This makes me sad…
Just remember: Fifty. McNuggets.
It’s always a comforting thought!
I tried this one. I was ill…
Nah, you just need a stronger stomach lining.
The Keeners would probably feel better if they knew how the Browns raised their kids…Feel better about being criticized by the Browns, at least.
But take an Opus the Penguin approach to dealing with your small-minded neighbors and fellow Americans, you’ll get Opus the Penguin results.
Seriously, The Keeners’ wide-eyed candidness about their intellectual outlook may not be as sad as Mrs. Browns desperate one-note dogma, but seeing good people set themselves up for avoidable heartache over their own unhealthy lack of skepticism is still sad….
Thats like saying “You look white. Why self identify as latino?” In my experience the candidness is something to be encureged to them. Especially with regards to introspection. The honest communication does make for healthier relationships.
TLDR- the candidness may be a matter of principal and a statement of integrity.
TDDR: Act with integrity, no regrets.
I understand Dorothy’s healthy emotional maturity for her age now.
At the same time, it’s not a conversation of casual “and I like honey in my coffee instead of sugar!” type of topic, so intelligent people with common sense already know how to address this topic in a manner which draws the least criticism, debate, confrontation, commentary & condescension – especially from people they wouldn’t normally have any true respect for anyway, and nothing in common with, so there really isn’t a need to address it on the part of anyone just because someone else asks about their personal business – *because it’s the #1 topic on THEIR list of interests*.
If she could have lied to make Joyce’s mother happy, why not lie and say “I enjoy reading Anton LeVay, and I like his beard. It’s truly unfortunate that the man everyone thought was the true Satan on earth died of natural causes” (even if natural is by naturally putting a bullet in your head… you naturally die of bleeding and scrambled brains!).
btw… what does TLDR / TDDR mean??
TL;DR is “too long; didn’t read.” Not sure about TDDR.
Too dumb didn’t read? It’s all that comes to mind
To Dumb Didn’t Respond
Trying being Agnostic. You get hated by the Atheist and Religious just for admitting you don’t know for sure either way what is true.
This fact I found out several weeks ago on this very forum(?).
You also get pains explaining what it is.
While atheists obviously arnt as pushy – sometimes they think your “position” shouldn’t exist.
Really I blame the stupid word “Belief”.
Its too ambiguous.
Really we should all just state the probability we feel of a deity existing.
Atheists = anything under 50% down to zero.
Religious = high
Agnostics = Believe you cant even state a percentage likelyness due to too little information.
Agnosticism and atheism aren’t mutually exclusive–in fact they usually go hand in hand.
‘Do you believe in god?’ is a yes or no question. You can be unsure, of course, or you can recognize that there is no scientific way to disprove the existence of deities, and that’s fine, but it doesn’t answer the question. Either you believe god(s) exist, or you don’t. If you’re an agnostic, then you probably don’t, and that makes you an agnostic atheist. Agnostic theists exist too but they are pretty rare in my experience.
Richard Dawkins, famous religion-bashing atheist that he is, is also an agnostic.
The reason claiming to be agnostic but not atheist annoys some atheists is because it is often accompanied by ignorance about what it means to BE an atheist.
I hate that question because insisting it to be yes/no is much the same as that dumb creationist question of ‘were you there’. It is a ‘lawyer’ question meant to manipulate and control. It doesn’t empower learning, it doesn’t empower learning, all it exists for is to force a label onto someone. A better question would be one that fosters discussion and learning. Just like how ‘Were you there’ would be better asked as ‘How do you Know’.
To be blunt my answer to ‘Do you believe there is a god’ is ‘I don’t know’ and there is nothing wrong with not knowing something. The only people who fear saying that they don’t know something are those afraid of learning or for some reason don’t want to admit that they may not know the answer. Now if I were answering ‘I can’t know’ one might be able to be derisive since that might be equivalent to throwing up your hands and giving up on finding an answer. However, that can also be a believe. A strong belief that they can’t know what to belief.
An answer can sometimes be hard to find, doubly so if it isn’t your number one priority to solve. Not having yet found an answer is no shame, not as long as you don’t give up.
The problem with such a question is that it assumes the answer is an open and shut case; that it isn’t something that could take a lifetime of searching to answer. It presumes that anyone who hasn’t yet found an answer are too lazy to try or are guilty of some other evasion and that if they just take 1 second to ‘think’ that they can answer yes or no.
The point is you aren’t being asked if you know. There are very few atheists out there who will claim that they know there is no god. You are asked if you believe. And most self-identified agnostics acknowledge that they do not believe, but can’t be certain. Which is an atheistic approach to the situation.
Except that the question doesn’t have to have a negative or affirmative answer. Ask me how I know the colour of the invisible pink unicorn and I’ll direct you to Hasbro’s toy line. Ask me if I believe in a higher power and I’ll tell you, “Not the one I talk to all the time,” or, “Assuming it exists, then sure.”
I am not even sure where you are coming from. I was not discussing the question ‘Does God Exist?’ which is where it appears you are coming from.
I was stating that the question “‘Do you believe in god?’” doesn’t have to be yes/no. It is entirely possibly that person has thought it over and still don’t know where they stand and are still looking for ‘their’ answer. Perhaps that is where you misunderstood me since I worded it as ‘the answer’ since I didn’t want to type out ‘the answer to the question of Do you believe in god’ every time. Perhaps wording it their answer works better.
I disagree. At any given time, you either have a belief, or you don’t. If you don’t know whether you have a belief, then you don’t have one yet. “I don’t know where I stand” means “no”.
Dawkins likes to lie about his belief. If God is a Delusion, then he Believes that God does not exist. If Blasphemy is a victimless crime, then Dawkins Believes God does not exist. Dawkins claims he believes both these statements are true. Thus he BELIEVES there is no God making he a hard-core Atheist.
It’s only rational to act as though something unlikely and unproven is untrue. When he says that blasphemy is a victimless crime, he means that it almost certainly is unless the relevant gods actually exist, however there isn’t any reason to believe that they do. However, that’s quite a mouthful to say every time, so he uses the far more reasonable shorthand of just saying what he does.
You’ve gone about your business your whole life as though there is no hairy-prarie hidebehind hiding behind you, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve had an active belief that hairy-prarie hidebehinds do not exist.
So you see, it’s entirely possible to honestly act as though something does not exist for perfectly rational reasons without having an active belief that that thing does not exist.
He believes “THAT” god (the one(s) created by humanity to explain the world) is a delusion. He says, though, that if any deity came down here tomorrow and gave evidence of godliness, he’d be perfectly happy to change positions.
Agreed about belief. I’m about halfway through Pascal Boyer’s Religion Explained, and the problem is even worse for the term religion. In informal social usage we define the term vaguely by pointing at a small set of things that everyone believes are religions, like Christianity or Islam, but when you try to come up with a formal explanation of what makes something a religion, it gets a lot harder.
You either believe something or you don’t believe it. You can’t “50% believe something”. You may believe that there is a 50/50 chance something is true, but you still either believe that it’s true or you don’t believe it’s true. If you can’t/won’t/don’t want to make a decision either way, then you don’t believe, in which case you’re an atheist.
Atheism simply means you don’t believe the claim that a god/goddess/gods exist. It does not only mean that you claim gods do not exist.
Agnosticism, on the other hand, means you don’t know if a gods exist and/or you believe that knowing if gods exist is not possible.
You see, theism/atheism is a statement about belief, while gnosticism/agnosticism is a statement about knowledge. They’re two separate categories. This means that you can be both an agnostic and a theist or an agnostic and an atheist; the terms are not mutually exclusive in either case.
So, if your answer to the question, “Do you believe a god/goddess/gods exist?” is anything other than “yes”, then you’re an atheist too.
I’m an agnostic atheist myself.
And here comes the silliness. No. I’m an agnostic agnostic. Sometimes I think there might be a god, sometimes I think there probably isn’t. I vacillate. I’m sorry that my willingness to accept uncertainty about something that doesn’t ultimately affect my life one way or the other is so frustrating for some atheists, but there you go.
The point is, if you’re not sure there’s a god. Then you’re an atheist. Theists *are sure* that there’s a god.
All you’re doing is refusing to acknowledge the actual definitions of words that other people use. Your desire to self-identify as agnostic does not trump the actual definitions of the word ‘atheist’ or ‘theist’.
Actually, my “desire to self-identify” absolutely does trump the dictionary definitions of atheism and theism, for which you should be grateful, since most dictionaries don’t use your preferred definition either.
Merriam-Webster, with their “b” definition that says atheism means the doctrine that there is no deity, not merely an absence of belief that there is.
Oxford English Dictionary, which updated their definitions to include deism as a separate thing from theism.
To clarify my point: language is in flux. Dictionary definitions are especially in flux and have never, ever, ever been considered definitive sources for complicated subjects. Do not try to say “The dictionary defines racism as…” or “The dictionary defines Communism as…” or “The dictionary defines atheism as…” It’s not useful. It’s a nonstarter for complex, divisive, controversial topics. And it’s rude.
Your argument is also severely dependent on time period. Even if you’re willing to accept the above-linked definitions of atheism, would you have been willing to accept older definitions that included the commonly-held beliefs of the people at the time that atheists are devil-worshipers or otherwise morally-bankrupt? Would your desire to self-identify as not a devil-worshiper have also failed to trump what some old white Christian guys thought atheism meant?
Let’s try not to go too enthusiastically to bat for a thing that was until very recently calling homosexuality a moral perversion, hysteria a female disorder caused by the uterus, and brown people less evolved than whites, okay? 😉
And their ‘a’ definition is “a disbelief in the existence of deity,” like I said.
Yeah, maybe you should respond to the rest of what I said, or acknowledge that the word has two different meanings, which makes people who say atheism means “believing god doesn’t exist” still aren’t wrong.
I self-identify as chicken parm. By which I mean that I don’t know if there is a god.
Language is in flux, dictionaries are descriptive and not prescriptive, and so on, but there comes a point where insisting on using a word to mean one thing when it is commonly accepted to mean another, and it’s just unhelpful. Language should be useful. Very few atheists claim that god doesn’t exist with any sort of certainty. They are simply atheist. (“A-” not, “-theist” believer in a god.) If you do not actively believe in a god, then you are atheist.
(And yes, I acknowledge that my first line was an obvious strawman and an exaggeration and all that. It was rhetorical.)
Nope, still an agnostic because sometimes I do have a belief in something like a god and sometimes I don’t. Also your comparison would be you know less pointless and insulting if chicken Parmesan was an accepted and commonly used term for atheist, the way that “believes god does not exist” is in fact an accepted and commonly used definition, even though it doesn’t describe all atheists.
Calling me an atheist is just inaccurate and unhelpful.
And I’m done with this conversation, my original point thoroughly and exhaustingly proven true.
Being theistic doesn’t mean being sure about anything. Do I think there’s a god, or gods, or goddesses? Yes. Am I sure they exist? Not at all. Am I an atheist? Not at all. Theism and atheism are about belief, which has nothing to do with surety.
Atheism isn’t about belief. It’s about LACK of belief. I’m an atheist because I don’t believe in ANYTHING. This is the same as people who say atheism is a religion. A religion is a set of beliefs, and I believe in nothing, therefore it’s not a religion.
Also, for agnostics, or at least the ones I’ve met, I find a more correct term for what they are would be “Apathetic”. Which I do not mean as an insult, so please don’t be insulted. They don’t care if there is a deity or not. It’s a perfectly legitimate position, that deserves it’s own definition. It is separate from being an atheist or a theist in much the same way that being asexual is separate from being homosexual or heterosexual.
Of the people I have met, Atheists are self proclaimed god deniers. They profess it would be stupid, based on quantifiable data to suppose the existence of God or any god.
The agnostics I know do cover a small range. Some believe in God, but not religion in any form. Some want to believe in God but feel they can’t. And other believe there could be a God, there could be many gods, there could have been gods who only exist due to belief (as in Terry Pratchett’s “Small Gods”) but feel we can never know for sure.
And there are others who believe religion doesn’t matter one way or the other. It helps some people get through their lives and other use it as an excuse to hate on others who aren’t of whatever group they think their holy book makes them a part of.
Apathetic agnostic is actually the correct term for the people who take the position that you described. I am an Apathetic Agnostic myself, and described my thoughts on the matter at lenght some comments below.
There are such things as agnostic atheists and agnostic theists, however.
If you vacillate, then you’re vacillating between being an atheist and being a theist, but you are never neither.
You see, there is the set of people who are the theists, and then there is everyone else, who are the atheists. “Atheism” includes everyone who isn’t in the set of “theists”.
You will be agnostic in either case, but you are still either agnostic theist or agnostic atheist at any given moment.
Heck, there’s a split brain patient who is atheist on one half of his brain and theist on the other half, and even he isn’t an “agnostic agnostic”. 😛 (Amusing side note: I asked some theists if this guy goes to Heaven, Hell, or both and not one of them could answer.)
I take it you mean you asked some flavor of Protestants.
For Catholics, the Pope has said that if they are a good person, they go to heaven, regardless of belief. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_infallibility
For non-Christians, some religions do not have a heaven or hell (e.g. Hinduism), some believe that there is only heaven (or equivalent), some require only being a good person to get into the good afterlife, some require being part of their specific religion to get into the good one.
