Word of the Day: Shermer’s Law

Christianity and atheism clash againI propose “Shermer’s Law” for this observation by Michael Shermer: “Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.”1

This observation makes an important distinction between (1) how someone came to their beliefs and (2) how they later defend those beliefs.  People often come to their beliefs for poor reasons—for example, they may be racist or religious simply because they were raised in that environment.

Few will admit as an adult, “Oh, yeah—I don’t believe that for any better reason than that I was steeped in that environment, and I’m now just an unthinking reflection of that environment.”  Instead, they use their intellect (much more formidable now that they’re an adult) to marshal a defense of their beliefs.  The belief comes first, and the defense comes after.  And this isn’t just to save face with an antagonist; it’s to save face with themselves.

We can come up with a defense for just about anything.  It may not be a very good defense, but it’s something, and it may be sufficient to avoid cognitive dissonance (“Surely I believe this for a good reason, right??”).  The smarter you are, the better the defense you will come up with.

All of us do this, and (this may be consolation) the smartest people can do it more spectacularly than the rest of us.  Isaac Newton wasted time in alchemy, Nobel laureate Linus Pauling in vitamin C research, and Nobel laureate William Shockley in eugenics.

No one’s immune, but this is common in Christians who cobble together rationalizations for their beliefs.  “In for a penny, in for a pound” is easier than taking a step back to soberly consider the logic of the beliefs.  And the smarter the Christian, the better they can defend groundless beliefs.

Try to uncover this by asking, “You’re giving me an argument for Christianity, but is this what convinced you?  If not, why don’t you give me the argument that made you a Christian?”

Photo credit: Wikimedia

1 Michael Shermer, Why People Believe Weird Things (Freeman, 2002), p. 283.

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59 thoughts on “Word of the Day: Shermer’s Law

  1. I was raised in a Christian environment. I turned my back on the faith, and studied philosophy, science, and ethics. It was much later in life that Christ actually “showed up” in my life. It is impossible to describe the supernatural nature of God, but we can try. You must understand that we are not just flesh and bone and neurons…we all have a soul and part of that soul is eternal, called the spirit. You cannot logically understand these things. They were never meant to be completely understood! So people can go around arguing about the existence and the non-existence of God…it is all futile and a waste of breath. When your life has been changed and your eyes open, then and only then can you have true understanding. I agree with you though…there is a huge difference between an unexamined life and one that has been “put through the ringer” of life and interior examination. People who believe in Jesus, but have never pursued Him are woefully lacking in strong faith. Faith is not something you can muster up…that is called belief. Belief brings you to the door, after an arduous journey, to faith. Faith is a gift that is given to those who truly seek after God. I don’t need or want to argue about religious matters, because anyone worth their weight in Christendom understands that these things are futile to argue about. How can you frame spiritual matters in words? It is extremely difficult to even scrape the tip of the iceburg…let alone completely frame the experience in words…but we still try. However, the language of the Spirit is foreign to an unbeliever, and Scripture tells us that “it is foolishness to men”. “Having ears, they cannot hear, and having eyes, they cannot see”…
    Don’t confuse religion with Christ! He is the anti-religion…If you have even tried to read the Bible, then you know His opinion of religious folk.

    • It is impossible to describe the supernatural nature of God, but we can try.

      How do we know there’s actually a god there? The mind plays tricks on us all the time.

      You’re assuming a god and then justifying that assumption, but you need to go back to step 1 and show that “there is a god” is the best explanation for the facts.

