Thursday, November 26, 2009

“Hey, Little Suzie is having a Tourette’s episode. Who’s up for an Exorcism??”

  • Oct. 22, 2009 an 18-year-old Virginia woman died during a Korean exorcism intended to evict demons or other spiritual entities.

  • October 2007 an exorcism in the Wellington, New Zealand suburb of Wainuiomata led to the death of a woman and the hospitalization of a teen.

  • July 29, 2007 Phoenix officers responding to a report of an exorcism on a three year old girl found her grandfather choking her and used stun guns to subdue the man, who later died, authorities said Sunday.

  • Jun 21, 2005 a Romanian priest and four nuns have been charged in the death of a reportedly schizophrenic nun who was crucified in an exorcism.

  • July 9, 2004 Milwaukee, Wis. preacher found guilty in eight year old boy's 2003 exorcism death.

  • March 2000 Emeryville, Calif. Five members of a small Christian religious group have been charged with the beating death of a 25-year-old Korean woman, who police say was killed during a [exorcism] ceremony to "cast out her demons."

And this is just the "advertised" craziness. The majority of the stories are below the surface, hidden away, sanctioned by the church, quietly practiced by the religiously devout and completely deluded. The power of Christ compels them it seems.

Exorcisms pre-date Christianity and were practiced by the ancient Jews. But they gave it up long ago. Christians just don’t seem to be able to break the habit. After all, what was sauce for their divine goose Jesus is sauce for the modern day Christian quack shaman. Let modern understanding of brain malfunction and psychiatric conditions and their treatments be damned! This is Satan’s handiwork and the religiously afflicted and mentally constipated aren’t going to stand by and watch Satan win THIS soul, no siree Bob !!

Not just your Old World Catholic great grandmother’s mumbo jumbo, exorcisms are also sanctioned and practiced by a variety of Protestant sects: Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Pentecostals… possibly others. There are also the do-it-yourself exorcists who jump into action at the first sign of a loved one’s demonic possession. Then there are the free lance exorcists anxious to ply their trade and cast out those little demons from those little devils. Hey, they’re just doin’ the Lard’s work.

What we don’t know, what the media never reports, are how many mentally challenged children and adults are subjected to this religiously inspired ritual madness, survive, and whose conditions are exacerbated by forced physical deprivation, the rattle shaking and incantations of these throwback practitioners of pre-scientific ancient ignorance.

Jesus Honking Christ people, it’s the 21st century and the civilized world, not the 6th century or the jungles of Borneo !!!

Like the dirty little secret of church suborned child molestation by priests and ministers, exorcism is not openly discussed among the clergy. Oh, they enjoy doing both those things, but best it be kept quiet, practiced discretely, behind closed doors… and only by those best endowed with special powers. I can imagine their whispering to the possessed patient “Don’t tell anyone, it’ll be our little secret, it won’t hurt too much … besides God wants me to do this.” Oops, wait… that’s the wrong chapter and verse.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving : Hump Takes a Holiday

As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, Mrs. Hump is cracking the camel whip and keeping me hopping in preparation for my two sons’ holiday visit to the north country. So I am taking a brief hiatus and posting a chapter from my book to commemorate Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy.

On Thanksgiving Who Does an Atheist Thank?

There are many stories, real and embellished, which speak of the earliest settlers’ feasts of thanksgiving in the 17th century. In 1863 Lincoln proclaimed it an annual event “…as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Uh-huh.

So, every fourth Thursday in November believers bow their heads, and presumably mumble some words of groveling thanks to their super being for allowing them to have their turkey, their homes, their jobs, their freedoms, their families, indeed everything that makes America good and life worth living. As an atheist I mumble not.

I have no need of a single day of praise to thank a magical being whose non-influence due to his non-existence has had no effect on anything for which I am grateful. Instead, I have many days of thanksgiving and many people to thank:

  • Every Election Day as I cast my vote, I thank our Founding Fathers for their bravery and foresight.

