Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bumper Sticker Faith

Bumper Sticker Faith




It’s the winter holiday season, and with it comes trees, lights, wreaths, and holly.

We even get billboards and marquees that answer each other’s controversial statements. The American Atheists have a billboard that says, “You know it’s a myth. This season celebrate REASON!” And some religious folk have countered it. And I’m sure that there’s another campaign here or there that will be having similar competitions.



Not that I’m against these campaigns. I think it’s great that we as atheists are getting the word out that it is okay to be an atheist, especially at this time of year. I think it’s great that the billboards are causing controversy. They ought to do so. I hope they make people think.



The other day at work I was talking with a couple of ladies who turned out to be evolution-deniers. I was taken off guard. These are intelligent people and the last people I would have suspected to have such bat-shit crazy ideas. I tried to explain evolution to them, but I kept getting swept away at the sheer craziness of their ideas. I was dumbfounded when one suggested that Adam and Eve had been dinosaurs. I’ve never heard that before. I could only say with utter bewilderment, “Do you think Adam and Eve were dinosaurs?!” She seemed to think that if they were, that would not contradict Genesis at all, but the idea that all living things share common ancestry would. Actually, I never got to say “common ancestry” to these ladies. Their nonsense left me speechless more than once. If you happen to know me in real life, you know the idiocy has to be at dinosaur level to stump me.



Looking back, I should have known better. One of these ladies has tried to get me to believe that homeopathy was good medicine. She was aghast when I said acupuncture was bullshit. And I think the whole “Adam and Eve were dinosaurs” conversation began with me calling PETA the “People for Extortion and Terrorist Activity”. In other words, I already knew these ladies were into “woo”, but didn’t realize the woo was part of a much deeper pool of crazy guano.



In any event, I tried to explain what evolution was and why creation was nothing more than a fairy tale. I could not. As I tried to give the explanation, they would shut down and tell me they didn’t understand. If I couldn’t condense my answer to less than five words, it was too complicated. I said that was disingenuous, and they couldn’t understand the word. I told them they were not being intellectually honest, and they didn’t care. She told me it was easier to believe Adam and Eve were dinosaurs than to believe evolution happens. I doubt they understand what evolution is, but I asked why she felt it was easier. It fit on a bumper sticker.



It was true; intellectual honesty was not her concern. Nor was winning a debate. Her objective was to keep from having to learn something. Her objective was to be able to keep her head up her ass and try not to look foolish in the process. She hid behind the bumper sticker and ran, because it was quickly evident that once the dumb-stun wore off, I was going to be able to dissect and destroy her position. I only wish I could have shaken the stun off more quickly.



I want to end with the fact these ladies are not idiots. I mean, they may be IDiots, but they are not stupid people. They are quite intelligent and because of this, they illustrate very well how smart people have been trained to do mental gymnastics to keep religious beliefs separate from the rest of their lives. I just worry when it seems to leak in the form of woo.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sorry, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus. There is no god, either.

Sorry, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus. There is no god, either.




I got into a discussion the other day with a couple of evolution deniers at work. I’m not exactly in the closet; I have one of my Secular Student Alliance group’s flyers posted on my desk. The conversation began with how I think PETA is bull, and ran into evolution somehow. So eventually, the santa vs. god argument came up.



Now, the argument was that Santa is based on a real person, St. Nicholas. But did the actual St. Nick live at the North Pole? Did he fly around the world in a sleigh pulled by magic reindeer? Did he have a workshop filled with magical little people? Was he even a fat, bearded old dude? Nope. None of these describe the actual person. But they do describe the legend of Santa Clause, who is certainly a myth.



So why try to make Santa real? The person was trying to make a connection to what was real and the beliefs she held. She wanted to make the connection between Christmas and Christ, but there simply is none, well, at least not one in reality. Perhaps a legend links the two, but there is not a shred of real evidence linking these together.



Now, I realize it’s about that time of year when those “persecuted Christians” get all uppity about non-believers like me pissing on Christmas. Well, I don’t piss on Christmas, just on the Christ part. I think peace on earth and goodwill towards men is a fine idea. Generosity and charity are just dandy. But what pisses me off is when religious clergy distribute toys to children so they can cop a feel. What angers me is when a nativity scene makes an appearance in front of a courthouse or other public institution, especially when other groups are forbidden to do the same. My son is six. He understands that santa, line the easter bunny and the tooth fairy, are all imaginary games we play with children. Like the money we use in Monopoly isn’t real, neither are these characters. But they are still fun. Mostly, I tell my son that I bought the presents because I want the credit. I paid for them; I want the thanks. He gets it. This year, I’ve got They Might Be Giants “Here comes science” album on CD and DVD for him and his cousin. I still can’t believe I missed that album.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

THOU shall not kill; that's GOD's job!!

THOU shall not kill, that’s GOD’s job!


A re-post.  I think this blog is my favorite.  Comment and let me know what you think.

I’ve never been a fan of the Ten Commandments. I really loved George Carlin’s take on them, reducing them to two. But I still have a problem with this one…



I’ve mentioned before that I listen to the Christian radio. The preacher dude is going through the commandments right now, and today he talked about this one. At the beginning of the sermon, he admits that god DOES allow some killing. He said he was going to explain that, but he never really did. Maybe it’s in tomorrow’s sermon.



What kind of killing does God “authorize”? There are just and holy wars, punishments for disobeying god, and of course, god loves it when criminals are executed by the GOVERNMENT.



God does not authorize euthanasia or abortion. Those are “unauthorized”.



It seems to me that god authorizes an awful lot of vengeful killing, but does not authorize mercy killing. War is so vengeful. Especially if we’re talking about Biblical wars. Whoo! That was some vengeful fighting! The death penalty is still vengeance, even if it has a civil front to it. Someone does something, and you or the government wants to kill that person for it. That sounds like vengeance to me.



I can’t think of too many people who have asked a doctor to assist them in committing suicide that were in great health. This is usually a decision made to reduce or prevent prolonged suffering. So too can abortion be a merciful act. What do you think happens to the child born to parents who didn’t want the child? And then there’s rape and incest and medical emergencies… My point is abortion can be merciful.



Why is this? Why does god so easily allow hate and vengeance and stifle mercy? Well, I kinda got the answer.



See, the emphasis in the commandment is not on the “not kill” part, it’s on the “THOU” part. God wants to do the killing. God wants to have his dudes have all the power and you are not to even try to do the same. This commandment is not to promote life; it is to protect and reinforce the authority of the religion of the land. This commandment is designed to leave the average person powerless to rebel against the established regime.



I’d go so far as to say that ALL the commandments are intended to protect and reinforce the authority of religion, but I think this commandment stands apart from the others. We often regard this commandment as a coinciding with secular morality, and I think that is wrong. It only does so on the surface, but in conjunction with the other commandments, (yes, I’m using the context argument here) this commandment is especially devious.



There is a reason why this commandment falls in the order of commandments that is does. First, we establish the authority of god with the first few commandments. Then, we transfer that authority to the church and elders with, “Honor your Father and Mother”. Next comes this commandment, which removes the people’s authority altogether. While the atheist may call the follower of religion a sheep, the creators of the religion were insidiously brilliant. You cannot begin rebellion. You cannot force change. You will obey, or WE WILL KILL YOU, and GOD FORBIDS you retaliate.



I’m glad I live in a country that had guaranteed its citizens the right to bear arms. This right is designed to keep the power in the hands of the people, not the priests. We have the power; we have the authority, not god. God isn’t here; we are.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Therefore, Delusion Exists AKA We Call This Delusion God

Therefore, Delusion exists. AKA and We Call This Delusion god.




Most every argument I hear for the existence of god ends with, “therefore, god exists.” Such as, there must be a first cause; therefore, god exists. Or, logic requires a mind; therefore, god exists. The phrase could be, “and we call this first cause god.”



Let’s say for instance that I accept whatever argument you use. For simplicity, I’ll just use the first-cause argument, but I think this could be applied to the majority of the arguments most commonly used to “prove” the existence of god.



Say I accept your argument. Say I concede all your points, premises and conclusions up to the point where you say, “therefore, god exists” or “and we call this thing god”. How do you then jump from a first cause to a specific god? I mean, why don’t we ever use the first cause argument to argue for the existence of a giant world turtle, or the titans? How do we them move from a creator to a specific creator? This was the point behind the Flying Spaghetti Monster. If we accept a creator, how does one distinguish one creator from another? Do you really think a giant world turtle is as plausible as a flying spaghetti monster or aliens or the world was made from the ejaculate of titans? See, I do find them all equally plausible and that is why I dismiss them all.



Why call it god? If it is a first cause, and that is all it is, why not call it Original Cause? Why use the word god at all? Sometimes I hear people say that they think nature is god, or god is nature. Why call nature god? We have a word for nature; it’s “nature”. There is a perfectly good for “energy” or the “universe” or “everything”. Why attach the extra baggage of the word “god”? Just say you believe in nature. Guess what? I think nature exists, too!!



