it’s just the end result of separation from God caused by man’s sin. Without redemption we are hell bound. I call that….truth?

          • admin

            If it is the “end result of separation from God” isn’t that the same thing as saying, “if someone is not saved they will go to Hell?” You call it truth, but you can’t prove it.
            -Staks

          • existential blues

            Stop trying to paint over it, like it’s an “aww shucks, that’s the way it is” kind of thing. Your violent, jealous, vengeful, hateful God made it so. There would be no hell if he didn’t want hell. I’m talking about a hell where people are forever tormented, burning in molten sulfur forever. YOU JUSTIFY THAT? You are a sick bastard if you do. Your logic is not much different from the nazis who pushed “undesirables” into the gas chambers, except God everything from Hitler to executioner. Yes Adolph, yes Adolph! Yes God, yes God! There is no qualitative difference.

            We are talking about some people hanging out in heaven (where, in your great arrogance, think you will spend eternity), looking down on family members and neighbors, some of whom while alive were near-saints, burning in hell, forever, while you feel nothing.

            The goal of your religion is to become a psychopath, like your imaginary god. I would rather burn than be with the likes of you. Fortunately, none of that heaven and hell nonsense will ever happen.

            • Scott

              Good post!

              Also, who killed more people in the bible? God or Satan? Read Genesis. The story of Eden is a story of cruel tyranny. Next to God, Satan looks like a saint. Better to align with the person who desires to overthrow the tyrant than the tyrant himself.

            • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

              Dude, why is it arrogance when I simply state what the Bible teaches and what I believe? That is not arrogance…it’s conveying a belief!
              What is the point of such comments in parenthesis?! Seriously? Does it make you feel good to bash me? Why don’t you just cuss me out then?

              Yes, everyone wants to be a psychopath and that is exactly the path I chose to take…..rofl.

              • existential blues

                The bible teaches that those who don’t believe as you do will suffer in eternal torment in molten sulfur. It is your choice whether or not to believe that rubbish. You chose to.

                You believe that it makes sense that you go to heaven while others who are better than you in every way burn in hell because they didn’t properly kiss Jesus’ ass? That makes sense to you? That’s a monstrous idea.

                You are a tedious person, Matt. It’s not fun bashing you; it frustrating and unenjoyable to see you thumb your nose at the idea of actually learning on the subjects you persist in discussing.

                And thank you for not mentioning my e-peen.

    • admin

      Ken, I think you missed the point here. I flat out stated that the claim is NOT that fundamentalism made Tony or anyone else violent, but rather that it attracts and hides their craziness. You are correct in saying that any overly emotional belief can cause anger, hate, and violence. My point is that by design, Christian fundamentalism is a highly emotional belief. PETA too would qualify. However, the one out of ever three Americans is not an active member of PETA. One out of every three Americans is a fundamentalist Christian. Do you see the problem with that? The fact is the in general (there are always exceptions) there are two reason why people are fundamentalist Christians. 1. They were indoctrinated at birth and view it as an emotional identity. and 2. They had an emotional conversion. Very rarely have I met Christians who reasoned their way to unreason. When it comes to god-belief, even people who are not fundamentalists get overly and irrationally emotional when such a belief is questioned. Here lies the problem. Why is it that the most bigoted Americans tend to also be the most religious? Why is it that the most homophobic Americans tend to be the most religious? Why is it that the most poorly educated Americans tend to be the most religious? You call Tony a bad apple and you are right, he certainly was. But it seems like there are a lot of Christian Bad Apples and we really have to start wondering if there is some connection there. Like I said, I have gotten many death threats because I question religion. I don’t get any when I question issues in politics or other issues. I love meat and yet I have friends who are in PETA and never felt threatened. I even eat at KFC and yet I don’t get anonymous postcards or threatening phone calls because of that. Jews don’t threaten me either. Just Christians and Muslims. Ummm…
      -Staks

      • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

        There are alot of “Christian” bad apples because ALOT (BILLIONS) claim to be Christians….i have talked about this before. I should like try to do some sort of fractional analysis….and see if the # of “bad apple” atheists is proportional to the # of “bad apple” Christians….lol, I bet it would be fairly close….:P Who knows.

        • admin

          Again, atheism isn’t a belief system so there really isn’t a comparison. Let me know why you find some bad apple Humanists though.
          -Staks

        • existential blues

          The point is that Christianity does not do anything to make living, breathing folks better people. By most measures (violent crime, divorce, etc.), it makes them worse.

          So then, what is the point of the Christian exercise? The death worship thing?

        • Scott

          People aren’t atheist because they hate God, that’s just a Hollywood Movie plot such as what they did on Forrest Gump with Lieutenant Dan. People are atheists because religion doesn’t make any sense to the rational person that wasn’t indoctrinated. Why is atheism arrived at thru reason and religion arrived at thru indoctrine? Think about it.

          By the way Matt, you are a bad apple Christian too because you don’t take the bible literally and instead pull off the context argument.

          • existential blues

            > People are atheists because religion doesn’t make any sense to the rational person that wasn’t indoctrinated.

            A great number of people who have been indoctrinated stop and think, and realize that the God-think makes no sense. For many, it’s the question of suffering that does it. Apologists (like Matt) for a sick, jealous, violent God drive the point home. Justifying mass slaughter and suffering because the heavenly father wasn’t properly pleased should be enough to make any sane person stop and think.

          • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

            It all depends on which verses we are talking about whether or not they are literal….it’s usually pretty obvious if you read the context whether it is literal or figurative…..rarely hard to figure out.

            • existential blues

              Was the Great Flood literal? It’s nonsense. Was the creation myth literal? It’s nonsense. Was the massacre of the Midianites literal? It’s monstrous.

      • http://www.myspace.com/illicit_paradigm Illicit Paradigm

        Any belief or practice can, in essence, be a place to hide for the crazies. The fact that 1 in 3 Americans claim to be a Christian just makes the propensity for crazies to be in that demograph that much higher. That’s the same as saying if the percentage of women in Christianity were higher that the message compels females to the follow more than males. That would be a false statement based on pure numbers, not actual intent or founded in any real basis.

        Overall Christians are a peaceable group and has the effect of improving someone’s life. How many people have said, “Man, that guy sure has straightened out his life since finding Atheism”? Now place Christ in that sentence and see if you’ve heard it before. Before you start railing on about delusions, ask yourself if the statement wasn’t actually true. Did that person improve their life, better their position or live in a better manner following their acceptance of Christ? You talk about the negative aspects of Christianity as if it were a blight upon man, not once have I ever heard you say the statistics about the ‘sane’ Christian. That wouldn’t play well to the agenda. If the atheism movement continues to gain momentum and the amount of crazies remain the same, what then can we say? Nothing. The status quo hasn’t changed, people with issues, emotional problems or psychological issues still retain those issues regardless of their system of belief.

        As for the reasons people flock to Christianity, why is it that every Christian has to fall within two distinct mentalities with you? 1) They are a product of indoctrination or 2) they had an emotional conversion. Sorry to say, but people that claim Christianity are as diverse as those that claim any belief. There are those that say it just to feel a sense of belonging, there are those that claim not out of belief, but out of hope that there is a higher power, there are those that are mistaken about the teachins and clump all people of faith into the group “Christians” and there are those that say it because they feel they have to based on those around them.

