The Dance Of The Idiots

It’s always fun when members of competing religions are forced to discuss their conflicting doctrines together to truly display the nonsensical nature of them all. And pay special attention to Liz, for she is the Emperor of the idiots.

Why do so many Athiests lean left?

A close friend of mine happens to be an Atheist and happens to be politically conservative in general; probably fits into a libertarian category best (he’s fine with gay marriage, legalized drugs, things like that). He’s intelligent and very well read on history, politics and religion. I tend to be center-left, very liberal on social issues, more centrist economically, but I hate to generalize and I have no allegiance to either wing. Present your argument and I will consider it.

My friend recently made a comment during a conversation questioning why so many Atheists, like me, appear to be liberal, or at least lean that way. I think the answer is clear; conservative politics, worldwide, is joined at the hip with religion. And the more fundamental one’s religious practices are, the further out on the right one tends to be. (more…)

Wish

Most cultures on Earth have operated with the continuous assumption that people go somewhere after they die. Most people I know find it literally unfathomable that human death could be the exact same thing as insect death, or fish death. This has got to be the foundation of religion across the globe, and—despite all the in-depth,  formalized apologetics that argue for life after death—the prime example of human wish-thinking.

William Lane Craig Prison Rapes The Use Of The Word Faith

I’ve admittedly become obsessed with WLC and his seemingly-to-some top-rate debating skills. I love twitter because I follow WLC and he posted a tweet leading to this gem of a YouTube clip.

A Texas A&M student poses this reasonable question to Craig at some event.

If the way to know things is through reason and logic, how do you reconcile claiming something to be true through faith?

Craig’s initial response are these words:

I don’t think that we “know” things through faith…

I’m sorry, Bill, I’ve heard you many times discuss your interaction and direct experience with the Holy Spirit. Your “knowledge” of this interaction is either through faith, or you are hearing audible voices and if that’s the case, you may wish to speak with a mental health professional.

Craig then clumsily transitions the questioners intent on discussing “faith” in the supernatural sense to faith used as a synonym for trust, using empirical evidence. For instance, I have faith the the sun will rise tomorrow because of my limited knowledge of cosmology, gravity, historical records, and the tangible, shared experience that I have with others human beings on this planet that have physically observed the sun “rise” every single day that I’ve been alive. Plus, I can check to see the exact time that the sun will rise and set for the following day and the predictions are always accurate.

Craig uses his research to find the best eye surgeon for corneal transplant surgery, as his example for using the word faith relative to his need to have “faith” in his surgeon’s abilities. But Craig’s choice of surgeon was based on empirical evidence, essentially the surgeon’s track record, perhaps testimonial reports from other patients, etc. His choice of the surgeon was based on the use of reason and logic, not faith. His “leap of faith” was that the qualified surgeon, with a presumably good track record, would not demonstrate his human fallibility and fuck up the procedure. Craig even says, “based on my confidence in his surgical ability, I went under the knife.” He even then makes an accidental joke, that his trust in the doctor wasn’t a “blind trust.” EXACTLY BILL! Your trust was based on logic and reason; assessing empirical data…data that anyone could also have direct access to. He even states the trust was “solidly based on good evidence.”  Amazing! Bill, you are sounding like a rational thinker.

But…

Craig, the utter charlatan that he is, then brings the discussion back full circle with this gem of a tie-in.

I think “faith” in the biblical sense is trusting in what you have reason to think is true.

So. I have “reason” to think my eye surgeon will perform a success surgery. And I have “reason” to think that the sun will rise tomorrow. And I have “reason” to think that the Holy Spirit guides my daily life. And I have “reason” to think that Noah brought all those animals onto the ark. All the scenarios use the same words, so they all must be equivalent.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how we use the inaccurate tool called language to convince people to believe things, or to reinforce beliefs that people may be questioning.

Well done, Bill.

The only thing I can’t figure out is if Bill really believes his bullshit, or if he’s an absolute, intentional fraud. What do you think?

You Are Not Alone

Since I published my book about becoming an Atheist I’ve learned that there are scores of people that feel alone because they don’t believe in a god anymore, are surrounded by believers, and have no one to turn to for support.

I’ve spoken to people personally, received notes, and had comments reviewing my book that all expressed a common experience of isolation. This video is a compilation of excerpts from notes I’ve received personally or from reviews that were posted on Amazon. The intent of the video is to demonstrate to fellow non-believers that you really ARE NOT ALONE.

My tiny little book has linked me to MANY nonbelievers that are unable to be open about their irreligiosity; I can only imagine the countless number of people that still feel like they really are alone in their disbelief.

Hopefully this brief video can reach a few of them and help them understand that there are people of like mind all over the world, and perhaps even in their own backyards.

I’ve posted this before on the blog but I think it’s worth throwing out there again. Sorry, the music is a little thick.

Zombies Are Real

MY FAVORITE BIBLE NONSENSE: #1

In the Gospel of Matthew, we read about Jesus’ crucifixion. As Jesus’ human body succumbs, he utters his famous last words, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This is in contrast with Jesus’ other famous last words in Luke, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,” but that’s neither here nor there. This post is about zombies. Immediately after Jesus died, we are informed by Matthew that quite a few dead carcasses—skeletons in varies states of rotten decomposition—clawed their way to fresh air and freedom. These walking dead strode about the countryside and into the holy city where they, get this, appeared to many people.

