Saturday, April 30, 2011

Why Killing Babies Was OK - By William Lane Craig

I used nothing but quotes from William Lane Craig's discussion on the Slaughter of the Canaanites. I personally wish that Dr Craig churns out more of this kind of material, because these satirical posts write themselves. I used direct quotes from his piece in the last three frames.






Stating the obvious, but if it was OK to kill babies then maybe it will be OK to kill them again.

War is Peace.

Freedom is Slavery.

This is Purgatory.





Friday, April 29, 2011

My Letter To The Principal

Will received a Boy Scout flier from his school the other day. Here is what was on it (minus clip art and bullet points).

Troop 22 of Whitman is hosting a Recycling Day
Date: April 30, 2011
Time: 9:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m.
Place: The Spellman Center Parking lot
At the Holy Ghost Church
49 School Street
Whitman, MA 02382

Drop off your unwanted

TV's $25      VCR's or DVD Players $12
Computers $12     Window Air Conditioners $15
Monitors $10       Microwaves $10
Keyboards $10     Dishwashers $15
Printers $10     Cellphones $5
Printers $10     Copy & Fax Machines $10
Donate your Bottles and Cans in support of our many Eagle Projects!


Cash will be accepted or make checks payable to: Friends of Troop 22
"Guaranteed data Destruction of any personal Information left on your PC"
For more information or to arrange pick-up of an item * a $10 pick up fee will be charged for large TV's* please call [redacted]

Come out and Support Your Local Boy Scout Troop



I decided to reflect on the matter before shooting this email to the principal on 4/27. Here it is.
Dear [redacted],


My name is Andrew Hall and my son, William, is in the third grade at [redacted]. Earlier this week he brought home the flier Troop 22 of Whitman is Holding a Recycling Day. Personally speaking, I am a big fan of recycling and typically support any attempt to get people to do more of it. However, my concern is with the organization that is holding the event, the Boy Scouts.

You may not be aware that the Boy Scouts actively prevent atheists from working or volunteering in their organization.

"Boy Scouts of America believes that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. Accordingly, youth members and adult volunteer leaders of Boy Scouts of America obligate themselves to do their duty to God and be reverent as embodied in the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. Leaders also must subscribe to the Declaration of Religious Principle. Because of its views concerning the duty to God, Boy Scouts of America believes that an atheist or agnostic is not an appropriate role model of the Scout Oath and Law for adolescent boys. Because of Scouting’s methods and beliefs, Scouting does not accept atheists and agnostics as members or adult volunteer leaders." - from Boy Scouts of America http://www.bsalegal.org/duty-to-god-cases-224.asp

This is bigotry, plain and simple.

I am an atheist. I have worked with people who have disabilities for over 17 years. I have also been married for over 17 years and consider myself as well as my wife, son, and daughter to be as moral as any person who believes in God.

What I am asking you today is to stop sending home fliers that promote the Boy Scouts. Would you allow the school to distribute fliers supporting an organization that is bigoted towards Muslims, Catholics, or Hindus? Of course not. The Supreme Court has decided that atheists are to be given the same consideration as would any of the previous groups. Shouldn't the school?

I'm looking forward to your reply

Thank you for your time.

- Andrew Hall

The principal was quick to respond. I received this in my inbox this morning (4/29).
Mr. Hall,


I appreciate you sharing this information with me. The school district tends to send out information about events from nonprofit organizations so families may make the decision regarding participation. The next time a request is made to distribute fliers for this organizations we will take this information into account. Please know our intent is never to offend anyone and I apologize if that is the way you felt.

Thank you,

[redacted]

 I haven't made any further decision on this matter. I'd like to know what you think.

LiP




Thursday, April 28, 2011

Old Poll Results And The New Poll: Worst Idea In Christianity

When will America have an openly atheist president? poll results are in.

Never: 2%

Within the next 20 years: 26%

20-40 years from now: 45%

+ 40 years from now: 23%

Yes, the blogger poll does round up since the results add up to 101%.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Top Ten List Of Things I'm Doing During The Royal Wedding.

10. I'm preparing an effigy of the two love birds to burn. Hey, it's an English tradition to burn effigies, just look at Guy Fawkes.

9. I will tell anyone who will listen to me that I am a proud republican. No, I haven't decided to hate homosexuals, immigrants, and fetishize Ronald Reagan (ie, a Republican). Yes, Britain should be a republic.

