Beliefs Culture

Amazon takes dark, unsettling turn into religion with ‘Hand of God’

Hand of God screenshot via YouTube

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) “Hand of God,” a series starring a corrupt vigilante judge and exploring religious fanaticism, is Amazon Inc’s latest bid to entice audiences to its original video programming.

All 10 episodes of the series made their debut on Friday for Amazon Prime subscribers.

In the opening episode, Judge Pernell Harris (Ron Perlman) appears in a public fountain, naked and speaking in tongues, after his adult son tries to commit suicide and is hospitalized.

The incident is quickly swept under the rug, but the judge soon starts hallucinating and receives guidance from a mysterious young con-man priest in a quest for justice that turns Harris into an enraged vigilante.

The series was conceived as an exploration of zealotry, said show creator Ben Watkins, and evolved into a study of religious extremism in the context of a born-again Christian cult group that helps the judge.

“There was a part of me that really wanted to explore something I’m calling the ‘cult of ambivalence’ that I feel now permeates America,” Watkins said in an interview.

Perlman, who just finished a hugely popular run on FX biker drama “Sons of Anarchy,” was not the man Watkins originally had in mind to play Pernell Harris.

“I didn’t want this to be a character who was already physically imposing and already used to doing his own dirty work,” Watkins said.

“That hesitation was immediately put to rest when Ron came in and met with us, and one of the first things that he said was that the role scared him.”

“Hand of God” is one of a series of new programs being released on Amazon Prime for customers who pay $99 a year, usually for free shipping perks but also for access to Amazon Studios content.

Amazon’s transgender series “Transparent” is a front-runner in the Emmy Award comedy category later this month.

Watkins, who previously wrote and produced for basic cable show “Burn Notice,” said moving to Amazon allowed him to push boundaries, whether with language used (in one episode, the N-word is used 16 times) or in explicit scenes of sex and violence.

“I’ve made a very conscious decision to make this a very complicated dialogue when it comes to religion,” Watkins said.

“I’m not here to answer whether religion is good or bad. … We want people to draw their own conclusions because hopefully it’ll tell them a lot about themselves.”

Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Jonathan Oatis

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  • “……In the opening episode, Judge Pernell Harris (Ron Perlman) appears in a public fountain, naked and speaking in tongues….”

    Another episode of God-hating trash that is promoted and featured on RNS.

  • There is a world of difference between “promoting” and “reporting” on “Hand of God.” This is, after all, the Religion NEWS Service. This Amazon series deals with religion, and RNS is reporting on it.

  • I’m an Amazon Prime member and very disappointed with Amazon. Fanatics are on the fringes of religion. Why have a series about them? Make movies and series about the saints living and dead who do nothing but good for God and neighbor.
    I’ll not watch TRASH.

  • “I’m not here to answer whether religion is good or bad…”

    Al Queda
    Catholic Pedophile Priest Networks
    Rwandan Catholic murderers

    Some questions answer themselves.

    “The Hand of God” will remind people of the failures of religious theories and the fossilized notions they are built on.
    Meanwhile, we need more Atheists on film – and MUCH more science.

  • Fanatics are on the fringes of the religion?

    Yet the fanatics who post here regularly will tell you that they are the only true believers. They appear to lie right at the center of their religion. The revivers and the slanderers, the liars and the hypocrites, all claim that they are the only true believers.

    It’s hard to tell the fanatics from the true believers from the Real Christians.

  • bqrq, YES. When they commit crimes, and don’t perform the duties they took public oath to perform, yes. They belong in jail because they are criminals. Being Christian does not mean you are a perfect person or above the law when you have taken an oath to abide by law.

  • Sister, I used to buy “everything” from Amazon, as they have wide ranging products, at reasonable prices. But recently, I have put Amazon on the “only if I have to” list. And have now cut my purchases through them by about 70%. If all do the same, they will feel the pinch, and know it is time to get back those customers they’ve disgusted with their Leftist nonsense.

  • I don’t think such a work of fiction can be reasonably called “God-hating” since such things occur in society routinely and involve acts of humans, not of deity. If someone concludes from such things all religion is bad, the person is merely making the opposite logical error from yours.

