Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pat Robertson's Halloween Horror!!!

Just when you thought Christians couldn't get any freekin crazier, Bam! Out comes this:

Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network Warns Americans of ‘Demonic’ Halloween Candy

WASHINGTON - October 29 - Put aside your fears of swine flu. TV preacher Pat Robertson's Web site has just issued a bulletin warning Americans of the real threat we face this season: Demons may be lurking in our Halloween candy.

In a column on the Christian Broadcasting Network's Web site, writer Kimberly Daniels asserts that "demons" sneak into bags of Halloween candy at grocery stores.

"[M]ost of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches," Daniels wrote. "I do not buy candy during the Halloween season. Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by going door to door or by purchasing it from the local grocery store. The demons cannot tell the difference." ....

"Halloween is much more than a holiday filled with fun and tricks or treats," she wrote. "It is a time for the gathering of evil that masquerades behind the fictitious characters of Dracula, werewolves, mummies and witches on brooms. The truth is that these demons that have been presented as scary cartoons actually exist. I have prayed for witches who are addicted to drinking blood and howling at the moon."

Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition and an influential player in American politics, has long opposed Halloween. As far back as 1982, he attacked the holiday as a "Satanic ritual" and said on the air, "I think we ought to close Halloween down."

CBN later produced a pamphlet titled "Hallowed or Harmful: Christian Perspective on Halloween." It asserted, "During Halloween, little children in particular are the weak ones." On Oct. 29, 2007, Robertson called Halloween a "festival of the devil" and added that celebrating the holiday is "a mistake for Christians."

The Christian Broadcasting Network took the story off their blog, but not before Google cached it and the news media reported it. I guess even they realized the story made them look crazier than a shithouse rat. Which as everyone knows, they are.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Danes MUST “Believe”… Oprah Demands It!

I caught a glimpse of Oprah’s show the other evening while waiting for the early news to come on. Let me be clear: I never watch Oprah or her spawn Dr. Phil. I’ll leave it at that, lest I inadvertently insult some of my beloved readers.

It seems Oprah was in Denmark for reasons I didn’t catch. The first thing I heard was her observation that practically everyone on the street was blond. Blond!?!? In Denmark?!?!? Sheesh … imagine that. [Aside: imagine going to Botswana and commenting on how there were an abundance of people with black hair.]

As she chatted with two tall, 30ish+, attractive and definitely blond women who seemed to be her unofficial tour guides, the subject turned to religion. The conversation went something like this [paraphrasing]:

Oprah: “What about religion? Are you religious, do you attend church?”
Blond A: “No, I am not religious. The churches around here are usually empty.”
Blond B: “I do not believe in God. Many here are non-believers.”
Oprah: “Well, maybe you believe in God but just don’t realize it?”
Blonds A&B: [Blank stare; awkward hesitation]
Blond A: [Feeling the need to throw Oprah a bone and trying not to cause her unnecessary embarrassment] “Maybe there is a higher power of some kind, who is to know.”

Oprah: “Maybe you are not religious but just spiritual?”
Blonds A&B: [ Blank Stare]
Blond B: “Maybe.”

Oprah: [Nods approvingly]

“Spiritual !?” Oh shit!

Mrs. Hump and I looked at each other with incredulity at this peculiar line of questioning. What exactly was that all about? Why was Oprah so insistent that two Danes (who openly reject religious superstition, as do the majority of the European Union most notably Denmark which is among the least religious countries on the planet) … must believe or may believe in God but are evidently too damn stupid to realize it?

Why was this so important to her that she twice attempted to eke out some confirmation of belief; contrive a convoluted connection to, or validation of, her own enslavement to superstition? I found this bizarre and yet so typical of the pomposity of Americans of faith. I’m sure the blond Danes found it quite strange. I just wish it had been me she was sermonizing to about believing: "No , you ignorant half-witted theist refugee from reality --- what part of 'I'm an ATHEIST' don't you understand!?"

