Atheist Fundraiser From A Theist?

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David Killens's picture
@ CallOut

@ CallOut

Thank you for the response. I am torn between two conflicting opinions. On one side, I see a nice person who is just attempting to bridge a gap by polite dialogue.

The other side sees a con job where the victim is lured into a trap and to use the old metaphor, brings a knife to a gun fight. Right now, anyone who engages you in this broadcast has absolutely no idea on your position. So far you responses on your ideology is exceptionally vague and generic. I do not know if you are a presuppositionalist, a flat earther, from the Westboro Baptist Church, or a devout Roman Catholic.

This is why I am pushing for you to give more details on your position, so that anyone who engages you in this broadcast knows who they are dealing with, and what they should expect.

CallOut's picture
haha fair enough. I have not

haha fair enough. I have not given you any concrete points to debate about. I'll change this with my next post later today.

To give a quick answer, I'm definitely not a con job. I'm actually quite enjoying the dialogue so far, which is why I'm not in a hurry to get to the next topic. That, and I want to give thorough foundation before moving forward.

Honestly I have been bottling up these thoughts for ages. Even years. I can't talk to my church because they will answer with... well... you know. Additionally I can't talk with anyone outside of church because the moment I show a disagreement with a hot topic in society I'm seen as a religious bigot. So far I've received fair warning from many in this forum, but respect from everyone. Brings a tear to my eye.

So yeah, I am liking this very much :)

David Killens's picture
Thank you for the response

Thank you for the response Callout. I was hoping that you are as you seem to be. I hope you understand my skepticism, maybe even cynicism, and apologize. I am sure you have heard the phrase "hope for the best but prepare for the worst".

I sincerely hope that we can reach and sustain a civilized and polite conversation.

And I will also try to (and I hope everyone else does too), that on a disagreement, attack the argument, not the person.

CallOut's picture
I welcome your reaction. I

I welcome your reaction. I don't consider it disrespectful at all. Disrespectful would be saying I misspelled a word, therefore I'm stupid, and nothing I say is worth listening to. Or something to that extent.

Good call on attacking argument, not the person. I'll do my best.

Sheldon's picture
"I never thought to give my

"I never thought to give my definition of God, but here goes. God is the all powerful, consious (sci) being which is responsible for the existence of the entire universe and everything in it."

What objective evidence can you demonstrate to support this belief?

" I will give a heads up that I believe the Bible is true,"

It demonstrably is not all true, hence claiming "the bible is true" needs clarification. For instance it is a demonstrable fact supported by a weight of evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that all life evolved slowly and was not created in the current forms we now see, and that humans in their current form arrived very late to that "party" some 150k to 200k years ago, after billions of years of evolution, on a planet that is 4.543 billion years old.

" if I can't make a case for the existence of god outside the Bible then I don't feel I have the right to argue God's existence with the bible."

On this at least I concur, as no book can validate its own claims.

CallOut's picture
I haven't given you anything

I haven't given you anything to work with yet, so I appreciate you pushing me to answer these questions. So as not to diverge into multiple topics, can I invite you to analyze my latest post about my approach to the topic? I just posted it today.

To give quick (and unsatisfying answers) to your questions...

I can't give objective evidence to my definition of God. Perhaps my definition can be refined, and I'm willing to let Atheists help me with this definition.

The Bible is a topic I hope to get to at a later time. For now we can conclude your reasoning about the bible is correct. The burden of proof is on me to prove otherwise.

No book can validate its own claims. I like that :)

Nyarlathotep's picture
CallOut - ... my definition

CallOut - ... my definition of God...God is the all powerful, consious being which is responsible for the existence of the entire universe and everything in it....I feel that is a fair, neutral definition.

Defining god into existence doesn't seem very neutral.

CallOut's picture
Very well, I take back my

Very well, I take back my definition of God. I'm not really focused on that right now, so I don't mind.

Cognostic's picture
Education and information are

Education and information are the bane of all religions. I love your curiosity. Post as many questions as you can. The knowledge is out there and all you have to do is look for it. I highly recommend you listen to some of Bart Ehrman's Videos on YouTube. He is actually an honest religious person, however, he did a horrible job defending the historicity of Jesus. Another wonderful person to listen to is Richard Carrier. I will throw a third one in there. Matt Dillahaunty and the Atheist Experience. He fields phone calls from Christians and is well rounded in theological philosophy, and epistomology. Keep seeking those answers. I promise you that they are out there.

CallOut's picture
I've heard of Matt, but not

I've heard of Matt, but not the other two. I'm checking them out now.

arakish's picture
@ CallOut

@ CallOut

Here it is. Sorry for it being so long. But I did cut out at least 80% and summarized. I decided, "What the 7734? I'll go ahead and post some of my story. I can wait for his."

Addendum: Oops. See you beat me to it. And not as verbose as my sorry asshole self. ;-P

The "Gentle" Love of The Church

First off, you need to know that back in the ancient days when I was still chasing Tyranosaurs from my backyard, North Carolina literally had laws that allowed, by any definition, "schools" to use any form of punishment, up to and including, corporal punishment, to enforce discipline on "disruptive" students. Guess what this also included. Yep, churches in their "Sunday School" classes.

