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June 28, 2003


Richard Dawkins is trying to form some sort of movement to get atheists or non-theists called 'brights'. His explanation:

A triumph of consciousness-raising has been the homosexual hijacking of the word "gay". I used to mourn the loss of gay in (what I still think of as) its true sense. But on the bright side (wait for it) gay has inspired a new imitator, which is the climax of this article. Gay is succinct, uplifting, positive: an "up" word, where homosexual is a down word, and queer, faggot and pooftah are insults. Those of us who subscribe to no religion; those of us whose view of the universe is natural rather than supernatural; those of us who rejoice in the real and scorn the false comfort of the unreal, we need a word of our own, a word like "gay". You can say "I am an atheist" but at best it sounds stuffy (like "I am a homosexual") and at worst it inflames prejudice (like "I am a homosexual").

Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell, of Sacramento, California, have set out to coin a new word, a new "gay". Like gay, it should be a noun hijacked from an adjective, with its original meaning changed but not too much. Like gay, it should be catchy: a potentially prolific meme. Like gay, it should be positive, warm, cheerful, bright.

Bright? Yes, bright. Bright is the word, the new noun

I don't know whether he was off his rocker when he wrote this. I mean, I'm pretty smug about my scientific materialism too, but this sort of campaign makes us non-theists look like dweebs, really. But if you're interested, here is the website. I wouldn't mind getting into this for networking purposes and I don't even disagree with the outreach objectives, but why such a smug name? It makes us look like ... Christian evangelists.

Posted by jason_s at 08:12 PM


I like it, I like it, I like it!

Dawkins and Hitchens: my heroes.

Posted by: friedrich braun at June 28, 2003 08:30 PM

I'm not sure why Jason finds it dweebish. It seems clear that challenging the supernaturalism that pervades so much public discourse is a good idea and if this helps why not?
On the subject of naturalistic views can anyone recommend a single source of concise information about evolution that would be useful for challenging creationists or evol-skeptics? I think one was posted here a while back but I seem to have lost the link.

Posted by: John Purdy at June 28, 2003 08:48 PM

Pooftah?? . . .Must be a British thing. Hopefully "bright" will stay over there too.

Posted by: Jason Malloy at June 28, 2003 08:53 PM


Surely, you must know about Talk.Origins.

Posted by: Jason Malloy at June 28, 2003 08:57 PM

"So, it's a long day at the shrink," he begins. "This guy comes in, hasn't made an appointment, just stands there, panting. The shrink says, 'Can I help you?' More panting. Finally the guy says, 'I'm just a dog.' And the shrink says, 'Well, do you want to get on the couch?' And the guy says: [Pause] 'I'm not allowed on the fucking couch!'"

- Christopher Hitchens


Posted by: friedrich braun at June 28, 2003 09:04 PM


I have no problem with prosletysing scientific materialism but to call yourself 'bright' because you happen to be atheist seems a little self-congratulatory and premature. No doubt the word was chosen because of the current synonym for bright, but I know lots of smart religious people, and there are lots of not too bright atheists (though granted atheists are disproportionately in the bright category).

Friedrich - if you like Dawkins and Hitchens, most of your belief system seems quite admirable. Too bad about the WN bit

Posted by: Jason Soon at June 28, 2003 09:49 PM

Jason M - in Australia it is spelt 'poofter' which frankly lots better than 'pooftah'

Posted by: Jason Soon at June 28, 2003 09:50 PM

"...in Australia it is spelt 'poofter' which frankly lots better than 'pooftah'"

Ditto for Canada.

"Friedrich - if you like Dawkins and Hitchens, most of your belief system seems quite admirable. Too bad about the WN bit"

I'm a very, very, very mild WN :-)

WN is in many resepects born out of sheer frustration. This is how the situation looks to many folks:

Burdensome racial preference schemes in hiring, race-normed employment tests, racial preference schemes in university admissions, racial preference schemes in government contracting and small business loans. Whites pay a proportion of the costs of the welfare state that is disproportionate to what they receive in benefits.
But the most exploitative aspect of the situation is that neither the racial quotas, the business preferences, the loss of freedom of speech, nor the disproportionate contributions to the welfare state have managed to sate the appetites of non-whites.
The more Whites sacrifice, the more non-whites demand. Many Whites are beginning to believe that no amount of tribute, other than mass suicide, would satisfy the non-white demands. If our presence stirs up that much hatred in the hearts of non- whites, then the only sensible course of action is to separate ourselves from them.