        Let’s refine a few statements you made and shed a little light. You say most bigoted people tend to be the most religious? On what basis are you stating this? I’m guessing personal bias and personal experience, and pardon me for saying, but ignorance is being a vocal anti-religious activist and then being surprised it brings the extremists into view. I went head to head with PETA, they were giving my 6 year old daughter disturbing coloring books at school. Guess what I got when I started fighting that cause? Death threats and carcasses on my lawn. Am I surprised? No, not at all. Why did Martin Luther King, Jr. get shot? Was it because he was black? No, it was because he was a vocal, influential person vocalizing himself on the basis of one cause – unity among all races. The ones most against that cause would be the first to react, don’t you think?

        As for those with the least amount of education bein the religious, where are you getting these statistics? I’m guessing you’re assuming that to be the case. You make a lot of statements, but most are just supposition, not much meat behind it, however they do contain a good healthy dose of bias, hold the fact. The only statement I can moderately agree on is the religion/homophobia link. Of that I can honestly say it’s an issue, the most vocal people against the homosexual movement are the religious. That’s not to say the religious are the most violent. That’s also not to say Christians are the culprits, simply the religious. Look at Westboro Baptist Church, a prime example of a group of crazies calling themselves ‘Christians’ with an obvious political agenda. Then again to say homophobia is a purely religious issue isn’t true either. Some people are, regardless of belief, just outright bigots.

  • The Buddha

    Big fan of the atheist movement guys. If you try hard enough, maybe one day you’ll convert as many people as the Christians did. Lets see here, Science Is Right! Science Is Right!…Yaay!; Jesus Is The Savior! Jesus Is The Savior! Yaay! Yep, comfort level is the same. You humans are so silly. :P

    • admin

      Science isn’t always right, but when we find new data, we change science to fit the new data. The difference between science and religion is a little thing called EVIDENCE! If you don’t know the difference than you aren’t as Buddhastic as you thought you were.
      -Staks

    • existential blues

      Science is based on evidence. Science is subject to change and refinement. There is no other useful way to model the physical world. Religion and Buddhism have never succeeding in making an airplane fly, a vaccine, or irradiated a brain tumor. Religion and Buddhism don’t supply untainted drinking water.

      If you equate science with religion, I don’t think you have much grasp of either.

  • GW Bush…

    damn !!! He at least coulda shot a bunch more Christians !!!

  • The Buddha

    Love It!!! Sublime Times with the Eternal Mind.:P

  • http://twitter.com/ColdDimSum Dark Star

    I completely agree there is a correlation (numerous studies). But no study has shown causation. And indeed, people commit suicide for all kinds of reasons, including deeply religious people. So clearly it is no magic bullet.

    Other studies have shown that much of the protective effect has more to do with entirely secular components such as community building and social structure. These are things the secular community I’m familiar with here in the US is very well aware of and they are working on it.

    I find it far more likely that causes such as a person becoming a non-believer and then, after finding their world-view destroyed, their friends and families reject them and attack them are responsible for some of those suicides. I think that living in a world that constantly pushes threats veiled in religious terms is responsible for some of those suicides. I think that being constantly told that you are a sinful being, doomed to failure and being unworthy are responsible for some of those suicides.
    And we know that religiously-fueled hatred of gay people has lead to bullying which contributed to numerous suicides here in the US (not to mention murders, beatings, and other abuses).
    But at the end of the day, if a smidgen of knowledge about our condition in the universe (and let’s be honest, atheism is more of a statement of saying we simply don’t know what our condition is – it really doesn’t offer any conclusion on the question other than finding existing claims wanting) is more likely to cause some people to commit suicide, then so be it. The truth is, to me, the more important concern.

    I would also like to see this study done with a sharper division between those who merely are ‘unaffiliated’ but still believe in superstition and those who strongly reject the supernatural, the superstitious, and who affirm AND EVIDENCE the application of reason to human problems.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      You are basically agreeing with everything I have said here.

  • shaggy

    Maybe denialists have a higher suicide rate because they know that their life means nothing without God, but are too arrogant to beg him for forgiveness even though they know inside they are guilty, they choose to die forever with their sin.
    All the most ridiculous reasons people can be mad at something or someone you best bet they can be mad at God for, their life didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to or that one hot chick/guy in class didn’t agree to be your gf/bf.
    Wow you guys, there’s a little thing called reality and its not going to stop or change anything for you, so denying it will do nothing but show everyone who you really are, so go ahead and do that, its better than hiding it and eventually springing it up on some unsuspecting person, expose yourself now and let the world leave you in the dark.

  • herod

    Hi stacks, please think/rectify again when you are commenting on sensitive issues. you posted “I personally think that people have the right to die and if they really want to kill themselves, that is their right”. Your thought in this sentence is wrong, because no human has that right religiously and even atheistically. Otherwise why would any secular/non-secular and democratic/non-democratic constitution/law impose imprisonment who commit suicide.

    Further, your initiation and cause for helping atheists is a good one, but I think it needs to be well extended. First of all, translating to atheism, need not be well affiliated and it doesn’t need to have a social community as incentive just like religion has. Wherever there is any social group for a cause, there will be few people who exploit the rest, if not in the early stage of the community, it may be probably be done in future. So one of the very basic reason of getting into atheism will be exploited.

    Hence, an atheist should understand basically that the world works professional, and if he doesn’t have enough strength to fight with that depression, he is ethically unfit to be an atheist. No one in this world asked anyone to convert to an atheist, like religions do. It is a transformation from his own realization. And if someone helps in that process, he wont be a successful person. Even if he gets help, one cannot guarantee that he will not seek help again from some atheist community to fight depression, and someday he may take atheism as another religion.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      I disagree with you on many of the issues you raised here. For starters, I will hold to my view that we have a moral right to die. If someone really wants to kill themselves, I believe that is their right. I might try to talk them out of it, but only to a point.

      I also think that it is a good idea for atheists to build communities. Sure, not all atheists want this and that is fine. No one is forcing anyone to join communities of reason. But there is no doubt that there are benefits to being part of a community. One of which is that the community is able to help the individual to do things that the individual themselves might not be able to do. This is an evolutionary advantage that human beings have over many other animals.

      I do not subscribe to the “Social Darwinist” model that people who need help are weak and therefore should be eliminated from the gene pool. That’s bullshit. We help each other and then we get stronger. Those of us who might be weak in one area might be strong in other areas. They might even be necessary in other areas. Stephen Hawking is the perfect example. If we just let him to die because he was sick, we would know less about the universe today.

      So I completely disagree with you on those issues. If an atheist needs help with depression once, they may need help again. So what? Life isn’t easy and if you fall down, you get back up. If you fall down again, you get back up again. If you need help getting up, then I have no problem creating a system in which we help people back up. The key is always to get up more time than you fall down.

  • peter

    Sorry not trying to troll. I would have committed suicide a long long time ago if i didn’t think i was going straight to hell if i did.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      Many people are terrorized because of their fear of Hell. I suspect however that a fear of non-existence might also have kept you from suicide.

      • peter

        I cannot speak for everyone, that’s not fair but let me tell you with absolute honestly non existence means nothing to me (sorry i had too). But seriously, this is a great shame for me but if i did believe in nothingness after i die, i would right at this moment go up to a high peak down myself a half bottle of whiskey and throw myself off. If that was truly it. If im just matter then in my opinion i don’t really matter….

        • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

          Wow. So you have no dreams or aspirations? You don’t care about anyone and no one cares about you? Look, I don’t want you to kill yourself, but the reality is that there really isn’t an afterlife. My advise is that you enjoy this life. Spend some quality time with family and friends now because you aren’t going to see them after they are dead. Don’t wait to let them know you love them. Do it now. Show them now. Live your life, you don’t have another one. When you die, it’s game over man. You’re dead.

          • believer

            Atheism is a false religion, with no basis in science or logic. You claim to know things you cannot know. Atheists worship human cleverness, and deny the reality of super levels of consciousness. You think that if you can’t see something, it can’t be real. But many of us do see it, and we know it is real.
            As for what happens after death, you do not know. You need to feel you have superior insight and knowledge, but you don’t. You are spiritually blind.
            If atheists are more likely to be depressed, it’s because they believe something that is not true.
            Help from something greater than ourselves is always within reach. Believers can endure setbacks and misfortunes better than atheists, because we know someone is always there to guide us through it.

            • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

              Again I am shocked at the cruelty of Christians. Here is Peter who is clearly suicidal and instead of trying to help him deal with his pain, Believer comes in and starts insulting me as I am trying to get Peter some help.

              But let me address your issues. First, atheism isn’t a religion. However you define religion, atheism is exactly not that. But I am glad that you agree with me that religion is a bad thing. That to me is at least progress.

              Atheism isn’t a belief system. It is merely the view that theists have not presented valid evidence for their claims. The logic of atheism is that you have not supported your beliefs with actual evidence or facts.

              Personally, I don’t worship anything. I do greatly admire human cleverness, science, and reason… and with good reason. You and I are having this conversation across a great distance because human cleverness, science, and reason have allowed it to happen.

              Please present some valid evidence for this “super levels of consciousness.” If you can’t do that, then it is only logical that I will be skeptical of your ridiculous claim.

              No, I don’t think that if I can’t see something it can’t be real. I think that if none of my senses can detect something even with the aid of scientific tools, then I have no good reason to believe that it is real. If you could present some kind of valid evidence, I would be very willing to change my position. But short of actual evidence, sorry.

              I don”t know what happens after death, but you are claiming that we live on in some sort of magic happy land… or that we will live on to be tortured for all eternity. That just seems silly to me especially when you have no evidence to support your view. I don’t think there is anything after death because we are our brains and when our brains die, then there is nothing left that can live on. But again, my view is subject to change based on the evidence. Right now, that evidence favors the view that death is death. Funny how that works.

              The evidence does not support your claims. Sorry.

              • guest

                dangerous talk you did not help peter at all, if you even tried to understand his point just fr a second youd realize you actually encouraged him to do suicide. you’re a horrible person.

                • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

                  I’m trying to get Peter help. I don’t see you doing anything at all. Personally, I think life is worth living and I would never encourage anyone to kill themselves. However, if someone has truly made up their mind to die, there isn’t much I or anyone else can do. I might accept a person’s choice, but I have never nor will I ever encourage anyone to kill themselves.

                  What you are doing here “guest,” is using someone’s pain to advance your belief. That is immoral and you should be ashamed of yourself. Peter is in pain and I hope he gets the help he needs. I hope he sees a professional or contacts the Suicide Prevention Hotline.

            • Bryant Palmer

              This is a laughably ridiculous comment. The statement, “you claim to know things you cannot know.” holds absolutely no weight coming from a theist of any religion. Simply asserting that something is so does not make it so. If I told you that Jesus was a race-car driver, without offering any evidence to support this claim, you would have good reason to laugh in my face. The beauty of Atheism is that it claims to know nothing but what is actually KNOWN.
              The only basis for Atheism is science and logic. Nothing else need apply. Once again, asserting that God makes the stars twinkle doesn’t make it true; even if you found it written in a very old book. That is not science. It doesn’t even remotely resemble science.
              On to depression; there is no evidence that Atheism lends to depression. In fact beliefs of any kind are only a minuscule factor. It’s simply chemistry on a very complex scale. Our evolution has a species has left some people genetically more prone to chemical imbalances that lead to depression. Feel free to argue your “Intelligent Design” theory now.

            • Cris Bessette

              Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color. There are no rituals, no songs, no holy books, no rules, no priests- in short, nothing like a religion.

              As for depressed atheists, I had the opposite reaction- Something about being told over and over I was a worthless sinner and born “defective” , told to hate the world around me. Told that if I didn’t have enough faith, then it was my fault.

              Yes, leaving religion was the best thing that ever happened to me.
              Now I have control of my life, instead of fear having control.

              • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

                Awesome Cris! I think most atheists are in the same boat as you are after a time. Personally, I feel the same way. Leaving religion was the best thing that ever happened to me. However, I know many atheists have had to suffer from existential problems and social anxiety before they were able to get to the place we are now. I think we need to build more communities to help them with that transition.

              • Brandon Roberts

                1. there are un written rules like 1. thou shall claim to know everything 2. thou shall not doubt stephen hawking richard dawkins or thy god charles darwin and finally 3. thou shall use the a.c.l.u at every chance to remove what thee whines and bitches about

                • tez

                  Actually, what you are misrepresenting is something that a lot of atheists tend to have in common, and it is not listening to authority figures (a very clear tenant of theism) as you seem to claim, it is believing in things that have evidence to back them up. I can’t even believe you would try to make that comment because it is so clearly, demonstrably how theism works.

                  • Brandon Roberts

                    sorry this was a long time ago and i think i was just trying to joke but not trying to offend deeply sorry if i did

                    • tez

                      Sorry bud, I probably should have recognized the sarcasm. I unfortunately had been dealing with people that had ludicrous things to say prior to this. My bad. Sorry again. =)

                    • Brandon Roberts

                      it’s ok your forgiven. good luck with anyone that’s been a jackass towards you

      • Ken Foye

        A fear of nonexistence keeps people from suicide?

        No offense, but that’s a pretty lame spin job.

    • Rainbows

      I’m sure that didn’t solve any problems, just prevented escaping from the burning house. You stupid cunt.

      • Anonymous

        You’re the stupid cunt stupid bitch.

    • Brandon Roberts

      don’t worry there’s always hope and i would suggest trying to find some help from a freind or family member

  • Sam

    This would be an interesting study to find out. Causation vs. correlation. Are atheists more likely to be depressed? Or are people already with depression more likely to be atheists?

  • Shyla P

    The world isn’t transitioning into secularism. Perhaps in the little bubble westerners are so captivated with. But in the third-world, where the majority of births take place, religiosity is on the rise.

    And as long as there are more pressing issues of suffering in the world, especially in the aforementioned areas (starvation, and lack of other basic needs) resources will not (and shouldn’t) be given to promote agendas the are dubious to the common good.

  • DA Goritsas

    I think you place far too much importance on the fear of hell or community support. Perhaps the reason devote Christians commit suicide less (except in the case of sever mental illness) is because they realize love is an real property of this existence (love of God, love of fellow man, love of self). That love is not just merely an illusion of electrical nerve impulses in the brain. And if love is real & love is sacrifice, then suffering can have meaning. I mean not all religions feel that way: Buddhism’s whole goal is to avoid suffering by rejecting desire. However, in Christianity, the greatest good in this life has come through suffering: God allowing his torture & death as a sacrifice for our sins, martyrs dying rather than denying their faith, or even the suffering of fasting. It all has meaning. It is all done in love. So when a devote Christian encounter suffering, they do not off themselves to alleviate the pain, they use the pain to draw closer to God’s love. I know when I have been hurting, I have been far more humble then in the good times.