It all started when me mom caught me reading the labels of cereal boxes when I was only 3½ years old. She realized I was actually reading them, although I did not know what all the words meant. She then started the standard Baptist Bible Belt indoctrination by teaching me to read by using the Bible. However, even at that young age, the stories in the Bible made absolutely no sense. One and half years later, for my fifth birthday, she begifted me with the novel Childhood's End by Sir Arthur C. Clarke. There was a note attached saying I had to read the book, then write a five-page report about it. What kind of mother tortures such a young child thusly? She was just wanting me to be ready when I started school the next year. We did not have any kindergarten grade back then. I loved the story so much, I actually wrote a ten-page report.

Two months later, on Thu 08 Sept 1966, Star Trek premiered on TV. My dad always watched it. And guess who was on the floor in front of the TV waiting for him to change the channel to watch it? A few months later, me mom also forced me to start attending church with her and me siblings. However, it was the desire to emulate Spock that made me so skeptical. I loved his method of using logic and reason to deduce the facts. Thus, it was thanks to Gene Roddenberry and Leonard Nimoy’s portrayal of Spock that saved me from the vicious indoctrination employed by those heinous and reprobate Religious Absolutists. As I gained comprehension by reading other books my parents had, I truly began to see the Bible for what it truly was. A collection of faerie tales, much like Mother Goose, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and Æsop’s Fables. Stories I did not want to read. To me, they were stupid and more terrifying than any of the stories I was reading written by HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe. Absolutely horrifying.

I can still remember the main focus of the very first Sunday Sermon I was forced to attend, and it still haunts me like a recurring nightmare: “All of you who are unsaved. All who are unbelievers. You were born of sin. You were born into sin. You were born sinful. And the only way you can be saved is to do as I say. If you don’t come to Jesus, if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ, you are condemned to Hell forever, unless you do as I tell you.

I don’t know about anyone else, but that is the most hateful, spiteful, malevolent, and repugnant thing to say to any other person. Regardless of their age. And that was part of the very first Sunday Sermon. I was instantly estranged. Six years old and I am already being psychologically terrorized.

Additionally, the rest of that First Sunday Sermon, I sum up thusly:

To convince children that they are born evil/sinful is unconscionable (not guided by conscience; unscrupulous; not in accordance with what is just or reasonable). What kind of immoral monster is going to tell their children that they are born evil/sinful, born of evil/sin, born into evil/sin, and must have an imaginative Sky Faerie and Magic Zombie Virgin to save them? You stupid, idiotic, and retarded Religious Absolutists have it so damned backwards. Evil and sin had not one damned thing to do with it. Children are always born from love. I for one, always told my daughters they came about from the absolute love my wife and I had for each other because we were SoulMates. Literally ONE soul, ONE heart. It was an Act Of Pure True Love between SoulMates that created my daughters. NEVER that bullshit diarrhea you Religious Absolutists spew.

Even my daughters said as much when we let them go to church to “find the answers for themselves.” They said the main reason was how you Religious Absolutists taught them how they came into this world. They said it was despicable of you to say they came into this world due to a sinful and evil act instead of the True Truth. Something no Religious Absolutist is capable of speaking. Not a damned one of you.

It started with the next Sunday School lesson where I started proving to be, in the eyes of The Church, "a disruptive godless heathen." Yes. That is what they called us Rationalists. Back then, the word "atheist" was unknown. If The Church was "nice," they called you a Rationalist. If they were "indifferent," they called you an Unbeliever. If they were "heinous," as they mostly were, they called you either "godless heathens" or "Satanic pagans." That next Sunday School lesson, and the following Sermon, was about Noah's Ark and the Flood. My first question was how all those animals could fit in such a small boat. The Sunday School teacher (worst misnomer EVER) directed me to Genesis 6:15 – This is how you shall make it. The length of the ship shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Of course, since I did not know what a cubit was and neither did the teacher, I had to let it drop.

I am going to eliminate the analysis I used to visualize how large Noah's Ark was. Suffice it to say, that even at about 6½ years old, it followed a logical and deductive analysis similar to the scientific method. Although I did not know what it was. I used the calculation of the volume of Noah's Ark compared to the house I was living at at that time. And realized, Noah's Ark was still too small to hold all those animals. When I pointed this out the following week, I was given the "Dunce's Cap" and forced to wear it through the rest of the class and during the Sermon. The first punishment: Humiliation.

From there, my questions became more and more difficult for any of them to answer. Instead, I was forced to wear the Dunce's Cap, or I received corporal punishment from the Pastor, and an after-church meeting with me mom and the Pastor. Many times, when we got home, me mom would use corporal punishment and I was grounded for 3 days. Sometimes me mom would talk me dad into issuing corporal punishment. Such "disruptive godless heathen" behavior continued until the Pastor of the first church excommunicated me a year later. In the second church, I was excommunicated in nine months. My "disruptive godless heathen" behavior only continued and escalated. Hell, it got to a point the "humiliations" and "ass-whoopings" only caused me to be even more disruptive. What is it they say about torture? It eventually no longer works and actually begins to have the opposite effect.

