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Saturday, February 26, 2011

God's Plan

This is a powerful example of how the bible makes no sense. It comes from a website called Why won't God heal amputees?

If you are a Christian, you are extremely familiar with “God’s plan.” This is the way that Christians traditionally explain things like amputations, cancer, hurricanes and car accidents.

You can see how pervasive “God’s plan” is by looking in Christian inspirational literature. For example, if we look in the book A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, we find this remarkable paragraph in Chapter 2:
Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!” [Psalm 139:16]

There is also this:
Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you.
Under this view of the universe, God plans everything.
Take a moment and think about what Rick Warren said. Rick said, “He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death.” Let’s examine one simple implication of this statement. What this means is that God pre-planned every abortion that has taken place on our planet.
If you think about this implication for a few moments, you will begin to realize how impossible “God’s plan” is. If the concept of “God’s plan” is true, you can first of all see that God wants us to be aborting children. Every single abortion is planned by God, so God must be doing it for a reason.

Second, you can see that both the mother who requests the abortion and the doctor who performs it are blameless. Since it is God who planned the abortion of the child (God chose the “exact time” of the death, according to Rick Warren), the mother and doctor are simply puppets who are fulfilling God’s plan. You can also see that all the Christians who are fighting against abortion are missing the point. They are actually fighting against God’s plan, and their fight is completely futile. God is the all-powerful ruler of the universe, and his plan is for more than a million children a year to die in the United States through abortion. [ref] Each one of those abortions was meticulously planned by God, so fighting against abortion is a totally wasted effort.

If you are a Christian, what you are thinking is, “God does not intend for us to perform abortions!” But if you believe what Rick is saying, then you are obviously incorrect. God is actually the direct cause of every abortion on earth. If you find that notion to be uncomfortable, I would agree with you. Unfortunately, that is the logical outcome of God’s plan.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cops shut down Ga. Girl Scout cookie stand

This article describes perfectly the insanity that has overtaken our nation. Girl Scouts were accosted by a police officer because they were selling cookies without a permit. They should not need a permit. It is actions like this that make people hate their government. And sadly, this is not an isolated situation. You read about similar occurrences far too often. In my humble opinion, this cop should find a different line of work. He does not demonstrate the type of logical reasoning that we need from the first line of defense on the street.

Coach and player altercation‏

This is a link to a video where a college basketball coach strikes and kicks one of his players during a practice. It is completely outrageous. The coach is trying to claim it was to motivate the players, but the video clearly shows he was attacking the player. This coach should be fired and banned from the sport.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Middle Finger

Isn't history more fun when you know something about it?

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory
over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured
English soldiers,

Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned
English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the

This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree, and
the act of drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew" (or
"pluck yew").

Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset
and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the
defeated French, saying, See, we can still pluck yew!

Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant
cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodentals
fricative F', and thus the words often used in conjunction with the

It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the
longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as "giving the bird."

And yew thought yew knew everything!

Things not to say at work.

1. I can see your point, but I still think you're full of shit.

2. I don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.

3. How about never? Is never good for you?

4. I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.

5. I'm really easy to get along with once you people learn to see it my way.

6. I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter.

7. I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message.

8. I don't work here. I'm a consultant.

9. It sounds like English, but I can't understand a damn word you're saying.

10. A hhh...I see the screw-up fairy has visited us again...

11. I like you. You remind me of myself when I was young and stupid.

12. You are validating my inherent mistrust of strangers.

13. I have plenty of talent and vision; I just don't give a damn.

14. I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.

15. I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you

16. Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.

17. The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.

18. Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.

19. What am I? Flypaper for freaks!?

20. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.

21. It's a thankless job, but I've got a lot of Karma to burn off.

22. And your crybaby whiny-assed opinion would be...?

23. Do I look like a people person?

24. This isn't an office. It's Hell with fluorescent lighting.

25. I started out with nothing & still have most of it left.

26. Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.

27. If I throw a stick, will you leave?

28. Errors have been made. Others will be blamed.

29. Whatever kind of look you were going for, you mis sed.

30. I'm trying to imagine you with a personality.

31. A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door.

32. Can I trade this job for what's behind door #1?

33. Too many freaks, not enough circuses.

34. Nice perfume/cologne. Must you marinate in it?

35 Chaos, panic, & disorder-my work here is done.

36. How do I set a laser printer to stun?

37. I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted a salary.

38. Who lit the fuse on your tampon?

39. Oh I get it... like humor... but different

Zen sarcasm

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.

14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

17. Duct tape is like 'The Force.' It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

19. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

22. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

If there was a Heaven

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He wondered where the road was leading them. After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got  closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"
"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered. "Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked. "Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open. "Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets." The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

"Excuse me!" he called to the man. "Do you have any water?" "Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in." "How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog. "There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree. "What do you call this place?" the traveler asked. "This is Heaven," he answered.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's Hell." "Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?" "No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."

Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this will explain. When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do? You forward jokes.

When you have nothing to say, but still want to keep contact, you forward jokes.

When you have something to say, but don't know what, and don't know how, you forward jokes.

Also to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke. So, next time if you get a joke, don't think that you've been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you've been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile.

You are all welcome at my water bowl anytime .

Giving 100%

What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?
Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.



8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%


K -N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E

11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%



1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%


B-U-L-L -S-H-I-T

2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

A-S-S-K-I-S-S -I-N-G

1+19+19+11+9+19+19+ 9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that While
Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, it's the Bullshit and Ass Kissing that will put you over the top.

Wisconsin lawmakers

I find it amazing that the Democrats in Wisconsin have fled the state to avoid allowing a quorum in the government so that a vote on the bill to restrict public unions can occur. They should be fired for deserting their jobs. What other profession allows you to not show up and still keep your job? Oh yeah, union employees.

Actually, they need to start a recall of these politicians. I was so amused this morning. I heard on the Stephanie Miller radio show someone saying that the Republican lawmakers needed to be recalled. Let’s see, the voters elected Republicans that ran on a platform of restricting the unions and have placed up for a vote a bill to do that very thing. The Democrats flee the state to shut down the government and somehow we should be upset with the Republicans. We truly are living in a Bizarro universe.

"The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. Yes, public workers may demand fair treatment. But--- militant tactics have no place" [in the public sector]. - Franklin D Roosevelt

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The fight of the century.

And they come out swinging. Protestant vs. Catholic in a no holds barred, barefisted knuckle fight. Protestant throws out a left jab with the absurdity of the RCC rules and follows up with a hay maker calling the RCC a false church. However, Catholic stands his ground and throws back with a powerful right cross of Christ himself establishing the RCC and the first Pope. Two mighty warriors, slugging it out for the title belt of Who does Jesus like more.

