Archive for July, 2011


Noah’s Ark

The Bible: if you've read it, you don't believe in God.

The Bible: if you've actually read it... you don't believe in God.

There’s not much to say about the Noah’s Ark story. The only people who believe it actually happened are a bunch of reality deprived Biblical literalists and God knows (heh) they’re delusional. The video’s below (by that awesome Aussie, NonStampCollector) more than adequately shows how ridiculous the story is (just in case, you know, you don’t happen to know how ridiculous the story is…)

Part 1

Part 2

I do wonder why an omnipotent being would be so… stupid about the whole thing? Perhaps God was experiencing an epic case of boredom…

Check out NonStampCollector’s YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/NonStampCollector

Atheist Pie!

Awesome Atheist Pie

Awesome Atheist Pie!

My wife made us Awesome Atheist Pie for supper this evening. Fillet steak, mushroom and feta filling. Oh, my, God (heh), it was awesomely delicious!

… and that is all I have to say about that.

 

Conversations in heaven

I found a video today that nicely illustrates and elaborates on the question I asked in my post on forgiveness:

What will you say to the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik when you meeting him in heaven? What conversation are you going to make with the millions of other murderers, thieves, rapists and child molesters who are going to be spending eternity with you?

I hate to start this dead-end discussion again but this time, courtesy of V00D00SIXXX, I have some video that illustrates my point about mass murdering Christians and going to heaven. Now, I know that ‘purist’ Christians might want to try to convince themselves mass murdering mad men don’t go to heaven but like I said before,  the rules for going to heaven in the Christian tradition are pretty straight forward and simple and are evangelised by Christian clergy to criminals all the time (so you have to wonder who’s confused here). These easy rules is why I think Christianity such a hit with America in particular, it’s the McDonalds of religions: easy to get into the religion, easy to get into heaven, you just gotta believe!

I agree completely with what V00D00SIXXX says in his video below: lots of good people are going to hell and lots of bad people are going to heaven. I remember the pastor at the church Sunday school I went to say it exactly like that: a lot of good people are going to hell and a lot of bad people are going to heaven. As you can imagine, this did nothing for Christianity’s credibility in my eyes…

The idea that good people are going to get tortured as a result of the decree of a ‘loving’ God while mass murderers and child rapists are going to spend eternity in ‘bliss’ is repugnant. It’s disgusting and is an ideology I refuse to accept. One I cannot accept.

Unexpectedly, I also found the one and only way Christians can rationalise the horrors that befall good people, Christians included, in the world. Other than copping out and saying they don’t know anyway. At the very least William Lane Craig (a man who defends the genocide in the Bible) believes that: (his) God has a wider view on reality than humans do, He can see everything where us humans can only see a small slice. This wider view means God knows the greater good and therefore He can allow tragedies like the shootings in Norway to happen because it’s for the greater good that we cannot see. So God can have morally sufficient reason to let babies starve, children get shot and old grannies get raped. Us pathetic little humans just can’t see the greater good.

The problem with this seriously screwed up rationalisation is, as V00D00SIXXX points out, is that literally everything is good then. It doesn’t matter what it is, that it happened means God let it happen and it’s good, we just don’t ‘understand’ it. The problem is then that you then have no basis for your morality because everything is good. If it happens, God let it happen, ergo it is good and pure, we just don’t know why. Everything is good. Including the rape of grannies and babies.

Have I mentioned I find this repugnant? And the Christians who also find this idea repugnant? How do they explain the Jesus’s lack of interest in the murder of the 80+ children in Norway by one of His followers? They have not, as far as I am aware.

So what conversation will Christians make with these terrible people with whom they are to share eternity with? It’s a big thing. I mean, how do you broach the subject of the torture, rape and murder your atheist daughter, who at that point is being tortured for eternity, with the guy that’s with you there in heaven?

I bet the conversations in heaven are going to be just, freaking, awesome.

I just read a post by Sam Harris and he makes a couple of good points. Sam thinks that Breivik was probably not a fundamentalist Christian which is fair enough. That he was a Christian I don’t doubt though.  This bit was pretty interesting:

The emergence of “Christian” terrorism in Europe does absolutely nothing to diminish or simplify the problem of Islam—its repression of women, its hostility toward free speech, and its all-too-facile and frequent resort to threats and violence. Islam remains the most retrograde and ill-behaved religion on earth. And the final irony of Breivik’s despicable life is that he has made that truth even more difficult to speak about.

Read the full post here: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/christian-terrorism-and-islamophobia/

Tolerance.

The ultimate irony.

The ultimate irony - using freedom of expression to try and limit other people's freedom of expression.

I was sent the following piece by Nichola Romney of http://nicholaromney.blogspot.com/.

