Don't be a Dupe!

2005 was a very difficult year for my sister. She was facing a tremendous struggle as she strove to beat drug addiction, the falling out of a relationship, and as usual, unruly bouts of Type-I diabetes. On her way home from work one evening, she saw a well-lit neon sign from the road that read, “Psychic Readings starting at $10.” She stopped and went inside the old, creaky house that had the sign. Sis made it home that day minus $63. A few days pass by and she’s in and out of the house a little more than normal, so on one particular trip out the door, I decide to ask her where she’s headed.

Now crossing brains with her erudite, outspoken atheist brother is not what she has in mind, so she puts off giving a clear answer. “I gotta run an errand. Be back.” This went on for several more days when finally, she burst in the door, sniffling, and with tears in her eyes. I followed her upstairs, and after some prolonged hesitation, she shared with me a tidbit of what had happened—she was duped by the same “madam” charlatan psychic she had begun visiting several days earlier.

Shaking my head in anger, just as I was about to say something chopping and derogatory, she cut me off. With her head still facing the ground in shame, using the side of an index finger to wipe away a stray tear running down her cheek, she said, “I know, I know. I should have known better.” “How much did you lose?” I asked. She said, “$65.” But sis and I know each other too damn well. “Why don’t you tell me how much you really lost?” I said. With gritted teeth, a quivering lip, and embarrassment written all over her face, she said very slowly, “ssssssssix hundred and ninety-two dollars.” I stood there, contemplating how I would reply as I gathered a few more details of how it happened.

This fat-forearmed, spirit-frolicking fraud, this wart-necked, lying lard-ass, toad of a woman found a trusting, vulnerable girl to exploit—and exploit she did! The moment sis entered the room, she was bombarded with, “My, my, the negative energy surrounding you is strong!” From there, it went to “Ah, I see now…a curse has been put upon you by a man and a woman you know.” With some further dressing up, it went from there to the main-course like you knew it would: “I need some money to buy sacred items from Jerusalem so we can begin the ritual and end the curse.” A little butter here, a touch of garlic there, a little dressing down below, and the sale was made! A na├»ve, unsuspecting person had been stripped of what limited livelihood she had, not realizing the whole scheme was bogus until it was too late. But as much as I’d like to, I can’t really be mad at the psychic! You don’t blame the croc for being a good ambush predator and snatching up the deer that comes to drink from the water’s edge, do you? No, you blame the innocent-but-clueless deer!

I wasn’t the kindest that day. The “I told you so” mentality had me consumed, so much so that I couldn’t resist the urge to say: “Little Miss Bimbo Baggins got taken for a ride, did she? I bet she doesn’t hate the skeptics quite as much now, does she? You got what you deserved, honey!” Before I could say anything else, she looked up at me, and with tears in her eyes and quivering cheeks, screamed, “I’m a trusting person, ok!”

Sis always was a trusting person. She goes through life assuming (a) that people are generally telling the truth and “wouldn’t lie,” (b) that people usually have her best interest at heart, and (c) that the spirits and powers that be are “up there,” looking out for her wellbeing down here. Well, sis got played, and she learned a valuable lesson (I think). But she did deserve to get flimflammed. That’s what happens to “trusting” people.

And hell knows, sis isn’t alone. Many people are taken in Nigeria banking scams, or “get rich quick,” pay-before-you-play programs, like those “work from home” schemes that show a picture on their websites of a young, handsome man sitting in his Porsche, parked out in front a multimillion dollar mansion as his wife sips away at a margarita next to a sparkling-blue, 24-foot, in-ground, swimming pool. Hey, we’ve all been tempted to click on such links occasionally (Come on, now! Don’t deny it!) But just like all that clairvoyant crapola, it’s bullshit made to suck in three classes of pathetic people: the greedy, the gullible, and the stupid. Now the owners of these sites and the perpetrators of these scams, they are the smart ones! They make some pretty mean money in their filthy profession too. And who are their victims?

The elderly are big suckers. They spend their days thinking the world is still a place where the milkman rolls up his sleeves and lays a carton of milk on the doorstep, saying, “G’morning, maam!” before leaving. Then, there are the sheltered suckers. These dupes consist of the young, like children or sheltered people, who’ve lived privileged lives. Some broken-English-speaking, sly fellow, with a ponytail and a yin-yan necklace actually convinces these morons to send their credit card numbers to him in an email to “commid de sum of $2,900,000,000 US doller tu u acount” when in reality, they’re just going to take what’s available in the dupe’s account and get lost on a beach in Maui. And they’ll be saying to themselves, “Stupid Amelwican! Hehehehe!” all the way there!

