Tag Archive: bible


If you’ve never seen a DarkMatter2525 video then you’re missing out. This one, in particular, is a gem. One of the best stories from the Bible (you know, that collection of writing that is the infallible words of the almighty creator of the universe…) told by a man whose perception of it isn’t clouded by self-imposed religious idiocy. Watch the video, it’s fantastic.

And billions of people actually believe this shit to be the inerrant words of the almighty creator of the universe. Seriously.

The video below is an excerpt of a BBC documentary about – what seems to be – some of the oldest writings about Jesus, by his own family, his brother in particular.

I have a small question for Christians: how much evidence do you need to change your religious mind? It’s a loaded question I know since religious belief and empirical evidence are a little like oil and water. They don’t mix. The question still stands however. At what point is there so much evidence that a Christian has no choice but to admit they are wrong?

The answer to that question says everything you need to know about religious belief and why it’s bad.

From the video below:

When Constantine The Great made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire sixteen hundred years ago, it was Paul’s interpretation of Jesus’ message that was adopted. And Paul based his authority on a series of ‘mystical visions’ although he had never met Jesus and only joined the movement after His death.  By contrast, James and the rest of the family who had grown up with Jesus followed his mission and had been at his death, their version of Christianity – a vision of Jesus as a more human character – was declared heresy.

Christians, your religion, your precious beliefs are a joke. Your claims about the Bible are laughable. The foundation of what you believe is so obviously created by human self-interest and manipulation it’s cringeworthy. It boggles the mind that so many people can ignore so very many problems, contradictions, inconsistencies, lies, impossibilities and fantasies while at the same time claiming absolute knowledge and dedicating their lives to this ridiculous fable.

Christianity as it is now: based on the ‘visions’ of a man who more than likely had an epileptic fit on a road in the middle of nowhere who never met Jesus. And who’s ‘experience’ of Jesus is pretty much nothing like the Gospels in the Bible.

The Bible: assembled by popular vote by men with an agenda hundreds of years after the alleged death of Jesus.

The Bible books: contradictory accounts written by anonymous authors who never met Jesus, containing themes that look suspiciously like they were plagiarised from other popular stories around that time.

The contents of the books of the Bible: mostly horrific, contradictory, barbaric accounts of murder, death, genocide, incest and slavery interwoven with fantastic stories of talking snakes and boats built by 600 year old men and poetry. That might be an oversimplification I agree – it’s really much worse than that.

It’s ludicrous. Ridiculous. Laughable. Absurd. So much so that it really is comical.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogXWwKcHPNc]
Sumerian Gods

Sumerian Gods… we’ve invented better one’s since. Right?

How many Gods are there? The Jews, Christians and Muslims would all three answer – quite assuredly – that there’s only one. In the Christian’s case it’s a tad more complex since they’ve invented a three-in-one god but in the end and schizophrenia aside, they have one god. Yahweh, Allah, HaShem, whatever you want to call the chap in charge (of the Universe…).

I’ll leave the Muslims and Jews out of this one since my Arabic and Hebrew is sketchy at best.

I quite enjoy reading the Bible. Especially the King James version since I enjoy the language. But what I love most of all is what it says at face value. You see – and I clearly remember this from my days of needing to be Christian – Christians do a bunch of convoluted mental gymnastics to not read what the Bible actually says. You – any given Christian – need to do a whole lot of interpreting and inventing context so that the Bible doesn’t come across as the ludicrous collection of fairy tales and horror stories that it actually is.

My favourite bits of the Bible are the flat-out contradictions. I’m especially fond of the ones where the almighty creator of the universe takes it upon himself to personally contradict himself. Read my post “A couple of contradictions in the Bible” for a graphic illustration of just how non-deity-inspired the Bible really is.

So, how many gods are there?

From Isaiah 45:

45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

From Deuteronomy 32:

32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me:

And just to be sure, from Mark 12:

12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

12:32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

Sort of hard to argue that methinks. Old testament, new testament, Jesus said it, God – who is also Jesus – said it. Right? Right.

Now, a particularly important part of being infallible is not failing. Being wrong is failing. Saying and believing that the Bible is both true and infallible and that God is both omnipotent, omniscient, infallible… well… I’m sure you can see where this is going.

I’m going to skip the issues in Genesis since I think the context might be too easily mis-interpreted – read twisted- and move on to the rest of the Bible.

Exodus:

15:11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

18:11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them.

20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
34:15 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;

Numbers:

33:4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments.

Deuteronomy:

3:24 O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?

6:14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;
6:15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

10:17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:

Judges:

11:24 Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the LORD our God shall drive out from before us, them will we possess.

1 Samuel:

6:5 Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land

Psalms:

96:4 For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.

And on and on…

Why constantly mention other gods if there only ever was one? Why mention that ‘god is a jealous god’? Jealous of what? Not having humanity’s undying affection? If – for example – your partner had to cheat on you with a rock or a shiny piece of metal, would you be jealous or would you be freaked out for a bit followed by a pity while insisting on a strong course of antipsychotic drugs with a dash of therapy?

This is the bit where theologians start the mental gymnastics and the average Bible thumping religionut starts vomiting sophistry. You can’t argue that the words are there – they pretty clearly are – so what you have to do is read something else into the words and the context.

“There is only one God for sure but those barbarians kept on worshiping golden calves and statues and shit so God had to repeatedly say don’t worship those other gods”.

Yea? I have a better explanation (I use the term “I” loosely, clearly I didn’t personally come up with this entire explanation on my own. Just saying).

