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Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 31 May 2012

Theists Vote Republican

With ‘God on their side,’ Romney and Republicans may very well prevail

For nearly three decades Christian Evangelicals have tended to be reliably Republican. (Today, 70 percent of white evangelical Protestants support the GOP.) But now Mormons, Jews, and Catholics are getting on board with the party in increasing numbers. If the GOP is able to consolidate the support of the major religions in the US, Romney and other Republican candidates stand to win big at the polling booth in 2012 and well beyond.

How do Christians stomach the strong disagreement between Republican ideals and Jesus’s teachings?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Science Thomas on 21 May 2012

Understanding how scientific theories develop

This graphic gives a nice pictorial illustration of how evidence turns into a scientific theory:

Scientific theories

The more evidence scientists gather, the closer we get to the truth.

One thing the graphic does not discuss is predictions. A scientific theory frequently allows scientists to make predictions about the world and then confirm those predictions.

What evidence is there that God exists? What predictions can we make about God?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 07 May 2012

Ministers becoming atheists

From Minister To Atheist: A Story Of Losing Faith

MacBain, 44, was raised a conservative Southern Baptist. Her dad was a pastor and she felt the call of God when she was 6. She had questions, of course, about conflicts in the Bible, for example, or the role of women. She says she sometimes felt she was serving a taskmaster of a God, whose standards she never quite met.

For years, MacBain set her concerns aside. But when she became a United Methodist pastor nine years ago, she started asking sharper questions. She thought they’d make her faith stronger.

“In reality,” she says, “as I worked through them, I found that religion had so many holes in it, that I just progressed through stages where I couldn’t believe it.”

The questions haunted her: Is Jesus the only way to God? Would a loving God torment people for eternity? Is there any evidence of God at all? And one day, she crossed a line.

Anyone – even a minister – who gives God and religion serious, rational thought can see that it is a sham. There really is nothing there. The equation is: “I can believe in a God who is silent, invisible and a real bastard if he exists. He stands by and lets millions of people starve to death, die in natural disasters and succumb to diseases every day. Or I can eliminate this ridiculous concept from my thinking. When I eliminate it, the world actually makes a lot more sense.”

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals Thomas on 30 Apr 2012

New Study Shows that Thinking Helps Eliminate Religion

A New Study Shows that Thinking Helps Eliminate Religion. Here is a description of the study:

Religion and Reason – Analytic thinking decreases religious belief.

Your answer to the following riddle can predict whether you are a believer in religion or a disbeliever:

Q: If a baseball and bat cost $110, and the bat costs $100 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?

A: If you answered $10 you are inclined to believe in religion. If you answered $5 you are inclined to disbelieve.

Why? Because, according to new research reported in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Science, the $10 answer indicates that you are an intuitive thinker, and the $5 answer indicates that you solve problems analytically, rather than following your gut instinct.

Why?

Cognitive theory of decision making supports the hypothesis that there are two independent processes involved in decision making. The first process is based on gut instinct, and this process is shared by other animals. The second cognitive process is an evolutionarily recent development, exclusive to humans, which utilizes logical reasoning to make decisions. Their study of 179 Canadian undergraduate students showed that people who tend to solve problems more analytically also tended to be religious disbelievers. This was demonstrated by giving the students a series of questions like the one above and then scoring them on the basis of whether they used intuition or analytic logic to reach the answers. Afterward, the researchers surveyed the students on whether or not they held religious beliefs. The results showed that the intuitive thinkers were much more likely to believe in religion.

So how do we help to eliminate religion? We get more people to think more analytically. The last sentence in this paragraph is key:

Three other interventions to boost analytic thinking had the same effect on increasing religious disbelief. This included asking subjects to arrange a collection of words into a meaningful sequence. If the words used for the subconscious prime related to analytic thinking, such as “think, reason, analyze, ponder, rational,” rather than control words “hammer, shoes, jump, retrace, brown,” subjects scored higher on tests of analytic thinking given immediately afterward, and they were also much more likely to be disbelievers in religion. This demonstrates that increasing critical thinking also increases religious disbelief.

