Saturday, May 23, 2015

Assailing BS Conceptual Blocks

Once more assailing religious conceptual blocks.  Not expecting to succeed, but the BS cannot remain unchallenged. 

JCarlin:  Humans have objective moral standards based on evolutionary imperatives for the survival of the species:  Altruism, compassion, empathy; shunning of cheaters, liars, and sociopaths; are all cross species needs for survival.

El Apologist: No, evolution also produced people like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and they were very successful at survival for a time so how can you condemn them since their source of morality is the same as yours? And all those things are just chemical reactions in your brain, one set of chemical reactions are no better than another set. And all those standards are just based on irrational sentimentality for the human species, there is nothing special about humans so you are being irrational by favoring human survival if atheistic evolution is true. So they are not objective.

One despot's survival has no evolutionary significance.  His crappy genes (He is after all in the image of God) are normally eliminated from the gene pool quickly.  The damage he does to the gene pool by his slaughter is much more significant and is the reason his gene pool is typically removed soon after his death, or frequently at the same time. As the Christian French Kings and the EOC Russian Tsar found out too late. 

The source of my morality is humanism and respect for all people. The source of a despot's morality is either God or power.   Neither are chemicals in the brain but social imprinting usually by religion but occasionally by other sociopathological belief systems.  As you necessarily ignore: Hitler was brought up Catholic, and Stalin was brought up Eastern Orthodox through seminary.  I am not blaming either Catholicism or Orthodoxy for creating these despots; most people survive religious childhood in both religions as decent human beings.  Unfortunately some don't. 
JCarlin: jc: Social species have other evolutionary imperatives including respect for vuvuzelas in fancy dresses in over decorated balconies which is where God's dysfunctional moral standards are promulgated as "TRUTH™" including such atrocities as love the bully and abuser because God loves everybody.  Of course it helps if the bully or abuser is a male in the image of God and can therefore identify with all the bullying and abuse documented in Scripture most of which is ordered by God and executed by men. 

El Apologist: No, God teaches that bullies and abusers should be punished, as it plainly taught in the Mosaic law and even Christ told His disciples to buy a sword for self defense. He also taught to love your enemies, and one way to love them is to mete out justice on them not necessarily you personally but you should report them to the proper authorities as Paul teaches in Romans 13.

God teaches that bullies and abusers should be rewarded with land, sex slaves, regular slaves, and the admiration of God, as is plainly taught in the Mosaic law. 

In context the Apostles were to buy swords as Jesus, not Christ yet, would no longer be around to protect them.  It turned out that the bullies and abusers were followers of Paul's Christ. Who, need I remind you, was God in your BS. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

On Death - Henry Scott Holland

Death Is Nothing At All - Poem by Henry Scott Holland

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Skeptical Conceptual Blocks

christine3:It seems most atheists here get a reaction when they read the words paranormal, supernormal, superconscious, supernatural.
Skeptical atheists are believers just like most people.  Their conceptual blocks are as impermeable as a fundamentalist Christian or a Republican.  The only real difference is their BS do not involve God. They are as capable of sticking their fingers in their ears and singing la, la, la I can't hear you when confronted with evidence of things like esp and other paranormal abilities as any Christian. 
May 20, 2015 -- 7:32PM, Blü wrote:
See #44

Okay, I've re-read #44.
No evidence of esp confronted me.
What did I miss?
May 21, 2015 -- 2:46AM, Trollish wrote:
Same here. Read #44 and encountered no evidence for paranormal phenomenon.
#44 says that you have never and never will encounter evidence for paranormal phenomena.  Your brain is incapable of processing evidence you may have encountered in the past or will encounter in the future.  It will always concoct an apologetic that certain things cannot happen in reality and if they appear to have happened that must be the result of something else.  Delusion, falsehood, or misinterpretation of the data. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Religious, Spiritual, and Atheist.

I think Forrest Church's mantra is appropriate here. 
Religion is the human response to being alive and having to die.

 I had a chance to talk with him about that.  He had no problems with atheists in his church. 