It’s one of the funnies things I’ve read all week and it’s spot on:

I am truly perplexed  that so many of my friends are against another mosque being built  in Auckland.

I think it  should be the goal of every New Zealander to be  tolerant.

Thus the Mosque  should be allowed, in an effort to promote  tolerance.

That is why I also  propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque,  thereby promoting tolerance from within the mosque.

We could  call one of the clubs, which would be gay, “The Turban Cowboy  “,  and the other a topless bar called “You Mecca Me  Hot.”

Next door should  be a butcher’s shop that specializes in pork, and adjacent to that  an open-pit barbecue pork restaurant, called “Iraq o’ Ribs.”

Across the  street there could be a lingerie store called “Victoria Keeps  Nothing Secret”, with sexy mannequins in the window modeling the  goods.

Next door to the  lingerie shop there would be room for an adult sex toy shop: “Koranal Knowledge “; its name in flashing neon lights, and on the  other side a liquor store called  “Morehammered.”

All of this would  encourage the Muslims to demonstrate the tolerance they demand of  us, so the mosque problem would be solved.

If you agree  with promoting tolerance, and you think this is a good plan,  please pass it on…

(I do not know who the original author is but if I find out, I will credit them here)

Tolerance is a two-way street. Many people seem to forget that.

Love it.

Forgiveness.

Forgiveness? Ask, and it shall be given you - Luke 11:9

Forgiveness? Ask, and it shall be given you - Luke 11:9

Quick question for Christians: what will you say to the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik when you meeting him in heaven? What conversation are you going to make with the millions of other murderers, thieves, rapists and child molesters who are going to be spending eternity with you?

Anders Behring Breivik is a Christian; he believes in Jesus Christ, he believes Jesus Christ is his personal ‘Lord and Saviour’. I can assure you he asks for forgiveness for all the bad things he’s done and I can assure you he’s sincere. Misguided, mad, crazy, but completely sincere.

And as I predicted in my previous post, I have just seen a Christian I know use the “he’s not a True Christian™” apology. So here’s another question: how do Christians, since they just have again, determine what a True Christian™ actually is? How do you decide? By what measure?

Isn’t it time for a rethink of those evidence-less beliefs of yours?

Norwegian shooting victim

Norwegian shooting victim | Nobody saw it coming.

Since when I heard about the horrifying tragedy in Norway yesterday I’ve been trying to think of something to say. The reason it’s so difficult is that I didn’t just want to repeat the themes of many of my previous posts.The problem is that all of those themes apply to this situation.

What I understand from the news reports I watched is that a Christian mad man shot and killed more than eighty children at a youth camp. Horror on that scale is pretty hard to imagine, I have to say, especially in a society so well-adjusted as that of Norway (a country very high up on my list of places I need to visit).

I figure by now the ‘not a True Christian™’ rationalisation has been run out in every other Christian’s mind since what else are they going to do? So fine, the guy is a deranged mad man and not every Christian is going to murder a bunch of children in cold blood and I suppose the possibility exists that he didn’t do this solely because of his faith (but that remains to be seen). The point is that the man IS a Christian.

Now, I know a lot of Christians. I might even have used the word ‘Christian’ to describe myself when I was younger. I went to several different churches and denominations and literally everybody in the schools I went to were Christian in some way or another. This is what I know about Christians: they pray to Jesus, a lot. The more they believe, the more they pray. The people I knew prayed in the morning, before sports matches, before supper, before bed and for and about a hundred things in-between.

I think then, it would be safe to say that Anders Behring Breivik was praying furiously in the weeks leading up to this tragedy and was probably praying like he never prayed before while he was mowing innocent children down with a machine gun. And presumably he was praying for some kind of success, possibly protection from his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

It is safe to say that Anders Behring Breivik would probably call his mission a resounding success.

I think then that it is not too far fetched to assume that almighty, omnipresent Jesus Christ must then have been well aware of what was going to happen before hand and what was happening during the attack. Since I saw news reports that stated that eighty plus children were murdered over the course of more than an hour, I think it is safe to conclude that it happened and that either:

  • Jesus approves of the murder of innocent children and so didn’t stop His mad follower from killing them
  • Jesus doesn’t approve of the murder of Children but for some reason couldn’t stop the man from murdering children
  • Jesus has some kind of master plan that involves nigh on a hundred children being murdered

If you’re  Christian and reading this, please go ahead and give me your rationalisation below in the comments, I am actually genuinely interested in how you make this work in your mind. From where I am sitting, it seems to me that Jesus Christ is either an accessory to mass murder, impotent, deranged or doesn’t exist. No points for guessing which one of those is the most likely.

It infuriates me to know that on this very Sunday millions of pious Christians are sitting in their respective churches doing mental gymnastics to make a horror of epic proportions fit into their misguided, irrational, impossible religion.

