Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Two lessons in one

Clara Jean Brown learned two lessons at the same time. She was at home in Daphne, Alabama when a storm struck. Brown was standing in her kitchen and watching the storm arrive. Some of her family were down at the beach so she decided to pray for safety.

According to her she said "Amen" when her kitchen was engulfed in "huge ball of fire". It seems lightening from the storm hit across the street and traveled along a water pipe through her house and into her back yard. It went through her kitchen knocking her to the floor and leaving a big mess. She was still on the floor dazed when her grand daughter found her.

She said: "I always thought if you're in a house that you're safe. That's not the case." She also thought that prayer helped. That's not the case either.

But like true believers everywhere anything that happens proves their faith. "I'm blessed. That's the good news," she told her local paper. Right! She's in her kitchen, hit by a bolt of ligtening that knocks her to the floor and dazes her and rips up her house but she calls that being "blessed". Belief is a strange thing. Actually I was wrong. I said she learned two lessons. Obviously she only learned one. Maybe she's still dazed from being blessed. Just a little more blessing and she'd be dead.

Thanks to our beach volleyball correspondent for noticing this one.

What a coincidence!

If you go here you will read an Australian article from the Sydney Morning Herald. It is about Muslim schools in Australia and the kind of sex education courses they will be teaching in their private schools.

On the other hand, with very little effort, you can also read about the Bush Administration and the type of sex education programs it is pushing on the government schools.

Coincidence? They both have the same policies. No wonder that the President of Iran wrote a candid letter to Bush where he saw him as someone with similar theocratic view points.

Killing infidels for kids

Imagine a game put out by Muslims. In the game the end times have come. Allah has his forces of righteousness and their job is to fight the infidels. All the religious aspects are there of course, holy books, prophets, prayer, etc. But the game also includes Islamic children pretending to have military forces and killing infidels and unbelievers. How do you think the Right-wing religious nut cakes would respond to that?

Apoplectic perhaps? Crazed fury no doubt. They would denounce it. They would say it proves how monstrous Islam really is. The very idea of teaching children that, come the end times, they may have to go out and militarily slaughter the forces "of evil" meaning non-Muslims, would be considered barbaric. Good thing that, to my knowledge, no such game exists. Well, that's not entirely true. No such game for Muslim children exists. But they do have one for the offspring of fundamentalist theocrats. And the kiddies get to run the military troops against the forces of the Antichrist. I guess that's you and me folks.

It's part of the multimillion dollar enterprise of the dispensationalist wing of fundamentalism. These are the followers of a fellow named Darby who invented doctrines like the rapture in 1832. Darby was influential in a tiny sect called the Plymouth Brethren. And while they didn't amount to much Darby's views about the end of the world caught on with every illiterate backwoods evangelist and Baptist fanatics south of the Mason-Dixon Line. It is now considered gospel, quite literally, to the fundamentalist masses yearning for an end times slaughter of sinners.

And the Left Behind games is about that doctrine. Christ returns and raptures out the true believers. But many seeing this "miracle" are converted to Jesus and it is their job to fight the forces of evil. The developers of the game describe it this way: "Wage a war of apocalyptic proportions in Left Behind: Eternal Forces... Join the ultimate fight of Good against Evil. commanding Tribulation Forces or the Global Community Peacekeepers, and uncover the truth about the worldwide disappearances!" "Conduct physical & spiritual warefare... wield modern military weaponry through the game world. Command your forces through intense battles across a breathtaking, authentic depiction of New York City. Control more than 30 unit types...."

Wow, religious based military operations being conducted in New York City with authentic graphics! Do you think they get to fly air planes into buildings? In case you don't get it one of the illustrations on their web site shows the skyline of New York City with smoke rising from throughout the city. Must make the heart of a fundamentalist tingle with joy to think of destroying one of the major cities of America.

Monday, May 29, 2006

An ex-exgay speaks out.

I previously spoke about Joseph Nicolosi a Christian therapist. By the way have you noticed how that with just one little space that comes out saying "the rapist" instead? It may be accidentally but it is not entirely undeserved. Andrew Sullivan, on his blog, posted the following email from an ex-Nicolosi patient. Here is what the young man in question wrote:

As a former patient of Joseph Nicolosi, my parents and I were promised that I would be a very successful candidate for becoming straight (because "I was more masculine and never had sex with other guys"). Raised as a Christian evangelical, I knew I was different from the other boys at about six. I prayed and tried everything from charismatic healings, to ex-gay groups like Desert Streams and finally ended up in reparative therapy with Nicolosi. I spent two years of hard work, determination and money to become straight with Nicolosi.(The trick according to reparative therapy is to first find out how your dad mistreated you sometime in early childhood and try to heal and make peace with dad, next develop as many same-gender non-sexual friendships as possible, then get in touch with your masculine side by working out, playing sports and going to a gym! Add lots of pray and church and bang you will be straight!)

Needless to say, neither I nor any of the other ten guys in group therapy turned straight. At the beginning I was sure I was straight and told others I was "ex-gay". Was I wrong! I finally came to the point of asking myself, "Do I want to be happy as a gay man and damned to hell or lead a horrible, depressing life on the verge of suicide, celibate and all alone but on the way to heaven?" I chose the first route and have never looked back. (Many of us call ourselves "ex-ex-gays.")
I consider Nicolosi and the ex-gay leaders con-men and hucksters. They know the truth, but push ahead deceiving and hurting so many. This is just another example of "Quack Science," that so many Christianists are pushing on our country. From "Intelligent Design," to the denial of global warming, and refusal to allow stem-cell research, these zealots are trying to make science fit their literal interpretations of the Bible.

Some years ago I participated in a panel discussion concerning the fraudulent ex-gay movement at a conference of Christian therapists. (Honest, I'm not making it up.) One gentleman who appeared on the panel had gone through the psychological torture of these theological con men. I remember a conservsation with him where he said that the only thing he received from his ex-gay counselor was VD. Yes, it was another one of the counselors who would convince his young victims that the way to cure them was to get really close to another man and well, oooops, things just got out of hand so let's pray for Jesus to forgive us. Of course things got routinely out of hand and for many, the ex-gay movement was just a means to prey on those who pray. By the way, one recent trend has been to have heterosexuals run the ex-gay ministries to avoid such embarrassment. But then I can think of one early such ministry that was run by a straight man who cheated on his wife with women in his church. But, as the fundamentalists would say: "At least that's normal sin and not perverted sin." Oh, what intellectuals they are!

The good news is that over the years I've met far more ex-Christians than "ex-gays". And you know what? I'm pretty confident that when someone tells me he is a recovering Christian that he is telling the truth. Won't find him sneaking out to Christian bars in the middle of the night.

This Week in God

Old but still fun to watch. Enjoy it. I did.

Crack his skull, turn him straight.

Christianist Joseph Nicolosi runs an anti-gay religious outfit called National Association for Research and Theraphy of Homosexuality. His goal is to commit theraphy against gays and turn them into heterosexuals. In his world view, "There is no such thing as a homosexual. We are all heterosexual. Our body was designed for the opposite sex." Note his use of the term "designed" as opposed to "evolved". It is not coincidental. NARTH is a religious oriented group that argues that people can be converted to heterosexuality. It works in close alliance with the Christianist ex-gay movement.

This movement has always been a fraud. It has driven people to suicide and encouraged lying by the "name it and claim theology" that many of its adherents push. In this case a person claims to be straight "on faith" and tells everyone he is when all signs are that he is not. If you claim it by faith then Jesus will make it happen. Many leaders of the "ex-gay" movement turned out to be not so "ex" after all and are caught with their hands, well not exactly in the cookie jar if you know what I mean.

In addition they have used the broadest definition possible to define a successful conversion from gay to straight. The gay in question may be someone with extensive heterosexual experience who has only periodically considered gay sex. Of course getting a bisexual to stay on one side or the other is not that difficult. Some cases presented as "change" have included men who had only one gay experience in their life and said they were attracted to women. One case I read dealt with a man who was gay, in prison, but found Jesus and went straight when released. Duh! A successful conversion is promoted by pointing to ex-gays who are married ignoring the fact that millions of gay men are married and are still gay. Of course numerous ex-gays have said they were gay and then been revealed to have been lying about it.