  2. Pingback: Word of the Day: Shermer’s Law | Galileo Unchained | Secularity (under construction)

  3. Hi Bob,
    I love your blog. Good post!
    “People often come to their beliefs for poor reasons—for example, they may be racist or religious simply because they were raised in that environment.”
    I can sooo totally relate to the examples you used in this statement. I was born in 1966 in Georgia. My mother was from Georgia and my father was from Mississippi. My father was, and still is, very prejudiced toward black people and indoctrinated me into this attitude from birth. How? By the example he lived out in front of me: particularly, the comments he made. I don’t remember the kids at school (elementary, middle and high) being especially prejudiced, but we all pretty much segregated ourselves by race, probably, i would guess, because all the other kids were hearing the same racist BS that i was hearing at home. It wasn’t until i went to college and rode the city bus, where i was usually the only white person on the bus, that i “discovered” that i like black people; i spent a lot to time to talking to them on the bus and made some new friends. So, notion number one, that black people were the root of all evil, was dispelled for me.
    Your second example, religion, died a similar death in my life. I was raised in baptist church and preached hellfire and brimstone at every time the church door opened, which is how often my mother had me at the church. Not all church was unpleasant. Girls In Action was good and I enjoyed that. It suffices to say that i was not taught about God’s love and grace so i eventually began to think that i was never going to be good enough to measure up for God anyway, so why bother trying? At 14, i refused to go to church any longer and began hanging with a rough crowd, getting plastered (extremely drunk) and raped practically every weekend. That continued, sans the rape part, until i was 26. At 26, i was so sick of drugs and drinking that i would rather have died. And, for some reason, one Christmas morning, with a bloody hangover, i got out of my bed, kneeled beside it, and told God just that. I said something like this: “you know what, God, if you are there? This sucks! If this is what my life is going to be like, why don’t you just go ahead and kill me now? in fact, why don’t you prove that you ARE real? Either kill me or fix me!” Guess what? He fixed me. The desire to drink left me. I have been tempted to drink since that time, but i remember how terrible it is to be an alcoholic and that is the deterrent. So, notion number two, that God is all about hellfire and brimstone, dispelled for me.
    What’s the point?
    I said this to answer the following question of yours:
    “You’re giving me an argument for Christianity, but is this what convinced you? If not, why don’t you give me the argument that made you a Christian?”
    None of the hellfire and brimstone preaching hurled at me as a child convinced me that God was real. In fact, it conviced me of the opposite: that God was someone I truly wanted to avoid as much as possible. But it did introduce me to His existence, even if the people who taught me about Him did not get the whole story straight. Their arguments for Christianity did not convince me of positive and neither do the arguments of all of the apologians (is this a word?) and preachers in the world combined. What convinced me was my own experience. And it still does.

    • The desire to drink left me.

      Bob Price has spoken about this. He’s an atheist but is insanely well educated on Bible matters (two relevant doctorates). His position is: if you’re sober because of your belief in God, good for you. There’s no reason to imagine that God exists, but that’s small potatoes to staying sober.

      Sounds like a good approach to me.

    • Congratulations on getting your life straightened out, whatever it took.
       
      Here’s a little something to mull on, tho. What you were trying to break away from was a destructive addiction to alcohol, right? You’re probably aware that methadone is used to wean people off of narcotics. It satisfies the cravings but doesn’t have all the debilitating physical effects. That is, it doesn’t cure the addiction, it reroutes it.
       
      It’s possible that that may be what’s going on with you as well. When you were little, the most important thing in your life was your family. As a young adult, it was the booze. Now it’s God. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I always think that the most important thing in your life should be you!

  4. bob price….on one hand i feel incredibly repulsed by him, but on the other hand i think he is slightly interesting. i do read points of view that oppose christianity, but rebuttals just keep popping up in my head the whole time. i can see where some of the points come from, but honestly, i think it boils down to two things: faith and choice. faith is not just the result of brainwashing and indoctrination. it honestly is something mystical (bob price evidently puts some stock in mysticism, too). i say that because many times when i hear people disparage God i can actually see their point intellectually, and while i was obtaining my bachelor’s i doubted the existence of God to and certainly doubted Jesus’ significance. But since my experience getting sober, there have been too many incidents of God intervening in my life for me to doubt. And these were not tricks of the mind. they were physical experiences.
    people make choices based on what makes sense to them.
    btw, i am going to read your book so i can get a better understanding of where you are coming from.

    • on one hand i feel incredibly repulsed by him, but on the other hand i think he is slightly interesting.

      To each his own. He has a formidable knowledge of the time period, and he’s exceedingly fair. He’s also quite conservative politically (which occasionally gets him into trouble with his liberal listeners). The only complaint I can imagine is that he’s too willing to consider out-there theories, but this isn’t a complaint that I have.

      faith is not just the result of brainwashing and indoctrination.

      How do you explain Muslim or Hindu faith? There really is no Allah or Shiva or Vishnu or Ganesh. Is that based on reality or indoctrination?

      btw, i am going to read your book so i can get a better understanding of where you are coming from.

