Family Removes Crosses from Memorial of Late Teacher Following Atheist Complaint

CrossRAVENSWOOD, W.V. — The family of a late school teacher has removed several crosses from a memorial erected in her honor at a local middle school after a prominent atheist activist organization asserted that their presence was unconstitutional.

Joanne Christy worked as a teacher at Ravenswood Middle School for two decades until she died in a car accident in 2004. Following her passing, family and friends of Christy created a memorial garden as a tribute near one of the entrances to the school.

“There’s so many kids that came through this school that were affected by her death—that were affected by her teachings—and now we’re just trying to keep her memory alive here,” family friend Tracie Sadecky told WSAZ-TV.

But a parent of a student recently contacted the Madison, Wisc.-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) to lodge a complaint against some of the images used in the memorial, namely the inclusion of crosses and engravings meant to depict angels. One of the crosses featured two Scriptures: Romans 5:1 (“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”) and Hebrews 11:1 (“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”).

“She collected [crosses],” Sadecky explained. “She had them in her classroom. She had them in her house, so it’s something we thought would be a great addition.”

However, due to the complaint, FFRF sent a letter to the Jackson County School Board last month, asking that the crosses be removed. It said that while the complainant, whose name the organization did not disclose, was not aware that the display was part of a memorial to a deceased teacher, the symbols and biblical text were nonetheless problematic.

“The religious significance of the Latin cross in unambiguous and indisputable. … Bible verses also obviously have religious significance, and it is improper for a public school to display passages from a religion’s holy book as part of a garden display,” the letter, written by staff attorney Patrick Elliott, asserted. “A reasonable student would view the school’s display of Latin crosses and New Testament passages as a clear endorsement of Christianity by the school.”

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“Whatever the purpose of the school’s garden display, that purpose can be achieved without the use of sectarian religious symbols and biblical passages,” he continued.

The family then removed the crosses, and on Thursday, the Jackson County School Board voted on whether or not the angels would remain. A number of community members attended to speak out in support of leaving the Christian symbols in the display despite atheist demands.

“The matter is certainly upsetting to a community which holds strong convictions in matters of faith,” Superintendent Blaine Hess said in a statement prior to the meeting. “The complaint has been reviewed and initial direction has been provided to the schools involved, which will move toward compliance with rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The board voted to allow the angel engravings to remain, but agreed that the crosses could not be a part of the display.

Local television station WSAV-TV noted that FFRF did not take issue with the school’s mascot being the devil.


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  • Jean Adams

    Take heart my friends, this is how it must be. Does it not say in The Book, before Christ returns it will be as it was in the days before Noah. These Atheists condemn themselves. The time for them to realize their error is fast running out.

    • Tara

      I know, even though His word tells us what is going to happen, watching it happen so quickly is just astounding.

      • Guest

        I know, after centuries of persecuting others, practically exterminating several different native populations, whilst enslaving others, degrading women and castrating homosexuals, when Christians held the monopoly of power, to see them now lose these *privileges* and to have to follow the law, must come as a shock. Having to live by the same rules and rights as everyone else , must absolutely blow.
        I’m sorry to hear of your suffering.

        • Frank

          Christians didn’t do those things. You have been deceived.

        • 1PRAYS4U

          You go ahead and believe that. We all sail our own vessel. It’s all the MAN MADE religions and man made interpretations, void from the word of God is what created all ofwhat you described.

    • Guest

      The only error is believing in man made myths. T
      hat said, I don’t see the fuss over the cross in this particular case.

      • MC

        I’m glad Christians aren’t believing in man made beliefs too.

    • D Sims

      I agree Jean, and in truth, the family should be rejoicing that they were able to take some hostility for Christ.

  • Darby C. Reger

    Once again, the religion of Atheism trumps the Christian religion politically.

    • D. Mitchell Sweatt

      Atheism is not a religion, it is the absence of belief in a deity. There is no context to religion, no dogma to follow. It makes believers feel superior to say atheism is a religion but clearly by any definition it is not.
      Every Person On Earth Is An Atheist: http://biblecrazy.blogspot.com/2015/02/blaming-atheism-for-chapel-hill-shooting.html

      • Frank

        It is legally and definitionally a religion.

      • WorldGoneCrazy

        “Atheism is not a religion, it is the absence of belief in a deity.”

        False. “Absence of belief in a deity” is nothing more than a statement about your psychological condition. In fact, you could have no belief in a Deity even when a Deity exists, just as some people do not believe in the manned lunar landings even though they happened. For a primer on why “absence of belief” or “I lack belief” is a false and disingenuous definition for a-theism, that would never have been acceptable to the brilliant a-theists of the past, please read what the intellectual definition for a-theism is (the denial of the existence of God or what I call The No God Hypothesis): https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2014/12/25/is-the-definition-of-atheism-a-lack-of-belief-in-god-3/

        I suggest you leave the kindergarten a-theism behind and get to the real stuff. You share a burden of proof, even if you don’t realize it. You don’t get to just sit back and take shots at other people’s views – you have to bring something to the table. God bless you, D!

        • Bill

          Nice….!

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            Right back atya, Bill! I was an a-theist for 42 years, and it grieves me to see it take such an absurdist form. The New A-theists really are the brownshirts (or blackshirts, I get them confused) of the a-theist community: not too sharp but great at intolerance. To be fair, they don’t have much going for them. All of the scientific, philosophical, mathematical, logical, and forensic-historical evidence is weighing tremendously against them and their No God Hypothesis, and they don’t have much else they can do but become absurdists or intellectual nihilists.

            But, we have to hold them to higher standards when they try to re-define their worldview / religion to a psychological state of “I lack belief.” And, never let them talk about objective morality either: every time they do that, they are stealing from God. (There is no such thing as objective morality under materialistic a-theism.) They are welcome to borrow from Him, but then they have to acknowledge Him and thank Him. 🙂 God bless you, Bill!

          • Bill

            Thats an awesome testimony! God bless you…

          • LadySunami

            Perhaps the atheism of the past was different, but I’m pretty sure the modern definition of atheism is exactly what D. Mitchell Sweatt said. I consider myself an atheist simply because I don’t believe in god. I am unaware of any other “tenants of atheism” I’m supposed to believe in.

            I’m positive I don’t get my morality from the Biblical god… I disagree with Biblical morality on far too many points. I strongly object to slavery, I don’t consider homosexuality to be problematic, I don’t think men are any more suited to positions of authority then women, I don’t approve of slaughtering people I disagree with, I don’t consider infinite torment an appropriate punishment for finite crimes, etc. If I do get my morality from some variety of deity, that’s fine too. You’d think said deity would provide evidence for its existence though… or at least do something about all the false religions and/or religious sects out there.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “I’m pretty sure the modern definition of atheism is exactly what D. Mitchell Sweatt said.”

            Prove it. Now back to reality: “‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God.” — Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy (https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2014/12/25/is-the-definition-of-atheism-a-lack-of-belief-in-god-3/)

            You are welcome to believe anything you want: you can believe that the earth is flat and that man never landed on the moon. But, if you adopt the “I lack belief” version of kindergarten a-theism, then all you are telling us is what your psychological state is with regard to the existence of God. You aren’t actually being a true a-theist anymore than a person who denies that we landed on the moon is searching for truth. This New A-theism is a denier form of a-theism. It is psychology, not rational thought.

            As for your moral assertions, you must steal from God to do so. Under naturalistic a-theism, there are no objective moral values and duties. Here are a-theists Dawkins, Provine, and Ruse to back me up on it: https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/an-atheist-explains-the-real-consequences-of-adopting-an-atheistic-worldview/

            God bless!

          • LadySunami

            You’re incredibly patronizing, I hope you know that. What on earth is atheism in your mind? And why do you put a dash in the word for no reason?

            Here is the dictionary definition:

            1 archaic :ungodliness, wickedness
            2a :a disbelief in the existence of deity
            b :the doctrine that there is no deity

            I guess you are working off definition 2b, while I associate with 2a. I simply don’t believe in the existence of deities.

            Rational thought is what lead me to no longer believe in God. For the moon landings, the roundness of the earth, etc. there is plenty of evidence. There simply is no evidence for God. No “proof” of Christianity can’t be easily replicated by other religions. Every faith has its own martyrs, miracles, moralities, etc. For me to say “My interpretation of Christianity is clearly truth!” seemed very egotistical, so I tested the supposed proofs of my faith and found every one lacking. If there is no evidence a thing exists, there isn’t much point in believing in it, so I don’t.