  • It only takes a quick shift of radicalization to turn an average schlub into a fanatic. Since right now in the U.S. we have crazy people like Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindahl, Ted Cruz, Kim Davis, and the like running around, such fiction is merely a mirror to reality.

  • A corporate behemoth which treats it warehouse employees like rented mules cannot by any reasonable measure be called “leftists” except by someone hilariously uninformed.

  • Just because you choose to bear false witness like this does not make it so. You should be sorely ashamed for your vile behavior here.

  • Dear George,
    Perhaps you would be so kind as to tell us what’s good about, how is it morally righteous, how does it help young people and families?

  • A friend told me that if you want to see anti-Christian bigotry promoted- go to RNS. Much of the garbage sent out by RNS is clearly NOT just reporting.. Much bigotry is betrayed by the constant choosing to headline positively media offerings that are nothing but bigoted garbage and pretend it is just reporting.

  • George, I guess you probably missed it some time back, but Amazon has decided to join the Left and list toys as non-gender (no boys toys, or girls toys, anymore, just toys). Amazon has dropped gender for their toy sales. Strange bunch. They have lost me as a regular customer.

  • RNS is RNS….it’s mostly editorials on trendy social issues from an obvious political bent. And it works because it draws lots of traffic from supporters and detractors alike.

    Thus its regular writers include a Mormon writer who’s always whining about how the Mormon hierarchy is old, fuddy-duddy and too……..Mormon for her taste, a few evangelical writers (Merritt and Gushee) suffering from status anxiety, as they try desperately to convince liberals that they really and truly are cool and hip despite being evangelicals, the usual bevy of smirking skeptics who think nobody notices the smirk behind the skepticism, and maybe one or two actual professionals who are willing to discuss religious topics in an adult and fair-minded away.

  • George, hypocrites come in all sizes and shapes and include liberals, conservatives and everything in between or beyond. Just as there is an ample population of social conservatives who are sexual libertines in real life, so is there an ample population of liberal business people who engage in exploitative business practices and a “kicking-blind-widows-to-the-curb” ethic, with as much gusto and lack of conscience as the old robber barons ever did.

  • You’re assuming that everyone who speaks up loudly and often about their beliefs is a fanatic. I would say the “loud” part may or may not be obnoxious, depending on context or circumstance, but it’s not necessarily “fanatical” in a cultish sense.

  • Based on Max’s logic, those with a historical memory can reply with the following star-studded Murderers Row lineup of homicidal maniacs, all of them heavy hitters of atheism:
    Nicolai Lenin
    Joseph Stalin
    Ho Chi Minh
    Pol Pot
    Mao Tse Tung
    Fidel and brother
    Hugo Chavez
    Ortega brothers

    I stopped at nine so someday they could field a baseball team in Hades.

    150 million dead, Maxie boy.

  • bqrq, what God is more likely to do is remember how many Christians have been withdrawing from voting and all other engagement with the culture for the better part of a century and now act shocked — shocked! — as the culture has predictably moved in an opposite direction.

    This is why, if you compare the number of Christians in America with their cultural impact, it is disproportionately small. The opposite was true throughout American history, until the withdrawal started in the last century..

    Before we blast others, we as Christians need to take a good hard look at ourselves and ask when God gave either us or anybody else we know permission for such a withdrawal. The question answers itself — Never.

  • Thank you. The reason that some people are so upset is that they see a little bit of themselves in dramas about religious fanaticism.

    It wasn’t liberals who piloted two planes into the WTC and the Pentagon. It wasn’t liberals who murdered people in the Tokyo subway sarin attack. It sure as heck wasn’t liberals who killed people in Northern Ireland during the “troubles”. It wasn’t liberals who killed people in concentration camps during WWII.

    No, for the extra special heinous cruelty, just add “God” to your insanity.

  • It’s a numbers game, Jack? I could list a whole host of more people who have committed atrocities because “God” told them so. Just start with the bible! Let’s not forget the bible condones the murder of children, rape, and slavery. It speaks of whole tribes of people (men, women, and children) just wiped off of the earth at the whim of a petty deity. There’s the Inquisition, the “witch burnings”, on and on.

