Enter your email address to subscribe to Irregular Times and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 192 other subscribers

Irregular Times Newsletters

Click here to subscribe to any or all of our six topical e-mail newsletters:
  1. Social Movement Actions,
  2. Credulity and Faith,
  3. Election News,
  4. This Week in Congress,
  5. Tech Dispatch and
  6. our latest Political Stickers and Such

Contact Us

We can be contacted via retorts@irregulartimes.com

Church of Mormon Slams Into Reality and Bounces Off

It was published a month ago, but I’ve just run into a Los Angeles Times article about the clash between Mormon religious claims about reality and scientific observation of reality. The Book of Mormon teaches, via the “divine revelation” of its founder Joseph Smith, that Native Americans are really descended from a lost tribe of Israel. Yet DNA testing has shown that Native Americans are descended from Asians, not Hebrews. The Mormon Church’s response? Because it contradicts the Book of Mormon, the DNA testing must be incorrect, and to suggest that it undermines the Book of Mormon is “heresy.”

How do you engage with the realities of the world when one’s approach to the nature of reality is so unbending to observation? When reality smacks you in the face, if can you hold yourself rigid enough it just bounces right off.

83 comments to Church of Mormon Slams Into Reality and Bounces Off

  • Sarge

    Bertrand Russell wrote a very interesting article about the reality of the religeon, dealt with a religeous view of water being hot and burning, fire being cold and the perceptions which would arise. Very interesting. Looks like he was correct.

  • HareTrinity

    I suppose you can hardly expect them to give up on their religion completely and join another branch of Christianity.

    Mostly religion these days seems more to do with the community (some Christians speak of it like a second family) than it does with the factual basis of the “beliefs” themselves.

    The Mormons are largely mocked by other Christians, anyway.

  • Layla

    Mormons are not Christians, they are a separate religion. I toured their new temple at Navoo a few summers ago when it was still open to the public. It has since been purified from the effects of our heathen presence, and only those who are certified by their local temples as meeting their rigorous purity tests are now allowed entry.

    Mormons have a “real family” in heaven which they forget when they are sent to the earth as missionaries in a kind of cosmic test. Their earth families can join their heavenly family, but only if they are baptized into the Mormon faith. Baptism can also be done after death with living family members standing in for the deceased member. This may be why Mormons are so good at geneological research and record-keeping. Living “earth” family members may also join the cosmic family, for instance with marriage, in the center of a special room with mirrors on opposite sides representing the past and future generations.

  • Sarge

    Didn’t I read that the church leadership had made some lawsuit to keep the laity from accessing certain church documents, supposedly for their own protection?

  • Jim

    Layla,

    Mormons certainly consider themselves to be Christian, although of a different sort: their religion is Christ-centered and they refer to themselves as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

  • Layla

    Jim,

    Scholars who study comparative religion do not consider Mormons to be Christian. As far as I can tell Mormons do not use the Bible at all , but use the Book of Mormon. I think they believe Jesus appeared in North America. Their book, like the Koran, was revealed by an angel, in this case Moroni, who showed founder Joseph Smith some plates. Smith translated the plates in the presence of the angel with the help of an urim and a thummim. The plates were subsequently taken up into heaven, unfortunately for modern scholars, but the translations left with Smith, fortunately for the believers of the faith.

    This is a really interesting religion for scholars, because it began in recent historical times and they can observe firsthand the different stages that are thought to occur in all religions, from the initial transformational leader to the institutionalization of beliefs to the fossilization of doctrine.

    BTW, do you know (and I’m afraid this is going to be politically incorrect yet again) what Joseph Smith said to his followers? “I don’t care how you bring’um but bring’um Young.”

  • Scott

    “Scholars who study comparative religion do not consider Mormons to be Christian.”
    There is far from a consensus on the matter.
    “As far as I can tell Mormons do not use the Bible at all , but use the Book of Mormon.”
    Simply not true. Conflict with other Christian denominations arises because when the Bible and BoM conflict, the BoM takes precedence.
    By most standard definitions of Christianity, the LDS church qualifies. They
    1. Believe the Bible to be inspired by God
    2. Follow the teachngs of Jesus
    3. Believe JC to be the son of God.
    There are certainly very interesting (from a philosophic point of view) contrasts between the LDS faith and other Christan faiths.
    One conflict is the nature of the Trinity.
    For me, the most interesting conflict regards the eternal or infinite nature of the traditional Christian God. The LDS conception of God is that He is somewhat less infinite and eternal than, say, Aquinas or Anselm would contend.
    I’m currently (slowly) working on an essay regarding whether a less infinite God could still qualify as God, either for submission to a journal, for inclusion as an appendix to book I’m (slowly) working on on faith (or both I guess).
    Regarding the modern history aspect, I think you are totally right, and I’m hoping that we haven’t heard the end of the Ram BomJon story, because I think it’s interesting (even exciting) to think we could be witnessing the birth of a new religious movement right now.
    Sorry the Brigham Young joke just sucks.

  • HareTrinity

    The family of Mormons I know (they live a few blocks away from me) certainly seem to consider themselves Christians.

    Also, other Christians I know, although they tend not to consider Mormons to be “proper” Christians, refer to them as “fake Christians” or the like rather than a completely different set. Then again, the Jehovah’s Witness I know tends to refer to all other branches of Christianity as fake (but to be fair, he’d probably call all other humans fake humans too if pushed into it, poor lad).

  • Layla

    Sorry about the joke, actually I’m not all that sorry, sometimes I need a laugh even if it is truly tasteless.

    Thanks for the Mormon info, I’m going by a course I took some time ago which I can no longer find the textbook. As a Christian I can recognize Christianity in Catholcism, the Greek and Russian Orthodox, and even Ethiopian, as different as the ritual is, I instinctively know it as Christian. Defining Mormonism as a separate religion somehow made the pieces fall in place for me. Maybe you could say it came out of Christianity in the same way Buddhaism came out of Hinduism or Chirstianity came out of Judaism? If you really think about it, there’s so much syncretism, it’s hard to find a religion that isn’t related to some other religion. I heard the principles of Mormonism are very similar to some lodge Smith belonged to.

    It’s hard to picture how a god could be “less infinite and eternal.” Is there a Ragnarok or Armageddon?

    My gut feeling is Ram BomJon won’t be another religion, just because Hindusim is so good at absorbing new religious figures as reincarnations of old ones. It reminded me of a story set in the Himilayas I read once and finally located it in a collection of short stories. Kipling told a curious story about the Prime Minister of a tiny Asian state named Purun Dass who retired and became a holy man, took up residence under a tree in an old Kali shrine and sat motionless every day, while the villagers kept feeding him so they could have a holy man. The short story is “The Miracle of Purun Bhagat.”

