A Carnival on Holy Books: To Read or Not To Read

July 9, 2007 at 9:49 pm 21 comments

Wordpress Top PostOn July 3rd, Simen’s post “Don’t Ask Me to Read Your Holy Book” graced this blog. The post was originally written on the April 29th for his now defunct Import Mind.Reason blog. Thanks to StumbleUpon Stumblers, the post quickly began to receive lots of hits. To date, it’s been viewed over 17,000 times. This popularity made the post the WordPress’ Top Post for July 3rd.

The post continue it’s reign for over a 24 hour period and was #3 on July 4th. However, even though the stats supported it remaining in the Top Posts list (even to today), it was dropped from rotation on the 3rd day. I’m assuming WordPress wants fresh content in their Top Post list and it wasn’t due to complaints from bloggers like Andy from the lifeinfife blog who was, according to his blog, “a bit cheesed off that the blog is so heavily promoted by wordpress but not altogether surprised.” He later edited his post with a more neutral introduction.

After reading Simen’s post, erichaynes, of “the Colisium”, wanted to apologize to all atheists for all the narrow-minded, dogmatic, unloving, self-proclaiming zealots of Christianity that have hurt us so deeply with their twisted and circular theology. Apology accepted eric. He also came to the conclusion that “Open Mindedness Doesn’t Exist.” In yet another follow up blog entry, he wanted to let us know the simple message “God is Alive!” although he admitted he could not prove it. Of course, he then went on to attempt it anyway :).

joederbes on “Everyone’s Entitled to Joe’s Opinion”, in his blog entry Of Atheists and Holy Books made this interesting observation:

This is the new reality, folks. We are no longer the only ones who have the floor when it comes to speaking out to society about matters of eternal truth. Atheists and agnostics are coming out with books, blogs, movies, etc., and their message is gaining a great deal of traction in our society.

He went on to say that the reason for this is the way Christians present their message.

kramii, of “All Wrong,” in his blog entry “Don’t Ask Me to Read Your Blog Entry,” gave a hats off to Simen for his post and subsequent debate:

[Simen] seems to be a very thoughtful, clear-thinking individual, who handled my question with style and grace. I take my hat off to him.

The post by Simen also inspired kramii to repost a poem he wrote back in 1994 entitled The Scientific Enquiry.

Of course, not all comments regarding Simen were complimentary, Silly Old Bear gave us a “grump” on Fundamentalism in which I believe he was implying that Simen is a “Fundamentalist Atheist.” mvdg, in his blog entry “An Atheist on Holy Books,” accused Simen of being unscientific. August on “Christian Skepticism” blog referred to Simen as “hypocritical.”

Audrey from the “There is Only One..” blog found Simen’s blog entry of “no particular interest – just rantings.” What she did find interesting was the interest in the post. Others such as kesela from “House of Masks” felt that Simen was wrong but gave the post kudos for being “interesting.”

However, there were other Christians, who were inspired by the post to self-reflect on whether or not their “religion” is worthless, as Joe from ru-min-a-tions did. There are many Christians who focus on more than just the “religious” aspects of Christianity. This is a step in the right direction.

Other Christians such as Brett thought the post was open-minded, exhilarating, and sad. In spite of Simen’s points, ningiun encouraged his readers to “do read that Holy Book.”

To date, the post has over 350 comments. hamspter from “Invigorating, Isn’t It?” initially enjoyed the lively debate about god and religion but lost interest on the 2nd day because he could not “stand the few people in between that make statements about an entire religion or society as if they are the ordained spokesperson.” The author of The Palindrome’s Posts thought that reading through all those comments was “mentally draining.” On the “Confessions of a Seminarian” blog Brad Edwards encourages his readers to either “join the fray” or “sleep like a Calvinist.”

In response to the many comments on the blog, Simen posted a FVC (Frequently Voiced Criticisms) which in it’s own right added another 50+ comments to the discussion. This new blog entry was an attempt to respond in an orderly manner to the many questions from the original blog entry which was, according to fox on the blog “chasing shadows again,” like “chaos unfolding.”

michellecwheeler from “Here’s What I Think” blog did not feel that Simen took into account that Christians “believe [the Bible] is actually the living word of God.” Bryan, in his post “Empirically Determined Empiricism,” asked the following question:

Hey Simen! So how did you arrive upon the idea that the scientific method was the way to find truth? Did you use the scientific method? Did you empirically determine that empiricism was true?

Melak Ta’us response to the post by encouraging everyone to embrace their Inner Kong (whatever that means – if you figure it out, let us know). He loved the post and, in fact, got his BA in Religious Studies (almost) solely to have the clout to refute circular reasoning.

