Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It Takes a Christian Mind to Call Child Rape and Murder "God's Gift"

I was browsing the internet looking for some good stupid theist quotes when I stumbled across this beauty:

[Talking about an eleven year old girl who was raped and then buried alive] “God was sacrificing this child as a way to show others the light. much as he did his own child. what a beautiful gift he has given us.”
Howie R, Yahoo Answers [Comments (269)] [2007-Nov-08]

As a result of that wondrous insight there were 11 pages of comments lambasting “Howie”, some as recent as just this week, although that posting was almost 6 months ago!!

What’s interesting about this phenomenon is that as sick and twisted as that statement is, “Howie” has done no more than any other Christian apologist who seeks to provide an excuse or justification for their mythical god's apparent unconcern / non-responsiveness to extreme evil / aberrant human behavior … or His outright endorsement of it.

“Howie” simply took a horrendous inexplicable act of a psychotic killer, and imbued it with religious significance that put a happy face on it. Praise Jesus!!!

The (happily) deceased Jerry Falwell did it with Katrina, declaring it God's wrath for New Orleans' evil ways; and by declaring the death of millions from AIDs as Gods vengeance. Pat Robertson did it by attributing the 3,000 innocent deaths of 9/11 to God’s retribution for America's tolerance of homosexuality. They both did it, as did Muslim Imams, when the 2004 tsunami killed thousands in se Asia. Heck, Fred Phelps credits God with wantonly killing people everyday… “God’s gift” to America he’ll tell you.

If in their sick superstitious minds their God will kill thousands by permitting, even causing, terrorist attacks, hurricanes, earthquakes, then why be shocked at one more hyper-religious Fundie whack job seeing God's hand in the rape and murder of one small child, and throwing a positive spin on it to boot? Besides, don’t Christians put a positive spin on the death of children all the time with their platitudinous “She’s in a better place.” or “God had a better need for her.”? Further, isn’t what “Howie” said right in keeping with the concept of “God’s Plan” which theists claim man can never really know or understand?

To hyper religious fanatics' convoluted mind gymnastics, these bizarre "leaps of faith" in lieu of reason, logic, common sense, good taste, and sanity are necessary to retain and justify their belief. Without this kind of obscene twisted illogic and self delusion they would be forced to see how patently absurd their total immersion in supernaturalism is.

The human mind is a marvelous thing. That it can be so badly abused by the religious brain virus is pretty damn scary.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mark Twain: Humorist, Author, Man of Reason, Atheist.

As is more often than not the case, men whose minds are lucid and perceptive, who can see the foibles, fanaticism, and foolishness of men for what they are, stand out as icons of reason and creativity. Samuel Clements (AKA Mark Twain) was one of those men.

Beloved for his writings which have stood as the quintessential examples of American folk humor, wit, and observations on the human condition, Twain was also a Free Thinker. He commented often about religion, decrying its evils which he saw as outweighing any good it may contribute to civilization.

The following is an extract from one of his writings. Classic Twain, his wry observations are as true now as they were then, and will be for the foreseeable future … until man finally comes to his senses.

“During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after doing its duty in but a lazy and indolent way for eight hundred years, gathered up its halters, thumbscrews, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood.

Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry. Who discovered that there was no such thing as a witch--the priest, the parson? No, these never discover anything. . . .

There are no witches. The witch text remains; only the practice has changed. Hell fire is gone, but the text remains. Infant damnation is gone, but the text remains. More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorized them remain."

-- Mark Twain, "Bible Teaching and Religious Practice", Europe and Elsewhere (1923)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Christian Charity: Altruism with an Agenda?

This Christian woman I know is pretty cool. Not fanatical, belongs to a very liberal church, has no problem with my atheism, touts the good works of her mega church in which she is very active and proud. Her church has adopted a village in Africa and each year members volunteer to go, at their own expense, to help improve the infrastructure, assist with teaching, provide books, increase food production, pay for medical treatment and their new clinic, etc.

Next fall my Christian friend and her husband are going. She is trying to raise money on her blog to help finance their travel costs. I was initially a tad ambivalent. From my knowledge of Christian charitable organizations, like various “12 step programs”, “faith based” government funded organizations, even relief efforts in SE Asia after the 2004 tsunami, all of them placed religious participation at the forefront, if not making it a prerequisite for help.

So I asked, is this trip fully dedicated to material / secular health, welfare, and educational ... life improvements for the community with out any proselytizing, with no expectation of conversion from whatever indigenous belief system some may hold, and with no bible study, preaching, etc.? She explains that the local village church with whom they partner is the spiritual provider. Their presence will be devoted to hands on improving of the physical condition and secular life of the people. I accept her at her word and will make a tax deductable donation to her & her husband’s travel fund.