    No one has killed or committed atrocities bc they are atheist. Atheism is not a code or set of beliefs. But – there are plenty of people who believe they are appointed by “God” to perpetrate horrific abuse.

    bqrq would love to see people in the LGBT community persecuted. There are plenty of religious nuts just like him/her. That’s what’s so scary. American Evangelicals funded “kill the gays” law in Uganda: good “Christians” one and all. Taliban vs. Westboro Baptists: name your poison.

  • Why shouldn’t parents who want gender free toys have that option? Isn’t it the conservatives who are always crowing about parental rights when it suits them?

  • Dear bqrq:

    Matthew 7: 1-3
    Matthew 23: 27

    Perhaps you ought to pick up your bible and read it instead of cherry picking.

  • ” receives guidance from a mysterious young con-man priest in a quest for justice that turns Harris into an enraged vigilante.”

    Which brings us to some of the most infamous cons of all time:


    Joe Smith had his Moroni and Satan/Perdition/Lucifer. (As does M. Romney)

    “Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah.”

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God and of course Satan and his demons.

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this “tinkerbell” got around) and of course the jinn.

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As do BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

    Continued below:

  • ” receives guidance from a mysterious young con-man priest in a quest for justice that turns Harris into an enraged vigilante.”

    Which brings us to:


    Joe Smith had his Mor-oni and Satan/Perdition/Lucifer. (As does M. Romney)

    “Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah.”

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God and of course Satan and his demons.

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this “tinkerbell” got around) and of course the jinn.

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As do BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

    Continued below:

  • The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other “no-namers” to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these “pretty wingie/ugly/horn-blowing thingies” to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

  • What a ridiculous question! Should we put more Muslims in prison?

    As a criminal defense attorney for > 30 years, I can tell you from personal experience that no one cares if a defendant is a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, pagan, Zoroastrian, or any of the many other beliefs (or non-beliefs).

    We only care that the prosecution can prove that the defendant committed each and every element of the offense(s) charged in the indictment. That’s all that matters.

    Anyone who spends any amount of time in prison claims to have “found” God. New found faith has absolutely no impact on recidivism, however.

    For a deity, God seems to get “lost” a heck of a lot!

  • Jack, Jack, Jack,

    150-million dead? Try many, many, many times that. You can’t count the incinerated and mass dead in mass graves.

    Atheism/secularism/humanism is a slaughter mill.

    But no atheist can feel anything about that because they have no souls.

    Per them.

  • Re: “Fanatics are on the fringes of religion. Why have a series about them?”

    I’ll answer that question with another: Why have a series about a criminal motorcycle gang rather than about a non-criminal biker club (which they did with Sons of Anarchy)? Because normal people aren’t interesting enough to build a dramatic series around. Nobody would watch it. Fanatics and extremists make good television.

    It’s the same reason TLC constructed a so-called “reality series” around the Duggars, part of a wingnutty Christian cult called “Quiverfull,” living in the Bible Belt. Had the series featured, say, a typical Roman Catholic family from the Northeast, would anyone have watched it? Of course not.

  • Prove your numbers SJW.

    Atheism IS a driving force to the world’s most effective murderers that history has ever seen. The insanity that is secularism/humanism/atheism does to the populace what you would think the being soulless would do.

    Do the math. The numbers don’t lie. The 20th century was not the dark ages. And it wasn’t some tribal religious action. It was the age of darwinism and humanism implemented as what they actually represent. “Science” doesn’t just find cures for diseases. It drives atheists to invent weapons of mass destruction while of course seeking a Nobel Peace prize for the effort.

    If you want to see provable, abject evil, look into the mind of an academic atheist. Anything toxic and deadly to the human race can be excused away as easily as Goebbels implemented his social experiment. Christians? They are hated because the repent and turn away from the evil they do. And of course don’t use the “I was born that way,” excuse.

  • Robespierre was no atheist, nor was he in any way non-religious. He was a Deist who, among other things, opposed the de-Christianization of France. As part of that effort, he created the Cult of the Supreme Deity.

  • Why Greg, it sounds like you are trying to be politically correct. there is only one way to list toys– it just happens to be yours– and that’s that.

  • @BeBrve,

    “Atheism IS a driving force to the world’s most effective murderers that history has ever seen….”


    MESSIANISM is the most effective driving force of mass murder ever invented.

    1. A god exists who has all the perfect answers to man’s problems (a dogma).
    2. People should expect the god to send a superman to enforce those answers (fascism).


