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.