Why It’s So Hard to Discuss Guns Rationally With Some People

courtesy themainewire.com

I have a colleague who, until the Sandy Hook shooting, was very congenial, even complimentary. Though we don’t teach in the same department, we always got along very well, frequently chatting in more depth than merely exchanging greetings. And then one morning, I chanced onto a conversation between him and another teacher about school shootings. The encounter occurred shortly after Sandy Hook, while the issues raised by it were still very much the rage. He asked me if I thought arming staff was a good idea . . .

I should have known better, but I naively plowed ahead, expecting the same kind of cordial, collegial conversation we’d always enjoyed to that point.

He employed appeals to emotion. I countered with logic. He became outraged and questioned my humanity. I replied with calm and fact. Ultimately, I said “It all comes down to this: when an armed killer is walking down the hallway toward your classroom, do you want yourself and other teachers to be disarmed, or would you prefer that they be armed and able to defend lives?”

Displaying great disgust and exasperation, he actually threw up his arms and that was the end of the conversation. It took nearly a year before he would acknowledge my presence again and more time before he would exchange greetings with me. “Progressives” often claim that conservatives are anti-science and that refuse to deal with facts. The reality is, as illustrated by my conversation with my colleague, quite different.

Why do progressives deny the right to self-defense? Why do they refuse to acknowledge the benefit firearms provide society? Why do they ignore the Second Amendment (and any other part of the Constitution they find inconvenient)? Why would they deny children and teachers the only proven, effective means to protect their very lives when the worst-case scenario comes to pass?

There are three primary factors involved. To buy into these factors, one need not even consider themselves a progressive, they merely need to be a statist, one who believes in the supremacy of government. For the progressive/statist — first and foremost — government is the solution to every problem, therefore governmental power must always be increased, taxes must always rise, income must always be redistributed and only elite of self-imagined experts are qualified to run the nation and the lives of its citizens. For their own benefit, of course.

The common man isn’t capable of knowing what’s best for them. In order for statism to exist and flourish, individualism and individual rights must be continually diminished. The rights of the individual can’t be allowed to hinder the inevitable growth and power of the state and the wise and benevolent diktats of the elite ruling class. It is this attitude, and the second factor, that allows the progressive/statist to deny that unalienable rights exist. The foremost of unalienable, natural rights is the right to self-defense. Without it, what other right truly matters?

The second factor: a refusal to acknowledge the existence of any power higher than themselves. In essence, they refuse to acknowledge the existence of God. For some, this lack of belief is nothing more than being made uncomfortable by the idea that there is One greater than themselves, than their current maximum, cult-of-personality leader, than the state itself. For others, progressivism/statism takes on all of the characteristics of a religion; it become a matter of unquestionable faith. For such people, believing in God is essentially apostasy.

As it relates to the Second Amendment, these two factors make it not only possible, indeed, mandatory for the progressive/statist to deny the unalienable right to self-defense. If there is no God, the individual human life has only the value recognized by the state at any given moment. The individual exists only in service to the state, and the value of their life is measured by the individual’s adherence to the state’s goals and their usefulness to the elite ruling class. That being the case, there’s nothing particularly unique or precious about any individual, therefore an unalienable right to self-defense is nothing but an annoying impediment to the larger, more important goals of the state.

Indeed, God need not even be involved for the committed statist to deny the existence of any right of self-defense. Any unalienable right is an inherent limitation on the power of the state, and no such limitation can be acknowledged. Whether such rights are bestowed by God or invented as a result of human philosophy matters not. The power of the state cannot be diminished, and if the individual is allowed control over their own existence — if that control is bestowed by God which is far more powerful than the state — the power of the state becomes illegitimate and unquestionably hampered.

In any case, if there is no unalienable right to self-defense, there can be no right to keep and bear arms, or as progressives/statists often argue, such “right” guarantees nothing more than the privilege to carry arms in the military—in the service of the state and its ruling elite—and perhaps for hunting or sport shooting under highly restrictive circumstances.

To such arguments, conservatives and others commonly point to the Constitution and particularly, to the Bill of Rights. This is why progressives/statists argue for a “living Constitution,” which is another way of saying that the Constitution says what they want it to say and means what they want it to mean at any given moment. The better to legitimize whichever progressive/statist policy they wish to implement. This is also why progressives/statists labor to install judges who reflect the “living Constitution” frame of mind. Politics are too fickle; better to have true believers legislating from the bench when it’s not, for the moment, possible to impose progressive orthodoxy through the legislative process when the masses are temporarily rebelling against the elite.

The third factor — useful, indeed absolutely necessary, when all else fails — is the unshakeable belief in the brilliance and infallibility of progressivism/statism. Progressivism/statism is infallible—it cannot possibly be wrong—and it is also non-falsifiable, which allows the statist to shrug off any scientific, logical assault.

An instructive example is the Clinton gun ban, in effect for a decade (1994-2004). The ban restricted a favorite bugaboo of progressives/statists: the so-called “assault weapon.” A magazine capacity limitation of ten rounds was also a feature of the law. At the end of the decade, the law was allowed to sunset with only token progressive resistance. This was due primarily to a citizen backlash that swept substantial numbers of Democrats out of office, and also the undeniable fact that the ban accomplished nothing in terms of public safety. The “assault weapon” ban and magazine capacity limitations were a failure, if the consideration was enhanced public safety.

However, to this day, proponents of the same kinds of restrictions on the Second Amendment argue that ten years was far too little time. Only permanent bans could possible allow the magnificent benefits of such policies to reveal themselves. To the extent that the ban didn’t work, it was really only because they didn’t go far enough. Much more restrictive laws, in effect, absolute bans on semi-automatic firearms—a technology more than a century old—are needed to produce the appropriate and obvious benefits progressives/statists seek.

In other words, if any statist policy is seen to fail, it’s merely a misunderstanding. Statist policies cannot fail, therefore, insufficient money has been spent, the policy is not restrictive and punitive enough, and not nearly enough time has been allocated to allow the policy to work its magic.

“But,” opponents say, “the facts prove otherwise. They prove the policy is a failure, or that it costs far too much, or that it is destructive of liberty, or it violates the Constitution.”  This too does not matter.  Because progressive/statist policy is a matter of faith, and cannot possibly be wrong, how can it be falsified—proved to be false or a failure?  The solution to the apparent failure of progressivism/statism is always more, more expensive and more fervently oppressive progressivism/statism.

Thus is the anti-science hypocrisy of the progressive/statist is revealed. The very basis of science is falsifiability.  If a theory can’t be falsified—proved wrong—it isn’t science. All theories must be confirmable, using the same data and methods used to establish them, or alternatively, must be capable of being proved wrong. A theory that can only be supported, never falsified, is outside the realm of science. Therefore when a politician or scientist claims that the science is “settled,” or there is a “consensus” that proves or supports their policy, they are appealing to political will and/or faith, not to science or reason.

For my colleague, these three factors—and perhaps others—rendered my arguments ineffective. Indeed, because any challenge to progressive/statist orthodoxy can’t possibly be valid, and because progressives/statists believe themselves concerned only with making the world better—even though many of those whose lives they seek to improve cannot or will not see their good intentions or the brilliance of their policies—anyone opposing them must be evil and must wish to harm others.

Therefore, anyone who advocates the voluntary arming of school staff must wish to destroy a pristine educational environment and harm children. Anyone who believes the Second Amendment clearly acknowledges the individual right to keep and bear arms wants millions to die from “gun violence.” Anyone who advocates concealed carry desires societal chaos, murder, and so on.

This is why it’s so difficult, often impossible, to calmly discuss Second Amendment issues with a committed progressive/statist. Any opposition is not only an attack on their belief system, but on their self-image. Anyone expressing a differing opinion is not merely deluded, but evil. This is also why virtually all of those who claim to want to engage in “dialogue,” or who want to “compromise” on “common sense,” “reasonable” gun policies are being disingenuous. How might one compromise with evil, with those who are trying to harm the virtuous and caring? What compromise is possible with those seeking to diminish the power of the state and increase the power of the individual?

This doesn’t mean one shouldn’t try—there is such a thing as a former or recovering progressive or statist—and more are converted every day. But it’s a frustrating and often fruitless pursuit.

356 Responses to Why It’s So Hard to Discuss Guns Rationally With Some People

  1. avatarCraig says:

    Here’s my take on whether or not there is a God:

    I’ll call you when I get there.

    • avatarMark N. says:

      The existence or nonexistence of God or Gods is not a logical nor scientific dispute, rather it is a question of faith. To suggest that progressives do not believe in God is plainly false, as there are innumerable people of faith–for example the Rabbis who went to Germany to plead with Glock to impose “sensible” gun controls on their sales– is an argument that is neither logical nor factual. Further, it is insulting to the atheists who believe in no god or gods, but fervently believe that the state should serve the individual, as it was laid down by our founding fathers, rather than that the individual should serve the State (which is indeed the premise of your argument). Leave religion out of this debate; it has no proper place here.

      • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

        A million times this. To insist that atheism correlates with statism and gun control is absurd and baseless.

        According to most recent polls on the subject the amount of actual atheists in the US is only somewhere between 1.6% and 6%. Like mentioned above, if someone is campaigning for statism and gun control there is still a VERY good chance that they believe in some sort of higher power.

        • avatarGene says:

          Just gecause they go to a church and say they have faith doesn’t mean much. That is called marketing and advertising. As someone has said before, you can stand in a garage and say “honk honk” all you want but it will not make you a car.

      • avatarStuki says:

        Leaving any specific religion out of it, makes sense. But absent any possible religion, it is lots harder to appeal to rights which trump any possible concern a state may have; i.e. inalienable ones. One can still, with a bit of finesse, argue for “scientifically derived”, rights trumping the whims of whomever happens to be the current state, as progressivism advocates.. But one will inevitably stand on a weaker footing than if simply following the will of God himself.

        • avatarRich Grise says:

          Free Will arose from Mother Nature. She created the Universe and all of the living things when God said, “Let there be light” and so on. All of evolution, from the Big Bang to the formation of stars and galaxies and supernovae, culminating in us, has been, from God’s point of view, God making the heavens and Earth, and sculpting a man from the dust of the ground, all by incantation and hand waving.

          From Mother Nature’s point of view, it hasn’t been quite such a walk in the park.
          http://www.godchannel.com
          http://rightuseofwill.com/index.html

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          The Big Bang Theory is merely religion disguised as science:

          http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/bang.php

          That’s why I reject it. I believe in the Big Bean Theory. :D

        • avatarCArd says:

          We don’t need a god to argue self defence. All animals, including humans, have the natural right to defend themselves. Who gives a crap about what the state thinks.

          Where does the natural right descend from? Punch a bear in the face and find out.

      • avatarM J Johnson says:

        I was with the author until he perpetuated the lie that Progressives don’t believe in God. Then the entire article became dead to me. One of the advantages we pro-gunners proclaim is that we have reason and logic on our side. That isn’t entirely true, as this article shows. And I guarantee you, the anti-gunners will use this article against us. Religion has no place in this debate.

    • avatarDoug says:

      Only the police give you one phone call.

    • avatarjoleme says:

      I was with him until the god comment.

      I’m not sure why some pro-gun people need to split pro-gun supporters by making such statements. It’s one of the reason’s I tend to feel uncomfortable around some large groups of gun supporters. I myself am very pro-gun. I see no reason to limit the 2nd amendment. Inevitably however, it seems like someone always has to start a religion talk and ends up being a “only us god fearing men are in the right”.

      I think you need to assess your own religious discriminating views.

      • avatarBill Wiese says:

        Thumper Author lost me at his Gawd comment.

        Plenty of us atheists in the gunfights movement. Associating religion with gun rights only harms the latter.

        I will ask the author, a Thumper, what he’s done for gun rights. I, an antiThumper, have likely done far more than he has – 600,000 new black rifles into CA that were previously regarded as banned, shooting holes in the ‘safe’ Handgun Roster, vastly dropping the costs of legal defense of gun owners, etc.

        Gawd is dead and I’d shoot him if I saw him(her? it?)

        -Bill

        • avatarRoss says:

          Good luck with that.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          While you’re at it, will you ask him if he has an autographed first edition of the Bible? I represent a very motivated buyer.

          Seriously, though, I believe if there’s a God, and he’s read the Bible, he’d issue a recall of them all.

        • avatarRich Grise says:

          “Seriously, though, I believe if there’s a God, and he’s read the Bible, he’d issue a recall of them all.”

          There is, and he has, and he wants to apologize for being an Infinite Asshole:
          http://www.godchannel.com/anguish.html

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          My sense is that this God/Satan thing (leaving out Lucifer, who appears to be another thing altogether) is only a good cop/bad cop scam writ very large.

        • avatarRich Grise says:

          “The spectrum of the Spirit Polarity goes from Lucifer on the extreme left to Ahriman on the extreme right, with your spirit and my loving Light, of course, in the center. Lucifer is warm, earthy, sweet and sexual, and often mean, brutish and demanding. Ahriman is cool, mental, astringent and rational, and quite detached and judgmental.

          While Lucifer is sly, Ahriman is clever, and they both hate the Mother, but for different reasons. In a face to face battle, Ahriman will always outwit Lucifer, and yet Lucifer will sometimes win with sheer force of ill intent and ‘dirty tricks’.”
          http://www.godchannel.com/redemption.html

      • avatarJAS says:

        I can guarantee you from talking to people that were at Omaha beach in WWII, the first thought that came to their minds when a supersonic round went inches by them was: “Oh my GOD, don’t let me die here”. They prayed.

        And that is from those that were there. Once you find yourself in the same situation you too will pray. Why? because at the point you will realize that the outcome is not up to you.

        • avatarBradN says:

          I’ve got Atheists family members in the military who served overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. The whole “no Atheists in foxholes” argument is stupid. Saying to yourself “I hope I survive this” is not the same as “god please help me”.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          I am an agnostic who happens to believe there is benefit in prayer, and exercise that belief.

          The problem comes when you’re praying for something for yourself, something known as Selfish Prayer. I refuse to pray for anything specific. It’s enough to just pray.

        • avatarBill Wiese says:

          My late dad was on B17s over Germany in WWII.

          I can assure you despite the danger he was not the prayerful type. (He kept a good luck token in his pocket more as family memorabilia than anything.)

          Jeezus couldn’t shoot down P51s.

    • avatarrlc2 says:

      Good article, Mike. I agree with a couple others here that its a mistake to conflate statist philosopy with religion. If only because it generates the objections and denials, and side arguments about religion, that take us all off point of this article- which is really good, and your example is a powerful story-

      how to counter the irrational thinking of the anti-gunners, thru engagement, information, and education, while staying out of the personal insults and emotional thinking thats all they have left once they cant speak to the facts.

      I did get your general point, however, which I took to be that statists in general, in their belief in top-down government control being the answer, are the threat to our individual liberty and the God-given natural rights to self-defense, and that is why the Founders wisely wrote that into the Consitution and Bill of Rights.

      And with respect to the many many wise posters here, while I respect your right to your religious beliefs, and would enjoy a debate, pls – just not here. I think we can agree we agree on 2A rights,
      and would only humbly offer, that it would be counterproductive, and even a tactic of trolls, to go OT, and stimulate the circular firing squad…arguing about how many angels can dance upon the head of a pin…

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_many_angels_can_dance_on_the_head_of_a_pin%3F

      Besides, there is only ONE caliber, that would be .40S&W, and One Gun To Rule Them All = G23. :-)

  2. avatarBernard says:

    Very good.

  3. avatarHannibal says:

    What rambling nonsense. You really need to trust in a magical zombie (that watches you while you sin) in order to believe in self-defense? What a small universe you must live in.

    • avatarAnother Robert says:

      I don’t think you have to believe in God to support individual rights, including the right to self-defense. Right now, I personally don’t know whether I believe in the God as described in the Bible or not, I’m in a state of spiritual flux on that issue. But you don’t have to be so harsh about people that do.

      • avatarDoug says:

        Those who believe in God have a logical basis to affirm human worth and dignity. If God made you in His image, then you have an “inalienable” claim to be worth something special. The Founders of this American republic, whether theistic or deist, definitely bought into a theistic worldview.

        Evolutionists often do affirm human worth and dignity, and are correct to do so, but they do so from a starting point postulating they are random, accidental and ephemeral. That is a real stretch, and not very logical.

        • avatarRoss says:

          This.

        • avatarCArd says:

          Do you value your own life? Do you value the lives of others? If either of those is true, why is it a logical stretch to say that all human lives have value?

          Boom, no gods required.

        • avatarMister Fleas says:

          +1

        • avatarTed says:

          A fictitious man in the sky is not necessary to establish a set of values. A religious man and I both know the difference between right and wrong. The religious man ascribes those values to his/her creator, I ascribe them to my conscience and my humanity. The interesting part of this is that for the most part we agree on those rights and the rules that protect them.

          Free human beings have rights inherent to their humanity by their very existence. How we got here is irrelevant.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Basing morality on conscience, no thanks. Despite your claim, human history, both with and without religious influence, has proven to be the antithesis of your assertions.

        • avatarBDub says:

          B.S. – It takes no mental acrobatics to arrive at the conclusion that the right of self-defense extends to any conscious, self-directed being. Do you really think ascribing yourself some special place and value in the universe, based on a bronze-aged myth about a bearded man in the sky is the more logical path to a morality? Bear in mind this is the same path that can, at the wave of a book and pointing of a finger, declare any group it hates less than human in the sight of God, and then persecute them to death with their myth-logic completely intact.

    • As a recovering atheist/agnostic, I believe it is you who are putting limits on the Universe. Just as you cannot see anyone’s ability to prove the existence of God, it is impossible to prove that God does not exist.

      I accepted God, and my life changed for the better. It took a long time though. Dozens of people prayed for me for decades. Good luck to you.

