Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Seven Things I'm Not Giving Up For Lent

As many of you know we are currently knee-deep in Lent. From Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday many Christians give up certain activities in remembrance of Jesus' supposed fasting for 40 days and nights in the desert before starting his ministry.

Being an atheist as well as a contrarion this post is designed to proclaim to all what I'm not giving up during this season of Lent.

7. I'm not giving up eating Five Guys cheeseburgers.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Children Of Darkness?

Who is the real child of darkness?


I have to be totally honest with you all, I listen to Christian radio. That's right, when I'm driving alone in the car (I don't want my kids to be exposed to such dangerous absurdities) I'll occasionally switch on 90.5 FM and see what's going on amongst the deluded. Today's message was all about Ephesians 5:8
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Cat Is Gone

Death is never easy to explain to a child. Some years ago our cat, Cleo, had to be put down due to a tumor. Ali was still a toddler, but our boy Will grasped the severity of the situation. The Wife and I had sat him down and explained that Cleo was sick and she was in pain. What we needed to do was to bring her to our vet where Cleo would be painlessly killed. The conversation was necessary. The conversation was blunt. The conversation was teary for all of us. Kids understand a lot and are more resilient than many adults give them credit for. As we placed Cleo into the cat carrier for the last time our boy placed a picture of him and the cat in with her so "She wouldn't be alone."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Burning My Copy Of The God Delusion

An open letter to the Muslims who are protesting the supposed inappropriate burning of their holy book.

Dear Protesting Muslims,

In order to provide a valuable lesson in maturity, I have decided to burn my edition of The God Delusion. Please be aware that you will not see hordes of atheists in the streets chanting inane slogans and inciting riots after this act. You will not see atheists shooting guns in the air and carrying on. While you act like a gaggle of dangerously psychotic mental patients off their medications, atheists will shrug their shoulders and continue to be productive members of society even when one of their best written books on godlessness went up in flames. In case you haven't understood the intent of this letter allow me to sum it up in two words: Grow up.

Friday, February 24, 2012

God's War Against Smartphones

Spritual enemy #1!

God's special brand of faith-based Jewish lunacy, the Haredim, have initiated another holy campaign against the 21st century. The target of the ultra-Orthodox is the menace posed by *smartphones and Apple products. And what's really sad is that the religious don't come up with new arguments against new technology. Note the stale rhetoric of those holding Bronze Age beliefs,
Pashkevilim (religious ads) published in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods last weekend, claim the iPod, iPad, Blackberry and iPhone may deteriorate children's education to "bottomless pits"
Isn't it always about the children? If you don't like gay marriage simply say it endangers your child. Aren't you in favor of censorship? Don't you care about the kids? I actually had a conversation the other day with an intelligent atheist about legalizing marijuana, and her reason for opposing it was that it would be bad for the kids. Right. Taking marijuana off the black market and setting safeguards against under aged people from using the drug is bad, and regulating the contents of a widely used drug is somehow dangerous.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Religious Organizations Wouldn't Insure These Medical Procedures

What, his insurance doesn't cover non faith-based procedures?
I'm sure everyone has heard that Catholic organizations are pushing for the ability to dictate what medical procedures their employees have access to. There are currently bills in both houses to make sure that the religious can dictate their morality to their employees. But let's think about this for a moment. What would the US look like if every faith had an opt out provision for what is covered in their employee health plans?

My Boy's First Star Trek Episode

We'll forget about TJ Hooker and focus on James T Kirk

There should be some right of passage ceremony when a young boy first watches James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise seek out new life forms and go where no *man has gone before. A few days before the august event I was searching through the TV listings and saw that the episode Space Seed was on later that day. Excitedly I set our DVR to record.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Yahweh: The Original Gangsta -- Finishing Up 1 Kings

Truly, an old school mob boss.

I've written on how Yahweh could easily be mistaken for a super villain, but after finishing 1 Kings there is a strong case for the Lord to be more of a crime boss. The last time we left the Almighty, He had provided empirical evidence that He actually existed. However, even after the divinely inspired slaughter of the priests of Baal, Ahab, the king of the Northern Kingdom, still does evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Free Debunking Handbook Available

Just because you're right doesn't
mean you will sway opinions.
I found out while reading Debunking Christianity this morning that The Debunking Handbook is available to be downloaded for free (click here). It's a very small piece, having only six pages of debunking methodology and a one page bibliography, but the handbook does cover some interesting points on what not to do when debunking. I'm keeping it on my desktop as a reference guide.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What If People Knew There Wasn't A God?

