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Monthly ArchiveOctober 2008



Christianity Johnson on 16 Oct 2008

Preying on delusion

Imagine that you find yourself in a country filled with millions of delusional people. These people believe in an imaginary god, believe that this imaginary god answers prayers, and believe that if they don’t behave properly, this god will punish them for eternity in hell.

If you wanted to make yourself rich, and you realized how ridiculously delusional all these people were, and if you had no morals, what would you do? You would use the delusion to make money for yourself by preying on the delusion.

That is exactly what Joel Osteen is doing:

God wants me to be rich

For example:

One of John’s prevailing themes, and the underpinning for much of Lakewood’s current message, can be found in one of his sermons: “It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty. It’s God’s will for you to pay your bills and not be in debt. It’s God’s will for you to live in health and not in sickness all the days of your life.”

If this is true, and if God is all-powerful, then Joel is either blind or lying. The amazing thing is that those who listen to him are so delusional that they completely ignore the reality of the world around them. For example, 3 billion people on earth (half of the earth’s human population) live on less than $2 per day. The amount of poverty on earth is shocking:

Alarming Poverty Statistics

Tens of thousands of people die of starvation and disease every day.

If “It’s God’s will for you to live in health and not in sickness”, then why do Christians ever need to visit the hospital? Christians would have no need for the health care sector, yet heath care makes up a massive slice of the U.S. economy. Christians get sick and die at exactly the same rate, and from exactly the same diseases, as everyone else.

Another:

Spending time with Osteen and his team, one can sense their discomfort when issues that could anger more-­doctrinaire Christians are raised. Don Iloff, his brother-in-law and chief of communications, almost winces when I ask Osteen his views on intelligent design versus evolution. “I believe that God created it all,” Osteen says as he stakes out his usual middle ground. “I don’t know if it’s six literal days or 6 million years.”

Osteen’s message of prosperity doesn’t always go over well either. Fellow megapastor Rick Warren has called the idea that God wants everybody to be rich “baloney.” And some conservative Christian ministers have been quick to dismiss Osteen as a lightweight or, worse, a heretic. Osteen adamantly believes that “God wants to give you your own house,” explaining, “He’s not having financial difficulties. He owns it all.”

Does God want everyone to be rich, or not? Why can’t the pastors agree on this? The reason they can’t agree is because God is imaginary. Anyone can make up anything they like and attribute it to God. That is the nature of the delusion.

Christianity Johnson on 15 Oct 2008

Why does every intelligent Christian disobey Jesus?

From the video’s description:

In this short video, we will examine a simple but profound question. Why do you, as an intelligent Christian, disobey Jesus? Why don’t you do what Jesus tells you to do in the Bible?

The Bible makes it very clear: To be a Christian, You must obey Jesus. For example, the bible says:

We know that we have come to
know [Jesus] if we obey his
commands. The man who says,
“I know him,” but does not do
what he commands is a liar,
and the truth is not in him.
- 1 John 2: 3-4

Jesus also says:

That servant who knows his
master’s will and does not get
ready or does not do what his
master wants will be beaten
with many blows.
- Luke 12: 47

The message is clear enough. To be a Christian, you must obey Jesus. So let’s look at five things that Jesus has commanded you to do in the Bible. These commandments, and the fact that you ignore them, will amaze you…

If you are an intelligent Christian, can you explain why you disobey Jesus?

Christianity &Science Johnson on 14 Oct 2008

Why We Can’t Imagine Death

This article states reality as clearly and as bluntly as possible:

Never Say Die: Why We Can’t Imagine Death

It says:

Why do we wonder where our mind goes when the body is dead? Shouldn’t it be obvious that the mind is dead, too?

Yes, it should be obvious to anyone with a brain, who is willing to use that brain rationally. Unfortunately, most are not willing to accept reality:

And yet people in every culture believe in an afterlife of some kind or, at the very least, are unsure about what happens to the mind at death.