It seems American Christians just can’t come to terms with the fact that the strangle hold that religion held on Europe for a thousand years has been broken. They don’t want to acknowledge it. Perhaps it’s because that reality looms like a specter of the inevitable they’d prefer not acknowledge. Perhaps it’s because delusion loves company.

Friday, October 23, 2009

If spiritualism / religion is good for you, how come it kills its adherents?

Well, it happened again. A flock of New Age spiritualist mind zombies seeking enlightenment go on a retreat of “self discovery,” where there are “powerful earth energies;” pay cash to their Guru leader; step into a “sweat lodge” and promptly keel over. Three die, many more are sickened.

According to survivor reports, people were feeling nauseous and passing out and wanted to leave. But the leader and self help Guru James Arthur Ray, self proclaimed “spiritual warrior” insisted they stay inside for their own inner strength.

In the post event hysteria Ray coordinates a communication between the dead followers and a “channeler,” who assured the survivors that the dead are happy where they are and didn’t want to come back. How comforting… and convenient. The survivors didn’t buy it. Finally.

It’s not like this is the first time in recent history that the willfully stupid seeking some “spiritual enlightenment” put their trust in a charismatic spiritual leader and been lead like lambs to slaughter.

  • Guyana – Jim Jones (Christian)

  • Waco - David Koresh (Christian)

  • Heavens Gate- Marshal Applewhite (Christ delusion nut)

  • Order of the Solar Tradition- Luc Jouret (Christian mixed nut)

Those religious sects, cults and spiritual groups , plus the murders of children / family members at God’s behest, have chalked up about 1,300 corpses so far. This latest debacle won’t be the last time either.

There is this thing about people who abandon self-reliance, reality, and common sense preferring to entrust their lives and money to someone who is on a “higher plane of consciousness,” or is in touch with his “inner spiritualism;” or who professes a special relationship with Jesus, in pursuit of something beyond reality. You’d think in this day and age they’d be a little more skeptical, a little less gullible and malleable. But they are Believers which by definition means gullibility and dependency.

  • When was the last time anyone heard of mass suicide at a meeting of non-believer National Academy of Science fellows at the behest of the head of the Academy?

  • Or an atheist organization drinking cyanide laced Kool Aide during a family outing?

  • Or MENSA members collectively subjecting themselves to life threatening conditions at the say so of a MENSA group leader?

Nope, Nada. It seems that being “spiritual” or “religious” is the prerequisite to being gently lulled into suicide by a shepherd.

What sets The Thinking apart from the Spiritually-Dependent-Religiously-Oriented-Dirt Nap- Candidates? ... Thinking!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why do religious fanatics WANT to be hated? Here’s your answer.

Some years ago I participated in a religious debate chat room on MSN that had as a frequent visitor a patently insane fundamentalist Christian. I do not throw the term “insane” around lightly. An admitted schizophrenic, sexually abused as a child, she was and likely still is, suffering from schizophrenia induced hyper-religiosity. She called herself “TruthTeller,” a remarkably ironic tag.

This woman spoke with God, and God spoke to her. Literally. She spoke on and off in Old English, ala the King James Bible translation, spewing out verse, ranting about “gnashing of teeth,” “all knees will bend,” “He will come with a sword in his mouth,” etc., etc., condemning anyone to Hell, believers and non-believers alike, for failing to believe or interpret scripture as she saw it. Oh, she also claimed to despise religion, which of course meant she hated all other sects/denominations of Christianity except her own personal brand. No matter how often she was dismissed, thrown out, and derided as a troll and provocateur, she kept coming back. She thrived on the agitation she caused and abuse she received for it.

I’ve met this kind of internet troll on and off over the years. They have often been fodder for my blog, and occasionally provide me the inspiration to research various scriptural interpretations, and causes for aberrant extremist behaviors among believers.

Recently I came across another Christian who exhibits similar traits. The only Young Earth Hard Core Fundamentalist in a discussion group almost exclusively comprised of freethinkers, he seems obsessed with atheists and provoking outrage with inane and inflammatory declarations. Many of the things he says are so extreme, so completely outrageous, and so blatantly stupid that in all likelihood he doesn’t recognize that his dialogue does more to discredit Christianity than promote it… but that wouldn’t make a difference to him even if he was cognizant of it.