Long story short, if you can supply the information “Is this person a good person?” and “What religion do they belong to?” there are plenty of theists out there who can give a clear and unequivocal answer where they’re going in the afterlife.
I don’t think you actually read the Papal Infallibility article.
Well, the pope DID say that good people go to heaven, regardless of belief. It has led to some interesting and funny results.
I misread that as Papal Inflatability
Infallibility is nonsense regardless.
And then the Pope’s handlers “clarified” that those evil heathens will still burn for eternity. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/catholic-church-confirms-atheists-still-go-to-hell-after-pope-francis-suggests-they-might-go-to-heaven-8634479.html
But… I’M a heathen!!!
ALL HAIL BANJO!
Orrrrr you could let me use the terminology that I feel most accurately describes my religious beliefs, I’ll let you use yours, and we’ll both go on to live happy productive lives. Again, sorry that it annoys atheists, but no, you don’t get to control my labels. See my (currently pending moderation) reply) to Darwin2500.
The problem is that your label automatically casts aspersions on other people labels. When you say ‘I’m not an atheist because I don’t believe you can PROVE there’s no God’, then you are obviously implying that all atheists DO believe this, even though the majority do not. This is why they get mad – your nonstandard labeling not only makes a strong and incorrect implication about their beliefs, it also muddies the waters of the larger discussion of these topics.
The distinction that ‘atheist/theist’ refers to active beliefs or lack of belief, and ‘agnostic/gnostic’ refers to beliefs about the possibility of certain knowledge, is a commonly used piece of terminology which is agreed upon by both prominent thinkers/writers in this area, and large communities of those who discuss and care about these issues. It’s not about dictionary definitions, it’s about preserving the integrity of precise definitions in a very difficult and fluid ongoing dialogue. When you come in and loudly insist on using different definitions than everyone else, and then demand respect for your definitions, you mess up everyone else’s conversations, and naturally draw ire.
Folks not wanting to be called “Atheist” despite not believing in a god sound too much to me like folks not wanting to be called “Feminist” despite believing in equal rights. Even though they technically fall within the definition, they heard Bad Things About Them On Cable News, so they avoid the label. To me, it feels kind of cowardly. It’s sort of a Fuck You to those who put their necks out.
Gee, thanks, Mr. Willis.
Unfortunately, it’s not that in my case, so none of this applies. I am genuinely uncertain, and frankly being told I’m a coward for not wanting to pretend otherwise does not make me want to join your club house.
If you’re genuinely uncertain or apathetic, I’m pretty sure that makes you agnostic by the textbook definition. It’s those who do not believe in a god (as I specifically said) but attempt to maneuver their way out of being called Atheist that bug me. If sometimes you think God might exist, then I was not describing you.
@Darwin2500: Except that I’m not doing any of that.
I think it’s unfortunate and obnoxious that atheists get pulled into the same false dichotomy that scientists do — where religious people try to pretend that an absence of religious faith is just another kind of faith, that “Darwinists” and “evolutionists” are a thing — but it has nothing to do with my personal use of the word agnostic, which I feel is just a better descriptor of my complete lack of commitment either way.
It certainly does seem to get across my beliefs to atheists very well, since they always respond with, “But how can you NOT KNOW whether you have a belief in a deity or not? All you need to do is say no and you’re an atheist! You don’t need to be sure, you just need that lack of faith.”
When they tell me that, I have to say: no. I’m actually not even that sure. Sometimes I do have belief, sometimes I don’t, and most of all I don’t really care.
This, to me, makes it clear that I am not actually an atheist even by the broadest definition of agnostic atheist.
But neither am I sticking my nose into scholarly discussions of atheism to tell them they’re wrong about how they use the word atheist, or writing papers on the subject or arguing with anyone about their use of language. All I am doing is saying that agnostic better describes me.
@David: Oh, and despite how much my hackles have been gotten up by this entire discussion, I also don’t hate atheists or think they suck, the way that people who prefer “humanist” hate feminists and think they suck. I think atheism is a perfectly valid position and I believe strongly in the separation of Church and State and I think the way atheists get treated is really scummy. I’ll hold up all the signs you want and “stick my neck out” as much as you want me to. I just genuinely find the word atheist to be a poor descriptor of me.
There is NOTHING wrong with it.
@Li: If it makes it feel better, I agree with you.
@Everyone else: I’m not sure if the Divine exists, but I strongly hope it does. (The rational part of me just hasn’t seen much evidence for it. Kind of like how I hope that I will live a long and happy life despite medical evidence to the contrary.) Does that make me an atheist? You can call me that if you want, but I still don’t think of myself as such.
@Willis: Do you honestly think I am a coward because of the above?
I’m not “controlling your labels”, I’m pointing out what the labels mean and explaining how and when they apply.
Regarding the dictionary definitions, as Darwin2500 pointed out, definition 2a from Merriam-Webster is the definition most people use, and 2b is actually just a sub-category of 2a. And as for deism being a third category in some dictionaries, I almost mentioned that some define it that way, but I was worried it would just muddy the waters since it’s not as widespread a definition.
In any case, you can refuse to call yourself a hominid, for example, all you want, but if you’re actually a hominid then you aren’t “controlling your label”, you’re just wrong (as has already Toad tried to point out to you). If you want to communicate with other people clearly, then you should try to use the common definitions of words for the context that you’re using them. The point of dictionaries is to help us do that.
Now, I’m not saying you have to call yourself a part-time atheist or anything, I’m just pointing out that that’s what you describe yourself to be, regardless of claims to the contrary. Calling yourself an agnostic works just fine, I don’t have a problem with that. Just don’t deny sometimes being an atheist while also stating that sometimes you don’t believe gods exist, as that’s self-contradictory, confusing, and suggests you don’t understand what the word “atheist” means.
Nnnnnnope. I’ve actually never had a problem communicating what I mean by “agnostic” to anyone. Even atheists who get their panties in a bunch over it still know what I mean.
In my experience, calling myself an atheist implies a degree of certainty to most people.
This is probably because I spend most of my time in the layperson community, not the atheist community, which — like any group — has its own much more technical understanding of its relevant terms.
I vacillate between atheist and theist, but the agnostic part remains consistent and most of all I am, yes, unconcerned by it. An “apathetic agnostic”; I liked that suggestion. Agnostic is shorthand, since “I’m an agnostic atheist/theist” is unwieldy, as well as being self-contradictory and confusing.
And, uh, you must realize that you sound like someone insisting that bisexual people don’t exist, right? “You’re sometimes straight, sometimes gay, but never anything else! To pretend you’re not just sometimes straight makes it sound like you don’t understand what straight means!”
Anyway, I’ve said my piece. I’ve explained this over and over again and I’m pretty blue in the face now but it doesn’t seem to be doing me any good. So you may take your concern-trolling elsewhere.
(If you’re unfamiliar with the term, concern-trolling is what you do when you pretend that you have no problem with my choices but are deeply concerned about how an imaginary third-party might react to them, and you just want to spare me the embarrassment of future encounters.)
I’ve already agreed that “agnostic” is a perfectly acceptable label for you. My only bone of contention is that you rejected the label “atheist” during the times when you don’t believe in gods. You are having a problem communicating when you do that.
And no, I don’t sound like someone refusing to admit that bisexuals exist. Bisexuals exist because you can simultaneously be attracted to both/all genders. On the other hand you cannot simultaneously believe A and NOT A, i.e. having a belief gods exist and not having a belief that gods exist. So this is a false analogy.
If anything, I sound like a guy pointing out that, at any particular moment, you can only be in the group that accepts A or the group that does not. You refusing to put yourself in either category, even temporarily, wouldn’t make any sense.
Now that you admit you vacillate between atheist and theist while still being an agnostic, meaning that you cannot be purely an agnostic without also being either an atheist or theist as was earlier implied, you’ve agreed to the only point that I was trying to make about how the terms are defined.
As such I was not “concern-trolling”, I was merely annoyed at the incorrect usage of the terms.
Thanks for the insult though, they tend help sway people towards my side of the argument. 😉
1) Still not. Sometimes I am definitely just square in the middle and it always averages out to that. 8D
2) Good to know that being called out on concern-trolling is “an insult” that somehow gets other people to want to be atheists, because all this hilarious bullying and condescension has so far only made me want to pretend I Always Have A Belief to get further away from you.
How can you be “square in the middle” of a A or Not A position?
And yes, calling anyone a troll, especially when it involves incorrectly telling other people what is going on in the mind of a stranger, is, in fact, an insult. I wasn’t “concern-trolling” at all, I was merely clarifying some oft-misunderstood definitions, not even directed at you originally mind you, which somehow upset you, and then you laid into me.
And I wasn’t suggesting that you insulting me was going to make people want to be an atheist. I’m just pointing out that generally the side that acts insultingly tends to appear to be the losing side to people reading the discussion.
Calling what I did “bullying” is rather hilarious indeed. 😀
I don’t vacillate. I don’t care. Whether or not God exists has no impact on my life and how I live it, other than have to explain to the believer or the deniers why I’m not on either team.
I do good things because the only thing I am sure of is that here and now what I do and how I treat people can make this world a better or worse place. Even if it is in some small way.
I don’t care about what happens after. This is all I can be sure of.
In other words you don’t have a belief that gods do or do not exist, correct? If so, you’re not only an apatheist, you’re also an atheist. Regardless of why you don’t have a belief that gods exist, simply not having that belief makes you an atheist.
I think that a god/supernatural being/etc MAY exist, because while it is impossible to prove that it does not exist nor never existed, because it is impossible to produce a negative proof of a generic fact, no one has ever proven that it existed through verifiable means. Regardless, it will not affect my life, so I dont care.
Im agnostic, but neither theist nor atheist, since I think that the mere discussion about the existance of a being is irrelevant in itself.
That’s sort of silly, since most religions have some form of eternal afterlife, and your actions now could impact your future for infinite years. Unless you feel that you can know for sure that there’s no afterlife, but not that there’s no God.
Not really. Society itself has its own rules and morals and incentives you to be a good person. Not killing, not stealing etc.
If you are a good person, what you should, regardless of fear of reprisal, you wont be punished in the afterlife unless god is a navel—gazing asshole that is bothered more about himself than with goodness. And if he IS an asshole, that is not a god that I would praise.
Except many/most images of God *do* fit that description, insomuch as their requirements for a good afterlife don’t accidentally happen to match your personal definition of ‘a good life’.
I doubt that you’re literally saying you would choose to spend eternity burning in fire rather than suck up to an omnipotent being, so the only other way I can interpret your nonchalance is to simply assume that you’re pretty sure you *won’t* be burning for eternity, meaning you’re pretty much an atheist.
“I doubt that you’re literally saying you would choose to spend eternity burning in fire rather than suck up to an omnipotent being”
That is, in fact, exactly what I was saying. The way I see it, actions, results and intent beat procedures. If someone, is willing to do good regardless of incentive to do so, only because he believes it to be the rigt thing to do, he is at the very least as good of a person as someone that only do so because, the law says so, or becase it is written in a holy book.
If god doens’t agree with this, and actively punishes good people of another culture for not followng his rituals the same way he would punish a murderous rapist, then he is not concerned with people trying to do the good thing, he is concerned with people obeying him or not, therefore being a tyrant.
Ya, that’s kind of a ridiculous position to take, with this hipothetical god being omnipotent and whatnot, but that’s me.
You see, “being a good person” is a cultural thing. Being a good person a thousand years ago in some weird, isolate tribe in the polinesia isn’t the same thing as being a good person now, and is utterly impossible to discert which way to “be a good person” is the correct one.
Forcing someone to guess, not only is less important than the fact that the person in question is actually trying to be good, but is utter madness, because, a) no person can know for sure the correct way without direct divine intervention, and b) many, MANY people will never know that there are other ways, due to socio-economic reasons, and, in the past, due to technologial reasons. If The Correct Way was some random way prophetized by a guy in Asia, for example, every single native american ever born before the 16th century will be in some hell by default, due to having being born in the wrong place. That is aggravated by the fact that everyone is naturally inclined to choose the belief of their parents/culture/society.
No sane god would make you spin a loaded dice to decide if you go to hell for eternity.
Sort of. Paul says in Romans 1:18-20 that nobody has an excuse to not believe in God, because He is evident in Creation, just from looking around. So it’s really the fault of those pre-Columbian Native Americans for not paying attention enough!
This is very reasonable.
I agree with everything except that, as a moral objectivist, I do think that being a good person a thousand years ago = being a good person today. Just because people’s definitions of good change doesn’t mean that the definition of good changes. In other words, slavery was still shitty and awful even though at one point it was popularly considered to be fine and dandy.
Just because we can’t possibly know for sure what goodness is doesn’t mean there isn’t a right and a wrong answer.
But yeah, if there’s a force out there that created us and expects us to be good people, that force is not going to be the kind of force behind any of the religions I’m familiar with, with their arbitrary, human-corrupted checklists of good and bad behavior.
I have to disagree. Some ways were obviously wrong and isn’t all “cultural”. Things change primarily because of knowledge. People back then didn’t understand the world enough, although humanity has managed not to render itself extinct even at that.