    • believer

      For atheist/humanists, love can only come from friends and family. But friends and family can love us one day and despise us the next. For believers, love is infinite and constant and will always be there for us.
      Yes, suffering brings us closer to our source of love and life and salvation.
      I don’t think it’s any particular religion. I think they all have the same core message. There is love and hope for all of us, if we want it.
      We do not exist within our physical brains. We are spiritual beings. We are not separate little islands made of cells. We are always connected.
      Believers know that our lonely isolation is just an illusion. For an atheist, isolation and separateness are the reality. If your social life is not going well, you are alone. If you are not doing well financially, then your social life is probably not great. You are on your own, a tiny being lost in a dead uncaring universe.
      Sure there might be lots of happy atheists. But when life starts going wrong, where can they turn? Go to a psychiatrist and get mind-numbing drugs?

      • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

        Religion is a mind-numbing drug!!! When things get rough, we have to turn to each other for comfort and help. But knowing this makes us more likely to help others when they are in need without the need to push the mind-numbing drug of religion on them.

        We are our brains. We are neurons, impulses, and chemicals, but that doesn’t make our emotions imaginary. They are what they are. Knowing this allows us to alter our emotions by learning how best to alter our neurons, impulses, and chemicals. This is how science and medicine work and why prayer does not. Don’t believe me? Stop using modern medicine!

  • will nist

    I’ve been an atheist since 15 and depressed and suicidal and lonely also since then. Thinking about killing myself right now in fact. It still doesn’t make any gods exist. No where to go. No fools lying and telling me things will get better. Just Dr. with pills that never work. I’m now 47. There are atheists in fox holes. I’m there and not only are there no gods, but also no friends and no love. I’ve loved twice but have never been loved in return. That’s as honest as I can be. I don’t like this world and there are no others. It’s life without the love of a woman that gets to me. Just shouting in the dark.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      Will, depression is a serious thing and life is not easy but there are things worth living for. We are part of the tapestry of humanity and being able to make that tapestry better can also make us feel better and can give our lives meaning. I strongly recommend that you check out the therapist project: http://www.seculartherapy.org/

      We do living in an exciting time when religion is starting to fade away and secular humanist values are on the rise. With help from people like you, we can help to create a Star Trek like future. We need you Will. Please stay.

      • believer

        Star Trek is a fantasy. Your religious faith is in science fiction. You believe human cleverness will solve all problems and create paradise on earth.
        Your religion is total BS. Human cleverness causes a thousand times more problems than it solves.
        Atheists think nature is mindless. They are smarter than nature, so they can f-k around with it and everything will just get better. They can mess around with genetic engineering, and no horrific nightmare scenarios will result.
        You are wrong wrong wrong.

        • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

          Dude, Will is suicidal and you don’t seem to give a fuck about him. If this is Christian compassion, then you really do have a problem. Star Trek is a fantasy… just like Christianity. The difference is that Star Trek is a very positive fantasy that is quite inspiring. Plus, with human cleverness, we are making that fantasy a reality. Cell phones are really just Star Trek communicators. iPads are Star Trek datapads. We are starting to explore space, respect diversity, and treat women as equals. We are getting closer to warp speed technology and transporter technology. Yes, clever human scientists are working on those things right now.

          Nature is what it is. Our planet has evolved as it has and will continue to do so. If you don’t live how clever humans fuck around with nature, turn off your air-conditioning, heaters, etc. That’s human cleverness fucking with nature right there. Sure, we will have set backs and sometimes things will go horribly wrong, but science thrives on errors and advances from them. That’s human cleverness.

          I feel sorry for you Believer. You seem to hate yourself and humanity. Maybe you should seem some professional help from a flawed human. It might be better an perfect help from an imaginary deity. Just a thought.

  • Zulli

    I’ve carefully read through all of these comments – and haven’t seen one actual answer to the question posed. The question requested a solution to the suicide problem (instead of a defense of the atheist worldview’s veracity.) The closest answers here point toward an appreciation for family and the good things in life and are cavalierly voiced from a position of luxury, as suicidal people often do not have these things. The real answers to this questions would provide not just a normative outlook – but what to look to when SHIT GETS HARD.

    So it seems you want to preach the atheist gospel – but what’s conspicuously absent is a provision of a replacement worldview to which your converts can turn WHEN THE SHIT HITS THE FAN. Not just when it’s easy, but WHEN IT’S HARD.

    I have a feeling that (though you would like not to admit it) – your unspoken prescriptive answer in these situations would actually be to commit suicide, for such people. Either that – or it seems you have accepted the morals of the major religions without acknowledging whence they came.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      Why do atheists have to make up a worldview to replace your made up worldview? No, We just have to point out that your worldview is bullshit. Moving on to the suicide issue, there are plenty of things to live for… See my most recent post (http://www.skepticink.com/dangeroustalk/2013/08/14/life-and-afterlife-the-meaning-in-it-all/).

      But there is of course a time in a person’s life when death is desirable. I have no problem with assisted suicide in many situations. But once you kill yourself, there is no turning back so I think it is prudent to try to live life first before taking the step of ending it. You can always kill yourself tomorrow, but you can’t unkill yourself tomorrow. Think about it.

  • Zulli

    Addendum: In other words, atheism seems to be quite the fair-weathered friend (if even then.)

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      People are what we are. It is my hope that atheists, like all people will be there for each other in good times and in bad times. But it really depends on the people. Right now, the greater community of reason is growing and we are forming a support system to help each other in good times and in bad times just as churches sometimes do.

  • paths toward God by faith.come

    ? 4 the atheist

    ?
    4 the atheist

    I want u to consider,as men if we just
    have a

    opinion,that neither know what? is
    true.

    Men who have religion still win over
    the atheistic point of view

    If I die&Iam right I WIN!If I
    die&u are right I WIN!

    Why?I lived my life with a greater hope
    now&reward at the end,even if I live with a false joy

    Atheist have no hope now or joy at the
    end just blackness so really who wins?

    All religion if they are right u
    LOSE,if u are right u LOSE.Atheism produces hopelessness in life.

    JClives

    • Tim Tian

      That pascal’s wager? It’s been refuted. Repeatedly. Many Many Times.-

  • Raul Valdez Jr.

    I have many suicidal thoughts running through my head, it has nothing to do with god I guess, but deadly loneliness

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      The Universe is a vast and lonely place. We lucky enough to live in a world filled will people. Many of them are also lonely. Go out into that world and find people who like the same things you like and like those things together. People are social animals and the more we surround ourselves with solitude the more empty we feel inside. If you need help, please see someone. Depression can be a medial issue and it is nothing to be embarrassed about. We don’t get embarrassed when we see a doctor for a broken arm, and we shouldn’t be embarrassed to see a doctor about depression either. I hope you stay with us Raul.

  • Carlos Reyes

    I don’t have nothing against atheism everyone deserves to be respected. but through this we can see being an atheist it’s not the good thing . I do agree Christianity is bad in some way. and being atheist is also bad because more people intent to commit suicide

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      I think you missed the point.

      • Carlos Reyes

        what point my good friend.?