That just leaves the religious dupes like dear old sis. The religious are the biggest dupes of all. How do you know if you’re a religious dupe? Well, for starters, if you buy prayer shawls or anointing oil from Pastor Hagee’s church, you’re a dupe. If you sit close to the TV during a religious telecast, laying your hands on it in hopes of being healed of whatever ails you, you’re a dupe. If you pray to God to save your child’s life, and God lets your child die, but you keep on praying to him anyways, hoping he will help you through the difficult period of grief to follow, you’re a dupe. If you travel to Lourdes, France to see the famous Lourdes Basilica because 66 healings have been officially recognized by the Catholic Church, or perhaps just because you seek an encounter with The Virgin Mary, yes, (say it with me now) you’re a friggin’ dupe! You get the idea. But religious dupes are even more “duped” than other dupes.

Greedy dupes have their egg-in-face moments and get taken, but from the sting of being played the fool comes a valuable lesson on how not to get taken again! The same lesson is learned by the wet-behind-the-ears chump who started off too innocent and too sheltered in life to know any better. And chances are, even the elderly will learn to be more cautious after being victims of heartless scams. But religious dupes, they are another matter. They never learn because in religion, there’s often no obvious victim. It’s not clear to the believer that they’ve been had, and this motivates the faithful to continue to play that endless, trial-and-error game of “Wheel o’ Prayer.”

When heartfelt prayers fail, the religious dupe keeps on praying. When his business takes a dive financially, the religious dupe keeps on tithing. When Aunt Olga dies of breast cancer, despite the efforts of the “healing ministry” of the local church, the faithful keep on going with the bullheadedness of a flea-ridden mutt, getting zapped by an electric fence. The religious dupe is too stubborn to learn from his or her mistakes and give up what obviously doesn’t work. They choose to persist in the mentally calamitous execution of their insanity—they choose to persist in doing the same things over and over again while expecting to get different results. That’s the textbook definition of insanity, friend! The net result is, the religious dupe rarely ever learns from even the most painful and heartrending of mistakes. Perhaps stubbornness is an unlisted fruit of the Spirit?

Now no one wants to be a dupe, but keeping from becoming one demands that we retain a healthy level of skepticism about absolutely everything—and with skepticism comes another dirty word to some—cynicism. A healthy level of cynicism is necessary too. Even if being a pessimistic, troubleshooting skeptic isn’t your thing, you’d better learn the trick of the trade fast! Yes, people will lie to you about anything, directly or indirectly. No, people very often do not have your best interest at heart. They have their own interests at heart. And no, if the spirits and powers that be are “up there” at all, they certainly aren’t watching out for us down below (or they are, but are doing a terribly suck-ass job of it!)

Using cynical street-smarts, what should our attitude be towards religion of all kinds, including the Christian religion? Christianity is a faith that is 2,000 years old, hailing from a time when men believed in miracles and gods that rise from the dead; knowing what we know of human nature and the all-too-human tendencies to lie, exaggerate, and fall prey to the ignorance of the times in which we live, how can we view the religion as anything but a stupendous fraud of frauds? The handwriting is on the wall! Don’t be religious! Don’t be a dupe!

(JH)

18 comments:

Robert_B said...

Joe: take it easy on your sister. You can help her more if she actually wants to talk to you from time to time.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

I worked at a copy shop several years ago, where a particular customer came in once or twice a week for about two months.

He was sending faxes to Nigeria.

Now, this was a privately owned business (read: not a kinko's), so we were a little more forthcoming than a chain-store might have been -- we looked at the stuff we copied, and even commented on it (I remember with a grin the girl who made her boyfriend/husband a provocative calendar; we placed a post-it note on the July picture -- it was by far the best).

Anyway, since the fax was international and several pages, we made a tidy sum every time he sent it, but even that first time, we glanced at the document and recognized instantly what it was.

We, I, counseled this man against providing his bank information to such an obvious scam, but he insisted that it was on the up-and-up, and that he had been in contact with bona fide bank officials in Nigeria, and that everything was in order.

