12th January 2010

“Whether I like it or not, I belong to the Church which participated in the transatlantic slave trade. The actions of my forebears are my actions. I can't distance myself from the terrible things that the Anglican Church did to my brothers and sisters who were sold as slaves and for that I deeply apologise.”

Archbishop John Sentamu

74 Responses to “12th January 2010”

  1. Greg Says:


    Thanks for your answer. So, based on what you’ve written in recent posts:

    – babies cannot sin
    – God knows the future
    – God amputates people to prevent them from commiting future sin

    Is this correct?

  2. Greg Says:

    Hi Sol. Can you please provide a definition of ‘proof’?

  3. Bornagain A. Theist Says:

    Tech, dude, what is up with all that? Man don’t you see that we are not trying to play some hostile, hateful role here. Sure we have our beliefs – and you have yours.

    Any honest discussion involves questions. If it SEEMS that we are asking questions about a god that we don’t believe in, it’s a matter of semantics. We are trying to politely request an honest answer to a simple question; “Why do you believe in an entity for which there is no evidence whatsoever for the existence thereof?”. That’s not mumbo-jumbo doublespeak. It’s a real question that demands a real answer. Part of an honest answer is, “because that is what I was taught as a child and I have believed it ever since.”

    When each of us were born, we were born with no knowledge of any god or gods at all in our brains; we were all atheists at birth. It is only when adults began telling us of their beliefs that our brains began being imprinted with an idea of a god or gods. If the child of a Muslim couple is removed from that culture and away from those people within a certain amount of time after birth, and placed in a Buddhist household to be raised, that child will likely become a Buddhist, at least for some period. Likewise, if a Christian child is removed from that culture and and away from those people and is placed in a Shinto household…. surely you see the pattern. Children of atheist parents are not taught anything about a god or gods because there are no gods to teach them about. But if an atheist child is taken from that environment and placed in, say, a cult atmosphere, such as a Mormon household, then that child may very well end up wearing magical underwear and thinking that he will go to a special planet at some point (if he never takes time to question the belief system he was taught.)

    Anyone who questions his or her own beliefs is showing a wonderful intelligence. Atheists constantly question their own beliefs. Wait, let me re-phrase that. HONEST atheists constantly question their own beliefs. And they expect that other HONEST human beings should do the same.

    So when we ask you theists for evidence of your god or gods, we are not so much questioning your beliefs but our own.

    As an example, We have mountains of biological evidence that shows that this earth is billions of years old and that all life forms evolved from the very simple to the very complex. Then we hear of others who insist that everything was created quite suddenly and only about 6,000 years ago by an invisible, magical god. When we ask “What evidence do you have to support the existence of this god?”, we want to learn.

    If you provide testable evidence that you gods exist, I for one will believe in it, and I think many other atheists will too.


  4. tech Says:

    How about this I don’t believe that there is such thing as an Atheist. So I guess i’m an unbeliever. As for my life style and who I believe in thats just what it is my beliefs.It doesn’t concern anyone else but me and my family.I pray that you will be as content with you’re lives as I am with mine.

  5. Greg Says:

    tech, no one is questioning your lifestyle or the way you live your life. That is truly irrelevant to this discussion board.

    What is relevant, however, is the examination of beliefs – both yours and mine. I recognize that both of us have different beliefs and this board is a forum for you and I to ask serious questions and seek honest answers from each other. It’s a place where we should be allowed to respectfully challenge each other with reasoned logic and responses.

    If you are not able to do this then you have no business participating in the discussion, for you merely become a distraction to the pursuit of knowledge.

  6. Tony Provenzano Says:

    The Archbishop is wrong.
    He is not responsible for others actions. Maybe he feels this way because he follows his erroneous teachings of ‘original sin.’
    I commit my own sins. I am guilty of no other.
    Blame should go where it belongs. The guilty are those that committed the actions. Don’t feel guilty about what you can do nothing about. You are not guilty for your ancestor’s actions, or your sons. The past is the past.
    But we can control our present actions. Therein lays culpability. We can change our actions immediately. We can try to sway others with what we think is right. We can take the time to rewrite the books we use because we now know better.
    I can understand why the Archbishop would feel guilt if he is following the same rule book (Bible) that led his forefathers astray.
    He could try to change the teachings of the book of Exodus (in Bible) so a recurrence of slavery doesn’t happen. But no, it will remain in the most widely sold, distributed, and taught book of all time. It will be interpreted this way and that and used maliciously sometime again when convenient in the future.
    Saying you’re sorry does nothing but helps relieve ones guilt.
    Rectifying the situation that caused the problem is what the Archbishop should have done or attempted. That is the progress needed for our future children.

  7. tech Says:

    Great I’ll leave you to bicker. Meanwhile i’ll enjoy life. LOSERS.

  8. Greg Says:

    Thank you tech. Have a wonderful life. Bye.

  9. Holysmokes Says:

    He’ll be back. After-all, why does a christian purposely enter a room with this title?

  10. PEB Says:

    59 comments at the time of writing this and only 9 about the actual quote. Humouring tech and his new friend is absolutely pointless.