The author labels these beliefs, rightfully, as irrational. He then goes on to explain from where such beliefs might arise:

Back when you were still in diapers, you learned that people didn’t cease to exist simply because you couldn’t see them. Developmental psychologists even have a fancy term for this basic concept: “person permanence.” Such an off-line social awareness leads us to tacitly assume that the people we know are somewhere doing something. As I’m writing this article in Belfast, for example, my mind’s eye conjures up my friend Ginger in New Orleans walking her poodle or playfully bickering with her husband, things that I know she does routinely.

As I’ve argued in my 2006 Behavioral and Brain Sciences article, “The Folk Psychology of Souls,” human cognition is not equipped to update the list of players in our complex social rosters by accommodating a particular person’s sudden inexistence. We can’t simply switch off our person-permanence thinking just because someone has died. This inability is especially the case, of course, for those whom we were closest to and whom we frequently imagined to be actively engaging in various activities when out of sight.

And so person permanence may be the final cognitive hurdle that gets in the way of our effectively realizing the dead as they truly are—infinitely in situ, inanimate carbon residue. Instead it’s much more “natural” to imagine them as existing in some vague, unobservable locale, very much living their dead lives.

That makes some sense, if you are irrational. A rational person, on the other hand, accepts reality and updates the status board for dead people without any difficulty.

It’s an interesting article, but it leaves a gaping hole, which is this: Given that irrational people can’t handle the idea of death, why do they have to create so much religious nonsense to go along with it? To see how ridiculous the nonsense gets, look at this comic:

The absurdity is painful. In this case, Christianity has a complete story for what happens after death, and the story includes things like demons and eternal torture. It’s nuts. Apparently there is still no explanation for where such absurdity comes from, nor why anyone in their right mind would believe one bit of it.

If you are a Christian, and you are starting to realize that the afterlife story of Christianity is ridiculous, this web site can help you to see reality clearly:

Whywontgodhealamputees.com

In particular, turn to Chapter 27, which talks about death: When you die, you die

Christianity Johnson on 13 Oct 2008

McCain/Palin brings Christianity front and center, and it is disgusting

When McCain picked Palin as a running mate, he linked his campaign to Christianity. With Christianity comes a truckload of racism, homophobia, anger, hatred, perversion, delusion and craziness which America would be much better off without. How crazy does it get? This article contains a recent invocation from a campaign event:

McCain shies away from recent days’ attacks

The invocation, given by Rev. Arnold Conrad:

“I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons,” Conrad said.

“And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and Election Day,” he said.

He’s begging a being who Christians believe to be the “all-powerful creator of the universe” to “step forward” to protect His “reputation”??? It doesn’t get any more insane than that.

More insanity:

The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama

Noted:

At McCain-Palin rallies, the raucous and insistent cries of “Treason!” and “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” and “Off with his head!” as well as the uninhibited slinging of racial epithets, are actually something new in a campaign that has seen almost every conceivable twist. They are alarms. Doing nothing is not an option.

Why has McCain stooped to such a disgusting level? Christianity.

If you are an intelligent Christian, consider this moment in history as an opportunity to turn on your brain. Look at the insanity that Palin has brought to the campaign. The deep root of it all is her Christianity. By proclaiming yourself to be a Christian, you align yourself with millions of Palins. Do you want to be a part of such insanity? Or is it time to consider the rational path?

Christianity &Science Johnson on 12 Oct 2008

Science moment – the double slit experiment

The double slit experiment is very simple and easy to understand, but the results are unexpected because they demonstrate the quantum world. This video provides a nice explanation of the experiment and its permutations:

Christianity Johnson on 10 Oct 2008

Prayer at a McCain/Palin rally yesterday: “You, O God, have raised up Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin for such a time as this.”

The absurdity of Christianity was on public display yesterday at a McCain/Palin rally in Bethlehem, PA:

Rage in the Town of Bethlehem

Rage? Why isn’t it love, as Jesus teaches?