  • Every Veterans Day and Memorial Day I thank every fallen comrade and every vet who ever fought to acquire and retain our freedoms.

  • Every Columbus Day I am conscious of the courage of a great explorer.

  • Every Lincoln's Birthday and Martin Luther King Day I remember men whose words and deeds set people free.

  • Every Independence Day I reflect on those men and women who risked their lives, fortunes and sacred honor in order to bring this Great Experi­ment to fruition.

  • Every family birthday, every anniversary and each Thanksgiving Day I am thankful for my family; I thank them for being the people I love and who love me.

Yes, thanks are due, but not to some bogeyman, not to some mythical sky being, not to some imaginary thing that hovers above, or within, or about, or below. Thanks are due to genuine human beings; real men, women, and children past and present whose sacrifices, foresight, commitment, dedication and love made our country unique, and make our lives worthwhile. That’s who I’ll be thanking on Thanksgiving.

But, if you just can’t deal with reality, and must bow and grovel to some unseen god on Thanksgiving Day, may I recommend Gadura, the Hindu bird god. He’s as close to a turkey god as you can get.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Religion in the News: It's been a busy fortnight for the righteous

I don’t usually blog about the continuous flow of reports about pastors, priests, youth ministers, and their followers' predilection for criminality, perversion etc. Oh, I may reference it to make a point, or underscore a contention within a blog, but I don’t commonly just report on them; it’s too frequent and too widely reported in the media and on blogs.

But it’s hard to ignore the contribution theists have made to current events over the past 14 days. Top news stories included:

Yes, it’s been a busy two weeks for religionists here in America. One wonders where they find the time to pray, eat man-god flesh wafers and deny Evolution. If we looked world wide at the list of crimes, hypocrisy, perversity, and despicable hatred promulgated by the god fearing devout of all religions with god’s blessing, they would likely fill a dozen pages.

And what do the religionists say about their believer brethren who make the headlines? “Oh, they aren’t True Christians”; “Oh, he wasn’t practicing True Islam.”
As usual, it’s simple denial of reality; that's what they do best.

But, to be fair, and in full disclosure -- here is a list of crimes, hate, hypocrisy and perversion promulgated by those unethical, amoral godless American atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers and their disgusting foundations and organizations over the past two weeks:


And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Befuddled God (good thing he has so many interpreters)

Their God, it seems, is an inarticulate and confused old bastard who has to rely on his creations to figure out and explain exactly what his words mean and policies should be. Liken it to a ninety-eight year old senile CEO of a company who is kept locked in his office by the Board of Directors who translate his babble into whatever the Board wants it to mean to the share holders.

The evidence for this is overwhelming.

In a recent blog posting I referenced how some Christians believe that once they go to heaven the perks include being able to watch the suffering of those souls condemned to hell. I myself have been on the receiving end of this taunt by religious fanatics who anticipate with great glee this marvelous side benefit of heavenly residence.

The basis for this belief is their interpretation of Luke 16:19-31. In it a rich man in hell converses with and is seen by Abraham in heaven. It’s either interpreted as a parable or a “real” event depending on how intellectually messed up the fanatical theist happens to be … or what his sect leaders tell them.

But, a particularly moronic theist in a message group I frequent took issue with my reference to this interpretation. Evidently I made this all up. I was “wrong.” Never mind that he has had no interaction with any with those fundies who interpret Luke 16 in this way; he has even less understanding that biblical verse has been interpreted in different ways ever since the Church stopped making possession of the Bible and independent interpretation of it a capital offense.

The Reformation, which led to a multitude of breakaway Christian sects from the Catholic Church, was in response to disagreement with Catholic dogma and scriptural interpretation. Today there are some 2,800 different denominations and sects of Christianity. Not one of them interprets every chapter and verse the same way.