His question to me was something like have you come to grips with the the fact that you are going to die, and what effect has that had on your life up to now, and in the future.  I said something like sure I will die and quoted Jeffers "Surely they must know that cultures decay and life's end is death."  The Purse-Seine (1937.) He waited silently for the "and"

Every moment is a gift that must be used intelligently to enrich the lives of those around me in ever widening circles.   His response was: Is God involved? I said no and he said you have just defined your atheist religion. I didn't like the term religion as that implied dogmatic to me, and asked if I could use spirituality instead of religion. He replied.  They are the same thing.


I don't bother to use "spiritual" much, since like many other useful words in English, its meaning has been so corrupted by usage that it is essentially meaningless.  I used to argue that spiritual was the numinous with or without God:  That which cannot be formulated in language but which the mind can comprehend as that combination of thoughts, myths, and ideas which make all of us uniquely "me".

Christian Atheists

YEC:  I would think almost all of the Atheist living in a free society are to one degree or another.
 It is hard to be a Christian if not a theist.  The entire dogma of Christianity is centered around groveling at the feet of God whether it is Jesus, the Trinity, or "Thy God" of Jesus.  Atheists do not grovel at anything or anybody. Nice try at the Great Commission, but abject failure. 
YEC: For a Godless society there is no moral rule.  Natural evolutionism is the rule.  Survival of the fittest.  There is no absolute law in which a standard can be erected.
In a Godless society moral rules are derived from evolutionary necessity and its corollary tribal living necessities expanded to larger societies as required.  While there is no absolute law governing morality, humanistic empathy is a firm foundation.
YEC: You are born, live and die and "puff"'s all over.
Yep.  In the words of Forrest Church one had best live a life worth dying for.  It is all anybody has. Theist or atheist. 
YEC: In a free society the Atheist follow the moral teachings of Jesus and I might add, the bible.  They know the morals work.  They are tried and proven.   If Jesus never appeared, if the bible never existed....if our laws didn't reflect those morals, where would we be?  
Your remarks about Jesus are pretty close to the mark.  The rest of the Bible morality is either obsolete or dysfunctional in a modern society.

YEC: You said, "They're Out There, I Just Haven't Found Any Yet"...the truth is, you are one of them.
Sorry.  There are many atheist Christians, Jews, Muslims, and members of other theistic religions, that enjoy the traditions, rituals and tribal gatherings associated with the faith, but without the faith in God.  Atheists without a religion are not among them.  In general we (I include myself among them) have developed our own meaning and purpose for being alive and having to die.  But in the words of johnbigboote on the old boards it is a One Person Religion.

Jesuism 2015

Interesting that Christian atheists redirects to a rather useful article on Jesuism.  When I was looking for a title for a thread on atheistic studies of Jesus in Jan 2007 "Jesuism" showed up on Google and other search engines only as an obscure Eastern Cult, and some obscure literary references.  Jesuit was already taken and Jesusism and Jesuanism weren't on target for what I was looking for.

I have since seen it on other blogs, and of course Wiki but it always refers to the sudy of Jesus as a human not a God.  At the time I was thinking about the Christian return to Jesus focusing on the Sermon on the Mount and the Two Great Commandments as an atheist movement in Christianity, but they made an end run around atheism by returning to the personal God of the Jews "Love the Lord Thy God ..."  in effect remaining theists, but repudiating all of John and Paul.  How they warped their minds around The Christ as Jesus remains a mystery to me, but somehow they still think of themselves as Christians focusing on the teachings of Jesus. 

It doesn't matter to me as Jesus was the first radical humanist in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and "Thy God" viewed through the teachings of Jesus may eliminate most of the excesses of the Abrahamic monstrosity.

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Female Jahwist?

According to Harold Bloom in the Book of J the Jahwist was a high class educated women in Solomon's or Rehoboam's court tasked with preserving the traditional lore, and instead wrote ironic tales highlighting the misogyny and ineptness of God.  After reading Rosenbloom's modern translation and going back to my favorite Bibles to reread the stories there, I have concluded that J was indeed female and some of the stories are downright satirical.  But for believers too much is never enough and they turned this inept misogynist into God to be worshiped as without fault.   Then the Christians came along and turned those stories into the literal word of God.  Oh. My. God.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Atheists are Funnier than Christians.