Here is an excerpt from the invocation:

O God, we are in a battle that is raging for the soul of this nation. You, O God, have raised up Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin for such a time as this. Help them, O God, to strengthen our economy, to keep our taxes and spending low. . . and grant them the privilege of being elected the next president and vice president.

If God has raised them up, then why aren’t they loving their enemy as Jesus teaches? Why are they spreading lies and racism at all their rallies?

“Help them to strengthen our economy“? Jesus had a very simple economic prescription described in this article:

Matthew 6:19

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Luke 14:33

Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

Matthew 6:24

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money.

Matthew 19:21-24

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Matthew 19:28-29

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

Luke 9:23-25

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

Matt 13: 22

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Phil 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Acts 2:44-45

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.

This seems pretty clear. If you want to follow Jesus you need to “sell your possessions and give to the poor.” You should “Sell your possessions and goods, and give to anyone as he had need.” You should note the “deceitfulness of wealth”. You should, “give up everything”, stop “laying up for yourselves treasures on earth” and stop trying to “serve God and Money”.

In other words, a True Christian has no need for the economy.

If you are praying to God, wouldn’t it make sense to do what God says in the Bible first?

This hypocrisy demonstrates the absurdity of Christianity in America today.

If you are a Christian reading and typing on your computer right now, it would be fascinating to know why you still own a computer. Why haven’t you sold it, as Jesus prescribes?

Science Johnson on 10 Oct 2008

Science moment – How life began

Contrary to what Christians and Muslims believe, life did not come from a supernatural event. A “god” did not create life. Life arose spontaneously through a series of chemical reactions. The process is called abiogenesis.

If you are religious, and if you would like to understand abiogenesis from a scientific perspective, this video series will introduce you to the reality of life’s origin:

The video puts it this way:

Roughly 4 Billion years ago on a big wet rock a strange and mysterious phenomenon occurs. Non-living materials becomes life. Ever since nothing has been the same on Earth. How could something as complex and astonishing as life just happen? Does life emerge from a tide pool of chemical soup? Is it born in rocks deep below Earth surface. And what is this first living thing? What awesome force creates this miraculous chain of life. Man continues to seek answers to this extraordinary mystery. The mystery of How Life Began…

The series has 11 parts, which you can find here: How Life began, 11 parts

See also: Abiogenesis FAQs

Christianity &Science Johnson on 09 Oct 2008

God never heals amputees, but now science can

When Christians pray to God to heal an amputated limb, nothing ever happens.

However, medical science has advanced to the point where we can now transplant two new arms onto a double amputee:

World’s first double arm transplant patient delighted

Note how ecstatic this man is to have new arms:

Karl Merk, a German dairy farmer whose arms had been amputated after an accident, said he felt like a “whole man” again as he spoke for the first time since the operation in July.

“The feeling is indescribable. Every day I gain more mobility,” said Mr Merk as he showed off the arms, which are being supported by a special “corset” while the healing continues.

Obviously God is imaginary. Any rational person can see that. But Christians cling to the notion that their God exists, and that he answers all sorts of prayers every day.

So, if you are a Christian, ask yourself: Why won’t God heal amputees? Why does God hate amputees? Why would your God deny the happiness that this man is experiencing by completely ignoring the prayers of amputees and spontaneously restoring their limbs through prayer? You believe that your God heals cancer… why not amputated limbs as well?

If you give these questions careful thought, you will realize that your God is imaginary.

Christianity &Science Johnson on 08 Oct 2008

Comparing Christianity to Homeopathy

In this video, James Randi explains the fraudulent practice known as homeopathy:

The basic idea behind homeopathy is that you can take a very dilute mixture of a poison and use it to heal. How dilute? Like one part in a trillion billion, or less. The video goes into detail about how ridiculous this claim is.

Here is an analogy. Imagine taking a bucket of water, and putting one molecule of a poison in that water, and then giving a teaspoon of water from the bucket to a patient. According to the principles of homeopathy, that teaspoon of water would have a healing effect. You can see, if you are rational, that the teaspoon of water would contain nothing but water, or possibly nothing but water and a single molecule. According to homeopathy, that teaspoon of water would provide a beneficial effect. But every rational person knows that this claim is fraudulent.