    Nepal is used to living gods and goddeesses. The King who was murdered was said to be an incarnation of Vishnu. Katmandu has a living goddess in residence, and the place is full of small shrines, presumably full of the remains of some holy person. I have pictures of the goddess and the little white shrines (stupas) with the eyes.

  • Jim

    Yeah, Layla, I don’t want to pile on, but… ok, I’m going to pile on.

    Read it from a Mormon himself: “Are Mormons Christians? Yes!”

    Then read the LDS Church’s own statement on the matter.

  • Layla

    Jim,

    I believed Scott about Mormons saying they are Christains without even a thought about asking him for proof, but it’s nice to see you are so religious (heehee) about documentation. As I said before, my information came from a university level independent study course on comparative religion. The same course that had the spokes and hubs, now that I think of it, so maybe I better not try too hard to find the book.

    Hmmm..so Mormons say they’re Christian, or rather they have started saying they are Christian. There was some referecne to that on one of those websites. We had someone from every religion we could think of come and talk to our church youth group back in the sixt..ah never mind the year, it was some time ago. There was a small Mormon church in our hometown too. When my next door neighbor married a Mormon, she had to convert to his religion, and her family wasn’t allowed at the wedding. In those days we never heard anything about Mormons being Christian.

    I’m wondering if this wasn’t something like the Buddhists during WWII? If you look at a picture of the place where they were worshipping, it looked more like a Lutheran church than a temple inside. They had tried to conform to the ourward appearance of the dominant culture, maybe because of perceived threats.

    If you want, you can apply the same arguments the Mormons use to prove Moslems are really Christian. After all, they do accept Jesus and Moses and Abraham, they just had an angel appear to a guy and say, the old books have been corrupted, here is a new book that supercedes everything. For that matter Jesus was a practicing Jew, the Last Supper was nothing more than the Jewish Passover, so maybe we’re all really Jewish….

  • Jim

    Consider, Layla, that many protestant groups consider that other protestant groups are not “really” Christian, that the Catholic church for some time considered breakaway churches to not “really” be Christian, and so on.

  • Layla

    And the Albigensian heresy, the Cathari heresy, all remnents of older religions, that formed the basis for the witchcraft trials. But a religious group also has to be different enough to distinguish itself from other groups, or they will have no group identity and no one will have a reason to chose them over some other group.

    And early Christianity had to decide whether someone had to be a practicing Jew to become Christian. So Paul in the north with the Greek churches and Peter with the church in Jersusalem had to settle questions of circumcision and food practices.

    Where would you place something like the American black muslims? The movement was started in jails by a guy who said white people were invented in an evil scientist’s laboratory. They said Christianity was a white person’s religion and Islam was a black person’s religion. Moslems didn’t consider them to be Moslem. For years they used the Bible, now they have taken the pews out and use Koran.

    I have always had that burning question about Mormons and those sheets with the hole in the nether region they supposedly have to use for ah, procreating. I have only seen the reference in fiction, so it must be true. Also about Mormon weddings. I heard the husband is given the wife’s secret name so he can call her to him in heaven, but the wife does not recieve the husband’s secret name. This would place Mormons in a category with Zoroastrian teaching that most women were destined to go to hell unless they were submissive to male control.

  • inhimdependent_lds

    As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints myself i can tell you quite clearly and without hesitation that we are very much Christians- always have been and always will be. Christ is at the center of all that we do and we honor and revere the Bible as much if not more than other forms of Christianity while at the same time accepting as part of our canon of scripture writings that are not found in the Bible itself.

    For those interseted in the LDS perspective on the DNA issue the information below will provide a good start.

    “Addressing Questions Surrounding The Book of Mormon and DNA Research”
    http://www.farms.byu.edu/publications/dna/ButlerBofMandDNA_Feb2006.php

    “DNA and the Book of Mormon: A Phylogenetic Perspective”
    http://www.farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=311&previous=L3B1YmxpY2F0aW9ucy9kbmEucGhw

    “A Few Thoughts From a Believing DNA Scientist”
    http://www.farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=312&previous=L3B1YmxpY2F0aW9ucy9kbmEucGhw

    “Who Are the Children of Lehi?”
    http://www.farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=314&previous=L3B1YmxpY2F0aW9ucy9kbmEucGhw

  • Junga

    You also will have to place a good deal of Christianity in that category, Layla. It’s what the Southern Baptists believe about women and male control too.

  • Aleo Bastin

    Mormons and Scientologists have a lot in common as they are two science fiction religions. Also, look at the “angel” Moroni, just one letter off from “moron.” Anyone involved in either group has serious mental health issues.

  • BrotherJim

    Who among you has read The Book of Mormon? Who among you has attended a single church meeting
    or Gospel Doctine class? Who has actually studied the history of the church? Are you still
    relying on what “they” told you or “a guy I was talking to” for your info? Oh the multitude of
    ridiculous accusations and childish comments that are made to me on a constant basis. Oh the
    darkness that so many of you exist in and then to make (I’m trying to avoid the word stupid) the
    uneducated misguided disinformational comments that some seem to regurgitate is in keeping with the teachings
    of The Bible, that book that Mormons don’t read, that tell us that these types of things that
    would be hurled at the believers. Read the writings of Paul, someday, whenever, if you get the
    time, having taken a breather from verbally spitting and beating and scourging those who
    want nothing more than bring the Gospel to nonbelievers through another testament of the
    Gospel of Jesus Christ in it’s Fullness, Simplicity and Plainess. No symbols, no mysteries and
    without the need of a cleryman who needs 8-10 years of theological spin training to explain to
    you what you need to think and retain. Garbage in, garbage out. Listening to the uninformed tell
    you about the Book of Mormon is like listening to Ford Pinto mechanic teach you how to work on a Mercedes
    Mercedes. Shouldn’t you be hanging someone on a cross somewhere. Herod is calling!

  • unsigned

    Father forgive us for what we must do, you forgive us, we’ll forgive you, we’ll forgive each
    other till we both turn blue and we’ll whistle and go fishing in Heaven.

  • Layla

    “You can no more become a Christian by going to church than you can become a car by sleeping in your garage. -Garrison Keillor

  • BrotherJim

    Touche’ Layla.

  • Jim

    “Aleo Bastin” writes:

    Mormons and Scientologists have a lot in common as they are two science fiction religions. Also, look at the “angel” Moroni, just one letter off from “moron.” Anyone involved in either group has serious mental health issues.

    As opposed to Catholicism and Baptist Christianity, which are really really real and not fictions at all. Riiiiiiiiiight.

  • Jim

    BrotherJim,

    Keep testifying like that, and you’ll do a good job of continuing to warn people away from Mormonism. Keep it up!

    Now you’ll have to pardon me; I think I’ve got a cross somewhere I need to hang on. Where did I leave that cross? Hmmmmm…

  • BrotherJim

    It was also Garrison Keillor who said that Joseph, the Father of Jesus, was the ultimate step-father, Wow the biological Father was God.

