Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Guest Post #2 - In His Image, by Tate

There are few things I like to hear from a Christian more than the claim that humans were created in God’s image. I love hearing this because it’s a signal to stop debating and start ridiculing. You can’t argue against it any more than you can argue about the number of limbs Shiva has. What you can do though, is point out how completely devoid of any thought such a claim is.

First of all, when you ask why there is absolutely no evidence to suggest their God’s existence, many Christians will wriggle and squirm as much as possible to express the idea that their God is somehow beyond the realm of science; that he is a non-physical being despite the many physical interactions he allegedly has with the observable world. Which of course, prompts that ultimate question they never seem to understand: How then can you determine such a being exists? We’re going to skip past that for now though, because it usually just leads to that endless circle of “the Bible says He exists, and He wrote the Bible so therefore He exists.” Instead let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say that that He really does exist in the physical universe as we know it, and has some sort of preferred physical form in which image He made us.

Now that we’ve got Him trapped in our otherwise orderly universe, let’s make Him play by the very same rules that everything else must abide by. Assuming God is actually guiding everything in the universe so it works properly and not just sitting on His divine ass watching us struggle, how much energy would he need to run everything and where would said energy come from? Does He eat, shit, and breathe like the miserable creatures he inexplicably created in His image? Since our respiratory and digestive systems are modeled after His own, it would seem that He does! Furthermore, based on the way our bodies process food, it would seem that the Christian God is an omnivore.

But here’s where things get really tricky. Our digestive system really only works optimally with the help of other organisms. That’s right, microscopic bacteria live inside of you and help you get the most out of your food, which is why people often experience stomach problems while on antibiotics. But what of God? Does He have a symbiotic relationship with some sort of divine bacteria? Of course not! The very idea that God needs any sort of assistance for anything is blasphemous, which is why the best possible claim any Christian can make about the nature of their God is that He is and always will be completely and totally unknowable.

I love when they make the claim that we’re created in His image because it forces them to question what would otherwise be just another mindless mantra they repeat to feel better about their silly limited worldview. But unfortunately, their pondering is often corrupted by apologist pandering, which tells them that this is one of those convenient sections of the Bible that’s not meant to be taken literally. God is a non-physical being (just a concept, and not even a good one) and this passage simply means that He made us different and better than animals. This world and everything in it (except that one forbidden tree for some reason) is just a pit stop for Christians to ravage on their way to Heaven, another thing God made exclusively for humans of the “One True Faith.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

Return of Jesus Returns - The Sequel

October 21st is the new date predicted for the return of Jesus by a crackpot Christian radio tycoon in the United States.  He first predicted the end would be many years ago, and was wrong.  He then claimed he made a mathematical error and that the real return of Jesus would be on May 21st of this year.  When that date passed and nothing happened, he claimed it was merely a "spiritual" judgement day, and that the real end would be on October 21st, 2011.  The self-proclaimed "true Christians" are jumping all over him, saying that their scripture says people can't predict the end, and calling on him to stop.

That's right.  A true Christian would never make a prediction that can be proven false, even if it is false.  And if they do slip up and make such a prediction, standard operating procedure is to not attach a date to it.  Predictions proven false would be embarrassing, so they seem content to have the fundamentals of their faith indistinguishable from the case in which their faith is completely incorrect.  These people are morons!

Will the "true Christians" please complete the following sentence.  For the sake of argument, imagine that you will live a very long time and could see any date you choose:

"If Jesus does not return by (insert time here), I'll have to admit that he's not coming at all and that Christianity is not true."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

You don't know, so don't laugh at the religious!

This is a special thread for a reader who goes by the handle, 'GM'.  Over the last couple of weeks, he/she (we'll be using 'he' until I know otherwise) has come to this blog and made several off-topic posts in threads, so I thought I'd make one just for him so that his posts at least won't be off-topic anymore.  The focus of his argument seems to be along the lines of, "You don't know how X, so you shouldn't laugh at the religious for making god-claim Y".

Well GM, here's the thing.  I AM going to laugh at the religious.  It is an argument from ignorance to assume that because we don't know something conclusively, that any dumbass supernatural explanation should not be ridiculed or should be given consideration.  If you don't know how your pencil got into the other room, that is not a licence to claim aliens did it.  The evidence in no way points to the supernatural, and all evidence we have for EVERYTHING and everything that has ever been proven, has turned out to be natural in the end.  The world has dealt with supernatural claims for who knows how many thousands of years, they have had billions of supporters throughout history, and not one of these billions of people has even managed to demonstrate that there is such a thing as the supernatural!  500 years ago you'd be telling me that we don't know how lightning is caused, therefore a god claim could be valid and I shouldn't laugh.  Disease used to be supernatural too, until somebody came along with evidence.

How does science work?  It takes careful consideration of the available evidence to make the best conclusion we can at the time.  Sure it's wrong sometimes, which we discover when new evidence becomes available.  Do you not see the difference between this method and the religious one?  I'm sticking with the scientific method, as it is the best way we have ever come up with to determine what the truth is.  I'll put science's track record of success up against religion's any day of the week.  Religion has ZERO track record of ever demonstrating any of its core claims to be true.  Science, through consideration of the evidence and adjustment when needed, has produced damn near everything we have in the world that has made our lives better.  If you know a better method than science to determine truth, we'd love to hear about it.

So no, I will not stop laughing at the religious with their woo claims.  Until they produce a shred of evidence, their explanations are off of the table.  Once they have proven that the supernatural is even real, which I stress again never seems to happen for some reason, then their future claims will have to be given some consideration.  But for now, religion has a track record of ZERO.  If you keep trying things one way and keep failing, repeatedly, without any successes EVER, you have to abandon that method for something that at least works some of the time.  In fact, even if science had worked only once in history, it would still be more reliable than religion.

My first question I have for you, which you can answer in the comments, is what exactly is your religious persuasion, or lack of?  My second question is, have you ever been to a Christian website and told them to stop telling atheists that they're going to hell, because they (Christians) don't know for sure?

Friday, September 30, 2011

The UN-amazing deity

A reader wrote this comment on my last post.  I like it, so I want to post it on the main blog.

"I think that the fact of existence is an amazing achievement of nature. The incredible progress that has been made bit-by-tiny-bit, gradually over billions of years, as the universe struggled to become what it is, is humbling and awe-inspiring.

But if a god created all this, then it becomes UN-amazing, it's a PATHETIC WASTE of "omnipotence". If you're magical and all-powerful, why should your creations rely on circulatory systems, nervous systems, DNA, be dependent on messy sexual reproduction, surviving by violently consuming one another? Why are we bound onto the surface of planets, while the vast majority of space is uninhabitable, radiation-soaked vacuum?

A god who could truly do ANYTHING should've done MORE. FAR more. Reproduction could be asexual. With fireworks! More creatures could regrow lost limbs. Or fly! The universe could be FULL of life instead of empty. Instead of stars and planets surrounded by hostile emptiness, it could be an infinitely tiered latticework of livable, explorable space, with no constrictions like gravity or pressure.

I can come up with better, more fantastic, more successful, more peaceful, more MORAL universes with simply my imagination, certainly better than creationists seem happy to give their god credit for. If there is a god responsible for all of creation, then he is a remarkably unimaginative god, creating a world shackled by the laws of nature, which is exactly what you would expect if it really WAS nature that was responsible for the universe."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The simplest life?

A religious reader recently suggested I watch an intelligent-design propaganda video starring Michael Behe.  If you're not familiar, Behe is a biochemistry professor at a respected university, but is also affiliated with the Discovery Institute, the creationist intelligent-design advocacy group.  I can't be bothered to dig up the video again, but the gist of it was as follows.  Behe argues that life is too complex to be formed by Darwinian evolution.  He says that scientists once thought single-celled organisms would be extremely simple, but then found things such as (his perpetual favourite) the bacterial flagellum, which is a complex structure.  He argues that even the simplest life is "hopelessly complex", therefore gods.

What Behe surely knows, but is not telling in the video (no wonder his side got called liars by a Christian judge in the Dover trial), is that today's single-celled organisms are far from the simplest life.  These are highly-evolved lifeforms, having the same billions of years to evolve that we have.  Most people are not aware of this, but (if I remember my biology properly, somebody correct me otherwise) there is far more genetic diversity in the microscopic world than there is in the macroscopic.  All of the plants and animals are more closely related to us genetically than many bacteria and archaea are to each other.  The earliest single-celled lifeforms most certainly would not have had complex structures like flagella, and Behe knows this.  Why didn't he say so?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Confession about my true de-conversion story

I've been writing this site for a couple of years now, and I think it's time for me to come clean about the true reason why I became a non-believer.  I wrote about it before with this post, but I now confess that it wasn't true.

