Sunday, May 13, 2007

20/20 - Atheists in a Town of Believers

John Stossel, Sylvia Johnson, and Lynn Redmond produced a 20/20 segment called Atheists in a Town of Believers. The segment was republished on YouTube under the title The Price of Atheism.

The story is compelling. An Atheist family, the Smalkowskis, moved to ranch outside of a small town in Oklahoma. Their 13 year old daughter Nicole went through hell at the public high school as soon as the locals found out she was an atheist.

The story touched me. It was too close to home. Christians, especially when they dominate a small town, can be unmitigated asses. I fully expected Kevin Bacon to start dancing in the gym - it is that kind of scary fundamentalist intolerant "if you ain't one of us, you must be of the devil" kind of town.

Then, according to Nicole, the teachers also began harassing her, one going as far as to say, "This is a Christian country, and if you don't like it, get out."

The story sickens me - Nicole deserves a metal.



Dan Marvin said...

It’s like a bunch of teenagers getting into mischief and getting into trouble and I (as an adult) say “Hay! your parents are going to be very upset at all of you when they find out what you’re doing.”

The teenagers response is “F$#@ you dork, go tell someone who gives a crap” and “you liar, a$#hole”

You are all shooting the messenger, according to the Bible there is no distinction between atheists and satanists. Please don’t believe what I am telling you, look it up yourself. Does that mean I have no compassion by stating that? Does that mean I don’t care enough for all your well being to tell you that our Father will be very upset at your wickedness (again according to the Bible)? Did I really hit a nerve? You all seem to be fine and tolerate buddhism, muslims or yes even satenism but when it comes to Jesus you get a deep hatred foaming at the mouth and slander whoever brings up the name Jesus Christ.

Is it a toothache you all have? I am touching it saying “hay that one there (press) looks black” and you all scream “OWWWW” in pain. I did not make up the Bible but the atheist experience people (as well as you) are declaring WAR against God by being public activist against him. I am merely (as a concerned human brother) pointing out that if you don’t address that tooth then it will infect your whole body and turn gangrenous and you will perish. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-11

I have told the atheist experience people many times as they were slandering me to never take my word for it that they could look it up themselves in the Bible, to do the research. I pointed out the verses that I was addressing and giving an adequate debate. What was the response? More ad hominem fallacies and they came back with the troll comment or calling me stupid or pathetic and such. To me it is just sad to waste good minds to pride and destruction for being like little brat teenagers.

You must know by now that there is accountability in nature and the universe. If you jump out the window you will go splat because of the law of gravity. If you try to live with grizzlies or lions because they are so cute, you will get shredded because you are breaking the boundaries of nature. If you take your mask off underwater you will drown because of conditions that are not suitable for sustaining life for humans. If you take your helmet off in deep space you will implode because of the laws of pressure and physics and such. So if there are so many laws to follow why are you all ignoring God’s law?

You will be held accountable for your actions and in my opinion it fits for the conditions that surround us. That is why we don’t rape children, because it is wrong to us in our hearts. The atheist experience people tried to explain it was because society said it was wrong and that was it. Isn’t that absurd to you? So I tried to reason with them but they ended up blocking me and giving out my IP address to the world. So be it, we move on, but we don’t have forever here on earth. My urgency and enthusiasm is not to harm but to warn as a friend. Would you let your friend get behind a wheel after it’s apparent that he is very drunk and will possibly hurt himself or worse, others? They are reckless and they know it, and so do you if you search your heart. I love you enough to take your keys, punch me if you must because of your drunken rage but, deep in your heart you know what is at stake here.

For Him,

The Alpha said...

I agree with you this girl deserves a medal. If I remember correctly the American Atheists won a case that surrounded this incident in court. I believe trumped up charges were brought against the father. Many of the individuals in the town had to be taken off the jury because they said they couldn't honestly take the word of an atheist over a Christian. While it's an awful way to think, at least they were honest about it. That way they could be removed from the jury. I think it's disappointing though that she had to leave public school to be homeschooled.

In other news, Dan just copied and pasted that same exact comment to my blog in reference to a completely different topic. I'm beginning to think he is making his way through the blogroll and spamming people. Before I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but now he seems more and more like a Christian spammer.

Mojoey said...

Dan is.... yes, a christian spammer is a good way to discribe him.

Dan Marvin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan Marvin said...

It was originally to "The alpha" but then since I have talked to other atheists like Mojoey here I thought I would share the wealth. The message can still be sincere even if duplicated. If a building was on fire and I went to all the neighbors to say the exact phrase “HAY! The building is on fire!” doesn’t negate the sincerity. It was to you Alpha originally though if that means anything to you.

Dan Marvin said...

Opps Not hay but hey

Carolyn Ann said...

Thanks for the link, Mojoey. A very interesting story. I know from personal experience that being a teen atheist can be hard.

Oh well.

(As far as "Dan Marvin" is concerned, I believe... He should get a life.)

Carolyn Ann

Dan Marvin said...

Carolyn Ann,

There you are again, how come you will not address anything I ask you. You are very generous with your ad hominem fallacies and slandering but you will not answer questions to help us know you better. One question I have asked you in the past is about Jesus. He is either lying or telling the truth. Is Jesus to you a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord?

Judy said...

All Christians are unmitigated asses? You shoot yourself in the foot when you complain about bigotry with that sort of intolerant statement.

Mojoey said...

Judy - True.
It should have read Christians, especially when they dominate a small town, "CAN BE" unmitigated asses

I'll correct it when I get home.

Alan said...