        • Tim Tian

          The point, if I interpreted this correctly, is that Christian hate towards atheists, LGBT, and other people who don’t believe what they do, can cause suiside.

  • Carlos Reyes

    I meant Christianity is bad in some way.

  • iain carstairs

    The odd thing is, if we’re talking about reality rather than platitudes, research shows spirituality thickens the cortex; perhaps as a result of meditation. (Dr Myrna Weissman, a professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University). Weissman’s theory is that this may well guard against depression,

    Meditation also increases the production of telomerase, which extends the telomeres and tends to increase the reproductive span of human cells. It doesn’t stop there: prayer has been shown to increase vagal tone – a solid measurement of the parasympathetic nervous system and a person’s psychological health in the face of setbacks and frustration (Barbara Frederickson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina).

    Further, acts of generosity and gratitude stimulate the production of oxytocin from the supraoptical nucleus; oxytocin is vital for brain and body health, since apart from its actions on “every major bodily system” it also acts also as a neurotransmitter. Though anyone can partake of these emotions, it is only religions which have gone as far as to incorporate gratitude as part of the everyday routine, via rituals and observances.

    Fasting, on the face of it a pointless ritual, has been shown to accelerate the neuronal chemistry, giving better ability to make decisions, which explains why the disciples routinely fasted a day before making important ones. Their intuitive understanding, or the intuitive understanding encoded in their scriptures, was just as useful as if it had been scientifically arrived at – even more so, as they were willing to put it into practice.

    An atheist may well consider himself above the believer in intelligence, but the condescending attitude of many of them, evidenced in their online debates (“you are at best disingenuous.. at worst, very disingenuous..” “this is a laughingly ridiculous comment..” &c) seems to put them, in emotional maturity at least, some steps further back than they would like to admit if they consider themselves superior to those they debate with – remembering that others have much the same everday problems and struggles as they, and are after all only expressing an opinion.

    Atheists might also look down upon the archaic forms of some religions, but many seem unaware of the positive aspects of healthy spirituality emerging not from the church, but from the laboratory, or might struggle, as Alain de Botton said in his book, “Religion for Atheists”, to convert these useful scientific data into a new life. I offered to send that same book to an atheist reader of mine who at first agreed enthusiastically to review it; after consulting friends she later – without having read it – wrote sniffingly that such books were nonsense and she preferred to live in the real world. To each their own, I guess?

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      Please link to these studies. Every study I have seen has shown that prayer has no significant affect on health and in some cases actually a negative affect. You can read my article on prayer in my Atheism 101 section. Meditation on the other hand has had some affect, but it has nothing to do with any deities. Generosity also has an affect and again has nothing to do with any deities. There is no supernatural force that makes people better when they give. It is all in the natural world. This really just comes back down to community, not deities. If your argument is that atheists should form communities with each other, then I agree with you on that. But if your argument is that God bestows blessings on those who pray to him, then the evidence just doesn’t support that. The whole point of my article is that atheist communities need to start reaching out to those in our community who are struggling with depression and to make the transition from theism to atheism easier for those who are struggling.

      I don’t think religious people are stupid and I even wrote an article about that. I do think you are wrong and dangerously wrong at that. Part of the reason why many atheists are in psychological pain has to do with the way religious believers treat atheists both physically and psychologically. I made that clear in the article.

      • iain carstairs

        At no time did I suggest that any deity was prepared to intercede in the comings and goings of an ordinary person. I don’t believe I even mentioned God. But since you do mention it, the idea of a God as an embodiment of some kind of colossal intelligence will depend on the mind of the believer, and the non-believer, since at least one atheist told me that she can’t believe in God because an old man on a hill could not have created the universe. I’m sure everyone would agree with that.

        Since, as the mind of man evolves, it must be evolving to a superior form of consciousness by slight degrees, the concept of God becomes a reflection of individual capacity for purely abstract thought, and perhaps also their willingness to concede that human intelligence in a universe 14bn years old is not likely to be the supreme form of it – as we have had at the very most 4 million years since the departure from the animal world. Einstein’s God is unlikely to have much in common with Paleolithic man’s.

        Dawkins himself, an atheist above everything, has said there is an excellent case to be made for a pre-big bang intelligence. But the idea of God is a personal one and has no bearing on what I mentioned about the biological reaction to thought. The body and the mind are so closely linked that it seems impossible to draw the line between one and the other. Recently when a medical team tried to draw blood from my veins I had become so tense waiting for their arrival that every vein, when pierced, completely failed to emit any blood. My arms had even grown cold with fear. Once they had relaxed me, they had success.

        So the idea that the body might react on many levels to a prevailing mental attitude is common sense, and hardly a dangerous idea. To say, as you do, that an idea could be dangerous is actually to affirm that the problem of individual belief is central, and that some people are mentally unstable enough that an idea from someone else could put them into difficulty. We need to look at the mind of the suicide, and not try to find a scapegoat out in the groups holding an opposite belief system.

        The article regarding the vagal tone was in New Scientist, July 13th 2013. “High vagal tone” correlates with empathy and therefore better relationships, better working memory and attention span, and increases ability to produce insulin, regulate blood glucose and supress inflammation – so much so that low vagal tone is strongly associated with dying from cardiovascular disease.

        Militant atheism, from the jeering Penn and Teller to the angry denouncement of a scientist such as Rupert Sheldrake – who has enough experimental data to back up everything he says – is evidence of an arrogant attitude every bit as bad as in the fundamentalist book burner. I can’t see the difference between a smug atheist or a smug Christian. They’re both intensely annoying. If atheism has a suicide problem, it stands to reason that mental resilience is the problem, since we all have problems in life and many of them are the same for believer and non believer alike: problems of bankruptcy or illness or bereavement or facing the future without a job are far more catastrophic than whether a religious person has criticised me for being an atheist or an atheist criticised me for being a believer.

        So pinning suicide on the attitude of others just dodges the issue and makes the problem someone else’s, instead of the sufferer’s. Depression, which I also experienced for many years, does not come from societal acceptance. Some people even thrive on being different. Depression is an internal chemical state perhaps triggered by but not related to external events. Stephen Fry, for example, did an excellent show on depression and found one of Britain’s top neuroscientists had sectioned herself to prevent suicide. I believe she recovered via fish oil, maybe because, as in coconut oil, the medium chain fatty acids can be used by neurons as an alternative source of fuel, I don’t know. More intelligent people may be at risk of depression because their brains rely on a higher quality fuel and are more prone to disaster when the stresses of life take their toll on the body’s store of energy. This simple idea has never been suggested, perhaps in the haste to pin the problem on someone else. But Stephen Fry’s breakdown before his opening night in the West End would be typical of such a crisis in the creative, intelligent mind, which in stronger moments could be overcome.

        At the present moment, for example, I have cancer, and a few months ago was given no more than a year and a half to live. My resilience comes not from a belief in God but a belief that the biology of the body is an ordered place which has arisen in an ordered universe. The idea that I should spend a year suffering in hospital from chemo (the proposal of my surgeon) seemed ludicrous to me, especially when I discovered the mechanism behind MDR tumours – their exposure to chemotherapy! This is a quack medicine which gets much support from the “skeptics”. According to my ultrasound results, so far, I seem to be right.

        Therefore to me it seems very reasonable that the body would have resources to take care of this situation if only they can be activated. If you believe the universe is a random, chaotic place, it seems to me this worldview is far more dangerous than my reciting the results of the scientific evaluation of some religious rituals.