The problem is that these arguments assume a specific definition of god, and that no other definition exists. Add a definition of god, and the argument falls apart. The believer forgets that there have been countless gods and goddesses and deities of all sorts that have been worshiped and feared by humans in history. Why should your god be considered any more likely to exist than any other god?



Now of course, I think the first cause argument fails miserably. What caused god? I think the ontological argument is nothing more than a word game. But even if I found them convincing, they still fail.

Friday, October 29, 2010

False Devils

False Devils




I listen to a lot of atheist podcasts. If you’re an atheist, and you have a podcast, you should let me know because I’ll probably subscribe. The podcast that inspired this blog wasn’t particularly atheist, however. The subject was an interview with an evangelical preacher who was looking for more civility when Christians encounter opposing views. In center-stage was the christian’s view that homosexuals should NOT be allowed to marry.



The evangelical made a statement I found interesting. He said, “False gods are dangerous, but so are false devils.” He meant that to mean that no good comes when believers consider non-believers to be devils. But that got me thinking about the “false devils” that are in Christianity, and why they are dangerous.



False Devil #1: Abortion

Look, I know the Pro-Life arguments. I went to Pro-Life rallies, chanted the chants and sand the hymns. I know that side. In high school, you would not find a more Pro-Life dude than me. I was wrong.



Abortion is a false devil. Freedom, liberty and civil rights are held by the living; no one else. Life begins at birth, and ends at death. If you find this arbitrary, that’s too bad. Life IS arbitrary. Deal with it. When we deny women the right to chose, we slay freedom and liberty with the sword of religious fervor, and do so in the name of a false god to defeat a false devil.



False Devil #2: Same-Sex Marriage

I’ve heard more moderate believers argue that civil unions should be separate but equal to marriage, but the word marriage should be reserved for religious institutions. What bullshit!! As if this “separate but equal” thing was a new idea. Like it was a good idea. Please.



Calling same-sex marriage a devil casts a spotlight on the real evil of denying people equal rights.



False Devil #3: Evolution

Look, it is time we all understand that evolution is a proven theory. People who deny evolution are simply willfully ignorant of what science is and what it does. This macro- vs. micro-evolution smoke screen that believers throw up demonstrates this. To acknowledge what they call micro-evolution and deny what they call macro-evolution is like saying there is no way millions of pixels could ever form a picture. While it is certainly true we lack all the pixels in the picture, we have enough to be able to see an image, and god is not there. Creationism is not science, and when it attempts to be, that is a real danger.



The false devils in belief give the believer a target to attack. Religion mobilizes against these perceived evils and in the process destroys the liberty, freedom and advancement of the human race. This is why atheists offer resistance. We understand what a false god and a false devil look like, and dismiss both easily.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Religion as OCD

Religion as OCD




Recently, my wife has become obsessed with watching documentaries and reality TV shows about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. Okay, maybe she’s not really obsessed. She says she can stop anytime she wants.



I’ve seen a few episodes. One thing that struck me is the similarity I see when I discuss religion with believers. So often, I get the same responses from believers. You know the ones I mean. The first-cause argument, ontological argument, cosmological argument and my personal favorite, pascal’s wager. I get these ALL the time, and sometimes, I even get them multiple times from the same believer. I’ll refute one; they go to the next. That one is refuted, and they go to another. If they run out, they start over! If this isn’t a conditioned response, I don’t know what one is. And it is completely possible I don’t.



But what I find intriguing is that so many believers think these arguments are convincing. Have you ever asked a believer which of the multitude of arguments they toss out with verbatim accuracy convinced them that god is real? I guarantee NONE of these arguments convinced the believer. You don’t REASON your way into religion. You are coerced through fear, emotional appeal, indoctrination, and plain old-fashioned brainwashing.



I digress. My point here is that so often, I feel believers hear a religious statement, and then have a conditioned response. They MUST believe the statement is true whether they agree or not. If they do not, they repeat the statement over and over until they accept it as true.



There seems to be some partitioning going on here. A believer hears a god-claim, and perhaps without even realizing it, places it in a no-questioning zone in their brain. Like, this over here we can question, but this thing requires faith, and therefore cannot be examined in the same way.



Atheism is merely applying to religious claims the same critical thinking that most people are able to apply to everything else.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Drink some of this, Believer! Be one of US!

Drink some of this, believer! Be one of US!




The recent PEW survey and my re-posting of my Finding My Religion blog got me thinking about the cocktail of faiths I had before giving up religion. There is a quote from someone more famous than I that claims everyone is an atheist in regards to some god or deity; atheists simply reject one more. The statement goes on to claim if one understands why they do not believe in Zeus or Odin, they will better understand why the atheist also rejects the existence of their god. I think this is true, to a degree, and that is the subject of this blog.



I’m starting a student group of non-believers at the college I currently attend. We held our first un-official meeting about a week ago. There, it was obvious that of all the members, my journey to apostasy was the most turbulent, and my indoctrination was the fiercest. The most turbulence came from looking at other religions and trying to get my ethics to fit in the religion’s box.



Perhaps because I was so indoctrinated, I had to look to other religions in order to break free. Whatever the case, I certainly did. In doing so, lots of commonalities arose. Every religion I looked at wanted me to employ faith. I had to simply accept some tenant of the religion without any evidence to support the claim. It really struck me that the parts of the religion I tended to discard were those that had no supporting evidence. The only redeeming quality in any of them was a moral code and a philosophy of good will. I already had that. I was looking for a reliable, reasonable belief system.



Since all the faith-based portions of the religions were easily discarded, I figured I’d just make some up myself. Thus me-ism began. It would seem I’d make a horrible religion-starter. I kept trying to re-make my faith so that it would match what I observed in reality. The more I did so, the less faith made any sense. But the morality seemed to remain constant. So the question became, how do I make sense of morality without god?



When I got to Satanism, I found this easier. Satanism stressed the individual more than any other faith I had found. I suppose I should explain that by this time, I had become convinced that god was imaginary, and Satanism was not devil-worship. At least, not for me. I call it faith, however, because Satanism had a large “magical” component. There was “black magic”, for example. There were rituals and spells, many similar to those I had picked up in Wicca. In other words, there forces out there one cannot possibly understand. It took me a long time to see the bullshit here.



But morality was simple in Satanism. Do what feels good. I enjoy doing the right thing, so here, in Satanism, I forged the idea that morality MUST be organic. I had to constantly evaluate and re-evaluate my moral code to be sure I was as moral as I could be. I hold this philosophy today.



Since the PEW report, it does seem the atheist knows more about other faiths than the faithful. I know when I began my investigation into other faiths, I did so only because I had heard a teacher of mine tell his story of doing the same, and returning to Catholicism. That was the path I thought I wanted to take, and he said it was possible. The atheist needs to at least hear the claim so the claim can be rejected. It’s hard to do that when you are conditioned to cover your ears whenever a claim from another religion is recited.



Perhaps the elixir of atheism is a bit of each of the world’s religions mixed altogether. Perhaps this bitter drink is enough to induce faith-vomiting. Perhaps this is why every atheist I know supports a world-religion class in schools. If we followed NBC’s star, would the slogan have read, “The More You Know….The More Likely You Are To Apostatize” ?



Or perhaps the elixir is nothing more than education. There is no better way to dissolve delusion, than with education. So, drink, believer. Be one of us. God isn’t here; we are.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Finding my Religion

Finding my Religion




I've had alot of requests for my background, so I'm posting this again. 

RE-Posted for the benefit of all my new friends. Thanks for reading!





I thought it was time to pick up on my de-conversion story.



After Jesus Camp, I realized that Catholicism was not going to be my religion anymore. But at that time, I had almost no knowledge of other religions, even other Christian religions. I had simply always "known" that they were wrong; that Catholicism was the only "right" religion.



I started looking at what I thought would be the opposite of what I knew. I didn't even understand what that meant. I started with Buddhism. I really didn't get into it too much. I liked that when I thought of Buddhism, the image of a fat, happy guy came to mind. That seemed such a difference from the morbid crucifix I associated with my old faith. But Buddhism was simply too foreign for me. Still, I looked to another Eastern religion.



I thought Hinduism was going to be better, but I found it even more foreign. I never saw a similarity between Jesus and Krishna. At the time I expected Krishna to more closely resemble Mohammed from Islam. I have no idea what gave me that impression. Maybe because they both seemed lecherous? Anyway, Krishna wasn't for me. He seemed as real as Zeus or Hercules.



Here's where I looked at Islam. Now, at the time, Islam had not so much built the bad image it has today. Nonetheless, it was a bit adversarial. I didn't get much further than the covering up women are supposed to do. That and the whole "it was one who 'looked' like Jesus who was crucified" thing kinda bothered me. So far, I hadn't spent much time with any religion, and without digging too deep, I had found major obstacles. I never referred to myself as a Buddhist, a Hindu, or a Muslim. But for a time, I was Wiccan, right before I became Satanic.



