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Thread: Atheists are cowards!

  1. #1 Atheists are cowards! 
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    So says Theo Hobson, British theologian.
    I consider the atheist's desire to generalise about religion to be a case of intellectual cowardice. The intellectual coward is one who chooses simplicity over complexity and difficulty. The militant atheist chooses to uphold a worldview of Animal Farm crudity: atheist good, believer bad. He has to believe this; it is his claim to the moral high ground. Christopher Hitchens sounds like a man who is desperate for a big cause, for an agenda that will give him one last chance of some high significance, a last stab at prophet status. By seeking his grand purpose in atheism he exhibits the sort of intellectual timidity he claims to despise.
    The reason I bring this up is because when arguing for atheism I was called a coward by a Christian. One exception to Occam's Razor is arguably religion.
    It seems the atheist spring inspired by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens is running out of steam, and the theists are being let back in.
    Any thoughts, please.


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    I always love it when someone on one side of an argument "explains" why someone on the other side holds their position. It's pretty much a guarantee that this "explanation" will not paint a good picture of the opposition.


    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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    The guy has no idea what he's talking about.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  5. #4  
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    Amused by what just popped up as ads on this thread.
    An ad for flirty young women. Another for mature women. A Billy Graham message that there is hope for the UK in Jesus.

    But not in the message of people like Theo Hobson.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    So says Theo Hobson, British theologian.
    I'd say the courage to live morally in a world without a "reward" at the end of it is a lot more impressive than someone who follows orders by their God. One shows independent thought and the courage of their convictions; the other is a good sheep.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    So says Theo Hobson, British theologian.
    I'd say the courage to live morally in a world without a "reward" at the end of it is a lot more impressive than someone who follows orders by their God. One shows independent thought and the courage of their convictions; the other is a good sheep.
    It is a very useful procedure for keeping oneself on the straight and narrow (obeying the law works too).

    A pity ,though that religion is built on sand (and comes in competing flavours)
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Amused by what just popped up as ads on this thread.
    An ad for flirty young women. Another for mature women. A Billy Graham message that there is hope for the UK in Jesus.
    The ads aren't based on the content of the webpage; they're based on your browsing history.
    You've over-shared.
    This space for rent
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janus View Post
    I always love it when someone on one side of an argument "explains" why someone on the other side holds their position. It's pretty much a guarantee that this "explanation" will not paint a good picture of the opposition.
    Textbook strawman fallacy.
    This space for rent
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Amused by what just popped up as ads on this thread.
    An ad for flirty young women. Another for mature women. A Billy Graham message that there is hope for the UK in Jesus.
    The ads aren't based on the content of the webpage; they're based on your browsing history.
    You've over-shared.
    That is simply not true. I have never clicked on any ad for women or evangelists. So where do they get it from?
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    So says Theo Hobson, British theologian.
    I'd say the courage to live morally in a world without a "reward" at the end of it is a lot more impressive than someone who follows orders by their God. One shows independent thought and the courage of their convictions; the other is a good sheep.
    I constantly remind myself that Christianity is based on the principle that if you don't believe in Jesus you burn in hell. That is clearly stated in Revelation. To turn the offer of heaven down suggests anything but cowardice.
    Hobson is assuming that atheism applies only to those who do not believe in his god. Christians are atheistic to all other gods than their own. In which case they are atheist to only one less god than me.
    I see John Gray has a new book in which he discusses 7 different types of atheist, so there is no easy definition of what is an atheist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    So says Theo Hobson, British theologian.
    I'd say the courage to live morally in a world without a "reward" at the end of it is a lot more impressive than someone who follows orders by their God. One shows independent thought and the courage of their convictions; the other is a good sheep.
    I constantly remind myself that Christianity is based on the principle that if you don't believe in Jesus you burn in hell. That is clearly stated in Revelation. To turn the offer of heaven down suggests anything but cowardice.
    Hobson is assuming that atheism applies only to those who do not believe in his god. Christians are atheistic to all other gods than their own. In which case they are atheist to only one less god than me.
    I see John Gray has a new book in which he discusses 7 different types of atheist, so there is no easy definition of what is an atheist.
    People can conduct their lives without an overwhelming need to question what happens when they or others die.All the ontological and moral questions addressed by religious doctrines can be dealt with by observing ones social (and other) environment.

    Our assessments are imperfect but there is no need to attack the intellectual integrity of those who take different approaches.One thing I agree with with religious teachings is that we are all imperfect (but I see that as a potential strength)
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    People can conduct their lives without an overwhelming need to question what happens when they or others die.
    I find it uncomfortable to talk to a religious person. They ask me what will happen when I die. Why are they more obsessed with death than life?