Posted by: friedrich braun at June 28, 2003 10:04 PM

Pretty sure Hitchens is not Jewish. "Christopher" would be very assimiliated. Hitchen affects a decadent-Brit-aristocrat air, but it may be just schtick for the US market. For all I know his dad worked in the produce dept.

Posted by: zizka at June 28, 2003 10:21 PM

I assume you're in Canada. It wouldn't seem as if you'd have much of a problem with previously oppressed minorities who have fallen into an underperforming underclass culture as is the case in the US so where does your WN stem from (I'm sure a few thousand Inuits won't blow the budget)?

I'd bet most of the non-whites on GNXP have paid more than their shares of taxes. I pay the top marginal rate and I'm only 28. Not that I'm complaining - happy to pay taxes as long as I'm getting value for money. How many Asians in Canada (where presumably you are) are on welfare? I've probably paid more taxes than the average WN supporter in Australia who's decades older.

I mean let's face it, you're a smart guy but I venture to guess that your average visitor to Stormfront is probably a semi-literate fellow who lives in a mobile home collecting welfare payments.
Also neither Razib, Godless nor I are particularly obssessed with our ethnic heritage - I mean, I think Asian food is supreme but that's about the extent of my tribal loyalties. Again I'd reiterate that the people who tend to be obssessed with their ethnic heritage are people who've either been persecuted heavily because of it in the past (like the Jews) and therefore feel insecure about letting their guard down or else plain losers e.g. the negative correlation between IQ/achievement and dwelling on the past/traditionalism. So I really don't think Western civilisation and modernity has any problems sustaining a migrant intake as long as it consists of cosmopolitan 'symbolic analyst/knowledge worker' types.

Posted by: Jason Soon at June 28, 2003 10:26 PM


Have you seen him in a debate? God he’s good!!! I used to think that Pat Buchanan was a decent debater; that was before I saw the Hitch at work…He DECAPITATES his opponents.

AND HIS WRITING JUST BLOWS MY MIND; it’s hard to believe that one person can have so much wit and erudition.

I also really admire the fact that he’s an independent thinker; very unpredictable.

An example:

HITCHENS KNOWS THAT UTOPIA always turns into a tyranny but does not therefore excuse his readers from thinking that no change can happen to human nature. Nature may be a given, but behavior can be altered: "For the dissenter, the skeptical mentality is at least as important as any armor of principle." And he goes to some length to dissolve the notion that those who don’t believe in what Gore Vidal calls "the Sky Gods" are incapable of standing on principle:

I am not even an atheist so much as an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief, is positively harmful…. I do not envy believers their faith. I am relieved to think that the whole story is a sinister fairy tale; life would be miserable if what the faithful affirmed was actually the case.

If a God were just, after all, writes Hitchens, then that should be all the consolation believers should need, with any Jeffersonian trembling thrown out of the bargain. Hitchens acknowledges Freud’s point that "religious superstition is ineradicable, at least for as long as we fear death and fear the darkness." He accuses secular humanists of being persecutors of religion, which is the reason he falls just short of approving their program. If and when they are it can only be said that they are far behind religions when it comes to persecution. It is rather desecration that Hitchens wants to condemn, and rightly so; he respects a person’s right to believe, and wants the dissenter to continually engage the believers for the good both can get out of it. He agrees that people should be entitled to their illusions, but—and in this but lies the crux of what people who fight against theocracy and the political power of religious organizations in the world must never lose sight of—"they are not entitled to a limitless enjoyment of them and they are not entitled to impose them on others." See http://www.new-thinking.org/journal/whyhitchensmatters.html

Here’s his web site: http://users.rcn.com/peterk.enteract/

Posted by: friedrich braun at June 28, 2003 10:27 PM

PS of course my previous message was not to suggest that the whites on GNXP do not pay their fair share of taxes. I was making my observations in response to Friedrich's point about others freeloading on white citizens

Posted by: Jason Soon at June 28, 2003 10:29 PM

JS you're very mistaken, if anything, the situation in Canada is even worse than what's going on in the US, and continues to deteriorate. For the negative economics of immigration (Canada) see for e.g. http://www.dianefrancis.com/immigration.htm

Posted by: friedrich braun at June 28, 2003 10:38 PM

JS : You’ve got all kinds of folks on Stormfront (over 10,000 active accounts, I think). Anyway, I have had an account with Stormfront for about two months now, so I'm not an expert on it. The quality varies wildly, you have a good amount of morons and conspiracy freaks (usually Klansmen), but you also have some interesting, well-read people.