  • Scott

    What happened to my comments?
    At first they were awaiting moderation, now they’re gone entirely. Did I say something wrong? Is there a word limit maybe?

  • Jim

    No, hang on, I don’t delete comments for content, let me look…

    Scott, hmmmm. This is odd. I saw your comments earlier in the day. I can affirm I did NOT delete them.

    I AM looking into this, and I promise we did NOT censor you.

  • Layla

    Here are some links to the topics discussed in the LA Times article:

    Link to book reviews of Simon G. Southerton’s “Losing a Lost Tribe:” http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/1560851813/ref=cm_cr_dp_2_1/102-1975486-7754544?%5Fencoding=UTF8&customer-reviews.sort%5Fby=-SubmissionDate&n=283155

    Link to Southerton’s website “recovery from Mormonism” including discussion of FARM’s methods:
    http://www.exmormon.org/

    For what it’s worth here’s the link to the journal article referred to by inhimdependent who provided links to FARM, the group of Mormon apologists; you have to be a geneticist to read it.
    http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/AJHG/journal/contents/v72n6.html?erFrom=5442854049098909653Guest

    BrotherJim, “Oh the darkness that so many of you exist in…” I don’t agree with bashing someone else’s religion, including yours, but that “spitting and beating and scourging” thing sounds a little weird.

    Junga,
    While a lot of Christian women would like to strangle Paul if he wasn’t dead already, Jesus was very inclusive of women in his ministry. Women were at the foot of the cross when he died, a woman was the first to the tomb on Easter Sunday, and it was a woman Jesus first appeared to after the resurrection. Unfortunately, a great deal of religion, as Sotherton puts it on his website “comes from the same place – the desire to prevent ideas from changing and most importantly, to preserve the power that depends upon these ideas.” When you start to read religion as literal or as science, that’s when you start to lose the truth.

    Scott, I tried to post something earlier today and as soon as I clicked ‘submit’ my system crashed and I had to do disk cleanup in safe mode.

  • Layla

    Scott,
    Like the cat who put a piece of cheese on his tongue and waited by the mousehole with baited breath, I’m still puzzling over your statement (#7)about the nature of the trinity and the “less infinite and eternal” nature of the Mormon god.

    Maybe Twilight of the Gods isn’t right, I’m thinking of the Greek ‘Corpus Hermeticum’and how there were so many layers of gods, light is god, the mind who is god (and androgynous)by speaking gives birth to a Craftsman, who creates a man who gives birth to earth etc. God and the Word and the Craftsman are eternal because the end becomes the beginning and time is circular(?).

    I’m also reminded of the triple goddess motif that keeps appearing throughout history. I once went to the local Hindu temple and asked after an image of Saraswati, patroness of scholars and artists, and was shown a statue that also represented Durga and one other goddess–they in effect had a triple goddess because they ran out of statues. Then think about the phrase allahu al-akbar, which I am told by a Moslem Arabic scholar not only uses the comparative, but grammatically is feminine plural. I have also heard in some language the Holy Spirit is feminine plural.

  • Scott

    I’ll comment tomorrow. It’s Saturday 9:00pm local time, and I’ve the spent the entire day marking some not entirely encouraging logic exams…

  • Layla

    Scott,
    No biggie, work always comes first. I was just curious to read the comment that got wiped out. An old friend is coming into town after church tomorrow for a couple days (a Deaniac) so I may not be reading the boards for a while. Maybe the subject is worth a diary?

  • Scott

    I’ve posted a diary entry.

  • Nowhere

    Because science is so infallible.

    Ether

    Blood Letting

    Lysenko

    One study about genetic links and suddenly the foundations of the Mormon church are on totally shaky ground.

    Please.

  • Junga

    Nowhere, here’s what you don’t understand. Science is a process of gathering and refining knowledge. It doesn’t claim ultimate, infallible truth.

    Religion has no verifiable method of gathering and refining knowledge. Yet, religion claims ultimate, infallible truth.

    That difference is why it’s so darned easy to prove that the Mormon church is on shaky ground. If only the Mormon church wouldn’t make such wild, extravagant claims, it would be harder to criticize it.

    Science becomes stronger with criticism because criticism is part of the process of science.

    Religion gets weaker with criticism because criticism is foreign to the process of religion.

  • Scott

    Nowhere,
    So what that science makes mistake? Well done discovering three…
    Of interest to you should be the means by which these errors were detected.
    Did religion discover the errors and point the flaws in the research and point out ways to improve it?
    No? Science discovers its own errors. It is self correcting.
    By admitting the possibility of error, science is always striving for truth.
    In the “dialectic” between science and religion, sometimes they come into disagreement.
    When they disagree next time, where are you going to place your bets?
    1. On science? Almost everytime there is a disagreement, science proves correct.
    2. On religion? In the few cases where religion turned out to be right all allong, how is it discovered that it was right?
    By recourse to science.
    Science can discover that some of the things religion holds to be true are true.
    You cannot say the opposite.

  • Alan

    In my view there is NO overlap between religion and science. Science looks for what is. Religion looks for the meaning behind it. You can always assemble more evidence to determine more facts. The value judgments can never be proven.

  • Sorry, Alan, but I can’t agree. For the majority of the history of religion, the majority of religion have made claims about TRUTH – absolute, unquestionable TRUTH. Truths like “The sun revolves around the Earth.” Truths like “The Earth is 6,000 years old”. That wasn’t metaphor. It was taught as literal truth – by religion.

    Religion still tries to make claims about the world based on religious principle instead of observed facts. Take, for example, the whole “power of prayer” issue. Does prayer have any power to change anything? The observed facts say no. Religion continues to say yes, in spite of the facts.

    There is a mighty big overlap. Religion does not just talk about what should be. It tries to impose its doctrines about what is.

  • Alan

    Peregrin, I speak from my own religious background. The sun revolving around the earth was asserted by the Vatican, not shared by the protestant reformation. There have always been religious crackpots, and I suspect, atheist crackpots.

    An interesting observation about prayer made by an Anglican priest: “We only pray for the things we really want.” Do you reject the power of prayer, but accept the fairly well-documented power of the placebo effect? If you want to make a test, I would be happy to have you pray for me.

    The atheists on this site do try to impose their doctrines, though.

  • Oh, pooh, Alan. We try to convince people that our opinions are worthwhile. We don’t “impose our doctrines”.

    You want an example of doctrines being imposed? Try out the Catholic Church’s Spanish Inquisition.

    I hardly think that it’s fair to characterize the doctrine of the entire Catholic Church as just the opinion of a few religious “crackpots”.

    I do dispute the power of prayer, and it is different from the placebo effect. Religious people say that the power of prayer can help someone even if they know that they’re not being prayed for. Tests of this principle have shown that it isn’t true, but religious people keep on believing it anyway.