To say that a value exists regardless of whether or not everyone thinks so, is rather nonsensical…but that doesn’t mean everything is relative or arbitrary. We can say with confidence that witch hunts are wrong…belief to the country exists because of ignorance and/or malicious exploitation of superstitious people.
Not everything is completely arbitrary, but a LOT of small things on your daily life are. I agree that some things like slavery, witch hunting, treating women as cattle, and flaying anone that doesn’t share your beliefs aren’t cool. As a rule of thumb, anything that messes with a person free will, or stripes them of their basic human rights without their consent isn’t cool. A person should have the right to decide his future. The rest is up in the air.
I feel that I don’t have the right to put my worldview on an altar, say that my morals are the best, and judge everyone elses based off my standards. That was exactly the sort or thinking that led to holy wars in the past. I am certain that the inquisitors believed that they knew what was right and what was wrong, much in the same way that we think that we know now. Yeah, we improved quite a lot due to knowledge, but whos to say that we can’t improve much more?
Plus, what about the “small” things? The stuff that doesn’t involve killing innocents? Is it wrong to have mutiple wifes? Catholics seems to think so, but it is pretty common with the muslins. It is an abomination to wear wool and linen together? If a Jeovah witness refuses to get a blood transfusion and dies, are we to judge his choice based off our culture? Will we go to hell if we get a coronary artery bypass surgery in which was used an artery from a pig?
All that stuff may grant you ticket to hell if you choose wrong. Who is in the right and who is in the wrong of the matter? It is possible to know?
Ya, the bible has some nasty stuff, specially in Deuteronomy. I wouldn’t let my children touch that book with a 10 foot pole without supervision.
People back then didn’t understand the world enough, although humanity has managed not to render itself extinct even at that.
Fallacy: Implies that people today understand the world, and that in another hundred years they won’t be laughing at our stupidity.
Also implies that societal progress is some kind of linear thing, and we know for a fact that it is not; each decade is generally a reaction to the decade before it, but we’re very shortsighted and like to pretend that “the 50s were more conservative than the 60s, which were more conservative than the 70s, which were more conservative than the 80s…” and it’s bullshit. History is muuuch more a case of “three steps forward, four steps back, five steps forward”, moving back and forth in drips and drabs, and we are in a much more conservative place right now than we were in the 90s, which itself was more conservative than the 70s.
(This contribution brought to you by: my college philosophy classes.)
@l.care.0: I’m willing to wager 5,000 quatloos that you have never actually studied Deuteronomy. You may prove you have by typing the second paragraph of the Shma.
Overwise, I expect those quatloos. :p
I read the thing that is in the bible. There is more to it? If you can actually prove that it isn’t just that shitload of insanity that it appears to be, I’ll be glad.
@l.care.0: The Sh’ma has three paragraphs, two taken from Deuteronomy and one from Numbers. If you’d actually read Deutreronomy you’d know what I was talking about. You clearly are a troll, you’ve never read Deuteronomy, and you owe me some money. Pay up: 5,000 quatloos.
Here you go.
But now, tell me what exactly is this sh’ma. I’m serious here, I don’t ave the faintes idea.
erm.. Even I can’t understand what I wrote. I should stop posting stuff whe I dont have time to verify if I made any sense.
I 50% believe in the consumption of spicy foods. It’s delicious on the intake, but the purge from the system makes me question my previous decisions.
Well, shit. I’m actually pretty religious, but if you asked me for the probability of God actually existing in factual scientific terms, I think %1 is about the highest I could go (and it’s stretching the actual statistics by a lot).
Try being an apathetic agnostic. Not only you dont know the answer, but you actually belive it doesnt make any difference whatsoever in your daily life.
Now, everybody thinks that you are an ass.
This sounds like an American problem. In Britain that describes most people these days.
I’m brazilian, actually.
You know, the country with the highest number of native catholics in the world? :/
I’m atheist/agnostic (I think there is absolutely no evidence for, and some [logical] evidence against, any of the gods of the Monotheistic religions, but that doesn’t mean there is no god, and other religions I just don’t know enough about) – but I tend to tell very religious people back home (Ireland) that I’m a Quaker. You can get away with anything in Ireland as a Quaker…
That sounds like a…South American problem?
My best friend’s answer to any question related to religion is generally “I don’t care.” Thankfully it hasn’t actually caused him any problems.
Atheists seem a bit more open to Agnostics then Theists are that’s for sure. course nether side really likes us because we can’t make up our minded.
Yeah I’m Agnostic.
You only get hated by atheists for misrepresenting their position (as you just did here), since most Atheists agree that you can’t *know* whether there’s a God, they simply don’t *actively believe* that there is.
Yeah – in my experience there are two kinds of “agnostics” (as in, people who insist that they are agnostic and not atheist):
1) ones who are “agnostic theists”. As in, “I believe in god, but first and foremost I want to make it clear I am a fallible human and might be wrong.” I have never met one of these people, but keep reading that they exist.
2) Ones who think that “atheist” means “believes religiously that there’s no god”. These people are annoying, because I’m of the (large) atheist camp that thinks it means “doesn’t believe in any god”. This is a statement along the lines of “doesn’t believe that any of the Muppets are actually independent sentient beings” – it doesn’t require or imply any kind of insecure overblown belief system. It’s just a statement of belief, or in this case, the lack thereof. Being told that I have some kind of wild-eyed faith-based atheistic creed is annoying.
They also seem to tend to believe that the concept of uncertainty due to insufficient available information is some new and spectacular breakthrough, which is sort of a silly stance because duh. But that’s neither here nor there.
I am an atheist. I am also, by agnostic’s definition, an agnostic about most possible deities, though I harbor a certain amount of certainty that any theorized deity that is stated to have flooded the planet, murdered pharaohs via aquatic tectonics, etc, did not exist, in the same way that I can’t disprove an invisible intangible elephant but if somebody claims that an invisible intangible elephant just destroyed my living room, I feel justified in thinking they’re nuts.
So yeah. I’m your average atheist. I don’t know why the agnostics bother carefully distinguishing themselves from me, aside from the theistic ones I guess, but whatever.
The definition generally used in religious studies for an atheist is a person who believes there is no such thing as a god.
A theist is a person who believes a god exists.
An agnostic is a person who says we can’t know whether a god exists or not, or who isn’t sure if a god exists.
Of these three, only theists have any sort of religion.
If you say you don’t know, then you’re an agnostic. Nothing wrong with that. If you disbelieve that any god exists, you’re an atheist. If you believe in at least one god, you’re a theist.
Dorothy never says there may or may not be a god. If she did, she’d be agnostic.
The interesting (and flamewar-starting) thing about this discussion is that there are two entirely different and orthogonal questions being asked here:
1) Do you believe in any god or gods?
2) What level of certainty do you have/think is possible about whether there are/could be any gods?
To make understanding the difference easier, let’s consider a different question: do I believe that my car has been stolen in the hour or so since I last looked? (And, do I think it’s knowable?)
1) No, I don’t believe it’s been stolen since I last looked. If I did, I wouldn’t be wasting time posting on this forum right now.
2) Given my current level of knowledge, whether my car has been stolen is not knowable. I’m inside and my blinds are shut, so I don’t know. It’s certainly *possible* that it’s been stolen (though I don’t believe it to be the case), but I can’t know for sure one way or the other unless I looked.
So I’m an amycartheftiest. And, if you want to get pedantic, and agnostic regarding the possibility as well. But if somebody asked me, “Do you think your car’s been stolen?”, I wouldn’t answer, “Until I look out the window, it’s UNKNOWABLE!”, so I don’t bother with the agnostic qualifier, particularly when asked if I believe or not, since it doesn’t answer the question asked.
Taking this back to the god question, I, like all atheists (other than the insane) allow for the theoretical possibility of a superpowered possibly outside-context entity that could, if one was waxing poetic or it was megalomaniacal, be called or might call itself a god. I don’t believe in any such entity, and the moment some peon human imagines up a specific one I *REALLY* don’t believe that they managed to blindly guess right, but I also freely concede that there isn’t sufficient evidence to disprove some types of gods. This is only do to lack of data; the question could easily become knowable if such an entity started existing and actually did something in the world; it wouldn’t be *that* hard to find it and examine it then. But until then it’s unknowable*. Big-whoopdee dee. I still don’t believe in anybody’s personal imaginary friend.
* until, as previously mentioned, the entity is defined as having had interactions with the world before. Particularly large geographic interactions, or alternatively ones that supposedly (but didn’t) happen within a period where records and artifacts can speak with sufficient certainty on the matter. I’m looking at you, biblical god, but honestly anything that comes with a creation myth attached can be safely dismissed.
Allow me to give you type 3: agnostics who are deeply tired of being told that no, really, they’re atheists, because atheists know better than you what word most accurately describes your religious beliefs.
I don’t care what atheists call themselves. I certainly don’t presume to tell them that they have a belief in the nonexistence of god. But I have been told plenty of times, in these very comments, that I’m actually an atheist, in the tone of someone correcting a very stupid child, and no offense but y’all can go screw yourselves.
So far in my experience I’ve found that the biggest difference between atheists and agnostics is that some atheists are dicks about it.
Li, I propose an alliance between your group, agnostics pissed off at atheists who presume to tell them they must be atheists, and my group, Jews who are tired of explaining the definition of ethnoreligious community to hipster douchebags! Let’s join forces and smack some sense into the know-it-alls and hipsters, with great, big dictionaries!
Hahaha. Right on, my [presumed] brother.
Do you believe in any god? It’s a yes/no question.
It’s worth noting that the question is not “Is/are there any god or gods?” There *is* a difference; the latter is a question about the objective universe and uncertainty is justifiable based on insufficient information about said universe; the former is a question about your own thoughts, opinions, and beliefs, and ignorance is only justified by a lack of time introspectively pondering the subject, or maybe an uncertainty about the definition of the terms used. (Which would be a legitimate concern; “god” is very very poorly defined, since no gods can be found for us to use as the objective basis for the definition. Is that your problem?)
Regardless, the former question cleanly divides the populace into theists and atheists. WHY one believes or not is, of course, a separate question.
Note that I did not call you an atheist. Of course, it’s not a question of what I call you; it’s a question of which categories or labels happen to apply to you. Being an atheist certainly does not disqualify one from being an agnostic as well. I mean, I’m agnostic about many god-definitions myself, if one wants to get technical. Despite my complete and total lack of belief in any of them.
Do you believe in any god? It’s a yes/no question.
Sometimes. <–not yes or no
It’s worth noting that the question is not “Is/are there any god or gods?” There *is* a difference; the latter is a question about the objective universe and uncertainty is justifiable based on insufficient information about said universe; the former is a question about your own thoughts, opinions, and beliefs, and ignorance is only justified by a lack of time introspectively pondering the subject, or maybe an uncertainty about the definition of the terms used. (Which would be a legitimate concern; “god” is very very poorly defined, since no gods can be found for us to use as the objective basis for the definition. Is that your problem?)
I don’t have any uncertainty about the terms used. Nor do I have a “problem”.
“Agnostic” is a perfectly good term which I feel applies to me. The ones with the problem, in my experience, are the atheists who don’t want me to be able to use that term.
For the record: I prefer the term force to the term god. The religion I most closely associate with my vague fuzzy religious feelings is a fictional religion in Babylon 5, the religion of the Minbari, who believe that we are all the consciousness of the universe, made manifest; “the universe trying to figure itself out.” It’s a reincarnation model, though without the common idea that different forms of life are superior or inferior. In this religion, you aren’t born rich as a reward for your dutiful service in a past life, for example; it’s more random-chance than that, but each life is an attempt to learn something.
This idea makes sense to me. But I’m not particularly attached to being right. What I’m attached to is everyone being allowed to live their lives in the way they choose, provided their choices don’t cause harm to other people. (Unitarianism, yo.)
Regardless, the former question cleanly divides the populace into theists and atheists. WHY one believes or not is, of course, a separate question.
Buuuut it doesn’t, and for my purposes the “why” is actually irrelevant.
Note that I did not call you an atheist.
Right, you just told me I must be either an atheist or a theist.
Generally, though, atheists do tell agnostics they’re atheists, because they choose to define atheist as “a lack of belief” and argue that since agnostics are unsure, that really means they lack the belief, so they’re really atheists.
Of course, it’s not a question of what I call you; it’s a question of which categories or labels happen to apply to you. Being an atheist certainly does not disqualify one from being an agnostic as well. I mean, I’m agnostic about many god-definitions myself, if one wants to get technical. Despite my complete and total lack of belief in any of them.
I learned this kind of distinction in terms of “strong” or “weak” agnosticism, rather than agnostic-atheism vs. agnostic-theism. Similar concept.
I prefer my terms, because I feel that they more accurately express my beliefs.
Nope, misremembering terms. Generally strong and weak agnosticism refer to the difference between “We don’t know” and “We can’t know” (with the latter being strong). I lean towards the latter. I think that, if there’s a creative force, it’s probably so different from humanity that we can’t really hope to fully understand it, and that “made in [His] image” is a very flattering notion, which (coupled with the evidence of evolution) makes me mistrust it.
I don’t personally believe in an afterlife, but if I’m wrong and there is one, I’ll accept the consequences of my behavior in this life. I think I’ve been a good person, and if certain things condemn me to hell (like being a lesbian), then that’s where I’ll go, and I’ll fight against God, because this “God” thing seems pretty terrible.