But other seemingly altruistic Christian charities have an ulterior motive. Conversions. They dangle the carrot in front of struggling third world people who, in a weakened state, desperate for any support, would pay any price in order to better their physical condition and those of their children. Is that what Jesus meant by ministering to the poor?

I don’t recall Jesus saying: " For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink … and all I had to do was listen to your religious spiel and divest myself of my 3000 year old culturally held indigenous belief system." But that’s exactly what many of them do.

That's what often passes for "Christian Charity". It's altruism, on THEIR terms, with a carrot and stick, a hook and an agenda. It seems to me that true altruism is its own reward. That to show humanity toward your fellow man and then thrust a condition upon it, either stated or implicit, cheapens the act. It defiles the very concept of humanity.

Today my wife and I delivered food we bought at BJ’s to the local food bank. You know what we expect in return? That fewer people go hungry. Period.

[[ to contribute to my friend Joyce’s trip to Africa please visit her blog, scroll to her posting of April 11, and contact her directly through her comments section: ]]

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Test Your Knowledge: Name This Jew Hater

Anti-Semitism is nothing new. It’s been around almost 2000 years, ever since Jews rejected Jesus as a false messiah. When they did that, Paul, seeing a dead end for the cult, decided that making Jews the scapegoat for Jesus' death was the perfect way to exonerate the Romans, and thus draw them, the “gentiles”, into what Jesus had intended to be a reformed Jewish movement.

Voila!! 2000 years of anti-Semitism was born.

There have been a lot of Jew haters. Many use the words of the New Testament to justify hating and persecuting Jews. Their hate can be subtle, or vehement. It can manefest itself as simple exclusion of Jews, spreading hateful steriotypes and falsehoods, or physical violence against them. Others became world famous for fanning the fires of hate, and by dehumanizing Jews spread that hate in others prompting widespread and intense Jewish persecution.

The following are the words of a famous Jew hater. A man who’s name is renowned the world over, with a following of millions. Can you name him?

- He argued that the Jews were no longer the chosen people, but were "the devil's people."
- He wrote that Jews were "base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth."
- The synagogue was a "defiled bride, yes, an incorrigible whore and an evil slut ..." -- Jews were full of the "devil's feces ... which they wallow in like swine."
- He advocated setting synagogues on fire, destroying Jewish prayer books, forbidding rabbis from preaching, seizing Jews' property and money, smashing up their homes, and ensuring that these "poisonous envenomed worms" be forced into labor or expelled "for all time."
- He also sanctioned their murder, writing "We are at fault in not slaying them."

So, who do you think it was?

Hitler? Goebbels? American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell? A famous atheist? Stalin? Some rabid Islamic imam? The President of Iran? Osama bin Laden? For the answer click on “comments” below. ... Surprised? You shouldn't be.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pope-O-Mania: Rose Pedals for a Tyrant

The arrival of Pope Benedict has the Catholic faithful all in a tizzy. I imagine they are sweeping out their churches, getting their Sunday best dry cleaned, polishing their crucifixes, and hiding their pre-teen sons and daughters in anticipation of this “historic event”, as it has been declared by the news media.

Given this man’s credentials, and the philosophy he represents, they should stop him at the airport, conduct a body cavity search, and then have him immediately deported like any unsavory character. Harsh? Maybe. But what exactly makes his visit more “historic” and of more import than a visit by any backward thinking ruler of a totalitarian city-state, or high ranking witch doctor from some pre-historic animist culture? More succinctly, what exactly does the office of Pope stand for or contribute to society? What has he accomplished that justifies the adoration, anticipation and intense media coverage?

Vatican City produces nothing. It neither sows nor reaps. It produces no commodity or natural resource. It hasn’t advanced medicine, or developed new technology to improve the human condition or benefit mankind. And yet, while it claims to be cash poor, it accumulated vast wealth and property much of it from contributions extorted from those who can least afford it.

It has virtually no political influence, nor does it have the force of power to intercede in armed international conflicts. Its leadership is appointed in secret by a closed hierarchy, not democratically elected by those over whom it seeks to wield power. This Pope was a member of the Hitler Youth movement. In the past he repeated an ignorant politically charged comment that enflamed the Muslim world.

Catholic dogma has contributed to the spread of AIDS, as well as over population thus causing hunger and a lower standard of living in many Third World countries. For decades it has actively engaged in a coordinated cover up of sexual misconduct by its emissaries, often depicting the violators as the victims, and the victims as the perpetrators.