But in Christianist theology, as Nicolosi put it, there is no such thing as a homosexual, we are all heterosexual. So to be ex-gay is easy since no one was ever gay to begin with. Apparently gay men are just heterosexual men who like sex with men. Go figure. If you want some idea how Nicolosi and these Christianists think here is a report for the Los Angeles Times:

The audience of more than 700 sat rapt in the pews of a Fort Lauderdale church. Some held Bibles. Others took notes. Nicolosi went on to tell them that fathers could help their sons stay straight by bonding through rough-and-tumble games, such as tossing them in the air.

"Even if [the dad] drops the kid and he cracks his head, at least he'll be heterosexual," Nicolosi said, chuckling. "A small price to pay."

How nice. How daft.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Jehovah's inverted morality.

I have been through a disgusting journey as I try to discern, using the Bible, the moral priorities of it’s author --- supposedly a god named Jehovah. This Jehovah has a warped sense of moral priorities as do his prophets.

Consider how often the Bible condemns, or allegedly condemns (I don’t want to debate the finer points of interpreting this silly book) adults for being gay. In Leviticus the code says that men who have sex with men shall be put to death. That’s strong stuff. Jehovah wants adult homosexuals killed for consenting relationships.

A fine, moral, upstanding sort this Jehovah. Except he seems to have little concern for the sexual abuse of children. I have tried to find Bible verses condemning sex with children as a point of comparison. None can be found. One Christian web site merely says that God condemns fornication therefore fornication with a young girl is forbidden. Of course they don’t answer the issue of having sex with a young girl if one marries her first. Fornication is sex outside marriage. What if the sex is within marriage? No answer for that one.

They argue that Jehovah didn’t have to single out this issue since it is covered in the other moral laws regarding fornication and adultery. But as I have pointed out that wouldn’t stop a man from having a 10 year old for his wife. And certainly one could then have argued that the morality of the Bible on gay sex is also covered under those rules. But Jehovah still went out of his way to mention, and condemn it, several times in the Bible. Yet he couldn’t fine time to make one mention of the sexual abuse of children -- perhaps something noticed by priests around the world.

And it is questionable whether or not the same Moses, who supposedly gave us Leviticus, didn’t have another view about sex with young girls in Numbers. Numbers chapter 31 says that Jehovah and Moses were having a chat and gave Jehovah gave him instruction which Moses passed on.

This was another one of those genocidal wars that Jehovah kept pushing in the Old Testament. In this case he was telling the Hebrews to kill all the Midianites.

Well not quite all of them. “And they warred against the Midianites, as the Lord commanded Moses. And they killed all the males. And they killed the kings of Midian... And the sons of Israel took all the women of Midian captive, and their little ones, and the spoil of all their cattle,, and all their flocks, and all their goods. And they burned with fire all their cities, their homes, and all their towers. And they took all the spoil and all the prey of men and animals.” Now after taking all this, including the women and children, they brought them to Moses. Well Moses was not happy. He wanted to know: “Have you saved all the women alive?”

For not killing the women and children they were cursed and Moses said: “And now kill every male among the little ones, and kill every women that has known mam by lying with him. But all the female children that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.”

Now please note the moral code that is being enforced here. The Hebrews slaughter all the men and steal everything they owned. They also take captive the women and children. Moses is upset because the women are still alive. He wants them killed unless they are virgins --- Jehovah’s Abstinence Program. And he wants all the male children murdered as well.

But the virginal female children he tells the men to “keep alive for yourselves.” For what purposes? It wasn’t to dust and vacuum. Now remember this a culture where people routinely died in their 20s and 30s (earlier if Jehovah got ahold of them). They routinely married in their teens and had children. So the virginal girls these men took for themselves were quite young on average.

Now you get the Christians saying that Jehovah forbade “sexual intercourse outside the God-ordained context for such between one man and one woman in marriage.” That is rubbish. Jehovah’s own prophets were screwing like rabbits and had many wives and concubines. Polygamy was widely accepted in the Old Testament yet Christians simply lie about it today. It wasn’t one man and one woman. It could be one man and 900 women as was supposedly the case with King Solomon.

Now I went to another Christian sexuality web site and found them discussing what the Bible had to say about homosexuality, masturbation, bestiality, pornography, wet dreams, lust, fornication, adultery, etc. But there was not one reference to pedophilia. God apparently made sure to tell people not have sex with goats but forgot to mention the same rule applied to children.

Now the Bible does say things about how adults may treat children. Christian web sites are filled with Biblical advice on why parents should hit their children. And they quote Scripture to prove it.

The same Moses who allegedly wrote the verses already mentioned also wrote this passage: “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother... all the men of the city shall stone him with stones, that he die.” According to Exodus 21:15 a child that hits his parents should be killed. A child that curses his parents gets the same treatment in Exodus 21:17.

Or take the story of Jephthah in Judges 11:29-39. Jephthah tells Jehovah that if he will “deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands” that when Jephthah returns home the first thing to walk through his front door will be sacrificed as a burnt offering to Jehovah. Remember that an all-knowing God would know what this meant as he would know what would walk through the door. Jehovah finds the offer agreeable and “delivered them into his hands”.

Jephthah returns home and “behold his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances... And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed.” What was that? He killed her and offered her as burnt offering to Jehovah.

Now Jehovah supposedly goes out of his way to mention all sorts of moral edicts but forgets to mention having sex with children. He condemns gays but repeatedly orders people to kill small children. He supports and mandates slavery but has a problem with prostitution.

Of course there is no Jehovah who wrote such monstrous things. These are the words of men who expressed the views of their culture. And their cultures were barbaric, uninformed and undeveloped. They pushed the cultural values common among people of that day who, by modern standards, were basically barbarians. What is bizarre is that there are lunatics today who want to take the culture bound writings of these barbarians and impose their moral edicts on today’s world. They call it tradition, they call it morality, I call it rubbish and dangerous. The moral code of the Bible is a perverse one that turns a blind eye to child abuse while attacking peaceful, consenting adults. And what is bizarre is that the more “moralistic” the Christian the more seriously they take this perverted code of morality.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Working out with Jesus and Pat's shake.

I have watched this story for several days wondering how it would end. But Loony Pat Robertson, who is mumbled to by a divine being once a year, claims to leg press 2,000 lbs. That's a lot of weight folks. Pat's mulit-million dollar business, under the guise of a ministry, makes the following claim on their website:

Pat Robertson's Age-Defying Shake

Did you know that Pat Robertson, through rigorous training, leg-pressed 2,000 pounds! How did he do it?

Watch a video of Pat leg-pressing 1,000 pounds.

Where does Pat find the time and energy to host a daily, national TV show, head a world-wide ministry, develop visionary scholars, while traveling the globe as a statesman?

One of Pat's secrets to keeping his energy high and his vitality soaring is his age-defying protein shake. Pat developed a delicious, refreshing shake, filled with energy-producing nutrients.

It's a shame this "age defying shake" does nothing for mental acuity as Pat is progressively going more and more off the deep end. And this is just another example. Now in big letters it says this is an "age defying shake" and in small letters at the bottom it says: "No specific health benefit is implied or promised by this recipe." So they say this shake helps you defy aging, keeps your "energy high" and "vitality soaring" but these are not health benefits? If you make a claim that sounds like you are claiming the shake makes you stronger and more vital that is a claim to a health benefit. If you then say you make no such claims it implies your first claim is bogus.

Robertson's spokesman, Christopher Roslan, says that the claims about Robertson's leg pressing 2,000 lbs are totally true. Please watch Robertson's own video using his leg press machine. First, the machine doesn't take 2,000 lbs. As the woman in the clip with Roberton notes the machine is reaches its maximum at 1,000 lbs and there is "no more room" for weights. Second, note that Robertson is already cheating with 1,000 lbs. He is using his arms and his legs to lift the weights. Watch how he puts on had on each leg and pushes with his arms as well as his legs in order to move half what he claims he can do.

By the way I find it difficult to find the actual world record on such lifts but there is a damn good chance that Robertson is claiming it for himself. I have seen university records of around 1,300 lbs. And the massive Joe Ladnier, at his prime, was proud to say he could leg press 1,500 lbs which is 500lbs below the claims made by Tsunami Pat.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More and more alike every day

I have been arguing that the Christianists and the Islamists are becoming more and more alike. Both are intolerant and both will use violence to get what they want. The only restraining feature on Christians is that the cultures in which they live are creations of the Enlightenment and Englightenment values fight against Christianist values making it more difficult for them to act violently. But the tendency is there. The assurance that they have divine truth leads the faithful to the conclusion that they must impose that truth on others. They are willing to defend the faith by violence and that will become more apparent as time goes by. We are in age of rising intolerance and authoritarianism. The West is threatened by it. It is threatened by the Christianists within society and by the Islamists as well.

