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:
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.
EVERY national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet; as if the way to God was not open to every man alike.
Each of those churches shows certain books, which they call revelation, or the Word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
As it is necessary to affix right ideas to words, I will, before I proceed further into the subject, offer some observations on the word ‘revelation.’ Revelation when applied to religion, means something communicated immediately from God to man.
No one will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty to make such a communication if he pleases. But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and, consequently, they are not obliged to believe it.
It is a contradiction in terms and ideas to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication. After this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner, for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him.
When Moses told the children of Israel that he received the two tables of the commandments from the hand of God, they were not obliged to believe him, because they had no other authority for it than his telling them so; and I have no other authority for it than some historian telling me so, the commandments carrying no internal evidence of divinity with them. They contain some good moral precepts such as any man qualified to be a lawgiver or a legislator could produce himself, without having recourse to supernatural intervention.
When I am told that the Koran was written in Heaven, and brought to Mahomet by an angel, the account comes to near the same kind of hearsay evidence and second hand authority as the former. I did not see the angel myself, and therefore I have a right not to believe it.
When also I am told that a woman, called the Virgin Mary, said, or gave out, that she was with child without any cohabitation with a man, and that her betrothed husband, Joseph, said that an angel told him so, I have a right to believe them or not: such a circumstance required a much stronger evidence than their bare word for it: but we have not even this; for neither Joseph nor Mary wrote any such matter themselves. It is only reported by others that they said so. It is hearsay upon hearsay, and I do not chose to rest my belief upon such evidence.
It is, however, not difficult to account for the credit that was given to the story of Jesus Christ being the Son of God. He was born when the heathen mythology had still some fashion and repute in the world, and that mythology had prepared the people for the belief of such a story. Almost all the extraordinary men that lived under the heathen mythology were reputed to be the sons of some of their gods. It was not a new thing at that time to believe a man to have been celestially begotten; the intercourse of gods with women was then a matter of familiar opinion. Their Jupiter, according to their accounts, had cohabited with hundreds; the story therefore had nothing in it either new, wonderful, or obscene; it was conformable to the opinions that then prevailed among the people called Gentiles, or mythologists, and it was those people only that believed it. The Jews, who had kept strictly to the belief of one God, and no more, and who had always rejected the heathen mythology, never credited the story.
It is curious to observe how the theory of what is called the Christian Church, sprung out of the tail of the heathen mythology. A direct incorporation took place in the first instance, by making the reputed founder to be celestially begotten. The trinity of gods that then followed was no other than a reduction of the former plurality, which was about twenty or thirty thousand. The statue of Mary succeeded the statue of Diana of Ephesus. The deification of heroes changed into the canonization of saints. The Mythologists had gods for everything; the Christian Mythologists had saints for everything. The church became as crowded with the one, as the pantheon had been with the other; and Rome was the place of both. The Christian theory is little else than the idolatry of the ancient mythologists, accommodated to the purposes of power and revenue; and it yet remains to reason and philosophy to abolish the amphibious fraud.
This one takes a rather new and interesting approach, however. Guy P Harrison is the author of 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God. The following is an excerpt from his guest post at Skepchick.
As a traveler I have discussed belief in gods with people on six continents. As a journalist I have interviewed a rich variety of fascinating people and many times religion came up. […]
Each chapter is a reason for belief that I heard repeatedly from many believers in many places. I respectfully listened to the world’s believers about why they believe and then responded to what they said, not as a debating rival or as a superior intellect, but as nothing more than a fellow human sharing his thoughts on an important matter. The consistently polite and respectful tone of this book defuses the most common defensive reflex from believers when confronted with ideas that challenge the existence of their gods. They replay the usual condemnation: “This is the angry rant of a bitter atheist who is more dogmatic and closed minded than any religious person I know.” 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God is exceedingly polite. I want readers to be thinking about my ideas in the book, not how mean or arrogant my tone is. I make it clear that I am challenging their reasons for belief, not them personally.
Sounds interesting. I think I’ll buy a copy.
My old pal, David Jordan (DJ) has written a lovely post on forgiveness. It might also sound like he had a heart, if I didn’t keep hearing the words “lazy class” in my head as I read it. Let me show you what I mean:
The point Jesus is making here is that those who have been forgiven of a debt they could have never payed have absolutely no right to demand ‘payment’ from others. The one who has been forgiven the unfathomable cannot demand the miniscule. Instead, he should, out of a heart of pure thankfulness, freely let go of the debts (wrongs) incurred by others.
To forgive means to release someone from a debt- the debt of your expectations.
And yet he can’t forgive people the debt of accepting public assistance because, he says, they are taking something from him. I would think a few scraps of public assistance (even if taking it is wrong) would be the “minuscule” here. By DJ’s own statement, he should forgive, and release the debt of his own expectations.
Even if people are collecting public assistance (taking from DJ) because they’re lazy, he has no right to expect apologies or repayment or anything, for that matter. After all, DJ has been forgiven the unfathomable, and out of pure thankfulness for that he should freely let go of the debt (wrongs) incurred by the people who are “taking from him” (wronging him) by accepting public assistance.
In Matthew 6, Christ shows us how to pray (The Lord’s Prayer) and in this prayer, we find the phrase, “…forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors.” This is huge!!! We are asking God the Father to forgive us our shortcomings ACCORDING TO how we forgive others. How can we ask God for mercy if we are not showing mercy? How can we ask God for grace and not show that same grace to those who have wronged us?
Can DJ be forgiven his shortcomings when he hasn’t let go of being “wronged” by people who “take from him” by accepting public assistance? How can he expect mercy from God when he shows no mercy toward those he calls the “lazy class”? By DJ’s own statement and his own doctrine, he dare not even ask for it:
When it comes to expecting apologies, Christians don’t have a leg to stand on, for the only reason they stand at all is the imputed righteousness of Christ. All we can do is forgive and release the debt. How dare we expect apologies after such a debt has been lifted from us?
And yet he exhibits relentless bitterness toward those members of the so-called “lazy class” because he believes they are taking from him. He refuses to forgive and release them of their ‘debt’.
What can all this mean for David Jordan?
Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On