Monday, August 25, 2008

AOTD: Dunn'e look just like Jeezis?

Aw come on, you see it, don't you?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

AOTD: Muslim Fasting and Diet Patches

Fark Headline: "Turkish muslims apparently are missing the entire point of religious fasting. Nice to know Americans aren't only ones who view religious suffering as something to be avoided at all costs"

Ramen.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Today's Dan Savage quote

Fathers are free—sadly—to teach their sons whatever ridiculous bullshit they care to. I'm teaching my son, for instance, that the theory of gravity is just a theory and that invisible wads of magic chewing gum hold everything down. Your brother, however, can't expect you to censor yourself around his misinformed, opinionated son to protect the kid from the realization that, hey, maybe—just maybe—there are other opinions out there, and maybe his dad is wrong about homosexuality.

Sweet. Here's the full column.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Christianity, Reader's Digets Version

There's so much to the Christian religion that makes no sense - is actually the antithesis of reason - to us. But we're often accused of picking and choosing archaic Bible verses, and targeting the lunatic fringe of Christianity, as our standing examples of WHY we're not part of the faith, thankyouverymuch.

This last week I was visited by and had a simply lovely chat with a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses. They left me a little booklet that I've been perusing, and it really got me thinking about the BASICS of Christianity. I'd like to go ahead and dig in.

I'm going to start with a premise that I think is important to state clearly, and that is: Christianity and the Bible are all about humans. God made everything for us, we're special, all His attention is on us. You know, give or take. I've never seen or heard anything from that side of the fence that says anything different.

Okay, the setup: God creates everything and says, it's good, and then He rests. Adam and Eve are in the garden and everything's beautiful. God gives them Da Rulz: Rule stuff, eat, have lots of kids, but don't eat from the tree of good and evil or you'll die (Gen 2:17).

The conflict: The serpent says to Eve, you won't die if you eat from that tree...you'll understand good and evil. So Adam and Eve eat from the forbidden tree and don't die, but things change. They get caught. The serpent gets cursed, Eve gets cursed, Adam gets cursed, and everyone's offspring are screwed too. Oh, and God kicks the pair out of the garden so they can't become immortal.

Let's skip waaaaaaaaaaay ahead here. The entire world of humans, being cursed to sin and hard times and death, are wicked-bad and totally undeserving. So, the resolution: God FINALLY (something like 4,000 years later) sends his actual son to Earth - God impregnates a virgin. The child has a miraculous and sin-free life, and when he's 33 years old he's arrested, tried, tortued and killed (as per God's plan) so that all of humankind has a chance to be cleansed of sin, and therefore get into God's graces/heavan. Oh, and three days later the guy comes back to life, hangs out for a while being really amazing, and then ascends bodily into heavan.

That's pretty much the story. I mean, we can talk about the end times and all that, but that's not part of the BASICS.

[An aside: I read this to SurferJesus, and said, creation and the crucifixion...that's pretty much the basics, isn't it? He said "yeah, everything else is just bloody gravy." Eww...]

So, the dissection: I have so many problems with all of this - just the basics - that it's making my head spin. On the one hand, I get that God provided a wrong choice (eating of the wrong tree) so that they could have free will in deciding to go for it or reject it. But it certainly seems like bad parenting right from the start. Yes, I set rules for my children, but I do not set a big bowl of M&Ms in the middle of the floor and then say "don't fucking touch those or you'll DIE".

Which brings us to the second point. God LIED. He LIED, right there in the second chapter of THE texbook for Christians of all the ages. Eat this and you'll DIE, right then (Gen 2:17 "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.") No amount of tap-dancing can get around that; this was God talking directly to Adam, before even Eve was around. No confusion there, Eat it and die, period. He LIED.

Of course we have the talking snake bit. This is explained in this article that Satan talked to Eve through the snake so he could tempt her (Satan is associated with the snake in Revelations). Um? I guess if you say so. But I like the bit in Epic Movie where Lucy first meets Mr. Beaver...he tries to warn her but she shrieks "Holy s***, a talking beaver!" and boots him offscreen.

So okay, so far we have bad parenting, lying, and a talking snake (which, if too unbelievable, can be EASILY explained by possession by an evil spirit). We're already in dutch and we havn't even gotten out of chapter 2.

So then God curses the hell out of everybody. It's in Da Rulz, after all. But I'm not sure it's entirely fair. If my kids misbehave, they know what's involved - a time out. I've explained it before, and we've done it before. They don't expect to misbehave and for me to spank them, take everything they own, AND set leins on all potential posessions for generations to come. I guess I'm trying to say that it's a bit overkill. You told your "son", Adam, that he'd die if he ate of the tree, so let him die and get on with creating some new kid who won't misbehave. Bad parenting! Very unjust.