Wicca really appealed to me. "Do as thee will, harm none" sounded great. The "Blessed Be" was sweet music. It reminded me of the Christian morals, without the Christ figure. At the time, that's what I thought I wanted. Plus, the whole "magick" thing was new and interesting. I still have a "spellbook". Coming from Catholicism, it was easy for me to identify with "practicing magic". New prayers, new rituals, same discipline, same results. But Ouija boards seemed far more entertaining than Bible prophecy, and just as accurate.



Since Wicca's spells were just as effective as Christian prayer, it took me a while before realizing I had traded one mythology for another. When I did, I felt dupped by Wicca. Not by Wiccans, they had always been as honest as they could have been. They really did not see the resemblance. Still, I left Wicca a little more disenchanted.



Satanism was more of a return home. This was basically Christianity, just pulling for the other guy. One thing I really liked about Satanism, though, was that it emphasized individuality more that any of the others. In Satanism, I felt that I had more of a responsibility for personal morals, and less of a doctrine to follow. I really liked this, but as time went on, the juxtaposition of Satanism to Christianity became too much. It was like a constant drama, straight out of a bad high school musical. I had graduated high school; I decided it was time for me to get my diploma from Satanism.



At this point, I looked back on what I had learned. I quickly noticed that in each religion, there were things I liked and things I didn't. I had realized a long time ago that I picked and chose aspects of Christianity to suit my taste, why not do this to all the religions I had sampled? This sounded like a fantastic idea. I called my new set of beliefs, Me-ism. Get it? Me – ism? Maybe a name like scientology would have been better.



Me-ism was sadly doomed. I could never get the dogma right. My bible was as full with contradictions as the original. Many of the religions I was trying to meld just did not want to play nice together. Most of all, I had the worst time trying to explain my beliefs to anyone else. But that was mostly due to the fact I could barely explain them to myself. I didn't believe in Buddhism, but I wanted the symbol of my religion to be a happy, fat guy. I didn't believe in Krishna, but I found horny, blue dudes with flutes to be cool. Mohammed was left out, I'm afraid. Child molesters didn't score well in my new faith. Magic was abundant; ghosts and spirits were real; demons fought for my soul; I had a soul-ar ray gun. (Soul-ar, I thought I was sooo clever)



When I found my own religion, I realized it was time to grow up, and leave religion behind.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Ultimate Proof God Exists....REFUTED

http://www.blogger.com/Andrew%20the%20Atheist's%20Blog%20on%20MySpace

Many of my friends have been getting non-stop emails from this Mothusi guy. Recently, he sent me a thesis, which he claimed was the best evidence ever for the existence of God. Actually, he went further and claimed if I read it, I would cease to call myself Andrew the Atheist and begin to call myself "Andrew the Believer in God Lord God". Mothusi actually went further and claimed I had already converted to his brand of belief.

Mothusi is obviously delusional. He thinks that by claiming something, that makes it true. He thinks that if he says something over and over again, that also makes it true. This is in fact his strategy as we get into deconstructing the BEST PROOF EVER for god's existence.

While Mothusi claims to have submitted this paper as a thesis for a doctorate, I must express my doubt that is true. The thesis is poorly written and contains an endless amount of what can only be described as blibber blubber nonsense. For the sanity of my reader, I have redacted as much of this blibber blubber as I could, without removing the entire thesis. The original document is in normal font; mine is indented and in italics.

Enjoy.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY REPORT
This thesis was written to show that indeed and in fact God Lord God exists from knowledge based perspective and from a faith based one. This means there exist no part of this thesis that will require you to simply believe without asking questions. It being a doctoral thesis promises to be self-contained in that it will leave its reader without any questions to ask pertaining to the existence of God Lord God or any references to consult save the scriptures.

Here, I stopped the author. I told him that there is no such thing as “knowledge based faith”. I explained that faith requires no evidence; if there is evidence, there is no need for faith. I also told him I would ignore any and all references to scripture. Scripture is not a source for proving god’s existence. It is divine only to those who believe in its divinity.

[REDACTED]
I omitted about two pages of the author attempting to show he is a credible source. His work will have to do that for him. I’ll not grant him any special bonus before he begins.

INTRODUCTION
[REDACTED]
I omitted the introduction because the author wanted to establish why there is a need to prove god’s existence. I think that is self-evident, and may be the only thing that IS self-evident in this thesis, if you can call it that.

EXISTENCE OF GOD LORD GOD BY PERCEPTION
Here the establishment of faith in that which is believed to exist is through perception by the five senses. Faith is established in the existence of that which is believed to exist if that which is believed to exist can be perceptible to the senses. For the reader of this thesis to be sure of the existence of the author of this thesis, the reader needs to see the author’s face, hear the author’s voice, touch the author’s hand, smell the author’s feet and even taste the author’s kiss. Philosophy made a mission statement about existence by perception which says that to exist is to be perceived. Reading such a mission may lead one to believe that there is no other sure way of establishing faith in what is believed to exist besides perception. But the other sure way of establishing faith in what is believed to exist is through self-evidence. The reader of this thesis knows that the author of this exists or at least once existed without ever having to see and touch him. This is because the author’s existence is known to the reader by self-evidence. And God Lord God is also seen to exist by self-evidence as it will be discovered later in this thesis.

Just reading this does not prove the author’s existence. How do you, my reader, not know I made him up? How are we to determine if this is his real name, or a pen name? It may have been written, but that does not prove the existence of a particular author, and he should know that. But he wants to fool you, so he creates an illusion of evidence.

Now, it is known fact that our senses are not always reliable and clearly if our senses are as such then we cannot truly trust the mission statement as proposed by philosophy that to exist is to be perceived. If the mission statement cannot be trusted then that calls for its revision. This revision is necessary more so that existence by perception is not only the sure way of establishing faith in what is believed to exist as has already been demonstrated with existence by self-evidence. If we are unable to show the existence of anything by perception we try to establish it by way of evidence or reason or argument or proof. . The evidence about the existence of that which is believed to exist can be given by an outside intervention or by that that which is believed to exist itself. And when the evidence is given by that which is believed to exist itself then existence is said be by self-evidence. But when the evidence is given by an outside intervention relative to that which is believed to exist then the existence is simply by evidence as already explained.

See, this is the kind of blibber-blubber I’ve been redacting thus far. I leave this section alone mostly because I need it to deconstruct further, but also to give you a taste of the nonsense in this so-called thesis. Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?

He begins by admitting he cannot provide evidence that can be perceived by the five senses. He says this would be unreliable even if he could, because our senses can be fooled. He then says he will appeal to “reason or argument or proof.” I contend he has no idea what any of these things are. He begins his argument with his conclusion, and fails to support it. And when he fails to support it, he claims he already has. The author has no idea how to support a claim with evidence.

God Lord God must exist if and only if he can be perceived. The thesis is in fact in agreement with the philosophical mission statement connecting existence with perception mentioned earlier. And the evidence about the perceivable God Lord God is found in the scriptures.

I have interrupted the paragraph here. I want to point out that the proof the author expects us to accept are scriptures. You know, he fails to mention WHICH scriptures. ALL of them? Surely we are not suggesting ALL scripture EVER written are proof of only one god? I mean, there are holy texts that assert an entire pantheon of gods. He must be talking about a particular set of scriptures HE finds convincing. But why would anyone else find them convincing?

It immediately follows that the scriptures are the definitive proof of the existence of God Lord God. Incidentally, the scriptures talk of a self-created God Lord God (Isaiah 43:10, Surah 2:117). And this thesis as mentioned earlier is based on the concept of self-creation. The adoption of the notion of self-creation has an added advantage in that it nullifies all other notions that are normally encountered and entertained in discussions pertaining to the existence of God Lord God like the infinite regression, the problem of evil or the devil, the reduction into the absurd, trinity and evolution. According to this thesis, if a notion nullifies another notion it means that the conception of such a notion or notions renders the nullified notion false or nonsensical. The claim by the thesis can be seen to be true if and only if the nullified notions, viz., the infinite regression, the problem of evil, the reduction into the absurd, trinity and evolution could subsequently be seen as nonsensical after reading this thesis.

Yup, I’m interrupting again. This is so common an error that you’d really need to be in like, first grade to make it. Proving one thing false does NOT, in ANY WAY, automatically prove something else correct. If I were to disprove creation that does NOT in ANY WAY prove evolution is true. It simply proves creation false. Evolution would have to be proven by evidence of its own. There is no “winner-by-default”. To say that disproving one thing proves another is such a huge failure of logic, I can’t imagine anyone reading this would ever be fooled. But it seems the author was.

It has already been seen in this thesis that only a creative process explains better the origins of existence than an evolutionary process because the former process precedes the latter process as indicated earlier.

He presented only a claim, not any evidence. The use of the word “better” is his opinion, not based on anything but his own bias.

The notion of self-creation, however, supports the notions of the creation and the infinite web of regression as it will be clearly seen in this thesis. And the notions of self-creation, creation and the infinite web of regression used interchangeably in this thesis point to the existence of one and only God Lord God in no partnership, real or imagined, with any other god.

Therefore, God Lord God exists in deed and in fact because God Lord God can be perceived as evidenced by the scriptures. (FAIL) It must always be borne in mind that the scriptures are the definitive proof of the existence of God Lord God for the believers, agnostics and the atheists as claimed by this thesis. (Atheists believe in scriptures?) And it must also be born in mind that this thesis is to turn all of mankind to know and understand and have faith in the existence of the one and only God Lord God who is the unmade designer and the first cause of everything as even proved by the scriptures. And if God Lord God can be perceived as the scriptures claim, then he can be shown to exist by evidence.

In other words, if you believe in scriptures, you can believe god is real. Fine. Does he offer any good reason to believe scriptures? No. FAIL.

EXISTENCE OF GOD LORD GOD BY EVIDENCE
Here the establishment of faith in what is believed to exist is through evidence by an outside intervention. What is believed to exist or not to exist or not sure to exist is God Lord God which the scriptures claim to be perceivable. If you cannot believe the scriptures you cannot see God Lord God as perceivable. And if you cannot believe God Lord God to be perceivable then you cannot believe the scriptures. This is almost like a Catch 22 scenario. This means if you want to see the existence of God Lord God you only need to look into and believe the scriptures.

Did I just read that other than scripture, there is no evidence for god? I think I did. And I think this was described as a Catch 22. No, this is called circular logic. See, a Catch 22 is when you have a choice of two bad things. Like if I offered you a punch in the face or a kick in the balls. If you flinch when I throw the punch, I’ll kick you in the balls. That is what a Catch 22 is. What the author presents here is that we can only believe him if we already believe him. He can only convince us if we are already convinced. That’s not a Catch 22; that’s admitting you have no reason to think this really is definitive proof of god or anything else.

Faith is established in the existence of that which is believed to exist if that which is believed to exist can be perceptible to the mind eye. The mind eye is not easily fooled because it bases its faith on reason and reason only. In other words the mind eye must sees what is claimed to exist with the greatest of the ease.

So after admitting that our five senses are fallible, the author now wants us to believe that faith is infallible. That for some reason, believing in something without evidence is evidence that the belief is true. Remember how I was just talking about circular logic?

It is therefore, incumbent upon the author to furnish his reader with the clearest of the explanations that definitively show that God Lord God exists. It is ipso facto that once it is known that he exists as the self-created; then it would immediately be known how he came into existence. No wonder the scriptures say that when he decrees a matter he says to it ‘Be’ and it is. The scriptures in this thesis refer to all scriptures including the Koran and Bible as was noted before. This thesis takes all scriptures as factual truths from God Lord God. As it can be demonstrated with the case of the Koran and the Bible, the very existence of the Arabic, Jewish and Christians to this very day attests to the historicity of the scriptures. All this is saying is that the scriptures represents justified truths that all of mankind must come to accept. And all the scriptures give evidence about the existence of a self-created God Lord God.

Well, there you have it. Christians exist, therefore their scriptures are true. Muslims exist, therefore their scriptures are true. Are you kidding me? This is so stupid an assessment that it’s hard for me to type this without laughing.

Clearly then the scriptures are the definitive proof of the existence of God Lord God as have been claimed over and over again in this thesis. If you cannot understand the scriptures are the definitive proof of the existence of God Lord God then the limit would not be in the explanation but the limit would be on the conception. Verbosity aside, all what this is saying is, you are dull if you cannot see the scriptures as the definitive proof of the existence of God Lord God. The scriptures in turn call those who do not believe in the existence of God Lord God as fools whilst it forbids the believers to call non-believers fools.

[REDACTED]
The author goes on and on about how the scriptures should unite us. You know, right after he calls those who do not believe in the scriptures fools! So, let me get this right. So far, the author has ONLY used the scriptures as proof god exists, and now has the audacity to call anyone who does not agree with him a fool. Well, how could anyone NOT believe after being called a fool by this intellectual?

Existence by evidence is the hardest to proof because the evidence itself might be less convincing to the mind eye. For example we just seen that the scriptures in and by themselves are the definitive proof of the existence of God Lord God but this evidence is not convincing at all to some people like the agnostics and the atheists. The reason why this proof is not convincing to some is because this evidence seems to be faith based and not knowledge based. In his quest for the definitive proof of the existence of God Lord God man sought to furnish that proof from pure reason. And most of the proofs that were obtained from pure reason turned out not to be proofs but arguments. And as always arguments have criticisms. And it is these criticisms that weakened or failed all the arguments to have been the definitive proofs of the existence of God Lord God. There are many such arguments and the literature is fond of quoting only three perhaps because they hold a better chance of furnishing such a proof. The three are the design argument, the first cause argument and the ontological argument. The ontological argument is scripturally based so it is faith based proof and as such it cannot be expected to convince the agnostics and the atheists.

Oh good. We won’t spend any time on the stupid ontological argument. Thank goodness he spares us that.

Therefore only the remaining two arguments can furnish the definitive proof of the existence of God Lord God from pure reason that should convince both the agnostics and the aesthesis. These arguments and their conclusion are well documented in the literature therefore this thesis will not go over them again here but will only show the flaws of their so called criticisms or weaknesses and thereby turn all three arguments into definitive proofs of the existence of God Lord God. These weaknesses or criticisms are what philosophy calls problems. But problems are there to be solved and that is very reason why this thesis was written.

The problems facing both the design and the first cause argument will be discussed in this selfsame section of existence of God Lord God by evidence whilst the problems facing the ontological argument will be discussed in the next section under existence of God Lord God by self-evidence. But before doing that, this thesis next discusses the absurdity of the notion of the infinite regression. This thesis recommends the adoption of the notion of self-creation and the rejection of the notion of the infinite regression.

THE NOTION OF THE INFINITE REGRESSION
[REDACTED]
Here, the author refutes infinite regression. Disproving one thing doesn’t automatically make another thing true.

THE NOTION OF SELF-CREATION
[REDACTED]
Here, the author defined what self-created means. I bet you can guess what that means, so I’m looking for him to demonstrate how we can tell if something is self-created. I’m really disappointed.

The notion of the infinite regression must be discarded and that of self-creation be adopted and accepted because of its usefulness in explaining the origins of existence. On the other hand, the scriptures set the record straight concerning the notion of the infinite web of regression.

Whereas the notion of the infinite regression suggested an infinite hierarchy of makers, the notion of self-creation seems to suggest an infinitude of self-created makers. If it can be imagined that a god is a self-created being, then we can imagine that the constituents were made by their respective gods. The Koran refutes convincingly the possibility of the existence of more than one God Lord God. The Koran says if the heavens and earth represented a collaboration effort of gods then one of the gods, perhaps in a time of dispute, must come to take away his or her part of the creation of the heavens and earth. This is an assurance that there is god of the wood, god of the stone, god of the metal or god of the plastic that is used to make the chair. Both the Koran and the Bible claim a self-created God Lord God who created the heavens and the earth in six days. And from deductive reasoning it can be concluded that there exists the one and only God Lord God because there is no separate earth for the Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Therefore, God Lord God exists in deed and in fact as shown by pure reason who is the unmade designer and the first cause of everything as has always been claimed by the design and first cause arguments respectively.

Wait, I thought he said that these arguments were NOT proofs. Let me check. Oh yes, here’s the quote from above:


“And most of the proofs that were obtained from pure reason turned out not to be proofs but arguments. And as always arguments have criticisms.”


So now the arguments ARE proof? This author is becoming as self-contradictory as the sacred texts he uses for proof.

To date God Lord God has passed two tests of existence, namely, existence by perception and existence by evidence. Let us finally end this thesis with that which is believed to exist giving existence about itself. Now if God Lord God exists he must be self-evident.

EXISTENCE OF GOD LORD GOD BY SELF-EVIDENCE
Here the evidence about existence of that which is believed to exist is given by that which is believed to exist itself. The notion of existence by self-evidence nullifies the notion of the reduction to the absurd just like the notion of self-creation nullified the notion of the infinite regression. The problem of the reduction to the absurd is one of the problems that failed the mind eye to see the ontological argument as the definitive proof of the existence of God Lord God.

Eh? What was that? I thought we agreed we would not be talking about the ontological argument. I thought you already said it is not convincing. Is it all you have left?

And with the problem of the reduction to the absurd out of the way the mind eye sees clearly an existence of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent and benevolent God Lord God. The weakness of the ontological argument is that it tends to define things into existence. This is clearly a weakness in that the listing of properties cannot in any way guarantee the existence of the claimed thing. Perhaps it was when philosophy was faced with these issues when it reckoned that existence is not a property. By simply saying it is a horse with one horn does not imply an existing unicorn in reality. And unicorns do not exist because they exist only in the imagination. The notion of the reduction to the absurd seems to blasphemously suggest that God Lord God can be possibly as real or as unreal as we make him to be. In other words God Lord God can be the work of our imagination as claimed by the problem of the reduction to the absurd.

