10/31/2009 View Comments
Is it right for God to take back something He freely gives to humans? What would we think of someone if they gave us a gift, then without warning, suddenly jerked it away from us? What if someone gave you a kidney to replace your last failing one? Then, six months later forced you to give it back? What would you think of that person? What if God did the same thing? Does it make it okay just because he's "God?"
There is always the argument that Christians give, “You just have to have faith”. They then throw out the following.
You have faith when you sat in that chair.
You have faith when you start your car.
You have faith you will wake up each morning.
So why don't you have faith in god?
Well, let's cover this argument shall we.
You have faith when you sat in that chair.
Sure, because I know it's going to hold me. After all most of the chairs I sit in I have sat in before. So I know they will probably hold me again. But we are talking about faith in an observable, visible physical object. I can see it, test it and determine that it will probably hold me. The faith in the chair is earned based of my observations.
You have faith when you start your car.Now give me an old chair that's a little beat up, and I will have some doubt and will sit in it with a little caution and doubt, but will also test it to be sure it will hold me.
You have faith when you start your car.
Sure, after I took it for a test drive and verified it runs. It since then has started up and proven itself trustworthy and reliable. Now the other car, not so much. The battery was dead (went bad) and it never started unless jumped. So my faith in that car went away. Then I replaced the battery and behold it runs now. Faith restored. But an earned faith.
You have faith you will wake up each morning.
Sure, after I was old enough to understand faith and was able to think. As a new born baby up until now I have had a daily experience called waking up. So I have had plenty of evidence to enable me to have faith.
So why don't you have faith in god?
Haven't you been listening? Oh yeah, you're a Christian so that would be a big “NO”!
Faith in something invisible and faith in something visible are two different things. I have faith in things I use each day because I have seen them work and even understand how they work. I spent 23 years in church and god has yet to earn my faith. At times I really did have faith and prayed, read the Bible and all that stuff. How many centuries did Christians believe and have faith the sun revovled around the earth?
Faith is something that is earned. Telling me to “just have faith” does nothing but lock me into your ideas and religion. It seems silly to just believe in something without real solid evidence to support it. If I lack faith I am accused on doubting god and hit with some guilt trip. Can you say “cult tactics”?
Blind faith is a dangerous tool that ruins lives. My faith in my car, waking up or a chair is not blind, but earned from working examples and evidence I have encountered throughout my life.
Well, the Bible says.
“Lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.”
In other words, don't think for yourself but let in some dudes teaching guide you. Blindly follow what is taught you in church without question. No thanks! Been there done that and it almost ruined my life.
“Well, you just didn't have enough faith!”
Really? With the faith of a mustard seed I could move mountains according to the Bible. I am pretty sure I had much, much more faith than that. So yeah I had more than enough faith. Tons of the stuff for that matter.
So here is my question. Christians claim to have access to god's wisdom and knowledge. God knows everything therefore Christians have access to this. So why is it then that when someone asks a real tough question, they only give the same warmed over generic answers? Answers like:
“God only knows”
“God has his reasons”
“God works in strange and mysterious ways”
“We cant know the ways of god”
“You just gotta have faith”
Some old warmed over answers. Nothing really solid to hang onto. It's simple really. Since Christians aren't allowed to think they have to repeat everything that is taught them. For years that is all you hear answer wise.
I got so tired of asking tough questions just to get a stupid answer.
Here is the truth of it all. If god exists and god is who Christians claim he is hen that means god knows everything about Science, mathematics, trigonometry, geometry, algebra and the list goes on. God knows everything and controls everything according to Christian belief. So explain the way things are and the lousy assembly of the Bible?
Christians are supposed to have free access to god's wisdom and knowledge, yet they can't come up with any better answers than the same old warn out ones they give each time they are asked a tough question that demands a straight answer.
Since leaving Christianity, I have sought out those tough answers to my tough questions. I have realized that I can find answer and at the same time some things are beyond my understanding. My thinking has never been clearer and less cloudy. I feel much better about my life and have less trouble seeking and finding answers.
Jesus said, “Seek and you shall find.” I did seek and yes I did find, but it wasn't Jesus I found. It was logic, reason, and life without confusing religion. It was true freedom.
I seek evidence before I have faith in something. Faith is earned, not given blindly. And faith in something unproven is just plain dumb compared to faith in something proven such as starting my car.
Yeah, I have faith -- faith in something real and proven.
10/30/2009 View Comments
Mr. Deity and Jesus try to figure out their relationship.
I thought some ExChristian.net readers might enjoy my poem, Round and Round, which appeared in the July/August issue of American Atheist magazine.
Round & Round
There are many kinds of dances
In the land of Limerick Zoo
And the town of Verse-Take-A-Pick,
Where the poems and the jokes
Doe-see-doe with the folks;
It’s the same old/new ballyhoo.
For the jokes and the wordplays are so much alike
In the ways they elicit emotion,
By twisting, accenting, with insightful might,
Elicit prejudice, delight, and devotion.
Suppose that the prose, so often repeated, inflected,
Must give credence to faith without reason,
The most ridiculous things are accepted,
Are jokes taken serious by folk,
The beyond rhyme or reason,
To the point where rejection is treason.
And they go round and round in perennial repeating tradition,
Seeking comfort in pain, which they spurn,
By key words and phrases that release inhibition,
Despite contradiction, determined and firm in conviction,
Unwilling to otherwise learn.
Now, as ever, the free mind must warn and observe
How conditions become in the Zoo,
That abstractions become gods to serve.
Can’t you feel and hear the swell
Of the congested carousel,
Popular, run by the always few?
-A footnote: A man comes home early from work to find his wife in bed with another man, whereupon he opens his dresser drawer, takes out a loaded pistol, and points it at his temple. His wife and her lover laugh at him. He shouts at them, “You think this is funny? Well, you’re next!” Similarly, God, in order to avenge the wrongs done him, kills himself! And you’re next.
Dedicated to all those who got off the merry-go-round.
10/27/2009 View Comments
Lawrence Krauss gives a talk on our current picture of the universe, how it will end, and how it could have come from nothing. Krauss is the author of many bestselling books on Physics and Cosmology, including "The Physics of Star Trek."