      As for the article, I believe it to be exactly on. Most committed “progressives” worship the state, and state power. A small fraction of Atheists/Agnostics are for limited government.

      • avatarCharles says:

        You are not thinking rationally if you believe in superstitions.

        • avatardoesky2 says:

          So which camp of atheism do you fall in?
          1) The belief that the universe (something) started from nothing

          or

          2) That something always existed

          Both totally stupid.

          I can understand agnostics, but the cocksure atheists are a real hoot.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          While I like this, I don’t find stupid the belief that the Universe didn’t always exist. If there was a time when it didn’t, what was there before it? Wouldn’t that be something?

          And anyone who claims to have no superstitions is fooling himself, and trying to fool you.

        • avatarJR says:

          Charles,

          Believing in something bigger than yourself, surrendering your pride and committing your life to the service of something other than selfish impulse satisfaction and instant gratification is not “superstition.”

          You betray ignorance regarding what spiritual people believe and what they seek to do with their lives, and with that a very closed mind.

        • avatarStinkeye says:

          doesky2, if the belief that the universe came from nothingness or that reality has always existed is stupid (not the only choices, by the way), would you care to explain where God came from? Because by the same logic you’re using, either He’s always existed, or He came from nothing at some point…

      • avatarBDub says:

        if you “recovered” from being an athiest, I feel fairly confident you didn’t do it right.

    • avatarCA.Ben says:

      Agreed. A nonbelief in god doesn’t mean that you automatically worship the state. What insanity.

      • avatardoesky2 says:

        So you don’t believe in the inalienable right of self defense correct?

        Without God, there is nothing to say that my belief the “The powerful have the right to control the weak” is wrong.

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          Except the human morals and social contracts that prevent it. What a load of bull- I’m an atheist because I put aside the assumption that the existence of the supernatural was the natural state of things and looked for actual evidence. Finding none beyond an argumentum ad populum I rejected those notions, although with actual evidence I would be forced to reconsider them.

          Yet, oddly enough, I’m not a criminal who has no sense of the value of human life and the vast majority of those who wrong others profess belief in God (albeit simply on the basis that statistically most people still do.) Do you honestly believe that morals and empathy are so worthless that the only thing which can prevent undue violence is the threat of a god watching over your shoulder constantly? Given that according to Christianity forgiveness is instantly granted by God after the fact if you just beg repentance, how does that actually force people to respect others??

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          To “projectiledysfunction”,
          The idea of finding evidence for something “supernatural” (by definition “outside of nature”) is truly absurd. When you exist in a natural world that science itself says one cannot see outside of, where exactly did you look?
          Seriously, looking in the right places, quite a bit of evidence does exist. Evidence falls into many categories. There are plenty of things that cannot be scientifically proven, because of the limits of the scientific process, but that does not mean the don’t exist, or can’t be evidenced.
          All “social contracts” are subjective, only when there is a supreme source of the law can such ideas become objective. With a subjective social contract, or even without any, a people do not automatically become criminals or violent, but there is nothing condemning such behavior besides your own reasoning.
          To a believer, thought wrong actions may be forgiven, there is a source of law that condemns such actions. A source of law, and manner of forgiveness for being human.

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          Paul: First you say “of course there’s not evidence for the supernatural!” and then a sentence later say there is. So, tell me, what actual scientific evidence there for the existence of some sort of higher power beyond your gut feelings and a bunch of ancient writings that came from… somewhere? Hint: “we don’t know everything yet after only about 100 years of scientific investigation into the universe” isn’t evidence for magic. If it is that guy on the History channel who just automatically fills in all the blanks with BECAUSE ALIENS (since that’s what he wants to believe) must be right too.

          A lot of religious people fall back to “just because something hasn’t yet been disproven doesn’t mean it’s not yet true” while ignoring that they’re talking about a baseless unfalsifiable belief to begin with. If they consistently applied that they would be forced to believe in everything that had not yet been disproven (even if it was so vague and malleable as to be impossible to disprove.) I’m assuming you believe in ALL religions, then, even though they’re almost all contradictory? Or do you just believe in the one you were born into, like almost everyone else?

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          There are many things that are unable to be subject to the scientific method. Not just God. Trying to dispel his existence because it is one of many things that are beyond scientific verification is inane.

          Apparently you are jumping to conclusions. Evidence does not always mean scientific. Therein lies your error in thinking.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Actually, I was born in one religion, went through a period of agnosticism/atheism, and emerged in a different religion. Also, I have studied many of the other religions of the day, as have plenty of other people. Informed choice. Not contempt prior to investigation, or after cursory inspection.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          “there is nothing to say that my belief the “The powerful have the right to control the weak” is wrong.”

          Sorry, there certainly is: the weak and those less powerful.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Totally subjective, and subject to censorship via “might makes right” doctrine.

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          If we can’t prove it, Paul, then what actual evidence is there FOR it? You seem to be putting the onus on me to prove something wrong even though it was never even first proven right.

          Like I said: if you think that’s logical and normal to believe in extraordinary claims with no actual evidence do you also believe in Shiva? Kami-Sama? Odin? The Navajo sky father? Unicorns? Why not? Just because there’s no evidence doesn’t mean it’s not true, after all nobody has disproved those beliefs? Right?

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          See my response above….if you can’t even understand the idea of evidence not always being scientific, then you are lost.
          As to proof versus non-proof, I was once told that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs. To that end, belief in a God or gods is most definitely the ordinary claim, and atheism is the extraordinary one. I hope you have a very extraordinary proof.

        • avatarRich Grise says:

          If there is a “God of Love” that has any power, then why are things the way they are on Earth?

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          I just… what? So I’m wrong because you decided to arbitrarily redefine what constitutes an extraordinary claim??

          So lemme get this straight- if someone says they believe magic unicorns exist on faith alone, then those who doubt it given the lack of evidence are the ones making an extraordinary claim.

          If lots of people come to believe that the sun is made of cotton candy because someone else told them it was and but lot of other people say “you have zero evidence and that makes no sense” then the latter are the ones making an extraordinary claim?

          You’re now arguing on incredibly bad faith and completely arbitrary terms.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          I am not being ambiguous at all. Extraordinary means out of the ordinary. Pretty simple, huh? Throughout man’s existence, belief in and seeking to better understand that supreme power(s) has been quite ordinary. Thus, “no such thing” is an extraordinary claim.
          Please proceed with your proof.

        • avatarRich Grise says:

          “So lemme get this straight- if someone says they believe magic unicorns exist on faith alone, then those who doubt it given the lack of evidence are the ones making an extraordinary claim.”

          Well, yeah. You gotta have faith, you see.
          </sarc>

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Not understanding simple words like ordinary, extraordinary, or faith (versus blind faith), say a lot about one’s understanding of other things.

        • avatardoesky2 says:

          @Rich…..If there is a “God of Love” that has any power, then why are things the way they are on Earth?

          Easy….Because of free will

        • avatarRich Grise says:

          “Easy….Because of free will”

          Let me see if I’ve got this straight: You’re blaming my desire to be left alone for all of the wars and pain and suffering?

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          Yeah, so you admit you’re just arbitrarily changing terms until they suit your argument. Cool.

          Why did so many cultures create gods? Dunno for sure, but I’d probably chalk it up to with gross ignorance of natural phenomena combined with our inherent tendencies to create hierarchies.

          Here’s the question then: If there is this all-powerful god then how come he could only get a small group of Jews to listen to him for thousands of years? Christianity was a small cult for centuries but it got lucky with Constantine, and then like all other powerful religions it spread only because it was mandatory in the kingdoms that practiced it.

          So, why did everyone else worship all these other gods? Why can’t the all-powerful God even get the Abrahamic religions to agree on his true words and intentions? In the old testament when all the proof anyone demanded was the word of a priest he rained fire and drowned the world and scoured it clean with plagues and made his devotees live for 900 years but where is that now? Funny how the only evidence anyone can find of that stuff are stories.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Where did I arbitrarily change terms?
          I related religion in general, and then in more detail regarding the ones which most influence the west.
          It seems you are the one being arbitrary. Asking questions that are not germane. If you did the research, you might find the answers as to why the Jews were a people “set apart”, and despite being persecuted for so long, they cling to existence. “Got lucky with Constantine”? So you are ignorant of history as well as science. But of course.
          Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          “they cling to existence”

          You’ve CLEARLY never been to Beverly Hills. :D

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Touché. I meant more in a historical sense than the hysterical J.A.P. sense. Or even a middle eastern sense regarding their neighbors.

        • avatarRich Grise says:

          “Funny how the only evidence anyone can find of that stuff are stories.”

          And it’s unimaginable that there could ever be any new information, right?
          http://www.godchannel.com

        • avatarJason says:

          ProjectileDysfunction,

          My idea of where the author is coming from in regards to religion stems from states in the past that have made religion illegal in order to supplant the ideals of the state in place of the moral systems in those religions.

          Take for instance Hitler. He wasn’t just the leader but was taught to school children to be a deity. Bibles were contraband in communist Russia. China is famously anti-religion. It’s not that any one religion is provable, that misses the point. It’s a battle of who gets to define right and wrong, the church or the state.

          I don’t believe atheists as a group are bad people. But you also have to concede that there is a lot of Christian backspatter in your upbringing. You aren’t an atheist in a vacuum, you grew up in an environment where Christian values (assuming you grew up in the US) are all around you. Can you really separate yourself from your environment?

      • avatarDoug says:

        A need for a deity is indeed exactly why statists want an all-wise godlike state to “watch over them”.

    • avatarBob says:

      The whole god part of this post was completely irrational and irrelevant.

      • avatardoesky2 says:

        The state is proud of you. You learned well. Here is your cup of porridge for the day.

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          Porridge? Haha what is that even supposed to mean?

          The rant against the irreligious really was way out of left field and completely off-base. The author of this falsely assumes that all people MUST be beholden to some “greater power” and thus without religion all they have to worship is authoritarian government. The problem with that is it’s really dumb. A great deal of objectivists, libertarians, and various flavors of anarchists who eschew the idea of strongly-centralized social power have also rejected the idea of unproven religious dogma.

          All the people here agreeing with the author seem to completely misunderstand why atheists believe what they do. It’s not because we’re all EVIL SINNERS who HATE GOD FOR LITERALLY NO REASON. It’s not because we’re too proud to admit there’s something bigger than us. It’s not because we have big ol boners for gun control. It’s because there’s no more evidence for Christianity being objective truth than there is that Islam is the light or Hinduism is the actual path or any flavor of paganism being correct or that Russel’s teapot is really out there or that freaking leprechauns exist. That’s literally why it’s called “faith.”

          At any rate no matter what we believe we need less of this divisive crap, there is literally nothing to gain by inventing a shadowy cabal of atheist gun-grabbers. It looks insane to those who are atheist or agnostic and on the fence about guns, because they sure as hell know everything being said here about them isn’t true.

  4. avatarDrVino says:

    Statist progressives are very good in framing things in terms of a choice of a lesser of two evils: we can either create laws that force people to set aside a specific percentage of their earnings into long-term savings (thereby encroaching on everyone’s freedom of choice) or we can all pay the cost of subsidizing – through taxes – the consequences of people’s choice to not save for old age.

  5. avatarMike Crognale says:

    I have the God/no god arguement once in awhile with atheist commenters on various blogs. i simply say that if there is no God then when I die I will never know it. But, when you die, and God does exist, what will you say when you stand before Him in His righteous judgement? That usually reduces them to incoherent babbling about books of fairy tales (the Bible), and keep your religious laws out of my goverment. I simply wish them good luck and promise to pray for them. That induces a fresh round or vitupertive insults. Every single atheist that I know are truly afraid, deep down inside, that they will be judged. Sad.

    • avatarDaz says:

      That self-righteous diatribe just insulted those who choose not to believe what you believe, while accusing them of being the ones who are insulting.

      • avatarneiowa says:

        Did it hurt your feelings or “Self-esteem”? (that means how are you hurt by his opinion/stop whining).

      • avatarAnother Robert says:

        Did you read Hannibal’s post above? Mr. Crognale purported to be relaying his own personal experiences with atheists he spoke to. Your post and the one immediately following mine–crm114), as well as Hannibal’s (“magical zombie”, “ghost stories”) seem to be making his point for him rather than dispelling it.

      • avatarRoss says:

        Maybe………. but what if he’s right?

    • avatarcrm114 says:

      It’s cute that you insult those who don’t believe in ghost stories.

    • avatarcrm114 says:

      I’m afraid of plenty of things, but the god of Abraham ain’t one of them.

    • avatarCA.Ben says:

      Threatening atheists with judgement in front of god is like saying that, if they are bad, Santa won’t bring them any Christmas presents. You can’t be afraid of something that you don’t believe in. And it is possible to have morality independent from theology.

      • avatarSomeOneInWA says:

        Agree. If the only thing that He can bring up at the judgement is that I did not pray or believe in Him, I guess I should be fine. :)

    • avatarLolinski says:

      I usually find it to be opposite. Doug Stanhope said it best.

      “What if I told you that if you didn’t worship Frosty the Snowman you would burn for eternity in hell? Because that is how you sound to me.”

      Then they usually freak out, some even cry for me :”You are a good guy, please believe in Jesus so that you don’t burn” cue sobbing.

      Yes, I am religious. Though I am annoyed at people going “God, saved me from drugs/crime!” Then they start shoving it down your throat. Had people cry for me because I don’t believe Jesus is our saviour (he was more like a prophet IMO). Can’t explain how much I want to punch that kinda people.

      Religion is a private thing. Don’t shove it down peoples throat.

      • avatarSomeOneInWA says:

        Religion is a private thing. Don’t shove it down peoples throat.
        ^^^This
        In my experience the people that claim to be the most religious (you know the type “look at me how religious I am”) are the ones that do bad things.
        Keep it to yourself, it is one of the most private things.

    • avatarST says:

      “But, when you die, and God does exist, what will you say when you stand before Him in His righteous judgement? ”

      That if “his” judgement is so righteous, hell understand why I made the choices I did. If “he” can’t grasp my choices despite an omnipotent perspective, then I wouldn’t want to spend eternity hanging out with an eternally closed minded intelligence anyways.

    • avatarCliff H says:

      Believers or non-believers, can we all at least agree on Pascall’s Wager?

      “It were better to live your life as though God exists, for if he does not exist, you have lost nothing, but if he does exist you have gained everything.”

      Now I’m pretty sure he was not advocating some particular form of religious dogma or ceremony, only an acknowledgment that if you live a virtuous life with a minimum of “sinful” acts you will have a good life, and potentially a good meeting with the supreme being if there is an afterlife.

      Either way, a good life would seem to be its own reward. And what, exactly, would be the point of making life on Earth seem like Hell, for yourself or anyone else?

      • avatarLolinski says:

        That is how I live my life.

        Everything/nothing to win, nothing to lose.

      • avatarCA.Ben says:

        Pascal’s Wager isn’t that simple.

        If you are going to pursue religion simply for the (possible) rewards in your afterlife, you are presented with a choice. Which religion? Throughout history there have been hundreds if not thousands of organized religions. Assuming that one of them is correct, you have an immensely small chance of picking it.

        Furthermore, you do not “lose nothing” from practicing religion. What about all the time that you devote to the religion during your life? Hours turn into weeks, months, and years. Practicing and studying religion based on a wager definitely does waste an appreciable amount of your life.

        And that doesn’t even touch the fact that a god will probably not reward you for following a religion just based on the rewards that it advertises.

        No, Pascal’s wager does not work for me.

        • avatarlolinski says:

          True, but that implies that God despite being an omnipotent and merciful entity isn’t omnipotent and merciful.

          Shouldn’t he forgive me for practising the “wrong” faith if I don’t know which one is correct? I mean every religion claims it is true, it is easy to get confused, so as long as I don’t worship Satan&co and worship a God and not an idol I should be okay?

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Minor point (I’m just getting started): Buddhism makes no such claim about being the “one true religion”.
          Buddhism speaks from knowledge, and not from faith.

      • avatarMark N. says:

        A virtuous life is it’s own reward. I have no need for, nor seek, any “just reward” in “heaven.” A truly moral person understands and accepts that the reward for good acts is in the doing of the acts themselves, for their inherent worth, and not some far off promised joy in another life.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        So you’d be used to it when you find yourself in the real thing? :)

    • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

      No, as an atheist you know what actually bothers me? Not the idea of being judged (because I’m obviously a terrible person, right??) Not the idea of a higher power (because that scares me because I’m too obviously vain and prideful, right??)

      No, what really scares me is the idea that I’m _right_ because that means this is all I have and that oblivion follows my short life. Yet without actual evidence to guide me I cannot embrace Christianity any more than I can embrace Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism or the worship of Odin or anything else simply because it is reassuring. What I gain from what is a drive to try to be a good person not because I _have_ to be lest I go to hell, but because I can.

      Which brings me to the next part, by the way. The old standby that you have nothing to lose by believing in God? Pascal’s Wager? It’s fatally flawed because there isn’t only one God proposed by religion and philosophers and been pointing this out for centuries now. There’s hundreds, _thousands_ even outside of Christianity. There’s three major and radically-different interpretations of the Abrahamic God, all of which have drastically different paths to salvation. Within those three distinct religions are countless denominations, all of which seem to quietly consider the others wrong or even heretical.

      • avatarPaul G. says:

        Which of course would imply that peoples far and wide are seeking to understand that Supreme Power. Just like in science, many theories on a subject, one right answer. Study and careful examination point you in the right direction. Even in science, some concepts can have theories, but not be readily testable.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          No, sometimes there is more than one correct answer.
          Ex:

          Answer this multiple-choice question. Photons are:

          a. A particle.
          b. A wave.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Non-sequitur much? So you are saying there can be a God, and yet not be one?