    Only Separation of Church and State
    prevents the rise of Messiahs in the USA:
    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion…”

    Religion is your right – like smoking. But it is bad for people and should be discouraged.

  • @Jack,

    So Jesus’ call to mass murder doesn’t count?
    “Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    Stalin’s self-styled ‘Czarist’ (historically a religious title for a demigod), Agrarian Messianist Cult is somehow Atheist !?
    Is that why Russian churches still worship icons of Stalin wearing a Halo? Because they think he was not god-connected?

    1. A god exists who has all the perfect answers to man’s problems (a dogma).
    2. People must expect a demigod (messiah) to enforce those answers.

    MESSIANISM prepares society for a demigod who “will arrive soon” with perfect answers. MESSIANISM has been the primary cause of mass murder:

    Hitler – Messianism: Catholic/Aryan
    Pol Pot – Messianism: Theraveda Buddhist
    Stalin – Messianism: Christian Orthodox
    Hirohito – Messianism: Cult of the Sun God
    Kim il Sun – Messianism: Dear Leader

    All are Messiahs.

  • @BB,

    “Atheism/secularism/humanism is a slaughter mill.”

    That is a despicable slander.

    There is no creed in Atheism which commands murder! Unlike your religion which commands mass murder on all sinners (everyone).
    “Slaughter them all” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    Your insinuation that complete enforcement of God’s Sharia law would somehow not explode into chaos is too foolish to discuss.

    I guess you haven’t noticed the ISIS God-Lovers destroying anything.
    Do you actually read any news?

  • @Jack,

    So your Godly remedy for human government is MORE religion – as in:

    Christian Sharia
    Muslim Sharia
    Hindu Sharia
    Judaic Sharia

    If there is an evil pattern, it doesn’t belong to Atheism.

    Religious people make an emotional loyalty pact with an invisible sky fairy who promises them they won’t die – it is a lie, but they just can’t face reality.
    So they selfishly enforce their religious insanity on everyone else.

    And you dare to call this Humble? Or Virtuous?
    It is as selfish and wicked as any crime ever was.

  • “Agrarian Messianist Cult is somehow Atheist !?”

    Assuming that’s an accurate description (which it’s not) — sure, when atheists create them.

    Whatever an atheist does is a legitimate exemple of atheism, precisely because there is no “code” to atheism. This is something you have yet to grasp.

  • I saw the ‘Hand of God’ last night. God is accurately depicted as a revenge freak (the Bible is a book of conquest and revenge so that did not surprise me).

    God is also accurately depicted as incapable of doing anything at all except to leave clues which also double as hallucinations – another way in which religion adds to the world’s madness. God cannot intercede by himself – he needs humans and is no different from Satan – he’s only about revenge.

    This God rewards obedience, not good behavior.
    And Ron Perlman is on a mission to kill whoever is guilty.
    In the end, I’d bet God turns out to actually be Satan – which would demonstrate what a ridiculous maze of mirrors Christianity really is.
    Because the theology still works!

    “Execute them all” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

  • Shawnie:

    “Whatever an atheist does is a legitimate exemple of atheism, precisely because there is no “code” to atheism. This is something you have yet to grasp.”

    REALLY? Great.
    So when the Atheist Jonas Salk saved 2 Billion people from Polio by giving away FOR FREE his discovery of the Polio Vaccine
    he is the true Atheist. Thanks.

    Meanwhile your True Christian is waiting to murder him for his lack of faith: “Execute them all in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19::27)

    The options are:
    Atheism = there appears to be no god.
    Theism = follow orders no matter how disgusting and immoral.

    Nazis were only following orders. Same for you I guess.
    Shame on you. Face your fear of a godless world head on. Fix your broken thinking cap.

  • I’ve seen this at Pentecostal churches, though they don’t always use water. Just because everyone doesn’t see it, doesn’t mean it is not occurring regularly. (I left that church, BTW. They are insane)

  • Sister, as George says, Amazon has business practices that are un-Christlike (treatment of employees). I suggest weighing this fact in your disdain for Amazon, and not their choice to allow the spread of free ideas, whether it be liberal trash or religious propaganda. Businesses are consumer driven. A movie about a saint may be carried by Amazon, but you will probably have to pay extra because not many people are watching it. People like conflict and outrageous plot lines. Fanaticism is much more compelling than pointing out fallacies of everyday faith and religion (much too close to home for the audience; doubt and thinking is forbidden by God – that’s sarcasm; true Catholics don’t think this way).
    As for me, I will turn my head and ignore their bad business, and enjoy the new series “Hand of God”.

