Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Curing God's Disease Creations: An Act of Disobedience?

Ask a Christian why their God created disease and you will get some of the most bizarre responses, tortured reasoning, ever devised by human minds. Here’s a few common answers actually taken from the internet

- "Disease is a curse, so is poverty, addicition [sic] and debt. Disobedience by man is what brought on the curse, and separation from God."

- "Germs and viruses didn't harm anyone until Adam and Eve caused death and destruction for us by their disobedience and rebellion."

- "God is pure. God did not create disease, virus or sin, man has."

- "Once Adam and Eve sinned it gave all ownership and rule over the earth to Satan. Satan owns this earth at this point in time. That is why sickness and death and hatred runs so high in the world these days."

- "God made disease, and mosquitoes, so that you would know when you were getting sick! These are warning signs for your good."

Pretty fricken pathetic. The fact is that if their God created all life on Earth, as they are told in their book of fables, then God’s intent is clear: he created germs, virus’, bacteria to plague man as a punishment. Simple.

It wasn't enough to banish Adam and Eve for disobedience, make them earn their bread by the sweat of their brow; make them feel the wrath of the elements, hunger, deprivation, the pain of child birth. No, He’s going to inflict his beloved creations with hideous diseases that cause untold pain, suffering, disfiguration, and death for all time. Seems logical, and oh so loving.

Of course, Christians don’t want to piss God off by blaming him so Satan, Adam and Eve, or “it’s a good thing”, is the best way for them to deal with this, make the troubling reality of God’s hideous diseases go away. It’s Christians way of putting their hands over their ears and shouting “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you… nyah, nyah , nyah!!!”

But there’s a bigger question here: If God created these microbes with the intent of making mankind suffer for sin, then surely medical science’s fight against disease is an act of rebellion / disrespect toward God. It’s outright blasphemy!!!

Medical science’s eradication of small pox, and polio is a blatant “in your face” challenge to God, a direct act of disobedience. Research into cures of diseases like AIDS, or Ebola, or flesh eating bacteria is a slap in the face to the Creator who made them. If God had not intended Man to suffer from his diseases, he would not have created them. Who is Man to eradicate what God hath created just for him?

Thus, what right does a Christian have to seek inoculations, vaccinations and medical assistance to avoid God’s microbes’ devastation? Every chemo therapy session, every flu shot, every antibiotic capsule, every application of Neosporin on a child’s cut is an act of disobedience against God’s Will. How dare these Christians!!??

Now, Christians will often use the escape clause: “God gave man the ability to discover the cures…so it’s ok.” But that doesn’t float because God keeps creating new diseases, new strains, to replace the ones that he allegedly gave science the key to cure or fight. The logic thus doesn’t hold up. At best, it infers God likes to develop replacement diseases for the ones he gives science cures for. Plus God seems to really like some of his more grotesque creative exercises, like Muscular Dystrophy, since Jerry Lewis has been raising money to help find a cure for the past 40 years. God obviously wants to hold onto that one.

The logic is irrefutable. If Christians continue to allow medical science to ease their ills born of God’s microbe creations; ill’s whose pain and death are justifiable retribution for Original Sin, then they are rebelling against their Creator.

They had better stop it now, or there’s gonna be Hell to pay.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Are We Guaranteed Freedom FROM Religion?

Often you’ll hear Christians say: “You have the right of Freedom of Religion… NOT Freedom from Religion”. Well, as usual they’re wrong ... mostly.

The phrase "freedom of religion", is self explanatory. It’s the “free exercise clause” of the 1st Amendment. Practice whatever mindless theology you like as long as its precepts do not violate the laws of the land (i.e. no human sacrifice, no animal cruelty, no polygamy, etc.)

But we also have the freedom not to have a religion and to reject belief in the supernatural. According to Article VI, Section 3 of the US Constitution there can be no “religious test” to hold public office. Thus, since only citizens can hold public office, a lack of belief in God is a guaranteed right. The six states whose constitutions still require belief in a supreme being to hold state office have been deemed unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court.

So, when G. Bush Snr. declared that atheists are “not patriots and possibly not even Americans”, he rejected the Constitutional protection under Article VI, and demonstrated the depth of ignorance that gave birth to his son’s mental frailties.

Along with the freedom from having to have religion, we also have the freedom / the right to expect that public schools, publicly funded facilities are free of religious teaching, religious symbolism, and religious proselytizing. This is where the “Establishment Clause” of the 1st Amendment comes into play; that “Wall of separation” phrase that Jefferson coined, that Madison and others echoed.

