Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is a “Gay Jesus” Offensive? Only to the Homophobic.

In an atheist blog where I am a frequent participant the owner posted an article about a college atheist group creating a poster of Jesus in a gay relationship. The picture is shown at right; full story here:

The atheist blogger was incensed and decried the atheist students’ insensitivity. His readers' comments, atheists all, were similarly indignant:

“It is meant simply to offend, it doesn’t open dialog!”
“It’s childish and does the ‘cause’ no good.”
“We’ll never win converts by offending them. It’s an ineffective tactic!”

How remarkably short sighted. How peculiarly unsophisticated is their perspective. How completely they miss the point. My take is completely different. The gay image of Jesus DOES provoke dialogue; IS an effective tactic; it’s perceived “offensiveness” has a purpose, and "conversion" isn't it.

Christians have promulgated anti-Semitism for almost 1,800 years. Yet they disregard, forget, or ignore the fact that Jesus was himself a Jew. His teachings were directed toward fellow Jews, not "gentiles", as a reform movement. Gentile conversions were an after thought, thanks to Paul. The demonization of Jews was subsequently embedded in their scripture and not attributable to Jesus. I would guess that Jesus would be disgusted by that.

Similarly, Christians habitually overlook Jesus' teaching of "Judge not, lest ye be judged". They condemn homosexuality and extend that condemnation to acts of exclusionism, incivility, even violence toward homosexuals. Jesus never said to do that. Indeed, if he will accept an adulteress logic says he would likely do the same for a homosexual, even though both adultery and homosexuality were punishable by death per the Hebrew Bible.
Jesus was alleged to be in his early thirties, referred to as "rabbi", traveled with 12 men, and was unmarried. In the Jewish tradition / Hebraic culture, an unmarried rabbi in his 30's is virtually unheard of. Additionally, there are some scriptural references that seem to hint at a very special relationship with one of his apostles. Many theologians and lay biblical scholars have speculated as to Jesus' possible homosexuality. There is no incontrovertible evidence pro or con.

But, if he ate, if he drank, if he urinated, and defecated; if he had emotions, then it’s entirely possible he had sexual feelings too. Thus, speculation as to his sexual proclivities is valid. If statistics mean anything, there was a 1 in 10 chance he was gay… assuming he existed at all. It may not suit the Christian sensibilities to think that way, but there it is … deal with it.

That Jesus might have been gay doesn't make him an evil person, doesn't discredit his teachings. Why should it matter? That it matters to Christians, or unthinking atheists -- that they see a gay portrayal of Jesus as an evil -- IS EXACTLY THE POINT! We live in the 21st century. We know sexual preference is genetically determined. A person should no more be condemned for being gay as for being bald, black, or short. It shouldn’t be perceived as evil, or reduce Jesus’ status, or subject him or anyone to abuse, anymore than Jesus’ being Jewish should justify anti-Semitic vitriol against him or anyone (as his "followers" have so enthusiastically done to Jews for two millennia.).

That gay Jesus poster instigates that discussion. It disturbs and shocks, and is a valid in your face attempt by a put upon minority to get Christians to think more broadly, more modernly, with more tolerance. They don't have to like it; it just has to stimulate thought. It does that, even among the unthinking.

The fact that some people, especially weak atheists, perceive the "Jesus as gay" portrayal as unjustifiable, leads me to wonder if they themselves are homophobic. Or is it that they are simply saying its okay for just Christians to be homophobes?

Why should it be so?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

On God and Little League

I’m watching the Little League World Series as I type this. Louisiana VS Hawaii, Louisiana is having their butts handed to them in the last inning, already having blown a four run lead. Hawaii has opened a can of whup-ass on them.

As the camera pans the bleachers I caught a glimpse of a man, the father of a Louisiana player based on his LSU cap, holding up a white board upon which, printed in block letters, is this:

“With GOD all things are POSSIBLE!!”

I ponder this for a moment. Even though I know that Louisiana is a hot bed of religious insanity I am taken aback. This is a LITTLE LEAGUE GAME, people!!!

