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Superheroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the is-this-thing-on dept.

Idle 631

sv_libertarian writes "They've faced down humans time and time again, but Fred Phelps and his minions from the Westboro Baptist Church were not ready for the cosplay action that awaited them at Comic-Con. After all, who can win against a counter-protest that includes robots, magical anime girls, Trekkies, Jedi, and... kittens?"

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631 comments

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Worthless summary (3, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#33018184)

I had to actually RTFA. *angry face*

Re:Worthless summary (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33019750)

I think you mean >:-(

Re:Worthless summary (2, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019830)

I saw kdawson and just ignored the entire thing...up until I saw your comment. Then I just *had* to say something...but I forgot what.

Re:Worthless summary (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33019876)

Really? How so? OK, I actually saw this on Pharyngula earlier already, so I knew what it was about, but the summary did mention:

1) Fred Phelps (we all know who he is, right? The "GOD HATES FAGS" guy who will picket the funerals of fallen soldiers and all that.)
2) Counter-protests.
3) Specifically, counter-protests that included cosplay, at Comic-Con.

Yeah, you don't get all the details in TFA from TFS, but it's not actually a bad summary as far as the basics are concerned.

Re:Worthless summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33019914)

I was all like who and what, and then I was more like WTF?

Re:Worthless summary (1, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020134)

This shouldn't even be a story. Not even on idle.

Fred Phelps and his followers should be dragged out behind the barn, and put out of everyone's misery.

People claim that violence has never solved anything - but a good, solid dose lead in his ear would solve all of Phelp's problems.

Heh (2, Interesting)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#33018190)

I rather liked the guy dressed as bender with a sign that said kill all humans. Honestly people should get together and do stuff like this more often it makes for some rather amusing pictures. perhaps even the people who are serious protesters will realize how crazy out their they are.

Re:Heh (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33018246)

Or the serious / crazy protesters might conclude that the Bender / etc. guys are serious (Poe's Law) - do we really want that? ;p

Re:Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33019814)

If I hadn't seen that smiley I would've thought you were serious! :)

Re:Heh (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019862)

i guess its not a question of want, but of inevitability...

Not bloody likely... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019964)

perhaps even the people who are serious protesters will realize how crazy out their they are.

http://idle.slashdot.org/story/10/07/14/1235220/Given-Truth-the-Misinformed-Believe-Lies-More [slashdot.org]

Re:Not bloody likely... (1)

dens (98172) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020044)

The other problem in the US is that advertisers can basically say anything. You can make an ad stating that you run a network of psychics, that your political opponent is a child molester, just about anything at all. The only retribution may be that people will complain after the fact, but that doesn't stop you from getting complete bullshit on the air. Many people will believe anything said or shown on TV as facts.

If Trekkies and Jedi can work together (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33018198)

I think there may be hope for the middle east.

Re:If Trekkies and Jedi can work together (4, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#33018222)

I think there may be hope for the middle east.

Except if you had RTFA, you'd note that the Trekkie was holding a sign that said "God Hates Jedi". I think he was one of the serious protesters, but got lumped in with the comic-con spoofers.

Re:If Trekkies and Jedi can work together (1, Insightful)

xenobyte (446878) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019972)

Actually I think he was a spoofer, playing on the age-old Trek vs. Wars feud. After all, true Trekkies hate Star Wars and all things from that universe, the Jedi in particular. Also bear in mind that the Church of Jedi have been officially recognized as a church now, which makes the "God Hates Jedi" a pretty obvious slogan... ;)
 

slightly funny, but kind of predictable by now (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#33018244)

Satirical counterprotests of Fred Phelps are getting a bit boring, aren't they? That's basically what everyone [chicagomaroon.com] does these [venganza.org] days when they show up [laughingsquid.com] .

Re:slightly funny, but kind of predictable by now (5, Insightful)

AlecC (512609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019770)

So what? Freedom needs to be continually fought for; if you ignore Phelps and give him no opposition, his viewpoint will gradually become more and more accepted; people will think him "normal" even if they don't agree with him. And good humoured satire seems to me the very best way to deal with him. Amusing, photogenic to spread the word, and non-confrontational. Freedom of speed (correctly) allows him to express his loathsome opinions - it should be used to provide the counterbalance.

I particularly liked "Odin is God - read The Mighty Thor #5". It beautifully encapsulates the curcularity of the bible bashers arguments.

Re:slightly funny, but kind of predictable by now (1)

thrawn_aj (1073100) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019832)

Laughter shall destroy the tyrant.
- old jungle saying

_______
extra credit for guessing the source =)

Re:slightly funny, but kind of predictable by now (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019934)

Satirical counterprotests of Fred Phelps are getting a bit boring, aren't they?