We have the right to expect that the military services, public symbols, and government agencies are nonsectarian, non-proselytizing, religion neutral, and respectful of the rights of non-believers not to believe.

Finally, we have the right to expect that we be free from the government passing laws that impart favoritism on any religion; free from their spending our tax dollars on religious institutions; free from government promotion of religiosity. It’s these points where things tend to get messed with and ignored thanks to religious fanatics in government and their fundie supporters, largely due to their lack of familiarization with the writings of our Founding Fathers and Supreme Court rulings.

But, theists are correct that my freedom from religion is not absolute. “Freedom from religion” doesn't infer I have the right to expect that I be free from the intrusion of having to see privately funded religious billboards, hear a street preacher, or see crosses on churches; nor should I expect to be freed from having to hear politicians invoke their deity’s name, or follow their religious precepts when voting on bills, or appealing to their constituency. That’s the right of free speech and the freedom of religion.

In short, a theist’s right to Freedom of Religion stops when they try to directly impose their fantasy on me without my expressed consent, or when Freedom From government sponsored Religion, in violation of the Constitution, begins.

Everything else relating to the foolishness and ignorance of theist thought and practice is their problem, and their right. There is no law against self delusion or stupidity

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bush and Those Crazy Christian Zionists

On Bush’s recent visit to Israel he alienated the entire Arab world, by re-declaring this mystical American - Christian / Israeli - Jewish affinity. Here’s an excerpt from the Reuters report:

Bush, who steps down in January, made little reference to the peace negotiations or to the Palestinians at all while in Israel.

Many Palestinians were dismayed by a speech to Israel's parliament in which he spoke of a shared divine providence uniting American Christians like himself with Israel's Jews.

Bush called Israel a homeland for God's "chosen people" and pledged Washington would remain its "best friend in the world".


Divine Providence?? Exactly wtf is that all about?

Some time ago in chat a new guy came into the room. His first words were "Shalom!”. Strange, I think, considering this is a "Christian Debate" room, frequented largely by atheists, pagans, and Christians.

I check his profile - he’s got an Irish last name, and lives in Arkansas. Based on years of experience I deduce that the likelihood of a Jew having that last name and hailing from Arkansas is somewhere between little and none. So, I ask if he's Jewish. He says "No, I'm a Christian Zionist." To be honest, I'd never heard the term before. But I knew immediately where this was leading.

So I challenged him: I ask if being a Xtian Zionist is just another way of saying he supports Israel because he believes that it will bring about rebuilding of the Temple, et al, which would lead to the fulfillment of the "End Times" prophesy, the 2nd coming, the Rapture, the end of the world as we know it? And isn't this "shalom" bullshit, and his support for Israel, and his use of the term Zionist, just a thinly veiled disguise for this fundamentalist insanity?

He is shocked and taken aback. He demands to know what right I have, and who gave me the "freedom" to attack him this way?

Not to be diverted from my inquisition, I ask him to deny that what I say is true. Instead, he becomes agitated, and threatens to leave the room. My invitation for him to do so calms him down and declares he will not be run off. He offers this: that Israel is the only real democracy and friend of the US in the Middle East, thus he supports Israel.

I offer that I support Israel too...but I don’t go around saying "shalom" to total strangers, much less call myself an "Atheist Zionist". And that I demanded he come clean, again repeating my request for the real intent and meaning of "Xtian Zionist". He left in a huff.

Here's the bottom line: Xtians like these have no more love of Jews or interest in seeing the state of Israel thrive and prosper for the long term than they want to see Satan win the battle of Armageddon. Fundie Christians, like Bush, or Hagee, or Robertson, or Falwell, who declare a strong affinity with the Jewish people and Israel are hypocrites and frauds. To them the State of Israel, and the Jews, are simply a means to an end, a tool, a catalyst by which their insane End Time prophecies of "Revelation" will be brought about.

What’s more... most of them are too embarrassed to admit it.
Crazy Fundie bastards.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

An Expanded Definition of Atheism?

The dictionary definition of atheist is “one who lacks belief in God/gods”. I suppose that brief phrase is sufficient, since there is no official dogma or doctrine that atheists hold in common. But based on my experience some large percent of non-believers do hold in common certain basic principles, ethics, and philosophy on life.

