Cognitive Dissonance: 2012

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance: a discomfort caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming and denying.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The non-existent war on Xmas.... ;-)

Many, many people suffer from the misconception that Christmas is a Christian holiday. In truth (actual, factual truth, based in reality, using recorded and corroborated historical accounts) Christmas stems from Pagan fertility rites and practices which predate Christianity and the supposed birth of Christ by many centuries. So you see, Christmas, in truth has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity. Many of the things we associate with Christmas, such as decorating trees, singing carols, and giving gifts are rooted in the traditions of non-Christian religions (Paganism predominately). Furthermore, the date of December 25th has nothing to do with Jesus' birth, even the biblical stories of Jesus' birth indicate he was not born during the winter months. The reason we celebrate Christmas on December 25th is because it is the date that the winter solstice was traditionally celebrated on in ancient Europe. Romans historically celebrated the winter solstice. This celebration was about "Dies Natalis Solis Invicti", the day of the birth of the unconquerable sun, which took place on December 22nd. The winter solstice held the promise of the return of springtime and earthly renewal. In Roman history, this was the time of Saturnalia, honoring the God of Agriculture, for the week before the solstice, and Juvenilia a feast in honor of the children of Rome, around the same time. On the 25th of the month they celebrated the birth of the sun-god Mithra. Masters and servants traded places temporarily, and everybody had a rocking good time. It was during Saturnalia that the tradition of exchanging gifts was established. They gave one another gifts which were intended to bring good luck. The Romans placed an enormous amount of pressure on the early Christians to rejoice along with them, and around the time of the fourth century, they began to celebrate Christmas around the same time. It was inevitable that Christians should make a connection between the rebirth of the sun and the birth of the Son. In a side note, if you compare the Pagan god Mithra with Jesus, you will find they have a great deal in common. A virgin birth on Dec 25th, they both performed similar miracles, both died and came back to life 3 days later and the list goes on. The fact that Mithra predates Jesus certainly lends credibility to the assertion that Jesus was nothing more than Mithra co-opted by Christians.

In the Middle Ages, Christmas was a raucous, drunken celebration which resembled a carnival. Poor people would go on a Christmas"trick or treat" around the richer neighborhoods, causing them misery if they didn't get what they wanted. Many other pagan traditions have been incorporated into Christmas. Yule was celebrated by the Norse in Scandinavia around the time of the winter solstice by bringing in large logs for the fire, in recognition of the eventual return of the sun. It could take as much as twelve days for the log to burn down. Meanwhile, the Norse would feast. The holiday usually lasted through January. The Germans did not so much celebrate as honor the winter solstice. They believed that their god, Oden, flew through the sky at night passing judgment on his people. Generally, they would stay indoors during this season. When the Germanic people were converted to Christianity, their winter festival was naturally adopted as a celebration of the birth of Christ. To the pagans, evergreens served as a symbol of winter's inability to stop the cycle of renewal. They were important fertility symbols which were highly revered by many cultures, including the Germans and the Celts. They helped to soothe the pagans' fears that the sun would never return, and that winter would reign eternal. The Druids tied fruit to the branches of live trees, and baked cakes in the shape of fish, birds and other animals, to offer to their god, Woden. We also inherited the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe from the Druids. All of these practices, many of which are still incorporated in the modern celebration of Christmas had their origins in Pagan traditions that pre-date the purported birth of Christ by centuries. Anyone willing to take the time to study the history of Christmas can see how Christianity took over the celebration as it marched westward and, if they're willing to be honest, must admit that Christendom has no original claims to anything having to do with Christmas, other than the name of course.

Many people mistakenly state that "Jesus is the reason for the season." They do so, because they believe people have lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. It simply isn't true. Christmas can be celebrated as completely secular because ultimately it is not a Christian holiday. Christmas goes beyond religious and cultural differences, and addresses something universal in all of us. For this reason it has become popular in non-Christian countries such as Japan. The truth is that Christian and pagan traditions have a great deal in common. The real need behind all of these traditions was to find a source of joy, happiness, hope, goodwill and generosity. There was a need to find ways to cope with our fears about the darkness and cold of wintertime, and to celebrate the return of the sun and the longer days of spring. In fact, Christianity and pre-Christian pagan religion have a great deal in common. Various pagan religions shared the Christian practice of worshiping a god-man who could offer salvation in the form of heaven or condemnation in the form of hell. The concept that a son of God could be born of a mortal woman is seen in many different religions spanning the globe. These concepts are universal, except to those who are extremely divisive and have a tendency to pick nits, such as fundamentalist evangelical Christians.

The ACTUAL war on Christmas was waged over the last 2,000 years by Christians, and, as you can see they won. Now every year we have to listen to people complain endlessly about this imaginary "war on Christmas", and how we've forgotten the reason for the season. While it's true we have as a society forgotten the actual origins of Christmas, it has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. The ire expressed by the religious regarding things like nativity scenes and other religious displays on public/government property is also misplaced. I find it ironic that they (Christians) claim that they're victims of religious oppression yet have no problem whatsoever forcing their religion down our throats. The separation of church and state guarantees not only the right to practice whatever faith one chooses, it also guarantees the freedom FROM religion as well. Which is the right to choose not to practice any religion whatsoever, and to be free from being forced to observe or participate in the practice/observation of those faiths. Not being able to force everyone to observe and celebrate the way you think Christmas, or Easter or whatever should be celebrated does not amount to religious intolerance. And lastly, now that you know that Christmas has NOTHING to do with Christ whatsoever, please stop bitching about it, and apologize to any Pagans you happen to run across for stealing and destroying their holiday, and for murdering hundreds of thousands of them throughout the last 2,000 years when they wouldn't pretend that their holiday involved a magical Jewish baby that fathered himself with a virgin in a town that didn't even exist at that time (Nazareth).

And for those of you that will undoubtedly bury your head even deeper in the sand after reading this, here are my sources, which you can confirm for yourself if you like. We have limitless information at our hands in this day and age, put it to good use, please!

Dennis Bratcher, "The Christmas Season." The Voice. URL: (

"Saturnalia." URL: (

"Christmas - An Ancient Holiday." URL: (
"Christmas." Encyclopedia Brittannica. URL: (

Ruth Reichmann, "Christmas." URL: (

Alan Williams, "The History of Christmas," URL: (


"An Outlaw Christmas." URL: (

Mary Dawson, "Stories Behind the Christmas Carols." URL: (

Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts, "Christmas Carol Surprises." URL: (

Diane Relf, "Christmas Tree Traditions." URL: (

Greg Kane, "Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth." URL: (

Ted Olson, "The Real St. Nicholas." URL: (

Royce Carlson, "The Pagan Origins of Christmas." URL: (

"Who is St. Nicholas?" URL: (

Jennifer Claerr, "The History of Christmas and Its Pagan Origins" URL: (

And last but not least! Wikipedia, "Christmas" (

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The flip-flopping Religious Right.

Here's a prime example of the "flip-floppery" of the religious right (see the link at the bottom of the page). I have noticed that many, if not all of my religious friends who would have taken a very hard line on Mormonism prior to Romney's nomination have now softened their stance considerably. Last night after Billy Graham endorsed Romney, he removed all negative references to Mormonism from his website, which previous defined it as a cult and utterly condemned it in no uncertain terms. I find it funny, and quite frankly pathetic that a group of people that hoots and hollers about how concrete their principles are and preaches that truth is not relative, nor subject to change are so quick to modify those principles at the drop of a hat, as long as it suits their needs. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the emperor has NO clothes!

I'd bet dollars to donuts, if by some strange twist of fate the GOP nominee or the GOP nominee for VP had been gay, a large majority of the Chick-Fil-A loving homophobes would have changed their tune the same way they have in regards to Mormonism.

