This video discusses many of the logical holes in the concept of hell. It also briefly touches on free will.
More From QualiaSoup Good stuff!
This video discusses many of the logical holes in the concept of hell. It also briefly touches on free will.
More From QualiaSoup Good stuff!
In response to someone spamming Bible verses on her blog, Dam, author of Raising Kids Without Religion, wrote a post asking what the spammer (and those like him) expect Bible verses to mean to people who see the Bible as nothing more than folklore and fairy tales.
I’ve often wondered, myself, why some Christians take this approach. In an effort to demonstrate just how meaningless the words are to people who don’t believe in them, I posted a Wiccan chant for Ezekiel, the Bible spammer. Apparently it’s a spell used by Wiccans to bind troublemakers.
I thought it was funny.
Well, who the heck knew that a cute little poem about bubbles and cauldrons would make the poor guy loose his ever-loving mind? Actually, I suspect he did that a long time ago, but my little joke certainly did set him off.
According to Zeke, copying and pasting a Wiccan chant makes me a witch! In fact, he has dedicated an entire page to me on his blog, entitled, Lottie the Witch! I’ve been called a lot of things, but never a witch. Not in the literal sense, anyway.
I’m absolutely charmed!
But I’m a little worried too. Because later in the comments section, I copied and pasted a Bible verse. I’m thinking that if Zeke is right, then following his logic, I am now a Christian. Only I don’t want to be a Christian. I’ve done that before and it didn’t work out. Being atheist was fine, but I was getting a little bored with it, so being a witch would actually have been a refreshing change of pace. All the spells and incantations… It was going to be a lot of fun.
So now what? Do I get to keep being a witch since I copied and pasted a Wiccan chant? Do I have be a Christian again because I copied and pasted a Bible verse? Or maybe the bible verse just cancels out the chant and I can go back to being a boring atheist with nothing to live for.
I think I know how to solve this:
Teh Stupid! It burns! These goggles, they do nothing!
There, now I’ve quoted an atheist. And that’s no copy and paste job! I typed it all out, letter by letter, just to be extra sure that I’m really back to being atheist. Phrew! That was close. It’s great to be back to my old self.
And now that I’m back to my old self, let me tell you how deluded my buddy, Zeke, is. After I blacklisted his name and IP address so that all his spam comments and threats started going directly where they belong, he started emailing me the same shit through my contact page. In one of the emails he asks:
Whats with the multiple WordPress usernames you have all on the same IP?
There are a couple of problems with this. One, I have one username and no one else uses this computer. Two, I have not commented on his blog or corresponded with him in any way that would allow him access to my IP address. This was quite deliberate on my part.
Given that he’s asked this privately via email, it couldn’t be that he’s deliberately bullshitting to try and make me look bad somehow. So, I can only assume that he actually believes it.
<cue Twilight Zone music>
But wait there’s more! Zeke either has several other blogs or a few buddies who are just as, uh, confused, shall we say, as he is. I received a pingback from one of them and another one is so outraged, he’s reported my evil deeds to WordPress! How dare they allow witches to cast spells on decent Christian folks?! WordPress should only allow Christians to cast prayers on any moving target that strikes their fancy, and threaten people with eternal damnation for not believing in their invisible deity.
Yes, something must be done about Lottie the Witch, at once! Burn her at the stake, if they must, but stop her! Stop her now!
But here’s the part that really confuses me: Zeke claims that there is no power apart from Jesus which means that my so-called witchcraft can’t do jack. So then why all the outrage? Why piss and moan and complain to WordPress? Not that I’m a bit worried, mind you; it just doesn’t make sense.
Why go to so much trouble to stop someone from doing something that isn’t really doing anything anyway? Do they need WordPress as back up in case Jesus doesn’t come through and protect them from the witchcraft that doesn’t have any power in the first place?
It’s all very confusing.
I suppose I should actually thank ‘them’, though. All the links and hits I’m getting from them will help boost my Google rankings. Come to think of it, they’re actually helping me promote my Evil Atheist Agenda! Oh dear! Do you suppose that means they’re all atheists now?
I could make a special page entitled, Zeke And Friends: Evil Atheists. Or should I give them each their very own pages? What do you guys think?
I confess to not liking Christmas much. All the compulsory gift-giving, mandatory office parties, forced and uncomfortable family gatherings, crowded stores and general holiday chaos and hoopla is quite a bit more than this cynical introvert can cope with.