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          That’s definitely one possibility. Sort of a Schrodinger’s God.

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          ” Study and careful examination point you in the right direction. Even in science, some concepts can have theories, but not be readily testable.”

          That’s basically word bingo, man. I think you must be confusing a hypothesis and a theory because as explained above in this very article (convenient!) a theory MUST BE READILY TESTABLE. A scientific theory is proposition to explain natural phenomenon which has been thoroughly tested and is widely agreed to be true to the best of current knowledge.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Scientifically prove the existence of Cicero.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Definitely don’t trust a map, but it’s a suburb of Chicago. Go and see for yourself!

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Take a few science courses before you lecture on the scientific method.

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          I can’t actually prove the existence of Cicero like I could a particle because all I have are ancient documents he supposedly created combined with third-party accounts. That’s why the existence of Cicero falls under the purview of history, NOT science. Of course, it’s much easier to believe that there was an ancient scholar based on flimsy evidence than there is a god and devil and miracles. Can you NOT see the difference here.

          I mean, come on man, this is just getting bizarre.

          It’s painfully ironic that you insist I “learn the scientific method” while you insist that just because an extraordinary, unfalsifiable, unproved claim hasn’t been disproved it must be true.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Oh wow!!! Maybe now some lights are going off above your head. Not everything is subject to the scientific method! Who’da thunk it? You could even date those documents, it still is not scientifically verifiable proof, it is merely supporting data.
          It is not at all bizarre to ask you to understand the scientific method when discussing this, seeing as you have shown an inability to understand that not all things can be verified via such methodology, and that you sought to deny the existence of God by falling back onto that, incorrectly. Know the limitations of the concepts you espouse.
          It is very important.
          How many times did I have to iterate that evidence comes in many forms? Do you get it now?

      • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

        Holy crap dude, you are logically just all over the place here.

        First of all a casual belief that there was a historical figure named Cicero who lived and wrote things and then died isn’t exactly extraordinary and as with many ancient historical figures there’s a good chance that what we know of him now is inaccurate, the Romans and Greeks were kind of bad about embellishing popular figures or in some cases even making them up wholesale as far as anyone can tell today.

        You are comparing the fact that I concede that there was probably an ordinary but famous man named Cicero with the fact that I not believe there is one specific God out of the thousands proposed who snapped his fingers and made the universe and performed miracles and flooded the earth and spoke to goat herders from upon high and reigns in heaven and knows everything and you’re trying to use that as a gotcha? One of those claims is easy to believe with flimsy evidence, the other not so much.

        Let’s get back to the base of the matter here: where is ANY evidence to support your claims that God exists. Any of it? Anywhere? You keep dancing around this, alluding to evidence you won’t produce. The proof that Cicero existed may be flimsy and anecdotal but there’s not people building their lives and identities and politics around him and treating his writings as irrefutable law.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          I am not at all “all over the place”. I quite plainly asserted that there are more types of evidence than those subject to the scientific method. You apparently didn’t understand until I gave you a blaring example, and still you try to argue about that. As to biblical events, there is a great deal of evidence, or provenance if you prefer, for many of those events, and the existence of many of those persons. Much more so than of many other events or persons taken for granted, like Homer, even perhaps Cicero. You, and many others, hold two conflicting views with regard to historical provenance, apparently in a need to keep from giving the same credence to biblical events. This degree of provenance also serves in the study of various religions, but that is a very in-depth subject. It will suffice to say that such provenance is not generally a feature of non-Judeo-Christian religions.
          Contempt prior to investigation, or at least real investigation, is most certainly exemplar in your line of reasoning. That so much provenance does exist to verify events and people of the Judeo-Christian Bible is quite a bit of evidence. You accept Cicero, on flimsier evidence. Very telling.
          For quite some time Jews and Christians, and even other religions, have spoken of a creation event that science vehemently denied. Einstein himself fudged numbers to fit a steady-state universe. Oops.
          The evidence is there.
          Also, you misuse the term faith. Faith relates to belief with less than certain proof. That covers all sorts of venues, even the sun rising tomorrow. Based on evidence, you have faith that it will be there, but it is not certain. Very little faith is required, of course. Blind faith relates to no evidence whatsoever. There is a lot of room in between. That the biblical text has more evidence on its behalf than literally any other work of antiquity makes quite a statement.

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          “As to biblical events, there is a great deal of evidence, or provenance if you prefer, for many of those events, and the existence of many of those persons”

          Ahahhaha. Again you allude to them but you do not mention a single one. There’s countless things in the Bible that, despite being fairly recent and cataclysmic in nature, cannot be supported by a single shred of evidence. There’s no evidence of the Great Flood as described or the massive genetic bottleneck it would have created. Genesis doesn’t at all match the findings of cosmologists, evolutionary biologists, and geologists- according to the word of god the Earth predated all stars, liquid water predated earth’s gaseous atmosphere, plants predate the sun, birds predate the land animals they evolved from, and it all happened in a week despite all actual evidence being to the contrary. Great historical events like the slavery of the Jews and the Exodus are today regarded as false even by Jewish Israeli archaeologists.

          There’s a myrid of unfulfilled prophecies (most prominently but not limited to Jesus proclaiming he would return in the lifetimes of those listening to him during a sermon recorded in Mark and Matthew) in there too. Which is weird because it’s the word of God, you know? The destruction of Tyre fell through, Egypt did quite well despite the dire predictions of it’s annihilation, the Nile never dried up despite multiple declarations by the lord it would, Judah got stomped by Syria despite assurances it wouldn’t, Egyptians _never_ spoke Caananite, Abraham’s followers were never given the entire middle east as promised, the descendants of Solomon failed to rule Judah for any significant amount of time let alone “forever,” and so many other things I don’t have the time to list them all.

          Some people have stretched the vague promises of the bible to make them fit recorded events, and in many cases it does mention actual people, cities, wars, etc. That doesn’t mean God exists or had anything do with it, especially given all the inaccuracies. The four gospels can’t even keep the details of Jesus’s supposed Resurrection straight.

          Also Einstein abandoned the steady-state hypothesis because he couldn’t get it work, holy crap you have no idea what you’re talking about

          “We present a translation and analysis of an unpublished manuscript by Albert Einstein in which he explored a ‘steady-state’ model of the universe. The manuscript, which appears to have been written in early 1931, demonstrates that Einstein once considered an expanding cosmos in which the mean density of matter is maintained constant by a continuous formation of matter from empty space. This model is very different to previously known Einsteinian models of the cosmos (both static and dynamic) but anticipates the later steady-state cosmology of Hoyle, Bondi and Gold in some ways. We find that Einsteins steady-state model contains a fundamental flaw and suggest that IT WAS DISCARDED FOR THIS REASON [emphasis mine.] We also suggest that he declined to try again because he realised that a successful steady-state model would require an amendment to the field equations. The abandoned model is of historical significance because it reveals that Einstein debated between steady-state and evolving models of the cosmos decades before a similar debate took place in the cosmological community.”

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          I don’t think we have space to list them all. These are a few sites containing some of that evidence. I am not endorsing the sites, just using them to help satisfy your demands.
          http://www.manavai.com/articles/art1.htm
          http://carm.org/non-biblical-accounts-new-testament-events-andor-people
          http://www.equip.org/articles/biblical-archaeology-factual-evidence-to-support-the-historicity-of-the-bible/
          http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/news/top-20-biblical-archaeology-events-and-discoveries-of-2012/
          http://biblicalstudies.info/top10/schoville.htm
          Still, digs are ongoing. It is notable that no find has ever contradicted the biblical narrative, but so much has supported it.

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          “It is notable that no find has ever contradicted the biblical narrative, but so much has supported it.”

          You mean aside from the fact that the incredibly important creation story is contradicted by every single solid piece of evidence so far discovered by geologists, archaeologists, and cosmologists?

          Or the fact that the year-long great flood that scoured the earth appears to be a complete fabrication? According to the largest possible number given in the Bible the Ark was 520 feet long and three decks tall but despite being much smaller than your average Great Lakes freighter was tasked with carrying either two or seven (depending on the passage) of every kind of animal for a year which is literally impossible. There’s zero archaeological evidence for what would have been the largest mass extinction ever, and many great civilizations “survived” the flood without a single mention of it. No genetic bottleneck like was seen after the Toba catastrophe has been found in the bronze age either, even though it would have had a FAR worse effect on human genetic diversity than what happened there.

          It promotes the geocentric cosmic model as evidenced by passages in Genesis where God anchors the heavens and everything in them in “firmament” as a solid dome around around earth, or the one in Joshua where God specifically stops the sun and moon from revolving around the planet.

          The Exodus, though, that must have happened? Right? Wellll except the Egyptians kept very good records of their population and kingdoms and there’s zero evidence that they enslaved 600,000 Israeli men (plus their families.) The places the Jews supposedly settled after the Exodus per the Book of Number were found to have been established around 700BCE, far after the Exodus which supposedly took place somewhere between 1490-1213 BCE. Two of the cities the Hebrews were supposedly forced to build existed but not during the same Dynasty. There was no record of the ten plagues, and no archaeological evidence to support it either. There were no recorded periods of instability that would have coincided with a massive slave revolt that a huge portion of the Egyptian army and their king. Edom didn’t exist as a nation at the time. The part of the Red Sea the Jews supposedly escaped through is now known to be an underwater valley nearly 3,000 feet deep- escaping through that would have been like climbing down the Grand Canyon and then back up again.

          Other things the Bible claims but cannot be substantiated by any other source (despite the thorough recordkeeping of the historians of the great empires of the time) include Herod’s slaughter of the firstborn. Herod was brutal but this event was never recorded, not even by the Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus (who kept meticulous records of Herod’s abuses.) The kicker? Herod died in 4 BCE so and the only roman census to have taken place in Herod’s province any time around Jesus’s birth would have been conducted through 6-7 AD, which means that pretty much all modern historians believe there’s no way Jesus and Herod could have actually been alive at the same time. The darkness that engulfed the planet and the worldwide earthquake that was so severe it cracked the earth and made the dead rise as claimed by Matthew? Not recorded anywhere else or by anyone else, even the earlier three Gospels.

          There’s lot of weird little impossibilities too, like in Gadarene when Jesus supposedly drove Legion into swine and then off a cliff into the sea? Yeeeeah… Gadarene was literally miles from the sea. Abraham supposedly had camels as pack animals but according to carbon dating and archaeological evidence Israeli scientists believe those were not domesticated until around 900 BCE, thousands of years after he died. As stated above the Jews supposedly established cities during the exodus that did not exist until 500-700 years later. It reeks of stories later being carelessly cobbled together by man, not the true word as handed down by God.

          Shall I go on?? The entire Bible is a hot mess of historical inaccuracies and geographic impossibilities that don’t add up at all since it’s a random collection of the writings of goat herders, and it’s hilarious that you think it’s this amazingly accurate historical chronicle.

          It also doesn’t even need science to contradict it, it does it all on its own! Genesis 1 and 2 disagree about the order in which things are created. The Gospels constantly contradict each other about the details of Jesus’s supposed life and death. It lists contradicting lineages for Joseph’s father. Jesus gave his first sermon on a mountain according to Matthew but on a plain according to Luke and both recount a very different list of beatitudes. Matthew, Luke, and John each say Jesus’s last words were completely different from the other. One passage in the Bible claims Judas bought a field with his dirty money except he fell down and then literally exploded in the middle of it, another says he threw it down in the temple then killed himself (then the priests used the silver he left behind to buy a field. I don’t think they exploded?)

          Several people in the Old Testament claim to have actually seen God, while several passages in the New Testament claim it’s either impossible for a human to see god or at the very least survive the process.

          The Gospel of John says that no man except Jesus has ascended alive to heaven, but the earlier books of Genesis and Kings say that Enoch and Elijah did that very thing.

          There’s a lot more, people have compiled huuuge lists of these contradictions and historical inaccuracies. Some are pretty trivial, others… not so much, especially for a document that is supposed to be the holy and unchanging word of God.

          On second thought I repent. You’ve convinced me, lots of important stuff may be disproved and there’s no evidence for all the amazing miracles in there but reading through your (incredibly biased) links the Bible references, in passing, some historical things that were true. Thus, God is real! You’ve made a convert out of me.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          “There’s zero archaeological evidence for what would have been the largest mass extinction ever”

          Pick and choose your mass extinction events with care. There is indeed massive evidence of more than a couple such events, all recognized by the science you chose to ignore here.

          Your statement is patently false, and is proved by the very science you choose to pick from to support this, your deceptive magnum opus.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          That there is a lot of straw.
          The creation story is discredited? Someone forgot to tell a whole lot of people. Someone call mitochondrial Eve and tell her she didn’t exist.
          The flood has quite a bit of debate still to this date. Debate as to scope of the flood mainly, and the effects as a result. Quite a few differing views on this, all with degrees of plausibility. Hardly the fabrication you have called it. But let’s just deal with the few specifics you mention. The Ark, nautically seaworthy as designed. Yes, wooden ships of similar size travelled the great lakes, though they had steel keels. They also were powered, and had the rigorous wave frequency and amplitude of the lakes to deal with. According to the designation of “kinds” of animals, that size of Ark would readily accept the full manifest, to include provisions. The common lore of the flood evidences to its reality, and recent scholarship is questioning the assertion of the Noahide flood being borrowed from Gilgamesh, to the opposite being the case. Comparing nuances of the texts, details, etc….and the typical permutation of embellishment in borrowed texts, supports this claim.
          The geocentric model is not promoted as you assert. You are making the mistake of equating relativism with geocentricity, the same as many in the church of Galileo’s time.
          Consider that “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.”
          The use of the term “the round of the earth” uses the same word for round that describes a pregnant woman’s belly, not a pizza plate.
          Remember, even today our meteorologists publish sunrise and sunset times in our locales, are we today just as backwards, or is it a relatively useful term? You know the sun does not rotate around the earth, but it appears to move through the sky relative to your position.
          The exodus? You want to use Egyptian record keeping? Even knowing that they had a penchant for inaccuracy? For not recording embarrassments, even destroying records that would make them look bad? Historical records have improved a lot in recent times.
          http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/08/09/The-Exodus-Controversy.aspx
          Also, their records were far from the marvel you claim. The Egyptian king list was clearly errant, as was the Sumerian. However, use of the Hebrew sources enabled correcting those errors.
          The plagues are evidenced, and explained away through natural phenomena.
          Your references to specific towns are questionable, after all, you claim that Gedara is far from the Sea of Galilee when it was not, and Jesus even arrived there via boat!
          Interesting also that so many scholars debate the exact point of the Red Sea crossing, yet there is no consensus on that location. Of course, none of the locations under consideration have the features you describe.
          As to Herod, you really dropped the ball there. Herod the Great did pass, and was replaced by Herod Antipas, who outlived Jesus. The Bible even makes that clear, sorry you missed it.
          Josephus was a captured general who created rapport with his captors, but one of the few sources of the time. Still, absence of evidence does not imply evidence of absence. You yourself even admit the brutality of Herod the Great. Murder of dozens of infants was definitely not outside of possibility. It really wouldn’t have amounted to much more than that, and may explain why Josephus was unfamiliar or unimpressed. That earthquake, it is documented, actually both of them. Look for them under April, 33 A.D. (ce). The darkness has been recorded as well, but the dead saints walking among the living hasn’t much to back it
          Gadara, besides being near the sea, was home to Hellenized Jews, who were likely to herd pigs.
          Your camel statement is based on two researchers’ allegation, derived from copper mining site studies, and ignores other evidence that records camels in use much earlier.
          It is odd that archaeology uses the Bible as a source for promising sites, and is so often rewarded, yet you claim the opposite is true.
          Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other? Oh my, stop the presses. I wish you were around a few millennia ago, you could have saved billions of people the false belief they accepted. Why didn’t scholars or priests or someone working in the original language point this out? Why didn’t they change it when there was still time? How could so many be so knowingly ignorant? Did they not see this? Certainly there must be an explanation. Whew, There is.
          http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/06/15/contradictions-two-creation-accounts
          You may find a better explanation, but the point is, it is easily explained. More to the point, it was obviously known about for quite some time, and no attempt was made to redact, or was it ever a point of contention, so it must not be the glaring error you think. Or do really thing this was just brought to light recently?
          The same is true for all of the other contradictions you could mention. There are huge lists of simple explanations for the supposed contradictions brought up. And atheists think they were the first to point out seeming contradictions, ha ha ha. At least you make me laugh.
          Calling people researching the Bible and its historicity biased because they are religious is like calling a heart surgeon researching cures for heart disease biased because he cares about diseases of the heart. After all There is no good reason to falsify data to support a religious view, it is contrary to the religion itself. An atheist, on the other hand, has no religious conviction to prevent him from such falsification.

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          Except there isn’t? A year-long flood would have been the most disastrous event to have ever happened to life on earth, all land-dwelling life not on the ark would have drowned and all non-aquatic birds would have followed not soon after. Fish and aquatic invertebrates would have been devastated by the mixing of fresh and salt water into one muddy, debris-filled mass as they’re adapted to very specific conditions and require a long period to adjust to even minor changes. A sea bass cannot survive in fresh water and a largemouth bass cannot survive in the ocean, but in this case they’d both be rapidly subjected to a mixture of the two environments and it would not be suitable for either. Once aquatic life bit it the aquatic mammals and birds would follow suit. That would leave the only thing still alive, as per the Bible, to be the two (or seven? it contradicts itself) of every kind of animal somehow crammed into on the relatively small ark.

          Yet, there’s no evidence of any of this. The last major extinction event caused by a natural disaster known happened in the Cretaceous–Paleogene era about 66 million years ago, that only killed off about 30% of known species from what paleontologists can tell and it left a MASSIVE fossil bed. The entire planet should be covered in something not unlike the Burgess Shale if that were all true but… it ain’t.