Anarchy!

8. I will go to proper Irish pub, get drunk, curse, and throw peanut shells at the TV during the wedding. There has got to be a few watering holes around Boston doing special events for the occasion.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Royal Wedding: Ground Zero For Idiocy

I'm not going to pull any punches. The upcoming Royal Wedding is the nexus point of various idiotic strands of that sad species known as homo religious. I have not talked to an atheist as of yet who is ga ga over the upcoming nuptials, and if I did I would sit them down and gently tell them that they are doing atheism wrong. Sure, one can be an atheist and fawn over the marriage of a descendant of inbred bullies to a "commoner", but by doing so you would have to shut off the areas of your brain dedicated to critical thinking. And an atheist who isn't attempting to critically think is an atheist who may as well believe in Count Chocula or that pineal gland is home to a person's immortal soul.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Making Errors, Jesus Camp, And The Ludlow Massacre

A series of shorts that are fairly interesting. The first is from TED.com (I'm becoming a TED junkie) and is about making mistakes. Although the presenter irritates me at times for pandering to the audience (ahem, I hope you all notice I do not engage in such activities) and mentioning God once, she does do justice to the topic.



This is an oldie (at least in e-time) from a few years ago. It's still shocking.




I had not heard about the Ludlow Massacre until today when I found this on Uzza's Notes.




Friday, April 22, 2011

Traditional Easter Fun!

Atheist Easter Fun! Redux

I wrote this a wee bit over a year ago and thought I'd share it again. This is how Will figures out the Christian meaning of Easter - with predictable results.


Ali is four and goes to preschool. It's a half day program. Part of my daily routine when I'm playing Responsible Dad Guy is to drop her off and pick her up. I passed the school library and there was a display of kiddy Easter books. I did a double take. Did I just see what I thought I saw? Yep. Prominently displayed was a big ole book of crazy called, "He is Risen".

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Parenting, Morality, And Compassion

Will, my nice year old, encountered a little girl today who was facially disfigured. Although he has encountered individuals with disabilities in the past this particular situation was in a different category altogether. There is the natural empathy that is elicited when someone is seen in a wheelchair, and there is the primal terror evoked when seeing a person who has been maimed. Much more so when it is a child. She was Will's height so I'm guessing they are approximately the same age, and her face had been horrifically burned.

Let your mind rest on that image.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

President Obama's Prayer Breakfast

If God believed in democracy HE would vote for me!

 Obama hosted his second Easter prayer breakfast recently. Here is an excerpt from Obama's talk.
To all the faith leaders and the distinguished guests that are here today, welcome to our second annual -- I’m going to make it annual, why not? (Laughter and applause.) Our second Easter Prayer Breakfast. The Easter Egg Roll, that’s well established. (Laughter.) The Prayer Breakfast we started last year, in part because it gave me a good excuse to bring together people who have been such extraordinary influences in my life and such great friends. And it gives me a chance to meet and make some new friends here in the White House.

I wanted to host this breakfast for a simple reason -– because as busy as we are, as many tasks as pile up, during this season, we are reminded that there’s something about the resurrection -- something about the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective.

We all live in the hustle and bustle of our work. And everybody in this room has weighty responsibilities, from leading churches and denominations, to helping to administer important government programs, to shaping our culture in various ways. And I admit that my plate has been full as well. (Laughter.) The inbox keeps on accumulating. (Laughter.)

But then comes Holy Week. The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross.

And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world -- past, present and future -- and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection.

In the words of the book Isaiah: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
I don't think the Easter breakfast is going to sway the 18% of Americans who believe Obama is secretly a Muslim . Of course, these are the same people who worry about the mind control lasers that the government possesses.

And this is the part of the post where I state the obvious: until our current Secular Renaissance (remember, this country was founded on secular principles) has meaning to everyday people we will have to listen to the blah, blah, Sky Fairy talk from our politicians. The same talk that polarizes political discussions into the black and white, the Godly versus Sinner cul-de-sac. The same talk that shuts out reason and lets in superstition. James Madison had it right.

 In no instance have... the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.

It's still early in the non-official election season, but steel yourself for more God talk from our "leaders".

This is Purgatory. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Top Six Unexpected Happenings On Rapture Day

Rapture Day, May 21st, is approaching and there is an expectation amongst some of the more delusional  that they are going to heaven without having to die. If that doesn't belong to the highest order of wishful thinking I don't know what is.
Here are the top six unexpected occurrences to happen on Rapture Day.