    It’s just not valid to make general statements about religion, and then to say that you’re just speaking about your own religious perspective. If you’re really just speaking about your own religious perspective, then you need to say so, instead of just stating what religion is and expecting people to understand that you’re not talking about religion as a category.

  • Jim

    No, Alan, we don’t impose them; we state them. There’s a big difference. The only policy we would seek to impose is a policy that keeps the state from being used to proselytize on behalf of one religion or prohibit citizens’ free association with another.

  • Alan

    Well, Jim, you might start out by telling me a definition of “prejudice.” It would probably involve characterizing all the members of a group by some negative characteristic. For example, all black people are this or all Arabs are that (fill in your choice of nasty, dispicable labels that are used to dehumanize). Once you have pasted a label on someone, you can just react to the label instead of to the person. Never mind that there is a wide variety in the characteristics of people within different groups. Your label can then be used to treat people differently depending on what group they belong to and not by what they themselves say or do.

    If you look at Peregrin’s statements, his generalizations are pretty broad. “religious people say that prayer…” “religious people believe that…” “religion makes claims about the world..” “religion tries to impose..” If I started making those kinds of broad statements about atheists, all kinds of people would be jumping down my throat and demanding proof, or maybe an even less polite reaction.

    If you want to characterize Roman Catholic doctrine as the opinion of religious crackpots, you won’t hear an argument from me.. in spite of a personal history of romantic entanglements with lapsed Catholics, I’m afraid I still have a bit of anti-catholic prejudice.

  • Jim

    Prejudice“? You didn’t use that word. You used the word “impose.” Why the rhetoric creep?

    I note that in your first paragraph, you use the word “all” in your examples: “all black people,” “all Arabs.” I note Peregrin doesn’t use the word all, as you yourself note in your quotation of him. I do think his writing would benefit from the insertion of a phrase like “a number of,” but it is literally true that there are religious people who say what he says they say, and who believe what he says they believe. But goodness, let me stop there and allow Peregrin Wood to defend himself rather than have me speak for what I think he might think; I’m not his keeper and certainly not his mouthpiece.

    On the word “prejudice” associated with a religion rather than religious people — I’m not sure that qualifies as “prejudice,” but rather just “judice” — reading what an organized religion writes and listening to what its leaders say, and then reacting to that.

  • Alan

    I note that Mel Gibson didn’t use the word “all” in his rant either. He said “fucking jews” not “all fucking Jews” and “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” not “All the Jews are responsible for the wars in the world.” Quite a difference.

    In fact, none of the characteristics this article attributes to “religious people” are in fact practiced by my religion or many other religions either. I suspect Peregrin is not religious himself.

    Which brings up another issue. To what extent is it kosher for someone else to define a group they do not belong to? For instance, if I was Native American and made statements about what it meant to be African-American would that be a valid viewpoint? If I was Catholic, and tried to explain Jewish identity? If I was Moslem and explained what atheists believe in (it’s in the Koran, for sure.)

    It is easy enough to quote what someone says and observe what someone does, but how do you determine what they think and what their motives are?

  • Jim

    Alan, to check that broad claim, could you let me know what your religion is? Because now you’re making sweeping statements.

    And are you really trying to say that only Catholics can legitimately talk about Catholicism, and only Jews can speak of Judaism, and only atheists can talk about Atheism, and only Muslims can talk about Islam? That’s awfully convenient for insecure adherents of a religion. You sound an awful lot like Iroquois Honky tonight.

  • Alan

    http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1820

    I’m asking. Can I make statements about atheism? And you sound like Disaster Dan.

    Ooohhhhh. Ooohhhh. Did you hear the one about the lady that backed into the fan? Disaster. (Dis-assed-her). Hee hee.

  • Jim

    Hee, hee. That’s a cute joke. But why a lady? That doesn’t strike me as a wise choice. Be careful, or you’ll have to end up being sarcastic. Did you hear what happened when the guy walked into a fan? “Dick-dick-dick-dick-dick-dick-dick-dick…” Eh, that was kind of flaccid as jokes go, but it’s the best I can do at midnight.

    The United Methodist Church seems to be a pretty tolerant place. Blanket statement, yes, but OK to make about a church because the United Methodist Church actually has in its organizational statements endorsements of tolerance. If I ever were to become a Christian, which is unlikely (but unlikely things do happen from time to time), I’d probably check them out, along with the UUs.

    And, no, you should not speak too soon. UMC is indeed involved in intercessory prayer:

    Two women (ages 36 and 55) who were self-identified Christians active in prayer ministries in a local United Methodist church served as prayer intercessors for the study.

    More UMC intercessory prayer here and here and here and here and here… I can go on if you like. In this instance, Peregrin Wood was more correct about your own religion than you were — which is just one reason why it is vital for people outside any religious tradition to be able to talk about it. Otherwise, it’s just a precious fragile flower that’s of little use.

    And of course, you can make statements about atheism. As they used to say (but don’t much any more) it’s a free country! If your statements are accurate, fine. If they’re half-assed, then someone will check you on it.

    Really, I sound like Disaster Dan? Disaster Dan is a nutcake. I hope I’m not that apocalyptic.

  • Alan

    Hmmmmm. The reference to the Boyd study seems to be saying prayer was found to be effective in a double blind study in a medical setting. I wonder if anyone has repeated the study.

    The two UMC’s I’m most familiar with here just have a prayer list of people who are sick or in hospital–no formal prayer groups, although some of the social groups include prayer routines, like a secret prayer-pal you sent E-mails to on their birthday. I’m not involved with any of that. In general, I would say that prayer is meant to be a relationship with God and it’s pretty hard to carry on any relationship through a third party. Also that God answers prayers and sometimes the answer is ‘no’. Also that prayer is most effective in changing the person who prays. I have also seen it used to interesting effect at staff meetings–to resolve interpersonal or organizational conflict through application of a timely Biblical principles–but it take a pretty skillful leader to pull that off.

    I grew up in the UMC and at the time of Vietnam it was an alternative voice to the political situation of the day–and not too popular in a very conservative community in a very red state. Also it has a vigorous music tradition. In my 30′s I would never have expected I would set foot in a church again. I can’t say if the change came about because of age or life experience.

    In the same way I can pick up a novel and hear a change in voice between Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, to me, the different posters have different voices, or sometimes very similar voices. Of course the types of arguments they make might be very different, but sometimes it’s good to have someone advance an argument that is, say, a little out of the mainstream or even outrageous. It’s more interesting, yes? How can you have public discourse if everyone thinks the same or if all the posters act like they have the same view as IT’s main editorial stance?

  • Jim

    Unless I am as blind as a bat, there is no reference to any “Boyd study” in any of the links I provided. There is no usage of the name “Boyd” anywhere on this thread. To what are you referring?