      Terrific! My goal with the book is to encourage Christians to think, regardless of which direction that pushes them.

  5. “but I always think that the most important thing in your life should be you!”
    Should “I” be more important than my husband? In that case i could cheat on him bc my happiness is more important than his. Should i be more important than my children? In that case i could give them to dss and go party, because my needs are more important than theirs. Should i be more important than my parents? In that case, i can just stick them in a nursing home bc i don’t have time to care for them when they are old and my time is much more valuable than theirs. Wow! What a novel idea! “I” am of supreme importance. “I” am the ultimate. This is exactly what is wrong with american society today.
    my view of addiction is that it was “me” that was the problem! Me,me,me….when i was an alcoholic that was practically all i thought about. I was extremely selfish and could always find a way to blame my problems on someone else.
    On the other hand, i have found placing my faith in Christ allows me to care more about others than i do about me. not in a doormat kind of way, but in a it’s-not-all-about-me kind if way. That is actually a relief. There is more to life than ME!
    But i do understand your point. It’s just that self-esteem, self-respect, self-control, self-discipline, self-younameit: never did quite satisfy me.I tried that before i tried Jesus. He is MUCH more satisfying! Being forgiven and being releases from my SELF is much more liberating.
    Call me a romantic, but i am in love with Jesus, not my self!

    • You could turn all of those questions around, you know. “Should your husband be more important than you?” Then, following what you seem to think is the obvious result of that judgment, “in that case he could cheat on you because his happiness is more important than yours”. Despite the fact that I have exactly quoted you, only with then roles reversed, I doubt that you, a 21st Century woman in a civilized culture, truly believe that.
       
      However, that attitude wouldn’t have been at all unusual for almost any other era. It’s been official Judeo-Christian doctrine since before the days of Abraham: men 1st, women 2nd. (And that’s on their good days; often they’re listed behind the oxen and goats.) And of course it’s still official doctrine — only much more rigidly and brutally enforced — in many Islamic countries today.

      I think you are confusing the phrase “mostimportant person” with “only important person”, which is not what I wrote and certainly not what I meant. I brook no sympathy for narcissism, but neither do I for pathetic, cringing subservience. What I am a huge fan of is healthy, rational self-respect.

      I don’t suggest that you should stop caring about others altogether — which is apparently where you found yourself during your tenure in the gutter — but that you should have a healthy perspective on the human relationships that you choose to participate in. And that you should steer clear of the ones where you are the victim or the person being used.

      I emphasize the word human relationships. It’s a pretty odd idea of a “relationship” to say you have one with a spiritual being you’ve never met but only have some kind of vague feelings and ideas about. It’s as if I were to say I have a “relationship” with Stephen Hawking. I admire the guy, but he wouldn’t know me from Adam, and it’s ludicrous to claim otherwise. (Actually, it’s more like saying I have a “relationship” with Santa Claus, because Santa Claus is never gonna show up to say “Who is this Richard person? I don’t know him from Adam!”.)

    • Cindy:

      In that case i could cheat on him bc my happiness is more important than his.

      Would it make you happy to cheat on your husband? I’m guessing not. In that case, you’ve answered your own question.

      not in a doormat kind of way, but in a it’s-not-all-about-me kind if way.

      Good distinction. Life is a balance, eh?

      • “Would it make you happy to cheat on your husband? I’m guessing not. In that case, you’ve answered your own question.”
        Ha! Well i mentioned it didn’t i? but i don’t have to do everything i think about!
        I have also been so angry with him that i have considered divorce.