If you were to confront a homeopath and claim that he is a fraud, what would he say? He would probably use a defense like this: “You can’t prove a negative. Just because science can’t explain why homeopathy works, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work.”

To any rational person standing outside the bubble of delusion known as homeopathy, that is a ridiculous defense. All that we have to do is perform a series of double-blind tests comparing the effects of a homeopathic solution with plain water. We will find that homeopathic solutions are identical to water in their effects. In that way, homeopathy can be completely debunked. Any rational person would agree with this approach.

Where else have we heard that “you can’t prove a negative” defense? Yes, with Christianity! This is how Christians explain “the power of prayer”. It is also how they explain God’s existence. A typical Christian statement: “Just because there is no evidence for God, that does not mean that he doesn’t exist! You can’t prove a negative!”

Of course you can prove that God is imaginary. You take the Bible, which, supposedly, is the God-produced book and the only source of knowledge about God and Christ. You read the book looking for claims made by God/Jesus. You note all the claims that Jesus makes about prayer, as summarized on this page. Then you test to see if prayer works as described in the Bible. Of course it does not.

A very simple test: Pray to God to heal an amputee. According to many different verses in the Bible, this prayer should work. See this page for details.

Faced with reality, a true Christian will ignore the scientific evidence. He/she will branch out into a thousand rationalizations to explain why God won’t heal amputees, and why all other prayers show no effects.

It is obvious to any rational person that “god” and “prayer” are just as imaginary as homeopathy.

Here is something else to try. Watch the video. In the video, Randi talks about the four principles of homeopathy. By the end of the video you are laughing out loud at the silliness of homeopathy. Now, with that laughing-out-loud mindset, look at this page and its four principles that “explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now, through Jesus Christ”:

How to Know God Personally

You will find that page to have the same laughing-out-loud sort of effect.

If you are a Christian and you would like to break your addiction to an imaginary God, this web site will help:

- Whywontgodhealamputees.com

Christianity Johnson on 07 Oct 2008

Why religion is evil

What is happening in India right now is pure, unadulterated religious evil, fueled by the hatred and partitioning that religion inspires:

- Kandhmal tribals caught in conversion crossfire

- Hindu Fundamentals are Under Attack

The attacks on Christian families, the vandalism of their places of worship, the destruction of homes and livelihoods, and the horrific rapes, mutilations and burning alive that have been reported, have nothing to do with religious beliefs – neither those of the victims nor of their attackers. They are instead part of a contemptible political project whose closest equivalent can in fact be found in the “Indian Mujahideen” bomb blasts in Delhi, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad, which were set to go off in hospitals, marketplaces and playgrounds. Both actions are anti-national; both aim to divide the country by polarising people along their religious identities; and both hope to profit politically from such polarisation.

This paragraph contains a contradiction. On the one hand, the attacks “have nothing to do with religious beliefs.” On the other, the attacks are “polarising people along their religious identities.” Since God is imaginary and all religion is nonsense, you have millions of people fighting each other to the death over nonsense.

People do kill each other for a variety of reasons, including nationality and ethnicity. But religion is a gigantic, artificial cause of discord. Religious differences by their nature cause animosity, because religions are so absurd and so ridiculous, and because each religion has hatred of outsiders at its core.

If you would like to abandon religion and align your life on rationality and non-violence instead, this web site can help:

- Whywontgodhealamputees.com

Christianity Johnson on 07 Oct 2008

What atheists believe and why

Righteousness lines my path to atheism

Christianity Johnson on 06 Oct 2008

Pandering to Christians

In Raleigh, North Carolina, the local paper is called The News and Observer. Every Thursday the paper panders to Christians by publishing the “Faith” section. It is a collection of feature articles focused on religion along with religious advertising. This half-page ad, entitled, “The following businesses encourage you to visit your house of worship this week”, is a regular feature:

Visit your house of worship this week

These businesses believe that by aligning with a followers of religion, they will get more religious customers. Since the definition of Pandering is “a person who caters to or profits from the weaknesses or vices of others”, you can see that both the paper and these businesses are pandering.