I think the rabbit hole goes even deeper, personally. I don't believe for one second that most of the people supporting Romney like the man, believe anything he says, or have any faith in his ability to lead or fix the myriad of problems facing our nation. I think they're just so caught up in the anti-Obama mass hysteria and have bought so deeply into the propaganda that they'd elect a goat if it could verbalize the GOP party lines. This, coupled with the fact that they're so willing to bend their supposedly concrete religious/personal beliefs is an indication of how weak, feeble minded and pathetic the GOP constituency has become. Oh, and let's not forget the fact that large groups of people declared Romney and Ryan winners of the debates in spite of the fact that they lied their way through both of them and offered almost nothing in the way of concrete plans to fix the problems we're facing as a nation. It's a sad, sad state of affairs... The GOP has devolved into a party of sheep and lemmings.

Billy Graham endorses Romney, changes website in regards to Mormonism, no longer calls it a cult.

Friday, September 7, 2012

What I'd like to say to my friends & family on Facebook and Twitter.

It's really quite pathetic that many of my friends and family are utterly unable to engage in polite, fair argumentation when we disagree about something. This has become even more evident during this election season. Being pretty liberal, socially, my ideals clash with those of my religious friends and families on a regular basis. I am not afraid to engage them in discussion about these differences, I usually (not always) do so politely and in the hopes of having a thoughtful, well informed discussion. The problem is however, a great many of them simply cannot do so, they are totally unequipped and unprepared. They have such firm beliefs and they state them so very passionately that it appears they know why they believe what they believe. However, when I challenge them to substantiate or defend their beliefs, the conversation usually implodes. Accusations of "hate speech", ad hominem, red herrings and straw men begin flying about like farm animals in a category 5 tornado. I hear things like "get off your high horse" and other indicators that these people feel like their being talked down to. What this indicates to me is, is that they're not very well informed and their ideas and opinions are not well supported. It indicates fear, insecurity and ignorance regarding their beliefs, opinions and positions.

What follows is what I would like to say to my Facebook friends specifically, and a few of my Twitter followers as well, I would do so, but I'm afraid I'd be left friendless by the end of the day... So here it is for all of you to enjoy! I'm sure many of you have had similar experiences as well, so I hope some of you find this encouraging.

My hero, Christopher Hitchens said this while doing an interview and discussing writing in a journalistic sense, he was speaking to "Bloggers" when he said this: "Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the 'transcendent' and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you."

I subscribe to every idea of Mr. Hitchens' stated here. Particularly the portion in the middle which says - "Don't be afraid to thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence."

Hitchens was rarely silent, it's one of the things I admired most about him. He engaged in almost constant debate and discussion with those he disagreed with or that disagreed with him. He refused to let ignorant, evil or vacuous assertions slide when others might have looked the other way for the sake of avoiding conflict. When he said "seek out argument and disputation for their own sake", he was acknowledging that there is inherent value in these things. You can gain a lot of perspective, learn something new, recognize flaws in your own thinking, persuade someone to adopt a better, healthier or more beneficial position, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on. However, for whatever reason people seem to conflate disagreement with disrespect, or "hatred" or other negative motivations that they aren't, necessarily. Even if a conversation becomes heated, it doesn't have to digress into something negative or harmful, though it certainly can.

Far too few people these days are brave enough to engage, and far too many people take disagreement personally. Folks, we're all adults here, we should be able to share our ideas and disagree with each other and walk away from it knowing that we're better off for it in most cases. For those that can't engage in a disagreement without resorting to ad hominem (attacking the person making the argument instead of the argument or the facts contained therein) than maybe it's time to grow up a little bit? Read a book on logic and critical thinking, try to avoid emotional, knee jerk responses. THINK before you speak. These are all things adults should be able to do.

Lastly, as a disclaimer and in the interest of holding myself to the same standard, I should acknowledge that I am not perfect at exhibiting all of the traits I've listed as valuable or virtuous when it comes to conversation, arguments and disputation. I have biases, I recognize that fact, and I do everything I can to minimize those in my arguments. I am also rather quick to anger, some people know this about me and they use it against me, which isn't fair. However, in the end the impetus is on me to be able to control that frustration and respond in a fair, polite and even manner. I also tend to get defensive, which is fine when it's applied properly, it's not fine when I do the same thing I'm criticizing other people for and take a comment that isn't meant to be personal, personally. Some of you who engage me more often than others may have noticed a shift in tactics, I have begun to demand that the conversation stay on topic and if at all possible deals in facts. Preferably facts derived empirically and from sources that are as objective as possible and not prone to hyperbole or promoting propaganda. This ensures that an exchange is fair and valuable and allows two (or more) people to flesh out the facts and come to an actual conclusion. At that point, it's the responsibility of the "loser" for the lack of a better term to admit defeat, graciously.

Now having said all that, I'd like to point out that all gods are imaginary, Jesus is the result of a compilation of pagan gods/myths (and did not exist) and the Bible is unreliable and demonstrably false. Discuss.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Rev. Creech says: "God fixation can fix our nation", I call BS! My response to his nonsense.

Here's a link to Creech's article: - My response is below.

Another example of programmed Jesus-bots regurgitating ridiculous, fundamentalist, evangelical, revisionist, (American Christian) propaganda. Adults with imaginary friends are dangerous, and this vacuous attempt to marginalize MILLIONS of Americans (by some accounts over half have no belief in any god) who don’t subscribe to their ignorant, bronze age, misogynistic, racist, fear mongering BS. God fixation has never, ever, in the history of any nation, culture, society or tribe led to anything but oppression, violence and a laundry list of other crimes against humanity and nature.

Idiots like Creech, Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort (just to name a few) can (and will) continue to babble on about how this nation was founded on Christian principles and that our forefathers subscribed to the same ridiculous ideas about god as they do. Anyone with even a limited knowledge of American history and our Founding Fathers knows that their claims about our nations past is an utter fabrication. Lies, lies and more lies! They ignore the Constitution, they ignore the 1st Amendment, the Treaty of Tripoli, the writings of Founders like Madison, Jefferson and Adams, and hope that no one will check the facts. These idiots are literally re-writing history to fit their needs, to help fuel their propaganda and further their lies. The assertion that this nation was founded on Christian principles is absolutely, 100% false. The claim that the constitution doesn’t guarantee a separation of church and state, also 100% false. The sad and predictable references to communism, also absolutely ridiculous. The fact that Christian apologists like Creech can’t go 3 paragraphs without invoking the words socialism/communism or Hitler betrays not only their ignorance and lack of understanding but also their inability to defend their positions without resorting to fear mongering. They think/hope that because it worked in the 1950s during the Cold War that it will work again. It’s my sincere hope that people have gotten smarter and will no longer fall for such pathetic, transparent attempts at breeding solicitude.

The fact is, the most prosperous nations on this planet, with the highest education, highest employment rates, highest life expectancy, best health care, best economies and lowest crime rates and prison populations are also the most secular/non-religious nations on earth. The assertion that “god fixation” will fix anything has been tried and found wanting repeatedly throughout human history. The last time the Christian church succeeded in infusing itself into government and all aspects of culture was called the dark ages, for good reason. The more superstitious, religious nonsense your cram into government & politics the more problems you can expect.

This bottom line is, Creech’s claims are nonsense, they’re propaganda and are categorically false. Religion is poison, it divides, destroys, inspires, excuses and justifies violence, inhibits medical and scientific progress and breeds ignorance. As long as you keep lying, we’ll keep calling you on it. If you want to believe in magical, Jewish-Zombie sky wizards, that’s fine, but keep it to yourself. Your superstitious, bronze age nonsense has no place in our government, or anywhere else for that matter.