That said, I do still participate in the festivities to a degree. I started the whole tree and presents thing when my son was a baby, and I don’t think it’s fair to abruptly snatch it all away just because I’m beginning to like it considerably less with each passing season. But I am trying to gradually tone it down with the hope of eventually bypassing it completely.
It’s interesting, though, to observe and listen to Christians discussing the holiday and what it “really” means, occasionally reminding each other not to forget the “Christ” in “Christmas”. Having been a practicing Christian for the vast majority of my life, I know that this is a reminder that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, Savior of the world who was born of a virgin in a manger in Bethlehem and, well, I’m sure we all know the story, Christian or not.
The really awkward part of that whole “reason for the season” is the fact that the circumstances surrounding this miraculous birth are neither original nor unique to Jesus or even to Christianity. I’ve known this for quite some time, but a post by my friend, Gary, entitled Christmas and Mithras got my wheels spinning again and there’s no time like the present to go ahead and write about it.
Gary talks about how he very nearly became infected with a Christmas bug upon seeing some pretty lights on a tree. He was quickly cured before too much damage was done by watching a video clip from QI, which Gary has embedded in the above-linked post for your viewing pleasure.
In it, Stephen Fry and those on the panel discuss why Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. In doing so, Fry also outlines some of the characteristics of Mithras (2000 B.C.E.) and the story surrounding his life:
My goodness! Where have I heard that before?
But Mithras wasn’t the only god to share these striking similarities. Horus (3000 B.C.E) shared them all and the following as well:
There was also Krishna (1200 B.C.E) who shared most of the same attributes, plus these:
So, you see, the so-called “Christ in Christmas” did not originate with Christianity at all. The story behind the Christian celebration of Christmas is a scrapbook of hand-me-down legends and myths that predated the Jesus figure by several millennia. In fact, the tenets of Christianity most significant to Christians; the very foundation of Christianity itself — the virgin birth, and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus — are all borrowed from previous religions and gods.
Now, I say this not to criticize Christians for their beliefs or religious practices and celebrations. The fact that the story of Jesus is not original or unique doesn’t matter one bit to me. I do find the parallels very interesting, however, and of equal or perhaps even greater interest is the fact that so many Christians who make an effort to focus on the “reason for the season” seem completely unaware of it all.
But celebrate or don’t for whatever reason you choose, or for no reason at all. Whether you gain a new perspective from reading this post or dismiss it altogether, it doesn’t really matter: I am writing this for informational purposes only. Do with it what you will.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or Bah Humbug; it’s all the same to me!
Christians throughout the United States claim that their faith is under attack and that their religious freedom is in jeopardy. They believe they are being persecuted and discriminated against from all sides, a claim which we see on TV, hear on the radio and read on forums across the internet. Explaining that atheists in America are marginalized and one of the last remaining groups that it is socially acceptable to discriminate against has, in my experience so far, proven to be an exercise in futility.
Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a Republican of North Carolina is trying to hold onto her seat in an extremely close race, and to that end, she is attacking the religious faith of her opponent, Kay Hagan.[…]
Yeah, you heard that right: “There is no God.” The only problem is Kay Hagan never said it. Never. Just a picture of her face over someone else’s audio. Kay Hagan is a member of the Presbyterian Church. She is a former Sunday school teacher.
The fundraiser the ad mentions was not hosted by the Godless American Political Action Committee. A member was one of 40 different co-hosts. Sen. John Kerry was at this fundraiser. […]
Elizabeth Dole is hardly alone here. Her ad is just one of the most egregious.
Good for you, Campbell Brown, for calling Dole out on this lie. Except… not only do you fail to recognize the implicit bigotry of the ad but you also express it yourself, calling the ad “one of the most egregious” of the campaign.
Would it be just as evil to accuse Hagan of associating with Blacks, Hispanics or Jews, for instance? Would it even be a point of discussion, much less worthy of attack, if Hagan had taken money from an organization representing the civil rights of one of these minorities?
But you’re hardly alone, Campbell Brown; your article is just one of the more bigoted.
From the Fayetteville Observer:
During a town hall meeting, a McCain supporter said she was afraid of Obama because he was an Arab. Taking the microphone from the frightened woman, McCain said her fears were unfounded, Obama is not an Arab. He’s a decent American, a family man, with whom McCain just happens to have differences.