You could further say that I think EITHER the creator will be a warm loving force who will forgive me for not worshiping it, OR the creator will be an insecure judgmental asshat, and then I’ll be glad I didn’t waste my time on Earth trying.
And if there’s nothing… then I also won’t have wasted any time, except for the time I spent wondering and engaging in conversations like this. :|a
Again, ultimately I think it doesn’t really matter, so I’m just really not in a hurry to jump into either box.
(Thank you, Leor613, for your spirited defense. I hope that my irreverence above doesn’t make you regret that.)
Believe me, I’ve seen some pretty irreverent arguments in my life, and yours doesn’t even rate the top 500. 😀
Your questions are pretty straightforward ones: why would a Creator make a vast cosmos, but then choose to associate with only one life form? What proof is there for an afterlife? Does the Creator really care about what I’m doing with my life? These are fundamental questions about existence that Jewish philosophers like Maimonedes, Rabbi Judah HaLevi, the BeShT, Rabbi Nachman of Beslov, and countless others wrote about. If you don’t ask questions, how can you learn anything?
That’s one of the reasons I really don’t have a problem with agnosticism, since it is founded in honesty: you have the honesty to say “I don’t know the answer”.
My “certainty” comes from a few sources: Jewish tradition is one of them, but Jewish history itself is another. IMO, the best argument for the existence of G-d is that the Jewish people went through nineteen millenia of torment at the hands of the rest of humanity, and then came home, worked hard, made a desert flourish and started a center of high-tech businesses and launched a renaissance of Torah learning. That’s my argument, and I acknowledge that it won’t fly for most people.
So, Li, keep asking questions. That’s what sets you apart, from my POV, from an atheist: an atheist claims to know the answer, end of story. You want to ask questions. As for me, I have a lot more to learn. For an observant Jew life is all about learning, one way or another. If you don’t learn the lessons the easy way, you’ll learn the lessons the hard way, so why not ask the questions, seek wisdom and learn something?
Sooo … you are a agnostic pantheist?
Sorry, only joking 😉
@Marcos: I laughed, so you’re good. 😉
Well, one of us has uncertainty about the terms used, since “force” and “god” are not synonymous. I think it’s me.
Also, I’m not really buying that “sometimes”. Your beliefs seem pretty consistent: you’re a pantheist, as noted. Your flavor of pantheism (unlike some) seems to imply quite a lot of sentience on the part of the “everything”, so I’d go so far as to say that it could qualify as a god, which would make you a theist. An ‘agnostic’ theist, in the sense of “soft agnosticism” which roughly means “I don’t claim my opinions to be infallible”, but a theist nonetheless. Congratulations! You don’t have to accept the dread ‘atheist’ label.
As for actual “sometimes” answers, where the person sometimes believes in a deity, and sometimes doesn’t, those people are just sometimes theists, and sometimes atheists, accordant to their shifts in belief. Sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t, but at no time are you in an unstable quasi-nut transient form lacking a nutty eigenstate. Only tiny particles and boxed cats can do that sort of thing.
“That’s what sets you apart, from my POV, from an atheist: an atheist claims to know the answer, end of story. You want to ask questions.”
This raises my eyebrow, but on reflection, you’re right. Because atheists see the question like that of whether Santa Claus or unicorns exist. Ask me if unicorns exist. Do they? No. They don’t. Pretty flat answer. Not really much waffling there at all. I did not even preface the answer with a “Well, this is only my opinion, but…” I clearly am done asking questions.
But it’s not because I’m 100% certain about the answer; who knows what they’re doing in genetics labs nowadays, to say nothing of alternate dimensions. I answer it flatly because I’m pretty damn sure, based on all available information. And I’ve stopped asking questions for two reasons: 1) the relevant facts don’t seem to have changed any since I last looked, and 2) I have better things to do. Like, twiddle my thumbs. Or pick my nose. to say nothing of things like playing video games or watching TV; I can improve my quality of life via those activities! Whereas asking questions in the absence of added information is very unlikely to provide me any further epiphanies beyond the ones I got out of the last few dozen times I pondered the issue. I’ve fully plumbed the depths of my rambling subconscious, I’m afraid. So until something new crops up (like, say, a televised and verified second coming, or getting hit by a bus and waking up to some pissed off manchild berating me for not being sufficiently, um, something) I’m going to just state the facts flatly and move on to other things. I have some very important cartoons that need watching.
@begbert2: I’m seriously 100% done with this conversation, so I hope you’ve gotten something useful out of it. I sure haven’t.
So why can’t Li answer “I’m not sure?” Why do you even need an answer?
If you ask me the question, I’d say that I fully and wholeheartedly, with complete faith, believe that the Creator (may His Name be blessed) is the sole creator and administrator for all existence, and He alone, created, creates and will create, every that existed, exists or will ever exist.
Li doesn’t have that level of certainty, and I for one am not going to condemn her for that. She’s entitled to make up her own mind. If she has any questions, I would be willing to answer them, within reason.
I’m not looking to recruit proselytes. I don’t get that impression from some atheists.
Li can ABSOLUTELY say ‘I’m not sure.’ It’s just that saying that makes you an atheist, under the definition most commonly used in academic and intellectual circles at the moment.
None of this has anything to do with actual beliefs, it’s just a question of definitions, and whether people have any obligation to use commonly accepted definitions when labeling themselves. It’s a strictly grammatical issue, which is why it’s causing so much uproar on the internet.
You’re missing the question “Do you believe there’s not a God, y/n.”
Do I believe there’s a God. (Which I capitalize to be polite to people who do believe.)
Do I believe there’s not a God?
Also no. You seem to believe that you answer no to the one it must mean you’d answer yes to the other, which is not true and is the reason I don’t identify as an atheist. Without more evidence I really do not believe at all one way or the other. The only God-related belief I hold is that if one does exist than it doesn’t care about or pay the slightest bit of attention to humanity, it just tossed out the junk to make the universe happen then let it get along on its own after the bang.
Tilting my head and squinting, I gather that you’re saying something like, “Do I have 100% confidence that there’s a God? No.” and “Do I have 100% confidence that there’s not a God? No.” And yes, there is definitely a large span of belief levels where “No” is a legitimate answer to both questions. In fact, I myself would answer both questions with “no”!
But, nowadays, “Do I believe there’s not a god or gods?” (uncapitalized to be polite to the fact there’s things other than Christianity) isn’t the question that labels you as an atheist. It’s “Do I not believe that there’s a god or gods?”, or, “If asked, ‘Do I believe there’s a god or gods?’, would I answer, ‘No’?” As in, the complete negation of the theist definition. Are you a theist? No? Then you’re an atheist. Congratulations! You win…nothing!
It’s worth noting that this definition of atheism hasn’t always been the one in common use. In the not-too-distant past (within this past century, if not more recent than that) the term “atheist” was indeed interpreted as, “person who rejects even the possibility of God existing. Or those eastern religions either we suppose”, or more succinctly, “godless commie”. I wasn’t paying attention at the time, but I think the shift occurred sometime around when the cold war ended. This relatively recent shift to the current, more general definition (which seems to be based on word construction, ‘a-theism’, as much as anything) is doubtlessly the reason so many people balk at the label. I myself don’t qualify as a “hard” atheist (aka old definition); such types are thin in the water nowadays.
@begbert2: I had a different sort of question in mind. Tell me, why is murder wrong? Take your time, I’ll wait.
If you can’t come up with a reason for why murder is wrong other than “God said it is,” then you are off this website forever, totes serious, because you are a sociopath.
Why isn’t it a legitimate philosophical question?
The only people who think it’s a “legitimate philosophical question” are religious fundamentalists who get off on monopolizing moral authority over those different from them. And sociopaths. Which are you?
It’s wrong because people like living.
If you’re not saying that atheists have a belief that there’s no god, then how do you define the word ‘agnostic’ that’s different from ‘atheist’?
I find that the word implies more certainty to most people than I have. And when I try to tell atheists that I’m agnostic, mostly what I get back is that I can’t possibly genuinely not know whether I have a belief in god, and it just gets ruder from there.
So, as I said to Willis above, I don’t feel particularly enticed to take up an atheist label. Instead, I feel kind of bullied.
While atheism may not necessarily mean that you actively believe there’s no God, I’ve never felt it quite right as a label for me.
For me the question “Do you believe in a God or Gods?” is not a simple yes or no question. If I were to ask a stranger “Do you believe I own a dog?”, then without any information about me, a yes or no answer is impossible to give. The only possible answer is “I don’t know”. In the same way, I am unable to give a yes or no answer as to whether I believe in a God.
The aggressive nature with which a lot of people insist I must define myself as an atheist only pushes me more towards calling myself an agnostic.
This might be a bit of nit-picking, and I don’t think it (directly) contradicts the point you and Li were making:
If you ask me “Do you believe I own a dog?”, I would say “No”. If you ask me “Do you believe I don’t own a dog?”, I would say “No”. If you ask me “Do I own a dog?”, I would say “I don’t know”. You and I may not know things, but hopefully we know what we believe. The things you believe make up your model of the world. My model of the world doesn’t even mention whether or not you have any pets, so the answer to the question if I believe you (don’t) have a dog is “No”.
Agnostic theist reporting in. My position is that faith is about believing things because they’re worth believing more than because they’re objectively. I believe in God just like I believe that people are basically good; the odds are good that it isn’t true, but at the end of the day, the belief is useful enough to me that that doesn’t matter so much.
IRL I’ve rarely met an atheist that was a jerk about me being agnostic. things being what they are both groups are persona non grata to the cults.
I disagree! I identify as an atheist, although I will admit to spiritual leanings here and there (usually more pagan-type, or just all around “life”, if that makes any sense). I dig Agnostics because they don’t get up in MY face, and we can usually have happy times together. ^_^
Freedom of religion my arse
Freedom of religion does not entail a right to companionship. That does not make Joyce’s parent’s (well father) any less awfull, however.
Judging from her mom’s face, it’s likely both of them.
The constitution (generally) gives you a right to make your own choices, not a shield against the outcome from them.
I wonder how daddy’s going to take Joyce’s inevitable teenage rebellion? (Which may or may not happen before 25.)
Joyce had her teenage rebellion already.
She once refused to clean her room for a whole day, didn’t eat a second helping of vegetables, and called her brother a big poop. Her mother was about to call an exorcist.
Well, at least no outright argument right on the spot I guess. Though Joyce’s mom does look like she is going to bring Holy hell to the next person she sees, maybe Mary?
At least she didn’t go hulk
Carol is a gangster so she’s gonna curb stomp somebody, of course.
You don’ mess wi’ the Browns, y’hear? Or do I gotta take you for a little, ah, “Bible camp”?
Mary would be nice.
…or the Wilcoxes/Siegals.
Yes, Mary, who given her track record will be in the midst of changing when the hammer comes down.
Joyce’s mom with the chin of Gibraltar.
I don’t know what Dorothy just said.
Quick and dirty version of Unitarian Universalism:
Most people wouldn’t know either. Jokes about poor, disrespected Unitarians are usually made by highly educated intellectuals, which is why the punchline was delivered by Dorothy, kind of a joke on top of a joke.
Most of the people I know who make jokes about Unitarians are Unitarians.
Joyce’s mom looks pissed in that third panel
She finds Dotty’s lack of any faith disturbing.
“Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up a decent husband for your daughter or given you clairvoyance enough to spot her boyfriend’s homosexuality”
Ethan prefers a more elegant weapon. Search your heart, you know it to be true.
Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good Monkey Master at your side.
What I don’t understand about religious folks is why they aren’t more live and let live about this sort of thing. After all, if they believe that athiests and the like are going to be damned to hell, then the problem is already taken care of, right? No need for them to interfere.
Some of us are. I grew up in a religious household (although not to the point of being homeschooled), and my take on the matter in high school was the same then as it is now – I will cheerfully talk to anybody who asks regarding my faith and what I believe, but I won’t force it on them. My best friend in high school was atheist (I knew that) and gay (I didn’t find that out until years later, but it wouldn’t have mattered).
My faith is for me. If somebody wants to know what I believe, I’ll tell them, but conversion at the point of a sword ain’t my thing.
You’re not worried about her going to hell, then?
The problem with that idea is that it doesn’t really *matter* whether I worry about a friend going to hell. There is precisely nothing I can do about that, because belief in God, heaven, and all that jazz isn’t something you can prove in a laboratory experiment, say.
Faith is something we each come to, or not, on our own. If you come to faith in fear, it isn’t faith; at best, it’s obedience, but obedience to what?
My friends know I’m religious. It isn’t something I hide. They know I’m an open book if they want to know anything about me. If they want to know about my faith, I can tell them what I believe, and why, but anybody I can use rhetoric with to bring to faith is somebody who’s looking for someone else to tell them what to believe. That’s not faith, either. You can teach a dog to sit and lie down, but that doesn’t mean the dog understands etiquette; it means the dog wants the treat you’re offering.
I think they’re afraid She’ll poison Joyce’s fragile mind and Joyce won’t get into heaven.
Little do they know that Joyce is part Steel-type.
