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Monthly ArchiveJuly 2012



Christianity Thomas on 31 Jul 2012

Where was God in Aurora?

A pastor from Colorado Springs named Rob Brendle has published the following article on CNN:

My Take: This is where God was in Aurora

This is the most interesting and unbelievable part:

The capacity to choose God and goodness came with the commensurate ability to choose evil. Is it loving to force his creation to follow his order, or to teach it and leave the creature to choose? It would seem that God came to the same conclusion that America’s founders did many millennia later: compulsory virtue is no virtue at all.

But Scripture also teaches that God is totally in control. He is all-powerful and all-knowing and he is willing and able to intervene in human events. So there is a gap between human choice and divine foreknowledge, a gap that transcends understanding and that helps define God in my mind.

The debate over this theological tension has persisted for centuries, and I don’t aim to settle it here. Let me suggest simply that God, in his sovereignty, has chosen to make our decisions meaningful. Consequently, much of what happens on earth neither conforms to nor results from his preference. There are at least four influences on human events: God’s will, to be sure; but also the will of Satan, our adversary; peoples’ choices, for better or for worse; and natural law (gravity, collision, combustion, and the like).

It is difficult to know which force causes the circumstances that devastate us. But it is enough to know that God need not be responsible for them.

So let’s see. God gave man free will. AND God also all-powerful and all-knowing. AND God is willing and able to intervene in human events. AND God has his own will. AND Satan has his own will.

In other words, it is a huge pile of contradiction and nonsense, and it ignores the truth – that God is imaginary, without a doubt.

What we find in the world of reality is that things happen without any influence from a “God” or a “Satan”. Things unfold exactly as we would expect in a Godless universe. People get shot in movie theaters and schools. Tsunamis kill hundreds of thousands of people. Cancer kills millions more. Children die of poverty at a rate of 30,000 per day. It rains or doesn’t rain despite the prayers of millions. Christians do not win the lottery more than non-Christians. Etc. Any intelligent person can see and understand this. God is imaginary.

Several of the replied to the article are quite rational. Like this one from Colin:

A few questions should help shed light on the relationship between religion and rational thought.

The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the field of:

(a) Children’s fairytales;

(b) Medieval mythology;

(c) New age pseudo science; or

(d) Christianity

I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am

(a) a delusional schizophrenic;

(b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly

(c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or

(d) your average Christian

Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

(a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

(b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

(c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

(d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.

I believe that an all powerful being, capable of creating the entire cosmos watches me have $ex to make sure I don’t do anything “naughty”. I am

(a) A victim of child molestation

(b) A r.ape victim trying to recover

(c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions

(d) A Christian

You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are a:

(a) historian;

(b) geologist;

(c) NASA astronomer; or

(d) Christian

I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

(a) A failed psychologist

(b) A fraudulent geneticist

(c) A sociologist who never went to college; or

(d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.

The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

(a) Architecture;

(b) Philosophy;

(c) Archeology; or

(d) Religion

What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion:

(a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they must believe under threat of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;

(b) Religion can make a statement, such as “there is one god comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

(c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth; or

(d) All of the above.

If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

(a) a deep psychiatric issue;

(b) an irrational fear or phobia;

(c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

(d) my religious belief.

Or This one:

Top Ten Signs You’re a Christian
10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9 – You feel insulted and “dehumanized” when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the “atrocities” attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in “Exodus” and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in “Joshua” including women, children, and trees!
6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most “tolerant” and “loving.”
3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in “tongues” may be all the evidence you need to “prove” Christianity.
2 – You define 0.01% as a “high success rate” when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

Or this one:

Dear Christians:

God here. I thought I would take the time to personally explain my absence in the Aurora shootings. While I was at it, I thought I would also explain my absence during every murder, massacre and crime that has ever taken place in World history, and in every war, in every famine, drought and flood.

You see, I do not exist. I never have. Did it really make sense to you that I would create an entire Universe with billions of billions of planets and wait about 13,700,000,000 years just so I could focus on a few Jews from Palestine about 2,000 years ago while ignoring the rest of the 200,000,000 people on the planet at the time? Did I make those few Jews or did those few Jews make me?

Further, do you really think I would sit back and do nothing while Nazis killed 6 million of my “chosen people,” but find it important enough to intervene and turn water into wine to stop some hosts being embarrassed at a wedding in Cana? Why did I seem to be so active in the Middle East for a brief period about 2,000 years ago, but totally absent everywhere else on the planet and for the rest of recorded history? Did I make the Jews or did the Jews make me?

So, you really think my periodic miracles prove my existence hey? Then why not something inarguable and unambiguous, like a huge crucifix in the sky, or my face on the moon? Why is it always that believers have to construct my miracles out of perfectly explicable natural events?

This happens every time there is a tragedy or near tragedy of any kind, anywhere in the world and in all cultures. Captain “Sully” Sullenberger pilots a distressed plane to land safely on the Hudson River in New York City with no deaths, and it’s a miracle from God; a young girl is found in India, totally terrorized, but alive after being abducted and ra.ped for a week, and it’s a miracle from my competi.tor Rama (or Vishnu or Shiva) that she is returned to her parents; or a family in Northern Pakistan survives an errant American missile attack, and it’s a miracle from Allah.

