Wednesday, March 28, 2007

With or without limits?

According to classic Christian theology reason is deficient in telling us about the nature of God. We are either too stupid or sinful to know God on our own and thus the only method to know God is through his revelation to us about himself. All we can know is what he tells us.

How do we know he is telling the truth? They will tell us we know because his nature requires him to tell the truth. Again, how do we know that? Remember our only means of conprehending this deity is through what the deity himself reveals to us. What if the nature of the deity is that of a trickster, jocker, deceiver, or even a liar?

We could ask how do we determine when an individual is like this. But the problem with that is that with man we have a yardstick by which we can measure his nature. It’s called reality. If what he says doesn’t conform with reality we dismiss what he says. Depending on what else we can figure out we might decide he is joking around or viciously deceptive.

We can’t do that with this deity. They also tell us that what is real is entirely dependent on the will of the deity. He also has the ability to change our perceptions of reality by making things appear different from what they truly are. We have no yardstick. We can’t measure this deity against reality since he is the author of reality and can change it or manipulate it.

So when we attempt to know anything about this God, says the theologians, we are doomed to fail. We can only know what he tells us. And we can only hope he tells us the truth. They call that reassuring. It is supposed to give us hope. But in the end we can only know the nature of God to the extent that he wants us to know him. And we can never actually know whether what he reveals is real or illusionary. We can only hope but never know anything.

And what do we even mean by the “nature” of God. When we speak of a nature for various entities we speak of the very traits that make up its substance. A rock has a nature but it has no ability to define that nature. It simply is. Even man is largely at the mercy of his nature. We can choose certain things in life but other things are beyond choice. I have blue eyes. I have always had blue eyes and no doubt will die with blue eyes. That is the way it is. I can wish myself 12 fingers but won’t have them.

There some aspects of my nature over which I do have some sovereignty. I can choose to think or not to think. I can ignore evidence or consider it. I can jog and maybe lose a few pounds. I can certainly end my life if I so desired. But there are vast areas over which I have no control.

What about this deity? Does he choose his own traits? Supposedly he chose to become a man. So can he choose to become anything? Can he change his nature? If he can’t change his nature then what prevents him from doing so? It can’t be his own will that prevents it since if his will is totally sovereign he can choose to have a different nature.

A tree can chose none of its attributes. It simply is. Man can change some attributes, particularly those which are caused by action or are the result of values and thoughts. But most of his nature is unchangeable. He has no ability to change it. Is God so hampered?

Is God limited by the nature of God? If so can we rightfully say he is sovereign? If God is totally sovereign, and if morality and law are determined solely by his will, as theologians often argue, then it would seem he can manipulate his own nature as well. This is not simply changing his mind. This is a reassembling of his very nature.

We acknowledge human limitations. In fact we say we are limited by nature. It is our very nature which prevents us from changing many important aspects of ourselves. In reality we acknowledge that the nature of existence is superior to the will of any entity within nature. We even speak of the laws of nature, that is those “rules” which we discover that tell us how things operate according to their very specific attributes. Nature is sovereign. This doesn’t mean we can’t manipulate it or try to change it. But we have to comprehend it and manipulate it according to its own laws if we are to have any success at all.

But if God is the creator of nature then is he the creator of his own nature? Or is there a higher nature which even he is bound to obey? And if there is a higher nature which he must obey is he sovereign? In fact, is he god? To have a “nature” is to have specific attributes and to have an attribute is a limitation. But god supposedly is without limitations. Yet to have no nature at all is to not exist.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

eBay caves to Jihadists for Jesus

The cowards who run eBay have caved in to the whinning, hysterical rantings of fundamentalist lunatics.

We all remember the meth-buying, gay sexcapade of Rev. Ted Haggard, a leading light of American fundamentalism. Haggard got caught with his pants down, around his ankles. He was hiring the services of a male escourt on a regular basis. That escort, Mike Jones, exposed Haggard.

Jones has changed careers. And he decided to put the massage table used during theirentertainment sessions on sale on eBay and said that he planned to give all money raised by the sale to Project Angel Heart which provides care to people with cancer and AIDS. A rather charitable deed you would think. And since it symbolizes a new career as well you would assume the fundamentalist hate mongers would applaud the action. It was virtuous two different ways.