What if people had proof there isn't a God? is a strictly hypothetical question. It's simply impossible to know for sure that there isn't a deity of some kind floating around out there. Even though it's rational to say that there is no reliable evidence to support the statement God exists, it doesn't mean that the idea can be thrown out altogether. (The chances of any God existing is slim. The odds that the sociopathic Yahweh of the Bible and His kid is (are?) the real God is infinitesimally small). However, let's say that suddenly the population of the world knew that there isn't a God. What kind of world would that look like? How would people act?

Yes, thermonuclear reactions will still occur
if everyone stops believing in God.

Regardless of the hype, the sun would still come up in the east and set in the west.

This will come as a surprise to people who believed that God was the superglue of the universe. Without the divine adhesive binding the cosmos together, many a fundamentalist would assume the Earth to fly off its orbit and be hurled into the Sun or into the icy reaches of space.

Without God, children would be killing their
siblings. Oh, that already was happening?

The religious would now have to choose whether or not to become sociopaths.

Would normal, everyday mentally stable Catholics, Muslims, Jews, etc. decide to go out there and start murdering fellow citizens? I'm going to predict that people who were basically moral  before the hypothetical "Great Enlightenment" are still going to use that basic piece of moral technology called the Golden Rule. On the other hand, the once religious will be able to have the psychological freedom to question the morality of denying homosexuals human rights or whether or not eating bacon is a mark of moral superiority.

Johnathan Swift: master of the absurd.

People would find new, stupid reasons to kill each other.

We are an inventive species, aren't we? In lieu of a divine mandate to crack each others' heads open, we would find important policy differences with other homosapiens that will require wholesale destruction of life and property. Johnathan Swift in Gulliver's Travels illustrated this point in the mythical state of Lilliput.

 The novel further describes an intra-Lilliputian quarrel over the practice of breaking eggs. Traditionally, Lilliputians broke boiled eggs on the larger end; a few generations ago, an Emperor of Lilliput had decreed that all eggs be broken on the smaller end. The differences between Big-Endians (those who broke their eggs at the larger end) and Little-Endians had given rise to "six rebellions... wherein one Emperor lost his life, and another his crown". 
 Personally speaking, I'm a Little-Ender.

What? The aliens are commies?

Cults! Cults! Cults!

We don't need no stinkin' God for a religion. Look at Scientology: Obviously a cult (yes, all religions are cults), that has space aliens playing a central role. Think of the Great Enlightenment as an extinction event for God(s). Something would have to fill that social/psychological space. Do you seriously think that skepticism/secularism would rush in to fill the void?

Silly Rabbit.

In a wink of an eye there would be a cottage industry of demagogues on TV cranking out reasons why you should give them all your money in order to save yourself from your own miserable life. Perhaps the aristocracy of pop psychology, ala Dr Phil, would become one of the bishops of the new moral order.

In that case be afraid.

Be very afraid.

Even if everyone stopped believing in God...

this is still Purgatory.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Poll: Is The World Getting More Religious?

I was just reading this week's Economist magazine. There is a special report on Pakistan, and the trend in that country is far from comforting.

Even before 2001, life in Pakistan was becoming Islamised. Zia ul Haq, the military dictator who ruled from 1977 to 1988, was a religious fanatic. Under him the school curriculum became far more rigidly Islamic. The failings of state education have meant that more and more children attend religious schools, madrassas, of which according to one recent study there are about 20,000, with a student body of 2m-3m. The large numbers of Pakistani migrant workers in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere come home inculcated with stricter forms of Islam than the tolerant, mystical saint-worship of Pakistan’s Sufi tradition.- The Economist,  In the shadow of the mosque

The trend of growing religiosity isn't confined to the Muslim world either. I've voiced the fear on other blogs (The Atheist Rabbi, for one) that Israel can be on the road of becoming the Pakistan of Judaism.

The fastest-growing population groups in Israel are those least plugged in to the high-tech economy: Israeli Arabs, who lag educationally, and haredim (ultra-orthodox Jews), whom the government pays to study the Torah. Two-thirds of working-age haredi men don’t work. They do procreate, however. In 1960 only 15% of Israeli schoolkids attended Arab or haredi schools. Now it’s about 50%, and if current trends continue it will be 78% by 2040, according to the Taub Centre, an Israeli think-tank. - the Economist, The promised land needs people.
Also, I've written about how Christians in Uganda, whipped up into a froth by their Christian brothers and sisters in America, are pushing for the death penalty for gays. A similar bill has been proposed in the predominantly Christian West African country of Liberia.

Former Liberian first lady Jewel Howard Taylor has introduced a bill making homosexuality liable to a death sentence, amid a raging debate over gay rights in the country, a lawmaker said Wednesday. Liberia ex-first lady proposes tough anti-gay bill 
And I know that many of you will say that a large percentage of people under thirty in America are not religious.