Posted by: friedrich braun at June 28, 2003 10:47 PM

Christopher Hitchens is part-Jewish (technically perhaps as little as 1/32, according to his brother, Peter Hitchens) through his maternal grandmother. You can read the google-cached Observer article if you're interested about this arcane bit of trivia:,6903,683898,00.html+%22Christopher+Hitchens%22+and+Jewish&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

Posted by: ardebil at June 28, 2003 11:22 PM

"brights" is more applicable in england perhaps where people over 130 IQ are prolly almost all atheists. in the US, the number is non-trival, but i would still bet most over 130s are still theists.

Posted by: razib at June 29, 2003 07:11 AM

Jason M,

Thanks. Talk.Origins is precisely what I need.

On the subject of WN I would say that I'm not very sympathetic to their aims and I remain suspicious about their underlying motivations. I think there is reason for concern about the distortion of the principle of equality before the law that affirmative action and other programs are creating. I freely admit that this is because I personally am among those most targeted for exclusion. I also think there is a good case to be made for saying that immigration policy is driven at the national level by political and economic reasons that are not necessarily consistent with the interests of the general population. WN is a regrettable but fully predictable response to these issues.
Given the current arrangements a white homeland is no more likely than a libertarian homeland. We're stuck with the deal and better make the most of it any way we can.
As to the "brights" I hear what you're saying. How about "cools" instead?

Posted by: John Purdy at June 29, 2003 09:02 AM


I dislike getting pulled into defending religion given that I am not religious but the idea that "all religions are versions of the same untruth" is way overstating the case.
Mosaic Law represented an unprecedented valuation of all individual human life vis a vis other legal codes of the same period like that of Hammurabi or Manu. Even Plato and Aristotle do not champion the value of all human life to the same degree. (Their views of slavery, for instance, are far less attractive than the Mosaic view.)
Early Judaism had no belief in immortality of the soul and very little interest in Satan. Likewise Nietzsche described Buddhism as the first and only positivistic religion. The Buddha's teachings are not based on any kind of God or cosmic justice although his followers did deify him, almost certainly against his explicit statements.
It's very tricky to determine where we would be without religions. That of course does not make them "true" in the way theologians attempt to demonstrate but if we exclude the theologians we have quite a different phenomenon and one it would be dangerous to dismiss with too much derision.
However, Christianity as it is practiced and believed in the US is completely indefensible and my experience is that most Christian don't know a tenth of what's in their holy book.

Posted by: John Purdy at June 29, 2003 09:21 AM

Hitch is technically Jewish, according to Halakha.
He discovered his mother was Jewish after her suicide. He's an atheist anti-Zionist. He's an admirer of Israel Shahak, and was a friend of Edward Said. I say was because I'm not sure how this friendship could have survived the Iraq war, but I don't know. I've heard anecdotes that his mother's submerged identity has begun to affect hin, but I doubt that this has changed his ideas about Zionism or tribal identity and probably had zero effect on his pro-war views.

Posted by: Diana at June 29, 2003 12:47 PM

I prefer "naturalist" to "brights".

Posted by: Brian at June 29, 2003 01:30 PM

JP and GC:

These types of arguments have been , and are, incessantly trotted out by all kinds of wild-eyed religious loons everywhere. Yawn... I'm surprised that you would engage in the same rhetoric as the Jerry Fartwells and Pat (real name "Marion") Robertsons of this world.


Posted by: friedrich braun at June 29, 2003 01:35 PM

re: atheistalliance

Huh? I won't speak for GC but that essay has zero relevance to my point. You made the statement that "all religions are versions of the same untruth". I pointed out that our very conception of the value of human life derives from a religious source therefore your statement is, at best, overgeneralized. Religions are not simply untrue nor are they all the same.

Posted by: John Purdy at June 29, 2003 04:47 PM

JP :

Sorry for the mix up.

"I pointed out that our very conception of the value of human life derives from a religious source therefore your statement is, at best, overgeneralized."