Some of these sects reject the Trinity, others reject the existence of a physical Hell. Some believe the ingestion of the wine and wafer is truly eating the body of Christ; others believe it is just symbolic. Some believe all those who never hear the “Word” and thus are unfamiliar with Jesus go to Hell for their ignorance; others believe they are saved. Some believe in the Rapture; others reject it. Some Rapture believers think the seven years of Tribulation happens before the Rapture; others that it happens after the Rapture. Some believe God literally dictated the Bible; others that it was inspired by God. Some believe in Universal Reconciliation; most believe it’s damnation to Hell for non-believers. Etc. All have scriptural “evidence” for their opposing viewpoints.

Heck, there is a world wide movement of Evangelicals who believe that Highway 35 that runs from Texas to Minnesota is “the Holy Highway” as described in Isaiah 35:8.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds if not thousands of other concepts and interpretations of “God’s Word” and his expectations that distinguish a Calvinist from a Lutheran, from a Methodist, from a Quaker, from a Shaker, from a Mennonite, from a Baptist, from a Santeria practitioner, from a Jehovah’s Witness, from a Mormon, from a Christadelphian, from a Kimbanguist, etc., etc. ad nauseam..

These sects and denominations can’t even all agree on the order of the Ten Commandments or its precise meaning.

So with all the confusion of the scripture, the inarticulate ranting and contradictions, what is a true believer and devout Christian to do? Simple -- make the words mean what is most expedient, in the best interest of the believer, or supports his agenda. Don’t wait around for God to unscramble and re-edit his indecipherable-open ended- babbling idiocy, he’s already had a few thousand years to do that and seems to have lost interest or capability. So his creations have to do it for him, in thousands of differing ways. Basically it’s a cluster fuck of self appointed God interpreters.

And if you don’t like any interpretations, branch off -- start your own sect based on what the Bible is REALLY saying. Have lots of wives; handle snakes; roll around on the floor babbling incoherently; kill gays; hole up in a compound and collect weaponry; or move to a jungle and feed your followers cyanide laced Kool Aide. It’s all good. The Bible tells them so

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Secular Flag Ceremony Co-Opted by Religionists: Is nothing "sacred" to these damnable theists?

I just read that during a Veteran’s Day service, being conducted by a Catholic church, they are going to recite “The Meaning of the Twelve Folds of Our Flag.” Having never heard of this I decided to do some investigation. Well, as I suspected, the worst was true.

It seems the traditional formal flag folding ceremony, which entails twelve folds of the flag culminating in a triangular shape with the just the stars showing, has been mysteriously imbued with religious significance, specifically Christianity.

Here is the recitation of “the meaning” of the twelve folds of the American flag:

  1. 1st fold of our American Flag is a symbol of life.
  2. 2nd fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life.
  3. 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrances of the Veterans who have departed their prospective ranks who gave a portion of their life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world, not to have been in vain and shall never be forgotten.
  4. 4th fold represents our weaker nature; for as American citizens trusting in God, for it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for his divine guidance.
  5. 5th fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of the immortal Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong”.
  6. 6th fold of our flag represents where our hearts lie – and it is with our hearts that we pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of American, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
  7. 7th fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through these same armed forces that our country is protected and our flag protected against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
  8. 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, that we might see the light of the day, and this fold is made to honor a Mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
  9. 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the characters of men and who have made this country great have been molded.
  10. 10th fold is a tribute to fathers, for they too have given of their sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were his first born.
  11. 11th fold of our Flag, for in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, this represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.
  12. 12th and final fold, for in the eyes of a Christian Citizen, this represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies in their eyes God the Father, God the son and God the Holy Ghost.

One might ask:

“Where in the Flag Code is this religiously infused script written?” It isn’t.
“When did Congress sanction this religious interpretation of a simple traditional flag folding ceremony?” It didn’t.
“Is it a tradition going back to some earlier time?” Nope.
“Is the military using this religious script at any official ceremonies?” No.
“Would governmental sanction of such an interpretation be a violation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause? Yep.
“Would this be offensive to any non-Jewish/ non-Christian veteran who fought for that flag and served their country?” YOU’RE DAMN SKIPPY IT IS!