The legacy of the Church is fraught with innumerable horrors:
-the destruction of cultures and murder of indigenous peoples;

-the torture and genocide of those who don’t accept its doctrine;

-instigation and suborning of war to attain wealth;

-the persecution of “witches” driven by ignorant superstition;

-a lineage of leadership who count among their number murderers, rapists, fornicators, Nazi Party sympathizers, and anti-Semites;

-the subjugation of women, and persecution of homosexuals;

-and the suppression of knowledge and scientific inquiry often by threat of torture and death.

And all this in the name of some un-seeable, un-provable, imaginary Sky Daddy.

So they roll out the red carpet, trumpet his arrival, fill Yankee Stadium, shout the hosannas, kiss his ring, wave the handkerchiefs, hold up their babies for a blessing, swoon at the pageantry and the glittering costumes. I can hardly wait for the movie to come out. Maybe they can call it “The Triumph of the Will II” **. Ignorant damn sheep.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Jesus Real or Fiction: Does it Make a Difference?

In Galatians 1:19 Paul writes of having met Jesus’ brother James. Some Christians claim this is evidence that Jesus was a real person, although there are no legitimate contemporary eyewitness accounts or documents corroborating a real Jesus outside of the bible.

That Paul writes he hob knobbed with James is some how taken as a confirmation that Jesus was real??? Talk about a leap of faith. Paul also said he met with Jesus after his death. Paul said the laws of the OT were now null and void, although Jesus said they never would be until the Earth disappeared and “all was accomplished”. Paul said a lot of shit. So, how does anything Paul say have any bearing on a genuine Jesus?

But, lets presuppose some character named Jesus did exist (it was among the most popular names in that region at the time, tantamount to "Bob" these days). What is the implication and significance? That some executed Jew among thousands of executed Jews; some itinerant Cynic preacher; some hysterical mad man ala the Jesus described in Josephus' "Jewish Wars"; or some wanna be leader of a reformed / new Jewish sect, actually lived?

And that upon this individual’s demise Paul and his fellow cultists borrowed from innumerable known pagan myths and conveniently revised Jewish prophesy to endow him with a divine lineage, and supernatural abilities "far beyond those of mortal men”? Oookay.

I don’t see what possible difference it makes if Jesus was a fictional being, or some poor deluded schmuck who, unbeknownst to him, became the center of a cult's devotion after his death. After all, Haili Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia existed, is deemed God, and is worshipped to this day as the true savior by his devoted Rastafarian followers. Of course, he was black, didn't have the right PR guys like Jesus did, and he was a 20th century figure. [On the other hand, they do ganja as a sacrament which is eminently more attractive than dried out wafers and watered down wine or grape Kool Aid.]

So, my questions are simple: What "evidence"? And what difference does it make?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Christian Psychosis: Doing the Lord’s Evil

The other night as I was watching the local New Hampshire news, a report came on about a beloved elder Christian minister and high ranking church official having been caught in a church van raping a 15 year old boy, a member of his congregation. Twenty-five years ago this would be big news and cause uproar. Today clergy abuse is so common place that it’s met with “So, what else is new?”, barely raising eyebrows.

Earlier in the week another report about the polygamist Fundamentalist Mormon’s, whose leader, Warren Jeffs, is in prison for suborning the rape of a 14 year old member and other children. Authorities were initially refused access to their “temple” to search for a 16 year old mother (and wife to a 50 yr old man) who had called police for help. The girl has yet to be located, although 200 women and children were removed from the “compound”.

Over the past three weeks there have been two separate and well publicized cases of parents of Christian sects refusing to seek medical help for their children (one with diabetes, and the other with pneumonia). While they prayed to God for their children's recovery, they both died agonizing deaths. Medical experts said the children could have been saved by timely medical treatment.

About once a year we hear about a Christian mother killing her children because she was directed to do so by God; and / or because she wanted them to have a better existence in heaven; or as a result of extreme corporal punishment where the “Good Book” was invoked as a guide and justification.

I’m not suggesting that rape, polygamy, child abuse, and child murder is the sole provenance of Christianity. But clearly these acts, especially the three latter examples, are directly influenced by their devotion to the supernatural, indoctrination by religious leaders, and influence of religious scripture. Surely without the concepts of God, Heaven, Hell, Satan, salvation, “God’s Will”, damnation, etc., etc. being implanted in their minds since childhood, these horrific events would never have occurred. These are anti-social / psychotic acts that are directly related to their “faith” and belief system. That’s what makes the acts particularly grotesque.

