Over 3,000 people looked at this thread on Friday, and gave the forum its best day ever in terms of visitors. It is an email chain where an atheist questions a Christian apologist after the apologist’s university lecture:
A sobering look at religious brainwashing:
As the leader of a ministry called Dare 2 Share, an organization that annually equips tens of thousands of teens to evangelize, I am in the motivation business. I have to be. If a clinical approach to evangelism were enough to motivate teenagers we could just do a video-based training series for youth groups and leave it at that. But it takes way more to motivate teens to actually go beyond talking about evangelism to actually doing it.
How might you do that? One approach is to fill a teen’s brain with superstitious nonsense, like this:
4. Talk about hell.
There I said it. Teenagers need to be reminded of what’s at stake for those who die without Christ. In a very real way, those who don’t know Jesus are unknowingly headed 100 mph at a cliff that leads to everlasting destruction. Our job as caring Christians is to jerk the steering wheel…and to get our teens to do the same with their friends.
Paul put it this way in 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”
“Punished with everlasting destruction.” Isn’t that great? So the teen evangelist’s message is, “come worship a being who tortures people for eternity!” Why would ANYONE listen to a message like that? Why worship a torturer? Such is the insanity of religion.
An Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience has suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness.
“Someone who has for example become radicalised to a cult ideology — we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance,” Taylor said. “In many ways it could be a very positive thing because there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage.”
Imagine a world where the belief in imaginary beings is treated like a mental illness rather than being condoned. The world would be a much better place.
Put a steak on the ground in front of a dog.
Tell the dog not to eat the steak.
If the dog eats it, punish [the dog] and every other dog you own and ever will own.
God is great.
Impregnate a dog with your son.
Have your half dog half human son tell your other dogs how loving you are.
Let your other dogs torture and kill your half dog half human son.
Afterwards, forgive them for eating your steak in the first place.
Despite forgiveness, continue to punish every dog you will ever own.
Revive the half dog half human corpse and let it live in your house.
God is great.
Why would anyone believe such nonsense?
Deepak Chopra has started a new series of Blog Posts in which he asks the following question:
What if we erase the slate and look clearly at the situation. Something terrible happens, people suffer, they implore God for help, but no help comes. If such a thing occurred when a house caught fire and the fire trucks never came, naturally the blame would fall on those who are assigned to rescue us. Is it fair to apply the same standard to a God who fails to show up?
Is it fair to apply the same standard to a God who fails to show up? Yes, of course it is. God is supposed to be omnibenevolent and perfectly moral. If God sees suffering and takes no action, then he violates these principles. There is no way that a perfectly moral being (who is also omnipotent) can see someone suffering and stand by without helping. This is explained by God himself (in the form of Jesus) in this parable:
New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
If God exists, then “Go and do likewise” applies to God as well. The fact that God ignores all of the tragedy on earth proves that God is imaginary. Strange that Chopra cannot see that.
According to Christians, Muslims, Mormons and Jews, God exists. Approximately half of the human population on earth believes in God or Allah. According to believers, this God answers prayers, performs miracles, reads minds, has ongoing personal relationships with believers, etc.
So, if this God really exists, why don’t we simply ask him to appear to the world and show himself? All these believers simply pray or relate to him, and ask that he appears to everyone in an undeniable form.
Why can’t God do this? According to the Bible, God appeared all the time in the past. He even incarnated himself. So clearly there is nothing “wrong” or “impossible” about God appearing. God even appeared on command in the past, as described in the Bible in 1 Kings chapter 18:
 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the LORD’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets.  Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it.  Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”
Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”
 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.”  So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “O Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”  So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed.  Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins.  Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.”  With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs [a] of seed.  He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”
 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time.  The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.  Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!”
Why don’t we do the same thing today? Why wouldn’t God, if he is real, appear to the world? Then we could end all of this religious bickering and doubt once and for all.
If we read the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus makes it clear that he should appear to us if we ask him to. This video explains how in less than 5 minutes:
The fact that neither Jesus nor God appears demonstrates clearly that God is imaginary. Yet religious people refuse to accept this clear, unambiguous evidence. If you are religious, please use the comment area to explain why you cannot accept this evidence and continue to believe in your imaginary God.
According to Christians, God exists, God answers prayers, God has a personal relationship with each believer, and God has sent his son to earth. Yet God is completely silent today. Instead, He depends on tweeting popes to spread the message of God:
“Part of the pope’s job description is to spread the word,” Greg Burke, senior communications adviser for the Vatican, said today. “Twitter is turning out to be a very effective way of doing this.”
“Twitter for us is not about the number of people following the pope but about getting people to follow Christ,” Burke said.
Why doesn’t Christ worry about getting people to follow Christ? Why doesn’t Christ get a twitter account and speak for himself?
Because God and Christ are imaginary.
Paul Krugman describes the insanity of religion – Religion requires its followers to reject evidence
A great essay from Paul Krugman that zeros in on the insanity of religion:
The quotes in this article are priceless:
Like striated rock beds that speak of deep time, [Rubio's] inability to acknowledge scientific evidence speaks of the anti-rational mindset that has taken over his political party.