They're orders of magnitude more entertaining than continually being confronted by idiots holding signs saying "god hates fags". Yeah? Well, God is dead, and the fags are still here. Long live advertising!

Re:slightly funny, but kind of predictable by now (1)

Froboz23 (690392) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019944)

Fred Phelps and the crazy guy from Poltergeist II.

http://totallylookslike.com/upcoming/?pid=10073 [totallylookslike.com]

Coincidence? I think not!

But not all the counter protesters are satirical. God really does hate the new Facebook.

Re:slightly funny, but kind of predictable by now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33020212)

A better Phelps counterprotest in two words:

Shotgun. Massacre.

Still doing that? (0, Troll)

Paxinum (1204260) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019754)

I can't believe people still are religious in public. That is like telling everyone you have aids. FYI: I am from Sweden.

Re:Still doing that? (5, Interesting)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019804)

I'm a Christian, and am not embarrassed to admit it. I'm embarrassed by these assholes, though. (Atheists often think that Christian == fundamentalist, which simply isn't true.)

I'm not sure it's more logical to say that the universe created itself than it was created by someone, but to each his own, I guess.

I actually saw them today at the con, holding up a Jesus Is Lord sign, as a bunch of cosplaying executioners paraded around. I didn't know it was the Westborough asshats, or I'd have had words with them, like my pastor did with some similar guys protesting outside the Percy Jackson and the Harry Potter Ripoffs movie.

Re:Still doing that? (-1, Flamebait)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019846)

(Atheists often think that Christian == fundamentalist, which simply isn't true.)

No, no, we do not think all of you are fundamentalists, However, we do think you are all delusional.

Re:Still doing that? (4, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019890)

>>However, we do think you are all delusional.

And you also get upset when theists call you asshats, am I right? (Do you never wonder why?)

Honestly, I think the arguments for the existence of God are more compelling than the opposite, but doing your dickwad atheist bit isn't a good counterargument.

Dawkins has made being-an-asshole-to-theists his raison d'etre, but it neither makes him right, nor even sound particularly smart. His arguments are laughably bad when he strays outside the area he knows (evolutionary biology) and into a region he knows nothing about (theology). To be fair, though - he's still not as stupid as the Westborough fuckers.

Re:Still doing that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33019948)

>Honestly, I think the arguments for the existence of God are more compelling than the opposite, but doing your dickwad atheist bit isn't a good counterargument.

What are the arguments for the existence of "God" that you think are so compelling?

Re:Still doing that? (5, Informative)

PBoyUK (1591865) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019992)

Better to be considered an asshat by someone who is clearly delusional, than being delusional yourself - or enabling their delusions at the cost to society as a whole. Religion needs put down, hard. The best single argument for me against faith has been one posited by Hitchens in part 2 of a debate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYaQpRZJl18&feature=related [youtube.com] (part1) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkHuvErbpd0&NR=1 [youtube.com] (part 2). The idea that existence of this sort of god being "compelling" is more absurd than belief in astrology, reading the future in tea-leaves and various other nonsense.

Re:Still doing that? (0, Flamebait)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020090)

>>Religion needs put down, hard.

Religion has, historically speaking, been the greatest force for good our planet has ever seen.

Hitchens is a frothing moron who doesn't know the first thing about what he's talking about - his sole tactic is to sound British and snotty when talking about religion. I've watched several dozens of his debates online, especially with Dinesh D'Souza (who doesn't do an especially good job defending Christianity), and I've yet to see him put together a single cogent argument. Other than, I suppose, the fact that he'll sneer at you if you believe.

Re:Still doing that? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33020158)

>>Religion has, historically speaking, been the greatest force for good our planet has ever seen.
[citation needed]

>>Hitchens is a frothing moron who doesn't know the first thing about what he's talking about - his sole tactic is to sound British and snotty when talking about religion.
Ad hominem isn't a real argument.

>>I've yet to see him put together a single cogent argument.
What's not cogent about the arguments put forth in the videos linked just now?

Re:Still doing that? (-1, Flamebait)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020210)

>>>>Religion has, historically speaking, been the greatest force for good our planet has ever seen.
>>[citation needed]

Yay, the ignorant are coming out of the woodwork.

If you haven't ever studied history, and just listened to your fellow atheists bitch about how religion hates sciences and is holding the world back, then you have an excuse for that. Otherwise, sorry. You're an ignoramus.