The massive irony in this debacle is that there are going to millions and millions of prayers for Norway, Norwegians, the poor children. For what? What exactly are they praying for? For Jesus to save the poor children? For Jesus to fix yet another monstrous fuck up by one of His followers? Don’t any of them question how He could let such a terrible thing happen in the first place?

There is no Jesus. There is no God. Bad people do bad things. There is no supernatural power that can or will magically fix things for you. There is no supernatural power that is going to make anything better, ever. Prayer does nothing except make the person praying feel better. Praying exists so that people can feel that they’ve done something without actually having to do anything.

My thoughts are with you Norway. You do not deserve this. The secular, tolerant society you have built is worthy of respect and the world would do well to imitate you. Be strong and come out of this better; do not let a bunch of deranged religionuts drag you down and kill your spirit.

Rainbows: they're caused by refraction in water droplets, not by the promises of sky fairies

Rainbows: they're caused by the refraction of light in water droplets, not by the promises of sky fairies.

A fundamental tenet of religion is faith. Faith is belief in something without evidence. In the Christian sense that would be a belief in Jesus Christ (among many other things). Christians in particular celebrate ‘faith’ since it’s the core of their religion: believe (without evidence) in Jesus Christ, accept him as your ‘Lord and Saviour’ and you’ll be ‘saved’ (go to heaven to live in paradise forever). Christians accept the ‘truth’ of the Bible, that their God exists and that He had a ‘son’ Jesus Christ on faith, without any empirical evidence.

Of course, every religion man has ever invented functions on exactly the same principle, including some ‘belief’ systems more appropriately called superstitions that sometimes pre-date Christianity by a fair amount. Some Christians believe the world is only 6,000 years old but we know, based on empirical evidence, that people have been around in Africa for significantly longer than that. Many African superstitions involve  worshipping ‘ancestors’ and a form of witchcraft that involves witch doctors and magic potions.

The following is an extract of an article posted on July 21 2011 at 09:26pm on the South African IOL website:

A witness watched as schoolgirl Masego Kgomo was mutilated, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Thursday.

Albert “Nono” Mathebula was testifying in the trial of Brian Mangwale, who has pleaded not guilty to of murdering and raping the 10-year-old Masego and selling her body parts for muti.

Mathebula was initially also arrested in connection with Kgomo’s murder.

He testified on Wednesday that he was smoking dagga with friends on the night of December 31 2009 when Mangwale arrived in a car with a man named Jan, a woman in sangoma’s clothing and a young child.

He and two of his friends accompanied them to a sangoma’s house in Soshanguve.

Mathebula went inside with the woman, who carried the child. His friends stayed in the car.

He told the court that he and Mangwale were given cooldrink which contained something that made him feel dizzy, out of control and hear voices in his head.

“On entering, we found initiates. They were dressed in sangoma clothing,” Mathebula testified.

“… The lady came in with a cloth. The child was not crying. It appeared she was also made to eat or drink something. When Jan cut her open, she did not scream.

“… I did not see the other parts. I only saw the internal organs. When she was cut open I looked so I could see what it is inside a woman’s body.

“Jan continued to cut open the child. When they were removing the organs I vomited,” he said.

Mathebula said the child’s body was later put into the car boot and he and his friends were dropped off at a party.

“My friends asked me what happened with the child. I did not tell them. I was afraid,” he said.

Mangwale’s trial was previously postponed for judgment, but Judge Billy Mothle called Mathebula and two other witnesses to shed more light on the killing.

The other witnesses, a magistrate and a senior policeman, testified that Mangwale made confessions and a pointing-out to them in March last year about the alleged murder and mutilation of another young girl.

They said Mangwale told them how the girl was lured into their car and taken to bushes near a river, where a sangoma called Jan Maleka cut out her tongue and cut off both her breasts before removing her womb.

The sangoma took the body parts with him when they left the child’s body behind in the bushes.

The full article can be found here: http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/when-he-cut-her-open-she-did-not-scream-1.1103672

Any sane person who reads that horrifying story should find it hard to believe that things like that happen; believe it, they happen, often. For clarification: a ‘sangoma’ is a witch doctor and ‘muti’ is what ingredients used in magic potions are called.

Now, it doesn’t take much for a civilised, educated westerner (and I am including all westerners, especially Christians – Catholics and Jehovah’s Witnesses in particular) to look at that article and write all of it off as the barbaric actions of primitive uneducated people driven by ludicrous superstitions. And they are terrible,  ludicrous superstitions.

Being religious (Christian, Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness) and writing those superstitions off as ridiculous though is disingenuous at best but completely unsurprising. Several million Christians in South Africa will do exactly that today: read the article and write it off to stupid superstition while happily continuing to believe what they believe.