What was Rubio’s complaint about science teaching? That it might undermine children’s faith in what their parents told them to believe. And right there you have the modern GOP’s attitude, not just toward biology, but toward everything: If evidence seems to contradict faith, suppress the evidence.
The most obvious example other than evolution is man-made climate change. As the evidence for a warming planet becomes ever stronger — and ever scarier — the GOP has buried deeper into denial, into assertions that the whole thing is a hoax concocted by a vast conspiracy of scientists. And this denial has been accompanied by frantic efforts to silence and punish anyone reporting the inconvenient facts.
Coming into the recent election, state-level polling clearly pointed to an Obama victory — yet more or less the whole Republican Party refused to acknowledge this reality. Instead, pundits and politicians alike fiercely denied the numbers and personally attacked anyone pointing out the obvious; the demonizing of The Times’ Nate Silver, in particular, was remarkable to behold.
His article closes with an indictment of Republicans and Christians:
We are, after all, living in an era when science plays a crucial economic role. How are we going to search effectively for natural resources if schools trying to teach modern geology must give equal time to claims that the world is only 6,000 years old? How are we going to stay competitive in biotechnology if biology classes avoid any material that might offend creationists?
And then there’s the matter of using evidence to shape economic policy. You may have read about the recent study from the Congressional Research Service finding no empirical support for the dogma that cutting taxes on the wealthy leads to higher economic growth. How did Republicans respond? By suppressing the report.
On economics, as in hard science, modern conservatives don’t want to hear anything challenging their preconceptions — and they don’t want anyone else to hear about it, either.
So don’t shrug off Rubio’s awkward moment. His inability to deal with geological evidence was symptomatic of a much broader problem — one that may, in the end, set America on a path of inexorable decline.
Republicans and Christians have become a national embarrassment to the United States and they “set America on a path of inexorable decline” both scientifically and economically. This article demonstrates how badly Republican economic policies have hit all working Americans:
A half century ago America’s largest private-sector employer was General Motors, whose full-time workers earned an average hourly wage of around $50, in today’s dollars, including health and pension benefits.
Today, America’s largest employer is Walmart, whose average employee earns $8.81 an hour. A third of Walmart’s employees work less than 28 hours per week and don’t qualify for benefits.
Republicans, which is to say Christians, are willfully destroying the lives of American workers.
Yes, it is time for religion to start paying its taxes because preachers, ministers, rabbis, preists, etc. frequently break the law when it comes to their tax exempt status:
Religious organizations are given consent to declare themselves non-profit charitable organizations by simply signing and filing 501 (c)(3) papers with the Internal Revenue Service. They, unlike other non-profits, are exempt from keeping accounting records, and the only requirement to be exempt from paying taxes is that they refrain from endorsing, preaching against, or supporting any candidate from the pulpit. However, religious groups around the country break their agreement with the IRS with impunity, and it has prompted a group in Wisconsin to say enough.
The group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the IRS for failing to audit thousands of churches that violated federal tax law by engaging in partisan advocacy. The lawsuit alleges, “The Internal Revenue Service, under the direction of the Defendant Shulman, has followed and continues to follow a policy of non-enforcement of the electioneering restrictions of §501(c)(3) against churches and other religious organizations. As a result, in recent years, churches and religious organizations have been blatantly and deliberately flaunting the electioneering restrictions of §501(c)(3), including during the presidential election year of 2012.” Back in October, in a flagrant violation of 501(c)(3) rules, over 1,600 preachers engaged in Pulpit Freedom Sunday and actively campaigned from the pulpit to challenge the IRS rules that allow them to leach money from taxpayers.
Here’s what Pulpit Freedom Sunday is all about:
The future of religious freedom depends on a free pulpit to communicate fundamental, biblical principles to congregations across America. Join a growing movement of bold pastors preaching biblical Truth about candidates and elections from their pulpits on October 7, 2012.
It seems to be a clear cut violation – so make churches pay.
What would happen if churches had to pay taxes like everyone else? According to this article:
the church in America saves roughly 71 billion dollars annually by being tax-exempt. Imagine how much food that could buy to feed the hungry, or how it could help those less fortunate. This might be acceptable if the church was actually encouraging strategies to reduce human suffering, irresponsible behavior that harms others, ending violence in our neighborhoods and other critical issues. Churches do not serve the common good; they propagate ancient supernatural mythology that brainwashes people into believing the unbelievable and impedes social and scientific progress.
$71 billion! Yes, churches should start paying taxes.
No further comment is necessary, but if you would like to see some comments, check here.
Where does this level of delusion come from?
When you think about how insane religion can be, there are few examples better than the tendency for religious people to blame natural disasters on some group of people. Case in point:
Look at what the gays have done now.
Hurricane Sandy is just the latest weather calamity being blamed on gay people. Who is doing the finger-pointing? This time, it’s self-appointed biblical scholar John McTernan of Defend and Proclaim the Faith ministries in Pennsylvania, who made the connection between gays and Sandy, writing this week the hurricane is “a huge bucket of vomit in America’s face during the election,” forcing us to choose between “a pro-homosexual Mormon along with a pro-abortion/homosexual, Muslim Brotherhood promoter, Hard Left Fascist.”
