Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why I'm Not Posting Tonight.

one hot dog


mac and cheese




that magic something 


Me cleaning up the vomit from my six year old.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Atheists Should Be More Like Hamas

Two many Gods.
(Yes, it's a joke.)

Hamas, the Sunni terrorist organization that runs the Gaza strip, has a lot to teach the atheist movement.

No, it's not that atheists need to have an armed militia like Hamas.

No, it's not shooting sub par rockets into enemy territory. (Though the idea of lobbing a few missiles at the Creation Museum while everyone is at church does seem appealing.)

Hamas does charity work, a lot of charity work. I was reading through this week's Economist (August 27th-
September 2nd 2011) and came across a book review on Hamas and Civil Society in Gaza: engaging the Islamist Social Sector.  
Few would expect an Islamic charity to offer workshops on sexuality and ways for disabled people to improve their sex lives. But the al-Wafa hospital in Gaza has been providing this service for years, and it is hardly atypical. Many assume that Islamic charities are “merely a guise for promoting terrorism”, writes Sara Roy, a Middle East scholar at Harvard. In her new book about social services in Gaza, based on trips to the strip over the past 15 years, she argues that the reality is more complex.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Top Ten List Of What I'd Do If I Were A Mormon God

As god, I'm not going to ask
anyone to believe in
this crap.
Say, for some hypothetical, thought experimenty reason the Mormons have it right. Wear the majikal underwear, pump out a gazillion kids, throw lots and lots of money at keeping the gays from marrying and when you die you get your own planet to be a god.

Say, I become a Mormon.

Say, when I die I become a god and I get my own planet.

How would I run the Big Show? Is there any possible way to improve on the system we have here on Earth?

I think I'd give it a shot.

10. Three words: Tell All Book That's right, as my creation evolves away, I'm going to pen a tell all book about what a crappy job Yahweh did -- the massacres, the animal cruelty, the misogyny... everything. And people won't have to buy my book just because I'm god. No one is getting burned at the stake or beheaded because they find it hard to believe that His job performance spanned from being criminally negligent to being an outright sociopath.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dawkins Still Needs An Editor

I was on The Unreligious Right and finally took the time to read Dawkins rebuttal (click here) to Rick Perry's stance on evolution.

My opinion of Dawkins at this time?

Good biologist, lousy public relations person.

Here is the comment I left on The Unreligious Right.
I just read Dawkins article and I am practically bleeding from my freakin' eyes. God, Dawkins should take a page from Carl Sagan's play book. Sagan consistently molded his message so that people who did not automatically agree with him would possibly take the time and listen. Dawkins seems intent on mauling his message by rambling on about how stupid Republicans are. How does this sound to an independent voter who is ignorant about evolution, but could be receptive to the idea if the writer didn't come off like a lefty wanker? One can only recall Dawkin's last snafu during the elevator mishigas when he told a writer to more or less grow the f*ck up.
The man needs a nanny and an editor.
Once again I'm going to state the obvious: Atheists/skeptics should not use the same strategy over and over again and expect it will work in every instance. If you utilize the same rhetoical tactic that you use preaching to the choir while talking to the congregation, well, you will lose the congregation.

It's that simple.


A Simple Way to Explain Evolution

I found this video on Parents Beyond Belief and it's a fairly simplistic approach to explaining evolution. Enjoy!

Rose McGowan And The Children Of God

She escaped before
becoming a victim
of God's love.
Celebrities are just like us, except with gobs of money.  But just like average people some of them grew up in cults. Rose McGowan, star of the female-friendly fantasy series Charmed (not my favorite Aaron Spelling show, I'm more of a T.J. Hooker fan myself) and was in the pulpy double feature Grindhouse, turns out to have grown up in an organization called The Children of God.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Family Research Council's Special Hate Video

This video clearly explains how the gays are destroying traditional marriage. Watch.

See? The queers are dedicated to flooding you and your children out of your homes.
Wait a minute, that reminds me of some mythological character who flooded the planet and wiping out 99.99% of the population.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Atheism Is Not A Religion

An atheist's rule of thumb:
Show me don't tell me
I am very fortunate to have a wide range of friends who are liberal Christians, conservative Christians, atheists, libertarian atheists, agnostics. This creates a fertile ground for some honest and civil discussions on Facebook. One of my buddies brought up the atheism is a religion line of discussion and I thought I may as well put my response on Purgatory as well as Fb.

Here is his question.

Andy, I was pondering this thread the other day [My Letter to the Tea Party post] and came upon this thought; my MacMini's onboard dictionary provides four definitions to the term, "religion", one of which is, "a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance" Do you think atheism would qualify as a religion under this definition? Not trying to whack the hornet's nest but from a practical standpoint I'd like your take.

