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Thursday, June 21, 2007

O They Will Know We Are Christians By Our…

posted by on June 21 at 8:30 AM

sex crimes and gruesome homicides.

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Posted by Mr. Poe | June 21, 2007 9:11 AM

Clearly they are deriving their morals from the Bible.

Posted by Tiffany | June 21, 2007 9:24 AM

O they will know we are gay male lapsed Catholics by our founding and leading of the Nazis SA.

Posted by Judah | June 21, 2007 9:41 AM

You know when you are the first to bring up Nazi's you lose the thread right?

Posted by CodyBolt | June 21, 2007 9:48 AM

Wait, what's I must have missed it when I read the story..oh well sometimes you do, sometimes you don't

Posted by shelbis | June 21, 2007 9:50 AM


This article does not cite any references or sources.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 21, 2007 9:52 AM

Wow. Way to go, man.

Hey, didn't xkcd once have something to say about this?

Posted by Darcy | June 21, 2007 9:53 AM

Yes, Judah, but gay men don't claim that their sexuality is the source of all morality, and that people can't be moral or just, to say nothing of "saved," unless they're gay.

Gay men do some seriously shitty stuff--and I've written, er, reams about bad gay male behavior in Savage Love and elsewhere.

Posted by Dan Savage | June 21, 2007 9:56 AM
9 awesome!

You know, the trouble with being a zombie is the damn necropheliacs. They just want you to lie there real still like and not move or say anything. That's just creepy.

Posted by monkey | June 21, 2007 9:58 AM

Oh God... why are people so stupid?

I hate idiotic Christians like this guy who give the rest of us a bad name... we're not all near-sighted, gay-hating, women strangling bastards. Now, quite a few are, but I myself am not, and I hate it when some supposedly devout christian decides to go and do something this stupid. It makes all of us look bad.

Posted by Courtney B | June 21, 2007 10:14 AM

Poe: Read a book.

Savage: Thing is Dan, you do sort of pitch your atheism that way. The gay thing was just a dig, but you and a lot of your reporters definitely take an, "Only through Christopher Hitchens (or Richard Dawkins or whoever) shall you come unto rational thought," attitude about atheism.

I mean, I was listening to your man Hitchens on the BBC the other day and he had a line about how religion is founded on a lie; that one can escape death. Which is obviously poor logic because the fact is that it's impossible to know what happens after death; all theories about what happens after death are just theories. But Hitchens, bigot that he is, assumes he knows the one real truth: that when you die you just die. When really the only proof that exists to support that statement is negative proof; an obvious logical fallacy.

Honestly, it'd be sort of cute if you weren't all so strident about it.

Posted by Judah | June 21, 2007 10:29 AM

It's not a pitch for atheism. It's a dig against hypocrisy, which is rampant in the Christianist world.

I have nothing against Christians (I was married in the Catholic Church and respect those Christians who are thinking and loving people) but I cannot abide hatred disguised as "Christianity", which is exactly what Dan attacks.

You go, Dan.

Posted by Sachi | June 21, 2007 10:35 AM

I'll get right on that, Judah.

And when you die, it would be logical that you just die.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 21, 2007 10:39 AM

Anyone else digging the delicious irony of a detective named Rector nailing this particular perp?

Posted by OddlyEnough | June 21, 2007 10:48 AM

Poe: Cool. Start with The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

And what proof can you offer that when you die you just die?

Posted by Judah | June 21, 2007 10:51 AM

Seems to me that given the millions of NDE's documented thru human history it would be 'logical' to conclude that something we don't understand does happen to our consciousness after the death of the body. I assign no religious connotations as explanation, just that it is illogical to assume that we just end given the evidence.

Posted by John | June 21, 2007 10:59 AM


Hitchens is still correct. The claim that you can escape death is a lie.

There is no proof to verify it, yet religious leaders claim they know what happens after death. Consequently, they're a bunch of liars.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 21, 2007 11:00 AM


The same proof Christians have to offer for what happens when you die. Christians, like Hitchens, bigots they are, assume they know the one real truth: that when you die you either go to heaven or hell. When really the only proof that exists to support that theory is the Bible, oh, and the faith that supports it.