Here are five other natural disasters mankind suffers because of the gay agenda…
Imagine this: 1) a large group of people who 2) believe in a loving God in heaven and this God 3) sends huge natural disasters that kill innocent people and destroy billions of dollars in property because 4) why? Explain that again – why would a loving God do this?
Didn’t Rick Warren say that “Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you.” Why yes he did. God had a plan in creating everyone, according to Rick Warren. Therefore, the idea that God would throw a hurricane at NY/NJ, disrupting the lives of millions, in retribution for the acts of people that God created is beyond insane.
Of course Rick Warren’s logic is also insane, as discussed here.
Let’s imagine that you believe in God. You believe God is up in heaven, watching us, answering our prayers, punishing people who do evil, etc. If this is what you believe, then you have to explain what God is doing in this situation:
David Jimenez believed his devotion to a crucifix was responsible for his wife being cured of cancer. Well, the crucifix fell on him, crushing one of his legs.
And as CBS 2’s John Slattery reported Friday, the leg had to be amputated.
Jimenez sees tragic irony in losing his leg to a crucifix he had prayed to. The crucifix had been outside the Church of St. Patrick in Newburgh. For months, the 45-year-old pizza worker would stop and pray at the crucifix, that his wife would be cured of ovarian cancer.
And she was.
“David attributed the cure to his devotion to that cross,” Jimenez attorney Kevin Kitson said.
Because of that, Jimenez said, he got permission to clean the crucifix, which was long-neglected. But in doing so, the statue dislodged and toppled onto him.
The religious person has to explain first why God would allow the statue to topple on a devoted Christian who was cleaning the statue. Then the religious person has to explain why God won’t heal amputees. The whole situation is like an anti-God movie trailer.
What does an intelligent, rational person understand? That God is imaginary and the cancer cure, the toppling statue and the amputated limb are all random events. Why would anyone want to believe in a God who intentionally damages people? Or a God who selectively ignores the prayers of all amputees? It is so easy to see that there is no God. Even if there were to be one, the only thing we could conclude is that he is an insane monster.
A great essay
It makes a great point
During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after doing its duty in but a lazy and indolent way for eight hundred years, gathered up its halters, thumbscrews, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood.
Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry. Who discovered that there was no such thing as a witch – the priest, the parson? No, these never discover anything. At Salem, the parson clung pathetically to his witch text after the laity had abandoned it in remorse and tears for the crimes and cruelties it has persuaded them to do. The parson wanted more blood, more shame, more brutalities; it was the unconsecrated laity that stayed his hand. In Scotland the parson killed the witch after the magistrate had pronounced her innocent; and when the merciful legislature proposed to sweep the hideous laws against witches from the statute book, it was the parson who came imploring, with tears and imprecations, that they be suffered to stand.
There are no witches. The witch text remains; only the practice has changed. Hell fire is gone, but the text remains. Infant damnation is gone, but the text remains. More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorized them remain.
Why would any intelligent person join an organization that is this appalling?
In the past week there have been unbelievable demonstrations in the Muslim world that make Muslims look like savages. Signs like this and this show just how ridiculous believers in the Muslim faith can be. Christianity can be just as bad – denying civil rights to people they hate for no reason, and bullying those people to the point where they commit suicide.
That is why we are starting to see the world’s leaders separating themselves from religion. The Dalai Lama posted this on Facebook:
All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.
Hilary Clinton made this public statement this week:
“As long as there are those who are willing to shed blood and take innocent life in the name of religion, the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace.”
What Clinton is saying is that we need to end religion. The Quran and the Bible have violence baked right in, and there is no way to separate the religions from these repulsive books. Watch this video to see how truly repulsive the Bible is:
One would think that modern, intelligent people would easily reject such a repulsive book.
This article from CNN introduces the idea of “Hurricane Theology” at this week’s Republican convention. The idea is that something devastating like a hurricane is a punishment sent by God into the lives of those in the path of the storm. CNN cites this incident involving Pat Roberson as an example of Hurricane Theology:
Pat Robertson, the evangelical Christian who once suggested God was punishing Americans with Hurricane Katrina, says a “pact to the devil” brought on the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
So imagine that there is a large, well-publicized Gay Pride parade and some natural disaster occurs nearby. It might be a tornado, hurricane, earthquake, etc. Theists go nuts declaring that God sent the disaster as his retribution against gay activities.
If a Christian church gets blown down in a windstorm and the church has done anything seen as controversial, then that is God’s retribution as well.
If there is nothing obvious, then theists will often go out of their way to find something that God needs to destroy.
Imagine living your life in constant fear like this. At any moment, an angry, vengeful God can smite anyplace he chooses with a huge natural disaster.
Who would want to worship such a being? Who would want to have anything to do with such a being? Why pray to a monster who kills people and destroys property so wantonly and so capriciously?