        I don’t think biology distinguishes between religion and atheism. What it does distinguish between, as Bruce Lipton, a former DNA scientist, points out, is the cellular environment maintained and influenced by a worldview. If suicide is the problem, it is pointless looking outside the individual unit to find the cure, whether we are talking about cells or people, and surely every bit of evidence is not a dangerous idea but welcome in this exploration.

        • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

          Woooow! You certainly put a lot on the table and most of it either has completely nothing to do with this article or is a complete misunderstanding of what I actually wrote. There is also a fair about of argument by authority and other fallacies in there too.

          My central point that I was trying to convey is that prayer doesn’t work… as in no supernatural being answers them. You don’t seem to disagree, so i don’t know what your actual argument was when you said, “Atheists might also look down upon the archaic forms of some religions, but many seem unaware of the positive aspects of healthy spirituality emerging not from the church, but from the laboratory.”

          Aside from the strawman you created and your continued personal attacks on atheists in general, you argument seems to be that spirituality (in the religious sense) works and that atheism fails inn this regard.As I pointed out, those benefits have nothing to do with the supernatural and there is no contradiction in accepting those benefits and lacking the belief in any deities. So I don’t understand your point.

          I do understand that you would rather attack atheism than actually try to help people who might be suicidal… which is what this article is about.

          Yes, people suffer from clinical depression. As I talked about in the article, religious believers in this category have the support system of the church which atheists don’t have. Therefore, atheists in this category probably are at a greater risk of suicide, That is why I am calling for atheists to start building a community as a support network. Many people also suffer from non-clinical depression brought about by difficult situations. Instead of belittling this, you might want to actually acknowledge the elephant in the room. Just a thought.

          • iain carstairs

            Maybe the point is that suicde has nothing to do with God or religion but the person’s inner state: and by extension, if a person is going to try and pull someone else away to a different way of thinking, there ought to be some benefit to the recipient. Because otherwise it might be better not to do it at all..

            Even an atheist like de Botton admits atheism has a bleak and unappealing outlook, and the prevailing attitude of infighting and one-upmanship among the more militant types – like the elevatorgate and the Skepchick stuff which hit the press recently – and the appalling, almost pathological wave of hatred and insults which Rebecca Watson was subjected to from her own atheist peers – does nothing to dissuade the public that this is likely to be the way things will stay.

            • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

              Dude, what is your problem? Of course suicide has nothing to do with God. God doesn’t exist! But just as religious hate toward the LGBT community has led to a rise in suicide in that community, religious hate also has led in part to atheists committing suicide. Also, as I explained in the article, there are quite a few other reasons why some atheists are suicidal and/or depressed. Please read the article you are commenting or re-read it if it has been awhile.

              Second, I outlined the benefit in the article. Plus, whether something is beneficial or not isn’t really the point. The question is whether something is true, not whether it is useful. It is the old pig satisfied vs. Socrates unsatisfied question.

              Third, there are no Popes, priests, or holy people in atheism. DeBotton has no authority and neither does Dawkins or anyone else. The argument by authority just doesn’t hold up. As for deBotton’s comment (which I bet you probably took out of context anyway), I completely disagree. reality is certainly not bleak or unappealing. Just go on YouTube are watch an old Carl Sagan video or something by Neil deGrasse Tyson. They are truly inspiring.

              Fourth, there are no “militant” atheists.

              Fifth, the mainstream press has oversimplified the elevatorgate situation. You really don’t even know anything about that and it is really a non sequiter anyway.that has nothing to do with suicide or this conversation. You attempt to use this as a wedge is really in poor taste considering that divisions within Christianity are far more violent and hateful than any divisions within atheism — which for the record isn’t even a thing that is something to be divided. Both Rebecca Watson and her critics agree that there is no evidence for any deities. That’s all atheism really is.

              Sixth, and more to the point, I still don’t know what your point is other than to insult atheists. You certainly aren’t trying to help those who might be suicidal or depressed to find the help they need. That by the way is the point of this article.

              • iain carstairs

                Well, the truth or otherwise of a God is not something anyone can prove or disprove; otherwise the issue would already be settled. The matter is a personal one of belief, and a worldview they are entiteld to hold. Only a fanatic would insist the concept be adopted by someone who resists it, or try and remove it from one who choose to believe. Militant atheists are as real as militant religious zealots. I don’t see any difference between one arrogance and another.

                As for “elevatorgate”, I only saw some of the texts Watson was sent because she seemed to make them freely available, and I recall amidst the horrible insults some did advise her to commit suicide. I’m sure you don’t imagine any group behaving this way is showing signs of a healthy outlook; far from being irrelevant, I think you can easily associate this with the theme of your post.

                • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

                  Here you are using poor reasoning skills. No one can prove or disprove the existence of (any imagined thing) that doesn’t mean that think is justified. No, the burden of proof is always on the person asserting the claim. In this case, the claim is of a deity and in the absence of any credible evidence, the logical position to hold in that on non-belief. This of course has nothing to do with this article, but you brought it up.

                  Second, I think you would be hard pressed to find any gun-wielding atheists in modern society that could be compared to the actual gun-wielding Christians who are actually militant. Obviously, no one should tell anyone they should commit suicide in such a manner, but Watson is certainly not the only atheist to have heard that. The difference is that most atheists hear it from religious believers. But again, the whole elevatorgate thing is much more complex and you really don’t know anything about it. Instead, you are pretending like some insults between atheists on Twitter represent all of atheism. Perhaps you haven’t ever watched Fox News, but if you have even heard of that station you might realize that Christianity is far worse things to say about atheists, Muslims, and even other Christians. What kind of outlook do you think that signals? Please!

                  The fact is that elevatorgate has nothing to do with this article and you are continually trying to insult atheists rather than actually help those who might be suicidal. I think I have been pretty generous with giving you an opportunity and forum to speak here considering that you have done nothing but insult atheists and go off topic when the topic is actually a pretty sensitive one. If you have something to say that is even remotely helpful to those who might be suicidal, please make that point — otherwise, I am going to consider blocking you so that other people can express their concerns, fears, and troubles in peace.

                  • iain carstairs

                    All I tried to suggest was that many of the observances and rituals involved in practically all religions have been shown (by scientists) to have a biological benefit ranging from enhancing the cortex to generating telomerase to improving vagal tone to generating essential neurotransmitters.

                    One of the neurotransmitters generated, oxytocin, is implicated in autism. In some experiments, subcutaneous injections of oxytocin alleviated autistic symptoms for up to two weeks in test subjects. All of this information is available for anyone to find if they look.

                    My point was firstly that in trying to pull others away from their religious traditions, a person must be aware of what their friend is likely to be losing, and offer something as valuable to replace it. Otherwise if dealing with a vulnerable individual, they tamper with something that perhaps neither of them understand and accordingly risk inflicting unintended damage. Once you know the biological benefits of certain practices you are in a position to suggest other and perhaps even better ways of living.

                    Secondly, I tried to say that if certain traditions have a beneficial effect on biology, it may logically explain why those who do not participate in them, or those who are suddenly removed from them are certainly at a higher risk of a mental breakdown (for solid biological reasons) which might relate to the very unfortunate experience of your friend. That’s what I was trying to say, and with that, I thank you for your time and attention and sign off.

        • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

          On a side note, if you have cancer, get real medical treatment for it! God isn’t going to cure you because you think it is part of his grand design. If that were true, then either no one would die of cancer or you believe that God loves you more than all the other people who have died of cancer. Seriously, get medical treatment!

          • iain carstairs

            How patronising, to assume I believe God will cure me because it is part of his grand design, or that he loves me more than anyone else! I can hardly imagine the tiny worldview of someone who first makes up such utter nonsense, and then projects it onto me.

            How on Earth can you possibly know what treatment I receive? What an incredible comment! I’m hardly sure which is worse – having cancer, or getting advice from someone with such appalling insensitivity. Thankfully not all atheists behave like this! But I can see how you guys get your reputation. Every piece of advice delivered with a free insult. Wow!

            • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

              Actually, I was relying on your own words as far as your treatment. You said, “My resilience comes not from a belief in God but a belief that the biology of the body is an ordered place which has arisen in an ordered universe. The idea that I should spend a year suffering in hospital from chemo (the proposal of my surgeon) seemed ludicrous to me, especially when I discovered the mechanism behind MDR tumours – their exposure to chemotherapy!”
              You flat out told me that you reject the medically prescribed treatment and when I tell you that I think that is a bad idea, you fain insult and cry that I couldn’t possibly know what treatment you have had. I’m just relying on YOUR word. If you say that you rejected Chemo, than I am going to assume that you are telling me the truth and that you have not received Chemo. If that is an insult, I don’t see it. But whatever dude. Just please seek the proper medical treatment. I’m sorry if that advise insults you.

              • iain carstairs

                There are more kinds of medicine than chemotherapy – a practice that in 60 years has created untold suffering. Saying I have some weird belief that a deity will step in and implying this would be because I am a preferential creature was absurd, and quite insulting.

                Some kind of people do go about trying to stamp their ideas on others, accompanied by insults or put-downs, and the inevitable result of this has to be rejection by society at large, as people – whether wrong or right – resent doing anything by force. Perhaps this isolation could be the root of many mental problems, I don’t know. I only tried to point out some aspects of religious culture which – biologically speaking – promote biological health. Take it up with New Scientist if you like – I thought it was very open minded of them!

                • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

                  I don’t have a problem with what New Scientist had to say on the matter (to my knowledge — I haven’t read the article), my problem is with your implication that prayer works when it doesn’t.

                  As far as I am currently aware, the only treatment for Cancer is Chemo. It isn’t a great treatment and it does cause a lot of suffering, but currently it is the only medically recommended treatment that I am aware of. I just had a friend who beat breast cancer and she suffered a lot, but she no longer has cancer. If there is another medically approved alternative, I am not aware of it. Anything that has not gone through the rigorous medical testing is quack medicine. It it worked, it would pass the medical tests and hospitals would be using it instead of the very costly and physically demanding alternative which is chemo.

                  You stated that it is because of your belief in God that you also believe, “Therefore to me it seems very reasonable that the body would have resources to take care of this situation.” Following that logic, I stated that If that were true, then either no one would die of cancer or you believe that God loves you more than all the other people who have died of cancer.

                  I once again suggest to you that you seek actual medical treatment for your cancer. If actual doctors suggest to you that you should go through Chemo, then I suggest you follow their advise. If you find my suggestion insulting, oh well. It is what it is. I hope your cancer remains in remission, but if it comes back, please consider Chemo or whatever the medical professionals suggest.

                  • iain carstairs

                    I think anyone who recommends chemo, when not a single double blind study of it has ever been performed, when doctors themselves refuse to consider it or refuse to consider administering it to their families, when its success rate has barely changed in 50 years, is not in full possession of the facts. As far as “quack” medicine goes, chemo really takes the cake.

                    In America I met women who had been through chemo and had organs removed “with clear margins”. After a brief respite they were told the cancer “had returned”. From where? And now the tumours were multiple drug resistant. This kind of “treatment” is a crime – the women were now doomed. In fact a recent, carefully designed study in Norway covering 100,000 women proved conclusively that 22% of tumours regress naturally, on their own, without any medical intervention whatsoever. The ACS coudn’t refute it.

                    The molecular biology of it is simple and already understood. But the American Cancer Society is funded by pharma giants like AstraZenaca which dictate what they can and can’t put on their leaflets. It’s a big money operation, and has been ever since the AMA pushed cigarettes in their magazine, wiith ads using actors dressed up as doctors, long after the link with cigarettes was well known; they even threatened to blackball any researchers writing about immunotherapy.

                    These massive profit centres rely on people to repeat the same old claims because they have no proof whatsoever. My own GP, when he saw the ultrasound scans taken only 9 days apart, looked embarrassed, and said, “we can only suggest what we are trained to suggest.” Follow the money.

                    As long as “skeptics” obligingly tout the party line – declaring anything non-chemical to be “quackery” without ever researching the molecular biology, the farce will continue. If you care to, you can see the molecular result of chemo for yourself and draw your own conclusions as to the genetic engineering power of the tumour cell, and its incredible reaction to an assault by a man made chemical.

                    http://www.rcsb.org/pdb/101/motm.do?momID=95

          • Boo

            “God isn’t going to cure you because you think it is part of his grand design.”

            Lol I love comments like this because they show such a colossally comical misunderstanding of Christianity. Since when did we ever think it was part of God’s grand design to cure us from cancer??

            • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

              First of all, not all Christians believe the same thing. My comment was specifically responding to a Christian who does not agree with you as indicated by the word, “if.”

              Second, if you believe that everything is part of God’s divine plan, then cancer must also be part of that plan. Therefore, your God wants people to suffer and die from cancer. That doesn’t seem like a very nice deity to me. Just say’n.

  • Amerifreak

    “About a year ago a friend of mine died. He was the first person I take credit for de-converting away from theism to atheism. ”

    And you don’t feel you have any responsibility for this? Who are you to “de-convert” anyone? If you hadn’t he’d probably still be alive, if it were suicide. Obviously misery loves company.
    Please stop trying to “help” Christians. You might be helping them into an early grave.
    Love, Donna Marie

  • Brandon Roberts

    1. ofcourse they have no meaning and beleive their life is a pointless accident 2. i still had emotoinal health issues despite a beleif in god and a happy family and finally please don’t reply i’m not trying to start a fight just giving my opinion

    • Tim Tian

      Not true.

      • Brandon Roberts

        first i’m very sorry about this it was at a darker point in my life and that’s not an excuse but this was a long time ago. second i don’t believe this now and i do regret posting this

  • Ken Foye

    None of this surprises me in the least. Research shows pretty plainly that those of us who believe in God are far less likely to “off ourselves” than those of you who don’t. (And no “where are your sources?” replies, please. Don’t have time or space to put them here. Google it. It’s true. It’s out there.)

    I’ve known many atheists in my life who are/were fine people. So this is not meant to be a personal knock against atheists.

    But the truth is that God exists. Evidence? We are the evidence. In this vast world of ours that has been home to millions of species of life forms, only WE have accomplished what we have. We are so unique in this world that it isn’t funny. No other species of life on this planet has even come close to accomplishing what we have. No, of course we’re not perfect. But we are very unique.

    Do you guys think this happened by accident? That we’re just some random anomaly? Come on. What are the odds of that? Practically impossible. The only thing to which I can attribute our unique standing in the world is that there’s a God who willed it so.