The Jewish tradition grew out of a polytheistic culture; the Jews settled on worshipping the war-god Yahweh (YHWH), a single god from the Canaanite pantheon. Jewish scholars then went to town to erase the other gods from their literature and culture. It took people a while but eventually the Jews had invented monotheism – with a blood thirsty monster running the universe – which the Christians and the Muslims borrowed.

And… it goes – should go – without saying that in fact there is no god. No god, not ever, not at all. Which really makes the whole thing quite sad when you think of the misery the belief in this fictitious genocidal maniac has caused.

Alternatively, there is a single omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator of the universe – Yahweh/Jesus Christ/Holy Ghost-Spirit – who gets jealous of rocks and bits of metal. All of which has always known about – for trillions of years before actually personally creating things. Who feels the need to say in his one infallible book that he is both the only god and the best god of all the gods. Repeatedly.

Sound legit?

I know a Christian. It’s weird. A while back he posted – outraged – about a Chinese woman who gave birth to a live baby at full term and somehow managed to flush – accidentally by her account – the full term baby which she gave natural birth to down the toilet thus getting it stuck in the sewer pipe and almost killing it. Captain Christian – I’ll just call him that – somehow, in his religion befuddled mind, managed to equate giving natural – albeit alone – birth to a full term baby with abortion. Because, like, flushing a full term and alive baby down the toilet is precisely the same thing as the abortion of a nervous-systemless  conglomeration of cells which couldn’t survive outside the womb. Totally.

A disturbing – yet altogether unsurprising – case of strawmannery. I’d call it dumbfuckery but I’ve decided to be nice. Ish.

So this evening, Captain Christian surfaced another spectacular post of doublethink and asshattery. You see, Captain Christian is… very Christian. Totally into the whole Christian scene and a strong believer. Completely and utterly immune to logic and reason when it comes to his dearly held beliefs. Especially immune to the irony of every damn Christian – all of whom have personal relationships with the good Lord – having a different opinion on how the Bible works, what God wants, what Jesus actually meant in… you get the picture.

The recent post of awesome was about how a faith healing churches are linked to a bunch of child deaths. Specifically, a couple lost their second child after failing to seek medical attention after their 2 year old child contracted exceedingly treatable pneumonia.

The outrage – it seems – is centered around how – from his perspective – some other Christians ‘twist the Bible’. That presumably means he doesn’t agree with those Christians’ interpretation of the Bible and that perhaps he takes a dim view on ‘faith healing’ for that reason.

The irony is thick.

Behold... Facebook Christianing and outrage at it's finest.

Behold… Facebook Christianing and outrage at it’s finest.

Alrighty. The fact that all the Christians get their instructions from the same book aside.  Also, the fact that they all interpret the instruction manual provided by the almighty creator of the universe differently, aside. Also, the fact that they all speak to this almighty creator of the universe all the time and he – for reasons that elude pretty much everybody – fails to clear up the misunderstanding aside… Jesus, so many asides…

“Twisting the Bible” – not sure how it’s twisting the Bible to believe:

Matthew 21

21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

or

Mark 11

11:22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

or

Luke 11

11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Let me guess… wrong context? The faith healing people didn’t have enough faith maybe? Letting your kid die – horribly, twice – sort of shows you really believe the magic you were doing was going to work – that’s what it looks like to me anyway. So what is it then?

…the Bible does not condemn, forbid, or even discourage the use of medicines or other medical care.

Well, no, perhaps it doesn’t. But it does say ask – pray – and you’ll have it, whatever the fuck ‘it’ may be. Does it not? Right there in Matthew, Mark and Luke which happen to be in the New Testament which Christians sort of can’t ignore? I must be reading it wrong or maybe it’s that I’m not wearing my special Mind-fogging Christian Goggles…

James 5

5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

I could swear that says… How about:

Matthew 18

18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Sounds to me like praying for a sick person… anyway, moving along, let’s have a look at the long comment down.

If you don’t know how that’s “twisting the bible” then you have not read the bible.

Well, no, I’ve read it. Faith healing Christians have read it. A billion Christians have read it but somehow this person is the fucker who got it right. Who’d have thought.

There are no promises to Christians that if you obey the law you will have blessings and conversely if you disobey the law and have sin you will get sick and die.

Oh, nice sophistry Captain Christian’s sidekick.

In fact, if you have read the bible, and the rule exists that if you have sin you will get sick then we would all be sick all the time. Since the bible says that everyone sins, even christians. The bible says that anyone who says they have no sin is a liar.

And that has what to do with…

There is the promise that Jesus died and defeated sickness and death, but Christians who believe that is for right now, that all sickness is gone have what we call an over realised eschatology.

Well, no. What they have is “Ive read the words in the fucking Bible”itis. What you have is “oh my god the bible says prayer should heal but it doesn’t so now I have to make shit up to explain that”itis. Nice try though, your preachy tone totally had me con… no, its gone.

It’s placing too much emphasis on what we are promised will come on the other side of eternity as if it should be taking place right now. The kingdom of God is here, but not yet fully here.

Sophistry and preaching with self bestowed authority. Oh, and a bunch of made-up bullshit and making the assumption that basically nobody reads the Bible. Many Christians assume this – to their detriment. Just because most Christians couldn’t be bothered to read the Bible doesn’t mean most atheists haven’t read it. Cover to cover. More than once.

Doublethink. Sophistry. Believing your own sophistry. Christians. If stupidity didn’t irritate me so much it would be terribly amusing.

Reading the Bible for morality...

Reading the Bible for morality is like digging through shit for sweetcorn. Sure, there’s a little there but is it really worth it?

Indeed sir, indeed.

Oh, I feel the Christian outrage. “The Bible is the source and basis for all morality”, I hear them whine. I have but two things to say to that: killing babies and keeping slaves. Your God approves of both those things.