This looks like an epic fight, and we will be right here reporting it for you. Ouch, Protestant leads with a smashing blow of evil papacy and priests molesting children. That one had to hurt. But Catholic is standing firm. He launches several body blows with Evangelical preachers involved in scandals. Truly a fight for the history books, which is of course, what they are fighting to claim control of. This is a fight that is going to go the distance. It is exciting to be part of this historic battle. Catholic throws an uppercut to jaw with sheer number of believers. Protestant responds with a blow to the kidneys with the Inquisition.

As the bloody fighters circle around each other, looking for an opening, there is a commotion in the background. What could be happening? Wow, this is a surprise. The judges have called off the match because it turns out that the title belt of Who does Jesus like more is based on a myth. Therefore, the fight is completely pointless. The fighters are being retired and rational thinking has actually won the day.

When Catholics and Protestants start arguing over who has the right version of god, it is like listening to people argue over if the Golden Age Superman or Modern Day Superman is the one true Superman.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Let us cut to the chase. An abortion does kill a human being. So, does war, police actions, the death penalty and walking across the street at the wrong time. People die every day in this world due to the actions of others. But the fetus is completely innocent, and was murdered, right? Not really. Murder is a legal term and the courts do not accept that ending a pregnancy is murder. But could the courts be wrong? Of course they could, but they have weighed the evidence and that is the current law of the land.

There are many reasons why people get abortions. Among these reasons are a mothers life at risk and a fetus that is not sustainable. There are also reasons that many people consider less relevant. I would have no issue with restrictions that would impact the abortions done for convenience. But would that actually stop someone from getting an abortion if there were restrictions?  Or perhaps we should we outlaw all abortions? We tried that once. Many women, especially rich women, simply went to countries that allowed abortion. Should only rich women have the "right" to choose, which is actually based on their economics?

No one likes abortion. But it is understood that it is a procedure that will happen and needs to happen in some circumstances. It needs to be legal, safe and rare.

The better option is that a woman does not get pregnant. Pro-life people should embrace birth control. However, the same people who scream about abortion, scream about birth control. This makes no sense. People will have sex. Our grandparents did, our parents did, and so do most adults living now. If people feel abortion is a horrible procedure, then stop trying to prevent viable alternatives.

It is also hypocritical to say that abortion is against the will of the biblical god. That is simply not true. The biblical god had no issues with abortion and infanticide.


Hosea 9:11-16 Hosea prays for God’s intervention. “Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer. Give them, 0 Lord: what wilt thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. . .Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.” Clearly Hosea desires that the people of Ephraim can no longer have children. God of course obeys by making all their unborn children miscarry. Is not terminating a pregnancy unnaturally “abortion”?

Numbers 5:11-21 The description of a bizarre, brutal and abusive ritual to be performed on a wife SUSPECTED of adultery. This is considered to be an induced abortion to rid a woman of another man’s child.

20 But if you have gone astray while under your husband’s authority, and if you have defiled yourself and some man other than your husband has lain with you”— 21 then the priest shall put the woman under the oath of the curse, and he shall say to the woman—“the LORD make you a curse and an oath among your people, when the LORD makes your thigh rot and your belly swell; 22 and may this water that causes the curse go into your stomach, and make your belly swell and your thigh rot.”
Then the woman shall say, “Amen, so be it.”
In this first section God himself (also known as the Lord) performs the abortion at the request of the priest. Make no mistake about it, “your thigh rot” can certainly be translated to read “causes you to have a miscarrying womb and barrenness”. Look it up in your NIV, it’s a footnote on the bottom. Thigh can also be read at uterus, since obviously there are no thighs in the belly.
So the Bible actually says that God himself is to perform the abortions in these cases.

Numbers 31:17 (Moses) “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every women that hath known man by lying with him.” In other words: women that might be pregnant, which clearly is abortion for the fetus.

Hosea 13:16 God promises to dash to pieces the infants of Samaria and the “their women with child shall be ripped up”. Once again this god kills the unborn, including their pregnant mothers.

2 Kings 15:16 God allows the pregnant women of Tappuah (aka Tiphsah) to be “ripped open”. And the Christians have the audacity to say god is pro-life. How and the hell is it that Christians can read passages where God allows pregnant women to be murdered, yet still claim abortion is wrong?


1 Samuel 15:3 God commands the death of helpless "suckling" infants. This literally means that the children god killed were still nursing.

Psalms 135:8 & 136:10 Here god is praised for slaughtering little babies.

Psalms 137:9 Here god commands that infants should be “dashed upon the rocks”.

And let us not forget the  number of miscarriages that occur each year.

Sources vary, but many estimate that approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage; and some estimates are as high as 1 in 3. If you include loss that occurs before a positive pregnancy test, some estimate that 40% of all conceptions result in loss. That makes god the greatest abortionist in the world.

Now, I am sure some of you will protest that god can do what he wants to us. However, it is amusing that you say he can do want he wants with what he creates, but we cannot do what we want with what we create. Nice double standard.  But, if he is all powerful and all knowing, he could make sure only good, viable sperm and eggs combine. He could make sure all pregnancies end up successfully. But he does not do that. (Most likely because he does not exist) But that is not the action of someone concerned about people. That is someone indifferent to the pain people experience when a miscarriage occurs. Which sounds exactly like an imaginary deity. Or a sadist.

A rebuttal over whether god is justified in killing all of mankind in a flood.

Here is another conversation with a theist over the idea that god was justified to kill everyone in a worldwide flood. I had actually initially said that god murdered people, allowed slavery and allowed rape. You tell me who has the better argument. There was some minor back and forth without much meat in the initial statements when we first started communicating, so I have left those out for the convenience of space and time.


Jeff, Okay, I’ll watch the condescending attitude. Thanks. I’ll answer your question directly then. To keep things from getting over complicated, I’ll take the most serious charge: Murder.

Most of us understand the principle that one has the right to do what they think is best with that which is theirs. We also understand, though less so in recent years, that true authorities are just when they met out appropriate punishments for offenses. God is justified on at least two counts for His extermination of the entire human race, less Noah and his family.

First, God is the maker of all things, including us. As the apostle Paul argues in the New Testament, a potter may do as he wishes with the things he creates from his clay. Vessels that he considers to be inferior or flawed he is free to dispose of and no one can rightfully say to him, “You have no right to do this.” It’s his stuff. God made us and we belong to Him. He is free to unmake us if He chooses because someone can do what he wishes with that which is his.

Secondly, God is justified in that the pre-flood population had become exceedingly corrupt and turned their backs on God. They were in fact hostile toward God. Most people would still understand if a man raising hamsters as pets destroyed one that turned out to be vicious. He arranges to bring it into the world. He carefully feeds it and provides everything it needs. If it refuses to be handled, turns and bites him every chance it gets, it’s gone, and few outside of PETA would say he acted wrongly. It is ungrateful, displeasing (dangerous actually), and altogether useless. Most men wouldn’t think twice about stepping on a scorpion if he found one in his home. A vile, insensible, unloving, and unlovable creature that would send him or his children to the hospital as soon one of them unknowingly contacted it. Crush it underfoot without guilt or remorse.

Read the Bible from cover to cover and the crux of the story is that God created man, man turned on God, but God arranged a way to rescue man from his corruption and rebellion. This is nevertheless offensive to mind still set on human autonomy. What few understand is that the gap between humans and God is far wider in every way than the gap between humans and scorpions. That message lowers us, and offends the pride of man. It is nevertheless true.

But what about God’s love, you’ll say? That’s where the gospel comes in. Ungrateful, hateful wretches that we were and are, God’s love found a way to satisfy holy justice (offences demand punishment) and extend mercy without compromising justice. He sent His own Son to suffer and pay the penalty that was due to us. It is like I had committed serious crimes that demanded incarceration and/or a fine so large that it would ruin me for life, and a man suddenly stepped forward and offered to pay my fine so that I would not suffer the punishment rightly due to me. If we understood how perfect, magnificent, and holy God is, and how terribly far we’ve fallen, we would understand that it’s the best deal of eternity. Which is why the apostle wrote: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation.”

Here is my response-

Perfect, thank you for being direct. Here is the flaw in your post.

First, You claim that god has complete dominion over mankind. Fine, let us accept that premise. Now the standard model of the biblical god is that he is all knowing, all powerful and omniscient. If god is all knowing, he knew before he created us that he would destroy all of mankind in the Flood. Our free will is meaningless, because the game was rigged. It did not matter what choices we made, what progress we achieved, god already knew before mankind was created that we would become depraved and he would wipe us all out in a flood. That is premeditated murder.

Second, You claim that god is justified in that the pre-flood population had become exceedingly corrupt and turned their backs on God. However, god did not just kill adults, or adults and teenagers or adults, teenagers and children. He sent a flood that killed every single person in the world, which includes one week old infants. Have you ever had a child? I have had two and I can guarantee you that a one week old infant is not capable of turning his back to god. (Actually, how does anyone turn their back on an omnipresent deity?) Ah, but all of mankind was so full of sin, including one week old infants that god had no choice, right? Have you ever looked into the eyes of a one week old infant? There is no sin, no deception, no evil thoughts. Besides, god allows Noah's family to live. Now Noah was allowed to live because he was a righteous man. But why was his family allowed to live? They were not righteous. They were as sinful as all the rest of humanity. Are you going to try and argue that a one week old infant was sinning more than Noah's family? Because you and I both know that is completely absurd. It is actually absurd to say that Noah was more righteous than a one week old infant, but lets just stay with Noah's family. Why did they get a pass? In what way, was their sin acceptable to god, while every single other person deserved to be killed in a flood? God is now playing favorites. He is allowing one entire family to survive, even though all but one of the family deserved to die the same as the rest of humanity. In what what way does this confirm that god is just?

Third, you use a comparison that god is justified since he is killing bad people, similar to killing rabid pets. (Yes, I know you did not say rabid) Here is your statement. " Most people would still understand if a man raising hamsters as pets destroyed one that turned out to be vicious. He arranges to bring it into the world. He carefully feeds it and provides everything it needs. If it refuses to be handled, turns and bites him every chance it gets, it’s gone, and few outside of PETA would say he acted wrongly."

Except that once again, you gloss over the fact that god is all knowing. If the man in your example "knew" beforehand that the hamsters would turn on him and he would have no choice except to kill them, then they would question why he brought them into the world in the first place. What your argument completely neglects is that god "knew" everything before it occurred. As I said, this was premeditated murder. Also, it is not just that god killed the bad hamster. To complete your analogy, you would have to admit that he also kills all but 8 hamsters in the entire world because they were all depraved. People would certainly question if EVERY SINGLE HAMSTER in the world deserved to be wiped out. Which takes us back to the idea that one week old infants or hamsters are not doing anything that deserves complete annihilation.

Finally, you ask about gods love. Well, what about it? The god of the bible does not show any love, he demonstrates vengeance. And I am sorry to say, those two words are not interchangeable.