What all these self-serving proclamations of miraculous intervention always ignore is the downside of the incidents. The fact that the passengers and crew of Flight 1549 were terrorized and the plane destroyed, that 11 innocent people are dead in Aurora, that the girl was held for seven days, ra.ped and sod.omized and will be traumatized for the rest of her life, or that a number of innocent civilians were killed by the missile.

Of course, none of these incidents really are “miracles.” When the totality of facts are taken into account, “miracles” turn out to be nothing more than believers who are desperate for some sign of my existence ignoring the downside of a set of facts, focusing solely on the upside and calling the quarantined “good” a miracle from me or one of the other sky-fairies. A CEO might as well ignore the liability side of his balance sheet and declare it a “miracle” that his company just doubled in value.

Another annoying habit my “miracles” seem to have is that they always seem to tag along, just behind medical science, like an annoying kid brother who won’t go away. Until the mid nineties, those with AIDS who prayed for a miracle were never granted one. Medical science finds a way to permanently suppress the disease, and all of a sudden I start to perform miracles with AIDS patients. No polio patient ever received a miracle until the Salk vaccine and I routinely ignored cancer patients until chemotherapy and radiation treatments were developed. Suddenly, prayers to me from cancer patients are regularly “answered.”

Why is it that I still seem deaf to the pleadings of amputees who would like their fingers, arms or legs back, to those who have physically lost eyes or ears, to the horribly burned and to all others who ail from patently visible and currently incurable maladies? Why is it that, at the very same time, I am very receptive to the prayers of those whose condition is uncertain, internal and vulnerable to miraculous claims?

Take five minutes to make two lists; one of those ailments I will miraculously cure and the other of those I will not. You will quickly find it coincides perfectly with those conditions medical science (or the human body itself) can defeat and those we cannot. Why do you think that is? It is almost as my miracles are created out of medical ambiguity isn’t it?

No, my human friends. I am afraid I do not exist. I do not read your minds (or “hear your prayers” as you like to call it) and you are not going to achieve immortality (or “eternal life” as you like to call it) no matter how many commandments from Iron Age Palestine you choose to “keep”. Move on and enjoy the few years you have. You were all dead for the last 13,700,000,000 years and it wasn’t that least bit uncomfortable now, was it?

God

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 24 Jul 2012

The insanity of religion, Batman shooting version

This article is notable because so many Christians agree with it

A miracle inside the Aurora shooting: one victim’s story

For any intelligent person, the most amazing part of the article is this section:

It seems as if the bullet traveled through Petra’s brain without hitting any significant brain areas. The doctor explains that Petra’s brain has had from birth a small “defect” in it. It is a tiny channel of fluid running through her skull, like a tiny vein through marble, or a small hole in an oak board, winding from front to rear.  Only a CAT scan would catch it, and Petra would have never noticed it.

But in Petra’s case, the shotgun buck shot, maybe even the size used for deer hunting, enters her brain from the exact point of this defect. Like a marble through a small tube, the defect channels the bullet from Petra’s nose through her brain. It turns slightly several times, and comes to rest at the rear of her brain. And in the process, the bullet misses all the vital areas of the brain. In many ways, it almost misses the brain itself.  Like a giant BB though a straw created in Petra’s brain before she was born, it follows the route of the defect. It is channeled in the least harmful way. A millimeter in any direction and the channel is missed.  The brain is destroyed. Evil wins a round.

As he shares, the doctor seems taken aback. It is an odd thing to have a surgeon show a bit of wonder. Professionally, these guys own the universe, it seems, and take everything in stride. He is obviously gifted as a surgeon, and is kind in his manner. “It couldn’t have gone better. If it were my daughter,” he says quietly, glancing around to see if any of his colleagues might be watching him, “I’d be ecstatic. I’d be dancing a jig.” He smiles. I can’t keep my smile back, or the tears of joy. In Christianity we call it prevenient grace: God working ahead of time for a particular event in the future. It’s just like the God I follow to plan the route of a bullet through a brain long before Batman ever rises. Twenty-two years before.

“In Christianity we call it prevenient grace: God working ahead of time for a particular event in the future.” How does an intelligent person even begin to respond to such nonsense? If there were a God, an intelligent person would note the fact that this god’s “grace” left 12 people dead and dozens injured in this tragedy. To say that a god saved this one women while killing all the others wanders straight into the realm of insanity. Yet millions of Christians somehow agree with it. How is that possible?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 20 Jul 2012

The insanity of religion, God’s Plan version

This is a clear case of religious insanity:

George Zimmerman: “I’m Truly Sorry” But It Was “God’s Plan” For Trayvon Martin To Die

In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, George Zimmerman discussed fatally shooting an unarmed 17-year-old in a controversial Florida confrontation earlier this year. Zimmerman said he didn’t regret what led to Trayvon Martin’s death.