Pretty much our entire system of natural rights is based on being endowed by their creator (sound familiar), so not even a government can take them away. Contrast this with countries that did not develop with a Christian heritage, and see how far your civil rights go there.

The notion of Universal Charity was really Jesus' revolutionary message, and it really did transform the world, causing more good as a result of it than any other single idea.

Hitchens, by contrast, think that it is the worst thing that has ever happened to the world. This is (in part) why I said he's a frothing moron. He speaks and writes books that are at complete odds with history.

Re:Still doing that? (2, Insightful)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019994)

What if there were a single cause for many of the world's ills in both the social and personal spheres, from overpopulation, ecological destruction, ethnic violence and hatred, to addictions, conflicts between the sexes, the breakdown of the family, and even why it feels good to be bad? Sound too simplistic or far-fetched? A core underlying cause of all these problems is hidden authoritarianism.
Buying into, communism, spiritual cults, organized religion, UFO cults, therapy cults, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Hitler or other authority beliefs where there is an unchallengeable book, ideology or leader generates self mistrust. It makes a person feel fundamentally mentally flawed. It causes you to look at evidence, logic, reason and what your mind would say is true, as garbage, you can not trust in, if it doesn't fit, the authority belief you bought into. These authority beliefs are social viruses that, like a computer virus, makes our basic human operating system dysfunctional. Just as a computer operating system controls how the parts work together, they say, moral codes provide the operating system both for self-control and social interaction. When the operating system is faulty, this produces distortions and malfunctions at all levels. As with computers, unmasking and decoding a virus allows one to disempower it. Buying into any religion does away with trust in your own mind and does away with uncorrupted critical thinking. Buying into an authority belief makes you a mental vegetable. The answer is to have courage enough to think for yourself.

http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9671.htm [positiveatheism.org]

Re:Still doing that? (0)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020078)

>>A core underlying cause of all these problems is hidden authoritarianism.

Oh my science!

Hidden authoritarianism is the secret cause for the battle of the sexes? I must weed this out of my life right this instant, so my wife will never argue with me again!

>>Buying into any religion does away with trust in your own mind and does away with uncorrupted critical thinking.

It sounds like you threw out the religion alongside your braincells. Honestly, I'd love to quote you so I can use you as a counter-strawman on the IIDB whenever they toss out some fundie speaker.

Re:Still doing that? (1, Informative)

Micah (278) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020120)

> Buying into any religion does away with trust in your own mind and does away with uncorrupted critical thinking.

I would challenge that. It may be true if you buy into the religion blindly which, of course, many do. But a number of intellectuals, by applying critical thinking, have come to the conclusion that the God of the Bible really does exist. CS Lewis is an obvious example.

I believe that is the case for me. I like to think, and my thinking has led me to the conclusion that there must be something behind the universe, and that of all the religions vying the explain that Something, historic Christianity wins by a mile.

When you're convinced that Christianity is true, there is still a lot of room for critical thought. I like to think about theology and debate various theological positions.

Also, I can trust in my mind because I believe I am made in the image of God. It is God's nature to be rational and He has created us with rational minds. On the other hand, if matter is all there is and we are here only because of chance, how can we trust our minds?

Re:Still doing that? (2, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020046)

"And you also get upset when theists call you asshats, am I right? (Do you never wonder why?)"

Nope. Theists are deluded, what can one expect from them?

"Dawkins has made being-an-asshole-to-theists his raison d'etre, but it neither makes him right, nor even sound particularly smart. His arguments are laughably bad when he strays outside the area he knows (evolutionary biology) and into a region he knows nothing about (theology). To be fair, though - he's still not as stupid as the Westborough fuckers."

Hm? How do you measure qualifications in theology? So far, I haven't been able to discern 'good' theologists from 'bad' ones.

Re:Still doing that? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020180)

>>Hm? How do you measure qualifications in theology? So far, I haven't been able to discern 'good' theologists from 'bad' ones.

How do you measure qualification in any field of literature analysis - such as Redology, the study of A Dream of Red Mansions (an actual field of study in China)?

Hermeneutics and Exegesis.

You can read more about these topics online.

Re:Still doing that? (0, Troll)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020052)

And you also get upset when theists call you asshats, am I right? (Do you never wonder why?)

Actually, no, I do not get called an ass very often. And for those instances it does occur, I generally do not feel offended, but rather confirmed in my world view. For what it matters, I really do not care about your belief, and I sure as hell will express my views about it.

Honestly, I think the arguments for the existence of God are more compelling than the opposite, but doing your dickwad atheist bit isn't a good counterargument.