          On top of that there is literally no way that a species could successfully re-establish a healthy population from only two animals, perpetually breeding animals with their own offspring could cause an insane genetic bottleneck and compounded congenital defects which we would still be seeing evidence of today (but we don’t!)

        • avatarSteveInCO says:

          Eh, Mr. Burke, you are (willfully?) misinterpreting him here. He said there was no evidence for what would have been the greatest mass extinction of all time… in reference to an event that supposedly happened between four and six thousand years ago.

          And indeed there is zero, zilch nada evidence of any such extinction in that time frame. The mass extinctions that you seem to be thinking of happened 65.5 million years ago, or even earlier than that. The biggest one actually attested to by physical evidence was 251 million years ago–and wasn’t nearly as bad as the flood would have been–if it had happened. Which it clearly didn’t.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          There is no willful misdirection on my part. I was applying my statement to the whole of planetary history. I do not recall that his statement applied only to the flood event. This may be an error on my part, but there was no deception intended, and none should be inferred.

        • avatarSteveInCO says:

          OK, I’ll take your word on having a lack of ill intent. I’ll try to convince you that you misunderstood him then. The context was discussing Noah’s flood, and he did say that (whatever it was he was talking about) would have been the worst mass extinction ever. That clearly indicates he believes that mass extinctions happened but (some event) clearly did not happen because it would have been the worst such extinction ever, and there is no such evidence that such an extinction happened at that time.

          As I said the context was discussing the (supposed) Noah’s flood.

        • avatarprojectile dysfunction says:

          Alright, my final reply to Paul is so long that I had to post it on pastebin because it apparently exceeds the character limit here:

          http://pastebin.com/949imZyH

          If I had to pick a favorite moment of his last post to highlight I think it would be his total revision of what the Bible clearly states about Herod I in Matthew 2 just so he didn’t have to address the historical impossibility of what was claimed, combined with your hilarious and unironic insistence that as a religious fundamentalist you’re the least likely person to falsify information to support your arguments. Arrogance, deceitfulness, AND blaspheming the true word of God with lies all in one go! How very Christian of you.

          It’s been amusing, though, so thanks for that!

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Maybe you just can’t read well? I in no way contradicted Matthew. Or you are again blithely assuming that the dates listed are hard and fast numbers representative of the birth of Christ, contrary to all scholarly thought? Maybe you think that the day Christ was born someone said, “Hey, He’s here, lets start the new calendar.” ?
          Again, you make your own straw decisions for what the Bible states, and then proceed to dismantle your own assertions. I take it you are a student of Hebrew, especially its use and meanings in antiquity?
          Amazingly, thousands of scholars, including atheistic ones, do not share your straw assertions. Probably because they know that of which they speak.
          Maybe you should write a wiki page about your straw biblical theories.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Governments create new calendars, not ordinary citizens. The best way to control a populace you just conquered is to change the calendar drastically. Thus making you dependent upon them to make sense out of it. It keeps the subjects off-kilter and even more dependent upon government.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          As a quick simple example of your false scholarship, you assert that “Taken together it tells us the earth is a large, flat, circular disk anchored in water below (the deep, Prov 8:27, Gen 1:2, 49:25, etc.)”
          Nope.
          When the word “round” or “circle of the earth” is seen in English variants of the Bible, it refers to a Hebrew word, of course. I am pretty sure the word “דּוּר” is the proper one. It can be used to indicate a circular plate, or a ball. It is also used to describe a pregnant woman’s belly. I guess you decided to use the other possible definition, since it furthers your goal, instead of the one that actually fits?
          I understand how it is much easier for you to choose your own concept of what things actually say, so you can deconstruct them. But it isn’t honest. All you are deconstructing is your own falsehoods.
          Cursory evaluation of intricate texts typically leads to poor comprehension. You epitomize that ideal.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          I don’t even know where to begin. Perhaps with your assertion that I am a religious fundamentalist. As one who rarely attends a church, is not particular to keeping a Sabbath, and has been know to take the name of the Lord in vain all too often, I guess I don’t qualify. Just one of the myriad times you jump to unwarranted conclusions. You purposely take things out of context, you typify a militant atheist. Your soul doesn’t mean squat to me, why would I care. From the way you state things, it seems you know you are deliberately obscuring things and mislabeling and misdefining them, so you know you are in the wrong. Comment Moderated yourself. Well, I guess you can’t do that…..since according to your screen name, you are shooting blanks….LOL. I guess you can go through the motions, though.

        • avatarSteveInCO says:

          Sorry Paul, Projectile Dysfunction is 100 percent correct re Herod. According to Matthew Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the great, which ended in 4 BCE. According to Luke, it was while “Quirinius was governor of Syria” which was 6 CE and later. This is a glaring inconsistency.

          But if you want to just jump up and down and insist it was the later Herod being referred to (in spite of his explanation of why that can’t be the case) then riddle me this: Why does John say Jesus was crucified on the first day of passover, while the synoptic gospels say it was the day *before* Passover, during the preparations?

    • avatarMudPuppy says:

      Hope for your sake Shiva or Vishnu isn’t there waiting for you. “Oops another christian, so sorry, heathens take the next door on the left for your next turn on the wheel, we’ll have to start you out as a worm this time…”

      • avatarRich Grise says:

        Death is the price spirits have been willing to pay for a ticket to ride this fun house of horrors that we call real life.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          I like this statement, but I had to read it twice before I could make sense of it. Commas would have been inappropriate. It makes perfect sense. I just had to re-read it to unite the syntax.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          I like to think of it as a giant bumper car floor, and all the other bumper cars are driven by monkeys.

  6. avatarST says:

    To build on this post:

    After having visited Gun Rights Mordor (LA), I think the problem is a lot more nuanced then a simple clashing of worldviews, or emotion vs logic . I’m sure that’s the case for some folks, but we run the risk of duplicating our opponents’ mistakes by labelling all anti-gunners as progressive ‘statists’.

    As I see it, the first problem is ironically a byproduct of our own standard of living. Because violence is rare in most areas of America- that is, places where dope dealing isn’t the strongest local employer- the average Joe doesn’t see rampant violence, so they dont consider it a problem requiring a firearm to solve. Even in right to carry states, less then 20% of folks actually go about armed on a daily basis. Since being killed in a car wreck is significantly more likely statistically then being involved in a DGU, we get the “paranoia” label because of it. What, you’re afraid of getting shot in Hollywood/ Beverly Hills/ Sioux Falls SD/ Des Moines IA? The most violent thing I saw in a week in California was a fight between two chicks outside a Sunset Blvd. bar. It would be easy to assume the average man doesn’t need a gun if I didn’t know any better-and how would an average non-vet Angelino know better, given the stringent regulations?

    The next problem is social utility. On some level, even libertarians have to concede that some things require a government to regulate. Why? Because the social utility of a standing, competent national military outweighs the social problem of being conqured by China.

    So it goes for firearms. In pro-restriction areas, the perceived daily utility of guns ( zero,unless you’ve had some education on self defense ) is outweighed by the perceived social utility of bans and legislation in preventing crime and negligence. This is why the Sandy Hook debate on school security went nowhere, because the Risk v Reward calculation goes in wildly different results depending on the person’s interaction with guns.

    If one doesn’t know how guns work, then they would appear to be an unacceptable risk no matter the circumstances.

    What’s needed is not debate. What’s needed is education,because the laws millions live under today are determined based on a grevious error- not knowing the basics about the subject matter in question. The ignorance is then perpetuated over time until it becomes a cultural norm.

    That is why debate gets us nowhere, because terms like “self defense” and ” criminal deterrence” have no meaning to people who’ve never encountered the concepts before-and are now doing so for the first time under challenge. That’s why , I submit, we get the emotional response: because you cannot counter logically what you do not know.

    So. The way forward for us isn’t beating people down intellectually. What we have to do, again, is educate.Because all those folks living in disarmed Amercia cannot teach their kids about rights they don’t know they have.

  7. avatarDrVino says:

    As an atheist conservative libertarian gun clinger I think it’s the left’s destruction of absolutes – values and reference points – which have historically been couched in a concept of a deity, and not a specific attack on a deity, moral absolutism or its origin in a divine source that is the problem here.

    • avatarST says:

      I submit the religious or political preference of people opposed to gun ownership CANNOT be quantified as the authors done here. Just because Obama and Feinstein are antis who trend left doesn’t mean all our intellectual opponents do as well,any more then W. Bush’s political leanings speak for every gun owner in America.

      There are some people who oppose gun ownership because they don’t see the social benefit.

      There are some who’ve been witness to or victims of a violent crime, and reasonably enough want others to avoid what they experienced.

      Ther are others who’ve seen someone do something negligent with a weapon and think stringent regulations are thus necessary- Jesus, Budhha, and Shiva knows I’ve seen my share of stupid s–t at gun ranges and I like firearms. Can any of us fault a mother of two for thinking guns should be regulated when her husband threatens suicide with the family shotgun after being laid off-an event I’ve sadly witnessed in person?

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        “There are some people who oppose gun ownership because they don’t see the social benefit. ”

        You hit the nail on the head with your following statement to this. They can’t see the social benefit BECAUSE THEY VIEW CRIME AS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS TO OTHER PEOPLE, not to them.

        And they truly don’t give two sh*ts about other people. What they give two sh*ts about is social control.

    • avatarAnother Robert says:

      I think you’re on to something there. As he stated, progressives don’t want a Constitution that says what it means and means what it says, that is too much of an absolute for them. They want a Constitution that means what it is convenient to them for it to mean at any particular time. They do not want to hear about “natural law”, because that is something that cannot be controlled by the will of the collective (as reflected, of course, by the collective’s “leaders”). And by the same token, they cannot countenance the existence of an absolute deity who embodies absolute values, altho some are happy to acknowledge the existence of a kind of cosmic muffin who never disagrees with anyone except maybe a greedy capitalist.

      • avatarMark N. says:

        I seem to recall the Pope saying something —less than laudatory–about greedy capitalists. Are you suggesting that he doesn’t truly believe in God? Or that the God as described in the Bible is some sort of “cosmic muffin” (when he isn’t destroying the whole world, massacring the first born sons of Egypt, and bringing genocidal destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah).

  8. avatarWilliam Burke says:

    You cannot conduct a rational idea with irrational people! Well, you CAN, but it will end in frustration and accusations from the irrational ones.

    The statists have done a better job than we have, but they work through appeals to the irrational, and irrationality is a powerful force. They know that.

    The only way that irrationality can be overcome is via a power experience happening to them. If they survive that, only then will our message get through to them.

  9. avatarMattG says:

    Your premise that progressives don’t believe in God, and thus don’t believe in the right to self defense, is a severe weak point in an otherwise good essay.

    I am the example that disproves this- I am a former Catholic and former believer in gun control who has since left the church and carry every day.

    • avatarAnother Robert says:

      And that is the way to dispute that point–thank you.

    • avatarCliff H says:

      The weakness in the argument, IMO, is that a great many churches, and I could point to both Jewish Synagogues and Catholics in particular, are traditionally Liberal/Progressive/Statist, and are filled with worshippers every week. To claim that lack of formal religious belief is a bulwark of statism, or that solid belief in God is the cornerstone of conservatism is failed logic.

      But along the lines of failed logic, I wonder at this point:

      “[...]In any case, if there is no unalienable right to self-defense, there can be no right to keep and bear arms, or as progressives/statists often argue, such “right” guarantees nothing more than the privilege to carry arms in the military—in the service of the state and its ruling elite…”

      How do these Progressive/statists rationalize that an individual has no natural (inalienable) right to protect his/her own life, given that literally every form of living organism has developed some sort of defense mechanism, and at the same time argue that a non-natural organism such as “the Collective” or “the State” has the absolute right to use whatever degree of violence, death and destruction is deemed necessary to preserve its own existence?

      The Collective can reasonably nuke you and risk destroying civilization in an attempt to preserve it’s existence, but an individual in that Collective has no right to defend his own individual life? Ridiculous.

    • avatardoesky2 says:

      It’s great that you believe you have the right to self defense but you have no basis to claim that you have an inalienable right to self defense if the state decides to take your firearm. Without God, their opinion is as valid as yours. Happy trails.

      • avatarSomeOneInWA says:

        Not true. You have the basis of what it means to be human and the desire of every living thing to continue living, multiply and spread. Without this desire we will all be dead. Evolution built us like that. God given rights is not the only argument.

  10. avatarVKA says:

    I’m agnostic, though raised religious- I’m not sure I can believe in a God that lets screwed up crap happen every day, but intervenes randomly to help some people for seemingly no reason whatsoever.

    You don’t need to be religious to support gun rights.

    • avatardoesky2 says:

      There’s an easy answer to your main complaint……

      There is no way that God can grant you “free will” and at the same time intervene at all times to stop “crap from happening”. Amongst the religious there is healthy debate and respect of differing opinions as to if God intervenes at different times with a guiding hand.

      As for your second point…you’re correct that you don’t need to be religious to support gun rights……however you DO need to be supportive of religiosity if you want to argue that you have an inalienable right to self defense.

      • avatarMark N. says:

        No you don’t have to believe in some ultimate “being” to believe in inalienable rights, you only have to believe that the central purpose of the state is to serve the People, not the other way around. While the question can be phrased as a religious one, it can also be phrased as a philosophical one that does not depend on one’s religious views at all.

        • avatardoesky2 says:

          And I’d estimate that approx 50% of the public thinks that taking your guns away from you is “Serving the people”. If a couple Supremes agree with them that that is now the new “Leftist Gospel” so to speak. Face it, without religiosity you have no “inalienable right”.

      • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

        The problem with claiming that free will exists alongside an omnipotent god is that it’s contradictory. Why?

        Well, God as described by Christianity is omnipotent and omniscient ie he knows everything and can do anything, right? And God created the universe thus setting all events in motion, correct? Well, that logically can only mean one thing: since all events are caused by compounding causality God knew the outcome of all things the second he hit the play button on existence. If he does not know the outcome of all things (including what choices we will make) he is, by the very definition of the word, NOT omniscient. If he is truly omniscient then free will cannot exist as God knew everything we would all do at the moment of Creation.

        People realized the paradoxical conflict between an omniscient god and free will centuries ago, and that’s why Christian denominations that believed in predestination (like Calvinists) took form. Since then it’s mostly been hand-waved away because the fact that an omniscient God must have created some people to be saved and others to be damned obviously doesn’t sit well with those who want to believe in a loving god, but the paradoxical problem was never actually resolved in a way that gets around predestination (just ignored.)

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Actually that is not true. Given that God created the Universe and gave man free will, God would know all of the myriad possibilities, and of course, the eventual ending. How we live and choose affects our lives, but sure, God knows the final score.
          You know that being born is a death sentence. Does that mean that what you do during your life is not of import? There are multiple ways you can go with how you live your life, but you know that you are going to die.

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          There’s that hand-waving I was talking about. You literally described a universe where we are all beholden to destiny and God knows our fates (because he created us and set all the circumstances that shape us and our actions in motion, knowing full well the ultimate outcome) but somehow claim there’s free will? Where is it?

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          You know you are going to die, does that stop you from living your life as you decide? Or do you make your own choices?
          God knowing the final score doesn’t mean that you don’t choose how the score gets there. Also, you yourself are not privy to His information. You make your own choices.
          It is not a difficult idea to understand.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          God must really hate mystery, then. Don’t bet on a football game with him, huh?

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          Of course I know I’m going to die and that doesn’t prevent me from making choices.

          Of course, what you seem to be missing time and time again is that if God exists as is described in Christianity then we aren’t actually making any choices. God must have known what every single human being would do from the beginning of time- if he did not know then he would not be omniscient, right? Our actions are decided by two things: external factors and our consciousness. God must know all events that are going to happen and how we react to it and how it all concludes as a result, else he would not be all-knowing.

          That’s destiny, man. For everything. We aren’t actually making our own choices, we’re fulfilling divine prophecy. The weirdest implication of this logic is that God isn’t immune to it either because to be omniscient he must know exactly what he will do in the future too, alternatively if he goes against his previously foreseen actions he’s not actually all-knowing.

          It’s not that hard to understand how an omniscient and omnipotent God is incompatible with free will. John Calvin understood it and he lived in a time so primitive he pooped in a hole in the ground.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          I have already explained how God can know every possibility, every decision, every event possible, and the final outcome, yet still allow us to choose the paths. He abides outside of time, we do not have that luxury. Calvin, because if the time he lived in, may not have imagined that as well as we can.
          Also, where people pooped is not indicative of their intelligence. Human intelligence capability has not changed over the years, it has been the accretion and storage of knowledge that has grown our civilization, not a growth in intelligence.

        • avatarprojectiledysfunction says:

          Yes, I see you keep repeating your hand-waving of predetermination. Again, based on WHAT???

          The Bible doesn’t even deal with this idea. You’re just assuming things that fit with your worldview, lest it get challenged. You’re sidestepping everything with YEAH BUT GOD even though you can’t actually produce evidence of this all-powerful being you think is an end to all arguments.

          This is where you just repeat “yeah well God may know what you’re going to do but it’s still free will because you do it” again and say something asinine about how all not evidence has to actually exist because history is science and science is a lie and you win because God. Haha whatever, man.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          It is not pre-destination, A God, existing outside of time, can see the beginning, every moment, and the end, at the same time. Get it?
          To that end, He can influence things if and when He deems it needed or warranted. Contrary to many assertions here, this does not conflict with free will. Freedom to make choices does not negate other circumstances affecting how those choices work out. Plenty of non-Godly factors contribute to how your free will works out every day.
          Ignorance is evident here, but not on my part.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Well, the “ignorance” suit has been broken. Play on, folks.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        “There is no way that God can grant you “free will” and at the same time intervene to stop “crap from happening”. ”

        Exactly! That would be believing in “free will, except when I get into difficulty.”