Books by Lawrence Krauss:
Download Quicktime version (720p HD):
Filmed & Edited by
Among all the books by the "new atheists" Darrel Ray's The God Virus: How religion infects our lives and culture is unique in that it places focus on the methodologies of religion and the common techniques that give it power. It is like there are various different kind of cars but when you look under the hood you see that their engines are so very similar.
Religions are powered by people's need for social interaction, help in crisis, relief from guilt (particularly sexual guilt) , and also major in the brain chemistry altering power of music, repetition and hypnosis. In other words all of those religious services leave people feeling different mildly euphoric and it is all associated with "god" and "god's group".
Ray, does a great job of clearly communicating why religion has so much power over people's lives regardless of the particular theological content that any one religion may have while it grabs and holds them through extremely powerful psychological techniques. Combine this with meeting the needs for social interaction, guilt reduction, and help in a personal crisis and boom you have a business that is meeting the market needs of the consumer. But the consumer, as all consumers, must pay a price.
If you are interested you can watch some of his short videos with sections of the book below. I found them worthy and an interesting peak under the hood of the engine that drives and powers religion in the lives of people around the world.
10/26/2009 View Comments
The BBC’s Natural History Unit focuses on the planet’s most advanced animal, beginning with a look at how man communicated before the evolution of language. Some gestures and expressions are so ingrained that we have not been able to erase them from our vocabulary.
Image via WikipediaIf there were any doubts about writer and general provocateur Christopher Hitchens ability to pull a crowd, they were entirely dispelled by the sold-out opening night of the first ever Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Presented by the Sydney Opera House and the St James Ethics Centre, the Festival brought together some of the more controversial thinkers from Australia and around the world. Hitchens's keynote address, followed by a discussion with our own Tony Jones, was an expansion on his bestselling, "God is Not Great: Religion Poisons Everything". Hitchens was at his polemical best, delivering a beautifully constructed speech supporting his argument that religion is not only completely implausible, but often actively destructive.
Christopher Hitchens's other books include "Letters to a Young Contrarian", "Why Orwell Matters" and "The Missionary Position: Mother Theresa in Theory and Practice." He also writes a regular column in "Vanity Fair".
SHORT SNIPPET (four minutes):
FULL PRESENTATION (One hour 43 minutes):
10/25/2009 View Comments
Let’s start with a joke that really isn’t. A little boy asks, “What’s the difference between an accident and an explosion?” His answer, “In an accident, there you are, but in an explosion, where are you?” This was used in my letter to the editor in reference to the Islamic terrorists of 9/11, who expected to have intercourse with virgins in paradise after their bodies had been blown to pieces. It was published just before Easter!
As an atheist, ergo realist, I must look reality directly in the eyes, without the luxury believers have of ignoring it, looking the other way, making alternative fantasy worlds and fanciful explanations to make it more comfortable. It is with deep concern that I read of those on this site who still struggle from a terror of death. I will offer you no B.S. about spirits, eternal life (which is an oxymoron), of gaining some eternal bliss via affirmations, words magical, handed over by others like so much free candy, coupled with that persistent brainwashing that there is such a thing as an immortal soul, as in “your immortal soul is in danger,” for I am not here to enchain, but to free you.
Their's are the techniques which have worked, still do, for those who want you to give up your mortal life for their uses, whether popes for crusades, imams in need of suicide bombers, or Mohammad for conquests. They’re on to a rich resource of people who fear death and can be convinced that life doesn’t really end when life ends. They preach heaven, paradise, reincarnation, whatever...
I looked up “immortal” in Roget’s college Thesaurus and found, “imperishable, superhuman.” But, just what is a “soul” anyhow? If you talk to a believer after a family member or friend dies, he will tell you that the deceased is in “a better place now,” that they “will meet them in heaven”. No one seems to be bothered by what he, she, or them consists of. If you ask them to describe what that person would look like in heaven, the usual answer consists of a description of the person as having some classically Greek statue perfection of bodily form, not the withered old lady or absent-minded man you knew, senile, or accident-mangled. And not as the child lying in that coffin, last seen ravaged by disease. Why not? They will talk about the good times, the anecdotes, habits, peculiarities of that person. What they will avoid mentioning is when they first noticed that that individual was beginning not to be the person they knew and gradually become less and less so, when that person died before dying.
My wife and I visit a man in a nursing home once a week. We used to visit him at home. Over the past six years, he has become not the teller of many specific experiences, but forgetful and full of holes about them. He thinks the picture of his daughter on his table is of a woman he is in love with, and can’t even remember that the same daughter took him to his hometown thousands of miles away just last week. Two years ago, my wife’s nephew died. We were getting constant reports about his last hours in the hospital and crying at each new one, such as, “He’s coughing up blood! Oh my god, there’s blood all over the room!” Then, finally, “That person is not Tony anymore.”
Examples abound in my life of those “immortal” souls. There is Arthur, 90, who no longer recognizes us but smiles anyhow. And June, his wife, who had a stroke and her whole personality changed. There is the young man who had an auto accident and no longer has any loving feelings for his wife and small child. And the local young poet who writes of the special pies her mother made for the family, the love and caring, and then concludes that the woman she buried was not her mother. I remember asking my wife what a soul is, and had to tell her, “Without my body, there is no ME.”
An unalterable soul is a fiction, and it’s just the way things are in all of nature. There’s nothing eternal about it.You see, all this talk of meeting them in the “afterlife” implies that a soul is a personality which is unaffected by the body, another oxymoron. It is not some ectoplasmic entity, either. Factors that alter the personality are all over the place: environmental conditions, brain damage, electrical stimulation of brain regions, alcohol, drugs, oxygen deprivation, starvation, etc. An unalterable soul is a fiction, and it’s just the way things are in all of nature. There’s nothing eternal about it.
Notice how this eternal soul thing works? Somebody promises it, but can’t deliver, and meanwhile another throws away his life for it. Jesus begins by saying that (like many before and since him), if you merely believe in him, you’ll be guaranteed eternal life - which means unbelievers won’t. But then he realizes that if the unbelievers die, don’t have immortal souls, he can’t send them to hell forever, so he changes his tune. Nice manipulation. (And at one time you bought that?)