Dan Says, "Is Jesus to you a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord?"

Oh please Dan. Jesus was none of the above because he never existed! Give me a break.

Thanks for posting this video. I live in a town full of fundaMentalist also and can relate.

tina said...

dan>"You are all shooting the messenger, according to the Bible there is no distinction between atheists and satanists."
According to the bible....which some of us don't believe in anyway.

tina said...

I hope someone with the monetary means can donate a college education for her. She is really brave and I hope more young people speak out. What intolerant assholes!

Dan Marvin said...

You have heard of Julius Caesar and I am sure you believe that he existed right? Well there were 10 manuscripts of antiquity that explained who he was as we know him today. 10 that is it, in one language, everything we know today about him came from just those 10 manuscripts. Do you know how many manuscripts of antiquity about Jesus? Any guess?

The New Testament we have either in fragments or partials within 25 years, 40 years of events we have 5,300 partials or complete manuscripts in Greek (the original language) and 19,000 other languages. You want a reliable book and you believe Julius Caesar existed? You can believe that Jesus existed and he did exactly what it says in the Bible because you have eye witness accounts that were willing to die for it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Dan - how many of those "eyewitness accounts" actually agree with each other? Do your numbers include any Gnostic manuscripts? Does it include the Gospel of Judas? (If not, why not?)

Where did you get those numbers, anyway? Could you cite the author and describe how he came up with that count?

Have you ever heard of John Frum? We have hundreds or thousands of eyewitness accounts of him. Some miracles were associated with him. But we're not sure he ever actually existed.

John Frum was the mythological savior of the famous "cargo cults." I have the same or better evidence for his divinity than you have for the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Dan Marvin said...
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Dan Marvin said...

”Where did you get those numbers, anyway? Could you cite the author and describe how he came up with that count?”

Yes I do have references. This is well known and is mentioned in debates all the time. All the research and references are in this book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell.

Even atheists don’t refute it. It is also mentioned on pg 367 of Dan Barker’s Book Losing Faith in Faith. The back of his book has a slew of references for this information but it is common knowledge. Maybe Wiki has it also. lol

To be as accurate as possible here is what I found to be true. There are now more then 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Add over 10,000 Latin Vulgate and at least 9,300 other early versions (MSS) and we have more then 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today. No other document of antiquity even begins to apporach such numbers and attestation.


“…there are thousands more New Testament Greek manuscripts than any other ancient writing. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. That is an amazing accuracy. In addition there are over 19,000 in copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000. “

Author, Date Written, Earliest Copy, Time Span, Copies (extent)
Secular Manuscripts:
Herodotus (History) 480 - 425 BC 900 AD 1,300 years 8
Thucydides (History) 460 - 400 BC 900 AD 1,300 years ?
Aristotle (Philosopher) 384 - 322 BC 1,100 AD 1,400 years 5
Caesar (History) 100 - 44 BC 900 AD 1,000 years 10
Pliny (History) 61 - 113 AD 850 AD 750 years 7
Suetonius (Roman History) 70 - 140 AD 950 AD 800 years ?
Tacitus (Greek History) 100 AD 1,100 AD 1,000 years 20

Anonymous said...

Sorry to Deep Thoughts for wasting their blog discussion on this. And sorry to dan marvin for the delay in my response - it wasn't exactly easy trying to find those "references" you gave me. Are you still with me?

I actually asked you for references because I don't know what those numbers ("40 years, 5300 manuscripts!") are counting. I assume you mean 40 years after the life of Jesus, which would be no later than 69 AD - right around the Judaean Revolt, just before Pompeii sacks the Second Temple.

As of 69 AD, I don't think any of the four canonical gospels existed in their modern forms. This especially makes me doubt your other claim, that the manuscripts are "99.5% textually pure." How did they compute that percentage? Exactly what mathematical definition of sequence similarity did they use? There are four canonical gospels - how "textually pure" are they with respect to each other?

Why didn't you mention the Gnostic gospels, even after I brought them up?

Also, I'm suspicious of the low counts for other ancient manuscripts that you quote - I doubt Josh McDowell did serious research to find out how many extant copies of Suetonius are out there - but this objection misses a crucial point. We don't just have Suetonius' word to go on that Julius Caesar existed. We have coins, artwork and graffiti bearing his likeness, we have records of him leading a Roman legion, and we have all manner of other little cues suggesting that he lived and was a politically significant figure around the end of the Roman Republic.

In the case of Jesus, we don't even have physical evidence that he lived, let alone evidence that he was the son of god - except for some after-the-fact written accounts that don't even agree with each other (like the Gnostic gospels).

But then, we have that same evidence for the existence and divinity of John Frum, Son of God.

(For the record, I'm still up in the air on whether or not Jesus existed, although I used to be pretty sure that he did. It wasn't until I read about John Frum that I seriously considered the notion that very large numbers of people could spontaneously invent a character, and then insist that he's real. And then insist that he visits them in their dreams. And that he will provide them with riches if they pray to them. And that he rules the afterlife and can get you into heaven if you ask him...)

Anonymous said...

I just realized that I said something monumentally stupid by accident, so now I have to apologize and make a correction.

Pompey invaded Judaea around 65-63 BC, which was shortly before the end of the Republic. He died a few decades later, long before the Second Temple was destroyed by Titus Caesar and the Imperial Romans in 70 AD.

Tacitus and Josephus are the two most famous historical sources for this period, which had little to do with Pompey.

Please excuse that amazingly stupid mistake.

Dan Marvin said...
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Dan Marvin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.