Thursday, May 28, 2009

What Kind of God Punishes Knowledge? Guess Who.

In Greek mythology Prometheus gave fire to mortals which he stole from Zeus. Zeus punished him by having him chained to a rock, where everyday a bird of prey ate out his liver which regenerated perpetually.

Also in Greek myth, Arachus was a mortal who challenged the goddess Athena to a weaving contest. She lost, and Athena turned her into the first spider for her hubris.

Artemis was the virgin goddess of the moon and hunting. A mortal named Actaeon was out hunting when he came upon Artemis bathing in a stream and stopped to look. For his peeping tom-ism, Artemis had him turned into a deer, and was promptly torn to pieces by his own hunting dogs.

These kinds of stories abound in ancient myths from many cultures. Man insults, challenges, or steals from the gods and a swift and hideous punishment ensues. But the theme of an angry and punishing god isn’t just a pagan one. The God of Abraham, the Judeo-Christian God was no slouch when it came to meting out punishment. And yet, there is something very different about what this God punishes.

The very first punishment God hands out is on Adam and Eve. What dastardly deed did they do to deserve being banished from paradise, cursed with toil, pain, disease and the loss of immortality, and have the same punishment handed down to their children and all subsequent generations?
Did they conspire to see God naked?
Did they steal a sacred element?
Did they challenge God’s omnipotent ability?

No. Their unforgiveable crime was they dared to eat from the tree of KNOWLEDGE. That is, they dared to taste logic, reality, and fact. KNOWLEDGE is a no-no. KNOWLEDGE is bad. Ignorance, mindlessness, drone like stupidity is God’s preferred state for his creations.

Why? Why was knowledge so guarded, so valued by this God, or more specifically, by the writers of the Old Testament, that for man to desire it, achieve it, possess it is a cause for horrific punishment for all generations? Because with knowledge comes reasoning. With reasoning comes questioning and understanding. With understanding comes challenge to authority…whose authority?? … the priestly classes’ authority.

The moral of the story the Old Testament writers wanted to get across loud and clear was simple: Knowledge is not to be desired or achieved; it is a thing of danger in the wrong hands, for mortal men to pursue it can only lead to trouble. Heck, look what it did to Mankind thanks to Adam and Eve. “So shut the fuck up and do as we tell you, ‘cause that’s all you need to know!!”

And so it continues; taken to extremes by the early Church and practiced right into the 21st century by fundie Christian sects. The self imposed ignorance; the blind unquestioning compliance to ancient dogma; the distain for and opposition to science and secular learning. Knowledge is to be avoided for it is the enemy of the Church, or as Martin Luther said: “Reason is the Enemy of faith.”

Attaining knowledge is worse than stealing from the gods, or trying to see them naked. Knowledge = punishment / Ignorance = bliss and reward … one needs to be a believer not to see the obscenity of such a doctrine.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"One True Religion": Revelation or just an Accident of Birth?

Geography (one’s place of birth), and the brand of one’s parent’s religion are undeniably the single greatest influence on a theist's particular flavor of superstition.

This is a fact based on simple observation and evidence. Over 80% of the population of India is Hindu. They didn’t suddenly decide to become Hindu by random chance, or by evaluating every other religion on Earth and making an informed decision. India has been a seat of Hinduism for 2600 years or more. 90% of the worlds 1 billion+ Hindus reside in India and Nepal. Thus, when a child is born in India, there is a large possibility that his parents are Hindu and overwhelming likelihood they will raise him as a Hindu.

Online a Christian was espousing the usual insipid nonsense about Christianity being the “one true religion”. Further, that he has chosen Christianity because it was revealed to him by God. I asked where he was from and if his parents were likewise believers. He was from Alabama, and he assured me his parents were devout Christians, or as he put it “They are Saved.”