Of course not. The rabid fundamentalist is driven by hatred. One of their professional little minded bigots, Karen Booth, posted a message on one of the gay-hating web sites run by these groups -- one that promises to cure people of being gay through prayer and Jesus. Didn’t help Ted much did it, Karen?

She said that the sale of the table on eBay “is reprehensible”. And she posted the fax number for eBay telling the brainless fundamentalist masses to inundate the company with protests because the y are offended by the table. What bloody hypocrites. Remember how these whinning assholes were shreiking about Muslims offended by cartoons of their fake prophet. Now they are offended by a table!

In her jihad Ms. Booth said that the table is “highly offensive to Christians, particularly conservative evangelicals.” She demanded the auction be cancelled and the gutless cowards at eBay caved in. Death to infidels! Jihad! Jihad!

Booth, in obviously violation of Biblical standards, calls herself a Reverend -- notice that none of the disciples were women -- something the Catholics notice. I must guess that she doesn’t think that gluttony is a sin. The teaching that the body is the temple of God so inspired her that she obviously made room for all three members of the Trinity. She’s worried about someone selling a table and threatening Jihad over it when she ought to be dieting instead. She wanted to be a big figure in the anti-gay movement and it looks like she succeeded.

Now she is offended by the sale of the table! What a cow. What about the meth buying antics of Haggard? She threatened the company: “I have put an alert on my ministry’s national website and have also informed other national Christian ministries, including the American Family Association. (The auction is also being discussed on several Internet blogs.) If the offensive listing is not removed, I will encourage my supporters to boycott eBay, which I also intend to do.”

Rev. Booth called out the American Taliban over a table! This is the sort of petty-minded, hate-inspired antics that alleged Christians get involved with. And they wonder why the number of young people who say they are atheists has doubled in recent years. If I were a Christian (and I got cured of that disease long ago) I would be offended by the clownish antics of these sexual Klanners and their lynch mobs threatening everyone and anyone who dares offend them. Me, I’m glad their around, they are walking testimonials for rejecting the lunancy of religion. Theology is a mind altering drug. It turns people into raving lunatics. Thanks, Rev. Booth. I was thinking we’d go a whole week without some fundamentalist preacher once again proving how absurd they and their god can be.

I am disappointed to learn that the head of eBay is a big fund raiser for Theopublicans like Mitt Romney. Very disappointed, I’ve bought and sold thousands of dollars worth of merchandise on their site. Anyone know if there is a competitor out there? Perhaps it’s time to move the business elsewhere.

Bidding on the table had reached almost $1,300 when eBay caved in to the Jihad. Jones said that the fundamentalists may have tried to do this to hurt him but he wasn't going to make any money off the deal. He notes all these "loving Christians" did was hurt a charity helping dying people! Ah, the love of God manifested again. Meanwhile it should be noted that Rev. Booth, bright spark that she is, just gave Jones lots of free publicity for upcoming book on his affair with Haggard. Smart move! But Booth isn't the stupidest one in this sad tale. Obviously eBay is even dumber. A few thousand Jihadists for Jesus knew about the auction before and were upset now millions of people will be shocked at how eBay caved in to religious extremism. And I'm serious about asking if people know an alternative site, I'll promote it.

Hey Trey and Matt: Here is a great episode for South Park. You can even use the Michael Moore doll from your movie, just slap Booth's face on the body. You don't even have to change the script. The large Jihadists still screams: "Jihad, jihad!" All you have to do is stick a massage table in the background. You can even have Haggard on it in a black nightie with a come-hither look. It's a perfect episode.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Who is responsible?

Who is responsible is a major issue in most legal cases. We don’t just want to know what happened but who caused it to happen. Determining responsibility allows us to determine liability.

Consider a man who owns some dogs. Let us even assume he has them in a locked yard where no one can have access to them. One day he looks into the yard and he sees that one of the dogs is ill. He knows his dogs well and he knows the dog in question is very ill. In fact he concludes that the dog is infected with rabies. And his conclusion is the correct one. He looks at the other dogs and believes they are not infected. He fears that they will become so if something isn’t done. So he carefully manipulates the ill dog toward the gate, opens the gate and the dog bolts. He breaths a sign of relief, closes the gate and goes inside to relax.

While he is relax the dog he loosed on the neighborhood goes around attacking numerous people and biting them infecting them as well. Who is responsible for that? In the realm of criminal liability we would say that the dog’s owner was responsible. The dog was contained until he let it loose and he let it lose knowing it was infected with rabies and posed a threat to others.