Nobody thinks that’s ‘moral’ right? Right.

Science in action.

Science: the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

Science and the scientific method has given us… virtually everything. It is responsible for our lifespan doubling, for the internet, for medicine, for anesthetics and pretty much everything else. Look around. Everything you see is the result of the scientific method being applied to the world you live in and my personal favourite is anesthetics (a quick look at the horror that used to be medicine before the invention of anesthetics is enough to convince me that time travel is, in fact, a really terrible idea).

The scientific method is a profoundly successful process for investigating the world and is the underlying force of all human advances for hundreds if not thousands of years.

A diagram of the scientific method

The scientific method.

The scientific method is:

a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge

The techniques of the scientific method consists of a process with a number of steps to go through to arrive at a scientific theory:

a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.

These steps include:

  • Formulating a question
  • Hypothesis
  • Prediction
  • Test
  • Analysis

A question that naturally arises for me centers around what religion – Christianity specifically – looks like when you study it with the scientific method. Interesting, I suppose is an answer. Infinitely boring is probably another answer. It depends rather heavily on what you would like to do with the outcome of the investigation. I’ve also argued before that the scientific method can and should be applied to everything, including the claims of religion, ghosts, the supernatural as well as finding God.

Looking at Christianity one might formulate the following question:

Does the Christian God as described in the Bible exist?

I think that is a fair question. It is after all the crux of what a billion people alive today allege to believe. I concede that it’s also a pretty big question and this short post won’t necessarily do it justice to it entirely but what the hell, let’s have a go. For the sake of a feeble attempt at rigor, let’s define some of the properties of the God in question by using the Bible as the source:

  • Omniscience (all-knowing) – John 16:30 the apostle John affirms of Jesus, “Now we can see that you know all things.
  • Omnipresence (all-present) – Jesus said in Matthew 28:20, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
  • Omnipotence (all-powerful) – All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” Jesus said in Matthew 28:18
  • Eternality (no beginning or end) – John 1:1declares of Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
  • Immutability (unchanging) – Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

I propose the following hypothesis:

The Christian god does in fact not exist.

I think it’s a perfectly valid hypothesis. Certainly one could propose the converse but I have a hunch that this one is more likely than the alternative so we will investigate this statement.

What predictions can be made based on the hypothesis that the Christian God does not exist? After considering the implications I feel that the following are reasonable predictions of phenomena that might be observed if the statement “the Christian God does not exist” was true:

  1. Christians who believe they converse with – some call it have personal relationship with – the deity in question would not agree or even be able to generally agree on the wishes of the deity
  2. There would be inconsistencies and contradictions in stories and texts alleged to be dictated or inspired by the deity
  3. Edicts on behalf of the deity would be inconsistent and change with time – they will evolve with society
  4. Morals and morality would be inconsistent and change with time – they would evolve with society

These predictions should now be tested to see if what they describe would happen is inline with reality: are the predictions true or not? So let’s test the predictions:

1. Christians who believe they converse with the deity in question would not agree or even be able to generally agree on the wishes of the deity [if the deity does not exist]

Do we have any empirical evidence to support the prediction that in the absence of an actual deity as the source of information that Christians would have fundamental disagreements as to the wishes of the deity? Yes, I think we do have some empirical evidence that we can put forward.

  1. There are reported to be approximately 38,000 denominations of Christianity but since many of then cannot be verified to be significant we will list only an excerpt of the major denominations that exhibit substantial dogmatic differences:
    1. Catholic
      1. Including more than 20 sub denominations that are country or culture specific
    2. Orthodox Churches
      1. Including Eastern and Oriental orthodox churches with more than 30 sub denominations
    3. Lutheranism
      1. Including more than 60 sub denominations
    4. Baptists
      1. Including more than 80 sub denominations
    5. Latter Day Saints
      1. Including more than 17 sub denominations
    6. Nontrinitarianism
      1. Including among others Jehovah’s Witnesses

    It is impossible to argue against the fact that Catholics, Baptists, Latter Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses have irreconcilable differences when it comes to their religions even though all four proclaim to literally worship the same deity and use the same book – The Bible – as its only (except for LDS who have additive reference called the Book of Mormon) divinely inspired true reference.

  2. A good illustration of Christian disagreement in real life is an event that I posted about some time ago where one Christian denomination put up a poster in-front of their church to portray a message that another Christian denomination found to be extremely blasphemous. Whether something is sacrilegious against a God is entirely up to the deity in question, with which each denomination claim to have a personal relationship. That there is disagreement among the worshippers of that deity cannot be disputed.
  3. Another perfect illustration of Christians having fundamental disagreement is when you compare Westboro Baptist Church and… basically everybody else. Westboro Baptist Church have controversial views and they are outspoken about them and other Christians do not agree, to say the least.

2. There would be inconsistencies and contradictions in stories and texts alleged to be dictated or inspired by the deity [if the deity does not exist]

Contradictions and inconsistencies in the Bible

Contradictions and inconsistencies in the Bible

Empirical evidence for this prediction exists in spades within the book considered by Christians to be the holy and in some cases, literal words, of the creator of the universe – their God. I will list a couple of obvious contradictions and inconsistencies and link to a graphic that illustrates a huge number of them.

  1. From the Bible:

    MATTHEW 27:46,50: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?” that is to say, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” …Jesus, when he cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.”

    LUKE 23:46: “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, “Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit:” and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

    JOHN 19:30: “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished:” and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

    Clearly all three scenarios could not have happened even if one assumes against all available evidence that at least one had to have happened.