I posited that if he had been born in India, to Indian parents who practice Hinduism, its more than likely that he'd believe Hinduism was the one true religion, and would scoff at and dismiss Christianity and its dogma. Thus, it isn’t revelation that made him Christian, it was an accident of geography and parentage that decided for him what the "one true" religion is.

Using that famous Christian openness to logic and reality he retorts with ”No, I still would have been a Christian." I tried to get him to explain in logical terms how if he had been born to Hindu parents, in India he would avoid having been indoctrinated into their prevailing belief system. All I received for my effort was "You wouldn’t understand." Well, that solves that problem.

So in the absence of a worthy theist apologist, I shall venture a guess as to what he would propose would have caused a child born in India to Hindu parents to become a Christian. It works like this: Jesus would have recognized him as a person MEANT to be Christian, and thus would have implanted in his mind a "Christian Gene", or some such predisposition toward Christianity. Of course, this would mean that this particular child, having been uniquely selected from among nine hundred million Indian Hindus, was the "Chosen Indian of Jesus”.

This then sets him above the one billion+ Hindus Jesus doesn’t deem worthy of hypnotizing, enticing, or otherwise receiving His “revealed” singular Truth. All those other’s would be ignored and condemned to Hell for not abandoning their historic Hindu faith and coming to the Lord independently, without His divine intervention. It would infer he would be the hand selected of God among all others. Obviously this is something the Christian chat character was not prepared to proffer or defend in an open chat room. Better to leave it at "You wouldn't understand."

But, we do understand. We understand that to people like him supernaturalism, denial of fact, and abandonment of reason in defense of a belief always trumps real world logic and evidence.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Christianity will out live everything." This one is priceless.

I consider myself something of a connoisseur of idiotic-unthinking-platitudinous fundie statements, the crazier the better. It takes a sharp eye and an appreciation for the absurd to spot and savor some of the most bizarre things fundies say while in the throes of religious fervor. They rarely consider whether or not it makes sense, but they take great pride in proffering a statement that emphasizes their level of devotion to their religious infirmity.

A couple of weeks ago, in response to an article in which Karl Rove was bemoaning Christianity’s eventual demise in a secular world, “Matthew”, the fundie in question, was moved to make this brilliant comment:

“And on the subject of Christianity going away: The Constitution will pass away, the United States of America will pass away, everything will pass away but Christianity will endure forever.”

That statement demonstrates the patented vacant thinking of christian fundies. If “everything”, thus all life, passes away while Christianity endures forever… exactly who or what is left to observe the belief system and rituals of Christianity? How will the faith be maintained? How can a belief system continue / be propagated when no candidates exist to believe in it?

Given that he probably never thought about this (as thinking isn’t a valued attribute amongst these people,) once faced with this problem Matt would probably introduce something really nutty like: “The angels will still be Christians.” Or “Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit will be Christians…and they live forever as do the angels and all dead believers’ spirits.” After all, when you’re invested in superstition why not invoke angels, deities and dead things to carry on the faith? It’s not like he isn’t already exposed as an ignorant supernaturalist.

My theory on how Christianity could outlive mankind is much simpler: Cockroaches!
Yes, you read it correctly… COCKROACHES will become the replacement Christians. Cockroaches have survived millions of years through all the cataclysmic geologic, atmospheric, and climatic events. Surely they will outlive man and adopt Christianity as their belief system. Praying cockroaches, cockroach televangelists, cockroach faith healers, cockroaches talking in tongues, cockroaches denying science, cockroach priests and cockroach ministers molesting juvenile cockroach believers.

Nah! Christianity is doomed to extinction, just as all religions eventually succumb. Cockroaches are too smart to be suckered into all that stupidity.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Give Me Just ONE Certifiable Miracle!

Five million sick, crippled and desperate pilgrims visit Lourdes France each year seeking miraculous healing relief. But, in the past one hundred-fifty years, the Catholic Church has recognized only sixty-seven “miracle” healings. Sixty-seven out of millions upon millions of sick prayerful faithful! Interestingly, NOT ONE of those sixty-seven was an amputee. Why?

