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‘Joyous atheists’: the ultimate oxymoron?

The phrase strikes a tinny note against this Catholic’s lexical eardrum

By on Monday, 2 August 2010

‘Joyous atheists’: the ultimate oxymoron?

If you are a book reviewer, you sometimes have the slightly hollow feeling that you are ringing the changes in the phrases and adjectives you use. To increase this sense of merely peddling breathless clichés, a friend has kindly sent me a list of adjectives that a reviewer must avoid at all costs.

They are: gripping, poignant, compelling, nuanced, lyrical, tour de force, readable, haunting, deceptively simple, rollicking, fully realised, page-turner, sweeping, riveting, unflinching, powerful, timely and unputdownable.

Well. I plead guilty to having employed the words ‘poignant’, ‘haunting’ and ‘powerful’ – though now that I am conscious of their tainted provenance I do try to find ways of not using them. You would never catch me using the others – unless of course, I were pushed for time, feeling lazy, had stopped bothering about standards or was hoping the reviews editor was asleep.

Two other popular adjectives of recent vintage which I steadfastly avoid are ‘raunchy’ and ‘edgy’. I understand ‘raunchy’ is generally used in the context of elderly women writing explicitly about the pleasures of extra-marital sex – as in the ‘raunchy’ novels of the late (elderly) Mary Wesley. I have never read any of her writings on the grounds that life is short and I suspect I would find them a trifle too ‘raunchy’. I would rather return to Jane Austen (I am re-reading Persuasion at the moment at the behest of my local Book Club) who is exquisitely ‘un-raunchy’.

I never liked the word ‘edgy’ because I saw it thrown about all over the place; then I read the sorry saga of the Jonathan Ross- and-Russell Brand kind of ‘edgy’ humour and the even more sorry spectacle of the BBC defending them on the grounds that the public enjoyed this kind of ‘edgy’ fun – and I sent the word forever to the gulag of my lexicon. (I note that fellow-blogger Stuart Reid used it recently, but I remain unrepentant.)

A word I might use sometime, even though it is also thrown about too often, is ‘feisty’. It seems to be only used about women and has a certain plucky charm to it. Sarah Palin is seriously ‘feisty’ – even if she is not a suitable candidate for the US presidency – so I do not ‘refudiate’ it (to quote a word minted recently by Ms Palin).

I also like the sound of the word ‘apotropaic’, though it is not easy to find a way of using it often; it has an added frisson for me because Christopher Hitchens used it in his Memoir. If only his Twitter fans would imitate their master and touch up their vocabulary.

Just as ‘feisty’ can only be used about women, ‘oleaginous’ can only be used of men. Men ‘greasy’, women ‘plucky’; sounds about right.

To conclude with a phrase: I heard the expression ‘joyous atheists’ the other day and it struck a tinny note against my lexical eardrum. Indeed I refudiate it on the grounds it is an oxymoron. ‘Joyous’ has spiritual connotations and atheists have rejected the life of the spirit. They can of course be ‘happy’ – a word that is much lower in the hierarchy of the emotions.

You can be either ‘joyous’ or an ‘atheist’; you cannot be both. Discuss.

  • Anthony

    “By your own admission your so called god can't have always existed. So someone or something must have created her/it/him. Who? Ad infinitum.”

    Spacelessness and timelessness exist, theoretically at least, as the background to quanta of spacetime.
    Therefore the Christian claim that God is spaceless and timeless is, in principle, no longer a scientific impossibility. You cannot rule out the notion that God is eternal and immaterial, the properties ascribed to Him by scripture and tradition. As an eternal being, God has no origin and therefore would never have needed to have been created.

  • Anthony

    It does seem that we are in a tiny minority, and in a Catholic forum at that!

  • Anthony

    “Since you cannot prove that the supernatural even exists there is no logical reason to assume it does.”

    On another post you said that atheism can be spiritual. Thereore I take it that an atheist can believe in a spiritual dimension. But a spiritual dimension is supernatural. So are you not contradicting yourself above when you deny the existence of the supernatural?

  • O joy…

    As an atheist who has experienced joy, I'd disagree. Joy is simply a wonderful emotion, given connotations of “spirituality” by those who want them to be there, like CS Lewis, or you.