What is this religious nut dad telling his kid exactly? That if he believes in God hard enough, that God will influence the game? That God will give him the hand eye coordination, inspire him to extra speed, bless him with the base running smarts to conquer his opposing twelve year old foes?

Is he telling his kid that God will favor his team, and help vanquish the presumably less devout / godless Hawaiians? Is he saying that God is tuned into the game and might give a shit about its outcome so pray to influence God’s support?

Is his guidance to focus on Jesus and just let “the force” guide him? Can it be he is saying that the coach’s strategy, the team work, and his own son’s skill are less or equally important to the outcome of the game as is divine intervention? That perhaps in spite of his son’s inadequacy or his teams lesser talent, not to worry…God is on your side?

It’s hard to know what goes through the mind of the religiously afflicted. The very fact that this dad needs to drag a deity into his kid’s ballgame is creepy enough for me.

Here’s the good news: Hawaii won it 7-5. Maybe the sign should have read:
"With GOD all things are POSSIBLE.. but don't hold yer freekin breath!"
Hawaii - 1
God - 0

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Reflections on Wishing People Dead

Recently in my favorite message community, the group was taken to task by a Christian friend for having a “dead pool” and wishing fundamentalist right wing whacko “Rev.” John Hagee dead.

Now personally I don’t give a fiddler’s damn if my wishing that scumbag dead is considered in bad taste, or “not Christian”. The fact of the matter is there are genuinely bad people out there who have negative impact on the world and on society; people who have a significant degree of power / control /influence over other people. These people are happy to infect their gullible followers with their hate and ignorance, and rally them to act on it.

These are tyrants, who would gladly truncate our freedoms by declaring the US a theocracy; or by mandating that certain medical procedures be outlawed because they are counter to their religious delusion; or who would relegate those of different religion, or no religion, or alternate life style / sexual preference, to second class citizenship even declare them non citizens and revoke their rights entirely; throwbacks who would, and do, gleefully burn books; who would impede scientific and medical progress; and who very much want to install THEIR religion and backwardness into the public school curriculum and government.

Yes, I wish them dead. For if wishes could come true these things they want to instigate would be nullified; our nation and freedoms preserved; our intellectual advancement guaranteed.

But, so what? Wishing, much like hoping, praying, doing a rain dance, burning incense, or sacrificing a goat to some pagan god, doesn't affect things one way or another. If it did, Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, John Hagee, Jeremiah Wright, Bin Laden, the remaining at large Bosnian Serb war criminals; every living Nazi in hiding; every Aryan Nation “Fuhrer”; every KKK Grand Wizard or Grand Dragon etc.; every serial child rapist who roams the street would be long deceased. I’ve wished them all a dirt nap.

Jerry Falwell was a long time wish recipient. As is inevitable, that wish finally came true. Hallelujah!!

If some consider my wish for the demise of these demagogues and leaches on humanity to be a horror, a crime, immoral, or indicative of inhuman degeneracy ... no problem. I can live comfortably with it; because a wish pales in comparison to the real acts, real influence and real intentions of those whom I wish to see rendered utterly and permanently inanimate.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Whores Pay Homage to the Religious Right!! A Fucking Disgrace!

They came hat in hand, groveling, paying homage to a religious icon; courting the flock he herds, professing their religiosity, their “family values”, and their piety.

On Saturday, August 16th, McCain and Obama were summoned before the Grand Inquisitor of the Evangelical mind slaves, Rick Warren, and stood before Him to assure Him and his pod people that they are seriously concerned about what women do with their uterus. They professed their horror of homosexual marriage; declared their love of a mythical man-god; quoted scripture, and all but stuffed their mealy-mouths with communion wafers and skinny dipped in the baptismal font.

This is what candidates for the leadership of the most powerful nation on the planet have come to. This is to what they have descended.