I don't know what became of him and his funds, but I'd wager they were soon parted...

Another fellow, a customer of that same store, came in once to copy hundreds of pages of the same original -- a sheet with five names on it, to each of whom he had sent one dollar, and then moved each name up the list (removing the first name) and adding his own at position 5.

That man must've spent over $400 just mailing these letters, which doesn't include the purchase of the addresses to which they were sent.

Of course, this sucker was too stupid to "cheat" this broken system -- he should've placed four acquaintances above his own name on the list, on the off chance that any takers would be as gullibly honest as he was.

I've also worked in Technical Support at a number of places, and in one particular case, at an ISP, I fielded thousands of calls/emails from angry customers, who wanted to reduce their volume of spam email.

I pretty quickly developed a "canned" response, which explained quite clearly that receiving spam email is almost exclusively the fault of the mail account's owner.

(For any of you who get spam and complain that it isn't your fault, you are wrong. Every time you provide a valid email address to a website or application, you are likely signing yourself up for spam at the same time; the faultless spam is only due to the previous owner of the mailbox or the common nature of the mailbox -- e.g. 'john@somedomain.tld')

As the story goes, however, people are easily duped, and this is quite easily explained by current prevailing theories of social development -- the human social networking skills are best suited for smallish tribes, consisting of well-known relatives and acquaintances -- not the bustling interconnected web of social networking available in today's society.

Religion, however, is the best of these scams, as it has learned not to take the sucker in one fell swoop, but to instead take him 10% of his paycheck at a time, and to promise an eternal reward that you won't get until you die.

Ten percent. Such a paltry sum, which anyone can easily do without, if they practice just a little frugality. Add it up, though, and you get Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts -- millionaires all.

Not only are these con-artists exceedingly wealthy, but their victims don't believe they're being victimized, and indeed believe it a virtue to be such a sucker.

I tell you, man, this religion gig's got something going. The Vatican has its own country, its own money, and its adherents actually believe their leader to be infallible! A con-artist couldn't have it any better.

Why do you think Joe Smith gave up his small-time cons and horse-theivery to go big-time with the religion-con?

It's quite the racket.

--
Stan

Harry McCall said...

Great post Joe.

While scams can be controlled by law, Christianity is protected under the Separation Between Church and State. Protection is exactly what I mean. Christianity must be protected since it can be sued for false claims via its highly flawed logic called “Theology” drawn from the totally false claim that there can be no morals or ethics with out God.

Christianity loves the “All or Nothing” claim where the “truth” of the Bible and God has only one pure form and any deviation that hurts any believer is “not really Christianity“. And thus, non religious secularism is forced to accept all the blame for religious liars and cheats since it preaches that anything not of Jesus is of Satan and the evil present world. Thus, the secular society is forced to not only take the blame for a stereo typed Satanic world, but is then dumped on by Christianity with all Christianity’s own failures and false promises. As such, the secular government, which is kind enough to give Christianity protection from its self, is now blamed by the very object being protected (Christianity) for all the failed false promises and statements made by faith.

Fact is, if Christianity was indeed true, and by this I mean it had to face the pseudo morals and ethics of this preachers, it definitely would NOT need any type of protection under the law since it would have no false libelous recourse for adverse action.

Lets fact the facts, neither the young, mentally ill, or Christianity can be held accountable for their actions and are understood as being incompetent by the secular legal authorities, thus needing protection as weak irresponsible entities under the law. Theology ALWAYS gives a excuse of why a claim to total truth does not work…again, the totally flawed logic of theology. If this religion of TOTAL TRUTH was made to face itself in the mirror of reality of life and be held legally responsible, it would be sued out of existence! But since it is protected, preachers and evangelist can hock their religious mental illness on radio and TV and do it all in tax free or better yet, if you don’t have to pay taxes you are in fact, tax supported environment!

Once more, the sad thing is, while we understand the young and mentally ill are not responsible for their actions and are protected under the law, religion comes out fighting a non Christian world it labels under Satan and when it fails to establish its claims (which it always will), it uses the same legal protection given to the young and mentally as a way out of a situation which could be a major legal mess!

In conclusion, if Christianity is really what it claims; total truth and has as perfect track record in morals and ethics just as the believers claim, then please step up to the plate of responsibility and really be what you claim to be: total truth in morals and ethics and quit hiding under the legal system!