I think death is like that explosion. Where are “You”? Here one instant, gone the next, unawares, not an experience but the absence of one, because there’s no afterwards to have a recall in. You and I won’t be back, but neither will Jesus, Mohammad, David Koresh, etc. They lived their lives the way they wanted to, didn’t know any better. Let us love the only life we have, and enjoy it with all the senses that make us who we are. Mortal is just fine, no matter what. Instead of dwelling on demise, think of ways to make life better for others; there are millions in need of help to live simply and healthily.
When I reached the age of 70, I was faced with a question that I never had before; what to do with the next 30 years of my life. Well, for one thing, writing these things, plus there is so much to do to make others’ lives better. So many are starving and dying and in need of help. And there is injustice and ignorance to be confronted and conquered. It’s gonna be a full life.
Check out the very inspired and innovative 'Visualization Of Bible Contradictions' posted at Reason Project.org (Graphic design: Andy Marlow, Inspiration: Chris Harrison).
Very creative and powerful. I think that if we only get one thing to say to Christians to try to show them that Christianity isn’t true, this could be it. I'd like a stack of pocket-sized, fold-up versions for such opportunities (even though I really don't do 'reverse evangelism').
Print your own poster:
22” x 33” or 33” x 44”
RGB, 3mm bleedprinting: recommended to print digitally on matte photographic paperThe graphic designer has given permission to anyone to download and distribute the illustration.
Contradictions in the Bible poster
Visualization of the contradictions in the Bible taken from The Scripture Project by Steve Wells (see the Projects section of http://www.reasonproject.org).
The bars that run along the bottom of the visualization represent the 1189 chapters in The Bible, with the length of each bar corresponding to the number of verses in each chapter. White bars represent the Old Testament and grey bars represent The New Testament. Each arc indicates a contradiction.
Graphic design: Andy Marlow
Inspiration: Chris Harrison
10/24/2009 View Comments
Just in time for Halloween, a video to scare little Christian children into witnessing for Jesus.
My sister sent this video to me. Evidently, her 13-year-old daughter had received it from a friend, and my sister thought it was wonderful, and something that everyone should see and take to heart. She felt "blessed" to be able to pass it on!
As a thinking adult, I think it is laughable. But, I can see this scaring kids to death. This is exactly what many people on this site have said that they feared when they were kids--that a friend or parent or someone they loved would go to hell and they would never see them again after death.
How despicable is it that people would send this to kids? And how awful is it that they want those kids to scare other kids into joining them in ignorance and fear.
I really do have to un-friend my sister from Facebook. I've just about had it with her BS (bible shite).
Here's the video:
Image by marcn via FlickrWhere do we draw the line between tolerating or attacking someone else's weird ideas?
I ask this because, over the last year or so, I've become bored with the usual whack-a-troll slugfests here at ExChristian.Net. My weapon of choice, the Clue-By-Four™ (a rune-inscribed virtual cudgel, lovingly crafted from the very finest invisible oak), is staying under the desk most of the time as I struggle to actually communicate with evangelically-minded visitors.
I don't have an enormous problem with Universalist Christians, the believers who think that everyone is already saved and that no one is going to Hell. I find their beliefs silly, but mostly harmless.
In a similar vein, I respect the many fine folks whose beliefs inspire them to work in the community, feeding and clothing the destitute among us.
But oh! those pesky trolls.
I simply can't respect someone who comes here to tell us we're evil... So evil, in fact, that their loving god is obligated to torture us for eternity.
Even though their all-powerful buddy "can't be in the presence of sin." (What's up with that, anyway?)
And I can't respect someone who tells us to say the Sinner's Prayer in order to save ourselves from the wrath of their maniacal invisible friend.
I find it ironic that the same people who say "We can't understand God's will" also present themselves as official True Christian™ spokespeople for this poor, misunderstood omnipotent being.
And I never did grok that "innocent god-man died to erase your crimes" business. From where I sit, that doesn't look particularly moral, or desirable, or even possible.
But the Rapture nuts are the very worst of the worst. These are people who are actually looking forward to the end of the world. They are the poster children for mass insanity. Their delusion has the potential to endanger our very lives.
There are some things that can be tolerated... And some things that are toxic and should absolutely not be tolerated.
I think I'll hang onto that Clue-By-Four™ a little bit longer.
10/22/2009 View Comments
At a Republican Presidential debate in Iowa in 1999, G.W. Bush was asked to name his favorite philosopher. His answer was, “Jesus.” When asked to explain his choice, he said, “Well, if they don’t know, it’s going to be hard to explain.” That part he got right; it would indeed be very hard to explain how Jesus qualifies as a great philosopher.
We might forgive Bush because of his legendary incuriosity, but anyone who has actually read the Bible and thought even a little about it should realize that Jesus dispensed a ton of bad advice. To call him a “great philosopher” is simply absurd. What I find most troubling about this is that many believers in non-Christian religions as well as some atheists and agnostics claim to admire the “wisdom” of Jesus. I would argue that what was truly useful in Jesus’ teachings was obvious, and the rest was either nonsense or downright dangerous.
First, let me say that I am fully aware that the case for the existence of an actual Jesus is quite weak, but that is an issue for another time. For now, please think of my words as an “if-then” proposition; if Jesus existed, then…”
And, of course, if the apologists weigh in, then we know what to expect. Clever apologists can twist logic into weird, exotic shapes to make some of the statements of Jesus appear to make sense. But, shouldn’t the “philosopher of the common man” be more accessible? Didn’t Jesus imply that his words didn’t need interpreting? As the philosopher Wittgenstein said, “Everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly. Everything that can be said can be said clearly.” And, I would add, especially if you have the powers of a god.
So, with those thoughts in mind, let’s take a look at some of the “wisdom” of Jesus.
“But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.” So, the people of Europe should not have resisted Hitler’s drive for expansion? The Jews didn’t much resist being rounded up for the holocaust and look what happened to them. And let’s be perfectly clear on an important point, this passage is not suggesting passive resistance, à la Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King; it says “do not resist,” not “do not resist actively.”
“Turn the other cheek.” Did he think this would impress a bully? Did Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policy impress Hitler?