America's threat is the lunatic fundamentalists who control the Republican Party. Europes soft underbelly is the welfare state subsidising the cultural isolation of Islamists. Both Europe and the US ought to be aware of these threats. Neither apparently is. Europe is burying it's head in the sand and chanting multiculturalism as if that means shit to the Islamists who hate such values. Americans may chuck out the corrupt and tyrannical Republicans but not because of the theocratic elements that control the party but because of the imcompetence of the Bush administration.

Now here is another example of how these "faiths" are moving in similar directions. Nicholas Almeida is a Catholic and former government official in Mumbai, India. He has offered a reward of $25,000 "for the head" of Dan Brown, author of The DaVinci Code.

A far more constructive approach is that of the Catholic Social Forum which said that unless the movie is banned they will launch "a death fast". One should encourage them and hope the film has a very long run in the cinema. The Mumbai Catholic Council has said that unless the Indian government uses state force to ban the film that they, these loving Christians, will forceably stop it themselves. Maybe they should strap dynamite to their bodies and blow up the cinema.

Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes, Catholic, drones on irrationally. "Every individual has a right to his religious belifes and to enjoy the respect to them from the followers of other religions." The first half is true the second half is not. No one has a right to "respect" from others. And it is rich that the monsters in the Catholic Church think they automatically have a right to respect at all. They don't respect the truth but cover up their crimes. And when they have the power to do so they do everything possible to supress the religious views of other faiths. They are not advocates of "respect" for beliefs except when they are being challenged.

HL Mencken put it this way: "We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart." And in closing I will again quote the great Mencken:

"The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame."
"True enough, even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights. He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities as long as he pleases, provided only he does not try to inflict them upon other men by force. He has a right to argue for them as eloquently as he can, in season and out of season. He has a right to teach them to his children. But certainly he has no right to be protected against the free criticism of those who do not hold them. He has no right to demand that they be treated as sacred. He has no right to preach them without challenge."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Keep your Jesus off my penis music video

Some people take the Devil seriously.

Some television show did a skit where a man dressed up in a silly "devil" outfit and then went around the streets telling people that he was getting a bad rap and that he isn't as bad as people think he is. Along the way he runs one Christian who takes the issue very seriously. And while the results have a certain degree of humor (and risk) they a side of some Christians that is very ugly indeed. You need to watch the entire clip to get it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Samoa: A sad nations that shuns freedom

Samoa is a sad little nation. Many residents have left to live off welfare in the West. Those who remain are god besotted to the core. And now Samoa has shown it is unworthy to be considered a free nation. This ought to mean that it gets no foreign aid at all.

Samoa just banned the film The DaVinci Code because locals Christians whined about it. Crybabies for Jesus, mainly Catholics and Congregationalists demanded the film be banned because it was offensive to them. Catholic Archbishop Alapati Mataeliga joined the Catholic tradition of using force to snuff out ideas he doesn't like. He said: "If only the movie was based on the true Gospel, then I think it would not be so bad."

Well, it was based on a fictional gospel written by Dan Brown. The Archbishop prefers fictional gospels attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John instead. Another fake "man of God", Rev. Peniamina Vai of the Congregational Christian Church said that the movie was bad for weak Christians and that he was glad it was banned as he didn't want his parishioners to see the film.

Why didn't he just beat up the parishioners himself? He and the Archbishop of the Church of the Holy Altar Boy, could just go out and beat up Christians who see the film. The result would be the same as the ban and much more honest. At least, instead of having the state do his mugging for him he would be honest enough to do smash in the skulls himself. Now this so-called minister might say he doesn't want to smash in heads. He most certainly does.

A ban on the film means the law will be used against anyone showing it. That means it will be enforced and that means the use of force. If you don't comply and obey their order to stop showing the film they "enFORCE" the law. And if required that can mean bashing in a few skulls. Nice people these Christians. All this bull about love thy neighbour as thyself is crap. They don't mean it.

I wouldn't dare try to force my neighbor to watch only films I approve of. I have too much respect for them and their choices. Not the Christians. Like Stalinists, Maoists, fans of Castro and Hitler these Christians have no respect for others. They are happy to use state violence to impose their hypocritical will on others. And in the Rev. Vai's case it is very hypocritical. He, one who praised the ban, admits he read the book and has yet to decide whether he will see the film. Typical authoritarian. He wants a ban for his congregation and choice for himself.

The best proof that Christianity is a lie is the necessity to use force to protect it from ideas which Christianists find offensive. I know some people still think there is a fundamental difference between Christianity and Islam. There is not. What restrains Christians from becoming as deadly and fanatical as the Islamists is the culture around them. As they gain more and more power watch them and you will see them increasingly acting just like the Islamists. As Thomas Jefferson, a man hated by all good religionists, said: "

"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself."

Is this a threat?

I am convinced that ever since the lunatic Muslims went on violent rampages over the Danish cartoons that the cowardliness of the West in the face of this intimidation has told religious people around the world that violence, the threat of violence, or even the hint of violence is the way for them to get their way. Don't be decieved they want power over others. They drool for it. And power over others is obtained through the use of force.

The corner merchant trades with me. I get something I want from him and he gets something he wants from me. We make an exchange of value for value. Each of us benefits. Very, very rarely do such businessmen threaten violence. Why would they? They have something of value to exchange with the customers. Force is not necessary. Free markets are about the most peaceful thing around where individuals are allowed to act according to their own personal values and everyone can come out ahead. Not so when force is used.

Government is force. It is nothing but force. You may think it is force used for the good but it is still force. The bigger the government the stronger the force. This is why socialism is inherently violent. It relies on a huge state to impose it's program on non-consenting participants and that always requires force. So the state can force me to pay taxes but no businessman I know of can force me to buy anything against my will. This is why the religious resort to government. They resort to force. Force and faith go hand in glove. The two have travelled together for millenniums.

And the most recent example is poor Madonna. This woman flits back and forth between religion and heresy. She really can't make up her mind. She is now on a new tour which includes a giant cross in the show. And the Christianists are alarmed, worried, upset, unhappy unpleasant, deranged, etc. In other words they are their typical selves --- unpleasant and nasty.

Sounding like the mullah that he is, David Muir of the Evangelical Alliance whined: "She should drop it from the tour and people need to find their own means of expressing their disapproval." Exactly what does "find their own means of expressing their disapproval" entail? This actually sounds rather threatening. Considering how Christians around the world are now openly making threats against others this would not be outside the trend.

Of course it's vague enough that this fundamentalist can deny that he meant anything violent. He could have said that people should protest the use of the cross by refusing to attend the concert. He could have even said they should picket. There are lots of options that are non-violent means of crying over something you don't like. He doesn't mention them only this idea of finding their "own means of expressing their disapproval". Personally that sounds like he is encouraging an unlimited range of options and not merely time-honoured options within the non-violent tradition.

Now maybe I'm wrong but Muir also said Madonna's show "is an abuse and it is dangerous." Dangerous to whom, Mr. Muir. Granted Madonna could fall off the thing but somehow I'm not sure that is what Muir had in mind. And Muir can't help making reference to the violence of the Muslims saying "if the same thing was done with the imagery and iconography of other faiths the reaction would be very different."

Am I the only one that thinks these Christians are just biting at the bit to get loose and do the same kind of violent protests that the Muslim have done? In recent weeks we have posted of various Christians, from all sorts of sects, constantly saying how other faiths would act violently. Such constant references to Islamic violence seems to be them dreaming for the day when they can unleash their own fatwa.

Plenty of missing pieces

In the previous post I discussed how flimsy the evidence is that any of the Christian doctrines regarding Jesus are true. They are all based on the New Testament which is not a reliable account of the life of Jesus. Here are some reasons that explain why this is so.