There are roughly 360 million amputees on Earth. 33% of the Earth’s population is Christian. Let’s broadly assume that approximately a third of those 360 million amputees are Christians. That’s roughly 120 million Christian amputees.

Out of those 120 million Christians alive today, forgetting the millions of Christian amputees who preceded them, how many of them at anytime in their lives prayed over and over to Jesus to have their amputated limbs miraculously restored? My guess is a lot. But, let’s be conservative in our estimate and say a third of them, 40 million, prayed for full restoration of their missing limb(s).

Yet, of those 40 million living Christian amputees who prayed for God to restore their missing appendages not one ... NOT ONE … has ever had that prayer answered in the affirmative.

How do I know this? Because spontaneous regeneration of a human limb, akin to a starfish sprouting a new arm, would be published in every reputable medical journal, headlined in every print media, be all over the internet, broadcast over every radio, TV, and shortwave frequency on the planet. Every doctor and scientist on the planet would be examining this special event with every known piece of technology at their disposal. The churches would be playing it up, praising the Lord till their crucifixes and prayer beads were rubbed to a nub. But no, not a single occurrence, ever.

So, once again the obvious questions remain:
- Why not a single limb regeneration in spite of Jesus’ promises that all prayers of the faithful will be answered?
- Were the prayers answered, but in the negative … EVERY TIME? If so, is it because God hates amputees?
- Or didn’t anyone of these 60 million prayerful Christians, and their predecessors, have enough faith to gain God’s favor and elicit Jesus’ merciful healing power?

Christians are quick to point to anecdotal instances of miraculous prayer healing of so and so’s hemorrhoids, or so and so’s back pain, or some relative’s cancer going into remission (as so many cancer patients undergoing treatment do). But this amputee thing is problematic for them. They actually get angry when it is posed to them.

The usual dodge is: “God doesn’t just dispense healing like a drink dispenser”; or “God is testing their faith.”; or “It’s God’s will, who are we to question it?”; or “God looks at things in ways we can’t comprehend.”; or “Being an amputee builds character.” (Evidently a raging case of hemorrhoids isn’t a character building infirmity.) Tired old platitudinous denials invoked to avoid confronting that fearful faith shattering reality they dare not confront.

Thus, they will go on making up excuses, referring to their apologetics sites, baaing their devotion, defending the indefensible, blaming atheists for this “ridiculous argument”, and refuse to deal with the problem head on, when all along the ugly truth is staring them in the face.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Christians' Creepy Holy Foreskin Worship

I probably should have saved this for New Years Day, but the mood is upon me so here it "comes".

It seems that Jesus’ foreskin holds a revered place in Christian lore. Who’d have guessed that a religion whose followers are so… uh… “flaccid” when it comes to their icon’s Judaic roots and practices, would have such a fixation? But for over 1400 years there has been a rather unhealthy affinity for Jesus’ penis tip. Call it “holy penis envy.”

On January 1st each year Lutherans, Anglicans, and Eastern Orthodox Catholics observe the holiday called “Circumcision of Christ.” This holy day marks Jesus' submission to Judaic law and tradition. In accordance with Jewish law, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. The Catholic church decided back in 1969 to quit observing the 14 century old holy day of the “Feast of Circumcision” [ Eeewwww!!], and instead decided to rename it “Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God” day. Small wonder, given the sound of the menu.

If that wasn’t bizarre enough, there have been at least twelve official & unofficial Jesus foreskin relics being revered and passed along among churches, popes and devout nobles through out Europe from the 9th through the 16th century. These were the Holy Prepuce. They kept them in special jeweled boxes (see picture above), “whipping them out” only for very special occasions and celebrations… each church and owner attesting that only their prepuce was the one true foreskin of their Lord and Savior. Think I’m making this up? Here’s a “tip” for you… Google “Holy Prepuce.”