        Requested deletion of my previous post to you, because I realized my disagreement was not really with you, but the original poster.

        • avatarRoss says:

          Bottom line folks: It matters not the length nor quality of ones life; what matters only is the decision one makes for Christ, this is free will, God has provided only one way we can know his rightness and that is Christ. God is not bound by time as we understand it, so yes he had always known those who will except and reject Christ but free will is our response.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          So reviewing: a decision to forgo a belief in God and/or Jesus is NOT an exercise in free will?

          But please, no need for you to explain. I already know what you’ll say.

  11. avatarAzman says:

    Belief in a higher power has eff all to do with the right to self defense. It exists. It is, because individuals are precious.

    • avatardoesky2 says:

      And what if I believe the powerful should kill the weak……besides that is how ALL of the rest of the animal kingdom works….why should humans be different? Hmmmmm.

      • avatarBradN says:

        We’re different because we have higher reasoning mechanisms in our brains compared to other animals. I suggest more people start using it. It’s logical that if we are going to live in societies that self-preservation of those who would otherwise be weak is a logical conclusion and firearms are the logical extension of that conclusion.

        It’s not that difficult to understand and quite frankly if you need the bible to tell you not to kill, steal or otherwise do all sorts of nefarious things I think you have something personal to sort out. I don’t need a book to tell me not to horrific things.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          “We’re different because we have higher reasoning mechanisms in our brains compared to other animals.”

          THAT WE KNOW OF. There is much to learn about dolphins and porpoises, for instance. And an octopus will exhibit a high degree of reason and problem-solving. Doesn’t problem-solving involve reasoning – if I do this and not that, this is what will happen – ? And they’re fricken INVERTEBRATES, for crying out loud!

        • avatarBradN says:

          You are actually spot on William. Higher reasoning leads to reflection and introspection, the ability to intelligently predict outcomes and the potential affects of our actions and how they will assist or impair others. Anyone with sense can come to the conclusion that self-defense against individuals or governments is important, especially looking at the history of humanity and some regimes of which were primarily Christian in nature and brutalized their populations from religiously derived reasons.

  12. avatarAnother Robert says:

    I don’t think you have to believe in God in order to believe in or support individual liberty over state control. But I will agree that you can’t be a good statist and believe in a god of any significance. I personally would give the author half-credit on that point. And the overall point is correct, I think, it is hard to discuss things rationally with a dedicated progressive, Dr. Thomas Sowell was making that exact point decades ago.

    • avatardoesky2 says:

      Ok so first you mention Sowell so I know you’re 90% there. Join up to Pragertopia for a month or two to fill in the missing pieces.

      I don’t think you have to believe in God in order to believe in or support individual liberty over state control.

      Of coarse you can believe in individual liberty, but without God it’s just your opinion versus the state’s opinion.

    • avatarbobmcd says:

      “you can’t be a good statist and believe in a god of any significance”

      Except for pretty much every single monarchy in European history: see also “the divine right of kings.”

  13. avatarHal says:

    Without even reading the article, the short answer to the title of this post:

    Because easily 30% of this population consists of sheltered, vapid, weak, brain-dead ideologues that are incapable of putting anymore thought into a problem beyond “this solution makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.” They will therefore run shrieking from such a conversation.

    • avatarJR says:

      That’s what the anti’s would say. {just kidding…hope this is the same Hal}

      Your point is a very good one. They do seem to believe that “wanting” something to be true equates with it being true.

  14. avatarSergio says:

    People that don’t believe in God, actually do. They believe they are their own god.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      There is nothing inherently wrong with seeing oneself as oneself’s person god. The problem is in not believing they are merely one god among myriad other gods.

      The problem lies in their belief that they can be gods over over other people.

      • avatardoesky2 says:

        What blather. So the world is already F’d up enough with a tiny fraction of people thinking they are God, now you want everybody to think they’re God. Whose to say I’m not a Super-God you measly little God.

    • avatarMark N. says:

      I do not believe in God–or if there is a supreme being that he/she/it gives f**k all about any of the uncountable and myriad living creatures on this planet and throughout the universe as we are able to perceive it. On the cosmic scale, we, individually and as an entire planet, are less than a tiny spec of dust; we are not “gods”, just tiny, insignificant living organisms that are doing the best we can with the tools available to us to assist in our survival through our allotted life span. Religions serves two primary purposes in human life (as far as we know, no other organisms on this planet practice religion or believe in ‘gods’); reduction of fear of the unknown and inexplicable (the storm was ‘the will of God(s)) and to provide a set of rules of social interaction–morals–that allow us to live together and contrary to our (natural) selfish inclinations. (For example, the Ten Commandments.) [A man living apart from other men has no need of "morals".]

  15. avatarST says:

    I’ll probably be banned from every state south of the 40th Meridian for saying this, but here it goes:

    If the “God of Abraham” were as good as the Good Books (the Bible, Torah, Koran, etc) said he is, then we wouldn’t need to carry guns or any other type of weapon at all.

    Law Enforcement would be a non-existent career category, and so would military service.

    The problem is this-assuming God is righteous and absolute, then his permission of evil stands as a total contradiction to his very being. I cannot sanction the idea of a righteous God who permits rape and child molestation for a good cause any more then I could sanction the US Government for laundering drug cartel money to “protect the republic.”

    -ST

    • avatarMike Crognale says:

      The mistake in your arguement? Free will. God gave us His rules. He also informed us quite specifically of the consequences. Choose wisely.

      • avatarST says:

        Except, much like humans, divine consequences don’t seem to apply consistently to everyone. Fancy that.

        Why is it then, that crooked and wicked people routinely flout justice ? Why is it that drug kingpins run entire nations, and good cops are gunned down by his employees?

        If God is so big on righteousness as so many faiths claim, he’d be a lot more consistent regarding the consequences of living a wicked life. Or invested in ensuring justice for His creations on Earth as well as above.

        -oh right, there’s eternal suffering to consider. Which means God doesn’t care about the welfare of his creations on Earth. If He did, then why permit us flawed people the ability to choose freely, knowing many of us will screw the pooch to tragic effect?

        Also-why does God get a pass for being responsible for violent actions, and we don’t? Why is it that if I plan a violent robbery from a penthouse suite , I’m justly charged for murder despite not actually being on scene- but God gets a pass for planning violence for “the divine plan”?

        So, if God does something evil -or stands aside as evil is being planned and executed despite being omnipotently able to stop it- it’s OK, because it’s part of some secret divine plan. Like when Uncle Sam breaks the law for our own good.

        Care to rationalize those logical faults?

        • avatarThe Last Marine out says:

          God does not want ROBOTS , and he does not want evil or sin, but he made a way (he fixed it by paying on the cross for sin and evil) this is the creator giving his blood as payment… can we understand the ways of God NEVER EVER.. But by FAITH we see how he will fix all things … Why because only GOD is HOLY… Believe in the Lord Jesus and be SAVED …(Jesus is TRUE GOD as he came to earth)THE ONLY WAY, the truth , the way , the light and LIFE for EVER….

      • avatartjlarson2k says:

        There is no mistake in his argument.

        By definition, being righteous means you don’t abide evil in the world.

        Righteous
        adjective
        adjective: righteous

        1.
        (of a person or conduct) morally right or justifiable; virtuous.
        “he is a good, righteous man, I am sure”
        synonyms: good, virtuous, upright, upstanding, decent; More

        Oh, so because he gave us free will, He is totally fine with us brutalizing, raping, murdering, and doing all sorts of things to each other? And He just stands by? That is not the behavior of a righteous being. That is the behavior of someone that is being neutral or uncaring.

        Similar to leaving a pot on the stove and just leaving it unattended. If it boils over and causes a mess, you can’t blame the pot for doing what you set it up to do.

        If He didn’t care and we were a science experiment and He didn’t want to interfere, then that’s fine. But don’t tell me He is righteous. Because you can’t give an entity the moral high ground if they are not going to prevent evil from happening when they have all the power to stop it.

        It’s like that crappy argument a lot of parents make to their kids. When things go well, oh glory be to God. But when things get crappy, well it must be because you did something wrong and you’re getting punished.

        What a load of crap.

        • avatarThe Last Marine out says:

          Sorry but no place in the bible will you find it, No Free will , take not my word but get a good concordance.. it’s not to be found , It’s a man made (and church) teaching that does not come from GOD.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          If a creator created us and gave us free will, why would he necessarily feel the need to tinker with us and intervene in mortal affairs?

          If you set a pet rabbit *free*, do you fell the necessity to follow it around, protect it from predators and make sure it gets enough to eat? Carry treats around in your pocket for your “freed” rabbit?

          How would that make him free?

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Do you plan that free existence of the bunny to end with its earthly demise, only to be accompanying you again for eternity afterwards? An ultimate and eternal reunion?

        • avatarST says:

          @ William Burke

          The example is false, because a human being is not omnipotent as defined by religious texts.

          There is no “releasing the rabbit” for God/Allah/(insert deity here), because said deity is omnipotent. Which is a problem , because you can’t have omnipotence and free will in the same circumstance. That’s like saying one has the absolute right to carry a gun everywhere, but cannot carry lawfully in Building X. Either the right is absolute (and the ban is thus unenforceable), or the ability to carry is limited and is thus not absolute.

          Before anyone tosses out a MacGuffin along the lines of “you can’t grasp what God does, so maybe you CAN have free will/omnipotence at the same time” ill point out that according to religion,the same creator has fixed our universe with laws and rules of operation. Which means if there’s some sneaky, snarky way in which god found a way to combine the two concepts, there should be some explanation somewhere in the vast Holy Books of the world.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          I terribly sorry, but I can’t seem to catch your continental drift.

    • avatarStinkeye says:

      Nothing can be south of a meridian line. You want the 40th parallel.

      Pedantry: the sport of scoundrels!

      (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I thought I’d try to lighten it up in here a little. This God shit escalated quickly.)

  16. avatarFrankster says:

    You don’t have to be a liberal in order to be unable to think something through to the finish but it seems to help. I see this all the time. People think something makes sense because they hear it on TV, i.e. “Guns are bad”. They form a belief because it appeals to them then they become incapable of thinking the issue through to a logical conclusion.
    A perfect example is the conclusion by many people that concealed carry permit holders are evil because they have guns and somehow are the same as mass shooters.
    When confronted with the proven fact that CCW holders are much less likely to commit a crime than the public and even less likely to commit a crime that police officers, they accuse you of manufacturing facts.
    How could this be? Guns are evil, therefore CCW holders are evil too. In their minds it is simple only because they are too lazy to to think the issue through to a logical conclusion.

  17. avatarBurnout says:

    Fascists. Academia. If you find a way to get through to them, I am sure we would love to know how. But it is a fool’s errand I am afraid. Fascists and Democrats are what they are (but I repeat myself). Your coworker would be right at home in any dictatorship. You may want to find better things to do with your time. There is no convincing them. Only defeating them.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      He is “at home” in any dictatorship because he believes he is in one. And he is “at home” in it because he believes he has chosen the side that is winning, and will ultimately win.

      My example can be seen in people who work Dallas Cowboys jerseys proudly when they were winning it all, but took them off when they became a mediocre team, or worse.

      This is but one example out of many. Many people like to feel a part of a winning team. This is why they support statism and the government.

      They cannot abide the thought of being on the losing side.

  18. avatarcrashbbear says:

    I stopped reading when the Bible thumping started, but it was a good read up until then. You want to talk about fact, and then bring up God? Before you start calling people irrational hypocrites, check yourself. If anyone of us defends our self in a DGU its not because God gave you the inspiration to tool up. Its because you the individual made the smart decision to do so. And if you die, it’s not because it was ” Your time”. It’s because you failed to do something. Your reflexes were lacking, or your judgement was lacking. That or see below…

    And what of an active shooter situation? The BG walks into a place, finds his first target, decides to shoot, whips out a hidden weapon and cracks one off. Let alone if it were a DC Sniper type situation and innocents were being dropped from 200+ yards, suppressed. Someone hears the shot draws there own piece, and takes out the perp. What about the first victim (child, eldery, Navy Seal)? Was that some sort of divine happening, or were they just a matter of happenstance? Collateral damage?

    Bringing God into the firearms debate is not what we need to do. The same goes for any debate. I’m not saying its hogwash or that you aren’t entitled to your beliefs. But in a longstanding debate that requires overwhelming amounts facts and logic to win, God is not welcome. And I’ll understand if you throw your hands up and not continue the conversation.

  19. avatarRalph says:

    I’d rather try to teach integral calculus to my cats than try to discuss guns with so-called progressives. Why?

    Because (i) I like my cats better than I like progressives, (ii) my cats are more capable of learning calculus than progressive are capable of learning anything about guns, and (iii) my cats are better than progressives at keeping their sh1t in the sandbox where it belongs.

  20. avatarg says:

    Interesting thoughts, but as others have noted, one of the core ideas of the editorial, that a disbelief in God makes people prone to getting anti-gun, is categorically wrong. You can be an atheist and own guns and support the 2A. You can be a die-hard, born again, Bible-thumping Christian and also be extremely anti-gun (I should know, I’ve met them at my church).

    Stereotyping all of our gun control opponents as being “Godless liberals” alienates those atheists and liberals who are pro-gun and part of the gun owning community. We need as many allies as we can get.

    • avatarmichi says:

      If I could upvote or tip your comment, I would. It’s funny you mention the “converse”; on the East Coast where I grew up, there were a lot of anti-gun Catholics, and for sure, plenty of Jewish folks who were very devout and horrified at the sight of a gun.

      On the other hand, the gun owner who converted me (rather easily via logic and facts) to a 2A supporter and gun owner, is not religious at all, nor am I.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        “plenty of Jewish folks who were very devout and horrified at the sight of a gun.”

        This. And the Holocaust stands mocking their every move.

    • avatardoesky2 says:

      There is always the tails on the Gaussian curve. The author is correct in saying that the average non-believing leftist is not going to give any credence to the arguement of an “inalienable right to self defense” if they don’t believe in God. You can talk all you want about the tails, but the average leftist ain’t going to let you pull the God card of “inalienability”.

  21. avatarJ from Texas says:

    There is no need to believe in your specific (or any other) invisible man to believe in a right to self defense. I do not need a magical reason to believe in the Constitution or the right to bear arms. If I am to reference my creator it is a dead star. Complaining about someone not being rational and dwelling on not believing in god as the main evidence while acting like you are some speaker for science is truly amazing.

    • avatarmichi says:

      Thanks for this…. I really wish broader social/political/cosmic issues wouldn’t become entangled in the gun rights “debate”. There’s this idea that every single 2A supporter is cut from the same cloth, and if you don’t fit the mold, you’re a traitor.

      I’m no traitor to the 2A. I absolutely believe in it. But I can’t make myself believe in mysticism – it’s either there or it isn’t, for me in my life – it isn’t.

      Still going to fight against laws that infringe, and representatives bent on infringing, though.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      God may very well visible, just very, very far away. :D That was tongue-in-cheek. I am agnostic.

      The belief in a god is irrelevant to the concept of right living, decency, liberty and self-defense. Anyone has the right to defend himself, irrespective of religious beliefs. The right to self-defense is innate in every being.

      • avatarmichi says:

        exactly. hence “natural” rights. ++.

      • avatardoesky2 says:

        Hear! Hear! …. and I believe its my right to subjugate and devour the weak and defenseless just like the rest of the animal kingdom….it’s “natural rights”.

  22. avatarmichi says:

    hum. This may be true for some or many antis and athiests, but not all. Getting into the woods here of “you have to believe in God to believe in 2A”… I really do disagree there…

    I *am* an atheist and I don’t believe I’m “my own god”. I guess more of an agnostic, I just don’t know, and I can’t “believe-ize” (force myself to believe); it just is or isn’t.

    When I was an anti, I think it was mainly because I didn’t “get it”. Thing is, nobody from my own party was messaging in a way that I could possibly ever “get it”. For example, I remember when the AWB was sunset, I remember hearing it on the radio on the way to work: “Why would they let people have machine guns again?” – I wasn’t enraged or anything, I just shrugged and went “Oh well.”

    Obviously I was (successfully) misinformed about the “AWB”. Thinking that it meant fully auto weapons, of course (Back then I did think an AR-15 was full auto.) – (Now, I’m even for the repeal of the 1968 NFA, but that’s all a matter of process.) It was a friend telling me, “You know, that the AWB, and what makes an ‘assault weapon’, is purely cosmetic, right?” – It took someone actually presenting the facts to me in a non “spun” way, and the whole house of cards pretty much immediately fell down. It was a real eye-opener as to what BS the AWB was.

    Basically I thought, if they could purposely obfuscate about one thing (the AWB), what else were they lying about? I got talking to gun people, I found sites like this, and my opinion did a hard and fast 180. Living in an echo chamber kept me from hearing realities, versus “packaged messages” that I was supposed to just rally with.

    I’m still not religious. We’d probably argue a lot here and disagree on a lot of “conservative/liberal” social issues such as gays and healthcare. (I do find it a bit annoying when sites like Ammoland wander into completely non-firearm-related political issues,)

    But I do not ‘but’ the 2A. I used to, but it just took the ‘display of reality’ and meeting people with different points of view than I had been indoctrinated with for me to completely reformat my opinion on the matter. I have since worked with the Colorado recalls (as much as I humanly could) and plan to do the same come November.

    I don’t believe that gun owners and 2A supporters have to “tick every single box of a staunch conservative”. Nor does everyone with a liberal social tendency believe in statism (I have to say I absolutely, certainly do not) or the eradication, modification or weakening of the 2A.