-While a useless war drags on for its fifth year and young kids die for a sand pit that is
destined to become a Muslim theocracy;
- while Afghanistan lapses back into turmoil as the Taliban surges;
- while our unemployment rate goes up, business declines, and jobs are exported;
- while our airlines are on the verge of collapse;
- while foreign business buy up iconic American corporations;
- while China’s economy grows at a rate of 10% annually, and the US’s at under 2%;
- while property values drop and home foreclosures reach record highs;
- while food, gasoline, and heating oil costs suck people dry;
- while we have 60% dependency on foreign oil, and invest in no new domestic sources;
- while our military is depleted and impotent to defend us in the event of a real threat;
- while our educational system lags behind virtually every industrialized nation’s;
- while our bridges / infrastructure rot;
- while our deficit hits a record $400+ billion;
- while our national debt reaches $9 TRILLION, the highest % of our GDP in 16 years;
- while the disparity between rich and middle class incomes becomes even wider;
- while health care costs rise annually beyond the reach of many;
- while Social Security is poised to self destruct in 9 years;
- while our unsecured borders permit millions of illegals to enter our country at will;
- while our Homeland Security technology has yet to reach needed levels;
- while the need for alternative energy screams for aggressive action and incentives;
- while our national prestige, influence and credibility evaporates;

like a couple of whores vying for a trick’s business, these two sycophants address the critically important elements in the minds of Evangelical Christians:
- will they allow humans with matching genitalia to marry each other?
- will they ensure control over women’s uteri? and,
- which one of them loves Jebus more?

All to placate and win the votes of religious zombies who still think a Giant Celestial Boogieman created the universe in six days!!

What next??.... a meeting with the UFOlogists, and alien abductees? With Young Earthers and Big Foot enthusiasts? Will they now kowtow to the Ken Ham Creationists and Intelligent Design whackos, the 911 Conspiracy Theorists neurotics, the “Elvis is alive and living in Phoenix” nuts, the “Moon Landing was a Fake” psychos, the Flat Earthers, and the Area 51 Conspiracy buffoons? They may as well, and promise them all that they understand their mental infirmities, and share their beliefs to one degree or another. Hell, after all, the Presidency is at stake.

This is what our political process has come to. This is where candidates focus their campaign. These are the issues upon which Americans decide the fate of their nation.

If the old canard “We get the government we deserve.” is true, bend over and kiss America’s ass goodbye.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

“WHERE was God?” refugees ask

That was the MSNBC online World News headline on a story about the refugees from war torn Georgia fleeing to Russia. Here’s the quote:

Mother Nonna said she had never seen so many terrified children clinging to their mothers' skirts. "The most difficult thing was to answer their question: Where was God?" she said. "They had so much fear in their eyes."

That question has been asked ever since man created god in their image. After every act of man’s inhumanity to man; after every earthquake, famine, flood, typhoon; during every pandemic; believers have pondered that question. For after all, if their god can see and feel their suffering, hear their screams and pleas, and yet do nothing, what possible use is the god they created and to whom they spent so many hours praying, worshipping, and praising?

Then follow the escape clauses and apologetics from the faithful and their shamans:

“Evil is the work of Satan, not God.” Thus, Satan is more powerful than God? Or Satan is working with God’s approval? And if it was not the work of God how then this?: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Isaiah 45:7

“It is God’s wrath for man’s sinful ways.” Wouldn’t a warning like a flaming sword in the sky, or an army of angels hovering over the UN while broadcasting live on TV have had a better effect by sparing thousands or millions of innocent lives along with the lives of the potentially repentant sinners? Wouldn't THAT be the action of a "loving God" for His creations?

“Its part of God’s plan that we can’t possibly know or understand.” What kind of merciful loving god includes in its “plan” the horrific death of thousands of children with AIDS? Or the incineration of innocent people asleep in their village in Iraq, Darfur, Georgia? Or the hideous deaths of those who jumped to their doom from the top of the World Trade Towers to avoid the flames? “Plan”? The plan of a psychotic.