  6. “You could turn all of those questions around, you know. “Should your husband be more important than you?”
    but what does that have to do with it? why should i turn them around? if i am the most important person, then what he does is immaterial.
    and actually, hold on to your britches, richard, because this is going to SHOCK YOU: yes, i do believe that my husband should be more important to me. and to him, i am more important than he is to him. true love is not possible without sacrifice. my husband works 14-16 hours a day so that we can have an income which will allow me to stay home and homeschool our children. there are other things he would rather do than work at a job he is less than crazy about for so many hours a day. he does that because he loves us more than he loves his own comfort. that was the point of the “what-ifs” i posited earlier.
    again: where is there is no sacrifice, there is no unconditional love. and conditional love is no substitute for for unconditional love. it does not last. when things get hard, a person who does not love you unconditionally will split.
    a 21st century woman? what difference does it make what century it is? there are many other factors that determine the status of women in any given society: economics, education, religion, etc…(oh and while we are on the subject, Christ never taught that women should be subjugated, but, on the contrary, husbands and wives are to be submissive to each other. this does not mean thinking i am the most important person in my life! AND I MIGHT ADD..judaism and christianity are the only faiths that do not teach subjugation of women.)
    here is another shocker for you: i do believe in women staying home and raising their own children, at any cost, rather than turning them over to the school system. i realize that some women are single moms and can’t do that, though; i was one for a while.

    “I think you are confusing the phrase “mostimportant person” with “only important person”, which is not what I wrote and certainly not what I meant. I brook no sympathy for narcissism,”
    no, i am not confusing what you said. you said what you said. and the most important person means the most important person. it means that my needs, desires, feelings, etc. are the primary determining factors in the decsions that i make.

    “I don’t suggest that you should stop caring about others altogether — which is apparently where you found yourself during your tenure in the gutter”
    true enough! “self” is a bottomless pit. i find it so much more satisfying to think of others first, not that i always do!

    “It’s a pretty odd idea of a “relationship” to say you have one with a spiritual being you’ve never met but only have some kind of vague feelings and ideas about”
    i know it seems odd to you. i know it seems foolish to you.
    but now for the REAL KICKER: i do know Jesus. and one day you will too.
    romans 14:11
    “as surely as i live, says the Lord,
    every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.”
    vague feelings??? no, not vague. very definite.
    feelings and ideas?? no, not feelings and ideas. God’s Word and personal experiences.

    on a side note: i DO agree with you about steven hawking and santa claus; totally unworthy of worship! 🙂
    steven hawking and santa claus never died on a cross so that i could be forgiven for all my sins (past, present and future), nor do i foresee either one of them doing so at any time in the future. haha.
    the main point of this epistle: where there is no sacrifce of “self”, there is no true love.
    call me a romantic….but….
    and by the way, richard, i am immensely enjoying this conversation with you. thanks for challenging me!

    • judaism and christianity are the only faiths that do not teach subjugation of women.

      Huh?? You know the verses in the Bible Richard is thinking of.

      What is this–Stockholm Syndrome??

      steven hawking and santa claus never died on a cross so that i could be forgiven for all my sins

      True, but then there’s scant reason that Jesus did either.

        • Stockholm Syndrome is a clumsy analogy but not entirely inappropriate IMO.

          When the Manchu empire ended in China in 1911, the men no longer had to wear the long queues (ponytails) to show allegiance to the emperor. But they still did. It had become part of why there were.

          If you ask Muslim women today about the oppression that the burqa and Sharia impositions on their life, they won’t know what you’re talking about. Similarly, this is just part of their culture, and they’re cool with it.

          Or consider women in a fundamentalist (polygamous) Mormon sect. You won’t find them complaining (at least, not all of them!).

          The Bible is an easy source of justification for unfair treatment of women.

        • bob,
          Muslims do not use the bible at all more especially not to justify making women wear burkha’s (sp?). In fact, not all muslims women even wear burkhas. i thought that burqas were a cultural tradition and not a religious tradition.
          Mormons do not use the bible either. The book of mormon was created by joseph smith and mormonism is a cult. They are NOT christians.
          .

        • Cindy wrote: “Mormons do not use the bible either. The book of mormon was created by joseph smith and mormonism is a cult. They are NOT christians.”
           
          Mormons most definitely do use the Bible, and they very definitely do think of themselves as Christians (as you might guess from their official name “Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints”). Why would you contend otherwise?
           
          No argument from me about Mormonism having been created by Joseph Smith (entirely from his imagination, IMHO) or that it’s a cult. But then I think all of Christianity is a cult, too, it’s just been around long enuf to have acquired the respectability often accorded to anything of great age.

        • Richard,
          ” it’s just been around long enuf to have acquired the respectability often accorded to anything of great age.”
          I guess the same thing could be said for evolution since darwin invented it round about the same time joseph smith invented mormonism! 😉

        • Cindy:

          i thought that burqas were a cultural tradition and not a religious tradition.