            I don’t see why God is necessary for morality. As human beings each and every one of us has empathy, the desire for community and the capability of rational thought. Communities don’t work without rules and our natural empathy leads us to make rules we consider fair. We don’t tend to want rules that would protect ourselves, our friends and our family. Morality is and always has been defined by humankind. In my opinion the best system of morality is then one defined by all humankind, not by by a few or by leaders seeking to manipulate others.

            If you really think my morality comes from God, specifically the Biblical one, then why does my morality object so strongly to the slavery, sexism, and homophobia contained within the Bible? It doesn’t make much sense for God to give me a morality so strongly opposed to many of his commandments.

            I also hope you realize, since I don’t follow any atheist doctrine, I’m not obligated to agree with any other atheist on, well, anything really. The Michael Ruse quote is correct to the extent there is no objective morality and morality is in no way connected to anything “above and beyond.” The fact that human morality can only be defined by humans doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist though. All concepts are defined by humans.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “You’re incredibly patronizing, I hope you know that.”

            That’s an objective moral claim that a materialist cannot make without stealing from God. I’m quite sure there are plenty of animals in the kingdom who are equally or more so patronizing (lots of rape going on there – that is plenty patronizing!) and most a-theists (the dash is to remind a-theists that they share a burden of proof) believe that we are nothing more than animals. So, you are welcome to call me “patronizing,” and you are arguably correct; nevertheless, you have to leave Darwinism behind and steal from God to ground that, so the least you could do is to thank Him for it. Go ahead: thank the God you deny for allowing you to steal from Him. 🙂

          • LadySunami

            Er, what? Pointing out you are being patronizing is not a moral claim. I don’t think you even know what the word patronizing even means…

            transitive verb
            1 : to act as patron of : provide aid or support for
            2 : to adopt an air of condescension toward : treat haughtily or coolly
            3 : to be a frequent or regular customer or client of

            I was using the second form of the word. You are being very condescending.

            I don’t really know what you mean by “nothing more then animals.” We are animals, sure, but why has that got to do with anything? There is a great deal of variation in the animal kingdom. We don’t expect the same behavior from lions as we expect from rabbits, or from our domesticated dogs and our domesticated sheep. Why shouldn’t our expectations for our fellow humans also be different?

            I don’t have any burden of proof. I don’t believe the existance of deities is impossible, I just don’t believe in any of the deity options I have been presented with thus far, most because there isn’t any evidence to support their existence.

            Also, “Darwinism” isn’t a real thing. Darwin’s theory of evolution was correct on many fronts but was also woefully incomplete. We now have a much better understanding of the evolutionary process and I expect will have an understanding that is better still in the future.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “Pointing out you are being patronizing is not a moral claim.”

            So, then there is nothing wrong with it, if it’s not a moral claim, right? It’s as if you said, “Hey WGC, did you know your hair is turning grey?” It’s just an observation, nothing else. That’s good to know that you don’t think there is anything wrong (morally) with being patronizing.

            “We are animals, sure, but why has that got to do with anything?”

            If we are nothing more than animals, then being patronizing, rape, murder, and eating our young are all perfectly acceptable under your view, right? That’s what an allegiance to evolutionary materialism requires: survival of the fittest. Which is why evolutionary materialists have to steal from God in order to condemn Hitler or the slave owners.

          • LadySunami

            Being patronizing isn’t immoral, it’s just rude. I sincerely hope you don’t think rudeness and immorality are the same thing. (As for why it’s rude, that would be because as a culture we have deemed it to be so.)

            I’ve already explained this to you. We decide our morality as a species. We have decided those things are not moral, so they are not moral.

            Evolution doesn’t require anything. It’s not a philosophy, it’s just a scientific fact. Gravity doesn’t “require” us to throw people down stairs. Photochemistry doesn’t “require” us to shine lasers in people’s eyes. Astrophysics doesn’t “require” we shoot rockets into the sun. How can anyone have such an atrocious understanding of science?

            Stop making ridiculous leaps in logic and telling me what I believe. It’s incredibly rude and I don’t appreciate it.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “Being patronizing isn’t immoral, it’s just rude. I sincerely hope you don’t think rudeness and immorality are the same thing. (As for why it’s rude, that would be because as a culture we have deemed it to be so.)”

            Yes, but by saying it’s “rude,” you are saying there is something wrong with it, right? From a moral standpoint, right? Otherwise, it’s just an observation – there cannot be anything wrong with it. French people are known to be quite rude – it’s part of their culture. Nothing wrong with it at all. You are really trying to hide from your original claim of objective morality – to nothing else. If “rude” isn’t “bad,” then why bring it up?!? More stealing from God, that’s why. 🙂

            “I’ve already explained this to you. We decide our morality as a species.”

            There are a whole lot of individuals and different cultures in that species of ours! Some think Bush was morally wrong to invade Iraq, some think he was morally right. Some think abortion is morally wrong, some think it is morally fine. No, the “species” has not decided anything at all. All of the wars and suffering throughout history prove that. You are just using “species” as a substitute for “God” in order to assert some form of objective morality.

            Besides, the “species” just evolved through random mutations and natural selection. Nothing “moral” about survival of the fittest. It could have evolved quite differently and an entirely different set of “morals” would be arrived at under your view, none of which could possibly be objective in any sense of the world.

            If you want to behave like your fellow animals, feel free to: but don’t go spouting off about how rape is “immoral” in any sense of the word then. Just tolerate it – as is done in your animal kingdom.

          • LadySunami

            “Yes, but by saying it’s “rude,” you are saying there is something wrong with it, right? From a moral standpoint, right?”
            No, from the standpoint of “I don’t appreciate it.” The French are not immoral just because they’re rude. If you act towards people in ways they don’t appreciate, then expect they won’t want to deal with you.

            You are correct, there are some things our species has not decided upon. Until we make a decision, there will be no “morals” on the subject, only opinions. There is no objective morality. I am not using species to replace God. The “species” is not some outside force dictating morality to us, unlike how you view God. There is only us.

            This is true, there is nothing moral about survival of the fittest. Nothing immoral about it either. It’s just an observation. “The sky is blue” is also an observation. If humans had not evolved with a sense of empathy, our morals would indeed be quite different. I have not said otherwise.

            We are not other animals, we are Homo sapiens. What behavior is acceptable for Humans is determined by Humans, just as what behavior is acceptable for wolves is determined by wolves and what behavior is acceptable for lions is determined by lions. Xrays and visible light are both forms of electromagnetic radiation, yet I don’t expect them to interact with samples in the same way. Things that are in the same class share properties, but that does not make them the same.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “No, from the standpoint of “I don’t appreciate it.””

            Why cannot you just say it, LadySunami? Being rude is morally wrong. It’s not morally wrong like gassing Jews, but it is morally wrong – in an objective sense. Otherwise, it would just be like saying “You like chocolate ice cream. That’s different.”

            I actually think that being rude is objectively morally wrong. And, for that reason, I sincerely apologize to you for my being rude, obnoxious, and snarky. Sincerely.

            “There is no objective morality.”

            Would you say that if someone did harm to you or a loved one? I don’t think so. I think you would be calling for justice. Otherwise, if someone killed a loved one, it would just be “what was right for him, but not for you.” I think this is what Dawkins, Provine, and Ruse were getting at in the earlier link. I also think this is where “survival of the fittest” necessarily must lead. Might makes right.

            Bless you, LadySunami.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “Here is the dictionary definition:”

            I’m sorry, but, I usually do not go by common (and sometimes fluid) dictionary definitions, but by technical or philosophical ones – they are more rational and intellectual. Once again, your definition of a-theism is just a way of stating your psychological condition. It bears no warrant on whether or not God exists.

            “There simply is no evidence for God.”

            If you believe that, then you must believe that the universe miraculously popped into existence out of nothing uncaused by anything. That is quite a mega-miracle, far greater than any miracle espoused in Christianity. See? You are religious after all. 🙂

            On the other hand, one proof, of many, for the existence of God takes the form of the Kalam Cosmological Argument plus Big Bang, cosmic background radiation, inflationary universe, the BGV Theorem, etc to arrive at an uncaused Cause that has the properties of the God of the Bible. So, your (secular) data points to my Deity.