Dorothy used TOXIC IDEALS
It doesn’t effect Joyce
Joyce used RUN AWAY
Joyce fled the battle.
Less run away and more dragged off.
Hank used Teleport?
Carol’s Rage is building!
Joshua uses harden!
Less Run Away, more Roar.
Yeah, I thought Joyce’s ability was either Cute Charm or Friend Guard.
No, I think Ethan might have unintentionally used charm on her. Bonus: she couldn’t move for three panels.
I honestly love how we’re discussing the Pokemon traits of comic characters.
Oblivious means she can’t get infatuated, though. Maybe Unaware??
Exactly. I’d rather go to hell than have to spend eternity with a bunch of self-righteous jerks in “heaven”.
I’d rather chill in purgatory. It sounds painful but doesn’t have the permanance of hell.
Ooh, ooh, pick Judaism! Unless you’re “truly wicked,” you only spend a year in Jewish hell and then you get to go to Jewish heaven once you’ve repented :O
that sounds like a great deal.
Does Judaism give me the whole “Belive our way or you go to hell” that christianity does?
@Yotomoe: No. G-d offered the non-Jews the Torah, they declined it. You guys had your chance, and the Jews said yes. So there’s no point in forcing people to accept a creed they rejected.
However, G-d made a covenant with Noah, which Jews believe is binding on all non-Jews. G-d gave Noah seven commandments (including Do Not Murder, Do Not Steal, Do Not Worship Idols, Set up a Just Society) and any non-Jew who violates the covenant will need to answer for that in the World to Come.
But Jews don’t actively seek converts. For fifteen hundred years it was illegal for Christians and Muslims to convert to Judaism (on pain of death) and illegal for Jews to proselytize Christians and Muslims (also on pain of death). Jews actually turn try to dissuade potential converts from converting by pointing out how arduous living a Jewish life can be, and only those who persevere are accepted.
Also Jews don’t believe in “Hell”. We believe in a sort of “purgatory” called Gehinnom, but most people spend only a brief period in Gehinnom to atone for sins they didn’t repent while they were alive. Only history’s greatest villains (Korach, Balaam, Haman, Titus, Vespasian, Jesus of Nazareth, Bogdan Khmelnicki, Adolph Hitler) are permanently kept in Gehinnom, guarded by the most Evil of Angels.
It even goes further than that. Judaism, unlike Christianity, is a culture as much as it is a religion, and as such is somewhat compatible with Atheism. I myself grew up in a Jewish Atheist home. Basically, we celebrate the holidays, but don’t go to synagogue, or worry about any of the rules. The last person in my family to keep kosher was my great-grandfather. We’re still Jewish, but we’re Jewish the way other people are Irish, or Japanese. It’s not what we believe, it’s who we are.
I’ve had some friends do a double take upon realizing that spiritually, I’m an Athiest (with a couple ticks towards Agnostic, and a teaspoon of Deist in there).
“So why don’t you eat pork?”
“Because i’m Jewish.”
*look of utter confusion at correlating the 2 points of knowledge*
For me, keeping semi-kosher is a way of respecting and maintaining a connection to the culture I was raised in, and my ancestors who came before me. It has nothing to do with belief in the divine source of the instructions.
Does make it kind of difficult to meet other folks from a similar cultural background, as attending Synagogue for the purpose of a social event rather than a worship service feels dishonest to me even if the congregation doesn’t care, like I’m lying to G-d by proclaiming my faith (despite not believing in G-d, yeah, it doesn’t make much logical sense).
Huttj509: I too avoid consuming any of the Biblical unclean meats, partly because of how I was raised and more recently how it also makes sense from a health POV.
Here in Denmark, most of us are what here is called “cultural Christians” because we celebrate Christmas, Easter and so on, and many get baptised and later married in church but most do not pray, go to church every Sunday or other things of that sort. We keep the (‘nice’) traditions from Christianity/before Christianity and most answer in surveys that they do believe in something but they are not really religious in any way. Now, many young people from Muslim families are “cultural Muslims” as well as religion in general really doesn’t matter that much – it is one of the ‘new and exiting things’ about travelling to other parts of the world and there see and get to know people for whom it matters a lot!
What a lot of people (Christian, Muslim, atheist, whatever) don’t seem to understand is that Jews are an ethnicity and members of a single religion. Not everyone can grok that. It’s like being both a floor wax and a dessert topping.
What this means in practical terms, is that anyone who is ethnically Jewish is a member of the Jewish religion (whether they practice that religion is another story). Anyone who converts to Judaism is inducted into the ranks of the Jewish nation.
tl;dr: Jews predate the modern concept of a religion or an ethnicity. When you have a 3,000+ year old tradition, you’re not going to fit into small round holes, especially when you’re shaped like a Magen David. 😉
They can be any “race”, so that must be false. You wouldn’t argue that German jews were the same as the original.
@gears: Virtually anyone can move to any country, and may or may not assimilate.
@somebody: Anyone who is born Jewish is Jewish. Anyone who converts to Judaism is Jewish. It’s as simple as that. Jews are an ethnoreligious nationality. They are a floor wax and a dessert topping. The fact that you can’t wrap your brain around that is your problem.
Genetics tests on Ashkenazi Jews have been conducted over the past three decades, mostly to identify genetic mutations such as Tay-Sachs disease. These tests have identified specific Y-Chromosome strings that are unique to Kohanim, the Jewish priestly caste. This Y-Chromosome string has been found among Ashkenazi Kohanim, Sephardi Kohanim, Mizrachi Kohanim, and among Jews living among the Lemba, a tribe in central Africa who trace their lineage to Jews who were exiled from Judea by either the Romans or the Byzantines.
Further tests have revealed that all Ashkenazi Jews can trace their ancestry to one of four women who lived over one thousand years ago, whose mitochondrial DNA bears closer resemblance to Middle Eastern Mitochondrial DNA than European Mitochondrial DNA.
So yes, “German” Jews are related to the “original” Jews. So are the Lemba, the Farsi, Mizrachi, and Sephardic Jews.
Any sources? Also, just being born to a family of converts doesn’t mean much. People can try to raise them into it, but children are free to leave when they grow up.
Leave? Who said anything about leaving? When you convert to Judaism, you’re in for life. Life in this World, the Next World, and any gilgulim you may have. No one leaves, they just go off the derekh.
Why do you think we screen our converts so carefully?
And here’s your link to genetic studies of Jewish populations:
@leor613 Eugenics tends to start with research like that.
@khambatta: So do cures for genetic diseases that disproportionately afflict minority groups that don’t marry out. 😛
Wait, JESUS is one of history’s greatest villains? WHY?
To be clear I’m not objection on the basis of ‘Jesus was the son of god, he can’t be evil, guh guh’. Obviously, even were I the most diehard Christian imaginable (I am not), I wouldn’t expect (most) Jews to believe that. It’s just… what on earth did he do that puts him on a level with Hitler?
A) I’m referring to Historical Jesus, and B) the Talmud Bavli specifically lists Balaam, Jesus and Titus as three of the permanent inmates in Gehinnom. If it’s any consolation, in the aggada in question, he’s the only one of the three to express contrition for his misdeeds. Balaam and Titus act like total jackasses.
As for what Historical Jesus did that rated him such disfavor in the eyes of the Rabbis who redacted the Talmud, it’s too complicated to discuss in the comments section of a webcomic.
The question still stands. He doesn’t even have misdeeds, aside from non-canon stuff that may be a hoax.
Once again, I’m referring to the Historical Jesus, not the figure deified by Saul of Tarses.
I’m not retracting it.
We know maybe three things about the Historical Jesus.
1) He was born in Nazareth near the beginning of the first century.
2) He preached about the imminent end of the world.
3) He was executed by the Romans for being a nuisance.
In order to get “evil” out of that, you kind of have to be adding some of your own junk to the mix. There’s just not a lot to go on. And if those three things make him evil somehow, he’s gonna have a hell of a lot of company in “history’s greatest villains,” because what he did was pretty damn popular at the time. Hell, they crucified two other insurrectionists just that day!
Willis, I already know that you have zero knowledge of the Talmud or of aggadah. It would take more space than is available in the comments section of your webcomic (and more time than I want to spend) instructing you on the matter. Suffice to say that there were sections of the Talmud that were censored by the Vatican in the Middle Ages. This censored material discusses a Chaver (aka Pharisee) named Yeshu, who was kicked out of the Yeshiva he learned in for heresy; Yeshu traveled to Egypt, studied there and then returned to Judea, where he acquired followers, including ones named Mattai and Petra. The Yeshu described in the Talmud founded one of hundreds of apocalyptic sects that existed in the first century.
The Vatican censors ordered most of the references to “Yeshu” removed, either completely, or replaced with euphemisms. In the aggadah I mentioned before, the censored text is changed from “Yeshu” to “Poshei Yisrael”, “The Sinners of Israel”.
There is conflicting evidence about who “Yeshu” was, when he lived, etc. But the Vatican was bothered enough to demand the removal from the Talmud. Maybe if the Vatican hadn’t been so insistent, modern Jews wouldn’t be so eager to claim that “Yeshu” is a reference to Historical Jesus.
That still doesn’t really convince me that Jesus was a puppy kicking supervillian.
@The Candyman: like I said, that’s the bare bones details of the aggadah in question. It also may not be intended to be interpreted literally; many aggadah are meant to be parables to teach moral instructions or philosophical concepts. On the other hand, most of the aggadot about Balaam are meant to be taken literally, including what he really did to that poor donkey of his. 🙁
I don’t even believe in the historicity of most of the canonical New and Old Testaments, so I don’t know why you’re trying to sell Talmud stuff to me as historical truth.
The Early Christians censored a lot of friggin’ stuff they didn’t like, and most of it was contradictory. Being burned or buried by the church doesn’t make information special or true — it just makes it Not The Very Specific Doctrine The Church Wanted To Promote, which was 99% of all things.
^This. Early in Christianity’s history a few people came into power and decided that anything they didn’t specifically approve and/or agree with was heretical. There was some pretty crazy stuff the church censored; like when a Jewish mystic Peter is arguing with starts flying through the air and shouting that Jesus wasn’t that great.
@Willis: I’m not talking about the early Church Fathers, I’m talking about the 13th century and later. Apostate Jews like Nicholas Donin, Pablo Christiani and Johannes Pfefferkorn, sold out their people’s culture for thirty sela’im, leading to cartloads of Gemaras being burned in Paris in 1242, the Talmud being banned repeatedly, and being censored when it was first printed in the 16th century.
In any event, it may surprise you Willis to hear that Jews argue and debate, and that there is a disagreement over whether the Yeshu referred to in T.B. Gittin 56b-57a is the Jewish rebel crucified in 33 CE, or the leader of a splinter sect in the first century BCE. Simply put, they could be two different men with the same name.
I’m not really sure why all of this strikes such a chord with you Willis. You yourself just said you don’t believe in the Christian Bible, so why should it matter to you if the Talmud is talking about Yeshu son of Panthera, or Yeshu son of Yosef?
Don’t tell me about stuff from the 13th century. I don’t care about this story in the 13th century. Tell me about it in the early first century, and then I’ll give this thing of yours the time of day. I don’t think you understand my demands for historicity.
This matters to me because I like true things, you’re screaming bullshit at my other commenters, and given the contents of my bookshelf, I’m likely the only dude here who’s able to argue with you. It’s either this or I start deleting.
As I was raised, Judaism is basically “Hey, be a good person. When you screw up, make a sincere effort to make it right and atone. And if you’re wondering how to be a good person, the Jews are supposed to be setting an example, with extra rules to set them apart because what good’s an example if you can’t find it?”
True, but you’re supposed to take the time and effort to learn those rules.
In Judaism, belief is less important than action, and the intent of an action is as important as the action itself. There is no binary conncept of sin/good deed; instead you can sin accidentally, unintentionally, intentionally or with extreme malice, and there are different degrees of intent when performing a good deed that affect the value of that deed. If you give charity begrudgingly, or in a manner that embarresses the recipient of your charity, your act is not going to be valued by G-d as highly as if you gave with an open heart, and give anonymously, to avoid embarrassing the recipient.
No, but if you follow the old testament, you will see Moses had the non-believers killed (those who were worshiping the golden calf) killing about 3000 people right after he brought down the ten commandment v1.0. Which I assume said “Thou shalt not kill.” unless that was added in v1.1. (http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0232.htm#26)
Also Leviticus says it is okay to take any non-jewish people as slaves. http://biblehub.com/leviticus/25-44.htm
@marr: Your comment is as bitter as your name.
Facts don’t have a tone.
Somebody doesn’t speak Hebrew.
It’s still true…it really does say that.
You clearly didn’t get the joke, so I’m not explaining it.
That SOME Christianity does, thank you very much. I know from experience that the LDS Church does not subscribe to that, and I’m sure that there are other sects that don’t either.
That’s not exactly how Gehinnom works. You have to the repenting on this side of the mortal coil; once you’re in the “other place”, you get punished for sins you didn’t atone for. And you only get rewarded in the World to Come for what you did in this World, so if you did nothing…
On the other hand, non-Jews don’t actually need to convert to Judaism to earn a share in the World to Come.