Then the finale.

The second summer at the third church, they started this new thing called, "Vacation Bible School." At least it was new at that time. It was a six-week, summer-based, "school" that started on the first week after school let out for summer and ran for six weeks. Basically, we only got a five week summer instead of an eleven week summer. Of course, I still continued being the "disruptive godless heathen" sent to the Pastor for corporal punishment every day.

Let me tell you about this third church. It was definitely more militaristic. The teachers had these gigantic ruler-like sticks in which smack the back of hand when a child was "disruptive." The Pastor also had this gigantic plank of wood for the "spankings." And every "smack" was a two-count smack. In other words, if the ruler-smaking or spanking was five "licks" (as they called them), it was actually TEN licks. Furthermore, the Pastor used a "self-rape" method for spankings. He forced male children to drop their "pants" to the their ankles, bend over, grabbing just above the ankles, then smacking the shit out of ya. Pure unadulterated child abuse. However, back then, there was no such thing as child abuse when discipline is exacted in a "school."

And the worst part. I was always a fond lover of nature, having been a Boy Scout since I was six. I also had two neighbors who were Native Americans, one Cherokee, the other Lumbee, and they taught me boatload about nature. I was always taking what I called "walk-abouts" through the woods, just to admire nature. After my first double-discipline by the teacher and the Pastor. I decided to take a short walk-about into the woods behind the church. I did not know it until too late, that quite a few of the other children, some a few years older, followed me. When they caught up with me, the two oldest grabbed my arms and pinned them behind me wrapping them around a tree. Two others asked the girls if they wanted to see what the difference between boys and girls was. Basically, they raped me. Children of the higher standing church members. Fucking Christian children raping another who was a "disruptive godless heathen."

After they let me go, I got redressed. However, I did not go back to that "school." I spent the next five hours wandering through the woods back my home. When I got home, me mom beat me for "scaring the shit out of her." Later that evening, me dad beat the crap out of me for scaring me mom that way. I never, ever, spoke about that incident. Not for over 45 years. I suppressed those memories. About five years ago they resurfaced.

Basically, a year later I grew tired of all the ass-whoopings and rapes by the other children, and I capitulated and pretended to get "saved." I even went through the baptism thing, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. Virtual rebirth, My Ass! I even began to memorize huge chunks of the Bible. This forced the other children to leave me alone for fear that others may actually believe me since I was proving to be a better "Christian" then they. Three years later, my father informed me that I had reached the Age of Minority (13). In other words, I was allowed to decide whether I wanted to continue going to church or not. Of course, I decided to never, ever, go to church again until I could defend myself against their tortures.

Now let me give a couple definitions: Religious Absolutist — anyone belonging to and possessing an inexorable belief in any religion, especially the absolute Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – due to their absolutist beliefs system and is truly applicable to any inexorable religious believers, especially the worst subset, Apologists.

Religious Apologists — a dastardly subset of the Religious Absolutists who practices apologetics, which is the assumption of presupposed conclusions that have nothing to do with reason and rationality and actual information, creating irrational excuses and whatever conflicting ideas justifying their baseless assumptions, regardless of what the true facts are, using beguiling dialectical semantics, distorted and perverted data, emotional whiney–ass pleas, due to an indoctrination conditioning that is so ingrained they never question the veracity of the nonsense they offer, or why they need to defend their faith at all.

And another warning. This quote definitely describes me.

Francis Quarles: "Beware of him that is slow to anger; for when it is long coming, it is the stronger when it comes, and the longer kept. Abused patience turns to fury."

Now many Religious Absolutists will say I am angry at their Sky Faerie. They cannot be further from truth. I hate religion and what it does to people. It is ultimately religion that I despise with a loathsome passion. And here is mine own meme:

RMF Runyan (arakish): "I have never truly believed in any religion, especially the Absolutist religions. There is no philosophical ideology more divisive than religion. And, the worst part of any religion is that it is an ideology that is implicitly and explicitly protected from any and all criticism from both within and without. Why should any ideology, especially religion, be so privileged? Can you not see how disastrous this way of thinking can be, and is? I firmly believe, and shall take this belief to my grave, that the human species would have been much better off had there NEVER been ANY form of religion. It is due to religions, and their way of thinking, and their theological disagreements, that has created the greatest destruction, injury, death, harm, immorality, wickedness, and abuse to the human species than any other cause. The main problem is not religious fundamentalism, but the fundamentals of religion. Ultimately, it is Religion that is Humankind’s worst enemy."

And before I even get into the true nightmare, I feel you should know what my family meant to me. Although I wrote this poem for my wife in 1990 (part of my 10th wedding anniversary set of gifts), to my wife, it can be applied to the love a father also had for his twin daughters. Even to this day, I cannot read this poem without crying.