          • LadySunami

            Dictionary definitions are fluid precisely because they reflect how words are used and what they mean when people use them. When I say patronizing I mean the definition I highlighted.

            I believe the universe has always existed, in some form or another. I don’t see how the universe always existing (although perhaps previously in a form we wouldn’t recognize) is any more strange then a God that has supposedly always existed.

            There are more cosmological models then the Kalam Cosmological Model you know. Even if we accept the Kalam model, how does the “uncaused cause” have any of the properties of the Biblical God?

            “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
            Genesis 1: 1-2

            First of all the “heavens” or the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old. Our solar system on the other hand is only about 4.5 billion years old. Add the fact that the earth, like most planets, was made along side its sun, not before it, and it’s pretty clear that reality doesn’t match the Biblical God at all.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “I believe the universe has always existed, in some form or another. ”

            The scientific data do not support your belief. You are free to believe anything you want, just don’t pretend your beliefs are rational.

            “Even if we accept the Kalam model, how does the “uncaused cause” have any of the properties of the Biblical God?”

            Awesome question! And, I do mean brilliant, well-done!

            We DO know that since space, time, and matter had a beginning at the Big Bang, this Cause MUST transcend space, time, and matter. In others words, the Cause must be spaceless, timeless, and non-material. We also know that this Cause MUST be immensely powerful, right, in order to create 100 billion galaxies out of (literally) nothing?!? We can also surmise that this Cause must be personal, in some sense, as It has chosen to create, and only personal agents can create, to our knowledge. Moreover, this Cause has chosen to create (or allow the creation of) persons (that’s us!) – indicating strongly that It is personal.

            This Cause is also self-existing, right? We know that either the
            universe (or multiverses, if they exist) are self-existing OR the Cause of same is self-existing. (Those are really the 2 options we have.) But, since the secular data points toward the universe having a beginning (and overwhelmingly so), then we must conclude that the First Uncaused Cause is self-existing.
            There is also a way to argue that this Cause is immutable or changeless. Let’s not get into that too much, but it’s worth thinking about on your own, OK?

            So, we have: spaceless, timeless, non-material, immensely
            powerful, personal free will, self-existing, changeless. That sounds a LOT like Yahweh, no? All we are really missing is omnipresent, omniscient, and holy. There are arguments there as well, particularly for the first two.

            Bless you, LadySunami, for the great question!

          • LadySunami

            On the contrary, there is plenty of evidence that the universe has always existed. It’s called the law of conservation of mass. Matter (and energy) cannot be created or destroyed.

            You don’t seem to understand the Big Bang theory very well… It states only that the Universe was in a very high density state and then expanded. The Big Bang did not create energy, time and matter. The singularity that causes all these conundrums only arises if we attempt to apply the known laws of physics beyond where they are valid.

            I do consider the universe (and whatever multiverses may exist) to be self-existing. The data only points to our universe as we know it having a beginning. It tells us nothing about where the energy and matter that made up said beginning came from. You’re confusing matters the same way many people confuse evolution and abiogenesis. A description of how things have continued one from a specific point is not the same thing as an explanation of how said starting point came to be.

            Even if we assume there is a point at which matter and energy were created, there are still a lot of problems with your explanation. For instance, a changeless being can neither make choices nor create change. In order for a choice to be made, the chooser must be in one state before the choice and in another afterwards. Without time and without the capacity for change, this is not something the creator could do. If there was no choice and creating the universe was inevitable, then there was no free will involved at all. Without any will the creator cannot be personal, it is just a fundamental force. The assumption of timelessness and changelessness also doesn’t follow when the concept is there was a “before” energy, matter and time. Without time, nothing can be before anything else. In order for the creator’s state to never change he would always have to be creating the universe and so the universe would always be in the process of first being created. Time and change cannot be separated from one another. To “begin” creating requires the passage of time as does ceasing to create, and to ever switch between states of creating and non creating requires a change.

            You also completely failed to address the fact that creation as depicted in the Bible has absolutely nothing in common with the development of our universe since the Big Bang.

            There is nothing particularly biblical about a “spaceless, timeless, non-material, immensely powerful, personal free will, self-existing, [and] changeless” being. Yahweh is supposedly powerful, free willed, and self-existing. He’s not alone in that regard though, as this could be said of many creator deities/entities.

            He also doesn’t seem to be particularly non-material.

            “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
            Genesis 1:2

            A non material being would not be capable of “hovering” over anything. Plus, if he were omnipresent, he’d presumably be everywhere not just over the water.

            “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?'”
            Genesis 2: 8-9

            A non material being certainly wouldn’t be walking anywhere, nor would an omnipotent and omnipresent one need to ask where someone had gone, or after this verse, what had happened.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “On the contrary, there is plenty of evidence that the universe has always existed. It’s called the law of conservation of mass. Matter (and energy) cannot be created or destroyed.”

            I thank God you are not an engineer, as you have no idea what the Law of Conservation means. It shows that MAN cannot violate this law as it is a basic law of physics we are under. It does not apply to any time “before” matter and energy were present. It says absolutely nothing about a Being Who created time, matter, space, and every single law of physics including this one. I am stunned at your ignorance of basic physics.

            “The data only points to our universe as we know it having a beginning.”

            Yes, according to the data we have – Big Bang, CBR, 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, inflationary universe, BGV Theorem – the universe had a beginning – nice to see you admit it! Now, why not go with the data?!? Because you don’t want to be held accountable to any Higher Being, right?

          • LadySunami

            There is no time before matter and energy were created. You’ve already stated that time did not exist without matter and energy existing. There can be no “before time” as the very concept of “before” requires time. If the universe now exists, then to a being that is without time it has always existed.

            As we know it
            If you meet up with an old friend to find she’s had a complete change in personality, would you presume she will react to words and actions in exactly the same way as she had previously? Of course not! Nor would you expect people who have only met her new personality to know anything about her old one.
            The Big Bang was an event that clearly changed the universe. It was not the start of the universe, it was the start of the universe as we know it.

            If you continue putting words in my mouth, I will stop speaking to you. There is no point in having a discussion with someone who is only talking to themself.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            The Big Bang, CBR, 2nd Law of Thermo, inflationary universe, BGV Theorem, etc ALL point to the universe having a beginning a finite time ago. Yes, the Big Bang’s point of singularity COULD be something other than a beginning, but it sure looks a LOT like a beginning, and when combined with the other data mentioned above the evidence is quite overwhelming that the universe had a beginning. It’s not a math proof, but the scales are really tipping in one direction. You are going to have to provide a TON of evidence to counter the science I have given. It just does not appear to be there.

            That is the 2nd premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God – that the universe had a beginning.
            Combined with the first premise of Kalam – that everything that begins to exist has a cause – this makes a very powerful case for the existence of a first uncaused Cause, or what almost anyone would refer to as a God of some sort.

            (You are most correct that time did not exist “before” this beginning, because there was no “before.” But, that does not mean that nothing existed without the universe, just time, space, and matter. That is why a Cause (for the universe) must be “time-less without the universe.” You are free to use the word “everlasting” if that helps or “everlasting without the universe.”)

            Bless you, Lady Tsunami!

          • LadySunami

            If there was no time before the universe then the universe is also everlasting. The universe has always existed, as there was never a point when it did not exist.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “If there was no time before the universe then the universe is also everlasting.”

            That statement contradicts itself. In the first part “if there was no time before the universe,” you are inadvertently conceding that the universe had a beginning.

            “The universe has always existed, as there was never a point when it did not exist.”

            Prove it. Provide the science for that statement. All the data that I have provided points to the universe beginning a finite time ago. Most a-theists are now agreeing to this, but some are clinging to eternal universes.

          • LadySunami

            I am trying to understand your perspective. I have quite explicately stated I do not believe the universe had a beginning. You are the one made the claim that the universe has a beginning. You also say that a God who is timeless and unchanging made said universe. This doesn’t make sense. Both your arguments can’t be true.

            If God is timeless and unchanging then there was never a time when he existed but the universe did not. There was never a time when he created the universe. His state would be that of perpetually creating the universe and so the state of the universe would be that it is always being created. If the creator is timeless and unchanging what he creates must be the same.

            And the evidence you have presented point to no such thing. We already agreed the Big Bang theory does not address the origin of the singularity. The theory only addresses what happened afterwards! There is no evidence at present indicating how the singularity came about. Perhaps there will be evidence in the future, in which case I will adjust my views accordingly.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “You are the one made the claim that the universe has a beginning.”