Jesus said that if you are fined, then you should pay double. Huh? Exactly who does this benefit? It would just make one poorer.
To think of Jesus Christ as a wise and great philosopher is to ignore an abundance of evidence. Jesus advised that one should sell everything and give the money to the poor. I’m certainly glad that Jesus was not my retirement advisor! This might be a good place to mention that virtually all of Jesus’ teachings spring from his conviction that the world was about to end. It didn’t. This is one major reason why so much of what he allegedly said sounds like nonsense to us today. Jesus was apparently the leader of just another doomsday cult.
Jesus said, “Don’t worry about the poor; they’ll always be with you.” And I would add, especially if no one worries about them. Is this a kind of self-fulfilling prophesy?
“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.” This is where the profane is mistaken for the profound. Isn’t this the kind of advice you hope no one takes? If people really believed this nonsense, wouldn’t there be a whole lot more one-eyed, one-armed people in this world? And, if you’re too squeamish to do the job yourself, try telling the surgeon you want your hand removed. What do you think he will do? And, anyway, it’s the brain that controls the eyes and hands. This passage shows that Jesus knew very little about human anatomy.
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Thinking is not doing. This is just silly. We have all thought about lying and stealing many, many times; does this make us liars and thieves? And how many will think, “Well if I’m going to get blamed anyway…” It is not possible to prevent every stray thought from emerging into your consciousness. Obviously, it’s what you do with it that counts. People who take this command seriously will be fortunate to avoid insanity as their “good” thoughts and “bad” thoughts chase each other around in their heads. Isn’t telling a man to not look at a woman lustfully a bit like telling him to not think of a white elephant?
“But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.” How many millions of people do you suppose led miserable lives for decades because they married the wrong person, or their spouse became abusive, non-supportive, etc., and they believed it was sinful to divorce? Our secular laws ignore this piece of “wisdom” for very good reason.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink….Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” Isn’t this the same as saying, “don’t worry about holding down a job, or what you will eat or drink?” And the farmer who doesn’t “store away in barns” is going to be hungry by the end of November at the latest. Hell, even squirrels know this is dumb advice!
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” He thinks we shouldn’t worry about getting an education, or saving some of our income, or otherwise planning for the future?
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find.” Are not the Christian children who are dying of malnutrition and easily treatable diseases in Africa asking and seeking? Aren’t they and their parents praying their asses off? So why are they dying instead of getting and finding? This advice is simply not helping them, it is wasting their time.
And then we have Matthew 19:12, where the “Prince of Peace” recommends self-castration. “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it” (and the theologian Origen, circa 200CE, reportedly did so). This kind of sick/dangerous nonsense doesn’t even deserve a comment.
To cap my argument that Jesus was not a great philosopher, allow me to point out that he sometimes didn’t even take his own advice. He said, “But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Then he proceeds to call people fools. “Ye fools and blind.” (Matthew 23:17) “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1).
Why don’t people see these passages for the foolishness they are? Part of the reason is the way they are taught. Many of these passages come from the Sermon on the Mount which, at least in the KJV, is pretty good poetry. It is generally read in a chant-like approach which narcotizes the mind to where one confuses the beauty and cadence of the words with meaning. This borders on hypnotic suggestion. ‘Give everything to the poor’ sounds like such sweetness and light until we consider the very real consequences.
It seems that Jesus’ great addition to the world of “knowledge” was the concept of hell. But this is clearly an unprovable hypothesis and it was pretty stupid to unleash an idea on the world that would inevitably damage the mental health of millions.
To think of Jesus Christ as a wise and great philosopher is to ignore an abundance of evidence. In the end, if Jesus was such a smart guy, why do we mostly ignore his advice? Why does no one castrate himself or cut off his hands, give everything to the poor, and never plan for the future?
10/20/2009 View Comments
Amazon.com has screwed this up very badly. Please check out the video and then go to http://amazon.com and click on help and click on contact and send them an email. Mirror this or make your own video to get this information around.
Link to download this video:
Go here to contact Amazon.com via email:
Blog entry with letter to Amazon on it:
Letter to Amazon:
I wish to bring an urgent matter to your attention. The "Origin of Species" with a foreword by Ray Comfort (ISBN-13: 978-0882709192) is sharing ratings with the more popular and legitimate version. Please correct this as soon as possible and save the internet from Ray Comfort's creationist propaganda.
Thank you for your attention.
- (your username or name here)
A little history on this:
10/19/2009 View Comments
"It's a most of extraordinary piece of warped logic to say because science can't answer a particular question you're going throw in your lot with Jesus," Dawkins said at one point.
O'Reilly then suggested that Dawkin's argument for how science should be taught in school was equivalent to fascism.
Click here to purchase Dawkin's latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.
Why, oh why, do the majority of Christians think that when a person leaves Christianity / belief in God, surely they must be in league with the Devil!?
The Devil did it. The Devil seduced them. Why don't they resist the Devil? They have willingly turned toward THE DARK SIDE.
This inane thinking reared its ugly head toward me about a month ago, while camping in beautiful " Great Lakes Country " in Northern Michigan.
My believer husband has a childhood friend ( who I'll call Joe ) who lives aboard a large boat half of the year, at a marina in one of the cute-sy pie towns. Joe is a life-long bachelor, and a retired school teacher (Catholic schools). His brother is a priest, and two nieces are nuns--he is very religious.
We see Joe every year, and spend quite a lot of time with him, as we camp about 20 miles away.
One of my favorite places to go to, is a tiny town with a 100 yr. old plus General Store. Well known atheist, Ernest Hemingway, spent many days of his early youth there because his relatives had a summer cottage near the town. Ernest liked to fish in the creek there, and every time I crossed over it on the two lane black-top, I thought of his quote "All thinking men are atheists."
A year ago, in the Fall of `08' while we were visiting Joe, I told him that I was a non-believer, and why I was a non-believer. He had sat there with a frozen smile on his face, and as I can recall, the topic of conversation was quickly changed!
This year, on our last night camping, we decided that the three of us would drive to another town, on a bay, to have dinner together. We ate at a restaurant that had a sign that said: "Ernest Hemingway never ate here, but the food is good." Joe knows that Hemingway was an atheist, and he knows about the areas' connection with him.