 Mormon wrote:
And once again, you cherry-pick in order to try and make a point.

Atheist Now, that is a joke! 

Is there another religion whose members cherry-pick the scripture to the extent the LDS do? I very much doubt it.

The entire Book of Mormon is a joke perpetrated on an annoyingly pious young man in New England by his gay, atheist friend Walt Whitman.  The Mormons suppress literary analysis like work count and stylistic and content parallels but they cannot suppress any literate person from comparing the Book of Mormon with Leaves of Grass on a boring few day stay in a Salt Lake City hotel. 

I read the Book of Mormon on the first night of that boring stay (no booze, no friends) and could not miss the resemblance to a satire of the Bible I wrote in High School.  I gave myself 20 lashes with the monster's noodly appendages for not naming my angel Moroni, but chalked it up to a lack of literary genius.  The next day I got my copy of Leaves of Grass out of my suitcase and read it side by side with the Book of Mormon.  No brainer - same author.  I would not put it past Whitman to have given his friend "magic glasses" and told him where in the woods to dig.  I am sure Whitman kept a copy or revision of his satire and cleaned up parts of it for his future writings.  I still have mine.  You may have seen parts of it here. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why Create?

May 12, 2015 -- 4:35PM, JCarlin wrote:
"So that is how God does it!" is essentially not conceptually different from "That is how it works!"  I am not sure anyone could find a scientist in any field that could prove that the Higgs is not indeed the God boson.
Response:  As Laplace rightly said, the 'God' hypothesis is simply unnecessary.

There is simply no good reason to advance the baroque assumption that there is a God, let alone ask "how" the supposed entity did anything.

A quip attributed to Edison suggests that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.  If a believer attributes the inspiration to God might that not provide a strong incentive to provide the 99% perspiration to prove to the world that God knows what Hesh is doing? Praying for a solution to an intractable problem at least focuses the mind on the problem.  Does it really make any difference whether the mind or God comes up with a way to the solution? 

One might argue that material rewards are enough of an incentive for the secular genius, but those same rewards are available to anyone who solves the problem.

The human mind is almost uniquely capable of going beyond the basic needs of food shelter and reproduction.  An important question is the incentive to do so.  Is to glorify God somehow inferior to The Game of Thrones is boring?

At the risk of creating a centipede dilemma, just why do you as an atheist leave the Game of Thrones or beliefnet to create something beautiful or useful for your neighbor?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What is Humanism

The UU First Principle is about as good a definition as I can find:  

The inherent worth and dignity of every person.

I go a bit farther to the concept of: 

Radical respect for every person, until by their actions they prove to be unworthy of respect. 

This is merely a gloss on the first principle that admits the fact that not all humans are decent people. 

The Second Commandment of Jesus is, in context of his treatment by Samaritans and his parable of the Good Samaritan, another statement of humanism, and in conjunction with the first is an example of theistic humanism.   

The problem I have with most gods and God is that I have yet to find one that complies with the first principle.  There are always people that are of lesser worth in the eye of God, usually but not limited to women, and always those that do not grovel in worship to God. 

The Science of God's Creation

May 12, 2015 -- 2:14AM, Roymond wrote:
I wish you could have visited our Intelligent Design club in college.  It was all people who had come to religion not by any assumptions, but via science.
At this point I think it would be better referred to as God Design to avoid the Dover crowd, and to leave undefined where God entered the picture.  

I have been in or assocciated with hard science both academic and commercial most of my life.  Without believers doing the bulk of the science both would come to a screeching halt.  As long as believers are using hard science to "Discover God's Creation" and not trying to prop up preconcieved notions of what that creation is, I see no reason to assume that my science of trying to figure out how things work is necessarily better science.

