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As I didn't say to the archbishop - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

There is a false ( and new? ) distinction between believers and rationalists?!? I guess you can be a believer and rational until you enter your religious bubble of delusion. I think I can find someone to tell me how an ipad works! I am also capable of seeing hope beyond the trials and " finity " of existence, just not for my infinite existence. There is more to hope than the selfish type of the religious. One can hope for the world that you will not be in forever.

All in all, a weak article.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 04:41:52 UTC | #558660

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 2 by Atheist Mike

I guess it must be recomforting for religious people to think they can be rational even though they have irrational beliefs. That's probably why they talk about atheists as if they were some kind of church.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 04:47:45 UTC | #558661

beanson's Avatar Comment 3 by beanson

It is not "logical" to imagine that faith could disappear anyway. It is natural to seek hope beyond the trials and finity of existence. If the big religions were destroyed, humanity would simply invent new, smaller, madder ones. Thousands of them. The man who attempts to argue both that religious difference causes violent bloodshed and that the big faiths should be dismantled is therefore being short-sighted, obtuse and not very clever.

blonde argument

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 05:15:15 UTC | #558665

Andrew B.'s Avatar Comment 4 by Andrew B.

Comment 1 by Neodarwinian :

There is a false ( and new? ) distinction between believers and rationalists?!? I guess you can be a believer and rational until you enter your religious bubble of delusion. I think I can find someone to tell me how an ipad works! I am also capable of seeing hope beyond the trials and " finity " of existence, just not for my infinite existence. There is more to hope than the selfish type of the religious. One can hope for the world that you will not be in forever.

All in all, a weak article.

aHA! But you'd just be taking their explanation on faith! See? You atheists do have faith! Agnosticism is more sensible than atheism and Darwin invented homosexuality and the g-spot. Without religions we would have no sense of the sacred and all of those little communion wafers would be at the mercy of the new atheist death-squads.

Sure, one could claim that religious arguments support misogyny and homophobia, but we believers could offer convincing rebuttals (which are so self-evident that they need not be stated here or anywhere).

Also, something about watermelons.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 05:16:57 UTC | #558666

SoHelpMeReason's Avatar Comment 5 by SoHelpMeReason

...

ALL RIGHT PEOPLE.

We're doing this Atheist Church thing!

We've got 8 zillion to the barnyard animal, dammit, someone's got to have an empty warehouse! Now no one contribute anything, but let's all claim membership. We'll paint nothing on the front, and you're not allowed to attend.

Punishment: public castration.

I nominate Richard Dawkins to be our pope.

Say you wouldn't mind wearing a dress, professor?

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 05:17:49 UTC | #558667

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 6 by MilitantNonStampCollector

What a load of empty drivel! And yet another person who hasn't heard of the phrase "agnostic atheist", even so, she thinks agnosticism is more logical than atheism but fails to give good reasons why.

An agnostic is basically saying: you can’t in good conscience tell your children there are no monsters under their beds. After all, you can’t be certain. Same goes for the cosmic dictator.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 05:20:41 UTC | #558668

Rodger T's Avatar Comment 7 by Rodger T

From the comments,

          Atheism is a religion but nobody belives(sic)in it.

Looooool, brilliant.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 06:04:46 UTC | #558673

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 8 by xmaseveeve

Why can't you buy your goldfish a present?

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 06:07:08 UTC | #558674

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 9 by xmaseveeve

'All we'd have to replace it is a trust in altruism, which is certainly no less naive than believing in God.'

What a sad world to live in. You should speak for yourself. I believe in humanity. By that, I mean being moral, not purchasing fire insurance.

The idea of God is so great, etc. - existence is not a quality.

I'm not surprised that the religious feel silly. They are silly.

'You'd be better off sending in Gillian McKeith.' - great idea - she would be able to examine your jobbies.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 06:19:58 UTC | #558676

mmurray's Avatar Comment 10 by mmurray

Oh, nonsense," I said. "Let them tell you it's stupid to believe in something you can't explain. Then ask them how an iPad works."

That is just so embarrassing. She can't tell the difference between something she can't explain and something nobody can explain. Is that really all it takes to be a journalist these days? Can I get a job at the Guardian ? I promise to write complete drivel.