You see, what I have come to realize is that these troll-Christian-proselytizing-fanatics all have one thing in common: the desire to be hated. They want to be abused. They thrive on having insults thrown at them, their statements discredited, even being banned from a group or chat room. But why? What possible benefit comes from such a mindset? What is the impetus for this behavior? Well, here’s the answer:

“Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.” Luke 6: 22- 23 (NIV)

Understand how these internet fanatical trolls interpret this verse: by being the one gadfly of illogic & gross ignorance; by offering offensive and irrational statements, they incur the wrath of the thinking unsaved by provoking our insults, or by being “excluded,” banned / or dismissed. In this way they will be rewarded in heaven like a martyr. By inducing hatred and animosity they are seeking assurance of eternal salvation. They perceive Luke 6 to be encouraging this behavior.

One can imagine that Fred Phelps’ extremist actions and position on homosexuality isn’t simply based on what gays do behind closed doors being offensive to his God. After all, if God existed and wanted to end homosexuality, he could do so in a second. No, Fred is feathering his nest in heaven by being despised by every thinking person on the planet.

Intentionally provoking anger and discord isn’t what Luke had in mind. But to the unstable whack jobs whose only goal in life is to attain Heaven, whose greatest fear is to be “left behind,” this is all perfectly sensible. Annoying and pretty creepy, but then being an annoying creep IS in the best tradition of religious extremist delusion.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Anne Frank Had it Coming, Jesus said so.

Anne Frank was fifteen years old when the Nazis discovered her family’s hiding place in Amsterdam. She had been hiding behind a false wall, in cramped quarters, supplied rations by a sympathetic Christian family for two years before they were found and arrested in 1945.

They were all sent to death camps. Anne died seven months later in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany after having seen her sister die before her. Her crime was she was born and raised in the religion of her family. She was Jewish.

Anyone who has read the book or seen the movie “The Diary of Anne Frank” is familiar with the horrific existence this little girl had to endure before and up to her death. They may also recall that her writings exposed an innocents and goodness best personified by one line in her diary that she wrote while in hiding and living in fear dated July 1944. That one line read: “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart."

And this would be the end of the story of that girl whose fear and pain we could only imagine, but which was finally put to rest with her death; except according to Christian doctrine it doesn’t end there. Not by a long shot.

No. Christian doctrine is very clear, very succinct, and very definitive: The only way to the Father is through the Son. In other words, unless one believes in the divinity of Jesus before they die they cannot enter heaven and are cast into Hell with the rest of the damned. And there, according to Christian tradition, the inmates are tortured endlessly. They burn in a lake of fire. They are tormented by demons. This all lasts for an eternity with no hope of relief. According to Christianity this is where Anne Frank is now. Those in heaven are treated to live video feeds of the damned going through this eternal punishment --sort of a special reward for belief. **

One can imagine that according to this lovely Christian doctrine that in her off hours in Hell, Anne is rooming with Hitler, Pol Pot, the 9/11 terrorists, and every child molester and mass murder who failed to accept Jesus as his savior before the switch was pulled and electricity coursed through their bodies extinguishing their despicable lives.

And why? Why is that fifteen year old girl who suffered so much in life condemned to an after-life of never ending suffering? Her crime was she was born and raised in the religion of her family. She was Jewish.

Some liberal Christians will say they reject that doctrine; that they don’t buy into it; that God is a loving God and would never permit such a thing. But that’s because they are in denial, preferring not to stare directly into the face of an intolerant, fear mongering, threatening and intimidating doctrine that is at the very heart of Christianity.