  • Weston Lockley

    “Almost 4000 years of Judeo-Christian Scripture and Tradition “

    The use of fancy words and capitals just tries to mask that you are relying on a 4000 year old book that reflects the knowledge of its time. Don't get me started how it was written by several authors out of backward civilizations, how it has been mistranslated, falsified etc. etc. What does it contain? Rain: we don't know, so a god does it. We are cruel, so a super being is super cruel. We need soldiers because we are a little tribe and we want to rob the land of the Canaanites and kill them and their infant children, so we frown on spilling your seed, i.e. masturbation and homosexuality.

    In short: You are trying to service a brand new car with a 4000 year old manual of a mule drawn cart. No wonder you fail miserably.

    “Please see my post yesterday to Yui Daoren which explains…”

    Your post “explains” nothing, except your lack of knowledge how the scientific process works. Let's just say that the matter isn't resolved, although you falsely try to make it appear as if science is finally discovering what religion asserted all this time.

    What I found amusing was how you made it appear that Noble and Wise Religion was patiently waiting until Backward and Slow Science caught up and discovered all those things it knew all along. Nice trick. But, since that is all it is, Atheists are not buying it.

    What you do, is focus on one theory that seemingly gives some credibility to your assumption that there should be a higher being that created it all. Which it doesn't. At the most it gives you some leeway to smuggle the odd pink unicorn in. You can't however avoid the final contradiction that this explains nothing: your so called creator is not created, he always was. Why? How? You have no idea.

    In fact you are imposing the laws of reality on Atheists and on science, while giving your god a get-out-of-jail-free-card. You are rigging the deck.

    You make a fantastic, unwarranted leap: “Some, of the many hypotheses under investigation, could vaguely be presented as fitting my ancient book, ergo: pink unicorns.”

    Don't you see the fundamental flaw? “The universe has to be created, I insist on that. Who created it? Someone who was not created her/himself. I insist on that as well.”

    What you are saying in fact is that Atheists are wrong:

    1) because they don't necessarily believe that the universe was created

    2) because they don't believe in a god who was NOT created.

    So, damned if you don't believe in creation and damned if you do.

    By the way: How is Pascal's Wager going for you? Already converted to islam? Make haste, because I understand the god of the koran is as unforgiving as the one from the bible.

  • shoosh

    Okay, I think I see what is going on here. I see this sort of thinking a lot, and it's pretty much impenetrable from the outside. Your “beliefs” (see, I can use quotation marks, too) are centered around a proposition that assumes its own validity, and therefore circular in nature. I am an atheist, but the only reason I can say that is because God exists, ergo I am not an atheist, because God exists. That is the only way I can satisfy your criteria for being an “honest” atheist.

    If that is a sample of what you call “reason”, then I'm afraid we don't have enough ontology in common to have a useful discussion. Because you take God's existence as an a priori fact, it is impossible for you to be wrong. That pretty much kills this conversation for me, because I approach every discussion as a chance for me to learn something and, perhaps, change my point of view, and you do not. Your world is a closed system.

    WRT your second paragraph, you just have some funny ideas about atheism, which is not surprising since you know nothing about it. It is not dreary; it is empowering. I don't know what you are trying to say about “the brain excreting” as the brain is (thankfully) separate from the excretory system, but whatever.

    “There is no who, there is no value, there is only an it”. Once again you are saying things about atheism from a position of ignorance. You know nothing about it (or me), yet you feel qualified to make statements about the life I lead and the values I hold. _That_ is condescension, is self-centered, is sanctimonious. It is also deeply offensive to those who don't share your views, but I doubt that you care about that, since you are right and those other people are wrong.

    As I said before, I don't think further discussion would be useful, just as I don't fancy talking to a wall.

    Enjoy your little world.

  • True peace

    Yes a lot of my friends are atheists. We communicate civilly but I do not deny something is lacking when we can't pray together or share the sacraments. Anyway allow me to be bold enough to ask you all to pray to Jesus for me :-)

  • tobe or nottobe

    LOLove….this is the first time I have had discussions with anyone online at all, and the first time I have made arguments (philosophically) against atheism. I can see in reading my posts where I have made some mistakes in how I have structured them. My intent was never to insult anyone. In my first post, I wrote “If you are an atheist” and then proceeded with my argument….This was not meant to address persons here directly…I tried to make the argument from the point of the world view of a material atheist. Please accept my apology for doing that poorly. From my world view, each person is “beautifully and wonderfully made” and has infinite value, and I love every person from the womb to everlasting life. Of course, I fail daily and sometimes “minutely” if that could be a word. It is because I am a human with a fallen nature. I am not God. Any how, I wish you all well and I wish you peace. Thanks for discussing this topic with me. PAX!