It's true that I was a Roman Catholic.  When I was a teenager, the boys in the congregation used to take turns going on outdoor sports excursions with the parish priest.  When my turn came up, we chose to go rock-climbing.  So the two of us drove to the site in his convertible and started to gear up.

We always did the outdoor activities naked.  The priest said that's how God truly intended for His children to be.  If He wanted us to wear clothes, He would have made us born in a 3-piece suit, the priest used to tell us.  So we stripped down and put on our climbing harnesses.

The site was a sheer rock face, about 30 metres high.  The priest suggested I start to go up first and he follow from below.  He said it was easier for him to keep an eye on things that way, but I never understood why he had to follow me so closely.  Anyway, that isn't relevant.

But then something went horribly wrong.  Part of the rock fell away, triggering a larger collapse, and we fell to the ground.  The priest was unresponsive and I suspected he was unconscious.  I tried to escape from under the fallen rocks, but my penis was caught under a large boulder.  I tried to lift it, but it was too heavy.

There I was for hours, caught with my penis under the rock.  I realised that nobody knew where we were, as the priest liked to keep the exact locations and activities a secret, for privacy reasons.  He could not help in his state, so if I didn't get myself free from these rocks, I thought we both might die out there.

Then I made the most difficult decision of my life.  I detached my pocket knife from my harness and started hacking away at my penis.  After a few slices, it came right off.  In pain, I ran back to the car and used my phone to call for help.  The ambulance showed up within an hour, taking the priest and I to the hospital, where we began to recover.  The doctors all said I did a very brave thing, hacking off my own penis to save my life and my priest.

My recovery was long and difficult.  I often turned to the Bible for a Ray of Comfort.  Then one day, I came across this passage, Deuteronomy 23, verse 1:

"If a man’s testicles are crushed or his penis is cut off, he may not be admitted to the assembly of the Lord."

I was absolutely devastated!  Was not what I had done noble?  Was it not courageous?  Did I not save my own life and the life of a decent, holy man?  How could this be?  How could God not want me anymore? But the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, so I had to admit that I was no longer welcome into His Kingdom.  My priest had already been transferred by his superiors to another church somewhere else, so it wasn't like I had anything remaining there at all.  I left the congregation.

From that moment on, I have been a bitter atheist, fighting against God in any way I can.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Guest Post #1 - Omni-incompetence, by Tate

A while back I tried an experiment with guest posts.  I had a guy who claimed to be an atheist living in a Muslim country express interest in writing some posts, and I thought it would be a good idea to get that perspective.  It fell apart when, after writing just one post, he asked me for money.  Not just money, but BIG money.  It was equivalent to about half of my annual salary from my job (this site makes exactly zero per year, minus the domain cost).  So I told him to "fuck off" (in those words exactly) and took down his post.

Now I'm ready to try again.  A reader who we're going to call 'Tate' has written a post.  Note that Tate was not invited by me to do this, but took it upon himself to write to me and expressed an interest.  If you'd like to write some posts for this site, feel free to contact me.

Also note that I will post these guest posts without editing, and while I probably agree with the opinions in them, it is not necessarily so.  If you wish to engage the author in conversation, please do it in the comments section, not by contacting me directly.

Now, I'll turn it over to Tate.



The Christian God is supposedly the epitome of all that is intelligent and good in the universe. He is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, (which I'm not even going to touch upon for now because that one itself is such a complex assertion) and above all, all-good. I've always found it fascinating that Christians can attribute all things good to God, and all things bad to the Devil, and that they can do this all day every day without realizing that God created the endless source of evil they call the Devil. Being creations of God, all good things humans do are attributed to him, but since we are vile, tainted creatures, all bad things are the Devil's doing. But wait a minute! Lucifer was an angel, one of those creatures that God created prior to man for purposes no logic can fathom. Whatever terrible things the Devil has or probably has not done, God is ultimately to blame for His shortsightedness and general incompetence in creating the bastard in the first place.

Assuming that God is all-knowing and all-powerful, He would have known from the very beginning of the Universe that Lucifer would turn against Him. The very moment He was sitting in Heaven and thinking to Himself “I'm going to create a retinue of angels to carry out my work, even though being all-knowing and all-powerful I can manage my own affairs effortlessly, no matter how infinitely complex they become,” from the moment that thought occurred to Him, He should have known all possible outcomes and consequences. He would have known that creating Lucifer would lead to the corruption of mankind, causing Him to eventually send the flood, and later His only son to attempt to “redeem” us. Any God who actually cares about His creations might have examined those consequences using His infinite foresight, and decided that maybe that one angel, Lucifer, could be made just a little bit better, or maybe not made at all. But we all know what happened, God made Lucifer, who became the Devil, who continues to plague us all to this very day. But it's OK, He has some divine plan that no human can possibly comprehend, but which will make the whole thing work out better than if no evil had been created in the first place. Somehow.

Of course, there is an alternative; God really is all-good, but just not all-knowing and all-powerful. Maybe He's just some well-meaning guy who ended up with a job He really can't handle. I'm not sure who I would pray to if I had to chose, the benevolent but incompetent God, or the all-powerful God who just doesn't give a shit about humans. Fortunately there is a third option: simply reserve your prayers until you find a deity that actually deserves them, then thank him that there are so many to chose from.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Christian wants national register of atheists

A story is doing the rounds of the atheist blogs today about an American guy who calls himself Pastor Mike, who is advocating that Christians make a national registry of known atheists.  Each entry on the list would include name, location, place of business and maybe a photo.  The reasoning used is that sex-offenders are registered, so why not atheists?  He also doesn't see why anybody, including atheists themselves, would oppose such a list, unless they're ashamed of their atheism, which he calls a religion.

I'm not sure if it's a joke or not, but I checked out some other posts on the blog and it seems like the guy is legit.  I tried to make a comment about also registering Jews because they aren't saved by Jesus, but like many Christians, he does not allow comments from anybody who is not a member of the blog.  That keeps the dissent out and the Jesus in.

You can used to be able to read the original post here.



Update:

Tracie over at The Atheist Experience has published Pastor Mike's email address and an idea that we send him emails encouraging the idea.  Check her blog post here.  She notes that the good pastor has now made his blog private, so we can no longer even read it, like many good Christians would do in the face of a response from us.  His email address is pastorstahl@aol.com and my letter to him is below.

Dear Pastor Mike,

I am thrilled to hear that you have decided on a plan to register atheists nationally and (hopefully) internationally. As you are a Christian you may not be aware of this, but it can be very difficult for atheists to meet each other for a meaningful relationship away from the Christian god. Many atheists find it nearly impossible to date a religious person for any more than a casual few times in bed, because their beliefs just make it impossible to agree on long-term things, such as the way to raise a child, or even where and under what conditions to have a wedding.

So I have a suggestion. Can you add marital status and some full-body photos to your registry? Maybe a mechanism for sending winks to the godless goddesses? People could also indicate whether they're looking for godless marriage (gay or straight), some no-strings-attached sex, or for a person to join them and their existing partner in a 3-way. This would be a great help to the atheist community, and we'd appreciate it greatly.

Keep up the good work, Pastor!

Admin
AtheistPropaganda.com

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Credit goes to gods, blame goes to people

I am unmarried, but have been in a committed relationship with the same person for over six years.  People often ask us when we're getting married.  I reply that we're not planning to, because we don't believe the institution has any value or purpose for us.  The reply I received to this answer a few nights ago was that I was called "a pussy" who was using "excuses" to avoid "commitment".  When I asked if my 6-year relationship with my partner was more committed than a couple who got married for a year then split, I was told that the marriage is more committed, no matter how long it lasts or how the people in it behave.  While these strange comments came from only one person, I was at a table talking to 4 people, each has been divorced at least once.  Only one is currently married, on his second.  Another was preparing for his third.

Anyway, that's besides the point.  My interest in the topic brought me to this article on CNN's website.  In the article, the author argues that marriage has been so tarnished by our failure at it, that not only should we discourage gay marriage, but straight marriage also.