Nah, when you cut though all the inventive excuses, all the platitudes that they have been carefully taught to fend off doubt and ensure their mind slavery, it always comes back to that old philosophical paradox, I paraphrase Epicurus:
Is God able to stop/prevent these evil things, but unwilling, thus malevolent?
Or is God not able to stop these things, thus impotent?
If God is neither willing nor able, then why call him God?

The answer to that paradox, and to the “Where was God?” question that has been on the lips of refugees for millennia is the same, and found in none of the above. The answer, its lesson, is just now a glimmer of recognition in the minds of some percentage of those Georgian refugees whose reasoning has been stirred awake. It is a lesson hard learned.

Welcome to reality.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

BLASPHEMY!! Fun for the Whole Family

The American Heritage Dictionary defines blasphemy as:
- A contemptuous or profane act, utterance, or writing concerning God or a sacred entity.
- The act of claiming for oneself the attributes and rights of God.

I define it as a fun past time when performed in the presence of easily offended theists.

In the US, a number of states still have blasphemy laws on their books, even though in 1952 the Supreme Court set precedence by declaring New York State’s blasphemy law illegal, since it basically preempts free speech and violates the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. There has been no successful prosecution of a “blasphemer” anywhere in the US since 1928. That guy, an atheist and Evolution advocate, was fined $25 by the state of Arkansas (no surprise there).

Massachusetts’ blasphemy law is a sterling example of theists’ delusional need to protect their Supreme Space Monkey’s sensibilities. It goes back to the early 18th century, is still on the books, and is particularly onerous:

“Whoever willfully blasphemes the holy name of God by denying, cursing or contumeliously reproaching God, His creation, government or final judging of the world, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching or exposing to contempt and ridicule, the holy word of God contained in the holy scriptures shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good behavior.”

Yikes!! Three hundred dollars back then wasn’t chicken feed, and the prison conditions left much to be desired. Simply declaring that you deny the existence of God was blasphemy!! Never mind calling Jesus gay, publishing pictures of Jesus in less than a flattering light, or laughing out loud at the contradictions and idiocy of the bible.

Is it any wonder that atheists were in no hurry to come out of the closet, declare their position, much less write “Ye Olde Atheist Blog” and hand them out on Sundays?

Well, times have changed a lot. But there are still God Fearing-Bible Banging-Tongue Talking-Reality Denying- Re Birthed Christians who would absolutely LOVE to get those laws enforced. And guess what … they practically can.

Many US institutions, and even some governmental and quasi governmental authorities have written “Hate Speech” prohibitions into their polices. There are “hate speech” polices in some state universities, even though it is recognized as a violation of the 1st Amendment. While intended to quash anti-Semitic, anti-gay, or anti-minority rhetoric which could ignite hostility, it’s a short step from there to some fanatical Born Again Christian nut case demanding a college’s Freethinkers Club be disbanded, or atheist sticker be removed from a private car because it’s offensive to their beliefs.

It hasn’t happened yet, but just wait; it’s only a matter of time. When it does happen my reaction will be exactly what every Free Thinking person’s should be:
“Phuck - Que and the Man-God you rode in on!”

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The "True" Christians

“Christianity teaches people to be kind and peaceful and loving. Anyone who does evil acts certainly isn’t acting in a loving manner, therefore they can’t really be a TRUE Christian no matter what they say.”

How many times in discourse with Christians have you heard this, or something similar? It is the quintessential example of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.

I've always found entertaining self appointed Christian declarations of who amongst their fellow Jesus worshippers are or aren't "True Christians". I have seen fundamentalists call Catholics "Satan worshippers" and “Idolaters”; the Pope "The Anti-Christ"; and declare their brethren in less fanatical protestant sects "unsaved". I've witnessed so called loving Christians call Mormons “heathens” at worst , and "cultists" at best [I don’t disagree, after all aren’t all religions cults?].