So there is no actual proof. The only difference is our belief is much more logical. It is poor logic, yes. What kind of logic is behind every word in the Bible? I don't see you criticizing Christian's beliefs, nor are you labeling them as bigots. So you are defending them, and attacking atheists, while offering no answer to how logical you think it is to believe in a scripture as ridiculous as the Bible. When we say nothing happens when you die-you just die, we aren't telling anybody that they are going to burn for an eternity for not believing what we do. We aren't telling you if you are living your life incorrectly. We do not need the Bible to know the simple difference between right and wrong. Humans happen to have this astonishing ability to reason, in case you didn't know.

So if Hitchens is a bigot for his beliefs, so are Christians. Period. He attacks them, they attack us, nothing changes, rama rama ding dong. It will be like this forever.

So what better proof can you offer me that negates what Hitchens said? Do you believe that there is an afterlife? Is this afterlife exclusive for humans? Do ants have an afterlife? Do you believe we have souls? Do our souls fly around the earth and generate magic for dragons to harness? Wussup?

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 21, 2007 11:27 AM


The claim that you can escape death is a lie.

Prove it.

There is no proof to verify it, yet religious leaders claim they know what happens after death.

Not all of them. Some of them simply have a belief about what happens after death and, indeed, that approach would be recommended by some of the literature.

Posted by Judah | June 21, 2007 11:28 AM


The Flying Spaghetti Monster told me to tell you that lots of cool stuff happens after we die like endless rollercoaster rides and ice cream eating contests, but only if we supplicate ourselves to His will.

Since you cannot prove that he didn't tell me these and many other Secret Truths, then they must be true. This is what the crazed, godless, hell-bound science types call an “unprovable and untestable hypothesis.”

Praise the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Praise HIM!

By the way, have you heard of The Secret?

I control the Universe with my mind all the time!


Posted by Original Andrew | June 21, 2007 11:28 AM

Those who discount the theory that there is a giant jelly donut orbiting Alpha Centauri are clearly guilty of a logical fallacy; because our telescopes are not precise enough to disprove that theory. Furthermore, it smacks of bigotry how they denigrate those who beleive in the jelly donut theory. We need to find a way to respect everyone's beliefs.

Posted by Tiffany | June 21, 2007 11:29 AM

My gerbil died. My cat died. My friend died. All of my grandparents died. Jim Henson died. Moses died. Mohammed died. Jesus died. 3500 American soldiers died. Roughly 7 billion human beings have died over the last 100,000 years, including children, babies, old people, and Mae West. Every single one of them, without exception, is still dead.

Can I prove that there's no ghostly soul made of angel dust and corn starch that ascends to Wonkaland upon cessation of breath? No. But the overwhelming preponderance of evidence suggests that when you die YOU STAY DEAD.

Anyone getting worked up about Jehovah or Zeus or Krishna or the Flying Spaghetti Monster is wasting precious time that would be much better spent enjoying consensual sex and watching videos on the youtube.

Can I get an amen?

Posted by Gurldoggie | June 21, 2007 11:47 AM
Since you cannot prove that he didn't tell me these and many other Secret Truths, then they must be true.

See, this is what happens when we depend on the federal government to fund public education.

What you're proposing, as I've suggested several times, is a fairly simple logical fallacy commonly referred to as "negative proof" and sometimes paraphrased as, "You can't prove a negative." The mistake you're making is to assume that religions or religious people are unaware of the implications of negative proof.

So, for example, I believe in God but I don't know if God exists and I certainly don't know what God wants me to do-- assuming that God has any interest in my behavior one way or the other, which is hardly a given. I also believe in life after death. And I believe that various texts contain interesting and illuminating observations about these beliefs. But I don't know whether any of these beliefs are true, and I don't anticipate knowing until I die-- if then. That's all basically fine with me. I don't need to know the answers to these questions. I just find them interesting.

So basically you're arguing against my beliefs by ascribing opinions to me that I don't hold and arguing points I freely concede; in other words, you're being a cunt. And as far as that goes, you're a very familiar type of cunt, in that you're a cunt who seems to think that human happiness would be greatly advanced if I gave up my beliefs about completely unanswerable questions and adopted yours.

I assume the irony of that isn't lost on you, but I may be giving you too much credit.

Posted by Judah | June 21, 2007 11:51 AM

I love it when atheist debate the afterlife and pretend to have an intellectual conversation.

If your an atheist, why bother? It just proves the point: There is no such thing as atheism.