Michael

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 06:25:39 UTC | #558677

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 11 by Neodarwinian

@ Andrew B

Why would I take an explanation on how an ipad works on faith instead of hopeful skepticism that would be fulfilled if the thing worked by experimentation, that is my working it. When someone tells me how something works he has set up a hypothesis. If you do this, then this will happen. This can be falsified and has nothing to do with faith.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 06:28:39 UTC | #558679

beanson's Avatar Comment 12 by beanson

Comment Removed by Author

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 06:30:22 UTC | #558680

Andrew B.'s Avatar Comment 13 by Andrew B.

Comment 11 by Neodarwinian :

@ Andrew B

Why would I take an explanation on how an ipad works on faith instead of hopeful skepticism that would be fulfilled if the thing worked by experimentation, that is my working it. When someone tells me how something works he has set up a hypothesis. If you do this, then this will happen. This can be falsified and has nothing to do with faith.

Oh. Uh. I guess I was too stingy with my sarcasm, then?

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 06:54:39 UTC | #558683

Flapjack's Avatar Comment 14 by Flapjack

The Ipad analogy is pretty poor. With an Ipad you can at least access technical data, user manuals or find someone who understands electronic components to give you a rundown of the basic technology behind it. Understanding god is like understanding an Ipad that doesn't exist with a technical spec dreamt up by someone who's never used one or even seen one. And if you ask them how it works they give you an answer like "well whatever you feel about the Ipad is probably right" or "you can't ask questions like that about the Ipad", or "Ipad is within all of us like that telescreen on the teletubbies" or "I feel in my gut that it works though I've never witnessed one that worked" or "my TV set gets 48 channels and I put that down to having a good Ipad" or "this manual written in 2000 BC explains everything about it".

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 06:56:28 UTC | #558684

Haymaker's Avatar Comment 15 by Haymaker

Oh, nonsense," I said. "Let them tell you it's stupid to believe in something you can't explain. Then ask them how an iPad works."

In the style of "Only Connect" that is ' _ tt _ rb_ lls h_t.' What is a ridiculous comparison. I have no idea how an ipad works either but if I really wanted to know I could ask someone who works for Apple and I know I would be given FACTS, or I could go to the Apple factory with a guide and actually watch the things been made. Ask a Theologian (Actually I hate that word, how can it be an 'ology', can it rank as a science? ) how God works and by definition the best he or she can ever do is just waffle on about something no one can ever be sure about.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 07:02:41 UTC | #558686

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 16 by Richard Dawkins

I have read that Rowan Williams is a brilliant, world-class theologian. I'd like to believe this because I can testify that he is an exceptionally nice man. But what is there in theology to be brilliant and world-class about? What, as I have said before, makes anyone think theology is a subject at all?

Richard

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 08:57:03 UTC | #558691

Hideous Dwarf's Avatar Comment 17 by Hideous Dwarf

I always thought that Victoria Coren was quite bright, but she comes across here as a smart-alec air-head - an attempt at Wildean wit but only getting half way there. She drags up the old pleading that religion is necessary for morality, a long dead debate that shows her as out of touch. But her most serious error lies in her idea that the failure of religionists to defend 'The Faith' is down to a lack of will rather than a lack of rational argument. Of course Blair was no match for Hitchens, but who do they have who would be? And if the atheist side played it fairer by not putting up the greatest debater of all time, it could choose from hundreds who would defeat the best of religion's advocates with ease. I even have some sympathy with those few Godly types who dare to enter the debating chamber in a vain attempt to defend the indefensible. You couldn't fault them on courage.

Perhaps Victoria would like to issue a challenge to Hitchens, but I bet she won't.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 09:09:10 UTC | #558693

retep57's Avatar Comment 18 by retep57

victoria is not worthy to tie Christopher's shoelaces

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 09:14:14 UTC | #558694

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 19 by Steve Zara

Suppose I decided to take up theology (I know it's relatively late in life, but it's always good to expand your mind). I don't much like examinations. I still have occasional nightmares about my degree exams - typically I turn up for a statistics test and find that I have missed part of the course and I'm also being examined on my ability to speak German. However, I'm having a problem thinking about assessment of theology. How is it possible for any answer given in a theology exam to be marked wrong?

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 09:17:10 UTC | #558695

RDfan's Avatar Comment 20 by RDfan

Why stop at theology? I wonder sometimes if the social sciences as a whole (history, sociology, economics etc) can be said to be subjects at all? They're generally untestable, have no predictive value, rely mainly on the force of assertion and persuasion (sometimes based on flimsy evidence - if at all), and their hypotheses change almost at the same rate as there are people willing to put forward their ideas on any given topic. What did the social sciences ever do for us other than provide entertainment fodder?