    Oh, you mean “Byrd.” Byrd 1988. Yeah, that one’s been kicking around for God Knows how long, unless he chooses in His Infinite Wisdom to Forget for a minute (which could be, like, an Age to us). What the quick reference in the academic article in the pdf file doesn’t tell you is that for twenty-nine other measures of well-being, there is no statistically significant difference. Given that the standard test for statistical significance is that there’s less than a 5% likelihood that the difference occured by chance alone in the sample, and given that there are 29 out of 30 insignificant variables, the performance of patients in Byrd’s studies under prayer is WORSE than chance alone would predict. God sure does work in Mysterious Ways.

    The Munson and Degelman study to which I refer, the study described in the pdf article to which I link, is one of many that finds no statistically significant effects between groups receiving intercessory prayer and those not receiving intercessory prayer in performance of one sort or another. In fact, Munson and Degelman find that although there are no statistically significant differences between the groups, the simple nonsignificant difference between groups receiving prayer than those not receiving prayer is worse than that predicted by those who believe in the power of prayer: by a small amount. If distant intercessory prayer has an effect, it’s to fuck things up. I guess “God just says no” whenever there’s a study. Convenient. Oh, me of little faith.

    I know I’m being snarky (although not sarcastic, no, I’d never be sarcastic). Look, I respect your right to hold your religious beliefs, but if you try to hold them up to my nose and convince me they don’t stink, I’m gonna wrinkle my nose at you. You don’t want me to wrinkle my nose at you, don’t stick your dirty rags under the schnozz.

    There is no “IT’s main editorial stance.” We don’t consult each other like some newspaper board to decide what we think. We just write what we think. We disagree. Exhibit A: Iraq. Go find the other exhibits yourself. It’s time for me to go get sleep before the kids wake up.

  • Alan

    Sorry, it’s Byrd 1988, yes. It’s counterintuitive; that’s why I asked if anyone had repeated the study. Similar issues that have been discussed on other threads with other studies–whether people thought they were being prayed for when they were not, whether it is more effective to be prayed for by someone who knows you as opposed to an anonymous stranger, the number of people declining to participate skewing the study. I don’t see how it is possible to construct a study that would actually prove or disprove the effectiveness of prayer, if you conceive of prayer’s purpose is to affect medical outcomes (thwarting God’s will?) and not to provide a coping strategy for inner peace.

    I don’t think intercessary prayer is very biblical. My own religious tradition is pretty silent on the subject of ‘correct’ prayer, since ‘grace’ is more or less floating in the air, but the example of Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer does not ask for influence over other people. The other comment of Jesus–about shutting yourself in a closet when you pray–was directed at people who pray publicly to impress other people with their own piousness, which Jesus loathed. That said, I still think it is a good idea to pray for other people; if someone is that worried about someone else’s health, prayer will probably help with processing events.

    I don’t particularly care what you believe, Jim. I tell my Moslem friends Allah wants them to be Moslem, and I rather think Allah wants you to be atheist.

    I do object to the frequent practice here of misrepresenting religious beliefs then saying religious people are ‘dirty’ or they ‘stink’. It’s a dishonest attempt to impose your views on someone else.

  • Junga

    Alan, you really need to get a grip on the difference between stating an opinion and imposing it on someone else.

    The people here at Irregular Times don’t suggest imposing their opinions on anybody. Their opponents do. The opponents of people like the writers of Irregular Times propose laws that will enable religious organizations to push their beliefs in dramatic ways, and do so with the help of the government. The religious Republicans in the House of Representatives tried to pass a bill to make it legal for people working in government-funded jobs to be fired just for not going to the same church as their managers. That’s imposing your beliefs on somebody.

    Irregular Times says some things about religion that you don’t agree with. Fine. But just because they disagree with you doesn’t mean that they’re trying to impose their views on anybody. They’re not.

  • Jim

    You really are working very hard at being outraged, aren’t you, Alan? Nobody said you are dirty or you stink. I referred to smelly beliefs as a metaphor for something that doesn’t pass the stink test. Goodness!

    If you feel conversation is an imposition upon you, Alan, why do engage in it?

  • Alan

    Then why make a deceptive remark like this one?:

    “I respect your right to hold your religious beliefs, but if you try to hold them up to my nose and convince me they don’t stink, I’m gonna wrinkle my nose at you.”

    What statement of mine does this refer to? Jim is trying to make it sound like I have done something grossly offensive to him, or that there is something wrong with my beliefs–maybe they are ‘sarcastic’ or something.

    And how do “religious people” suddenly become “religious Republicans in the House of Representatives”? It’s pretty convenient to paint eveyone in every religion with the same brush–even though some of us unequivocally support the constitution and invite science programs to use space in our churches when the fundies fuss about evolution. But the atheist rhetoric does not talk about the Christian fundamentalist right wing. They talk about “religious people”–ordinary voters like me.

    Help me understand the motivation behind these atheist tactics. Why do these atheists misrepresent my intentions and the facts about my religion?

  • Junga

    Alan, you ask: “How do “religious people” suddenly become “religious Republicans in the House of Representatives”?”

    The answer is simple Alan, they don’t, until you try to make the connection. No one here has made that equation except for you. Jim is right. You’re so desperately trying to find something to be angry about that you’re making wild statements that just aren’t based in reality.

    What, for example, is deceptive about the following remark?
    “I respect your right to hold your religious beliefs, but if you try to hold them up to my nose and convince me they don’t stink, I’m gonna wrinkle my nose at you.”

    There’s nothing deceptive in that remark, Alan. It’s someone stating his opinion, and how he intends to express it. There’s no deception in it. A deception is a lie. How is this remark a lie, Alan?

    You’ve gone so far out on this limb that you appear to have walked right into another tree.

    You know what, Alan? No one’s trying to impose anything on you here. You’re the one trying to tell other people that the mere presence of their disagreement with you somehow imposes on your rights.

    That’s delusional.

    Or, it’s purposeful. If you keep on going on with these silly rantings of yours, I may start to suspect that you’re a Troll, purposefully saying crazy things just in order to get attention.

  • Alan

    Junga,

    Maybe I am not expressing myself forcefully enough.

    As a “religious person” I and my religious denomination have been falsely accused of:
    1)believing the sun revolves around the Earth. (#36)
    2)believing the Earth is 6,000 years old (#36)
    3)believing prayer has the power to change medical outcomes (#36)
    4)trying to impose doctrines on someone else (#36)
    5)the Spanish Inquisition.(#38)
    6)imposing my beliefs on sombody by trying to pass a bill to make it legal for people working in government-funded jobs to be fired just for not going to the same church as their managers (#49)
    7)contemplation of putting ‘my dirty rags’ under someone’s nose (#47)
    As far as the original assertion that:
    “criticism is foreign to the process of religion”(33)here is the offical statement form my demonimation

    Science and Technology

    We recognize science as a legitimate interpretation of God’s natural world. We affirm the validity of the claims of science in describing the natural world, although we preclude science from making authoritative claims about theological issues. We recognize technology as a legitimate use of God’s natural world when such use enhances human life and enables all of God’s children to develop their God-given creative potential without violating our ethical convictions about the relationship of humanity to the natural world.