Well, forwarding an argument without presenting the arguments is kinda weak. In my opinion, you would rather have 2 plus 2 being 5 for any large values of 2, regardless of the obvious futility of doing so blinding your eyes.

Dawkins has made being-an-asshole-to-theists his raison d'etre, but it neither makes him right, nor even sound particularly smart. His arguments are laughably bad when he strays outside the area he knows (evolutionary biology) and into a region he knows nothing about (theology). To be fair, though - he's still not as stupid as the Westborough fuckers.

Beware of the spaghetti monster. It is coming to get us all real soon now. Repent while you still can and get some tomato sauce with that if you please.

Re:Still doing that? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020168)

>>Beware of the spaghetti monster. It is coming to get us all real soon now. Repent while you still can and get some tomato sauce with that if you please.

You know that Dawkins made the argument that religion doesn't really change the way we act? Therefore, eating all the pasta I can won't make me fat. I love being a spaghetti monster atheist!

Re:Still doing that? (1)

Dumnezeu (1673634) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020056)

You should realize that atheists bring actual arguments and use logic, not a bunch of stupid excuses that have no chance of being considered logical arguments [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Still doing that? (2, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020124)

>>You should realize that atheists bring actual arguments and use logic, not a bunch of stupid excuses that have no chance of being considered logical arguments.

There's logic and valid arguments on both sides, as well as a bunch of emotivism and bad arguments. I'd recommend reading Peter Kreeft's list of arguments on both sides. He goes into pretty comprehensive detail breaking down the arguments for and against on both sides.

Islamic thinkers used pure reason to derive the fact that our universe had to have an origin, and thus that the universe tended to show evidence of God, rather than the opposite... back in the middle ages. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalam_cosmological_argument)

Scientists, especially atheist scientists, used their "faith" that God doesn't exist to try to constantly prove that the universe was eternal. Einstein was guilty of this, and the Big Bang got its name from Hoyle, an atheist scientist, derisively mocking the notion the universe had an origin (because he felt it would strongly imply that God existed).

I'm sure these arguments don't fit into the pretty little preconstructed world you've built for yourself, so please feel free to continue deluding yourself that scientists are the shining beacon of logic in an otherwise inhospitable world.

Re:Still doing that? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020136)

^scientists are the^atheist scientists are the^

4:24AM is not the best time to be trying to write, sigh...

Re:Still doing that? (1)

terjeber (856226) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020074)

I think the arguments for the existence of God are more compelling than the opposite

Which is the exact description of your delusion. You see, there is not a single argument for the existence of God. Not one. Simply because the "existence of God" idea is not even close to being defined to the level where an argument for or against it can be made.

As someone smart once said - and I am paraphrasing - you are not even wrong.

Re:Still doing that? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020150)

>>You see, there is not a single argument for the existence of God. Not one.

I don't think you meant to say that, but I'll flame you anyway.

There's lots of arguments for the existence of God. More than one, in fact.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existence_of_God#Arguments_for_the_existence_of_God [wikipedia.org]

You probably meant to say that there's no *valid* arguments, because you wrongly think it is impossible to define what God is, but I'd recommend you get reading. The wikipedia articles are okay, but I'd recommend Peter Kreeft's good list of arguments for and against the existence of God. He does an outstanding job breaking them down and analyzing them for validity.

Re:Still doing that? (1)

kyriosdelis (1100427) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020216)

His arguments are laughably bad when he strays outside the area he knows (evolutionary biology) and into a region he knows nothing about (theology).

You, sir, need to read The Courtier's Reply [scienceblogs.com] :

I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion; Dawkins cavalierly dismisses them all. He even laughs at the highly popular and most persuasive arguments of his fellow countryman, Lord D. T. Mawkscribbler, who famously pointed out that the Emperor would not wear common cotton, nor uncomfortable polyester, but must, I say must, wear undergarments of the finest silk.

Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.

Personally, I suspect that perhaps the Emperor might not be fully clothed — how else to explain the apparent sloth of the staff at the palace laundry — but, well, everyone else does seem to go on about his clothes, and this Dawkins fellow is such a rude upstart who lacks the wit of my elegant circumlocutions, that, while unable to deal with the substance of his accusations, I should at least chide him for his very bad form.

Until Dawkins has trained in the shops of Paris and Milan, until he has learned to tell the difference between a ruffled flounce and a puffy pantaloon, we should all pretend he has not spoken out against the Emperor's taste. His training in biology may give him the ability to recognize dangling genitalia when he sees it, but it has not taught him the proper appreciation of Imaginary Fabrics.

Re:Still doing that? (1)

pagaboy (1029878) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019922)

Fundamentalists that see non-fundamentalists as deluded; atheists that see non-atheists as deluded. Pick your side and brandish your billboard.

Dude, that was rude. (5, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020088)

However, we do think you are all delusional.

Fellow atheist here. Although, I prefer to say "I don't believe in God." instead. Yeah, I'm an atheist but atheism is developing its own dogmatism and I'm not interested, so I'm trying to distance myself from it.

Anyway, getting in people's faces about their religion is as bad as when religious folks get in ours about our lack of belief. If we show more respect for one another,maybe,just maybe most folks will chill.

Sure, there still will be the Phelps crowd and others who will have a problem, but if you'll notice, even folks of the same faith consider them (Phelps' crowd) to be kooks.

Re:Dude, that was rude. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020172)

"I'm an atheist but atheism is developing its own dogmatism and I'm not interested, so I'm trying to distance myself from it."

I'm not so sure that's true. I think it's more that those with an agenda have mischaracterised atheists to the extent that people like you (understandably) don't wish to be associated with the straw man that's constantly thrown your way.

The problem with showing respect to religious folks is the asshattery that goes on and is justified by it all. Or the superior attitude you get from some of 'em. Other folks, who are religious in a quiet, studied or reasonable way I have less problem with.

Re:Dude, that was rude. (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020176)

I prefer to say "I don't believe in God." instead

Myself I prefer to say "I don't believe in an anthropomorphic god".

It's a fact that the universe exists and *something* caused the universe to exist. This something could be the laws of physics or some hitherto unknown mathematical or logical principle. You are welcome to call that principle "god" if you wish.

But to extend that basic principle to some super-accountant being somewhere who's keeping tabs on everything we do and will intervene in our existence if we nag him enough and will punish those of us who don't praise him enough...

Re:Still doing that? (5, Informative)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019850)

I'm not sure it's more logical to say that the universe created itself than it was created by someone, but to each his own, I guess.

Actually, it kind of is. See Occam's Razor. To elaborate, if the universe needed to be created by something, and that something was God, then God also needed to be created by something. If God didn't need to be created by something, then there's no reason why the universe would need to be.

Re:Still doing that? (2, Interesting)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019866)

>>To elaborate, if the universe needed to be created by something, and that something was God, then God also needed to be created by something

Only if it is necessary that both the universe and God be created. The universe with its one-dimensional timeline is pretty clear to have had an origin (with the big bang), it's unclear if it is necessary for an entity existing outside of time to be created.

In other words, it's not an especially compelling analogy between the two.

Re:Still doing that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33019886)

Actually, atheists aren't saying that the universe created itself. All they say is that from the data we have as of today, it seems the universe was born in a kind of big explosion they decided to call the "Big Bang". What caused it is completely out of our reach right now, we can only make wild speculations about it. Until we have some data that can help us understand what happened, we're in the dark.
The idea of a human-looking god, is equally probable as the string theory (though, here, the maths kinda work) or a turtle-looking god, for what we know.

Re:Still doing that? (5, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019900)

I'm a Christian, and am not embarrassed to admit it. I'm embarrassed by these assholes, though. (Atheists often think that Christian == fundamentalist, which simply isn't true.)

I'm not sure it's more logical to say that the universe created itself than it was created by someone, but to each his own, I guess.

Funny how you can contradict yourself in two sentences.

It's always simpler to say the universe created itself than to say something else first created itself and later created the universe.

I consider myself a Christian in the sense that I've read the Bible and believe Jesus taught the right lessons in ethics. But I'm perfectly able to separate the Genesis from Jesus. I refuse to accept a Middle Age transcript of a Bronze Age legend as some kind of fundamental truth in the same way I accept "love thy neighbor" as fundamental truth.

I doubt that an anthropomorphic god such as postulated by the Christian churches exist. i even doubt that the man Jesus was someone who actually lived on earth. Call me an Atheist Christian if you wish.

I believe the New Testament was a compilation of teachings by some Jewish scholars somewhere in Israel two thousand years ago but, no matter where those ideas came from, there's good value in them, if you can interpret them right.

Re:Still doing that? (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019928)

I consider myself a Christian in the sense that I've read the Bible and believe Jesus taught the right lessons in ethics.

By that logic I'm a christian. Personally I think this is the worst case of selective doctrine I've ever seen.

Re:Still doing that? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020058)

>>It's always simpler to say the universe created itself than to say something else first created itself and later created the universe.

No, it's really not simpler. Our universe has a one-dimensional timeline, which means there's a definite beginning to it.

It makes absolutely no sense to say that our universe created itself, and does makes sense to say it had an origin in something outside of the universe.

This doesn't imply an anthropomorphic God, but a sort of Deistic Creator... much more plausible than "nothing" (which is the atheists' option of choice).

Re:Still doing that? (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020224)

Our universe has a one-dimensional timeline, which means there's a definite beginning to it

All we know is that a significant event we call the "Big Bang" occurred and we have no visibility before that. For all we know, the universe could perfectly well have existed before the big bang, it could have existed forever without ever having been created.

This in no way contradict the laws of physics as we know them. It's like a black hole, we have no visibility beyond the event horizon, but we cannot state that nothing exists inside that horizon.

Re:Still doing that? (1)

kindbud (90044) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019966)

I'm not sure it's more logical to say that the universe created itself than it was created by someone, but to each his own, I guess.

Yeah sure, reality is simply a matter of personal preference.

Re:Still doing that? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020048)

>>Yeah sure, reality is simply a matter of personal preference.

Based on the current science, yeah. It seems more likely the universe had a starting point than it being eternally existing. If you have any counter-evidence, I'd love to see it.

Re:Still doing that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33019974)

Believing in invisible men in the sky that will reward you if your good is on par with believing in leprechauns or wish granting genies. Oddly, it is socially acceptable to admit to only one of those things.

Re:Still doing that? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020032)

>>Believing in invisible men in the sky that will reward you if your good is on par with believing in leprechauns or wish granting genies. Oddly, it is socially acceptable to admit to only one of those things.

Says the Anonymous Coward, posting on a forum where I guarantee you the strong majority will be atheists replying to my post.

There's several levels of irony and hypocrisy there, but it's 4AM and I have yet more Comicon photos to upload...

Re:Still doing that? (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020000)

(Atheists often think that Christian == fundamentalist, which simply isn't true.)

All the good ones are.

The rest is just watering down their religion for general acceptance!

I beg to differ (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020020)

All the good Christians are the ones who dump the violent, prejudiced, intolerant bullshit that infests any religion and concentrate on DOING GOOD. And yes, I'm an atheist, I don't need the threat of punishment to do good.

Two word : infinite regress (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33020002)

I could also have used "lack of evidence for any gods". Or even "you are atheist too, you disbelieve in thousand of gods, I disbelieve in just 1 more than you". Basically the GP had it right. There is no rationality in having faith. None whatsover. Which is fine as a personal choice, as long as it STAYS personal, and don't try to ruin the life of others, or refuse them equal SECULAR rights. Just don't claim to have done a rational choice, it is a terrible lie.

Re:Two word : infinite regress (2, Insightful)

dens (98172) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020076)

Many Americans are confused and think the Bible is the basis of American law or that we are a Christian nation. Which is amazing, since everyone should learn/have learned in history class in school that we are founded on a secular constitution that specifies that religion must not be used for law making or as a test for holding any office.

Re:Still doing that? (5, Insightful)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020116)

The problem with religion is this.

Let's say that we accept the theory that something needed to jumpstart the universe, and that thing does not necessarily have to follow the same rules the universe does (and thus doesn't need a creator of it's own).

What reason exactly do we have to believe that thing is the biblical god?

Couldn't it just aswell have been Zeus? Odin?

Are the Muslims right? Jews? Christians? Buddhists? Tao?

The only sane position to take is that they're all wrong, and while there might exist an omnipotent entity, it's insane to think he gives a fuck about you following a religion.

Re:Still doing that? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020162)

>>Let's say that we accept the theory that something needed to jumpstart the universe, and that thing does not necessarily have to follow the same rules the universe does (and thus doesn't need a creator of it's own).

Indeed. The First Cause argument is not proof that God exists, merely is a point in favor for God existing. If the universe was eternal, it'd be a point against Christianity (and a point for Buddhism - see how this works?)

Some philosophers have argued that anything powerful enough to create the universe is, at very least, Godlike in power. But I suppose we all just just be a computer simulation running on an Apple 2e in some kid's elementary school lunch break, in a higher dimension. Some people even say that Quantization is evidence of this.

Re:Still doing that? (2, Insightful)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020190)

Yes, but that wasn't the point. Suppose we accept that this entity exists, what makes Christianity in particular correct?

Re:Still doing that? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020214)

>>Yes, but that wasn't the point. Suppose we accept that this entity exists, what makes Christianity in particular correct?

Nothing. You're absolutely right that it could just as easily be Odin or whoever.

You need different arguments to argue for Christianity in preference to other options. The First Cause argument alone doesn't get you there.

