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Monthly ArchiveJuly 2008



Christianity &Islam Johnson on 31 Jul 2008

The case against religion

Two or three times a week, via email or forum posts or comments, a religious person asks, “what do atheists have against religion?” or “why do atheists waste time speaking out against religion?” Four articles on the same day are all arguing against religion, because it appears that religion leads to insanity is some fraction of its members. That insanity affects everyone in remarkably negative ways.

First example:

To beat extremism we must dissolve religious groups

The article opens with a litany of bizarre beliefs held by a sizable fraction of college-bound Muslims in Britain:

A startlingly large proportion of young British Muslims hold what to most of us are outrageous and unacceptable views – views that they consider to be Muslim truths.

Four out of 10 Muslim students in Britain support the introduction of sharia into UK law for Muslims, according to a YouGov poll. Almost a third of them said that killing in the name of religion was justified; 40% said they felt it was unacceptable for Muslim men and women to associate freely; and nearly a quarter do not think that men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah.

A quarter of Muslim students said they had little or no respect for homosexuals. As for whether British Muslim servicemen should be allowed to opt out of hostilities with Muslim countries, 57% said they should and a further 25% said they were not sure.

More than half of the Muslim students were in favour of an Islamic political party to support their views in parliament. A third don’t think or don’t know whether Islam is compatible with the western notion of democracy, and a third said they were in favour of a worldwide Islamic caliphate based on sharia.

Note that these are the opinions of people attending “the best universities and higher education colleges”. Almost a third of them said that “killing in the name of religion was justified.” That alone should give everyone pause. If there were a gang where one third of the members advocated murder, what would we do? Why do we treat relision any differently?

Second example:

From Turkey to Germany to the States, religious people are intent on taking us back to the middle ages

From the article:

The asymmetry is stark. Secularists say, “believe whatever nonsense you want, but keep it to yourself and act responsibly”. The [religious] say, “believe what we want you to believe and act as we say”. The psychopaths among them say, “believe what we want you to believe and act as we say or we will kill you”.

Third example:

Despite Overwhelming Evidence, Creationists Cling to Unreality

The title says it all, and the problem is that the stupidity of Creationism drags us all down by slowing science.

Fourth example:

Son of Hamas leader converts to Christianity, denounces Islam

It contains this charming quote:

“You Jews should be aware: You will never, but never have peace with Hamas. Islam, as the ideology that guides them, will not allow them to achieve a peace agreement with the Jews. They believe that tradition says that the Prophet Mohammed fought against the Jews and that therefore they must continue to fight them to the death.”

Is that the justification for the suicide attacks?

“More than that. An entire society sanctifies death and the suicide terrorists. In Palestinian culture a suicide terrorist becomes a hero, a martyr. Sheikhs tell their students about the ‘heroism of the shaheeds.’“

This is why atheists spend time and energy speaking out against religion. Religion hurts everyone. It seems like it is time to admit the obvious – that believing in and speaking to imaginary beings is a form of mental illness, and this illness can lead to extreme behaviors that damage society as a whole. These articles offer plenty of evidence demonstrating the problem.

Christianity Johnson on 30 Jul 2008

Is Obama a closet atheist?

Watch this speech, and ask yourself, “Is Obama a closet atheist?”

He asks sharp questions like these:

1) “Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-christian from the United States of America, Whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would it be James Dobson’s or Al Sharpton’s?”

2) “Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK, and that eaing shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith. Or should we just stick with the Sermon on the Mount, a passage that is so radical that it is doubtful that our own defense department would survive its application.”

How could anyone ask these questions without knowing that religion is a complete charade?

Christianity Johnson on 30 Jul 2008

Christian terrorism

Yes, Christian terrorism. A very thorough list of terrorist activities:

Christian terrorism

From the article:

Christian terrorism is religious terrorism by groups or individuals who identify (or are labeled) as followers of Christianity. The motivation of the Christian terrorist is typically rooted in an idiosyncratic interpretation of the Bible and other Christian tenets of faith. From the viewpoint of the terrorist, Christian scripture and theology provide justification for violent political activities.

Christianity Johnson on 30 Jul 2008

Interesting Atheism articles

- The Most and Least Religious Colleges: 2009

- Earthquakes rattle creationism

- The Glories of Leviticus

- The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy doesn’t like me

- Why do people believe in God?

Christianity Johnson on 29 Jul 2008

The Case for the Existence of God

A Christian explains his proof for the existence of God:

Another take:

And another:

And another:

And:

Scientific Proof of the Existence of God

From the article:

Goswami is convinced, along with a number of others who subscribe to the same view, that the universe, in order to exist, requires a conscious sentient being to be aware of it. Without an observer, he claims, it only exists as a possibility. And as they say in the world of science, Goswami has done his math. Marshalling evidence from recent research in cognitive psychology, biology, parapsychology and quantum physics, and leaning heavily on the ancient mystical traditions of the world, Goswami is building a case for a new paradigm that he calls “monistic idealism,” the view that consciousness, not matter, is the foundation of everything that is.