    In acknowledging the important roles of science and technology, however, we also believe that theological understandings of human experience are crucial to a full understanding of the place of humanity in the universe. Science and theology are complementary rather than mutually incompatible. We therefore encourage dialogue between the scientific and theological communities and seek the kind of participation that will enable humanity to sustain life on earth and, by God’s grace, increase the quality of our common lives together.

    From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church – 2004. Copyright 2004 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.

    Once again the atheists are making half-assed statements. Maybe that explains the groundswell of support for someone like Moyers, who is quite willing to consider the heart that lies behind both religious and a-religious value systems.

  • No Alan, your problem isn’t that you’re not expressing yourself with too little force. Your problem is that you’re expressing yourself with too little accuracy.

    No one here has accused you personally, Alan. No one here has accused ALL Christianity of those things. I wrote #36, Alan, and readers here can look very plainly to see that it’s not about YOU.

    You aren’t showing the intellectual acuity to separate a criticism of what has been done in the name of religion and what religion actually is. You seem to think that whatever you think religion is, ALL religion is, and so if someone criticizes religion in general, they must be criticizing you.

    It’s a warped argument that doesn’t fit with the basic rules of logic, Alan.

    Please calm down, or I’ll be forced to agree with Junga that you are an Internet troll who isn’t even trying to make sense.

    As for Bill Moyers, I honestly don’t think that he has demonstrated a fair-minded attitude toward the non-religious perspective. His work with Houston Smith, for example, was rudely dismissive of atheism, I thought.

  • Alan

    Okay, so when someone says ‘religion does this’ and ‘religious people do that’, no one is actually talking about me or my religion. Sort of like when someone says, “Jews start all the wars”, they’re not talking about ALL Jews. They’re just criticizing Jews in general. I see.

    I’m not familiar with Houston Smith. I was impressed with Salmon Rushdie’s part in Moyers’ new series. I know Moyers is (southern?) Baptist(?) and went to seminary before working with LBJ administration. Why not ordained? Mister Rogers was never ordained either.

  • Mind games

    You guys are playing games with Allan huh! Allan is right he is “Brilliant”, You guys are bunch of bullshiter.

  • Alan, the difference is in the form of the word, and the meaning that has in the English language.

    Talking about religion, one is talking about a general abstract idea that does not include people in its actual scope.

    You’re not doing that talking about Jews. Talking about Jews, you’re doing the same thing as making statements about religious people, which is different from talking about religion. The people are, in a large sense, things. It’s like saying “Rocks are made of cheese.” That’s either true of all rocks, or it’s a false statement.

    Talking about religion is like talking about business. You can make a statement like “business in America is corrupt” without at all implying that ALL business people are corrupt, because you’re talking about the general abstract idea.

    You’re mistaking these two word forms for eachother, and that linguistic misunderstanding is at the root of your ill-based feelings of persecution.

  • Sybil

    If you’re going to talk about prayer, which is, after all, a ritual, you should probably also talk about other religious rituals as well. For instance the forming of the circle in neopaganist ritual and certain fortune telling rituals like the Viking runes and the Chinese I Ching. I consider all of these formulas for accessing subconscious tools for organizing and processing infomation about life. Instead of taking the ritual out of context and trying to make it work in an artificial setting–like praying for unseen strangers as an intellectual exercise–the ritual should be considered within its historical tradition.

  • Ralph

    Maybe some religious beliefs and practices are about “accessing subconscious tools for organizing and processing information about life.” Divination techniques might do that sometimes. The I Ching is a particularly sophisticated intellectual system–the Chinese had binary code two thousand years before the Europeans, so you’ve got to hand it to them.

    But explain this to me, Sybil.

    The Mormons claim that Native Americans are descended from Israelites, but DNA testing determines that Native Americans are actually more closely related to East Asians. Then the Mormons conclude that the DNA testing must be wrong, because it contradicts the Book of Mormon.

    What has this got to do with “”accessing subconscious tools for organizing and processing information about life?” Sounds more to me like an outright rejection of some pretty sophisticated tools for organizing and processing information about life, in favor of religious dogma.

  • Patricia

    Sybil, if you are right about prayer, then Christians who claim that prayer has any predictable external power at all are wrong. If those Christians don’t know their own religion, then what value does it have?

  • Jim

    “I respect your right to hold your religious beliefs, but if you try to hold them up to my nose and convince me they don’t stink, I’m gonna wrinkle my nose at you.”

    Alan asks how this doesn’t say HE stinks.

    In all-caps:

    BELIEFS STINK.

    NOT ALAN.

    READ!

    SHEESH!

  • Iroquois Honky

    Oooooohh, Jimbo, after what Scott said, and after all the trouble I had getting my last two hormones to settle down again, now you’ve decided to go and tell a what kind of joke? Stop it right now. This time I really mean it. I’ll give you an hour to cut that out.

  • Jim

    No…. ALAN told “that kind” of a joke, and I told him it might not be a good idea. THEN, to balance it out, I told a joke about a MAN’S parts getting cut off.

    Get off my case.

    While we’re at it, why aren’t you at Alan’s throat? I mean, you SHOULD be, if you are serious.

    On the other hand, if you are just saying what you’re saying to bug ME, I can see why ALAN’s joke wouldn’t bother you, but MY joke about a MAN would.

    You take the cake. You really just take the cake.

  • Iroquois Honky

    If I am reading these studies correctly it is the researchers, whose religious affilation, if any, is not identified, who are postulating that prayer might be able to cure some medical condition.

    I am reminded of some revival tent-type healers years ago who used to get up on stage with some person on crutches or in a wheelchair and intone, “HEAL, HEAL, HEAL” and person would get up and walk without the crutches or wheelchair. What they didn’t show was the same person collapsing off-camera. Those shows didn’t last too long because they did damage to people who stopped their medical treatment in favour of “faith healing” and because it was impossible to keep hiding the lies that the people who appeared to be healed on camera were not really healed. No sirree, Bob, faithhealing was not in good repute in MY church.

    Then there was the Christian Scientist church down the street that everyone thought was a crackpot religion. My piano teacher joined that one after finding out she had breast cancer. She refused medical treatment and was dead within the year.

    All these apparent non-Christians who are posting their outrage and are convinced that all Christians believe in faithhealing, maybe they can provide a link to the organization that promotes this or someone who believes that way who can explain what they believe. All the Christians I know are skeptical about that kind of claim.