  2. From the Bible:

    II SAMUEL 24:13: So God came to David, and told him, and said unto him, shall SEVEN YEARS OF FAMINE come unto thee in thy land? or will thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue. thee?

    I CHRONICLES 21:11: SO God came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee. Either THREE YEARS OF FAMINE or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee;

    It is not possible to interpret SEVEN YEARS OF FAMINE as THREE YEARS OF FAMINE under any circumstances.

  3. Follow this link to an earlier post that articulates many contradictions and inconsistencies in the Bible.

3. Edicts on behalf of the deity would be inconsistent and change with time – they will evolve with society [if the deity does not exist]

We have a lot of empirical evidence where the ‘official representatives’ of the Christian deity have changed their minds with time motivated by scientific and societal advances.

  1. An obvious change in the official attitude in the Christian religion is the reversal of opinion around the theory of Heliocentrism – the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around a relatively stationary Sun at the center of the Solar System – by the Catholic Church. In the 17th century Galileo Galilei was persecuted by the Catholic Church for espousing the heliocentric view that the sun – not the earth – was the center of the solar system. He was forced to publicly recant his views and was placed under house arrest by the Church for the last years of his life.This paper by J. S. Daly provides a history and evaluation of the affair within the context of the Catholic church: The Theological Status of Heliocentrism which includes:

    We have shown that the Church has implicitly withdrawn her condemnation of heliocentrism, so that Catholics are not directly guilty of heterodoxy or disobedience if they hold that the earth revolves around the sun.

  2. Several popes explicitly granted permission to keep slaves and make slaves of people to the Portuguese government (King of Portugal, King Alfonso V):
    1. In 1452, Nicholas V in Dum Diversas
    2. In 1454, Pope Nicholas explicitly confirmed the rights granted
    3. In 1456, Pope Calixtus III confirmed these grants
    4. In 1481, Pope Sixtus IV renewed these grants
    5. In 1514, Pope Leo renewed these grants

    However, even thought the Bible explicitly approves of slavery and even provides instructions on how to manage slaves:

    1. In 1917, the new Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope Benedict XV condemned the “selling a human being into slavery or for any other evil purpose”.
    2. In 1992 at the infamous “House of Slaves” on the Island of Gorée in Senegal, John Paul II declared: “It is fitting to confess in all truth and humility this sin of man against man, this sin of man against God.”
    3. In 1993, in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II took, from Vatican II’s pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world, a long list of social evils which includes slavery

4. Morals and morality would be inconsistent and change with time – they would evolve with society

Changes in the official Catholic view on slavery and the slave trade not withstanding, many if not most of the instructions for conduct in the Bible are no longer observed by Christians.

A couple from the Bible might include:

  • Anyone who dreams or prophesies anything that is against God, or anyone who tries to turn you from God, is to be put to death.
    • Deuteronomy 13:5:
      13:5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
  • If anyone, even your own family suggests worshipping another God, kill them.
    • Deuteronomy 13:6-10:
      13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
      13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
      13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
      13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
      13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die;
  • If you find out a city worships a different god, destroy the city and kill all of its inhabitants… even the animals.
    • Deuteronomy 13:12-15:
      13:12 If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,
      13:13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;
      13:14 Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
      13:15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.
  • Kill anyone with a different religion.
    • Deuteronomy 17:2-7:
      17:2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant,
      17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
      17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:
      17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.
      17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
      17:7 The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.
  • Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric.
    • Leviticus 19:19:
      19:19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.
  • If a man cheats on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die.
    • Leviticus 20:10:
      20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
  • Psychics, wizards, and so on are to be stoned to death.
    • Leviticus 20:27:
      20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.
  • Anyone who curses or blasphemes God should be stoned to death by the community.
    • Leviticus 24:14-16:
      24:14 Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.
      24:15 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin.
      24:16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.

    The distinct lack of Bible motivated killing to be found (myself as an atheist being alive as an excellent example) in the western world is empirical evidence that many of the instructions above are not being obeyed by Christians. Since by Christians’ own measure their God does not change and since many Christians use excerpts from surrounding passages to justify things like discrimination against homosexuals I think a clear case is made that once all or most of the instructions were once obeyed and now only some are obeyed and in the future perhaps none will be obeyed – in line with social reformation.

What is our analysis of the empirical evidence we have found to show that the predictions that were made by the hypothesis were true and in accordance with reality? I think that we have enough evidence to say that the hypothesis that the Christian God, as described in the Bible and commonly accepted by most Christians, does not exist, is likely to be correct.

Christians are not all speaking to the same God since none of them can agree on what this God actually wants, likes or prefers. The Bible was not inspired by or written by a being with the properties that Christians and Christianity assign to their deity since it is full of inconsistencies and contradictions which is to be expected if it were not inspired by or written by the Christian God. Christians who have spoken on behalf of their God and who have not been corrected by that God have made statements in approval of or against things that were later a reversal of earlier positions. Christian positions on issues have changed as additional information has been learned and as society has changed which is in line with the Christian God not existing. Instructions given by the unchanging Christian God to his followers are no longer being followed by Christians as those instructions are contrary to what is acceptable to society – morals have evolved – which again is a predictable and expected phenomenon if the Christian God did not exist.

Note that the conclusion that the Christian God does not exist is not a concrete, incontrovertible proof that the Christian God or any other god does not or can not exist. That the Christian God does not exist is only the most likely explanation of the way things are in light of the information and evidence that is available. New evidence might change the explanation, negate it or it might further bolster it.

That the Christian God does not exist is the most likely explanation in light of the available evidence.

Always! Be totally awesome!

 
Ethics and justice

Ethics and justice, the Bible will teach you it...