One thing I know for sure, you’ll never hear about a confirmed atheist raping a child and convincing them its okay because it is “Darwin’s Will”, and intimidating him/her with the absence of hellfire and damnation for reporting the abuse.

I know of no atheist organizations, or atheist "cults", which suborn polygamy and child marriage / statutory rape, much less invoke interpretations of writings by Dawkins, Hitchens, Robert Price, Sam Harris or Mark Twain as justification for same.

I can find no example where atheist parents stood over their sick child chanting from a copy of “The Portable Atheist” or “Origin of Species”, withheld professional medical attention, and watched their child convulsed with fever die in the throes of agony.

I’m unaware of any atheist mother dismembering and murdering her children because they were compelled to do so by the spirits or voices of Carl Sagan, Ernest Hemingway, or Kurt Vonnegut; or because they were convinced that the rotting non-existence of the grave was better for their child than a full and healthy life.

It prompts the questions:
What is it with these Christians? Are these people drawn to Christianity / religiosity because they are despicable perverts, utterly insane, or patently stupid? Or are they driven to psychotic behavior as a result of their religious belief?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Perverting History: Christian Deception Personified

On a Catholic apologetics site , they offer to their flock how the Inquisitions were not really as bad as people think. Oh yes… there were excesses to be sure... but not nearly all as horrible as some would have you believe. Get a load of THIS passage:

“There have actually been several different inquisitions. The first was established in 1184 in southern France as a response to the Catharist heresy. This was known as the Medieval Inquisition, and it was phased out as Catharism disappeared.”

Uh... "phased out as Catharism disappeared"?!?!?! Yeah, I'll say!! The little detail the good Christian folks at this site fail to mention is that Catharism "disappeared" thanks to the Catholic Church's twenty year genocidal Albigensian Crusade, which virtually wiped out all the Cathars! Yeah, complete and utter destruction of an alternate religion by the Church will indeed cause the Inquisition’s “phase out” . phase

Using this example of revisionist history, and Christian truth telling, imagine the apologetics of the 7th Cavalry circa 1890’s:
"The campaign against the Indians by the US Army during the 19th Century, lasted some twenty-five years. It was in response to Native American’s failure to quietly allow their culture to be destroyed. This was known as the Indian Wars, and was phased out as the American Indian disappeared."

Makes perfect sense … if you’re a Christian.
Lies and deception, thy name is Christianity.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

On the Anti-Christ, Obama, and How NOT to Solicit My Vote

My accountant of some fifteen years is a staunch Republican and devout Catholic. From time to time he emails his clients his perspective on politics.

Now, I normally just ignore it. He’s a very good accountant and I didn’t want to unnecessarily inject my politics and views on religion into our professional relationship. But his latest mailing included a letter from a third source entitled “Worth Reading” that was a litany of prejudicial, radical, far right fear mongering predicting the doom of this country if Obama is elected.

The following is my letter in response. It also went to thirty+ of his clients who were on the same distro as me. I suspect I’ll be looking for a new accountant next year.

Dear Larry,
Very revealing letter. Unfortunately, it revealed more about the fear mongering right wing religionists that stoop to slander when their grasp on power is endangered, than any truthful observations about Obama. But, this little piece of intellect really clinched it for me:

“According to The Book of Revelations: The anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal....the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, will destroy everything. Is it OBAMA??”

That's exactly the kind of mindless “Party of Jesus" crap that drove me from the Republican Party three years ago after almost 40 years. In deed, let’s make a decision as to who is disqualified to be President based on the insane ranting of a pre-scientific superstitious cultist from 1,800 years ago.

Thanks, but if the alternative to Obama is four more years of theocratic, right wing, millennialism philosophy that demands more American lives in a war that never should have been; that will ensure more young men sacrificed on the alter of some utopian concept that is dedicated to forcing OUR version of democracy onto a 5000+ year old culture that neither understands it, could sustain it, nor wants it … then I'll go with Obama.

Yes, I anxiously await four more years of spreading our military resources so thin that the progress made in Afghanistan is failing, while we lack a force to stand against any unforeseen aggressor. Where once the tragedy of 9/11 gathered our friends to us, and evoked the sympathy of the civilized world, now we watch our allies distance themselves from us as our international prestige declines.

Oh yes, four more years of refusing to sit with our enemies, instead rattling our sabers, elevating international tension, and watching our armed services decimated as reenlistment declines, and enlistment standards are lowered.

Four more years of neglecting our environment because to an administration with a superstition mindset that embraces, indeed welcomes, biblical Armageddon, preserving the Earth for future generations isn’t a worthwhile investment.