PS - There are many other serious problems with this vacuous piece of propaganda, including the David Hume quote, which was taken out of context, and further defamed by Creech’s lies. It’s time to marginalize these idiots and hope this kind of nonsense dies with their generation.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Evidence & Faith: Not subjective terms.

There seems to be some misunderstanding among theists as to what constitutes evidence and what the word faith actually means. When we (non-believers) say we have evidence, we mean that we can produce data based on empirically tested/testable, repeatable, verifiable and falsifiable methods. Which means anyone who disagrees with the findings or currently accepted scientific knowledge/facts are welcome to design and carry out their own experimentation to attempt to refute anything anything they like. However we never have and never will see any religious group attempt this, because their attempts would fail, and most of them know this. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. The claims of religion are wholly antithetical to the scientific method, and frankly there really isn't any comparison between the two. Religion is not a falsifiable theory that produces useful predictions (or predictions of any sort) it is a belief system. Religion looks at areas in nature where we do not yet have answers and believes things about those subjects. It does not know things, it believes things. When science doesn’t know, religion believes. The delusion caused by religion is when believers mistake their belief for knowledge. The religious have their answers already, all they're trying to do is make inferences now that seem to verify their predetermined conclusions. They pick and choose whatever fits their needs and discard and/or ignore the rest and there is nothing even remotely resembling objectivity when it comes to anything theists call "evidence" or proof. Usually what they call evidence is nothing more than hyperbole, conjecture, propaganda, half truths & sometimes (or maybe often, depending on which brand of superstition you're talking about) outright lies.

Lately I have found myself drawn into some rather idiotic arguments with several Christians on Twitter. Why I do this? I don't know. I guess I have a hero complex and I want to save everyone I can from the mental slavery that is religious indoctrination. Whatever the case, I found myself frequently frustrated by the repeated claims that I was "ignoring the evidence" that god exists. Yet when I insisted they provide me with some examples of the evidence that their particular version of god exists, all they could do was repeat, "you're ignoring the evidence". In one case, a particularly thick headed dolt sent me a link to this website and claimed these childish, tired, pathetic and transparent "proofs" were "undefeated arguments that proved (his) god exists". I'm not going to go into those now, or this post would spiral out of control, but anyone who's done their homework in regards to the arguments for/against belief in god(s) has heard these before, and can probably quickly pick out the numerous holes in them from memory. The bottom line is they don't have any evidence or proof that their god exists, furthermore they don't understand what qualifies as evidence and/or proof, which is a real problem. No wonder they believe these bronze fairy age tales.

This brings me to my second point. The other "argument" (I use that term loosely) I heard quite often, in various forms, and usually only after I had explained that what they called evidence doesn't qualify as evidence and proves nothing, was, "that's why faith is important." I think we freethinkers can see the conflict here, from the outside looking in, but the bible bandits I was in conversation with were usually sucked back down the vortex at this point. Somehow only moments after acquiescing that they didn't actually have any empirical evidence they began to claim their faith.... was based on empirical evidence. I have a feeling that the different definitions one would get for "faith" would directly correlate to the number of believers one asked; "how do you define, faith?" Here again we have a real problem with the definition and meaning of a word that is crucial in understanding exactly what the basis for religious belief is. Religious faith IS a persistent belief in something in spite of the fact there is no EVIDENCE to support that belief. Read that line over and over until it sinks in if you think that your religious beliefs are based on anything other than this, because they're not. Everything you believe is based on nothing but hearsay, myth, lies and subjective interpretations by the people that came before you in your particular brand of faith. I challenge any of you believers that think otherwise to spend a few days studying the *factual* (objective) history of the church and the historical origins of the Christian faith. Especially Protestantism, which was literally nothing more than one man's disagreement with the Catholic church and of which the tenets, beliefs and values are 100% subjective and based on how that one guy (Martin Luther) felt, and later the ideas of John Calvin. If you've been under the impression that Christianity even remotely resembled what it is today when Jesus supposedly walked the earth, you're sorely mistaken. It has changed shape and form with nearly every generation since it was invented. The church has had to do this so that it could remain palatable as society changed and people became more educated and enlightened. It wasn't always love and happy fuzzy feelings, again just pick up a history book, Christianity has a lot of blood on it's hands. Speaking of blood and violence, while you're at it take a look at how the bible was put together, who wrote it (that we know of), how it was assembled, edited, changed and canonized. Once the veil is lifted and you see the foundations of your beliefs for what they truly are (man made and devoid of anything supernatural) you will shudder and run, just like I did.

We freethinkers on the "other side" anxiously await your de-conversion and I personally hope you'll all be able to break free. Life is far, far, FAR more beautiful when you can see it for what it really is.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Common Sense: Not a Christian Value.

The bottom line is the Christian religion is incoherent and the bible is patently absurd.  5 years ago I would have laughed at anyone who said this to me, and responded with something stupid like "not-uh, my pastor says god is love and Jesus was god and so he's perfect and..... blah, blah, blah."  The problem was, I didn't know any better, for obvious reasons Christians focus on certain parts of the bible and ignore others.  The fact is, however, the majority of the bible is filled with absolutely ridiculous bullshit, this realization was a major catalyst in my departure from Christianity.  I'm not going to go into a lot of philosophical or logical discussions here, I am simply going to appeal to good old fashioned common sense.  If you don't find the following examples offensive to your common sense, then you either don't have any, or you're so indoctrinated that obvious facts/truth escape you.  Remember, the bible was written by superstitious, ignorant, bronze age men who thought the earth was flat, that alone should cause some red flags.

Before I give you the list of ridiculousness, consider that the bible is said to be (by Christians) the most perfect book ever written, the pure word of god containing his will for mankind. However it is unclear, has contradictions, problematic verses and leaves people split on what it actually says.  Man has produced works of mathematics and science that hold up to hundreds of years of scrutiny with no or little room for improvement and only by the greatest minds doing extensive research, however the bible could be immediately improved by even the simplest minds by just correcting conflicting statements or removing the bits about being killed for mixing two types of material in your clothing.  Why does the bible not contain any of the knowledge that an omniscient being would have had, or really any useful knowledge at all? Wouldn't revealing something like germ theory have helped to substantiate the legitimacy of the bible as the word of god, while also saving lives and reducing suffering from disease?  It is obviously man made.

Now let's begin with a list of examples of the lunacy! (Not a complete list, just a smattering of good examples)