          Could well be. My point is that what appears to be subjugation from the outside may be considered a benign cultural trait from the inside.

          Mormons do not use the bible either.

          I’m pretty sure they do.

          They are NOT christians.

          They follow a dude named “Jesus Christ” in the New Testament. Sounds like a decent definition of “Christian” to me.

        • Cindy:

          I guess the same thing could be said for evolution since darwin invented it round about the same time joseph smith invented mormonism!

          Evolution is the scientific consensus. Do you just pick and choose your science based on which pleases you vs. which steps on your theological toes?

        • Cindy asks: “What caused the big bang?”

          Ha! I get to beat Bob to the punch on this one. There is in fact an answer to this question, and it’s the only honest answer you’re ever gonna get, if you can handle it.
           
          Ready?
           
          Here it comes.
           
          NOBODY KNOWS!

          All the evidence was destroyed in this big explosion, doncha know?

          Anybody who claims to know is feeding you a made-up fairy tale. And there are dozens of them. Every religion, big and small, has its own creation myth, and they all disagree with each other. They can’t all be right.
           
          But they can all be wrong!

        • richard,
          “All the evidence was destroyed in this big explosion, doncha know?”
          It wasn’t an actual explosion, richard. It was an expansion.
          It is becoming increasingly harder for me to take you seriously. again, do your homework.
          Good night 🙂

        • Cindy:

          It wasn’t an actual explosion, richard. It was an expansion.

          I’m pretty sure that Richard is aware that it wasn’t a dynamite-like explosion.

          It is becoming increasingly harder for me to take you seriously. again, do your homework.

          Perhaps this was a light-hearted comment. Otherwise, I’m not sure what to make of it.

          Richard is indeed right–science doesn’t know what caused the Big Bang or came before. The question may be ill-formed. But of course your jumping in with “Well, if you don’t know, I do!!” is meaningless without evidence.

        • Bob,
          i had no intention of jumping in and saying i know.
          My point was simply that scientists do NOT know.
          And YOU do not know either. But God could have caused it. so, since no one knows what caused it, and one of the possibilities is that God could have caused it, it is possible that God does exist. therefore, you do not know for certain that He does not.

        • Cindy wrote: “It wasn’t an actual explosion, richard. It was an expansion.
          It is becoming increasingly harder for me to take you seriously. again, do your homework.”

          Cindy, I continue to be incredulous that you think I’m the one who needs to do my homework when you come up with whoppers like the one above. Here (not that I expect you to believe it, since it doesn’t come from the Bible or the bizarre fantasyland you inhabit) is the Merriam-Webster definition of “explosion”: “a large-scale, rapid, or spectacular expansion or bursting out or forth”. It is very difficult to communicate effectively if you are using words that the rest of the English-speaking world has different meanings for.

          You go on to say: “My point was simply that scientists do NOT know.
          And YOU do not know either.”

          Absolutely true, but I notice you left out the line I would have expected to come next: “Neither do I, and neither does the Bible, and neither do any of the religions of the world.” Couldn’t bring yourself to admit that, tho, could you? Instead what you foist on us is more maybes, couldabeens, and wishtweresos: “But God could have caused it. so, since no one knows what caused it, and one of the possibilities is that God could have caused it, it is possible that God does exist.”
           
          Since exactly the same thing could have been said about any natural phenomenon whatsoever, why did you bring up the subject of the Big Bang in particular?

          And why, once the subject was on the floor, did you skip right over all the other possible hypotheses and go right straight to your fave? This is hardly indicative of a dispassionate quest for the truth. It reeks of special pleading in hopes that you can somehow twist the evidence to fit your pre-ordained conclusion.

        • richard,
          “It reeks of special pleading in hopes that you can somehow twist the evidence to fit your pre-ordained conclusion.”
          just trying to get out of your atheist shell and open up a new train of thought for you. I am an optimist at heart!

        • I’m having trouble figuring out where the relevant thread started, so I’m just going to start a whole new top-level comment.
           
          I had written: “It reeks of special pleading in hopes that you can somehow twist the evidence to fit your pre-ordained conclusion.”

          Cindy inquires: “What evidence am i trying to twist? There is no evidence, remember?”