However, in light of the facts of reality, Christianity will remain protect under what it labels as “godless secular law” and, along with the young and mentally ill, being given an excuse as being totally unconfident! This is simply par for the course for a religious system that blames all its failure of others!

Foxy Goddess said...

While I agree with your basic premise - that people who buy into these things are dupes - I disagree with the analogy of the crocodile and the deer. It's just a little too similar to the comment the Mufti here (Australia) made that uncovered women were like "uncovered meat", and if we leave uncovered meat out, do we blame a cat for eating it? Likewise, do we blame a man for raping a woman whose face is exposed? (He then went even further to state that if these women had been in their bedrooms wearing hijab and burka, they wouldn't have been raped!) On the contrary, a passing cat sees food - but a human being should have more self-control. In the same way, I don't blame your sister for being trusting; rather, I say she was naive, but the fault still lies with the fortune teller. Yes, your sister could have avoided the whole ordeal, but this charlatan is still out there (no doubt) doing to others what she did to your sister - this clearly shows who is to blame. I only hope your sister learnt a lesson (albeit painful) from this and is a little wiser in future. One thing's for sure: If she's just been ripped off for being trusting, you taunting her isn't going to make her any more likely to trust you again, either. The words that tend to hurt us most, usually come from those who we think love us the most.

Brother Crow said...

Foxy, great comments, though I am not certain I completely agree. I am convinced that humans are just animals that think and reason to a higher degree than others. Therefore, we have self awareness. Moral laws - right and wrong - developed as a means of "social contract", in order to propagate the social survival of the species. So, ultimately, there is no "right or wrong" - just violation of social contract. A rapist or a scam artist have violated that social contract...and laws are there to punish them. However, I also believe each person has responsibility to take care of themselves, and be the ultimate "moral authority" in their lives.

I think it boils down to the law of the jungle..."kill or be killed" (not literally...although sometimes, maybe). Naive thinking is what leads people to forget that there are predators out there, and people who will not act in my best interest. I must, at all times, be prepared to stop them. I cannot look to morality or even the larger society to do that...because those things do fail. I must take care of myself and those who are of my "tribe." Crazy, "lawless" or religious people will always find excuses to rape, plunder, kill or defraud...but they must know that if they cross my border, they are under my "law"...and will pay the price if they try to harm me or mine in any way.

Each of us must take responsibility to protect ourselves, and not to trust in the goodness of anything. Not god, not man, not lawful society. All of it is "corrupted", or - in my view - animalistic at the core.

Foxy Goddess said...

Hi Brother Crow. Yes, what you say is true, but at the same time, since humans ARE more capable of higher thought and making decisions about what's in the best interests of others, I still hold them accountable. I do agree that people need to be more careful about the choices they make; as I said in my original post, she was definitely naive, and I hope she learnt from the experience. This doesn't change the fact that the fortune teller still knowingly did the wrong thing, and since as I said, humans can reason and make choices, she shouldn't be held blameless by any means.

Molly said...

I am an atheist and a regular reader of this blog, but I have never been moved to comment here before today.

Mr. Holman, your point could sufficiently have been made by paring your post down to the last two paragraphs; instead, you have written an incredibly insensitive screed that manages to insult wide swathes of the population to no apparent purpose: the elderly, the overweight, transsexuals, non-native English speakers, "trusting" people, women (Although I now see you removed the reference to calling your sister a "dumb cunt."), and, of course, the religious.

The fact that a person is vulnerable does not give the rest of us license to take advantage of him or her-- and when someone does take advantage of a vulnerable person, the blame lies entirely with the perpetrator rather than the victim. Certainly some people could take steps to better protect themselves, but that doesn't mean they are to blame rather than the people who are committing the actual wrongdoing. There is a direct line between "the religious deserve to be taken advantage of because they don't think critically" and "that woman was asking to be raped, dressed all slutty like that." People do dumb things sometimes, make mistakes and bad decisions, act in ways they probably shouldn't-- but that doesn't mean it's okay to exploit them, or that people who do exploit others are somehow absolved of their responsibility simply because their victims weren't cynical enough.

There is a big difference between skepticism and cynicism. No one deserves to be taken advantage of, and it is the charlatans at whom our scorn should be directed, not their victims. I am extremely disappointed to see discourse of such low caliber included in what is an otherwise enjoyable and fair-minded blog.

