Thursday, June 30, 2011

Faith Based Bus Schedules in Israel

Only God knows when the
 midtown bus should run.
Like many bloggers, I find it easy to focus on religious lunacy in America. It's an easy target, after all. We have religious extremists like the Westboro Baptist Church and the KKK as well as politicians who proudly state that the planet was created six thousand years ago, and that the dinosaurs died out due to the fact that they didn't get boarding passes for the ark.
However, I find it entertaining, enlightening, and good blog fodder when looking at how poorly other countries deal with their religious loons.

Take Israel.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blog Makeover

I had a comment the other day that went something like Are you trying to burn the retinas outta my eyes with the color choices on Purgatory? 

That was one of my concerns when I chose the red on red with white lettering scheme a while back. So I've been playing around with different looks and this is what I've come up with...

barbed wire.

I think the new look conveys the theme of Purgatory - I suffer therefore I laugh - as well as not posing a threat to anyone's retinas or visual cortex. Of course, you are all free to tell me how much the new look sucks (or not).


Brain Damaged Person Is An Atheist And A Theist

I found this on Too Many Tribbles and felt I had to share it with you all.

Monday, June 27, 2011

1 Samuel: God Is Soooo Disappointing

This book makes NO sense!
As many of my regular readers know I am slogging it out with the Bible. After navigating Joshua, Judges, and Ruth I am currently in 1 Samuel. There are a range of emotions any moral person can have about Yahweh: disgust, anger, and the sinking feeling that the majority of the world's population (Christian, Jews, and Muslims) are simply mad.

But currently I am disappointed.

As you may remember, Judges and Ruth take place during the time that Israel had no central government. The political cycle was: the Chosen People screw up in some way - a judge comes along to rescue them - said chosen people see the light and return to God's loving ways - repeat, repeat, repeat.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

We Need Atheist Missionaries

Calmly thinking about Kansas.
We need atheist missionaries. Period.

It would be nice if we all lived in Never-Never Land where TV shows like Glee and Nova do all the work for us. A one-two punch of inclusiveness and scientific reasoning would shed light on all the theist strongholds in the US, and people would wake up and say "Gosh, I have been sooooo wrong supporting Intelligent Design and churches run by homophobes."

We don't live in that world.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alan Turing's Birthday

Today is Alan Turing's birthday.
Born June 23rd 1912 - Died June 7th 1954 
Many do not know of his service to his country, the United Kingdom,
during its Darkest Hour.  
Many do not know of his contribution to modern mathematics 
and to computer science.  
Alan Turing was an atheist. 
Alan Turing was gay.
Please watch this short film.

Top Ten Reasons Why America Will Always Be Number #1 In God's Eyes

I'm going to America!
Their all you can eat buffets rock!

10. The Garden of Eden was in Missouri. Ask a Mormon.

9. Nobody reads the Bible in America - except atheists. God doesn't want people to read that book. It creates too many questions where God has to answer Because I said so!  It doesn't matter if atheists read it since they're going to Hell anyway.

8.  It doesn't matter how much Amercans f*ckup the economy because Jesus is bankrolling us. Jesus has deeeep pockets. God got the naming rights to our currency and now He has to pay.

7. Justin Bieber loves Jesus. It's true! The superstar sports a Yeshua (which means Jesus in some non American language) tattoo. What? Bieber is Canadian? God knows that Canada is a province of the US just like Puerto Rico or Great Britain.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Poll: How Do Skeptics Vote?

Have you met a self described skeptic and after chatting with them realize that you have very little in common with them politically? And I'm not talking about a skeptic who hasn't given politics careful consideration either. This person has taken the time to research various positions on different topics and yet completely disagrees with you.

Can you be a skeptic and be pro-life?

Does being a skeptic automatically mean you're for single payer healthcare?

You may think these are stupid questions, my friends, but there is great diversity of opinion amongst those who call themselves skeptics. Most of the time the different skeptical camps do not really engage in dialogue with each other. Just look at the atheist blogosphere - it's fairly balkanized. Progressive atheists tend to stay on progressive atheist sites and conservatives are less likely to mix it up on predominantly left leaning godless sites.

What I'm saying is that you can feel free to express yourselves here.

If you think ObamaCare is a pile of crap say so. Give the reason why you're pro-choice.

Have fun.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Another Story From Atheist Dad

It seems apropriate to do a post about parenting on Father's Day...

I was sitting in the waiting area at my kids' dojo (karate school) and reading David Brooks' newest book The Social Animal. I recommend the book if you, like me, are interested in why people act the way they do. Mr. Brooks uses two characters, Harold and Erica, to illustrate new insights garnered from psychology, cognitive science and the like. In a manner, this book is similar to Freakonomics as well as Malcom Gladwell's books Outliers, Blink, and the Tipping Point. However, while Malcolm Gladwell's prose is effortless I never got over the fact that while reading The Social Animal that the author is first and foremost a journalist. (You probably get a similar feeling reading this blog - I am a comedy writer first and all other styles run a distant second.) In being a journalist, creating characters are not in the top shelf of one's writing tool box and it shows. One of the main rules of writing scripts is that many aspects of poor writing can be forgiven, such as a poor plot and not understanding the genre one is writing in, if the characters resonate with the audience.  If the characters don't work, then any mistake crafting the rest of the story will only be highlighted. On the plus side, The Social Animal is a fast read, mostly because the writer is a journalist. The information in the book is referenced, and any reader will get insightful nuggets of why people behave the way they do. The one thing that did grate on my nerves more than anything else is Brook's implicit approval of theism, but I was able to get around it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Is Obama An Atheist? - Poll Results

Before delving into the poll results many of you may have said to yourselves, What a stupid question to ask. All that mess got discussed a few years ago. Why bring it up now?