The center panel of the ad this week is also interesting:

What if?

It is entitled “What If?”. It promises that “God can take away our worries!” It also promises that God can help us make decisions: “Talk with Him and trust Him with your daily concerns. Why not let go of your ‘What Ifs’?” Examples of What Ifs include:

- “What if I accept this position and Find I can’t handle the responsibility?”

- “What if I marry and choose the wrong partner?”

- “What if I fly to Paris and my plane crashes over the Atlantic ocean?”

So is it true? Can God help Christians make decisions? Let’s focus on the second What If: “What if I marry and choose the wrong partner?” It is a fact that Christians divorce at the same rate (or even a slightly higher rate) as everyone else. So one of two things is happening:

1) Christians forget to ask God for his help in choosing a marriage partner, and, being a jerk, God only provides help when asked.

2) God is deliberately sabotaging Christian marriages by providing the wrong answer when asked for help.

A rational person understands the real problem: God is imaginary. Therefore, when Christians “trust Him with their daily concerns,” there is no “god” to provide an answer. While Christians believe that an all-knowing “god” is speaking to them, all they are really hearing are random hallucinated voices in their heads. The data proves that this is the case.

If you are a Christian and you would like to better understand the fact that God is imaginary, these two web sites can help:

1) Whywontgodhealamputees.com

2) Godisimaginary.com

PS – the recommended Bible verses at the bottom of the panel are also interesting, since all but one come from two of the most insane Old Testament books in the Bible. When confronted with the many absurdities in the Old Testament, many Christians will claim that the Old Testament is not really part of the Bible. But apparently mainstream Christians, and all of these businesses, do believe that the Old Testament is valid. So when the Old Testament says that we need to kill homosexuals, adulterers and everyone who works on the Sabbath, these businesses must believe those verses to be true.

Science Johnson on 05 Oct 2008

Science moment – evolution

60% or more of the adults in American reject the evolution of species. And yet, despite their voluntary ignorance, evolution is occurring all around us. If you would like to chip away at that ignorance and see how scientists look at evolution, this article can help:

What you see is how you evolve

The article puts it this way:

Evolutionary science typically holds that new species are born when populations become isolated from one another, forcing them to adapt differently. The new work is the strongest evidence yet that differences in sensory input — in this case, vision — can give rise to new species.

So now there are two mechanisms for speciation.

Science Johnson on 05 Oct 2008

Science moment – our planet

There are millions of people in the United States who believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old. If you are one of those people and you would like to see how the world looks through the eyes of a scientist, this set of videos can help:

2) 2of5 — Faces of Earth – Building The Planet
3) 3of5 — Faces of Earth – Building The Planet
4) 4of5 — Faces of Earth – Building The Planet
5) 5of5 — Faces of Earth – Building The Planet

Christianity Johnson on 02 Oct 2008

Two examples of EXTREME contradiction in the Christian faith

Theoretically, if you are a Christian, you are supposed to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. But that rarely happens. Instead what we see on a daily basis are examples of Christians doing the opposite of what Jesus teaches. Simple example: Christians go to giant church buildings every Sunday, while Jesus teaches his followers to sell everything and give the money to the poor.

To rational people, these contradictions are startling. How could anyone profess to follow Jesus and then ignore what Jesus says? But to Christians who live inside the Christian Bubble, the contradictions are invisible. It is only in the most extreme and astounding cases that Christians can see the problem. Here are two recent examples:

George Bush:

Catholic Priest:

Priest jailed for sexual assaults

If you are a Christian, can you explain how you live with the constant contradictions? Why don’t you, personally, do exactly what Jesus teaches?

If you are a Christian who is tired of the contradictions, this web site can show you a better way:

- Whywontgodhealamputees.com

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