Posted by ecce homo | June 21, 2007 11:58 AM

I don't give a flying fuck what anybody believes. I don't give a fucking shit until they bring it to my motherfucking doorstep, shove a picture of a dead baby in front of a girls face during her emotional crisis, stampede to city hall to protest my goddamn motherfucking freedom to marry whatever guy I want and receive true equality (not some halfass here-you-go 'partnership'), and especially when they tell me that I am wrong for my beliefs, and that I am destroying America for not being ashamed of, oh what do they say, being mentally perverted.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 21, 2007 12:03 PM

Sure you cannot disprove god, Judah. That doesn't make it even slightly likely to be true though. And given what we actually do know about the nature of the Universe, the theory that there is a god is extremely unlikely to be true. It's not that your god theory has weak evidence, it actually has no evidence whatsoever. And given how closely your god theory parallels other myths of ancient societies, it's very likely that the Abrahamic religions just adopted the myths of the day and added their own spin to it. But in the 21st century, rational humans have mostly come to the conclusion that you should have good reasons to believe what you do. The USA and the Middle East has tended to go against that idea though.

Posted by Tiffany | June 21, 2007 12:12 PM

1. being wrong is not the exact same thing as being a liar.

2. @4 @6 @8 : notice the defense mechanism kick in? this is how people sympathetic to christians respond to these posts as well...

3. dan is railing against people asserting that only christians are good, and you can only be good if you are a christian. one can argue this by showing "good" people who are not christians. dan has chosen to showcase "bad" people who are.

it may be flawed logically but it is nonetheless powerful propaganda, useful in the age of the soundbite.

Posted by infrequent | June 21, 2007 12:19 PM


The Flying Spaghetti Monster just told me that you’re not going to Heaven because you deny His existence even after I’ve clearly informed you of such. You’ve also used dirty language, which His Noodleness says is a big time no-no.

So for this and other abominations, like trying to making a convincing case for the unprovable and sounding like a freshman level philosophy major, you will be spending eternity in Wal-Mart.

No amount of supplication can change your fate as our one true Pastafarian God has spoken, so please just try to move on.

Praise HIM!!!!

Posted by Original Andrew | June 21, 2007 12:19 PM

Yeah, thanks Andrew.

Posted by Judah | June 21, 2007 12:22 PM

His Noodleness is bliss!

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 21, 2007 12:26 PM

anyone else getting hungry? i could go for some spaghetti, wine, and jelly doughnuts.

Posted by infrequent | June 21, 2007 12:28 PM

What goes with spaghetti and jelly doughnuts, I wonder.

Posted by Darcy | June 21, 2007 12:41 PM

Last night, he came to me, and I touched his noodly appendage.

Posted by PdxRitchie | June 21, 2007 12:45 PM


Uh, pot.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 21, 2007 12:45 PM

...Touché, Mr. Poe.

Posted by Darcy | June 21, 2007 12:52 PM


Not all of them. Some of them simply have a belief about what happens after death and, indeed, that approach would be recommended by some of the literature.

Your naivete about the history of religion is touching.

We can pretend in our modern society that some religious people are questioning and refrain from making declarative statements about life and death. Even in our modern society, those people are the minority. Only 83 percent of Americans ever doubt the existence of God.

Only in our society can we pretend that only some religious people state with certainty that an afterlife exists, that they know exactly what that afterlife looks like, and that they know who does and does not get to go there.

When these opinions about an afterlife were formulated and for many centuries/millenia thereafter, there was no debate. If you were foolish enough to state any doubt or disagreement publicly, you would wind up burning at the stake.

That is what, in a historical sense, makes an afterlife a lie and what, in a historical sense, makes religious people a bunch of fucking liars.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 21, 2007 2:09 PM

Bigotry is evil.
Bigotry against Christians is still bigotry.
Bigotry by a subset of Christians is still bigotry.
Bigotry is evil.

I am a Christian. I am not a bigot.

Why is this difficult to understand?

Posted by Lee Gibson | June 21, 2007 2:48 PM

Who is being bigoted towards Christians, Lee? I have yet to see any atheists advocate for taking away their rights, or advocate that they be treated poorly. Arguing against their unjustified, magical beliefs does not equate with bigotry.

Posted by Tiffany | June 21, 2007 3:10 PM

Mr. Gibson, you are the minority.

Why is that difficult to understand?