          And adds: “just trying to get out of your atheist shell and open up a new train of thought for you. I am an optimist at heart!”

          Thereby completely dodging the questions I had posed in the lead-up to the conclusion quoted above:

          “Since exactly the same thing could have been said about any natural phenomenon whatsoever, why did you bring up the subject of the Big Bang in particular?

          “And why, once the subject was on the floor, did you skip right over all the other possible hypotheses and go right straight to your fave? This is hardly indicative of a dispassionate quest for the truth.”

          Cindy, you claim you’re trying to open up one particular train of thot for me, while yourself resolutely ignoring many possible trains of thot that have been opened up for you. You come up with your own idiosyncratic definitions of words, you refuse to believe what the world’s leading authorities on people’s own beliefs say those beliefs are, you accuse other people of failing to do their homework when you yourself have not lifted a finger to do so (other than “I know a guy who knows a guy …” FOAF stories), you ignore questions that are inconvenient for you to answer, and you change the subject the way Lady Gaga changes her makeup. You are, in short, an intellectual fraud.

          Since you assure me, based on your own experience, that religious people are perfectly willing to lie (“put up a front”, I believe you phrased it) to lure people in, your optimism that the same techniques will work on me has been revealed for what it is and serves as concluding evidence that I am indeed wasting my time here.

          Good day.

        • “Since exactly the same thing could have been said about any natural phenomenon whatsoever, why did you bring up the subject of the Big Bang in particular? ”
          to answer a few of your questions:
          Re: the above quote. I don’t think the big bang compares with other natural phenoma bc it does not fall under the category of natural phenomena. The term natural means occuring in nature and there was no nature when the big bang occured.
          I asked my question about it as part of the talk about evolution. I mean, if evolution occured, then the big bang logically preceded it.
          I have been attaching my comments/question to the relevant post, but i don’t know if the come out that way on your end. Maybe that is why the conversation seems disjointed.
          It is true, you and i come from two different worlds, but must you villianize me bc of that?
          I will address your other comments tomorrow, particularly the mormon debate. I am not so puerile that is base my stance on hearsay. But it is late. Tomorrow i will send you the details to support my claim. Unless you really don’t care. If not, please say so, because i don’t have oodles of time to waste.

        • Cindy:

          I don’t think the big bang compares with other natural phenoma bc it does not fall under the category of natural phenomena.

          Keep in mind the “I don’t know.” It applies to much about the Big Bang, and there’s no shame in science saying it when it’s true. What is shameful is claiming to have a contribution to a scientific conversation but only tossing out “God did it” (I don’t know if this applies to you; you can tell me).

          How do you know that the Big Bang must somehow not be in the bin of “natural phenomena”? Seems quite plausible to me.

          The term natural means occuring in nature and there was no nature when the big bang occured.

          I doubt that cosmologists would agree. Maybe the Big Bang is simply a reformulation of matter/energy that existed “before.” Maybe a larger scale view of everything would show our Big Bang as just one of many. Science at the extremes is pretty weird.

          if evolution occured, then the big bang logically preceded it.

          Of course. Still, it is odd to connect the evolution and Big Bang topics.

      • Btw, since i do not believe in evolution, it stands to reason that i do not believ in stockholm syndrome.
        I know…. I’m a kook! Lol

        • I don’t see the connection between the two, but rejecting science for religious reasons is hard to justify. (But that’s probably a whole ‘nother discussion.)

        • bob
          There is an evolutionary rationale behind the idea of stockholm syndrome.

    • Cindy wrote: “but what does that have to do with it? why should i turn them around?” I was suggesting that you do so in order to bring you face to face with the realization that you had taken the words “most important person” to mean “the person who gets to do whatever they want”.

      You had originally inferred that, when I recommended that you be the most important person in your own life, such an attitude would give you complete license to have sex with anybody you wanted to. I was simply pointing out that, if you instead considered your husband to be the most important person in your life, then by your very own reasoning he would have complete license to have sex with anybody he wanted. Since I very strongly doubted that such was your intent, I was calling attention to what I perceived to be a flaw in your understanding of what the phrase “most important person” meant. As I said later, it very definitely is not the same as “only important person”.