Christianity Johnson on 28 Jul 2008

A bad time to be around churches

It seems like a bad time to be hanging around churches:

1) Man goes on a shooting spree at a church:

Church shooting suspect angry over liberals, job hunt

2) Crane collapses at church:

Okla. crane fall kills man watching construction

3) Church bus crashes:

Church bus, 18-wheeler crash on I-10

4) Son of famous Christian leader dies in accident:

Harvest Christian Fellowship leader talks to Riverside congregation about son’s death

5) Pastor and grandson die in accident:

Gospel Singer Wright’s Wife, Grandson Laid To Rest

6) Fire at church:

Fire breaks out at Sun Valley church

All of these events have happened in the past week or so.

Does this mean that God is punishing Christians? No. It means that bad things happen to Christians at exactly the same statistical rates as everyone else. Despite all the prayers, despite the “good living”, despite “God’s oversight and protection”, bad things happen to Christians just like everyone else.

The church shooting this week is getting a lot of media attention. Why? Because any mass shooting at a school, college, mall, etc. is news. We would expect mass shootings in churches too. In fact, shootings happen all the time in churches:

- Police Seek Leads in Shooting at Church – 3/21/2008

- Gunman, victim killed in Colo. church attack – 12/9/2007

- Man Charged in Church Shooting – 8/13/2007

This is exactly what we would expect in a world where “God” is imaginary.

And yet people still believe that God is reaching down and personally protecting them. For example:

- The Hand of God – “Mustering his last bit of strength and a prayer he gave it one last try. This time it was if a hand was lifting him up and out of the water and somehow he found himself on the shore actually away from the edge of the open water… Today Jim has made a miraculous recovery. He hasn’t gone on any walks by the river and misses his good friend, Jack. When people ask him how he ever survived he has just one answer, “The Hand of God saved me. There is no other explanation.”

- Teen Healer: I Work God’s Miracles – “She believes the power of God is working through her…”

- No tornado, but it sure felt like one – “”God was walking with a lot of people,” said Carol Wolfe of Somerset, who rushed to Junction City yesterday morning to check on her daughter and grandson. Blythe agrees that it was divine help that got her up out of bed and into the kitchen just before the tree trunk crashed onto the bed where she had lain seconds before.”

- ‘I think she was the angel’ – “Another friend, Kristin McGovern, added: “She was dead, but the baby was still alive. I think she was the angel.”"

These are amazing acts of mental gymnastics.

Christianity Johnson on 28 Jul 2008

Why religion is evil

Muslims attack Christian school in Indonesia

Christianity Johnson on 27 Jul 2008

Where did our universe come from?

Christianity Johnson on 27 Jul 2008

Why religion is evil

Religious followers are frequently taken over the edge by religious teachings:

Killing for religion is justified, say third of Muslim students

From the article:

Although 53 per cent said that killing in the name of religion was never justified, compared with 94 per cent of non-Muslims, 32 per cent said that it was. Of these, 4 per cent said killing could be justified to “promote or preserve” religion, while 28 per cent said it was acceptable if that religion were under attack.

This is no different from the widely held Christian belief that people of the homosexual persuasion should be killed, as described in the Bible. Christian extremists wish to kill them all. More moderate Christians favor laws that deny basic human rights to people of the homosexual persuasion. This article is typical:

Gay Marriage Tramples Religious Liberty

If it weren’t for religion, it is quite likely that discrimination against this group would vanish.

Christianity Johnson on 24 Jul 2008

Half of Alabama is going to hell

A fascinating little article:

Going to hell in a maths chart

It talks about estimates by the Southern Baptist Church of Alabama that calculate the number of people in the state that will go to hell. Southern Baptists, of course, are on the highway to heaven. But what about everyone else? Who has God damned to eternal torture in the unquenchable lake of fire? According to the article:
- Many of the people in other Baptist and evangelical denominations
- Catholics
- Jews
- Muslims
- Hindus
- Confucians
- Atheists
- All who refuse to accept Jesus

Billions of people, in other words.

Hell is, of course, a completely imaginary place. But for members of the Southern Baptist religion, it is real. So it makes you wonder… how can these members stand to be around all of us who will be tortured for eternity?

More importantly, why would they worship anyone whose top item on the resume is “mass torturer”?

Christianity Johnson on 23 Jul 2008

Christopher Hitchens on the Morals of an Atheist

Part 1:

Part 2:

Christianity Johnson on 23 Jul 2008

How blind salamanders make nonsense of creationists’ claims

How blind salamanders make nonsense of creationists’ claims

Christianity Johnson on 22 Jul 2008

Looking back at the Josh Hamilton story

In case you missed it, Josh Hamilton is the famous Christian baseball player. In this ESPN article, he tells the story of how he went from near-dead crack addict to baseball phenom:

‘I’m proof that hope is never lost’

He was made more famous by his performance in a recent hitting contest, and then a comment by a sports announcer where the announcer said, “It’s a lousy day to be an atheist.” Here Newsweek takes a look at the comment:

Home Runs, Atheists and ESPN

This paragraph is interesting:

Had Reilly said it was a lousy day to be a Jew or a lousy day to be a Muslim, I don’t doubt we would still be hearing about it and I’m certain the announcer would have faced some sanction from the network. In the end, I think Reilly could have come up with a better way to explain what he was seeing.