Certainly, most of the 2,800+/- Christian sects distain and deny the flavor of Christianity the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ practice for their rejection of the non-Biblical concept of Trinity. In fact the level of disgust “mainstream Christians” have for JWs is almost as epic as their distain for Jews.
And how many of us have pointed to the astounding number of documented child molesting, thieving, and manipulative priests, ministers, parsons, pastors, church administrators, church youth leaders, and exposed televangelists, only to have the self-righteous declare them "not True Christians"?

Finally, there is the not so occasional religious homicidal maniac, like the church going anthrax scientist who recently committed suicide, or the child killing mother in the throes of religious fanatic delusion … all dismissed as “not True Christians". How very convenient, and self serving.

Evidently the litmus test to be a "True Christian" isn't as simple as being baptized and believing in Jesus as savior (as the New Testament says). Nope. It seems to necessitate belonging to the same sect, having the same dogma / rituals, and holding the preferred position on social issues like abortion or homosexual marriage. Or if mentally unstable, at least manifest the same instability / share the same psychosis as the judgmental Christians self appointed to determine who is and isn’t a “True Christian”.

And should one Christian’s actions cause embarrassment or place fellow Christians in a bad light…oh, well… that’s the “not True Christian” kiss of death. This in spite of the doctrine that says one is not condemned by bad acts, nor saved by good acts or good deeds, simply by acceptance of Jesus as The Savior.

So what drives this need to disown their own out of hand? Two things:
1. To be a member of one of those “other cults”, or to have alternate positions on social issues, threatens the mainstream Christian flock members’ certainty of the validity of their own sect and positions.

2. Christians who embarrass other faithful by their unsavory / illegal acts even when done at the direction of Jesus, casts all Christians in a bad light and undercuts the credibility of the “true” Christians
(as if Christianity had any credibility to begin with).

Hey, if you tell me you don't believe in god/s I promise I won't question your "True atheism"… even if you are a pervert, anti-choice, send anthrax letters, and /or vote Republican.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Delusional Christians shouldn’t be allowed to vote

Yes, I know … a very controversial statement. A position that certainly sounds contradictory to my strong defense of the Constitution and commitment to personal freedoms. But, before you throw this aside as some radical fascist concept lets examine this dispassionately.

The 15th Amendment to the Constitution says:
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

Note it doesn’t say anything about people who are so deluded, or who have such a low IQ that their ability to logically exercise their franchise is negated. In fact, certain conditions can and do bar people from voting. Convicted felons can’t vote, and in many states the insane, severely retarded, and mentally incompetent are prohibited from voting. For instance, New Jersey’s Constitution forbids an “idiot or insane person” from voting. Thus, voting is a privilege that can be lost and not an unconditional “right”. So, with that as precedence lets define the “delusional Christian” conditions that I propose should negate a persons voting privilege.

First, let me be clear:
I’m not suggesting that simple belief in God, Jesus as God, the Trinity, prayer, miracles, dead rising, transubstantiation, heaven, hell, etc,. etc., the normal Christian foolishness, should disqualify a person from being able to vote. And I’m not suggesting that failure or refusal to adopt sound scientific theory into ones belief system is delusional. That’s just stubborn foolishness caused by the brain’s religion meme. I’m talking about those people who are so far gone that their beliefs do not allow reality to supplant obvious theological infirmity. For instance:

People who, in spite of overwhelming scientific proofs, irrefutable hard evidence, believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old because the Bible tells them so … are incapable of rational discernment.

People who believe that God talks to them, that angels visit them, and who have seen witches, devils and demons … are not mentally equipped to participate in the choosing of our nation’s leaders.

People who are convinced that 911, hurricane Katrina, the collapse of a bridge in Minnesota, the death of US soldiers, the spread of AIDs, etc., etc., is God’s divine punishment for society’s acceptance of homosexuality … lack the rational thought necessary to evaluate real world decisions.

People who burn Harry Potter books; believe magic / “witchcraft” is real and inspired by Satan; or who conduct exorcisms on unwilling victims … are, unbeknownst to them, one step away from ingesting or dispensing cyanide laced Kool Aide thus ill-equipped to exercise the voting privilege.