  • “If there is an evil pattern, it doesn’t belong to Atheism”

    Nonsense. There is no “code” to atheism that precludes an “evil pattern.”
    All that’s necessary is atheist involvement.

    There’s not even any room for a consistent idea of “evil.”

  • Shawnie:

    “All that’s necessary is atheist involvement.”

    You are an Atheist of thousands of gods! You are no different from me.

    You don’t believe in 55097 claimed Gods.
    I don’t believe in 55098 !

    That isn’t a difference worth discussing!
    Stop pretending you have something I don’t. You Atheist!

  • Predictably, you guys claim the deists as virtual atheists when you like their offerings (Paine, Jefferson, etc.) but want to dump them on our doorstep (along with all the embarrassing atheists) when you don’t.

    Hope you’ll weigh in the next time the nonsense about our “atheist constitution” comes up — but I don’t think you will. Maybe I’ll do it for you via my sock puppet collection… 🙂

  • Amazon just lost my business….as far as this tv show is concerned, I will sum it up in one word – SICKENING….

  • Failed old argument you are trying to get away with there, Jack. Those murders generally weren’t done because of any belief or tenet of atheism.

  • “Good drama?”

    No. Here’s the synopsis: “God hires a hitman (Ron Perlman) to kill some people.”

    Does that fit the God of the Bible? Yes.
    But that’s the most unbelievable god of all.

    Couldn’t get past the ridiculous premise:
    Ron Perlman plays an obsessed man who believes God wants him to kill those responsible for his son’s coma. So God gives clues (or so it seems) cuz God knows who did it. God will cure his son once vengeance is delivered.

    But why would God give clues instead of doing the killing himself?
    And why would God need Ron Perlman?

    Or…Is Ron Perlman delusional? Maybe the God is actually Satan – which would be an interesting plot twist.
    But even so, the story doesn’t make sense since Christian preachers figure prominently in the story.

    Couldn’t get past the unbelievable premise.

  • listen guys…u do realize the jesus freaks arent gonna read your arguments rite? they think u have the devil in you and youre just satans vessel trying to lead them astray with ur poisoned tongue/thoughts no matter how eloquent and well researched your points are. ive had this argument in church and with friends. its pointless.

  • trolling every religious discussion by demonizing religion….standing in the streets spouting bible verses…screaming allah hu akbar while commiting acts of terror….all fanatic nonsense…
    just to different degrees…one group trying to influence one another…just a bunch of viruses trying to infect one another…there is no absolute in religion or science…the search for truth will drive u mad…once u accept that and let go…u will truly be set free…there is no meaning..we just are…

  • No doubt you conclude RNS’ decision to allow this post of yours to stand is part of a plot to make you look stupid as well by showing your own words.

  • I’m not sure what point it is that you are trying to make by not directly stating it.

    It was not too long ago a car crash in Louisiana revealed two of the cars involved were full of some forty-odd members of a spirit-filled church from Lubbock, Texas, who were all entirely naked and believed they were being pursued by deeemons.

  • In other words, it’s just like Christianity Today without the ads for “Christian” investment plans, huh?

  • I see. So everyday common sense is now considered “leftists” by those on the fringes. Good to know.

  • I suppose that could be, but because of the dynamic involved in right-wing ideology, members of that cohort tend to (1)be ostracized as George Rekers and Ted Haggard were, or (2) be forgiven as long as they didn’t learn a greater tolerance of others, e’g., David Vitter, Jim Bakker. Liberals in contrast tend to regard those as having left the fold.

  • “Cult” has become a perjorative term, often meaning of any belief the person describing it doesn’t like. However, all of those I’ve named above are fanatics. Ms. Davis however is mostly a pawn.

  • Hmm, I believe Hugo Chavez was a Catholic. I don’t think the list says anything about atheists that’s any different from what a list of Popes would say. Inclusion of some like Ho Chi Minh, who was a great admirer of the American Revolution, just show the laziness of anticommuniss fanaticism.