But this is not a blog about gay rights or marriage, so let's get to the fricking point already.  I found this in the article's comment section:

If you people can't make a marriage work,thats your own fault.You have to work for anything worth having.Last week end ,my wife of 52 years and I were sitting on the beach just watching the people and their kids when a lady we had never met came up to us and asked"how long have you two been in love?"Who do we give the credit to?GOD ALMIGHTY

Isn't that great?  This person's god can never lose.  If your marriage works, it's all credit to his god.  If it fails, then all blame goes to the people involved.  Credit goes up, blame goes down, and never a reversal.  This guy can't even give himself any credit for his own successful marriage, but he has no problem directing blame at others who can't make theirs work.  YOU have to work for it, but I got mine granted to me.  If he truly believes that his god controls the outcome of marriages, then the commenter would have to decide whether his god failed to act to make other people's marriages work, or if it actively sabotaged them.  He would have to decide whether his own marriage would have failed, making it his own fault, had he not received supernatural intervention, which would make him equal to the people he is criticising.  This kind of idiocy is the damage religion does to your brain.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Nature's cruelty

I recently saw a wildlife TV show which was documenting an attack by lions on a badger.  The lions had firm grips on the badger in their teeth and were pulling it in opposite directions, but did not actually tear it into pieces.  The badger was crying and screaming in terrible pain for about 35 minutes, until it finally stopped and died.  Afterward, the lions did not eat it.  They killed it for reasons besides food.

How does the above description make you feel?  Is it sad?  Horrible?  Sickening?  Or is it good and glorious?  I think many Christians , or anybody else who believes their deity made everything and is perfect and all-good, would be stuck arguing that it's good.

Nature is terribly cruel.  There is immense pain and suffering everywhere, often for no reason at all.  And yet this is the system that Christians believe their perfect and perfectly-good god designed.  By definition of its alleged qualities of omnipotence and omniscience, it could have designed any system it wanted, and it designed this.  I've pressed Christians on the issue before, and often get answers along the lines of it all being for a reason, or some have even argued that things even as terrible as genocide can be good, if they're done by their god.

Now let me ask a question.  What if I did this?  What if I designed a situation in which predatory animals tore apart another animal, causing it incredible pain?  Let's say I have some trained attack dogs and I throw a cat into their pen.  I watch the dogs tear at the cat, torturing it and causing it tremendous pain.  Then, when I'm satisfied, I give the dogs the cue to kill it.  I repeat it, again and again, always using new ways to make the animal suffer.  I then lean back and call myself good.  Not just 'good', but 'perfectly-good'.  The standard of good by which all other deeds by all other beings should be measured.

What do you think the courts and general public would have to say about my actions?  In most developed and (relatively) civilised countries, I'd be hated and cursed by the public.  I'd also be charged with animal cruelty and perhaps given a psychiatric evaluation.  I'd be a pariah.  What do you think, Christians?  Is there any way you could call that good?  Why not?  I didn't torture the animals, I just designed and set-up the system, like your god did.  And your god is completely good.  Right?

This isn't any reason to think that a god didn't design the current system, but it does cast into doubt some of the qualities that such a god might have.  I can see at least a couple of scenarios.  One is that the god is not omnipotent, and was not capable of designing a more cruelty-free system.  This was the best it could do, for whatever reason.  Another option is that the god is omnipotent and/or could have done better, but is a cruel and evil bastard, with little to no compassion for life.

If I were granted omnipotence, I'd override the current system.  I'd stop all of the cruelty in nature and create a system in which the animals can live together without harming each other, and even use their special skills to help each other out.   It's a type of scenario found in many stories for children.  I'd also stop animal deaths and suffering due to starvation, thirst, disease, etc.  I'd do this because I'm a good person and I have compassion.  The people who construct these universes for children's stories are probably also good and compassionate people.  If you prefer my style of world to the system we have now, then you're probably a good and compassionate person, too.

The bottom line, Christians, is that I am better (as in, more good) and more moral than your supposed god.  The only thing keeping me from getting rid of the system we have now is a lack of power to do so.

For more ways that I am better than the Christian god, see this post.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Goats on fire no more!

I have just received some excellent news.  Anybody who frequently reads atheist blogs will probably be familiar with a guy who goes by the alias of David Mabus.  His real name is Dennis Markuze, from Montreal, Canada.  He has spent years posting incoherent Christian ramblings to atheist and scientific blogs, including a couple of times at this one (which I think I deleted promptly), with his most famous line being, "Goats on fire!"  He is also fond of making death threats to his targets.  It seems that he recently took another step forward by advancing from threatening people from behind his keyboard, to actually showing up at an atheist convention and making a gun gesture with his hand (click this link for photo).

I'd bet that anybody who has ever read his messages felt he was mentally ill and needed help and/or a date in court.  It now seems he will get both.  He faces numerous criminal charges and a 30-day psychiatric examination.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Alternatives to divine revelation in religious scriptures

I recently wrote a post about a Muslim commenter who used an argument we've all heard before, from representatives of various religions.  The argument is that his holy book describes in some level of detail the process of the development of a human fetus (among other things), which could not have been known to the writers at that time, unless there was divine guidance given to them.  This is an attempted argument for the existence of gods, in particular his god.

Judging from the number of times I've seen this argument used, and had it used on me, I'm thinking that many theists can't for the life of them understand why such arguments are not convincing to most atheists.  As an illustration of the problem, consider the following multi-person conversation:

A:  My holy book describes the process of fetal development before it was described by modern scientists, and therefore this is proof of the existence of my god.

B:  I disagree.  It's not proof of gods at all.  It's proof that aliens visited Earth and told the authors of your book about the process.  Aliens have visited us, and now we have proof!

C:  You're crazy!  It is clearly proof that Bigfoot told them.  Bigfoot has existed since before humans, and passed the knowledge on to people.  It's scientific evidence of Bigfoot.

D:  You're all wrong.  I think it's proof that the ultrasound machine was invented much earlier than previously thought.  The authors had access to an ultrasound machine, which allowed them to see the fetus, but the knowledge of the machine was lost.  This proves it.

E:  No way!  It's proof that humans from the future traveled back in time to give them the knowledge.  So we now have proof that humans eventually gain the ability to travel through time.


How would one go about sorting through the train wreck of arguments above?  Aren't all of them just as plausible as divine revelation?  I actually think that gods are the least likely of all of the above arguments.  But none of them have reached their burden of proof and they will not be able to do so with arguments like this.  Real evidence is needed for that.

But why are any of the above wacky explanations needed?  If we grant the Muslim commenter the assumption that the description in the scriptures is accurate and what he claims it is, so what?  Is it so inconceivable that the society the authors lived in had a program to study fetuses, either by dissecting pregnant (hopefully dead) women or by studying miscarriages?  Aren't these options much more likely than any of the arguments listed above?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Man with PO Box in Indiana Proves Existence of Gods?

A reader sent me this link a few months ago, and I have been shamefully slow to respond.  In the article, some Christian putz gives his "practical proof" that a god exists from a "purely scientific perspective".  Before I even begin, I must yet again point out that this is nothing more than another hand-waving argument for gods, with not a shred of positive evidence.  He's trying to think his god into existence and he has no idea what science is.  Let's now examine the argument itself.

It begins with a strawman argument, which sends the article into a comically misguided and misinformed direction:

"Most atheists maintain that there was no beginning.  The idea is that matter has always existed in the form of either matter or energy; and all that has happened is that matter has been changed from form to form, but it has always been.  The Humanist Manifesto says, 'Matter is self-existing and not created,' and that is a concise statement of the atheist's belief."

He spends half of the rest of the article arguing that the Universe had a beginning.  He then triumphantly declares that the atheists are wrong about saying the Universe had no beginning.  Thanks a lot, fucktard!  We already know, and have REAL scientific proof, that the Universe had a beginning.  Maybe some atheists believe there was no beginning at all, but then they are as misinformed as you are!

In the next section, he goes into a scientifically-illiterate rant about the usual 'something coming from nothing' creationist argument while using his god as the default position that must be true if another idea is not true.

Then we get this, which he accepts without question:

"If we know that the creation had a beginning and we know that the beginning was caused, there is one last question for us to answer--what was the cause?  The Bible tells us that God was the cause."

And we also get this gem:

"The subject of design has been one that has been explored in many different ways.  For most of us, simply looking at our newborn child is enough to rule out chance."