  11. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Holysmokes: I entered AQOTD because I like the idea of using a quote to riff philosophical off of (if I use this parenthetical comment at the end of this sentence, does it still count as ending a sentence in a preposition?). I also comment on Christian sites, but as I’ve written before, many Christian sites – not all – feature far less intelligent commentators. I think it important that INTELLIGENT atheists and theists (trust me, there are incredibly stupid idiots on both sides) engage in hopefully fruitful dialog on the small and large issues of the day. There is no issue larger than that of the role of religion for good and bad in our world today. And yakking ONLY with those who agree with me, while interesting and fun, is in the end really no more than mental masturbation.

    Currently, I find myself in the strange position of agreeing with tech, Solomon, and Pelton that there is indeed a God, while agreeing with you atheists on ALMOST everything else. I find this a valuable and thought-provoking position to be in. If you ask me, the certainties on salvation, hell, and the supposed moral degeneracy of atheists vomited up by the current trinity of reason-challenged theists commenting here of late speak AGAINST any reasonable definition of faith. For me, “faith” and uncertainty walk hand in hand. Without doubt, faith – like science – is useless.

  12. tony cynic Says:

    How long til someone mentions the holocaust.

  13. God=Nuthin Says:

    Amen PEB. I’m gonna make an effort to “stick to the knitting”.


  14. Holysmokes Says:

    Hi Oxy,

    I think your reasons for being here are understandable, however I will not pretend to understand your theism. I do understand your rationale, all except for the word “faith.” To me it has, and always will be blind faith, so long as evidence remains elusive. I have a very difficult time grasping how an otherwise intelligent person can have “faith” in something without it. I do like your words regarding faith & doubt. I agree that science requires a certain amount of doubt, if only to keep the scientist interested.

    My last post was aimed at the boomerang theist “Tech” solely because he has made, “exiting comments before” yet he always returns. Perhaps I misunderstood his intentions. Maybe when he stomps out, he intends only a temporary exodus. I get the impression he feels we are picking on him. I agree that at times it is difficult to refrain from negative commentary, however I think the reasons are easy to see. Telling us what his god is going to do to us, or making supernatural threats will always put the average person on the defensive. I am glad to see that you refrain from such nonsense. Perhaps our three friends can learn from that.

  15. solomon Says:

    Dear Greg,

    – babies cannot sin=correct
    – God knows the future=correct
    – God amputates people to prevent them from commiting future sin=maybe

    What are you? A lawyer? Trying to trap me with your merry go round questions?

  16. Greg Says:

    Hi Sol. Thanks for your reply.

    I’m not trying to trap you with anything, just trying to understand your reasoning.

    ‘Maybe’ isn’t much of an answer for me. It sounds more like a hedge. If God can do anything, why doesn’t he regrow human limbs? There must be some explanation in the Qu’ran for this.

  17. solomon Says:

    Dear Greg,
    I wish there is some explanation to clear your doubt regarding why doesn’t god regrow human limbs but for the time being lets hold on to the former. Regarding the definition of “proof” I have not prepare a concise one. How about looking for it yourself in the dictionary.
    Wait…something crosses my mind. In Islam one who are caught stealing will be punished by amputating their hands & for robbers one of their hands & legs will be amputated. This might be another reason why god does not heal amputated hands because if the hands grow the thief may repeat his old habits & the punishment will be of no significant. And this is also as a punishment for their deeds and a form of control on theft & robbery.

  18. solomon Says:

    Dear Atheists,
    Get back to god.God is real & hell is real & is very hot.God will forgive you all. He’s the most mercifull. Wonder for a little while. Don’t throw away this chance.

  19. Greg Says:

    Hi Sol

    Definition of proof (from http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861736546/proof.html)

    1. conclusive evidence: evidence or an argument that serves to establish a fact or the truth of something
    2. test of something: a test or trial of something to establish whether it is true
    3. state of having been proved: the quality or condition of having been proved

    When we (I’m using the royal ‘we’ here) ask for proof of something we (in general) are asking for conclusive evidence, as the first definition suggests. The reason we ask for this is so that we can then test the evidence ourselves to further establish proof, which #2 alludes to. Once we have done this then it is generally accepted that there is proof, as defined in #3.

    Thus far you have presented your beliefs – very strongly – but no conclusive evidence. Don’t take offence with what I’m saying – it’s not meant as an insult. Belief is a very personal and strong emotion, but it is not proof of anything. Rather, it is an unequivocal conviction that what you believe is true.

  20. solomon Says:

    Dear Greg,

    For your;

    1. conclusive evidence: evidence or an argument that serves to establish a fact or the truth of something
    2. test of something: a test or trial of something to establish whether it is true

    Don’t you notice the word something in the definition.

    Sorry Greg,
    I can’t provide the proof because the ‘something’ that you require proof is not actually a ‘something’. It is comparable to nothing.

  21. Hypatia Says:


    It is comparable to nothing.

    If god is comparable to nothing then god doesn’t exist.


  22. solomon Says:

    Dear Hypatia,

    If god does’nt exist than whats the use of comparing??

  23. Hypatia Says:

    Dear Sol,

    It perfectly reasonable compare non-existent entities. One can compare the fictional characters in a book for example.

    You really do have a very restricted way of thinking. We’re used to more intelligent arguments on this site.

  24. solomon Says:

    Dear Hypatia,

    Youre out of argument. You see how most intelligent god is? You can’t even challenge his words.