Jeff, I will do my feeble best to reply to the first score which is the dilemma of man’s free will and responsibility and God’s omniscience. As a critic you’re to be commended for finding what is perhaps the most difficult and divisive issue of the Christian faith. If one can successfully diffuse this, the other objections are comparatively easy. The pursuit of the answer to this has probably created the deepest divisions in the Christian world. So, my answer will probably only reflect the views of some Christians.
We know that man’s will must be real and important otherwise the frequent call for repentance would be meaningless. God has given man a will and the responsibility to exercise it rightly. At the same time you are correct that the Bible does describe God has being omniscient and sovereign over all things. It is a deep and difficult paradox. We can also say that it is something of a mystery, a mystery being something that God understands but man can not. The Bible speaks of “the mystery of iniquity.” Iniquity is not sin, but the deep propensity to sin.
So, then, having admitted that even if I do my best, there is likely to be some mystery, I want to say first, that the fact that God knew beforehand that man would sin, does not logically negate man having the free will to choose and therefore be responsible for his choice. This is especially true before sin came into the world, for Adam could not claim to be unduly influenced by a sin nature. Nor must it logically follow that God is implicated in man’s failure. The Bible says God created man “upright, but he has found out many devices.” The fact that God knew beforehand what man would do, does not excuse man for doing it anyway. Put simply, foreknowledge does not logically negate responsibility. If I know my son well enough to know that he’s probably going to steal change off my dresser, he’s still morally responsible for committing the act. Of course, this analogy like all analogies, breaks down at some point.
I have four children and I understand what you are saying about small children. The Bible itself seems to acknowledge this to some degree in that it uses phrases like “before the child is old enough to choose good or evil.” On the other hand I think there is ample evidence to say that the idea of complete innocence of children is a myth. While very young children may not have the same responsibility as adults, it should be clear to any observant parent that even infants are capable of having a sin nature. Infants needn’t be taught to exercise selfish rage, for example, and anyone who has run a day care can tell you that toddlers are capable of cruelty. I’ve seen two year olds bite, gouge, and otherwise savage other two year olds. I am persuaded by this and other things that, while full responsibility may not come till later, iniquity, or “the sin nature” begins at conception.
I think it’s important to realize while thinking of this question of the judgement on the prediluvian race, that though God ended the temporal lives of the entire population, the Bible does not say that God damned the entire population. Understanding this and that fact that temporal life is but a very short chapter in human existence could help solve the part about the children. In other words it is possible that though God ended the temporal lives of the entire population, children who were not yet morally accountable could have obtained eternal life. And this would actually be a great mercy if those children were otherwise doomed to grow up in a pagan culture that would lead them to adult transgressions and adult consequences.
Noah was indeed a very righteous and obedient man. He exercised incredible trust and obedience, building a huge vessel in a location where there was no large body of standing water in an age before there was even rain! And over a period of probably hundreds of years, he continued laboring on what seemed like a huge farce to his neighbors. while trying to persuade them to change their ways. And all this while the all his neighbors abused and ridiculed him. His sons, were apparently faithful as well as they helped him through the entire ordeal. This perhaps explains why Noah’s family “got a pass” as you say. It wasn’t an arbitrary choice on God’s part, but an acknowledgment and recompense for their manifest faith and love toward God. As for week-old infants, God sees not only the heart, but knows perfectly the trajectory that a person’s heart will take him. Experience tells us that when a man is corrupt, his corruption is usually transferred to his children. When that is magnified over generations, the situation grows far worse. When an entire nation, or in this case, an entire RACE (except Noah and his family) goes bad, the thing reaches a negative, synergistic critical mass. It seems that there was nothing left to do but wash away the entire mess and start over. If it had continued, perfect justice would have demanded more severity over a ever widening population. The destruction was merciful.
Going back to the hamster analogy, in our case the entire population of hamsters save one line, DID go bad. Yes, I too wonder why God didn’t arrange things differently. I wonder why He didn’t tweak the creation so that all that carnage would have been unnecessary. But for myself and others who have true faith, the things we don’t understand do not overwhelm our trust and confidence in the things we do believe. If a child has good and loving parents, there will nevertheless be times when he does not understand or agree with some of their decisions. For most children that’s putting it mildly. But if the child has come to love and trust his parents because of the many good and trustworthy things he has seen in them, he will suspend his disbelief, trusting that his parents’ reasons will someday become clear to him. You choose to look at reasons to doubt; I look at the reasons to trust and believe.
Concerning the love of God, the Bible does not say that God loves the entire human race. It says that all mankind has fallen and become profoundly hostile toward Him. It says that He made a way, a very costly way, to save some of them (Some Christians, including me would say it will be the overwhelming majority of mankind.). “While we were yet enemies, Christ died for us.” If you disparage God’s love, then let me ask you: Are you that loving? Would you give your life for your enemies? I hope you don’t consider me an enemy, but if I needed a heart transplant and there was no other way, would you offer yourself or your son to save me? Such is the love of God to the elect who love and place their trust in Him.
To those who pledge their enduring hatred toward Him, there is vengeance. How can we understand this? As I intimated previously, all human analogies fail to comprehend the breadth and depth of the situation, but we still try. If you were the most worthy of human fathers who raised your children treating them with nothing but love and kindness, and some of your children subsequently disavowed you, became corrupt and abominable, completely disrespected you and looked for ways to openly offend you and your deepest values, we’d all say those children where ungrateful wretches who deserved every bad thing that would surely come upon them. But, “Aha!” you’ll say. If that would happen I (Put “I” in bold, red letter, underlined italics here.) wouldn’t seek to kill them!” And this is where the analogy, and all human analogies break down when it comes to understanding God’s judgement. We would all agree that the children spoken of in the story have acted badly and are deserving of consequences, But because God is infinitely more worthy than any human father could be, our treachery is infinitely worse and calls for infinitely higher consequences to satisfy justice. Our problem is that we have difficulty understanding, or perhaps don’t WANT to understand that God is not just one of us guys. We want to drag Him up to the bar of HUMAN justice, impose upon Him HUMAN standards, and condemn Him if He doesn’t conform to OUR human conceptions of right behavior. If He were one of us, if there were no moral distinction between us and Him, that might be appropriate. But that most emphatically is not the case. So much is this so, that I am uncomfortable about speaking in His defense, as if He needed a human to defend Him. I hope you’ll mark it well — The root or our failure to apprehend the truth on this score is our failure to apprehend His infinite worthiness and how evil this makes our rejection of Him.

My reply-

Opponent says: "We know that man’s will must be real and important otherwise the frequent call for repentance would be meaningless.

We actually do not know that man’s will must be real. You need to believe that is the case in order to maintain a certain worldview. If the biblical god is a myth, as I believe, then the concept of free will as accepted by Christians is simply fiction. All your other arguments fall apart if the biblical god is a myth. So, at the end of the day, we are faced with the real question. Is the biblical god real?

There are numerous reasons why I can say with certainty that he is not real.

First, the stories of the bible have been shown to be false from biology, history and astronomy. If the stories are false, then they did not come from god, but men who made them up. Jesus said he confirmed the stories. Therefore, we know he is not all knowing and is not god.

Second, there are many stories in the bible that can be sourced to older religions and cultures. Instead of the bible being the written and inspired word of god, it is simply a rehash of stories created by men. The Epic of Gilgamesh, is the basis for the much of the story of Adam and Eve as well as the Flood of Noah. The stories of Jesus come from a number of different and older man-god religions, such as Buddha, Krishna, Horus and Mithra. The story of Moses came in part from the story of Hammurabi.Christians act as if these stories are new and original. A thousand years ago, when people could not read and the church was in control of all knowledge, this idea was easy to promote. However, it does not take much time to Google search these stories and find out that their origins are man made.

Third, as I mentioned, the story of Jesus is a retelling of other god-man myths from other, older religions. Stories repackaged for a new audience. Krishna, Buddha, Mithra and Horus are all examples of the man-god myth from different religions. These are all from older religions, yet they encompass many of the same elements as Christianity. It seems odd that so many other religions describe the elements of Christianity before Jesus was supposed to have existed. Christians try to explain this away by stating that these other religions actually copied Christianity. A rather odd explanation when the other religions are older than Christianity. My favorite is when they say Satan created the other religions to confuse mankind.

Fourth, there is no evidence that Jesus even existed. No one has the slightest physical evidence to support a historical Jesus; no artifacts, dwelling, works of carpentry, or self-written manuscripts. All claims about Jesus derive from writings of other people. There occurs no contemporary Roman record that shows Pontius Pilate executing a man named Jesus. Devastating to historians, there occurs not a single contemporary writing that mentions Jesus. All documents about Jesus came well after the life of the alleged Jesus from either: unknown authors, people who had never met an earthly Jesus, or from fraudulent, mythical or allegorical writings

If there is no Jesus, there is nothing to base Christianity on. He has to be real and god for all of this to be true. It was easy to promote the idea that Jesus existed when the church was in complete control of the western world. They simply killed dissenters. However, it is more difficult now. So, the ball is in your court. You need to prove Jesus existed and is god.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

It is just a theory

One thing I hear repeatedly from theists is that evolution is a "just a theory". In their mind, this means it is nothing more than a guess. This is what it means in everyday usage, that it means an idea, a guess, something to consider. What many of them do not understand is that the term theory in science means something different than how it is used in everyday conversation. 