This last part is merely a re-stating of the old pathetic argument known as 'look at the trees', and is an argument from ignorance.  If you look at a tree or your newborn baby or insertwhateverthefuckyouwanthere and cannot think of how nature made it, then you can rule out nature.  That is what any good scientist would do.  Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to study the issue.

Feel free to send this guy hate mail at his address on the page.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Note from a Muslim reader

I received this email from a Muslim reader.  His email is in blue, my comments are in black.  I'm too busy traveling to write a long reply, so I thought the readers would like to take this one in the comments section. And notice how well this relates to my last post about hating Islam, not Muslims.

"i wrote to you about a year ago trying to debunk your atheist beliefs but the truth be told, you handed me my balls in a bag.
i tried talking about the bombardier beetle (not sure if that's the correct spelling) but to my later on discovery after research is that there was no mystery there. Again, after some research into my religion (Islam), i felt the urge to say something because writing you makes me wanna research more, find the truth if you will.

i believe that you jumped into atheism right after Christianity. Christianity on its own made you decide religion is not for you. the problem here is that you immediately attacked the rest of the religions whether Abrahamic or not due to exposure to false Christianity and being unable to SEE your creator."

Not being able to see the supposed creator is not the only problem.  There are many more.  But it was actually the study of more of the world's major religions, not ignorance of them, that convinced me that they were all wrong.  My final deconversion occurred after taking a course in world religions in high school.  They all sounded as ridiculous as the last, and none were able to provide any evidence.  Read more here.

"so ill just state a few scientific areas which my religion touches on.

1. the Qur'an talks about the big bang theory but doesn't call it a big bang but a separation
2. the Qur'an also stated that the universe is expanding when everyone thought it was static.
3. the Qur'an was first to describe the earth as oval shaped rather than circular
4. the Qur'an spoke in great detail about the formation of an embryo waaaaayyyyy before science did"

I haven't yet encountered a religion that doesn't claim its holy literature, if interpreted in just the right way, might contain some knowledge (amid all of its vagueness) that could only have been given divinely.  They also all ignore the things that the literature did not know.  Yours is no different.  This is not evidence of gods.

"just asking you you to read a text before ignoring or disproving it. you can search for scientist who turned to Islam after finding the answer for the questions they couldn't solve, in the Qur'an (im not trying to convert anyone or anything, just reference)."

And for every one of those scientists you name for me I can give you a list of a hundred scientists who have NOT converted to Islam.  But you're ignoring them, as I mentioned above.  You also need to look at the decline of science in the Muslim world after Islam became dominant.  There are videos on YouTube documenting the lack of scientific papers and Nobel Prizes from Muslim scientists.  The Arabs used to be some of the best in the world.  Then Islam happened.

"Ramadan kareem ya m3alim

P.s. A creator that gives you everything and on top of that reveals him/her self is shit"

My parents gave me life and they revealed themselves.  You only say this because it doesn't reveal.  But if it did, you wouldn't say it was shit.  Just like faith wouldn't be considered a virtue if it wasn't needed due to a lack of evidence.  Exactly how is showing someone you exist after giving them something a shitty thing to do?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

In defence of the Muslims

This is an anti-religious blog.  I don't like religion.  But as one of my readers recently mentioned in a comment, sometimes atheists are forced to be the referee between two or more groups of religious people in a dispute.  And in this case, that puts me in the position of having to stand up for a religious group on my atheist blog.  That group would be the Muslims, once again.

I've been reading a lot of anti-Muslim comments on the internet lately.  Notice that I didn't say anti-Islam, but anti-Muslim.  These comments are arising in the wake of the mass-shooting in Norway, in which a white, Christian, native-born Norwegian shot a lot of people and blew some shit up.  Curiously, some people online are still blaming the Muslims for this attack because the maniac was anti-Muslim.  Forums discussing the events have turned into a war of words between Christians and Muslims, with Christians mostly attacking and Muslims mostly defending.

Among the comments I've read are (paraphrasing):

"Muslims are all terrorists."

"If any non-Muslim goes to any Muslim country, they will be beheaded."

"Non-Muslims are lower than dog shit to a Muslim."

etc., etc.

I am currently traveling in a Muslim country.  To be more specific, I am in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.  This place is known in the Western world for primarily two reasons.  The first is that it was the hardest-hit place in the entire world by the Great Asian Tsunami of 2004.  About 160,000 people died here during that event.  The second reason is that it is an almost entirely Muslim area and is under a form of sharia law.

Now if you mention sharia law in Western society, the reaction will likely be nothing other than horror, disgust, fear, etc.  People picture an Afghanistan-like state with acid being thrown in the faces of school girls, beheadings of white people, etc.  So I'm going to write about some of my observations of this place so far, which may surprise even people who haven't been watching Fox News.

1.  Everybody has been very friendly.  They smile a lot.  They try to speak English to me.  I've been getting a lot of looks, smiles and giggles from the young women, and my girlfriend has been getting a lot of polite greetings from the men.

2.  We went to visit the big mosque here and the Indonesians began to gather around us, asking for pictures of themselves with us in front of the mosque.  So we posed as a tourist attraction for a while so they could bring in their families and take photos.

3.  Girls go to school.

4.  Women apparently do not have to wear headscarves, but most do.

5.  Judging from a person we saw publicly practicing a different religion, it would appear it is not illegal to do so.

6.  They have a Kentucky Fried Chicken, a Pizza Hut and an A&W.

7.  They listen to Western music.

8.  They are extremely grateful to the world for the help that was provided to them after the tsunami, and they have built a big green space in town dedicated to that sentiment.  The park contains a walkway with a separate monument and plaque for each country that helped them during their time of need.  These countries include both Islamic and non-Islamic countries including the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, etc.

9.  I have not yet been beheaded.

So what's the point? Hate Islam as much as you hate any religion, but don't hate Muslims.  There are over a billion Muslims in the world and the vast, vast majority of them are decent people.  And to all religious people, show some fucking maturity and stop fighting over your imaginary friends!  The rest of us are getting pretty sick of it!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ways that I am morally superior to Yahweh

The following is a partial list of ways that I, as a mere human with no special powers whatsoever, am morally superior to the character of Yahweh in the Bible.

1.  I would not rely on murderers, tyrants, liars and child-rapists to spread my message to others.  I would do it myself, to each individual.

2.  I would not punish future generations for the wrong-doings of their ancestors.

3.  I would not punish animals for the wrong-doings of humans.

4.  I would not require you to worship me to receive my help.

5.  When I see a person or animal suffering, for example, a woman getting raped in an alley or a baby elephant stuck in a well, and had the power to intervene without risk of harm to myself, I would do so.  I would not make any excuses about "mysterious ways" to justify my non-action.

6.  I would not create life that must inflict suffering on other life, such as a lion that must brutally kill a gazelle, in order to survive.

7.  I would not order or allow genocide.

8.  I would never require anybody to sacrifice an animal for me.  I do not get off on blood.

9.  I would not order people executed for disobedience or other minor "crimes".

10.  I would not create children with birth defects or learning disabilities.  I'd start everyone off with a level playing field.

11.  I would not abort babies from inside women who want them.

12.  I would not condone or allow war and suffering in my name.

13.  I would not create disease and viruses that horribly and painfully affect people and animals, then watch them suffer.


If I did any of the above things, most people would consider me to be quite an evil bastard.  Many would even call for my torture and execution.  So why would you worship and call "all-good" a being which you believe has done these things?  In addition, why would you allow it to define what "good" is?

To the readers, feel free to add a comment to tell me how you are morally superior to Yahweh, or whatever the majority deity is in your part of the world.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

My thoughts on the rapture that wasn't to be

Most of you have probably heard about the Christian group claiming that the rapture will be this Saturday, May 21st, 2011.  Although the 'appointed hour' for the alleged rapture has not passed yet, I'm going to be cocky and assume that it's not happening.  I have some thoughts on the whole issue:

1.  A lot of you Christians are going on internet forums arguing that the people making this claim are not true Christians, and that all true Christians know that people will not know the date of the rapture.  You say that it could happen tomorrow, it could happen thousands of years from now, etc.  In other words, no real Christian would betray the religion by making a claim that is even possible to be proven false, regardless of whether or not it actually is false.  Your mainstream Christian claims are unfalsifiable, untestable.  Nothing happened today?  Well, that's exactly what our book says.  Our god isn't around making its presence known?  That's exactly what our book says.  I think that's a pretty accurate description of religion in general.  The ones that are still around have survived this long, ironically, through a Darwinian process in which religions that made specific falsifiable claims had to die out because they were shown to be false.  I'm not aware of any major modern religion which makes any specific, testable claim on any aspect of its belief system.