A. Animals were only given green herb to eat (Gen 1:30) and there was presumably no death before the fall. When then, did god design carnivores? Did he design them with venom, claws, and canine teeth because his creation was ultimately designed to fall into corruption?
B. Why would god create a world in which living things must kill and devour other living things in order to survive?
C. It takes an omnipotent god seven days to create the universe and then he needed to rest.
D. God names his garden Eden, a Sumerian word meaning "fertile plain?" Is Sumerian the Adamic language?
E. God doesn't remove the garden immediately, instead he waits choosing to guard it with a cherubim and a flaming sword Gen 3:24
F. God expects Adam and Eve to resist temptation when they didn't know the difference between good and evil until after they had eaten the fruit
G. Cain was afraid of being cast out because people who saw him would kill him. There were only three people documented on the face of the earth at the time. Everyone alive would have had to have been a close relative/ Gen 4:14-15
H. Where did Cain's wife come from? Gen 4:17
I. There were giants on the earth at one time. Gen 6:4 (Note: No evidence exists to supports this assertion.)
J. God destroys unborn children and all of the animal life in the flood for man's sin. Gen 5:5-7, 11
K. Noah and the animals survive in the ark with only one window for ventilation Gen 6:16
L. How did Noah feed the carnivorous animals?
M. How did Koala's get to Australia after the ark washed up on the mountain? (There is a very good evolutionary explanation with undeniable evidence including marsupial fossils found throughout the strata of North America, migrating through Antarctica and ending up in Australia, where they evolved into the multiple forms of marsupials as demonstrated in the fossil record and present day life of Australia.)
N. There were enough people to form nations in only three generations after the flood (144 years,) giving Noah's great grandson the manpower to build the Tower of Babel.
O. Exactly what was the result of God's confounding of the human languages? Why would some people move and others stay, did he think we wouldn't be able to learn foreign language or that we could actually build a tower to the heavens? Why doesn't he do the same to us now since we have achieved space flight?
P. There is no mention in the entire OT after Gen 11 of any event in Gen 1-11... The creation, the fall, the serpent, the flood, Babel etc.
Q. Jacob alters the genetic characteristics of cattle by letting them view a striped rod. (Note: His purpose in doing so was to fleece Laban of his cattle.) Gen 30:37-43
R. Twins are being delivered. One puts out his hand and the midwife binds it with a scarlet ribbon to identify him as the firstborn. But he draws back his hand, and his brother is born first (thereby obtaining the rights of the firstborn son). Gen 38:27-29
S. Why didn't Isaac simply revoke his blessing of Jacob instead of blessing him again? Why would god honor the blessing obtained by deceiving a dying blind man?
T. God advises Moses through a pagan priest Ex 13:1-27
U. The Lord kills all the first-born of Egypt and there is not a house where there is not at least one dead. (This means that there was not a house in Egypt that did not include at least one first-born---a most unusual situation.) Ex 12:30
V. The number of men of military age who take part in the Exodus is given as about 600,000. Allowing for women, children, and older men would probably mean that a total of more than 2,000,000 Israelites left Egypt at a time when the whole population of Egypt was less than 2,000,000. Ex 12:37, Nu 1:45-46
W. God kills 50,000 men at Bethshemesh. This is several times as many as the entire population of Jerusalem at the time 1 Sam 6:19.
X. A man has an obligation to produce a child with his brother's widow. If he refuses, his sister-in-law is to spit in his face in front of the elders. Dt 25:5-9
Y. Solomon's temple was only about ninety feet long by thirty feet wide, yet 153,300 persons were employed to build it. It took seven years to build. ~7,500,000 lbs. of gold and ~75,000,000 lbs. of silver were used. 24,000 supervisors and 6,000 officials and judges were employed to manage it. (Note: Inasmuch as there seems to be uncertainty as to the exact weight of the biblical talent, some estimates place the weight of gold at more than 13,000,000 lbs. and the weight of silver at more than 116,000,000 lbs.) 1KI 5:15-16 1KI 6:2, 2CH 3:3 1KI 6:38 1CH 23:4 1CH 22:14
Z. Solomon sacrificed 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep in one week. This is 845+ animals per hour, 14+ animals per minute, for seven days straight. 2CH 7:5, 8-9

A1. 500,000 Israelites are slain in a single battle. (Note: This is more than were lost in any single battle of World War II, and even exceeds the number of deaths that resulted from the dropping of the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.) 2CH 13:17

B1. Other Holy books quoted and sourced by the bible:
1. Book of Jasher Josh 10:13, 2 Sam 1:18
2. Book of Wars of Jehovah Num 21:14
3. Laws of Samuel 1 Sam 10:25
4. Acts of Solomon 1 Kings 11:41
5. Chronicles of Kings of Judah 1 Kings 15:7, 23
6. Chronicles of Kings of Israel 2 Kings 14:15, 28
7. Annals of King David 1 Chr 27:24
8. Histories of Samuel the Seer, Nathan the Prophet, Gad the Seer 1 Chr 29:29
9. Prophecy of Ahijah, Visions of Iddo the Seer 2 Chr 9:29
10. History of Shemaiah the Prophet 2 Chr 12:15, 13:22
11. Book of Jehu 2 Chr 20:34
12. Sayings of the Seers 2 Chr 33:19
13. Book of Enoch Jude 14

C1. A prophet of God to be consulted to find lost livestock 1 Sam 9:1-10:2

D1. God destroyed the people of palestine to make way for israel and justified their destruction because they were wicked. He never attempts to teach them his ways, seeing as Israel was not righteous or monotheistic either.

E1. The virgin birth is ignored by Mark and John. Jesus, Mary, nor Paul ever discuss it.

F1. Jesus stated that believers would be able to handle snakes and drink poison without experiencing any harm. Mk 16:17-18

G1. Jesus states that some of his listeners would not taste death before he comes again in his kingdom 2,000 years ago Mt 16:28, Mk 9:1, Lk 9:27

H1. Jesus curses a fig tree for not bearing fruit out of season. MK 11:12-14, 20-21

J1. Why does god want to torment some of his creatures for eternity because they displeased him out of ignorance or poor judgment? Why not just annihilate them? Wouldn't that be what a merciful creator would do?

K1. God allows Job to be a helpless victim, a wager in a bet with Satan

L1. Why did God choose to appear to Israel only? If he can do anything and be everywhere at once, why couldn't he be bothered to appear to the other people of the world as well? Isn't he supposed to have no respect of persons?

M1. The city of New Jerusalem (where the residents of heaven reside) is only about 1500 miles square. RE 21:16

N1. Do not mix clothes of wool and linen together, and make tassels on your cloaks Deut 22:11-12

O1. Eating shellfish is an abomination Lev 11:10

P1. One cannot approach the altar of god if they have a defect in sight Lev 21:20

Q1. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean (football) Lev 11:6-8

R1. It is wrong to plant two types of crops in the same field Lev 19:19

S1. Abortion is condoned in the bible, contradicting the position of the majority of evangelical Christians.
1. If a man hurts a woman who is pregnant and the baby dies but she doesn't, he isn't to be killed and the punishment is to be left up to the husband. This means that an unborn child does not have the same value as a living person as murder of a living person elsewhere in the bible requires execution. Ex 21:22-23
2. Num 5:11-21 describes a bizarre ritual that is performed on a wife that is merely suspected of adultery to induce an abortion.
3. Hosea prays for god to cause all the ephraimite women to miscarry and god obliges. Hos 9:11-16
4. Moses orders the killing of all male children and women that are pregnant or that might even be pregnant to end the genetic line of an enemy. Num 31:17
5. God promises to dash to pieces the infants of Samaria and the "women with child shall be ripped up." Hos 13:16

Why would the most perfect and most important book directly from the lips of god not be able to be clearly correct? If man can produce mathematics and science that are nearly impossible to improve upon, why can god not give us a book that anyone could easily improve upon, especially considering he demands we believe it at risk of hell-fire?  Lastly, consider the errors that have occurred in translation of the bible, isn't every word of god pure and preserved to never pass away? Is god not able to keep humans from screwing up his master piece, or does he just not care?

It's simple common sense, anyone with half a brain can see the there are serious problems, so why are millions of people compelled to believe the Christian god is the one true god and the bible is his word?  Well, because so many people don't know any better, they accept what they're told and by their pastors, evangelists and apologists and frankly many of them are just stupid.  Consider the fact the ONLY way anyone can maintain the bible is true/the word of god is either by lying about it, or making excuses for it.

Seriously people? The word of god? Come on now...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The problem(s) with deism.

I am going to split this up into 3 or 4 parts, this topic could turn out to be lengthy, and one of the best writers I know reminded me to keep it short or risk losing people's attention, or boring them to death, and I don't want to do either of those things. Anyway, last nigh we discussed confirmation bias, tonight we launch into the facts about why there isn't actually any proof, at all, that any gods exist. Yes, this includes your god too, if you're unfortunate enough to still believe in magic.