Joe E. Holman said...

Robert_b, I go hard on my sister because I love her, not because I don't. And she's come to expect that of me, and deep down, even appreciates it.

Stan, very fascinating story and info! I enjoyed reading it! We can't be too careful nowadays.

McCall, thanks, buddy!

Foxy, you can't equate rape (an illegal thing) with crocs hunting deer (a legal thing under nature's system). Those throwbacks who would have us believe that rape is brought on by wearing tight clothes are royally uninformed! Rape is a sickness, a disorder.

Scammers operate within the law (religious ones, mostly) to prey on the gullible and the stupid. They are opportunists, therefore, and not rapists. Nonetheless, their conduct is despicable. I couldn't agree more. But there is blame to go round to those who open themselves up for it. People have to be smarter enough to function today. It's like leaving your house unlocked; if you do, you only partially blame the burglar; you blame the idiot who left his house unlocked, acting like this was the 1940s. Even Jesus said to be "Wise as serpents."

Molly, thanks for being a reader and for your comment, but take it easy, hun. No one's being insulted. I was religious, I have have nothing against non-English-speakers (except those who infiltrate my country and refuse to learn the language), and am overweight myself, and certainly do like my women! :)

So no, dear, that's just descriptive writing, not hatred. Such writing goes much further than the typical, run-of-the-mill "atheist drek," as it is perceived by the average religious person.

This article has already been passed on to a number of angry people who emailed me about it, and that is precisely the affect I was looking for. There's a method behind the madness! ;-?

Yeah, I went a teeny, tiny bit too far with the word "cunt," and John got on me for that. But then, I have never been one to go for political correctness--never have, never will! But the point in the article was made--don't get taken!

Otherwise, the dupe is as guilty as any scammer or charlatan there ever was.

YOU SAID...

"The fact that a person is vulnerable does not give the rest of us license to take advantage of him or her-- and when someone does take advantage of a vulnerable person, the blame lies entirely with the perpetrator rather than the victim. Certainly some people could take steps to better protect themselves, but that doesn't mean they are to blame rather than the people who are committing the actual wrongdoing."

My reply...

Wrong. Ideally, yes, the deviant is to blame. But it doesn't break down that way because it is impossible to police things sufficiently, so the blame falls back on those who don't protect themselves. If you use Windows XP and don't get virus protection, you can only spend so much time blaming the childish, geniuses who sit around in their underwear all day and make viruses. They are so rampant that one who doesn't protect themselves is stupid for not "locking the doors" of their computer.

YOU said...

There is a direct line between "the religious deserve to be taken advantage of because they don't think critically" and "that woman was asking to be raped, dressed all slutty like that."

My reply...

No, different story altogether because with rape, it is patently illegal in all human contexts, and anyone with ANY knowledge about rape crimes knows that it is brought on by sickness, and not by short dresses. Rape is a whole different matter, much like purse snatching.

But seriously, I don't believe YOU believe what you are saying. Why don't you put a sign on your door that says "this house is unlocked" and then when people break in, play your card of, "Well, they just bear the blame because I didn't give them permission to enter." The policeman taking the report is gonna laugh his ass off. Just a little knowledge and personal responsibility will hem in spin doctors of all types. But don't make excuses for the stupid.

(JH)

Foxy Goddess said...

Whoa there... I didn't compare rape to hunting for food. I said that the analogy of of the deer and crocodile was a little too close to the anaology that the Mufti gave of the cat and the meat. I didn't like the similarities, in that they both blame the victim for the offence. Further, rape is NOT about sickness, it is about power. It is about control. I feel it's an important point to make, lest anyone get the idea that rapists can't be held accountable because they're "sick". No. *Some* sex offenders might offend because they're ill, but most do not, and the majority of rapists do what they do because it's about power.

Joe E. Holman said...

Foxy Goddess said...

"I didn't like the similarities, in that they both blame the victim for the offence."

My reply...

The point is, unlike rape, we DO (and should) partially blame the victims of scams and frauds for opening up the doors to being taken. Like the deer, they should know better. They don't take all the blame, of course, but a little of it. Read the example in the reply I gave to Molly.

(JH)

Anonymous said...

Why stop at religious dupes, Joe?