Of course, these walking dead do not appear in the other gospels or in any other writings of the time outside of the bible. This story is bullshit. It did not happen. A bunch of dead people never climbed, crawled, or walked out of their graves. Sorry folks, it never happened. And this zombie story clocks in at #1 on my list of FAVORITE BIBLE NONSENSE.

zombies

MATTHEW Chapter 27, Verses 52-53
and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.  (NIV) 

the graves broke open, and many of God’s people who had died were raised to life. 53They left the graves, and after Jesus rose from death, they went into the Holy City, where many people saw them. (Good News Bible)

And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many  (King James)

I’m Alive Because Of Jesus And So Are You

When I really want to confuse religious people I tell them that if not for Jesus, I wouldn’t be alive today.

No. I’m not drunk and this post title is not satirical. I am stating with 100% certainty that if not for Jesus (either the real person if he existed, or the Biblical character, or both) neither you, nor I, would be breathing oxygen at this very moment. And that holds true whether you were born into a religious family like me, or not.

To simply exist on this planet, each and every human being needed to “survive” an unfathomably complex series of “productive” and “nonproductive” sexual encounters, ever since homo-sapiens began to roam the land. (Obviously, an unthinkable number of “events” needed to happen first, but we’re skipping past those for this discussion.)

Any one of millions, hell billions, of copulations being interrupted from a screaming child, or called off because of a sudden “headache,” or failing to “conclude” with a necessary “completion” (you get it), and the chain that lead to you, to me, would have been permanently broken; and like a fart in the wind … we vanish from history.

Had it not been for Jesus and the millions of resulting human interactions; the chain that lead to you and me would have been never occurred, and … poof … we never happen.

Now, before you start beating your chest, fans of Jesus, I have some bad news for you. Jesus was no more important to this chain than Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Anne Boleyn, Galileo Galilei, Napoleon, William Shakespeare, Eli Whitney, Thomas Edison, Frederick Douglass, or Babe Ruth. If the first moon launch ended in catastrophe, we wouldn’t be here. If the Louis XVI was struck by lightning when he was five, we wouldn’t be here. If Abraham Lincoln skipped the theater on Good Friday, we wouldn’t be here. If Florence Nightingale never “heard the voice of God,” yep, no us.

So thank you Jesus, and every other benign, seemingly inconsequential happening in human history. We owe you!

The Whole Thing Seems Kind Of Crazy

Ken Ham is a Christian apologist that teaches children to battle evolution by asking the question, “Were You There?” when presented with the idea that dinosaurs died off millions of years ago or that all life on earth evolved over billions of years from a common ancestor. Ham is the founder of Answers In Genesis, a “think tank” that, “focuses particularly on providing answers to questions surrounding the book of Genesis, as it is the most-attacked book of the Bible.” But Ham decided to take Genesis promotion a bit further and proceeded to defecate on American culture by leading the charge to build the Creation “Museum,” an insult to American minds and an insult to the word, museum.

I found this video on Atheist Media Blog today and it made me smile. Apparently, the Creation “Museum” is experiencing some steady attendance declines and is attempting to counter the dips by adding dragons and zip lines to attract new rubes visitors to their palace of ignorance.

Another Creation “Museum” founder, Mike Zovath, points out in the local news piece that, “people have a fascination with dinosaurs.” No shit Mike. I think that’s why people, other than religious fundamentalists, enjoy going to REAL museums.

As for the new dragon exhibit, it looks like the “museum” is going to try to tie in dragon mythology with dinosaurs. You see, Ham and friends are biblical literalists and they are chained to some exquisite bullshit in the Bible that few people take seriously. Bible verses that regal us with fire-breathing sea monsters have given Ham and company an idea to attract more tourists.

I suspect that visitors like, Jonathan Cullen, might have the opposite reaction to the “museum” than the founders had intended. Cullen says, “the whole thing seems kind of crazy.” I’m guessing that, aside from hardcore Christian Evangelicals, the “museum” (like the Bible itself) might just help foster some critical thinking and help generate a whole new wave of skeptics. Remember, very few people have actually read the Book of Genesis.

If you happen to be a Christian and feel that this blog post is harsh or mean spirited, I suggest that you read Genesis from start to finish and then reconsider. Don’t have a bible handy, click here.

William Lane Craig Makes My Point That God Arguments Boil Down To A Collection Of Arguments From Ignorance

In the absence of God, I CAN’T SEE any foundation that would be left for affirming the objectivity of moral values and particularly the value of human beings and conscious life on this planet.

Well, Bill, if you can’t see it, it must not be there, and therefore, your god becomes the default answer. Now in this case, Craig is discussing “objective morals and duties” which is not the best example of an argument from ignorance since “objective morality” is a very controversial subject anyway, but the we can superimpose this same rational for any religious miracle story, creation mythology, supernatural claim or explanation of the human condition. In the absence of God, I CAN’T SEE any foundation for _____________ (the creation of the universe, the unexpected cancer remission, the face burned on the toast, the resurrection, where people derive meaning in life, the lone crash survivor, love, concern for fellow humans, etc.).

It’s this universal argument from ignorance that compels people, when they learn that you don’t believe in a god, to ask things like, “well then, how do you explain where we came from?” or, “well then, how did the universe begin?” On their own, these would be valid questions, but these type of questions are really suggesting that since the questioner’s “god” is an answer for the question, you are obliged to have an alternate answer to the question otherwise their answer holds.

Think of it this way, just turn back the clock a few years and imagine this back and forth.

Joe: Man this storm is bad. Zeus must be pissed.

Frank: I don’t believe in Zeus. Sorry bro, I just don’t think he’s real.

Joe: Well, then, how do you explain all this lightning? In the absence of Zeus, I CAN’T SEE any foundation that would be left for affirming the source of this lighting.

Watch the entire debate here.