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Offline Graybeard

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UK Atheist murders Christians
« on: October 04, 2012, 07:42:59 AM »
I thought that this need to be here because this sort of news should not be left out in an informed debate. It is not a pleasant story, but one in which an atheist[1] murders Christians. His mental state is worth noting.  The wording of the note is a mystery, it is not unlikely that the killer knew the man was a vicar and it may be possible that the victims expressed some religious thoughts before their death; whether they did or not will not affect the trial or his guilt. Although the sentiment is clear, - what did he mean by "Be thankful you did not come back ..."? Was it written to both or just one of the victims?
Quote
Stephen Farrow murder trial: 'Christian scum note left'

A man accused of murdering a vicar and retired teacher carried out a burglary where a death threat to "Christian scum" was left, a court has heard.

Stephen Farrow, 48, admits the manslaughter of Reverend John Suddards, 59, near Bristol, and denies the murder of Betty Yates, from Worcestershire.

He has admitted a separate charge of burglary where the note had been knifed into the kitchen table.

Bristol Crown Court was told the note could link the burglary and killings.

The prosecution read out the note, which said: "Be thankful you did not come back or we would have killed you Christian scum. I...hate God."

Mr Farrow has admitted the manslaughter of Mr Suddards on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to his mental state, but denies murder.

Read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19813484
 1. I was going to write "alleged atheist" but that would be too close to raising a "No True Scotsman argument
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline screwtape

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2012, 07:48:40 AM »
I wonder what Frank would make of this.
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Offline Dante

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2012, 07:56:28 AM »
Are there atheists who "hate God"?
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline lotanddaughters

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 07:59:34 AM »
I wonder what Frank would make of this.

 ;D Yeah, bring in Frank. Hell, bring in HAL too.
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Offline Boots

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2012, 08:05:08 AM »
Are there atheists who "hate God"?

that's what I was going to say.  Your initial inclination to write "alleged atheist" is probably more correct than "atheist" due to that statement.

Now if the note had said "I hate the concept of god" that'd be different.
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2012, 08:15:55 AM »
I wonder what Frank would make of this.

He'd be fine with it.  The murders were not committed with a gun.
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2012, 08:19:38 AM »
Are there atheists who "hate God"?

No, because it is not possible to hate someone whose existence you don't believe in.  Of course, with so many people being so confused about what it actually means to be an atheist, there are probably some people who say they're atheists and that they hate god, but that's neither here nor there.  There are also a lot of people who eat fish and call themselves vegetarians, but that's only because they don't understand what a vegetarian is.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2012, 09:15:20 AM »
Or, people who criticize evolution without really understanding it.
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Offline Aaron123

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2012, 10:21:37 AM »
Where does it say this guy is an atheist?  I can't find anything in the article about that.
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Offline Nam

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2012, 04:47:16 PM »
People who "hate God" are not atheists. Can't hate something you don't believe exists.

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Offline Strawman

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 02:59:17 PM »
What would Bertrand do?
If God exists at all he clearly wishes to reside exclusively in the imagination.

Offline Willie

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2012, 02:56:54 AM »
Are there atheists who "hate God"?
No, because it is not possible to hate someone whose existence you don't believe in.

I disagree. It would be irrational, but not impossible. Cognitive dissonance is not unheard of. It's not even rare.

Offline Seppuku

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2012, 04:26:24 AM »
I would suggest this guy worked by his own motivation. It's sick and it's tragic and goes against anything any reasonable human being stands for, atheist, Christian, Muslim, Jew or otherwise. When we talk about 'one true Scotsman', we are tending to talk about the doctrine of a religion and things it teaches people but atheism has no doctrine, there is only one single requirement - lack of belief in any deities. I mean a religious person can be motivated to do wrong outside of their religious doctrine, without trying to invoke Godwin's law, but I think it is genuinely relevant, Hitler, he believed in God and was a theist and followed the Christian doctrine, but his motivation was unrelated. I think when talking about murder in relation to religion and irreligion it is that distinction we have to determine. I don't think atheism or theism alone could be motivation for murder, theistic doctrines like the bible or the Koran on the other hand are capable of doing so. It is possible there are atheistic doctrines or philosophies out there that could do the same, but I am unaware of any. The most popular atheistic philosophy seems to be secular humanism and that says nothing that would be motivation for murder.