            And YOU made the claim that the universe was eternal. I provided science for my position and you have not provided science for yours. And, on top of that, here are a “few” a-theists who agree with me that the secular science pointst to a beginning:

            “The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago.” Stephen Hawking The Beginning of Time
            “Scientists generally agree that “the Big Bang” birthed the universe about 15 billion years ago.” Tom Parisi, Northern Illinois University
            “As a result of the Big Bang (the tremendous explosion which marked the beginning of our Universe), the universe is expanding and most of the galaxies within it are moving away from each other.” CalTech
            “The Big Bang model of the universe’s birth is the most widely accepted model that has ever been conceived for the scientific origin of everything.” Stuart Robbins, Case Western Reserve University
            “Many once believed that the universe had no beginning or end and was truly infinite. Through the inception of the Big Bang theory, however, no longer could the universe be considered infinite. The universe was forced to take on the properties of a finite phenomenon, possessing a history and a beginning.” Chris LaRocco and Blair Rothstein, University of Michigan
            “The scientific evidence is now overwhelming that the Universe began with a “Big Bang” ~15 billion (15,000,000,000 or 15E9) years ago.” “The Big Bang theory is the most widely accepted theory of the creation of the Universe.” Dr. van der Pluijm, University of Michigan
            “The present location and velocities of galaxies are a result of a primordial blast known as the BIG BANG. It marked: THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE! THE BEGINNING OF TIME!” Terry Herter, Cornell University
            “That radiation is residual heat from the Big Bang, the event that sparked the beginning of the universe some 13 billion years ago.” Craig Hogan, University of Washington
            “Most scientists agree that the universe began some 12 to 20 billion years ago in what has come to be known as the Big Bang (a term coined by the English astrophysicist Fred Hoyle in 1950.” University of Illinois
            “The universe cannot be infinitely large or infinitely old (it evolves in time).” Nilakshi Veerabathina, Georgia State University ()
            “The universe had a beginning. There was once nothing and now there is something.” Janna Levin, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University
            “Today scientists generally believe the universe was created in a violent explosion called the Big Bang.” Susan Terebey, Department of Physics and Astronomy, California State University Los Angeles
            “Evidence suggests that our universe began as an incredibly hot and dense region referred to as a singularity.” Stephen T. Abedon, Ohio State University
            “A large body of astrophysical observations now clearly points to a beginning for our universe about 15 billion years ago in a cataclysmic outpouring of elementary particles. There is, in fact, no evidence that any of the particles of matter with which we are now familiar existed before this great event.” Louis J. Clavelli, Ph.D., Professor of Physics, University of Alabama
            “Now, after decades of observing and thinking, we have come to answer confidently the question of the origin of our universe… with what is known as the “big bang”.” Yuki D. Takahashi, Caltech
            “The theory is the conceptual and the calculational tool used by particle physicists to describe the structure of the hadrons and the beginning of the universe.” Keh-Fei Liu, University of Kentucky.
            “The three-part lecture series includes: “How the Universe Began,” “The Dark Side of the Universe: Dark Matter and Dark Energy” and “Cosmic Inflation: The Dynamite Behind the Big Bang?” (Lectures by Michael S. Turner, Bruce V. and Diana M. Rauner at Penn State University)
            “Travel back in time to the beginning of the Universe: The Big Bang” Douglas Miller, University of Arizona
            “Beginning of the Universe 20.0 billion yr ago” Charly Mallery, University of Miami
            “At the beginning the universe was extremely hot and dense (more about this later) and as it expanded it cooled.” Syracuse University
            “THE UNIVERSE AND ALL OF SPACE ARE EXPANDING FROM A BIG BANG BEGINNING” Center for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago
            “Gamow realized that at a point a few minutes after its beginning, the universe would behave as a giant nuclear reactor.” Valparaiso University, Department of Physics and Astronomy
            “I’ll also include what the time is since the creation of the Universe, and an estimate of the temperature of the Universe at each point.”Siobahn M. Morgan, University of Northern Iowa.
            “The Universe is thought to have formed between 6-20 billion years ago (Ga) as a result of the “Big Bang” Kevin P. Hefferan, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
            “The dominant idea of Cosmology is that the Universe had a beginning.” Adam Frank, University of Rochester Department of Physics & Astronomy
            “The hot dense phase is generally regarded as the beginning of the universe, and the time since the beginning is, by definition, the age of the universe.” Harrison B. Prosper, Florida State University
            “One of the major hypotheses on which modern cosmology is based is that the Universe originated in an explosion called the Big Bang, in which all energy (and matter) that exists today was created.” Eric S. Rowland, UC Santa Cruz
            “Together with Roger Penrose, I developed a new set of mathematical techniques, for dealing with this and similar problems. We showed that if General Relativity was correct, any reasonable model of the universe must start with a singularity. This would mean that science could predict that the universe must have had a beginning, but that it could not predict how the universe should begin: for that one would have to appeal to God.” Stephen W. Hawking “Origin of the Universe” lecture.

          • LadySunami

            Atheism has no doctrines. I have already explained that I do not have to believe other atheists any more then I need to believe you.

            I already told you why I considered the universe to be eternal. As the law of conservation of mass observes, matter (and energy) cannot be created or destroyed. I have no reason to believe there is an exception to this rule.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            But, LadySunami, these a-theists seem to have very good reasons to believe that the Big Bang points to the universe having a beginning. and I can find no scientific a-theist who argues for an eternal universe from the law of Conservation of Mass and Energy. Are you sure that you are not just avoiding the very real possibility of God because the thought of a God to Whom you would have to be accountable is detestable to you? It just seems like you are going against the overwhelming evidence on this one. Bless you, LadySunami!

          • LadySunami

            Are you sure that you are not just avoiding the very real possibility of there being no God, because you fear not having a purpose or destiny?

            While I may be unsure about events that occurred before the Big Bang, I am not at all unsure about the irrelevance and probable nonexistence of the soul. I am my brain, not my soul, and my brain will quite clearly end upon my death. One might as well hold my severed finger accountable for all the good it would do. It’s not like I could feel it or be upset about it what with none of my neural receptors responding any longer.

            I have told you again and again why your idea of the “uncaused creator” makes no sense to me. You have done nothing but mock me and repeat the same arguments in response.

            You also appear to have quoted Stephen Hawking selectively, and no doubt some of the others as well.

            “At this time, the Big Bang, all the matter in the universe, would have
            been on top of itself. The density would have been infinite. It would
            have been what is called, a singularity. At a singularity, all the laws
            of physics would have broken down. This means that the state of the
            universe, after the Big Bang, will not depend on anything that may have
            happened before, because the deterministic laws that govern the universe
            will break down in the Big Bang. The universe will evolve from the Big
            Bang, completely independently of what it was like before. Even the
            amount of matter in the universe, can be different to what it was before
            the Big Bang, as the Law of Conservation of Matter, will break down at
            the Big Bang.

            Since events before the Big Bang have no
            observational consequences, one may as well cut them out of the theory,
            and say that time began at the Big Bang. Events before the Big Bang, are
            simply not defined, because there’s no way one could measure what
            happened at them. This kind of beginning to the universe, and of time
            itself, is very different to the beginnings that had been considered
            earlier. These had to be imposed on the universe by some external
            agency. There is no dynamical reason why the motion of bodies in the
            solar system can not be extrapolated back in time, far beyond four
            thousand and four BC, the date for the creation of the universe,
            according to the book of Genesis. Thus it would require the direct
            intervention of God, if the universe began at that date. By contrast,
            the Big Bang is a beginning that is required by the dynamical laws that
            govern the universe. It is therefore intrinsic to the universe, and is
            not imposed on it from outside.”

            Stephen Hawking

            Stephen Hawking does disagree with me on the conservation of matter point, this is true, but he otherwise considers the Big Bang in the same manner I do. He says, “Since events before the Big Bang have no
            observational consequences, one may as well cut them out of the theory.” This does not mean there were no events before the Big Bang, it only means those events had no consequences for the universe as we know it and so we cannot extrapolate backwards to determine what those events were.

            If one man were to murder another, and every shred of evidence that the dead man ever even existed let alone was murdered ended up being destroyed, it doesn’t change the fact that said man was in fact murdered. That the singularity which created the Big Bang destroyed all evidence of what came before (or what came before destroyed all evidence of itself in the creation of the singularity) does not mean that there was no before the Big Bang. It only means that the before is not something we are capable of determining.

