Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hell, an Overview

A Bulgarian depiction of Hell.

I found last week's Economist article Hell: Into everlasting fire an interesting multicultural and historical overview of the quintessential place that you do not want to be (5AM at the local Walmart on Black Friday is, of course, is a close second). The Economist has a particular style to its articles. A vast majority of them adhere to the Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears speech made by Marc Antony in Julius Caesar. Mr Antony starts on on how he has come to bury Caesar, not praise him. Of course, that is what he ends up doing. The Economist article starts along a similar line of reasoning stating that Hell is to many an antiquated relic -- The devils and pitchforks, the brimstone clouds and wailing souls, have been cleared away, rather as a mad aunt might be shut up in the attic.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Westboro Baptist Church to Start Hosting Birthday Parties

Your kid's birthday just got awesome thanks to the Westboro Baptist Church!

Topeka, Kansas The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) has announced that it is in the childrens birthday party business. The church that is infamous for picketing funerals carrying signs that read Thank God for Dead Soldiers and God Hates Fag Enablers has chosen to soften its public image. "The 250,000 signatures on the online White House petition to label our church a hate group was a real wake up call," stated a high ranking anonymous informant within the 40 member congregation. "Who knew we were so unpopular?"

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Boy Found God (Again)

Yes, I make memes based on my chickens.

OK, maybe not God, but the Christmas spirit did rekindle his faith in Santa Claus. Long time readers of Purgatory may remember that my boy, Will, was a passionate Santa apologist (i.e., defender of the faith) two years ago when he was 8. At that time he was developing all sorts of theories on how one man with the assistance of eight flying reindeer could circle the world in one 24 hour period, get into houses and deposit gifts. Not satisfied with the "it's magic" hypothesis, his mind grappled with the metaphysics involved for such a feat to occur. Last year, Will broke through the faith bubble when he pieced together that all the evidence pointed to the fact that the Wife and I were the ones who placed presents in stockings under the guise of the jolly old elf. He asked if we were Santa and I told him yes, with the provision that he could not tell his younger sister, Ali, the secret.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Poll: What Holiday do You Celebrate This Time of Year?

I was on Atheist Revolution and reading the post Secular Alternatives to Christmas. That got me to wondering about the holiday season and whether or not my family does the "typical" atheist thing. I'm sitting across from our artificial tree (the Wife is allergic to the real ones). We call it a Christmas tree even though both of our kids understand that Christianity absorbed (ripped off?) various aspects of other faiths. Our stockings are hung with not so much care, but they will be filled on Christmas morning. While our oldest, Will, who is ten, doesn't believe in Santa, Ali, who is seven, does believe in him fervently. The Wife and I have decided to keep the myth of Santa going. It's a harmless belief, considering that there are no pro-Santa suicide bombers running about.

Of course, none of the Christian myths swirling about this holiday season are taken seriously in our home.

What about you? There is a poll up in the upper left corner of the blog asking you what, if any, holiday you celebrate this time of year. Feel free to comment below.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Tea Party Nation Blames Godlessness in the Latest Tim Tebow Fiasco

I was going to sleep the other night, and trying to get my head around doing another Mike Huckabee post concerning Tim Tebow not getting the lead quarterback job over at the Jets. And then it struck me: I really, really, really dislike Tea Party Nation's email that they sent out to their members Barbarians at the Gates of Sandy Hook.  I take offense when barbarians call the smarties barbarians, so I dedicated my guest post at Atheist Pig, Tea Party Nation Blames Godlessness in the Latest Tim Tebow Fiasco to them. In this post I riffed on the Tea Party, Tim Tebow, and The Lord's Prayer while offering commentary on the general state of human stupidity.

Laughing against the Darkness,


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mike Huckabee Blames Unknown Future Disaster on Two Gay Guys Getting Engaged at the White House

Mike Huckabee announcing his new clothing line.

*Mike Huckabee has announced that a future disaster of biblical proportions will be directly caused by Mathew Phelps and Ben Shock getting engaged at the White House. Mr Phelps, an active duty Marine Corps Captain, popped the question to his beau yesterday, and then the happy couple posed in front of the White House Holiday Tree for a picture. Within minutes of the story breaking, Mike Huckabee wrote on that the upcoming nuptials had sealed the deal on the smiting of America.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Atheist Rage Tweets

It's been a few days since I've done a blog post. I spent Saturday night self medicating with beer and rum over the horror of the school shooting and the idiocy that erupted afterwards. It was one of those evenings where the waitress repeatedly asked my more sober compatriots, "He's not driving,right?" Now, I could give an extended analysis of the shooting and the reactions to the reactions to the reactions, but I don't think you come to Purgatory for that. No, there are other sites for such things. Instead I offer up a series of tweets and one comment I placed on the Huffington Post. I offer up to you these aphorisms. Some are funny, all are raw.
This is Purgatory.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Feminist Atheist Blogger Accuses Produce of Misogyny

"Atheists' refrigerators are infested with misogyny. I have here in my hand a list of 205 -- a list of vegetables and fruit that harbor anti-woman beliefs and engage in anti-woman practices," stated prominent feminist/atheist blogger Michelle McCarthy. Ms McCarthy uttered those words recently at the Skeptic Symposium held at Wheeling, West Virginia. She continued to state that she had seen firsthand how misogynistic cabals were being formed in her own vegetable crisper when the little light was off. The only way she could find to thwart the evil plot from spreading outside the fridge to the bananas was to jerry-rig the light to stay on at all times and then eat lots and lots of salad.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why Miracles Have Gone Extinct