Four more years of deficit spending and bigger government than we have ever had. Of a mentality that says oil company's still need tax breaks; that Intelligent Design should be taught in schools; that my tax money should go to "faith based' organizations and support their proselytizing efforts via the back door, instead of going to stem cell research which is denounced as "the work of Satan!!".

Now I don't want to be all negative. I mean on the bright side there is the recession. We now openly suborn torture. My health insurance has only increased 85% over the past 8 years. And the Republican influence on the OPEC nations' to increase oil production had been … Oh, wait ... never mind.

Look, Larry, you’ve known me a long time. I ain't no damn Liberal. I hate gun control, I hate giveaways, I demand a strong army and want small government. I also want to see us invest in protecting our ports and borders by developing technology that improves border controls, airport safety and container ship security. I don't want to piss away our resources and soldiers’ lives by Nation Building for some perverse religiously driven concept of a New World Order.

After what I've seen from the Republicans in general, and Bush in particular over the past 8 years, and watching McCain’s transformation from a strong minded independent "nobody's butt boy" to just another waffling zombie in lockstep with Bush and the Christian right, I've had enough. I'm ready to give a Dem., even a Liberal Dem, a shot at it.

By the way, exactly what is McCain's position on illegal immigration, the Bush tax cuts, the US Constitution making us a "Christian Nation", and Al Qaeda being supported by Iran? I mean, what’s his position THIS WEEK??

So, Larry, do me a favor. Spare me this kind of whacked out far right religious hyperbole in the future. I’m a Free Thinker, and this idiocy just pisses me off, and pushes me further to the left. I hate it on the left.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"CONTEXT!" The Last Refuge of a Theist in Denial

Whether it's trying to defend the hideous malevolent acts of cruelty, genocide, and murder by their "loving God"; fumbling to counter biblical contradictions; or trying to justify why their omni benevolent being failed to condemn slavery or why Jesus kills perfectly good fig trees, Christians invariably will deny all and cry "Context!!".

“Context!!” has become the trademark of Xtians who are at a loss to explain away the indefensible cruelties performed by their “loving” God ... or used to make the embarrassing statements of their saintly Church figures go away. Context has become so over used that it typically triggers laughter among Thinking People [TP] who have seen it employed so often that it is now a cliché. Here’s how it works:

TP: According to OT law, God demands that a woman’s hand be cut off if she intervenes with her husband’s attacker and grabs his genitals. (Deut. 25:11-12)Christian: "OH ... you're taking it out of context."

TP: Forty-two children misbehave, show disrespect, are cursed by a prophet and God sends bears to tear them apart. (2 Kings 2:23-24) Christian: "OH ... you're taking it out of context."

TP: God commands every human of a tribe be destroyed, and every animal, and just the virgin women to be kidnapped and kept by the Hebrews as breeding stock. (numerous examples of God suborning genocide and rape) Christian: "OH ... you're talking it out of context."

Yeah. Ok. So what I need to hear and yet never do, is the answer to this question:
In what "context” is killing children for their words; is lopping off a woman’s defending hand; is extermination of a civilization but suborning the enslavement and rape of the virgins justifiable by any supremely merciful being at anytime? Just tell me in what “context” I should be taking that scripture to make it all good?

But, they can’t. Call their bluff and they fold. Oh, some will offer an unsupportable attempt at perversion of verse to make it seem like a good and wholly wonderful thing. Failing that they will just out right reinvent meaning for scripture: “Well, yes… but… never mind what it actually says…here’s what I say it really means.” But they are deceiving themselves, as usual. We know how that works. Heck, the Muslims do it with the indefensible horrors of the Quran all the time.

Four hundred years ago, questioning biblical inconsistencies and contradictions would result in excommunication, torture, and/or execution (Christians like to refer to those as 'The Good Old Days."). But here in the West, those things are pretty much gone. The door is open for Xtians to take a deep breath, screw up their courage, and exhibit some modicum of intellectual honesty and reason and say: "Jeepers! You're right!! That IS a messed up thing that the Biblical writers attributed to God. I wonder why they did that, what motivated them."

But it rarely gets to that. They usually can't handle that bit of unabashed honesty, because once that happens, once that door is cracked open, once doubt as to the veracity of “God’s Word” comes into play their entire foundation of "faith" is subject to reexamination / rethinking. No! Better to hold the line, ignore the obvious, and like the emperor with no clothes, cling to some transparent ploy to cover the nakedness of their inane book of fable and blind belief and just dumbly mouth .... "CONTEXT!!"