When I say, “I Love You…

I say the words “I Love You
so much that I wonder sometimes
if you take for granted
the feelings that are behind them.

I never want you to see them
as just words to begin or end a conversation.

I Love You” is just my way
of saying that you have touched a place
in my heart and made me come alive.

You have claimed a part of my heart
that no matter what happens to us
will always belong to you.

You taught me how to love,
you broke through all my defenses,
and you comforted my fears.

You touched places in me
I never knew I had
and made me feel things
I never thought I’d feel.

You have all of the patience, care,
understanding, and concern needed
to build the kind of relationship we have,
and to build the kind of relationship
we shall forever have.

So when I say “I Love You,”
the words are not spoken out of habit.

It is my way of saying thank you for being you
and for returning some of the joy you have given me.

I Love You

Yes, I cried again.

Soul Shatter: Hidden Effects of Severe Physical and Psychological Trauma

Author’s Note: I posted an older version of this elsewhere on the AR forums. I am too lazy to search for it. When I originally wrote this, and it caused me to cry, I have left those breaks in the below.

If you knew where a lightning bolt was going to strike, would that make dealing with its aftermath any easier?

For our eighteenth wedding anniversary, I made plans to drive the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway with my wife and daughters, staying at B&Bs (Bed and Breakfast inns) along the way. Which reminds me: Why do we park our cars on a driveway and drive them on a parkway?

I cannot tell you exactly where on the Skyline Drive we were at when the accident happened. All I can tell you is that I ended up in a hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia. I have looked at the Skyline Drive near Charlottesville using Google Earth Pro and have found a couple of places where this accident could have occurred. However, I cannot say for certain… After 20 years, there would be absolutely no evidence to be seen. Additionally, they have altered the drive by putting guard rails its entire length, where needed, and actually moving it slightly further from the edges. I read about this update to the Skyline Drive in a journal article issued by the Virginia Department of Transportation (I can no longer find the article).

A blind curve. A speeding car. Lightning strikes.

We were rounding a curve on the outside when another car comes barreling straight at us. The driver managed to only clip our car on the rear driver’s side. The car began to slide sideways and towards the mountain edge. I knew if I could not get the car under control and the rear passenger tire slid off, and the chassis of the car bit, it would be over. I did get the car under some control; however, the rear passenger tire did slide off the side and the chassis bit. The last thing I remember before waking up in the hospital was the car rolling over, my wife and daughters screaming, the car flipping back right side up, then all went black.

I awoke who knew how much later. Everything is a blurred fog. My mind a nebulous fugue. A floating blob of liquid glass. A spider web over my body. A blur of white. Then, fade to black.

It was much later that I was told the details. During the times I was awake and somewhat coherent, my only question was, “Where are my wife and daughters?” When the doctors felt I was recovered enough they finally began to tell me some of the details.

According to the doctors, which I still find unbelievable, I had 72 broken bones throughout my entire body. My thought? How in hell could anyone survive that kind of damage? Isn’t that a third of all bones in the human body? 206 bones in the adult body. As they continued to tell me the exceptional amounts of physical damage I had suffered, my only thought was always, “How in hell can anyone survive that much damage?” And, “Where are my wife and daughters?” How much damage did I suffer? I’ll list what I can remember. Even after 20 years, I can remember quite a bit.

Many numerous contusions, abrasions, lacerations, wrenched joints, and punctures.

  • FYI (for those who may not know the medical terms):
    • contusions = bruises
    • abrasions = scrapes, scratches
    • lacerations = cuts
    • wrenched joints = sprained joints, twisted joints
    • punctures = stabbings, piercings
  • Right leg: three breaks, two in the femur.
  • Left leg: three breaks, two in the tibia and fibula.
  • Pelvic bone: broken in half.
  • Right foot: crushed.
  • Right hip: dislocated.
  • Back: four breaks (and I thought I’d never walk again, but as the doctors put it, “Your back has been broken, but the spinal cord has not been severed.” Thus, yes, I was able to walk again.).
  • Several ribs broken.
  • Left arm: two breaks and shoulder dislocated.
  • Right arm: one break below elbow.
  • Right hand: nine bones broken, basically shattered.
  • Right shoulder: dislocated, and scapula and clavicle broken.
  • And the worst one of all: My skull was LITERALLY broken in half.

Thus, the spider web I saw was my entire body being held together in traction.

The blob of liquid glass was the saline bag hanging on the IV hook.

The blur of white and fade to black was a nurse entering and injecting whatever it was they used to keep me in a medically induced coma.

I was told I was fortunate that they did not need to perform an emergency craniotomy since the two halves of the skull could expand due to the swelling on my brain. They did tell me I was going to suffer some brain damage. Which I did, but it was not very severe. It mostly affected my creativity and artistic abilities (I really hate having lost this), and drastically limited my Total Ambidexterity. It also slowed my thought processes. No longer can I just whip snap with a witty come back. I have to sit and cogitate.

Thus, my body was shattered.