There are many lovely tales of love and justice found in the Holy Bible. “What, pray tell, is the Holy Bible”, I can almost hear you ask. Excellent question! Let’s have some devout Christians tell us (emphasis mine):

Despite what the world would like to say, there is such a thing as absolute truth, coming straight out of the Word of God, and people ultimately act on what they really think is true, whatever they may say. At Antioch, we want to lay it out up front. Our doctrinal statement declares what is really true, straight from God’s Word, and our Philosophy and Mission statements flow out of our desire to act on that truth.

[link]

And:

We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the verbally inspired Word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible and God-breathed (II Timothy 3:16,17; II Peter 1:20,21; Matthew 5:18; John 16:12,13).

[link]

And:

I. Biblical Authority

Example Verses: II Timothy 3:16-17; I Peter 1:23-25

Baptists hold to the belief that the Bible and its clear, literal teachings are the final authority for faith and practice. We at least attempt to back up everything they believe with “Chapter and Verse”, and hold that anything that is contrary to the clear teaching of the Bible is not true. Such things as church councils, church leaders, tradition, and other books are often hold some authority for other Christian groups.

[link]

And:

For the Catholic, what follows will make clear the harmony of Scripture and tradition: truth cannot contradict truth. Whether God speaks to us through the Bible or through the voice of tradition, the word spoken is always a true and steadfast guide.

[link]

In short, the Bible is God’s Own Truth.

And, just so we don’t forget, God doesn’t change. “What do you mean God doesn’t change”, I hear you cry. Good that you should ask! Let us get some guidance from ‘the final authority for faith and practice’, God’s Own Truth, The Holy Bible (emphasis mine):

Psalm 102:

102:26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
102:27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.

Hebrews 1:

1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
1:11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
1:12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

Hebrews 13:

13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

So, God never, ever changes and the Bible is the inerrant, literal Word of God. Got that? Right, with that out of the way, I have a story I should like to tell. A parable if you will.

Not too long ago there was a gentleman by the name of Rush “Randy” Limbaugh (all characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental) and he was very close to God. As a conservative man, Randy went to church every Sunday (see, I told you it was a coincidence) and prayed to God several times a day and he read the Bible which he firmly knew was the literal Word of God. Randy was as close to God as a good, God fearing Republican could be.

Now, Randy being Randy, he got involved with several women during the course of his life. He was at various stages married to Roxy, Michelle, Marta and Kathryn and he had several sons. Notably, by Marta he had a son called Adam.

Tragically, Randy couldn’t control his… er… love for woman and the one day he saw a very attractive intern at the broadcast corporation where he worked called Betty. Now, Betty was in a relationship with Uri who worked for Randy. Randy was pretty well connected and quite devious. Through some sneaky scheming he got Uri re-assigned to a foreign office on the very day that – incredibly conveniently – incriminating photo’s of Uri were delivered to Betty. Betty broke up with poor Uri and Randy provided a convenient shoulder to cry on. He quickly managed to seduce Betty and have… er… carnal relations with her – which was cheating on his current wife Kathryn. Betty fell pregnant almost immediately – Randy was sure his God didn’t approve of birth control you see.

God didn’t like this one bit – he was incredibly pissed off – so He cursed the child that Randy and Betty had created.

Some time after Randy started cheating on Katheryn with Betty, God spoke to pastor Rick ‘Nathan’ Warren (purely coincidental fiction, I assure you) personally and told him to go and punish Randy. He gave explicit instructions on how Randy’s punishment was to be carried out.

Nathan went forth has God had commanded and hired a great stage to be constructed on the National Mall in Washington DC with all the bells and whistles – big screens so everybody in a large crowd could see the action, fancy lighting, huge sound systems, the works. Nathan then invited every devout Christian in the country to come and witness Randy’s punishment, to be carried out exactly as required by Yahweh – the creator God of the universe.

On the day of the punishment, Nathan’s henchmen brought Randy to the stage and put him in a chair off to the left of the stage where he could properly witness the events of the day. After Randy was seated, Nathan’s people brought out Roxy, Michelle, Marta and Kathryn to the stage followed by Randy’s son, Adam.

Next, Randy’s wife and ex-wives were stripped naked in front of the crowd of millions and Adam proceeded to rape them where everybody could see, so that all in attendance knew the justice of the Lord.

Later, Betty gave birth to Randy’s son but since God had cursed the child, he died a week later. Randy went on to live a long and illustrious life, sleeping with literally hundreds of women.

The end.

I will leave you to figure out the moral of that parable on your own. Now, strangely, some people might be upset by that story and I am not sure why. It is a beautiful depiction of how the justice of the Christian deity works, how much he loves people and how much he loves and respects women in particular. It is a beautiful thing is it not?

What? You don’t believe me? Come on now, you give me too much credit. I couldn’t come up with a gem of a story like that on my own – I simply don’t have the skills. Nay, I did but paraphrase a story directly from the unchanging, inerrant word of the almighty creator of the universe. I shit you, in fact, not.

The beautiful tale is found in 2 Samuel 11 and 2 Samuel 12 with the delightful conclusion in 2 Samuel 16.

Let me quote some of it, I do insist (emphasis mine):

2 Samuel 11:

11:2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
11:3 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
11:4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.

11:15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.

2 Samuel 12:

12:1 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.

12:11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
12:12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
12:15 And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.

12:18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died.

2 Samuel 16:

16:21 And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father’s concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong.
16:22 So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

And there you have it. Divine love and justice. It does make me wonder though, what kind of person – who in their right mind actually – would want to worship the being that figures that having several women raped in public by the son of their husband (I believe that’s a stepson…) and an unborn child killed for the adultery of a man is good and just? Who, in their right mind?