In 1963 the Supreme Court stopped the practice of prayer in school. Their decision was in response to Murray v. Curlett, a suit brought by Madelyn Murray O’Hare a famous atheist activist. During that trial the following “definition” of Atheism was given to the Supreme Court by the plaintiff’s attorney. It makes a lot of sense, check it out:

“Your petitioners are Atheists and they define their beliefs as follows: An Atheist loves his fellow man instead of god. An Atheist believes that heaven is something for which we should work now – here on earth for all men together to enjoy.

An Atheist believes that he can get no help through prayer but that he must find in himself the inner conviction, and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it and enjoy it.

An Atheist believes that only in knowledge of himself and knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment.
He seeks to know himself and his fellow man rather than to know a god.

An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An Atheist believes that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said. An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated. He wants man to understand and love man.

He wants an ethical way of life. He believes that we cannot rely on a god or channel action into prayer nor hope for an end of troubles in a hereafter.

He believes that we are our brother's keepers; and are keepers of our own lives; that we are responsible persons and the job is here and the time is now.”

It’s not perfect, nor would I expect every atheist to subscribe to all of it. I don’t necessarily buy into the “brother’s keeper” phrase. But it makes a strong distinction between atheism’s reality based ethics, humanity for the sake of humanity, and personal ownership/accountability, Vs the theist’s “pie in the sky” supernatural dependency and abdication of responsibility to a myth.

It evidently had the desired effect on the Supreme Court justices.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ten Commandments: New and Improved

Well, the Senate resolution (S.Res.483) proposed by the religious whack job Brownback, to make the first weekend in May “Ten Commandments Weekend”, hasn’t budged since it was proposed in March. Maybe our Senators aren’t total asshats after all. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, it occurs to me (as it likely has all of us) that if the Ten Commandments were suppose to be God's directive on how to live our lives, be good and moral people, and ensure the continuity of a civilized world, he sure blew a golden opportunity.

I mean “no other gods”, " no graven images", "no God Damn!!” , “observing the Sabbath” seem to be rather petty and self serving throwaways given the potential there was to avert a lot of bad human activity that this god should have surely known we'd lapse into.

So I came up with my "New and Improved Commandments for Thinking People". If these were the basis for morality and ethical behavior then religion would have been superfluous, its renowned excesses avoided, and maybe things wouldn't have gone awry so often. Here they are:

1. Don't murder folks.

2. Slavery is wrong, don’t do it.

3. Don’t take stuff that's not yours

4. Pedophilia is wrong, don’t do that.

5. Women and Men are equals; afford them equal respect.

6. Don't lie, unless by not lying it causes a greater injustice.

7. Don't war over imaginary supernatural things, or to spread your version of Utopia to every culture. Save war as the last resort for retaining your freedoms, maintaining the freedoms of allies, or preventing genocide.

8. Protect the defenseless from those who have no civility.

9. Be kind to animals, even if you are going to eventually eat them.

10. Genetic variances cause racial and sexual preference differences. Accept it. Treat everyone as you would be treated.

No need to live on a mountain for forty days, nor worship any dead minority, or stick your face in the dirt five times a day and mumble your devotion. It’s common sense for the ages, it’s ethics & morality evolved, it’s simple humanity.

Of course, I have an advantage over the original Ten Commandments authors; I’m not a Bronze Age politically motivated, controlling, genocidal, slavery suborning, male chauvinist cultist. I’m just a humble Free Thinking camel

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

May 1, 2008: The National Day of Idiocy, just in case you missed it.

In the 50’s a lot of crazy religious proclamations were made by Congress. They added the “under god” phrase to the pledge; added “In god We Trust” to paper currency; and declared the first Thursday in May a “national day of prayer”.

A lot of this stemmed from the “Red Fear”, the hysteria over Communism in the 50’s with Joe McCarthy the poster boy for fear, persecution and paranoia. The logic being that Communists wouldn’t handle money, or say the pledge…thus exposing them as the godless heathen fiends that they were. A brilliant plan by highly intelligent Christians.

So last week, Thursday May 1, theists of all sects, denominations and cults were supposed to bow their heads, or kneel, or prostrate themselves while mumbling some prayers to their respective concepts of God or gods. The focus was supposed to be prayer for our nation.

There is even an official National Day of Prayer website, that I will say, right here, and right now, is the shallowest, most insipid, and idiotic website I have visited since the last time I checked up on our good God fearing Christian friend Fred Phelps.