            Of course, it is possible there is some effect thanks to events before the Big Bang that we have yet to discover. If we ever do find such evidence, it’ll be awesome!

            For now, I accept Hawking’s conclusion which states “The Big Bang is a beginning that is required by the dynamical laws that
            govern the universe. It is therefore intrinsic to the universe, and is
            not imposed on it from outside.” It is not “the” beginning, it is only “a” beginning, and I have every reason to believe it is intrinsic to the universe, not imposed from the outside.

            Perhaps I am wrong to insist that matter and energy never were created and never will be destroyed. It’s certainly possible. However, that does not mean the only alternative is the existence of an outside force acting upon the universe. That is a false dichotomy. As said before, I am not an atheist because I believe gods to be impossible. I am an atheist because the gods that have to this point been presented to me have absolutely no evidence for their existence. You for instance have provided me with nothing except presumption and circular logic for your own concept of God, and the attributes which you assign to him are not consistent with one another.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            Haha – I love it! Thank you for admitting that, without God, life has no purpose or meaning! Yes! I love it when you a-theists do my work for me. 🙂 Since you are “without God,” what could possibly be the purpose or meaning of you engaging in debate on this issue?!? Perhaps it is that you subscribe to the view that “there is no God and I hate Him?!?” 🙂

            “I am my brain, not my soul, and my brain will quite clearly end upon my death.”

            Prove it. You keep making assertions and then don’t prove them. The burden is yours when you assert a truth claim, Madam.

            Yes, of course Hawking agrees with you: he wants nothing to do with a God either. He desires to be his own “god.” But, he admits the universe had a beginning. Then, in order to exclude God from causing that beginning, he re-defines “beginning” to mean something that no one else considers it to be. Why do you think he is going around saying absurd things like “The universe created itself?!?” He is so afraid that he is wrong about God that he has to come up with irrational excuses. But, yes, he does believe that the universe had a beginning – he just does not accept Premise 1 of Kalam. When he goes after Premise 1, he refutes the underpinnings of all science. That is why New A-theists, like yourself, should really be called “New Absurdists.”

            Since you won’t accept basic science and logic, consider the moral argument for the existence of God:

            Premise 1. If there is no God, objective moral values do not exist.
            Premise 2. Evil exists.

            Conclusion 1: Therefore, objective moral values DO exist.

            Conclusion 2: Therefore, God exists.

            And on that note, God bless you mightily, LadySunami!

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “Morality is and always has been defined by humankind.”

            Yes, tell that to the slaves and Jews! Some morality! Secular humanism at its best. God bless ‘Ya!

          • LadySunami


            I shouldn’t bother. You skip half of what I say.

            In my opinion the best system of morality is then one defined by all humankind, not by by a few or by leaders seeking to manipulate others.

            If you are literally killing or otherwise silencing a large group of people you aren’t actually determining morality communally. All humans have a roll in defining morality, not only those who would use it to excuse oppression.

            Do you think the actual slaves also considered their enslavement to be perfectly moral? Did the Jews durring the Holocaust secretly believe antisemitism was a good thing? They were all human beings too and so also capable of defining morality.

            I don’t even know why you’d bring up slavery anyway when the supposed objective morality of the Bible actually advocates for it. If you’d actually read my list of “Biblical morals I disagree with” you’d have seen slavery was included.

            Considering you can’t even seem to conceptualize most ideas without inserting the Biblical God, I have a hard time believing you were ever an athiest.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “If you are literally killing or otherwise silencing a large group of people you aren’t actually determining morality communally.”

            When or how is morality EVER determined communally?!? Hitler was voted into office and slavery was accepted at large. In both cases, that is about as good as cultural ethics will get you.

            Think about it this way: at one time, everyone on earth thought that the earth was flat. But, it wasn’t, was it? it was not objectively flat. It’s the same thing with morality. Everyone in a country MIGHT think something is immoral when in fact it isn’t. In some cultures and in the animal kingdom, they eat their young. It is perfectly acceptable under cultural morality.

          • LadySunami

            Morality has always been determined communally. Cultures are not made by individuals, they are made by groups of people. If only one person existed in all the world, what is moral or not would be entirely up to that person.

            Politics is not that simple, you should know that. Bush was re elected despite how unpopular he was after all, not to mention dictators are often “reelected” all the time. It isn’t as though Hitler was elected with the promise he would murder all the Jews either. Yes he was openly anti-Semitic but the general population was not aware his solution to the “Jewish problem” was murder. He also had many stances outside of his hatred of Jews. He was anti-Marxist, an extreme nationalist and a believer in pan-Germanism.

            At one time everyone also believed that all beings were specially created in their current forms. That’s not true either, although some people still hang on to that belief regardless.

            You act as though moral changes just spring up unannounced without anyone ever having considered them before. That’s just silly. There will always be groups of people who were working toward whatever change before said change came about. Also, while entire countries may have unique customs, I’m positive a country has never communally considered something moral or immoral that outsiders would disagree with, except perhaps when it comes to warring with other nations. Once the country in question decides to extend its own borders, the moral opinions of groups and nations must then be considered.

            I’m not aware of any human cultures that eat their own young… As for other animals, I don’t think any species other then humans have the brain capacity necessary to develop their own complex moral system. Some pack animals do have very specific allowed behaviors for pack animals though, which could probably be considered their morals. Either way, species that habitually eat their own young, eat their own young. It’s not any more immoral for them then it is for any carnivorous species to hunt and kill for food.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “I’m positive a country has never communally considered something moral or immoral that outsiders would disagree with, except perhaps when it comes to warring with other nations.”

            That is the most ridiculous statement I have ever read in my life! You ignore all of world history: Hitler, Mao, Stalin, the mass slaughters throughout world history. And, again, you cannot talk about “moral” or “immoral” in any sort of objective sense without stealing from God. One man’s morality is another man’s immorality – you should know that by now. You are an a-theist: “morality” is nothing more than a preference in your worldview, like eating vanilla ice cream versus chocolate.

            “Either way, species that habitually eat their own young, eat their own young. It’s not any more immoral for them then it is for any carnivorous species to hunt and kill for food.”

            Exactly, and under materialistic naturalism, since we are nothing more than animals evolved from lower life forms, there would be no reason whatsoever that eating our young would be “immoral” either. Tribes that have done that just ate their young. Big deal.

          • LadySunami

            “I’m positive a country has never communally considered something moral or immoral that outsiders would disagree with, except perhaps when it comes to warring with other nations.”

            As I keep telling you, morality is determined communally not by individuals. One group imposing their will on another does not determine the morality of that society. The group being oppressed has a role in deciding morality as well. Morality is a social construct, not an individual one.

            But we are not one of the species that habitually eat their own young. What is moral behavior for another species does not determine moral behavior for humans. How many times must I say this?

            A boat and a car are both vehicles, yet we do not expect a car to be used for sea travel or a boat to be used for land travel. That they have distinct uses does not mean they are not both still vehicles. Human beings are animals and wolves are animals. This does not mean we expect humans to follow the rules of a wolf pack or wolves to follow the rules of humans. Different animal species have very different modes of behavior, just as different types of vehicles have different purposes.

            “Materialistic naturalism” is not a real thing. My recognition that there is no objective morality does not prevent me from developing a moral philosophy of my own or ascribing to one invented by any other individual that does not consider morality objective.

            You keep saying there are tribes that eat their own young, but have yet to provide an example. You also keep ignoring me when I point out the ways in which the Genesis story does not match how the universe as we know it came into being.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “As I keep telling you, morality is determined communally not by individuals. One group imposing their will on another does not determine the morality of that society. The group being oppressed has a role in deciding morality as well. Morality is social construct, not an individual one.”

            “My recognition that there is no objective morality does not prevent me from developing a moral philosophy of my own or ascribing to one invented by any other individual that does not consider morality objective.”

            Those two statements of yours above completely contradict one another. In the first quote, you say that morality is determined communally, but in the second case you betray your thesis by pointing out that morality is determined individually. And, that is why relative morality does not lead to moral “progress.” And that is why evil societies do come into existence.

            “You also keep ignoring me when I point out the ways in which the Genesis story does not match how the universe as we know it came into being.”