"So that is how God does it!" is essentially not conceptually different from "That is how it works!"  I am not sure anyone could find a scientist in any field that could prove that the Higgs is not indeed the God boson. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Theistic Humanism

I am convinced by long studies of Jefferson and Jesus the preacher man that both were theistic humanists.  When I was a kid in the UU tradition both Jefferson and Jesus were revered forbears.  UU was theistic although I was not, but nonethe less the "Credo" I recited with everybody else was

Unitarians believe in the Fatherhood of God,

The brotherhood of Jesus,

Salvation by character,

And the progress of mankind (now humans) onward and upward forever. 

Theist humanism at its best:  God as a Father/mentor, Jesus as wise probably elder sibling, and humans as the driver of progress.  As most here know I resonated early with the Two Great Commandments struggling mightily to reconcile the first with my atheism.  The answer I came up with was "Thy God" was a reference for those who needed divine guidance, which is why I have no problem with celebrating any God with a believer.  It is not my God, but if Hesh works for them God bless them.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


I was raised Pisco, and when Christians are fighting each other, I usually regard the Piscos/Anglicans as my team (though on occasions their choice of view makes this impossible).

I know the words of their hymns and can and do sing them at services, which these days are largely funerals.

I admire the poetry of much of the old funeral service, but they often use some other form these days.

If you're ever drunk and feeling full of energy, you might enjoy grabbing yourself a pulpit and thundering the Commination at those assembled (starting at the second large block, "Now seeing that all they are accursed ..."). Those long rolling phrases are like ocean waves heading shorewards to become breakers - very satisfying.

So I'd find it hard to deny that I was to some extent a cultural Pisco.

(But when it comes to Christmas, I'm of the Charles Dickens / Coca Cola school.)

Thanks Blü for the commination.  I had forgotten about that delight.  We used to drag that out at UU Youth gatherings complete with the amens just to remind ourselves of what we were missing. 

I had read most of Dickens before I got to High School, and frequently read aloud to my mother when I found a great passage.  Maybe why she got me an adult library card when I was 8.  I didn't associate it with either the KJB or BCP, I hadn't gotten to the KJB yet, just the parts mocked in the youth group.  
I still consider the KJB my reference bible, despite its inaccuracies, since its cultural influence is pervasive both for good and for evil and everything in between.   

Back to Jesus Christians

The back to Jesus the preacher man movement in Christianity, in essence back to the synoptic Gospels, while not blessed by the hierarchy except maybe Pope Francis, is becoming a very powerful movement within Christianity.  WWJD has become love the poor, the homeless, indeed all neighbors. The hate the sinner, er sin Christians are still powerful particularly in US politics, and in the Christian hierarchy, but even Pope Francis seems to understand that Christianity is not working and must change to survive.  They will probably keep Christ as savior and God so that all the prayers and rituals will work, but morality will revert to the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes.  Salvation will no longer be by belief but by emulation of Jesus the preacher man. 
Perhaps whistling past the graveyard but Christianity must change or will end up in that graveyard.  I for one would miss Christianity.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Winter Holidays

Christmas for me has always been defined by the music. I never much cared for either the religious or the secular hoopla, although the yule traditions were fun, but so secularized that it wasn't until I began to study "other" religions that I came to appreciate the community centric nature of Yuletide.  I celebrated Hannukah with Jewish friends, but as a holiday gathering not as a religious celebration, but they seemed to treat it the same way so I fit right in. 
The whole season came together for me at the Peter, Paul, and Mary Holiday concert in Carnegie Hall complete with a Kosher and not so Kosher wonderful chopped liver provided for all by Mary.  The concert was a wonderful mix of newly composed Hannukah songs arranged for trio and chorus by PP&M's long time arranger Bob DeCormier, Christmas standards, and the Hallelujah Chorus where PP&M joined in with the chorus.  This became a perennial PBS Fundraiser you may have seen almost any holiday if you indulge in PBS.  It really had it all, Hannukah, Christmas, Yule, and Hallelujah.

Gender in Language

 Roymond wrote:
Good point about the Hebrew.  It's worth noting that the same point essentially extends to all language; anything perceived of as personal is going to get either the masculine or feminine, because that's how we conceive of persons.  So deities end up with gender tags even though they may not be actually understood as having gender, at least not in any way we humans would understand.