When a religious person increases his or her critical thinking skills, it would help in many other parts of life.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 21 Apr 2012

This level of delusion seems impossible

Reading this post, the level of delusion seems impossible:

My neighbor gave my 8-year-old toy dinosaurs…

I am a little shocked. She says she is a Christian, but the Bible doesn’t say anything about dinosaurs. Should I let him keep them, as long as he understands that dinosaurs aren’t real? Even the PBS shows that he watches talk about dinosaurs and evolution, and how the scientists found these “bones” but the Bible doesn’t say that God ever created them, and the earth is only 6,000 years old, not old enough to have “bones” that they say are MILLIONS of years old! I know that Satan tries to trick us in many ways, and this is one way that he tries to fool man into believing that there isn’t a God who created the universe. How can they be bones when they are made out of ROCKS? I told my son that dinosaurs are one of Satan’s many ways of tricking man, and he must talk to God before he plays with them. Am I handling this right? My first 3 were all girls, and I adopted boys, and lots of mothers tell me that boys are often attracted to these dinosaurs. So I don’t know what to do. Is this just harmless fantasy play for him, or should I be worried that he may go on to believe in things like evolution?

How can an adult living in a modern nation like the United States be this delusional? The post must be a prank. Then you learn about this:

The Creation Museum

The state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Majestic murals, great masterpieces brimming with pulsating colors and details, provide a backdrop for many of the settings.

The museum is an attempt to disprove the theory of evolution:

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals Thomas on 19 Apr 2012

What does the intolerance toward atheists in the United States look like?

What does the intolerance toward atheists in the United States look like? Two examples:

For what it’s worth, I “won.”

lost a dear friend today r/atheism. Intolerance is a bitch…

Pretty appalling, no?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Rationals &Science Thomas on 16 Apr 2012

The Truth about Evolution

The Truth about Evolution can be seen in this short, simple article:

I don’t believe in evolution

Here is the best part:

There is not a single observation or experiment that invalidates evolution. No fossil rabbits in Precambrian strata. No human footprints next to dinosaur footprints. No genetic data showing the synchronized bottleneck of Noah’s ark in all of the animal species. No radioactive dating results or anything else disproving the Cambrian explosion.

There simply is nothing. Or, like Richard Dawkins put it, “Today the theory of evolution is about as much open to doubt as the theory that the earth goes round the sun”.

The only people who don’t accept evolution are Theists. They are willing to ignore all of the evidence in order to cling to their imaginary god.

Why?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 14 Apr 2012

The definition of delusion – theists are delusional

Looking at the definition of delusion, it is easy to see that all theists are delusional:

So, we were learning about delusions in my Psychopathology class… and I accidentally made my professor very uncomfortable.

We were learning about psychotic disorders and how they are diagnosed, and we were learning the different types of delusions. Two of the types were “delusions of reference”, which are delusions where you believe you are receiving special messages, and “delusions of grandeur”, meaning you believe that you are special, or above everyone else.

I asked my professor, “say someone believes they are special because they believe they are receiving special messages from a source that they think is God. Would they have a delusion of grandeur or reference?” (it was an honest question, I wasn’t trying to be insensitive to the more religious members of the class).

My professor turned red, stammered a bit, and said (after doing the whole “nobody get offended” thing) “questions regarding religion and delusions are very, very tricky to answer… Our culture has made it acceptable to believe in some things that, to outsiders, would seem very strange. The definition of a delusion is ‘a firmly held belief that someone believes despite lack of evidence, and despite contradicting evidence.’ Given that definition, it’s very hard to distinguish between the things religion tells us, and what makes someone delusional. So in diagnosing, it’s important to take the culture into perspective, so you’re not diagnosing devout religious belief as shizophrenia.”

My professor even went on to say “I believe in God. I’m Jewish, although I’m not a ‘good’ Jew. I have no evidence for God, yet I continue to hold onto my belief. Am I delusional? Maybe. But society has deemed that type of thinking to be rational, even though it could very easily be objectively classified as a delusion.”

I just found that interesting, that even though religion basically fits the criteria for “delusional thinking”, psychiatrists basically can’t use it in a diagnosis because it’s a type of “delusion” that’s been deemed socially acceptable. I also found it interesting that some people know that type of thinking is possibly delusional… yet they continue to hold onto it.

Related:

“The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.” – Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

How do we know that Christians are delusional?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 09 Apr 2012

The insanity of Creationism (aka Intelligent Design) and how to deal with it

A good response:

How to respond to requests to debate creationists

Academic debate on controversial topics is fine, but those topics need to have a basis in reality. I would not invite a creationist to a debate on campus for the same reason that I would not invite an alchemist, a flat-earther, an astrologer, a psychic, or a Holocaust revisionist. These ideas have no scientific support, and that is why they have all been discarded by credible scholars. Creationism is in the same category.

Instead of spending time on public debates, why aren’t members of your institute publishing their ideas in prominent peer-reviewed journals such as Science, Nature, or the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences? If you want to be taken seriously by scientists and scholars, this is where you need to publish. Academic publishing is an intellectual free market, where ideas that have credible empirical support are carefully and thoroughly explored. Nothing could possibly be more exciting and electrifying to biology than scientific disproof of evolutionary theory or scientific proof of the existence of a god. That would be Nobel Prize winning work, and it would be eagerly published by any of the prominent mainstream journals.