When I arrived at the hospital, I was in a coma. It lasted for 16 days before my first eye opening. The doctors then kept me in a medically induced coma for another 10 days. However, it was a total of 40 days before I was told that I was the sole survivor of the accident. The doctors actually made me suffer for 14 days with my incessant question: “Where are my wife and daughters?”

Thus, my soul was shattered.

I was later visited by the rescue workers who worked the accident site. They swore the only thing they were going to be doing was retrieving dead bodies. However, as all EMTs are trained to do, they still checked for pulses. They found I and one of my daughters had faint pulses. They went into overdrive to cut us out of the mangled car and get us airlifted to the Charlottesville hospital (and I do not remember which one). The rescue workers even told me they had no way of knowing how long our car sat on the side of the mountain before someone saw it and called 911. They did tell me that the car had tumbled some 50 meters down the mountainside. Tumbled, not slid.

Unfortunately, my daughter succumbed to her injuries five days later, while I was still in a coma. Even to this day it haunts me wondering if rescue could have gotten to us ASAP' "Could we all have survived?" Somehow? DAMN, the memories drive pain so deeply into the psyche, there are just no words…

How can one describe this any better that the term “Soul Shatter”?

[God, even writing this is bringing tears… I’ll be back.]

Well, I had a decent cry. May still continue to cry… At this point, this section diverges from the original paper.

The most astonishing fact of this incident is that the LEOs actually caught the driver that sent our car tumbling down the mountain. Although they could not prove he was drunk at the time of the accident, since several days had passed, he was known to be a drunk driver. Additionally, he was driving with a suspended license when he murdered my wife and daughters. Yes, he murdered them. I care not what the actual crime he was convicted of, he murdered my wife and daughters. As far as I was concerned, First Degree Homicide. He was convicted of three counts of Voluntary Vehicular Homicide. Voluntary, not Involuntary. He was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences.

When I first wrote this paper, he was still in prison. However, as of this writing, he was released on parole in October 2016 after serving 18 years. If he still lives, I don’t know. Don’t care. Unlike what I have said before, this is probably the only man I cannot look at as being worthy of being treated as an equal.

I had been asked if he did get out of prison if I would seek revenge. During the first few years, my answer was, “Hell yeah!” Then it became, “I don’t know,” for a few more years. If memory serves, I think after about six or seven years, my answer became, “No.” My reasoning was that if he did get out of prison his first chance at parole, he was going to be 70 years old, a triple convicted murderer (actually felon but I am biased), permanently lost all rights to ever vote again, permanently lost all rights to his Social Security, permanently lost all rights to possess a driver’s license in any state, and he was 70 years old. The only thought I had was, “I hope your fucking daughter is rich because no one is going to hire you, and you ain’t got no SSI anymore. Good luck you fucking shit. And don’t ever darken my doorstep. I just might kill you out of spite.”

I hate having that kind of attitude towards a fellow human being. However, it would be best that he and I never, ever, meet in person. I cannot be held accountable for what I may do. Besides, I am now a cynical old fart. Remember the two old men on the Muppet Show in the balcony? Well, I am far worse…

Basically, my paper delved deeply into my research into the “hidden effects of severe physical and psychological trauma, including severe traumatic brain injury.” The paper actually ended up being about another 25 to 30 pages longer than originally assigned. But the instructor took it in stride. She even said she could find no errors. (I think she was feeling sorry for what I had gone through.)

The one thing researching this paper did for me was to show me that my psychiatrist and therapist had both misdiagnosed me as having Major Depressive Disorder instead of actually having Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Furthermore, the research of this paper gave me the knowledge I needed to know and somewhat understand what I was suffering. This more or less gave me the “forewarned is forearmed” capability of dealing with the CPTSD on my own.

I shall be the first to admit that I still suffer from CPTSD on top of my Adult ADHD. I shall to the day I die. However, I am able to deal with it without having to take medication and see a psychiatrist and/or therapist. There are times depression and bipolarism can hit me so hard that I wished I had a dedicated psychiatrist and/or therapist and/or medication; however, I am also able to get myself through those periods.

The only other thing that still bothers me, many could say still terrorizes me, is that I still occasionally suffer nightmares about the accident. I no longer wake up screaming, but sometimes I awaken still in a “PTSD flashback” state where I am awake, but still living the nightmare. It is when these night terrors occur that I am truly terrified. The only time I am ever truly scared. Sometimes crying literally like a little baby. And I ain’t afraid to admit it. I have had some tell me this is true courage. Me, I don’t know about that. I just know it is the only times I am truly scared and terrified. And when these terrorisms hit…

[Sorry, had another cry…]

On a further note… There are times I get to daydreaming about my wife and daughters so deeply, I end up actually crying. Sometimes, to this day, I can find myself crying myself to sleep at night. Oh hell, the pain is so deep the only words I can find that adequately describe it is to say that half my heart AND half my soul was killed when my wife and daughters were murdered. For the last 20 years, I have been a man with only half a heart and half a soul.

And you may ask why cynical?