The “value of human life” and the accompanying ethics have been developed as a branch of human knowledge long before religionists proclaimed their moral systems based upon divine authority. The field of ethics has had a distinguished list of thinkers contributing to its development: from Socrates, Democritus, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Epictetus, and others.

GC : AH was not an atheist.

Posted by: friedrich braun at June 29, 2003 05:27 PM


Well, no. Moses predates Socrates by about 700 years (13th C BC). And as I pointed out Mosaic Law accords a value to all human lives including slaves that is, at minimum, marginally superior to Plato and Aristotle, certainly as far as its views on treatment of slaves, the application of one law for all men and in its skepticism regarding the state.
The Greeks contributed greatly to these values, particularly in terms of rational thought but they were far from the first or the most humane.

Posted by: John Purdy at June 29, 2003 06:11 PM

JP. I must preface my comments by first stating that I have a pathological, visceral hatred of religion as a sociological phenomenon (although I would accept a vague polytheism, something akin to what the classical Greeks had, and later the Romans); I particularly abhor the three Abrahamic faiths as a source of unmitigated evil and wickedness.

Now, as far as your comment is concerned, in the Book of Exodus you cannot find one word against human slavery. As a matter of fact, the Semitic “sky-god” Yahweh was a believer in that institution.
As far as the so-called (Mosaic) Ten Commandments go, I cannot find anything in them that could be interpreted as speaking against slavery and polygamy, against wars of invasion and extermination, against religious persecution in all its forms. I don’t consider such commandments a moral guide.
Some of the regulations found in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, are good. The overwhelming majority (effectively erasing whatever there is of questionable value) are savage, absurd and cruel.
The entire ceremonial of worship is stupid, insane, and bizarre. Yahweh comes across as a typical oriental despot who rejoices in animal sacrifice.
Most of the punishment for violations of Jewish laws are unphilosophic, idiotic, and brutal. . . . The fact is that the Pentateuch (the first five book of the Bible) upholds nearly all crimes, and to call it a moral guide is as absurd as to say that it is merciful or true or that it “values human life” as you have erroneous, IMO, put it.
Nothing of a moral nature can be found in Joshua or Judges. These books are filled with bloody crimes, with massacres and murders. I have actually taken the time to extensively study the Bible and I find it of no moral value whatsoever, I reject it completely.
Yahweh murdered seventy thousand Jews because David took a census of the people. David, according to the account, was the guilty one, but only the innocent were killed, etc., etc., etc.
I could go on like this forever, but I think you catch my drift…

Posted by: friedrich braun at June 29, 2003 06:52 PM

I held certain spiritual beliefs in common with a colleague, who was personally acquainted with Christohper Hitchens, though I myself have never met him. The term "brights" has an ironic meaning, if you know anything about the terminology used in certain religions. Erudite Mr. Hitchens of the double edged, and highly entertaining, tongue, would not be unaware of them. He and his cohorts will be beacons of non-religion. Whatever gets you through the night, it's all light and I don't wonder he evokes rhapsodies from people whose cause he is upholding. Why this science/religion dichotomy anyway? You seek truth don't you? It seems the human behavior/evolution folks are the most mechanistic; the physicists, the least. Anyway, there's nothing like a university educated Brit (I did not survive one such professor) to verbally slash and burn all in their path, whatever cause they undertake, and they are not all godless. Beware lest you meet one speaking from the other side. Whether you believe in your soul or not, they will wither it, or else improve it.

Posted by: MaryGavin at June 29, 2003 07:41 PM

The difference between Mosaic Law and Ethics (which is of purely Greek origin) is that Mosaic Law tells us what we should do, just as Ethics does, but Ethics also tells us why.

So, the Mosaic Law may tell us not to covet our neighbor's wife, but doesn't give a reason why this should be so. Ethics does:

"Remember that following desire promises the attainment of that of which you are desirous; and aversion promises the avoiding that to which you are averse. However, he who fails to obtain the object of his desire is disappointed, and he who incurs the object of his aversion wretched. If, then, you confine your aversion to those objects only which are contrary to the natural use of your faculties, which you have in your own control, you will never incur anything to which you are averse. But if you are averse to sickness, or death, or poverty, you will be wretched. Remove aversion, then, from all things that are not in our control, and transfer it to things contrary to the nature of what is in our control. But, for the present, totally suppress desire: for, if you desire any of the things which are not in your own control, you must necessarily be disappointed; and of those which are, and which it would be laudable to desire, nothing is yet in your possession. Use only the appropriate actions of pursuit and avoidance; and even these lightly, and with gentleness and reservation. "
Posted by: Dienekes at June 29, 2003 07:49 PM