The only way to establish the existence of anything, supernatural or not, is through evidence of some sort. Very few religious people actually acknowledge they don't require evidence for their beliefs, those that do are called presuppositionalists, and/or Calvinists and they're a special brand of arrogant. Anyway, the majority of Christians, if asked would provide reasons, or evidence for why they believe what they believe. This fact provides a common ground for us to work from actually, we both believe that evidence is required to support an assertion. The problem lies in how we define evidence, but I think with just a little open mindedness we can get past this.

Why is evidence important? Why I'm glad you asked! For the sake of this discussion I am going to compare and contrast religion and science so if you don't understand the differences, you soon will. Science puts forth falsifiable theories that can be tested and proven to be wrong and this is done by making predictions. A scientific theory (such as atomic theory, or evolutionary theory, the theory of gravity, etc) puts forth predictions that, if the the theory is correct, we should expect to find certain conditions to also be true. Predictions about how chemicals will interact with each other, for example, are based off of atomic theory and electron behavior. While we have never seen an electron, our falsifiable theory makes consistent and reliable predictions about how electrons will behave in chemical bonding and we have used this theory to produce everything from medicine to household cleaners. These predictions are useful in helping us to understand the nature of the universe and behavior of elements of nature, and make advances with this knowledge. Religion on the other hand is not a falsifiable theory that produces useful predictions, it is a belief system. Religions look at areas where we do not have answers (or complete answers, or where we didn't used to have answers and now we do, but they don't accept them) and believes things about those subjects. It does not know things, it believes thing. When science doesn’t know, religion believes. The delusion caused by religion is when believers mistake their belief for knowledge. And we know, as I said earlier, we can't actually know anything without evidence, the absence of evidence IS evidence of absence. Is there any positive evidence for the existence of god, any god? The answer is a resounding, unequivocal, no, there is no positive evidence that any of the thousands of gods humanity has put their faith in over the millennia exist, or ever did. The thing most commonly cited as "evidence" by believers is what is referred to as the "god of the gaps" argument, or argumentum ad ignorantiam. For example, life exists, we can't account exactly for how life began, therefore god did it. This is not evidence, this isn't even logically sound. To assign responsibility for the existence of life on this planet to god(s) take a HUGE and skips over a nearly endless list of other possibilities. Using that logic it is equally likely that aliens put us here, or that we're fecal matter from our friends the extinct pink unicorns... The bottom line is, it isn't evidence, no matter how bad you want it to be.

All of the arguments for the existence of god rely on negative evidence, usually stemming from gaps in scientific understanding, again this is belief, a fairly silly belief at that, it's not knowledge. This makes belief in god non-falsifiable, and as we now know a non-falsifiable hypothesis is not testable, and falls flat as evidence or "proof". Some people resort to another, and even more ridiculous tactic they call evidence, which is saying "you can't prove he doesn't exist" this is known as onus probandi. You can't disprove the existence of the flying spaghetti monster, invisible pink unicorns, a computer simulated universe, Russell’s teapot, or any of the thousands of gods and mythological creatures in existence either, again this is not positive evidence. I also can't prove you’re not joking about your belief in god, and you can't prove I'm not god, or that I can't fly, or that I don't have omniscience or that I can’t predict the immediate future with 100% accuracy. Without positive evidence for these things, there is no reason to believe in them. There is no reason to believe god is responsible for the things we do not understand any more than there is a reason to believe the flying spaghetti monster might be, or that everything is just a dream. No one can disprove these positions because they are non-falsifiable, but there is no reason to believe in them either, without evidence.

This logic is why religion is flawed compared to the scientific method, faith asks you to ignore evidence based on foregone conclusions and it is almost always non-falsifiable - that is to say there are no parameters that could be met or conditions that would exist to show that the argument is wrong, making it non-testable. Faith also offers no reliable predictions and is therefore functionally useless. Good science, on the other hand, draws conclusions after the evidence has been examined, is falsifiable and testable, continues to examine it’s validity when new evidence is presented, and is useful in that it makes accurate predictions. Much to the dismay of the faithful around our planet, as our understanding of the universe increases, the gaps in which god can exist become smaller. This leads to things like limiting education, access to books, television and the internet and other deplorable tactics religious leaders use to keep people hooked. We're seeing some of this today in our country, look at the ridiculous assertions made by people like Bachmann, Santorum and this new "war on women" phenomena.

Again I've probably written too much, so in conclusion I believe it's important to remember that the absence of evidence IS evidence of absence. If I were to claim that there is an invisible dragon breathing heatless fire in my garage, the skeptic should consider three conditions. Has the area where evidence would appear has been exhaustively examined? Does no evidence exists, or is all of the evidence is inadequate? The thing being proven to not exist, is the type of thing that if it existed evidence would show. If these three conditions are met, then the thing either does not exist, or it is functionally useless to believe in it's existence. Until positive evidence for the existence of a god is brought to light, it is not only functionally useless to believe in one, it's dangerous, it's downright harmful to spend your life investing your time and energy into something that doesn't exist. I heard someone say this once and I think it rings true now, "why be born again, when you can just grow up?"


Monday, April 16, 2012

Confirmation Bias.

Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias, myside bias or verification bias) is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs (such as religion). For example, in reading about gun control, people usually prefer sources that affirm their existing attitudes. They also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series) and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations, for example: the existence of humans 'therefore god' argument).

A series of experiments in the 1960s suggested that people are biased toward confirming their existing beliefs. Later work re-interpreted these results as a tendency to test ideas in a one-sided way, focusing on one possibility and ignoring alternatives. In certain situations, this tendency can bias people's conclusions. Explanations for the observed biases include wishful thinking and the limited human capacity to process information. Another explanation is that people show confirmation bias because they are weighing up the costs of being wrong, rather than investigating in a neutral, scientific way. This explains why hell/eternal torture and the fear that those threats instill is such a powerful motivator.

Confirmation biases contribute to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs in the face of contrary evidence. Poor decisions due to these biases have been found in military, political, and organizational contexts.  This is one of the main reasons people cling to their religious beliefs, even though they have been comprehensively proven to be false, and not only proven false but shown beyond a shadow of a doubt to be downright ridiculous. For example, the erroneous belief that the earth is about 6,000 years old, or that the universe was created in 6 days, this is absolutely false, there is no doubt about this fact. Any argument to the contrary is done out of ignorance or because some other psychological force is in control, such as fear.

The implications here are pretty plain, in matters of religious faith/superstition, if you believe something is true, the tendency is to work from the conclusion instead of working towards a conclusion. This is counter-intuitive, in most areas of your life you probably use evidence to establish facts about the world around you, but in regards to religion and faith, there is no evidence, that is the nature of faith. Faith is believing something is true in spite of the fact there is literally 0 evidence to support the belief. So you see why this is problematic, I hope. Consider why you believe what you believe, if you are religious that is. In every case you're working away from a presupposition, you've already decided the answer so by nature the ONLY way for you to support your conclusion is to make inferences that you think would lead to the conclusion.  For example, the universe exists, therefore, god did it. Or I feel happy when I sing songs on Sunday morning, therefore, Jesus did it. It is a HUGE step to say the only answer to why you feel joyful when you sing or why we exist is because a magical, invisible man in the sky did it. If you have one reasonable bone in your body, you must acknowledge that using this logic absolutely anything is permissible as the reason "why". I could say the reason I feel happy when I hear music is because it was invented by a race of now extinct pink unicorns and they knew how to make a person smile. There is exactly the same amount of evidence to support my pink unicorn theory as there is for your theory about god, none. Confirmation bias is one of the major reasons you draw the conclusion that god did it instead of extinct pink unicorns.