Honesty like that has earned McCain respect from both sides of the aisles. Sen. Elizabeth Dole should take a lesson from McCain. A broadcast ad targeting her opponent, Democratic state Sen. Kay Hagan, shows Dole ratcheting up her rhetoric, and probably winning the honor, so far, of fielding the nastiest, most misleading, negative ad of the campaign. Here’s part of the ad that portrays Hagan as a godless liberal:
Leaving aside for the moment that McCain’s defense of Obama was bigoted, implying that “decent” and “family man” are the opposite of “Arab”, this article goes on to call Dole’s ad “the nastiest […] negative ad of the campaign”.
I think it’s time we stop and ask ourselves why godlessness or atheism can even be used as slurs. Why is it among the nastiest, most egregious things that can be said about a person?
Something Colin Powell recently said comes to mind. In response to accusations that Barack Obama is a Muslim, Powell said this:
Well the correct answer is, ‘He’s not a Muslim, he’s a Christian, he’s always been a Christian’. But the really right answer is, “What if he is?’ Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is ‘No’, that’s not America.
The same principle applies here. The factually correct answer is that Kay Hagan is not “godless”; the ethically correct answer is, “So what if she is?”.
There’s a way to make this attack. There’s a way to say, “Look, this lady goes to church, believes in god but look who she’s taking money from.” This is a question of judgment. There’s a fair way to bring up who you’re associated with. This seems to cross a line.
So it’s an act of poor judgment to associate with atheists and take money from them? You’d think we were all terrorists or something.
It’s come to a sad state of affairs in the United States of America when a particular religion or lack of religion can be used as ammunition to make an attack on someone’s character.
To any Christian in America who thinks his faith is under attack or that he is being persecuted or discriminated against, ask yourself how egregious, nasty, malicious or negative the ad would have been had it read like this:
SEN. ELIZABETH DOLE (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I’m Elizabeth Dole and I approve this message.
NARRATOR: A leader of Focus on the Family recently held a secret fund-raiser in Kay Hagan’s honor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can only rely on God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jesus saves!
BILL O’REILLY, HOST, “THE O’REILLY FACTOR”: The Pledge of Allegiance says “one nation under God”, you’re down with that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We’re down with that.
O’REILLY: Our money says “In God we trust”, you’re OK with that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we are!
Focus on the Family and Kay Hagan. She hid from cameras, took Christian money. What did Hagan promise in return?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God bless America!
It wouldn’t hurt at all, would it? In fact, it might even give the impression that Dole was campaigning for Hagan. Why? Because being a Christian in America is seen as virtuous and respectable. Dole’s ad has the desired effect only because atheism is perceived in the United States as something to be hated and feared; something evil, immoral and repugnant.
The prejudice and bigotry toward atheists in America is so commonplace and accepted that a politician running for elected office uses and exploits it without apology as a smear against an opponent.
Most of those decrying the ad are doing so because “Kay Hagan is so a Christian!”, while remaining oblivious to just how wrong the ad really is, and why. Not only does this go unnoticed by the media, they actually play into the idea and reinforce it; as of last night, even Keith Olbermann didn’t seem to catch on.
So, Christians, please don’t ever complain to me about how your rights and freedoms are being trodden on, or whine that you are being discriminated against, because you will get no sympathy from me.
You are extremely well represented in the United States, and I hope that Elizabeth Dole’s “egregious, nasty, negative attack ad” and all the media responses to it will help put that into perspective for you.
In a discussion at Rutherford Lawson’s blog, Postman linked to thegodmovie.com. The God Who Wasn’t There has been out since 2005, so some of you may already be familiar with it. I’ve never seen it myself, but I have every intention of doing do so the minute I can lay my hands on a copy. I saw the trailer and then found a ten minute clip on YouTube which I immediately decided to post here.
But first, from the above linked website:
In this critically acclaimed film, you will discover:
- The early founders of Christianity seem wholly unaware of the idea of a human Jesus
- The Jesus of the Gospels bears a striking resemblance to other ancient heroes and the figureheads of pagan savior cults
- Contemporary Christians are largely ignorant of the origins of their religion
- Fundamentalism is as strong today as it ever has been, with an alarming 44% of Americans believing that Jesus will return to earth in their lifetimes
Now, on with the show: