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Monday, October 13, 2008

Another Quote mine? Naaahhhh

Thanks to Don and Chuck for putting Thomas Nagels quote into perspective.

"IN SPEAKING OF THE FEAR OF RELIGION, I don't mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper -- namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God, and naturally, hope there is no God. I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that." -- Thomas Nagel.

*sigh* It saddens me, because a True Christian(TM) wouldn't be so dishonest. So Ray's going to burn for eternity. Repent, Ray, before it's too late.

EDIT: Since this post, Ray Comfort has silently updated the original post to include the entire context.
"Congratulations Ray: you're an asshole!" (Extra points if you've seen Episode 87 of bonus stage and know what I'm refering to)

Anyone gullible enough to think he really understands what Nagel is saying here? I think Steven J put it best:

"This raises the question, what does Nagel think a universe with God would be like, that he does not want the universe to be like that? You presumably suppose that he means that he does not wish to be accountable for his sins, but the passage quoted does not imply that.

After all, one doesn't just "believe in God;" one believes particular things about God. Some creationists believe that God created the universe with the appearance of a false (apparently evolutionary) history, weaving one vast and superfluous lie into the very fabric of the heavens and the Earth. One ought to understand why a philosopher would object to that sort of universe and that sort of God." -- Steven J


  1. Ray is such a little bitch. I bet he got his ass kicked daily when he was in school.

  2. By the way... If I were a true believer I wouldn't think of ray as a christian. I'd say he's anti Christ.

  3. Does anyone have a running tally of all the times he's done this? It would be interesting to see a blog post of them all...that might take up a lot of room though!

  4. First, I apologize. I've blatantly jumped off the wagon and am actively posting at Ray's funhouse.

    I'm so weak :p

    Second, I just responded to Steven J's comment about the context (and not thinking the waylaid text was significant). I'm curious to see where it leads. Incidentally, I'm also curious to hear why other Raytractors feel it substantially changes the context of Ray's post

    Thirdly, I had done some research on Nagel, and hadn't come across the preceding text. Thanks for finding and restoring it

  5. I don't think the original quote was quote mined, but Ray or Richard Gunther misunderstood what the author was saying.

    The added context makes it clear that the author was not talking about the Christian "God," but rather God is a rather nebulous sense - referring to all of religion and deism alike.

    Christians seem to assume that when we talk about gods or God, we are talking about the same God they believe in.

    Yet, it's funny because if you ask these same people about the Muslim god, they readily admit that the Muslim god is a false god.

    It's only when the atheist or "agnostic" speaks of God do Fundamentalist Christians assume they are speaking of the one, true Christian God.

    In reality, I'd bet atheists view God in a similar sense to the deist perspective.

  6. Rather, what I should say is that the Christian God is such a ridiculous concept that atheists don't consider it a plausible or reasonable notion of God if such a being could exist.

    So I think atheists tend to use the word, "God," in a more deist fashion when the word is used without a specific Christian or religious context.

  7. Have you every noticed that Ray doesn't post much in the threads?
    If he posts a comment in the threads, he can't edit it. If he makes a post, he CAN edit it. There are 3 examples of Ray-edits on his front page now that I know of.

  8. Also, the cartoons are added later. This sometimes changes the tone of his posts from "stupid" to "insulting"
    On Ray's little blog he has tried to stack all the chips on his side. He can edit, he can deny comments, he has a team of staff, he can vet the threads deleting comments. (Yes, I have refreshed only to see the number of comments g down!) And he is still having rings run around him. Not just from atheists, but from Christians who believe differently than him.

  9. Kaitlyn said: I think atheists tend to use the word, "God," in a more deist fashion when the word is used without a specific Christian or religious context.

    I actually disagree with you, Kaitlyn. I tend to think that the atheists here know that Ray is talking about the Christian God, and thus when they're asked about whether they think he exists, they generally answer (in effect) "I lack a belief in the God you've described"

    I don't mean to be playing with semantics. I just think it's impossible for weak atheists (who seem to make up the majority here) to conceive of God in the very general sense. This is because you can only lack belief in something that's described to you - and very few people (if any) speak of God in non-specific terms.

    Strong atheists, however - definitely. They *have* to use the deist term when referring to God not existing.

    I dunno - just floating that one out there.


    On topic, does anyone here think the omitted text significantly changes the context of Nagel's quote? I do, but I'm not necessarily confident of this.


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