What is a scientific theory? It means that a falsifiable hypothesis has passed EVERY SINGLE test. It means that predictions by the hypothesis always, in every single case, conform to the theory. It means the hypothesis explains the facts accurately. Only those ideas which pass this test are referred to as theories by scientists. And Evolution has passed every test assigned to it. Let me repeat that. It has passed EVERY test. Does that mean we know everything about Evolution? No, not at all. But there are many accepted theories that we do not fully understand. In fact, we do not FULLY understand any theory. But what is really interesting is that Evolution actually has more evidence than any other theory.

However, no matter how times this is pointed out to them, they retort, it is a theory, not a fact. This is another idea that is misunderstood by the general public. Evolution actually is a fact. However, it is not a law. Theories never become laws. Isn't that a problem for the validity of the idea? Actually, no, There are other theories that are very well known that are completely accepted. It is also somewhat misleading. Because, although Evolution and Gravity are theories, they are also describing things that are facts.
Gravity is a fact. And gravitational theory explains this fact.
Disease is a fact. Germ theory explains this fact.
That life evolves is a fact. The theory of evolution explains this fact.

They also want to argue that theories are incomplete because they are not laws. However, theories can not become laws, because the purpose of a theory is different from a law.

A theory explains a law. The law of gravity states that there is gravity- this is clearly a fact, and is concrete. Einstein's theory of gravity (or whichever theory is currently supported) explains how gravity works. Theories can be replaced if another, better explanation is formed. New theories do not need to be radically different from their predecessors, and can simply be modifications (although if the modification is very slight, it may still be considered the same theory).

So, the next time someone tries to dismiss Evolution for being "just a theory", proudly let them know you appreciate the vote of confidence.

The Jesus Christ show

In Southern California, there is a radio show that is on Sunday mornings called the Jesus Christ show. The host, who plays the role of Jesus, takes calls and answers questions as if he really was Jesus. I have turned it on occasionally as I am driving around, and there are always callers on the show who go along and interact with him as if he really was Christ.

I have admit, it has always puzzled me who the audience is for this show. The ratings for the show always seem to be good. I can't imagine that atheists or people of other religions would care what this persons opinion was. Obviously, since he is not Jesus, his opinion is no different than any other person, albeit, that he probably has a background in scriptures. I also cannot imagine that Christians play along with this. I would think they would be outraged that someone is pretending to be their lord. However, the calls I have heard seem to be from Christians.

If there are any Christians who listen to this show, can you explain why you are not upset with this premise?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I am in the wrong business

Rt Hon David Miliband MP
Secretary of State,
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR

16 May 2007

Dear Secretary of State,

My friend, who is in farming at the moment, recently received a cheque for £3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing pigs. I would now like to join the "not rearing pigs" business.

In your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to rear pigs on, and which is the best breed of pigs not to rear? I want to be sure I approach this endeavour in keeping with all government policies, as dictated by the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy.

I would prefer not to rear bacon pigs, but if this is not the type you want not rearing, I will just as gladly not rear porkers. Are there any advantages in not rearing rare breeds such as Saddlebacks or Gloucester Old Spots, or are there too many people already not rearing these?

As I see it, the hardest part of this programme will be keeping an accurate record of how many pigs I haven't reared. Are there any Government or Local Authority courses on this?

My friend is very satisfied with this business. He has been rearing pigs for forty years or so, and the best he ever made on them was £1,422 in 1968. That is - until this year, when he received a cheque for not rearing any.

If I get £3,000 for not rearing 50 pigs, will I get £6,000 for not rearing 100?

I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 pigs not raised, which will mean about £240,000 for the first year. As I become more expert in not rearing pigs, I plan to be more ambitious, perhaps increasing to, say, 40,000 pigs not reared in my second year, for which I should expect about £2.4 million from your department. Incidentally, I wonder if I would be eligible to receive tradable carbon credits for all these pigs not producing harmful and polluting methane gases?

Another point: These pigs that I plan not to rear will not eat 2,000 tonnes of cereals. I understand that you also pay farmers for not growing crops. Will I qualify for payments for not growing cereals to not feed the pigs I don't rear?

I am also considering the "not milking cows" business, so please send any information you have on that too. Please could you also include the current Defra advice on set aside fields? Can this be done on an e-commerce basis with virtual fields (of which I seem to have several thousand hectares)?

In view of the above you will realise that I will be totally unemployed, and will therefore qualify for unemployment benefits.

I shall of course be voting for your Party at the next general election.

Yours faithfully,

Nigel Johnson-Hill

(I wish I could take credit for this, but it is just too funny not to post. - jwd)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Was Judas really the bad guy?

We all know the story. Jesus was betrayed by Judas to the authorities. That, of course, makes Judas the bad guy. Jesus gets to wear the white hat in this storyline. However, let's think through the elements of this story. Jesus, according to Christians, is God. He is an omnipresent, all knowing, all powerful deity. The concept of an all knowing god gets glossed over by many. If Jesus is truly all knowing, he knew Judas would betray him. In fact, the story makes that very point. However, since Jesus knew Judas would betray him, all he had to do was be somewhere else when the authorities showed up. In fact, if Jesus never wanted to be found, he would know where the perfect hiding place to hide out every day to avoid capture by the authorities. Therefore, obviously, Jesus wanted Judas to betray him. He needed that so he could die on the Cross. All Judas is doing is fulfilling his part of the master plan. How does that make Judas the bad guy? He is actually crucial in making sure Jesus dies for Mankind. This also shows us that Judas had no choice in the matter. He HAD to betray Jesus. Which of course, completely destroys the concept of free will. If Judas had not betrayed Jesus, then Jesus would not have died for our sins. If Judas had no choice in the matter, why do we blame him? I would say Judas is not the bad guy in this story. He is the patsy.

Now that also opens up an interesting line of questions. Why did Jesus have to die on the Cross? The point is that he died and then comes back. So, why couldn't Jesus die of old age and then come back? What is the difference in how he dies? The point is not how he dies but that he is resurrected. If Jesus lived a full life and dies of natural causes, and then comes back three days later in his 20 year old body, does that not make the same point about his defying death? Now, obviously it is not as visually compelling as the whipping and the nails through the wrists and ankles, but it still accomplishes the same ultimate end. Jesus is all knowing. Therefore, he knows everything that is going to occur. He knows he will be resurrected. He knows he will be back on Earth in three days after he dies. So, why does he have to go through with the pain of the crucifixion?

Simple answer. It makes for more interesting storytelling. People are not as involved with the story if he dies in his sleep. He has to die in agony in order for the story to generate sympathy. The more detailed answer is that the story was borrowed from other god-man myths and the writers were not creative enough to come up with a new concept.