A Quick Q&A With The Atheist Rabbi About Passover

I read a lot of everything: blogs, books, magazines, etc. I was on Atheist Rabbi  (which I regularly enjoy) and read the post Supplemental Reading For Your Seder. Seeing that I had just posted a bit on the Egyptian farmer, this was the ideal time to ask a Passover related question. Here it is along with the answer. 

Q: I'm not Jewish and have always wondered: How does the killing of the first born get defended amongst those Jews who consider that action "just"? I know you wouldn't consider mass slaughter moral, but I'm guessing you have insight regarding this topic about those who do.


A: No traditionalist can regard the actions of God as unjust. God is considered to be the very embodiment of justice so all of his deeds are just by definition.


That said, there is an interesting humanistic sentiment that was included in the Haggadah by its composers. The traditional text gives thanks and praise for the various miracles that God employed to free the Jews, but there is a ritual that expresses sadness for Egypt’s suffering.

At every seder the cup of wine, symbolizing joy, is lessened as each plague is recited. This is meant to symbolize our own sad recognition that others were made to suffer to secure the Israelites' freedom. It’s one of those times where the ancient rabbis recognized the human dimension of stories like these.




Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Egyptian Farmer Or At Least I'm Not That Guy! Redux

Passover will be here soon. It's time to honor that classic tradition: mass murder. This is an old bit from a year ago, but still quite relevant.

Today I'm glad I'm not an Egyptian Farmer circa the time of Moses...


I'm going to let the Bible speak for itself...

This is what the LORD says: 'About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. ”
— Exodus 11:4–6

Sooo...

I am no Biblical scholar, but the facts are pretty clear. Yahweh went on a killing spree.

OK, it's easy to feel bad for all the boy infants, kids, and tweens that got killed (hmmm... the bible did not mention fetuses. Does that mean fetuses don't carry the same value as babies in the eyes of the LORD? I'm sorry... that's another post).

Let's not forget the fathers.

Say I'm a subsistence farmer who toils from sun up to sun down day after day after day. My life expectancy is what? Thirty? Thirty-five? Not only does my life suck under normal circumstances but there have been these crazy cursey things happening too! Frogs are crawling everywhere, the local drinking supply suddenly turned to blood, and then the sun is blotted from the sky for three days (curses 2,1, and 9).

My life really sucks.

I have one bright light in my life: my baby boy.

He's got my nose!

He grabs onto my finger!

He's the reason why I get up in the morning.

And now he's dead.

Why?

Because my non-democratically elected leader pissed off God and somehow it's OK that my boy is dead.

There are folks who may say, "Andy it's not important if the story is factually true rather it's the moral to the story."

Moral?

Babies and children getting wiped out because God wants to make a point? That's the moral one walks away with from this story my friends.

I'm just glad I'm not that guy.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Results Of The Relationship Poll And EST


Turing says No! to dating cultists.
 The poll Would you seriously date and/or marry someone who was very religious? is closed and I'm surprised by the results.
  • Only 5% had been involved with someone religious and gotten burned. I would've thought a higher percentage of voters, maybe a third, would have succumbed to the wiles of a person possessed by the Sky Fairy meme.
  • No, not interested was the clear winner with 80% respondents showing, in my opinion at least, sound and sane judgement.
  • Yes, if we clicked  (which in my disturbed mind translates to Yes, if they're hot and we have mind numbingly awesome sex, the operative phrase here is mind numbingly) received 8% of the votes.
  • I am happy to say that none of you fell into this trap of self incrimination, Yes, love matters most. I practically gagged when I wrote it.
  • A firm, definite maybe got 3% of the votes. In support of this perspective a person really doesn't know what they'll do when stuck in the gravitational pull of hotness. A small fact about me: There are people that I initially find so physically attractive that for the first few moments I can't look at them directly in the face. It's like looking at the sun. However, over the years I've been able to disguise this idiosyncrasy.
  • I don't "do" serious relationships got 1% of the vote. Good for you! 
How did I vote? I think of myself as not walking with the other ducks and don't like the idea that I voted with the majority, but I did. Meh. The thing is I did get burned, but the woman involved wasn't in a Sky Fairy club, rather she was involved in the Landmark Forum, which may be considered a cult.