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 21, 2007 3:10 PM

Gurldoggie @ 22: AMEN.

Especially to the consensual sex part.

Posted by OddlyEnough | June 21, 2007 4:02 PM

Gurldoggie @ 22: Amen. Or perhaps, as a practicing Pastafarian, that should be rAmen!

Hail Marinara, full of Garlic. Hollow be our Abdomen.

Posted by Geni | June 21, 2007 4:17 PM

Thy kingdom come, thy sauce be done, on penne as it is spaghetti.
Give us this day our garlic bread...

And someone else can come up with the next bit. AMEN @ 22.

Posted by Laura | June 21, 2007 5:33 PM


Mr. Savage's continued assertion that Christians make bad parents is exactly as evil as some Christians' assertion that gay people make bad parents. Two wrongs do not make a right. Is this a complicated idea?

What other possible reason could Mr. Savage have to disparage Christians, other than bigotry?

Disparaging views held by certain Christians, absolutely! I abhor many views held by many people. Disparaging public positions taken by famous Christians? I'm right there with you. I'd venture to guess that I would disagree with a lot of the same assertions. Impeaching Bush? You've got my vote. He's no more a Christian than he is a teapot.

(and I'd vote for the teapot over that asshole.)

But disparaging Christians as a group is the same as disparaging homosexuals, or black people, or immigrants. It's wrong. It's inaccurate. It's sloppy thinking. It's bigotry.

It is evil.

Does it make sense that, perhaps, alienating me and people like me is not going to advance the cause of equality?

Mr. Poe,

Because I'm a minority, does that mean that my views are not important? Is that the line you wish to take?

I do not agree with the assertion that a majority of Christians are bigots. I also think that assertion is irrelevant to the question at hand.

Posted by Lee Gibson | June 21, 2007 9:23 PM

I don't think he ever asserted that "Christians make bad parents". I think he posts these stories to show the hypocrisy of the religionists who claim that children that don't grow up with both a mother and father are somehow losing out on something. And it is no more disparaging an entire group than it is when you argue that a political party's ideas are wrong, or that 9/11 conspiracy theorists are nutty and wrong, or that astrologists are a little nutty.

Posted by Tiffany | June 21, 2007 11:00 PM
Your naivete about the history of religion is touching. (blah blah blah) you would wind up burning at the stake.

Yeah yeah. Like those Tibetan Buddhists who burn people at the stake. Or the Christian Gnostics who burned people at the stake. Or the Sufis. Or Quakers, whose religious tradition goes back for centuries. Y'ever read the gospel of Mary? Not so much with the stake burning.

What most people consider "the history of religion" is really just a history of human society. The most horrifying genocides of the 20th Century were carried out by explicitly non-religious governments: Hitler, Stalin, Mao. That's not meant to suggest that a lack of religion equates to a lack of morality, but the "history of religion" that you're alluding to-- crusades, witch burnings and so on --only stands apart from the history of secularism in that there's a wider body of cases to study. The motives and mechanisms are largely the same, with or without religion.

For example, it's easy enough to look at the history of the Catholic Church in Europe and focus on the religion, but the fact is that the Church was also the primary tax collector, the house of common law and the largest real estate holder in most of the countries where it had a presence. The overwhelming majority of the purges and wars that were ostensibly motivated by religion were, in their particulars, clearly motivated by economic issues relevant to the Church's temporal interests.

Scapegoating religion for the excesses of history is, in many cases, just intellectually lazy.

Posted by Judah | June 21, 2007 11:26 PM

Tiffany, I agree with you about the "Christians" who cast aspersions on other family units' fitness as child-rearing entities.

I resent, however, the constant attacks in this forum on "religion" (as if that's some sort of homogenous concept) as the root of all the evils in the world. Religious organizations have been on the forefront of civil rights movements since the notion came into existence. Religious organizations have been responsible for unbelievable horrors.

Strangely enough, those organizations are all made up of the same thing: People. People can be good, or bad, or smart, or ignorant. They can choose to approach the world from a theistic or an atheistic perspective.

But this binary "You're with us or you're against us!" mentality is a cancer. It's wrong when the President does it, and it's wrong when activists do it.

And, yes, Mr. Savage's column is indeed a form of activism. I find I agree with him more often than not, but I think he's dead wrong on this issue.