But America isn't the world.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Yahweh Runs Another Experiment

Elijah: ancient scientist?

I'm currently reading through 1 Kings and came across incident where God provides evidence of His existence. For those following my Reading the Bible in Purgatory series, you may remember how Gideon, God's leader who saved the Jewish people back in Judges, designed a few experiments to determine what the Almighty really wanted. Fast forward to 1 Kings and we have the prophet Elijah doing battle against the priests of the god Baal and the goddess Asherah. At the time Ahab was king of the Northern Kingdom and his wife Jezebel allowed the Canaanite priests to run amok in Yahweh's land.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Helen Ukpabio Fights Against Child Witches

Obviously, an agent of Satan.

I found out about this story on a piece posted on the blog Child Myths titled Child Witches in America, and Related Matters.

Helen Ukpabio, head of the *Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries in Nigeria has a history of fighting against the demonic possession of young children -- child witches. Ms. Ukpabio has made an industry of saving very young children from the clutches of Satan.
Their fellow villagers have often seen DVDs of “End of the Wicked,” Ms. Ukpabio’s bloody 1999 movie purporting to show how the devil captures children’s souls. And some have read her book “Unveiling the Mysteries of Witchcraft,” where she confidently writes that “if a child under the age of 2 screams in the night, cries and is always feverish with deteriorating health, he or she is a servant of Satan.”  - New York Times

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Massachusetts Family Fights Against "Under God" In The Pledge

Did you know that Jesus is American?

I thought I'd share this article I found about an atheist family fighting the absurdity of having "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.
ACTON (FOX 25 / - An Acton family has reportedly asked a Massachusetts judge to order Acton schools to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. 
The plaintiffs – who are atheists and call themselves the "Does" to protect their identity – claim Acton schools discriminate against atheist children when they say the Pledge. 
The Does argue that schools discriminate against atheist children by taking part in a Pledge that makes them feel “marginalized,” the Boston Herald reports. Superior Court Judge Jane Haggerty will hear arguments Monday in Doe vs. Acton-Boxborough Regional School District.
In Brookline, a group called "Brookline Pax" had asked the town to vote in favor of a resolution calling for the school committee to rescind its Pledge of Allegiance policy and stop the Pledge from being recited in the schools.
This was my tongue-in-cheek comment.
I don't know why people who hate America live in America! I say to all those people who harbor anti-democratic and anti-American feelings to go back to their holy lands where they belong. Long live the Secular Republic!

Top Ten Reasons Why My Beer Is Better Than Your God.

Thinking about the next insipid thing to way.

10. Even while I'm drunk I make more sense than Pat Robertson.

I've been drunk many a time and have talked much smack. However, at no point have I gotten even close to the insanity that spews out of this guy's mouth like, hurricane Katrina was caused by America's abortion laws or that 9/11 was God's way of punishing America for the gays and pagans.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Darwin Day 2012

Happy Darwin Day 2012!

Here's a video that accurately captures the great man's life.

Favorite line from the above clip: My name is DarWIN not Darlose.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Attacking The Language Of Faith

Religion: The absurdity that brings about tragedy.

Atheists need to work actively towards the day when theists are embarrassed to admit in public that they are: Christians, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, or a member of any team that primarily engages in faith-based thinking. To put it quite simply we need to do to those religious terms what conservatives have done to the word liberal. Once upon a time liberals were actually happy to call themselves liberals. And then came the scorched earth policy of conservatives that belittled and undermined the term to the point that no one outside Cambridge, Ma dare call themselves liberal.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Martin Luther - The Godfather Of The Holocaust Part 2

This is an email I shot off to the head of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. I wrote a post two days ago concerning Martin Luther's opinion on the Jews.

To Rev. Dr. Matthew C., President of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church,
As an American and a father of two young children I was shocked to find out that the organization you head is named after a German national who held anti-Semitic and anti-democratic views. This scoundrel proposed the burning of synagogues as well as Jewish homes. He stated that rabbis should not teach on the pain of death. Not only did this rascal seek to deny Jews their faith as well as their residences, but he was against a popular uprising of the people who only wished to throw off the yoke of their tyrannical  rulers.  Of course, I am speaking of Martin Luther and his work “On the Jews and Their Lies” and Luther’s views on The Peasants’ War when he supported the Divine Right of Dictators.