Simen’s post was also inspirational to many bloggers. vivek from “The Red Pencil” blog used the post to raise the question “how does one teach students to avoid circular reasoning?cole on the “blahblahblah” blog posted an entry entitled “Nothin like a bit of independent thinking for a holiday morning.” It’s interesting to note that it was Independence Day in the U.S. after all. On “The Nameless Blog,” the author, a Norwegian like Simen, used the post as an inpiration to explore “Christianity in Norway.”

Bairbre, a small town small town girl raised in THE Christian Church on the plains of Nebraska, baptized in the Little Blue River by full immersion at the Pible Bible Church Camp who ended up a full fledged atheist, on the “Living On The Edge of Madness” blog was inspired by the blog entry to ask “what is the most dangerous idea about religion?

The anonymous author of “unfinished and undecided” used the post to ask God “What Religion Am I?” If this anonymous author is reading this, please let us know what was God’s response to your prayer.

The post also received a quick acknowledgement on several blogs including lematou’s blog entry entitled “We, we (that means ‘yes’ in French),” Cyn’s Ungodly Funnies, innowhere’sthe holy book and Scavella’s Blogsphere. whatthecrap also used the opportunity to give a response to the Agnostic Atheism Wager.

Of course, as a result of its popularity, many spam sites linked to the post. I attempted to delete those pingbacks. I should also mention that in addition to the links on the many blogs mentioned above, the post was also posted on forums for additional discussion including XnForums.com.

Entry filed under: The de-Convert. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

Diagnosing Pascal’s Wager I’m not religious, I’m a Christian!

21 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Silly Old Bear  |  July 9, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    “Of course, not all comments regarding Simen were complimentary, Silly Old Bear gave us a “grump” on Fundamentalism in which I believe he was implying that Simen is a “Fundamentalist Atheist.”

    I did?
    I thought I used Simen’s post as a basis for my own musings on Fundamentalism ranging from Evangelical to Atheist ditto – I liked Simen’s post.

    Don’t read criticism where there is none.

  • 2. agnosticatheist  |  July 9, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Silly, thanks for clarifying. I think The de-Convert was a bit overwhelmed by all the different responses that he didn’t read them all very well.

  • 3. Silly Old Bear  |  July 10, 2007 at 12:28 am

    No problem 🙂

  • 4. Silly Old Bear  |  July 10, 2007 at 12:33 am

    I found Simen’s post to the point. I agree, being Jewish I very often get the “If you only read… the Greek Scriptures…” crap, and I have met several Fundamentalist Atheist, and do think they are just as bad as their Theist counterparts. *lol* But I didn’t read Simen as being any of the kind.

    I am glad we cleared up any misunderstandings.


  • 5. agnosticatheist  |  July 10, 2007 at 12:40 am

    When I initially started to respond to you, I used SOB but changed it to Silly because I didn’t want to further the misunderstanding 🙂


  • 6. Silly Old Bear  |  July 10, 2007 at 1:20 am

    I used that “SOB” exactly because of it’s ambiguity:-)

  • 7. Silly Old Bear  |  July 10, 2007 at 1:22 am

    What I meant to say there was: It would have been quite ok, if you had as I deliberately use “Silly Old Bear, because it’s an acronym of Son of a ….:-)

  • 8. arienaied  |  July 10, 2007 at 6:54 am

    “The anonymous author of “unfinished and undecided” used the post to ask God “What Religion Am I?” If this anonymous author is reading this, please let us know what was God’s response to your prayer.”

    This really seems like a rhetorical question and you probably weren’t expecting a response but here’s something I’d like to share..

    Growing up, someone once told me that when you ask God a question, his response could be yes, no, or not now — at the time, I thought that God sounded like one of those eight balls you shake to get an answer. This response would come in the form of a *sign* that you either asked for or something you would definitely understand without misinterpreting.

    I’m naive, so I like to believe that there is Someone out there who watches out for us. It makes the world seem a little less hopeless. And as long as it helps me get through the day, I’ll believe this — even if the signs are all Greek to me.

    Thanks for reading a little of my blog 😀

  • 9. Simen  |  July 10, 2007 at 8:14 am

    Whoa. I thought I’d read all the pingbacks, but it seems I was wrong. I even took the time to respond to some, but not everyone seems to appreciate comments. For instance, the lifeinlife blog originally had something like “I’m surprised this is so heavily promoted by WordPress.com”. So I responded by saying that it was probably an automatic algorithm that did all the promoting. He changed his blog entry, but didn’t approve the comment. Strange, huh? “House of Masks” hasn’t approved my comment either.

