Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Who does an atheist thank on Thanksgiving?

By popular demand (OK, one of my readers asked) I am re-posting my 2008 Thanksgiving blog.
It's as relevant now as it was then, and as it always will be.  Enjoy... and a wonderful, safe, and godless Thanksgiving to you and yours.

There are all kinds of stories, real and embellished, which speak of the earliest thanksgiving feasts 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 thankful. Instead, I have many days of thanksgiving:

- 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 contribution of that great explorer.
- Every Lincolns Birthday, and Martin Luther King Day I remember men whose words and deeds set people free.
- Every Independence Day I remember to thank 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… and thank them for being the people I love and who love me.

Yes, thanks are due, but not to some boogie man, 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 physical men, women, and children, past and present, whose sacrifice, foresight, commitment, dedication and love make our country unique, and our lives worthwhile. That’s who I’ll be thanking this Thanksgiving.

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Prayer in the face of “Freewill”: The bugaboo Christians don’t want to hear.

I was reading about a Christian pastor who is imprisoned in Iran for promoting Christianity.  Naturally, the Christian community has been praying their knees to the bone for the past year or so for his release, with zero luck.  In fact, he was just transferred to the most hideous prison in Iran for their troubles. 

On the same day I read a tragic story about a Youth Pastor in California who lead a prayer meeting calling on god to end gun violence.  That evening he was shot dead in the street.

Both stories had reader comments explaining how it wasn’t the failing of prayer that has caused these unfortunate predicaments.  No, it is the fact that god gave man “free will,” and its man’s evil use of freewill that is the problem.

The religious always seem to have an explanation for why things don’t work out the way they wish / pray / or are promised they would. It’s easy to do because - unlike reality - the supernatural is as fluid as a puddle of mercury.  When in doubt, just make it up, who’s going to prove you wrong?    But this time they stepped into a pile of steaming prairie pizza that is inescapable. Here’s why:

If as Xtians say god gave man free will, then by praying for the incarcerated pastor to be set free they  are imploring the god thing to intervene and take back / over rule the free will of his Iranian captors.  Similarly, by praying for gun violence to stop, they are imploring their god to intervene in the evil actions of freewill-possessing-gun-toting-criminals.

Now here’s the paradox: If god thing can revoke freewill, impose his preference on man, based on prayers of the faithful then it's not free will at all; it’s simply an illusion of free will ... thus freewill is a lie.

On the other hand, if free will trumps prayers, and thus god doesn't / won’t intervene to change man's mind/behavior, then why pray for world peace, or pray for an end to abortion, or pray for non-believers to come to jebus, or pray for any condition that is controlled by human thought and action?

Now, reason tells us you can’t have it both ways. Prayer is either effective in getting god thing to cloud mens' minds and turn their unkind acts or alter their preferences; or prayer is ineffective in the face of freewill.  

When posing this problem to a believer one encounters only the usual mindless platitudes (i.e. “God is good ALLLLL the time!!!!!”); or the inevitable cry of “CONTEXT!!!”; or the endless quoting of some totally unrelated biblical verse in an effort to divert the issue.   I have yet to find a Christian capable of reasoning through this dilemma and rendering an intelligible response.   See if you can find one. Good luck.

But it’s not their fault. They are condemned by their mind virus to endlessly try and defend a befuddled, defunct, contradictory and utterly absurd doctrine.

Silly Christians.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Remembering Kristallnacht and what Christianity wrought

It’s a pretty safe bet most of us didn’t notice that Saturday, November 9th marked the 75th anniversary of the beginning of what is arguably the worst case of religiously inspired genocide ever recorded on the planet.

Seventy-five years ago in Nazi Germany, persecution of the Jews became officially sanctioned genocide when brown shirted Nazis and like thinking German civilians smashed windows of Jewish businesses’ (hence the name “glass night,” or more succinctly The Night of Broken Glass), burned seven thousand Jewish businesses to the ground as well as one-thousand synagogues, and destroyed Jewish homes and belongings; culminating in the death of at least ninety-one innocent German Jews.

The government of Germany did more than fail to prosecute the perpetrators of this supposedly impromptu, but well organized, act of antisemitism against their own citizens; they actually rounded up 30,000 Jews and sent them off to concentration camps. Kristallnacht marked the transition from Jewish persecution to Jewish extermination.   And so began the Holocaust.

Wait. Did I say that began the Holocaust?  I misspoke. No, the beginnings of the Holocaust can be traced back almost 1,800 years before Kristallnacht, and laid right at the feet of the creators of anti-Jewish thought: the Catholic Church and their doctrine of collective Jewish guilt for the supposed death of their make believe Man-god.