While dining that night, he told us about how the local gossip said that there were "strange people," maybe even Devil Worshipers in and around the town with the old General Store that Hemingway had frequented. His eyes bore down on me as he told this to us--was he trying to convey a message to me?
Meanwhile my husband was oblivious to what was being intimated, he was sitting next to Joe and couldn't see his incriminating eyes.
IF there is a group in that area getting together, my hunch is that it could be non-believers, hoping to find camaraderie in fundie land. But Hey! Let the torches be lit! After all, it's almost Halloween!
I didn't start an argument with Joe that night, out of consideration for my husband who has major health issues with his heart... that's all he would need, right, to watch his wife and friend duke it out.
My question to you is : Why is it always a given with fundies, that in their black & white world, non-belief equates to kissing the Devil? For the life of me, I can't figure it out.
10/17/2009 View Comments
You are about to enter the court...
Every section of the courtroom is filled beyond capacity with murderers, kidnappers, rapists, and thieves, both petty and those accused of grand larceny. Also, there are child molesters, wife abusers, sadistic torturers, and all of their children.
The greatest judge, the wisest of all time, is about to speak. His gavel strikes and the room falls into silence.
At last, the judge speaks. “Everyone here is guilty, you and I know, and punishment should fall not only upon you, but your children and their children’s children. But I, in my superior wisdom and mercy, must deliver the best sentencing.”
Turning to the guards next to him, he says, “Take my son, spare him no mercy in torturing him, and see that he suffers the most agonizing death you can devise. Then bring me the news of his burial, so that those before me can go free.”
Facing those before him, he announces, “If I ever see any of these faces before me again in court, accused of a crime, only tell me that you believe that I had my son executed for you, and I will let you go free. But, for those who don’t or won’t believe, they shall suffer the most severe penalty I can possibly impose. Court dismissed."
10/16/2009 View Comments
I have no consideration
Zero mutual respect
For billions who suffer from rational thought neglect
I don’t wanna waste a sentence
I don’t want a conversation
That’s gonna end in disdain, disbelief, and aggravation
And I find it’s getting harder to hang out
With grown adults who actually believe
In Santa Clause and Noah’s Ark, and Their god is the best
My distaste has turned into detest
Who would read a 2000-year-old medical journal?
Techniques for blood-letting
Advice on trichinosis
Would you navigate the globe
With a map of a flat Earth?
Without DNA testing would you believe virgin birth?
And I find it’s getting painful to put up
With grown adults who actually believe
In unicorns and creation and god always takes their side
That’s when my innocent jabbing turns snide
Thank god for the Grammy
Thank god for the touchdown
Thank god for blowing up the enemy’s sacred ground
So how am I supposed to take anything you say seriously
When you swap free will for faith, hope and pre-destiny?
And it’s getting agonizing to hang out
With grown adults who actually believe
Mythology and history trump physics and science
My aversion has turned to aberrance
10/14/2009 View Comments
Repentant Mary Magdalene, First half of the 16th century. Giampetrino (Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli)All my life it seems I have thought differently than most people, but then again, I am weird in other ways too. I am physically different too. No, not like dwarfism different. I maybe short, but I am not a dwarf. I am talking mirror image to other people, such as left-dominant and, oddly enough, my heart, like some other organs of my body, tilts the opposite direction of most people's. That is the difference I am referring too, but most people would not know this, until I told them.
My thoughts about religion appear no different and with all this talk of late concerning "God's Love," I am left scratching my head, because I do not see love in the stories of which Christians love so dearly. If that is love, it is a wicked and demented sort of love, as well as the complete opposite of what I consider love. In fact, I would not call it love at all and do not tell me I do not understand. I understand very well and IF it were real, someone would end up in jail for such acts that are considered “love” by many Christians.
Where do we begin in this so-called "Lovefest?" I know, let us start at the very beginning, where we have some deity, many years older than this young maiden. A typical motif of many miraculous birth stories before it, and this young maiden is said to be around thirteen or fourteen years of age and is also a virgin. This deity apparently has sex with her because she conceived a child. Of course, back then this was not so unusual for a man ten to twenty years older to take a teenage girl as his wife, which was better than what Muhammad did. Muhammad lusted after a female toddler, married her at six years, and molested her at age nine, with God's permission of course. To me that is a horrid deity that allows such things to happen or even do himself.
It never was a deity who did such violent crimes against humanity, but rather human beings -- sick human beings who try hard to call such abuses love, even attribute such acts to a deity, including the abuses in their story books. However, most Christians, except for when it comes to their religion, are at least two centuries beyond such things and today that is called child abuse. Specifically, child molestation, even statutory rape, whether it is consenting or not. Worse yet, IF God is the father of all creatures great and small and we are the “children of God”, then it would be considered incest.
Oh, but you say we cannot think of this in modern terms? Of course we cannot because it is all rewritten myth set to a specific culture. Mother Mary is no different than Isis, Maya, or any other similar motif. She is Virgo, who gave birth to the Sun during Solstice. I have gone too far, you say? Really? I do not think I have gone far enough, but Man is a horrid creature for attempting to make such stories real and outside the animistic celestial plain. Regardless, if the story were real, it still makes such a deity horrid, because love it is not, whether said deity is Zeus or not. Not to mention, what would Zeus's wife say? Oh yes, there is at least one miraculous birth motif among the Greeks too. Such a myth is not specific to Christianity nor is it a case of "Myth Became Real" as C. S. Lewis would have us to believe. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury has called the Virgin Birth story “a legend”, which is a type of myth, but none of it was ever true. It is only a myth, which so many Christians believe was real.
IF that were not enough, this God, also known as God the Father and God the Son, committed homicide and suicide, if one takes it as most people state. However, it was the humans who did it. The humans, even in the Crucifixion story, killed a man they called Jesus of Nazareth. However, I will humour the Christians and allow them to place the blame on something outside of the humans and we will humour them further by call this thing "God" once again.
So there were these primitive barbaric people who for some reason wanted to impale people. What's that? You said I would humour you? Oh yes, I did, didn't I? There had to be a human sacrifice and this man named Jesus, who thought he was the Sun... er... Son of God volunteered. I don't know. Maybe he had schizophrenia. Now days we would say such talk is a symptom of schizophrenia.