    Then there is my uncle, who can pray for rain in the middle of a drought and within the hour have his gutters overflowing in a freak thunderstorm. I have seen this with my own eyes. Faithhealing, no. Rainmaking…..

  • Jim

    I already did above. Multiple links. The United Methodist Church believes in intercessory prayer.

  • Iroquois Honky

    Heavens to Murgatroid, Jim, would you lighten up? No, I didn’t get the part about the guy’s parts getting cut off. I thought dick-dick-dick was the sound of the fan. Have you ever put your hand in the fan blade of a car? Scares you, but not much else. (Do not try this at home.) But the rest of your imagery was, ah, er, well, um, I suppose, a bit distracting….and I know you guys love to do that here. If I was seriously unhappy I wouldn’t give you ‘an hour’ to cut it out. I’m dealing with it. Really. Seriously. Honestly. Mmmm…

    By the way, do you know that in back of your belly-button, behind the fuzz, there is a tiny little brass screw? And if you unscrew the little screw…your ass falls off.

  • Iroquois Honky

    Jim, none of those links says the UMC believes in ‘intercessory prayer’ whatever that is. It says there are members of that church who were praying for sick people. It doesn’t say what they prayed for or what they expected the outcome of the prayer to be. If you google the UMC official website it will not tell you what they believe about prayer, if anything. It will tell you they believe in free inquiry, individual reflection, variety in theologizing, and interpretation with flexibility based on: 1.scripture 2.tradition 3.experience 4.reason.

    Now I’m not a huge WWJD (what would jesus do) type of person, but think about what kind of prayer Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemene when he was facing his own death. He said “let this cup pass from me,” in other words, give me a different outcome, then eventually “not my will but thy will be done,” as he came to terms with god’s expectations. So God’s own son, who is recognized as divine, prayed not to die. So I would say there is nothing wrong with praying to be healed. But God’s own son did not have his prayer answered, so it doesn’t look all that good for the rest of us, does it.

  • Jim

    Fine. If you are

    A) Going to call ME a misogynist for deleting a single comment on a thread on which I said I’d delete a comment for exactly what you proceeded to do;
    B) Going to continue to give me trouble for telling a joke at men’s expense rather than women, which I did just to avoid even the appearance of going along with Alan’s joke;
    C) At the same time not even bothering to give Alan a bit of trouble for a joke about a woman’s entire ASS being cut off;
    D) Not going to recognize UMC programs with titles including the phrase “Intercessory Prayer” as reflecting UMC endorsement of intercessory prayer;
    E) Going to tell me, after all your dramatics, to “lighten up.”

    then you clearly aren’t going to agree with anything that I have to say under any circumstances other than dictated by your sense of timing.

    You’re a troll. You’re not here to engage in a substantive way. You’re coming here to provoke and distract. That requires cooperation. A troll needs a dance partner.

    Sorry, I don’t dance any more. From now on, all you get in response is this reminder, to myself and others:

    Do Not Feed the Troll.

    Go home and talk to yourself.

  • Alan

    Peregrin, believe me I am with you completely on the separation of church and state. I don’t want any ‘religious’ principle injected into law. People need to be free to follow their own convictions and not someone else’s convictions. And we certainly don’t need the government telling us what to do in our churches.

    I think it was an unfortunate word choice, yes, but I still sense something more behind your statement that is fundamentally unfair to religion. I also notice your examples were from the Roman catholic church–one small denomination out of all the Christian denominations and even more world religions going back thousands of years in time. Maybe if you think of the type of fairness you want to see in representations of atheism, could you then treat religions with that same fairness?

    Really Peregrin, from the time I was too young to remember I was taught that God is all around me and that God’s rainbow is a sign that he takes care of us. My first song was “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” The first hymn learned by children was “for the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies, for the love which from our birth, over and around us lies.” If people want to teach their children they are surrounded by invisible love, I don’t see anything wrong with it. Likewise, if you want to teach your children they are surrounded by the coldness of space, that is your business, not mine. I think there is truth in both statements, on different levels.

    Jim, Jim, Jim, what am I going to do with you now?

    I respect your atheism, but if you try to hold it up to my nose and convince me it doesn’t stink, I’m gonna wrinkle my nose at you.

    I respect your black pride, but if you try to hold it up to my nose and convince me it doesn’t stink, I’m gonna wrinkle my nose at you.

    I respect your gay rights, but if you try to hold them up to my nose and convince me they don’t stink, I’m gonna wrinkle my nose at you.

    I respect Islam, but if you try to hold it up to my nose and convince me it doesn’t stink, I’m gonna wrinkle my nose at you.

    I respect your right to strike, but if you try to hold it up to my nose and convince me it doesn’t stink, I’m gonna wrinkle my nose at you.

    I respect your right to hold your religious beliefs, but if you try to hold them up to my nose and convince me they don’t stink, I’m gonna wrinkle my nose at you.

    If that’s respect, I would hate to see what your disrespect looks like.

  • Alan

    Jim, if you think UMC ‘endorses’ things you have a very mistaken notion of the organization. UMC is completely the opposite of the Roman Catholic tradition, which is from the top down. UMC does everything from the grassroots up, with small lay groups.

    I honestly have never heard of ‘intercessionary prayer’. If you know what it is, I wish you would tell me. I did look at all your links and noticed the churches you link to that list prayer groups in their programs are in the south. None of them say exactly what the prayer groups do or what they believe to be the value of prayer. Perhaps it is something regional. Churches do have local autonomy, as long as they act within the social principles (which you can find on the website). I’m afraid the Methodists are generally much more concerned with justice than with correctness of prayer.

    That said, I would have to say that this prayer group thing is very much NOT part of the Wesleyan tradition. Wesley’s original group in England was known for their literal observance of the biblical story of the sheep and the goats, where Jesus says feed the hungry, VISIT the sick and imprisoned, etc. The early Wesleyans were called Methodists since they followed the Biblical injunction “methodically”: Monday they visited the sick, Tuesday the prison, etc.

    So it would not be in the Wesley tradition to sit in one building and pray for someone in another building. It WOULD be in the tradition to GO TO the place where the sick person was and pray WITH them. I have family members that have been in these groups that visit hospitals, elderly at home, nursing homes, etc. so I can tell you visiting the sick is commonplace in northern churches. When I have family members hospitalized, I can’t always visit and the phone bills can get pretty expensive when I’m always calling their nurse, or I end up using the hospital Email which is only delivered to the room on weekdays. But always and every day, some Methodist has been in the hospital room visiting them when I can’t be there.

  • Jim

    Fine, wrinkle your nose, as long as you give me the right to hold my positions. That’s respect, which is different from agreement or aquiescence.

    Look up the words “intercessory” (as in “intercede”) and “prayer.

    The central United Methodist Church General Conference “endorses” many things; a pickle boycott just for one. And the United Methodist Church is not completely ground-up as you know. It has a series of creeds, doctrines and other central beliefs. The official online ministry of the United Methodist Church hosts its own intercessory prayer center, with prayer teams standing by.