That which is imaginary cannot give evidence about itself but only that which exists can be expected to give evidence about its existence. Only God Lord God can be expected to give evidence about himself and never the unicorn. God Lord God has hereby given evidence about himself in that there in no language, dead or alive, that has not got a name for God Lord God. The fact that the name of God Lord God is found in every language is the scientific proof of the existence of God Lord God. This proof is indeed scientific in that it is based on inductive reasoning.

Oh, come on!! Is astrology a science for you, too? If there is a word for “dragon” in every language does that mean dragons exist? What kind of absurd nonsense is this?

And if anyone is to wonder why that is so about the name of God Lord God that is found in every language, one needs to be reminded of the tower of Babel. The scriptures come once again to our aid to explain the origins the languages as it told us the origins of the maker of the made regardless where such maker was thought of as made or thought of as born.

[REDACTED]
The author just says that the Problem of Evil is solved because evil produces heroes. He uses Mother Teresa as an example, and I find Mother Teresa to be a sadistic cunt. She is the problem of evil, not its solution.


CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF GOD LORD GOD
Any one of these tests of existence was enough to have been the definitive proof of the existence of God Lord God by itself. But fortunately, this thesis has proven definitively the existence of God Lord God in that God Lord God has passed conclusively not one but two of the tests of existence, namely, existence by evidence and existence by self-evidence. God Lord God has virtually passed all the three tests of existence including perception. There are countless accounts in the scriptures which show God Lord God interacting with the sons of man. God Lord God gave Adam the commandment to name all the animals of the world. God Lord God gave Moses the law. God Lord God instructed Noah on how to construct his ark. The prophet Isaiah saw God Lord God. John saw God Lord God on the island of Patmos. Abraham ate dinner with God Lord God. Stephen saw God Lord God with the Messiah by his side. And man is still interacting with God Lord God today through their respective religions. Clearly Karl Marx was mistaken to take religion as an opiate to people’s mind.

Therefore, God Lord God exists because he passed successfully all the three tests of existence as set out in this thesis. This thesis has shown that even though God Lord God is predominately invincible like air to most people, he can yet still be seen by the naked eye. And when the eye failed to see God Lord God, this thesis clearly showed the existence of God Lord God to the mind eye using pure reason. And after the eye and the mind eye were shown the existence of God Lord God, God Lord God was seen in thesis coming out of invincibility and declaring by way of self-evidence that he exists in deed and in fact.

[REDACTED]

At the end, Mothusi just signs off, like a news reporter.

Well, that's it. Anyone convinced? I didn't take the time in the text to note that in every case, the author mixes up "invincible" for "invisible". How you get a doctorate thesis when you make that kind of mistake is beyond me. In any case, I find this thesis lacks any credibility and fails utterly to provide evidence for the existence of god. You may continue to call me Andrew the Atheist.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Having fun with Fundies

Having fun with Fundies

During a talk I was having the other day the Westboro creeps came up. These are the dudes who protest soldiers’ funerals and hold up signs that say such glorious things like, “God hates you”. Aren’t those guys fun? Who wouldn’t sign up for that ride?

Recently, my friend at www.dangeroustalk.net posted a blog about how it is becoming harder and harder to distinguish the satiric from the sincere. You may have heard of Edward Current? If not, I highly recommend a quick search on YouTube. Edward is satire. He wants to show how ridiculous the arguments are by showing how they lack any spine or bite. Yet often people mistake Mr. Current for an authentic believer. Why?

Mrs. Betty Bowers is another perfect satirical example. Perhaps she is easier to spot as satire, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone made the mistake to call her a real believer. Are the satire and the sincere so close? Yes, they are.

Try to make the ridiculous sound more ridiculous and what you end up with is ridiculous. And because there are so many flavors of bat-shit crazy out there, it is hard to distinguish that which is supposed to be too crazy to be true from what is so crazy it must be true.

You’d think that when fundamentalists sound just like the people trying to parody them, people would stop becoming fundies. But that is not what’s happening. The trend is that people are moving away from the middle, and to the extremes. On one hand you have fundies and on the other, me: the atheist. This is why I think Christians feel threatened by Muslims and atheists. We are all trying to get people from the middle, the moderates. Fundies hate moderates. I’m torn on them myself. But this is where our groups enjoy the largest growth, by converting, or de-converting, the moderate.

For me, this is great. See, I’ve no problem with fundies. They do my work for me. Tell me you think the Westboro dudes are right. Go on, tell me you agree with this hate group. You don’t? I’m shocked. You think Al’Quida is a bunch of crazed lunatics? Even Muslims think so? Wow. I’m just floored.

See, the extremists are easy to spot, and dismiss as extremists. Once all members of religious cults are indeed extremists, the world will more easily see there is no merit in believing in the supernatural, expect to control people to do radical violence in the name of god.

Of course, that will mean we will be left to face each other. We will have to acknowledge we do not always agree, but work to find suitable compromise. We will have to test and re-test, think and re-think, evaluate and re-evaluate. No longer will we hold to dogma, but we will change our beliefs when evidence shows us we were wrong. God isn’t here; we are.

Friday, August 27, 2010

No one likes a moderate

No one like a moderate.

More teens becoming "fake" Christians

My favorite Christian-on-Christian attack phrase is back. “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”. Quite a mouthful, eh? This is a form of attack believers throw against other believers who aren’t as delusional as they ought to be. For some reason some believers want happy-happy delusion. Some call them moderates. To others they are normal. To me they are self-fulfilling self-delusional. To fundamentalists, they are a grave threat.

So what is this “moralistic therapeutic deism” and why is it so dangerous to the fundie? Since I listen to the christian radio shows, I can answer this one. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (or MTD to keep my spell check from exploding) is feel-good Christianity. It has a firm moral code, which is mostly don’t do drugs or have premarital sex. Beyond the no drugs/no sex mantra, actual morality is grey, and varies from person to person, just like in real life. As a fee-good dogma, it is therapeutic. Since we have a god here, we have deism. Toss them all together and you have the reason teens leave the faith for atheism: MTD.

The fundie sees this as a great threat. You see, these people actually have deluded themselves into thinking that god wants them to be happy and that’s it. God just wants you to have a coke, a smoke and a smile. Wait. No smoke. Sorry. But the MTD follower may not believe in hell or any kind of eternal damnation. They may not be able to speak in tongues. Worst of all, they may not be able to articulate their faith well enough to stand form against the challenge of an atheist.

I’m kidding. That’s not the worst thing. The worst thing would be that teens do good for the sake of doing good, rather than for eternal rewards. This comes straight from the article:

She [Kenrda Dean] says parents who perform one act of radical faith in front of their children convey more than a multitude of sermons and mission trips.
A parent's radical act of faith could involve something as simple as spending a summer in Bolivia working on an agricultural renewal project or turning down a more lucrative job offer to stay at a struggling church, Dean says.
But it's not enough to be radical -- parents must explain "this is how Christians live," she says.
"If you don't say you're doing it because of your faith, kids are going to say my parents are really nice people," Dean says. "It doesn't register that faith is supposed to make you live differently unless parents help their kids connect the dots."


See? I can’t make this up. The author of the article says that doing good isn’t good unless you do it and make sure everyone knows you did good because of faith. This is the kind of delusion that makes people dangerous. This is why I find religion disingenuous.

Personally, I think MTD is a good thing. Taking what works from religion and making it your own is the only reasonable thing to do, unless you want to drop delusion for rationality. I find most people who would subscribe to MTD are those believers who would defend the wall of separation between church and state. They recognize that religion’s place is in the church and home, not the statehouse. If I were to imagine a world with religion that works, I’d find a world of MTD believers.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Questions for an Atheist Answered by Andrew the Atheist

Questions for an Atheist Answered by Andrew the Atheist

I recently got an iPod, and pod casts are my new thing. If you have a pod cast and want me to listen to it, I probably will. But be warned, I may also turn it into a blog.

So there’s A Christian and an Atheist pod cast. The one I downloaded was, “Questions for the Atheist”. I was a bit disappointed in the atheist host’s answers. First, though, I want to address something that came up a few times in the pod cast:

Christian: Atheism and Christianity are equally defensible because there is no objective way to determine if either is true.
Atheist: Do you discount all other religions?
C: No.
A: Will you meet other religions in heaven?
C: No, because what makes religion work for me is…. Reality is irreducibly subjective. What is is it is not complexly objective. Perception is reality. As perceptions vary, so does reality, so what I believe can become real to me and there is no objective way to prove otherwise just because.
A: Is that a case for agnosictism?
C: No.
A: Then how can you stand firmly on one side or the other?
C: You make a choice. It’s real for me, and that’s as real as you get.
The atheist goes off into a moral tangent, and never addresses the “it’s real for me” bs.

See, I don’t understand how anything can be real for you, and not for anyone else, and it actually be real. How real is the unicorn poking my ass? I believe it is there, and just so you know, I’ve placed a magical condom on its horn. Ooh it feels great. It’s too bad that this unicorn is not perceivable by anyone else. Who wouldn’t want to experience pokey here? Why would anyone not just tell me I’m delusional and that the unicorn is imaginary?