The other major problem is that this has made me not give a damn about this shit-hole we call Earth. Do I avoid Death? No. Not really. But I do not seek it either. Ever since the death of my wife and daughters, I could care less whether I go on living or not. I do not particularly enjoy being in this shit-hole without them. Now this does NOT mean I am suicidal. It just means I don’t give a fuck about dying. It also means I don’t give a damn about living either. However, since I am still in this shit-hole, I make of it what I can. Since I am still living, I just live. The only true purpose of life is life. What you make of it is what you make of it.

However, these god damned Religious Absolutists can make it so extremely difficult… Why can't they just leave people the fuck alone? Why can't they just keep their fucking schizophrenic delusions to themselves?

And the worst part is these damned stupid Religious Absolutists will say something like, “I understand what you are going through,” OR “I know what you are going through.” BULLSHIT!

And this is when I can explode like a supernova! No one can understand, nor even imagine what I have gone through, what I am still going through! What I shall go through until the day I die!

It is impossible to understand what I have been through unless you have gone through the same exact happenstance. In other words, I just want to live my life as I wish. I don’t care about dying. I don’t care about living. But since I am still alive, I just make the best of it as I can. The only purpose of life is life. Also understand this. If my wife and twin daughters had not been murdered, my life and viewpoint would be so drastically different…


CallOut's picture
This response was absolutely

This response was absolutely amazing. I am so grateful you chose to share your story to this extent. I'm late in responding because I wanted to take time to thoroughly read through everything. I read every word.

It amazes me that you remember when you were 3 years old. It sounds like your loving family was a glorious answer to a harsh childhood, only to be taken from you far too early and in such tragic fashion.

Your story loosely reminds me of a close friend I had years back when living in New Zealand. She had a brother who took a trip to Europe, went missing for weeks, and later his body was found floating under a bridge. The consensus was it was a hate crime. The last thing I wanted to do was tell her something about God's will.

You have every reason to oppose religion, and I won't try to stop this. If I had your story I would almost certainly have the same conclusion. Maybe I can make this proposition... if I cannot find a way to convince you or anyone else, without any shadow of doubt about aspects of God, then I encourage everyone to dismiss me and force me to a higher standard of accountability.

One thing you said which particular stood out to me about God is "the worst part of any religion is that it is an ideology that is implicitly and explicitly protected from any and all criticism from both within and without." I have to say I agree with this, which probably sounds contradictory. I hope over time my conduct and rationale will make this less contradictory.

chimp3's picture


I don't think I am interesting enough to be recorded live. Do you think you are?

CallOut's picture
I am not! haha. I think I

I am not! haha. I think I have given the impression that this will be some kind of studio arrangement. I considered it more like a phone chat where others could leave comments. I'm going to hold off pursuing an audio chat for now. I'm posting a detailed write up of my approach to try and take this to the next level. I will it post later today, and would be great to know what you think.

Cognostic's picture
Collaborate: I work at a

Collaborate: I work at a university that has no religious affiliation. One of the professors here Jan De Beer, (That is a real name of a real guy my atheist friends) just published a paper in some religious journal. I was the one that he asked to do the proof reading and suggested editorial changes. He is aware of my interest in religions. The paper was on the meaning of the word "Congregation" and how it has changed over the centuries.

Collaboration is rarely an issue. The meaning of the word has changed over time and it is an interesting inquiry for both a believer and a non-believer. Everyone learns from collaboration.

Sheldon's picture
"Jan De Beer, (That is a real

"Jan De Beer, (That is a real name of a real guy my atheist friends) just published a paper in some religious journal."

Did he once play rugby for South Africa?

Cognostic's picture
Doesn't look like it. He is

Doesn't look like it. He is also not the artist. He is South African. I will go look for a pic, No, that's not him.

CallOut's picture
I come from an art background

I come from an art background, which is all subjective. My career can be summarized by working to make another person right. This is the type of collaboration I'm used to, and I expect to exert when chatting with Atheists. I don't want to speak too soon, but I feel I'm not looking to prove you wrong. Instead I'm looking to prove you right. Perhaps I'm being too idealistic.

CallOut's picture
Based on responses it sounds

Based on responses it sounds like the best thing is to collaborate here and delay a live chat for now. In full disclosure my initial goal is not to prove God exists. Rather try to prove it is reasonable to believe in God.

My approach is as important as my argument. If we don’t agree to my approach then it would make any argument from here a waste of time. So let me know what you guys think of this...

Scientific arguments are fascinating, but I find they are never ending. To put it crudely, the only thing absolute about evidence is our ability to tailor it to our biases.

Stumping either side doesn’t pose resolution, rather it just leaves the subdued candidate with the feeling that their answer hasn’t been discovered yet. Expecting an absolute answer from a source which always has more to the story is not my cup of tea. From my understanding, evidence always has more to the story. Likewise, just because one person can’t answer doesn’t mean the other person is correct.