2.  For anybody who quit their job and/or gave away all of their money because of this particular belief, you are incredibly stupid and you deserve what you get.  For those who have dependent children, your children deserve better than you as parents.

3.  You deserve what you get because you have failed to recognise your particular religion as exactly the same as all of the others that exist in the world, just a story with no evidence made up by primitive men to explain the Universe around them.  You failed to ask for any real evidence.  You may have been provided Bible verses as proof, but you failed to ask for evidence that what is in the Bible should be taken seriously.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

We're not trying to push our religion on you (we swear)!

A couple of months ago, a reader sent me a link to the Jack Chick tracts.  I had heard of them before, but had never actually visited the website.  Jack Chick is a Christian cartoonist, and young-Earth creationist dimwit, who publishes these small booklets containing Christian cartoons.  They're meant to be given to people that haven't "been saved", or to be left in public places to be found by random people.  They're extremely popular with Christians who want to spread their insanity, and his site claims to ship millions of them every year.

The site gives some suggestions on how to use these things in their "witnessing booklet", which you can find here. The booklet recommends that people order these and leave at least 3 a day in places such as:

- park benches
- bus stops
- public restrooms
- on gas pumps
- on ATMs
- on video arcade machines
- on mail boxes
- on public phones
- attached to doorknobs
- on newspaper dispensers
- at garage sales
- on school campuses
- at laundromats
- in taxi cabs
- in library books
- at swap meets
- in rented cars
- in bill payment envelopes
- in clothing store dressing rooms
- under windshield wipers of vehicles

I also remember that when I was a teenager, a guy used to shove leaflets similar to these into the pockets of our clothes left in the dressing room while we worked.

So what problems do we have here?  The first is that intentionally leaving paper trash in public locations, in private businesses or on an individual's private property is littering.  Leaving stuff outdoors of course means it gets blown around by the wind, which contributes to the street trash problem.

The second problem I have is that this represents quite clearly that religious people, specifically Christians in this case, ARE INDEED shoving their religion down our throats!  They not only want us to hear about it from our governments, but from our teachers and schools, while we're at the bus stop, using an ATM, walking in the park, eating out in a restaurant, or even to find them as litter on our fucking cars!  They insist that we involuntarily hear about their religion at all places and at all times!

So once again, if you're going to come here and claim that people of the Christian faith are not trying to shove their religion down our throats, and that us mean atheists should shut up and leave them alone, you're 100% wrong! So quit your bitching!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Whipping girls to death, blasphemy executions and offering daughter for sex with biblical support


I bring to you today not one, not two, but three, yes THREE stories of how religion has improved the world, and which demonstrate the important moral guidance people gain through religious faith.  As we know religious people frequently challenge us atheists on our lack of morality, I think there are lessons to be learned for us in these stories.  Let us now gaze upon the morals of those who get their morality through religious faith and be in awe of their clear superiority to our own.  At the end of this post, we must all ask ourselves, "How can we be good without (insert god of choice here)?"  Click the headlines to read the full articles.

14-year old Bangladeshi girl lashed to death for adultery (getting raped?):

Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl.

Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public.

Hena dropped after 70.

Bloodied and bruised, she was taken to hospital, where she died a week later.

Amazingly, an initial autopsy report cited no injuries and deemed her death a suicide. Hena's family insisted her body be exhumed. They wanted the world to know what really happened to their daughter.


Pakistani man cleared of blasphemy charges in court of law gets killed by vigilantes anyway:

Mohamed Imran had been accused, jailed, tried and cleared: if anything, society owed him a debt as a man wrongfully accused.


But his crime was blasphemy. He was meant to have said something derogatory about the prophet Mohammed, so in Pakistan justice worked a little differently.

Two weeks after he returned to his small patch of farmland on the rustic outskirts of Islamabad, his alleged crime caught up with him.

Two gunmen burst into the shoe shop where he was sat talking to a friend..... the gunmen found their target and Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws claimed another victim.

.......


The curious part about this blasphemy case -- and many other such convictions and allegations under the controversial law -- is that they do not specify what the accused is meant to have said.

The first complaint delivered to the police in 2009 refers to a conversation Imran allegedly had with another man in a cafe, but says the exact blasphemous phrase cannot be repeated as that too would be an act of blasphemy.


Man allowed David Koresh to have sex with his 14-year old daughter:

......

Doyle sits in his cluttered living room, detective paperbacks, tomes on theology and Laurel & Hardy videos crammed on bookshelves. The only item that has room to breathe is a photograph of his 18-year-old daughter, Shari.

She was one of Koresh's "wives."

......

That Koresh bedded his daughter makes Doyle shift in his seat, and when he speaks of it, his jaw tightens.
Doyle says his daughter started having sex with Koresh when she was 14. Koresh fathered at least 13 children with sect followers and engaged in sexual acts with underage Davidian girls, according to the Justice Department, numerous affidavits of Davidians and interviews CNN conducted with survivors.

Davidian Kiri Jewel testified during 1995 congressional hearings on the siege that Koresh slept in a bed with women and children, and she believed that he had impregnated a 14-year-old. Koresh, she said, often talked about how the young girls at the compound pleased him sexually. Jewel described in graphic detail how Koresh sexually assaulted her. She testified that she wasn't afraid of getting pregnant; she was too young, she explained. She'd not even started menstruating yet.

Doyle insists that his daughter Shari, even at a young age, was capable of deciding whether to have sex with Koresh. The teen was also clearheaded, he says, when she chose to remain inside the compound despite having the chance to leave.

"She wanted to be with David and to hear and follow the message," her father says.

There is silence for a moment. Doyle knows that trying to justify Koresh having sex with underage girls incites nothing but outrage from nonbelievers. And, initially, when David began preaching a message that his holy seed must be spread to any girl he preferred, married or in pigtails, Doyle admits he was bothered by it.

"I wondered, I asked, 'Is this God or is this horny old David?' "

But Doyle's concern didn't last long.

"I couldn't argue because he'd show you where it was in the Bible."

Sheila Martin, too, condones Koresh having sex with underage girls. "In the Bible, if a girl is old enough to menstruate, then she can be a wife," she insists.

There are three crucial points to understanding the Branch Davidian brand of religion.

First, God can appear in the flesh as a man. Second, that man doesn't have to be a good person. Third, if you question whether that man is God, then you are questioning God. In other words, the devil is responsible for your doubt.

"Now," Doyle asks, "are you going to give the devil control?"

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Secular government is not acceptable!

I haven't posted for nearly a month.  I was traveling for a while, but had planned to post while I was away.  The problem is that mere hours after I landed in a certain good-ol' Christian Latin American country, my laptop was stolen right out of my hotel room, along with my camera.  That made posting difficult.  I'm sure the Christian who stole it simply had to ask for forgiveness from his imaginary friend to feel better, with absolutely no accountability at all to me or any attempt to make amends to the real live person it was stolen from.  Don't you love religion?

My journey took me through a couple of airports in the United States.  During my transits, I spent some time in the airport bookstores.  It had been a while since I lived in the USA, and I had forgotten just how much bitter hatred there is for fellow Americans of different political persuasions.  I actually asked the clerk if Americans truly do hate each other this much.  Titles in the bookstore included: Pinheads and Patriots by Bill O'Reilly (guess who the pinheads are), How to Talk to a Liberal If You Must by Ann Coulter, 365 Ways to Drive a Liberal Crazy, etc.  The political and social environment in the USA is pure poison, and I honestly felt a little sick being immersed in it even for the few hours of my transit.

The book that caught my attention the most was called To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine by Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives and, alarmingly, a candidate for the presidency in 2012.  Can you guess my problem with his book title?  The word that most concerned me was secular, and the implication that a secular government is a terrible thing that must be stopped.

I'm not sure when secular became a dirty word, but it seems there is often a confusion about it in the minds of the ignorant general public.  The word secular means to not be concerned with matters of religion.  It takes no stance on religious issues, because it just doesn't care.  Newt argues in his introduction that a secular government would destroy people's religious freedom.  A secular government is not an attack on any person's religious faith.  My pen makes no statement about the existence of your god(s).  It has no religious logo or labeling of any kind.  It is a secular pen.  Is it threatening to your faith?  Do you require it to make a religious statement in order for you to feel you are free to practice your religion?