Check it out at your convenience, you won’t be disappointed: http://www.ndptf.org/home/home.html

The whole website reads like a caricature of theistic stupidity at its worst. I checked twice to make sure it wasn’t some parody site created by a smart ass atheist.

There you will find the official prayer for 2008, a meaningless and childlike assemblage of self serving drivel. A quick read, it infers God blesses America because it is more worthy than those other starving and hideously suffering peoples of underdeveloped nations that presumably don’t HAVE a National Day of Prayer. One is left to assume those countries are the way they are by God’s will…or his divine neglect. Basically it boiled down to “Thanks …and keep up the good work God! Amen.”

In another section you will find out how effective group prayer is, as proven by Washington DC having had six days without a murder. Similarly Orlando Florida had a reprieve from their body count too. Both were specifically attributable to God’s intervention as a result of intense coordinated prayers. (Presumably after DC’s six days, and Orlando’s brief respite from crime God decided “no more Mr. Nice guy”, and the shit hit the fan again … go figure).

The same section also offered a heart warming account of how a father’s prayer delivered his son from a shooting on campus, as well as sparing his whole athletic team: proof of the power of prayer. Evidently only non-athletic nerds were killed by the gunman so one is left to deduce that God responds best to prayers from sports fans or athletes’ fathers. Nerd’s fathers carry no weight with God it seems (no explanation was offered as to why God decided to let 16 non-athletes be shot to death instead … go figure).

If December 7th 1941, Pearl Harbor Day, is known as the “day that will live in infamy”, then the first Thursday in May is the “day we devote to idiocy” ... when modern day shamans and witch doctors stand before the theistically enslaved and utter their thanks and pleas to the nonexistent figment of their collective ganglia. And the good news is they get to do it again next year.

In ‘09 I’m not gonna sit on my hands. No sir! I’m going to do my part by sacrificing a virgin chicken to Baal. Hey … when it comes to meaningless gestures of superstitious nonsense every little bit helps.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Refuting Theist Myth: Exercise in Futility

In a message group I belong to a member recently posted an inquiry. It speaks to two common theist ploys: falling into the trap of trying to refute myth, and dealing with a patently bogus theist proposition.

Here’s his posting:

I am having a discussion on the resurrection of Jesus and the gentleman’s line of reasoning goes something like this –
“Jesus’ disciples went to their deaths proclaiming that He did physically rise from the dead. While others may die for their faith, these first followers of Jesus knew the truth—one way or the other. I know of no example of people dying for a lie.”

Now the last point is an argument from personal ignorance. But I was hoping to find some reference to refute the argument of the disciples’ personal "knowledge" of his resurrection. Can some one point me to a good argument?

My response:

You won't find any contradicting New Testament scripture as to his disciples’ belief in resurrection, if by disciples you mean the remaining eleven Apostles. And why would you? The New Testament wasn't exactly an even handed treatment of various Christian perspectives. It established exactly what the church fathers wanted it to, the Jesus' resurrection fable being central to the preferred Christian doctrine. Dissenting interpretations were not welcome.

James (alleged bro of Jesus) was the leader of the "Christian Jews" who practiced a reformed Judaism, and viewed Jesus as Prophet and Rabbi, but not a deity. Thus, it is likely they did not believe in resurrection. But their take isn't admitted into church canon. The losing point of view would be suppressed, purged, redacted / revised into obscurity leaving only 100% concurrence with the dominant cult's resurrection doctrine.

According to John 20:19-23, Jesus appeared to the apostles after his death and showed them his crucifixion wounds. Thus, scripture would have you believe they all would have had "personal knowledge" that he died and was resurrected.

So, now what? Trying to refute a fool's fable is a fool's errand at worst, an exercise in futility at best. You might as well try and refute Wicca theology that goddesses and gods are able to manifest in personal form; or argue with Muslims that Mohammed didn't really fly up to Paradise on his horse like the Quran says; or tell a Mormon that the Angel Moroni was a fabrication. It goes nowhere.

As for the inane comment about "not knowing of anyone who has ever died for a lie": Oscar Wilde said it best: "A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it." I'm sure you can dispatch that fallacious theist idiocy rather easily. Start with every Muslim who ever died for Islam; or every American soldier who died in Vietnam to stop the spread of Communism; or every soldier who died in Iraq, and those that will.