I figure its pretty freaking terrible to be a female Christian. Just think what it must be like to live in a world where, should your cheating bastard husband find himself a bit on the side, you get raped in public for his crime and sweet nothing happens to him. Couldn’t happen? Why not?

And Christian men? How would they feel if dear Jesus had to come down out of the clouds and had to instruct them to rape their stepmother (and possibly their own mother) in public because their father cheated on his wife with another woman and arranged for her husband to have an ‘accident’? I have to ask Christian men the following:

Yes or no: would you happily rape your stepmother in public if God told you to?

Won’t happen? Can’t happen? Why not?

If it can’t happen… then one or both the following is true: God changes and the Bible lies or – more simply – there is no God and these tragic horror stories are entirely man-made.

Seriously, there is something very, very wrong with people who believe in this horror, want to worship the monster who thought it up and who are not utterly repulsed by the thought of this travesty.

God is love? Christian morals? Right. Tell me another one.

Always! Be awesome.

The Dirac equation in the form originally proposed.

The Dirac equation. Science, winning.

I care about what is true. I care very much about what is true.

One of the things about myself that frustrates me the most is how I am often not skeptical enough. I tend to make snap truth judgements in the moment – due to excitement or distraction or whatever – and later I end up feeling like I didn’t properly evaluate the situation before accepting something as true. This is why I prefer written over verbal discourse: it allows me to properly consider my response, evaluate my position and avoid rash acceptance of claims. I recognise confirmation bias in myself and actively work to overcome it. I realise I am essentially an illogical creature and I try hard to overcome it because I care very much about what is true, about what is in accordance with fact and reality.

Fact and reality.

One could complicate the concept of ‘truth’ and discuss correspondence, coherence, constructivist, consensus or pragmatic theory or the opinions of Fromm, Hegel, Nietzsche or Kant. Or one could just stick to the simple definition of:

truth:

  • The quality or state of being true
  • That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality

What got me started on this post was seeing a picture of Penn Jillette with a quote that says something to the effect of: if every trace of every religion had to be removed from human consciousness, something similar might be recreated in its place but it would never be exactly the same. If every trace of science had to be removed from human consciousness then it would still be true and it would be rediscovered again and the discovered truth’s would be exactly the same.

I think that is pretty profound. Remove everything we know about science and find it all out again from scratch and it would be exactly like it was. The truth discovered by science will not have changed. Remove religion and the facsimile which could replace it will never be exactly the same – other than the fact that it will also be nonsense. Religious ‘truth’… changes.

The Christian God by all accounts is unchanging and eternal. From the Christian Bible:

Psalm 102:

102:26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
102:27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.

Hebrews 1:

1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
1:11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
1:12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

Hebrews 13:

13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Deuteronomy 33

33:27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

To me, and I’m sure to most people, unchanging would mean that what I hold true today is what I will hold true tomorrow. If you ask me a question, whether it be today or tomorrow or in 20 years from now, if I was unchanging my answer would be the same, unchanging. Not changing your opinion or answer to the same question is the very embodiment of ‘unchanging’.

This alleged property of God being ‘unchanging’ poses a bit of a problem for Christianity, Islam and Judaism. It causes two problems in particular:

1. The Bible condones some pretty horrific things such as genocide, slavery, infanticide, rape, murder, child abuse and so forth.

If God does not change then he must still condone these horrible things, yet his current batch of followers decry these horrors when they happen today in the third world. I find it terribly strange how devout followers of a God who commanded genocide get outraged when the same thing happens in Africa. Take the recent obsession with Joseph Kony as an example. The man is the leader of the “Lord’s Resistance Army” (no extra points for guessing the ‘Lord’ referred to there) and he has done things – terrible things – but they are pretty damn similar to what a man called Moses did in the Bible in Numbers 31:

31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
31:18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

How do these outraged middle class first worlders know that Joseph Kony isn’t following explicit instructions from his God, their God? Because God wouldn’t command it? Is God not ‘unchanging’?

2. For reasons that no religious person has ever adequately explained, religious people almost always get different answers to the same question from the same deity.

Why is it that when people pray to their God, the same God, they can get different answers to the same question? Take the issue in Auckland a while ago where one church put up a billboard and thought it great while another group of Christians thought it was blasphemy. How could two Christians ever disagree over the opinion of the God with which they both have a personal relationship? Is God not unchanging or does he give a different opinion to ever person who prays?

These two issues together pose a massive problem to religious investigation into what is true and what is not. How do you know what is true if your only source of shared knowledge (The Bible for example) contradicts its self in very many places and each person’s personal ‘revelation’ is factually different from virtually every other person’s personal ‘revelation’? On what basis can you decide what is true and what is not?

Science on the other hand has the scientific method.

From Wikipedia:

Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.[1] To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.[2] The Oxford English Dictionary says that scientific method is: “a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.”[3]

The process that science follows to arrive at what is true and what is not:

Scientific researchers propose hypotheses as explanations of phenomena, and design experimental studies to test these hypotheses via predictions which can be derived from them. These steps must be repeatable, to guard against mistake or confusion in any particular experimenter. Theories that encompass wider domains of inquiry may bind many independently derived hypotheses together in a coherent, supportive structure. Theories, in turn, may help form new hypotheses or place groups of hypotheses into context.

The scientific method has built-in safeguards – such as peer review, repeatable experiments, independent reproduction – against the many psychological properties of humans – such as confirmation bias, belief bias, bandwagon effect – that make us fundamentally illogical beings. By following the scientific method we are most likely to arrive at what is ‘really’ true, at what is in accordance with fact or reality.

