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Monday, August 13, 2012

Atheists abandon "religion causes war" argument

Scott Atran is the first atheist to publicly come out and admit the historical nonexistence of the oft-claimed connection between religion and war in Foreign Policy:
Moreover, the chief complaint against religion -- that it is history's prime instigator of intergroup conflict -- does not withstand scrutiny. Religious issues motivate only a small minority of recorded wars. The Encyclopedia of Wars surveyed 1,763 violent conflicts across history; only 123 (7 percent) were religious. A BBC-sponsored "God and War" audit, which evaluated major conflicts over 3,500 years and rated them on a 0-to-5 scale for religious motivation (Punic Wars = 0, Crusades = 5), found that more than 60 percent had no religious motivation. Less than 7 percent earned a rating greater than 3. There was little religious motivation for the internecine Russian and Chinese conflicts or the world wars responsible for history's most lethal century of international bloodshed.
Not only does Atran accept the argument I originally presented in a WND article before refining it in The Irrational Atheist, but his article is actually much less of a Fighting Withdrawal than the misleading subtitle - What we don't understand about religion just might kill us - would lead the casual reader to believe.

Atran doesn't mention either me or TIA, but TIA is clearly the source as not only is the argument the same as the one I first presented in 2004, but the war count of 123 also happens to be uniquely mine. The actual count from The Encylopedia of Wars index is not 123, but 121 - they made some errors, in my opinion, counting some non-religious wars such as the Fourth Crusade as religious and vice-versa - but the authors of the encylopedia actually failed to fully recognize the implications of their historical catalog concerning the historical irrelevance of religion to war. This can be seen in their Introduction:

"Wars have always arisen, and arise today, from territorial disputes, military rivalries, conflicts of ethnicity, and strivings for commercial and economic advantage, and they have always depended on, and depend on today, pride, prejudice, coercion, envy, cupidity, competitiveness, and a sense of injustice. But for much of the world before the 17 century, these "reasons" for war were explained and justified, at least for the participants, by religion. Then around the middle of the 17th century, Europeans began to conceive of war as a legitimate means of furthering the interests of individual sovereigns....

The [French] revolution increased the size of the armed forces for European states from small professional outfits to huge conscript armies, whose citizen-soldiers needed more than reasons of state to risk their lives and fortunes for their rulers. The objectives of warfare were broadened from the conquest of this or that sliver of a kingdom to the spread of revolutionary ideals, and through this ideological backdoor something like the fervor of religion slipped back into war along with the mass of conscripts. Once again wars needed to be in some sense "holy" or, in the more secular lexicon of the times, "just"."


Now, it doesn't bother me terribly when people actively seek to avoid giving me credit for my more original ideas. I've learned to expect it, which is why you'll never find this argument on Wikipedia even when everyone eventually comes to accept it as the historical fact that it truly is. I only find it genuinely irksome when others subsequently try to take credit for them or to claim they were always part of the status quo. The important thing is that the ideas are getting out there and the memes are spreading, and removing that specific arrow from the atheist's rhetorical arsenal was always my main polemical object in presenting the argument.

That being said, I do find it amusing that The Irrational Atheist appears to be one of the more influential books that no one of substance will publicly admit to reading. In addition to the Atran admission - to say nothing of the informatively abrupt silence of Dawkins and Harris on the subject of religion and war - let's not forget the Boston University study that offers initial confirmation of my hypothesis of a link between atheism and Asperger's Syndrome.

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255 Comments:

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Blogger Crude August 13, 2012 9:09 AM  

I'm surprised you didn't comment on the spat between PZ Myers and Sam Harris, on the subject of atheism. It looks like another case of an atheist coming around to your position, in that case about another atheist.

I've recommended TIA to everyone I can when the topic comes up. Other books are fantastic in their own right (The Last Superstition by Ed Feser literally changed my mind on a variety of topics), but TIA was the only book I've come across that picks up all of the major specific claims made by the popular atheists and dismantles them brutally.

Anonymous The One August 13, 2012 9:10 AM  

First. Your ideas starting to go mainstream certainly indicate some type of change, not sure what kind though

Blogger RobertT August 13, 2012 9:15 AM  

"It doesn't bother me terribly when people seek to avoid giving me credit for my ideas."

I don't suppose you have any better ideas than I do, considering your comments, but when this happens and you have presented the best solutions or ideas and people are slowing sliding your direction while still ignoring you, how on earth do do you manage to gain access to the wider dialogue?

Blogger Dan Hewitt August 13, 2012 9:19 AM  

The Irrational Atheist appears to be one of the more influential books that no one of substance will publicly admit to reading

Indeed. I have several excerpts from TIA on my kindle clipsheet (including the passage that you're referring to above). It's not that difficult to acknowledge you....when cutting and pasting just include the line with the book title and author.

Blogger Crude August 13, 2012 9:23 AM  

Maybe part of the reason you don't get attributions is because of the obvious pen name. "Vox Day" sounds like either an inanimate object or concept or a fantasy character from Forgotten Realms. It'd be like recommending a book when the only name you have for the author is what he goes by on Team Fortress 2.

Anonymous Josh August 13, 2012 9:30 AM  

The 123 vs 121 thing reminds me of the time gil brandt tried to pass off football outsiders Lewin projection system as his own work: it was obvious because he used the same number of games started by Mcnabb that FO had used (the number was incorrect).

Anonymous The other skeptic August 13, 2012 9:40 AM  

Is it certain that the "atheists" who proclaim that religion causes war are not members of the same group that wraps itself in the flag of "atheism" and litigates for the separation of church and state?

Anonymous The other skeptic August 13, 2012 9:46 AM  

OT: Mish agrees that much pain is coming

Anonymous Wendy August 13, 2012 9:55 AM  

Summing up the article: Religion isn't as bad as has been said in the past, but it's still bad. We need more grant money.

Anonymous Beau August 13, 2012 9:56 AM  

The publishing of TIA was a watershed event in modern apologetics.

The sexual references at times are very crude, but, no more so than Martin Luther's question, "How is your mother's syphilis?"

Anonymous Toby Temple August 13, 2012 9:57 AM  

That is good news indeed.

Anonymous Daniel August 13, 2012 10:07 AM  

I submit a new tail-end nick to replace the Fed one - Vox Day, etc., a Secret Conspiracy of One

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 10:09 AM  

Maybe part of the reason you don't get attributions is because of the obvious pen name.

Strangely, people always seem to be able to list both it and my given name whenever they are criticizing me. So that's not it. It's actually the same reason they always mention my father and never my son whenever they bring up my family.

Blogger Crude August 13, 2012 10:17 AM  

Strangely, people always seem to be able to list both it and my given name whenever they are criticizing me. So that's not it.

Why not? It makes sense to bring it up when criticizing you, if they find the name awkward and strange.

Let's say Robin Williams made a serious argument about something. Two people write about it. Person A agrees with the argument and wants to praise it. Person B disagrees with the argument and wants to criticize it. Both A and B aren't aware of Robin Williams' actual name. Instead they know him by a single character he played in the past: Mork from Ork.

How likely do you think it is for person A to say "The guy who played Mork on Mork and Mindy made this great argument."?

How likely do you think it is for person B to say, "Here's a stupid argument, courtesy of Mork from Mork and Mindy."?

I think you're a lot more likely to see Mork brought up in situation 2, and in situation 1, I think odds would favor the originator of the argument being mysterious forgotten.

Blogger Crude August 13, 2012 10:19 AM  

Anyway, just a hunch on my part, there's little riding on it.

Blogger Markku August 13, 2012 10:21 AM  

I find myself instinctively avoiding any attribution to "Vox Day". I don't think I've ever publicly done so. When I do, it's always to the real name.

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 10:25 AM  

Why not? It makes sense to bring it up when criticizing you, if they find the name awkward and strange.

That's a ridiculous theory. You never see people doing that when they're criticizing Bono Vox aka Paul Hewson. Nor does it explain why Atran didn't mention the title of the book he got the information from, rather than the book from which I derived the information. Or is the title of the book awkward and strange?

Anonymous stg58 August 13, 2012 10:26 AM  

What about the informatively abrupt silence of Hitchens?

Anonymous VryeDenker August 13, 2012 10:27 AM  

I had an exchange with South-Africa's very own RIchard Dawkins, one dr. George Claassen. I haven't heard anything from him since I emailed him a copy of TIA. He's also a lot meaker and approachable these days.

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 10:32 AM  

I find myself instinctively avoiding any attribution to "Vox Day".