I am not a Christian because I'm stupid, or ignorant, or because I haven't read the same books you have. I'm a Christian because the words Jesus is alleged to have said resonate in my consciousness.

Other Christians have different articles of their own faiths. But it's plumb ignorant to assume that Christianity is some sort of monolithic whole. My faith includes just one person: Me. I also happen to know some cool people whose faith structures are congruent with my own. I married one of them. I worship with some others.

Would you please explain to me why that makes me a bad person, and an unfit parent?

Yes, I know that Mr. Savage is trying to fight fire with fire. I know he is adopting the rhetorical position of his enemy. I think that only makes a bigger fire.

Or maybe I'm just ignorant.

Posted by Lee Gibson | June 22, 2007 12:49 AM

I never said that all Christians are bad or are bad parents, Lee. Can you point out where I said or implied that? I do, however, think that religion is supernatural nonsense that is grounded in myth and magical thinking, and not reality. Jesus may have been a nice man who said some nice things relative to the times he lived in. But that does not make him a supernatural being.

Posted by Tiffany | June 22, 2007 9:02 AM

Tiffany, your posts all seem to basically argue against the existence of God. Which is a totally pointless debate to anyone whose belief in God is predicated on faith rather than proof.

Lee, you're taking the bait; ascribing other criticisms to her when all she's really doing is telling you your belief is unfounded and implying-- though she may deny this --that you're stupid for believing. None impugns your character or your morals. But it would be disingenuous of her to pretend that it's not insulting for other reasons.

Posted by Judah | June 22, 2007 9:15 AM

It's only insulting if you elevate this branch of human thought above other areas, Judah. We rip on each others political ideas all the time without taking personal offense. Religion just has this special place in our society where people get offended when other people speak out against it. This elevated status is not deserved.

Posted by Tiffany | June 22, 2007 9:26 AM

The reason it's insulting to question someone's belief in God is because belief in God (or Goddess) is a personal subject. People use their religion as a pretext for secular agendas that are not personal, but that's a separate issue.

There's no good analogy for this, but it would be something like debating the question of gay marriage on the basis of whether or not gay love is real. Marriage, like religion, has a wide variety of secular implications and it's fair game to discuss those secular issues, but the question of love between two people-- while fundamental to the marriage --is also personal and intangible in a way that makes bringing it into the debate offensive.

The irony of this discussion is that your position on my and Lee's belief in God-- that it's a valid subject for public debate --is informed by your opinions about religions that attempt to impose their moral agendas on others through secular means. But the kind of people you're using to justify your position probably don't read the stranger and would likely be unwilling to have this discussion with you in the first place.

Posted by Judah | June 22, 2007 9:54 AM

wow judah, very well put. (though tiffany and lee also had good input...)

i was raised religious and no longer attend church. in town, and on slog, i'm always surprised at the harsh reactions people have toward anyone they don't know who claims to believe in god. in this post, you've articulated very well the feelings i get i when i hear these remarks and why i've found them at times offensive, perhaps bigotted, and often counterproductive. i think one had hold tiffany's view, or dan's, without having to cross the line to generalizations and implied insults.

who would've though a civilized discussion on relgion could happen on teh internets?

Posted by infrequent | June 22, 2007 11:28 AM

You're right, Tiffany. I wasn't trying to imply that you, personally, said that Christians make bad parents. But that's clearly the rhetorical position that Mr. Savage is taking (and, again, I realize he's adopting that position in response to the craziness that's coming out of the right wing Christian camp), and you clearly don't see a problem with that stance.

"But that does not make him a supernatural being."

You're absolutely right. I happen to think that Christ's divinity is irrelevant to his message.

I believe that God has a hand in my life. Delusion or no, that's my article of faith. It's not a rational decision, but humans are not completely rational beings. (Should they be? That's a normative distinction that I don't think can be well argued one way or the other. I must chart my own course.)

Judah is right on point. The fact that there are people of faith willing to engage in discussions about this and other matters should indicate that, within the Christian community, there is a diversity of opinion. Attacking that of that community because some wingnuts (some of whom have truly weird hats) get on TV by saying a bunch of nonsense is not productive.

I'm going to return to my original thesis:

Bigotry is evil.

Further, I suggest that even if other people are bigots, that does not excuse one's own bigotry.

Posted by Lee Gibson | June 22, 2007 1:17 PM

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