Here is my response.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Responses From The Tea Party

doesn't belong to the
Tea Party?
Unfortunately I only got two responses from the Tea Party coordinators I sent emails to congratulating them on being more unpopular than atheists.

You're welcome. Thank a Christian for your freedom!! :) God bless you.

- from Karen Steelmon Nevada coordinator of Tea Party Patriots
Is it OK if I thank a buddy of mine who is non-Christian and serving in Iraq right now? (He just left Kuwait and should be in Arkham Asylum East even as I write this.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

We Are Atheism

In case you haven't heard there is an online movement called We Are Atheism. It is similar to the It Gets Better  as well as ...and I'm a Mormon campaigns where people make Youtube videos about surviving being gay and young, in the former case, or being a Mormon, in the latter. We Are Atheism is intended not only to offer support for atheists, but to also lessen the stigma our group faces on a day to day basis. There is a list of suggestions at the site on what content should be in your piece, but I feel there is one thing they did not mention.


For Christ's sake, smile into the camera.

You don't need a big, fake smile, but video is a visual (d'uh) medium and you want to have your message pack the biggest user friendly punch, so smile. People like it. 

This is a small incentive, I know, but if you do make one I'll put it on Purgatory (this is one of the benefits of running a small blog, I don't think I'll be inundated with vids). Just email me the link at


An Atheist's Letter To The Tea Party

Dear Tea Party,

I am writing you today in order to thank you for the commendable job that the Tea Party is doing. In the short time the Tea Party has been existence it has been able to displace atheists as the least liked group in America. Congratulate yourselves, this is no small accomplishment! The godless are so disliked in America that a 2006  University of Minnesota study found that Americans were more willing to have their children marry Muslims than atheists. Here is more from Professor Penny Edgell, leader of the study.
Edgell also argues that today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society. “It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common ‘core’ of values that make them trustworthy—and in America, that ‘core’ has historically been religious,” says Edgell. Many of the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism.
Edgell believes a fear of moral decline and resulting social disorder is behind the findings. “Americans believe they share more than rules and procedures with their fellow citizens—they share an understanding of right and wrong,” she said. “Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good.” 
I think I speak for all atheists when I say thanks for making us a little less despised (comparatively) by making the Tea Party the focus of popular anger.


Andrew Hall

PS - Please keep up the assembly line humming with religious fanatics/candidates! There is no better way of showing your true colors than allowing Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin national press coverage.

 Here is a list of the Tea Party Patriot state coordinators that I have emailed this letter to. Any responses will be posted in Purgatory.

Judith Parsons-Power - Alabama ;Annette McHugh - Arizona ; Elizabeth Sotallaro - Arkansas ;Brad Roltgen - California; Judy Spady - Colorado; Jen Ezzell - Connecticut; Christie Shirey - Delaware; Debbie Dooley - Georgia; Brett Glass - Hawaii; Pam Stout - Idaho; Denise Cattoni - Illinois; James Bratten - Indiana; Gregg C. Cummings - Iowa; D. Saddler - Kansas; Frank Simon - Kentucky; Kathy Johnson - Maine; Carlos Hernandez - Massachusetts; Mark Graham - Michigan; Mary Amlaw - Minnesota ; Cindy Wilkerson - Mississippi; John Putnam - Missouri; Henry Kriegel - Montana; Jim Mason - Nebraska; Karen Steelmon - Nevada; Mark Falzon - New Jersey; Rick Morlen - New Mexico; Joanne Wilder - New York; Russ Finchman - North Carolina; Amy Brighton - Ohio; Mathew Vermillion - Oklahoma; Dawnn Brown - Oregon; Diana Reimer - Pennsylvania; Ronald L"Heureux - Rhode Island; Joe Dugan - South Carolina; Lynn Moss - Tennessee; Phillip Dennis - Texas; David Kirkham - Utah; Joe Wallace - Vermont; Sally Olijar - Washington; Terry Craver - West Virginia; Michael Hintze - Wisconsin; Janie White - Wyoming


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Idiocy With Christine O'Donnell

She's got a nice smile, but a head full of the crazy. She decides to walk off on the interview when Piers Morgan asks her about gay marriage -- a topic covered in her book.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Indonesia, Islamists And Blaming The Victim

Islamo-cat sayz:
Mohammed was the last prophet.
One word of advice if you ever go to Indonesia: Do not become a victim of a violent crime.


You may go to jail.