That's because you subconsciously feel it's blasphemous. Which I always find amusing, given that the form of my real name that most people use would actually be more blasphemous. But the modern educated are much more familiar with the occasional Latin phrase than Greek.

Seriously, it's about the dumbest argument ever. "Don't call yourself the voice of the god, you should call yourself God".

Okay there, Mr. Expert Classicist.

Anonymous HH August 13, 2012 10:32 AM  

VD says "That being said, I do find it amusing that The Irrational Atheist appears to be one of the more influential books that no one of substance will publicly admit to reading."

Certainly you would appreciate that there there would be certain hesitation to refer to your works as a source with a concern that the message gets overshadowed by the messenger. I will not deny the enjoyment I have gotten reading VD and the often gadfly stinging in a 21st century punk/gamer/edgy style but that is not without cost... one of which is being referred to as source.. even when you were first with that thought...

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 10:33 AM  

What about the informatively abrupt silence of Hitchens?

I think it is obvious that the "cancer" story put out to the media was simply to cover up the fact that he committed seppuku in remorse after reading TIA.

Blogger Crude August 13, 2012 10:35 AM  

You never see people doing that when they're criticizing Bono Vox aka Paul Hewson.

I'm not sure what you're claiming here. That people don't call Bono "Bono" when criticizing him? Because if so, my experience is otherwise. In fact I never heard of him being referred to as Paul Hewson - maybe I'm reading the wrong articles.

Of course, I'm not aware of Bono making any arguments about anything. All I ever hear the guy doing is begging for donations for this or that cause, and doing so as a celebrity more than some kind of expert.

Or is the title of the book awkward and strange?

You mean TIA? Could Scott Atran rightly be called a promoter of atheism, or even strongly sympathetic to atheism? If so, do you think he's going to be in a rush to mention the title "The Irrational Atheist" in any authoritative way?

Blogger Markku August 13, 2012 10:36 AM  

That's because you subconsciously feel it's blasphemous.

No, it's more like I feel it is fitting for brutally iconoclastic polemics, but not for refined intellectual arguments. And that the listener would not have to be particularly irrational for taking the argument that way, and not really thinking about it, if I attributed it to "Vox Day".

Blogger IM2L844 August 13, 2012 10:38 AM  

I just had to re-download TIA because I re-formatted my hard drive in the process of shit-canning Windows and installing Linux without saving any of my files. Yeah, I know I could have done it differently, but that's another story. Anyway, I'm enjoying reading it for the second time.

This post reminds me of the time someone stole the source code for a one of a kind javascript calculator I created then put it on his website as his own creation. The problem was he forgot to remove any of my //comments or change any of the unique variable names in the javascript. It didn't bother me that he had taken it and put it on his website. I fully expected someone to do that. What bothered me was that he tried to claim the credit for it's creation. After a public berating, he removed the "created by ____" comment under the display, but he still never gave me any credit which was fine by me. The important thing is that it is being used to straighten out misconceptions held by some people about Faraday's electrochemical equivalence.

Anonymous patrick kelly August 13, 2012 10:38 AM  

I sure wish Vox would post his columns on a site other than WND. I'm much more reluctant or embarassed about sharing links from that site than bothered by the name Vox Day.

I understand they likely have much larger readership than anywhere else that might carry his columns, but I can't stand most of the neo-con rah rah crowd that post and comment there. I get enough of that crap from my relatives on Facebook.

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 10:39 AM  

Certainly you would appreciate that there there would be certain hesitation to refer to your works as a source with a concern that the message gets overshadowed by the messenger.

Among the good Christians, sure. The atheists and mainstream media? No way. You guys don't seem to grasp that this isn't a theoretical issue. It was right there on the Dawkins.net forum. When TIA first came out, the Dawkins fanboys were openly discussing how it would be better to try to ignore it than to address it.

Look, this isn't new. It happened to Mises. It happened to Rothbard. I sort of assumed it would happen to me if I ever came up with anything worthwhile on similar lines.

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick August 13, 2012 10:40 AM  

I thought your given name means god's gift.

Blogger Markku August 13, 2012 10:43 AM  

As for the meaning for the given name, I agree with Mr. Nightstick - the given name implies that he is God's gift to his parents, in that they have received a child. There is nothing blasphemous there.

Anonymous The Gray Man August 13, 2012 10:45 AM  

It annoys me to no end that some people (coughVoxcough) make a habit out of linking to the last page of an article. Have a little courtesy, folks!

Anonymous Joe J August 13, 2012 10:48 AM  

When arguing it I just ask people to name religious wars, Aside from the Crusades and some who claim Gulf war ( I usually throw in their face that last week they claimed it was all about oil) they draw a blank. I'll then start rattling of US wars and ask were they religious. Usually when I hit 1812 it sinks in most wars have nothing to do with religion.

Blogger IM2L844 August 13, 2012 10:50 AM  

I can't stand most of the neo-con rah rah crowd that post and comment there.

The good news is it looks like Farah is slowly abandoning some of his past Republican=Good positions. Maybe, we have Vox to thank, at least in part, for that.

Anonymous 11B August 13, 2012 10:51 AM  

Dinesh D'Souza has been making the argument that atheism, not religion, is behind most mass murders.

Here is a clip of him delivering part of this point.

Blogger Crude August 13, 2012 10:53 AM  

Dinesh D'Souza has been making the argument that atheism, not religion, is behind most mass murders.

I like that guy. I'm not impressed too much by him personally, but I thought it was great that Dinesh D'Souza - the Scrappy Doo of Christian apologetics - was able to stomp Dan Dennett in a one on one.

Anonymous Toby Temple August 13, 2012 10:57 AM  

Let us just accept the most logical conclusion why they never mention Vox and his book:

They are still butt-hurt by TIA and are trying to think that it never existed.

Anonymous Stickwick August 13, 2012 11:03 AM  

The publishing of TIA was a watershed event in modern apologetics.

It certainly was. I saw it prominently displayed at B&N, and with a title like that, couldn't resist buying it. Especially as I had just finished as much of Dawkins' The God Delusion as I could stomach. By the time I got through the first two chapters of TIA, I was blown away that someone was finally beating the atheists at their own game. And by beating, I mean burning the playing field to the ground and salting the earth.

As for why people are hesitant to attribute Vox, my suspicion is that: 1) The arguments are so good that they can't help but present them, but Vox is not so well-known that they think they can't get away with not giving him credit; and B) People who are sympathetic to some of Vox's arguments may be leery of his non-mainstream philosophy, his unconventional background, and especially his unapologetic bluntness, all of which are kind of shocking to the delicate sensibilities of Churchian types.

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 11:03 AM  

I thought your given name means god's gift.

Don't be evasive. What part of "the form of my real name that most people use" did you not understand? There isn't a single person on the planet who refers to me by my given name. Not one.

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 11:06 AM  

It annoys me to no end that some people (coughVoxcough) make a habit out of linking to the last page of an article.

Sorry, but I debated that and figured I'd better link to the relevant page. I very much dislike the page-inflating practice of spreading an article across multiple pages. I don't care how long it is, I'd rather scroll down.

Blogger Markku August 13, 2012 11:08 AM  

Don't be evasive. What part of "the form of my real name that most people use" did you not understand? There isn't a single person on the planet who refers to me by my given name. Not one.

I always refer to you as Theodore, except to your face. But that's not really the point. The point is that even if the overwhelming majority of people referred to you as Theo in casual conversation, they would still cite you as Theodore Beale.

Blogger Markku August 13, 2012 11:13 AM  

And even if they didn't, my understanding of Greek is that Theo would mean "God's", not "God". It would be obvious that something is omitted for brevity. If it were "Theos", then it would mean God.

Anonymous Mr. Nightstick August 13, 2012 11:14 AM  

I have no idea what "the form of my real name that most people use" is. BTW, I always took your pen name to mean voice of the day as opposed to voice of the god. I figured you were being clever.

Anonymous VD August 13, 2012 11:20 AM  

This is possibly the dumbest conversation of this sort I've had since a Republican woman claimed that Ann Coulter would be much more popular if only she was nicer. This was at the time that she had the #1 bestseller in the country.

I guarantee none of it has ANYTHING to do with the name. It would make no difference if I called myself Geoffrey Winston Jefferson III or Tha8008Wiz, the only reason people don't cite me is their religious and ideological opposition. This isn't rocket science.

As evidence, I note that people cite me like crazy, often including things I haven't actually written, whenever they think it will be damaging.

Anonymous VD August 13, 2012 11:21 AM  

I always took your pen name to mean voice of the day as opposed to voice of the god.

Well, that too, sure. It's either a triple or quadruple entendre, depending upon how you want to look at it.