I’m sure that you believe that you take the good and throw away the bad concerning Martin Luther’s teaching and that makes it OK. Using that logic the German railway system could be managed by a company named Hitler’s Rails since that anti-Semite and anti-democrat was able to make the trains run on time.
Andrew Hall

How Not To Parent

The Wife and I have certain expectations for our children, Ali and Will (6 and 9 years-old).
  • Become a competent swimmer.
  • Being able to defend yourself.
  • Be able to play one instrument competently.
  • Do well in school (B's are OK. A's are hoped for, and B- or lower means that a problem exists.)
  • Be kind.
  • Become a competent thinker. (Not falling into the typical cognitive pitfalls of our species.)
What you will notice from the above list is that we're not placing a huge amount of emphasis on gender roles. Do you know why? Because gender identity and learning your gender role takes care of itself. (The only time it doesn't is where the prejudices of society messes with your kid.) Take Ali, for example. The Wife hates the color pink and doesn't like dresses too much. Ali loves pink and loves to don a dress.  Will has never been too interested in the traditional girlie stuff or activities. He is a traditional geeky male child and loves talking about Pokemon and Greek gods. Somehow, the kids have turning out OK without us cramming down their throats how boys and girls should and shouldn't act.
Do you know what you get when you push and push a boy into being tough and masculine?


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Martin Luther: Grandfather Of The Holocaust

A statue of the proto-Nazi
outside St. Mary's in Berlin. 

You may think I'm exaggerating when I claim that Martin Luther, the leader of the Reformation and the person who the Lutheran Church is named for, was in all reality the grandfather of the Holocaust. Well, you can decide for yourself.

Here are excerpts from Martin Luther's 1543 work On the Jews and Their Lies.
What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blasphemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God we must practice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames. We dare not avenge ourselves. Vengeance a thousand times worse than we could wish them already has them by the throat. I shall give you my sincere advice:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What Does God Need With A Starship?

Science fiction can ask really deep questions disguised in dreadful costumes and pointy ears. Take this clip from Star Trek V.

Now, it may be an obvious question to ask "What does God need with a starship?" because the idea of God needing a starship to travel about His creation sounds crazy.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Homosexuality And Islam

Yes, it sucks to be gay in an Islamic country.

I was reading this week's Economist and found this article: Straight but narrow - A debate about homosexuality in Islam is beginning. But in Muslim lands persecution—and hypocrisy—are still rife. It's worth reading the entire article, but I want to cover some of the main points here.

First, here is a graph that shows the penalties for the crime of being a man and gay in some Islamic countries:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

When Church And State Have Worked Hand In Hand

I was reading The new Christian abolition movement on CNN's misnamed Belief Blog (I sent in my suggestion to rename the blog the Absurdity Ledger, but have not as of yet gotten a response). And this post isn't about how Christianity actually creates the demand for sex slaves by criminalizing prostitution in the first place. What I found interesting is one of the headings in the piece read  Church and state in an unlikely coalition. Really? Has the definition of unlikely changed and no one told me about it, because church and state always seem to be holding hands.
Here are only a few famous moments when church and state have worked together seemlessly.

Doing God's will.
The Confederate States of America

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Uganda And Gays: Hate The Sin And Kill The Sinner

Small country with a lot of CRAZY.
Uganda, that little country tucked away in south central Africa is home to a lot of crazy. I wrote a few months ago about the growing practice of child sacrifice by witch doctors in that country. However, this post isn't about the government trying to eradicate the barbaric practice of killing kids. No. This post is about the real enemy to the state of Uganda: the gays.

(As a side note, two buddies of mine are from Kenya, which borders Uganda. They agree that Uganda is a madhouse.)

Uganda, as I've written about before, has had an Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Parliament for quite a while. This bill if passed into law would make homosexuality punishable by death. There was an outcry amongst the international community against the bill, and I had thought that the bill had died.

It hasn't.
The Anti Homosexuality bill 2009 and the Marriage and Divorce bill are due for debate when parliament resumes business next week.
The Anti-Homosexuality bill 2009, moved by Ndorwa West MP, David Bahati is one of the bills to be considered on the agenda, despite calls from international human rights activists, donors and gays, out rightly rejected the bill. - from UG Pulse
The obvious question: Why would any sane government target gays?

The obvious answer: religion.
“Thanks to the absurd ideas peddled by American fundamentalists, we are constantly forced to respond to the myth — debunked long ago by scientists — that homosexuality leads to pedophilia. In Uganda, American evangelical Christians even held workshops and met with key officials to preach their message of hate shortly before a bill to impose the death penalty for homosexual conduct was introduced in Uganda’s Parliament in 2009.” - Frank Mugisha, Ugandan gay rights activist.
This is Purgatory.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reading 1 Kings: God Loves the 1%

God hates this woman.

Can we all agree that a cornerstone to a free society is that the law should be applied equally to rich and to the poor? And I know that pragmatically speaking this doesn't happen, but at least most people have the idea that in an ideal world justice is blind -- it should be carried out impartially. However, Yahweh does not ascribe to this principle as I'll make clear from my recent reading in 1 Kings. (If you want to look at another post on 1 Kings click here.)

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