So this mentally ill man agrees stauroo, which is the Greek verb for "To be crucified." Stauros means "an upright pale or stake," in which case these primitive people... er... God that is, was no better than Vladimir. The Tau or T symbolized the god Tammuz and was something that pagans converting to Christianity were allowed to keep (Strong's Concordance & Vine's Dictionary). It was adopted to stand for the "cross of Christ," but the method of execution was adopted by the Greeks and the Romans from the Phoenicians (Ibid). Thus Vladimir did nothing new nor was Jesus the first god-man to be impaled either.
So let us say that God the father did kill his only son. That is a horrid thought to most sane people and hardly an act of love. In fact, that is child abuse and to impale or crucify/Sustauroo anyone, is not only barbaric, but murder. Of course the intent of the humans was to kill Jesus, whether he actually committed a crime or not. According to Pilate, Jesus was innocent of any crimes and Herod mocked him as though he thought Jesus was some silly magician, claiming to be some divine entity, another incarnation of Vishnu.
Yes, I do need to focus that God, not humans, killed His son to show His love. Well, if that is parental love, I do not want it and I would not force such a love on my own children. However, IF God was sacrificing Himself, he certainly did not show much love for Himself and such an act would be suicide, pointing to depression or something. Thus He did not love Himself nor His son for it was a murder-suicide all rolled up into one. What is that you say? It was to redeem the human race? Again, we are not a fallen creation needing to be saved by some demented and sick deity. Said deity is mentally ill and his so-called love is nothing but paedophilia, abuse, murder, and suicide. Of course, such behaviour is not exclusive to the New Testament. This deity was cruel and abusive long before Jesus came along. If you love the Jesus story and truly believe such barbarism was the greatest sacrifice and the greatest act of love, I have a few more for you.
There is Jephthah in Judges, who murders his daughter as a “burnt offering” (Judges 11:34-40). Yes, this was suppose to fulfill his vow to God if he was victorious in the war/battle. His daughter was a burnt offering to God because of that vow and she was not as lucky as Isaac/Ishmael (Genesis 22/Surah 37:102), depending if you are reading the Bible or the Quran. Seems God really does not think much of females, especially if the boy got a break from being murdered by his father. These acts are not only abusive, but in the case of the girl, it was also misogyny and the Quran is worse than the Bible in this matter, as such acts of degrading women are attributed to a deity. It is definitely not love though, not matter who the deity is.
On the other hand, God does not love animals either, for both in the Quran and the Bible, animals are slaughtered often and the Isaac/Ishmael story was no exception. Like clothing, it is no matter if the animal is destroyed, we can always get another. Yes, until the breed of animal becomes extinct. Luckily, goat and sheep have not become extinct, but other animals have and it is a form of animal cruelty and abuse. It is not love for anyone and in this day and age, the ASPCA would be on God's butt for such treatment of animals.
Of course, let us not forget that God had forty-two children killed because they made fun of Elisha (2 Kings 2:23-24). Actually, Elisha cursed the children “in the name of the Lord” for calling him "baldhead" and two female bears just happened to come out of nowhere and killed all the children. This act was attributed to God, of course. Again, how is this the act of a loving god? I guess, only if his name is Jealous (Exodus 34:14) and here I thought love was not jealous. Even 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 does not even clarify this as not being part of love. However, it does say love is not irritable or resentful. This deity does not portray that idea that. It does portray a resentful and irritable deity, willing to kill even children, who are prone to name-calling. Thus, in anger, He sends bears out to kill little children. What a loving vengeful god, whose name is Jealous. If that is love, I am a monkey's aunt. Oh wait! I am a monkey's aunt. Scratch that last. If it is love, then 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 has it all wrong and love is actually abuse, jealousy, misogyny, rape, incest, hatred, resentful, cruelty, murder, suicide... Did I miss any? I would prefer a deity who actually shows the qualities expressed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, but neither the deity in the Bible or the Quran show such characteristics.
And what of Job, who lived in the land of Oz (Uz to be exact, but I'm retelling it)? God made a deal with Satan. Job was supposedly righteous and in God's opinion, would never turn his back on Him. God took the bet and allowed Satan to do whatever to Job, just to prove Job would always be faithful to Him. So Satan, not God, as evidence in Job 1:12, took everything from Job, including his children, BUT he was not to lay a hand on Job himself. Attributing all his loses to God, Job took it all lying down. He lost everything including ALL his children, without a fight. Oh but this so-called loving god gives Job replacement children. You cannot replace people! So once again, God allowed children to be killed, slaughtered like cattle. Oh and let us not forget, women and children are chattel at this time. Again, that definition really was not a god's doing, but rather a human act. So by that definition, Job just got new cattle. Nice treatment of human beings, not. It is not love either. Oh, yes, God had his reasons for treating Job in such a manner and I heard all the lame excuses in defense of God in this story, but you can find a much similar story in Babylonian, Assyrian, and Egyptian mythology. In fact, where Job mourns his birth (Job 3), the same motif can be found in the Egyptian story of “A Suffer and a Soul” composed during the Middle Kingdom between 2050-1800 BCE (Old Testament Parallels, Victor H. Matthews, p 208-209). Again, the author of Job wrote nothing new. The story of Job is a series of Midrash, nothing more, but the whole story is nothing more than one of a vile god.
I could continue with examples of demented love in the Bible and even the Quran too, but the point is, such acts attributed to anyone, even a deity is not love. It is not even taking responsibility for the things that humans do to each other nor is it admitting to story-telling. How can love and hate become one and the same, when it truly is not? Not even other animals treat their young in such a manner, unless they are sick themselves. Any decent tribe of apes would throw out a sick and violent ape, leaving him/her to survive on his/her own and they have too. Just ask Jane Goodall.
What this so-called love really is, is self-hatred, barbarism, misogyny, glorification of murder and suicide, child abuse, rape (oh incest too, remember Lot and his daughters), sexual molestation, and everything else that is not love. How anyone twists any of that crap into love is beyond me. The crucifixion is NOT the ultimate sacrifice. In reality it is the ultimate in barbarism by humans, twisted and projected onto this very human concept of a deity and called "love," the ultimate sacrifice. To me, this is sick and demented thinking, because such a thing is not love at all.