    We may not agree on everything, but we do agree on at least one thing, and I think that’s why we’re here…

    • avatarSomeOneInWA says:

      Well said. I hate it when people fail to realize that is very hard to make a lot of people agree on a lot of issues. That’s why I don’t understand “conservatives” that need to check every box in order to be a conservative. As Rand Paul was saying, the conservatives really need to extend the tent. If you believe in personal liberty, you don’t have to make it mandatory to be religious too (which is a personal choice). Reduce the set of problems to a smaller one and a lot of people will join you.
      That is how our republic was founded: they agreed on a small set of issues that the government is supposed to do and they succeeded.

  23. avatartjlarson2k says:

    I think it’s funny antis and progressives are in an uproar about arming teachers (omg, how horrible), when we’ve had a military and police for hundreds of years whose sole purpose is to defend the sheep from the wolves — and yes, that often means killing many wolves.

    I don’t see where their argument against armed teachers is coming from. If you believe teachers and students should not be allowed to defend themselves and should be taught to stay put and hide, then you’re saying the same applies to everyone, right? Isn’t that the logical conclusion? They want everyone to rely on the police, who are 30 minutes (or more) away.

    They call themselves progressives, but I see nothing progressive about their sheeple way of thinking. The problem is simple, the police aren’t omnipresent. That isn’t a knock on the police, that’s just reality.

    So, there’s the problem. The police aren’t around when crazy people decide to hurt innocents. So that takes them out of the equation. All you are left with are innocent people and a crazy person that wants to do them harm.

    That’s the scenario. So, now it’s time for solutions. It’s you and a crazy murderer and no police to help. What is your solution, Progressive person?

    Stay put and hide? What if you can’t retreat? Lay down and die?

    Well, by all means, lead by example. And tell all the families with dead children that laying down and waiting to die was your idea.

    Sad times we live in when that “solution” is even entertained, much less adopted.

    • avatarmichi says:

      Really, from experience : I don’t think they think that deeply or logically into the issue. “Guns bad, guns scary, guns go off by themselves, CHILDREN!” is pretty much all that gets thought.

      The “monster visage” of a gun stops their brain from thinking through things; basically – their fear of the gun is greater than their fear of the bad actor. So much so that they likely feel that mass shootings are carried out “by the gun”, and the shooter is just a side effect.

  24. avatarThe Last Marine out says:

    It’s not only the Guns/God issue that some will not accept, It’s the fact that the government itself and they thinking they are god too . Sample here is a item I get into it with some people , that fossil fuel is a MYTH, that the government and news media and our education does not lie …. but the real truth is the truth is VERY CONTROLED in America…(The Great OIL conspiracy by J.R.Corsi), get back at me …. A have a very large library of hard to find or get books etc….as the bible says :in their wisdom they became fools …. THE media outside America is controlled too…. but leaks happen more often…

  25. avatartjlarson2k says:

    I think it’s high time we start to edit out the word “shooter” and “shooting” when it comes to sensationalist headlines for “mass shootings”, etc. They are mass murders and violent crimes, nothing more, nothing less.

    They always employ some gun-related buzz word to demonize the tool, and not the crazy person that is doing the evil deeds.

    The progressives are so self-delusional when it comes to their utopian view of humanity that they will do anything to blame in-animate objects rather than accept the fact that a decent percentage of our population are just bad apples that should be put down. And really, this has been going on since humanity has been on the planet, they just refuse to acknowledge it.

    Hence the whole push for “no child left behind”, “everyone is a winner”, there are no more “bad grades” or “failure” in our education system. What a joke. It’s no wonder all these self-entitled progressives are sprouting up with delusional views of reality given that their entire upbringing is centered around the fact that “you are a special snowflake”.

    God forbid some people are just dumb or misinformed and no one told them otherwise or corrected them…

  26. What’s wrong with you people? Everyone is jumping all over the author for founding his arguments on his belief of God. How very tolerant of you. /sarc If anything it’s an evolved argument beyond facts and logic of gun stats and law. Try grasping concepts in the abstract. He is arguing that the inherent worth of a human being is more than what the state deems it and that human worth and dignity stems from a Creator.

    Instead of lighting him up for his premise, maybe you all should chill out and realize that we are on the same side and that we support the 2nd and all natural rights based on different beliefs. If you don’t believe in God, then instead of tearing this guy’s opinion down you should write your own submission on why basing our rights on the premise of a Creator is terrible.

    I’m sick of us eating our own.

    • avatarJohn Thomas says:

      “…write your own submission on why basing our rights on the premise of a Creator is terrible.”

      an excellent idea. id love to read it as well.

    • avatarmichi says:

      I don’t think I’ve done any tearing down, just disagreement that belief in God is necessary to be pro gun, defense, and 2A.

      I get the same “sick of us eating our own” feeling when I get told I can’t be a “real” 2A supporter due to my social (liberal-leaning) and religious (lack thereof) beliefs.

      • I hear ya, michi and I agree. I always use “anti-2A” when making my arguments because I realize we all come from different backgrounds. We are all in this together. I just find it unacceptable to refer to someone’s deeply held beliefs as “mythical” and “magic”. It’s insulting and not warranted.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          I agree. Why can’t I respect others’ beliefs while disliking them at the same time?

        • avatarRoss says:

          William,

          You can and I believe do, as a follower of Christ I don’t have a problem with you disagreeing with me or disliking my beliefs. If I’m ever in a situation were I have to draw my gun in defense of another I’m not going to be asking if they believe in God or not I’m just going to get it handled or die trying.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          FTR, I don’t have any problems with your beliefs. None.

    • avatarDelmarva Chip says:

      Prairie Patriot,

      Those of us who are atheist and pro-gun (and pro-liberty) are sick and tired of being told that we MUST believe in a god in order to believe in self-defense and/or liberty. IT’S SIMPLY WRONG.

      In the original post, the author said:

      Why do progressives deny the right to self-defense?

      then later said …

      There are three primary factors involved.

      then later said …

      The second factor: a refusal to acknowledge the existence of any power higher than themselves.

      As I see it, the author stated that one of the primary reasons that progressives deny the right to self-defense is a lack of a belief in a higher power. Not only do I think that is completely wrong and disrespectful, but I think it is counterproductive for both the pro-gun movement and the pro-liberty movement.

      A belief in god IS NOT NECESSARY to support the right of self-defense, and is also not necessary to support the concept of individual liberty. There are other arguments that can be made, both for self-defense and for individual liberty, that have nothing to do with a god.

      Those who INSIST on tying liberty to god do a disservice to the liberty movement. They make it more difficult for those of us who are atheist and pro-liberty to attempt to persuade other atheists that liberty (and the right of self-defense) is better than statism (and civilian disarmament).

      In effect, the original poster is attacking our acceptance of liberty without a belief in god. That attack is unwarranted and offensive.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        “a refusal to acknowledge the existence of any power higher than themselves.”

        Great. I’m starting a new band based on this: The One God and the Twelve Steps.

        It will probably consist of a lot fewer than thirteen people.

        • avatarDelmarva Chip says:

          Throw in a few winds and brass and a percussionist or two and I’m sure you can eventually get up to 13 people.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          If you know any unemployed (good) ones, send ‘em my way!

  27. avatarGreat Scot says:

    Too f**king right! I’ve had that experience days ago. We had almost the same discussion. My now-not-so-much-of-a-friend actually claimed that he’d rather no-one had the right to self-defence than criminals died. My response: a strangled half-scream. After we talked some more, he actually grabbed me by the neck in anger with my cold logic. He conceded my point once I slammed his face into the desk we were at and told him that that was self defence.

  28. avatarJohn Thomas says:

    this much we already knew, and the question is, indeed, “what now?” personally, i dont talk to antis about guns much, but its mostly because i havent cultured the restrain necessary. its too easy for them to suck me down to their level of ranting and arm-waving. maybe someday soon.

    i agree with every single word in this article. pro- or anti-gun, non-believers will never fail to recoil at the mention of God as in a number of the comments here. its just what they do by nature. keep that in mind when you see vitriol from them, here or elsewhere, brothers.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      Stay calm, and just keep asking them what “shall not be infringed” means. This is your point, so stay calmly on point and keep asked the question.

      And wait for the fireworks.

  29. avatarTim McNabb says:

    There is a real corollary between belief in God and belief in rights. That is not to say being an atheist makes you a lefty, but if you are a lefty, you are more likely to not believe in God than an evangelical conservative.

    Not sure why that is so tough for atheists who are on the right side of individual right to recognize and acknowledge.

  30. avatarRich Grise says:

    I can live without the Infinite Tyrant in the Sky, thank you very much.

    The Bill of Rights has more than just the second amendment – like the First, which asserts that you aren’t allowed to send men with guns to force me to subjugate myself to your own personal Infinite Tyrant in the Sky.

    No, I’m afraid that any argument for Freedom falls flat on its face when Liberty depends on the largesse of some invisible, unknowable, absolutely powerful authority. Anybody remember “absolute power corrupts absolutely?”

    Freedom is my Worship Word.

  31. avatarJoshtheViking says:

    I see an awful many atheists in the comments with their feelings hurt. Think of it this way, if you take the supernatural element out of life, what are you left with? The answer is, a bunch of useless animated chemicals that only exist to perpetuate themselves. In other words, consciousness is only an illusion created by electrochemical reaction in our neurons. In that case, there is no right, there is no wrong, there is not reliable logic, there is no reason. There is only force. If the government has the most force, then it must be right.

    I’m sure that there are many atheists that believe in freedom and the value of life; however, the belief in the those things is not consistent with atheism. Without a higher power, a life is nothing more than a cheap biological machine.

    • avatarST says:

      “A life of faith” under an uncaring Creator is simply serving a divine dictatorship.

      Heaven: An Inner Party for collaborators to the system.
      Hell: a gulag for the nonconformists.

      Say what you want about religious folk who preach civil disarmament, but they’re at least consistent . I submit that self defense has no place under a religious faith- because if the purpose of life in all forms is to serve (God/Islam/Insert Faith Here) , then ONLY that authority has the right to decide who should directly live and die. That’s why suicide is forbidden in Catholicism, and why being shot by a thug at three AM should not be resisted forcefully by religiously faithful people: after all, wouldn’t you be disrupting The Holy Plan by shooting the bad guy ? Would it not be an unacceptable violation of The Divine Plan in preventing further criminal action? How dare a mere father decide against God or (insert deity here) when He decrees that his family must be slaughtered by a three strikes felon pedophile?

      I hope that vile image forces some folks to think carefully about their faiths. One need not be anti gun to be closed minded in blind belief.

      • avatarJR says:

        “uncaring Creator”

        That is your characterization, and it is supposition. All your argument follows from that.

        Actually, your logic is classical “begging the question.” You define the Creator as “uncaring” then go on to points that springboard from that which justify for your initial premise.

        The bottom line is that we don’t know “why” God does (would do) things; it’s not our place to judge him or put him into the tiny box of human understanding.

        All major religions and spiritual philosophies follow that same basic pattern: there is something “bigger” than human, and it transcends human understanding.

        It requires a basic “surrendering of self” to begin to explore that. When one asks questions from that perspective, it’s true – we don’t always like what the answers seem to be. But again, that’s OUR characterization from OUR perspective.

        It all starts with accepting “I am not divine. I cannot understand that which IS divine.”

        • avatarThe Last Marine out says:

          And everyone wants to be the EXPERT on God , but yet have never read the whole Bible to find out what God is or is not… that is saying I know it all , but will NEVER check it out for their self ……….THAT is a FOOL..

        • avatarST says:

          You insist that I cannot question the nature of divine action, because divine action is beyond my understanding.

          This premise is bull.

          I don’t understand the principles of advanced 1911 gunsmithing. Does that mean i’m unqualified to comment on 1911s in any form? Further, if I asked a master 1911 gunsmith how said firearm works, he’d probably be able to translate his “advanced understanding” to language I can understand.

          Don’t tell me that’s not possible in a divine sense either, because if it were not, the 10 Commandments and every religious textbook ever written would be impossible. Clearly , “God/Allah ” were able to clue a few folks into some parts of the divine plan according to those texts , way back when. Why not now? What, is God afraid of smartphones?

          So, we know the “divine plan” can be at least partially translated into something us peons can comprehend. Ergo, we CAN logically use our intellects to pose questions , based on our own limited frame of mind, to ask the hallowed one above why it is he can’t seem to get off his divine rear and, you know, stop all this suffering and evil all around us.

          @-LastMarineOut; I was raised in a baptist household in Chicago, where my uncle was a deacon at a West Side Church. Ive read enough of the Bible to know its got some consistency issues,just like many other religious textbooks out there.

          There are so many logical problems with religion, that I could keep this up all week. Ironic how so many people dedicated to individual freedom could delegate their existence to some arbitrary authority which doesn’t care in the least about their welfare.

        • avatarJR says:

          “I don’t understand the principles of advanced 1911 gunsmithing. Does that mean i’m unqualified to comment on 1911s in any form? ”

          Wow. Are you really equating the understanding and comprehension of man made technology with transcendental understanding of the universe or even the “essence” of existence itself?

          We will never have a point of common agreement in such a discussion. If you cannot accept that human is not “all knowing” than we disagree at the most fundamental level.

          I can categorically state that I am not a deity, and there are many, many things in life I do not understand. And to put that (perhaps) into a little bit of context, I have a terminal degree in a hard science as formal education and I’ve had jobs involving life-and-death (I’ve seen people die in front of me). The longer I live, the more humbled and in awe of the grander universe around me I become. 1911 gun smithing pales in comparison to even the smallest of mysteries in the broader universe.

          “some arbitrary authority which doesn’t care in the least about their welfare.”

          More tautology. You are stating your conclusion as a premise then expecting me to agree with your logic? No sir. Sorry.

          Many people (of many specific) faiths are / have been touched by the hand of God and have lived their lives in a manner consistent with that. Their faith is / has not been wasted, or at least I think that’s what THEY would say.

      • avatarSomeOneInWA says:

        You forgot to mention “turn the other cheek”. :)
        If you go to the logic that God wanted us to defend ourselves this doesn’t really strengthen the argument.

  32. avatartjlarson2k says:

    Here’s an interesting spin on things:

    The Ten Commandments. The very fact that someone had to write down these ten basic rules outlining how to act like a decent human being is kind of telling of how morally ignorant people can be. Hence the importance of parenting, not so much religion.

    Some of the most upstanding people I’ve met are atheists that are accountable to themselves for their actions through life because, to their point, they don’t have a God to use as a moral crutch to justify their behavior or to ask for forgiveness when they do something “wrong”. I’ve also met many upstanding people from many other religions that carry on just fine. What they all have in common? A good value system and moral responsibility.

    The whole “He will always forgive you” angle that religion has is also inherently a catch22 and a huge moral loophole that excuses a lot of crappy behavior in the world. I wonder how many people willfully do crappy things to others but feel justified in doing so because they feel they have a Get out of Jail free card with the whole ask for forgiveness later angle. Hence all the prisoners that “find God” in prison. A little late for their rape or murder victim I suppose, but good on them for finding God and getting forgiveness…. /sarc

    Spirituality and perhaps even religion is fine and dandy if you take personal responsibility for your own actions while you’re practicing. But, like all potentially good things, the people that abuse and pervert it ruin it for the rest.

    • avatarMike Crognale says:

      Again, it’s called “Free will”. No one is guaranteed the next breath, much less the next hour/day/etc. that is the tragedy of those whose faith is inherently weak. They think that God doesn’t see and thus when they get caught, they can ask for forgiveness. Maybe, if they are still breathing. See my first part of this.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      “The Ten Commandments. The very fact that someone had to write down these ten basic rules outlining how to act like a decent human being is kind of telling of how morally empty people can be up until the point they learn the Commandments.”

      Holy WOW! I am going to use that, sometime, someplace. If I live long enough to.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      The beginning of your post reminds me of something that I read a long time ago, regarding companies who have a “Statement of Ethics” (and most do). It goes like this:

      “If you have to write down your ethics, you’ve already lost.”

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        I agree. But I would qualify it this way: if you write down your code of ethics (on, say, a product you market) for the benefit of others (say your customers), you are doing it for your benefit and theirs. Call this your “mission statement”.

        If you have to write it down for you only, there is obviously a problem to be addressed.

    • avatarYellow Devil says:

      Well than I can make the same argument for the U.S. Constitution. How politically advanced were the Founder’s foundation that they had to resort to putting it down on paper? I mean, as Americans, everyone should just KNOW the notion of Liberty and rule of Law. But than, seeing as how even those words get manipulated, maybe that doesn’t bode well in any example.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        “How politically advanced were the Founder’s foundation that they had to resort to putting it down on paper?”

        The answer is very simple and clear: they were writing the framework for a new nation based on liberty and justice, not telling people what to believe.

        Once liberty and justice were established, every citizen was free to believe whatever he chose to believe.
        As long as it was not abridging the liberty and justice of another person.

  33. avatarChristian says:

    The Author’s point is that Statists are (1) often Athiestic/Agnostic and (2) that Statists cling to their beliefs as firmly as Christians cling to theirs. The Statist view on Government replaces religious belief. It would seem many of you need to read more about the Soviet Union and China’s social policies.

    Politics becomes religion, and any other religion becomes the enemy of the state. It is at it’s core a religious battle. This is why a majority of second amendment supporters are religious, anti-government, and pro liberty. Also why the majority of living constitutionalist/repeal the second amendment types are irreligious, pro-government and anti-liberty.

    Guns are the indicator, because guns show where power lies. With the Government, or the citizenry.

    • Dear Christian:

      Quite right and thank you. As you noted, I do not make a theological argument for the existence or non-existence of God. I merely note that our constitutional tradition comes from philosophers and Founders who did believe in God and his establishment of unalienable, natural rights, self-defense among them.

