Pruning the Tree of Knowledge: Religious Advocates Vandalize Atheist Tree and Officials Demand That It Be Shortened By Eight Feet To Be Lower Than The Christmas Tree

In the Book of Genesis, the tree of knowledge was a tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9) from which God directly forbade Adam to eat (Genesis 2:17). In Philadelphia, religious advocates would prefer that it not be seen, let alone touched. The tree of knowledge is an atheist display showing books (including the Bible) as part of secular humanist values. The tree has been vandalized and hit with a series of harassing demands. These include that the 18 foot tree be cut down to ten feet — since no display can be higher than the Christmas tree. Officials also declared that the creche won a “first come, first served” status — allowing them to move the tree to a less visible spot.

Frankly, I am not sure why it is so important for atheists to put up the tree which is not part of any celebratory tradition and seems merely intended as a retort to religion. However, I have a greater problem with the harassment of a protected form of speech.

The display was designed by Margaret Downey, president of the Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia (FSGP) and is festooned with laminated book covers. It is the continuation of our holiday tradition of litigation leading up to the celebration of the birth of Christ. For a prior column on the season, click here.

For the full story, click here.

50 thoughts on “Pruning the Tree of Knowledge: Religious Advocates Vandalize Atheist Tree and Officials Demand That It Be Shortened By Eight Feet To Be Lower Than The Christmas Tree”

  1. Elaine,

    No charring but the sulfur smell took weeks to leave that building. But he had been debating Timothy Leary so in all fairness, I may have been smelling Tim’s cooking. And yes, I not only recall Gorgon’s endorsement for BIC (which was a hilarious SNL parody) but his dining on a rat excursion. If he ate a rat to cure his phobia of rats, all I can say is it’s a good thing he wasn’t afraid of girls. Or delivery trucks either although that would have been quite entertaining.

    There is a lot wrong with that boy.

  2. Funny. In the church I go to, the ability to create and share written works is considered one of God’s greatest gifts to man. The “atheist” tree would be a potent symbol of that gift.

  3. What Is Wrong With The Pictutre Above is Most People dont understand We are All Good And Evil=BOTH not one or the other

    Gen 3:3 (Eve) But of the fruit of the Tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

    Math 4:4 (Jesus) But he answered (Satan) and said, it is written, Man shall not live by Bread Alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

    Please think about it before you look at the answer.

    My Answer:

    No where in the bible will you find it WRITTEN that GOD said anything about Touching the Tree least ye Die. So that should make you wonder where did Eve get that big fat fish story from or little white Lie? Although it might not make a difference to you; I’m sure it would to a Serpent. Eve had to get this information from her Husband since she was not made yet or formed when GOD told Adam, So What does this prove?

    It proves it was not Eve or the serpent’s fault that Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden and that it was ADAM’s (All Damn Arrogant Men) who added to the words of GOD causing all of this confusion. The Bible says; God is not the author of confusion” but it appears by “adding to the words of God” Adam caused their fall. Eve was just a babe in the woods and when she saw the serpent touching the Tree it beguilded, bewitched, bewildered and Just plain confused Eve. She didnt know Serpents naturally touch trees, Dont like Fruit and prefer Flesh Blood and Meat with a little Heat and Salt for Seasoning. Thats why the bible says Adam knowingly sinned but Eve was deceived. Eve must have said to Herself; Why would GOD let a Serpent Touch the Tree and Not Me? One thing for sure; She was Hungry to know what GOD said or Not. She wanted to Be wise like GOD and since she thought hard before she took of the tree; and Ate; She was actually in a state of Prayer and Fasting hence the word Break-Fast. When GOD asked Adam if he disobeyed Why didnt he just say Yes, instead of the woman thou gaveth me gave to me and I did eat. I’m sure since GOD knows all that S/He knew Eve would disobey and that her pet Serpent would Test Eve to see exactly what she knew about GOD’s Holy Word, just as the Serpent tested Jesus when he was in the wilderness. Is this why Jesus always replied to the Serpent “IT IS Written”