  • I believe right now one of the major issues of the day involves a religious dictatorship seeking atomic energy resources and the “humanists” of the U.S. and Western Europe seeking to limit their influence. Saying atheism causes mass murder is like saying Rock ‘n’ Roll causes teenage horniness.

  • That was a reply to a post that may have been deleted, or to the initial post. RNS’s program here makes it hard to track what a post is a reply thereto.

    My point is it’s hyperbole at best and slander at worst to call such entertainment “Anti-Christian.” It is certainly an uninformed assertion.

  • Saw the pilot. Was not impressed. A waste of Ron Perlman.

    Perlman is one of those great journeyman actors who never seems to turn down a part. He knows how to handle even the most ridiculous work with gravitas. I will give it another 3 episodes before I decide whether to stick with it. Many poor pilots develop into decent shows.

    The whole “line between divine inspiration and homicidal madness” plot was handled much, much better in Bill Paxton’s little sleeper “Frailty”.

  • A writer named Brian comes to mind who is the closest to doing straight news with some editorial. When he offers his opinion, it’s based on quality engagement with facts. I recall disagreeing at times, but always respect his work.

    He writes about serious topics, as opposed to what the Pope thinks about coffee cake or water fountains that don’t work on hot days or why he scratched his nose with his left pinky the other day.

  • Nobody denies that people have committed legions of atrocities throughout history in the name of God or the gods.

    What I’m responding to is Max’s claim that religion is the sole or overwhelmingly dominant culprit of or excuse for mass atrocities.

    The record of avowedly atheistic regimes anchored on avowedly atheistic premises over the past century alone refutes that claim.

    And there’s no way to wiggle out of that fact and its implications. Not even the late Christopher Hitchens, a talented and powerful writer, succeeded in that quixotic quest.

    There are a few Hitchens wannabes here who are mimicking his argument, but if he couldn’t succeed, the folks here certainly will not.

  • Be Brave, unlike Max, I’m not into inflating numbers to make points. Yes, I hear you — some people claim it was a lot more than 150 million who died due to tyranny atheist-style. But on the other hand, some say it was closer to 100 or 120 million. Better to go with a more conservative number in the absence of perfect information.

    150 million is horrible enough.

  • Max, quit lying. Your don’t express your own atheism by merely saying “there appears to be no god.” Read your own posts back to yourself and observe the near-metaphysical certainty you display when you assert there is no god.

    Either that’s how you really feel and you’re currently lying by backtracking, or you are telling the truth now and were lying back then by the pretense of certainty.

  • Max, there’s no “remedy” for “human government,” since human government is no ill but necessary.

    But since, in Lord Acton’s words, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” it must be limited.

    People have inalienable rights that don’t derive from the whims of government or others, but come from the Almighty.

    It’s too bad you reject the Source of our liberty, identified in our Declaration of Independence.

    Remove God and humanity created uniquely in His image, and you can’t explain why it’s okay to enslave a horse or ox but wrong to enslave a human being.

    Granted, some of the most powerful human rights activists remain atheists….and plenty of theists have been human rights abusers.

    But without God, you have no logical or philosophical grounds to assert universal rights against the claims of particular cultures, governments, or nations, if they respond by saying, “the way we treat our people is none of your business.”

  • “Nobody denies that people have committed legions of atrocities throughout history in the name of God or the gods.”

    OF COURSE THEY DO! They constantly call the perpetrators, “not really of the faith” or try to create some kind of phony distance from them (“they didn’t really follow — doctrine”). You do this constantly especially when trying to scrub clean the association between reactionary dictatorships and Christian churches which supported it.

    “What I’m responding to is Max’s claim that religion is the sole or overwhelmingly dominant culprit of or excuse for mass atrocities.”

    ISIS seems to be making a good show of it right now. Al Queda didn’t forcibly rezone lower Manhattan for cash or politics.

    If you are going to make the phony claim that atheism is an excuse for mass atrocities, you have to expect the response in kind. That is the nature of such a silly argument. Lets be honest here it is the religious types who start that one as a libel to atheism.

  • It’s the other way around, Larry. I’m not the one initiating claims about atheist tyrants and regimes committing genocide. I’m the one responding with such facts to those like Max who accuse theists of being behind literally all such atrocities, which he manages to do by then redefining atheists as theists whenever atheists do the same.