I understood Jehovah’s Witnesses had sort of a “referral” program, so they’re obligated to interfere =p
@Thor: A) You’re painting with an incredibly broad brush. The concept of “eternal damnation” is a Christian one, and there are plenty of Christian denominations that take exactly the “live and let live” attitude you’re espousing.
B) Evangelical Christians don’t view it as doing a favor for anyone to not spread their beliefs. They feel that they need to evangelize. There are plenty of Christians who don’t bother Evangelizing, and other than Islam, most non-Christian religions don’t evangelize. Orthodox Jews actively turn away insincere converts and the Druse stopped accepting converts over 1,000 years ago.
C) Joyce’s parents aren’t actually evangelizing here. They’re keeping their daughter away from a girl they view as a negative influence.
Doesn’t Islam have a place of torment?
IIRC, even if you end up in Islamic Hell, it is possible to eventually get into Heaven.
Jehannom, which shares a linguistic origin with Gehinnom.
Well they’re not the brightest bulbs.
I actually understand it. If you honestly believe that everyone around you will burn for eternity if they don’t believe the same thing you do, it would be pretty cold-hearted and selfish not to try and convert them. From their angle they’re martyrs, facing anger and contempt from the people they are trying to convert, but suffering through it to try and save the very people that most dislike them.
The SDA’s also encourage their members to at least try to save those who are lost.
Which is hilariously conceited and self absorbed. Its not like Christianity is an obvious choice and every non beliver is just being contrary for no reason. Dislike is the natural response to being pestered by solicitors.
Me personally, I’m a Shakespearean kind of guy. I believe there is more to life and death than is dreamt of in my philosophy. So I’m not ever gonna presume to know what’s gonna happen to someone after they die. In the end I have just a guess and a hope about what’s gonna happen to me. I’m betting if its anything it will be hella more complicated than anything anyone has ever dreamed. So, I do what everybody does- I live the best I can, I try not to screw up anyone else’s day, I ask for my fair share, and I just trudge forward being as descent a human being as I can. Fingers crossed that that will be enough.
You. I like you. Nod of approval, I give.
Unless they talk about their theism, in which case they’re trying to convert other people to a state of mind which will cause those people to literally suffer unimaginable pain for all eternity (or w/e). If you actually *believe hell to be a real thing*, then ‘tricking’ other people into going there is probably way worse than murder.
actually, most of us religious people are pretty chill, you simply don’t hear about us. The people who ignore the second commandment make much better T.V. and, therefore, get more attention. A person who gives to charity, says a prayer before meals, and tries to follow the golden rule (or Will Wheaton’s rule as a fall back) tends to avoid the headlines.
Its sort of like how the Atheist who starts flipping out at the slightest expression of faith tends to color how people think of all Atheists.
“…better drag Joyce away before she loses her soul to Satan.”
Azula, right? Your avatar (ha!) is Azula? Did I finally guess one?
CORRECT! What better grav to have when talking about religion. 😛
Yay! I got one! Take THAT, bucket list!
Is it my imagination or does this Azula seem to have, ah… considerable “assets”?
It’s due to having her hands behind her head making it seem bigger.
This conversation will look weird the next time you change your avatar.
I know but that’s what makes re-reading comments from older comics fun, trying to guess what grav I was using at the time.
This gravatar intrigues me and I wish to know the source.
Yes, i too would like to know for… Reasons, as well
Ian Samson, the artist who drew the original version of my Azula grav is the same guy who now does the art for The Wotch webcomic as well as his own webcomic, The City of Reality.
I’m not sure what makes me sadder here: Joyce and Dorothy, or Joshua’s response, just because it suggests he’s gone through something like this at some point before.
Yeah, I kinda want to hear his backstory.
What does that bring the count up to? Four now? Or less, now that we know most of Ruth’s?
…Why am I suddenly laughing about Joshua telling people to pick their battles?
I expected funny argument. I got heartbreaking dejection. And a backstory of continued rejection. Huh.
Wait, you expected funny argument from Joyce’s parents on the topic of religion?
Funny for us. Not for them.
I imagine they were imagining something akin to Joyce’s “argument” with Dina.
Joyce must feel terrible leaving dorthy behind like that. (Thats why i made up my religion)
Vote CanvasHat 2016! https://twitter.com/squallstaffan/status/364233099732725760
“I’m gonna need the Presidency”
This should be a real campaign. I’m gonna need some quotes. And suggestions for campaign photos.
Good to see that Joyce’s brother is on her side. I’d hoped at least some of the siblings would be.
So I’m wondering if Joshua has somewhat broken out of his bubble, is just at the phase Joyce is at now, or is just looking out for his sister.
I really want to know more about Joshua now.
I wonder if he is a closet athiest himself.
Or he’s gay. They are totally going to meet Ethan next, and it will be love at first sight.
“Wow, he’s just like Joyce, but with a dong! He’s perfect!”
I totally want to happen O_O
Poor joyce, you guys are already shipping her boyfriend to someone else.
Oh, I expect he’ll be very interested in Joshua, regardless of Joshua’s exuality, and this will either lead to humor or drama.
Thank goodness I’m not the only one. I didn’t want to be the first one to ship it.
Good job, Doctor.
Probably a mix of them all
That was fast. They haven’t even met her gay Jewish boyfriend yet.
The day’s still young and the storyline’s not over yet.
What I don’t get is, the parents apparently all went to this college so they must have already had an exposure to different kinds of people so how can they be so insanely close minded?
Those sorts of free thinkers probably didn’t go to IU back then.
Or at least weren’t as open about it.
Or maybe the other brothers had mainly Christian friends, or actively kept their parents from finding out about their friends?
This. Thirty years ago, it was not -safe- to be openly atheist in Indiana, or most other places in the United States.
On a related note, I LOVE YOU, INTERNET.
Some people get more closed-minded as they get older. I know a guy who was raised Quaker and was something of a neo-hippie in college who ended up becoming a hard-right fundamentalist. Rejects evolution, thinks Obama’s a socialist, the whole schmear.
He took a flying leap and landed in crazy-town.
Cocaine’s a hell of a drug.
I heard a theory that a lot of older folk, especially conservatives, grow controlling because they’re too aware of what they’re NOT in control of [getting older, losing control of bodily functions, young whippersnappers outperforming them at work, etc.]
So basically they’re jerks
I think a better descriptor would be insecure, like Dr. Rosenthal’s pants.
The word you’re looking for is ‘off’.
So many things with this strip, I don’t know where to start. I really love this webcomic.
Joyce’s brother looks just like Dorothy’s father O_o
…Now I am sad for Dorothy. Not only because of the obvious, but because it implies that this is a pattern that has repeated itself over and over. It’s possible that Dorothy hasn’t had many long-term friends. It’s just heartbreaking.
You wouldn’t think that atheists get discriminated against since all the modern science textbooks in schools tend to support it.
I’d guess it would depend on where you lived, and how conservative/religious that area tended to be.
Does that mean that there are public schools with science textbooks that mention God?
My science textbooks didn’t mention jack shit because we didn’t use them.
My history textbooks mentioned God. Does that count?
No, but there are public schools that force students to participate in Christian prayers. Even though the Supreme Court keeps telling them to stop.
There are also branches of the US military which have been turned into pulpits for Evangelical Christianity. There have been lawsuits by Jewish and atheist students at the Air Force Academy seeking to put an end to a hostile environment where senior officers pressure them to attend Christian services.
Separation Of Church and State seems to go right over some peoples heads.
I say this a lot about the most vocal of Republicans when abortion and gay rights pop up.
It’s called “Creationism” and, yes.
They also have a “museum” that shows cavemen riding dinosaurs.
It would be funny if it weren’t sadly widespread.
Now, be fair. They don’t mention God. They mention an “intelligent entity.” That has powers beyond our understanding. And inexplicably human-like traits. And for some reason has to be singular. And that sent its son to die on the cross.
Well, aside from the fact that, yeah, sadly, there are, not mentioning God isn’t the same thing as supporting Atheism.
Not mentioning god is called being politically correct
In science classes, not mentioning God is called “doing it right”.
Well yeah, God isn’t science, and Science isn’t God. But this is not the place for my speculation into the topic.
Watch out for Poe’s Law. Was that sarcasm?
You can’t really prove a disbelief. You can also accept evolution without being atheist.
Most modern science textbooks are secular, not atheistic.
Or am I misreading you somehow?
I think the idea is that the Christians believe in Creationism and the atheists favor evolution. Since the secular textbooks favor evolution as well, the textbooks thus support Atheism more than Christianity.
Most science textbooks spread the atheist lies that you have to have evidence to make a claim, and that the universe works on fixed rules, rather than being shunted around at the whim of an omnipotent, personal being.
I’m not clear if you’re trying to promote that viewpoint or merely trying to explain the creationist viewpoint, but in either case, atheism doesn’t say anything about evidence, it’s merely an absence of a belief in the existence of gods.
Scientists are the ones who talk about evidence. And they don’t merely say you have to have evidence to make a claim, they say you have to have evidence if you want to demonstrate that your claim is likely to be true. As such, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the position that the universe works on fixed rules. Having a statement about the scientific method and its findings in a science textbook isn’t an “atheist lie”, it’s just basic science education.
As such, science textbooks are not inherently atheistic, as they don’t try to deny or disprove the existence of gods. And when they don’t say anything one way or the other about gods, this means that they’re secular, not atheistic or theistic.
Except that evolution being taught in a public school doesn’t necessarily mean that the people in the area are non-religious. I went to high school in a small town in Missouri, and the science text books were fine, but I still generally avoided discussing religion with others because I knew that the majority of the areas population were Christian.
Hey, it could have gone worse.
Yeah, they could have stabbed her literally instead of figuratively!
Mrs.Brown is working on her Shank as we speak.
Yeah, I noticed that while Mr. Brown looks vaguely bothered by the whole thing, Mrs. Brown looks downright furious.
She’s getting angry. You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.
You wouldn’t like her when she’s happy, sad, amused, or emotionless, either.
Misread that as “Shark” and am now picturing a religiously-themed Sharknado sequel.
Everyone is slowly lifted into the sky….INTO A GIANT SHARK MOUTH
This is my new favourite thing.
Why are you so awesome, Yotomoe?
Well Joshua just went up a few notches. I’m hoping we see more out of him before this arc is done.
Seriousely…Carol looks like she’s about to CURB stomps some mother fuckers.
I am expecting the Mother’s Angry Outburst to end them all.
PLEASE let it be directed at the Wilcoxes and/or Siegals, and then let all of them be taken down a ton of notches by Ruth and/or Amazi-Girl!
Hmmm. The Siegals would be the choice for drama. Mrs. Brown would shout at them about the ‘moral corruption’ of the school. Mrs. Siegal would retort about the confusion caused by some people. Joyce would notice who they are. And then her parents and the Siegals would turn on her.
Then Ethan walks in.
A reason why I’m not really into religion.
That and all the bookwork.
No seriously, when I was in Boy Scouts, there was this one annoying arrogant kid who told me I would go to hell for not worshiping God. The troop even had a crazy mother who tried to convert non-Christians until they left the troop.
It honestly depends on the religious community you grew up in. I’m lucky enough to have grown up in a Catholic community filled with amazing and accepting people. Among them were the lay ministers that ran the local youth group, who are all fantastic human beings. Probably the best example of how great the people there are is that my best friend felt comfortable enough to come out as bisexual during the spring retreat trip. And everyone was fine with it and commended him for being so brave in telling everyone. I know that many people can be cynical about religion these days because of assholes and crazy fundamentalists, but just remember this story I told you, because those people are some of the most bighearted people I know, and that they really made us feel like we belonged and had a place in the world. Human beings truly are fantastic.
Some are. But make an organization of them, and things start happening. The boy scouts, if I remember correctly, are associated with the catholic church (at least here in Germany they are), so even isolated zealots and/or tattlers will carry the day.
We have here traditionalist “Schützenvereine” which gather yearly in uniforms and shoot down a wooden bird from a stand with rifles. The one taking the bird down finally is declared “Schützenkönig” and has representative functions for a year, accompanied by a closely related “Schützenkönigin” (often the spouse). When the bird is close to finished, most people drop silently out of the competition in order to avoid getting crowned.
Now in some small town, there was a very respected Schützenbruder who happened to be openly gay who won the kingdom, and everybody was fine with the “queen” being his partner (not in drag or something, but also standard uniform: we are still being very traditional).
The problem was that there were also state-level competitions, and the guy was good, so he won the state-level shootout and then the religious authorities took notice. The cardinal in Cologne threatened sanctions for the catholic organization if the guy would not pick a female pretend queen for the ensuing parade with his partner keeping a distance of at least so-and-so-many yards.
And that’s the problem with religious organizations. At some level, you’ll be sure to encounter at least one prick, and he is institutionally entitled to carry the day.
Here in the US the Boy Scouts have actually been mostly taken over by the Mormons (A.K.A. the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
They also hugely discriminate against homosexuals and atheists. It was only in May of this year that they finally loosened the rules on homosexuals somewhat, but before that open homosexuals and atheists weren’t even allowed to be Boy Scouts. Atheists still aren’t.
Admittedly some scout troops ignore the official policy, and more power to them, but the Boy Scouts of America officially do not allow atheists to be members.
It’s a shame such an organization has made bigotry and discrimination one of their official policies and a “value” that they apparently promote.