Let’s start out with the best estimates as to when Jesus died. It could have been as early as 27 AD or as late as 36 AD. But what accounts of his life and teachings do we have? Well both the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke purport to give us eyewitness accounts. The Gospel of Matthew is estimated to have been written no earlier than 24 years after Jesus died and possibly as late as 63 years later. The Gospel of Luke has is the same except it could have been written 73 years later. But even these estimates are probably too favorable. As Andrew Bernhard notes in the Journal of Biblical Studies, “Matthew and Luke must have been written after Titus’ siege of Jerusalem because they allude to it (Matt 22:7; Luke 19:43-44, 21:20-24)...” In other words they were not written before 70 AD. So the earliest they would have been written was around 30 years after the death of Jesus. Now you would think that if these men believed Jesus was God in the flesh that they would have put something in writing a bit sooner than three decades later.

The Gospel of Mark is thought to be the first of the four gospels written. And the authors of Matthew and Luke copied from it. That is the main assumption of scholars but some think that Mark may have copied from Matthew and Luke as an abbreviated version of those two manuscripts. But there is also a theory that there is another manuscript, now lost, from which all three borrowed. But various versions of the Gospel of Mark have appeared over the centuries as well. Some have material added that previous versions did not and some deleted items from earlier versions. Of course there is no proof that the earliest versions discovered are themselves not edited versions of an even earlier copy.

And the Gospel of John could have been written as late 120 AD or almost one century after the death of Jesus. So it may well have been the last of the Gospels written. Yet the earliest known fragment of any of the Gospels comes from this later book. It has been claimed that a fragment of the manuscript discovered in 1920 dates to the first half of the second century. So even if other Gospels were written earlier we don’t know if the versions we have are the same as the earlier ones, which is unlikely, and how significantly they changed from the time they were originally written to the earliest copies we have on record.

There are also interesting differences between the manuscript attributed to John and those other “gospels”. John never speaks of Satan, devils, etc. He never mentions the Sermon on the Mount either. It is the only gospel to mention that Jesus allegedly washed the feet of his disciples. And it says that Mary Magdalene alone witnessed the resurrection.

So the Gospels, which account for much of the New Testament have some real problems regarding reliability. And most the rest of the New Testament is the work of Paul. Most Christian theology comes from the teachings of Paul yet he is a man who never read any of the four Gospels since all were written after his death. Nor did he ever meet Jesus. But some 13 books of the New Testament are attributed to him.

And of course there were numerous other gospels floating about, many of them earlier than the ones which were included in the New Testament. So we have this messy beginning for the New Testament. We have the problem of scribes making errors in copying. We have the political squabbles about which books to include and which to exclude, since God never made it clear himself which was which. How anyone can say that the New Testament they hold is reliable alludes me.

I have previously mentioned the problem of translations. But we should also remember that Jesus spoke in Aramaic. Yet the Gospels and Paul's writings are in Koine Greek. So somewhere along the line they had to translate anything Jesus is alleged to have said from one language into another. And this was done decades after the quotes were supposedly made. Not a reliable way of passing on the word of God.

A bumpy Bible ride for believers.

I want to subject you, my reader, to some Christian logic. So, as Bette Davis would say, “Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

I recently visited a website run by a fundamentalist minister who is very proud of being on the fringes of the Right Wing. Here is what he had so say:

The fact is, many believe there is more evidence that Julius Caesar existed than Jesus, and that is not the case. Jesus' existence is only questioned because of the religion that stemmed from Him. Now at this point many secularists claim that's ridiculous, that they are only after an objective search for the truth. But the evidence is against them, and their ridiculous tin foil hat conspiracy theories concerning the reliability of the New Testament and Jesus' existence have yet to hold water under any scrutiny in the community of historians and scholars, be they secular or Christian.

Now note his assertion carefully. He is asserting that there is evidence that Jesus not only existed but that he was God in the flesh, that he died and rose from the dead. He is making an assertion that there are undeniable “facts” which prove the fundamentalist viewpoint of Jesus. And he is asserting that anyone wo dismisses this is proposing a “tin foil hate conspiracy” theory of some kind.

I don’t assert any conspiracy. Period. I don’t think there is a plot to foist false beliefs intentionally on anyone. I think these people are serious. They believe what they say. More the pity for them really. At least if they were crooks you could say they are merely dishonest individuals pushing a lie for some personal gain. Instead I believe that most of them honestly believe the rubbish that they push. They are not crooks. They are dumb. It’s a shame really.

Now this minister goes on to lay out the facts which can not be denied. Here is his own list:

FACT #1: Broken Roman Seal FACT #2: Empty Tomb FACT #3: Large Stone Moved FACT #4: Roman Guard Goes AWOL FACT #5: Grave Clothes Tell a Tale FACT #6: Jesus' Appearances Confirmed Those denying or questioning the existence and in fact resurrection, of Jesus, find themselves up against an overwhelming amount of evidence that has yet to be proven false.

All six of these “facts” have one thing in common. There is no source for them except the New Testament. We have references to Jesus in manuscripts of the period but very few of them. Outside Christian literature there is no reference to of any major significance verifying any of the major doctrines of the Christians. To say that the New Testament proves Christianity is like saying the Book of Mormon proves Mormonism or Health and Science: Keys to the Scriptures proves Christian Science.

We can find a few, scant references over the first few generations of Christianity where non Christian sources mention them and their beliefs. But there is no document that proves Jesus was placed in a tomb with a Roman seal on it. There is no evidence outside the New Testament that believers in Christ appeared at the tomb only to find it empty. There is nothing to indicate that a large stone sealing such a tomb was move or that guards standing outside the tomb were ever stationed there and then left their post. There is no record outside the New Testament about empty grave clothes and no first hand account of seeing Jesus after his death exists.

All of this is found only in the holy book of Christians. And no version of any of these Gospels goes back to even 20 years within the time of Christ. There is not one shred of any Christian Gospel that goes to the time of Christ. And the evidence is that the four main Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were not written by the men after whom they were named.

While there are disputes over the dates of the earliest manuscripts, or shred of manuscripts, the earliest such piece of any gospel dates from several decades after the death of Jesus.

So there is no contemporary document verifying any of the six “proofs” this minister uses. And there is no such proof from outside the circle of the faithful. It would be one thing if a document from Rome survived showing that one Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and placed in a sealed tomb. That would prove something though it would prove only his death and burial not his resurrection. But no such Roman document survives.

But let us assume, for a minute, that the early gospels were totally accurate in what they portrayed regarding Christ and his life. None of them exist. We have copies of copies of copies of copies and so on. And this was not the days of Xerox. A copy was one many copying in his own handwriting the hand-written manuscript of another man. Now over the centuries thousands of such fragments of hand-written copies of the New Testament have turned up. And what do they show? They show that as scribes copied the text they also changed the texts. Sometimes it was an error made by one person.

So he would change a word and those who copied his manuscript after him would repeat his errors and usually introduce some of their own. In other cases things were deleted or added because the scribe felt they out not be there or they ought to be there --- whatever the case may be. When the church had conflicts over doctrines verses could be added that seemingly verified one side of the debate or the other.

One former fundamentalist, who spent his life studying how the New Testament came to us, says that over they years there have been more changes to the actual text than their are words in the text. (See the bottom of the archieves here.)

So not only do we the problem of no contemporary evidence for the main doctrines concerning Jesus but we have no secure method to transmit those beliefs through the centuries. And then these gospels were written in Greek and translated into the various modern languages. And there is a lot of leeway when it comes to translations. And I will tell you something you may not know. When these manuscripts were translated into English much of it came from Latin translations which were translations from the original Greek. And there are places in the world where the English translation is then translated again into the local language. So the final user gets a Bible that has gone through four translations from the original Greek.

And the original Greek was a copy of a copy of a copy by men prone to change things accidentally and intentionally as they went along. And what these men started with were not the written records of anyone who actually saw the events recorded. Most of the New Testament was written by one man, Paul. And Paul never met Jesus in his life. Paul did not witness the crucifixion.

So you end up with second or third or fourth person accounts written decades later, copied and recopied and altered in the process. Out of this mishmash of unreliability, distortion, fakery, mistakes, etc. you get the New Testament. And this collection, and this collection alone is the source for the six proofs this minister holds forth. What a flimsy piece of gossamer on which to hang a faith.

And now for the height of irrationality, proof this man is incapable of logic and reasoning. He writes: “Those denying or questioning the existence and in fact resurrection, of Jesus, find themselves up against an overwhelming amount of evidence that has yet to be proven false.”