“I feel like it was all God’s plan, and for me to second-guess it or to judge it,” he said.” However, at the end of the interview, he said he didn’t understand Hannity’s question. “I do wish that there was something, anything that I could have done that wouldn’t have put me in the position where I had to take his life.”

Zimmerman also had a message for Martin’s parents: “I’m sorry… I am sorry that they buried their child. I can’t imagine what it must feel like. And I pray for them daily.”

Millions of people talk about “God’s Plan” for any number of reasons. It is obvious that God is imaginary, but for millions of people there is a delusional belief that God is real. For these people: How would anyone know what God’s Plan is? It is when this question is asked that the insanity of religion is laid bare.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 18 Jul 2012

The insanity of religion, HPV version

Imagine that science has discovered a common virus that is known to cause cancer. Now imagine that science has created a vaccine that prevents people from contracting the virus. If you have kids, would you give your children the vaccine? Of course you would. Children get vaccines for many viruses like mumps, measles, polio, etc. as an effective way of protecting them against disease.

But if you are religious, and if the disease is Cervical cancer, and the preventitive step is the HPV vaccination, then all bets are off, as demonstrated by this article:

Girls denied cervical cancer vaccine

in this case, Christian parents are intentionally denying their children protection against a common form of cancer because of their religious delusion. The delusion is so advanced that it has impaired the ability of parents to protect their own children. That is a powerful delusion.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 09 Jul 2012

A commenter named CASTBOUND asks “Why become an atheist?”

In this thread we find a comment from CASTBOUND that he asked this week:

I see no point to the blog or the derision. Why are atheists so interested in converting theists to atheists? All the energy and time put in here must be to convert theists. But why would I want to convert to atheism? My life is very happy, I am well educated and I enjoy God’s creation. If I am wrong how would my belief hurt my future or my prosperity?

Alex seems quite despondent and I certainly want no part of that.

So to sum it up, if atheists just lack belief, why would I want to participate? How would that benefit me?

“Why are atheists so interested in converting theists to atheists?” he asks. By replacing a few words, we can begin to understand the answer. For example:

“Why are non-racists so interested in converting racists to non-racists?”

What’s in it for the non-racist, trying to convert all these racists? CASTBOUND further asks, “if atheists just lack belief, why would I want to participate? How would that benefit me?” It might not directly benefit a racist to convert to a non-racist. But the world becomes a much, much better place if we can eliminate all of the racists by converting them to non-racists. Once racists become non-racists, they understand that better. As racists go through the process of learning about and then eliminating their racism, they see the problems with racism and the advantages of a racism-free world.

The same might be said of sexists: “Why are non-sexists so interested in converting sexists to non-sexists?” The world becomes a much, much better place if we can eliminate all the sexist people by converting them to non-sexists. This post shows how ridiculously sexist Muslims can be. This chapter demonstrates the sexism in Christianity.

The same might be said of homophobes. The world becomes a much, much better place if we can eliminate all the homophobes.

So back to CASTBOUND’s question: “Why are atheists so interested in converting theists to atheists?” It’s because, as a general rule, members of the Christian faith, the Mormon faith and the Muslim faith have a strong tendency to be racist, sexist and homophobic. They are this way because their faith predisposes them to turn off their rational minds and trust what they read in their sacred books. These sacred books openly advocate things like racism, sexism and homophobia, along with many other obviously evil mindsets.

If we can educate Christians, Mormons and Muslims to the point where they abandon their faiths, the rationality they gain in the process of that abandonment is likely to cause them to abandon irrational, unethical, evil mindsets like racism, sexism and homophobia in the process. Our world becomes a much better place.

This is one line of reasoning as to why CASTBOUND and other theists should give up their “faith”. There are many other lines of reasoning as well. Perhaps some of these other lines will be presented in the comments.

If you are a Christian, a Mormon or a Muslim who would like to begin the process of abandoning your delusional faith, this video can help:

Islam Thomas on 06 Jul 2012

An amazing discussion about the oppression of women by the Muslim faith

An extremely powerful image demonstrating the oppression of women by the Muslim faith

Islam’s oppression of women

Interview with the photographer:

Boushra Almutawakel’s work: A photographic exploration of life in Yemen

And a discussion on Reddit:

The Evolution of Extremism: The Vanishing Role of Women in Islamic Society.

Several of the comments:

You often hear Muslims say it is a sign of respect but to me it is a legitimization of rape. If you don’t wear the burqa muslim men have the right to rape you. Says something about muslim men more than it does about the women…

I have to say, it’s much easier being tolerant of Islam before actually visiting an Islamic country than after. Many of the men I talked to were very misogynistic. They were very pushy with women in our group and rarely understood the concept of women telling them no. The idea that the hijab is respectful is bullshit, it’s purely to demonstrate that they are property and without it, the animalistic men would just take them due to their “inability” to control themselves.

what’s scary is how this extremism is spreading into western culture. for example women in the full black dress and eye veil (second to last image) are very prevalent where I am from in England. Women fought for the right to be equal here and this extremism is offensive and shouldn’t be allowed.