      I surely do not argue that anyone that does not profess a specific belief in God is in some way beyond the pale and unwelcome in the Second Amendment debate–quite the opposite. Careful readers will also note that having mentioned the idea of a God-given right to self-defense, I did not confine the establishment of a right to self-defense only to those that believe in God. Believe in God or not, the right to self-defense is fundamental to all free men.

      Believer or non-believer, all Americans benefit from the Second Amendment and the rest of the Constitution.

      Ultimately, the article is intended to provide at least one way of understanding those that oppose freedom, in the hope that with understanding, we will be more successful in defending freedom. It is surely not the only way to understanding.

    • avatarSomeOneInWA says:

      It is a religious battle, a battle on who to control the citizenry. It is convenient today for the religious people to side with the pro 2A because the marxists are in power. I’m sure that a lot of people that proposed gun control and help that implemented are God fearing citizens. It doesn’t seem to matter.
      In the end is if you are about liberty or not. Requiring obedience to a “supreme” force as voiced through the priests of that religion is not conducive of liberty. Free thought is not encouraged. Liberty can not exists without free thought. In the end you have to trust somebody that tells you what is the right thing to do, without even questioning. The only difference is just the source of the requirement.
      Again, religion is a very private thing and I will defend anybody to think what they want, but in the end, don’t assume that I’m lesser if I don’t think like you.

  34. avatarBluesMike says:

    I am a bit amazed at the mis-reading of the original article about the worth of a human being and the mere mention of a Creator. Everybody reacted to the Creator part and didn’t even see the argument. I’ll jump in. Look at it the other way around. I agree that you don’t have to believe in a Creator to be pro freedom / pro-self-defense / pro-guns. I do think you have to believe in the inherent worth of life as being greater than the government would define it based on their own needs (as the state). However, take the case of the solid anti-gun statist. I’ve argued with quite a few of them although my experience (like yours) is anecdotal and not a study of any kind. What I’ve found is the same as in the article. The anti-gun person is generally going to be anti-Creator (all of them I’ve talked to). At the very least, they view statism as a religion, more important than a Creator, as the article claims.

    • Spot on. People see “God” and immediately shut down. The point was that the state shouldn’t be defining human dignity.

      • avatarRich Grise says:

        My problem with “God,” notwithstanding the 1st Amendment prohibition of an official establishment, is, which one? Zeus? Apollo? Isis? Yaweh? Allah? Cthulhu? The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

        And of course, every one is the “One True God,” and they ALL deny Free Will: “Thou Shalt Obey Or Die.”

        Fuck that shit. FREEDOM is the only Worship Word I need, thank you very much.

        • avatarJR says:

          Another possibility: They are all the same God dressed differently by different HUMAN perceptions.

          Or something.

        • avatarYellow Devil says:

          Many people get this wrong in my opinion. Freedom, by itself, is not an idea to worship. It is a byproduct of Liberty. Because even Freedom can be given. But Liberty must always be acquired.

  35. avatarBuckeyecopperhead says:

    If anyone chooses not to believe in God, Christ, that’s a choice they choose to make. I choose to believe. Regardless of what you choose to believe, if you allow me to live peacefully and able to practice my beliefs unhindered, you will get no quarrel from me. I don’t believe in forcible conversions.

    However, the statist/progressives CAN’T leave us alone and refuse to let us live in peace. That’s the what makes them what they are. Even many so-called “Christians” are merely progs in disguise. I will have nothing to do with them.

  36. avatarbigred1 says:

    Liberals, progressives, gun control advocates, etc are made made up of individuals who need to be “recognized”. They need to somehow be more “relevant” than the normal working person. They are that type A personality which needs conflict. They become relevant when they get on the bandwagon for a controversial topic. They say something that is totally illogical, or they tell a reporter to F*** off and get on an online video to go viral. Most of the population, being normal, thinks they are idiots and wouldn’t give them the time of day. The small base they represent see’s them as a hero and strokes their ego. The liberal then thinks “boy that felt good to have all that attention. I can’t get that in my day job”. So they ratchet it up. Other liberals see the attention received and so something similar. Another ego has been stroked. They are little people who have an insatiable desire to be big, but don’t have the fortitude to put any work into it.

  37. avatarAlbaniasaaa says:

    Ignoring the religious part, good article. However including the religious part is including opinion. I am not religious but I am a strong supporter of firearm rights.

  38. avatarPahtun6 says:

    Progressives and liberals only like science when it supports there beliefs, try using to support the right to keep and bear arms and they don’t like it.

    The reason why our friends on the other side get irrational during conversations on gun control is because they have genuine fear, as irrational as it may be, of firearms. Often times these fears are based off of simply not being familiar with firearms, that’s why when they here something about firearms on the news they just accept it as fact, plus they’re sheep, and by sheep I mean they never dig deeper into what the MSM reports.

  39. avatarHal J. says:

    There are plenty of people who people in God who want to disarm us…more, I dare say, than those who don’t believe in God, given that atheists and agnostics are outnumbered by believers in this country by about 5 to 1.

    Say, here’s a thought: Why not just leave God and religion out of it, and work together…believers and unbelievers alike…to protect the RKBA?

  40. avatarAlbaniaaaa says:

    Another point, both liberals and conservatives decide to side with science and statistics when they like what it says and then ignore it when it doesn’t.

  41. avatarWassim Absood says:

    Thank you very much for describing your own internal biases and inability to think beyond your own blinders.

  42. avatarformer water walker says:

    +1000 Mike. I believe in Jesus Christ. We don’t have anything approaching equinamity in Christianity concerning RKBA. The so-called Progressives(toward what? ) will NEVER admit they are wrong. Most need calamity like rape,murder & mayhem to change their minds. Biblical prophecy being fulfilled as I speak. I also believe most Americans are without excuse.

  43. avatarPaul G. says:

    But I do. Look it up.

  44. avatarMilsurp Collector says:

    My two best friends are atheists and have been as pro-gun as my agnostic self their whole lives. An ex-girlfriend is Jewish and an ex-friend from high school is Christian; both have always been anti-gun. None of them ever linked the two together. Religious beliefs and a stance on gun rights are mutually exclusive unless you CHOOSE to relate them. By that I mean a Catholic priest who argued that carrying a gun is a temptation to violate the 6th commandment in a sermon I heard after the George Zimmerman fiasco.

  45. avatarDoug says:

    As Indiana Jones said to the two Feds, “Didn’t you guys go to Sunday School?”

    The original post may be one of the best things on TTAG in a month of Sundays.

  46. avatarZachary marrs says:

    I dont see how anyone else’s religion (or lack of) effects me, if you respect my rights to practice what I want, to I will be more than happy to respect yours.
    Dividing us over religion is a tactic of the liberty-hating left

  47. avatarAndrew says:

    I think it was stupid to bring religion into this argument. I am staunchly atheist and pro-gun myself. And even more so an individualist. The right of an individual to make his way in this world is what our country was founded on, not religion.

    I like this blog because of the gun and gear reviews and the relevant political news that it posts. But I didn’t come here to hear how being an atheist makes me more likely to be anti gun and less of a champion of individual rights. And it makes the writer of this article just as idiot and illogical as the man whom he disagreed with.

    Bottom line is that if you want to claim to be on the logical and reasonable side of an argument, you had better leave your god out of it.

    • avatarAndrew says:

      And I’ve made an idiot of myself *sigh* Grammar fix below.

      “And it makes the writer of this article just as idiotic and illogical as the man whom he disagreed with.”

  48. avatarRalph says:

    Well, I’m glad we settled that. Now on to the toughest question of life: Ginger or Maryann?

  49. avatarjoleme says:

    I would also add.

    Why are some of you more worried about which maybe/maybe not imaginary person in the sky a person does/doesn’t worship.

    Why can’t people just be content with individuals acting like decent human beings, treating others nicely, and respecting others rights.

    Religion comes up and the first thing everyone feels like they have to do is preach. If you are so insecure in your beliefs that you feel like you have to hound others about their beliefs than you should probably reassess your own.

    Divide and conquer – Yup, we do that well enough on our own, who needs antis.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      Because it JUST ISN’T RIGHT! (Pounds table, spilling beer, whiskey and communion wine)

      The Ayatollah said so!

  50. avatarH.R. says:

    Even here we have a hard time agreeing on what is and is not pro-gun. One guy is all for select fire rifles but draws the line at artillery. The next guy is fine with artillery but draws the line with nukes. Then a gal comes along and agrees with that, but she wants background checks. What is pro-2A and what isn’t?

    Rhetorical question – just making the point that we are also prone to heated disagreements that get personal.

  51. avatarExcedrine says:

    He was equating the religious God argument with the progressive/statist equating the State with a ‘God’, of sorts. Rather, that to them, the State is (for all intents and purposes) an infallible God-entity, who they use to not only use assert their beliefs but also try to prove them by it.

    That’s a pretty frightening parallel to draw, if I do say so myself (and I do).

    I would say that he could done a much better job of presenting it, though, as he appears to have offended some Atheists and secularists here (not that it should matter all that much because the point he presented there is still valid regardless).

  52. avatarForedom says:

    “God” and “the State” can be freely interchanged in this article and it still sounds just as ridiculous. The author sounds just as intolerant of atheists and other religions as antis are of 2A supporters. The author has effectively divided the AI into believers and non-believers. The author would make a great progressive. Religion IS statism of a different color. It is just another means of ensuring control over the many by the “enlightened” few. Religion and Government are two of the leading causes of death in history. We are our own worst enemy.

  53. avatarJAS says:

    Best I’ve read here ever. There are no atheist in war/deadly combat. Talk to them that have been there first before you post otherwise. I have.

    • avatarRoss says:

      Yep, It seems that every time TTAG does one of these write ups i.e. God/Guns we have a lot of fun responding and a lot of responses.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        Fun? Maybe, but of the miserable sort.

        • avatarRoss says:

          “miserable sort” no I don’t believe so, come on William admit it you are enjoying yourself.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          So your contention is I’m always enjoying myself? I effish wish.

        • avatarRoss says:

          I wouldn’t go as far as “always”………. but I’m having fun if that counts.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          I do realize that misery sometimes may be beneficial, but I’m not going lie and say I enjoy it,

          Misery, by definition, is not going to ever be enjoyable.

    • avatarBradN says:

      I have several family members that served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq part 1 and 2 and Afghanistan. Several of them are Atheists and I have discussed with them at length their feelings about faith before, during and after combat. They told me the thought of god or religion in general never even crossed their mind. They were there to get a job done. This myth that there “are no atheists in foxholes” denigrates their service and I find that highly offensive.

      • avatarJR says:

        Do the several of the several constitute a statistically significant sample?

        There are always exceptions; anecdotal evidence from an extremely small number of people does not by itself disprove the “No atheists in foxholes” conclusion…well, except for the statement is a ridiculous absolute.

        I don’t know for sure, but if I had to guess, the breakdown of atheists in foxholes to believers in foxholes would be close to that of the non-warfighting population. But, I hypothesize that there is a greater movement from atheism to (wishful) belief than the other way. For emphasis, that’s just a guess.

        • avatarStinkeye says:

          “But, I hypothesize that there is a greater movement from atheism to (wishful) belief than the other way.”

          Plenty of veterans lose their religious faith once they see the horrors of war up close…

          It’s almost as though human beings are incredibly complex creatures with behavior so wildly varied that it’s virtually impossible to use simplistic blanket statements to describe them. :)

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Seems to me you would have to have spent some time in a foxhole to arrive at your position. I haven’t been in one, and that’s why I have no argument with that maxim.

        • avatarJR says:

          Fair enough, Burke, but…

          We can learn from the experiences of others, and it just seems to me that we (well, I) hear far more people moving toward belief in that and similar situations than the other direction.

          In either case, I will agree the “No” in “No atheists in foxholes” is not realistic. Beyond that, I was just musing with fanciful conjecture.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Yeah. Incredible stress and the fact that you might be dead as a doornail any moment now is not exactly conducive to rational thought processes.

          Among a lot of men in the same situation, you will get the whole spectrum of responses, but I don’t think they constitute “faith”; it’s only fear.

          And fear is a double-edged sword. It can save your life. It can also get you killed.

  54. avatarPublius says:

    It started off good until you ended up ranting about how anyone who doesn’t believe in an invisible friend with magical powers hates freedom.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      We’re reaching towards a new record, Robert. Start counting.

    • avatarRoss says:

      Publius,

      Maybe I missed something, I happen to believe (completely) in this invisible friend with magical powers you refer to, I call him God, but for those that don’t believe (in God) I (and other followers of Christ) would never say they hate freedom and am not sure why you came away with this impression.

      • avatarJumbie says:

        The post author says people who don’t believe in god don’t value human life. He develops his argument from there.

        THAT is where he has gone totally wrong. The fact is that people can still believe in the value of life and the attendant right to defend it with weapons, even if they don’t believe in God and the writer compounds that error by asserting that the lack of respect for self-defense actually comes from atheism.

  55. avatarMina says:

    Great post, it captures everything itemized in the documentary: Agenda: Grinding America Down which I’d recommend everyone to watch … if you’re not religious the first 45 minutes is plenty although there is good stuff after the sunshine and rainbow religion section from 45-55 or so.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      Have you ever seen the graphic of Obama standing amidst smoking rubble, as far as the eye can see, and saying, My work is done here”?

      This is the role for which Obama was chosen: the Dark Destroyer. He will not stop unless we decide to make him stop.

  56. avatarH says:

    A lot of us seem childish now. Our rights are dependent on us. Nothing else. What we give them, is what they will take. Stand strong.

  57. avatarSomeOneInWA says:

    The argument that only atheists are Statists is false. One need to look around to some “conservatives” in the current Congress to see how they promote a bigger State. In the past God was used to justify the ultimate dictatorship – monarchy.
    My belief is that during the late 19th century when Church started to lose control (the birth of real liberalism) the Statists had to invent a new religion: socialism/communism to be able to control the “peasants”. Some fell for it and some still do. So to me, left or no left, as long as you believe in another force that we must obey you are a Statist. As somebody said earlier, we can still be moral due to the fact that we are sentient beings.
    The desire to force another person on how to live their life is demeaning; you assume that another human being is unable to understand the right from wrong and unable to do the right choices. That is the characteristic of a Statist, regardless of her religion.
    Free men think for themselves, they have no need for any “supreme” force to tell them what to think.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      “My belief is that during the late 19th century when Church started to loose control (the birth of real liberalism) the Statists had to invent a new religion: socialism/communism to be able to control the “peasants”.

      Bingo. I see that all the main Deistic religions (Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Communism/Socialism) are cut of the very same cloth. You are right in saying S/C was invented to supplant the other religions; in so many ways, their methods and practices are very much the same. S/C was intended to become the new State religion, and it has obviously succeeded to a large degree.

  58. avatarJohn says:

    Why even bring religion into it? I can be ambivalent about God and absolutely believe in an innate right to self-defense. I could even argue that the potential lack of a God makes self-defense even more vital, because my life would seem infinitely more precious to me if I think there might not be anything else, at all, after it’s over.

    Let me just leave a consideration for the author’s future publications: you had me until the argument for religion tried to assign completely false values to me. Then stopped giving it serious consideration and briefly skimmed over the last 3/4 of your writing so I could leave this comment and move on.

    • avatarSomeOneInWA says:

      Right on!

    • avatarDelmarva Chip says:

      you had me until the argument for religion tried to assign completely false values to me. Then stopped giving it serious consideration and briefly skimmed over the last 3/4 of your writing so I could leave this comment and move on.

      This is a good example of why the act of insisting upon tying liberty/gun rights to god is so damaging to the cause of liberty/gun rights. Those who do not believe in a god are likely to disregard any other arguments presented if god is unnecessarily thrown into the mix.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        “Those who do not believe in a god are likely to disregard any other arguments presented if god is unnecessarily thrown into the mix.”

        Well, those who lack the critical faculty of discernment will. So, yes, to a degree.

  59. avatarDelmarva Chip says:

    If the author’s intent was to divide the pro-gun community by throwing in an inflammatory, unwarranted, offensive paragraph about a lack of belief in a god causing people to be anti-gun, he’s done a fine job.

    If not, then he needs to start respecting those of us who do not share his religious beliefs but support the right of self-defense and the cause of liberty.

    • avatarRich Grise says:

      The Revolution was triggered by gun confiscation in the late 1700′s, but the Pilgrims moved to America to escape the theocracy and “Divine Right of Kings” in the 1600′s so Freedom From Religion was here first. Yes, if you don’t do mental gymnastics, then the 1st Amendment forbids the government to send men with guns to make me go to any church.

  60. avatarSomeOneInWA says:

    This epic thread is a clear indication why the conservatives (as defined today) can not win elections. Today they support 2A, however is hard to forget that they brought us the Prohibition. Some people are neutral about 2A, however they feel strongly about abortion and gay marriage. And as such, when given a choice they will vote with left due to these issues. And our freedom will be diminished.
    If you really want to win elections and care about liberty, drop the abortion and gay marriage, make them a non issue. This will disarm the left. A lot of people can rally behind a simple message of individual liberty. Individual liberty include the freedom of religion, they don’t need to be exclusive.
    I will say that the hardliners of religious right (by pushing people in the arms of left) are as guilty as the left for our continuous erosion of rights.
    How I can convince my gay friends that voting republican will mean more liberty not only for my 2A rights but for their life too?
    The people in the middle suffer the most.
    How’s that for a frustrated piece of conversation?

  61. avatarJumbie says:

    “If there is no God, the individual human life has only the value recognized by the state at any given moment. ”

    Non sequitor: A statement made without evidence, as if the truth is obvious when it actually isn’t.

    Straw man: presenting a weak argument that supposedly represents the views of the other side so that you can rebutt it without need to present the actual case of the other side.

    I am aware of lots of churchy folks, especially unitarians, catholics, hindus, muslims and jews who are anti self-defense, calling all the time for registrations, background checks and even repealing the 2A.