Well, I sincerely hope none of you thought that, and not because I'm sensitive to that kind of thing either. (A prerequisite for blogging is a rather thick skin.) Rather, I would think that being the politically aware readers that I'm sure you are understand that during the upcoming election Obama's adversaries will say whatever is necessary in order to score political points. This is not picking on Republicans either, as all politicians since time immemorial have gauged the value of slinging mud. Also, I have heard a few arguments that range from Christopher Hitchens saying Of course, he's an atheist to PZ Meyers saying Of course, he's not an atheist . There is a difference of opinions here, and though I am not in either of the aforementioned man's category in terms of a thinker (the benefit of writing comedy is being able to shrug  the shoulders and saying Hey, I'm just a guy who does jokes - Jon Stewart being a perfect example) I am going to take a shot at the topic.

We'll start off with the obvious: Unless one has perfected mind reading technology, knowing a person's heart is impossible. Who among us haven't been surprised when a close friend or lover made a disclosure that is simply jaw dropping? Up until that moment you had one particular idea about that person and then a split second later your whole opinion of them changes. And politicians are extremely talented in hiding their real thoughts. You only have to look at Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Edwards to see prime examples at how well politicians keep their cards close, if not their pants zipped. So from the get go we are in murky waters. However, that does not mean we can't make an educated guess.

Is it the best guess that Obama is not an atheist?

I'd like to quote PZ Meyers when he wrote about Obama and atheism,
Maybe it's a science thing: use Occam's Razor and make minimal assumptions, and use the simplest explanation to see if it is sufficient to explain a phenomenon. And I'm sorry for those who want him in our club, but the simplest explanation is that he is what he says he is, and nothing in his observed behavior contradicts that.
As I stated previously, a politician can not be taken at his or her word, particularly pols who are actively politicking. Have you noticed that retired politicians are often part of bilateral commissions? It's because their expertise is not held captive to getting reelected. An elected official must always look for the most appropriate way to frame ideas, whether they're giving a speech or responding to a spontaneous question from a member of the public. For that matter, only the elderly, children, and the insane are those who truly say what they think. Well, what about Obama's actions? The man hasn't dismantled the government's faith based initiatives, has he? He still continued the noxious National Day of Prayer. Once again, Obama wants to get reelected. Why would he start a fight if there was only political grief  to be had? Atheists are not a political force in this country. Playing to "our side" is a useless endeavor, politically speaking. (The moral here is that atheists need to organize locally and convince others that religion is the stuff of fairy tales.)

Is the best guess that Obama is an atheist?

What evidence there is points more in this direction, in my opinion. Here is a quick vid with Christopher Hitchens.

Here, Hitchens states the obvious 1) Obama was raised effectively without faith and stated that fact before running for the presidency; 2) Being a politician in Chicago (and the US for that matter) requires appearing religious; 3) Obama had made more recent statements that religion and the state are not to be intermingled.  The first point I find particularly telling, because if a person has not been indoctrinated from an early age in faith, then they are much more likely to apply skepticism to religion. (As the Jesuit saying goes Give me a child for for his first seven years and I'll give you the man.) The second point is congruent with the Basic Law of Politicians - Lie regularly, boldly lie when needed. Repeat as necessary. The third point I weigh less than the previous two because Obama could have been playing to his liberal base when talking about separating church and state.

There, that's how I call it. Most of you - 82%- voted that he isn't an atheist, placing me in the minority.  Meh, I'm OK with that. Intelligent people can have different views on this matter and still be considered rational.

I'm confident enough to put money on the fact that Obama is one of the godless, though the he will not admit to it (if at all) until he has long retired...

or it becomes politically expedient.

This is Purgatory.

Pastor Outs Gay Teens In Church

You should only see this if you're ready to get, well, peeved.

I'll make it up to you. Here are some funny cats to watch.

* Thanks to @BenCOGrimm for sharing the Jesus vid on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Discrimination That's Difficult To Believe

Thucydides, Greek historian
and chronicler of misery.
What I'm going to tell is a true story about a priest and his brother who was gay and developmentally disabled.

But first, what has inspired me to relate this story?

I was on the blog Krissthesexyatheist (as as aside, Laughing in Purgatory was going to be called Andythebarelyadequateatheist, but my therapist informed me this would feed into my crushing sense  of inadequacy) when I read the post Gays Can't Swim Here.

If you're thinking that the story involves two gay men in Hazard, Kentucky (*insert Dukes of Hazard joke here*) getting removed from a public pool for being gay, you would be correct.
If you're thinking that the story involves the pool staff telling the two gay men that they were getting thrown out because the bible says it's OK, then you would be correct, too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Jesus vs Dumbo - Winner Take All!