There certainly is an objective way to determine if Christianity is true or not. It is the same manner in which we prove that a particular person, place or thing exists. Is there evidence for the existence of this noun? If there is evidence that the noun exists, we have an objective way of determining if the claim of the noun’s existence has weight. If not, then there is no reason to believe that the noun exists, until such time that evidence is presented that it does. I cannot choose to believe the noun exists and will it into reality. That is delusion.

Here are the questions, the Atheist host’s answer, and mine.

Question 1: What make you sure that the difference between the Christian and the atheist can be legitimately characterized as the difference between what is rational and irrational?

Atheist Host’s answer: Well, some parts of Christianity are rational, but some important tenants are not. An example would be the idea that we can have free will and never sin.

From here, the Christian and atheist go back and forth really more over the definition of sin rather than the rationality of belief or non-belief. We find the Christian is probably the most moderate believers I have ever heard, as he describes sin not as crimes against god, but “bad habits”. The atheist never asked how one determines a good habit from a bad one, and the only concrete example ever given is addition is a bad habit. But I would say I am addicted to air, and that is a good thing. So someone needs to re-define for me this addiction thing. Anyhow, I really don’t feel the original question was even addressed, so here goes.

Andrew the Atheist’s answer: It is certainly legitimate to reduce the difference between belief and non-belief to what is rational and what is not. Rational belief is based on observable evidence. Irrational belief is based on faith. If the belief is based on faith, it is not rational. If the belief is held without evidence, or in lieu of contradictory evidence, then it is not rational; it is irrational. That is the difference.

Question 2: Does the fact that religion have no value in your life necessarily mean that it has no positive value in anyone else’s life?

Atheist host’s answer: Well, if Christians left it at just what was enjoyable to them, there would be no problem, but most Christians are not able or willing to do so. If Christians said this works for me and it MAY work for you, that’d be great. What I see is Christians saying this works for me and it MUST work for you, or you go to hell.

Andrew the Atheist’s answer: Whether or not religion has positive value has no relevancy to the truth iof it’s claims. The fact is that religion could be the most beneficial thing ever ( and I would argue that it is not) but that has no relevancy if we are talking about if the claims of the religion are or are not true.
In the same way, if atheism was the most destructive thing ever, as many believers would try to convince you, that would also have no bearing whether or not a god exists. If you want to make the argument that believers are more generous than atheists, please show me an act of kindness performed by believers that an atheist cannot do. Would charity done for the sake of charity and not to score points with an imaginary god be less charitable?

Now the host did eventually touch on this after a while using the placebo effect as an example. Actually it was a very good illustration, but I would have used this alone, as I find it the only relevant answer to the question.

Question 3: We seem to be able to separate the principles of science from the erroneous claims scientists may make from time to time. Why can’t we do that with Christians and separate the good underlying principles form the often irrational behavior they exhibit from time to time?

Atheist’s host answer: When Christianity makes claims if irrerrancy, it sets itself up for more scrutiny than science. With little scrutiny we can see all kinds of errors in the bible.

This again is the most moderate christain I have ever heard, as he goes on to explain that the reason so much of the bible is metaphor, like the Adam and Eve story, is so that it can be relative for all time. To interpret the bible literally, he says, is to miss the point of the book. While I would agree with him, that really makes the bible little more than a collection of ancient fables, a description I’m sure would anger many believers, but I rather like. I doubt we’d be trying to pass laws based on Grimm’s fairy tales or the fables of the bible.

Andrew the Atheist’s answer: I’m glad to see we are now admitting that the Christian exhibits irrational behavior. The difference in separating the erroneous scientist and the irrational Christian is that the scientist would welcome being wrong as it means we have learned something new. The Christian, if proven wrong, would see their entire world view destroyed. In other words, errors enhance the scientist’s world view; they destroy the believer’s.

Question 4: What if the atheist took the approach to Christianity looking for what value there is rather than looking for reasons to condemn it? What you find in the bible depends very much on what you are looking for.

AH: How do ever discount anything then?
C: Well, I dunno. I certainly don’t do this for Hinduism, but I think people should be open to doing so.
AH: like the benefit of the doubt?
C: Well, what benefit people find in it is the whole point.

AH: The problem for most atheists is that they have done that. Many atheists, including myself, are ex-believers. I find Christianity lacking in value.

Andrew’s answer: This is the only answer that the host gives that I like. I would re-iterate, however, that whatever benefit believers may find in their religion, it has no relevance to if the claims of their religion is true.

Overall, I like this pod cast, though I did feel the urge to re-answer all the questions. I will definitely listen more, as this particular believer has me very interested.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Is the Moderate Christian Moderately Delusional?

Most people I know are moderates. Moderate Republicans, moderate Democrats, moderate believers. I’ve even met moderate atheists. These people subscribe to many of the conventional stances of the group, but not all. Some hold to the basic tenants, some to the fringe. For this blog, I’m defining a Moderate Believer as someone show calls themselves a believer, but doesn’t follow all the tenants of Christianity. By that, I mean, the Moderate Believer understands and accepts evolution, supports equal rights for gays, opposes bans on abortion and abortion coverage by insurance companies, supports comprehensive sex education, and goes to church from 2-3 time per month. Have I described any REAL people? I hope I have.

Actually, I’d say I’ve described a lot of people. Most of the religious blogs I read that are not by the usual few but the random dude transcribing his own thoughts are written by people like this. It leaves you with the question why they call themselves believers. I’d say the answer is community, companionship, and camaraderie.

Now, in my experience, these are the last people to engage in religious discussion. Most don’t understand or want to understand fully how they have been duped into this delusion. They are comfortable here and don’t argue to be right but argue to maintain comfort. This, I think, is why so many arguments with moderate believers end with insults and anger. This is why they think I attack them on a personal level. I’m attacking their comfort. It isn’t the pillow they want; it’s the soft place for their head.

This makes the moderate believer such a mystery. They don’t know the argument for or against their position, and they don’t care. They don’t know why they believe, or why they feel guilty when they miss church or why they don’t like questioning delusion, they just know it’s uncomfortable. Worse, many have been led to believe that outside this comfort zone is nothing but despair, anguish and pain.

Moderate belief is the goal of religion. Fundamentalists are nuts. Everyone knows and recognizes the Westboro Baptist nuts as a hate group. Yet they have the bible more on their side than the moderates do. No, the fundies are not what clergy want. They want people who believe and don’t know why. They want people who obey because they feel guilty when they don’t, but they don’t know why. They want people who will run from logical argument rather than stand and debate. These are the people who will lend support when asked, so long as the petition is “In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

You’d think the moderate would grow weary of the never-ending abuse from the religion of their choice. They do not, because they are told this abuse is from god, and it means he’s watching you and he loves you. Since they are not in the habit of questioning the word of god, they accept it.

You’d thing the moderate would tire of always having to accept more and more on faith. They do not. They have been told to do so makes one more righteous, and since god has sent some punishment our way recently (shit always seems to happen, after all), we need to be more righteous in any way we can.

You’d think the moderate would eventually figure out all this bullshit is bunk. If they do, they simply stop going to church, but still call themselves believers.

So, if you are a moderate, let me ask this:

If you are convinced the religion you call yourself is wrong most of the time, what has convinced you of this? What has convinced you they were right on anything else? Are you really convinced they weren’t wrong ALL the time?

I tried, I REALLY tried to remain Christian after I left Catholicism. I really wanted SOMETHING to have been true. But what I want to be true and what is true cannot be made the same with faith.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

How I KNOW god does not exist

How I KNOW god does not exist

Every time I ask a believer why they believe or why they have faith or what evidence they have for the existence of god, they eventually give me some personal experience report. Sure, they may begin with creation or the bible, but these things are actually refutable, so they move on fairly quickly. What reaaly gets them is the personal experience they are just dying to tell me. The story almost always goes something like this:

Once I was a horrible person. I just sucked. My life sucked really, really bad, I had a bad relationship with the opposite sex, my parents, my job, etc. Everything just plain sucked. Then, I found the lord and things got better. Maybe not all at once, but slowly, they got better. Now, things are better than ever, and I have the good graces of god to thank for it. People in my life are happier, healthier, and wealthier. I amd happier, healthier and wealthier. I stopped doing drugs/alcohol, and/or all sorts of other bad things and now use that energy to worship god. It’s flipping fantastic.

Good for you. How does that prove god exists?