In fact he would be held responsible even if he wasn’t sure if the dog had rabies. He knew the dog was ill and knew it might be rabies. That would be enough to hold him responsible. The reason he is responsible is that the attacks that took place are something that one could reasonable know in advance.

If you are aware that an action you might take will cause pain and suffering to others and you take it then it is as if you simply choose to inflict the pain and suffering on the others yourself. There pain was the direct, knowable consequence of your actions.

It is not just that the attacker was a dog that determines responsibility. If a man comes to you and says he plans to kill someone and asks for a gun and you give it to him then you are co-conspirator in that crime. He told you he was going to do it and you believed him. You are responsible.

Now let us take this into the theological realm, and yes, this is a continuation of the previous post.

We are told that God created everything and knows everything. He knew the nature of Satan when he created him. In fact he created him with that precise nature. He knew what Satan would do. (I am assuming the nonsensical claims of the Christians here for a moment so be patient.) He not only knew that Satan was rabid, so to speak, but he knew exactly who would be bitten and when. And then he opened the gates and let the dog lose.

Who is responsible? The God-addicts will tell us that Satan is responsible. But God enabled Satan. He created him with full knowledge of the future. There was nothing that Satan did not do which God did no know in advance. So why blame the Devil? He was doing that which he destined to do by his creator. He wasn’t just locked up and let loose. He was non-existent and God called him into existence. And God did so with no doubts about the results.

God truly is the author of evil. God can not be the creator of the universe without creating all that is within the universe. If God created everything and if evil exists then God created evil. If God created evil knowing it was evil then God be all good?

Of course this is only a problem if you believe the fairy tale about gods and demons.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Life isn't fair.

“Life’s not fair.” That’s a pretty common refrain. What is usually meant by it? Some may assume that this means life is unfair. But that’s not quite right. The term refers to the fact that the process of life itself, if not the movement of the universe, is outside the realm of fair and unfair. Life is not fair, but neither is it unfair.

Fair is a concept describing a relationship which is free from bias, dishonesty or injustice. A game is fair when the rules apply equally to everyone and no one is intentionally disadvantaged. It implies the involvement of conscious, moral beings with the ability to choose.

Rocks don’t have the ability to choose. The planet does not have a consciousness and can’t make choices. An earthquake make start a landslide and kill someone. It is tragic but it outside the realm of fairness entirely. Often when something like this happens someone will say: “Life's not fair.”

The game analogy is a good one. Consider a Little League game where one team is held to one set of rules and the other team to a different set of rules. The first team rounds the bases and scores one point. The second team must round them twice to score a point. The game is rigged. It’s unfair. Someone designed the game so that the one team has a much harder time than the other team. We would call that unfair.

Imagine if the game keeper in that match did something even worse. Instead of biasing the rules against one team he did unpleasant things to them. Let us say he broke the legs of a few of the kids so they couldn’t run well. Maybe he threw acid in the face of others blinding them. Not only is he unfair but cruel.

And life often does that. For entirely natural reasons bad things happen. Genes evolve and mutate and sometimes genes have defects in them. And those defects harm people. They might cause one child to be born grossly malformed or mentally handicapped. Others are born blind.

There are other “accidents of birth” outside the realm of fairness. Some people seem to get all the luck. They are attractive, intelligent and seem to get born into the “right” family so that they have every advantage possible. They never want for money, never lack opportunity to succeed, and always have more options than they could possibly consider. Sure sometimes they screw it up. But they have to work a lot harder to make themselves failures than lots of other people.

Most of us aren’t like that. Most of us aren’t drop dead gorgeous. Most of us aren’t geniuses or born to wealth and privilege. And most of us aren’t the worst off either. We aren’t the people who nature seems to have cursed. We aren’t the people born in families that literally have nothing to speak about. As children we were fed and didn’t famine. We didn’t watch siblings starve to death before our eyes. We didn’t see thugs march our mother into the bush to rape and murder her.

When it comes to what traits we are born with the motto applies: life isn’t fair. When it comes to which families are our own the same is true: life isn’t fair. It grants some great privilege and inflicts on others immeasurable suffering. We look at the privileged and feel cheated and then look on the suffering and and bless our luck.

Life isn’t fair.