Re:Still doing that? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020218)

I'm a Christian, and am not embarrassed to admit it. I'm embarrassed by these assholes, though.

But you don't do enough to stop these fundamentalist hate-mongers, though. So because you're not actively speaking out against them, you are implicitly supporting them.

  (Atheists often think that Christian == fundamentalist, which simply isn't true.)

Atheists and Christians alike (certainly the more fundamentalist end of atheism and Christianity) think that Muslim == fundamentalist, which is also not true. Yet somehow you hear them clamouring for Muslims to be constantly opposing the extremist fundamentalists. It's got to work both ways.

Me, I'm a militant fundamentalist agnostic.

Re:Still doing that? (1)

dens (98172) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020054)

Sadly, in the US it's still the other way around. Most atheists here are still in the closet due to peer pressure or simply think of them as agnostics and don't realize or care that the world around them is still controlled by religion. If we banded together to form political groups as Richard Dawkins suggest, we could have a very powerful lobby with many millions of members.

Puzzled in Portugal (4, Funny)

Sr. Zezinho (16813) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019762)

I don't understand Americans. Why don't you just beat them up?

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019778)

Trolling is encouraged by the US legal system:

A trolls B

B hits A

A sues B for one million dollars.

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019790)

You mean:

A trolls B
B sues A for libel/slander/defamation

OR

A trolls B
B sues A for trademark/copyright infringement

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019820)

Well good but up the page [venganza.org] :

The father of a Marine whose funeral was picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church says an order to pay the protesters’ legal costs in a civil claim is nothing less than a “slap in the face.”

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

Kongming (448396) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019980)

B sues A for libel/slander/defamation

Actually, the US is not particularly bad in the libel/slander/defamation department. For example, US law places the burden of proof on the plaintiff to show that the defendant's statements about them are demonstrably false. In fact, there is a law in progress [guardian.co.uk] intended to shield US citizens from libel lawsuits originating in countries like England [wikipedia.org] where the accused is actually expected to prove the truth of their statements about the accuser.

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020220)

Personally I think I prefer the English law. I hate newspapers that publish all sorts of trash about people without being able to back it up.

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019818)

Trolling is encouraged by the US legal system:

A trolls B

B hits A

A sues B for one million dollars.

I could say that that is the problem with the US... however, I won't. Not in this case at least. The problem with the US in this case is that your police and court are too scared to deal with the idiots int he first place, since it's a "religion"... over here, the Westboro "Baptist Church" would have been labeled as a hate group, and been refused permission to demonstrate...

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (4, Insightful)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019892)

Religion or not hate is hate. Religion needs to stop getting treated specially.

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (2, Insightful)

Froboz23 (690392) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019984)

This is not a religious issue. It's a free speech issue. These morons are no better or worse than neo-Nazi groups.

The best solution in this case can be gleaned from MMORPGs. Just put them on your ignore list.

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020022)

So kill them, and do it without witnesses

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020082)

Oh hi there Hans how's it going?

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020174)

lol - busy redefining my priorities

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33019782)

Why don't you just beat them up?

My thoughts exactly. Could it be because they sold their legal system for cheaper hamburgers, I dont know....

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

hldn (1085833) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019906)

in america, we have this awesome thing where people are allowed to express their opinions whether you think they're batshit insane or not.

i'd rather not have someone else decide which opinions are worthy of expression, as someday it may be my opinion that isn't popular.

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

conares (1045290) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020014)

With great power comes great responsibility.. or some shit like that... Just because can doesnt mean you should, morals your parents and/or school should have thought you that.

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020086)

This is allowed pretty much everywhere in the West, provided you're not purposefully overly offensive, or openly practising hate speech against someone.

And forgive me for assuming that "god hates gays" etc is hate speech. I'm sure it's just an innocent opinion and has no intention of abusing your system in an obvious way to attract attention to an even more obvious attention whore.

Really, where does free speech end and abuse of another person begin? The freedom is only good as long as you don't abuse it to harm another, after that it's just another path to anarchy and law of the jungle.

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (0)

terjeber (856226) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020118)

This is allowed pretty much everywhere in the West

BZZT! WRONG! Take it from someone who lived ten years in the US and have now moved back to Europe. We do not have a fraction of the free speech practiced every day in the US. Europe is moving faster and faster into a totalitarian state with a more and more socialist bureaucracy at the helm. Look at how they threatened and threatened the Irish to accept the European constitution. Only because the Irish government actually dared oppose the bureaucrats and actually hold a referendum on it. In the rest of Europe the governments bent to the will of the tyrants and eventually disallowed any public input into the process at all, let alone giving the public an opportunity to vote on it.