Notice how he demands a reversal of the burden of proof. Now anyone denying the fantasies of another has to prove the fantasies are a lie or wrong. A man asserts to this fundie that there are invisible fairies dancing around the room that no one can perceived through their senses except for the man making the assertion. How would our “Right-Wing Christian” prove that false? You can’t.

There is a reason that one is presumed innocent “until proven guilty” in court. The reason is that you can’t prove innocence. Nor are individuals found “innocent” of a crime but “not guilty”. If I said you are murderer your first reply would be to demand some evidence. At the very least you would ask who it was you allegedly killed or perhaps where. If I stood mute waiting for you to prove innocence you could not do it unless you could prove where you were 100% of the time in your life with witnesses who can verify every second. Not likely. The burden is on me to show who you killed, when you did it, how you did it, etc. I have to prove my assertion.

Our Right-Wing Christian friend has to prove the fables of the New Testament. No one has to prove them false as he seems to think. What he has to do is prove them reliable and given their checkered history I don’t think he can do that. We already know that most the New Testament was written decades after the events they describe and written by people who were not themselves eyewitnesses to the events they do describe.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Newspaper panders to fundamentalists

I know people talk about the "liberal" bias of the media (by which they don't mean liberal at all but left-wing). But what I've seen in the US is some real pandering to the fundamentalist nutters. I have seen shows that present as "history" Christian theology. Theology is theology and history is history. Sometimes they meet and most often they don't. For instance it is the theology of some that Jesus is a god. But that doesn't make that a historical fact. Yet the US media routinely presents theological opinions as history.
As I have repeatedly said, we don't know a lot about the history of Jesus. We have no reliable documents on which to base an opinion. There are numerous things we can't say with any certainty and very few things which we can. And what we can say is of little importance to Christians. None, I repeat, none, of the differing theologies regarding Jesus have any historical documentation of any reliability to back them up. It is all guess work.

The DaVinci Code is a work of fiction that creates an alternative mythology about Jesus. It is clearly false since it is a work of fiction. And the "factual" books it uses as it's foundation are worthless pieces of rubbish when it comes to history. So it is easily debunked. The visions of Jesus that Christians hold, on the other hand, are pure inventions and there is nothing to substantiate them. One is easily proven false and the other has never been proven true -- in other words there is no reason to believe it based on the evidence.

USA Today newspaper decided to get alternative views on The DaVinci Code. To do that they went to people who are biased and trained in theology -- in other words they are experts at fairy tales. Thes story is useless trash from a historical viewpoint but it tells the religious fanatics in their revival tents "we're with you".

These alleged news story asks about the concept of the divinity of Christ. Now this is a doctrine that has always split Christians. And the view that he was won out because holders of that view did not hesitate to murder Christians who disagreed with it. The answer from the journalist, cum theologian, was that "Bishops settled numerous theological disputes at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, but they always considered Jesus to be divine."

False. What was "settled" at Nicea? Nothing really. Some bishops got together and voted on what they believed. Losers went off still believing what they believed before. Winners got the state to impose those beliefs and eventually stamp out most differences of opinion. One of the issues "settled" there was the divinity of Jesus. Now consider the contradiction. If they "always considered Jesus divine" as this journalist says why did they have to settle difference of opinion? There is strong evidence that the divinity of Christ was a doctrine invented by Paul, a man who never met Jesus.

This article, of course goes to fundamentalists only on this matter. They have quotes from three people, all of them fundamentalists, asserting that Christians have always believed Jesus was a god. The paper quotes a Southern Baptist Theologian, a president of a Southern Baptist seminary and the pastor of a fundamentalist church. Typical by the way. When newspapers want a diversity of views on some environmental issue they speak to competiting sects within the Green cult and then pretend that is a balanced viewpoint. Theologians who deny that Jesus claimed deity for himself or was a deity were ignored.

The article again contradicts the assertion that there was no dissent and that Christians always believed Jesus divine. It says that at Nicea the church branded "as heresy a teaching that Jesus was not the exact same substance of God." Why was that necessary if they all agreed that he was a god? They did it because they didn't all believe the same thing.

The paper asks if Jesus married and then quotes a professor of history from a Catholic university to answer. She says, "there is no historical evidence, archeology or letters --and no evidence is sin No. 1 for historians --- that Jesus married Mary Magdalene or had child with her, or that she went to France." True, absolutely true. Just as there is no historical evidence that he was a god, that he resurrected from the dead, etc. We have no historical evidence that the New Testament is divinely inspired and plenty of evidence to show that is not. We have historical evidence that the New Testament is accurate and plenty to show that it is not.

We don't know if Jesus was married or not. Why should we care? The only "document" floating about that purports to tell us much about this man is unreliable. And every book about him since then uses this unreliable and inaccurate book as its foundation.

Finally the newspaper asks if Opus Dei, the ban guys in the novel really do exist. It says they do but that a spokesman for the grouop "says there's nothing true about its portrayal in the movie." A film, by the way, which he could not have seen when he made the comment. But I would expect a spokesman for the group to say there is no truth to the portrayal. I don't know if there is or not. And the newspaper only presents one side to the debate so it was useless on that matter. And I've not had time to research this group to find out if anything in the book is true or not. Personally I would neither be surprised if it is true or if it is not.

And when the paper asks if there are other gospels such as those discussed in the film they rush back to the Southern Baptist fundies for an answer and the fundie they ask says "Most date to the early fourty century, much later than the four biblical gospels..." Well, yes and no. First we don't have an accurate date for the four main books of the New Testament. The earliest is thought to have been written around 70 years after the time of Christ. We don't know who actually wrote them but it's pretty clear that the men usually ascribed the position of author never saw the manuscripts. And while there are numerous gospels dating all over the place some of them go back much further than the date set by the fundamentalist. The Gospel of Judas is thought to go back further than various books accepted in the New Testament. It was mentioned in other documents in the year 180 so it had to be earlier than that. And it is suspected that it could go back to the year 130. If that were so it would put it on par, time wise, with the Gospel of Luke.

Other "gospels" such as the Gospel of Peter predates the New Testament's Gospel of Matthew.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Censors in India Ban Jesus --- Sort of

The film The DaVinci Code has inspired many Christians to retreat to the Dark Ages -- where we will all be if these Christianists get their way. In India Christians teamed up with Islamists to threaten violence and intimidate the Board of Censors into preventing the film from being shown.

The Censors demanded that the film include a disclaimer saying that the film "is a work of pure fiction."

Let's put aside the absurdity of these know nothings deciding what is or is not good history. And for the record this film is lousy history. But do the Christians really think that this film ought to be portrayed as "a work of pure fiction?" Now what is in the film that is being potrayed as pure fiction?

Sure there are the bits that have the lunatic fringe upset. But try a few other things that would be equally described as pure fiction. Would they admit it is pure fiction that a man named Jesus was born? Are they saying it is a work of pure fiction to describe the existence of the Roman Catholic Church? Or do they really mean that they want parts of the film portrayed as fact and other parts as fiction? And would the Censors be willing to outline all things they accept as factual and all things they believe to be fictional? Would a disclaimer doing this make the film two hours longer?

One report has the censors saying the disclaimer should read that the film is "a work of pure fiction and has no correspondence to hisotricalfacts of the Christian religion." Suddenly the censors, a gang of criminals if ever one existed, are now experts on history and religion. And which "historical facts of the Christian religion". Hell, even Christians have no idea what those are and fight over them all the time. Are they going to let a bunch of Hindu's, uneducated in Christian history and theology, decide what is or is not the "facts" of Christianity?

What we do know, and I mean KNOW in capitals with emphasise, about Christ is not a whole lot. We have no contemporary documents outlining anything of substance about this man. We have "Gospels" that were not written in his lifetime and those we suspect were written dozens of years after his death are useless as no original copies exist. All we have are hand copies of hand copies by scribes with no hesitation to add their own material where they thought fitting or deleting that which they didn't like. We are left realizing that if The DaVinci Code is fiction so is the New Testament. And if it is not entirely fiction, at the very least we have zero evidence that is history or factual in anyway. And the last people who ought to have any say so over what is historical fact about Christian theology is a bunch of bureaucrats totally unstudied in the field.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Crazy Pat strikes again.