Tell me who to pray to!!!
I am writing tonight about the clash of civilizations. Two great faiths that have existed for ages are currently fighting for the soul of Man. One faith has 950 million adherents, while the other has over 2 billion souls. Each has its own unique philosophical system and rich heritage.

And they are colliding in an all American town named Coeur d’Alene, in the great state of Idaho.

The two faiths, of course, are Christianity and Hinduism.

No, this is not a fake news story. This is real.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Talking Genocide With My Son

Buchenwald Slave Laborers
 I took a few days for me to reflect whether or not to write about this. Why? Well, you'll have to read on.

I don't know when Jewish kids are told about the Holocaust. I'm not aware when black children understand slavery. For that matter, I don't know when white kids grasp either topics. What I do know is that many Americans do not understand history very well. (A buddy of mine overheard some high schoolers say that the Germans fought with the Allies against the Russians in World War Two).

I have higher standards for my kids.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Allah Wants You To Have Sex Slaves!

I was reading the Advice Goddess Blog and found this story. Say you're a married Islamic man living in Iraq and you want to sex with a woman who is not your wife, but you don't want to cheat.

What to do? What to do?

Thankfully, Iraq has dedicated political activists working hard at the problem. However, just like us these activists are not always of the highest caliber. Salwa Al-Mutairi, who is a woman, has come up with a solution to the eternal problem of male infidelity: SEX SLAVES.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why My Atheism Is Better Than Your Christianity

The Greeks simply told better stories.
10.  At no point in time do I have explain a talking snake. Don't Christians feel a bit silly talking about all the evil in the universe being caused by talkng reptile?  I think the Pandora's Box myth is more realistic than: snake+apple = damnation for all.

9.  I don't have to listen to poorly sung hymns. All the beauty of the human voice is lost when one drones out the verses to Amazing Grace in a church full of people who can't sing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Allow God In School: A Glimpse Of Madness

I order you to believe in God!
I was on Facebook and noticed this group: Allow God In School. God, being omniscient and omnipotent, wouldn't need a hall pass from us, one would imagine.

Who am I to understand the ways of God? Perhaps we should  read what some of the supporters of this august group have to say about the divine.

Yes, all of these are actual comments from the Facebook page. Names have been omitted. And no, I'm not even going to do snarky comment after each one. Good God, I'm going to  let the insanity speak for itself

 Our prayer moves the hand of God.He has been there all the time. Stay on your knees.

The fear of God means respect for authority.

We must remove the power of the National Education Assn. to dictate religious events in schools!!

The true story of God's creation and His love is very important. This must be taught at home and at school. The Bible is the greated [sic] book ever written. Why should it not be read in school.

We should never take GOD out of anything!!!!!!!!!!

I can't believe one person was allowed to kick God out of school, when there were thousands of us wanting to keep God in school. If you think your opinion does not count think of the one bitter mean old lady's opinion and what she was able to do to us as a country. If some children are "offended" by our pledge of allegiance and our prayer, they could be excused from attending. This is the United States of America, founded in God. 

Really sad.

Really scary.

This is Purgatory. 

D-Day June 6, 1944

Today is the anniversary of D-Day. If you know one of the few remaining vets who survived D-Day give them a call and let them know they haven't been forgotten.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

God Is A Jealous And Vengeful Imaginary Friend.

I'm Godless and awesome!
My six year old daughter, Ali, has outed herself.

It was a few days after one of our You don't have to say under God during the pledge of allegiance talks, and we were hanging out at the kitchen table having our lunch when she informed me, "I told my teacher we don't believe in God."

You have to hand it to her, she did a good summation of the situation here at the Cathedral of Reality (no gods allowed). None of the bipeds here are worshipping any Bronze Age imaginary friends. But did she have to include all of us? What about our aging dog? Will all the other canines now look askance at her?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cow Pee - Gods' Miracle!

Haven't you heard the latest? Cow pee is awesome!

This particular story illustrates the problem of allowing superstition to be the guiding force in one's personal life. It leads to a cul-de-sac of insanity.

Like using cow urine as medicine.

I have found tasty magic in the rib area.
Cow urine - mmm mmm good!

Oh Hinduism, will you ever stop giving me material so that I can make fun of you?

Apparently not.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Barbeque With Jesus-ites

Jesus wants his burger the way he likes sinners - 
 well done.
I've been busy. And though busy comes with its own set of problems, I have had a minor adventure.

My Jesus Barbecue.

I live in a bubble. The daily grind as well as fear of what's outside my Fortress of Sanity keeps me insulated from the wackier elements of society.

As in movies, it's not your friends who get you into trouble, rather it's your friends' friends. Just because you can vouch for your buddy, does not mean you can guarantee his/her friends live on planet Atheism (that's reality to you and me).  That being said, I went to my friend's girlfriend's cookout on Sunday after doing a marathon weekend of overtime. Seeing that I wasn't going to know most of the people there I made a cunning plan: Drink, and drink to the point that I amused myself.

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