This is sales, showmanship, making sure the audience gets its full value. But it is not real history.

If the Jewish authorities, with their own agents, really had wanted to arrest a Jesus, supposedly a guru drawing vast crowds, they certainly would not have needed to hire an inside informer to identify the charismatic leader. Nor is it creditable that 'big money' would have been paid for (of all things) a kiss of the doomed messiah (Mark 14.44). The theological symbolism is as apparent as the history is bogus.
The mythic "Judas" was a Gentile/Hellenistic creation of the early 2nd century, an eponymous focus for the anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism of the early Church. "Iscariot" appears to have been taken from the name of a rebel group called Sicarii, Jewish assassins who used sicae (small daggers), who were largely exterminated shortly before the first Jewish war.

Ignatius, writing his epistles about 115, made no mention of a Judas Iscariot, but then, nor did he mention any 'disciples' (Paul and Peter are called 'apostles', that is, missionaries – like himself).

But with a theologically necessary betrayal by 'a Jew/the Jews' the divine saviour passes, body and soul, into the possession of the Gentiles.

In their disposal of Judas, the hapless traitor of the Lord – how could he help it, he had been entered by Satan?! (Luke 22.3) – the Christian scribblers get quite carried away.

Sharia law

One of the big stories over the past few months deals with whether or not Sharia law is a legal issue that the USA needs to be worried about.  The issue has already come up for a vote in Oklahoma. Oklahoma voters by a 70-30 percent margin passed a ballot question that barred “state courts from considering international or Islamic law when deciding cases.” However, this law  was blocked by an injunction issued just a few weeks later by federal judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange. The judge argued that the Sharia ban was unconstitutional because it violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment and unfairly singled out Muslims. I disagree with her opinion.

So, just what is Sharia law? Sharia is the entire body of Islamic law. The term literally means "the way to the water source." It is a wide-ranging body of law and personal rules, regulating matters of jurisprudence, hygiene, politics, business, banking, family, sexuality, diet, and society. It is meant to serve as the governing principle both within the Muslim world and for Muslims living outside it. Covering a wide array of subjects, the Sharia requires years of dedicated study to master. However, some of its better known requirements are simple and easy to explain. Sharia law dictates the Halal, or the famous Muslim dietary laws that prohibit the consumption of pork and alcohol, among other things. Sharia also requires the use of the right hand for eating and drinking, mostly because it is common practice to use the left hand for cleansing after defecation. Sharia describes the major Islamic religious festivals, such as Eid il-Fitr. Sharia also contains the famous dictate of verse 9:29: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." This law is generally interpreted as requiring Muslims to bring non-Muslims under their political domination, but to be tolerant of other religions that exist under their rule. However, the Jizya, or tax on non-Muslims, is required.

So, is this something we should fear? I do not know that I would say we should fear it, but we certainly should not embrace it. The laws of the USA are grounded in our Constitution. These laws have established one of the most successful and prosperous societies the world has ever known. Are Islamic societies good examples we should imitate? They are actually some of the most backward and repressive societies in the world. What possible benefit would be get by adopting these barbaric rules and practices? Why do people run away from these cultures and come to the USA only to try and incorporate the rules that they wanted to escape from? It makes no sense. However, it also should be avoided. Sharia law should be made illegal in the USA. I believe Mahfooz Kanwar, a member of the Muslim Canadian Congress and a professor emeritus of sociology at Mount Royal University in Calgary said it very clearly. "If you want to live under sharia law, go back to the hellhole country you came from, or go to another hellhole country that lives under sharia law." 

I would support a ban on Sharia law in every state in the Union. But let us expand that to include all religions. Why would we use any religious text as the basis for a legal decision? The USA was not founded a religious country, it is a secular country. We should have a law that says that judges cannot use any religious text as the basis for their decisions.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Did Jesus Baptize People?

Initially, my response was, who cares. However, it then occurred to me that here may be yet another contradiction in the bible. And guess what, there is. Some parts of the bible say Jesus baptized people, some say he didn't. Lets take a look at these verses. Whether Jesus himself personally baptized with water is not made entirely clear in the New Testament.

John 3:22 says:
"After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea, and there he tarried with them, and baptized."
Again it is related in John 3:25-26:
"Then there arose a question between {some} of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all {men) come to him. "
But John 4:1-3 says:
"When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. "
Some authorities take these passages to mean that Jesus personally administered the rite of baptism during the early days of his ministry. The Synoptics - Matthew, Mark and Luke - are silent on the subject. Matthew 3:13-17 tells us:
"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, 1 have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him Suffer, {it to be so} now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.. and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. "

It is amazing that people can say with a straight face that there are no contradictions in the bible. The bible is full of them.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Does God condemn killing?

Of all the ideas about the bible, the concept that God is against killing people is one of the funniest. The god of the bible was always telling his followers to kill other people. It is his "go to" response when he gets upset.
Kill People Who Don’t Listen to Priests
Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

Kill Witches
You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17 NAB)

Kill Homosexuals
“If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

Kill Fortunetellers
A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death. (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)

Death for Hitting Dad
Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

Death for Cursing Parents
1) If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)
2) All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

Death for Adultery
If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

Death for Fornication
A priest’s daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)

Kill Nonbelievers
They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

Kill False Prophets
If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, “You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord.” When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)

Kill the Entire Town if One Person Worships Another God
Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. “The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

Can the Earth repair itself?

I was driving home today, listening to talk radio, as is my normal procedure when I heard Roger Hedgecock, a radio personality, make a comment to the effect of  God makes sure that the Earth will always be fine. I will not claim to have photographic memory and the events are as best I can remember hearing them. He was talking to a group of kids and the topic of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico came up. He mentioned that there was little traces of the oil left as microbes had eaten the oil spilled in the accident. A child said, that it was lucky that there were those microbes there to eat the oil, that no one expected that. Roger replied that those with faith are not surprised at all that there were microbes who would eat the oil.

His implication was that God supplied the microbes and additionally that God takes care of the entire world. But is that accurate? As an example let us take a look at a different oil spill occurrence, the Exxon Valdez disaster. Five years after the Exxon Valdez disaster off the coast of Alaska, the herring disappeared and have never returned.

A recent study shows that the Earth is losing biodiversity that will not be regained in our lifetime. A report published in the journal, Nature, reveals that the effect of human activity on biodiversity and ecosystems will take at least ten million years to heal. By examining fossils to understand the past species extinctions and recovery, the scientists report that if humanity continues business as usual, half of the species on Earth will become extinct in the next 50 to 100 years. So, while the Earth can repair some problems, it cannot repair everything bad that happens to it. However, if god was really fixing the problems, why would there be any limitation to what he can repair?