I catch your drift very well but you are allowing your visceral reaction to poison your reading.
Think of it this way. When you extol Socrates, Plato, Democritus et al you draw a distinction between them as thinkers and the actions of, say, the Athenian government in executing Socrates. I would assume you also draw a distinction between the value of Homer's Iliad as literature and the actions of the gods in taking sides in the Trojan War. Similarly, between the ideal of Athenian democracy and the actions of Athens during the Peloponnesian War against Sparta. Moreover, as important as the Classical thinkers were in laying the foundations of political science no one today wishes to live under Plato's Republic or any of the other dozens of Republics written in that era.
We nonetheless recognize them as important precursors and acknowledge our debt to them.
What you overlook in your ahistorical reading of the Old Testament is the same kinds of distinctions between ideals and practices, between individual writers and the actions of kings and between literary accounts and realities.
Seen in its proper historical context there can be little doubt that the Mosaic Law (all 600 something of them by the way not just 10) are a significant improvement over the earlier Code of Hammurabi or the roughly contemporaneous Law of Manu. No, the Mosaic code does not outlaw slavery, no one thought of that until the late 18th C. It does codify the treatment of slaves and as such is superior to other codes including the views of Aristotle.
Consider Exodus 21: "If you buy a Hebrew servant (Hebrew had no word that corresponds precisely to slave, a telling fact in itself) he shall serve six years and in the seventh shall go out free, for nothing" or "If he knocks out his servant's or his maid's tooth he shall let them go free for the tooth's sake.." Deuteronomy 23:15 "You shall not give up a slave to his master who has escaped from his master to you; he shall dwell in your midst..."
This is a significant improvement in the treatment of slaves over any prior code.
Moreover, there is a distinction to be drawn between the ritualized practices described in the OT and the core of Judaism, a fact recognized by the prophets Isaiah, Amos, Hosea, Micah etal who denounced the overemphasis on ritual. Micah 6:8 "He has told you, o man, what is good...only to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
I'm afraid your visceral hatred has blinded you to the extent to which this represents an unparalleled form of moral thinking for its period and the debt we owe to these thinkers for forming the basis for our modern moral thinking.
And my point in doing all this is not to demonstrate that we should worship Yahweh, it's to demonstrate that a rational, scientific and historical treatment of religion comes up with a more complicated picture of its value than simply repudiating a logically inconsistent deity.
And that's it for me...

Posted by: John Purdy at June 29, 2003 08:06 PM

Interesting reading

The Real Ten Commandments

Posted by: Dienekes at June 29, 2003 10:59 PM


Thanks for the article! Very interesting indeed.

I have always believed that the great failure of Julian the Apostate (my all-time favourite historical figure, see ) http://www.juliansociety.org/ has been an unmitigated tragedy, and not only for the West but also for the entire world.

Posted by: friedrich braun at June 29, 2003 11:59 PM

It seems the human behavior/evolution folks are the most mechanistic; the physicists, the least.

where do you get that from??? out of curiosity (personal experience, etc.). this is somewhat a reversal of some stereotypes-there is a faction in biology (i suspect waning) represented by ernst mayer, carried on by s.j. gould that rejected excessive reductionism as a methodology. if by "mechanistic" you mean non-theist-larson & witham's surveys consistently showed that mathematicians were the most prone to theistic beliefs, physicists & biologists were both rather secular, with biologists being the most secular in the general survey, and physicists in the NAS survey....

Posted by: razib at June 30, 2003 06:38 AM

Solon's Commandments

Solon's commandments are indeed excellent but the writer of the article is ludicrously biased. For one thing he fails to distinguish between Judaism and Christianity. He also fails to place the whole of the Mosaic code (600+ commandments) in it's proper historical context, which is all I have been trying to do - obviously to no avail. It's also curious how he seems to view the pre-christian phase of the Roman Empire as not being a time of darkness. I wouldn't want to have lived then either under corrupt, decadent and autocratic emperors. He bases his criticisms on the idea that there are people who believe we should live by the Mosaic commandments today which is not what I'm arguing and I'm in fact opposed to those people.
He also takes a rather odd view that worshipping graven images is a part of capitalism. I enjoy material things but worshipping them is a bad idea.