Additionally Scientific arguments are a battle of brain muscle, and if we don’t have enough muscle for any particular question we tend to defer to one who does. Whether in person or by citation. Sort of a “my brother can beat up your brother” type of thing. Yes, Theists are guilty of this, and probably more than Atheists.

Lastly if discovering God resided in science then I propose it would be impossible for that God to be just/good. A just God couldn’t make itself discoverable only by the educated elite. He/she would need to be discoverable by anyone.

To provide a solution to these aspects I like to find the most simplistic form of a belief, then test that belief against itself. In short, I want to extract the paradox.

I believe paradoxes are the only thing indisputably impossible. Everything else can rest with the inconclusive category of “technically, anything is possible”. A sentiment I see both sides adopting (though not everything is reasonably possible, but that is another topic).

A triangle cannot have 4 sides. This is impossible in any time, place, universe, etc. No matter how advanced science gets, it will never, ever find a way to make a triangle with 4 sides. Nor could God. No test tubes, mathematical data, educational pedigree, or credentials required. It is indisputable, doesn’t require evidence, and can be understood by the most simple of minds.

In the pursuit for paradoxes I believe honesty trumps evidence. We don’t need to test every triangle ever created, we just need to understand the definition of a triangle. With this type of reasoning I give the benefit of the doubt to any audacious claim anyone wants to make. Unicorns are real? Fine. God does or doesn’t exist? Go for it. Tolerance is virtuous? No problem. The only catch is all claims will be tested by identifying if such a claim can remain consistent within itself. If it cannot then it indicates a paradox.

If it is a paradox then it can’t lean on the notion that “the answer hasn’t been discovered yet”. No matter how advanced our discoveries get, a true paradox can never exist.

Let me know what you guys think so far. I’m particularly interested if anyone can find an indisputable objection to what I’ve said, as well as if you have already done this a million times with other Theists.

arakish's picture
@ CallOut

@ CallOut

Another forewarning, sometimes I can be in a good mood and want to play jokes. However, this joke is actually true.

"A triangle cannot have 4 sides. This is impossible in any time, place, universe, etc. No matter how advanced science gets, it will never, ever find a way to make a triangle with 4 sides."

Absolutely true. However, did you know you can create an equilateral triangle whose three angles can add up to greater than 180°?


Cognostic's picture
Ewwwww! Spherical Geometry

Ewwwww! Spherical Geometry A new revolution in Geometry.

David Killens's picture
"Scientific arguments are

"Scientific arguments are fascinating, but I find they are never ending. To put it crudely, the only thing absolute about evidence is our ability to tailor it to our biases."

The scientific method is just that, a method, a process. And it is done in a pursuit of the truth, or facts, not fiction. In any pursuit of knowledge one always begins with a goal or supposition. But in the case of the scientific process, one has to follow the evidence, no matter how painful it can be, even whether it contradicts the original goal. Many scientific breakthroughs were an act of serendipity. Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson won the Nobel Prize by discovering cosmic microwave background radiation. All they were doing was trying to remove static in their studies to analyze radio signals from the spaces between galaxies.

The formal scientific process is also built on peer review, where your findings are published, and then put under the most intensity. One can never force their personal views as being accepted if it has flaws or can be proven wrong.

Science is not about absolutes, any decent scientist deals in probabilities and "the best answer for this moment". And any decent scientist is willing (however painful and humiliating) to discard their favorite belief or theory if a new and better explanation arises. That is what science is all about, the constant improvement in our understanding. That is why it is "never ending".

One classic example is that Einstein came up with his theory of relativity because he saw a flaw in one of Newton's laws. Newton's laws are still respected and form the bedrock of much scientific work. But no theory is absolute, it is just the best explanation for the moment.

"A triangle cannot have 4 sides. This is impossible in any time, place, universe, etc. No matter how advanced science gets, it will never, ever find a way to make a triangle with 4 sides. Nor could God. No test tubes, mathematical data, educational pedigree, or credentials required. It is indisputable, doesn’t require evidence, and can be understood by the most simple of minds."

That is because a "triangle" is a definition, not an object. If it had four sides it would be a quadrilateral. If the object changes, so does the definition.

We can not confuse objects with definitions.

CallOut's picture
Sounds like we are both

Sounds like we are both generally in agreement on these things? But perhaps I'm being presumptuous.

I'll plus much of what you are saying and agree the claims that theists make with no grounds for accountability are not healthy. I recognize this as something science does far better than theism (this is where you say theism doesn't do it at all).

In your last comment, what if I gave the example of the "inconsistent casual loop" (I just looked that up) where it is impossible for someone to time travel and kill himself in the past? Would this suffice as a scientific paradox? Though my stance does lean toward paradoxes with definitions, so that might be all I want to analyze moving forward.

LogicFTW's picture


Time paradoxes are not really paradoxes to be used. Time is a human made measurement, measurement of events compared to other events, much like the meter is a human made measurement of one distance compared to others.

We humans in stretching the simple definition of measurement of events compared to other events, in mostly sci fi movies and books added in the weird "time travel" stuff. The reality of which is simply a bending of definitions, we do not "travel" along time. When people say they want to go back into the past, what they are really saying is they want all the atoms in the universe to go to a certain configuration, except the atoms for their own body/brain.