Blogger Markku August 13, 2012 11:23 AM  

I'm not arguing that you should change anything, and I don't think Mr. Nightstick is either. I'm just instinctively giving counter-arguments to a claim that I think is wrong, without consideration to whether or not anything really follows from it.

Anonymous Stickwick August 13, 2012 11:24 AM  

BTW, I always took your pen name to mean voice of the day as opposed to voice of the god.

Day --> Dei --> Theo

Pretty clever, actually.

Blogger Joshua_D August 13, 2012 11:30 AM  

Toby Temple August 13, 2012 10:57 AM
Let us just accept the most logical conclusion why they never mention Vox and his book:

They are still butt-hurt by TIA and are trying to think that it never existed.


Second. I think Toby's reason is the best so far.

Anonymous VD August 13, 2012 11:30 AM  

I'm just instinctively giving counter-arguments to a claim that I think is wrong, without consideration to whether or not anything really follows from it.

I suggest you're instinctively giving counter-arguments to a claim without actually thinking about it. Here's a hint. Has this sort of thing ever happened to anyone else before me? And what might those individuals have in common with me?

Anonymous tubalcain420 August 13, 2012 11:35 AM  

Hey Vox, you know what would be an interesting upgrade to this argument? To weight it with a measure of how catastrophic each war was, maybe using something like the length or estimated number of casualties. In its current form, it sort of assumes that each war was equally disastrous.

It's a hard task, but it would put a good nail on this coffin. With the exception of the Thirty Years War, most religious conflicts were particularly small and low-scale.

Blogger Markku August 13, 2012 11:36 AM  

I suggest you're instinctively giving counter-arguments to a claim without actually thinking about it. Here's a hint. Has this sort of thing ever happened to anyone else before me? And what might those individuals have in common with me?

I'm not arguing that the reason people don't attribute to you is your pen name. If that were the case, they could simply do what I do; attribute to your given name. Which they obviously aren't doing.

I'm merely arguing against the claim that the given name is at least as offensive or provocative as the pen name.

Anonymous Stickwick August 13, 2012 11:38 AM  

Second. I think Toby's reason is the best so far.

Well, Vox has just stated that that is the reason, so now we know. But as much as the atheists are trying to pretend it doesn't exist, it's apparent at least a few of them are reading it.

Anonymous dB August 13, 2012 11:42 AM  

I think people go after your "name" because they want to delve into tabloidy journalism, a sensationalistic approach. Do a little research, make some conclusions, then feel better about themselves. Never mind the facts but lets bring out any skeletons/sins/trash because we need a way to compare lives.

The question of why the press never seems to go into Bono's real name is interesting. Are there that many U2 fans looking to cover for Bono? That goes for anyone else as well. Meatloaf's real name used to be Marvin Aday (I think he changed it to something besides Marvin) but does anybody go to a concert by Marvin Aday? No they go see Meatloaf. Why cover it up still? Maybe it is just that people want their heroes a certain way and those that are not heroes get vetted more harshly. That does not really explain why they do it but it is a good question.

Blogger Galt-in-Da-Box August 13, 2012 11:58 AM  

Maybe it's the fact the atheists in the White House have kept US in perpetual war for over a decade that put the wooden stake through the heart of their dogma?

Anonymous Richardthughes August 13, 2012 12:05 PM  

What a strange thread!
There are lots of models of causation, none really discussed here. A > B is perhaps overly simplistic in matters of people and motivation.

And without commenting on the quality of "TIA", most people haven't read it and don't know of it.

Anonymous Wendy August 13, 2012 12:15 PM  

Tha8008Wiz

It has a certain ring to it...

Anonymous rubber mallet August 13, 2012 12:24 PM  

my non thought out theory on this is that he doesn't want to bring attention to a book that so easily dismantles much of the atheistic dogma that exists.

Anonymous jm August 13, 2012 12:32 PM  

It's obviously not your name, because they do the same thing with Steve Sailer.

I don't know what they would do if you had the genteel respectability of a John Julius Norwich.

Anonymous Josh August 13, 2012 12:36 PM  

The idea that people don't cite Vox's stuff because of his pseudonym is stupid.

Occam's Razor suggests that the lack of a citation in this instance is either due to laziness or the author trying to pass someone else's work off as their own.

Which happens all the freaking time, especially on the internet.

Anonymous VD August 13, 2012 12:38 PM  

And without commenting on the quality of "TIA", most people haven't read it and don't know of it.

Of course. Most people aren't the least bit interested in the subject. But that's not the issue. The question is why those who quite clearly have read it, or are at least aware of it, so religiously remain silent about it... even when they are clearly citing it.

Anonymous TLM August 13, 2012 12:48 PM  

Among the good Christians, sure........

If by "good" Christians you mean "nice" Christians, who cares. I get that TIA wasn't meant to be a type of Christian apologetic rebuke of new atheism, but the zeal and sharp-wit that you utilized in the book was awesome & inspiring. Too many modern, even well-known Christian celebrities, appear to have no fire when it comes to taking a stand. In fact, at best their words and actions are luke-warm, which I would contend is why so many men are put-off by church, as well as Christianity in general, today. Those prissy "Christians" that get the vapors every time someone commits an etiquette breach miss the larger point.

Blogger wrf3 August 13, 2012 12:53 PM  

Vox asked: The question is why those who quite clearly have read it, or are at least aware of it, so religiously remain silent about it... even when they are clearly citing it.

Just this morning, I received an e-mail from someone who claimed something I told them to do, and showed them how and where to do it, was their idea.

MPA*

Anonymous VD August 13, 2012 12:55 PM  

Just this morning, I received an e-mail from someone who claimed something I told them to do, and showed them how and where to do it, was their idea.

Of course it wasn't their idea, it was God's idea.

AAAUUUGGGHH!!! RUN EVERYONE! THE MEMES CROSSED! THE MEMES CROSSED!

Never cross the memes.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza August 13, 2012 12:57 PM  

Of course you are never mentioned or acknowledged. That is the ultimate acknowledgment. The christian community, churchianity and atheist circles can not admit that a gen x with attitude is simply intellectually superior to them.

Could you imagine the look of shock when some theocrat finishes the book, looks at his stack of crap books and realizes that one kid managed to say everything he's been saying for 40 years into ONE book - all to a people who couldn't grasp the most the concepts anyways?

Ha!

Anonymous Anonymous August 13, 2012 1:09 PM  

Taking a moment away from the conversation relating to Vox's pseudonym, I would like to point out that the Scott Atran is wrong about most wars being justified by appealing to religious sentiments.

That is just nonsense. Alexander did not raise his armies by appealing to Macedonian religious sentiment. The Hittites, Persians, Romans, Japanese, etc did not create empires by appealing to religious sentiment. The British and Spaniards may have claimed that they were conquering territories in part to bring Christendom to the heathen, but the actual clergy present were generally appalled by the behavior of the soldiers and government officials towards natives and tried to alleviate their suffering when they could.

Nope, most wars were the result of the sentiment: we want that groups stuff and we are capable of taking it.

But as Vox often says, history is not an atheist strong suite.

Blogger Markku August 13, 2012 1:14 PM  

Never cross the memes.

I'm fuzzy on the whole sometimes/never thing. What do you mean, "never"?

Anonymous Kickass August 13, 2012 1:15 PM  

Jealious?

Anonymous Kickass August 13, 2012 1:20 PM  

He never lets us down.

Anonymous Kickass August 13, 2012 1:31 PM  

I was just disappointed there was no "Pimp Daddy" in it.

Anonymous DMac August 13, 2012 1:37 PM  

The question is why those who quite clearly have read it, or are at least aware of it…
 
I don’t understand why you assume he’s clearly read it (or is aware of it).  If I’m reading  you correctly, you are basing it off of the fact that he’s repeating an argument you’ve put forward that I’ve been hearing at least since the last decade of the Cold War, and he uses the same number of conflicts as you, even though another source has a different number.  You obviously came up with the 123 number through some sort of legitimate means.  No reason to assume the author didn’t do the same.    
 
Now, if you pulled 123 out of your @$$ to function as a trap, then you’d have a case.

Blogger Joshua_D August 13, 2012 1:40 PM  

VD August 13, 2012 12:55 PM

Of course it wasn't their idea, it was God's idea.

AAAUUUGGGHH!!! RUN EVERYONE! THE MEMES CROSSED! THE MEMES CROSSED!

Never cross the memes.


Looks like I'll be visiting the pirate bay this evening for a quick download.