    Note also that I am 1) PRO-GUN. 2) Atheist. And so are many around here, so disbelief in god doesn’t mean disbelief in the value of life.

  62. avatarPashtun6 says:

    Jumbies right, I’ve also met plenty of Christians, Muslims, and Jews who have no respect for life, it comes down more upbringing more than anything else.

  63. avatarAlex in IL says:

    And now, what should have been a decent stroll through the comments section has turned into a warzone. We don’t need the to be divided, we must all hang together, or we will all hang separately.

  64. avatarFanfare ends says:

    Amazing how many so-called atheists here feel the need to ridicule us believers.

    “ME THINKS YOU DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH…”

    (if you believe in nothing, you’ll probably fall for anything).

    • avatarSteveInCO says:

      You know, WE were silent until this guy came along and had an attack of verbal diarrhea and decided to go after us.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        Whatever gave you the impression that Atheists “believe in nothing”? Everyone believes in something.

      • avatarSteveInCO says:

        William,

        It looks to me like either your reply was meant for Fanboy and somehow ended up as a reply to me, or I miscommunicated, and you thought I was taking Fanboy’s side. The “WE” in my reply (we were silent) was “atheists” and “this guy” with verbal diarrhea was the author of the original post (not some atheist). I sure wasn’t agreeing with anything Fanboy had to say, and I sure as heck don’t think atheists “believe in nothing”

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Yeah, you are correct. Thanks for realizing that I was replying to the wrong post. This happens. I think we need a way to reply to individual posts, instead of threads, because that seems to be the case.

    • avatarBradN says:

      I could say the same thing about you Fanfare. If you don’t require evidence and logic to believe in something then you’ll fall for anything because you don’t apply critical thinking or have any standard for actual substantial evidence. “God done did it” or “the bible is evidence” doesn’t count as evidence of a supreme being with the exact qualities as described by Christian myth. There is just as much actual evidence for Thor or Zeus as there is for Yahweh, which is precisely zero.

      Faith is the process of belief without evidence. I don’t have faith, I have reasonable expectations based on prior evidence. If that makes me foolish then I don’t have much reason to believe that mankind will progress beyond what we are today.

      • avatarpg says:

        You’re right about one thing…the human race is clearly devolving. We can argue the causes all day long, but it won’t matter.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      Nobody believes in nothing.

  65. avatarjerry says:

    My goodness, such hostility. I would be so very upset if i cared.

  66. avatarArdent says:

    Equating atheism with statism is absurd on it’s face. There are only a few atheist groups with any level of organization and those are heavily libertarian by necessity; the diversity of people who fall under the banner of ‘atheist’ is such that they only thing they truly share is apostasy. Other categorizations are difficult but largely atheists are heavily invested in the value of the individual and in the basic liberties with which all people are imbued. Many atheists resent their perceived or actual oppression by religion and naturally fear authority. Leaving one sort of highly limiting and controlling hierarchy only to immediately embrace another isn’t logical and atheists tend to highly value logic and reason (it’s usually how they arrived at apostasy).

    It’s been said that organizing atheists is like herding cats; they are too independent and free thinking to get many behind any particular plan or ideal. Stereotyping them is just as difficult and generally inaccurate. The natural state of man is apostasy (we’re all born atheists) one has to learn or invent religion. Thus trying to categorize what atheists believe or think is important is virtually impossible.

    On the other hand, many atheists so embrace logic and reason that they are perfectly willing to reshape their thinking on an issue, or even their worldview based on evidence, not something religious people can claim or even attempt if they are to remain ‘religious’. Atheists don’t tend to have their identity wrapped up in either their apostasy nor their beliefs in any particular thing and thus tend to be more flexible in changing their positions based on the available evidence.

    Progressivism/statism is very much like religion and from the POV of an atheist the same machinations are involved. Both represent the same sort of limitation in application of logic and reason and both are demonstrably untrue and harmful to the individual.

    As for morality, which the OP suggests can only come from god, the question is well settled and was more than 100 years ago. Without opening a debate on religion, these only reflect the mores and values present at the time of their inception and shaped by the intervening years and cultural shifts. Further, there is little agreement even within the various religions as the factionalize and compartmentalize to encompass almost anything the human mind can conceive. What’s clear enough is that virtually every person is possessed of a basic internal injunction against killing others. We even have a diagnosis for those who lack such an injunction; Sociopathic Personality Disorder.

    To say that religious people are more moral than atheists, or that they are more freedom minded or more anything than credulous and believing in a metaphysical god makes as much sense as claiming rain water is wetter than pool water. The two identifiers span so many demographics, lifestyles and thought systems that comparing ‘religious’ to atheist as a contemporary political problem is simply impossible to do with any accuracy.

    Personally, the accusation that atheists are somehow more connected to statism and progressivism is highly insulting. It’s a negative generalization that is unnecessary, unproductive and divisive. Imagine an article that suggested it was religious people, with their love of arbitrary rules and desire to impose them on others that were the primary problem with government overreach today. I could very easily make that argument and pen that article and I think it could be made far more convincing in that respect than this one. After all, some 90+ percent of the congress and the president all claim to be Christians of one sort or another, perhaps it’s at the church door that these accusations should be laid?

    Lets not divide ourselves by gender, race, religion or anything else but our commitment to individual liberty and the 2A. There is room in the movement for anyone who supports liberty, or at least there had better be if we are to prevail.

  67. avatarModus_Pwnens says:

    As others have already stated, I think you REALLY need to back off on the religious argument. I correctly predicted that most of the comments would revolve around your religious opinions and not the greater argument, which I don’t think was your intention. I understand that you’re trying to equate the belief and worship of God with belief and worship of Progressivism, but it doesn’t come across successfully and ends up doing more harm than good to your argument.

    Up until that point, I was strongly considering emailing this article to my own colleagues in academia. I think it is true that from a statistical standpoint that most Progressives reject religion, and they see it in an even more negative light than guns and the 2nd Amendment. Why then would you think it’s a good idea to use God to argue Guns with those types of people? It boggles the mind, and I want to throw up my hands like your colleague.

    You’ve stated (as have many others, myself included) that the 2nd Amendment is more important and fundamental than even the 1st, because you can’t speak freely if you’re subject to violence, coercion, or intimidation. I contend that the 2nd Amendment argument is more important even than the question of God: you can’t worship freely if you’re subject to religious persecution by armed criminal and terrorist organizations as in the Middle East. Also, as long as you’re making the scientific argument you have to acknowledge that, barring an indisputable appearance by God and a demonstration of His powers, there are people (both Progressive and Conservative) who will never have faith.

    You and pretty much every reader of this website understands we are in a cultural war for the minds of the majority of the population. When it comes to the separate issues of God and Guns, I have this to say: ONE THING AT A TIME! You simply cannot take two highly contentious and polarizing issues, set them against each other, and hope for a positive outcome on either front. All you succeed in doing is 1) dividing your own camp, 2) presenting the fence-sitters with another conundrum to surpass before they make their decisions, and 3) giving more ammunition to the opposition. How easy would it be for MDA to selectively read this article and say (fairly or unfairly) “See? Gun nuts don’t want you if you don’t want God!”

    However, as others here have said not all Progressives reject religion, or for that matter guns. Like it or not, the people who are most important to convince of our righteousness on the topic of guns are those same hardcore Progressives, and like it or not we have to play the political game as the NRA knows all too well. We need all the allies we can get, and it matters little who they are or from whence they come as long as their hearts are true.

    • avatarSteveInCO says:

      “I understand that you’re trying to equate the belief and worship of God with belief and worship of Progressivism, but it doesn’t come across successfully and ends up doing more harm than good to your argument.”
      If that was his intent he did a REALLY bad job of it. It comes across as saying “Here is this ‘god’ concept. If you don’t believe it is real, you *will* treat the state as if it were god, so you should believe in the ‘god’ concept.”
      In other words, it’s either God as god, or The State as god. He’s not equating them, he’s putting them on the two horns of a false dilemma. It’s an old trick; by positing that something *clearly* bad is one of only two choices you have, he’s trying to manipulate you into picking the other choice. F*** that nonsense.

  68. avatarjim smith says:

    An epiphany for me was to sit in the gallery of the statehouse and watch these so called elites that the statists are so willing to trust to run every aspect of their lives debate the finer points of legislation they were considering for passage. When they were debating something I knew a lot about, it was obvious they didn’t have a clue which made me wonder how many other issues do they take up and display the same level of ignorance? Encourage your friend to spend a day at the statehouse watching legislation being made on something he has knowledge of and see if he still thinks entrusting every aspect of his life to these chosen “elites” is what he wants to do.

  69. avatarDave says:

    You bring God into a logical discussion about gun control… Religion has no place in any discussion about guns & should never be brought into it. While the rest of your argument was perfectly sound, bringing religion into it only serves to reinforce the image of the bible thumpin’, Nascar lovin’, Budweiser chuggin’ stereotype gun grabbers love to use to portray gun owners as; as such, I cannot take you seriously. I am a Democrat. I was raised Catholic. I consider myself a fairly progressive individual. And I will be damned if I will see my 2nd Amendment rights eroded. My unwillingness to want anything to do with an uncaring, indifferent god, if I choose to believe in one at all, has nothing to do with people trying to deny me my right to keep & bear arms. I vote on the issues. I make my choices based on logic, not emotion or religion. You want moral guidance? Go to church. Religion has no more place dictating the laws of Man than emotion. Rational, logical discussion is the only thing we should be governed by.

    • avatarYellow Devil says:

      Interesting to note but the early Progressive movement worked hand in hand with various religious organizations and groups to run on a sort of political “Heaven on Earth” mantra. If only the sins and temptations of alcohol was eliminated than man could strive to only do good things. Of course, the modern progressive seek to ignore this Prohibition linkage, but it interesting to note the striking simularities with anti-alcohol movement to the anti-firearm movement. The arguments, the indoctrination to children, the endless promise of a future utopia, the raw emotions, all of it was very similar than as it is to today. I bring this up because if there are any issues that people have strong feelings about, than emotional arguments will exist. It is only human nature, and it doesn’t matter if you are a God-fearing believer or an avowed Atheist. I can only imagine the intense, raw, emotional debates that went on during glasnost and perestroikaI in the Politburo, all of whom probable claimed to be rational men. I also might add, that despite your attempt at the contrary, you are falling right into the Gun grabber’s trap by saying “bringing religion into it only serves to reinforce the image of the bible thumpin’, Nascar lovin’, Budweiser chuggin’ stereotype “. If you don’t want to fall into a stereotype, than stop spouting them in the first place.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        “I can only imagine the intense, raw, emotional debates that went on during glasnost and perestroikaI in the Politburo, all of whom probable claimed to be rational men.”

        I agree with most of your post, but Glasnost and Perestroika were economic in nature, and not tied to any emotional or religious base. In other words, it was about market decisions.

        Tyranny has no problem with other tyrannies, despite all statements and actions to the contrary. They despise freedom because it chips away at their power.

    • avatarpg says:

      “Religion has no more place dictating the laws of Man than emotion”….you just succinctly summed up the fall of the West. Without respect or thought of a higher power(insert any religion you want), there is only material, and no right or wrong.

      • avatarRich Grise says:

        ” Without respect or thought of a higher power(insert any religion you want), there is only material, and no right or wrong.”

        Not true at all. The human will intrinsically knows the difference between right and wrong, but from the moment you’re born, society tries to teach you the opposite. A newborn baby knows the difference between right and wrong. If it feels good, it’s right, and if it feels bad, it’s wrong.

        But pleasure is a sin, you see. And you should do what they say, even though it hurts, because it’s for your own good.

        Feh.

        Free Will has no desire to kill people. Free Will has no motivation to do anything that would piss people off. Free Will will see to it that it gets fed. My brain is useful to figure out a way such that what I do today to eat doesn’t muck up my chances of getting something to eat tomorrow. In other words, if I get caught lying, cheating, or stealing, the consequences will make my life less fun, so I don’t lie, cheat or steal. Other than making that observation, the brain is just a conning tower. Just because the brain is on the top doesn’t mean it’s supposed to be the boss. Human Nature is Free Will. Anarchy would be chaotic, but if there is any killing under anarchy, it’s one person at a time, and most likely because that person really needed killing. People don’t make wars, governments and religions do.

        And the idea that without some invisible infinite power in the sky making rules, you’d be a liar or cheat or thief or murderer or something is a serious misunderstanding of Free Will.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          So if taking your stuff, raping your wife and killing you brings me pleasure it is all good so long as I have nore force in my corner? Anarchists are like communists, it just needs to be done right….LOL.

        • avatarRich Grise says:

          “So if taking your stuff, raping your wife and killing you brings me pleasure”

          Then you are evil and one of the primary reasons that the Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          How can you claim it is evil if it brings me pleasure? Nobody deemed you a giver if laws. Might makes right. This is anarchy. Me and my gang will bring much mightiness with us. We enjoy it. There is no “evil”.

        • avatarRich Grise says:

          “How can you claim it is evil if it brings me pleasure?”

          It gives someone else pain. True Free Will takes no pleasure in others’ pain, only the dupes and minions of The Evil One do.

          I guess I’ll let you troll somebody else now.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Anarchy is not bound by such rules.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Quit trying to impose your rules…you clained anarchism, not richarchism. How dare you tell me what is pleasant to me. Next you will be telling us what types of sex are valid. It is not trolling to expose your hypocrisy.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Stop making uninformed statements about things you know nothing about. If you had ever lifted a finger to study anarchism, you could not honestly make that statement.

          You would be engaged in willful disinformation.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          You are definitely barking up the wrong tree. Maybe you should do some lifting of a finger. I am also not the one who decried deities, yet then when faced with actions that were disagreeable, attributed them to the existence of some dark and evil deity. I Kant help you if you are stuck in theoreticals and cannot understand the practical implications of such socio-political constructs. My comments stand on reality, not fantasy. Anarchy is not viable except in the minds of utopian dreamers. In their minds, like those of communist idealists, the system is perfect. Wow, a glaring similarity! I guess William is the uninformed one?

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Not true. There were viable anarchist communites in Spain during the time of the Spanish Civil War. Look up “CNT Spanish Civil War”. CNT stands for “Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo”.

          Anarchist communes were doing fine until the Communists and Fascists united to destroy them.

          When Communists and Fascists unite against something, you’ve got to figure they were doing something successful, or else why would they bother?

          I would suggest that the Amish communities are not far removed form Anarchism; they exist with very few laws, because their society is united in pursuit of their common interests. Everyone agrees upon what the goals are, and what will not be workable for them.

          When is the last time statists got together to build someone’s barn or house?

          Therefore, they all share the same common goals, which are mostly Utopian in nature.

          Plenty more examples, suh.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          Try again. No true “pure” anarchies there, even the ones called as such. Why? Because it doesn’t work in a practical sense.
          Very few laws is NOT anarchism. You should know better, maybe lift that finger.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Anarchists could not BE less like Communists. You should read up on it. If you did, you would never make that statement.

          Who do Communists, Socialists and Fascists unite to destroy? ANARCHISTS.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          See my comment above, a little thinking on your part would have been appropriate.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          Thank you for your assistance!

      • avatarDave says:

        You don’t need a book written centuries after the fact to tell you right from wrong. Humans are moral creatures; they’ll do the right thing on their own, not because there’s some mythological father-figure sitting up in the clouds ready to give them a spanking. A lack of religion the downfall of the West? Too much religion is what gave rise to the oppressive theocracies of the East. I’d take a godless country founded on fact & logic than a backwards one of myth & fear.

        • avatarPaul G. says:

          History says you are wrong.

        • avatarWilliam Burke says:

          He was referring to human beings. Not deviant demonic dopes.

          An argument can be made that sociopaths and psychopaths are less than human.

  70. avatarpg says:

    A lot of anti-religion statements here, one observation, we were taught religion was the opiate of the masses by the public school systems…so can someone explain how the state pushes religion? The opiate of the masses today is clearly television, mass media, professional sports ect…..I suspect religion never even came close to achieving the dumbing down and mesmerizing effect on the masses that television and pro sports has accomplished.

    • avatarRich Grise says:

      It’s a sort of “contented slaves don’t revolt.” It’s also been called “bread and circuses.” As long as people have their distractions, they don’t really care about much else. So, the country will keep lumbering on until the whole shebang comes to a head and everything collapses all at once and there are food riots in the suburbs.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        That will be after the food riots in the cities, which will raise only the mildest of alarms in their brains. “It won’t come out here.”

        Yes, it will, because when the cities have become exhausted of food and water, they will know where to head next, even with the residents of the suburbs only in a state of denial.

        “The police won’t let them come out here.”

        WHAT police? Those that survive will have headed to the hinterlands, with their families in tow.

    • avatarBradN says:

      While I do agree mass media has achieved a dumbing down of our society, a primary defining factor of a “Dark Age” is when the majority of the population can’t read. Ever wonder why Europe has those fancy stained glass depictions of the bible in their churches? It’s not just for decoration, the people literally could not read the bible and in most cases weren’t allowed. They were kept ignorant by the religious elite of the time. Reading was for the rich or for those with religious power over the masses. We’re not quite there yet but it seems there’s always someone out there who keeps lowering the bar.

  71. avatarPg says:

    There will only be food riots in the suburbs or anywhere else when tptb decides its time for the reset button. controlled demolition, seems to be a favorite technique of our owners.

  72. avatarPg says:

    This forum is tough…it’s often difficult to tell who is responding to whom.

    • avatarRich Grise says:

      Pg commented:
      “This forum is tough…it’s often difficult to tell who is responding to whom.”

      Some of us copy the relevant portion of the post to which we’re responding, and just paste it at the top of the response.

  73. avatarWilliam Burke says:

    Comes up from where?

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