    I said earlier that we’re not perfect. Life isn’t perfect. There are setbacks, disappointments, and even horrible tragedies. But it’s faith in God that empowers a person to handle it. We know there’s something better out there. We know that life here on earth isn’t the be-all and end-all of everything. We know that life on this earth isn’t going to be pleasant all the time. So we’re strengthened in our ability to handle it.

    That’s why, by and large, we who believe don’t take our own lives with anywhere near the frequency that nonbelievers do. We know that however bad life gets, it’s still precious — and we have a Divine Reason for that. Something that’s obviously lacking in atheists’ lives.

    • Tim Tian

      “But the truth is that God exists. Evidence? We are the evidence. In this vast world of ours that has been home to millions of species of life forms, only WE have accomplished what we have. We are so unique in this world that it isn’t funny. No other species of life on this planet has even come close to accomplishing what we have. No, of course we’re not perfect. But we are very unique.”

      Weak Anthropomorphic Principle. That and the Law of How-We-Can’t-Really-Comprehend-Large-Numbers

  • believer

    Religion is not just a support system. It is a perspective. We can see this world in relation to an infinitely larger context. We know that our conscious minds are only a tiny fraction of what we are.
    Atheists lack this kind of perspective. You identify with your conscious ego. There is no escape from that little prison.
    If you ever have a serious problem — and we all do, eventually — you can only get help from fragile little humans like yourself. You don’t believe in superior sources of wisdom, so you don’t reach out for it.
    Being religious is not easy. It’s a difficult struggle. But we can have awareness of the conflicts between different parts of ourselves.
    Atheists talk about loving the glorious universe. But do you really? Your universe is, supposedly, made of dead mindless matter. What could be glorious about that?
    My universe is an infinitely intelligent mystery. And it is glorious.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    Your universe is a lie. As a former believer myself, I have moved beyond the lie. I see my life as part of a great tapestry. I am part of the world, part of the human species. I am very much aware that this life is my only life and so I live it fully. I also do my best to make this world a better place for those who come after me. I want humanity to achieve great things and I want to play my part in that tapestry of achievement.

    When atheists do have problems, I am hoping that we will turn to flawed humans to help us solve those problems instead of getting high on imaginary deities. We need to deal with our problems, not hide from them behind false religious platitudes.

  • tez

    So you are severely mentally handicapped too? Or is it just extremely dishonest? Those are the two options you have if you think what he said was even close to spot on.

  • Sgt POG

    I wonder if you are truly sad for me or are patronizing me.

    Don’t say “we” live our lives for the same reason we go to the movies. Not only do I not entertain myself anymore with such trivialities (I only read nonfiction and watch documentaries) but it is only yourself that you can speak for. I don’t live my life for the reason you watch movies.

    Last, your motivational speech failed to convince me that life is worth living according to your standards. You may use anexclamation, but you should use an objective sstandard instead. You say that life is enjoyable therefore we should live it. That’s not good enough. That’s why atheism has a suicide problem. You said it yourself and you have no answer. I appreciate the call to address the problem but your attempt falls very short, which I am sure your are cognizant of, since your post requested a solution instead of proposing a solution to atheism’s little problem.

  • Red Capitalist

    What a dumb dumb dumb analogy! When you go to a movie you don’t fear the movie to be over because you can watch it again and again and again plus many others to come but when your life is over….guess what? Game is over dude (that is according to an atheist).

  • Sgt POG

    You are so silly. Your pep talks are silly. You’re like Stuart Smalley. I’m good enough, smart enough, and dog gone it, people like me (say it in the mirror now.) Please grant me the premise that life and physics are fundamentally absurd and then try to explain how the stupid junk flying around in space is interesting, or anything more interesting than the rest of absurdity. That is your assignment.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    Suicide is a problem for atheists, but it is also a problem for theists too. Life can be tough and there is no getting around that fact. But we have only one life and then we are done. We should live that life and enjoy it. Why do you both to read a book knowing that there is a last page? What is the point of reading a book at all? Obviously, you know the book will have a last page, but you read it non-the-less. Life is the same way.

    If you are having a tough time in life, then I suggest you find something that will bring you joy. Surround yourself with friends and family. Re-prioritize so that you can truly enjoy life. Because when it is over, it is over. You won’t be able to see how many people show up at your funeral because you will be dead.

    Are there any people you care about in your life? Think about how they would feel if you died? Remember that more people care about you than you probably realize. They just might not show it at the moment because they are sidetracked with their own problems and think that they have tomorrow to show their love. But if you kill yourself, they won’t have tomorrow and you will never get to hear their loving words. The time to live in now. Gather thy rosebuds while thy may.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    Wow, this is a switch. Usually Christians accuse atheists of being angry all the time and hating life and here you are accusing me of being too happy. I’ll take it. :-)

    The universe is massive and there are so many interesting things that we have yet to discover about the universe. It truly is amazing and the more we learn about it the less we know. That alone is interesting.

    In the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Q pointed out something similar to your point to Captain Picard. The universe is much more than classifying star systems and exploring nebula, it is exploring the unknown possibilities of existence.

    Not only are we made of star stuff, but we are smart enough, to be able to figure that out. Just think about what we will be able to figure out next. I want to live long enough to find out. I want to know even though we as a species may never know. That is the beauty of life.

  • Sgt POG

    OK man. Its been nice chatting with you. You seem young. Hope it turns out well for you.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    Yeah, I’m real young. A young 39. :-)

    But if you need to imagine that I am 16 to help you through the day, that’s cool. I have noticed that a lot of religious people need to make excused for why atheists don’t believe in God because that way they don’t have to actually think about it. They can just write the atheist off right from the start.

    Life is hard, but making up fairy tales isn’t the answer. Dealing with reality allows you to move past your issues and come out of it on the other side. I hope you decide to seek medical help for your depression. There is no shame in that. If you had a headache, you would take something for it. Depression is no different. Think about it.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    Yeah, but that isn’t the point of the analogy. When talking about the purpose of life, many religious believers often claim that atheists have no reason to live since we think that when you die we are dead. My point is that we still go to movies even though we know that the movie will end. The end isn’t the important part. The important part is the movie itself. My point is that for me the purpose of life is to live and enjoy life.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    Wow, another shining example of “Christian Love.” Between this comment and the other comment you left, you must have gone through just about every logical fallacy and failed Christian argument there it. You should really Google that stuff before posting it.

    This is a very serious blog post that deals with people who are in real pain and yet you have attempted to use it to push your hateful beliefs.

    For the record, the Big Bang is a FACT. It happened and we have seen it happen. We have literally gone back in time and watched it happening. There is an old saying that if you sit ten million monkeys in front of ten million computers, at some point they might produce an actual book. Evolution is much less chaotic than that. Please learn science. Understand how evolution works. Understand why we know what we know.

    Ted, this blog post isn’t really the place for this kind of discussion, but please feel free to check out some of my other blog posts and we can have a conversation about evolution and the Big Bang on a more appropriate post. This post is dealing with people who are genuinely suffering and who might really need help.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    You seem to know a lot about misery Ted. Again, this post is about people who are genuinely suffering and you are on here being hateful. I should remind you that some of the people reading this blog post might be suicidal and yet here you are trying to push them over the edge. Many Christians talk about compassion, but it is often just talk. You don’t seem to have any.