So if Newt doesn't want a secular government, what does he want?  Well, if a government is not secular, then it is either atheist or religious.  I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that Newt doesn't want an explicitly atheist government, one which declares as a matter of policy that gods do not exist.  So let's assume that Newt wants a religious government.  Which religion?  His, of course.  A Christian government for all.  But doesn't that infringe on people's right to be free from Christianity, and practice their own faith or none at all?  Isn't that what he wanted in his introduction, as described above?

Now here is the point, and what makes me so annoyed and angry.  How many comments do I get on this site, and how many do more popular atheist sites get, from religious people telling us that their faith isn't hurting anybody, that they're not trying to cram it down our throats, and to leave them alone?  I can tell you that it is a lot.  Most of these comments seem to come when the religious commenter has no rebuttal at all to the atheist's argument made in the post, but that is irrelevant.  The bottom line is that there are a shitload of religious people out there, some with large followings and who are running for presidency of the USA, who will not settle for anything less than a religious government.  They will not be satisfied with a government that takes no stance on religion, they must have it their way, and have their imaginary friend of choice forced on the rest of us through the policies of a theist government.  This is exactly why "I CALL BULLSHIT!" on all of those people who bitch and whine about how they're not trying to force their religion on the rest of us.  It is simply not true.  There are LARGE political movements out there which aim to do just that, and in many countries it is already a reality.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Finally, proof that gods exist! Maybe.

A reader sent me this link, to a page called Proof That God Exists.  That sounds promising, doesn't it?  Let's dig in!

Despite the big promises that the page's title makes, it is really just another transcendental argument for the existence of god(s).  It takes you through the existence of certain laws, for example, the laws of logic, then asserts, with no evidence, that this means that at least one god exists.  The author even goes one step further, and makes what I consider to be the most dishonest *cough* mistake that a theist can make.  I have several other problems with the website, as you might imagine.

I've written before about most of the problems the website has, so rather than repeating myself here, I'm mostly going to direct you to the previous posts.

1.  This is yet another religious hand-waving argument for the existence of gods.  They want you to think about the problem in just the right way such that you can "logic gods into existence".  I've covered the transcendental argument before with this post, but I think it's far more important to read this post, which is about why I would not consider any "god proof" that involves merely talking and waving your hands.  It's one of my favourite posts that I've written on this site, even though it is far from the most popular.

2.  Even though the argument doesn't require it, the site makes a big deal about this concept of absolute morality.  It wants you to admit that there is a cosmically-declared morality and that morality is not a construct of people or societies.  I disagree with this idea, but you have to click that you believe in absolute morality if you want to get to the end of the argument and see the grand finale.  I've posted before about how objective/absolute morality cannot be supported by reality.  I've also written before about an article by the well-known Christian apologist, William Lane Craig, who when he needed to prove absolute morality existed to finish off a proof, merely offered, "And could anything be more obvious than that objective moral values do exist?"

3.  If you progress further into the site, you get to this message:

"To reach this page you had to acknowledge that immaterial, universal, unchanging laws of logic, mathematics, science, and absolute morality exist. Universal, immaterial, unchanging laws are necessary for rational thinking to be possible. Universal, immaterial, unchanging laws cannot be accounted for if the universe was random or only material in nature.

The Bible teaches us that there are 2 types of people in this world, those who profess the truth of god's existence and those who suppress the truth of god's existence. The options of 'seeking' god, or not believing in god are unavailable. The Bible never attempts to prove the existence of god as it declares that the existence of god is so obvious that we are without excuse for not believing in him.

(Bible verse deleted)

The god of Christianity is the necessary starting point to make sense of universal, abstract, invariant laws by the impossibility of the contrary. These laws are necessary to prove ANYTHING. Therefore the proof that god exists is that without him you couldn't prove anything.

Note that the proof does not say that professed unbelievers do not prove things. The argument is that you must borrow from the Christian worldview, and a god who makes universal, immaterial, unchanging laws possible in order to prove anything.

This type of logical proof deals with ‘transcendentals’ or ‘necessary starting points,’ and the proof is called a ‘transcendental proof.’ Any contrary view to the god of Christianity being the necessary starting point for rationality is reduced to absurdity. You have to assume god in order to argue against him. Only the Christian worldview can logically support rationality."

So there you have it!  Because I believe I have proven that a god must exist, it is therefore my particular god, and any belief that it could be considered any other god is pure absurdity!

This is what I believe to be the dirtiest, most dishonest tactic and most serious logical failure that any religious believer can use in an argument about their religion.  The no-proof-required assertion that the god we are discussing is my god, end of story.  It's no surprise that this person has used it.  I've written about this before, here.

This author of the website has failed miserably, and I say to him to eat shit and die for his dishonesty at the end.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A theist's justification for genocide

About 3 months ago, a reader emailed and asked me to respond to this post by a preacher on his website.  I've had a lot going on in my life and have been lazy about responding, sorry.  The post is about capital punishment from a religious point of view. Let's take a look-see, shall we?

"I used the example of the civil war about slavery to highlight what is right in the eyes of God, and what is worth fighting for. It was completely justified."

I'm not an American history scholar, but wasn't the civil war triggered by the secession of the southern states?  I don't know if you could really argue that the north was going to war to free the slaves.  They were going to keep their country from falling apart.  It's irrelevant at any rate, because the more important point that Bible-Boy is ignoring is the Bible's explicit support for slavery, both in the New and Old Testaments.  It doesn't seem to come right out and condemn it.  Where is the Bible verse which says, "Slavery is wrong.  Do not take people as slaves.  Yahweh doesn't approve."?  Even if it did say such a thing, it would just be another example of the Bible contradicting itself.  The Bible was even used as a defense for the institution of slavery, and rightly so, during the American Civil War years.  The author of the post is certainly not justified in claiming that abolition of slavery was right in the eyes of the god in his book.  As usual, we find people projecting their own beliefs and morals onto the god(s) they believe in.  This man doesn't believe that slavery is morally acceptable, so he claims that his god doesn't either, despite what the book might actually say.

Then we get into this:

"I just read a great article called "Killing the Canaanites" by Clay Jones in the CRI Journal so this is fresh in my mind. Was killing the Canaanites justified? Yes. Completely. We would be hard pressed not to deliver a verdict of capital punishment on them even in these days. Capital punishment is completely justified and I encourage it as a solution against evil. The Canaanites were a very wicked bunch."

Remember, Christianity is the religion of love, forgiveness and redemption.  Bible-Boy has clearly stated that an entire race of people needs to be killed, including the innocent members, for the "evils" of some members of the group.  And it is justified.  There are no trials necessary, no attempt to weed out the good from the bad required.  Kill 'em all and let the gods sort 'em out!  That's the thing with religion.  Might makes right.  The mighty will decide what is evil, and kill all of those who are evil.  This is exactly the reasoning used by Islamic fundamentalists to kill and wage jihad.  Religious justification for murder, all based on their imaginations.

"From what I read they were rampant incestuous, adulterous, idolatrous, child sacrificing people."

Child-sacrificing people?  You mean they killed children?  Like your god does (repeatedly) in the Bible?  Like your mighty holy warriors did in the story, when they rolled through town and killed everybody, including the innocent children?  Are you also claiming that adulterers need to be put to death?  And is that the Ray Comfort definition of adultery, taken from your Bible, in which any man who looks lustfully upon a woman has committed adultery?  Are we killing for thought-crimes now?  As for idolatry, at least a billion people on Earth worship idols of some kind.  Depending on your definition of idol, it could include well over half of the people on Earth.  Are they to be put to death by you and your religious crew?

"Not only did they encourage homosexuality, but bestiality! They deserved to die."

Now he wants the gays to be killed, too.  Along with anybody mentally ill enough to do it with an animal.

"It was not divine genocide, it was capital punishment."

We didn't commit genocide, we only carried out capital punishment against an entire race of people.  I can hardly see how one could call that genocide.  Capital punishment?  Even for the children?  You know, besides the fact that most civilised countries have already outlawed capital punishment, I don't know of  any civilised country at all that allows capital punishment against children, especially not for the crimes of the adults surrounding them.  Capital punishment, whether right or wrong, is given to the people who actually committed the crimes!  You sir, are a MONSTER!  Your god, who you believe sanctions this, is a MONSTER!  If your god were real, it would not be welcome in a civilised discussion of justice in a civilised country.  It would only be welcome at the stoning of a woman in Persia for adultery.  You are a disgusting individual, and to be perfectly honest, the sooner you die, the better off we'll all be.