  • Alan

    Jim, that was a “living prayer center” not an “intercessory prayer center.” Are you saying ‘living’ is the same as ‘intercessory’? I always thought the idea of ‘interceding’ was a purely Roman Catholic type of prayer where a saint (who through extreme goodness presumably has more influence with the Almighty) is asked to intervene with god for some favor, sort of like you would go to your alderman for a favor with the mayor. Methodists would reject this very strongly as idolatry. But with my anti-catholic bias, I’m not a good person to explain catholicism.

    I’n not surprised about the support for a boycott; labor issues fall under the heading of social justice. Likewise with the immigrants, legal and otherwise, we may have in our tutoring programs.

    The creeds and central beleifs were voted on by a conference consisting of both ordained and elected lay people. As far as I can tell, the central beliefs have not changed in the last 100 years, but I supppose they could be changed by a vote. We had a bishop who was questioning the virginity of Mary and some people got upset about it–they said if he wanted to change the core beliefs, he should take it through the proper channels.

    For a Methodist view of prayer try:

    http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=660

    The author conceives of prayer as “asking for God’s help and blessing each day of our lives” and suggests “If prayer is a means of communication with God, it follows that much of our praying ought to involve listening for what God has to say.”

    Theologizing is all very fine and good for a retired pastor, but on the faith/works spectrum I’m afraid I’m a little more on the ‘works’ side.

    I also think I’m a little more comfortable with your spiritual approach than you are with mine. Perhaps comfort is too much to ask, but that is what I am asking.

  • Jim

    From a website of Cheri Dorhauer MD, of Creighton University, a person sympathetic to intercessory prayer:

    Petitionary Prayer: Praying directly to a divine being to request something, such as healing from an illness. Intercessory Prayer is a type of petitionary prayer in which the petitioner requests something for another person.

    Wikipedia:

    In Christian practice, intercessory prayer is the act of one person praying for or on behalf of another person or situation. The prayer intercedes on behalf of the subject, in the hope that God will answer the prayer accordingly.

    The Wikipedia entry goes on to describe the regular use of intercessory prayer in Catholic/Orthodox and Protestant churches.

    No, I’m not comfortable with your faith. I’m comfortable with your right to have it. But you shouldn’t expect ME to take comfort in your faith; it’s yours, not mine. I am personally uncomfortable with faith not supported by empirical evidence — and in fact, at times, opposed by it. It’s my choice to choose my tastes and comforts. I think the most you must expect of me is that I respect your right to believe as you do.

  • Iroquois Honky

    No, Jim, you’re the troll.

    There was this one with the eye-catching title:
    http://irregulartimes.com/index.php/archives/2006/03/31/either-you-give-me-a-blowjob-right-now-or-the-terrorists-have-won/

    and this one with images that shook up people in the workplace:
    http://irregulartimes.com/index.php/archives/2006/06/20/are-these-images-offensive-which-why/

    and now on this thread:
    “that was kind of flaccid as jokes go” Flaccid? What kind of mental imagery do you think goes with this?

    Who is here to provoke and distract? Ordinarily I deeply resent anyone trying to manipulate me by pushing my sexual buttons, but for some reason this time I can’t get terribly upset. But you might think about your own role in this. Pushing them you are.

    As for your points:
    A)I thought we decided you were ‘sarcastic’ for inferring that either I was stupid or that I was too smart for a female.
    B) and C) Who cares. At best, they are puns, and Shakespeare was quite fond of the pun. At worst they are physically impossible groaners. Life is short. You go ahead and be offended if you like.
    D)I’ll pray for you.
    E)I’m not going to ask you not to post provocative material. It’s what you do. But do know that Scott was right and there is a reaction.

    Offensively intelligent, stunning, brilliant, transgressively inapproprately female genius and now drooling uncontrollably,
    IH

  • Iroquois Honky

    And Jim, if you don’t want me to post any more, all you have to do is ask.

    That’s all.

    Just ask.

  • Ralph

    But Jim, the troll says such amusing things when you feed it!

  • Iroquois Honky

    Ralph is a gentleman and a scholar, as usual, and I’m thinking it’s possible for the pope to start a war without having a army.

  • Iroquois Honky

    Why, but why, does Jim just ask me not to post? It would be so simple. Then I would just go away. I am in a Quandry. And when I’m in a Quandry I think about what my favorite heroes would do in a similar situation. In this case I’m thinking WWJD. No, not What Would Jesus Do. In this case, What Would Jim Do? Oh, yes, Jim is still my hero, even though I am shedding such bitter tears over the terrible sarcasm he has inflicted on me. ‘Incredibly intelligent’. ‘Stunning genius’. ‘Transgressive brilliance’. And now, yes, even ‘troll’. Never ‘lowlife’, of course, that’s for the Big Boys. ((((sniff, sniff))))) But you know what Jim would do? He wouldn’t let it get him down. Oh, no. He would publish it as Love Mail. Yes, yes, yes. I need to publish this, perhaps in the diaries with some sarcasm….let’s see, save the troll image to….hmmmmm. Unless of course my hero, Jim, asks me not to…

  • Iroquois Honky

    Okay, here’s the deal. Jim isn’t asking me not to post, so I will continue to post from time to time.

    I’m no troll of course, but here’s the problem:

    then you clearly aren’t going to agree with anything that I have to say under any circumstances other than dictated by your sense of timing.

    Yes, I’m not going to agree, I’m going to think for myself. In a large group there is more room for divergent opinion. In a small group like this there is limitless pressure to conform. There are some incredibly sharp people here, but I’m not in the mood for groupthink.

    I am overfed already with internet time, so it is time to diet. Although I have very much enjoyed tossing remarks back and forth (Ralph & Jim),at this point I do appreciate anyone who limits their comments to me.

    I will also do my best not to think of Jim in a hottub. (just kidding, I swear)

    Nightie-bities.

  • Kay

    I live in Utah. Mormons are NOT Christian. Christians embrace the cross and Jesus as we know this is a symbol of our salvation. Mormon churches do not display any crosses whatsoever. Wearing a cross in this state, Mormons will glare at you with extreme disgust. They absolutely hate and despise the cross of salvation. I have even had Christian friends tell me that crosses have actually been ripped from their necks by Mormons outraged with this sign. Living in “their” neighborhoods, they will go out of the way to completely ignore you. Christian children and adults are ostrasized and treated as second class citizens. Becuase Mormons haven’t a clue who Jesus is, they have no idea how to conduct themselves as Christians. So, no Mormons and their false and pathetic doctrines are not at all Christian. I could go on about their ridiculous beliefs, but I’ll stop at this. Stay away from their lies as there is no salvation in their beliefs!!

  • Jim

    But don’t they get splinters?

Leave a Reply