But what if there is a game keeper who determines these things? What if there is actually a conscious, moral being, with the ability to choose who makes choices for us? To some he gives wonderful advantages and to others unfathomable misery. He chooses that some are crippled and others great athletes. And then he places them all in the midst of the same world and says: “Go ahead and join the game.” Of course some have no chance at all. He makes sure of that. He sends famine there way to starve them as babies. Or polio to cripple them as children, or AIDS to take there parents from them. He gives them nothing. Others he showers with blessings.

Anyone who designed a “game” like that would not be fair. In fact he would be consider unjust, cruel, and vicious. Our language lacks the proper words to describe the utter immorality of such a being. Such an entity would be the supreme evil if it existed.

If there is a deity who created us as we are then he is responsible for the great blessings on the view and the misery of the many. If he showered some with riches he imposed poverty and famine on others. No child choose to be born in family that was unable to feed it. No child decided to be born to parents who would abuse and murder it. Those were just the random acts of existence. Life isn’t fair.

But once you insert a God into the equation everything changes. Every fact of reality becomes open to moral judgement. Now many theists would try to argue that their deity is not bound by an moral code. He is the lawgiver immune from the law he gives -- much the way George Bush sees himself.

They imagine a being of absolute power who is reigned in by no moral code whatsoever. There can be no morality which binds him other than his own choice. If he is limited in choices he is not all-powerful. He must have the ability to make evil decision. He must have the ability to act immorally. Now I know the theologically inclined don’t want to imagine that a possibility. After all an all-powerful being who is bound by no moral code whatsoever is a terrible thing to consider. So they simply say he either is not able to do evil for some magical reason they don’t quite explain or they say he is able to do evil but always chooses to do good.

How do they know the always does good? In fact if we look around at all those things over which we say “Life is not fair” we get the impression that he may be doing evil quite regularly. He gives an infant deformed legs dooming it to a life of pain and eventual starvation by having it born in the midst of complete poverty. Maybe he did it because he is evil. Maybe he chooses to be unfair, immoral, and monstrous. Perhaps he gets some sadistic joy out of inflicting pain on millions of people much the way some very sick thugs enjoy torturing animals.

The great tyrants apparently found some value in slaughtering people by the millions. Does not these deity do the same? The tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people in one day rivals any act by the worst monster in history. Not even Stalin, Mao or Hitler could inflict death on hundreds of thousands of people in just a few hours.

The Christian comforts himself saying this couldn’t be possible because the Bible says that their God is good. But couldn’t a deity capable of monstrous acts, just like those that take place daily, just as easily lie to people to give them false comfort? If there is some divine plan at work when a few hundreds thousand people are killed in a massive tidal wave then there could be a divine place at work when he hands out holy books with lies in them.

Maybe this malicious entity actually did reveal himself to the prophets of the Bible and did tell them the things they wrote down. And maybe he then showed himself to other prophets and told them different things setting these groups against one another for eternity. Maybe he enjoys the conflict his contradictory revelations produce. Would this be any less monstrous than creating famines or plagues?

The choice for the theological inclined is a difficult one I think. They can argue that there is moral code to universe that binds even God. Many have said just that throughout history. But if that is so then there are choices God can not make, his powers are indeed limited by something.

On the other hand maybe there is no deity at all. Maybe life is a series of events, some randomly caused by the forces of nature and others created by human choices interacting with nature. Maybe there are things for which no one is responsible and maybe life really isn’t fair after all. You decide for yourself which is more plausible. I know what I think.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Must evolution be true for atheism to stand?

I doubt the Religious Right has anyone as vicious, stupid and purely greedy as Ann Coulter. Personally I think she is taking them all for a ride, hence the $1.5 million dollar property in Palm Beach (isn’t she the one who ridicules liberals as all living in million dollar mansions?).

It’s not as if she says anything intelligent. She is the walking stereotype of the blond, anorexic bimbo right down to dressing like a $2 hooker while lecturing everyone about morality. She also lectures about family and marriage and remains unmarried to this day. (Can anyone spell l.e.s.b.i.a.n perhaps?)

Even on the issues where she and I agree she is embarrassing in her viciousness and irrationality. Where we don’t agree I’m glad she is out there for the same reason -- she discredits the arguments I find absurd by her irrationality and cruelty.

I would like to address one silly statement she made: “Although God believers don’t need evolution to be false, atheist need evolution to be true.” Typical of Coulter she packs more falsehoods and twisted logic into a sentence than anyone else.

So “God believers”, her stranger term for theists, can be evolutionists. I agree. I know many people who are theologically infested who are evolutionists of one type of another.

But as an atheist I can’t think of a reason why it is necessary for atheism for evolution to be true. Coulter doesn’t really say except by quoting someone saying evolutionary theory made lots of people atheists and quoting Dawkins saying it makes him a “fulfilled atheist.”

Neither of those statements indicates that the veracity of evolution is necessary to atheism. Neither of them say that. I suspect that what Coulter meant to say was something else entirely. She is a bad writer in my opinion and often says things in a confused way -- but that is how her thinking works -- badly.

If she said: “Although God believers don’t need creationism to be true, atheists need it to be false,” then she would be correct. If there was a creation by a God then atheism false. But atheism can be true and evolution false without a problem.

Atheism pre-existed Darwinian theory. And if Darwin never came along, and no one else replace him, I’d still be an atheist. My atheism has nothing to do with evolution. And the atheists I know are not atheists because of evolution.

What would happen if evolution were disproved? Nothing in regards to either atheism or theism. A god is not proven if evolution is disproved. Only the fundamentalist needs to disprove evolution, not all theists because only the fundamentalist needs a literal creation to support his reading of the Bible. Most other Christians are more intelligent than that and thus don’t have to disprove evolution. So if evolution were false that does nothing to prove the existence of a god.

And neither does it falsify atheism. If evolution were disproved (and I don’t think it will be) neither theism nor atheism are touched in any manner whatsoever. Coulter is just off her rocker -- again. Still!

What it means to the atheist is simple. It would only mean that we don’t know the answer to a question. Now I know a lot of people use God as a gap-filler. Anything they don’t know they explain away by dragging a deity into the picture. But the atheist sees no need for that. The lack of an answer to a question, even an important question, is not a license to invent answers. That is what the theist does. He invents a deity to explain that which is not explained any other way.

We don’t know everything. We never will know everything. We learn more each day but what we don’t know is immeasurable. There will always be questions for which we don’t have answers even as the number of questions answered grows. Because each new bit of knowledge gives us more questions.

The atheism does not need evolution to be true. He does not creation to be false if he is to remain a rational atheist. If evolution is wrong then it just means that there is some other way that life came into existence and that doesn’t necessarily mean a supernatural way.

Let us go back prior to germ theory. The Christian of the day attributed disease to God’s will or demonic powers. Perhaps it was God punishing sin or Satan trying to test the faith of someone. The atheist didn’t accept those witch-doctor theories at all. But prior to Pasteur confirm the germ theory of disease the atheist simply didn’t know the answer to what was the cause of disease.

Before Pasteur other thinks formulated the theory of germs, men like Fracastoro, Bassi and Henle) but he was the first to prove it. Sure some religiously infected individuals still dream of other explanations but even most theists accept the germ theory of disease. By the way it is still called the “germ theory of disease”. I note that because some of the scientifically illiterate fundamentalists argue that since we speak of the “theory of evolution” that proves it isn’t a fact. The same people would normally say that germs cause disease even though that is still called a theory as well. But they don’t know that. There’s a lot they don’t know. But unlike them we atheists, don’t invent a God to explain anything we don’t know.

There is no reason that atheism needs evolution to be true. None. If falsified tomorrow atheism would still be a sensible position since atheism never rested on evolution. Coulter once again has no idea what she is talking about. But if she did make sense the Religious Right wouldn’t be showering her with millions of dollars in book sales.

PS: This is our 400th posting here.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

True, so true.


Pretzel logic and the "ex-gays".

Faking reality is one of the hallmarks of the fundamentalist. Reality is judged by the Bible and not the Bible by reality. Reality has to be twisted to correspond with Scripture. I was reading a Christian “webzine” with an article by someone who works for the fraudulent Exodus International “ministry” which promises to help “deliver” people from being gay.

Of course they have stopped using the word gay or homosexual. They have convinced themselves that such people simply don’t exist. There are only those “struggling with same-sex attracting”. So, if you are gay you aren’t.
Now this article by Mike Ensley asks what should most “exgays” do because most “exgays” “haven’t come to our ‘happy ending’ yet”. He wants to know “What about those who continue to struggle with same-sex attraction, even after choosing to follow Christ. We’re caught in a sort of identity limbo, unsure whether we can or even should hope to experiences heterosexual desire, get married and start a family someday.”