            I’m sorry, I thought you were joking. You claimed to have been a Christian once, but you think the Bible is a science textbook, unlike all of the other genres you read, like biographies. It’s like if you found a kettle of tea going on the stove and asked your loved one why the kettle was boiling and they told you that the reason it was boiling was that they were making it for you after a long day, you would castigate them for not giving the answer using the laws of thermodynamics. But, just to humor you, the question was about whether or not the Bible reflects the characteristics of God that are consistent with what we know about the First Uncaused Cause. So, here are a few verses:

            Creation ex-nihilo:
            Hebrews 11:3
            By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

            Bible verses for invisible / non-material:
            Romans 1:20
            For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

            John 4:24
            God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

            John 6:63
            It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

            Colossians 1:15
            He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

            1 Timothy 1:17
            To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

            1 Timothy 6:16
            Who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be
            honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

            Bible verses for timeless without creation:
            Psalm 90:2
            Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

            Revelation 1:8
            “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

            Colossians 1:16-17
            For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for
            him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

            Isaiah 41:4
            Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.

            Bible verses for powerful:
            Jeremiah 10:12
            It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.

            Romans 1:20
            For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

            Bible verses for personal God:
            John 3:16
            “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

            Revelation 21:4
            He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

            Romans 5:8
            But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

            John 1:3
            All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

            Romans 1:18

            For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their
            unrighteousness suppress the truth.

            Matthew 10:28
            And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

            Bible verses for self-existing God:
            Exodus 3:14
            God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

            John 8:58
            Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”

            1 Timothy 1:17
            To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

            Bible verses for changeless God:
            Malachi 3:6
            “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of
            Jacob, are not consumed.

            Hebrews 13:8
            Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

            Psalm 119:89
            Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.

            Hope that helps! God bless you, LadyTsunami!

          • LadySunami

            “Who is it that shapes our lives? Is it Isvara, a personal creator? If Isvara be the maker, all living things should have silently to submit to their maker’s power. They would be like vessels formed by the potter’s hand; and if it were so, how would it be possible to practice virtue? If the world had been made by Isvara there should be no such thing as sorrow, or calamity, or evil; for both pure and impure deeds must come from him. If not, there would be another cause beside him, and he would not be self-existent. Thus, thou seest, the thought of Isvara is overthrown.

            “Again, it is said that the Absolute has created us. But that which is absolute cannot be a cause. All things around us come from a cause as the plant comes from the seed; but how can the Absolute be the cause of all things alike? If it pervades them, then, certainly, it does not make them.

            “Again, it is said that Self is the maker. But if self is the maker, why did it not make things pleasing? The causes of sorrow and joy are real and touchable. How can they have been made by self?

            “Again, if we adopt the argument that there is no maker, our fate is such as it is, and there is no causation, what use would there be in shaping our lives and adjusting means to an end? Therefore, we argue that all things that exist are not without cause. However, neither Isvara, nor the absolute, nor the self nor causeless chance, is the maker, but our deeds produce results both good and evil according to the law of causation.

            “Let us, then, abandon the heresy of worshiping Isvara and of praying to him; let us no longer lose ourselves in vain speculations or profitless subtleties; let us surrender self and all selfishness, and as all things are fixed by causation, let us practice good so that good may result from our actions.”

            The Gospel of Buddha: Anathapindika, The Man Of Wealth
            If we attempt to determine the “true religion” based only on how well the words of their holy books explain creation then I would have to say Buddhism is that religion. The universe was not made and is not ruled over by any deity, there is only cause and effect.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “They would be like vessels formed by the potter’s hand; and if it were so, how would it be possible to practice virtue?”

            But, what if the vessels formed by the potter’s hand were made in the Image of God and given His free will? Then, the conclusion does not follow.

            “If the world had been made by Isvara there should be no such thing as sorrow, or calamity, or evil; for both pure and impure deeds must come from him.”

            This is NOT true for vessels that are given free will. There could be MUCH evil in this case. Thus, the conclusion does not follow.

            “Therefore, we argue that all things that exist are not without cause.”

            This is refuted by Premise 1 if Kalam that says that “Everything that begins to exist has a cause,” not “everything that exists has a cause.” In fact, if the universe were eternal, it would not need a Cause.

            The other arguments, that it cannot be the absolute (pantheism) or the self that causes us to exist, I agree with. Those are good philosophical arguments. See? Even Buddhism has some things right! My Zen Buddhist brother will be proud of me tonight. 🙂

            Now, you write: “The universe was not made and is not ruled over by any deity, there is only cause and effect.”

            You are cracking me up tonight, LadySunami! You have made the assertion. Now, back it up with some science, not religious arguments. 🙂 God bless you, LadySunami – I love you (in a Christian sense, of course)!

          • LadySunami

            Incorrect. In order for there to be free will, there must be multiple options. In order to present human kind with multiple options, God would have to make the universe such that evil options could exist. If God were to intentionally make evil options exist, then God could not be all good. Evil cannot exist with an omnipotent, omnipresent God that is good. A good God would not deliberately create the possibility of evil, and if God did not create the possibility of evil then “there would be another cause beside him, and he would not be self-existent.” The logic is perfectly sound.

            It is also correct to say that everything has a cause. The universe is not eternal in that it is unchanging, rather it has always existed in a form determined by how it existed previously. The chain of cause and effect is simply an infinite one. There has always been some form of universe causing the next form.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “Incorrect. In order for there to be free will, there must be multiple options.”

            Did you use free will to write this or not? 🙂 You refute yourself again! Such is the New Absurdism.

            “A good God would not deliberately create the possibility of evil”

            False. God created creatures with free will, not robots. (You proved you were not a robot in writing the sentence above.) They can love Him or not. “Forced love” is an oxymoron. God does not rape. You are actually making the case here that rape is excusable, I hope you realize that? If man does not have free will, then the rapist is just “dancing to his DNA” (Dawkins) and you should not be upset in the least if you were raped.

            Furthermore, you cannot use the word “good” in your above sentence without stealing from God in the first place! 🙂 LadySunami, if you are going to assert objective moral values and acknowledge the existence of God in that way, why are you arguing for the other side?!?

            The New Absurdism is truly intellectual suicide. Jesus can save you from such nonsense. God bless you, LadySunami!

          • LadySunami

            I apologize, but I won’t be responding any more. There are other things occupying my time.

            I respect your certainty, how ever much it just doesn’t make sense to me. Still, I do suggest in the future you do not make so many presumptions and tell other people what they believe.

            To tell someone that you consider there to be a flaw in their logic, something seems inconsistent, or that you don’t understand a statement, etc. is perfectly reasonable. To tell someone that they must believe [X] on the other hand is quite presumptive and probably not even true. I don’t believe a creator God and for you to continually say I must is irritating.

            While it is possible to change someone’s mind, telling them they must already secretly agree with you is not the way to go about it. Better to assume they are sincere in the beliefs they say they have.

            Not that I consider any of this immoral of course, just rude. I think we can agree that being rude generally isn’t a good way to keep people around. Unless you’re French I suppose. 😉

            (Oh, and two of my comments are trapped in moderation apparently. No idea if they’ll show up later.)

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            “I apologize, but I won’t be responding any more. There are other things occupying my time.

            I respect your certainty, how ever much it just doesn’t make sense to me. Still, I do suggest in the future you do not make so many presumptions and tell other people what they believe.”

            And, once again, I apologize to you, LadySunami, for my being rude, obnoxious, presumptive, and snarky. It is a character flaw.

            “While it is possible to change someone’s mind, telling them they must already secretly agree with you is not the way to go about it. Better to assume they are sincere in the beliefs they say they have.”

            Yes, what I am saying here is that when you are intuitively using objective moral claims, you are betraying a subconscious belief in God, that is all. I believe that your intuitive beliefs are better than your intellectual ones, not because you are dumb, not at all – quite the opposite! – but because you are trapped in a worldview that is largely self-refuting. So, I realize that comes across as arrogant, and I apologize for that, but it comes up a lot.

            “(Oh, and two of my comments are trapped in moderation apparently. No idea if they’ll show up later.)”

            I think they showed up. Sometimes that happens to me too a lot when my comments are especially long.

            Bless you, LadySunami!

          • MamaBear

            “I’m positive a country has never communally considered something moral or immoral that outsiders would disagree with, except perhaps when it comes to warring with other nations.”

            Has she never heard of slavery, Jim Crow laws, women’s suffrage, temperance laws….all at various times considered wrong by outsiders? For example, Great Britain outlawed slavery before we did. Much of Europe thought Prohibition was ridiculous.