Posted by: John Purdy at June 30, 2003 08:00 AM

Physicists attitudes vs. socio-biologists attitudes? Oh, I've heard it around. Yes, it is a reversal, isn't it? I have acquaintences from NASA; also, I've read it. Perhaps I could find you some sources. I don't claim to have statistics, but it's not such a novel observation. I once read a novel by a guy who was very offended by feminists and politically correct people and referred to the way the physicists were now thinking like "old ladies" and the historians were the more cynical and godless because they knew about people. Thinking too much about people can make even a believer doubt god at times.

Posted by: MaryClaire at June 30, 2003 09:59 AM

JP :"It's also curious how he seems to view the pre-christian phase of the Roman Empire as not being a time of darkness."

The Roman Empire a period of darkness? Please read the great Edward Gibbion's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire", for example, before making such an ill informed statement. Humanity as a whole has never seen a more noble and glorious experiment than that of the Roman Empire. It is the Christian superstition that plunged Europe into total "darkness", bloody religious persecutions, and barbarous savagery of all sorts which lasted until about the time of the Renaissance. Progress (scientific, etc.) in Europe was set back by the Christian superstition; we wasted a lot of time because of of this abomination, who knows where we would be today if it wasn't for the religious obscurantism of priests, bishops, and popes?

Posted by: friedrich braun at June 30, 2003 11:06 AM

BTW, the vast majority of informed folks would undoubtedly choose living under the sway of the pagan Greco-Romans, than under the ignorant and unlettered stewardship of the what followed. Overall, Chrisianity has been a complete disaster for the entire world (and I'm not talking only about the Crusades and Inquistions; entire indigenous were exterminated by the totalitarian machinery of this monotheistic virus -- the same thing could be said of Isalm). It was really only in the 18th Century that the European man began to breathe again. I'm sure that you know how the Church persecuted men of learning throughout its history! Innumerable treatises have been written on this topic. I can't believe that an objective person can still make such a ludicrous statement. Anyway, I'm too upset to continue right now.

Posted by: friedrich braun at June 30, 2003 11:20 AM

"Bright" sounds, well...f'n gay.

"Gay" does have negative connotations. Just sit on any IRC channel.

I don't suspect this will be a very successful meme.

Posted by: PhlegmAsiv at June 30, 2003 02:10 PM

Science cannot resolve the mystery of what you are. You can say "I am this, I am that", but every answer you give will be wrong unless it is absolute reality that you are refering to. Every experience has a subject/object hierachy. For instance when you see a chair there is the chair, the image on your retina, then electrical impulses in the visual cortex and then, it is apprehended by the apprehender of all things. Although all images change, universal conciousness does not, a bit like the way a wheel turns but the centre always stays the same. Also all things are within conciousness, even change. To see something you only need an image upon your retina, not an external object. In the case of universal conciousness nothing exists apart from it. Its like a single unchanging point. This is why spiritual people are obsessed with self-knowledge. It is knowledge of all that is. All beings have relative existance within experience, but conciousness needs no existance to be real, and therefore can never be intellectually analysed. Therefore it is fully outside of the domain of science. Science and religion can never become one.

I am also not entirely comfortable with Christianity. I see it as a sort of MacDonald's religion, offering easy, but unsatisfying, answers in the form of a crudely mechanistic, quasi-Marxist cosmology. I don't know about other civilisations but in the West we have many people who would rather moralise than do productive things with their time, and Christianity has tended to attract those people, with tyranny resulting. I think that Eastern religion is generally superior.

Posted by: Sporon at June 30, 2003 09:01 PM


"I think that Eastern religion is generally superior."

Well, I've always been partial to Buddhism. F.W. Nietzsche says somewhere that Buddhism is the "only modern religion." I agree.

Posted by: friedrich braun at June 30, 2003 10:16 PM

Which form of Buddhism is he referring to?

Posted by: PhlegmAsiv at July 1, 2003 02:00 PM

Zen Buddhism.

Posted by: friedrich braun at July 1, 2003 02:39 PM

Excellents comments, Mr. Purdy.

Posted by: martin at July 2, 2003 05:48 AM

For Mr. Paul Geisert

Keith Stephens
Bakersfield, California

Mr. Paul Geisert

Dear Mr. Geisert,

I have written a manuscript using facts researched from the Old Testament of the Confraternity-Douay edition of the Christian Bible. It shows the God of the Jews in a completely different light than the picture painted by many religious leaders throughout time.