When a fact has been proven scientifically it can repeatedly be proven scientifically. It is a cornerstone of the scientific method for results to be independently reproduced – every person who properly conducts an experiment should get the same results.

This is in complete and utter contrast to religious revelation and the way prayer is alleged to work. No credible evidence is ever provided by religious revelation. No second person can independently verify that a person who has allegedly had a ‘revelation’ is telling the truth or is mistaken or is completely delusional. When people pray to the same God for some reason they get different answers. The answers so different there is reported to be over 38,000 denominations of Christianity and they all claim to have personal relationships with the same deity.

What could explain this diversity within Christianity (let alone Islam and Judaism which supposedly worships the same deity…)? The answer is unsurprisingly simple: there is no God. When people claim to know what God wants they are making it up. There is no God. People who claim to know the mind of God are mistaken. It is not coincidence that God almost without fail has the same biases and prejudices as those who claim to know what he wants.

Belief without evidence is a mistake. Faith…

Faith is the surrender of the mind; it’s the surrender of reason, it’s the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other mammals. It’s our need to believe, and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something that is the sinister thing to me. Of all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated.” — Christopher Hitchens

Simply using modern technology, using modern medicine, even eating modern food is tacit acceptance that science works and finds truth. Useful truth. Religion will try to convince you that the shape of a banana, shaped by generations of human directed artificial selection is proof that a supreme super being designed it for you. The irony is that it’s not too far off – the current shape of the banana is due to science and human intellect. I bet Ray Comfort didn’t have this particular truth in mind when he tried to sell his ‘banana revelation’ but fact is fact and empirical evidence trumps religious opinion every time.

Has a specific religion – such as Christianity – ever arisen spontaneously without the intervention of it’s adherents, in a remote part of the world? No, not one time. Copies of religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) never arise spontaneously in other parts of the world because religions are made up by people. They can’t spontaneously arise because the deity that each alleges to worship doesn’t exist and so can’t inform people elsewhere of the religion. If Europeans had arrived in Australia (or pick any remote people in the world, Amazon, Pacific islands, China…) and found that the Aborigines were devout Christians even though they had never had contact with Europe or the Middle East it would have gone a long way towards showing Christian beliefs to be real. This has never happened. Not once. And don’t hold your breath, it never will.

Revelation is baseless opinion and it is disturbing how many people will accept a person’s word that his opinion is true without questioning or demanding verifiable evidence. You’d think by now, through the manifold scandals by church leaders that have been exposed, that people would be a bit more skeptical about the motives and truth espoused by those who claim to know the mind of God. It’s not even hard to test: ask three different church leaders what their God thinks about a subject – blasphemy is usually a good subject – and my money is on three different answers. They all claim to have a personal relationship with the almighty. It shouldn’t be a difficult thing to ask your personal friend his opinion. Three different answers, which one is telling the truth? Ask 30. Which one is now telling the truth? Ask 300? Ask 38,000. Who is now telling the truth? All of them? 38,000 different opinions and they are all truthful? Unlikely.

There is a much simpler truth: there is no god.

Science strives to find actual, empirically verified, useful truth while religion tries to sell baseless – often contradictory – opinion as truth. Give me science any day.

Always! Be awesome.

Christianity disproved. QED.

Christianity Disproved: This site almost makes me want to stop blogging. Why? Because it covers just about everything just about perfectly. It is beautifully laid out and brilliantly presented.

http://www.christianitydisproved.com/

It wins. Go there. Read it.

I guess the only thing remaining is to ridicule those who still believe in these arse-backwards superstitions. Somebody has to do it. If more people did it, perhaps there’d be less idiocy around.

For reason and science!

Inventing religion

Just because you want it to be true, doesn't mean it is true.

I have a question for… I’m not even sure what to call them. The question is for those people who consider themselves to be Christian but who don’t follow any of the traditional Christian denominations or denominational rules.

My question is this:

How did you come to the conclusion that it was OK for you to invent your own religion and how do you continue to justify it to yourself?

Let me explain.

From my point of view there are several types of Christian. By that, without getting into too much detail, to an average outsider it looks like there are Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans, Baptists and Pentecostals for example. Now I realise that’s not an exhaustive list and even in the few I’ve mentioned there are many sub divisions but I can’t very well list all 38,000 odd denominations. I think this few will serve the purpose.

There are the hard-core fundamentalist Christians and the Biblical literalists who take the religious thing very seriously. Then there are Christians that go to church every Sunday and follow the rules of whichever denomination they belong to and I feel like this is the majority of Christians  – average Christians if you will.

Then you get another kind of Christian. I’ve noticed this new kind of Christian becoming more popular and more prevalent lately. I classify this new kind of Christian into 3 sub groups (as one does with Christian denominations…): Holiday Christians, Creative Christians and Christians-By-Default.

I know a couple in each group and they are the ones I have in mind. Holiday Christians are – and you often find these in the Orthodox denominations – those Christians who go to church for the big holidays like Easter and Christmas and possibly a wedding or the odd communion in between.

Creative Christians are an interesting bunch and they’ve really been popping up everywhere recently. I call them Creative Christians because they say things like “I hate religion but I love god” or “I am a passionate follower of Christ” or “I’m not religious, I follow Jesus”. These people – I really do hesitate to call them Christians since most of them avoid even calling themselves Christian – eschew the standard religious practices in favour of… well, something else. They might even join in when one pokes a bit of fun at their more traditional Christian compatriots and their traditional Christian views. Some Creative Christians even think that religion is a bad thing! I know a couple of people who fall into this category.