    Some of the statements I've heard lately are astonishing:
    The Neanderthals were descended from Adam and Eve.
    Catholics are not true Christians.
    Carbon dating is faulty.
    Mountain ranges and fossils prove the Flood happened. The mountains had to rise above the waters and the fossils are what God destroyed.
    Someone in reply referred to me as both Lucifer (the light giver) and Satan (the darkness), when both are a mythological reference to the planet Venus.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    People can conduct their lives without an overwhelming need to question what happens when they or others die.
    I find it uncomfortable to talk to a religious person. They ask me what will happen when I die. Why are they more obsessed with death than life?

    Some of the statements I've heard lately are astonishing:
    The Neanderthals were descended from Adam and Eve.
    Catholics are not true Christians.
    Carbon dating is faulty.
    Mountain ranges and fossils prove the Flood happened. The mountains had to rise above the waters and the fossils are what God destroyed.
    Someone in reply referred to me as both Lucifer (the light giver) and Satan (the darkness), when both are a mythological reference to the planet Venus.
    If a premise is wrong then conclusions based on it can surely not be relied upon.

    If the faulty premise is accepted however then these conclusions may seem reasonable to those who accept it.

    I am sure we all have faulty premises in different areas and our own conclusions will seem outlandish to those not "in the club"
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    People can conduct their lives without an overwhelming need to question what happens when they or others die.
    I find it uncomfortable to talk to a religious person. They ask me what will happen when I die. Why are they more obsessed with death than life?

    Some of the statements I've heard lately are astonishing:
    The Neanderthals were descended from Adam and Eve.
    Catholics are not true Christians.
    Carbon dating is faulty.
    Mountain ranges and fossils prove the Flood happened. The mountains had to rise above the waters and the fossils are what God destroyed.
    Someone in reply referred to me as both Lucifer (the light giver) and Satan (the darkness), when both are a mythological reference to the planet Venus.
    If a premise is wrong then conclusions based on it can surely not be relied upon.

    If the faulty premise is accepted however then these conclusions may seem reasonable to those who accept it.

    I am sure we all have faulty premises in different areas and our own conclusions will seem outlandish to those not "in the club"
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  16. #15  
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    Those in the club will regard themselves as heroes or individual saviours. They are the true believers.

    Those outside the club can then be viewed as cowards. It takes strength to defy science, atheism and other religions. But the number of different churches appears to be somewhere between 28,000 and 33,000, each regarding themselves as the one true church. When I ask if Catholics, Protestants, Evangelists and all the rest will share Heaven I do not get an answer.

    A Catholic may view biblical stories as either real or allegorical, a Protestant as mostly real, an Evangelist as all real. In fact they appear to agree on very little, so how can they all end up happy in Heaven?Ask them about recent earth creation, a flat earth, whether dinosaurs made it into the Ark, evidence for angels, demons, Heaven, Hell, miracles.
    Emphasise the word 'evidence'. They will change the subject and declare all to be a matter of faith, the very thing that blinds them. Tell them that science is about finding the truth whether we like it not (David Bohm).
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    fossils are what God destroyed.
    Not like fossils are a recent phenomena. I wonder how much of a role fossils have played not only in legends & mythology but the in the formation of religions, or at least in their holy texts?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    fossils are what God destroyed.
    Not like fossils are a recent phenomena. I wonder how much of a role fossils have played not only in legends & mythology but the in the formation of religions, or at least in their holy texts?
    I heard something about how (on one of the Greek islands) they found fossils of large animals (mammoths?) which it has been surmised could have led to some of the Greek myths concerning races of giants....
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    "It seems the atheist spring inspired by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens is running out of steam, and the theists are being let back in. " Not really. Religiosity in Europe and the US is in steep decline, particularly over the past generation. And while Islam is still growing strongly, it's mostly due to high fertility where most Muslims live which is bound to change as women's rights and economic freedom assert itself even in places like Saudi Arablia.
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    "It seems the atheist spring inspired by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens is running out of steam, and the theists are being let back in. " Not really. Religiosity in Europe and the US is in steep decline, particularly over the past generation. And while Islam is still growing strongly, it's mostly due to high fertility where most Muslims live which is bound to change as women's rights and economic freedom assert itself even in places like Saudi Arabia.
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    Christianity in the UK is decline, especially in the Anglican Church.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...titudes-survey

    Yet I see an increase in the number of street preachers, and Islam. Where I live there are an astonishing number of different churches, but I guess the congregations are not getting younger. But there are new bases for the Mormons and Scientologists, trying to fill the void. I'm not sure why this is. It could be that so much negativity is broadcast about religion by the media. It could be that people turn back to religion in only very hard times.