Look, don’t get me wrong. I’m glad your life no longer sucks the way it used to. That’s just dandy. But if your experience is supposed to convince me that there was some supernatural force driving all this good feeling into your life, well, you fail. Good things happen, and bad things happen too. It can’t rain all the time. And what if I told you the opposite story? Say I have a story that goes like this:

Once, I was a horrible person. I just sucked. I thought I had all the answers and no one else had a stinking clue. I told friends, neighbors and people who really wanted to help me to shove it, because I didn’t think I needed their help. I knew what god said. I knew how god wanted me to be and that was that. I had no problem telling people they were damning themselves to hell for sinful behavior or thoughts. I enjoyed watching people squirm uncomfortably when I described in detail the nature of god’s wrath and vengeance. Then, I found reason. I turned logic loose on my beliefs and watched in horror as they fell apart. All the answers I thought I knew evaporated as quickly as the morning dew. Devastated, I tried to salvage the remains of my religion, but to no avail. Eventually, I figured out how much simpler life is without the delusion of religious beliefs. Now I am happier, healthier, and wealthier than I ever was. It’s flipping fantastic.

For every conversion story, there is a story of apostasy. And neither prove anything other than people can change their minds. Which I suppose is promising to all of us.

If you think your story of salvation is convincing, what do you think of my story of apostasy? Did I not tell an equally compelling tale? Oh, and here’s another thing….

When I left religion behind, I left a place of comfort, familiarity, and reassurance for tribulation, trial, and turmoil. I thought I had the answers. I thought things were great. This is where the atheist begins the journey to reason. So many conversion stories I hear begin differently. I was sad, depressed and anxious. I was alone and scared. This is where the believer begins his journey to delusion. I find that interesting.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Best....Delusion....EVER!!

Best Delusion EVER

Sometimes, a believer will tell me that christianity or whatever their particular favorite flavor of delusion is, has benefited humans beyond comprehension. They will tell me islam is made for peace, that christianity invented science, that faith-based missions help thousands of people. I will hear of how people like mother Teresa or the pope have spread good deeds and hope to millions. I shout BULLSHIT and smile at their stunned faces.

Oh, I take that back. For now. Let's say I conceded that the Crusades never happened, the Holocaust wasn't religiously inspired, and the Inquisistion was a terrible misunderstanding. I'll concede for now that 9-11 is a cover story to frame the peace-loving muslim nations. Sure. Why not.

So what? So it's the best delusion ever. How does that make it not a delusion? Are there more delusions that I may find helpful? Should I give homeopathy a try? Psychic surgery? Will the tarot become more accurate? Hmm. My horoscope says I'll be an asshole today. This shit WORKS!!

I've been told that even if belief is a delusion, it is helpful. We have to fool ourselves into thinking god is real, or we become monsters. Right. Because atheists have an organization with endless funding to hide, obscure, inhibit and defend child abusers. Because atheists fight to defeat civil liberty and freedom. Yep. It's helpful alright.

And I don't really concede religion is helpful at all. You knew that, right? I suppose I could shout bullshit again, but now it's no fun.

If religion really wanted to be helpful, then missions would feed hungry people and not shove faith down their throats along with the cheesburgers. If religion really wanted to be a boon to society, it'd keep it's damn mouth shut. If we could know who the christians are by actions, and not their voices, we'd never know what a christian was. All we'd see would be people helping each other because it is the right thing to do. And nothing more. Then god wouldn't be needed, because we'd be there.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rotten Biblical Fruit

Rotten Biblical Fruit

Someone told me that the bible is a great way to know if you are living a good life. They told me that contained within the bible is a lifestyle that is guaranteed to make your life better. I asked if killing non-believers and their children would make them happy and they told me that is not in the bible. I lack the memory to recall the verses, but it’s in there. I asked if incest was going to make me happy and they told me that I was taking the bible out of context. I asked how I was supposed to know what context to take the bible, and they told me I needed to study the bible.

For an instruction manual, this book sucks. Apparently, the instruction manual needs an instruction manual. Imagine a cookbook that told you to measure a half cup of flour, but if you are homosexual, you should not use flour, and if it is the Sabbath day (whatever that is) you should use ¾ cup of flour. Then, later, the cookbook says to ignore the cup completely and said to use the metric system instead. It also told you there is only one way to bake this bread, and if you get it wrong, it will kill you. A best seller in the making, I’m sure.

It seems to me that this “biblical study” crap is an exercise in mental aerobics. This is the class where you get to stretch your logic to the breaking point and back. Here you learn that the bible doesn’t mean what it says; no, it means the opposite. Slavery is bad, the bible says so, if you read it properly and twist the context into something completely different than what is written.

Any cookbook that tells you there is only one recipe for anything is full of shit. The bible wants us to eats a candy-coated, batter-dipped, deep fried dog turd and ask for seconds. No, thanks. It still tastes like crap to me. How anyone can swallow that with a straight face is beyond me. Must be an acquired taste.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Absolute Failure of Absolute Moral Standards

The Absolute Failure of Absolute Moral Standards

Every so often, a believer will tell me that god exists because he is the source of the absolute moral standard. They will tell me that absolute moral standards exist because if I am to say that something is good or evil, that is a judgment. To make that judgment, I must be able to compare something to a perfect good or evil standard. If perfect good exists, god is its source and therefore, god exists. A facepalm always follows.

To start, I need no perfect example to know rape is evil. None is required to know feeding starving people is good. These seem self-evident to me, but for the sake of argument, I’ll find something to make a comparison. Is rape more evil than not raping? Is feeding the hungry more good than not? Hmm. I think I’m done comparing. But is rape the ultimate evil? Is torture more evil than rape? Is there a form of torture that could be considered to be more evil? Like say, hell? Oh, I’m getting ahead of myself.

It seems perfect examples are not necessary for these judgments. How then, do we make moral judgments? How can we know we make the right choice?

It seems to me our moral judgments should keep us up at night. Was that the best thing to do? Could I have done it differently or better? Constant review and re-review is needed and we must commit ourselves to this massive undertaking.

So why do believers always bring the myth of absolute moral standards to the table? I think it is clear. First, religion is a tool for control, not morality. It is designed to force certain actions and inactions that promote the religion. If you think this will make you a better person, why wouldn’t you follow it? If you are guaranteed a code of ethics that has god’s seal of approval, why would you need to look any further? So what if innocent people die when you crash that airplane into a building? God says it is okay, so it is.

Not that I don’t think there are no moral standards. I just don’t think they are absolute in any way. Once people thought slavery was okay. It still carries god’s approval. But we know slavery is wrong. One day, the people who say gay marriage is an abomination to god will be trying to convince us they supported love the whole time. Won’t that be a great day?

Even if I were to accept the existence of absolute moral standards, I could not accept god as the source. God has but one punishment and one reward. Though I thought the movie sucked, Obi Wan said it best when he told Anikin, “Only a Sith thinks in terms of black and white.” Evil demands obedience, or death. Good allows for the morally gray. If any absolutes do exist, god would be the source of evil. If hell has multiple levels, it recognizes the morally gray, and therefore is good.

But it’s all bullshit. Absolute moral standards are as real as flying poop monsters. We have to own our morality, and make it work for us. God isn’t here, we are.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I’m too sexy for your god!

I’m too sexy for your god!

A common argument I hear is that atheism is arrogant. I’m always reminded of that preacher dude who came to my door in the dead of winter. I was surprised; they almost always come by on nice sunny days. When I told him I was an atheist, he asked how I thought the world began. I said I didn’t know how the world began, but I saw no reason to think it began with a god. He told me that if I couldn’t explain how the world began, that blew my atheism “out of the water”. No, it doesn’t. Yes, it does. No, it doesn’t. This continued until I decided he was warm enough and let him back into the cold and snow.

There seems to be this idea that if you’re an atheist, you’ve replaced the “god answer” with some “atheist answer”. But the truth is, the believer never really understood the question in the first place. Deep Thought would agree with me.

For some reason, believers think that since they believe the universe began with god, the Big Bang Theory must be a “god replacement”. Or since they believe god created the earth in 6 days, the theory of evolution must be a “god replacement”. I hear over and over again the deejay on the Christian radio refer to colleges and universities as the “lion’s den”. He seems to think that science and education are “god replacements”.

I don’t have a god replacement. Don’t need one. I once thought I did, but I don’t. I tried to replace my catholic religion with all sorts of other religions. I even made up my own. But in the end it was like trying on a series of straight-jackets looking for one that fit comfortably. Atheism has allowed me the freedom of streaking.

I don’t think I have the answers; I just know the wrong answers when I see them. I see no need to have a replacement. So I wonder, why do I so often hear people say atheism is arrogant?

I think the answer is that many believers know deep down that their beliefs are ridiculous. But they remain believers because of its comfort. They wish they could have the same comfort without silly superstitions, but don’t think it is possible. The atheist has accomplished this. It seems when the believer asks the atheist why the atheist feels superior to the believer, this is a projection of the believer’s desire to be free of delusion. But I could be wrong.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Falsifiable Evidence: A continuing story of apostasy.

Falsifiable Evidence: A continuing story of apostasy.

I’ve been asked what made me give up faith. What was the first thing that took me from the religious faith to the atheist reason I have today. How did it all begin? I’ve posted portions of my journey to apostasy in my blog, but I’ve never addressed this question.