Meanwhile, millions of Christians cheered on, feeling smugly proud of a brother’s accomplishments.

Let’s start by acknowledging that it is good to see a fellow human being overcome an addiction. To then achieve greatness is a nice bonus. If it takes the belief in an imaginary being to get there, so be it.

But let’s also acknowledge that the belief in this imaginary being, both by Hamilton and billions of Christians, is a dangerous delusion. It is dangerous because, in order to believe it, you have to turn off your intelligence. Whenever humans stop thinking rationally, it is a bad thing.

Here is the point of disconnection:

And still Katie told me, “You’re going to be back playing baseball, because there’s a bigger plan for you.” I couldn’t even look her in the eye. I said something like, “Yeah, yeah, quit talking to me.”

She looks pretty smart, doesn’t she? I have a mission now. My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it’s never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger.

Katie is his wife, who apparently stuck by her man through the depths of addiction. She deserves credit for that. But here is what she is saying: “An all-powerful being has a plan. My husband’s pain, and subsequent recovery, is a part of that plan.” The only way to believe that is to totally disconnect yourself from the real world. Anyone who wants to believe in an all-powerful being who forces someone into drug addiction like a puppet in order to fulfill a “plan” is delusional. Who would believe in such a demon?

And what about the millions of addicts whose lives are ruined? They end up penniless, in jail, or dead because they never break free of their addictions. They are so damaged by addiction that they never recover. If Hamilton’s puppet plunge into the depths of addiction is part of a plan, then all the other hopeless addicts are part of the plan too. And a plan like that sucks. The reality is easy to see: the only reason that Hamilton’s story is interesting is because it is rare. And the only reason it could be rare is because million of others suffer and die to make it rare.

For Hamilton to celebrate a “victory” over addiction, when that “victory” could only be had through the intense suffering and death of millions of other addicts, is, quite honestly, disgusting. “God” had to plan for millions of failures when he planned for Hamilton’s success, because that is the only way for the success to be noteworthy. Who wants to believe in that being?

Christians would counter with, “drug addicts become drug addicts through free will – God never planned that. Addicts make bad choices.” That of course negates the plan that is key to Hamilton’s message. And that is not what Hamilton and his wife said. They say that God planned for their misery so the redemption would be sweeter, and the public platform given to Josh would allow him to glorify God. To emphasize the point, Hamilton makes this declaration:

But the way I look at it, I couldn’t fail. I’ve been given this platform to talk about the hell I’ve been through, so it’s almost like I need to do well, like I don’t have a choice.

And:

How am I here? I can only shrug and say, “It’s a God thing.” It’s the only possible explanation.

Also:

It was the same dream, with an important difference. I would hit [the devil] and he would bounce back up, the ugliest and most hideous creature you could imagine. This devil seemed unbeatable; I couldn’t knock him out. But just when I felt like giving up, I felt a presence by my side. I turned my head and saw Jesus, battling alongside me. We kept fighting, and I was filled with strength. The devil didn’t stand a chance.

You can doubt me, but I swear to you I dreamed it. When I woke up, I felt at peace. I wasn’t scared. To me, the lesson was obvious: Alone, I couldn’t win this battle. With Jesus, I couldn’t lose.

Translation: “God” put Hamilton through hell, then saved him through personal intervention by Jesus. “God” did that so Hamilton could speak about it from the platform. That sounds reassuring until you consider the millions of people who God must plan to completely destroy.

A person who is thinking clearly knows that you can’t have it both ways. If God had anything to do with Hamilton’s success, it means that God is also central to every failure. God planned it all. If “God” helped Hamilton recover, then… well, let’s look at starving children… The 10,000 kids who will die of starvation today all over the world must die because of God’s plan. And that is utterly disgusting to think about.

We of course do not hear the stories of the dead children and the dead addicts, because they are dead. They would certainly curse “God” after hearing Hamilton’s story. After all, if God were to exist, and if God has a plan, then God must be their murderer.

Who would believe in such a being?

Christianity Johnson on 22 Jul 2008

Bill Maher’s new film “Religulous”

Here’s a quick intro to Bill Maher’s new film “Religulous” which includes a trailer and an exclusive video:

Bill Maher Takes On Religion In New Documentary “Religulous”

This web site was also created:

Disbeliefnet

Christianity Johnson on 22 Jul 2008

The famous “Top Ten Signs You’re a Fundamentalist Christian”

Timeless, funny and true, but it doesn’t stop anyone. This version offers four amendments:

Top Ten Signs You’re a Fundamentalist Christian

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