Anonymous HH August 13, 2012 1:54 PM  

"If by "good" Christians you mean "nice" Christians, who cares..." ...." Too many modern, even well-known Christian celebrities, appear to have no fire when it comes to taking a stand..."

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Col 3:12

Anonymous Tom O August 13, 2012 2:11 PM  

Much like how everyone looks at how they rather live in Sweden when supporting socialism (while ignoring most of the history of socialism), everyone is going to look at the future conflict in the Middle East when supporting the "religion causes war" thesis (while ignoring most of the history of atheism).

Most people forget that the genesis of New Atheism and this specific argument is the September 11th, 2001 attacks. The rest of history has effectively been ignored due to Dynamic Inconsistency. And if this future conflict goes nuclear, all of Vox's talking points will disintegrate as quickly as a Japanese man on August 9, 1945.

What Vox does not mention is that among the antitheist elite, all debate is dangerous, since intelligent Christian men are the most self-deluded people on earth, and exposing themselves to such memes risks intellectual suicide. If a serious Middle-Eastern conflict erupts, all apologetics will be seen as intellectual gymnastics in favor of global destruction. Every one of Vox's arguments will be seen as erudite sophistry in opposition to the Extremely Simple Truth. Those responsible for manufacturing consent will not only refuse to hear any single opposing argument, but not doing so will be intellectual treason.

This is also why no Big Dog is ever going to respond to Vox's book.

Anonymous Brotherhood - It's all good! August 13, 2012 2:12 PM  

Soon to be 124.


http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/158831#.UClC480Wl0d

Anonymous VD August 13, 2012 2:12 PM  

I don’t understand why you assume he’s clearly read it (or is aware of it). If I’m reading you correctly, you are basing it off of the fact that he’s repeating an argument you’ve put forward that I’ve been hearing at least since the last decade of the Cold War, and he uses the same number of conflicts as you, even though another source has a different number.

First of all, I doubt he has read it. I suspect he was told about it or provided the information by a research assistant, which most research professors like him have. Second, the sentence is a rewrite of what I wrote in TIA, uses the same source that I cited in TIA, and reports the same number of total wars and religious wars as I did.

The first problem with this is that the books to which he refers are a $300 three-volume set that virtually no one owns. The second problem is that the book claims "more than 1,800 entries". The 1,763 number Atran uses is the number that I actually counted manually and used in TIA. The third problem is that the book index lists 121 religious wars, whereas I used 123 in TIA due to my reading of their entries for each war.

So, you'd have to believe that Atran - or more likely, his assistant - had access to the encyclopedia, happened to manually count the same number of wars that I did, and then somehow happened to calculate the exact number of religious wars that I did instead of counting from the index, instead of simply rewriting a single paragraph of TIA.

And all for a single article. No chance.

As for the argument you claim to have been hearing since the last decade of the Cold War, I'd very much like to see you cite any reference to the percentage of wars that are religious prior to 2004. I looked all over the place prior to my 2004 column and found absolutely nothing or I would have used it. That's why I resorted to counting up all the wars on Wikipedia, which resulted in the 10.8 percent figure. Fortunately, The Encyclopedia of Wars was published not long after that column, which made the calculation much easier, as well as a more accurate 6.9 percent number.


Anonymous Jimmy August 13, 2012 2:13 PM  

TIA is a good book, but I'm like most people who don't have a clue about the philosophical atheistic arguments. I think you're correct about atheists that they don't know they are making philosophical arguments when they are trying to sound scientific and failing. I studied Christian doctrine and they are not philosophical and thus more evidentiary than scientific facts. In essense, you make sense out of the Evolution debate, which is what this is all about.

While I agree with you, I don't in the least about politics.

Anonymous LuxLibertas August 13, 2012 2:17 PM  

I personally memorized that statistic so I can enjoy the look of astonishment on the face of the religion hater as his precious dogma is annihilated with stone cold historical truth. The usual 'counter-argument' is to redefine religion as fanaticism or tribalism.

Even my Christian friends are surprised to hear they didn't cause all the wars in the world. Good work, Vox. That was a myth that needed to be completely debunked.

Anonymous Kyle In Japan August 13, 2012 2:21 PM  

When I see "Vox" I think of the guitar amplifier company. "Vox Day" sounds like it's some sort of special event at my local guitar store where I can get a good deal on an AC30.

Anonymous FP August 13, 2012 2:28 PM  

"Never cross the memes."

Wereseals and sparkly vampires living together, mass hysteria!

Blogger Joshua_D August 13, 2012 2:31 PM  

Kyle In Japan August 13, 2012 2:21 PM

When I see "Vox" I think of the guitar amplifier company. "Vox Day" sounds like it's some sort of special event at my local guitar store where I can get a good deal on an AC30.


An AC30, hand-wired, with two Celestion Greenbacks. Oh. Yeah.

Anonymous DMac August 13, 2012 2:35 PM  

So, you'd have to believe that Atran - or more likely, his assistant - had access to the encyclopedia, happened to manually count the same number of wars that I did, and then somehow happened to calculate the exact number of religious wars that I did instead of counting from the index, instead of simply rewriting a single paragraph of TIA.
 
Or I’d just have to believe that this is where he got the number (123).  Someone more savvy than I would need to dig into the Wikipedia entry’s version history to determine where/when they came up with it.

Blogger Markku August 13, 2012 2:37 PM  

DMac: Your link doesn't work. You probably forgot http:// from the beginning and it got corrupted.

Anonymous DMac August 13, 2012 2:40 PM  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_war

Anonymous realMatthew, Gift from God August 13, 2012 2:42 PM  

I'd say it's the mohawk but that picture's gone.

There isn't a single person on the planet who refers to me by my given name. Not one.

Well it is a terrible name.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera August 13, 2012 2:52 PM  

I noticed the double entendre:

Vox Dei: Voice of God
Vox Day: Day voice/"Voice of day" (if "day" is genitive) (appropriate for Vox's split persona)

Stickwick pointed out the third (Voice of Theo). But I still can't detect a fourth. Once again, I'm less clever than I regularly conceive.

Anonymous Jack Dublin August 13, 2012 2:55 PM  

Dmac, TIA is the number ten reference in the link you provided. (It's used as a reference to the 'Religion Secularity and Violence' section, but it shows that at least one editor was familiar with the book.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza August 13, 2012 2:58 PM  

Critics got a case of voxic shock, cue disturbed voices.

Blogger Markku August 13, 2012 3:01 PM  

I don't know if it is intentional, but Wikipedia says that Beale means "son of Bel" and most of the Bels (except Marduk) were sun gods.

Anonymous VD August 13, 2012 3:06 PM  

Or I’d just have to believe that this is where he got the number (123).

Actually, that's very likely correct. In that case, the Wikipedia editor got it from TIA. Atran hasn't read the book, we exchanged email and he asked me for a copy.

By the way, this is what that page looked like prior to my column of November 8, 2004. So thank you, I think you've nicely bolstered my point.

"Religious war" aka "Holy war" is a term used in the computer programming community (mainly the Unix community). It refers to heated debates on some subject of interest to the community, discussed over a long time and without clear results.

One well-known religious war is the war over what text editor is the best: Emacs or vi (the Editor wars). This particular debate is sometimes humorously described as "the Church of Emacs" vs "the Church of Vi" where both participants refer to their preferred editor as "the One True Editor". Another religious war is the decades-long one concerning endianness (having to do with differing byte sequence schemes for multi-byte words stored in computer memory and/or transferred between computers).

Of course, not everyone will accept that a specific debate is a religious war, as the term in a sense denotes such debate as futile. These differing feelings on whether a particular debate is to be considered a religious war is, naturally, a significant factor of a debate's being (turned into) just such a "war"—people on both sides will tend to make dead-serious, emotionally laden, arguments, provoking each other to rising heights of disagreement. Some religious wars conducted over the Internet are considered flame wars. The "computer term" religious war is older than the Internet, though.

Anonymous VD August 13, 2012 3:14 PM  

Here we go. Not only was the bit about The Encyclopedia of Wars added on November 24, 2010, but they took it almost straight out of TIA. This was the original form, other editors later removed the reference to Islam.

A recent comprehensive compilation of the history of human warfare, Encyclopedia of Wars by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod documents 1763 wars, of which 123 (7%) have been classified to involve a religious conflict. Of these 123, 66 wars involved Islam..

This proves it was from TIA because the Encylopedia never mentioned anything about various wars involving Islam or any specific religion.

Anonymous VD August 13, 2012 3:19 PM  

Here is the section from which they took the information. Note that it was nearly three years prior to the Wikipedia entry:

That is 123 wars in all, which sounds as if it would support the case of the New Atheists, until one recalls that these 123 wars represent only 6.98 percent of all the wars recorded in the encyclopedia. However, it does show that skeptics would have been right to doubt my Wikipedia-based estimate, as I overestimated the amount of war attributable to religion by nearly 60 percent. It’s also interesting to note that more than half of these religious wars, sixty-six in all, were waged by Islamic nations, which is rather more than might be statistically expected considering that the first war in which Islam was involved took place almost three millennia after the first war chronicled in the encyclopedia, Akkad’s conquest of Sumer in 2325 b.c.

Anonymous Kriston August 13, 2012 3:28 PM  

Come on guys! Everyone knows VOX stands for "Voice Operated Xmitter"!

That's even in the early ARRL guides.

Anonymous TLM August 13, 2012 3:29 PM  

HH

If your initials stand for Hugh Hewitt then I can understand your failure to comprehend what I wrote. Nevertheless, if you want to play Bible verse debate then have at it;

While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. 2 For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel joined themselves to [a]Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry against Israel. 4 The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them [b]in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.” 5 So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you slay his men who have joined themselves to [c]Baal of Peor.”

6 Then behold, one of the sons of Israel came and brought to his [d]relatives a Midianite woman, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, while they were weeping at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 7 When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand, 8 and he went after the man of Israel into the [e]tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the [f]body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked. 9 Those who died by the plague were 24,000.


10 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 11 “ Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned away My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was jealous with My jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel in My jealousy. 12 Therefore say, ‘ Behold, I give him My covenant of peace; 13 and it shall be for him and his [g]descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel.’”

Zeal matters, and sometimes that means not being "nice". Of course if you're one those Love Wins bumper sticker Rob Bell types, you pay no heed to the OT anyway.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 3:44 PM  

It took me to about halfway through the page and comments to realize your core arguments are character assassination

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 3:55 PM  

Also, as I'd like to point out the obvious: How many people were killed in the 123 wars by religion?

Answer: Doesn't matter. ZERO people have been killed in an "Atheist War" (that being a war which was declared against God by a Godless side).

But by all means, continue to slam scientists like Dawkins and philosophers like Hitchens instead of actually giving coherent, peer-reviewed arguments. Because hey if you can't create; hate.

Blogger Joshua_D August 13, 2012 3:57 PM  

Someone has wandered out of their paradigm.

Blogger Lovekraft August 13, 2012 4:00 PM  

@ Unknown: you disagree with POSSIBLE minimization of the damage of religious wars. Fair enough.

However, it is my firm belief and likely that of a lot of other people that religion has been crucial in preventing a lot of wars.

Further, non-religious wars may not be atheist-oriented in the strictest sense, but this doesn't mean they haven't a tinge of antheism in them (in that rejecting God can lead to a higher willingness to promote violence).

Just sayin'.

Anonymous Josh August 13, 2012 4:01 PM  

Is poster a joke?

Anonymous Rantor August 13, 2012 4:03 PM  

@ Unknown,
You may want to pretend that there are no Atheist wars. You are wrong, they don't have to be against religion. The Atheist wars fought by Mao and Stalin killed millions, bothe religious and non-religious. You may not want to claim them, but consolidation of the socialist-atheist state was their desired goal. If you want to go back a ways, the French Revolution did see the new atheist leaders working to kill off Catholics. 400,000 Catholics killed as the revolutionary government wiped out the Vendee. I could go on, but here are three clear examples that prove your ignorance.

Anonymous Josh August 13, 2012 4:03 PM  

Answer: Doesn't matter. ZERO people have been killed in an "Atheist War" (that being a war which was declared against God by a Godless side).

Let's see, how many of their own people did atheists like Stalin, Mao, poll pot, and the north Koreans kill?

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 4:05 PM  

@Lovekraft: I'll need any proof you have as to when religion STOPPED a war. I'm aware I didn't cite any "Atheist War" examples, but that's because I'm fairly certain there have never been any (using the strict definition, as the 7% stated above definitely did).

Also, I'd cry foul on making a comparison of Pol Pot/Ghengis Khan/et al to being Anti-Theists. At worst, these men would've thought they WERE god, sent from the Heavens to see justice through.

Anonymous rubber mallet August 13, 2012 4:06 PM  

i don't think he realizes the dumb he just crapped out.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 4:08 PM  

@Rantor:
It's not ignorant to miss specifications. I claimed there have been no wars started by one godless side against another in the name of killing off god.
You and @Josh are missing a simple point: While religion may not have been the reason Stahlin killed, Atheism certainly wasn't it. It would've been for political, financial, or megalomaniacal reasons instead.

Again, it's like you two are saying Atheism is a religion. Derp.

Anonymous JartStar August 13, 2012 4:09 PM  

Answer: Doesn't matter. ZERO people have been killed in an "Atheist War" (that being a war which was declared against God by a Godless side).

I’m going to redefine a Religious War to mean: that being a war which was declared against a god by a god worshiping side. In that case there have likely been ZERO people killed in a “Religious War” because as far as I know no group of people have actually declared war on a god.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 4:12 PM  

That's fair, @Jartstar, but I'd raise you this: let's define an Atheist war as a war to wipe out a people of a religion from a godless side. Zero.
A war to wipe out one religion from a religious camp? Where can I start?

How is this so hard for you all to understand? If 1 person is killed in the name of religion, that's entirely too many and it should be treated for what it is: vile ignorance.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 4:13 PM  

I'd also like to thank @Rubber Mallet for joining his religious compatriots in not adding anything positive at all to this conversation, but merely assuming the winning side and jumping right into character assassination. Cheers buddy, you're helping!

Blogger The Aardvark August 13, 2012 4:15 PM  


Apostle Paul: "I would that the Judaizers (pushing circumcision) would cut themselves off completely."

Not making with the nice-nice.

Anonymous Toby Temple August 13, 2012 4:19 PM  

It took me to about halfway through the page and comments to realize your core arguments are character assassination

I guess we have a newbie in the house.

Anonymous JartStar August 13, 2012 4:20 PM  

Unknown,

You concede that with an agreed upon definition there have been no religious wars, and now you move the goal posts. Wonderful.

Can you please offer logical, historical, or empirical proof for your two claims “If 1 person is killed in the name of religion, [1] that's entirely too many and it should be treated for what it is:[2] vile ignorance.

Perhaps some peer reviewed research you based this claim on.

Anonymous Beau August 13, 2012 4:22 PM  

Again, it's like you two are saying Atheism is a religion. Derp.

Naw, just that atheists in power are far more likely to be bloodthirsty.

Blogger Kentucky Packrat August 13, 2012 4:22 PM  

How is this so hard for you all to understand? If 1 person is killed in the name of atheism, that's entirely too many and it should be treated for what it is: vile ignorance.

Amazing how one word makes the argument just as truthful, yet spins it around 180 degrees.

As TIA points out, more people (by percentage of population and in absolute numbers) have been killed in the name of atheistic worldviews than have been killed by any religious system. By your standard, atheism is vile ignorance, because one person has been killed in its name.

You may assert all you wish. You are wrong.

Also, you are making the No True Scotsman fallacy. You may not define away the 20th century Communists as non-atheists; the movement was clearly atheistic and anti-religion in thought and goal, despite any theistic background any individual member may have had.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 4:22 PM  

@Toby Temple: You got it buddy :) I'm here to defend what you guys haven't figured out!

Anonymous Toby Temple August 13, 2012 4:24 PM  

I'm here to defend what you guys haven't figured out!

Let us see you spell that out exactly. We are all eyes.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 4:25 PM  

@jartStar: I didn't move the goal posts, I agreed with you in that my definition wasn't whole enough. I then clarified. You have an answer still to give.
@Kentucky: You can't call me out on the NTS fallacy, as you just committed the same telling me that despite their theocratic backgrounds, these men were specifically fighting in the name of Atheism. That's both illogical and untrue.

@Both of you: You've got the burden of proof here that any war has been started in the name of Atheism. Claim it, and I'll submit to your claims. This article merely states that religious genocide "isn't as bad" as Atheists make it out to be. Boy, what a side to stand on (I'm sure that's where Jesus is on this one, well that is if he weren't dead)

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 4:27 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Joshua_D August 13, 2012 4:29 PM  

We have a hamsterbater in our midst.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 4:30 PM  

@Joshua_D

http://momentrising.deviantart.com/art/Hamsterbater-26307572

rules

Blogger Desert Cat August 13, 2012 4:34 PM  

VD August 13, 2012 12:55 PM
Of course it wasn't their idea, it was God's idea.