  • Anthony

    The greatest joy which non-believers cannot share is the joy of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead. It is the joyous conviction deep in our hearts that through Christ we will live forever together with our loved ones, not as some vague spiritual entity, but in real glorified resurrected bodies, just as the resurrected body of Christ was glorified.

    This is the great hope of Christians during this short life and puts into perspective all the sufferings we have to endure. To go through life without this hope is unimaginable.

  • Sweeksdds

    It's true that we can't be certain (100%) that anyone is or is not an idiot based on such a limited sample, any more than we can be certain (100%) that there is no god. But, if one looks at the evidence, it seems more likely than not that this one is an idiot. As time goes by, we see more and more evidence that there is no god (thank you, Science) and no more that there is.

    As to your aside, I get the satisfaction of seeing that there are many articulate and intelligent people who disagree with the premise of the lead article. Had these others not posted, this would not be the case. I am an atheist, and I can tell you that I have experieced JOY; I am a father of two, and “joy” is a pale word to describe my emotional reaction to their births.

    As another aside, your analogy between atheists' commentary here and “tilting at windmills or pursuing white whales” is probably a good one; few of the “natives” here are likely to be disposed to think rationally about the great majority of the comments posted here.

  • Sweeksdds

    You really need to get out more. Start with Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion”. Read the whole book, not just the table of contents.

    Pascal's Wager? :lol: Better hope you pick the right god (of the thousands that have been invented)! And don't you think an omniscient god would know you had made the wager?

  • Sweeksdds

    Simply because there is not an answer to your question does not mean your particular answer is true. Please review “argumentum ad ignorantiam” in any standard logic textbook.

    Your explanation is “well-documented in Scritpure (sic) and well-supported by Tradition.”
    Scripture? Read “Misquoting Jesus- the story behind who changed the bible and why”… it may give you something to think about.

  • Sweeksdds

    Pardon me for just a moment.

    (catches breath)

    Thanks. That is about the level of intellect your post deserves in response.

  • Anthony

    Tradition does not just mean custom, as in your Topol video. Its more precise meaning is the transfer of information from one generation to the next by word of mouth. Imagine how much tradition was used in this way for countless generations of mankind throughout the world before the arrival of the written word.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    “The mind is the intellectual capacity of the soul”

    You shouldn't be able to say that until you can establish the existence of souls. The rest of your argument is thus based on an unsupported argument. Go back to kindergarten.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    “what I am arguing is that what the naturalist – atheistic worldview cannot account for is the reliability of the human mind and therefore, cannot account for the successes of science.”

    This sounds like Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism. Consider yourself informed that Plantinga knows squat about evolution, and that his argument receives laughter from people who do know about it.

    The human sense perceptions and cognitive powers are both susceptible to errors, including systematic errors which can be characterized and studied with perceptual and cognitive illusions (e.g. a still image which appears to move.) Even in cases where we understand why and how an illusion works, we may still be susceptible to the illusion. Thus any claim that perfection of senses or perfection of cognition are necessary fares very poorly on an evidential basis, since in fact no such perfection exists.

    Such perceptual and cognitive imperfections are what we would expect in an evolutionary scenario, in which senses and cognitive powers were adapted from existing systems to increase short term survival. Such imperfections are not what we would expect if we were created by a perfect designer. The theist thus, rather than finding evidence in his favour, finds himself on the defense, explaining away why the evidence doesn't do away with his theistic hypotheses. (Such lameness as our senses deteriorated because of The Fall, etc.)

  • Reginald Selkirk

    “”All of these arguments above form a strong cumulative case for the existence of God. As someone said….”like twined rope.” “”

    Since none of the arguments are conclusive, and many are not even logically sound, someone else (namely me) says: these are BS arguments. By that I mean what any person who has spent time in the country can tell you: That if one cow patty smells bad, a whole stack of them does not smell better.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    “But a spiritual dimension is supernatural.”