Let’s face it. It’s bad enough that theists are so credulous and gullible that they will believe most anything the Bible, their clergy, or a right wing candidate feeds them. The last thing we need is to allow the most irrational fringe element of their kind to make decisions that can shape our future. If we are destine to screw ourselves by electing the wrong candidates, let the error be on the hands of people who can at least approach clear and reasoned thought unencumbered by schizophrenia induced hyper-religiosity.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Word of GOD!!! Sometimes It Makes Me Wonder

The faithful say that the Bible is the word of God. Some believe it was inspired by God, others (the more seriously damaged) believe it to be actually written by God Himself ... in long hand. Some believe God wrote it in English; those people usually reside in the deep South.

Unlike 99.99% of Christians, I’ve actually read a couple of books on the origins of religious scripture, among them “Who Wrote the Bible”, by R.E. Freidman. It explains in great detail how various social imperatives and controls, and political infighting shaped the stories, lore, and laws of the Old Testament scripture. Scholars can even determine from which of the two divided kingdoms of Israel and Judea the authors came, and whether or not they were of the priestly class, all based on competing social and political emphasis and contradictions. It’s fascinating.

That the Old Testament is full of cruel, homophobic, anti-feminist, pro-slavery, pro-rape, and pro-genocidal stories and laws that suborn them is old news. Stuff you read and shake your head over. But every now and then there is a passage that makes you just wonder. One that does it for me is this one:

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 woolen come upon thee.
Leviticus 19:19

That’s GOD talking, and he is damn serious!!! The God who theists believe created the universe and everything in it; who has existed forever; who is all knowing, all powerful. And here he is giving his chosen people fashion tips, and admonishing them not to create hybrid cattle or plants.

While inexplicably idiotic to you and I, Christian apologists are, by their infirmity, condemned to defend it. Their explanations in short are as follows: a pure breed of plant or animal is better than a mixed breed, and God knows this. On the fabric issue here’s the quote: “God established these laws to ensure that low quality fabrics are not produced.” I kid you not, here’s a link. There are others that provide the same explanation.

That’s right dear reader; God knowingly gives the Jews bad advice on cattle husbandry and agriculture. Maybe he didn’t know that cross breeding could increase milk and meat production, improve plant resistance to draught and pests, as well as increase the heartiness / adaptability of the species by incorporating the best qualities of other breeds. And what erroneous info led God to believe that fabric blends just don’t stand up to his rigid standards of performance?

Look, these weren’t off handed suggestions… He meant business! Breaking ANY of God’s laws were punishable by some pretty stiff penalties, up to and including being stoned to death [“Hey Aaron, that had better NOT be wool fringe I see on your cotton robe!] .

So, one might wonder if these instructions were so important to God why is it that Christians wear wool blend clothes, and their farmers cross breed cattle, create hybrid plants? Answer- the usual feeble reply: “Oh…we don’t have to follow the old laws since Jebus died for us.” And yet, they can’t begin to explain:

1. Why did God give bad animal husbandry / agricultural dictates to begin with?
2. Why would Jesus’ death make the cross breeding of cattle and plants suddenly ok and in the best interest of his creations; and why would it render blending wool and plant fibers in a garment acceptable? A dead Jew suddenly made those fabrics last longer???
3. Finally, how come God has a bug up his ass for THESE idiotic laws, but neglected laws about pedophilia, slavery, and demanding women be treated equal with men?

Christians should wonder about those things but they won’t. They won’t because it could lead to thinking which makes their heads hurt and could weaken their faith. Meanwhile, the rest of us will wonder how Christians can be so utterly simple minded, and their God such a numbskull.

[Note: By the way, the rabbinic / Jewish explanations are much more conventional and, as you’d expect, logical, inferring they are a man made construct. It speaks to these laws as having been devised to honor God by not altering his original creations, and to protect the privileged / unique attire of the Priestly class … who wore wool and linen during religious rites. But, shush!!! …don’t tell the Christians. Their explanations are so much funnier.]