And then there are the Christians-By-Default. I know very many people who fall into this category and to be honest, their ‘beliefs’ seem a little bizarre to me. Where the Holiday Christians have re-invented Christianity to be easier to live with while still keeping up pretenses and the Creative Christians have invented an almost entirely new ‘spiritual religion’ loosely based on Christianity, the Christians-By-Default have not bothered to change or re-invent anything, instead watering down a fine, if a bit diverse, two thousand year tradition to a basic, effortless superstition. For example, I know a bunch of people who call themselves ‘Christian’ who have not once in their lives set foot in a church, do not own a Bible and have never read it, who do not normally pray, do pretty nasty things and are generally pretty indecent people. Yet, they firmly believe that they are Christian and will be going to heaven – based purely on the luck of being born into a moderately Christian environment I would imagine.

I have very little respect for any of the three categories. To be fair, I have a really hard time respecting any religious person – for obvious reasons – but I do respect the ones who take their religions seriously a bit more than the ones who don’t. Anybody who claims to believe that there is a God and that eternal happiness and eternal torture is in the balance and doesn’t take it seriously is in my opinion the worst kind of…. stupid? Hypocrite? Fool? I just can’t understand how it’s possible to ‘do religion’ in such a disgustingly half-arsed way. If you believe it’s true, and the consequences are pretty damn severe, it should matter a lot. It should matter much more than anything else in the world matters.

So why doesn’t it I wonder.

The Holiday Christians that I know are a little… perplexing. They love the big orthodox church ceremonies and superstitions. Some of them claim to be Christian but they don’t read the Bible and don’t go to church any other time outside of Christmas or Easter. Some of them claim they think the Bible is rubbish but that ‘there must be something’, ‘there has to be a God’ and ‘there can’t be nothing’. And they flat-out argue this point and insist that one day I too will know (presumably when something bad happens to me). This is confusing. You have to wonder how do they arrive at ‘there must be something’ without even having so much as a Bible to refer to? What evidence could bring them to this conclusion if they admit that the Bible is hogwash and every other religion is wrong? I find their attitude very curious. It seems to me that they’ve invented a fairy tale of their very own to believe in that is really easy to follow since it doesn’t take much to get up early (or stay up late) for church twice a year while still believing you’re going to see dead friends and family in paradise. Convenient; reassuring perhaps, but baseless.

The Christians-By-Default are pretty much useless, some of them even useless as people (at least the ones I have in mind). So intellectually lazy that they couldn’t be bothered to learn the first thing about the religion they claim to be a part of. So ignorant of basic Christian doctrine they’d be hard pressed to state the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. What’s there to say? They’ve warped a religious belief so much that the convenient superstition that now features briefly in their lives when things get a bit shitty is barely recognisable. And based on what? Nothing but what is the easiest most convenient outcome for them.

And Creative Christians? How did they come up with this new ‘spiritual Christian’ philosophy? How are they getting it right where a billion Catholics are not?

Which is how I got to my original question. How did they come to the conclusion that it would be just dandy to invent their own religion? I guess the answer lies in the 38,000 odd denominations of Christianity. It seems every second Christian invents his or her own flavour.

Do none of them find this strange? They all claim to speak to the same God. Since they all seem to be getting a different message, are they all right? Does God really enjoy this much variety? It seems a little unlikely to me since He picked only the Israelites to be his extra special people back in the beginning and showed the finger (and the ugly edge of genocide) to the rest. And that’s after granting the even more unlikely situation of this deity existing in the first place.

Before you can even begin to answer how it’s OK to invent your own religion, there are several fundamental hurdles a Christian must cross before being able to legitimately invent a new kind of Christianity.

Jesus Christ said point-blank that you have to obey all of the old laws, all 613 of them in the Old Testament. I guess if your new religion includes all the ‘old laws’, no problem there; however, none of the Christianity 2.x religions I describe above do… A bunch of them want to do away with the Bible even (for good reason, it’s chock full of bullshit and contradictions).

Which sort of begs the question of how you know about Jesus Christ without the Bible. They can’t have it both ways: either the Bible is in or its out. If its out, you can’t be a Christian and you have no other way to know about Yahweh.

Unless… Jesus is speaking to them!

But he’s not. It’s simple to prove and any honest Christian could prove it to themselves pretty quickly. They just need to pray to Jesus to put a verifiable fact that they could not possibly know into their brain – preferably one that’s really good and useful like the cure for cancer or a way to end world hunger.

That’s two birds with one stone. Nothing will happen which proves that prayer doesn’t work and Jesus doesn’t talk to anybody.

What about self-labelled ‘passionate followers of Christ’? They might avoid the ‘Christian’ label but the Bible makes a couple of suggestions about ‘following Christ’. Have they sold all their possessions to follow their deity as he suggested? Do they take no thought for the morrow? Do they ever put their own family before their deity? Do they avoid getting rich so that it will be easier to get into heaven? Every single one of the examples I can think of do exactly none of those things. And why not? If they really believe and they sure claim to believe, why do they not do the things Jesus said they should do to increase their chances? Why do they not put everything they have into this belief that is supposed to be the difference between eternal happiness and eternal torture? Or have they also edited out the eternal torture part? I find it very strange that people who claim to believe only do barely enough to satisfy their own conscience or keep up appearances.

How did you come to the conclusion that it was OK for you to invent your own religion and how do you continue to justify it to yourself.

I have a hypothesis.

Holiday Christians are desperate and a little full of crap, Christians-By-Default are flat out lazy and Creative Christians have recognised that Christianity is bullshit but are emotionally invested in it for whatever reason and so are changing arse-backwards bronze age myths into something more palatable, something more ‘modern’, something they can and want to believe but which is no less ridiculous.

If you have a different hypothesis, I’d love to hear it.

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