            Moral law (some call Natural Law) is based on REASON, some even consider them innate within humans, but they are not based on the laws of nature observed in lower life forms.

            “Kant’s moral philosophy is also based on the idea of autonomy. He holds that there is a single fundamental principle of morality, on which all specific moral duties are based. He calls this moral law (as it is manifested to us) the categorical imperative (see 5.4). The moral law is a product of reason, for Kant, while the basic laws of nature are products of our understanding.” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            I know. I am really struggling here with her. She is a sharp woman, for sure, but she keeps bouncing back from communal-based morality to individual-based morality, and I am getting whiplash. Thanks for the Kant – you are a better expert in that area than I am, so you may wish to engage too! God bless you, MamaBear!

          • MamaBear

            Thank you, World.
            Faint memories of either Philosophy 101 or Western Civilization, we will not say how many decades ago, gave me a name to use for moral law. Had to look on the internet for a source.
            She certainly is enough to give you whiplash!

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            Yes, I don’t understand the New A-theists going after Premise 2 of Kalam by denying the overwhelming evidence (their evidence!) in favor of the universe having a beginning. But, I guess the only other alternative is to go after Premise 1 and that means denying causality which is the underpinning of ALL science. So, perhaps denying a LOT of science is better than denying ALL of science?

            One really smart thing that LadySunami has avoided is confusing moral ontology with moral epistemology. Nowhere do I remember her saying that a-theists can behave just as good as Christians as an argument for the non-existence of God. So, she is really smart in that sense and with some other subtleties. But, the cultural and individual determination of “objective morality” just does not fly, unless we ignore all of human history.

            That was one of the biggest issues I had as an a-theist: I “knew” certain things were objectively right and wrong, but I couldn’t ground them in my macro-evolutionary worldview. (I didn’t know Romans 2:15 obviously.) It was pretty creepy back in those days seeing a news report about a woman injecting a girl with Drano and watching her die a violent and horrible death and me saying “Well, that’s just survival of the fittest, I guess.” Intellectually, it sounded OK, but it made me feel very uneasy and spiritually dark / filthy. Those days are not fun to remember. 🙁

          • MamaBear

            Because you had those days, you make an excellent apologist for Christianity. I was raised in a Christian home, made my personal decision for Christ quite young, so sometimes I just can’t understand the mindset of people like atheists. I’m grateful, but I’m also grateful there are people like you who have been there yourselves.
            Time to take my one million pills (OK – slight exaggeration), go to bed and HOPE for sleep! Never take the precious gifts of life or health for granted. God bless you and your family.

          • WorldGoneCrazy

            God bless YOU, MamaBear! You are our hero for the way you show such grace and love and truth through your afflictions. If envy were not a sin, I would be jealous of the many crowns you are storing up in Heaven!

          • MamaBear

            Thank you, but I really don’t see myself doing anything special. The last several years I have gotten to know several others also going through cancer. We do not see ourselves as brave. Sometimes we cry or get angry about it. Most of the time, we still find joy in life.
            Jesus talked of taking life a day at a time, not worrying about tomorrow. Cancer teaches you to literally do that. As someone else said, “we live our lives from one scan to the next scan.”
            To be honest, I have no idea how anyone can go through cancer without leaning on God.

      • Darby C. Reger

        The dogma of Atheism is that no one can follow the dictates of their religion in public. The term religion has many meanings, which can include the idea that religion is a set of beliefs that one holds.

      • Troy Eckhardt

        It seems that feigning offense and calling organizations that exist only to harass other people and stir up trouble has become dogma.

    • Guest

      Someone needs to look up the definition of atheism.
      Just because some atheists are activist and passionate about keeping religion where it belongs, out of politics and government, it doesn’t make it a religion.

      • Bill

        It is a religion…..by any reasonable definition.

      • jmichael39

        The courts have ruled it is a religion. And as Bill said, any rational analysis of it would bring us to the same conclusions as the courts.

      • MC

        It’a a religion and has been ruled as such.

      • Darby C. Reger

        Is there really that much of a difference between a religion and a belief system?

  • Mr. Avatar

    We must demand and petition the supreme court revisit the 1st. amendment
    and get it right!!! {Congress makes the laws}. Nothing there about a separation
    – is there? All it says is Congress cannot establish a religion and not impede
    the free exercise of religion. and this is impeding on the free exercise of religion. Are you going to let these atheist rule you? Are you?

    • Guest

      It’s not about “atheist rule” it’s about Christian privilege. Something, as a secular nation, you never had the right to have, and have undeservedly had it far too long. How does it feel having to live by the same rules and laws as everyone else? Must suck.

      • Bill

        So says “guest”….

      • MC

        Actually, religious people are protected under the constitution. We can pray and read our religious books anywhere we want, on public property and public schools. The government can’t interfere with our constitutional right. If you don’t like it, change the constitution.

  • Mark Moore

    Wasn’t it Jesus who first introduced the idea of separation of church and state? “Render unto Caesar what is . . . .”

    Someone’s unfortunate death is not really an opportunity to appropriate the public square for advertising a religion is it? Probably a religion that Jesus himself would not recognize anyway.

    • D. Mitchell Sweatt
    • BravesFan

      How is it “advertising a religion”? Are you atheists so unsure of yourselves that a cross might make you convert? Angels? Read the article – these things were meaningful to the deceased teacher, therefore it was reasonable that they would be on her memorial.

      • misterprecedent

        It doesn’t matter whether the crosses have any effect on anyone, or to whom they are meaningful. A public school can’t endorse one belief over any others (or appear to). It would be just as wrong to display crosses as it would to post signs stating, “There is no God.” NO religious statements or symbols makes it religiously NEUTRAL, as it SHOULD be. Family members or students can display whatever they wish on their own property.

        • MC

          I’m glad the school wasn’t endorsing any specific religions.

  • BravesFan

    That last line says it all.

    And if you’re going to be a whiny atheist, at least have the fortitude to stand up and OWN IT. Stop hiding behind anonymous complaints, you bunch of wusses.

    • D. Mitchell Sweatt

      Instead of being a christian victim? War on christmas? Why do christians need to display their martyrdom? Pray at home.

    • Guest

      You mean like the KKK and the ISIS, religious groups, who hide behind masks?

      • BravesFan

        According to your savior, ISIS is not Islamic.

        • WorldGoneCrazy

          Haha – good one! And another reason to love the Braves. Can we say “Braves” without being Native American-phobic?!? 🙂

          • BravesFan

            LOL. If they come after my Braves, I’m gonna be HOT! Tomahawk chop ’till I die! 😀

      • MC

        Yes, atheists, the KKK, and ISIS hide behind masks. You got that 100% correct. They are the same.

  • Badkey

    As a confirmed agnostic, this is where I side with those who follow religion. A crescent and star would be no different.

    • D. Mitchell Sweatt

      Exactly. That’s why we say no to every religion on government property.

      • Frank

        Wrong.

        • Badkey

          Then the crescent and star are fine.

          • MC

            Yes, and so is the Star of David.

      • jmichael39

        except for your religious beliefs.

  • Tara

    the insanity of the insatiable desire for atheists to try to rid the world of God; who they don’t believe exists anyway, is just beyond words. People loved her and wanted to make a monument that represented her life. What difference, in all reality, do the crosses make to the ffrf member? Did the crosses hurt them? Did they speak to him/her about God and were offended? Were the crosses bearing dreaded nasty bible verses that offended his/her sensibilities? I mean, I know these questions sound retarded, but hey……..they are retarded because saying crosses that represent the life of another need to go is preposterous. These people go beyond just worrying about religion being shoved down throats; they expect to be able to have their say about God, His Word, and anything relating to Him and how much He should be allowed to be present in this world. Funny thing about that is, He’s everywhere. No getting rid of God no matter how many crosses or bibles or whatever else ffrf people can think of to ban. The blatantly obvious double standard is just laughable. ‘Oh, you can ‘believe’ in God, just don’t prove it with anything tangible. If you do, MY ‘right’s trump yours because I say so, I’m smarter, and I’ll get anything of God that’s tangible banned’. And obviously this must do something for these people, like give them added years onto their lives, they win medals, they sleep better, they have more friends…….Idk, but it must be something. And they make it seem like believers are just terrible because they want to share in the gift of eternal life that is given to us if we accept it. I get that some are fanatics and go about sharing the gospel in ways that are NOT honoring to the Lord in any way, but not all do. It’s a wonderful relationship that one can have with Him and I don’t think wanting to show someone an alternative way to live in this world is a terrible thing. It’s simple, if one isn’t interested, say no. Why do all of this? The memory of this poor teacher; all marred because someone didn’t like the ladies’ crosses. Sad.