    The word “spiritual” is rather ambiguous. It may or may not not be used to include the supernatural. That is why I don't use that word.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    “Joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit that a soul enters into.”

    Before you make a statement like that, you should establish the existence of A) the Holy Spirit and B) souls. Since you cannot do either, the rest of your statement built on that weak foundation can be ignored as unsubstantiated.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    “and the first time I have made arguments (philosophically) against atheism.”

    You suck at it.

  • Weston Lockley

    “Spacelessness and timelessness exist, theoretically at least, as the background to quanta of spacetime.”

    a. Let's note that you admit that the spacelessness and timelessness only exist in theory and are by no means proven beyond any doubt.
    b. From this very shaky base, and I put this very politely, you jump to the conclusion that your god no longer is an impossibility.
    c. Then you say that this no longer impossible being could be eternal and immaterial and hence needn't have been created.

    But you are wrong: only some highly speculative theories argue that there is a possibility of something like spacelessness and timelessness existing. It is by NO means a universally respected theory. Let alone that it is proven. In fact it is vehemently challenged by several philosophers and scientists who think it is simply wrong.

    You don't give us any proof for the rest of your conclusions. Nothing. Not a shred.

    You merely say: “in theory”, not actually proven, there is room for a god to exist or not and if he exists he might as well be eternal and immaterial and if he is eternal he doesn't need to have been created.

    Let's round up what is unproven conjecture in your statement here:

    1) spacelessness (merely a theoretical possibility according to some heavily disputed hypotheses)
    2) timelessness (see 1)
    3) a god (nothing points to such a being and in addition it would need 1 and 2 to be true, merely to have a possibility to exist)
    4) an eternal god (nothing points to such a quality of a being that is highly speculative and still needs 1 and 2 to be true)
    5) an eternal AND immaterial god (see 4)

    So, you conclude: god doesn't need to be created. For point 1 & 2 you have at least a few, albeit highly speculative, theoretical hypotheses. Mind you: no proof at all. For 3 to 5 you have nothing. They are just random statements. Pink unicorns.

    But your problems don't end there. Even, should we grant (which we don't), that there is even the faintest possibility that you are correct, you still need to prove that this god is the tribal deity, called Yahweh, of the ancient scriptures. Then you need to prove that these scriptures are a true reflection of this god's intent. That they are competently translated, that they haven't been falsified, etc. You need to do that all over for the latest additions, the so called New Testament, and prove a link between those scriptures and the older ones, because the Jews don't agree with you and they have an impressive array of arguments for their position. Then you need to prove that this god really wanted something created like the catholic church, or at least that this institution faithfully reflects his intent.

    But, even if you do all that, you still haven't proved we Atheists, can't be truly joyous. Because that statement rests upon the linguistic incompetence of the author of this piece, which could have been avoided by simply opening the Oxford English Dictionary on the relevant page.

    Sorry, the joyous Atheist is just not buying it.

  • Anthony

    I never thought I'd live to see the day when an atheist resents the advancement of science (What would Dawkins say?)

    Three distinct and major theories, Loop Quantum Gravity, Superstring /M theory and Blackhole Thermodynamics, each taking a different starting point, all agree in their view that spacetime is not continuous but is composed of discrete units, implying that spacetime is a “something” very much like matter and energy and not a background “nothing”. This alludes of course to the existence of a more fundamental non-spacetime reality from which spacetime emerges. A non-spacetime background is spaceless and timeless. Research it yourself instead of denying it on this blog.

    If spacelessness and timeless Creator is no longer impossible, how, you ask, do we know it is the Judeo-Christian God? For one reason, the Resurrection of Christ. And as I said yesterday on this blog (see in newest first), the Resurrection is the one reason why Christians can experience the ultimate joy and hope which non-believers cannot share.

  • Anthony

    On my post below, the phrase “if spacelessness and timeless Creator is no longer impossible” should read “if a spaceless and timeless Creator is no longer impossible”.

  • Weston Lockley

    Again I have to call straw man.

    Don't, I repeat, don't make me say things I didn't. I just said you don't seem to understand the scientific process. This doesn't equal that I resent the advancement of science. On the contrary, it implies quite the opposite.

    You seem to have a habit of making unwarranted, illogical leaps.

    The theories you mention are still under debate. They are all proposed theories that attempt to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. Note the following words: “proposed” and “attempt”. The question is if they are accurate or not. This question has not been answered yet. E.g. which variation of the string theories is correct?

    “If a spaceless and timeless Creator is no longer impossible, how, you ask, do we know it is the Judeo-Christian God?”


    First: it is not because something is not impossible, that it is necessarily, actually real. Napoleon could have won the battle at Waterloo. Really, he could have. It is not an impossibility. I can even tell you just how, like any arm chair general, because we have 20/20 hind vision. But did he? No. He lost. See the difference between “not totally impossible” and “really happened”?

    You still haven't proven there is a god. You have only asserted that, if those theories prove to be valid, that the existence of a god is not totally unimaginable. Not that he is plausible. Not that she is necessary. Certainly not that it exists. You are, far, far, far from your goal. Again you have made unwarranted leaps.

    So, give it a rest already and let the scientists bicker back and forth about these things. It doesn't help you one bit, because you still can't prove there actually is a god or that she created things.

    So, concluding, the snake oil you try to sell today is this: god maybe not altogether impossible + Christ is purported to have risen from the grave, according to my ancient omnibus of desert stories = there definitely is a god, he created the world, did a lot of stuff and his name is Yahweh.

    Yeah, right. Once again, the joyful Atheist is not buying it.

    By the way: how is Pascal's Wager turning out for you? What if Allah is real, and Mohamed (blessed be his shadow) is his prophet? Then you're in trouble, being a christian and all. I hear you're going to share my fate. As a fellow infidel, no less.

    A suggestion. “Since each religion claims that it is the only true one and that the others are invalid, I have decided to hedge my bets”, Ibn Rustah reports a certain king in the Caucasus said. “He prayed on Fridays with the Muslims, on Saturdays with the Jews, and on Sundays with the Christians.”

  • Weston Lockley

    “When I became convinced that the Universe is natural — that all the ghosts and gods are myth, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the Joy of Freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts, and bards, and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf, or a slave.” — Robert G. Ingersoll

  • Anthony

    “god maybe not altogether impossible + Christ is purported to have risen from the grave, according to my ancient omnibus of desert stories = there definitely is a god etc.”

    Christ's bodily resurrection is a historically recorded fact. You choose to disbelieve it because your intuitive common sense perception based on currently known natural laws tells you that rising from the dead is physically impossible. Fine, but just as spacelessness and timelessness, equally counter-intuitive, are no longer theoretically impossible, what makes you so sure that resurrecting from the dead is an impossibility.

    You have to break out of the straightjacket of 19th century scientific thought and embrace the new science of the 21st century whose main message is – anything is possible.

  • Anthony

    “Ibn Rustah reports a certain king in the Caucasus said. “He prayed on Fridays with the Muslims, on Saturdays with the Jews, and on Sundays with the Christians”.”

    Clearly that king didn't believe in the Resurrection.

  • Weston Lockley

    Now we're in an altogether new ballpark.

    You make a new extra-ordinary claim. The burden of proof is, again, on you.

    Prove the resurrection. You can't.

    “Christ's bodily resurrection is a historically recorded fact.”

    Where is that historical fact recorded? Oh, yes: in the bible. And only in the bible. Can the bible be believed or not? No, apparently, since it attributes the same supposed event to different times with different attendants. It is unreliable as a source of information.

    Don't tell me details don't matter. Don't try to argue that taken on their own the different resurrection stories may have flaws but that together they form solid evidence. You tried that particular piece of legerdemain before with your twenty fallacies to prove that there is a god. Those also are twenty bodies that have been rotting, some for centuries, in the graveyard called Fallacies and other Illogical Nonsense. Of them you also said “Oh, taken on their own they stink a bit, but put on one big pile they smell like roses.”

    Eh, no, they don't.

    In the earliest written biblical reference, Paul says the risen Jesus appeared to more than 500 people at one time. Yet in the earliest written gospel, called Mark, the allegedly risen Jesus does not appear to anybody. Another writer later added that part to the Mark story, with the risen Jesus saying that people who believed in him could safely drink poison.

    The gospels called Matthew and Luke, written a decade or more later, were the first to include the risen Jesus physically appearing to people.

    Nor do the gospels agree on where and how many times the risen Jesus physically appeared. In Mark he does not appear at all. In Matthew he appears twice, to the two Marys on a road and to his disciples on a mountain in Galilee. In Luke he appears three times: to a man and his companion on a road, to Peter in an unspecified place, and to his disciples and others in a house. In John he appears four times: to Mary Magdalene who thinks he is a gardener outside his tomb, to his disciples twice in a house, and to some of his disciples for breakfast after a fishing trip. None of the gospels include Paul’s remarkable claim that the risen Jesus appeared to more than 500 people at one time.

    These wildly inconsistent stories may have seemed convincing in more primitive times, written as they were as standalone stories in different places for different audiences, many of who believed the world was coming to an end within their lifetimes.

    According to your ancient book it wasn't even a unique event.

    Matthew 27:52-53
    And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
    And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

    Jerusalem was crawling with zombies according to Matthew. The other gospels don't mention the zombie plague. And, as per usual, there are no non-christian accounts — oh, surprise — of such a thing happening, although you would think somebody, if only one, single individual would find it worth mentioning in his papyrus blog. Just casually. After all, we're talking dead bodies walking down the street here.

    Occam's razor again: if you slaughter and cook a chicken, then put it in the fridge, but it isn't there anymore the next day, don't immediately suppose it is risen from the death and has flown to heaven. For one, chickens are birds, true, yet they can't fly. A few other objections could be made as well.

    Surely, there must be other, more logical explanations.

    “You choose to disbelieve it because your intuitive common sense perception based on currently known natural laws tells you that rising from the dead is physically impossible.”

    Again: straw man. Don't put words into my mouth. Don't presume to know what I choose to do or not: you are not god.

    Also, you're coming dangerously close to what is known as an “ad hominem”.

    I choose nothing.

    I don't believe this story because it is

    a) unbelievable
    b) implausible
    c) inconsistent (wildly)
    d) self-contradictory
    e) not substantiated
    f) only reported in biased accounts
    g) only reported long, long after the so called events would have taken place and therefore
    h) unverifiable

    Compare: here is a video of someone who appears to walk through a table. It's impressive.

    I honestly don't know how he does it. It baffles me. Do I think that he really walks through a table? No. I smell a trick, but I still don't know just how he does it. However, me not knowing exactly how he does it doesn't make it real.

    And furthermore: didn't you tell me in earlier posts “currently known physical laws”, also known as science, wholly supported your hypotheses and debunked all of mine? So in this instance you accuse me of trusting too much in current science, yet, earlier, you accused me of not trusting current science. Cherry picking much?

    “anything is possible”

    I think you have scared most scientists now. Here they are trying to prove that some things can be done and others not. Now it transpires that you know that they needn't bother: anything is possible.

    So, what you're saying is that it is possible, since anything is possible, that there is no god. That the universe always existed, without the need of having been created. That life originated spontaneously and evolved. That the bible is a collection of stories, myths, designed to keep a near-barbarian tribe within certain bounds like e.g. not killing itself into extinction.

    If anything is possible, I feel you have just vindicated my “pink unicorns created the universe by accidentally bumping into each other” theory. It's pure science, according to you. It's possible, like anything, so it is true.

    But, of course, it isn't.

    Anything is possible doesn't mean every possibility is actually real. There is a difference.

    Sorry, the joyful Atheist is again not buying it.

  • Weston Lockley

    “Clearly that king didn't believe in the Resurrection.”

    OK, now you're joking.

    Are you telling me that Pascal's Wager only works when you add the magical ingredient “resurrection”? Pascal's Wager only works when you try to use it to prove your specific god? No other gods can use Pascal?

    Are you trying to make the joyful Atheist cry?

    Again you're rigging the deck.

    But that is what religious people often do: you change the rules of the game while we're playing it. Every time the facts don't agree with your position, you add something new or you slightly shift position.

    I can't find any pink unicorns.
    Well, they're very shy.
    But I looked really hard.
    Oh, I forgot to tell you that they are invisible.
    So how do you know them?
    I can see them, you can't.
    That doesn't seem fair. Why not?
    Because you have to want to see them. It really is your own fault.
    Is there any other evidence for them?
    Science admits they could exist, so they do.
    That doesn't seem right.
    You're just stubborn. They're there. You just don't want to see them.