The True Christians will shrug their shoulders and say “God gave her free will. It was her choice to accept or reject Jesus.” In other words, she could have abandoned the faith of her parents, her grand parents, her great grandparents, etc., and simply seen it as a false religion, and come over to Jesus. Failing to do so wasn’t God’s fault – “HE didn’t condemn her – she condemned herself.” Some of them actually believe what they are saying is reasonable and just. They don’t even give it a second thought. I mean heck, don’t blame God for the acts of this 15 year old Jewess Christ Killer.

Others mouth similar, albeit less vehement words, but you can tell they are simply toeing the Christian line, feeling uncomfortable with it. Some will even offer that she may have accepted Jesus while in the death camp and could be with Him now. But they know what they are doing. They know they are trying to make the unjust sound just; the unfair sound fair; an inexplicably intolerant and horrific doctrine seem not so bad. They are embarrassed by the very doctrine that they themselves embrace.

And so, according to Christian doctrine, this innocent Jewish girl, like so many millions of others like her, was victimized twice: first by an inhumane totalitarian state to which murder of the innocent was a right; and then victimized by a religious doctrine to which eternal torture of an innocent is her just desserts.

Yep, Anne Frank had it coming. Just ask a loving Christian, or their loving God.
** NOTE: Luke 16:19-31 is interpreted by some fundamentalists as evidence that souls in heaven can watch the torment of those in Hell.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Camel’s Coming Out Party

Ok, that title sounds wrong. Let me clarify.

My wife and I attended a small party with friends last Saturday night. Four other couples attended -- all believers. One couple were husband and wife pastors at two local churches with whom my wife is very friendly, having worked with them on a flood disaster recovery project a few years back.

We settled into the living room sipping champagne, chit chatting, and eating dessert when one woman said she had heard I published a book and was curious as to its subject. It was seconded by an “Oh, you’re an author? Yes, tell us about it.”

Echoing through my head is the old saying about never discussing religion or politics at a party. This holds especially true when surrounded by Christians whose predecessors were prone to meting out some pretty severe penalties for non-belief. But this is New Hampshire, not 17th century Salem, and not being shy to promote my book, after a nanosecond’s hesitation I did my thing.

“You mean to say you don’t believe in GOD … why not??” was offered by an incredulous young lady in her early thirties who it seems has never knowingly been in the presence of an admitted non-believer. I explained the lack of evidence for any God/s man has proffered, my preference toward acceptance of things as real that have a foundation in scientific validity, my lack of need for a non-physical supernatural dependency being a mature self-reliant human in charge of his own destiny, etc. etc.

Parrying with Pascal’s Wager she suggested “But wouldn’t you be better off believing just to be safe?” I explained who Blaise Pascal was and gave her the usual retorts that have blunted that argument so often and over so many years that few theists even bother to use Pascal anymore.

Another woman, in her mid-sixties jumped in “But how do you explain our existence if not for God.” Which lead me to Big Bang, the primordial soup, the Theory of Evolution … “But how could the Big Bang start, it had to have a start ... everything has a beginning.” When I said I didn’t know, no one does yet, although there are theories, she reverted to “Well, that’s where God comes in… He started it.”

This in turn led to the discussion of "if everything has a beginning then who created God?" Then into the “God of the Gaps,” with all of them agreeing that 500 years ago when man didn’t know what caused lightning to strike another sect’s church it was assumed “God did it.” When plague struck, “God’s wrath did it,” etc. Only the atheists did not default to “God” as an explanation, they simply said “we don’t know…yet.” But somehow I sensed my audience didn’t make the connection between those things and my saying “we don’t know what caused the Big Bang…yet.” Information overload perhaps.

None of them I surmised, save the husband and wife pastors, had read the bible. Thus were they disarmed by my references to chapter and verse to emphasize my contentions. Indeed the husband pastor agreed with most of my points, confirming some of the less charming and inexplicably cruel laws of Deuteronomy; the hideous 2Kings2 tale of the forty-two children being torn by bears; and the various verses that have been proven to be less than scientifically accurate.

It was a classic discussion between good believer folks who had minimal experience with debate, and just as little exposure to a secular, well read, religiously versed, person of reality. The discussion followed predictable patterns and themes -- after all, there’s not much new under the sun when it comes to theist think or defending the faith.