No doubt Christians would object to and be outraged at me comparing their ‘faith’ based beliefs to… the ‘faith’ based beliefs of African witch doctors. After all, nobody wants their cherished beliefs to be compared to something that sickening and horrifying.

There are several issues with that misplaced outrage.

First and foremost, there is ‘Holy Communion‘. As with everything else Christian, what is actually believed depends on how fervently one believes it. You see, Catholics at the very least, believe that during Communion the little cracker (or bread, Eucharist) they receive physically changes into the body of Jesus Christ and the wine they receive physically turns into the blood of Jesus Christ. Catholics genuinely believe they are eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a god-man. Normal people refer to this practice as cannibalism.

Of course, they believe this without evidence (actually, they believe this in spite of evidence to the contrary).

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that one shouldn’t accept blood transfusions because ‘blood represents life and it sacred to God’ as described in the Bible in Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:10, and Acts 15:29. Since the Bible is not proof of anything other than the existence of bronze age creation myths, this no-transfusion belief is accepted without evidence.

Clearly there are situations where refusing a blood transfusion is going to kill the person refusing the transfusion but some might argue that it’s their own choice and they should be allowed to choose that option. I tend to agree: if a cognisant  adult chooses to die, then who are we to say otherwise?

My problem lies with this ‘choice’ for suicide being forced on children. People are rightly outraged at the news story I posted earlier where adults butchered a child but in my opinion forcing a child to choose to die instead of live because of a ridiculous belief based on some obscure passages in an arbitrarily put together book chock full of contradictions, impossibilities, flat-out lies and horror is an order of magnitude worse.

Killing a child is one thing, forcing a child to choose to die is… possibly the worst thing I can imagine.

Christians outraged by that story may want to consider again how their Bible commands genocide, provides guidelines for slavery, commands the murder of children, commands the enslavement of virgin girls. They might want to consider how their entire religion is based on the torture and execution of an innocent to pay for the alleged crimes of the guilty.

Christians might also want to consider how for several thousand years they have been mutilating little babies by chopping off pieces of their penises.

Isn’t it interesting how people can be outraged at the superstition motivated actions of a foreign group of people while they are completely happy to carry on with their own, similar, superstition motivated actions?

So what is the argument for skepticism and empirical evidence?

People demand evidence for just about every other claim outside their religion. Religious people demand proof for the religious beliefs of other religions and refuse to accept the ‘truth’ of religions other than their own based on their lack of proof and evidence. This is the central point of John Loftus’ Outside Test For Faith: if a person had to examine their own faith with the same skepticism they reserve for other religions it will quickly become apparent that their own faith is exactly as unfounded as they perceive the faith of others to be.

When claims are made, evidence must be required and provided.

If evidence for efficacy were required before butchering a child for magic potion ingredients, the butchering wouldn’t happen since there isn’t any empirical evidence for magic potions working. If empirical evidence were required for refusing blood transfusions outright, no children would be forced to choose to die. If empirical evidence was required before slicing pieces off of a child’s penis, children wouldn’t have their penises mutilated. If empirical evidence was demanded to show that vaccinations caused autism, children wouldn’t be left unvaccinated, endangering the entire population and dying unnecessarily.

Faith without evidence makes parents choose to not get their children medical treatment but pray instead. Faith without evidence makes parents choose homoeopathy for treating serious diseases instead of actual medicine. Faith without evidence cause parents to not vaccinate their children.

Demanding evidence kills faith and saves people.

Happy 300th post to me!

Happy 300th post!

Happy 300th post!

Well, 300th active post on this blog. I moved a bunch to another blog a year ago so I guess this is more like the 340th or something. Anyway…

Happy 300th post to me! Happy 300th post to me! Happy 300th post to meeeeee eeeeeee. Happy 300th post tooooo meeeeeeee!

“The Llama is a woolly sort of fleecy hairy goat, with an indolent expression and an undulating throat; like an unsuccessful literary man.” – Hilaire Belloc

PS. Yes, I fully appreciate the irony of that quote.

Shane does an epic job of using theological reasoning to prove that not only was Goldilocks and Three Bears a true story but it is incontrovertible evidence of a creator. It’s a brilliant piece of reasoning that you obviously can’t argue with (or else you’ll be tortured in hell FOREVER).

It is time to set the record straight, and affirm the historical Truth of the Goldilocks narrative. I intend to show that it is overwhelmingly more likely that the Goldilocks story is literally true than not, and not only does it constitute Warranted True Belief, it is *necessarily* true in a deep ontological and cosmological sense, i.e. if the G3B model was any different, our universe would be deeply inimical to human life, and we would not even be here.

Definitely worth a read: http://answersingenes.blogspot.com/2011/07/on-historicity-of-goldilocks-and-three.html

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