It was once said that prayer is talking to God and crazy is God talking to you. Pat Robertson, by that definition is crazy. Actually I tend to think that talking to non-existent beings is pretty crazy as well.

Now at his age one might accuse Pat of being senile. The problem with this was that he was this crazy years ago. Associated Press reports that Pat announced that God spoke to him. Allegedly this deity informed Pat that storms would hit the US coast and possibly a tsunami. That is a pretty safe prophecy if you ask me. Try and find a year when "storms" didn't hit the US coastline. Hurricanes are born at sea and hit land. That is what they do.

And what is this about "possibly a tsunami"?

Wasn't the creator of the universe sure? Is someone else in charge of a tsunami and they just didn't report in yet on whether it is or isn't scheduled. Of course it is unlikely that one will hit but possible. If it hits Pat will crow that he prophecized it was coming. If it doesn't materialize he will say that he only said it was possible not a sure thing.

Rev. Looney said: "If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of American will be lashed by storms." Hmm? What is this line "If I heard the Lord right...."

Was God whispering? Why wouldn't you have heard him right if he was having a chat with you, Pat? Was this a phone call and you had a bad line? Does this god have an accent that makes it hard to understand him? Or is it that in your old age you are getting a little hard of hearing --- hey, while chatting with the Big One why didn't you ask him to clear up your hearing.

Actually it seems the Big Guy is getting a bit long in the tooth. He doesn't have the vim and vigor he used to have. Now he talks to Pat Robertson, and apparently not too clearly. Hell, with Moses he had commandments. With Pat it seems like ambiguous suggestions. Moses got a burning bush. Pat got a connection where he wasn't exactly sure what was being said. Couldn't old Jehovah at least have given Pat a stone tablet with his weather report on it? God is getting feeble.

Excuse me for a moment: Yes, God, I'm listening. Speak up if you could. Sorry, what was that again? Oh, Blessed are the Cheesemakers.

The more I hear from Pat Robertson the more I think of Monty Python.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The god warrior. The nut.

Some time ago I blogged regarding this woman who is truly a deranged individual. She was on one of those TV reality shows where the wife is usually sent to live with another family. She was sent to live with a one of these touchy-feely New Age types and the wife from that family sent to live with the family of the fundamentlist nutter.

To say the least this woman became serious unhinged when having to face anything that did not conform to her view of the Bible. Here is an example of some of her actions when she returned home to her family after having to live with people who are not born again crazies.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Islamists & Christians unite in hate

In Weimar Germany the National Socialists and the Communists ganged up against the more liberal parties. Stalin order the Communists to work against the mainstream parties first and foremost which helped give the Nazis a clear path to power. Often scoundrels who normally hate each other will gang up on a common enemy. So it is in India where Islamists are promising to help Christians ban the film The DaVinci Code.

Reuthers reports: "A powerful organisation of Indian Islamic clerics promised on Monday to help Christian groups launch protests if the authorities did not ban the screening of the controversial film, "The Da Vinci Code".

Protest in India against the film have so far been low key, but several Catholic groups have threatened to stage street demonstrations and even to shut down cinema halls screening it.

Now, powerful Islamic clerics have joined issue with Christians, saying "The Da Vinci Code" is blasphemous as it spreads lies about Jesus Christ.

"The Holy Koran recognises Jesus as a prophet. What the book says is an insult to both Christians and Muslims," Maulana Mansoor Ali Khan, general secretary of the All-India Sunni Jamiyat-ul-Ulema, an umbrella organisation of clerics, told Reuters.

"Muslims in India will help their Christian brothers protest this attack on our common religious belief."

The true nature of these religionists comes out: ""If the government doesn't do anything, we will try our own ways of stopping the film from being shown," said Syed Noori, president of Mumbai-based Raza Academy, a Muslim cultural organisation that often organises protests on issues concerning Islam. "We are prepared for violent protests in India if needed."

These are vile people with contempt for the rights of others. It is hard to resist the totalitarian temptation when you are fantasizing that some deity is giving you the only "truth" for the world. Delusional religion tends toward totalitarian politics. Here is just another example of it. We should also note that most Indians are neither Christian nor Muslim so this tiny minority wants to violently impose their agenda on the vast majority of Indians who seem unconcerned about the film. The proper response of the Indian government would be to allow the film and arrest and jail anyone who engages in violence with specially long sentences for the mullahs who lead the protests. And if that leads to more violence they jail them as well. No group should ever be allowed to gets its way politically by threatening violence.

But when Western leaders appeased the Islamists over the Danish cartoons and newspapers refused to show the cartoons even when reporting on them they set the stage for more and more threats of violence from Islamic lunatics.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Give me obedience or give me your resignation.

Patrick Henry is the fellow, who just before the American Revolution gave the stirring speech with the words: "Give me liberty or give me death." A university named after him does not quite rate liberty so highly. No surprise however. It is run by fundamentalist Christianists and these people hate liberty as much at the Marxists, the Islamists and Nazis.

What happened at Patric Henry University is a good example of the mind set of the Christianists. The university was founded by Christianists to train students for careers in "public life" and they provided a goodly number of interns to the White House --- something that illustrates the problems with that branch of government. Recently 5 of 16 faculty members have left the University. The Los Angeles Times reports that the college president Michael Farris is not returning his calls from the media over the incident which started when he fired a professor at the university. In the past Farris has quoted the Apostle Paul and his anti-reason statement about the "wisdom of this world" and the "wisdom of the wise" a Pauline smack against reaon and Greek philosophy.

The incident begain when Erik Root, who teaches government, asked a student a question. The student replied by quoting the Bible. Root told the student this was a simplistic answer. Farris was unhappy with this and told the teacher that he must explain himself to the student's parents. He was told that if he didn't he would not be rehired the next year. In other words asking a student to know more than the Bible is just not on and the teacher better explain his reasoning or apologize.

Two professors then wrote an article in the school paper saying something that is obviously reasonable. "When we examine the writings of any author, professed Christian or otherwise, the proper quesitons is not, 'Was the man a Christian?" but 'Is this true?'" Farris attacked this idea and the professors said he called their faith into question. Another professor read the colleges statement "Biblical Worldview" out loud and asked that if any student thought he had violated it to leave the room. One did. Farris fired the professor for that. Four more resigned in protest.

Patrick Henry may have believed in liberty. The university named after him doesn't.

Is Phelps the only crazy one?

Over at the wacko Right web site World News Daily they have a column by a fundamentalist minister named Greg Laurie. He writes about the film United 93, about the plane taken by 9/11 religious fanatics where the passengers fought back. For once it is nice to read something by one of these fundie types where he isn’t fuming about how evil a film is and how people must not see it. He recommends the film.

But his column is not about the film. It is about the question “Why did God allow this?” He mentions an incident where Jesus said that a group of men died but that they were not being judged just that men die. As Laurie puts it: “Jesus was saying that the bottom line is that people die.” Laurie goes on to say: “Tragedies happen. Wars happen. Accidents happen. Illnesses happen. Cancer happens.”

Start with the last two: if there is a god then he created illnesses and cancer. They don’t just happen. He created them. If he is the creator of all things then all illnesses are his responsibility. They don’t just “happen”. Things “just happen” in a godless, natural world. But if there is a divine creator, and I don’t think there is, then these things don’t “just happen” they are the results of the plans of this deity.

Laurie fluctuates between asserting a god and using language that implies there is no god. The rational parts of his discussion are the latter not the former.

He quotes the Bible saying “It is appointed unto men once to die...” Appointed by whom? As he puts it: “You’ve got an advanced reservation for when you will leave this world for an eternal destination. There’s a ticket with your name and time of your departure on it.”

Who purchased the ticket? Who determined the date and time of departure as Laurie puts it? In the theology of Laurie there is only one answer: his god purchased it. Now remember he was discussing the question as to why a god would “allow” this happen.

But this theory of pre purchased departure ticket with a date and time already stamped on it doesn’t mean that a god “allowed” it to happen. No. It means he caused it to happen! When this deity predetermined the date and time of death he caused the deaths. Not only did he cause them but he determined how people would die. He had to. If there are planes with hundreds of people on them and he has pre purchased their death tickets with a date and time when which is all the same for all of them then he was the once who decided those planes would crash. When men do this we call them terrorists. When the alleged creator of the universe does it what is he? A divine terrorist?