Is Atheism the same as Liberalism?

Simple answer - no.

However, let us flesh that response out a little more. Atheism is a disbelief in god(s) and has nothing to say about political viewpoints. Liberalism is a political viewpoint and has nothing to say about a belief in god. Are there liberal atheists? Of course, however, there are also conservative atheists and atheists across the entire political spectrum. However, here in the USA, this charge gets thrown about repeatedly, mostly by theists. It is often stated as fact without any understanding of the political viewpoints of the atheist.

For example, I consider myself Libertarian. Specifically, I am fiscally conservative and socially moderate. However, I vote Republican in elections. (Disclaimer, I did vote for Clinton for his first term. I was upset with Bush, Sr. for going against his no new taxes pledge.) Primarily, this is because voting Libertarian is a wasted vote. On most issues, I find myself more in agreement with Republican principles than Democratic ones. I actually consider Libertarian viewpoints the most logical, but again, a wasted vote.

I am in favor of smaller government, lower taxes and states’ rights. I am sick to death of political correctness. I am firmly convinced that government union salaries and pensions are one of the primary reasons that have brought this state (CA) and country to its knees financially. I am also pro-choice and in favor of birth control education. However, I do not believe the government should provide money for a woman to get an abortion. (As an aside, if people really want to reduce the number of abortions done in this country, then they should be completely in favor of more birth control education. However, the people who scream about abortion also scream about birth control education. Sorry, but people will continue to have sex. We should provide them the best information we have on this topic.)

I certainly do not consider myself a Liberal. It would be refreshing if theists could learn the difference between the concepts.

Reading the bible for spiritual advice

I am often told by Christians that I should read the bible for its spiritually uplifting messages. I decided to take their advice today and have pulled some passages out for review.

“Has my master sent me only to your master and to you to speak these words, and not to the men who sit on the wall, doomed to eat their own dung and drink their own urine with you?”
–Isaiah 36:12

"Prepare and eat this food as you would barley cakes. While all the people are watching, bake it over a fire using dried human dung as fuel and then eat the bread.” Then the Lord said, “This is how Israel will eat defiled bread in the Gentile lands to which I will banish them!”
Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord, must I be defiled by using human dung? For I have never been defiled before. From the time I was a child until now I have never eaten any animal that died of sickness or was killed by other animals. I have never eaten any meat forbidden by the law.”
“All right,” the Lord said. “You may bake your bread with cow dung instead of human dung.”
–Ezekiel 4:12-15

"Each of you must have a spade as part of your equipment. Whenever you relieve yourself, dig a hole with the spade and cover the excrement. The camp must be holy, for the Lord your God moves around in your camp to protect you and to defeat your enemies. He must not see any shameful thing among you, or he will turn away from you."
–Deuteronomy 23:13-14

"Listen to me and make up your minds to honor my name,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “or I will bring a terrible curse against you. I will curse even the blessings you receive. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you have not taken my warning to heart. I will punish your descendants and splatter your faces with the manure from your festival sacrifices, and I will throw you on the manure pile."
–Malachi 2:2-3

Strangely, I am not feeling any more spiritual now than I was before. I am actually feeling somewhat nauseous.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Does God Answer Prayers?

Christians are always thanking God for answering their prayers. According to Christians, He helps them with all sorts of problems, big and small. From finding their car keys, deciding on a career, who to marry, or whether the USA should have invaded Iraq, you hear this repeated over and over and over, ad nauseam.

There are three responses a theist will tell you that God may do if you pray to him. He may answer the prayer. He may delay answering the prayer. He might not answer the prayer. Ironically, these are the exact same responses you would find if random chance was the deciding factor instead of God.

But is there any way to determine if prayer actually works? Actually, there is. There have been numerous studies on prayer for medical patients that show that when the patient does not know they are being prayed for, there is no difference in the recovery rate between patients. And even more interesting is a recent comprehensive study done for patients of heart surgery. What it found is that patients who knowingly received prayers developed more post-surgery complications than did patients who unknowingly received prayers—and patients who were prayed for did no better than patients who weren't prayed for. In fact, patients who received prayers without their knowledge ended up with more major complications than did patients who received no prayers at all.

In other words, not only did prayer not help, in some cases, it actually hurt the patients.

When people believe that God is answering their prayers, they are simply getting a result based on the laws of probability. Nothing more, nothing less. So, does God answer prayers? The odds are not so good for that.

If your God won't answer a molested child's prayer what makes you think he'll answer yours? -Chris O'Rourke‏

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The proof of Jesus would stand up in a court of law.

This is another claim made repeatedly by Christians. Here is one statement regarding this idea.

"The resurrection of Christ is one of the most thoroughly and solidly documented events in history. There were numerous eye witnesses who saw the risen Christ. See 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 where we are given a listing of different people who saw the Lord alive after His death, including over 500 people on one occasion (verse 6). If an impartial jury could have all the evidence presented to them, including an abundance of testimony from eyewitnesses, the members of the jury would be forced to conclude that Christ rose again from the dead. The facts of the case overwhelmingly support this conclusion."

However, it is completely wrong. The only court that would accept this conclusion is a kangaroo court. Allow me to clarify the issue.

In a court of law, there are two opposing sides, each being represented by legal council. (Yes, I realize a person can represent himself). They would each offer testimony that would favor their case. There are specific rules of conduct over what is allowed to be presented. There would be examination of witnesses and cross examinations and follow up examinations. There would be forensic evidence presented of the case. There is none of this when the claims of the bible are considered. What is considered is simply the writings of the bible itself.  Now, hearsay is generally not allowed in court. Hearsay is not allowed because there is no way to prove it is accurate. Now, why is that relevant? Because all the testimony for Jesus in the Bible is hearsay. Not some of it, all of it.

In a bizarre expression of circular logic, the Apologists' prime source of proof for the existence of their storybook hero is the storybook itself. The Bible is given the special privilege of confirming its own truth since the Bible is held to be "unique" and "historically reliable".

But what about the four Gospels? There is no agreement on who wrote the gospels or when they were written. There were actually many gospels that have been written about Jesus. It is important to understand that the early church leaders are the ones who choose which gospels were to be accepted. Irenaeus of Lyon  was one of the most influential. He claimed only four in number; according to Romer, "like the four zones of the world, the four winds, the four divisions of man's estate, and the four forms of the first living creatures-- the lion of Mark, the calf of Luke, the man of Matthew, the eagle of John (see Against the Heresies).

Elaine Pagels writes: "Although the gospels of the New Testament-- like those discovered at Nag Hammadi-- are attributed to Jesus' followers, no one knows who actually wrote any of them." [Pagels, 1995]

Therefore, we are taking the word of biased individuals that the gospels were written by the people they are attributed to, in other words, hearsay.