    • D. Mitchell Sweatt

      “I know these questions sound retarded” Some christians who are reading this have children with special needs, could you be more christian in your use of language?

      • Tara

        I don’t call children with special needs retarded, never have. I don’t know anyone who does, so why people go on about anyone using the word, in this day and age, is beyond me.

        • Frank

          Cause they got no point.

        • MamaBear

          People object to using the word because it is still an official term for intellectual disability, slowly being replaced because of people like you. As of 2013, the term “mental retardation” was still used by the World Health Organization in the ICD-10 codes, which have a section titled “Mental Retardation” The DSM-5 has already made the change to intellectual disability, but many times “retarded” and “mental retardation” are still used clinically.

          As someone who has worked with special needs children, on their behalf, I am requesting that you refrain from using “retarded” as an insult. Every few years, they change the terms and then people decide they have a whole new batch of insults to throw around. Eventually, they will run out of terms.

    • Guest

      Trying to rid the world of a god that doesn’t exist, makes little sense. What we’re tying, and succeeding to do is to make sure you fallow the same rules and laws as the rest of us. Your rights to practice your religion end where my right not to, begins. Denying you a right to install a religious symbol on a secular government’s property, is not blocking your right to exercise your religion. Religious rights are there to protect your right to own/read your religious scripture, pray, seek guidance of a religious leader, and visit a temple. That’s pretty much it, and all you should be entitled to. Pretty much everything is trampling on other people’s rights to practice their own, or none. No one’s preventing the family from putting up a secular memorial in the place of the cross. Or putting one up of a cross on private land.

      • WorldGoneCrazy

        “a god that doesn’t exist”

        Good for you, Guest – you are no kindergarten a-theist! You have stated it well: a-theism is the belief that God does not exist. Now that you have asserted this, please back it up with facts, logic, science, philosophy, etc. Provide plausible evidence that God does not exist.

  • Frank

    Atheists have zero respect for the dead, grieving for the dead, etc. related to that.

  • TheBBP

    These people that want all hints of faith removed are also the people who also scream and cry for Christians to be tolerant of other beliefs.

    • Bill

      Funny how that worked, huh? LOL

  • TheBBP

    Arlington National Cemetery allows symbols for just about whatever you would want represented on your tombstone. Memorials should be handled the same way.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Veterans_Affairs_emblems_for_headstones_and_markers

    • MamaBear

      All military cemeteries do. I was sent pages of religious and spiritual symbols to chose from for a family member buried in a military cemetery. I had never even heard of some of them.

  • raytheist

    It is a memorial marker for a specific individual who was known for her religious views. The marker is to celebrate and identify that one person, and to memorialize something that was an important part of who she was. It would be different if these symbols and Bible quotes were mounted next to the school’s cornerstone, as if that was what the school taught. It’s an individual memorial, should be left as it was. I think it is wrong to remove those symbols that so strongly identify who she was.

    (disclaimer: I’m a strong atheist, but also a compassionate humanist.)

    • Bill

      From this Christian to you, an atheist, thank you……

    • WorldGoneCrazy

      You may not be the “most interesting man in the world,” but you are the most intellectually honest a-theist! And, one worthy of the brilliant intellectually honest a-theists of old, the Bertrand Russell types. To which, I tip my hat.

    • Paul Hiett

      I wonder though, if Christians would be as upset if it was an Islamic symbol?

      • MC

        No.

      • Bill

        No

      • Troy Eckhardt

        No. No reasonable person of any faith would be.

  • MC

    No wonder the majority of people put atheists on the same level as rapists.

    • Paul Hiett

      If you really put atheists on the same level as rapists, you’re a sad, sad person.

      • MC

        “The first study asked 351 Americans from across the country to compare the trustworthiness of an atheist and a gay man, since both represent groups often described as threatening to majority religious values. They rated atheists significantly higher than gay men on distrust, though lower on levels of disgust.

        The second study recruited 105 UBC undergrads —➽➽➽they purposely targeted a more liberal sample from a less-religious nation⬅︎⬅︎⬅︎ — to test whether distrust of atheists is more pronounced than distrust of other groups, including Muslims. The students read a description of an untrustworthy man who pretended to leave insurance information after backing his car into a parked vehicle and were asked to say whether it was more likely the man was either a Christian, Muslim, rapist or an atheist. People were far more likely to say he was either an atheist or a rapist and not part of a religious group. They did not significantly differentiate atheists from rapists, something Mr. Gervais found disconcerting.

        Gervais, who is an atheist, called these revelations “pretty shocking.”

        “One of the other six studies also apparently found that people are more likely to hire someone for a job that requires higher levels of trust if the applicants appear religious. Atheists, though, would be more likely, according to the study, to be hired for jobs that require a lower level of trust.”

        “A revealing new study at the University of British Columbia and the University of Oregon provides some startling clues. Attempting to understand why people need religion, psychologists asked 350 American adults and 420 Canadian to answer a simple question: If a fictional driver damaged a parked car and left the scene, then found a wallet and took the money, was the driver more likely to be a teacher, an atheist teacher or a rapist teacher?
        Weirdly enough, participants in the study (➽➽➽who were from religious and nonreligious backgrounds⬅︎⬅︎⬅︎) most often chose the atheist teacher. Indeed, atheists are among society’s most distrusted groups, “comparable even to rapists in certain circumstances,” in participants’ minds.”

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Atheists do this in China, too. Villains hate the sight of the Cross and America has to yield to them.

  • Dr. Dee Tee

    atheists need to learn to be tolerant and turn the other cheek, they are not the only people in the world who gets to express their views.

    • Paul Hiett

      Kind of like how Christians should “turn the other cheek” and stop trying to prevent gay marriage?

      Tolerance, indeed.

      • Dr. Dee Tee

        you do not understand what turn the other cheek means.

        • LadySunami

          “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”
          Matthew 5: 38-41

          LGBT individuals have been quite persistent in their requests for equality, yet rather then grant said requests most Christians continue to fight against any and all marriage equality legislation. That is exactly the opposite of what Jesus says Christians should do in Matthew.

          • Dr. Dee Tee

            you are wrong of course. the lbgt community want special rights as they reject access to marriage and equality the normal way.

            they sin and are wrong and they should not be allowed new rights.

          • LadySunami

            I don’t believe the rights the want are in any way “unique” or “special” but ultimately that’s not related to this Biblical verse.

            This verse says that should an evil person make a request of you, do not deny it. Gay, lesbian and bisexual people are requesting legal recognition for same-sex marriage but despite Jesus’s words, you are refusing them.

          • Dr. Dee Tee

            But those verses do not imply or instruct a believer to disobey God’s other teachings, to sin or support sin.

            You are taking a verse out of context and trying to make it say something it doesn’t.

    • LadySunami

      It’s a tricky subject. On the one hand, if the teacher was openly religious it’s only appropriate that her monument be decorated with the symbols of her religion. On the other hand, it’s possible other schools would used said allowances to get around anti-establishment laws by erecting crosses or decorating with other religious paraphernalia with excuses like “It’s a monument to our founder who was a Christian.” Personally I’d have let it be, but I can understand why the parent objected.

      • Dr. Dee Tee

        it is not a tricky subject. the atheists could just simply ignore it and let live but they won’t they have to force their views upon others.

  • Steve Follent

    If they do not believe in God, they do not need to fear crosses or a few words from a book they do not believe in. But be assured one day all will bow their knee and confess that Jesus is Lord.

  • Guest

    If you are truly bothered by crosses in a memorial garden created in a public place, and even more so if you feign such unbearable offense that you find yourself calling an organization whose sole purpose is to stir up trouble for Christians, you are a broken person. You are damaged goods. You are mentally and spiritually incomplete. Seek counseling, get a hobby, mind your own business, and leave other people alone.

    If by small chance you are of sound mind, then at best you are a lying bully. You’re not offended; you’re hateful, heartless, vindictive, and belligerent. You are a monster.

    Either way, you’re a sociopath.

  • http://axon.tel axon

    Is this a satire site or something? Stupid story; not on school grounds. See also, Amendment, First.