Arkham, Massachusetts Metaphysical physicists gathered earlier today at Miskatonic University to attend the Miracles, What Happened to You?  symposium. The conference was co hosted with the esteemed theological scientists from the Theological Institute of Technology (TIT). Attendees enjoyed a day of faith-based lectures on such cutting edge topics like Teaching the Controversy: Ptolemy's Geocentric Model and The General Pernicious Effects on Children by Teaching Specific Relativity. However, the meat and potatoes of the august event centered on Miskatonic's own Professor Atwood's paper The Miraculous Extinction Event of Major Miracles.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Freedom From Religion Foundation Sends a Letter to the Mayor of Taunton, MA

A friend and member of the local atheist group I belong to, Brockton, Ma Area Atheists, contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation concerning the nativity scene on city property in Taunton, MA. Below is the letter the FRRF sent to the mayor.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Sheldon Cooper's Guest Post

Guest blogger Sheldon Cooper, writer of the blog, Ramblings of Sheldon is a closeted agnostic and a longtime fan of Laughing in Purgatory.

(Yes, the screen name does come from the character in the TV show, The Big Bang Theory, if you were wondering....)
I have found out from personal experience that sometimes coming out about your unbelief can be a little easier than what you expect it to be, even though I haven't told very many people about losing my former fundamentalist beliefs, including my family, I have come out to two of my closest friends, and that was quite an experience.....

It was on a Saturday night, and there had been a Sunday School class "hangout" at the apartment where my Sunday School teachers at the time lived, for some reason that I can't remember, something came up that caused both the husband and wife had to leave, and surprisingly they were fine with the three remaining people in the group staying around after they were gone, they just said to lock the doors on your out.

Well, that just left me alone with my longtime friends Sam and Rose (not their actual names), two people that have been very important in my life. Two people that I would trust to tell them anything. As will happen in groups like this, conversations after a while will turn back to faith, and one's spiritual life and discussions on theology. Sam starts talking about the church, and how it was at the time, and how he felt it wasn't really meeting his spiritual needs, the Sunday School, etc. I didn't know what to say.

Obviously I didn't know what to do at this point. Of course the church isn't meeting my spiritual needs at this point, by then I had already known for about 6 months or so that I was no longer a fundamentalist, and I had given up on Christianity altogether, but I had told no one this up until this point.

Until then, I told told a very small group of people that I had doubts, including the husband in the Sunday School teacher duo I had mentioned earlier. He had recommended that I read books from his favorite minister, John Piper. That I had done, and pray constantly, and no matter how much I felt guilt for doubting, and apologized to god for it, it never seemed like prayers were going past the ceiling. (I wonder why...)

I kept reading the Bible to find the answers to my doubts within my own faith at the time, but all I ended up with were more doubts, and confusion over the contradictions and barbarity contained within that I had tried to excuse away or ignore while I was still trying to defend my faith.

I was always past the point of no return, and I felt like a spot light was on me, if I didn't give a response it would seem odd, so I just let it all out right then and there.

Sam wanted to know more, and questioned without condemnation why I had come to this conclusion, Rose, well she was just dumbfounded. I wasn't surprised by that reaction, I mean, after all until this point, I had the image of being one of the most solid fundamentalists around, not in an arrogant, holier than thou way (at least not to people in the church, now non-fundamentalist would disagree), and the resident theology expert.

I knew the Bible thoroughly, I knew all the arguments, I was everybody's idea of a solid Christian in those circles, and in a few moments all of that perception was shattered completely, catching Sam and Rose unaware. It was a shocking revelation, and a discussion that went on for about 2 hours.

So many questions: What led you to this point.....? Do you even believe in god anymore....? Will you be staying the church....? I answered them all, and did my best to reassure that though my beliefs had changed, I was still the same person as before.

In the end, that night, I felt better that at least someone finally knew, it was a relief, at least two people that I cared about know now, at least someone understands.

It has been a year and a half now, and they still accept me for whom I am, it may not seem like such a big deal, but for some people, religion is taken far too seriously, it consumes them to the point that are willing to reject people that don't fit into their narrow ideals that it becomes what some call "religious addiction".

Their beliefs become everything to them, and they don't want people around that no longer believe, it's threatening to them, if someone who once believed no longer does, than what does that mean for them? I think this fear is what drives people to think that if someone leaves their version of fundamentalist Christianity that they were never a "true Christian" in the first place, they many say that, but they know the truth.

It scares them to think that someone who was the real deal, lived the life, could leave it, and it makes them insecure about their own faith, and worried that it's a possibility for them.

Thankfully, that didn't happen with Sam and Rose, today they are still both fundamentalists, but are more relaxed and somewhat more open minded than they used to be, it's a slow process, but they may eventually come around to the same conclusions that I did.

I would like to think that my honesty with them about my unbelief had something to do with that.

Next step will be coming out to my family, who is more fundamentalist than even Sam and Rose were.

On the other hand, I think I'll wait on that, maybe for a another year or two, small steps.....

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Boycott the Boy Scouts Meme Bonanza!

Well, it's been a few days since a group of atheist bloggers urged their readers not to buy the Boy Scouts merchandise this holiday season. I've been making memes concerning this issue for a while, and I thought I'd share them all with you here.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Boycott the Boy Scouts of America

One of my many memes I've cranked out.

I brought my kids, Ali and Will (ages 8 and 10), to see me vote at our town hall on November 6th. I didn't need to. We had childcare set up later that day, and I could have done voted on my way to work. However, just as I try to teach the kids to be  responsible in their personal life, I make a "good faith" effort for them to learn what it means to learn to be responsible civically. There wasn't a line for my particular precinct. In and out -- the whole process took five minutes, if that.

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