I am referring to Seden Sudjana, a member of Almadiyya which is a small Muslim sect. They are a fairly unpopular group in Indonesia, as we'll soon find out. But first, a small bit about what Almadiyya is all about. You may be surprised, fellow Purgatorians, that it all begins with a guy who thought he was a prophet (no not that guy). Mirza Ghulam Ahmad proclaimed himself a Muslim prophet and messiah in the late 19th century in India. Now, proclaiming oneself a prophet/messiah is dangerous business to begin with, but to make those claims in Islam is downright dangerous. Mainstream Muslims consider him a heretic, because, as we all know, Mohammed was the last prophet.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Family Guy On Religion

I found this on the Atheist Humor group on Atheist Nexus.

Five Reasons Why It Isn't God's Fault

Manny Ramirez,
being Manny Ramirez
5.  YAHWEH being YAHWEH - This is a clear variation of the saying referencing baseball player Manny Ramirez, Manny being Manny. Here is a smidgen of Manny's odd behavior.

Over the course of his stay in Boston the antics began to multiply: He loped to first base on ground balls; he peed mid-inning inside the Green Monster; his efforts to corral fly balls could be mistaken for performance art; he high-fived a fan after a leaping grab at the wall; he lost his $15,000 diamond earring sliding into third base; he refused to stand with a Little Leaguer for the national anthem during a public relations promotion.
Manny was just being Manny. It wasn't his fault, per se, it's just who the guy is. YAHWEH is the same way. The Big Guy wants to kill his own son, or wipes out the planet in a catastrophic flood, or smites the first born of Egypt? It's just YAHWEH being YAHWEH. That explains everything!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Badass Gods Cont'd #7 - Kali

Ahem, one cannot mention hardcore deities without talking about the villainous group I refer to as The Baddies. These Gods would have the Surgeon General's warning emblazoned on them, if they existed. However, it can be just as bad when members of homo religious take them seriously as the case below will show.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Top Ten Badass Gods: Numbers 10 - 8

Many of the regular readers of Purgatory know that I love gods. So I thought of making a top ten list of badass deities.

10. Tyr One of the Norse gods of war, Tyr needs to be mentioned on any list simply because he was willing to sacrifice his hand for the greater good. The Fenris Wolf, son of Loki, was destined to be a menace. The gods went about forging all sorts of chains to bind the animal to no avail. However, a magical rope made from what is not (like the breath from fish) was created that would constrain the monster. The great wolf suspected a trick so Tyr offered his right hand to be placed in the creatures mouth. Once the beast found himself effectively leashed, he bit off Tyr's hand.

9. Shiva Many gods are one trick ponies. So-and-so god is the deity of streams -- not oceans, lakes, or ponds, just streams. Shiva, however, is a complex Hindu god that is both an ascetic (crazy holy man type that covers his body with ashes of the cremated), but also likes to hang with the wife (Parvati) and kids (Ganesha, the elephant head god and Skanda). Two things make him a badass (covering your own body with ashes isn't badass -- it's just icky). One, his symbol is a penis, and how awesome is that? No cross needed for this guy. Two, when it's time to destroy the world, Shiva does his dance (pictured left) and it's bye-bye universe.

8. Nemesis Today the term nemesis is interchangeable with an arch foe. Case and point: Lex Luthor is often called the nemesis of Superman. Right? Wrong. The Greek goddess Nemesis was the instrument of punishment of the gods when mortals got too big for their britches (hubris) or when a crime needed avenging. Ergo, a nemesis (going  by the myth) could only be a hero. Make sure you point that out when one of your geek buddies mentions that the Red Skull is Captain America's nemesis.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Radical Secularism In New York City Schools

Step one:
Drop your pants
As some of you may know New York City is implementing a citywide curriculum for sex education. Previously, school principals have had control over what has been taught (or not) in the classroom, which strikes me as a haphazard system, to say the least. However, the evil bureaucrats in City Hall are trying to plant their radical agenda in the squishy topsoil of today's youth.
The sex-education curriculum — packages of lesson plans titled HealthSmart and Reducing the Risk — describes abstinence as the best method to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It includes lessons on how to use a condom and discussions about the appropriate age for sexual activity.
Who will protect students from this sick message of abstinence, knowledge, and responsibility?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Talking To My Kids About Death

Our dog is going to die some time soon. Ruby, our Rottweiler/Pit bull mix, is going to be 14 years old in November. Whoever tells you age is just a number has not seen my dog. She sleeps twenty five hours a day taking breaks only for napping and the occasional jaunt outside to use the backyard as her personal toilet (perhaps that's an exaggeration, but not by much). Thankfully, her hips are still good and although she isn't sprinting up the stairs she is still able to navigate them on her own. Of course, the question is how do I talk to my kids about our family losing a member in the near future?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Buddhist Idiocy

Buddha, in his thinner days.