New Poll: Atheism And The American Presidency

The new poll question asks when, if ever, America will have an openly atheist president.  This is not an entirely absurd question. Personally speaking, I wouldn't have thought we'd have a black president in my lifetime if you asked me ten years ago. So vote and feel free to leave comments about your thoughts on this matter.

I'm also writing a bit about the last poll Would you date and/or be seriously involved with someone romantically if they were very religious? The post is taking some time because I have some funny (and embarrassing) tales to be told regarding this subject. The post will be up later tonight (it would've been up last night, but it the first of Ali's birthday parties. She just turned six.). 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Boy Learns About The Flood


Smile! It's genocide!
A common refrain by atheists who send their young kids to church is something like How is my child going to be educated about religion if I don't send them to church? Seeing that most atheists are fairly acquainted with the principles of faith, the answer is clear: simply talk to your kids. And I'm not saying a parent needs to sit little Johnny down and lecture on Occam's Razor or the common misconceptions of creationists. No. Opportunities to inoculate your child against the God virus pop up naturally.

Why am I mentioning this?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Religion, South Park, And The Economist

The tales are ridiculous, but, after all, what religion is free from weirdness?


That is the party line of The Economist magazine whenever a particular religion is critiqued. I mentally noted this policy several times in the past, but it had never crossed the This is bugging the sh*t outta me! tipping point until now.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Worst. Song. Ever.

After listening to some of the Sam Harris-William Lane Craig debate I thought this video sums up the theist's point of view fairly well.





What is most disturbing about this video is that it has over 2 million hits.


LiP

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Human Sacrifice - Old Testament Style!

Life without God.
Cordelia: Why is it always virgin women who have to do the sacrificing?
Wesley: For purity, I suppose.
Cordelia: This has nothing to do with purity. This is all about dominance, buddy. You can bet if someone ordered a male body part for religious sacrifice the world would be atheist like that. [snaps fingers]

This clever back and forth is from the Angel episode The Shroud of Rahmon. Angel, for all you non-geeks out there was a TV show created by atheist extraordinaire Joss Whedon. Joss wrote the script for the original Toy Story movie; created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, The Doll House, Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog; and is directing the upcoming Avengers movie.

But this post isn't about Joss Whedon. It's about human sacrifice.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Our Secular Friend and Burning Half A Million Korans

Here are two vids. The first is Our Secular Friend done by a buddy of mine. I found the second on Skepticat. I'm not going to delete the Koran on Sunday, but will satrize the insanity in my own special way.





Friday, April 8, 2011

Top Ten Shows On The New Glenn Beck Channel

I'm sure you have all heard that Glenn Beck is leaving Fox News. His sponsors are few and his ratings suck. The marketplace of ideas is working its magic, and hopefully Mr Beck will soon be placed in the dustbin of history with hate mongers like Father Coughlin


In case you have forgotten how bad Glenn Beck is here is a short clip where he calls Charles Darwin the father of modern day racism.





When Fox announced his leaving they stated that Mr Beck was working on other projects. That got me thinking...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Poll - Romance And Atheism

"I don't believe in evolution. I believe in God"

I tried to make sure my jaw didn't drop too much. I think I was mostly successful. What I didn't do was look at my atheist BFF because that would initiate a bout of uncontrolled snickering.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Theists vs Skeptics

The World According To Theists


Faith  > Reason

Superstition > Fact

My Delusion > Your Delusion

Bronze Age > The Enlightenment

Theocracy > Democracy

Man > Woman

God > Mother

God > Father

God > Children

The World According To Skeptics

Evidence > Delusion

Marketplace of Ideas > Book Burning

Human Rights > God's Laws

Scientific Evidence > Testimonials

Doubt > 100% Certainty

*Man = Woman

Evolution > Sky Fairy's Design

Having a Plan > Prayer

and of course

State  WALL Church


* We all know that I'm referring to the rights men and women have, right?

Feel free to add your own in the comments.



Monday, April 4, 2011

Free Speech


Say anything as long as Allah says it's OK!
 No one in power likes free speech. Period. That is the rule.

What makes me say this?

I'm glad you asked.

I was reading Sam Harris' blog the other day Do We Have the Right to Burn the Koran? and found it quite amusing. Mr Harris doesn't really answer the question, per se, but states the obvious: Islam is preoccupied with slights to its honor rather than the horrific crimes done in it's name.