I am going to lay out the problems with prepositional logic and confirmation bias as simply as I possibly can and attempt to show why and how you must approach your beliefs if you want to do so rationally.

If you are a theist - you are claiming that the nature of god is knowable, and, indeed, you know it. However there are thousands of other god’s you easily disregard, and have never even considered seriously.  For example the pagan gods such as Abellio the Celtic tree god, or Malakbel the the Arabian vegetation god or the gods of other contemporary religions, such as Islam (Allah) or Hinduism (too many to list).  Also, you must consider the fact that there are millions of people who easily disregard your god/mirror your feelings towards their god who are outsiders to your faith or members of other faiths (aka they believe the same way you do, using the same "proofs" yet you regard their beliefs as unreasonable, impossible or likely even ridiculous). You must also consider that your choice of god is very likely determined by culture and birth location and a result of simple childhood indoctrination. This is evidenced by localized religions, such as salt lake city's Mormons, the bible belt's protestant Christians, India's Hindu's, Ireland's Catholics etc.  Furthermore, children are not religious, they are only the children of religious people. They do not have the mental faculty, life experience, or knowledge to contrast with what they are being told is true of the world. Look, for example, at the children of the Westboro Baptist Church who stand with signs at protests saying that “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” I doubt any of those children would have been doing that if they had not been born into such a sick, sick family.

Another method one can use to test the validity of their beliefs, or religious faith in general is called, The Outsider Test for Faith (OFC) as defined by John Loftus: What if you had been born in Saudi Arabia as a Muslim baby and were able to examine the Christian faith with a healthy amount of skepticism as a Muslim? If yours is truly the religion designed by god, shouldn’t it hold up to skeptical scrutiny? “Test your beliefs as if you were an outsider to the faith you are evaluating." (Loftus) If you acknowledge you probably would have remained a Muslim in these circumstances - there is a high probability your belief is simply an accident of birth and culture, or at the very least not the result of careful, objective reasoning. If you believe the "evidence" would have convinced you to convert to Christianity, that means one of two things: (1) You believe you have solid, objective and falsifiable evidence that can be examined through the eyes of a Muslim and still be self-evident. Why then don't more Muslim's convert or consider the Christian religion as a serious alternative to Islam? Where is this evidence and why doesn't it seem to convince people who aren't born into Christianity by accident of birth? (2) You are delusional in regards to your faith, which is not so much a virtue as willingness to believe something that there is no evidence for whatsoever. In fact, this is not a virtue at all, this is willful ignorance and frankly I find it despicable.

Another way to approach this is to assume that I have never heard of god, Jesus, or the bible. I ask you to explain to me what make your particular brand of magic somehow superior to all of the others? Remember, I have never even heard of god so you will have to start from scratch and explain this in a way that will seem reasonable to someone who is not familiar with the basic premises of your religion. I am curious how it all began, so you’ll need to start by telling me about how god spoke the universe into existence in six days, created Adam from dust, created Eve from Adam's rib and placed them in the Garden of Eden before they ate the fruit from a forbidden tree of knowledge, causing god to cast them out of the garden so that he could guard the tree of eternal life with a flaming sword and a cherubim, because if they ate of it they would live forever. Be sure to explain how we can know this is actually factual but the Samoan creation story is just mythology.

Anyone who is willing to consider their faith (Christianity/Islam/Mormonism/Jehovah's Witness/Judaism, etc) critically can only come to one possible conclusion, that is that there is no evidence to support their beliefs, and therefore the only justification is blind faith. Regardless of what some people say, blind faith is never, ever a good thing. September 11th is evidence of that fact, as are the crusades, the inquisition, the wholesale murder of women accused of witchcraft, hatred towards homosexuals and the current assault on women and their rights from the religious right. These are only a few of the reasons why blind faith is dangerous. So if you believe that a magical sky man invented by primitive Shepard's and desert nomads created the universe 6,000 years ago. And a talking snake tricked a woman made from a rib into eating a magical apple that doomed billions of good people to an eternity of torture in hell, or anything equally as ridiculous, I beg you to take a critical look at WHY you believe what you believe. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Murder, rape & dead babies!

This one is handy if you meet a girl who doesn't like you, but you want to marry her. All you have to do if forcibly rape her, pay her dad equivalent of $50 and she's all yours!

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 - If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

But THEN if you decide you don't like her after all, just point out on the wedding night that she ISN'T a virgin (which the husband would know since he raped her) and then just drop her off at dad's house so she can be stoned to death!

Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB - But if this charge is true (that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst.

Another good one... You know what pisses me off? People that make fun of bald people! I am bald, so f*** that! Next time some punk kid calls ME "baldhead" I'm gonna curse them in the name of the LORD and have some bears tear them to shreds! Seems just, right? I mean, what else could a loving God do but tear little kids to pieces with some she bears for talking shit?

2 Kings 2:23-24 - From there Elisha went up to Bethel. While he was on his way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him. "Go up baldhead," they shouted, "go up baldhead!" The prophet turned and saw them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two shebears came out of the woods and tore forty two of the children to pieces.

This last verse really moves me, right in my heart where Jesus lives!

Isaiah 13:15-18 - Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children.

See, God isn't some wussy democrat, whining about stuff like indefinite detention! He doesn't take prisoners, especially not kids or babies! I mean, babies cry all the damn time, they cost a crap load of money for diapers and formula and clothes cause they keep growing out of 'em! This the how we should treat prisoners of war! Slice those kids to pieces and shoot the back-talking know it all teens with arrows! Oh, and don't forget to rape the women, as usual!

That bible is just FULL of love and happy stuffs! Go GOD!

I am DEEPLY offended by people who continually claim the bible is the ultimate source of morality, or is even remotely true.  The bible is a violent book, riddled with ignorance and depravity and malice!  The bible teaches hatred, murder, rape, slavery, infanticide/genocide, human sacrifice, etc, etc, etc are all ok, even commendable!  Western Christians/Catholics ignore this fact, they cherry pick out some nice, happy-feely verses and skip along through the meadow telling little kids their going to burn in an eternal fire if they do ANYTHING god doesn't like!  And what doesn't god like?  Well, pretty much anything we humans do enjoy, he hates.  This is horribly, horribly immoral and unethical.  I for one am so fed up and disgusted by it that I refuse to stand by idly any longer while Christians with no knowledge of history, who have forgotten the tens of millions of dead bodies that have been cut down and absorbed back into the earth in the name of the biblical god!  The Christian god is the invention of ignorant, illiterate sheep herders who couldn't explain why it rained, or what lightning was, or why sometimes seemingly healthy people died of horrible afflictions.  They attributed these things to gods because they had no knowledge of the way the world works.  We know infinitely more about the nature of life, our planet and the universe now than those bumbling fools did 2,000+++ years ago.  There is nothing described in the entire bible that cannot be explained by natural phenomena.  There are also no supernatural claims which cannot be easily debunked by science or historians just as easily.  God was invoked over the millennia as an explanation for the things we humans could not explain.  God has run out of places to hide, we've searched every nook and cranny and he just isn't there.  The evidence against the existence of ANY god, especially the ridiculous Christian version is overwhelming!

That's where "I am with god", I am where everyone should be, rejecting superstition and doing my duty to expose ignorance in the bible and trying my hardest to stop anymore lives from being destroyed by fairy tales.

Burden of proving a negative? Huh?

Many believers will say, "It is impossible for you to prove that God (Allah, Ra, Vishnu, whatever) does not exist. There is no way to prove that something does not exist." This is a silly argument for the following reason.