  • Ho was romanticized by folks like you, but he was just another brutal Communist dictator. Right before Ho there was a similar romance with Fidel and Che, of course.

  • No, “Social Justice Warrior.” The more straightforward and likely explanation is that nobody likes to see their group lampooned. Obviously that by itself doesn’t prove they see it as accurate. If a murder were committed in your neighborhood and someone accused you of it, your resultant outrage would hardly prove culpability.

  • @Jack,

    Copy and Paste THIS.

    I am Atheist – I do not believe in any gods. I see no reason to believe in them.
    I am also Agnostic – as in, I don’t claim to know. Gods may exist and if evidence emerges I am happy to examine it.
    Without evidence, I must dismiss any claim that gods exist.
    So far, ZERO GODS can be accounted for. Until further notice, gods appear to be nothings. I have no problem responding to a claim about a specific god as being “not there” or “not existing as claimed.”

    My position is extremely vulnerable.
    If you had the slightest evidence for a god – ANY NEW EVIDENCE AT ALL – none of this tedium would be necessary.

  • @dk80,

    “no matter…its pointless”

    No it isn’t.
    I was a strong Christian believer once. Now I’m Atheist after 50 years.
    Don’t give up on them. They need to hear it. You are doing them a favor and someday they’ll be grateful they know the Atheist arguments.

  • Shawnie:

    What exactly is your problem?

    Robespierre, like you, was a BELIEVER. His God was The Supreme Diety.

    Atheism is about NON-Belief.

    IF someone believes in a God or a Perfect Dogma
    they are BELIEVERS. They are OF FAITH.


  • Jack,

    “unlike Max, I’m not into inflating numbers”

    “Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    But billions of human lives have been saved by Atheists:

    ATHEISTDr. Jonas Salk – gave away the Polio Vaccine for free. Lives saved? I don’t know…. A BILLION?

    ATHEISTBill and Melinda Gates – saved UNTOLD MILLIONS of lives fighting AIDS, TB, and Malaria, 100 million insecticide-treated bed nets to protect children from malaria.

    ATHEISTWARREN BUFFETT FOUNDATION – “Global Health is the best investment” untold millions saved.

    ATHEISTPAUL NEWMAN – NEWMAN’S OWN – Millions saved. Spent $400 Million to save Children in the USA alone.



    *Christianity and Violence – Wikipedia

  • Human government? As opposed to what? Theocrats who pretend to speak on behalf of their deity of choice? Give me a break.

    “Remove God and humanity created uniquely in His image, and you can’t explain why it’s okay to enslave a horse or ox but wrong to enslave a human being. ”

    So you are saying you are a sociopath. Without God looking over your shoulder, you have no connection to humanity whatsoever. No sense in the value of reciprocity, trust, or good will from other human beings. This is how religious people can justify any kind of atrocity. If they can claim God says so, any act is OK.

    After all they need not consider its impact on other people, just what God will do to them. That is how your “in his image” can be ignored by churches to extol slavery, discrimination and genocide.

    Your version of morality is just self-interest with divine rewards/punishments.

  • Shawnie, you support legalized discrimination. You have no concept of what evil is supposed to be.

    Religious types are the ones who lack consistency. The epitome of moral relativism. Any act, no matter what its impact on others, is OK if one can claim justification in scripture. Morality by spurious self-serving interpretations. Warmed over sociopathy with ready made excuses for the public. This is how religious belief is used to support things like slavery, genocide and any other crimes against others.

  • Larry, we’ve been through this many times. Let’s try again:

    Plenty of human rights activists are atheists. They’re acting on their caring for their fellow human beings. Great. So should everyone.

    My point, though, is that when atheists stand for human rights, they’re going against their own philosophy which rejects precisely the beliefs that make the whole notion of human rights intelligible and rational. If there’s no God and no human soul, there is no difference in kind between us and other mammals. But the whole notion of human rights depends on the validity of that very difference. Otherwise, there is no rationality behind treating humans differently from dogs, parakeets, oxen, or horses. What makes humans worthy of elevated status or treatment?

    Also, if there is no Creator who endows each person with inalienable rights, then who are we to tell other cultures and governments how to treat their own people? Think before you answer.