One true Scotsman comes about because we can't determine what a 'true Scotsman' is, the Christian doctrine (for example) is actually pretty ambiguous - are you meant to murder in the name of God or are you suppose to be completely peaceful and forgiving? Different Christians argue differently and to know the 'true' meaning of the bible we need a magic decoder ring. But other doctrines or philosophies out there aren't necessarily as ambiguous, sure there may be variations, for example, in Utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill had varying ideas, but these variations aren't direct contradictions, John Stuart Mill was trying to improved on Bentham's ideas and of course there is a degree of individuals shaping the philosophies with how they see things, but it's a lot easier to determine what a 'true' Utilitarian is as its criteria isn't all that ambiguous. The main principle we're talking about is 'the greatest benefit for the greatest number', so if you met a Utilitarian who sought to exploit a number of people for personal gain, you could say they're not a true 'Utilitarian'. I assume we could apply the same logic to secular humanism. Of course, a person who bases their morality on Bentham's philosophy would not be able to call somebody who follows Mill a 'false Utilitarian'.

When it comes to a religion like Christianity, how do you determine what the bible actually intends? We have so many contradicting principles that these variations are a direct contradiction. We have "thou shalt not kill" and "kill homosexuals and those who aren't virgins on their wedding night". We have, "I, Jesus, bring peace and forgiveness" and "I, Jesus, who's come to enforce the old law." We've got a God with a multiple personality disorder.

However, getting back on track, can we be sure that he was an atheist? Hating God doesn't necessarily mean atheism - I think people can hate the concept of God and it's possible that's what was meant, but I think we have to be certain of that as a person can have that dilemma but still have an active belief in God. Another factor to consider is there's different types of theistic, though I don't know much about theistic Satanism, I really only know details about LaVeyan Satanism and that's atheistic (where Satan is a symbol of individuality and not an actual deity).
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2012, 01:59:05 PM »
At the burglary, his words were, ""Be thankful you did not come back or we would have killed you Christian scum. I...hate God.""

I think we can safely say that his attitude towards the Islamic-Judeo-Christian God is negative, thus he is unlikely to be a Christian. Hinduism is not enterable other than by birth, and Buddhists are rarely so violent to other sects. It is unlikely that he is a follower of Shinto or, given that he comes from Worcestershire, much into tribal gods of the 3rd World or the animism of Africa. New Agers are usually pretentious teens or the middle-aged lost woman or male charlatan.

I cannot think of any other religions that are sufficiently strong to have their followers express such hatred of other religions but I do see an antipathy towards God/Yahweh/Allah.

Farrow seems to me to be someone with a grudge against the Church of England for whatever reason; given that he placed various sex-related items at the scene of the murder, I suspect that he might have been abused.

We ask how it is that people still remain Catholic after all the continuing scandals - we would ask the same question of Anglicans - I don't think he remained Christian and, absent any other religion, he is, by default, atheist.

There is always the possibility that he is deeply convinced of God, but has seen Him as He is and is angry but, even here, he is unlikely to be a Christian.

Then on the other hand, he could be batshit and thus get a pass from being categorized as anything.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline Nam

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2012, 02:33:42 PM »
I think you forgot Deism.

-Nam

Offline dloubet

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2012, 03:05:53 AM »
I find it weird that everyone agrees that you can't hate something that doesn't exist.

Seriously? There's no evil fictional character compelling enough to hate? Are you saying that when you watch a movie, you like all the characters regardless of their behavior?

Wow. There's plenty of fictional characters that I hate. When I grant my willing suspension of disbelief, I suspend the crap out of it! I sympathize with some characters, I loath others, and hate still others. I welcome the emotional manipulation. Even after the book or movie is over, I can discuss the characters in terms of those I hate and those I like.