Imagine that we have a conversation one day and I say to you, "I believe in the gerflagenflopple. You cannot prove that the gerflagenflopple does not exist, therefore it exists." You can see that this is ridiculous. Just because I have invented something out of thin air does not mean that its non-existence is suddenly unprovable. There has to be some evidence that the gerflagenflopple exists in order to assert its existence. Since there is not, it is quite easy to say that the gerflagenflopple is imaginary.

Now let's imagine that we have a conversation one day and I say to you, "I believe in Leprechauns. You cannot prove that Leprechauns do not exist, therefore they exist." You actually have heard of Leprechauns. There are lots of books, movies and fairy tales dealing with Leprechauns. People talk about Leprechauns all the time. Leprechauns even have a popular brand of breakfast cereal. But that does not mean that Leprechauns exist. There is no physical evidence for the existence of Leprechauns. Not a single bit. Therefore, it is obvious to any normal person that Leprechauns are imaginary.

If you think about it, you will realize that there is no difference between God and Leprechauns. Lots of people talk about God as though he exists, but there is no actual evidence for God's existence. For example:
God has never left any physical evidence of his existence on earth.  All historical gods were imaginary and we know it.  None of Jesus' "miracles" left any physical evidence either.  God has never spoken to modern man, for example by taking over all the television stations and broadcasting a rational message to everyone.  The resurrected Jesus has never appeared to anyone.  The Bible we have is provably incorrect and is obviously the work of primitive men rather than God.  When we analyze prayer with statistics, we find no evidence that God is "answering prayers.  Huge, amazing atrocities like the Holocaust and AIDS occur without any response from God.  And so on…There is absolutely no evidence indicating that God exists. There is a tremendous amount of empirical evidence that God does not exist. Therefore we can conclusively say that God is imaginary. That is the only thing that a rational person can say.

Another way of looking at it.

With every other object and phenomenon in our experience, we use the scientific method to determine whether it exists or not. For example, X rays are invisible, but we know that they exist. We can devise scientific experiments to prove that they exist. Then, once proven to exist, X-rays can be used predictably in all sorts of beneficial ways.  If you would like to hypothesize that God exists, then you should say to yourself, "Let's devise a repeatable scientific experiment to provide evidence that God exists." Every experiment we devise demonstrates, yet again, that God is imaginary.

Isn't it odd that God, unlike everything else in our universe, has been put into a special category? When we talk about God, we are supposed to do so "philosophically." Why? Why not treat God just like all other objects and devise experiments to detect his presence or absence?  The classic religious response is, "God must remain hidden. If he proved his existence, that would take away faith." This is clever -- here we have an object named God that proves its existence by completely hiding its existence. Of course, in the real world, any object that provides no evidence for its existence is classified as imaginary.

Even more interesting, this object called God, which is supposedly hiding its existence completely, is in the meantime supposedly writing books, answering prayers and incarnating itself. How can that be? This obvious contradiction shows how imaginary God is. When we look at prayer scientifically, we find that "answered prayers" are actually nothing but coincidences. When we look at the Bible scientifically, ethically or rationally, we find that the Bible is wrong. When we look at all of Jesus' miracles scientifically, we find that none of them left behind any scientific or historical evidence. Nor, for that matter, did Jesus, nor did Jesus' resurrection. Strangely, not a single historical source independent of the Bible ever mentions the resurrection.

The reason why we can find no empirical evidence for God's existence is not because "God is a magical being completely able to hide from us." It is because God is imaginary.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Top 10 RIDICULOUS contradictions of Christianity.

Back in the day when I was still a brainwashed, mindless zombie of a Christian none of these things would have alarmed me, and I cannot explain why.  Now, on the outside looking in they seem patently ridiculous, mostly because they are.  How do you break through the wall of superstition the religious have built around their minds and restore their ability to think and reason?  Is it a change an outsider can effect?  Or does the change have to be organic?  I wish I knew.

10- You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your god.

9- You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from lesser life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt

8- You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Trinity god

7- Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" -- including women, children, and trees!

6- You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5- You are willing to spend your life looking for little loop-holes in the scientifically established age of the Earth (4.55 billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by pre-historic tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that the Earth is a couple of generations old.

4- You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects -- will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet you consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving".

3- While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to prove Christianity.

2- You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1- You actually know a lot less than many Atheists and Agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history -- but still call yourself a Christian

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Traditional/Family Values - a misnomer.

As I've been watching the Republican debates, and reading articles and blogs about the candidates I have noticed a couple of terms that are being used a lot, "traditional values" and "family values".  What do these terms mean when we examine them in historical and cultural contexts?  Having been a raging, right wing, Tea Party Patriot Republican at one point in time (don't hold it against me now, please) I am familiar with what these terms mean to the candidates, specifically Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Michelle Bachmann (who has dropped out of the race, thank goodness).  To them "traditional/family values" are labels that mean a "Christian" household, with a married man and woman and 2.4 children.  To them this represents a healthy, moral standard for a "family" and they believe (assuming I'm not totally mistaken, and I'm nearly positive I'm not) that this is the only acceptable possibility.  They base this on the teaching of their respective religions, Santorum being Catholic has a definition which differs slightly from Romney's.  Since Santorum was the motivation for this particular Blog, let's stick with his for now.  Romney is a Mormon and the foundation of his cults ridiculous beliefs should be so obviously ludicrous I shouldn't have to say much about them for most thinking people to know that anyone who can believe that crap is frankly, stupid.  The followers of the cult of Mormonism must be somehow so psychologically damaged that they cannot discern obvious fact from fiction.  I'm already off topic, as frequently happens, please allow me to return to the definition portion of this discussion.

Wikipedia defines Family Values as: "Promotion of 'traditional marriage' and opposition to sex outside of conventional marriage, including pre-marital sex adultery, polygamy, bestiality, and incest.  Support for a roll back of aspects of feminism and support for a traditional role for women in the family.  Opposition to same-sex marriage, support for traditional education and parental involvement in that education, including such things as vouchers for private, non-secular education.  Support for complementarianism opposition to legalization of abortion and support for policies that instead encourage abstinence and adoption support for abstinence education exclusively regarding risks associated with early sexual activity such as teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases while not teaching such topics of sex education as human sexual behavior, safe sex and birth control support for policies that are said to protect children from obscenity and exploitation."  Furthermore, Santorum has said on more than one occasion that he believes that all birth control/contraception should be illegal!  This is a specifically Catholic position, in fact the Pope has told Catholics in countries in Africa that have epidemic levels of AIDS/HIV that if they use condoms, they will go to hell.  - - See full article here. 

In a separate, related Wikipedia article titled "Traditional Values" the first paragraph (and most pertinent paragraph to this discussion) states: "In its own right "traditional values" simply means the values coming from tradition rather than any specific philosopher, moralist, or writer. This means the "traditional values" of non-Western societies may be wildly at variance from any Christian Right notion of Family values. Societies based on traditional values often embrace animism and ancestor worship rather than any Abrahamic religion. Confucianism also tends to place high value on the maintenance of traditional culture and values. It is related to the concept of traditional authority and folk culture." - - See full article here. 