Here's an idea....  if your god hates these things so much, why don't you let IT kill these people?  Why does it need YOU and your scumbag kind to help it?  Why does this impotent omnipotent being never do anything for itself?  If it wants these people to die, let it take care of them.  Maybe if they don't all die immediate horrible deaths, it's a sign that either a) your god doesn't mind these things and possibly even endorses them, like slavery, or b) it doesn't exist at all.  If a god only acts through the actions of humans, how can we distinguish between those acts and acts which are committed by humans alone?

I'd even argue that if there was such a thing as a god and it was killing people for thought-crimes, etc, that we should do all we can to fight that god, possibly finding a way to neutralise or kill it.  I don't care what a god wants, slaughter of entire villages (ie. genocide) is WRONG.  I stand against your god, or any other god, which would try to do such a thing.

"In the past I would say it was harsh and decry the actions as genocide but it would be only to justify my own sinfulness.

God hates sin, as an Atheist I did not. My authority reference has dramatically changed for the better. Thank the Lord."

Yes, thank the fucking lord!

This post is especially ironic considering all of those religious believers out there who argue that atheism leads to genocide.  Sorcery is bad, but Jesus didn't do sorcery, he did miracles.  Genocide is bad, but my god doesn't do genocide, it does capital punishment.  Fucking morons!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Proving that the Bible is repulsive

A reader sent me this video, Proving that the Bible is repulsive from the website, God is Imaginary.  I don't know why I've never posted about this site before, because I like it.  It's affiliated with the website, Why Won't God Heal Amputees?

The video documents some of the more repulsive parts of the Bible.  Most, but not all, of them come from the Old Testament and many command that we put people to death for various imaginary crimes, such as working on the sabbath day.  The book really is a disgrace and I find it pretty saddening that so many people would consider following it to be the definition of a good person.  We have a very long way to go as a society and as a species.

Friday, January 28, 2011

No, we meant to try them, THEN kill them!

A little over a year ago, I wrote this post about legislation in Uganda designed to allow for the execution of gays and imprisonment of anybody who knows a gay and doesn't turn him/her in to authorities.  What happened later was extremely disturbing and horrifying, but I don't think I actually made a post about it.  A Ugandan newspaper/tabloid published a list of 100 gays, complete with names, photos and addresses.  The front page said to "Hang Them!"

So what happened this week?  One of the men on the list, a gay rights activist, was killed in his home.  It's too early to say for sure that he was killed because he was gay, but it's a good bet.

What did the editor of the tabloid have to say on the matter and his possible role in the murder?  Check it out:

"When we called for hanging of gay people, we meant ... after they have gone through the legal process.... I did not call for them to be killed in cold blood like he was."

This is the love that Christianity brings to the world.  You can read the full news article here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Reader email about help with creationist

I have a few emails I've received over the last few months that I still need to answer, but I'm going to do this one first.  I'm sure that he would appreciate any additional advice readers can provide for him in the comments section.

"Dear admin, I once told you about my batchmate who is preaching stuff. Now he has called me out to have a discussion because when he preached to me he had a very surprising encounter. He wishes to "discuss" this is his definition of debate in which if he loses he wont lose face. I need topics to bring up. He is a creationist and follows only parts of the bible. A total jesus freak. The arguments he used last were the watchmaker arguments, thomas acquinas philosophy (though he didnt know who he was) and gave me the burden of proof by giving the hypothetical problem of disproving the existence of gold in china. I really want to put him in his place because he has been attacking other religions in my school and no one is taking action. I want to shut him up and show his followers that theyre following an incompetent person. Ive been spending a lot of time on your website for 2 years now and i am only ready enough to defend myself, not make him shut up so if you could take your time to help me, please do"

First of all, biblical creationists have already abandoned rationality.  They believe in talking snakes, etc., and require no evidence at all to believe any of this actually happened.  They reject modern science and its findings.  It's very difficult to deal with them, and many are a complete lost cause.  Often all you can do is ridicule them and hope they wake up some day.  The Answers in Genesis website writes in its statement of belief that any evidence a person can provide against the biblical version of events is false, and should be rejected.  AronRa of YouTube fame had a conversation with a creationist in which he asked her how she would react if he could prove her god wasn't real.  She responded that she hoped her faith would be strong enough to reject his evidence and to continue believing.  These people have no interest at all in what the truth is, they want to continue believing, even if it isn't true.

It's often said that what creationists do in debate is drop two armfuls of steaming shit on the stage, and the atheist/scientist is then left to sort through it.  That is what is going to happen.  In formal debate, the creationist counts on his opponent not having access to the full collection of human scientific knowledge and published papers.  Bringing up actual facts is difficult.  Saying that magic did it is easy.  Almost any claim he can come up with to support creationism is going to be false and has already been proven so (by actual scientific means) if you know where to look.

I'd start with the following:

1.  The TalkOrigins.org Index to Creationist Claims

2.  Iron Chariots Wiki

3. YouTube videos by scientists such as the Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism series by AronRa, the Why Do People Laugh At Creationists Series by Thunderf00t and videos by DonExodus2 (who was a non-fundamentalist Christian when he made most of his videos).

4.  It's not a rebuttal, but I enjoy this witty post by the handsome Admin at AtheistPropaganda.com.

5.  Have him call the Atheist Experience TV show one of these Sundays.  They give priority in the phone queue to religious believers, and would love to speak with him.  They deal with this shit all the time, and we, their audience, really enjoy watching Matt Dillahunty dismantle them.  Matt is a former fundamentalist preacher, is very well-read and knowledgeable of the history of the Bible and Christianity, as well as logic and has a decent understanding of the state of modern science.  He's the best debater I have seen who would be easily accessible to a putz like your friend there.  He is one of the creators of the Iron Chariots site I linked to above.  If nothing else, it will provide some good laughter for you and the others on your side.  If he won't call them, some ridicule and chicken dances with insults of cowardice might help.  (flaps arms) Baaaaawk, bawk bawk bawk bawk.

Any other advice for the youngster, readers?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A classic religious argument, as applied to investment fraud

I just had an experience which is not directly related to religion, but which parallels it very well and gave me some enlightenment about why people might believe it.

A few years ago, my girlfriend made an investment that may or may not be bad.  We recently began receiving letters about it, claiming that it is a fraud.  The first letter was an anonymous letter by somebody claiming to be a fellow investor in the organisation, with no return address.  We received the second letter the next day.  It was from somebody claiming to be some kind of litigator who specialises in recovering invested assets from con-artists.  He wrote that he was on our case, and would like for us to work with him.  The letter was printed on shit-quality letterhead, had no return address, the company had no track record at all on the internet, their website domain had been registered just a few days earlier, the physical address the website was registered to was a P.O. box, their phone numbers and addresses in the letter were virtual offices (ie. a mail/call forwarding service), etc.  It was also sent from a post office just a few kilometres from the post office that the first anonymous letter came from. 

So right away we know this is a fake.  The investment may or may not be a fraud, but these letters definitely are.  We of course do not take them up on their generous offer to help us.  But the letters kept coming.  We received one more letter from this scam litigation firm, but the most interesting one just came today.  This is also where the religious parallels come in to the picture.

Today's letter was from somebody who also claimed to be a fellow investor.  It was encouraging us very strongly to join with the lawsuit organised by the scammers.  It contained one argument which you should find familiar.  The writer argued that there are four possibilities, we join or don't join, and the lawsuit succeeds or fails.  If we join and the lawsuit wins, we win.  If we don't join and it wins, we lose.  If we join and it doesn't win, we only lose the retainer fee paid to the lawyers.  If we don't join and the lawsuit loses, it's a null result.  So the only way we can possibly lose is if we don't join!  He neglected to consider losing the retainer as being a bad thing.  Great, isn't it?  Too bad it's Pascal's Wager, restated for investment fraud lawsuits.  The problem is that just as there is no evidence to support the existence of gods, there is no evidence to support the existence of this litigation firm.

Unlike those other scam letters, this one had a contact name and phone number.  So I called the guy.  He had received the same scam letters we had over the last few months.  He seemed sincere.  He wrote in the letter that he's had a terrible time since the first letter came, worrying that he's lost a good amount of his savings.  He's in it for double what my girlfriend is in for.  He's in distress and has lost a lot of hope.