The New Testament is rife with anti-Jewish sentiment. Paul, realized the Jews weren’t buying the Messiah-ship of Jesus and weren't going to be the source of growth  of the new cult. Thus, in his effort to recruit pagan Romans to Christianity, he shifted blame from the Roman execution of a seditious Jewish monarchist onto the Jews themselves and away from the Romans, thus removing direct responsibility for Jesus’ death from his prime recruiting target. The rest is, as they say, history.

Shortly thereafter, with the growth of Christianity, Jewish lives were worth less than Christian lives.  During the crusades Jewish lives were barely more valued than Muslim’s lives. Good Christian knights slaughtered Jews wholesale as they rode to the Holy Land.  Jews were blamed for plagues.  They were banned from craft guilds; barred from Europe’s universities; forced out of their places of birth upon threat of death or torture; taxed for their Judaism; forcibly converted to Christianity on pain of death; herded into ghettos. Spontaneous cases of pogroms, Jewish persecutions and killings, became the norm throughout Christian Europe for centuries.  The list of atrocities and injustices is mind bending.  

That’s not to say The Catholic Church was the sole guilty party.  The Reformation bred protestant cults that hated the Jews just as much, or more… they used the same Bible after all. Martin Luther, the founder of Lutheranism, was a rabid anti-Semite and fanned the flamed of Jew hating.

Is it any wonder then that most of the monarchies of Europe, then Hitler saw Jews as just another pestilence worthy of extinction? Hitler after all was raised in the Catholic Church.  He knew the Church doctrine well. Thus, no coincidence that when the time came to purify Germany and cultivate the Aryan Race the Jews were the prime target.

In a recent poll of US Christians, 27% blame the Jews for “killing God.”  I’m surprised it’s that low.  In fact, I highly doubt that even scratches the surface.  While Pope Francis and some recent popes have professed Jewish collective guilt to be wrong; and the Lutheran church is embarrassed by Luther’s call for Jewish expulsion and persecution and murder - they can’t undo what the Christian bible says, and what the Church has so effectively implanted and cultivated in the minds of Christians and the world for nearly two-thousand years.

Until the New Testament is purged of the fable and hate it promotes (and while they’re at it they can fix the scientific fallacies and contradictions) the remaining 27% of Christians who openly admit they blame and hate Jews, and the perhaps the other 50% who are just too embarrassed to openly admit it, are the “True Christians.”  

I hope its 2,000 years more before the Jews forgive the Christians for the horrors and misery their mindless cult caused the Jewish people. Even then, it would be too soon. It would do us all well to never forget Kristallnacht for it is proof of what religion brings.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Atheism, Arrogance & the Center of the Universe.

”Every atheist I have met has been a very arrogant person. Yet even in their arrogance, they have trouble believing that they are greater than God. So instead they just say that God does not exist. That way they don't have to deal with it and they can be the center of their universe.” – Vidmagic

This tiresome platitude filled analysis was proffered by a very confused religionist trying to make sense of why atheists are. Sad and remarkably silly, although he did get one thing right.  I attempted to set him straight: 

Arrogance? Perhaps. I'll admit to being arrogant at times. But my studied opinion after almost a half century of discourse with people such as you is that I have much to be arrogant about.

I doubt you have met many atheists, if any at all. I have over 2000 atheist friends (real and on fb), and belong to a number of national freethinker organizations. I've yet to hear even one atheist ever even intimate that they aren't greater than a god, yours, or any of the others. Man created his gods in his image, thus no god can be greater than man.  As human beings we're all greater than your imaginary supernatural being, Vidmagic,  because we exist.

I'm guessing you have no trouble perceiving yourself to be greater than Thor; greater than Isis; greater than Moloch; greater than all the thousands of gods man's inventive mind has created, save one. How hard is it then to take a tiny step forward into advanced thought and understand why an atheist would have no issue with expressing precisely the same degree of greatness over those gods plus the one god that you still embrace?  If you can muster some intellectual honesty you’d understand that, and wouldn’t need to go through such  convoluted gyrations of religious non-think.

As for the "center of the universe", what a peculiar and remarkably vapid statement. Neither atheists, nor theists, nor any imaginary omniscient god/gods are at the center of our world; humanity and nature is. If more people exalted humanity, our planet, our environment, and the other species we share it with - not some imaginary boogie man - earth would be a better more peaceful and verdant place.

Ruminate on that, in between your self flagellation, prayers, and denial of reason.