The definition provided by Wikipedia for "family values" does an excellent job of comprehensively outlining exactly what I would have used a a definition myself at one time.  However, to call these values "traditional" is problematic at best.  Santorum and others who subscribe to the idea that these values are traditional have no grasp of history whatsoever and are most likely unable to define anthropology as anything other than a retail store.  This definition of "family values" is based on what is commonly referred to as a "biblical worldview", even though most of these ideas are not found in the bible, or have been taken out of context and skewed to fit the needs of the chauvinists responsible for developing them.   The only society/societies where these ideals would be considered traditional is in western culture(s), specifically western cultures that are/were at one time dominated by one brand or another of the Christian religion.  Some of these ideals are fine, I wouldn't argue for the merits of things like bestiality and incest or argue against parental involvement in education, however the vast majority of these beliefs are antiquated and patently ridiculous.  The anti-feminist positions of these people are offensive and the idea that sex education is "wrong" or "immoral" is backwards and asinine, especially considering that rates of teen pregnancy is significantly higher in the church than in secular society.  The issue of abortion is a touchy subject, but the idea that the government should have any say in what a woman does with her body is contemptible.  As for the issue of same sex marriage, it's high time we (as a society) stop telling people how they can and cannot live their lives and excluding people who genuinely love each other from reaping the same benefits as same sex couples.  Again, especially considering the divorce rate within the church is higher than 60% now, and again higher than average compared to the secular community.  It is obvious that the Christian/Catholic version of "family values" is not only antiquated and preposterous, but an utter failure in regards to protecting their ideal way of life.  The only thing their version of "family values" accomplishes is the further oppression of women, alienating and harming perfectly healthy, loving, gay families, suppressing social progress, suppressing academic/scientific progress through religious education and stigmatizing sex, which is a perfectly natural act which should be enjoyed when engaged in responsibly by consenting individuals, not abhorred and treated as some kind of immoral act.  

The portion of the definition I quoted from the second Wiki article basically drives home one of the points I am trying to make, "traditional/family values" is a misnomer.  There is no such thing as the term is totally relative, they should be called "religious ideals" (because that is exactly what they are) and they should be mocked and marginalized with extreme prejudice.  I say it often, religion is the cause of the vast majority of suffering in the world and has been for centuries.  We know now that Christianity is built on a foundation of lies, the bible has been proven to be false historically, and the supernatural claims made therein which were used to explain phenomena we didn't yet understand such as the origins of life are obviously implausible.  Furthermore, using the bible as a guide for moral living is detestable!  The 10 commandments are laughable as far as the claim that they originated from an all knowing, all powerful being.  Their origins are blatantly human and they are nothing more than common sense.  Other than the narcissistic, repetitive commands not to worship any other god(s) the 10 commandments could have been written by a kindergartner.  By comparison the bible contains far more immoral acts than moral/ethical instructions.  It's pages are rife with things like murder, rape, genocide, infanticide, slavery and a vast array of other blatantly immoral and abhorrent acts.  Anyone who claims that it is the ultimate source of morality either hasn't read it, doesn't understand it, or is a psychopath.  Furthermore, according to several centuries of work done by a fairly large group of scholars we also know that Jesus Christ aka Jesus of Nazareth is also a fictional character.  Given the overwhelming evidence, which is chronicled in numerous books, essays and other similar sources, it is hard to believe that anyone capable of rational thought would still subscribe to any of the nonsensical versions of religion remaining.  It's high time that people stand up for what is ACTUALLY right and did everything in their power to expose the evil, harmful, antiquated tenets of religion, specifically Christianity in all it's forms as it is the greatest threat to the welfare of our country today.  Some people may immediately bristle and say I'm wrong and that Islam is the greatest threat to our nation, and while I agree that Islam is a threat, and is responsible for more damage worldwide in this day and age than Christianity is, the fact remains that Christians can and will tear this country apart from the inside out if we fail to act and allow them to grab the reigns in Washington DC.  As for claims that our country was founded on Christian principles, by Christian men, this claim is also demonstrably false, and I have addressed it at length in a previous blog, so check it out.

It is time religion is put in it's place, the history books!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

From Xmas, to beyond!

It seems that the truth does not matter to fundamentalist evangelical Christians.  There is something that seems to block the ability of this group of people to be able to accommodate simple facts that are contrary to their beliefs.  I have repeatedly presented what most rational people would consider obvious proof that many of the fundamental assumptions made by Christians are false, however they continue to refuse to acknowledge even the possibility that they might be wrong.

Throughout the Xmas season I went on a special offensive, and offered up a variety of simple scientific, historical and archaeological facts via videos, articles and various online sources.  One of my favorite videos was done by a gentlemen by the name of Seth, he goes by the handle "The Thinking Atheist" on the interwebs.  ( - a link to his video titled, "To Xmas and Beyond").  He consistently does a good job of presenting the facts in a fun, snarky manner, which I always appreciate.  Anyway, the point is that he plainly presented the facts about the pagan origins of Xmas as a response to the fundamentalist claim that there is a "war on Christmas".  The fact is that Xmas has literally nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ as most Christians claim.  It is a mish-mash of Pagan traditions/holidays that was modified by the Romans to fit their new worldview after it became the state religion.  In fact, upon examination of the evidence the Christian account of Jesus birth appears to be a total fabrication.  Nazareth didn't exist at the time Jesus was supposedly born, there was no census, even if there had been the head of the household (men) would have been the only ones counted, and Mary almost certainly would not have traveled from Bethlehem to Nazareth on a donkey 9 months pregnant and King Herod has been dead for years.  These are just a few of the most glaring inconsistencies in the Christian version of the "Christmas" story.  There are disagreements even between the gospels of the events surrounding the birth of Christ.  If I were a Christian (and I was for many years) these facts (had I been made aware of them) would have presented a real problem for me.  The birth, life, death and Resurrection of Christ are at the core of the Christian gospel message, and if the historical facts surrounding the event(s) are almost certainly not factual, that makes the rest of the story even more unbelievable than it already is.  I am of course referring to the claim of the virgin birth, and the claim that Jesus was the human manifestation of the almighty god of the universe.

There are literally zero independent, objective accounts of Jesus birth, life, miracles, ministry, death or resurrection.  That means that literally the only source one has to draw their conclusions about Jesus is the bible.  Anyone who knows the facts surrounding the origins of the bible, the manner in which the current version we have now was written and then assembled, or "canonized" they know that it is unreliable at best.  This is a whole other blog topic, to really describe the events that have led up to the bible as we know it would be quite an undertaking, thankfully several very intelligent scholars have done that work for us.  Bart Ehrman in one of my personal favorites, another former evangelical wrote a book called "Forged" which comprehensively explains the who, what, when, where, why and how the bible came into being.  I suggest anyone who wishes to gain a comprehensive understanding of the origins of the bible should read this book.

So after a few weeks of informing my Christian family and friends, albeit somewhat antagonistically of the facts about the origins of Xmas I find myself dumbfounded by their utter inability to accept the truth.  What is it that keeps this branch of fundamentalist Christians from being able to accept the truth about their faith?  Why don't obvious contradictions about what they believe instill a desire to at least investigate the claims made by their religion?  How can I, or anyone else reach them?  Is it possible to break through the walls they've created to shed light on the fact that everything they believe is "Truth" with a capitol T, is absolute hogwash?  There has to be a key, a golden arrow, something that will speak to their dormant ability to reason that will wake them from their ignorance induced mental slumber.  I have made it my goal to find that chink in their armor, the loss of Christopher Hitchens has redoubled my resolve, I genuinely believe that humanity needs more men and women like Mr. Hitchens that are willing to stand up to the religious and challenge the erroneous, despicable tenets of their faith that are so obviously poisonous to everyone and everything they touch.  The quest begins anew in 2012, the quest to systematically dismantle the ignorant tenets of the religious!  Not just Christians, but all religions, beginning with the most toxic and working the way down the list until people can learn to live in reality.  I firmly believe that the biggest threat to humanity is religion, and for some unexplained reason in this age of scientific enlightenment and discovery the hold of superstition seems to be gaining strength.  We must not allow this to continue, the implications are dire.