AAAUUUGGGHH!!! RUN EVERYONE! THE MEMES CROSSED!


I larfed, I did!

Actually no, I snarfled, because the boss was in the next cube talking to a coworker.

Damn Vox...

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 4:37 PM  

It took me to about halfway through the page and comments to realize your core arguments are character assassination

No, they're not. Both Atran and Harris have openly acknowledged my arguments are correct.

Doesn't matter. ZERO people have been killed in an "Atheist War" (that being a war which was declared against God by a Godless side).

You're off by millions. You clearly know nothing of the Spanish civil war or the Soviet League of the Militant Godless. I suggest you look at the actual wars declared by a godless side, which like wars declared by a religious side, are usually declared against a flesh-and-blood foe.

But by all means, continue to slam scientists like Dawkins and philosophers like Hitchens instead of actually giving coherent, peer-reviewed arguments.

Science is not argument. Arguments are not peer-reviewed. And furthermore, no one cares WHY atheists kill so many people, the point is that they historically DO kill an inordinate amount of them. The "in the name of" argument doesn't defend atheism in the slightest.

Anonymous JartStar August 13, 2012 4:37 PM  

Unknown,

You asked three questions: the first two are rhetorical and the last is a sweeping question aimed at everyone in which you supply the answer. Please point out the question you gave me directly, but first provide your proof and I'll answer your question.

Anonymous Toby Temple August 13, 2012 4:39 PM  

I will say it again: We have a newbie in the house.

The poor thing is so ignorant and incoherent about its ramblings on a subject it barely understands.

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 4:41 PM  

This article merely states that religious genocide "isn't as bad" as Atheists make it out to be.

"Nowhere nearly as bad" would be a more accurate way to put it. "The total body count for the ninety years between 1917 and 2007 is approximately 148 million dead at the bloody hands of fifty-two atheists, three times more than all the human beings killed by war, civil war, and individual crime in the entire twentieth century combined. The historical record of collective atheism is thus 182,716 times worse on an annual basis than Christianity’s worst and most infamous misdeed, the Spanish Inquisition."

You know nothing of history, little infidel. I suggest you shut up, read TIA, and then come back and attempt to dispute any points you feel to be inaccurate. As it stands, you're bringing a dull pocketknife to an exchange of nuclear-armed MIRVs.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 4:43 PM  

@Vox: Your side links are memes against the like of Hitchens etc.
Also, whether or not your arguments are correct, that doesn't make them any less awful. You're literally stating that the religious have killed in that name, just not as mant as you'd think. What a crapshoot argument!

Spanish civil war? Try military against an established government. I see nothing about an Atheistic root, please clarify as I can't seem to find anything.
However, on the Soviet League: Thank You! I had no idea about this, and can now go research it! Indeed, it appears my 0 argument has fallen through, though I'll still stand on the side claiming that we've got less collateral damage on our side then you do yours: religion has been around for thousands of years, the Bolsheviks were only last century.



Anonymous Stickwick August 13, 2012 4:44 PM  

You've got the burden of proof here that any war has been started in the name of Atheism.

For the love of Pete. There ought to be a requirement that people at least skim TIA before they spout off this nonsense here.

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 4:44 PM  

And just because I am the sort of guy who kicks a man when he's down... if he's still twitching.

"The average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than the very worst depredation committed by Christians, even though atheists have had less than one-twentieth the number of opportunities with which to commit them."

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 4:47 PM  

@Vox: I love your little Fox voice you pull out. However, me knowing nothing of history, and you trying to limit the deaths by Atheist to the last century is laughable at best, as, apparently you know nothing of set theory/general mathematical comparison.

See? I can make comparisons too.

Also, don't give me this "at the hands of atheists" argument. They weren't killing in the name of atheism, they were killing in the name of politics, money, and power.

Anonymous JartStar August 13, 2012 4:48 PM  

the Bolsheviks were only last century.

Considering what the Bolsheviks did in such a short time I fail to see how this helps your cause.

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 4:48 PM  

Your side links are memes against the like of Hitchens etc.

Yes. I suggest you try reading the book instead of looking at the pretty pictures. Seriously, you're humiliating your own side. Don't you think I'd be a complete idiot to argue about Dawkins's book without reading it first?

Try military against an established government. I see nothing about an Atheistic root, please clarify as I can't seem to find anything.

Try this: Julio de la Cueva, “Religious Persecution, Anticlerical Tradition and Revolution: On Atrocities against the Clergy during the Spanish Civil War,” Journal of Contemporary History, 3 (1998): 355–369.

"The Red Terror in Spain (Spanish: Terror Rojo en España) is the name given by historians to various acts committed "by sections of nearly all the leftist groups" such as the killing of tens of thousands of people (including 6,832 members of the Catholic clergy, the vast majority in the summer of 1936 in the wake of the military rising), as well as attacks on landowners, industrialists, and politicians, and the desecration and burning of monasteries and churches. News of the military coup unleashed a social revolutionary response and no republican region escaped revolutionary and anticlerical violence.... estimates of the Red Terror range from 38,000 to 72,344 lives.

Anonymous Not Unknown August 13, 2012 4:50 PM  

I see nothing about an Atheistic root, please clarify as I can't seem to find anything.

Read the book, fool.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 4:50 PM  

@JartStar: Compared to what religion has done in 2000 years (including setting us back at least 500 thanks to the dark ages), your side _still_ sucks.
At least Vox is giving examples

Blogger James Dixon August 13, 2012 4:51 PM  

> I'll need any proof you have as to when religion STOPPED a war.

Your not familiar with the history of the Pope meeting Attila the Hun and persuading him to withdraw?

> Also, I'd cry foul on making a comparison of Pol Pot/Ghengis Khan/et al to being Anti-Theists. At worst, these men would've thought they WERE god

If there is no God, then what takes his place?

> In that case there have likely been ZERO people killed in a “Religious War” because as far as I know no group of people have actually declared war on a god.

Well, probably technically true, but you are aware that emperors are traditionally considered the embodiment of their people, aren't you? And some emperors (say Japan's, for example) have claimed the status of god in the past.

> If 1 person is killed in the name of religion, that's entirely too many and it should be treated for what it is: vile ignorance.

And if 1 person is killed by an atheist leader because of his religion? Is that also too many and vile ignorance?


Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 4:51 PM  

I'll still stand on the side claiming that we've got less collateral damage on our side then you do yours: religion has been around for thousands of years, the Bolsheviks were only last century.

You're wrong if you're looking at Christians. In fact, I went into that in TIA. Look at Spain. The atheists killed up to 72,344 people in three years, compared to up to 3,230 in 345 years by the Spanish Inquisition. You might have a case against pagans; the Mongols certainly racked up a body count that was at least competitive with even the more lethal atheists such as Mao, Stalin, and Saloth Sar.

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 4:54 PM  

Compared to what religion has done in 2000 years (including setting us back at least 500 thanks to the dark ages), your side _still_ sucks.

Your historical ignorance is showing again. There is no such thing as the Dark Ages. And it's been known for more than 70 years. Again, this is in TIA. Is Christianity perfect? No, not on this Earth. But it is empirically much better than either the paganism that preceded it or the secularism that has come after it.

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 4:55 PM  

Also, don't give me this "at the hands of atheists" argument. They weren't killing in the name of atheism, they were killing in the name of politics, money, and power.

Irrelevant. The point is that atheist leaders are much, much, much more likely to commit mass murder than religious leaders of any kind, particularly Christians. Of course they don't kill "in the name of atheism" since atheism is literally nothing. Cigarettes don't kill in the name of smoking either, but they still cause cancer.

Anonymous Toby Temple August 13, 2012 4:56 PM  

~facepalm~

See, newbie? You just got your ass handed to you with your big toe in your asshole...

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 4:56 PM  

Excellent point @Vox, thank you for clarifying. Christianity is the same as any other religion, as far as the myth of there being a God. So I lump them all together. After all, you're killing in the name of [something akin to santa]. As well, the more civilized we become, the less people will die in the name of religion than will people that will die trying to defend religion.

There's a reason for that, and can be explained as the killing of viruses and parasites that leach off even the best of men. Once we figure out what causes the problem, the faster we can eradicate it. Knowledge is power. Note also the rising number of Atheists based on the tech boom. More information to why Santa doesn't exist makes more people not believe in Santa (unless you're a child at brain)

Anonymous JartStar August 13, 2012 4:56 PM  

I'm assuming that you can't offer the other proof, but I'm really interesting in reading your historical proof of "[religion] setting us back at least 500 thanks to the dark ages".

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 4:57 PM  

@Toby, not a chance asshole. You're the one who still has imaginary friends.
You mad bro?

Anonymous Toby Temple August 13, 2012 4:58 PM  

Note also the rising number of Atheists based on the tech boom.

Oh dear! You do have the statistical numbers to back that up, right?

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:00 PM  

Thank you @Vox for making my point relevant btw.

Of course they don't kill "in the name of atheism" since atheism is literally nothing.

But guess what is? Religion. Again, it poisons everything.

Anonymous Suomynona August 13, 2012 5:04 PM  

And just because I am the sort of guy who kicks a man when he's down... if he's still twitching.

That's exactly how it should be. I hate it in the movies when they turn away from the guy knocked out on the floor, only to have him pounce on them again. I'm like, "You idiot! You had him!"

Unknown has convenient ignorance. I don't even follow this nonsense closely, and I'm aware that the atheist Harris proposed the extermination of people for the terrible crime of having dangerous religious views. Leftists, of which the majority are atheists, are fascist to the core. They enthusiastically support the power of the State to force people into submission. There is absolutely no need to declare war on an enemy over whom you rule with an iron fist. You just execute him.

Personal observation of individual atheists, and groups of them confirms that atheists, leftists, are much more willing to use violence against those who oppose their ideology.

Anonymous Toby Temple August 13, 2012 5:05 PM  

@Toby, not a chance asshole. You're the one who still has imaginary friends.

Well, it beats having an imaginary world.

You mad bro?

Depends on your definition of mad.

Religion. Again, it poisons everything.

I never thought charity was a secular virtue. As well as forgiveness. Tsk tsk tsk.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:06 PM  

Personal observation of individual atheists, and groups of them confirms that atheists, leftists, are much more willing to use violence against those who oppose their ideology.

@Suomynona: You must live in some awful place where this happens all the time, conveniently for your eyes. Oh wait, you're making that up! Also, continue to call me a fascist and I'll continue to tell you you're in idiot who actually believes news anchors.

Anonymous Tom O August 13, 2012 5:06 PM  

You mad bro?

"You should stop whatever it is you're doing and start plowing fields, because you lack the ability to form language that doesn't involve mimicking others, and are therefore a cow." -- Maddox on memes

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:07 PM  

@Toby: Again, what??
Charity isn't a religious virtue, it's humanity's. Same with forgiveness. If you killed everyone off but 2 people who didn't know about religion, there'd still be charity and forgiveness, but whatever other dribble they made up for a religion wouldn't even be close to yours.

Blogger Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:07 PM  

Again, it poisons everything.

Yes, dear, of course it does. I mean, where would the world be if the religious (generally Christian in the Western world) didn't educate, feed, and establish hospitals loooooong before any other group was doing it. You are the mostest brilliant atheist we've ever had comment here!

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:08 PM  

@Tom: Love that maddox!

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:09 PM  

@Space: we won't get into the million reasons why god doesn't exist, this is just splitting hairs on "but but my religion hasn't killed THAT many people!"
again, how is this argument supposed to be a good one?? No one has explained that yet.

Anonymous Not Unknown August 13, 2012 5:10 PM  

Knowledge is power.

No, you idiot. The only knowledge that is power is that which is applied.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:11 PM  

Also, everyone, please keep the arguments coming! I've got some serious reading to do, which is why I came here. Gotta pick a fight with the big guys to learn how to take a punch, know what I'm saying?

We won't get into the argument of how God doesn't exit, but if you'd like to personally contact me (I'm not sure why I'm listed as unknown and am too busy to fix it), please email me at clstuff222@gmail.com for a nice conversation. (Of course it's a throwaway email, but you can reach me there, you assholes would sign me up for horse porn!)

Anonymous Toby Temple August 13, 2012 5:12 PM  

Charity isn't a religious virtue, it's humanity's. Same with forgiveness.

It is time for you to play your own game, kid.

Name one non-religious document/articfact that teaches forgiveness and charity that predates religion.

Blogger Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:12 PM  

@Space: we won't get into the million reasons why god doesn't exist, this is just splitting hairs on "but but my religion hasn't killed THAT many people!"
again, how is this argument supposed to be a good one?? No one has explained that yet.


So, is this little dance your admission that religion doesn't poison everything?

Anonymous Suomynona August 13, 2012 5:13 PM  

@Suomynona: You must live in some awful place where this happens all the time, conveniently for your eyes. Oh wait, you're making that up! Also, continue to call me a fascist and I'll continue to tell you you're in idiot who actually believes news anchors.

I live on Earth. Christian persecution does happen. I don't have to ask where you live, because it's obvious you have your head full inserted up your filthy atheist ass.

I never watch the news, so that would make you, again, a presumptuous idiot. I observe people, read their thoughts on the internet. I know that 1+1=2. I don't need lies, obfuscation, and running my big mouth on atheist blogs to make my case. Reality itself makes my case for me.

Blogger Joshua_D August 13, 2012 5:14 PM  

Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:07 PM

You are the mostest brilliant atheist we've ever had comment here!


I concur. Keep it coming Unkown. I think you are winning me over. I feel smarter just having read your posts.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:16 PM  

@Toby: I don't have time to educate the lame. Forgiveness is merely an exercise in power, which is one thing all of Humanity is guilty of craving (until we open our eyes and think for ourselves).

Also @Spacebunny: No, it poisons everything. Even if it's a Christian hospital, you're still going to get some proselytizing panphlet about made up hells and gods. If you don't consider being lied to a form of poison, I can't help you.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:17 PM  

Also, since we're on the topic of deaths, and you think the Christian God is real, you still have to atone for the flood genocide.
Remember, your God's an asshole, but hey only for the first half!

My god didn't do that (because I don't have one, because they don't exist!)
And my atheist ass is quite clean thank you.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:19 PM  

PPS: I can't believe I've garnered this much attention. My godless boner just got huuuuuuuuuge

Anonymous Toby Temple August 13, 2012 5:21 PM  

I don't have time to educate the lame.

So the newbie is all talk after all.

Anonymous patrick kelly August 13, 2012 5:22 PM  

Unknown should go hang out at all those charitable hospitals, libraries, and universities founded by atheists or upon atheistic principles or philosophy, that is if it can find any.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:22 PM  

@Toby: Your argument is that it has to be written down to be true?

The Bible's not true. And if it is, please add 2 million some-odd to your death totals, as that's what your god is responsible for (and we're not even talking about what idiot humans who think god exists have done to each other in his name). Remember, you don't have to kill someone to really hurt them in the name of religion!

Anonymous Toby Temple August 13, 2012 5:23 PM  

Also, since we're on the topic of deaths, and you think the Christian God is real, you still have to atone for the flood genocide.

LOL! Why? God drowned them. I didn't!

Blogger Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:23 PM  

No, it poisons everything. Even if it's a Christian hospital, you're still going to get some proselytizing panphlet about made up hells and gods

Ah, I see, so letting people die, not feeding them, and not teaching them to read and write, etc is much better than comforting, healing, feeding and teaching them. So if the various religious sects that started these things never had started them (hospitals, universities, etc) the world would be a better place. How exactly? And do be specific. And no, you don't get to play the "someone else would have done it eventually" dance.

And just so you know, being a grown up, with a working mind, who is capable of critical thought (I realize I have no left familiar ground for you but bear with me), no, I don't consider being lied to (regardless of who is doing it) as "a form of poison", no thinking person would and it says much about you that you do.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:24 PM  

@Patrick: Read em and weep:
http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Charities

Also remember that organized religion has been around waaaay longer than organized anti-theists. Just give us some time to catch up ;)

Anonymous Suomynona August 13, 2012 5:25 PM  

continue to call me a fascist

Of course you're a fascist, Unknown - virtually all atheists are. You're also a liar, which is why you won't admit you're a fascist who supports a secular government which will force people to stop praying in public, accept fag marriage, stop all displays of religious symbols (specifically Christians ones) where anyone can see it, etc, etc. You are whiny little cunts who want to impose your twisted views on the majority using government force to do it.

Blogger Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:25 PM  

The Bible's not true.

Really? Because there are literally thousands of historians, scientists, archeologists, etc who would like to have a word with you about this.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:26 PM  

@Spacebunny see my Patrick argument.

And you don't consider lies a form of poison? You must be mad. If I preached to you that the world was flat for years of your life, and you woke up one day to find out it wasn't true, you wouldn't feel harmed/deprived of years of valuable evidence? Your god asks you not to, I'm asking you to open your "critically thinking" brain parts and simple look at the cult you're in.