So how is it that this totally fabricated and unauthorized infusion of religiosity into a wholly secular ritual is magically appearing? I have no idea. It seems theists must infect everything with their idiocy.

But I’ll say this: If I’m ever at a ceremony where my service as a veteran is being recognized and honored, and someone whips that inane, insulting and fraudulent crap out and starts to read it, they better have an armed guard… for verily defecation will hit the fan.

On November 11, please remember the vets, especially the fallen. Be grateful for their service and sacrifice. But don’t pray for them, it just insults their memory and nothing is there to hear it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

November 5, 2009 Ft. Hood: Remember

"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy… No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.”
-- Sir Winston Churchill; The River War, 1st edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50, London 1899

Monday, November 2, 2009

Theists -- How about just a little integrity?

I’ve recently been visiting a blog by an ex-pastor, now agnostic. He posts some good thought provoking stuff.

Recently he blogged about a friend, a believer, whose daughter joined a competing Christian denomination that has a theology she finds a bit extreme, causing a rift in their relationship. She asked the agnostic ex-pastor blogger to pray for her daughter to come to her senses and return to the fold or at least not to abandon her familial relationships in favor of this Christian “cult.” This presents an obvious dilemma to the blogger who no longer believes in a deity or prayer.

One of his readers posted this advice: "I’ve never seen any verifiable miracle answers to prayer, I would pray for her and her daughter simply because she asked me to. If she believes in prayer, then I would believe in it too for her sake. This is what friends do with or without all the theology."

I don’t know what to make of this. It seems the commenter is a self-described “Christ-Centric- Deist.” Presumably this means he holds Jesus in reverence but without imbuing him with god qualities while believing in a Creator of the universe who no longer is involved with his creations’ daily lives (Jefferson and Adams, and Franklin could be described similarly.) With an absent Creator, prayer is viewed as meaningless. But what ever his belief the statement has the unmistakable stench of religionist hypocrisy.

So let me ask: If a friend of yours practiced witchcraft that put faith in the sacrifice of a chicken, would you sacrifice a chicken on his behalf if he asked you to? And could you “believe” in its efficacy for his sake, because that is what friends do "with or without" sharing the same delusional theology?

If a friend was Pentecostal and asked you to pray over her dying child who could easily be saved by modern medicine, would you pray with her or convince her to take the child for medical help? If she refused, would you “accept her belief” or notify the authorities, even if it was painful for your friend?

How does practicing a superstitious ritual, with no scientific basis or evidence for efficacy, one that you do not imbue with credibility, genuinely benefit the person making the request? Doesn't doing that violate ones principles? Isn't it tantamount to hypocrisy / a deception? Doesn't it lend credence to / reinforce a superstition that has no validity but gives false hope of a positive result to the superstitiously afflicted?

Wouldn’t we be simply placating someone with a condescending gesture by masquerading as a like believer for their short term / immediate sense of relief and hope when we know it yields no possibility of real long term relief or resolution? Isn’t it saying: “Reality is ok for me, but you lack the ability to deal with reality; so I’ll come down to your level and pretend to make you feel better for the moment. Aren’t I magnanimous?”

Wouldn't a friend who is honest, has integrity, and is true to their own position say
"I can't deceive you and participate in a gratuitous ritual in which I hold no belief; I respect you too much for that. But I love you and will help you in real and meaningful ways."?

Religious belief is already based on an irrational lie. A real friend doesn’t heap one irrational lie on another… no matter how one tries to justify/rationalize it. Maybe this kind of deception of self and others is something theists have trained themselves to do. Frankly, I could never prostitute my intellect, integrity or honesty to legitimize a person’s feel good delusion.