    Poor Poor Eve; was just a Babe in the Woods; and the Serpent knew when Eve said they couldnt Touch the tree; that was a Lie! Out of the 3 the serpent is the only One who didnt disobey GOD like Adam and Eve. Since Eve had never seen a snake before, nothing had died, and they hadnt sinned yet; maybe if Adam would have made Eve’s 1st Breakfast; we all wouldnt be in this mess. But unfortunately every since Men got to rule over women; they have made stuff up; added to the words of God; not listened and blamed the females for this since the beginning of Time. Satan is the Angel of Death and/or Angel of the LORD’s that God used the to do Her dirty work. That’s because in the Beginning Jesus and Satan were given different missions from GOD. Jesus came to Save the World but Satan’s job was to Deceive, Destroy and Devour . Much like a Lioness of Judah who is the feircest of beat in protection of Her children and called in the Bible I’sreal’s treacherous sister. Therefore in the Last Days, Hour or End Times GOD will send Her Lunatic Daughter Satan to proclaim the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord. The Bible says; Satan knows Time is Short and if the truth be told has been working for GOD all along. So This time Satan is Risen as a Reborn and Forgiven Christian Woman who will go before the Judge and Courts; promising to tell you the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth So Help Her God; This Time, but only because SHe knows just how much the whole Truth will Hurt Yall.

    That is; of course If you believe God, Jesus or Satan really exist.

  4. BIL–

    After shaking hands with “Gordon” did you find any carbon deposits on your hand? Do you remember the story of his famous feat of endurance: holding his hand over a candle flame until it burned his flesh?

    Liddy is another birther. He claims Obama is an illegal alien.

    Cheney’s at the top of my list of evildoers.

  5. Elaine,

    Well done as always.

    I met G. Gorgon Liddy once. I even have his autograph (for my first edition of “Will” which is a fascinating read regardless of the source, kind of like The Satanic Bible). I even shook his hand, getting a good look in his eyes.

    I haven’t called him Gordon since.

    It’s not often one sees a soulless body without the accompanying stench of decay. Or at least a little brimstone. And in the league of bad players he’s run with? Gorgon is still Evil, Jr. in the big scheme of things. There was a time when I thought such a thing unlikely. Political operators since Nixon have shown otherwise.

  6. Flipkid,

    That was a profound analysis. This has always interested me. Obviously people are making the decision to act in a certain way on their own. These decisions, both for good and for ill, are then attributed to a deity or holy book of one kind or another. I wish people would just cop to the fact that it was them, all the time (except for Son of Sam. He misheard what his neighbor’s dog said and that’s why things turned out so badly in that case).

  7. BIL–

    Here are three of the ten guidelines for Conservapedia’s Conservative Bible Project:

    Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias

    Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, “gender inclusive” language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity

    Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning

    I wrote a poem about it back in October.

    A Poem about the Conservative Bible Project

    The Bible’s way too liberal—
    And nothing could be worse.
    Let’s go rewrite the holy book—
    Each chapter, line and verse.

    We’ll tell the stories “our way”—
    Toss out the liberal bias—
    The way the good Lord wants us to.
    The devil can’t deny us.

    We’ll include free market parables,
    Excise the stuff we hate,
    Avoid gender inclusive language
    That can emasculate

    The Great Book that we live by.
    We’ll write the stories “right”—
    Translate them “fundamentally”
    To conservatives’ delight.

    BTW, I’m in favor of a holiday tree display that promotes reading and literature–as long as most of the laminated covers aren’t from books published by Regnery whose list of literary luminaries includes: Ann Coulter, Bernard Goldberg, G. Gordon Liddy, Michelle Malkin, and Carrie Prejean.

  8. I read that story earlier this morning, Buddha. What this putz is doing is really nothing new; insted of just “interpreting” the Bible, he is codifying his “interpretations” INTO the text itself.