However, I can consider what Joseph Campbell stated about the Gnostic tradition in reference to the crucifixion, "We are ALL Christ crucified." Indeed, such symbolism is very picturesque of the human condition. Every day we humans are doing something that causes harm to each other, even other animals, but I would not call it love. It is far from love. Rather it is a symbol of what humans do to each other every day with all their cruelty and hatred. Christians and Muslims just personify it into something external to themselves with their beliefs and behaviours. They are slaves to their mythology and cannot break free of it long enough to see how they hurt people. It never was a deity who did such violent crimes against humanity, but rather human beings -- sick human beings who try hard to call such abuses love, even attribute such acts to a deity, including the abuses in their story books.
In my opinion, there is no greater disgrace to humanity than twisting such cruelty into love, which it is not. A vampire would show more love than that, especially towards the woman he loved. Talk about eternal life and awesome sex! However, we are getting into lust, not love, with that analogy, and I really do not wish to rant about the cannibalism of communion at this time. So, I will keep it to the idea of a so-called loving god.
This so-called Christian love is not love at all. It is a twisted and demented definition of love, but it is not love. Yet they attributed this very human definition onto a their deity, as they call that god "a god of love." Such vulgar violence is the exact opposite of love and such a story as the Crucifixion would have been far better if kept in the heavens, remembering that Jesus, Samson, Horus, Mithra, and other such deities are actually symbols for the sun, especially when you attend your Easter Sunrise Services. Yes, Samson was a sun symbol, not a real life Hercules or what have you. All of which developed out of animism and pagan fertility rituals. If such a story as the Crucifixion was kept in that realm, it would be a far better story than killing another human being and calling it “love” and/or the ultimate sacrifice.
The Winter Solstice is coming and the story of the sun sitting on the Southern Cross, not moving for three days, and then rising again is far better. In the end the sun brings longer days and eventually new life to the earth long about the time of Easter, the Spring equinox, which I like and appreciate more than humans killing another person. Keep in mind, Easter is set by the moon or rather as the “Book of Common Prayer” states in "The Rules of Finding the Date of Easter Day":
"Easter Day is always the Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox on March 21. This full moon may happen on any date between March 21 and April 18 inclusive. If the full moon falls on a Sunday, Easter Day is the Sunday following. But Easter Day cannot be earlier than March 22 or later than April 25."
So get a clue, Christians! Your Jesus is nothing but a new symbol for the Sun and you worship the "Sun of God," every time you celebrate Easter Sunrise Service. Both Christmas and Easter are remnants of pagan rituals, not about some human being called the Son of Man or Son of God, who sacrificed himself to humans as “an act of love”. This same Sun God goes through this same cycle every day and conquers “death” as it goes into the underworld at night and rises again in the morning. It comes into the father's house around noon (age 12) and cycles through the 24 hour day in series of sixes. Such a story is far less barbaric because it is kept in the form of animism, but no... Humans had to go and create an anthropomorphic deity, denying any relationship to solar mythology. Each passing religion, from Horus to Jesus, had to make the deity more and more human, and then call such acts “love”. You should have left it as the Sun, because it makes for a better and more beautiful story, but I guess some people prefer lunacy (1b in Webster's Dictionary), which is related to lunar, and we all know there is a full moon around the spring equinox.
Get real and keep it real, people! Now I am off to join George Carlin's sun worshiping religion. Thanks for reading and let the crucifixion begin. I am sure you, Christians, will find a way to do that, especially if you read this far. I can hear the word "blasphemy," even heretic, now, but it is nothing new to me. Happens every time I hammer nails into your mythology, because "you all can't handle the truth" about your religion.
10/12/2009 View Comments
This was an open letter that I wrote to myself for relief after a rather tiresome day I had...Given the subject, it is full of anger but I will say that I felt a great sense of relief after writing it. I apologize if there is anything out of place or even confusing in here but as I stated, I was very angry.
Gilbert & George, BLACK CHURCH FACE 1980, Private collection, courtesy Sonnabend Gallery, New YorkI know that this has already been said by probably hundreds of black atheists on the interwebz, but I think that it’s my time to state the obvious, for old times sake:
There is no Christian like a Black Christian.
Truly there is not, and it’s a sight to be seen. Of course I will bring up the fact that the Church was one of the major points in the Civil Rights movements. It has already been stated that the black church was a place for gathering and meetings when no where else would accept us. This was our place to discuss the world, our place to dream... but in that sense, what has happened and what has lead me to hate Christianity with a passion that rivals that of our golden sun?
Its all has to do with the fact that we can’t seem to get the fuck out of church and into our own lives.
I couldn’t tell you when I started disbelieving in God but I can tell you when I discovered just how fucked up the dependency of God and the church has gotten within the black community. This dependency is like an addiction to crack; some people just can’t live without Jesus somewhere in their lives whether that means carrying a bible with them at all times or decorating their houses to resemble that of mini pulpits. For those that are not familiar with this, it can be a bit strange and seem even obsessive but there will always be a denial that this relationship with God is a good thing, even if it means sacrificing the one and only life they have simply thinking that by wasting hours on end in a church means there will be a spot reserved for them in heaven.
This is where it all beings; the pie in the sky mentality that has stunted so many people and have stopped them from doing something of total worth here on Earth. They like to argue that if life is bad down here, then there is nothing we can do but wait until the inevitable for a more glorified afterlife. In short, this message tells black to just give up and wallow until you’re sent to rot in a pine box. THIS is one of the big aspects of Christianity that I wish people, especially those in the black community, would wake the fuck up to. How in the fuck is this healthy? How in the fuck can you believe in something like this and how the fuck can you believe in a God that isn’t doing a fuckin’ thing to stop the negative notions in our lives, especially if you can apparently talk to him as well as pray to him every waking second of your life?