How about other New Testament accounts? Well, they are all hearsay as well.

Epistles of Paul: Not a single instance in any of Paul's writings claims that he ever meets or sees an earthly Jesus, nor does Paul give any reference to Jesus' life on earth (except for a few well known interpolations). Therefore, all accounts about a Jesus could only have come from other believers or his imagination.

Epistle of James: Although the epistle identifies a James as the letter writer, but which James? There were several people names James in the Bible. We cannot be sure it is even of of those. Nowhere does the epistle reference a historical Jesus and this alone eliminates it from an historical account.

Epistles of John: Again, we have no way to know which John this references. In addition, the epistles of John say nothing about seeing an earthly Jesus. We simply do not know who wrote these epistles.

Epistles of Peter: Many scholars question the authorship of Peter of the epistles. Even within the first epistle, it says in 5:12 that Silvanus wrote it. Most scholars consider the second epistle as unreliable or an outright forgery. In short, no one has any way of determining whether the epistles of Peter come from fraud, an unknown author also named Peter (a common name) or from someone trying to further the aims of the Church.

One of my favorites is when the bible claims there were 500 people who say they saw the risen Christ. This has to be one of the biggest attempts at hearsay in the history of the world. No names, no one verifying their statements. It is simply supposed to stand on its own as proof of the event. If someone came to court stating there 500 people who saw an event and did not provide any information about these 500 people, they would be laughed out of court.

Would the facts of a historical and risen Jesus stand up in a court of law? Of course not, that is complete nonsense. Case dismissed.

The Ten Commandments

Many times I have heard that society would be a better place if we simply all followed the Ten Commandments. That these laws are all that is needed to ensure universal harmony. But is that an accurate viewpoint? Would the USA be a better place if the Ten Commandments were set into law. I submit that it would not.

The 10 Commandments:

ONE: 'You shall have no other gods before Me.'
The First Commandment deals with praying to only the biblical God. This would be in direct conflict with the religious freedoms permitted in the US Constitution.

TWO: 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.'
The Second Commandment forbids artistic expression. This not only is a violation of religious freedom, it also violates free speech

THREE: 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'
The Third Commandment does not allow Gods name to be taken in vain. That would also violate the free speech laws we have in the USA

FOUR: 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'
The Fourth Commandment requires we keep the Sabbath holy. This also violates freedom of religion. Besides, which day are we to keep holy? The Muslims say Friday, the Jewish people say Saturday and the Christians say Sunday. Should the government enforce one day over another? Only if they want to create friction and disharmony among the citizens.

FIVE: 'Honor your father and your mother.'
The Fifth Commandment requires that we honor our parents. On the surface, that sounds like a good idea. However, not all parents are good parents. Some beat, abuse, starve and rape their children. Should a child, raped by his parent, be required by law to honor that parent? Of course not. Most parents do a great job raising their children and deserve praise for that. But to require that all parents be honored by law is pointless. A parent that is doing a good job will be honored by their children simply because they deserve it.

SIX: 'You shall not murder.'
The Sixth Commandment says not to murder. A perfectly good idea, which is why we already have it on the books. It would also be nice if the biblical god would abide by his own rules and did not tell people to kill other people. But I digress.

SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.'
The Seventh Commandment forbids adultery. Initially, this also seems like a good idea. But what should be the punishment if someone does commit adultery? According to Leviticus 20:10, they should be executed. Even if we agreed that is too extreme, should a person face prison time, fines, whippings, or perhaps being placed in the stocks? According to Jesus in Matthew 5:28 "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." If adultery was illegal, how could we even begin to enforce this little tidbit. While I concur that adultery is a bad thing, it is a private matter between a husband and wife and the government should stay out of that area

EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'
 The Eighth Commandment forbids stealing. Another perfectly good idea which is why we already have laws on the books regarding it.

NINE: 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.'
The Ninth Commandment forbids bearing false witness against your neighbor. Perjury is already against the law. We also do not allow slander or libel. However, do we really need a law forbidding a citizen from talking badly against their neighbor? Just what is the extent of the law going to be? I believe we already have sufficient laws on the books regarding this matter. But I will give it half credit.

TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.'
The Tenth Commandment forbids coveting. Just how would the violation of this law be discovered? What should be the penalty for this? Actually, coveting is a part and parcel of the free market system. The Franks work harder to get what the Smiths have because they desire it as well. A prohibition would be bad for the economy.

So, out of the ten, there are two which would be a good idea to use, both of which we are already using. One is a sorta good idea. The other seven would either violate our Constitution, create havoc in the streets or hurt the economy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Is there more proof that Jesus existed than Julius Caesar?

Of course not. It is another absurd claim by Christians when they are trying to provide evidence that Jesus was a real person. The comment that there is more evidence for Jesus than Julius Caesar gets repeated so often that many people assume it is true. And it is not just Caesar, this comment gets made about many different historical people. However, like many comments made by Christian apologists, it is not only inaccurate, it is hugely inaccurate. It is said that if a lie is repeated enough times, people will believe it. It is time to send this lie to bed.

There is not the slightest physical evidence to support a historical Jesus; no artifacts, works of carpentry, self-written manuscripts or pictures of Jesus. Almost nothing is known of his early life. All of the stories of Jesus came along long after his death. Now, contrast that with what we know about Julius Caesar.  We know what Caesar looked like and we have a complete history of his life. We have words written by Caesar himself . Artifacts confirm his life and death. There were dozens of friends and enemies who wrote of their interactions with him.

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is depicted as having been brought up in a city called "Nazareth," a purported biographical detail upon which much speculation has been hung over the centuries as to a "historical" Jewish messiah figure in the gospel story, buried somewhere underneath layers of pious elaboration. In this regard, countless Jesus biographies have been constructed significantly around this purported place of origin that would indicate a historical personage. Indeed, whenever scholars wish to distinguish between the "historical Jesus" and the "Christ of faith," they use this designation "Jesus of Nazareth" to depict the former.

Despite all of this speculation, there exists no hard scientific evidence that the polis or "city" of Nazareth as depicted in the New Testament even existed at the time when Christ was supposedly being raised there. Although there exists a centuries-later "historic Nazareth" in Israel, archaeological explorations during the past century have failed to demonstrate any such city of the time in the general vicinity. In reality, it appears that Jesus was made to be "of Nazareth" so that he could be called a "Nazarene" or "Nazoraean/Nazorean," a member of an ancient pre-Christian sect, of which the Old Testament hero Samson was said to have been an adherent as well.

Compare that to the the birthplace of Julius Caesar which was Rome. There is clear evidence that Rome had existed for hundreds of years before Caeser was born.

The only people who could possibly believe this outlandish claim is the Christians who are desperate for some kind of proof for their fable.