Sorry, but Europe is a long step away from democracy, and moving further and further away from it as we speak.

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020156)

in america, we have this awesome thing where people are allowed to express their opinions whether you think they're batshit insane or not.

i'd rather not have someone else decide which opinions are worthy of expression, as someday it may be my opinion that isn't popular.

Funny thing is, we do so over here too (ref Article 100 [stortinget.no] ), without having the need for designated 'free speech zones [wikipedia.org] ' (rather, the whole country is one). We do however realize that allowing people to publicly promote hatred, unrest and in general stirring up a shit storm is a Bad Thing.

And while Norway grants you the right to mean whatever you like, that does not give you a charte blance to break the laws... and inciting hatred on basis of gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual preference is most assuredly illegal (fines and/or jail).

To put things into perspective: Neo-Nazis, Communists and other far out groups routinely apply for, and is granted, permission to demonstrate (a minor police matter, usually granted within the hour by the local police). The WBC would most likely be denied one, since having them demonstrate would most likely lead to a breach of the public peace - ie: the WBC breaking the law...

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020012)

Why don't you just beat them up?

Because a system that allows people to freely express their opinions is less likely to spawn people who impose their own opinions [wikipedia.org] on others.

Re:Puzzled in Portugal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33020160)

I'm also from Portugal and I do understand why they don't beat those idiots. The thing is, you don't understand them because you don't understand what's this thing called freedom of speech, the implications of not having it and the consequences of not upholding that right. But just to jiggle your understanding of this issue, do you believe that it's OK if people like me have the right to beat up you, along with your family, just because you had the audacity of claiming something that personally I don't agree? Think about it for a second.

Frankly I find it terribly disturbing that you don't understand the importance of having freedom of speech. Considering our nation's recent history of censorship, political persecution, torture, violence, political assassinations and all around oppression, we as a nation have the duty of understanding how vital and fundamental that value is.

Phelps is a hero! (1, Informative)

WittyName (615844) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019794)

He is a retired lawyer, two of his kids are lawyers too. He has this wonderful way of tying the government in knots. For instance his clan/cult have a big house. This is a church. The swimming pool is a baptismal font. All income is tax free due to being a religion. IRS was not pleased, but he beat them.

His views are totally wacko but playing the govt off against itself is just awesome.

Really? (5, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019936)

So when you pay your taxes and you read of some lawyer or accountant who weasels his way into not paying any, this makes him a hero?

As someone's sig says "taxes buy civilisation". Phelps wants it both ways: he wants the Government to let him sue anyone who crosses him, and he doesn't want to pay for it. This, in my book, makes him a leech.

Re:Phelps is a hero! (5, Insightful)

dens (98172) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020010)

Just imagine how much less national debt we would have if religions had to pay taxes. Why do we continue to give religion special status that they earned when belief was compulsory and religion controlled politics? Oh wait, in the US, religion still does control politics. Any politician who is willing to demonstrate that he is a reasonable thinking person by publicly professing non-belief in the supernatural will likely lose elections.

Re:Phelps is a hero! (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020072)

Just imagine how much less national debt we would have if religions had to pay taxes.

Just imagine how much less national debt we would have if corporations had to pay taxes.

Re:Phelps is a hero! (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020112)

so remove the exemption for religion then

God Hates Haters. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33019822)

God Hates Haters.

So proud to be a nerd today (1)

Baron W.H.I.T.I.E. (1825862) | more than 4 years ago | (#33019924)

just sayin

Why so much coverage? (1)

Teppy (105859) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020042)

This "church" consists of about two dozen members, and about half of those are Fred Phelps' family. Yet they get tremendous amounts of coverage, usually with a "dangerous new trend developing" tone to it.

I should do the same - dream up some ridiculous position to advocate and then see if I can get CNN to cover it. Maybe I'll start a group demanding that gorillas get the right to vote, or that we execute illegal immigrants, or insisting that everyone adopt a strict fruitarian diet like this guy [blogspot.com] .

I bet I could pull it off. If I didn't have anything productive to do.

Re:Why so much coverage? (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020080)

Easy traffic for your crappy blog / news channel, ain't it?

Sage (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020122)

fucking cancer, all of it

/me sighs. (3, Informative)

antdude (79039) | more than 4 years ago | (#33020146)

I am a Christian and I love superheroes. I know a lot of people who do too.
In fact, my church's pastor talked about Superman and Spider-Man in his last Sunday's sermon! http://www.evfreefullerton.com/audio/cel/2010/cel_071810.mp3 [evfreefullerton.com] for the audio sermon recording.

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