Monday, October 27, 2008

Let’s keep Christ in Christoween

This picture is from a Christian site. As bizarre as it seems at first glance, it makes sense when you think about it… after all, Jesus WAS a zombie.

As silly and goofy as this picture is, there’s a deeper meaning and positive side to it. It represents the Church’s need to co-opt a pre-Christian, pagan Celtic ritual, a secular US day of fun, and connect it in some whacky way to Jesus, in an attempt to stick Jesus where he never was and doesn’t belong.

It’s evidence of Christianity’s fear of becoming irrelevant in a modern secular world, a fear well founded given the erosion in church attendance and decline in believers in the industrialized world. To paraphrase Martha Stewart: “It’s a good thing.”

Have a fun and safe Halloween, and if you see Jesus trick or treating ... guard your brain.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Religious Right’s obsession with YOUR morality explained.

What’s with the far right Christian obsession with other people's sexual behavior, reproduction, and "morality"?

In short: That THEY live by rules and "commandments" they believe are divinely established isn’t enough. We MUST ALL abide by their concept of right and wrong or the shit will hit the fan for EVERYONE.

Why? Because the all knowing God thing sees everything that man does. He peeks into bedrooms; he evaluates your sexual practices. He assesses your decision to have an abortion or to give birth. He knows when you are masturbating. No doubt his sensibilities are offended by your conduct. And if God thing's sensibilities are offended...well... you know how "He" can get. He has a history of smiting entire populations, civilizations, and indeed complete species when offended.

Hence the insane behavior and ranting of Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, the Right Wing fanatic politicians’ adamant demand that women be forced to give birth, that homosexuality be demonized, and push for a Constitutional amendment to prohibit homosexual marriage. To these people, and their sheep constituents, duty is to the God thing first, the country second, individual civil rights last. They are God's agents.

It's not enough for THEM to practice what the "good book" tells them. They have a vested interest in making sure YOUR genitals are applied to the appropriately opposite genitals, your reproductive processes controlled, and that in all things we fit their interpretation of their bible’s definition of morality... lest God thing get His thong in a twist and vent His wrath on us all.

But my Republican friends and acquaintances are unmoved by, blind to, this peculiar obsession of their religious Republican brethren… the same brethren who forced Palin’s nomination as VP. They are mostly too old to have abortions, and none are homosexual (or don’t admit to being such), and thus could give a fiddler’s fuck about governmental repression of civil rights by theocratic fanatics. To them it’s all about their taxes.

“…then they came for the homosexuals I remained silent; I was not a homosexual. And when they came for the Jews I remained silent; I was not a Jew. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.”

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Death Knell of the Republican Party?

I was listening to NPR today and heard a life long Republican Mickey Edwards decry whats happened to his party. A 16 year congressman, a senior member of the House Republican leadership as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, a member of both the House Appropriations and Budget committees, and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Foreign Operations operative says he is still a Republican but is voting for Obama. The first time he'll be voting Democrat in his life.

His reasoning is that while he is more in line with Republican policy than Democratic policy, McCain's dispicable campaign, his "irratic behavior", and Palin as a VP running mate is more than his conscience will allow him to tolerate. He also stated that Palin was not McCain's choice (he wanted Lieberman), but kowtowed to the demands of the Religious Right. Some Maverick.

He said that after this election there will be a fight for the "soul" of the Republican party. It will either become more inline with mainstream American perspectives, or it will become a far right Christian party and become less and less of a factor in American politics.

Between this guy & Colon Powell's defection to Obama, and my own abadonment of the Republican party after 40 years, it's becoming clear what is happening. The handwriting is on the wall.
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin; young Earth Creationist, born again religious fanatic, opponent of sex education, proponent of incest / rape full term pregnancy, and the intellect who professes foreign affairs experience because her state is closest to Russia ... proclaims that her favorite Baldwin brother is Stephen Baldwin. Well, given that he is a Born Again religious fanatic, whose been through rehab more times than Lindsay Lohan, has an IQ below 100, and who posesses all the acting talent of a demented chimp, I am unsurprised.
I contributed again to Obama's campaign last night, having never contributed to a Presidential campaign in my life before this election. But I'll be damned if I'm going to stand on the sidelines and not put my money where my typing is, and watch a 1/2 dead old fool and a 1/2 crazy religious fanatic run this country for the next four years. We've already been there and done that.
If you have $10, $15, $25 available to be part of history... do it now!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Obama, the Anti-Christ, & Dementia

No doubt everyone has seen the email that has been circulating over the past year that proclaims Obama the “anti-Christ”, the “Beast” as described in the Book of Daniel, and Revelations. It details the foretelling of the arrival of the “666” emblazoned evil one, and all his attributes, some conveniently contrived for Obama’s benefit. It was emailed to me by my devoutly Catholic / rabidly Republican accountant earlier this year.
I have since found a new accountant.

The other day I received word from my atheist nephew that his mother’s husband (my wife’s brother-in-law), a staunchly Republican septuagenarian, forwarded the infamously moronic Obama / anti-Christ email to him. Evidently it’s making its second round with Obama’s lead in the polls provoking the Republican “faithful” to a frenzy of hysteria. Mercifully, I had myself removed from the old guy’s mailing list a few months ago when I received a racist anti-Obama chain email from him and realized he had nothing to say that I wanted to hear. My nephew doesn’t have the luxury of that option, unfortunately for him.