Laurie goes on about death. Christians love to write about death since no one who is dead can contradict them. It is always safe to make assertions about questions no one can answer. He quotes the true inventor of Christianity, Paul. Laurie says, “to Paul, dying meant coming out ahead in the game! Stepping out of this life into the next was the best thing he could imagine. Being in the presence of the Lord Jesus wasn’t just ‘better,’ it was ‘far better’.”

Here is the odd thing about this? If this is really true. If it is “far better” to be dead than alive then why do so many believers, bordering on almost 100% of them, work so hard to stay alive? I’m not even suggesting they kill themselves. I’m just pointing out that if they have a heart attack they don’t sit there waiting to “be taken home with Jesus.” They call the ambulance. If they are diagnosed with cancer they seek treatment. And even the most faith ridden of them pray that their god will heal them. Why? Why want to be be healed if death leads to a “far better” existence? I’ll tell you why. They do so because some part of them has this gnawing realization that death may not be “far better” but non-existence.

Laurie is full of the contradictions that plague the believes in the non-existent. It is impossible to avoid such contradictions. He wants to argue that a loving god turns these tragedies into good things. He quotes the dumbest verse of the New Testament to prove it, “all things work together for good to those who love God” and notes: “This includes what we perceive as ‘good’ things’ as well as ‘bad things.’” Now this is a turn around from earlier. Now what he is really saying is there are no “bad things” just good things. It was good that hijackers took those planes and killed people. It was good that they destroyed the Twin Towers.

People on this site were outraged, as are all decent people, at the rantings of the crowd from the Westboro Baptist Temple. That cult says things like “Thank God for 9/11”. But Laurie is really saying the same thing just in a watered-down form. If all things work out for good to them that love the Lord then it was good for 9/11 to happen. If it was good that it happened why not “Thank God for 9/11” as the Phelps crowd would put it?

Laurie writes: “In themselves, there’s certainly nothing ‘good’ about illness, car crashes, war casualties or terrorist attacks. But God in His infinite wisdom and love, somehow takes all events of our lives -- both good and bad -- and blends them together ultimately for our good, the good He intends for our lives.” So in the end 9/11 was good. If this sentence is true then one should join Phelps and Co. saying “Thank God for 9/11.” In his column he mentions how tragedies bring people to a belief in Jesus. He gives the example of a woman who had cancer and came to his church and how this was good because of it. She would have to thank this god for her cancer as it lead to her salvation. Ditto for 9/11. So why avoid the signs saying: "Thank God for 9/11." The difference is that Phelps doesn't want to liked and Laurie does. Phelps is explicit in this message while Laurie says the same thing but soft-pedals it.

When one invents answers to questions there are always problems. Laurie is trying to explain human evil in light of his invented theory of a loving god. To do this he resorts to the claim that all things are ultimately good including all the bad things in life. He even puts “bad” in quotes at points to emphasize they really aren’t bad at all. While he doesn’t say so explicitly he is giving support to the theology of Fred Phelps of the world by claiming these attacks lead to good things and themselves are ultimately good. He is supporting the theology of “Thank God for 9/11”. He has no choice. His false beliefs force him to pursue paths of reasoning that lead to such barbaric conclusions.

Now we atheists would just say: “Shit happens.” Bad things happen. That’s life. People do bad things. We can only try to stop bad things when it is in our power to do so and to mitigate them when we can not prevent them. It’s not up to a deity. It’s up to us. And deep down most believers know this as well. That is why, when tragedy strikes them and they face death, they do their damn upmost to avoid it. If they fall off a boat they don’t happily sink into the arms of Jesus they swim like hell. If they see a truck coming head-on toward them they swerve to avoid it. If they come down with cancer they seek treatment. Believers like to say there are no atheists in fox holes. They fantasize that atheists suddenly believe in a god when facing death. I faced death two times -- that is I thought I would be dead in a matter of seconds. I was fully aware of it and neither time did my thoughts think of a deity. I thought about the person I love most in the world. In reality there are atheists in fox holes. But there are few believers in fox holes. By that I mean what I just said. When facing death Christians try to avoid it. They pretend atheists act like Christians when facing death. But in truth Christians act like atheists when they face death not the other way around.

They know “shit happens” and they try to avoid it. But in the world of the Lauries there is no “shit” there are just roses and wonders and all things, even shit, work together for good. Yeah, Right!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

What they do for Allah.

You would be surprised how much Islamic worman have to put up with in order to live by the dictates of lunatic mullah. Here is one relatively harmless example although much of the rest of what they endure is hardly harmless.

Pious pricks mandate suffering

The pious and the politicians in England’s House of Lords have teamed up. And anytime you get religious leaders and politicians working together you can bet that somebody will get screwed. In this case it is people who are suffering.

England was considering legislation that would have removed bad legislation preventing people who are in unbearable pain with less than six months to live to have drugs prescribed that would end their lives.

A trinity of pious pricks couldn’t resist interfering. These included Rowan Williams, who uses the puffed up term “Most Reverend” before his name and who is the archbishop of Canterbury, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Westminster and Jonathan Sacs, the chief rabbi.

They wrote a letter saying: “We believe that all human life is sacred and God-given with a value that is inherent.” This means that the state must take away from people any control over their own suffering “to ensure that British law continues to safeguard the principle that the intention to kill, or assist in the killing of an innocent human being is wrong.”

We are not talking murder, which is killing individuals without their consent. We are talking about individuals having the right to end their own lives because of the suffering they are enduring. Apparently these moral monsters think pain is the will of some deity and that human’s have no right over their own lives.

You can look at this death the same you look at sex. Sex without consent is rape. Death without consent is murder. Sex with consent is not the state’s business. Death with consent is not the state’s business either.

The pious among us argue there is a slippery slope. If you let terminally ill people in pain end their own lives the next thing you know someone will be running around murdering people and no one will care. This is about as logical as saying that allowing people to consent to sex leads to rape.

There is no sanctity for life in what is happening here. And they are the ones denying the sacred nature of human life. To them life is merely the state of not being dead and that makes no distinction between being human and being a plant. Plants are dead or alive. That is it. For humans life is a process and it entails choices that plants cannot make.

What this trinity of mullahs are saying is that to preserve the uniqueness of humans we must treat them like plants --- without the ability to choose. For them all that matters is whether this switch is on or off. Either you are alive or dead. If alive then parliament and pious pricks make choices for you.

Plants don’t think. People do. Plants have no rights. People do. Plant’s don’t make choices. People do. But in the name of human dignity these men are saying that when it comes to life and death decisions individuals should not bother thinking it out as it has been thought out for them. In this matter they have no rights since the pious and House of Lords have stripped those rights away. And when it comes to the most important aspect of your own life, whether to live or not, you have no choice.

You can’t respect life if you refuse to respect the choices of the living. This is not pro-life. It is only anti-death.

Even more important at it’s core this is not a “right to life” issue as the moralists like to pretend. A right implies the legal standing to make a choice. Freedom of speech means I can speak IF I choose to do so. But I can also choose not to do so. A right to trade means I can make an exchange if I wish or I can choose to not do so. Yet when these people talk about a “right to life” they mean no choices as all. You don’t grant a right by taking it away. And when it comes to human sanctity they this means that they get to decide what choices other people should make.

Make no mistake about it. These men are not advocates of morality. There is nothing moral in dictating to others what they must do with their own life. They do not uphold the right to life but deny it in the most fundamental way possible. They are antihuman to the core. Shame on them.
Now you know I think they have the right to speak their mind. And they can run around all they want trying to convince suffering people that it is better to suffer for Jesus, Jehovah or Jupiter. But there is no right to deny others their choices over their own lives. To take control of the lives of other is immoral to the core.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

How hateful they can be.

First, I confess, that one reason for the previous post on Tom Cruise was to test whether or not I figured out how posting videos to the blog actually worked. And it did. I guess all that praying really helped. Not!

Now I have blogged before about the vile creatures from the Westboro Baptist Church and their campaign of hatred. But seeing is believing. Here is one of the cult members laying out exactly how hateful they really are. I've got more as well including material these lunatics produced themselves. But I won't put too much on at one time. No sane person could take it.

Just because I'm picking on Tom.

It's not exactly fair, I know it. I admit it. But I mentioned Tom Cruise's wacko behavior on Oprah's show and this video captures all of it. Add in the song and it's a hoot. So enjoy it for what is worth. And a note to Tom's lawyers. I didn't make it. I'm only linking to it. Plus I don't have anything worth suing for.