Now to the skip-ahead part. This is the part that started the whole thing for me. Jesus dies for our sins and/or Adam's sin. Either way, we have something Adam/we did wrong, and Jesus dying after a perfect life pays for that. Understand how I don't understand this: you're (God is) just making things up now. Eddie Izzard's bit: "Do you have a flag? No flag, no country! Those are the rules, that I've made up just now. And I'm backing it up with this gun..."

God set down Da Rulz, which apparently state: Sin is something I say is bad, namely disobeying Me. And you have to pay for sin. And the only thing which you can use to pay for sin is blood. (Sin is REALLY bad, see, and blood is REALLY precious.) And just because I'm such a nice god, I'm going to send a son, and he'll be perfect, and then he'll die. So I get PERFECT blood, which is the most precious. Then we're even and you can get into Heavan. As long as you believe all of this. Oh, and try not to sin.

STOP MAKING STUFF UP! Blood for evildoing isn't innate, it's not like having to pay someone back after you steal. I suppose you could argue that pain, or blood, are a couple of the ultimate punishments, and universal...so they are good punishments for sin (sin as in "an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible"). We've been beating, bleeding, burning, and beheading people for millenia for their crimes. But to set some really nice guy up to bleed and die for others' sins, that's just beyond random.

It's the ultimate guilt trip. You'd better behave, you'd better believe...Jesus DIED FOR YOU, ingrate!

It's not a reason to believe. It doesn't make sense. And again, these are just the basics. How do you expect me to buy into all the other stuff if the bare bones sound like a bad fairy tale?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

God was a Marine

The fact that god always punishes ONLY those who are doing nothing wrong, or at least everyone in the city, it leads me to the conclusion that god must have been in the marines. That's why they whip a new cadet into shape. They punish the other members of the platoon so that they'll get the slacker in line. It's a very common tactic actually.

So when the xtians are saying that the towers were brought down because faggots are out there sucking cock, or Katrina happened because of all the sin, just know that it's god's plan to have us police each other. And instead of punishing the cocksuckers themselves, he punishes everyone else so that they'll put pressure on the fags to keep their asses closed.

It's just like god commanded in the new bible.

SJ Commandment #3:

Eat thee plenty of roughage. If thine colon is not clean the contents may harden and clump up and may feel too much like a cock whilest coming out. And I don't want anything to remind any of you faggots out there what it feels like to have a dick in your ass. So eat plenty of roughage. And when you're done, you may wipe for sanitation purposes, but don't do it too hard lest ye enjoy it. Why the hell did I make cocks so heavenly?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

AOTD: Another Fark Headline

This time, starring us!

Atheists outraged that "Spore" has religion in it. Then again, is there anything that doesn't outrage atheists?
You know, I don't even care about the article itself, I just like the headline. How's that for lazy online journalism?

My New Slingshot

I know someone who is a diehard xtian. And I recently overheard him talking to someone on the phone at work and he was saying what a blessed life he has. He's been praying all year for a solution to his problems because he's had a lot of health issues, he's been trying to get custody of his sons, and he's had severe financial problems and almost had his house foreclosed. And God finally answered his prayers by allowing his birth mother to get in contact with him. He's been looking for her for years and she contacted him from the internet. It's just amazing how god always knows what you need even when you don't quite know yourself. These are all his words, not mine.

And that really got me thinking... isn't that just like god? You ask for a car so you can get to and from work to feed your family and he gives you a slingshot. The only way this would have played out to be anything close to what he asked for is if his long-lost mother were a family attorney who specialized in getting custody for fathers. Or maybe if she were a specialized physician who could fix him. But NOOOO... god just gives you a plain old slingshot. And what's worse, he even makes you go out and find the perfect piece of wood, rubberband, and leather patch. He then makes you put it together and then takes all the credit when you kill a squirrel to feed your family of 6.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rainbows

Perhaps my schooling was better than this lady's, but I recall learning about refraction in middle school science class, and perhaps earlier grades. The link is to a video of a lady videotaping her water sprinkler and assuming nefarious reasons there is a rainbow in the mist since she only recalls rainbows around the sun and moon (!) 20 years ago.

But that reminded me of a Christian story about rainbows that perhaps a grandmother told me. A rainbow, the story goes, is a sign of God's promise not to repeat the floods of Noah's Ark fame.

I wonder which explanation of a rainbow is more useful? I wonder which the lady in the video heard?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Torture is torture.

I've only got one thing to say to you asswipes in the Whitehouse who think waterboarding isn't torture.

Simulated drowning is to torture what simulated rape is to rape.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Peoples is Peoples

The politics of religion/atheism aren't as simple as, say, the politics of the ocean. Either THAT guy is going to eat you, or he isn't (in which case you might eat him). But I haven't figured out exactly where to stand with respect to the others in the a/theo sea.