That said, I certainly wouldn't kill anyone for liking a character that I hated.  :-(
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Offline Seppuku

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2012, 03:22:22 AM »
If it's hating a character he deems fictional and that's his motivation it'd be like me murdering somebody because I don't like Edward Cullen. It's ridiculous, but I suppose it is possible as a motive.

Unfortunately, whether this guy is an atheist or not is uncertain, what is certain is that if it is atheism, atheism alone isn't the motive because of the explanation I offered above. Owning or disowning a potato isn't motivation, but having a deep seated hatred for people who own them is, but it's not necessarily something encouraged by people who don't own potatoes nor is it a part of the non-potato owning doctrine.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2012, 05:14:07 AM »
Something interesting occurs to me....

"The prosecution finished its opening by telling the court Mr Farrow "is not insane and knows the difference between right and wrong"."

When we get the Christians telling us how this incident shows how evil us non-believers are, we should discuss this statement.  If the guy had a clearly developed sense of right and wrong, then - by their argument - he could NOT be an atheist.  To know right from wrong, he HAD to be a believer.

Conversely, if he was definitely an atheist, then - again, according to the believers - he did NOT know what was right, and so the prosecutions case should collapse.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline jetson

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2012, 06:03:29 AM »
If a person claims to be an atheist, and kills "because he hates God", then I would not consider that person an atheist at all.  Atheists cannot hate an actual god and be atheists at the same time.

An atheist that claims to "hate God" is hating the idea of the god, but not the god itself, because by definition, the god does not exist.

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2012, 06:08:22 AM »
Wow. There's plenty of fictional characters that I hate. When I grant my willing suspension of disbelief, I suspend the crap out of it! I sympathize with some characters, I loath others, and hate still others. I welcome the emotional manipulation. Even after the book or movie is over, I can discuss the characters in terms of those I hate and those I like.

Yes, of course, but that's not what we're talking about here.  Theists frequently accuse atheists of "hating god", as you're well aware, but when they do so, they're not accusing us of hating a fictional character.  They're accusing us of secretly being believers, but saying that we're refusing to admit to being believers because we hate the being whose existence we refuse to admit we believe in.  That's a very different matter from saying that we hate Darth Vader.  If you say that you hate Darth Vader, no one is going to pounce on you and say that your hatred of Darth Vader is an indication that you secretly believe Darth Vader is a real person.

Quote
That said, I certainly wouldn't kill anyone for liking a character that I hated.  :-(

Well, this is another thing, too, isn't it?  There are more than a few people who have difficulty making appropriate differentiations.  After Star Trek: Generations came out, for example, Malcolm McDowell received a lot of hate mail and death threats because "he" had "killed Captain Kirk".  This is the same phenomenon we see with religion, but with religion, of course, it's much more widespread.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2012, 08:18:19 AM »
That said, I certainly wouldn't kill anyone for liking a character that I hated.  :-(

Well, this is another thing, too, isn't it?  There are more than a few people who have difficulty making appropriate differentiations.  After Star Trek: Generations came out, for example, Malcolm McDowell received a lot of hate mail and death threats because "he" had "killed Captain Kirk".  This is the same phenomenon we see with religion, but with religion, of course, it's much more widespread.

It's fairly common, sadly - the actor who played "Nasty Nick" in Eastenders got attacked a couple times for what his character had done to his on-screen mum.  If there are people out there who can't graps the fact that TV shows aren't actually real, then what hope do they have with concepts like god and the Bible?

At this point I should confess......when I first saw the remake of "Lost In Space", I couldn't take it seriously because every time Matt LeBlanc was on screen, I kept thinking "I see Joey Tribbinai finally cracked the big time".  I can only imagine how confusing that film must have been for those people who really have problems separating fact and fiction.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Nam

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Re: UK Atheist murders Christians
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2012, 09:29:28 PM »
I don't hate fictional bad guys. They are fictional.

-Nam