You may or may not believe the next part.  He told me he knows the litigator guy he spoke to on the phone is using a fake name.  He knows the firm doesn't have a real address.  He knows their phone numbers are virtual offices.  He knows they only registered their website a couple of days before this all started.  He knows they're lying on their site about how much money they've won in settlements of other cases.  He knows they have no track record at all and appear to have come out of nowhere.  He knows this particular case has reported nothing at all in five months.  And so on, and so on.  But he's still siding with them!  Not only is he siding with them, but he's sending out letters to the other investors telling them that they should join with this firm, too!  He's evangelising!  He knows all of the signs point to this company being fake, but he is in such distress, he has so little hope, that he's willing to grab on to anything that might save him from the situation.  He used the Pascal's Wager on me on the phone, too.  He asked me, what happens if the firm does turn out to be real, they do win the case, but he didn't join?  It's the only way he can lose!

Religious people are like our friend here.  They desperately want somebody to save them from a danger, real or imagined, and they're willing to flat-out ignore all of the red flags that the solution is an absolute fraud.  The fact that somebody is simply offering to help is enough for them to part with their money/time/sanity.  And according to my girlfriend, he's evangelising because he won't feel so fucking stupid if other people do the same.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Prayer vs. Actually Doing Something

I don't know the origin of this graphic, but I got it off of Facebook from a person that I don't know.  It requires no explanation or further commentary.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Interview with Ayn Rand

A reader sent me this link a couple of months ago.  I've been lazy and slow to get it posted.  It's an interview with the late author Ayn Rand about atheism.  I read her novel Atlus Shrugged when I was in university, and it was one of the few books I was ever forced to read yet actually liked.  I must confess that I skipped the 80-page long monologue by John Galt near the end, but that wasn't even 10% of the book.  I was able to relate to the protagonists in the book, as their situation with the people around them was very similar to my situation with my family.  The protagonists' leadership and intelligence was frowned upon, as the society around them slipped into a socialist state which rewarded mediocrity and lack of initiative.

I had to write an essay on it, and was able to relate the situation in the book with my situation at home.  The professor was so impressed that he called me at home to tell me what a good job I'd done with it.  I remember including an example.  We had just bought a new computer, our family's first.  I had taken the time to read the relatively short introduction manual and to play with some of the options.  My family refused to read it and demanded that I teach them and help them with everything.  I remember even if I'd tell them that the answer to their question was on page 16 of the manual, they'd still scream at me, telling me what a bad brother/son I was, often threatening me with violence, because I wouldn't pass along what I had learned.  I'm a strong believer in the give a man a fish/teach him to fish saying, and was trying to teach them to fish, which in this case meant to use the manuals and other available tools to find their own answers.  They angrily declined.  That might explain why I moved away from home as soon as I was done my undergrad studies, while my other brothers lived with my mother for so long.  One moved out at age 29.  The other two still live with my mother, even though they're 31 (this month) and 26 years old.

Anyways, enough of my rambling.  Here is an excerpt from the interview, which I'll publish unedited:

Interviewer: I think atheists are as arrogant as many of the so-called Christians or relgionists that you defy. I'm saying...

Ayn Rand: Arrogant in what way?

Interviewer: In that you are here with your certainty saying there is no god and anybody who believes there is is... It's almost a suggestion that you believe that you are foolish if you believe there is and I think that's a little arrogant and condescending.

Ayn Rand: No. The arrogance and foolishness... I would have to tell the truth. I think it's a bad sign psychologically. It is a sign of a psychological weakness, a man who is afraid to stand on his own mind and has no responsibility. Because it is the absence of proof that brings on false thinkers. Every argument for the existence of god is incomplete, improper and has been refuted and people go on and on because they want to believe. Well, I regard it as evil to place your emotions, your desire above the evidence of what your mindknows.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Muslim Kindness

This post will be a change of pace from my usual tactics.  I'm not going to defend a religion, but I am going to stand up for a group of people.  I get pretty tired of the public and media attacking the entire Muslim world as if they were all terrorists and religious extremists.  This comes from all sides of society, including people from other religions, atheists and certain media channels.  Even one of my readers sent me a link to his (her?) blog in which he had a post implying that there weren't any decent, moderate Muslims, or at least that those people are in a very small minority.  My girlfriend's coworker tells his kids not to speak to anybody wearing a turban (even though many Muslims do not wear a turban, and most Sikhs do).  The popular image is that every one of them would behead us the first chance they got.  I usually try to point out that there are roughly 1.5 billion Muslims in the world.  Even if there were 10 million Islamic terrorists/extremists, that would mean that over 99% of Muslims are not.  If there were 100 million Islamic terrorists/extremists, that would mean that over 90% of Muslims are not.

Please note that I am not defending their religion.  The beliefs of Islam are as fucked up as many other religions out there, have done huge damage to humanity over history, and are responsible for many of the problems the world is experiencing at the moment.  I am no friend of the Islamic religion.  But that doesn't mean that the people who identify as Muslims cannot be decent, caring people, much like you and I are.

I've written before on this site (in comments somewhere, I think) that Muslims are my favourite people in general.  I'd like to give some examples of why.

India is a country of about 1 billion people, with only about 10% of those people being Muslims.  I first traveled there 5 years ago.  In Delhi, my girlfriend and I used the services of a tuk-tuk driver named Rajeev (Rajiv?). Rajeev was a Muslim who drove us around Delhi for a few days, showing us some of the sites that we might not have found by ourselves.  He was a very enthusiastic and outgoing man, and we liked him quite a bit.  On our last night in Delhi, Rajeev took us to his home for dinner.  The home was very modest, just a concrete hut with a concrete floor and barely any furniture.  We sat on the cold floor and played Super Mario Brothers with his kids on an original Nintendo system hooked up to an old TV.  His wife made dinner for us, which we ate on the floor.  This was not a rich man.  So what did he do next?  He took us to a tailor near his home, who made some clothes for us.  Rajeev paid for them and gave them to us as a gift.  Not only did he invite us, non-Muslim people who make many times more money than he does, into his home for dinner, he also bought us a present after!  It was pretty mind-boggling.

Now, you might think Rajeev was just an unusual case, and would be unwilling to change your opinion of Muslims.  So I'll write another story.  We were in India again last week.  There we met a Muslim man named Omar (I've changed his name for reasons that I'll keep unspecified).  Omar was a fairly wealthy man by Indian standards.  He insisted that we join him and his family for dinner.  He actually invited us to eat lunch and dinner there every day for the rest of our trip, but that felt too uncomfortable for us.  We decided to go for one dinner, and the date we settled on just happened to be his birthday.  We thought of bringing a bottle of wine or something for a present, but because he was a Muslim, thought that would be pretty inappropriate.  So regrettably, we went empty-handed.  Omar picked us up at our hotel.  When we arrived at his house, we were greeted by a much larger group than we thought we would see.  It wasn't just his immediate family that was over for dinner, it was a large part of his extended family, both adults and children.  They greeted us and treated us like guests of honour, even though we were not the ones having the birthday.  Omar's wife took my girlfriend upstairs and dressed her in an Indian saree, the traditional Indian dress for a woman.  We were given prime spots at the dinner table, and fed well.  When the cake came out, which was not a birthday cake and seemed to have been bought for us, they insisted that we make the first cut and take the first piece, a right that we usually reserve for the birthday boy.  After dinner, we were asked about our religious beliefs.  We told them that we were atheists, and they smiled and said it was OK.  It didn't affect their attitude towards us at all.  When it was time to leave, my girlfriend asked about taking off the saree, but Omar told her it was a gift, bought especially for her visit, and it was for her to keep.  Yet again, an Islamic family that makes much less money than we do invited us non-Muslims into their home for dinner, treated us like the guests of honour, fed us and bought us a present, despite us not being the ones celebrating the birthday.  Even the fact that we were infidels did not stop them.  We took photos with the family, and were given the front-centre place in the group.  We were then taken to meet Omar's friends and family nearby, where we were again treated like royalty.  I'll stop now, because you probably get the idea already.

In my view, the Muslim culture (whatever that might mean) has a level of hospitality that is not matched in Western culture.  What do you think?  Do we just have extremely good luck?  Is it a coincidence that the best we've ever been treated by strangers was by two Muslim families?  Does this change your opinion of this group of people at all? I'd be interested in your comments.