“Conspiracy” is the predictable response by Ben Stein and the frustrated creationists. But conspiracy theories are a joke, because science places a high premium on intellectual honesty and on new empirical studies that overturn previously established principles. Creationism doesn’t live up to these standards, so its proponents are relegated to the sidelines, publishing in books, blogs, websites, and obscure journals that don’t maintain scientific standards.

It is for these reasons that no intelligent person gives Creationism (aka Intelligent Design) any credence.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 07 Apr 2012

Where did the universe come from?

This video helps to understand where the universe comes from, via Carl Sagan:

Another perspective:

Also helpful:

Science compared to religion

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 01 Apr 2012

The fundamental insanity of religion

The fundamental insanity of religion is summarized in this image:

Santorum Twitter

This insanity is seen in the actions of Christians and Muslims, the thinking of religious politicians, the belief in prayer, etc. The insanity centers on the ability to talk about love when it is convenient or useful, and then to be hateful, racist, bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic, utterly selfish, etc. the rest of the time. No one with any intelligence could read the Bible and believe that “God” has anything to do with “love” – His actions in the Bible are, by and large, abominable. God’s followers tend to act in just the same way. No one could listen to Rick Santorum and not understand the hateful core that permeates his thinking.

It leads one to believe that religion is nothing more than a convenient cover for hate.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 25 Mar 2012

A Christian Explains His Evidence for God

In the comments on this post a Christian explains his evidence for God:

My Evidence:

1. A conscious experience of the Holy Spirit guiding my life
A. evident by providential events in my life that have moved me forward

2. Witnessing miracles
A. I have seen several unexplainable acts of God.

3. Answered prayers
B. I talk to God as a friend, and He answers my prayers
-not answered in the sense of giving me what I want, but answered in the sense of giving me what I need and telling me the truth in situations.

4. Years of righteous men who if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t have America and freedom and the ability to post your opposition for the world to see.

If thats not enough, then I don’t know what to tell ya. You believe in quarks, atoms, black holes, yet you do not believe in that which is in your own heart.

This seems like such an odd collection. Let’s examine them one at a time.

The first one is amusing. If someone really had “the Holy Spirit guiding my life”, meaning an all-knowing, all-powerful being guiding his life, wouldn’t you expect his life to be perfect and awesome? Wouldn’t you expect him to be able to say something so full of beauty and wisdom that the rest of us are left speechless? Wouldn’t you expect that beauty and wisdom to be flowing from his mouth and his pen constantly? Wouldn’t you expect him to know something, anything, that the rest of us do not know?

The second one claims witnessed miracles. Strangely, none of these miracles are ever recorded by a camera.

Answered prayers, really? Again it is strange that none of these answered prayers are ever recorded. And none of them ever work out when statistically analysed. And poor people starving around the world get left out when they pray. And God never answers the prayers of amputees to restore their lost limbs. All of that doesn’t matter. Matt believes God is “giving me what I need and telling me the truth in situations.”

Here is another response from the comments:

Your evidence:
1. Subjective. Universally available and equally confirmative of any view–Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Flying Spaghetti Monster, atheist, belief that Paula Abdul loves me, etc.

2. Um… examples? Bear in mind that “I can’t explain it” doesn’t imply “it can’t be explained.” You might want to read David Hume on Miracles and Anatole France’s little essay entitled “Miracle.”

3. Um.. Does God talk back (presumably to tell you the truth)? In whose voice does God talk back to you? Does it sound suspiciously like your own, or maybe like Morgan Freeman’s?

4. Righteous men do not imply anything about God. Righteous men prove that men can be righteous, by which we mean good, not righteous in the religious sense.

There is actual evidence, physical evidence, for quarks and black holes. Atoms have actually been observed with electron microscopes. My heart pumps blood; it doesn’t think. I think you mean to say that I don’t trust my temporal lobes and anterior cingulate cortex, but I do trust those–and understand them to be part of my biology instead of an indication of supernatural powers.

It is a strange, strange world Christians live in, devoid of evidence, rationality, even sense. We can only hope that one day they may be cured of these delusions.

Christianity &Islam Thomas on 22 Mar 2012

A Christian explains where Christians get their morals from, and proves that Christians are evil in the process

In this post there is an interesting comment discussion about morals. A Christian explains the source of his morality in this way:

Notice this post starts with moral authorities determine our morals. Well I do agree to a point, Jesus Christ. No Jesus didn’t put out a list, he taught principles about stealing, honesty, murder, loving, etc, etc and that is where moral principles are derived from. Many you practice are those taught by Christ.