    In Africa, religion is not a choice. It is mandatory. On visits to Australia I was surprised at the strength of religious feeling there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Christianity in the UK is decline, especially in the Anglican Church.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...titudes-survey

    Yet I see an increase in the number of street preachers, and Islam. Where I live there are an astonishing number of different churches, but I guess the congregations are not getting younger. But there are new bases for the Mormons and Scientologists, trying to fill the void. I'm not sure why this is. It could be that so much negativity is broadcast about religion by the media. It could be that people turn back to religion in only very hard times.

    In Africa, religion is not a choice. It is mandatory. On visits to Australia I was surprised at the strength of religious feeling there.
    Is religion not just another form of tribalism?If we get our wish and banish it to the periphery it will just reemerge under a different guise as people find safety and consolation in "us versus them"

    Let's look for the best in people whilst not fooling ourselves to our weaknesses.

    Even those sad street preachers are not dealing drugs on the street corners and are outside getting a bit of fresh air .

    Thanks for that NYT link btw.Great fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geordief View Post
    Is religion not just another form of tribalism?
    To be a member of the tribe you claim identity, feel safer, make friends. Things you may not get elsewhere. I remember Desmond Morris talking of the 'soccer tribe'. Oxford supporters who sang the same tribal songs, became excited when their team scored a goal, a substitute for the killing of an animal for food. There is little doubt that many people go to church out of loyalty to the tribe.

    If we get our wish and banish it to the periphery it will just reemerge under a different guise as people find safety and consolation in "us versus them"
    Again, comparisons can be made with team sports.

    Let's look for the best in people whilst not fooling ourselves to our weaknesses.
    I believe it's true to say that people have a good side and a bad one. How do you bring out the best and keep it there?

    Even those sad street preachers are not dealing drugs on the street corners and are outside getting a bit of fresh air .
    At least the dealers are not trying to get into my head. Fresh air in the centre of which town?

    Thanks for that NYT link btw.Great fun.
    Genesis 6:4. There were giants in the Earth in those days. Could be a reference to large fossils.
    Another idea put forward is that the ancient Greeks finding marine fossils on mountains assumed there must have been a catastrophic flood. This was then copied into the folklore of other nations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    e.



    I believe it's true to say that people have a good side and a bad one. How do you bring out the best and keep it there?
    Well my advice is for the sake of one's personal sanity.We can't let ourselves be dragged down to others' levels ,as we perceive it.

    Look at T today going on about "animals". Wasn't that an example of "first they came for....."?

    No I don't have a general prescription for cultivating the best in others but I doubt that it is an impossible problem and there are people who would be up for it. Small victories on the personal level and lets choose democratic leaders who have a clue as to how to achieve that on the societal level.
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    Genesis 6:4. There were giants in the Earth in those days. Could be a reference to large fossils.
    Another idea put forward is that the ancient Greeks finding marine fossils on mountains assumed there must have been a catastrophic flood. This was then copied into the folklore of other nations.
    Bible flood story seems to come from Gilgamesh story, which long predates Greek civilization.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilgamesh_flood_myth
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    deleted dup.
    Last edited by mathman; May 17th, 2018 at 04:05 PM. Reason: duplicate
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman View Post
    Bible flood story seems to come from Gilgamesh story, which long predates Greek civilization.

    However marine fossils found much higher than sea level are much older than Gilgamesh. I'm sure you're right that ancient myths were copied into different folklores.
    But you cannot convince a Christian that the Noah story is a recycled tale.

    Here's one that Christians believe confirms Genesis 6:4.
    https://www.thoughtco.com/giant-huma...greece-3299810