Anonymous Toby Temple August 13, 2012 5:27 PM  

@Toby: Your argument is that it has to be written down to be true?
Let me slow it dumb it down for you, kid.

If humanity inherently did have the virtue of forgiveness and charity then it should be written in history as not something that needs to be preached from a god or religious text.

You can argue that Buddhism teaches such virtues. But it is still a religion.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:27 PM  

@Su: we're done as you're a self-declared bigot. Thanks for keeping hate alive in the 21st!
@Spacebunny: I'd love to talk to any historian that claims the flood, _any_ miracle performed by jesus, or the immaculate conception to be "Truth". It's called Occam's Razor, read up on it.

Blogger Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:29 PM  

You Patrick "argument" is a link, not an argument and it doesn't answer my question.

No, I wouldn't consider it a form of poison, please see a dictionary to help you figure out why that might be. I didn't feel like I'd been poisoned when I found out Santa Claus wasn't real either- this is the way grown-ups behave dear, perhaps you should try it sometime. And I'm unclear, what exactly is it you are asserting that God is asking me not to do.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:30 PM  

Incorrect @Toby: Religion has hijacked this idea. It's part of the self-propagating machine that religion is, which is funny as that's a lynch pin of any propaganda

Blogger Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:31 PM  

@Spacebunny: I'd love to talk to any historian that claims the flood, _any_ miracle performed by jesus, or the immaculate conception to be "Truth". It's called Occam's Razor, read up on it.

You originally asserted

The Bible's not true.

So you have gone on to commit two logical fallacies by moving the goal post and then cherry picking. Like I said, the mostest brilliantest atheist evah!

Anonymous patrick kelly August 13, 2012 5:31 PM  

Apparently unknown has its own definition of hospital, library, and university.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:32 PM  

@SPacebunny: Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

It's simple, don't think dummy, God's your pilot!

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:32 PM  

Apparently, Patrick Kelly thinks all of said establishments were started by religion. Another hi-jacking!

Blogger Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:32 PM  

Religion has hijacked this idea.

Religion has hijacked the idea of charity? Evidence please.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:33 PM  

Also space, nice dodge on answering anything at all. I haven't committed a fallacy and certainly haven't moved the goal posts. If you want to be a technical asshole, the bible is "true" in that it exists. The Bible's contents however are ridiculous. Occam's Razor. Slice!

Anonymous patrick kelly August 13, 2012 5:34 PM  

Now unknown confuses all with any.

Blogger Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:35 PM  

@SPacebunny: Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

It's simple, don't think dummy, God's your pilot!


That's not what I asked, dear. I asked, what specifically God was asking me to believe or not to believe. You were nattering on about flat earth and whatnot prior to this weird assertion -but there's nothing in the bible about the earth being flat so I asked for clarification. Please provide it.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:35 PM  

@Spacebunny: You have the burden of proof, as your God is the one who claimed to be the master of forgiveness. Oh, but only after a few centuries of torture, genocide, and hate. He needed some time to learn better! What an all-knowing God!

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:36 PM  

I wasn't literally claiming the flat earth is in the bible dummy, it's called a comparison. How about this one: Mary had a virgin birth. Prove it!

(you can't, and occam's razor again would slice you on the fact that, well, she was an idiot who probably told a lie)

Blogger Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:37 PM  

I haven't committed a fallacy and certainly haven't moved the goal posts.

Yes you have, as I already pointed out. You asserted the bible wasn't true and then when challenged picked two or three parts that you believe not to be true as proof ignoring literally a thousand pages of text to do so - this is both moving the goal post (from all to part )as well as cherry picking (specific parts without context).

Anonymous patrick kelly August 13, 2012 5:37 PM  

Occam's razor was much sharper before Unknown got a hold of it.

Blogger Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:38 PM  

The Bible's contents however are ridiculous.

As I said, there are literally thousands of historians, scientists, archeologists, etc that would like to have a word with you.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:38 PM  

The burden of proof is on you! Prove to me the Bible is true and you will have done something all of Humanity hasn't been able to!

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:39 PM  

@Patrick Kelly: I'll take that as your admission of defeat. Thanks!

Blogger Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:39 PM  

You have the burden of proof

I have the burden of proof? For what? As far as I am aware I haven't made any assertions here, dear.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:41 PM  

1: The Bible's contents however are ridiculous. As I said, there are literally thousands of historians, scientists, archeologists, etc that would like to have a word with you.

2: Ah, I see, so letting people die, not feeding them, and not teaching them to read and write, etc is much better than comforting, healing, feeding and teaching them. So if the various religious sects that started these things never had started them

Again, what? Religion started all hospitals? Remember, though they were started by someone with religious tendencies doesn't make them religious. Hence this entire thread.

Anonymous Not Unknown August 13, 2012 5:43 PM  

I've got some serious reading to do

That is obvious. Start with the subject of this thread, TIA. Refute it if you can.

Blogger Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:44 PM  

Occam's razor is tool, not an absolute arbiter of truth and fact dear. You get that, right? Claiming Occam's razor in and of itself doesn't prove anything. In other words the simplest argument is not necessarily the correct one.

Anonymous Suomynona August 13, 2012 5:44 PM  

Unknown August 13, 2012 5:27 PM

@Su: we're done as you're a self-declared bigot. Thanks for keeping hate alive in the 21st!


Thanks for being a predictable atheist leftist, a useful idiot too brainwashed to think for himself, and making my point about being a fascist. Leftist ideology aka Political Correctness is your only morality. As a result, all your blather about tolerance comes to a screeching halt at Christians exercising their rights, even having their own opinions.

Here's a bit of reality, you hypocritical cunt, being as perverted as one desires is NOT a human right.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:45 PM  

@Not Unknown: I totally will! That's kind of my point for being here, just like you'd imagine I'm making you smarter for your side, you're helping me to find resources I can refute you for!

And again, I'd like you to refute the flood genocide. If you're a Christian, you have to take those numbers (and damn, do they hurt). If you're not a Christian, you're still religious and to claim one is true vs the other is an argument for the idiots.

Blogger Vox August 13, 2012 5:46 PM  

Thank you @Vox for making my point relevant btw.

I didn't. It wasn't. So, I'll leave you for the others to kick around.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:47 PM  

Hahaha @Su, so typical that you think I'm trying to squash your freedom of speech. You idiot, you have the freedom to speak, it's when you declare yourself to be a bigot that we know who you really are!

You're free to say it, I'm free to call you an asshole bigot for saying it! That's what you are!

Also: I need proof that "being as perverted as one desires is NOT a human right" to follow @Spacebunny's style of argument.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:47 PM  

@Vox, nice proof

Anonymous Not Unknown August 13, 2012 5:49 PM  

Patrick Kelly: Occam's razor was much sharper before Unknown got a hold of it.

Unknown: @Patrick Kelly: I'll take that as your admission of defeat. Thanks!


Unknown, you really are too stupid to even realize you are being insulted. Please keep commenting, you are a great poster-boy for atheism.

Anonymous patrick kelly August 13, 2012 5:50 PM  

Proof is for math and whiskey, and Unknown likely can't handle either.

Blogger Spacebunny August 13, 2012 5:50 PM  

Religion started all hospitals?

Yes. Religion and healing have been joined since ancient times (see the Egyptians for details) and through the mideval period they were also exclusively tied to religious organizations (Islamic or Christian depending on where you were) and the first hospitals in the US were all Christian institutions.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:51 PM  

@Not: I never said I represent my kind. I'm not diluted enough (read: religious) to think I can speak for anyone but myself.
Also, an insult is an admission of defeat in a debate. Thanks for trying!

Also note I just insulted you. I can, because you didn't make any argument yourself. Therefore, we're not debating.

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:52 PM  

@Patrick: I love whisky actually! Let's have some!
Also @Spacebunny, I'm just running with your rhetoric, you'll need to back that up with proof, and remember! You must argue that hospitals, colleges, et al were all started with strictly religious intent!

(the point here is, you can't, sugar) [[I called you sugar bc you keep calling me dear, which is creepy]]

Anonymous patrick kelly August 13, 2012 5:52 PM  

Seriously Unknown, this is the most fun and entertainment I've had here since Vox's Obama Bad, Romney worse columns. Thank you, you're a real inspirtation. (new word I just made up, just for you)

Blogger Unknown August 13, 2012 5:53 PM  

Good! Me too patrick, however I'm actually learning something from this, whereas you're just going to keep on assuming you're on the winning side. Good work, you know, on that whole assumption bit.

Also you spelled "educator" wrong.

Anonymous Not Unknown August 13, 2012 5:57 PM  

I'm not diluted enough

You are using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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