True. But not answering the question: Do We Have the right to Burn the Koran?

The typical response from the typical politician on a Sunday morning news show is that the US Cnstitution gives (and I can not tell you how much this bugs me) Americans the right to burn the Koran. That is incorrect. The US Constitution does not give you or me any rights whatsover. What the Constitution does is recognize the rights we already posess. Human beings have rights. They are called human rights for a reason and not priviledges afforded to the population by the State. In the former case individuals are citizens and the power of the State originates by the consent of the governed, while in the latter case people are relegated to be subjects, serfs, and slaves.

However, Power, whether it's corproations, school boards, or federal senators, do not like free speech. Free speech is messy. It makes the jobs of those in power more difficult. Better to have a compliant, ask no questions, passive flock. Sure, some people in authority fight this tendency, but do not be fooled- the default setting for Power is despotism of one kind or another (oligarchy, theocracy, autocracy). Mr Harris in his blog post questions when will Islamic leaders condemn the attacks against free speech in Afghanistan?

A naive question.

Me? I thought when will American politicians begin clamoring to restrain free speech in this country? I was reading the post Lindsey Graham Thinks We Should Appease Barbarians  on The Unreligious Right this morning and my previous question was answered by Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina...
the first member of Congress to say the legislature needs to explore the possibility, however unlikely, of limiting some kinds of free speech - like Terry Jones' Quran burning - that help America's enemies.

"I wish we could find a way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war,"
Great. A quick Youtube search found the good senator discussing this topic.


Do I like the idea of Christian extremist Terry Jones burning any book, whether it's a Koran or a Thor comic? No. But in the words of Voltaire,
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.

I propose that's the only sane attitude...

in Purgatory.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Do You Call Terry Jones?

Terry Jone's church - hotbead of Christo-fascism. 
I was reading through some online sites like The New York Times and Think Progress, as well as thumbing  through this week's Economist and I noticed something - that Christian extremist Terry Jones is everywhere.

"Duh! Of course he is," you may say, "the man burned the Koran and now irrate Afghanis are rioting and killing UN workers."

Too true. But I've noticed something else. I haven't seen Pastor Terry Jones referred to as a Christian extremist. Here are the terms I have seen describing him:

Terry Jones is an evangelical pastor... New York Times
Terry Jones, the pistol-packing Florida pastor Huffington Post
A controversial evangelical pastor AFP
Hate Pastor Terry Jones  Think Progress
Radical Pastor Terry Jones Think Progress
Florida Pastor Terry Jones Wahington Post

I don't feel these terms are summing up the madness encased in that handlebar moustached cranium. Mr Jones adheres to an extreme form of Christianity. Could it be that the press doesn't want to challenge the popular myth that only Islam has extremists? If they did people may begin to talk about other Christian extremist groups like the KKK, Hutaree militia, and Montana's Republican Party?

Maybe, just maybe, if the term Christian extremist was affixed to Terry Jones then Christians would read the Bible and discover that Christianity is at it's core an extremist enterprise. After that discovery Christians may crack open a history book and discover that the reason why mainstream Christianity is no longer launching Inquisitions or declaring holy wars is that it no longer has the power to do so.

So if I'm in a conversation with a Christian and the topic turns to Terry Jones I plan to say: "Terry Jones, he's that Koran burning Christian extremist, right?" The other person may take a moment and reflect on their own religious views. Or they may think I'm just a jerk.

I'm comfortable with that...

in Purgatory.



Pic by WillMcC


David Brooks On The Social Animal

I found this on Lessons of Evolution and thought I'd share it. I make it a point in reading David Brooks' opinion piece every Tuesday in the New York Times, and looking forward to reading his new book The Social Animal (here is an NPR article about it).

Enjoy.




Unsurprisingly, my favorite bit from the video is when Brooks pointed out that ancient Greeks thought one must suffer to achieve wisdom.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Gideon - An Old Testament Skeptic


Mountain Dew, please.
As I mentioned a few posts ago I'm reading through the Book of Judges. You may remember this book of the Bible depicts Israel following other gods, God (ahem, the real God) sends nasty tribes to give Israel a hard time, God picks out a judge (a military leader for the current crisis), and said judge saves the day. Gideon was a judge and did a crackerjack job of saving Israel.

However, Gideon did not act on faith.

He required evidence that God wanted him to act.

So he devised ways (yes, plural) to test God.

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