Looked at, this way, all time paradoxes disappear.

David Killens's picture
"In the pursuit for paradoxes

"In the pursuit for paradoxes I believe honesty trumps evidence. We don’t need to test every triangle ever created, we just need to understand the definition of a triangle. With this type of reasoning I give the benefit of the doubt to any audacious claim anyone wants to make. Unicorns are real? Fine. God does or doesn’t exist? Go for it. Tolerance is virtuous? No problem. The only catch is all claims will be tested by identifying if such a claim can remain consistent within itself. If it cannot then it indicates a paradox."

You seem to be leaning towards the concept that if the person making the claim is sincere, and that their story is consistent, then what the hey, it must be true.


That is how corrupt people and con men operate. Just because you are good at telling a tale, that does make the tale true. The only true fact is that the person is telling a consistent tale.

Evidence ALWAYS trumps honesty, even sincerity. Every week someone straps on a suicide vest and blows themselves and others up. That is as sincere as anyone could get. Does that make them right? Are they on a path to truth? Just because a conviction is powerful that does not make it true.

When any claim is made, that claim is measured by just one metric, facts. It is true or it is not, and that truth is determined by empirical evidence.

When you are "giving the benefit of the doubt" to a claim, you are being gullible. Any claim must be able to be proven, to be tested true or false. If you and I were walking down a sidewalk and stopped at an intersection, and if I told you to begin walking across the intersection, you would look to determine if the lights were green and it was safe to go.

Do not confuse honesty with trust. The pastor at the church appears to live a clean life, and generates respect and trust within the community. But even that high level of trust is no guarantee that what they preach is actually true. That too, is one more method con men use. Reference: used car salesmen.

By now you are realizing that everything in this forum is put under hard scrutiny and nothing is just blindly accepted. And I hope by now you have realized that some things you "believe in" are just things you have accepted without giving it critical examination.

CallOut's picture
I consider a sincere claim

I consider a sincere claim much different than a truth claim. I agree that just because someone is being honest doesn't make them correct. No way. Rather realizing if something is really true sometimes needs a simple honest realization from ourselves.

In other words, one should stop trying to measure every triangle ever imagined to see if one of them will come up with four sides. He/she should accept the definition rather than gather more evidence. I view this as acceptance based on honesty (for lack of better words), not evidence. We can never gather the evidence of all the triangles, so we must be honest with ourselves and realize that once a shape has more than three sides it can no longer be a triangle. We can stop trying to get evidence to prove otherwise. Would you agree? Perhaps I can find a better word than honesty?

I feel it necessary that any time I imply contempt for evidence I need to clarify. I don't have contempt for evidence. I want and encourage evidence. Claiming divinity with no evidence is incorrect. I will not attempt to claim something about god without evidence. Likewise I have not made any official claims about god in this thread thus far.

I agree with everything else you said except that evidence always trumps honesty. It does sound odd, so I wonder if I can find a way to more accurately express this.

I'm curious if you have objections to this?

arakish's picture
@ CallOut

@ CallOut

Hey, the triangle thing again. Had any thought how an equilateral triangle can have it angles sum to > 180°?

Sorry. In a good mood now after early this morning. Got surgery tomorrow and always brighten my mood since I do have a chance to answer that one eternal question that has pestered humans since forever.


CallOut's picture
I have not thought about the

I have not thought about the equilateral triangle >180. I actually don't know how that can happen. is this a trick question? I hope you last past surgery, friend. Sorry I have no evidence to prove we are friends. I'm presupposing that.

David Killens's picture
Arakish is killing me. I know

Arakish is killing me. I know the answer to that question, yet refrain because the answer is not mine to give. I was sorely tempted to offer a hint, but even then, that is being sneaky.

arakish's picture
CallOut: "I hope you last

CallOut: "I hope you last past surgery, friend."

No problem. Seems the more surgeries I have, the quicker and easier it is for me to recover from the anesthesia. Even had me brother stop me from doing more than I should. Told me, "You think you are Superman, you dumb ass. Just because you heal so damn quick don't make you Wolverine." And I had to agree. But the combination of pain killers... Wow! Percocet is one. Ibuprofen and Naproxen are the two OTC ones. The other one, I can't spell it looking at the label.

CallOut: "Sorry I have no evidence to prove we are friends."

I am friends with everyone, regardless of difference of beliefs and opinions. Until they prove otherwise.

CallOut: "I'm presupposing that."

Go ahead.

CallOut: "I have not thought about the equilateral triangle >180. I actually don't know how that can happen. Is this a trick question?"

I thought it was impossible also. However, as long as the triangle, actually works on any triangle of sufficient size, is quite large, say at least a hundred kilometers, you can get one whose angles sum greater than 180°. Simply project the triangle on a globe, like the Earth. It still remains a triangle, but the angles now sum to greater than 180°. Cognostic actually hinted at it.

Wild, but it does work.



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