My research started with a question. How many humans died in the Old Testament? The question began to tug at the edge of my consciousness as I read the Bible. The numbers were astounding. Twelve thousand died in this battle, thirty thousand in that slaughter, page after page of death and total destruction. I decided it would be interesting to add them all up. The numbers were there for the taking; but as I read, and calculated, other interesting things began to come to light.

Do you know how many gallons of wine God ordered for his New Year's celebration? I found the answer. I also found the approximate number of humans that died in the Old Testament. And did you know that the God of the Jews knew nothing about the human body he "created?!" Did you also know he was well-known as a war lord, and that the "Book of the Wars of the Lord" is mentioned in the Bible? Other things I found are the sounds God made when he flew, and how sorcery was used in the Bible. And did you know that besides the Jews, He used as mercenaries to take Chanaan, He had a second army? Do you remember a talking animal holding a conversation with a man? I also found hard evidence that there were not one, but three Gods in the Old Testament! The first was a friend of his people and enjoyed their company. The second ordered genocide, loved gold, and was responsible for over six an one half million deaths. And the third showed a love for mankind beyond our understanding. All of these things are well documented in "Mouse Trails: The scripture they don't read in church.

It has taken ten years of my spare time to research and write, and contains a picture of the Old Testament from a strictly historical point of view. It takes 208 pages containing 62,748 words to tell the story. A few people have read the manuscript, but the following is the most glowing description yet. Others follow.

Each review is reproduced here exactly as I received it. No grammar or spelling has been changed. A group in Seattle Washington started a new non-religion from this manuscript. Are you interested in reading it?

Keith Stephens

From Robert C. Suggs. Archeologist
Dear Keith, I definitely want to let you know my general opinions on your work. You are not a Biblical scholar, but have done what is to me an amazing piece of research in documenting the evolution (nasty word to some people!) of the concept of God throughout the Old Testament, as well as showing quite clearly the existence of polytheism in ancient Israel. I have not read the Old Testament in any detail and was really struck by your organizing of the evidence. The offerings , sacrifices, the slaughters, etc. all are quite astonishing. Yes: they can never be accepted by the clergy, especially the fundamentalists, but the evidence is there in the texts that the same fundamentalists regard as inerrant and infallible . The same clergy will tell you that you cannot understand the New Testament if you do not buy the Old Testament; lock ,stock, and barrel. But there is a very marked difference between the images of God as presented in the Old Testament (and going through several changes there), and the New Testament.
I have talked about the god of battles and the whole polytheism issue with theologians and find that they are in tune with you. What strikes me rather forcibly is the way you went about this: you stuck to the words the text and simply pulled together the statements that were made.

This is a very impressive piece: please accept my congratulations! I found it extremely interesting and quite persuasive, in most areas it confirmed vague suspicions which I had held for sometime.
A hearty WELL DONE as we used to say in the USN . Ka'ooha ``nui , Bob

( Please take note that Robert C. Suggs is the author of several books. I hold a copy of one printed in 1960, Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 60-14723. It is a Mentor Book titled THE ISLAND CIVILIZATIONS OF POLYNESIA) Keith

Posted by: Keith Stephens at July 24, 2003 11:10 AM

Sporon: when you see a chair there is the chair, the image on your retina, then electrical impulses in the visual cortex and then, it is apprehended by the apprehender of all things.

I follow you, until that last step. What is "the apprehender of all things"? It sounds suspiciously like the Cartesian theater (not to mention Sidney Harris's famous cartoon, "Step 2: then a miracle occurs"), a notion that Daniel Dennett demolished in Consciousness Explained.

And if "conciousness needs no existance[sic] to be real", then what is the hardware on which consciousness runs?

Posted by: arensb at July 31, 2003 08:17 PM

Who will represent The Brights?
The Brights it's a brilliant and wonderful name.
Let them laugh if they want to.
Gay is now a favourite term of abuse in schools in UK today, but in my day it was "homo" whether you were one or not, so who cares? it mainly comes from the attitudes of a society influenced by homophobic religions. I think it is important to have a community for non-religious people to belong to but who represents us at govt consultations etc?

Posted by: paul gibbs at September 28, 2003 12:10 PM