Some forms of Buddhism are idiotic. Period.

Here at Purgatory I heap mounds of abuse on Christianity (the hometown favorite), Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and, yes, I have some pointed comments about Zoroastrianism, too. Buddhism, however, has been a difficult target to hit.

Not today.

On August 4th a group of Buddhists decided to aid an oppressed group. Did the Buddhists choose to help inner city kids or vets who, once they came back from Iraq or Afghanistan, have post traumatic stress disorder or brain trauma? No.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Push For Sharia Law In Britain

I found this on reddit and thought I'd share it.   

While looking at some of the comments for the video on Youtube I saw this response.

Oh for f*ck sake, this will never happen.
Their 'campaign' is laughed at by 99% of Muslims.
I asked my workmate, who is Muslim and has family in and from Pakistan and he just f*cking rage quit watching this.
His words were 'These are the type of people who should be deported.'
And I agree that a vast majority of Muslims do not want to be enslaved by Sharia Law. However, let's not fool ourselves -- vocal, motivated minorities often steer policy. The Bolsheviks (the brand of communists who eventually took over Russia in 1917) were a minority group in Russia for quite a long time, but they were willing to rob banks, rat out each other to the authorities, and had a charismatic leader (Lenin). The Tea Party, regardless of what you think of their politics, have not only taken over the Republican Party, but also American fiscal policy (more or less), and heavily influenced the global economy -- and they are in the minority.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Religious Group Declares Holy War!

The Church for the Flattening of the Earth declared holy war today in the sleepy town of Whitman, MA. William S. Zinn, leader and Grand Vizier of the church, appeared at high noon on the deck of his house to address the "crowd" of five, sometimes six (local Roy Bimm arrived late due to an unexpected pizza delivery order being placed just before his break) adherents as well as local media. Here is his speech.

I Will Defend Your Rights Even When You're Dead Wrong

I got an email from the organization My Fellow American and was asked to post this video on Purgatory. First, I will show the video, and then relay my message back to them.

Here is my email back.
I think I will post the video on Purgatory. Of course, having read my blog you understand that though I think religion (including Islam) is a noxious, backward, and barbaric I will defend Muslim rights, as I would anyone else's liberty. 
And when I say Muslim rights I'm not saying special rights, priviledges, etc.

But regular readers of Laughing in Purgatory already know that.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

God Is Such An A**hole or More Fun Reading 1 Samuel

I'm happy. I'm evil.
I work for YAHWEH.
1 Samuel is a veritable minefield of OMG! God is such an a**shole!

I have written two posts already about 1 Samuel (here and here). As a quick recap Saul had become king of Israel and then lost God's support (HE does that quite often). Samuel, the prophet, finds David and anoints him as God's future holy despot of the Jews.

Now does God smite Saul down and say in a booming voice "David is MY guy! Do what he says!" (YAHWEH likes exclamation points.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm reading through Michael Shermer's newest book The Believing Brain and let me first say it's an enjoyable read. However, this post is not about that book, per se, but about a site mentioned there: As the name suggests the site is about examining one's virtues via questionnaires while comparing said results to the average liberal and conservative scores. This isn't some hair brained system devised by a 13 year old in his mum's basement either. Johnathan Haidt is a psychology professor at the University of Virginian and used a sample size of 118,000 people worldwide to gauge their moral processes. Their seems to be five dimensions to how a person determines what is "right".  Here is a snapshot of each pillar of morality.
  • Harm/care - empathy and compassion
  • Fairness/reciprocity - a sense of justice (I prefer to think of this as the superhero virtue, but I am biased as my results will show.)
  • In-group/loyalty - taken to the extreme this is the "gangster ethic" where loyalty to your crew trumps all else
  • Authority/respect - know your place and play your position (once again my own bias springs up)
  • Purity/sanctity - I actually brought this up in conversation a week ago before reading this part of Shermer's book (I had read an article in The Economist that was in this vein). A dimension of our moral reasoning is based on the ICK! factor. When people talk about moral purity they are basing that opinion on the instinctual drive to be tidy. Why do many heterosexuals dislike gays? It's because the gays do icky things.
As you can guess liberals typically value harm/care and fairness/reciprocity higher than conservatives. Conservatives on the average place greater emphasis on in-group/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity than liberals.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Good Book Sucks

I found this on the Friendly Atheist. This vid is a damning review of why the so called "good book" isn't good. Enjoy.

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