Yeah, I never cared much for people running in and going “Oh but the community I was part of was so awesome” when someone finished a horror story about what they were part of, it sounds like you trivialize the bad parts by clinging to the good parts.
That same argument could be used in reverse, so it doesn’t really work.
Let’s say someone punches you in the face, then donates $20 to charity. Which of those things do you remember? And how do you feel when someone reacts to your complaints of assault with “But he’s so nice
? Of course people will focus on the bad parts. Those are what stick with people.
Unless the jerk dies, which then triggers the unspoken rule of not speaking ill of the dead.
Ugh, this is what I get for trying to tell a story about the great people I know on the Internet. People miss the point. One of the most irritating things about being Christian is to hear my faith get constantly bashed by cynics, and then see stupid dipshits validate those views. People often blindly fling their anger at conceptual effigies representing a group they hate. The world sucks like that, I’m just trying to lighten things up with a story about good people.
Not that I’m saying that about anyone here, it’s just a general frustration of mine that seems to pop up when I least expect it.
Problem is, a group is embodied by its WORST members, not its best. Thats why all christians are seen as psychotic fundies, all atheists are pretentious douchebags, all muslims are wife beating terrorists, and so on. The bad MASSIVELY outshadows the good, regardless of the actual proportion in numbers, because the bad ones just cause that much damage. You cant expect someone who’s been victimized by the bad members of a certain group to embrace it, no matter how many good ones there are. The only way to limit this, is to constantly police your own numbers, and no group is either able or willing to do that.
Maybe we should mention the net-tag about hoping the Christians are dead before Dorothy run for President.
Did you kick him in the groin? It would be worth it.
No. A groin-kick can last a second, but an assault charge can last a life time.
Boys will be boys?
He’ll eventually meet the groin kick called life when his parents cut off the spoiled brat.
My local Cub Scout troupe was just a disorganized piece of shit.
Then again, with all the discrimination by the scouts, I’m glad I never made it past Cub…
To contrast, when I was in Boy scouts, it wasn’t an issue.
Note that this was in the Troop run out of the local Mormon church, all the leaders were Mormon, and my brother and I were the only non-Mormons in the troop (we’re Athiest Jews).
It was never a topic of discussion, outside of the scoutmaster making sure we knew that if we had questions, we were free to ask.
No individuals being jerks, and if there was any behind our backs issues, it was never mentioned by any of our friends (we chose that troop because a) they were actually organized, learning stuff, and not disrespectful to a guest speaker, and b) we discovered we already had a number of Mormon friends who were in that troop, it had never come up in discussion).
I should also add that with any religious solicitors I’ve never had any issue whatsoever with a simple “No thanks, I’m not interested.”
Well yeah, I’ve never met a Mormon who wasn’t nice. Though it’s interesting how they try to sell you their religion discreetly, by inviting you to their activities and sharing it with you bit by bit, instead of trying to shove it down you throat. I recall the family of one of my best friends in grade school also using this method to no avail, but I still enjoyed the somewhat enriching experience.
His Boy Scout troop also seemed to be more productive. The members of my old troop used to focus on only getting to Eagle and then never coming back. To be fair, I also kind of had this mind set, but due to procrastination I didn’t get Eagle until right before I turned 18. Though I think this mind set was mostly brought upon not liking the people in my troop that much. It was still better than joining one of those troops that everyone else joins that has it where members are either prone to learn nothing or not get noticed and get lost on a camping trip.
Well, yeah. We tend to leave direct proselyting to those called specifically to do so. As for the rest of us, we try to learn to care about the people around us, and if that leads to them joining us, all the better.
(Admittedly, sometimes it does come across as manipulative, and for some people it actually is. But as a whole, I do think it’s, if nothing else, far less intrusive than random people actively proselyting.)
I wouldn’t consider Mitt Romney nice.
To be honest, I’ve no clue what Romney has or hasn’t done, or how good an example he is. I haven’t followed politics much, not being old enough to vote at the times it would matter. That being said, I would cite the general idea that the most famous members of a group are often the least representative.
Personally I find it hilarious because I’m almost positive 60% of the kids in my troop were gay. Hell, I had a gay uncle who was two merit badges away from Eagle.
I’m glad that they loosened the rules a bit, but I shake my head that when you turn 18 you suddenly have to go back in the closet to be a troop master or something. Like, what are you implying with that? Though at the same time several churches parted ways with the troops that used their facilities thanks to that, which sucks.
Me, I’m hoping anyone that opposes this looks at the people on Facebook they used to scout with and count how many of them are in a happy relationship with another guy, and it might open their eyes a bit.
Unless you’re Rick Perry. He seems to have Youngbloods Disease.
The scouting organization used to be secular. At some point it got hijacked and changed.
So glad I grew up in a melting pot city where no one really cared what religion you are and it is so easy to find like-minded people of all different views. Being an atheist is easy here. Can’t imagine it elsewhere. I don’t get pushy religious or anti-religious people at all. In college I always got the kids tryin to convert me or pray for me cause I had a sprained ankle or something. That was always weird but for the most part, people don’t care.
Joyces brother seems to actually have a brain 😀
Everybody else in this comic becomes zombified, of course.
But… Unitarians are just so NICE.
Yeah, I grew up sorta Unitarian (Parents divorced, one didn’t care). Never had issues with them, kind people but a little weird to introduce friends to.
Tho I sorta know about the “hate” thing. I had a friend in University who was a lot like Joyce but she went away from tolerance as time went on. She couldn’t accept UUs because their belief wasn’t firm enough, she even accused me of being false because I would listen and try to understand many religions as true.
Then there is the whole “UUs are a cult” thing that I never really understood…
I haven’t heard the “cult” thing about UU’s, although there’s a certain tribal aspect that tends to develop. “Aren’t we as UU’s something special?” is kind of how it takes shape. One theory I’ve heard is that it stems from being a “covenant” religion, like Judaism, as opposed to “creed” religion, where “there’s great rules that everyone can follow so let’s bring in everybody!” is the prevailing notion.
I’m like the world’s worst Unitarian; I haven’t been to church in months. So take what I say with a grain of salt.
Really? I can think of one unitarian I’ve actually met and she was kind of… completely out of her gourd… not because of the unitarianism, mind you. I think she was just like that.
That’s the problem. Everyone else is up for a crusade or jihad or something, and they’re all like, “Hey, potluck!” Fuckin’ Unitarians.
Actually, as a UU, no one really knows what it is, and most are too embarrassed to ask, so you just end up with awkwardness instead of hatred… which is… better?
Damn, Joycemom is not happy. Not happy at all.
She is going to MURDER the first non-Brown she sees.
Obviously, it’s gonna be Ethan.
I guess that means Sarah’s safe.
I should hate you for that pun, but I don’t so you win.
Sarah’s not safe! She won’t be able to get the popcorn in time!
Hey Danny! Come here a second. I want you to meet MRS. Brown. Let me just lock the door so you can get to know each other.
They would get along wonderfully.
“Mom. stop knifing him! He’s my boyfriend! My gay, jewish boyfriend!”
Mom, put away the chainsaw!!!
Also I can’t tell if it’s lucky or unlucky for you guys that I’m too tired to draw this.
I read that as “Joyceman.” Maybe he/she could be Amazigirl’s nemesis.
You can be an atheist in the Unitarian Universalists.
It makes me happy that there is someone else here who knows this. Thank you for being awesome.
We’ve got some Buddhists
Wow, raised by those parents, I’m sincerely surprised Joyce didn’t turn out a huge bongo.
She has her moments
I always wondered. I know everyone’s version of how they view God differs based on your own personal ideals. For instance I imagine him as a formless sentience with the effective mind power to never NEED unlimited strength. But I am curious as to how Joyce views God.
What makes me sad is that Joshua doesn’t think standing up for your friends is worth fighting for.
Considering that she risk her parents dragging her back home, id say she should damn well pick her fight.
Joyce can always just hide her continued friendship with Dorothy from here family.
And that’s really sad.
The funny thing is I really like going to church eventhou I could not asociate with any religion. I did a three different “What church is the right one for me?” test and all gave me Unitarian Universalist and Liberal Quakers.
As a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, I just want to say that this strip is hilarious.
Sounds like big bro knows the score, and decides to go along with his parents’ desires.
I was also raised areligiously and people have a hard time understanding that being raised without religion doesn’t mean I was raised as an atheist. I mean, my parents aren’t atheists. I’m not an atheist. They just didn’t religiously influence me outside of when I went to them for discussions.
I don’t want to be a stickler for words, but it kind of sounds like you might be confusing atheism with nontheism.
It kind of sounds like you are being a stickler for words. Especially since in my experience, those words mean the same thing.
No, there is a difference. You can be a nontheist and still believe in God (you just don’t ascribe to an organized/official religion, aka you’re “spiritual”). Atheism just means a lack of belief in god(s).
For the most part I was raised areligiously (parents were Catholic, so I was baptized as a baby), but they let me practice (or NOT practice) what I wanted. I ended up CHOOSING Catholicism, but my brother is a Pegan, and we’re all cool… except now mom’s gettin’ on in years and claiming everyone’s the anti-christ.
Wait, is that a thing that happens? Cause that’d explain a lot.
I can personally vouch for the Unitarian Universalist bit.
But… But… WHO HATES THE UUs?! They’re like the least hatable of all religious communities, almost by definition. And I say that as a religious person who *isn’t* a UU.
You’d think, but it seems like every time I hear about a church getting vandalized, it’s a UU church. 🙁
When you try to compromise with EVERYONE, it generally just means that no one is satisfied and you wont have any allies at all. Its religion, its always going to be an incredibly divisive issue, pretending its not wont help
I know. I’ve read very little about them, but even I think they rank with Buddhists, Daoists, and Quakers in how harmless they are.
Nah, there are Buddhist nationalists killing Muslims in Mayanmar. I’m not sure you ever *could* unify the UUs into a violent force.
Those who think their sect is the only right sect hate UUs. And all others by definition.
Come on, Protestants, figure it out!
At least it looks like she may have some support by way of her brother. I can say from experience that having a sibling to confirm that your parents are a little bit nuts, at least in certain respects, really, really helps.
Hopefully he’s wrong about there being more battles to come, though.
Where’s the drama in that? You know things are going to get to a point when one or both of Joyce’s parents will try to pull her from school, as she can’t be trusted without supervision, in their view.
Somehow or another, Joyce will manage to get through the day without her parents finding out about Ethan being gay, the multiple lesbianings on her floor, or that she watched Transformers.
Then right before she leaves, Sarah accidentally makes a passing remark about Ryan and the party and all breaks loose.
It’d just start to get stressful if it all happened at once. Let’s space out the drama, maybe.
I’m also hoping Joyce can mitigate it a bit by doing something like pointing out that her faith can withstand the presence of other religions (or no religion) and things that might test it.
Trying to recall what I was taught back when I went to an SDA boarding school, I vaguely remember that the whole issue of evolution was ignored in science class but mentioned during sabbath school as one of the instituted lies influenced by Satan himself.
Gotta love that education. 😛
Am I the only one finding it interesting that Joshua seems to be the reasonable one in the family. Here’s hoping that leads to someinserting dynamics later on.
In the third panel, you can really see how Joshua feels about this. He’s probably gone through the same thing Joyce is going through now, i.e. meeting someone of a different faith, questioning his own faith, etc. The parents probably had this moment with him and gave up, because that’s how guys are. But now that it’s happening to Joyce, their youngest child and only daughter, they want to shield her from what they believe to be the poisons of the real world, i.e. atheism, non-believers, other religions, for as long as possible. They know it will be heartbreaking for Joyce, and so does Joshua.So basically, Joyces’ Parents are closed-mined, Joshua knows this, he wants to stand up for Joyce but he can’t.
I’m a little puzzled as to why Dorothy seems so surprised. She’s a smart girl, allegedly. What did she expect would happen?
I don’t think she expected anything other than what she got. I think she -hoped- they would be polite, reasonable, and friendly about it, like Joyce is.
Yeah, except Joyce also warned her to not say it. I’m surprised she disregarded that particular advice. Combine that with her being around Joyce’s development and already being a part of that awkwardness, I’m surprised Dorothy wasn’t the first to remember the age-old advice of “choose your battles.”
Dorothy seems like the type who enjoys “tilting at windmills”, but she seems to forget that Sancho was trying to dissuade Don Quixote from doing that.
Ehhhhh, Dorothy’s way more on the ball than that. “Tilting at windmills” says that you’re crusading for a cause that doesn’t exist. Dorothy certainly has more substance and brains than Don Quixote.
It doesn’t necessarily mean fighting for a non-existent cause; it can also mean fighting an unnecessary battle, especially when you’re motivated by a foolishly impractical idealism.
Dorothy feels that she should not have to hide her atheism, so she never will hide her atheism, even though she has apparently seen this scene play out before.
There were ways to answer Joyce’s parents without revealing her atheism to them, and if she ever wants to succeed in politics she’d better start mastering the art of prevarication, last Thursday. 😀
Dorothy feels she should not have to hide her atheism, but Dorothy also feels that she should not -lie to people-.
This is, as you note, the main reason she’ll probably never actually -be- President of the United States.