On the one hand, "some of my best friends are..." whatever: Catholic, pagan, Christian. And they're people. Clearly very good and wonderful and fiercely intelligent people, to be friends with me. And I've been around and in faith. I know the good that can come of it, the charity, the comfort and community and so on. You can be a Christian and make your life better because of it. I think, I THINK I believe that.

And on the other hand, religion is ludicrous. It's an antique. It's mindbogglingly, horrifically stupid and bad, and causes bad things. It's not just the headlines - pedophile priests, kidnapped crackers, exorcisms - it's also the day to day. You can't convince me that teaching children and adults to ignore evidence in favor of something that makes you feel better about death...is a GOOD IDEA. It's not a positive life skill, not something I'm gonna slip in there along with how the washing machine works, or that you shouldn't get married before you finish college.

So. Religious people are people. And I love and respect some of them. And they're following a broken model which causes poor thinking and a host of other problems, even on the low end of the spectrum. How the fuck do you resolve that?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Religion and Punishment

I saw this excellent show on punishment this weekend and it sparked a couple things. I may end up spreading this out into more than one post just to keep the length down.

One of the things that strikes me is that when the Romans used to kill people for sport it was the xtians who stopped them. Apparently they didn't approve of cruelty and killing... unless it was for virtuous reasons like religion. Funny isn't it? How bad do you have to be when the xtians are the voice of mercy and reason? So they were able to bring about chance in the Roman Empire but only to bring about even worse tortures and cruelty when it suited their own purpose.

And that brings me to the Inquisition. I, like others, thought that the Inquisition was somewhat of a mass torturing that clouded all of Europe. Of course, that's wrong. As it turns out since the fall of the Roman Empire there really wasn't a new set of laws solidified yet so everyone was pretty much on their own for all but the big stuff. The Roman church started a purification where they wanted everyone to be catholic and they started this massive campaign to convert everyone. They were fairly merciful about it and only really used violence when they needed to. It was Spain and Spain alone who asked to be able to run their own Inquisition to which Rome agreed thinking that they would run it as they had. They were wrong. Spain went off on their own and started the Spanish Inquisition which was the horrifying tale we've all come to know. But from what I gather, it was only in Spain. These trials were there mainly to get someone to confess to heresy. There was no way out. You either get tortured and ultimatly die, or you get tortured and confess in which case depending on the circumstances they may only torture you a little bit more and then let you live.

And of course the big question I always had was why would anyone allow themselves to be tortured until they died? Why not just stop it early on and save yourself the agony? The answer to that is simple and was unknown to me until today. The inquisitors made it very clear that if their confession was a lie then they'd live forever in hell and burn for all eternity. So there's real motivation to try to hold out. But again, the system wasn't designed to get to the truth. It was designed to torture you at any cost. There was just no way you could win. You either lie to save yourself the pain and burn in hell, or you hold out and ultimately end up dying a savage death. And these guys were creative as hell. Some of the devices they had would make any adult have nightmares. To me one of the most freightening was the pear. It was a thing they put in your mouth and they expanded it slowly. As it expanded it opened your mouth until it was opening so wide it began to break. The hinges were destroyed and the jaw itself was broken beyond repair. The victim could never close his mouth again. I don't remember if they said why, but this was all centered around making sure the victims didn't bleed. For some reason that was a stipulation.

However, the biggest example of xtian idiocy was obviously during the witch trials. Again, the witch trials weren't meant to find the truth. They were meant to be able to torture women with no hope of being found innocent. One of the fucking insane tests was they would weigh a woman against a bible. And if she was heavier than a bible she was obviously a witch. Seriously? Isn't that fucking ignorant even for you dumb fucks? There's not even a baby that's just been born that doesn't outweigh a bible. It's fucking ridiculous even for them. That's like saying ok, we'll hold her head under water for 30secs and if she has to take a breath when we pull it out, then she's a witch. Or... we'll shoot her in the face with this rifle. If she bleeds and dies, we'll know we made a mistake. They actually had one similar to that with water ya know.

Another witch test they had was looking for moles. If she had a mole they didn't like they'd proclaim her a witch. And of course, the famous bleed test. They poked her with a needle and if she didn't bleed, she was a witch. Unfortunately, sometimes it took hundreds of pokes to find a spot that didn't bleed because the spot could be anywhere. And some used retractable needles so they could proclaim her a witch when she didn't bleed because it never pierced her skin. Yeah, that's really fair. So what you're telling me is that you're not actually concerned with looking for witches and ridding your town of evil. You're really just looking for an excuse to torture and murder women. And all of this was done in the guise of religion.

And I say again... now that they're not allowed to KILL people who don't believe what they do, they're having to actually justify themselves and their religion. They did get one thing right. There will be a day of reckoning. Only it'll be a day of reckoning with science when they finally have to admit that god was made-up to keep control over the masses.

That is, if this country doesn't turn into a theocracy first.