Example: Buying a paper online and turning it into your your professor as your own work is a lie and would be wrong.

This brings up an obvious set of questions:

Where does jesus say slavery is wrong?

Where does jesus say rape is wrong?

Where does jesus say racism is wrong?

Where does jesus say sexism is wrong?

Where does jesus say contraception is wrong?

Where does jesus say homosexuality is wrong?

Where does jesus say polygamy is wrong?

Where does jesus say that drunk driving is wrong?

Where does jesus say that prostitution is wrong?

Where does jesus say that destroying another person’s property is wrong? Doesnt jesus destroy a fig tree? Doesnt jesus kill a herd of pigs?

It should bring up another set of questions as well. If Jesus is the source of morals for Christians, why do so many Christians ignore many of the things that Jesus directly tells them to do? The following video explores this issue. It is entitled: “Why does every intelligent Christian disobey Jesus?”

What becomes evident is that Christians are devoid of morals, and therefore they can be quite dangerous. Christians claim to have a divine source for their morality. Yet their divine source is completely silent on many issues. Their divine source is unquestionably evil on many other issues (e.g. slavery, misogyny). And then when Christians do not like what their divine source declares, they completely ignore what they are told to do.

What should we do with this large group of delusional, immoral, dangerous people running around in our society?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 19 Mar 2012

The stupidity of the “God is the source of morality” mindset

There is a comment that appeared today that is worth repeating because it contains the truth. It has been cleaned up here for wider consumption:

I always, always get tickled when people (theists) try to assert that no one can be an actual moral authority.

- Doctors are medical authorities.
- Aircraft engineers are aviation authorities.
- Historians are history authorities.
- Lawyers are law authorities.
- Economists are economics authorities
- Nutritionists are nutrition authorities.
- Scientists are science authorities (in their fields).

And… wait for it…

- Moral philosophers are… moral authorities.

Religion has declared it to be arrogant and blasphemous to assert that anyone is a moral authority except God, who never speaks and thus, de facto, the clergy become the moral authorities despite that lack of credentials 40yA was talking about.

On theology island, you don’t actually need to think about moral questions, then, to become a moral authority, you only have to read these Bronze Age books and the exegesis laid on top of them by centuries of agendist, mostly ignorant imbeciles.

It goes deeper than that, however. There are many moral questions that require nothing more than common sense to analyze. To understand this point, consider this analogy: every human being is an expert in the effects of gravity. We all have the common sense to know, through experience, that jumping off of a 10th story balcony will result in death. If a human being falls 100 feet to earth, we are all experts in the result. It does not require a college degree to appreciate the effects of gravity.

This article explains how every human being can understand that murder is evil in just the same way:

On Ethics and rational moral codes

No college degree in moral philosophy is required to understand that murder is evil.

In contrast, imagine the idiocy that goes into declaring the God of the Bible to be a source of morality. This is a being who, according to his own supposedly self-authored book, thinks slavery is good, who killed nearly every living thing in a flood (and then lied about said flood, because it never happened), who believes that animal and human sacrifices are important, who prescribes the death penalty for homosexuals and who believes that eternal torture is a valid idea.

The God of the Bible is a disgusting, appalling amalgamation of the most evil things ever imagined. And this is the being that theists choose to be their model for morality? Theists would have to be completely delusional to do that:

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 16 Mar 2012

Religious Republicans are completely insane – the religious war on women

It is impossible to imagine this happening in a modern superpower country, but it really is happening:

Fired For Using Birth Control? It Could Be Possible In Arizona

A proposed law in Arizona could give employers the right to fire women who use birth control. The bill, which sailed right through the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee, grants employers the right to ask for proof that contraceptives are being taken for non-contraceptive reasons… Not only would the bill grant employers the right to pry into a woman’s (and only a woman’s) medical history, it would give them opportunity to fire women for simply having a sex life.

Imagine the regressive, delusional, insane mindset that would propose a law like this. Only religious delusion could create this level of insanity. You expect this kind of behavior in tribal villages, not in modern, technological countries.

U.S. returning to the Dark Ages

“What has happened, that we are fighting again for reproductive rights?” wonders Rosie O’Donnell, filling-in for Piers Morgan. “And how did guys, get to be the ones to solely discuss it?” responds Angelica Huston. “It’s absolutely astonishing to me, it’s the Dark Ages.”

An excellent related thread on Reddit:

“Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me. But they all seem to. It doesn‘t matter what country they’re in or what religion they claim. They all want to control women.” Hillary Clinton

It is time to end religion and create treatment programs for the delusional.

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