This is why I hate Christianity. It is a poison for the mind and to me it has the black community in its grips. We are seriously the only people that will take a hold of someone else’s flawed religion and then trick our ancestors into believing it. We have tricked ourselves into a cop-out by thinking that we can not do anything for ourselves and we are truly going to have a better life somewhere in the clouds. We may be free from the chains but until we truly start thinking for ourselves, we are not truly free. If we can not manage to live a single day without worrying that God has something to say, we are not free. If we have to spend more time in a Church than actually living the freedom so many have fought for, then we are not free. If we continue to teach our CHILDREN that we are so low and so insignificant without the help of God despite others being able to accomplish WONDERFUL things without the help of God, then we are not free. No. We are still slaves to a religion that continues to hold us down and bring out the worst of some of its flawed concepts.
Too many people think that love, faith and even strength started with the Bible, but you don’t need God to be faithful, you don’t need God to be loving or kind, and most of all you don’t need God to be strong. In that past three years, I have seen the effects of manic religion within my own family. I have always been considered the odd one out but that’s only because my likes were not that of a ‘traditional nice black girl’; I was really into arts and animation, I liked more obscure and punkish things but most of all, I was having doubts about Christianity, considering that I had many friends that were either not Christians or full blown Atheist who seemed to be just fine without having to pray to god. All of this had been harbored within me for years but it wasn’t until 2007 when all my doubt and anger were finally justified. In just two days, I learned how much shit Christianity was but I also learned just how enveloped the black community was within it. It was like a never ending pit of delusion and despair with the simple God band-aid slapped upon it. I was surrounded by people who had not the common sense of doing things and using their own strength to fix their own problems. I was surrounded by people who truly believed that God was constantly putting up road blocks in their lives and despite this, they still loved him. I was surrounded by people who willing put on blinder for the simple enjoyment that someone was saving them a seat in heaven. This was maddening and personally, I almost cried in Church because I could not believe people could not only be this obsessed with something that had done nothing for them but also force other into the mess with threats of rejection if they spoke otherwise.
It was an awakening for me yet I am still trapped in it. We have instilled the Christian trap into our minds so deeply that we have convinced ourselves that if one is not like us, they are against us, hence why so many black atheist are ‘in the closest’ per say. I find it rather heartbreaking that a white person, an Asian person, hell ANYONE that is not black could give a flying fuck if I believed in God and wouldn’t even ask me within meeting me if I believed in God. Of course, when in contact with a black person, the notion that I don’t believe in God will bring up a type of anger unseen by anything else. Is this necessary? No, it’s not. Is asking me if Jesus ‘is my lord and savoir’ necessary? No, of course not and I find it rather rude if a person would ask me this front out for no reason. That’s like me asking if a person wipes their ass after they take a dump; no one needs to know that and it’s none of their damn business to ask something so personal, even if they are attempting to be friendly. But no, we have hypnotized ourselves into thinking that Christianity is a gene in which all black people posses. We have tricked ourselves into thinking that any black person who is not a Christian is either in possession of the devil or in denial with themselves. Either one means sour looks or crass comments out loud, as if they expect their buddy Jesus to appear before them and give them a pat on the ass.
Why have we let this happen and why have we continued to let this envelope our minds? Instead of telling our children to pursue to their fullest, we are telling them that they couldn’t do shit if Jesus weren’t holding them like a string marionette and even worse, if bad things continue to happen to them it means that Jesus doesn’t want them to succeed and it’s a sign of love from above. Why would anyone find this uplifting or positive? Why would anyone even consider this to be advice or help? One could do much more ‘help’ by assisting physically than getting on their knees and praying spiritually. Even the word NO is less grating than someone who says ‘I’ll pray for Jesus to help you.’
But even with all my anger over what has happened to me over the past few years, its not that I want to abolish Christianity all together. No, even with my frustrations, I do not because even though I don’t believe in God nor have I felt the powers of Jesus, there are SOME quotes and quips from the Bible that speak the truth, mostly about love, respect, and kindness, something that common sense should tell us to do. However, people have brushed these passages under the rug, favoring those that spread hate and pipe-dreams and keeping a growing mind from reaching its full potential.
I am sorry that my bravery is limited to what I type as even now I fear to let those around me know that I am an atheist, but part of me wishes that I could get the courage to do so all the while telling them just because I don’t believe in god doesn’t mean I don’t have faith. Seriously, too many people think that love, faith and even strength started with the Bible, but you don’t need God to be faithful, you don’t need God to be loving or kind, and most of all you don’t need God to be strong. To see a person accomplish so much without worrying if God is going to get in their way and still be happy is one of the most heart raising things I could see. I have more faith in a person who actually helps someone and has a successful life without God than one who prays to God every day while battering down others. Sorry, but that’s how I feel because for all of those that continue to spout the tired tirade that ‘Jesus is going to rescue us!’ and ‘God will come through in the end!’ you are NOT helping. You are only encouraging a stagnant lifestyle of false hope and empty promises. If there is one thing I wish would happen, it’s that God would get the fuck out of the black community. His ideals have been holding us down for too long.
I know I will get a lot of back talk from this, but at this point, I don’t care. Religion has given me a headache; it has taken my spirit away and most of all it makes me hate the sight of our elders clutching bibles everywhere they go. It seems like a tired stereotype but its not. Of course within this, my atheism has made me want to encourage others who are having problems like this who know it’s wrong to sit and wait for nothing. We are given only one life to live by who the fuck knows (But its not God, that’s for sure) and the fact that we think that its OKAY to waste it by praying for nothing, is more than a sin. It's unacceptable and seems more like a sign of OCD than anything else, as this is a routine that we have engraved into our minds -- one that we fear will causes chaos if we disrupt it.
The only thing I can do as an atheist now is work my way out of here. Yes, it will be hard but in the end, it will be more satisfying to know that by doing this I have made my life better and that this is something that I have done myself, for my own benefit. To a certain group, this may seem selfish but I see it as a way of helping me gain my own independence which is more constructive than telling our children their day will come all the while shackling them within a place that is only stunting their minds but also whittling away what little time of their precious youth they have. I have come to my choice from experience and at this time, I do not care if others snub me down just because I refuse to follow a religion that justified our enslavement. No matter how much we try to inject any aspect of home into it, it’s the same rotten religion and no addition of morals or values are going to make up for that. The only thing I can really hope for is that those that come after me will have realized just how dangerous this has become and will inspire others to think for themselves instead of fearing and allowing some imaginary cloud god to think for them.