He says “all those testimonies from now married ‘ex-gay’s and those who have been ‘supernaturally delivered’ from their struggle can be more of a frustration than an encouragement.” No doubt because they aren’t real. I’ve followed these lunatics and their antics for 25 years. Who are the ones claiming this supernatural deliverance?

First, numbers of them were caught out as lying about it. They said they were changed but were then found screwing the young guys who came to them for ministry. They were liars. Then there were a number who said they were cured and then later admitted that they were lying and that no change had taken place -- that they were claiming such changes by faith but it didn’t work.

Then you read about “cures” which are very nebulous at best. Groups would claim some “cure rate” but when questioned would admit they did no follow up whatsoever. Once someone finished their “homo no mo” course they were “graduated” and declared cured and sent out into the world. From that point on the ministry had no contact with them. But they were cures!

One cure I read about had me in stitches. A man with a life-long heterosexual orientation goes to prison. He has some gay sex in prison (pretty much the only option there). He feels bad about it. He gets out and prays to Jesus and never has gay sex again. He’s cured! Prayer works! That’s like going to the Sahara Desert and praying that the waters dry up.

Other cases were about individuals whose greatest sexual attractions were heterosexual but who, perhaps as teens, tried gay sex a couple of times. A few were men who were straight, married and enjoyed straight sex but who got horny and allowed some man to give them a blow job. The “testimonies” I read were filled with such cases. Others were apparently bisexual and attracted to both sexes.

Then there were people who apparently are homosexual and who believe it sinful because the Bible says it. They can’t stand who they are because they think God hates them for this and will torture them for eternity if they remain gay. They “struggle” and don’t find the cure. They may even marry as a leap of faith. They may even live a life long, sexless existence married to someone who they may care for but can never desire. But they are a “success”. If these people are the success what do the failures look like?

We all hear of cases of men who have been married and who, after years of marriage, announce they’ve been gay all along. Yet there are people who want to use marriage as proof of successful sexual conversion. Ensley seems to forget this and uses the “now married ‘ex-gays’” as a criteria of successful cure. His real questions however is for the vast majority of “former homosexuals” who never became “former”.

Ensley admits he “continues to experience same-sex attractions” but denies this means he is still gay. He can’t accept he is gay because “my faith in God’s Word -- as well as my conviction and my personal experience -- tell me otherwise.” That’s what I mean when I speak of twisting reality to fit the Bible. He says he is attracted to men but he says that doesn’t mean he is gay because his “faith” and his “convictions” (the same thing) say he isn’t. This is confirmed by his “personal experience”! What personal experience? The one where he is still sexually attracted to men?

He suggest believers who are gay (oops, I mean “struggling with same-sex attraction”) must “transform our thinking”. Stop thinking logically. Stop thinking that if one is still sexually attracted only to the same sex that means one is gay. One is really just a straight with struggles.

Ensley then twists logic like a pretzel. He discusses that straight Christians have sexual desires that are evil as well. So these straights “have to crucify the flesh daily, just like you and me.” “For the opposite-sex struggler, relationships based on lust and/or unhealthy dependencies can sometimes slip under the radar, masking as romance.”

I love this. His theory is that all people, gay and straight, are really fucked up so the person who is gay but lying about it is really no different. Instead of arguing that all people are as good as each other he is arguing that all people are as sick and disgusting as each other. Scratch the born-again Christian and you find someone who has contempt and hatred for humanity.

Now what about those ‘ex-gays’ who want relationship? Ensley suggests that they stop worrying about whether or not they have any sexual desires for their opposite sex spouse. He tells them: “We often say the opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality, it’s holiness.” Ensley says don’t worry about sexual satisfaction since that is selfish. And individuals must put themselves last in the Christian hierarchy -- sort of the way the Communists want.

So your body, in marriage, belongs to your partner and it should be offered “as a living sacrifice to God.” There was the old joke about Victorian sex advice to women being: “Lie still and think of England.” (No wonder they were frigid.) His advice is “Lie still and think of Jesus.” Now I personally would worry a great deal about anyone thinking of Jesus during a sexual encounter.

Ensley is telling his fellow “cured” gays that they shouldn’t worry about not having sexual desires if they marry because sexual desire is selfish. “Afraid you won’t enjoy the sex? Well, if your priority is your own satisfaction and the living out of your overly-developed obsessions, no, you won’t enjoy the intimacy of sex with marriage.” He knows this by faith not by experience since he is single and still attracted to men. So if you are gay screw the wife and think of Jesus because “sex God’s way will be the best”.

Also notice that he has a trap for the “cured” gay here. They are to have sex with their wife (or husband as the case may be) but if don’t “enjoy the intimacy of sex with marriage” the reason will be because they worried about whether they would enjoy it. If you want to enjoy it you won’t is a safety valve since all of them will worry about enjoying it. Thus they are always to blame as God wanted to heal them and allow them true intimacy but their own sinful nature got in the way. Remember it is always fault since reality must always correspond with Scripture.

Ensley twists the definition of heterosexual and homosexual in such ways as to make them meaningless. He advises that one should not allow “temptations” to “dictate your identity”. So if you are a man attracted to men you don’t fall in the category of homosexual at all. Define it right out of existence so it fits the Bible.

Ensley says that “God has put this truth in my heart” (which means it is something he believes) “ that keeps repeating itself to me: Homosexuality is an experience you have, it’s not a thing that you are.” See, if you call someone a murderer you have it wrong. That is merely something they experience not something they did. A thief is not a category that describes people who steal, it is only an experience that people have. Rapists aren’t rapists, they only experienced non-consenting sex.

He tells those who are going to find “healing” that it “is only to be expected” that “temptation remains.” He says that people drown their disappointments in various sexual activities and that Jesus “erases my guilt, but not my memory”. But as someone who has only been attracted to gay men he knows it’s “an illusion I used to protect myself. Now, armed with the truth and with a God who loves me cares about my problems, I can choose to deal with my pain rightly.” Sure he can, by pretending it is just an illusion.

This describes the religionist well. He denies reality, calling it an illusion, so that he can pretend that his religious illusions are reality.

Ensley has practical advise. First he suggest that “strugglers” give up any connection to the Internet -- funny given that this is a “webzine” he is writing for. “Why do you still have access to it when you don’t have to?” He says “Get that DSL connection of your bedroom.” I guess homosexuality is a result of the Internet. He however does not follow this advice and has his own web pages.

Next he suggests that people abandon any gay friends they have. Drop them because “God will provide healthy, godly new friendship for you in time.” See, if you have no gay friends and run from reality then it won’t exist. You will then just be struggling with same-sex attractions and won’t really be gay after all. And someday you can offer your body as a sacrifice by having limp sex with someone for whom you have no attraction, knowing that this is what God wants. And the reason you don’t have that attraction is because you are sinful and worried about having that attraction so God is still loving and good and curing your because you were never gay after all.

Photo: Mike Ensley trying to look butch by not shaving and and refusing to smile.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

A fool and his money.

There is an old saying that a fool and his money are soon parted. That maxim explains why religion is such a lucrative business. And what is wonderful for the con men in the field is that because it is religion they don't need any evidence! All they have to do is claim faith. No other area of society is so exempt from reason.

Now we have some con man lining his pocket by selling bottled Holy Drinking Water. Of course bottled water itself is one major con. This guy goes one better. He sells water which he says was blessed by a Catholic or Anglican priest. That priests of either faith would join in this enterprise shows you the level of morality they hold. The company owner, Brian Germann, says: "We thought people should have something that, like holy water that they could drink would help protect them from the devil." Apparently it works as no one has reported seeing the Devil after drinking it. But it doesn't protect one from con men.

He's only sold the water on the internet and at one market but he's sold 3,000 bottles. Since bottled water often relies on the assumption by health food nuts that the water is more nutritious or better for you it is no suprise that the same people will buy holy bottled water. People who fall for one false con game are quite prone to fall for others.

The water, which is just plain purified water that some shaman prayed over, carries a label telling sinners they might have burning, skin irritation, etc. if they drink the water. Right! Sure, they do. The label says: "Warning to sinners: If you are a sinner or evil in nature, this product may cause burning, intense heat, sweating, skin irritations, rashes, itchiness, vomiting, bloodshot and watery eyes, pale skin color and oral irritations."

The con man says he wants to create other versions of the water for different faiths. Sure, a great idea. He can have water just for Baptists -- sold by the tub load. He can have Jewish water that parts when you walk near it. He can have Muslim water that actually ignites and is useful for burning effigies, American flags and disobedient daughters. Maybe he can produce a version just for priests which, if poured on altar boys will dissolve their clothes. The Calvinist version is recommended as a refreshing drink after a community stoning.

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