And that applies whether God is real or not; it's a linguistic/philosophical problem.  So in actuality, the case is stronger that patriarchy or matriarchy were imposed on religion by the concepts and worldviews of the socities in question, not the other way around.

Languages differ.  Some languages do not even have a gender neutral term for any object let alone a person.  But one must understand that language is our understanding of the world and we must be aware of the more pernicious biases built into the language gender being the most important. 

One of the first things that offended me when I found out that other people believed in God was that Lord (masculine) and He/His were interchangeable with God.  I was still in the scatological humor stage at the time and gleefully referred to God as Sheheit.  Making myself unpopular in some circles, but most of my friends were at the most religious agnostics, so I didn't catch much flack.  And when I did I would always correct myself to She/he/it.  I outgrew the scatology but still refused to even think of God as He.  I invented the gender inclusive pronouns some of you have seen here Hesh and Herm very early in life, and discovered that they really helped me think about a supernatural power in a sympathetic way that was impossible with the testosterone poisoned "He."  Even trying to insert God in place of the male pronoun every time didn't work too well.  As I found out while working on the first gender neutral hymnal revision for the UUA.

By college I had learned to think of everyone as hesh rather than he or she even when it was important to tell the difference.  It was the first step to radical humanism as once I began to think of people as hesh it was hard to create differences along any lines since the major pervasive division on gender lines carried over from the patriarchal social system we inherited from God was obliterated in my mind. 

Cultural Christians

Cultural Christian wrote:
The author opines that his situation and those of others similarly situated provide an opportunity to create a space for the culturally Christian - and possibly the culturally Jewish - nonbeliever.

So where do these folks fit in to or with atheism?  Do you consider them atheists?  Is their experience anything like your experiences?

I suspect that many churches are what I call Sunday Country Clubs.  People go there for the calming, familiar rituals, reconnect with their friends, and provide a safe mixer for their teens.  Although the hymns and rituals refer to God, God is some numinous higher power that can be used in place of meditation to focus thinking on important issues.  Reformed Jews and most UCC and UU churches take this to the extreme of God is whatever you need Herm to be, an imaginary friend that understands your joys and sorrows and helps you manage them. 

I suspect that most theists would call this atheism and atheists don't really care. 

The only God that gets atheists on their soap box is the patriarchal, controlling, and "other" defining God of the fundamentalist Abrahamics.  "We are The Lord's sweet chosen few.  The rest of you be damned.  There's room enough in Hell for you; We won't have Heaven crammed."

The humanistic varieties of the major Western faith groups, the "Back to Jesus' personal God and the Two Great Commandments" Christians, the reformed Jews and as I am vaguely aware some Islamic sects view God as a unifier of humans not a divider, and as an atheist I have no issue at all with their beliefs.  If they are willing to consider me a desirable neighbor, I will certainly reciprocate. I might well go with them to their services, pray with them and sing their hymns including all the God celebrations.  They don't affect my atheism since it is their God not mine that I am celebrating.  

I will even "Celebrate" the traditional Christian/Catholic God, although one might detect a bit of irony in my interpretation of the celebration, but that is a long tradition in the Abrahamics, and the true believers interpret the irony as faith so it is a win-win for all.  Three of the most famous and effective Requiem Masses were written by atheists along with some of the most beautiful interpretations of the traditional Mass and ritual prayers. The church paid artists well, and the artists knew that too much was not enough for believers.     

Monday, May 4, 2015

Growing Up Atheist and Feminist

I grew up as a secular feminist male in a Sunday Country Club society.  Everybody went to church but nobody took it very seriously.  At the university few went to church and so few took it seriously that I had to travel to a nearby Jesuit University to get a good religious discussion.

Nevertheless the echoes of male dominance and sexual entitlement were everywhere. Even the women at the university seemed to think that the Mrs. was as important as the BA.  The way to the Mrs. was universally understood as submissiveness in everything from academics to sex. 

There were a few women on campus that would whup yer ass in anything ya tried to compete in including finding them on top in sex. But the word on campus was that they were failures as women destined to a life of loneliness and frustration.  It generally didn't work out that way as there were some men in the academic world that respected that attitude and were looking for a partner rather than a "wife" and lived happily, if not ever after, long enough to propagate their genetic line. As might be expected their kids were awesome.