      Not only do I agree with you that Stephen Hawking and Santa Claus are unworthy of worship, I extend that assessment to its logical conclusion: Nobody is worthy of worship! Worship is an activity beneath the dignity of anyone with a shred of self-respect. Admiration, yes, maybe even envy (tho I advise against it). Never worship.

  7. ” I was simply pointing out that, if you instead considered your husband to be the most important person in your life, then by your very own reasoning he would have complete license to have sex with anybody he wanted.”
    okay….i don’t really see that…and that is totally not advisable. But you know what? I do know christian married couples whose marriages have survived infidelity bc the injured spouse had the willingness to forgive.
    marriage, as any other relationship, will not survive unless at least one person can submit. Ideally, each should be able to submit to the other so one person doesn’t have to do it all. But, you can bet that if neither can submit, the marriage will never make it.
    The bible tells wives to submit themselves to their husbands and husbands to love their wives self-sacrificially. It really does work, richard.
    If loving each other his way is the goal, then we will not be mistreating each other. except when someone makes a mistake and that is where forgiveness kicks in.
    We really aren’t as weird or crazy as you think we are. Maybe if you got to know a few of us, you might make some new friends. Don’t reject us christians just bc we believe in God.

    • Cindy wrote: “okay….i don’t really see that…and that is totally not advisable.”
       
      I can’t see why you “don’t really see that”, Cindy, since I am quoting your very own words back at you. Did you or did you not write: “Should ‘I’ be more important than my husband? In that case i could cheat on him bc my happiness is more important than his.”? Are those or are those not your very own words?
       
      Because what those words say is that whoever is “more important” in a relationship (“in that case”) is fully justified in cheating on the less important partner. I didn’t think it made sense, either, which is why I’ve been making such an issue out of it.

      But maybe what you were trying to say is that a husband always gets the OK to cheat on his wife, but the wife never gets the OK to cheat on her husband. I guess, given your attitude toward female subservience, I should have allowed for that possibility.

      • Richard,
        wow! This is really starting to remind me of bill clinton semantics! Lol
        Anyway, sorry for the misunderstanding. i do not believe that loving my husband unconditionally means that it would be okay for him to cheat on me. When we got married, he made a vow not to do that. But if he did do that, i would have a choice to make, wouldn’t i? I could forgive or i could divorce.
        Anyway, if you knew me you would know just how far i am from being that subservient “worm” you depicted me as. i think you are probably the first person to ever accuse me of being subservient. My mother would get a real kick out of that!
        I think you are confusing submission, which means being able to yield to my husband, by my choice, not being forced to, with subservience, which means being a victim and having no choice in the matter. don’t get me wrong; i have not cornered the market on being cooperative. For years i took pride in being fearsomely independent, but it didn’t make for a great marriage when i always had in the back of my mind, “i COULD make it without you; i really don’t need you.”
        Instead of trying to be ONE with my husband, i was always striving to be THE ONE. that didn’t work so well. so i gave it up.

        • Wait, what you’re saying is that the very people who ARE Mormons are unqualified to say what Mormons actually believe? But you yourself, who are NOT are Mormon, DO know better?
           
          You have well and truly gone down the rabbit hole, here, Cindy. Clearly there is NOTHING out there that you are willing to believe if it contradicts what you already “know” to be “true”, and I’m just wasting my time here, aside from collecting marginally useful additional evidence that True Believers really do live in their own little fantasy worlds, unconnected to reality. I already knew that, I guess, but it still amazes me to see it acted out in real life like this.

        • ha! Okay….rabbit hole…quite humorous!.
          Well, please just humor me for 5 more seconds and read the reply i sent bob on his comment about the big bang. I would like to hear what you think.

      • btw richard,
        Mormons may see themselves as christians, but any christian who knows the bible does not see mormons as christians. The “bible” they use is not the bible and they only use that as a front to get people in.

        • But who gets to say who’s right and who’s not? They say they’re Christians. Who are you to say they’re wrong? Why are you right and they’re not? Shouldn’t they know what they believe better than you? Are they lying?
           
          In fact, there are over 5000 different flavors of Christianity, and each and every one of them arose out of some disagreement about what the religion was supposed to “really” mean. (Southern Baptists and Southern Methodists, for example, split off from their mainstream equivalents over what the Bible “really” meant about slavery.) And each and every adherent of each and every one of those 5000 different flavors could say the exact same thing about your church that you say about Mormonism. (Don’t they all use the Bible as a front to get people in?)