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 09:54:14 UTC | #558700

keith's Avatar Comment 21 by keith

How is it possible for any answer given in a theology exam to be marked wrong?

Q. How many days did it take God to create everything (including His day of rest)?

A. Eight

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 09:56:09 UTC | #558701

Jonathan Dore's Avatar Comment 22 by Jonathan Dore

Very disappointing. I've always enjoyed Victoria Coren's evident wit and dry humour on "Only Connect" (her BBC4 quiz show), but this ... well, it's ill-thought-through drivel. Clearly someone who simply hasn't been paying attention to the actual arguments.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 10:05:43 UTC | #558705

hairybreeks's Avatar Comment 23 by hairybreeks

Oh, nonsense," I said. "Let them tell you it's stupid to believe in something you can't explain. Then ask them how an iPad works."

This witty retort depends on some atheist actually saying "it's stupid to believe in something you can't explain". I don't recall anyone (atheist or otherwise) saying such a thing.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 10:10:16 UTC | #558709

RDfan's Avatar Comment 24 by RDfan

Comment 21 by keith:

Q. How many days did it take God to create everything (including His day of rest)? A. Eight

Correct.

(Lecturer's notes: Keith, whatever works for you works for the Lord. And, remember, the Lord works in mysterious ways!)

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 10:11:31 UTC | #558710

alexandersafir's Avatar Comment 25 by alexandersafir

I think this is the saddest article I've read all year.

A moment's thought would show any theist, who is looking for that army of great intellectual wits to come along, just why that will never happen. Can "theism" ever have "witty thinkers"? Isn't it intellectually stultifying to think that you must be told what is "doctrinal", told what is "heresy"; in short, told what to believe?

Fully three readings of her essay later, and I am in no way dissuaded from my initial assumption that theists seem universally to be morbidly stuck on their sect's "moral framework", stuck on the idiotic "fundamentalist atheist" meme, stuck on Religion (usually their own) as a kind of Leviathan, and fail to simply comprehend the honest objections people have for belief in gods.

I was terribly and sincerely disappointed.

I always hope for a decent intellectual (or moral) challenge from the worshippers of gods. It did not come, yet again. Her essay actually answered the very question she posed, but I don't think she realized it. Someone who has to be told what to believe is not really going to be able to offer "serious intellectual resistance", now are they?

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 10:17:28 UTC | #558713

Lapithes's Avatar Comment 26 by Lapithes

Does this mean we are finally about to hear some good arguments then? By God I hope so.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 10:21:40 UTC | #558714

Michael Gray's Avatar Comment 27 by Michael Gray

Damn. There goes my glowingly positive opinions of both Vicky Coren and Miranda Hart in one fell swoop. It seems that that they are both ignorant, infantile imbeciles.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 10:24:51 UTC | #558715

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 28 by Peter Grant

I believe in God and I'm perfectly intelligent and rational.

So what? Your beliefs about faeries can be entirely rational and consistent, but unless they are evidence based there is no reason to take them seriously.

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 10:25:16 UTC | #558716

keith's Avatar Comment 29 by keith

Generally I don't re-post things but since no one offered an opinion last time around I want to try again. The talk of atheism being a religion reminded me of something Julian Baggini wrote on the topic of whether or not atheism is empty of content (i.e. what non-stamp collecting is to hobbies). He believes that atheism does have content and his argument goes as follows:

Long ago no one believed in the Loch Ness monster. There was no name for such non-believers since everyone was one. One day someone claimed to have taken a photo of a monster and soon lots of people came to believe in it. They were known as 'Nessies'. As time wore on unbelief became the minority view and unbelievers were given a name, too: They were A-Nessies.

Now, the worldview of the A-Nessies hasn't changed at all so if it's true that A-Nessieism really is empty of content, then surely it must always have been so, even before a belief in Nessie arose. But this can't be right...can it?

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 10:25:25 UTC | #558717

ridelo's Avatar Comment 30 by ridelo

Haven't all those intelligent, religious people done their best in writing libraries full of smart alec books about theology for centuries and still nothing found that from far would look like a proof for the existence of a god? Wass willst du noch mehr, mein Liebchen?

Sun, 05 Dec 2010 10:25:59 UTC | #558718