    Hence the problem with all mythology… er, I mean religious texts. They are all open to interpretation based on the already-determined beliefs of the interpreter. Which is why some Christians insist that “God hates fags” and others are compassionate about homosexuality. And why some Muslims fly planes into buildings while others have pity upon potential robbers and actually give them money and food.

  9. Alan,

    You gave an opening for talking about the stupidity of divisiveness in religion. However, that was indeed quite dry. So dry in fact, that I have not read enough posts from you to gleen that fact. I usually catch the dry jokes. So to you and your parched senses, I bequeath a “Zing!”.

  10. I read all about Christmas trees in the bible. It was very clear–no tree may be higher. This is why Jesus whithered the olive tree, because it was 10.5 feet high. He used his godly powers to send a message that time, and the “city religious” are using their’s to this same important purpose.

    I’m so glad there are people who understand the importance of Christmas trees in Jesus’ origin story. Further, they are willing to fight and destroy to keep that story in tact in the present. Praise Jesus!

  11. And in a related story, a moron seeks to purge all liberal language from the Bible.

    Might I suggest starting with everything attributed to Jesus, jerkwad.

    The was a liberal rebel rabbi.

    Yeah, you simple Fundie. Your “boss” was not just a Jewish carpenter. He was somewhere to the far far left of Michael Moore. So suck on that. That why he was disliked by Roman and Jewish authority alike. Jesus was just another liberal shit disturber speaking truth to all power that represses. He wasn’t picky on who he called out. I don’t think he’d be real big on repression in his name either.

    It’s simple irony, but I get a kick out it.

    Religion at it’s best is all inclusive and constructive. This is neither. It is in fact, divisive and counterproductive.

    Like the word “alleged”.

    Like attacking a secular holiday decoration.

    Anyone arrogant and stupid enough to say words to the effect of “my god can kick your god’s ass” as if it’s an actual justification for acting like a destructive and divisive half-wit.

    God is love or God is ego. And no matter what you call God, those are your two choices. One is good. One is evil. And let’s be clear about what got Lucifer booted from the Throne. It was arrogance and ego that he placed himself before his relationship with God. That’s a real no-no when you’re an angel. They weren’t supposed to have free will and/or be free to make that mistake.

    Here’s a hint:

    Grow up. And while you’re at it, consider waking up too.

  12. Islam and Buddhism acknowledge that Jesus was born as well.

    As an aside, when studying theology, whether or not any of these men – Jesus, Mohamed, Abraham and Buddha – actually existed is really beside the point. When one looks at their teachings impact on history, real or a fiction (or even an amalgam of disparate sources like Confucius), their existence as verifiable scientific fact is somewhat irrelevant.

    If this bothers any of you, I point to the Incompleteness Theorem(s). In any given system there is some element one must assume to be true without proof. That these were actual men could be characterized that way in the context of historical analysis. In this instance however, it’s not a fatal assumption, but rather one that as a pragmatic matter makes discussing theology and history easier without irrelevant caveats like “alleged” that lead to side tracked discussions just like this one.

  13. Oh hear we go again. Alleged. Even the Jews acknowledge that Jesus was born. Hear the angles sing…..

  14. > It is the continuation of our holiday tradition of litigation leading up to the celebration of the birth of Christ.

    In order not to take sides, I think you should have made that “the ALLEGED birth of Christ”.

  15. Wow, so any tree higher than 10 feet tall? I guess the city workers have some work cut out as I am sure 10 feet is the new standard on all trees. Weight a minute, is this Ordnance overbroad? Is it designed to, ah yes. They don’t want it.

    Yes, weight was used instead of wait.

  16. This is another example of the religious right trying to make the bible and its teachings the law of the land. I am surprised that this is happening in Philly.

  17. Weren’t there many, many trees there?

    Adam and Eve could eat of any of those many trees except one?

    Wasn’t the forbidden one the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

    I can’t figure out why we must make one tree higher than the other, I mean they grow naturally to different heights.

    The loons are gaining more and more power, so trees of every height and kind, which are the lungs of the earth, are in grave danger.

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