When I was a senior in high school (remember I attended a private Catholic high school), I started having questions about what I believed and why. I thought I’d just missed something in my religious classes, so I began to attend extra classes outside my regular schooling. Here, I learned about the order of angels, the levels of hell, and other bits of catholic dogma. One evening, the topic turned to abortion and birth control. At the time, I was the most pro-life, anti-abortion person I knew, second only to my mother.

The instructor made a fatal error: he made a statement that I could research myself. You see, I cannot refute the order of angels. I cannot find evidence of the levels of hell. There is no way to discover these things, as they are not based on evidence but faith. But then I learned, “The earth is NOT overpopulated. In fact, the entire population of the earth could fit into the state of Texas and have an acre per person!!”

See, now I can research this. I can find the population of the earth is and I can find the size of Texas. I can do the math and find this is WRONG!! I’ll not do it for you; do it yourself and see what answer you reach. Before you do, though, let me finish what I was learning.

The instructor, if you can call him that, got his information from the Population Research Institute. Check out the founder and see how this came up in a Catholic class. Notice the agenda. This was clearly spelled out in the class I attended. We must be clear that overpopulation is a myth, and we have a responsibility to reproduce as many children as god (not us) sees fit.

Once I realized the only bit if falsifiable information I had ever gained from a catholic class was in fact false, I had a hard time swallowing the rest. If someone was willing to lie to be about facts I could research, what was to stop them from lying about “facts” I could not? How can I be sure ANYTHING I had been taught about my religion was not instead a part of another agenda? Could I see how a story might have been constructed simply to further an ulterior agenda? I mean, today I have the means to research and validate claims. In the time the bible was written the internet did not exist. I know the gospels were not written by actual eyewitnesses, so what stopped them from lying? Of course, they had Paul’s writings from which they could concoct a story, and if each wrote a gospel to further a separate ulterior agenda, the differences among them would make perfect sense. See, I HAD been paying attention in a few classes.

So, what have you found in your research of the world’s population and the size of Texas? I went to www.wikipedia.com for all my data. The population is roughly 6.8 billion (6,800,000,000). The area of Texas is 286,820 sq mi. A square mile is the equivalent of 640 acres. So:
286,820 sq mi X 640 acres/sq mi = 183,564,800 acres

183,564,800 acres / 6,800,000,000 people = 0.027 acres/person.

I guess it’s not bad for people who think pi = 3.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Temptation of Heaven

Heaven, the greatest carrot and stick routine

I was reading a muslim’s blog the other day. This particular blog was talking about how non-muslims seem to be fascinated by the 70 virgins in heaven thing. I must say that when the writer said that this is the first thing most non-muslims think of islam, I agreed. This seems to be true for me. The point of this particular blog was that the point of the virgins isn’t the virgins themselves, but that heaven is a reward for those who chose the right religion (or were lucky enough to have been born in it) and followed the dogma of the religion all their life. I would say that my problem with the virgins is not the virgins themselves, but the fact religion thinks we need a reward in order to do the right thing.

Let me start with this: what IS the right thing to do? How do we tell the right from wrong? The question of right and wrong SHOULD keep us up at night. We should constantly be pondering our personal code of morals and ethics, looking for flaws and ways to correct those flaws. We need to be able to discuss what we find with those closest to us, to get other perspectives and weigh them. But this can only happen AFTER we accept that there are no objective moral standards, and that any moral standard we make can be wrong. If we think our morality is the best, greatest morality that has god’s stamp of approval, I imagine you’d have no reason to ever ask if an action is or is not right. And you’d have no reason to change it. And your morality would surly stagnate, and fail. Humans are fallible, but we are the ones in control of our morality. Give it over to an imaginary god, and we have lost before we have begun.

Of course religion is no place to find moral standards. If it were, we’d see all religions agreeing on what is right and what is wrong. And while simple layers like the Golden Rule do seem to make multiple appearances, how this plays out certainly varies from religion to religion. Show me a religion that says “…and play nice with other religions, for they have as much evidence of their god(s) as you do”.

And why should we do the right thing instead of the wrong thing? Perhaps the wrong thing is easier, more profitable, or more enjoyable. Why would anyone ever choose to do the right thing if the wrong thing could bring about a better result? Surely we can all agree that the right thing often is far more complicated that the wring thing. Surely we have all been faced with a choice where the wrong thing would bring a more favorable outcome. Why do you not do it? Never do I weigh the consequences that I may face in an afterlife when making this decision. Yet I am pulled to do the right thing, because I know it is the right thing to do. Is there any reward better than knowing you did your best?

In a story I often read to my son at bedtime, a boy is faced with the problem of showing an empty pot to the emperor, when he knows all the other children will be presenting lovely flowers. His father says to him, “You did your best, and your best is good enough to present to the emperor.” I love that line.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like rewards. I have a Kroger card: I save my Coke caps; I used to save Camel cash before some asshat thought the free lighters were the reason I smoked. But the thing is I shop at Kroger because it’s close to my house. I like soda, and Coke is my favorite. Nicotine is addictive. In other words, I’d do these things without the rewards. I ought to be able to do the right thing without one either.

Finally, let’s talk about the nature of the reward. In heaven, or at least the muslim heaven described in the blog, you get all the pleasures of earth without any consequence. You can eat and never be full or gain weight. You can have sex with your 70 virgins and they will remain virgins. You can drink and never be drunk. You get the idea. You know, to me, this sounds more like hell than heaven.

What would I ever do with 70 virgins? Like I’m dead so I have all the time in eternity to teach them all what to do? Why can’t heaven have one chick who knows how to do the dirty dance with me? I find one person who has a clue is better then 100 giggling at each other.

Look, after I’m dead, I don’t want to eat to enjoy the taste of food. I don’t want to have sex for pleasure. I don’t want to drink alcohol and get intoxicated. THAT’S WHAT LIFE IS FOR!! If I didn’t do those things while I was alive, why would I think a good time to start is after I’m dead? As if a virgin, on his/her deathbed ever thought, “Gee, I’m going to die and finally lose my virginity after I’m in heaven!” I doubt it.

I can’t understand why we can’t enjoy a good pork chop today, while we are alive. I’m confused why we should not have sex now, while we can. Why is alcohol banned in this life and not in the next? Why would I EVER want to drink alcohol and NOT get drunk?

Religion tries to tempt me with promises of eternal pleasure once I’m dead if I follow the “rules” in life. Like an eternal hand job. I guess I just know how to resist temptation. Besides, I don’t need god to give me a hand job. I can do that myself just fine.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Gilded Cage of Belief

The gilded cage of belief

The preacher dude was going over the story of Genesis. You know the one with Adam, Eve, a walking, talking snake and a tree with really tasty fruit that you can’t eat. He was making a lot of crappy points that I could dissect, but I’m only going to talk about the reason he gave for placing the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden in the first place.

Of course, my atheist friends will be familiar with the old argument that if god is all knowing, then he knew what would happen if he put the tree in the garden, and he chose to do so anyway. So if you believe this story, it seems the human race was set up to fail, by the all-knowing, all-loving deity. The preacher dude apparently had heard this too, and wanted to address it.

You see, god wants to give us freedom, and that means he has to restrict us. I know, that sounds like a contradiction, but since those don’t exist in the bible, we’ll have to look harder to find how this works. Think of a football game. Without rules, there is no game. You need a baseline, sidelines, and other rules of play. That’s how a game forms. Without these rules, you’d have chaos. Players would try to run into the parking lot looking for a touchdown.

God, likewise, gives us rules so that we can live free lives. Well, you have all the freedom god’s rules allow. You certainly can’t go outside what god wants you to do, or satan’s gonna getcha. Basically, as long as you do exactly what god says to do, when he says it, in the manner he wants you to do it, you have complete freedom. That’s how freedom works.

Are all religious folks so institutionalized by religion that they don’t recognize freedom anymore? Does faith remove from you the ability to see the gilded cage? The most beautiful prison is still a prison, and no freedom is permitted in prison.

The rules in sports do not make a game. The players make the game. The rules allow for the competition to be done in a sportsman-like manner. The term, “good sportsmanship” does not refer to how well the player obeyed the rules of the game, but how well the player related to his opponent.

Ever play Monopoly? There are “house rules” that are so common; they are included in many electronic versions of the game. The “official rules” do not reward a player for landing on “Free Parking”, but so common is this house rule, that the instructions in the game often refer to it. Imagine you had never played the game. Imagine you play with the “Free Parking” rule at one house, and then go to another. The players in the second game only play by the official rules. Which is more of a game? Which will you enjoy more? Which will you win?

Games are not a contest of who can obey the most rules. Games are played for the enjoyment of the players. Some can also be enjoyed by spectators. In my younger years I played many role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. The first rule of these games was, “Have fun. If you don’t like a rule, change it. Ignore any rule you dislike. Make up some of your own. This is a game.”

In life, we make our own rules. We have to be able to change, create and ignore any rule that does not encourage the enjoyment for all. If a law prevents the pursuit of happiness, it must be changed. We cannot hold to a rule simply because it comes from an imaginary god. God isn’t here, we are.