The funny thing is when I told this old guy back in January that I was an atheist, he too claimed to be a non-believer. Having never had any previous discussions with him about religion I had no reason to doubt his veracity. But now I was confused. How could a self proclaimed non-believer forward to everyone he knows an email that is steeped in ancient ignorant religious doctrine; a doctrine that would be dismissed (along with the sender) as idiotic and mindless theist political blather by any atheist or modernist believer with a working brain stem?

I pondered this for a while until my nephew threw in the coup de grace. It seems the relative also declared that of the four Presidential and VP candidates, he believes Sarah Palin would make the best President (!). That’s when it all fell into place: the old guy is suffering from dementia.

Now my only question is this: does being religious make you a senile halfwit…or does senility cause religiosity? If the latter I hope Mrs. Hump pulls the plug on me long before it comes to that.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pascal’s Wager. I’ll take that bet!

Blaise Pascal, 17th century religious philosopher and mathematician, is famous for what is known as “Pascal’s Wager”. In short it posits that since the existence of God can neither be proven nor disproven, it is a better “wager” to believe than to not believe, since with belief you have nothing to lose. With disbelief, if God does exist you’re screwed.

Naturally that logic only works if the possibility of a god existing happens to be the one god you pick to worship. Problem is, if a god existed it could well be one of the thousands and thousands of gods man has worshipped for time immemorial… or even another god that man’s mind has yet to conceive. Thus, if one picks a specific god to worship, the odds of THAT GOD being THE GOD, the CORRECT GOD, is from a mathematical perspective, rather small…infinitely tiny.

So as oppose to having nothing to lose, a Christian may well find themselves confronting a god who is pissed as hell that his creation has been worshipping the wrong god and giving the wrong god all the credit his whole life. Homer Simpson figured it out when he said: “But Marge, suppose we've chosen the wrong god. Every time we go to church we're just making him madder and madder."

In fact, there’s a good possibility (better than even odds I say) that said god being would be more sympathetic toward an atheist who worshipped no god because there was no supporting evidence for any. If nothing else, atheism demonstrates the admirable quality of reason and logic that, presumably, this being would have wanted man to demonstrate…seeing as how this god would have provided those attributes to man in the first place.

Believe in God because you’ve got “nothing to lose and everything to gain”?? Yeah…nothing to lose except your ability to reason and logic; your grasp on reality; a loss of self sufficiency; and conducting your life encumbered by inane dogma and superstitious fears.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Distorting the Scripture for Fun and Profit, It’s the “Social Gospel” Way.

I’ve been hanging around Sojourner’s website. It’s one of those far left Christian sites that endorses redistribution of wealth (AKA taxing people to death) to solve the world’s poverty problems. The philosophy they espouse is called “social gospel”. It’s headed by a leftist minister/author whose hybrid concept of capitalism and socialism has made him famous among far Left Liberation Christians.

It’s different, than most Christian blogs. It attracts a variety of Christians: those who see the site leader as some kind of prophetic cult figure, some normal liberal thinking Christians, a self proclaimed “mystic” or two, an educated “non-theist Christian”, and the usual Religious Right whackos. Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

But what’s not different is that the vast majority of them, from the guest blog authors through the commenting readers, is that hardly any of them understand scripture or refuse to apply it truthfully.

Oh, they love to quote verse. They will cut and paste and paraphrase it endlessly to support the thread topic’s political, social, or economic theme. The problem is it NEVER is an accurate interpretation of the genuine meaning of the scripture they are quoting. NEVER! Scripture is a tool to be adeptly manipulated.

When their misapplication, lack of understanding is pointed out, and their outright perversion of the verse to justify their argument is exposed, that’s when the fun begins. The labored excuses, the denial, the protestations, the accusations of being disrespectful, the invention of context, the anger, it’s remarkable to behold.

Take Paul’s admonishment in 1 Timothy which says women are not to preach, and must be silent in church. At this site the verse is denied as a prohibition against women as pastors, and twisted as an endorsement that women should be ministers. Yep, you read that right. At least two people insisted that Paul didn’t REALLY mean it for ALL churches … just Timothy’s church. How did they get that interpretation? Where was the scriptural evidence, the inference, the source document? Nope, nada… they got nothing. Why did the church fathers include 1Timothy in official canon if it was only for ONE church out of the hundreds? No answer… they just ignore and move on.

Another particularly vapid leftist Christian was bemoaning how the emergency “Wall Street Bailout” passed by congress will do nothing to spread the “Good News of economic security that Jesus promised the poor”. When I pointed out that the “Good News” Jesus spoke of had nothing to do with finance, but the spreading of the word of Jesus’ coming, the good news of God, salvation, the Kingdom, etc., and that it was mean to lift the burden of heavy spirit from the poor, not the burden of their economic plight… well, I may as well have been accused of being Satan himself.

That the explanation of “good news” I provided is corroborated by every Christian biblical site on the web, and every knowledgeable biblical scholar, and was documented for him, was of no importance to him. That there is zero reference to economic security, or raising the poor from their financial plight, or governmental intervention in wealth redistribution to benefit the poor anywhere in scripture doesn’t mean a thing to him.

Basically what it comes down to is some combination of outright ignorance, or intentional distortion in order to support an agenda. Hey, if they can use the bible to justify anything from slavery, to disenfranchising homosexuals, to anti-Semitism, to anti Choice, why not distort it in support of confiscatory taxation to support the poor. And while you’re at it, convince yourself you know what you’re talking about.

Christian ignorance of scripture and their intellectual dishonesty is more than skin deep. It goes right down to the bone.
UPDATE 10/7/08: Evidently pointing out textual criticism of the scripture, & correcting fake use of scriptural verse to support their idealogy is not welcome. I've been banned from commenting on Sojourners. So much for Christian tolerance :)