    Other than that, I was surprised how many didn’t actually read what I said (some even did it on purpose, to demonstrate what happens when you don’t read what you’re criticizing; I responded by saying I have read the parts of the Bible I’m criticizing, and know very well the basic premise of Christianity). I guess that’s what happens when thousands of strangers devour a random text.

  • 10. Brad  |  July 10, 2007 at 10:25 am

    “On the “Confessions of a Seminarian” blog Brad Edwards encourages his readers to either “join the fray” or “sleep like a Calvinist.””

    Just to make sure there are no misunderstandings, that last sentence was lighthearted in intent (read: “jest”), and the rest of the post I wrote about it was intended to be thoughtful and constructive. I very much enjoyed the conversation and issues brought to the table. While I obviously disagreed, I found it very enlightening to learn more about various perspectives and positions.

    I too, found it incredibly interesting that such a common topic was so hot for discussion and garnered the attention that it did. Good stuff.

  • 11. karen  |  July 10, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Congratulations, The de-Convert! That’s an amazing amount of exposure you’ve gotten for the blog in the past week – incredible achievement. I guess the algorithm god was smiling down on us! 🙂

    Thanks for explaining the dynamics of how it all went down. I was baffled when I logged in and saw over 100 comments on a brand-new post. Hopefully we will gain many new permanent readers through this experience.

  • 12. pastorofdisaster  |  July 10, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    I have enjoyed each of the posts. I have refrained from commenting, and have enjoyed following the stream.


  • 13. healtheland  |  July 10, 2007 at 6:45 pm

    The Three Step Salvation Plan

  • 14. Simen  |  July 10, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Healtheland, your spamming some salvation crap will ironically only turn people off the “healing” (salvation, I guess) process and make them even more hostile to your message.

  • 15. Top Posts « WordPress.com  |  July 10, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    […] A Carnival on Holy Books: To Read or Not To Read [image]On July 3rd, Simen’s post “ […]

  • 16. bairbresine  |  July 10, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    I was pleasedto see an agnostic atheist post getting top billing and generating discussion. My blog got more hits than it has ever gotten for that one post. I was astonished by the number of people who at least took time to look at what was there. It gives me hope for this world where religion seems to be the inspiration for so much discord and violence. We MUST take a look at our own contribution to this enmity in this country. For starters those of you who are not familiar with fundamentlist christian thinking can tune into a christian television network. Half an hour or an hour of that should give you a good idea of what is being preached from the pulpit about Islam and Muslims in general.


  • 17. erichaynes  |  July 11, 2007 at 12:22 am

    Well, I was honored to be included in on the summarization of Simen’s post and discussion…it has been an interesting journey for me, both in this discussion and on my own blogsite. Thank you for accepting the apology. However, I would argue that if I did indeed “attempt to prove God” in my third installment, it was purely unintentional and bereft of any intellectual significance…I was merely trying to share my own experience without any expectation that it would look the same for anyone else. But I definitely catch the irony. ;0)

    And let me be the first to agree with bairbresine, or maybe disagree, I’m not sure which…better yet, let me encourage you to NOT watch “christian” television…it is a mockery of Christ and only serves to extend what I believe is everything skewed about what Christ ever intended. It is the antithesis of what Christ set out to give.

    Thanks gang…it’s been enlightening.


  • 18. societyvs  |  July 11, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Congrats Simen on all the exposure for your work – I think that is just a grand thing to have happen!

  • 19. Brad  |  July 12, 2007 at 8:47 am

    Hahaha, I have to agree with Eric. But as a Christian, I do flip to the fundie channels every once in a while for a good laugh. It’s probably very un-Christian, but it amuses me.

    And Simen, I also agree that said spammer will turn more people off to Christianity and reinforce the stereotype about this kind of thing. I don’t understand why some forget that relationship is the most powerful medium with people, not spammed links, tracks, or guilt trips.

    At least, I don’t remember Jesus doing any of that…. *shrugs*


  • 20. How to increase traffic to your blog! « Microblogger  |  July 12, 2007 at 9:27 am

    […] my pingback even though his post reference above received tons of pickbacks as documented in A Carnival on Holy Books: To Read or Not To Read (let’s see if that one sticks… getting tired of adding […]

  • 21. TaraKeengeaps  |  April 19, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    excellent topic , hunt this from blogsearch plus good luck for you.just tally up the rss feed to my reader,keep update!

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Today’s Featured Link

Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.



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