Take a look around your home; at the things you've spent money on. Your laundrey detergent, your corn flakes, your sneakers... how many of these things did you purchase because you saw a commercial once that had a catchy jingle or a funny cartoon that stuck in your head?

The tobacco growers, the beer brewers and the Humvee manufacturers are all getting rich by selling things that nobody really needs. (What do you drive, Joe?)

And that diploma you've got on your wall, (don't pretend that you don't have one, you write too well to not have been educated) that doesn't really make people smarter you know. (Heck, I've known some bonafide engineers that couldn't find their own butts with two flashlights and a GPS)

The stock market, NASA, Disneyland: all huge institutions built on the dreams of wishful thinkers.

And lets not forget the war! Does anybody still remember all of those WMDs we were supposed to find over there.

Even the world of science isn't immune to hyperbole and false claims. (Why else would they need to police themselves?)

So, who doesn't get duped, Joe?

And who do we believe?

The government?
The teachers?
Steve Colbert?

Life is about taking risks and putting your trust in somebody can be the biggest risk you can take.

And don't forget that it is often the person who thinks that they have it all figured out that gets duped the worst.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi all,
at this point the question becomes,
why do people get duped?

It can be explained and mitigated by understanding principles of persuasion.

you can start at wikipedia with robert cialdinis "six weapons of influence"

Joe E. Holman said...

tigg13 said...

"Why stop at religious dupes, Joe?

Take a look around your home; at the things you've spent money on. Your laundrey detergent, your corn flakes, your sneakers... how many of these things did you purchase because you saw a commercial once that had a catchy jingle or a funny cartoon that stuck in your head?

The tobacco growers, the beer brewers and the Humvee manufacturers are all getting rich by selling things that nobody really needs."

My reply...

Hi, Tigg13. I must say, I found your post a very refreshing perspective! Nice! :)

Yes, I'm sure that I too am a dupe, as we all are in one obscure way or another. Thing is, I'm not claiming infallibility when I denounce being duped. Sure, we can't be aware of absolutely everything, and if you happen to think that driving an SUV or otherwise not keeping the planet green-friendly is the result of me being duped, so be it! There's a lot of things I just don't care about.

The issue is, can we avoid being duped to the extent that we keep our happiness and wellbeing in tact? We can indeed, and we should. Religious quackery, like other major frauds that take unsuspecting people, rob us of our sanity, stability, and happiness. But it is in our power to fight back. It is in our power to not be duped. And that's what this piece was about.

Tigg13 said...

"(What do you drive, Joe?)"

My reply...

A beat-up, 1995, Ford Escort LX. Wanna buy it? It's a low emission vehicle! :B

Tigg13 said...

"And that diploma you've got on your wall, (don't pretend that you don't have one, you write too well to not have been educated) that doesn't really make people smarter you know. (Heck, I've known some bonafide engineers that couldn't find their own butts with two flashlights and a GPS)"

My reply...

Well, thank you! And yes, you're right. Very right!

Tigg13 said...

"The stock market, NASA, Disneyland: all huge institutions built on the dreams of wishful thinkers."

My reply...

Yeah, and there's nothing wrong with that (to an extent).

Tigg13 said...

"And lets not forget the war! Does anybody still remember all of those WMDs we were supposed to find over there."

My reply...

But we weren't the only ones who thought that. The Chinese, the British, and the Russians all believed the same lie. But yes, it was a mistake.

Tigg13 said...

"Even the world of science isn't immune to hyperbole and false claims. (Why else would they need to police themselves?)"

My reply...

We all do, as I said. And the very modus operandi of science is all about self-correction and the furtherance of tested, tried-and-true learning.

Tigg13 said...

"Life is about taking risks and putting your trust in somebody can be the biggest risk you can take.
And don't forget that it is often the person who thinks that they have it all figured out that gets duped the worst."

My reply...

Now let's not run to extremes, ok? Just because I may be ignorant about my government's "true" intentions in, say, Iraq doesn't mean I should let down my guard and take one in the kisser on other, more profound and personal issues, like religion and finances, does it?

The article I have written here focuses on some pretty big avenues that involve chicanery, gullibility, and stupidity. I'm targeting the "whoppers," those issues that affect a large number of the population. But if you choose to write an article of your own, calling me out as a dupe for using paper towels, which some say are hazardous to the environment, be my guest!