16 Hours a Day to Support a Family

 Mormon wrote:
It's entirely common for my dad and I to work 12 - 16 hours in a day. ...

We've been awake for days at a time juggling work, family, and other duties. Ever been so sleep-deprived you hallucinated? Been there, done that.

I think people can see how having someone back home helping with the family duties would be quite helpful.

The mother of my children and I both worked 12-16 hours in a day, juggling schedules and sleep to take care of two boys growing up in Manhattan.  Due to rampant sexism in her chosen career field I probably juggled more than she did, properly so, as I was the person of privilege and could get away with leaving a board meeting to attend to an injured child.  (My part was over, but since mom was out of town presenting at a major conference, it wouldn't have mattered.)  True, we paid for high quality help with the children, and frequently argued about who should quit and stay home to save money, but all four of us ended up all right.  I probably took the biggest hit career wise, changing careers a few times to stay with the family, but changing careers was common enough among my MBA peers that it raised no eyebrows.

If it sounds like I don't find the slave you had at home helpful you are right.  Nor do I find working 12-16 hours a day depriving your children of a proper father, who could referee/coach games, teach Sunday school, read stories, and sing along with them in the evenings admirable.

Religious Patriarchy

 christine3 wrote:The assinine patriarchal religions killed the matriarchal religions off.
E.O. wrote:
Why were they able to do that?
Because the two major patriarchal violent religions who had all the violent proselytizing directives direct from God including the directive that all who believed in the wrong god must be converted or killed.  Since neither had any moral standards other than kill the infidels, they thrived for a while, at least in the parts of the world they came to dominate.  Matriarchies and other social solutions with moral standards that included respect for other humans were unable to withstand the genocidal onslaught.beliefnet
While it is necessary to your Belief System that patriarchy is a biological necessity as shown by the dominance of the patriarchal religions in the west and wherever their war based proselytizing takes them.  What you are arguing is simply that might makes right.  Except of course when might is not justified by a patriarchal god. As when those ex-seminarians say "Thanks God, but I don't need you any more to justify slaughter.  I have found a better belief system to do the job and don't need to support your patriarchy anymore."

I don't find anyone here is arguing for matriarchy (let's not impute arguments to others to make a bogus point) just an egalitarian social structure as before the fall when both men and women had choices.  I agree with you that "The woman made me do it" is intrinsic to the patriarchal control of women, so they won't once again find the tree of knowledge and discover the evil that is imposed on them by God and men.  This gives the men free reign to impose patriarchal God worship on all that get in the way of their avarice for land, wealth, and control.  

As you have pointed out men are stronger, can wield heavier weapons, and kill better than women, and when women are relegated to being brood mares for the cannon fodder and have no choice about whether or not their sons go to war since they are denied education and permission to speak out in the society, the advantages of patriarchy for social Darwinism are obvious.  

It worked for a while, but then God made a mistake and permitted the invention of printing so that everybody once again had access to the tree of knowledge.  Women being in charge of the children had to teach them to read, write, and figure, and therefore had to be given access to knowledge themselves.  This was the beginning of the end of patriarchy, religious or secular.  Then He really blew it big time by permitting the internet giving anybody, women, children, and minorities access to that tree of knowledge.  And at the bottom of Pandora's Box women, children and minorities found hope.  

Working With Theistic Humanists

 christine3 wrote:
... I wouldn't dismiss believers. They have a strong feeling that it is possible a man in first century Jerusalem was doing things that nobody else could, and I don't doubt that at all. .....

  There are many smart people within Christianity that are going back to the man that was doing those things and was a theistic humanist.  They aren't making much progress in changing the institution that depends on keeping people dumb and believing in the God man, but they are becoming a significant minority in both Catholic and Protestant Christianity.  They are still theistic, the meme of something more encompassing than the individual whether it be Gaia or God is well ingrained in the modern psyche. 

Perhaps working with rather than against humanistic theists would be a better strategy for atheists.