          As far as I know, the only guy who could settle it once and for all is Jesus Christ himself, and he seems to have been content to just sit back and watch the circus.

        • Richard,
          There are many denominations, but they all believe the same about Christ’s divinity. Mormons do not. ya gotta do your homework.
          I have spent years studying this, so i beleive i personally am qualified to say that what mormons believe is not christian. if you want i could list the many reasons they are not, or you could research it for yourself.

        • Cindy, it’s getting increasingly hard for me to take you seriously when you tell me that *I* have to do my homework, when the very 1st hit I get when typing “do mormons believe jesus christ is divine” in a Google search is this:
             http://ldsnana-askmormon.hubpages.com/hub/WhatDoMormonsBelieveAboutJesusChristTestimonyLivingProphetsApostlesMormonismChurchLDSBeliefsLivingChirst

          What it basically comes down to is what I wrote earlier. You’re a religious person, therefore as far as you’re concerned, all it takes for something to be true is that you personally have to believe it. Nothing else counts, not facts, not evidence, not logic, not consistency, not relevance, not history, not experimentation. That is, and continues to be, the fundamental difference between religion and science.

        • Richard,
          The site you visited was a mormon site! What do you expect them to say? That is their front.
          I know people who have come out of mormonism so my info is first-hand not googled.. Do you always believe the first hit or do you look for non-biased sources?

        • Richard,
          ” all it takes for something to be true is that you personally have to believe it. Nothing else counts, not facts, not evidence, not logic, not consistency, not relevance, not history, not experimentation. ”
          based on your lack of acumen for sniffing out non-biased sources, i could definitely say the same of you.

        • Cindy:

          There are many denominations, but they all believe the same about Christ’s divinity. Mormons do not. ya gotta do your homework.

          You’re saying that every Christian denomination completely accepts that every proper member of every other Christian denomination is a “Christian”? I doubt it.

          You say Mormons aren’t Christians. OK, got it. Now, on to the real issue: what am I to do with the fact that Mormons follow the exact same guy that you do and call themselves “Christian”? My vote: call them “Christians.”

    • I do know christian married couples whose marriages have survived infidelity bc the injured spouse had the willingness to forgive.

      Forgiveness is a human thing, not a Christian thing. (Which is also true for morality.)

        • Top hit on Google is
             http://www.quotecounterquote.com/2010/12/to-err-is-human-to-forgive-divine.html

          where we find:

          = = = = = =

          “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”
          Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
          English poet
          An Essay on Criticism, Part II (written in 1709, first published in 1711)
          This first major work by Pope presents his thoughts on critics, writers and poetry. He called it an “essay” but it’s actually a poem, written in the rhyming heroic couplet format. “To err is human; to forgive, divine” is one of three well-known quotes from the poem. The others are “a little learning is a dangerous thing” and “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” Pope didn’t coin the phrase “to err is human.” That’s the traditional English translation of the ancient Latin proverb “Errare humanum est.” However, by adding “to forgive, divine” to this old saying, he created a famous quotation that is still commonly used, adapted and spoofed today.

          The basic meaning of Pope’s line is that any human can make a mistake, so we should try to forgive them, just as God is said to show divine mercy and forgive sinners. When An Essay on Criticism was published in 1711, the English spelling of the word human was humane and it was common to capitalize the first letter of many words. Thus, in its original form, Pope’s line about erring humans was: “To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine.”

        • Here’s an even better one:
          “To err may be human, but to admit it isn’t.”
                 Herbert V. Prochnow (1897-1998)

  8. actually the concept of evolution goes way back to socrates it seems. so the idea of it is even more venerable and thus more authenic!

  9. did you fellas fall asleep?
    i was wondering if you two could tell me what caused the big bang?
    the comments were flying fast and furious and now they have conspicuously stopped!
    Well, i am waiting….
    get back to me on that one, will ya?

  10. “It reeks of special pleading in hopes that you can somehow twist the evidence to fit your pre-ordained conclusion.”
    what??!!
    What evidence am i trying to twist? There is no evidence, remember?
    Calm down, richard.

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