But as far as being a dupe who vainly babbles towards the clouds over and over again while getting no results, huh uh; I'm not THAT kind of a dupe. I'm not going to have my heart strings played with and my life ambitions altered based on a notion founded entirely in ignorance.

But you're right; those who think that they've "got it all figured out" do tend to be wrong. Tis the nature of life and learning.

But usually people who criticize us atheists of having it "all figured out" are themselves religiots guilty of the same thing when they cram their "no one cometh to the father but by me" Jeebus down everyone else's throat. But that's not you, right? You're more open-minded than that.

(JH)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kind words, Joe.

Yes, I am an ex-christian with all of the scars to prove it. But I'm just too soft-hearted and starry-eyed to make it as a full-blown skeptic either.

Openmindedness and objectivity are what I truly strive for but that requires giving the benefit of the the doubt to everybody evenly ... even fortune tellers.

Joe E. Holman said...

tigg13 said...

"Openmindedness and objectivity are what I truly strive for but that requires giving the benefit of the the doubt to everybody evenly ... even fortune tellers."

My reply...

Fair enough. Just don't get duped in the meantime!

:-)

And when you discover their true motives and their woeful lack of integrity, then you'll feel comfortable and ready to renounce other outright lies that plague humanity.

Just keep thinking, hun. Get my book!

(JH)

Brother Marty said...

I love skeptics and thank you for this post. God is awesome...don't you think?

So many times in our lives we think that the things of this world are attributed to something higher...when they are merely matters of this world. But living in the love of a God that is more than us, is an awesome thing. I know...tuff concept to swallow...but wonderful at the same time.
God is more than what we control. He/She...whatever, is hope. So many of us lack hope. It is in believing in God that there is hope. OK...you may find hope elsewhere...but there is an unwavering hope in something, somewhere, that gives one's hope a chance. Folks...that's God.

Sorry if I've stepped on toes here, but there is a God...and I believe in Him. BTW...I'm rated as genius on all tests...just only bringing it up here, now, as a testimony that I've been there...done that...in terms orf philosiphy, logic, and the rest. There's more, people...there's more. If only love can find a way into one's heart...there's more. Some call it God. Some call it Jesus. Bottom line...there's more.
Ya know...it hurts to give credit to something/someone bigger and better than the best man can come up with. Kinda hurts the ego, if ya know what I mean. We ain't crap...cuz there's something more out there. Whatever crap life throws at us, some...called believers...can deal with it. Just a notion. Just a notion. Some believe...some don't.

Foxy Goddess said...

Brother Marty said, "BTW...I'm rated as genius on all tests...just only bringing it up here, now, as a testimony that I've been there"

And? I got into Mensa and I *don't* believe, although I did once.

Brother Marty said, "Ya know...it hurts to give credit to something/someone bigger and better than the best man can come up with. Kinda hurts the ego, if ya know what I mean. We ain't crap...cuz there's something more out there. Whatever crap life throws at us, some...called believers...can deal with it."

No... It doesn't hurt to give credit where credit is due. You know why? Because that's just basic honesty. It's nothing to do with ego. What IS to do with ego, is insisting that your unprovable assertion is the correct one. I am honest: I ADMIT I don't have all the answers. When I don't know, I *say* I don't know - instead of attributing the (currently) inexplicable to an invisible sky pixie.

And what's this about believers can deal with life's crap? Uh, what - so non-believers can't? I'm really not getting your point, here.

Joe E. Holman said...

Brother Marty said...

"God is more than what we control. He/She...whatever, is hope. So many of us lack hope. It is in believing in God that there is hope. OK...you may find hope elsewhere...but there is an unwavering hope in something, somewhere, that gives one's hope a chance. Folks...that's God."

My reply...

I love it when some drugged up, whistling theist comes along and feels on top of the world to such an extent that the individual is just overwhelmed with the desire to share with others a bit of their "good news"!

Well, Sir Genius Bloat-head, you are actually right on this one. God is nothing but hope, seriously! He doesn't exist except in the shortsighted minds of dreamers like yourself who find life too burdensome and terrible to be without an imaginary friend of epic proportions. Hey, if that suits you, then fine! Believe it.

Just don't expect the rest of us to jump on your bandwagon of elated bantering, okay?

(JH)