And check out Google for medieval paintings depicting the circumcision of Jesus. Holy Schlong!!...there must be a hundred of them!!!

Well, things got so out of hand, what with all of this unseemly Jesus penis talk, that in 1900 the Catholic church threatened excommunication for any “putz” daring to write or talk about Jesus’ holy member. The penalty got “stiffer” in 1954, when violation of the rule got you the highest level of excommunication which included being shunned.

Unfortunately, during the Reformation and French Revolution almost all of these penis pieces were destroyed or lost. Only one remained into the 20th century, The Holy Prepuce of Calcata, which was “exposed", put on display and taken for a walk through the streets of that Italian city annually as recently as 1983. The annual practice would probably still be going on today, had they not been “shafted” by some thief who stole it, jeweled box and all. What a “dick”!!

So, why this Christian “hard-on” for a Jesus foreskin? Hey, who knows what makes Christian cultist whackos tick. Headhunters have their shrunken heads, Voo-doo practitioners have their dried bats and such, and Christians favor their man-god’s manhood. I guess one could say all other religions’ relics just don’t “measure up.”

As a non-believer and thinking person I tried to equate this to some peculiar secular practice. But I never heard of anyone claiming to own Woody Allen’s, Sigmund Freud’s or Isaac Asimov’s excess penis part. For some reason, Freethinkers just aren’t “hung” up on the attraction. Maybe it’s because we aren’t “schmucks".

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hump Defends a Christian Fundie !!!????

The internet, and the media has been roundly piling on that moronic, fake boobed, fundie fanatic homophobe Miss California. It’s a veritable feeding frenzy. I have two positions that may appear at odds with each other:


“Whats this???” you say, “Hump defending a fanatical religionist homophobic twit, how is this possible?” Well, it comes down to a matter of fairness.

Let’s be realistic -- this was a freekin beauty pageant! It's only rasison d'etre is to feed men's and Rosie O'Donnell's masturbatory fantasies. The kind of questions they have typically asked these silicon enhanced Barbie dolls usually revolve around world peace, saving children, feeding the poor, or what their favorite color is. Instead, Miss California was presented with a stacked deck.

She never should have been asked that question on gay marriage. It was asked by a homosexual judge who had an axe to grind and very likely knew her position before he asked it. Even if he didn’t, the fact that he asked it and got an answer he didn’t like, and that is counter to what most enlightened people believe, is no grounds for her demonization.

If she hadn’t clearly been lambasted and piled on for her conservative perspective, honestly answered, then it’s likely she would have won the pageant, and never would have taken to the anti-gay / religious testimony campaign trail that she’s on. The monster that created her post pageant activism was a pageant official with an agenda, and political correctness run amok.
The fact that four or five year old nude pictures were suddenly dredged up makes it appear as just another attempt to get back at her for her anti-gay position.

Lets look at this another way; if a candidate were asked about her “spiritual” perspective, and she answered she was an atheist, where do you think that would lead? And after she was discarded as an unacceptable Miss America, if she went on the campaign trail and aired her opposition to religion and its hypocrisy, how many Christian blogs, organizations, and media sources would be pointing and saying “See … she’s a hater, just like all atheists, she didn’t deserve to win, lets go find more dirt to discredit her with.”

If a contestant is asked a question that has two possible answers, and ONE of those answers will cause her to be negatively viewed / demonized / disqualified even though it’s answered truthfully, then that question is not a valid challenge… it’s a set up.

It’s tantamount to the “God gives Free Will” nonsense that Christians argue: "Sure," they say, "you have free will to believe in God or not, but if you decide NOT, then you burn in hell for eternity." What The Funk kind of “free will” option is that?!?