    It's one of several similar hoaxes of course. Christians will always believe what they want to believe.
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    The reason I bring this up is because when arguing for atheism I was called a coward by a Christian. One exception to Occam's Razor is arguably religion.
    It seems the atheist spring inspired by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens is running out of steam, and the theists are being let back in.
    Any thoughts, please.
    I always thought the existence of God is something to be determined. In theory if God is a physical entity then it could be anywhere in the universe. Given that we haven't explored even a percentage point of known space I don't think we can yet determine if there is any being within the universe that would fit the concept of God. That being said even if we explored the universe in it's entirety there would still be theologians who say God is not found within the physical universe. It's a conundrum and it can not be entirely proven or disproved. I hate to see otherwise rational people jump to premature conclusions about what exists.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    So says Theo Hobson, British theologian.
    I consider the atheist's desire to generalise about religion to be a case of intellectual cowardice. The intellectual coward is one who chooses simplicity over complexity and difficulty. The militant atheist chooses to uphold a worldview of Animal Farm crudity: atheist good, believer bad. He has to believe this; it is his claim to the moral high ground. Christopher Hitchens sounds like a man who is desperate for a big cause, for an agenda that will give him one last chance of some high significance, a last stab at prophet status. By seeking his grand purpose in atheism he exhibits the sort of intellectual timidity he claims to despise.
    The reason I bring this up is because when arguing for atheism I was called a coward by a Christian. One exception to Occam's Razor is arguably religion.
    It seems the atheist spring inspired by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens is running out of steam, and the theists are being let back in.
    Any thoughts, please.
    "Intellectual cowardice?" I would say that to base a doctrine on "faith" is an act of intellectual cowardice. Religion is constantly claiming that in some way or another it is vouchsafed from rational enquiry. Most claims made by religion are manifestly absurd. I could list thousands of examples but will refrain here. Religion frequently fails to move on when evidence shows its dogma is wrong, though sometimes it tries to quietly forget claims that become manifestly ridiculous, or call them "metaphores".
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero View Post
    "Intellectual cowardice?" I would say that to base a doctrine on "faith" is an act of intellectual cowardice. Religion is constantly claiming that in some way or another it is vouchsafed from rational enquiry. Most claims made by religion are manifestly absurd. I could list thousands of examples but will refrain here. Religion frequently fails to move on when evidence shows its dogma is wrong, though sometimes it tries to quietly forget claims that become manifestly ridiculous, or call them "metaphores".
    I have to believe that scientists are not deliberately looking for complexity. What they have found are simple rules to explain life and the universe.
    Life exists because of evolution by the simple process of selection. The cosmos exists because of natural laws that sometimes humans have difficulty understanding, but are still a simple explanation.
    On the other hand, religion is based on the supernatural which is baffling and unsupported and too complex for the human mind. Theists love to state that God is knowable even when there are things only God knows.
    Some theists have in recent times moved away from creationism, because of the ridicule it has inspired, and now favour intelligent design to 'prove' the existence of God. When of course, they cannot prove it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero View Post
    "Intellectual cowardice?" I would say that to base a doctrine on "faith" is an act of intellectual cowardice. Religion is constantly claiming that in some way or another it is vouchsafed from rational enquiry. Most claims made by religion are manifestly absurd. I could list thousands of examples but will refrain here. Religion frequently fails to move on when evidence shows its dogma is wrong, though sometimes it tries to quietly forget claims that become manifestly ridiculous, or call them "metaphores".
    I have to believe that scientists are not deliberately looking for complexity. What they have found are simple rules to explain life and the universe.
    Life exists because of evolution by the simple process of selection. The cosmos exists because of natural laws that sometimes humans have difficulty understanding, but are still a simple explanation.
    On the other hand, religion is based on the supernatural which is baffling and unsupported and too complex for the human mind. Theists love to state that God is knowable even when there are things only God knows.
    Some theists have in recent times moved away from creationism, because of the ridicule it has inspired, and now favour intelligent design to 'prove' the existence of God. When of course, they cannot prove it.
    Yes and intelligent design has also been debunked - comprehensively in The Blind Watchmaker and elsewhere.

    What I find incredulous is that God's proof of his own existence - sending his "son" , burning bushes, parting waters, turning water into wine, healing a few lepers (and leaving the rest to rot and suffer), are NOT any way to prove anything -they are non sequiturs. God "himself" according to religion, does not actually know what proof is. His 'proofs' are like charlatan tricks, for the gullible. All these doctrines are tissues of lies.
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    What Christians are actually saying is that you are not allowed to challenge their beliefs. At best they will try to change the subject, at worst they become threatening.
    As a nominal Catholic myself I joined the debate on the Worthy Christian Forum. This is supposed to be for any denomination. There I learned that Catholics are not Christians.
    That makes me happy, but I'd have a problem with the Pope, the head of the biggest church not being a Christian. Other widespread views did include atheists being cowards, creationism, Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, Heaven and Hell.
    What eventually happened was that my posts were hidden and so I was effectively thrown out. If you stand up to bullies I don't think that makes you a coward.
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    Catholics are Christian, other denominations may not lime that, but they arw still worshiping the same base deity, with some changes, just as Mormons, merhodists, Lutherans, and orthodox do.
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    I think the point ox was trying to make is that to a lot of protestant loonies the pope is basically the anti-christ and in their opinion catholics are not "real " christians...
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