Indeed. All the great presidents were liars: Kennedy lied about his deals with the Mafia, Reagan lied about committing treason by funding anti-communist forces in Latin America, and Washington lied when he told those rioting soldiers they were totally gonna get paid if they all just went home.
I think, given how inclusive Joyce has tried to be, and considering how she’s at least -listened- to Dorothy (even if they didn’t always agree), Dorothy was probably expecting Joyce’s parents to be a bit less rude and judgmental. Not that she expected them to be totally cool, but I don’t think she anticipated an immediate dismissal.
And now we know why her brother came along.
Omigosh they’re like Romeo and Juliet, if one of their families was just kinda chill about it.
That would be a good adaptation, actually.
“Oh hey, Montagues! We were just having a barbecue, wanna join?”
“You will not fool me with your tricks, fiendish Capulet! Soon your entire family will be gone from this land!
“Okay then, see you around.”
Somebody get on this RIGHT NOW.
Best. Shakespeare update. Ever.
Also? (gives Dorothy ALL THE HUGS)
So much hugs!!!
after years of research and careful consideration, she chose atheism.
This line caused my nose to wrinkle.
How do you “choose” atheism?
Whether you believe gods exist or not isn’t really a choice, it’s a conclusion. I can’t “choose” to believe in fairies any more than I can “choose” to not believe in bunny rabbits. I can choose to pretend to believe or not believe those things, but belief really isn’t a choice.
When I became an atheist, it wasn’t a choice, rather it was a discovery that I simply couldn’t believe anymore because the evidence was too flimsy and prone to hoaxes, mistaken identification, and other more natural explanations.
Hopefully what she said is just shorthand for something like, “she chose to identify as an atheist,” since that is something you can choose to do.
As an atheist, I disagree. I believe that people choose to believe in god or gods or choose to (accept the overwhelming evidence and to) be an atheist. I know people who choose to believe impossible things every day, even outside of religion.
But… Once you see that there is “overwhelming evidence”, you aren’t making a choice, you’re “overwhelmed” by the evidence. The evidence is simply strong enough to change your belief.
I don’t see that as a decision you make, like, “I’ve decided this is enough evidence and now I choose to believe,” but more like, “well, I really can’t help but believe after seeing all that evidence.”
But if you can actually “choose” to believe that, for example, milk doesn’t exist for a day, and not merely just be pretending to believe that, then I guess you’d prove me wrong.
Professor Wyndham, are you aware that deep within the bowels of Mount Wundagore, the very mountain you live on, lurks an Elder being named Chthon? And were you aware that Chthon is trapped within a book, its eldritch might seeping out into the surrounding mountainside? And that there is a class action lawsuit against you, the estate of Dr. Horace Grayson and Philip Masters for not properly securing your experiments against Chthon’s malign influence?
But wait, I hear you say, Chthon isn’t a god, he’s an alien, like the Watcher or the Skrulls!
So you deny the evidence that the Defenders, the Uncanny X-Men, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four have related about battling Chthon (or even being possessed by Chthon)? What about Doctor Steven Strange’s expert testimony, or the amicus curiae submitted by Dracula?
Is that not enough evidence to convince you that there’s a magic demon, trapped in a book beneath your mountain, and that people are suing you because your negligence allowed Chthon’s energy to leak out of the Darkhold?
Do you see where I’m going with this? In the Marvel Universe there are characters, heroes and villains, who wield what they claim to be magic, or who claim to be gods or demons. Dr. Strange and Thor, Loki and Mephisto, Daimon Hellstrom and Satana, Valkyrie and the White Tiger, they all use magic trinkets, learn spells, or claim to be members of the Aesir or children of the devil.
At the same time there are atheists like Giant Man, Mr. Fantastic or SpOck, agnostics like Dr. Bruce Banner, Tony Stark or Luke Cage, and characters like Nightcrawler, Firebird, the Thing, or Dust, who are Catholic, Jewish or Muslim, who need to work alongside Thor, Dr. Strange, the Black Knight, White Tiger, Iron Fist, and Valkyrie, to save the world.
Reed Richards views a magical trinket as something that needs to be examined in a lab, to further man’s understanding of science. Dr. Doom views the same trinket as a mystic talisman that he can use to conquer Belgium. Doom would not risk prodding the talisman apart for risk of blowing up central Europe; Richards would put his goggles on, lower the force fields in his lab, and then spend three hours on the phone arguing with his insurance adjuster about reimbursement for said lab.
tl;dr: It is possible for two (or more) people to experience the same event or see the same phenomenon, and for one to interpret the evidence as a sign of G-d’s existence, and the other to interpret the evidence as a sign that there is no G-d (chas v’chalillah).
Yes, but neither of those people -chose- to believe one way or the other. Doctor Doom and Reed Richards have different worldviews that inform their interpretation of events, but neither of them chose those worldviews or the effect that it has on their conclusions. I agree with HiEv. You don’t -choose- your faith, you’re convinced of it. And if you lose it, it’s because you were convinced that it was wrong.
As much as I’d like to give you an equally delightful reply as the High Evolutionary, Heavensrun has already cut to the point: the fact that different people interpret some things in different ways isn’t evidence that the beliefs they have were chosen with intent, it’s merely evidence that they have different beliefs.
People believe what makes the most sense to them, because it makes the most sense to them, not because they intentionally decide to believe it.
For some people, theism is just as real as anything else. There’s no doctrine that states what people perceive is true. But perceptions are basically all we have, and while somebody else’s may seem ridiculous, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they haven’t carefully considered the alternatives, and “choose” their lifestyle accordingly.
@Shobo: You’re writing like you disagree with something I’ve written, but none of what you wrote actually disagrees with any of my points. The fact that perceptions can be fooled should be fairly obvious, but whether you perceive that the “overwhelming evidence” is pro-God or not, it is this perception that causes your belief, and not a conscious choice.
Also, while you can choose your lifestyle, that doesn’t mean you can choose your beliefs.
You’re making a lot of assumptions about how people perceive reality. There are people that know, and even believe the veracity of, this ‘overwhelming’ evidence and still choose to be religious, so it is a choice. Not to mention, there’s still the choice of how you want to identify yourself as. Dorothy even specifically mentions Unitarianism as an alternative path she may choose, but she didn’t.
Unitarian-Universalism and atheism aren’t mutually exclusive; my guess is Dorothy would continue to be an atheist even if she became a UU.
I know, that’s what I’m saying. If nothing else, she chose what label to refer to herself with, or what precise position to identify with.
I’m not making the assumptions you’re assuming I’m assuming. ;-D
The fact is, if they aren’t convinced by “overwhelming evidence” then it isn’t “overwhelming” to them, is it?
Also, I never stated that the “overwhelming evidence” has to be against gods. Some people perceive the “overwhelming evidence” as being pro-God, and thus they’re convinced to be a theist. I’m not saying they’re right, just that their perceptions form their beliefs, rather than it being a deliberate choice.
Again, find someone who can choose to believe that milk doesn’t exist and actually stop believing it, as opposed to merely pretending, and you might have a case that people can choose their beliefs.
Finally, I totally agree you can choose your own label, though this leads to some people choosing incorrect labels or refusing accurate ones *cough*.
The idea of evidence for a disbelief still makes no sense.
Evidence for a disbelief is evidence that contradicts the belief you’re disbelieving. If you tell me there’s a five foot tall elephant in my living room, the empty space in front of me is my evidence for disbelieving you.
I was thinking of writing a comment expressing exactly this objection, thank you.
Or how about they mean “chose” as “accepted” or “realized she believed”? Although belief can be malleable for some, but we don’t need to be quite that literal-minded about EVERY word said.
Yeah, I agree with HiEv’s assertion that belief isn’t chosen, but I think the sense in which Dotty’s parents were speaking was that they didn’t push her in any direction, and after looking at the world, this was the direction she went.
@VZG: That’s pretty much exactly what I was trying to say in the last sentence of my post where I talked about it maybe being shorthand for something else.
You know, I was never overly fond of Joyce but this earned her some points in that she tried to defend her friend even when it inherently meant she was defending atheism to even a small extent. While I don’t really care either way on the whole god front it’s nice to see that she can set those things aside when it’s clear what she should do. I probably worded that confusingly but hey that’s just my two cents.
After she said in the last panel of the last strip that it doesn’t matter if her non religious friend lies since she’d go to hell anyway. Joyce is just slightly less terrible than her asshole parents.
Honestly, that’s the sort of half-joking comment you get from people who haven’t carefully considered the consequences of their beliefs. Or alternately, who -has-, and is worried enough about it to joke.
Well on the bright side of things, Joyce’s brother seems to be a decent person. Or at least reasonable. Too soon to tell right now.
Just wait until he meets Ethan and they start flirting with each other.
(Yes, I’m calling it now: Joyce’s brother is gay.)
My expectation is that Joyce’s close-minded, bigoted parents have a progressively bigger freakout (banning Joyce from speaking with Dorothy, for example) until something sets them off entirely. Finding out Joyce’s roommate isn’t white, for example.
Remember, Joyce was much more afraid of her DAD finding out about the bad things that happened at the party than her mom — and her mom is openly enraged at the mere existence of an atheist family. Joyce’s dad has to be 100% grade A psychopath in comparison.
AHHHH that would be an awesome twist!
They already met her roommate, though.
Yeah, this. And they didn’t have a problem with it. I mean, they were kinda quaintly unmaliciously racist about it, but not in any hateful way.
My religious family was never this bad. Yes, no Halloween and some other weirdness. I think I went to a lot of Jesus festivals. But were my parents ever rude to people of other faiths? Never. They took the not judging part really serious and so long as you weren’t a physical or emotional danger to their kids, it was live and let live. ‘Course they all believe they’ll be in Heaven while us sinners are going to Hell but they’ll still enjoy us while we’re all on Earth together…
I like how the word “places” is in bold type.
“Come on, Joyce, we have… PLACES!… to be.”
Ouch, check out the death scowl from Mrs Brown in panel 3.
Man, I don’t know what Bruce Wayne’s always bongoing about. Parents suck.
I’ve got to wonder what the religious views of Dorothy’s parents are, that they could raise her “areligiously” and think this could lead to anything but irreligion.
(Then again, if she does plan to run for President… maybe she’ll find religion around, oh, 20 or so… *cough*)
My parents are Pagan, but pretty much raised me ‘areligiously’. I went to church with my grandparents when I would spend the weekend with them, and I would take part in (for lack of a better word) services my parents were a part of, but there wasn’t any pressure to believe any of it unless I chose to. Not to mention, there are people that convert from being atheist to deist.
That’s like saying atheists and agnostics can never be parents to people of any religion ever. Many people can and do choose or accept new religions later in life, whether they had one before or not.
My parents did exactly the same thing with me. I was a fairly religious boy up until the age of 14, because everybody else around me -relatives, neighbours- was Catholic and it was like the default option; but then I grew up a little more and starting questioning things, and all the mental and emotional conditioning that would have made me stick to my religion just wasn’t there; it all fell apart instantly. It was like shedding an old skin.
Joshua. Joshua is my new favorite character.
All else aside, you have to really enjoy how much Dorothy’s parents support and are actively proud of Dorothy’s decision to be an atheist, regardless of what effect it has on her social situation. That’s some top-notch parenting in my book.
and with that I finished the whole series to date this week end.
Yay! Unitarian Universalism in pop culture!
Totally lolled at the punchline. My parents still go to the UU fellowship near their house. 🙂
Joyce’s parents were a lot cooler in the Walkyverse. *pouts*
Being from Northern Ireland I’ve experienced quite a bit of this sort of thing. Thankfully when I went to university it did get a lot better. Turns out that science focused unis in England are very atheist friendly.
Joyce’s mom looks like she’s ready to kick some non-believer ass. Holy shit son I’m terrified.
FTR, as a European reader I still have trouble wrapping my head around the notion that ,in America of all places, people can become pariahs for being atheists.
Because religion is optional here, people use it to create an in-group/out-group mentality.
Dunno, I’m not sure that explains it. The in-group/out-group attitude would extend to other religious groups too, wouldn’t it? And religion’s mostly optional in Europe too. I’ve never known even the Irish to get so worked up about someone being an atheist, and they’re supposed to be the most traditional, religious-minded people around here.
On the agnostic/atheist debate, I think it’s belittling to tell people how to identify.
I’m a British agnostic. You could call me an English atheist instead, but that’s not how I think of myself, even if it were technically true. And you could try telling a Welshman; ‘but you’re actually British because Wales is part of Britain’, that would not go down well at all. This is how telling people they must describe themselves as atheist is coming across.
The community with which people self-identify is more important than the dictionary definition. As David Crystal says, no-one ever died for the Plain English campaign.
I like how they were perfectly ready to accept the difference so long as they didn’t have to respect it.
I just saved this comic as “WE GOT MENTIONED OUTSIDE OF NPR!”
As Unitarian Universalist and Pagan I’m amused by this comic.
My first though in the last last panel was,”oh come on, the first UU reference in the comic and it had to that?”
Im from Latin america and the thing with the religion isn’t THAT of a matter here, most of the people actually is cristian and stuff, and most of the youngsters are atheist… so i cant understand this thing with religion
I was also raised areligiously. wound up choosing Mormonism.
no san diego comic-con, the sorries
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