Now, I have no sympathy for her religious idiocy, or her stunted troglodyte-like social position. But I know a lynching when I see one. I for one won’t participate in it. To do so would be too Christian.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Natural Disasters: A Believer’s Dilemma

I posed this question to a devout believer and Creationist: “If God created the Earth, and God is a loving God, why does he kill his innocent loving creations, many of whom are devout believers, with tornados, hurricanes, and earthquakes?”

He replies: "God does not cause or control tornados, hurricanes, or earthquakes. They are a natural result of climate and the movement of tectonic plates."

"I see." I replied. "So basically one of two things are in play here:

A) either God erred by creating a defective planet that He did not foresee would continuously kill His innocent creations time and time again, and now can’t fix it -- thus He is neither omniscient or omnipotent but is a flawed and imperfect designer / creator; OR

B) God intentionally created these conditions, or permits these defects to continue to exist, because he is a blood thirsty psychopathic thing that enjoys seeing mass death and destruction. "

Presented with this dilemma the good Christian was cornered. But in typical theist style he reaches down deep and comes up with this gem:

"God is a loving God who created a loving world for his creations."

Insert my blank stare here.

A believer who recognizes that the planet’s natural disasters are the result of climatic and geologic events is a good thing, a step toward reality. But he couples it with crediting a Supreme Being with creating the planet and all its workings. Thus, when faced with the conflicting dilemma of naturalism and supernaturalism he opts out, abandoning all reason and discourse to a disconnected off point hackneyed platitude.

But, what else could he do? When we use logic and their defective fables against them in debate, they have nothing but faith and foolishness in defense. Well, at least he didn’t invoke "Free Will!!" or cry ”Context!”

Saturday, May 2, 2009

NH’s Gay Marriage Law Drives the Religious Ape Shit

Last week, the New Hampshire State Senate approved by a narrow margin a bill which would permit homosexual marriage in the state, following Massachusetts’ and Vermont’s lead. Our governor, a moderate Democrat, has said he believes marriage should be strictly between a man and a woman, but has not determined if he would veto the bill or approve it.

Mrs. Hump and I wrote Governor Lynch to express our support for the law. We reminded him that ten years from now, when gay marriage is the norm across the country, that his opposition to the law will be analogous to the religious fanatics and hate mongers who opposed inter-racial marriage and made it illegal in some states not so very long ago; politicians who today are roundly deplored and held up as examples of the worst kind of Americans. I’m betting he’ll sign the law.

What prompted us to write the governor was a story in The Baptist Press that called upon the faithful from across the country to phone the NH governor’s office encouraging him to veto the law. I hate it when religious nuts from outside NH try and meddle in NH affairs. Here’s the whole story:

Naturally, they invoked scripture as their justification for opposition, while pledging they held no homophobic or intolerant feelings toward gays (as though there is some difference between their religion’s support of homophobia / subjugation of human rights and their own.) Churches across the country are in a veritable frenzy over New England’s shift toward gay marriage acceptance.

Anyway, along with emailing the governor’s office, I dropped the good Christian’s at Baptist Press a thank you note for raising my awareness. Here it is:

Dear Baptist Press,

If we hadn't read your story, my wife and I wouldn't have realized there was an organized attempt by people outside of NH to try and influence our Governor to veto the Gay Marriage Bill. Now that we know this, we have been moved to contact Gov. Lynch and implore him to support equal rights and recognition of all humans and sign the bill.

It wasn't long ago that religious fanatics and racist government officials forbade inter-racial marriage. Most of us look back on those days as an embarrassment, indicative of the worse kind of ignorance and hate. The scripture was misused back then too, to suborn those hateful laws.

It doesn't surprise us that Baptists were at the forefront of that effort as well. Religious fanaticism often breeds hate, intolerance, and false claims of higher morality. The first President of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, Furman, proved that when he invoked scripture to justify slavery in the 19th century. I’m sure you are proud.

Our guess is life will go on long after homosexuals marry, and religionists have been reduced to the irrelevance they so justly deserve.

Yours truly,

[real names]
[real address], NH