And the war continues.

The battle from religionists against The DaVinci Code continues on. The New York Times has a major article on the topic. But I have to take exception to their opening: "Whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, Orthodox or evangelical, they agree that the book attacks the pillars of Christianity by raising doubts about the divinity of Jesus and the origins of the Bible."

Let us be very clear. Many mainline Protestants don't entertain the notion that Jesus was a god and even some major Catholic theologians debate that point. Throughout history there has been widespread disagreement about that issue among Christians but then journalists tend to think that "history" is what happened yesterday and maybe last week but no further do they go. That many followers of Jesus didn't think he was god is not disputed. But they tended to be murdered by those who did especially by the Catholics who are getting all upset over this film.

Of course some of the dumber statements come from the fundamentalist Right. These people are not the brightest bulbs around. One fundie foaming at the mouth is Robert Knight of the "pro-family" (read "I hate gays) Concerned Women for America. Mr Knight is a "concerned woman for America". His ridiculous statement is this: "Christians are under no obligation to pay for what Hollywood dishes out, especially a movie that slanders Jesus Christ and the church." Now what is the slander?

The movie says that Jesus was married and had a family. No one knows if he did or didn't as there is no reliable record of his life anywhere on the planet. But how is it slander to say he was married and had children? What is so evil about being married that to accuss someone of it is tantamount to slander? "Oh, you married person," he said. "Slander, slander," cried the victim of this awful accusation. Rubbish. It makes no sense to call this slander especially from a group that claims to be "pro-family". One minute "family" is a code word for their antigay campaign and the next "family" is a slanderous term used to defame Jesus. Apparently it is very flexible.

But there is a reason these people do think that "family" may well be a bad thing. If Jesus had a family he had sex and these people are pathologically antisexual. They obsess about it constantly. If you listen to their sermons you would think there were no "sins" that one could commit without using one's genitals. This is why Catholics push the idea that Mary was a virgin. This is why they push the idea that Jesus was celibate. In fact Jesus has no sexuality at all. No sexual drives, needs or release if you listen to them. The Jesus they promote wasn't just celibate but impotent lacking any trace of sexuality at all.

And the idea that he procreated horrifies them. To procreate is to have an orgasm. And they are not too fond of idea at all. They will barely tolerate it in marriage to have children but anywhere else in life it is strictly taboo.

There is something in the article I do find interesting. They write: "The debate has been colored by the Muslim riots over Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Most American media outlets refrained from showing the cartoons, and now some Christian leaders are asking why Christians should be expected to sit by while the media promotes a movie that insults their savior." Now that is precisely why it was so wrong for media outlets to back down when the Islamic lunatics threatened violence. By surrendering to intimidation they open the door for the Christianists to demand the same sort of special treatment. Make no mistake about it many, many Christians want to tape the mouths of people they disagree with. They wish to imprison the mind and shackle the tongue. And the more extreme among them (and there are many such people) want to kill "heretics".

Fundamentalist nutters, almost all Americans, are going to use the film to evangelize and win converts. They are working up a campaign to do that. They say they can easily refute the film. And they can. The film is fiction. It is fiction from start to bottom. It is made-up even if some dishonest psuedo-historians claim otherwise. Showing that there is no reason to believe the Dan Brown version of Jesus does not prove any other theory of Jesus.

That X didn't murder the man found dead in the road doesn't prove that Y did it. To disprove Brown doesn't prove Paul and the New Testament. Just because Brown is fiction doesn't mean the New Testament isn't fiction as well. But that is rational and logical and fundamentalism is neither.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Not cruising anymore.

Tom is not cruising anymore. The Cruise film Mission Impossible III was no blockbuster and was more lackluster than anything else. The film was booked in 4,000 cinemas on expectations of high interest and it was thought by industry experts that it would do close to $70 million in slaes on the opening weekend. Instead it didn't quite make it to $48 million. It could be the film. But it clearly is the actor himself. Polls on how the public perceives him show a dramatic decline in the last year.

About one year ago his film War of the World premiered and 58% of the public had a favourable view of him but this year it is only 35%. Cruise is not very popular with the movie going public.

Why is that? A spokesman for Cruise blamed the media. Of course it is not Cruise himself. The spokesman said: "The public has been besieged with these images. Whose fault is that? Tom hasn't done anything."

Excuse me: Wacko Tom Cruise hasn't done anthing. How about his public attacks on psychiatry on behalf of his space-alien Scientology cult? What of his attacks on Brooke Shields for using antidepressants when suffering postpartum depression? What about his wacko jumping up and down on Oprah's couch? What about his Scientology silent-birth issue? Right, Tom didn't do anything and George Bush didn't do anything to get people upset with him either!

Now what is surprising is that in the entire Reuters report on this topic they manage to never mention the Scientologists once. One of the weirdest, wacko cults in America today and Cruise is a very public promoter of it. Hell, I even saw him claiming miraculous cures were possible through this cult. Cruise has become increasingly unhinged and his actions for the cult are more and more obvious all the time. Could it be that the American people don't like this?

It's a lose-lose situation for Cruise to promote his weird beliefs. First, the secular side of America won't like this cult stuff just because it is so publicly religious. Second, the Christian side of America won't like it because it is a weird cult instead of a Christian cult --- not that some of them aren't pretty weird as well. So the more Cruise pushes the bizarre science fiction cult the more he alienates ticket buyers. But he has the Scientology fans wrapped up. Too bad that's not too many.

Strange bedfellows.

Johan Norberg has an interesting comment on his blog regarding how the Left in Sweden is showering money on radical Islamists. Of course that is true in much of Europe. He notes that in return for the funds "Imams say in the Mosque that Muslims should vote for the Christian Social Democrats." Actually Norberg is reporting on a report in a Swedish publication but I can't read Swedism so a good thing he writes English.

He notes one Christian Social Democrat saying "that there is common ground between democratic socialists and these Muslim groups, since the latter follow teachings from Sayyid Qutb, who Johansson saw as a spokesman for some sort of Muslim social justice and welfare state." Norberg notes that Qutb "was a totalitarian Islamist who believed in the Shariah, censorship and the end of separation between state and religion, and he was influenced by European fascists, like Alexis Carrel."

Socialism may sound good if you don't think about it but it essentially totalitarian in nature. You can't have state control of the economy as the economy is only the actions of people. To control the economy you must control people and that is totalitarianism. So it is no surprise to find these people allied with radical Islamists who want to destroy freedom as well.

Pen Pals or Love Letters?

I confess a certain liking for Andrew Sullivan. In fact I'm in a real bind here because of it. Mr. Sullivan will be speaking at a conference in Amsterdam in August and I really, really want to go. It's just affording the admission fee. And not only will Sullivan be there but Bruce Bawer, whose book on radical Islam in Europe ought to be read by every, will be there along with several other people I want to see including Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the blaspheming South Park show. At least 3 or 4 friends are on the agenda as well. Adrei Illarionov, the former Putin advisor who has blasted the Russian government for the direction they are going will be there. I actually met Adrei for the first time about a week ago. And Johan Norberg, whose book In Defense of Global Capitalism I enjoyed immensely, is also speaking. So I have plenty of reasons to go and 425 not to (dollars). Anyway I digress.

As I was saying I really am starting to enjoy Andrew Sullivan a lot. I think him wrong in several areas but he often says things that are right on the money. Over the last day or so I was contemplating what I wanted to say about the letter from Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to George Bush. The letter is interesting because this Islamic radical sees similarities with Bush that he wishes to exploit. Now I have said there are similarities between Christian fundamentalists like Bush and the extremists within Islam. And for someone like Ahmadinejad to say it is actually important. And then Sullivan comes out and writes precisely what is about this letter that disturbed me and he did it better than I would have thus leaving me with no recourse but to quote him and applaud him.

"Ahmadinejad writes to Bush as a fellow religious fundamentalist, a true believer. He seeks common ground based on the notion that "liberalism" and "Western-style democracy" do not "realize the ideals of humanity." Because Bush has staked the U.S.'s global position and moral authority on religion, he has given Ahmadinejad a rhetorical opening to do the same. Since American democracy is, in Bush's eyes, a manifestation of God's will - not the construction of human beings alone - Ahmadinejad has an interlocutor who speaks his own theological language."


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