    Science looks at the facts and tries to come to a conclusion. You propose a universal, unchangeable conclusion and look for facts to support it, trying to discredit all facts that don't support or, worse, contradict it. And your conclusion was drawn in the Bronze Age. No wonder you have some difficulties proving them.

  • Anthony

    “According to your ancient book it (the Resurrection) wasn't even a unique event.”

    The Resurrection was a unique event. Not only did Christ rise bodily from the dead, but his risen body had the properties and capabilities of an exalted state known as glorification, such as immortality and the ability to teleport and to levitate. Christ's risen body possessed the power to manipulate the very forces of nature which we are only just beginning to discover through scientific research, such as non-locality and repulsive gravity. In a sense to deny the Resurrection is to deny science, or more precisely, to deny the promise of science.

    Remember the Resurrection is historically recorded (whether you like it or not), was predicted centuries earlier (in the Old Testament), and can no longer be discounted scientifically (thanks to ongoing reseach).

    The beauty is that because of Christ we too can all share in that Resurrection and live forever. Such hope is the real source of joy.

  • Wink Martindale

    OK, so now we're 'superficially' joyous. If nobody lives their lives or thinks exactly like you, then we're just not up to your level, is that it? The most arrogant people look down their noses at those who are different than they are.
    Vanquish the cross? Giving us a life of misery and despair? Wow…just wow..i dont know if you're joking or what. You sound like you live in this little bubble, where you go to your church, hang on every word your priest tells you, come home, disucss the bible with mom and dad, look at the news in scorn, blaming everything on 'secularism.'
    I tell you, this country has been overrun by religion for far too long, and those of us who refuse to believe in these fairy tales are getting fed up.

  • Anthony

    “Are you telling me that Pascal's Wager only works when you add the magical ingredient “resurrection”? “

    Yes. If there is no prospect of resurrection after death to eternal life, then what's the point of Pascals's Wager?

  • MarkNS

    Joyous means happy. If you are contending that atheists can't be happy, you're an idiot.

  • MarkNS

    It's very sad that you derive your greatest joy by looking forward to dying so you can have a non-existent afterlife.
    As an atheist, I actually experience joy in this life.

  • MarkNS

    –Why should any human being trust his own thoughts to be true?
    Because experience has shown them to be consistent with what we can perceive of reality. While this isn't conclusive proof, it is the only reasonable way to function in the world. eg.If I think I'm hungry but don't believe this thought and don't eat, I die…not a very effective way to live.
    –Wouldn't freedom of thought be an illusion?
    Quite probably the answer is yes. But we have the illusion of free will which is good enough for me. If you decide you do not have free will, how would that change your behaviour?
    –Why does morality matter?
    Because we have evolved empathy so most people naturally know what is “good” or “bad”. Evolution and reason have resulted in societal rules that allow us to live together in relative peace.
    –How can there be such things as laws of logic?
    There aren't laws of logic except those humans have agreed upon.
    –Why should any human being care about any other human beings “rights” or “feelings”. Because we evolved empathy. See also my comment on morals.

    BTW…none of your questions support the existence of a god. They may give reasons to the weak minded as to why they would want a god to exist but that doesn't make it so.

  • Greenbeanie

    You can certainly be spiritual and be an atheist. Ever heard of the joy of basking in awe at the grandeur of nature?

  • Greenbeanie

    Wow, you sure sound joyful yourself! /s

  • Father Boylove

    “Joyous” – example: Catholic priest with a fresh piece of boy-ass! :-P

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    Sorry, which spirit are we talking about here, we reject the spirit of your god and all other gods. That is why we are called atheists. Okay, now about the joy of spirit, who the hell put you in charge of deciding what words meant? We have the joy of nature, science, each other, knowledge, the universe. And guess what these all have one thing your god spirit does not have, EXISTENCE. We can show that our joy has form and meter, while you have only wishes and wants to be so’s.

    Get real, you can be good without gods, millions are..

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    And we are most thankful to have woken from the dream time that is religion, especially Christianity and it’s death cult and lies.