As the evening came to a close I handed out my book’s business cards with that charming camel’s picture on it to the delight of the guests. I sensed a good time was had by all, I know I had a ball. Just as we were kissing and shaking hands good-bye, that young lady gave me a hug and whispered “You know you’re going to Hell, don’t you?”

You can lead a believer to thinking but … well, you know the rest.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Order In the Natural World: “God did it!”

To some number of hard core Fundamentalist Christians it’s incomprehensible that a Creator isn’t directly in control of what the rest of us understand as natural forces and events.

This Christian I was debating (I use the term debate loosely) insisted that it's impossible for the "design" of the universe to have occurred randomly, it’s “too ordered” thus proof of God the Creator. So I asked, when sand or any granulated mineral falls out of a bucket, in a vacuum or unaffected by other forces, the random particles fall into a pile that form a cone every time. If randomness can't form an ordered design how does he explain that?

His childlike answer: The person emptying the bucket made it happen... thus the person was the cone's creator. Of course that natural physical forces cause the random falling particles to form into a well ordered and specific geometric shape was totally lost on him. The concept never even crossed his mind. He could not connect the hypothetical with the actual.

I tried to explain that the resulting cone would have been identical if it had been wind blown sand falling off a cliff into a protected gully; or a slow trickle of sand or highly mineralized water dripping from a cave ceiling -- that the man and the bucket wasn't the salient point at all. But it was lost on him. He couldn’t allow that reality to confuse his theistically motivated absolutist thinking.

Sends shivers up your spine just to realize these people actually walk and drive among us. Ron White said it best: “You can’t fix stupid.”

Thursday, October 1, 2009

“Atheism is a Product of Irrationality”

The above was the title of a recent Letter to the Editor that appeared in our local newspaper.

There has been something of a letter war going on by the very small number of religious extremists in New Hampshire, and the Freethinkers in our state. Barely a week goes by when something really inane isn’t posted by a religious whacko that naturally provokes a logical and measured response from the large number of god-less NH residents.

Here’s an extract from the latest offering by the religiously impaired:

“To me, atheism is not only a moral evil but a metaphysical evil because, as defined by Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), evil is the absence in nature of something that ought to be there; for example, it is a physical evil to have been born with only one eye.”

“Atheism is a mental evil because the mind does not have the rationality it ought to have. Abdicating all sense of balance, ratio, and proportionality, atheists are irrational because they deny that of which they have no clear idea.”

About as backward and topsy-turvy illogical babble as one could imagine. I just couldn’t just let it go. My response follows.

In Mr. Cervo's letter of Sept. 24 entitled "Atheism is a product of irrationality" he exposed the problem inherent in "theist think." Indeed, his letter is the quintessential example of the ills of avoidance of secular thought that seem to be the hallmark of the religiously afflicted.

Missing an eye is a "physical evil"? Atheism is a "metaphysical evil'? Lacking belief in supernaturalism is a "mental evil"? One can practically hear the screams of the heretics under the Inquisition's torture devises clanking away in Mr. Cervo's basement.

When the absence of delusion and gullibility and the acceptance of the scientific method and evidence are defined as irrationality; and when blind belief in supernaturalism born of the imagination of ancient pre-scientific cultists is considered rational, then we truly have not progressed far beyond the Dark Ages. It is the doctrine of a Bizarro World where “rational bad, irrational good; reality bad, unreality good.”

I wonder if Mr. Cervo 's concept of rationality includes not "suffer[ing] a witch to live" , attributing a two headed frog to Satan's handiwork and plague to God's wrath. That's the rationality religionists have embraced for thousands of years ... that’s what they call a "balanced" mind. It would be laughable if it were not so frightening in its implications.

And on it will go. A similar letter of nutty devotional apologetics will, no doubt, appear next week. It’s sort of like watching the movie “Groundhog Day,” although if groundhogs could talk, they’d likely make more sense than these crazies.