Posts Tagged ‘ Evidence ’

Christians Keep Trying And Failing To Understand Anything

I’ve not claimed to know everything in the world. I have claimed that my understanding of it is a little different than what I read from others. That difference is what this blog is about. In this post I’m about to rip into a believer’s post about god and gay marriage and their thoughts on such. I don’t care who this author is or what their actual motivation is. I care what they said because that is what the public hears and what influences others. Perhaps this author has no real audience so is impotent in this regard but perhaps they do. In either case it is important that there be discussion. What follows is my one sided discussion of thethoughts of this author. You don’t have to like it. I’m not writing here for popularity. This post is not because I’m an angry atheist but because posts like this make this anti-theist angry.

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I’m not going to quote the entire post (but did anyway) so if you want to read the whole thing, it is here.

After a conversation I had the other day, I realized that the biggest questions that skeptics have about Christianity in our day concern homosexuality.

Our author is clearly now well informed. So how should we treat their opinions if they clearly are uninformed? Trash them? Ignore them? Perhaps we should take the high road and give them a chance to speak? I go for the latter because it gives us much more reason to simply dismiss them outright next time.

How could a God that says that He is love incarnate oppose a marriage between two people who claim to love one another?  The question is such a difficult one and it is so widespread that I have decided that I must offer my best understanding of this issue to those who are genuinely seeking answers.What makes the question so difficult?  It is not difficult because it is intellectually difficult, it is difficult because the question hits every human being where we live.  Sex is the greatest gift given to us by God and the idea of doing as we think best is tremendously attractive to sinful human beings.  For this reason, God’s rules are going to be at their most unpopular when they tell us to restrict our sexual behaviour in ways that are not easy to understand.  Jesus Christ would have been enormously popular had he said, “It is a tough world out there, just do the best you can to live a happy life.”  Unfortunately, he said “If you love me, keep my commands” and this can be very difficult.  One of the clearest commands in the Old and New Testament prohibits homosexuality.

This presupposes a priori knowledge that sex was given to us by a god. We assume that sex was also given to animals so when animals are not heterosexual they must be acting in the nature that the creator god gave them. From this point on you can dismiss this author’s words and thoughts. The author assumes that the holy text of Christianity is the word of their god and as such is without reproach. For this reason alone you can also dismiss everything this author says. He talks about commands of the god who no person has ever seen. Oh sure, Moses saw his ass but that’s it, you won’t find anyone of credit saying that the stories of Moses in the Christian bible are accurate except those that believe on faith alone. Not even Jewish scholars and archaeologists. Think about that for a minute.

Because the number one attack that is going to be levelled against anyone who dares to speak out on this issue is that they are callous and hard-hearted and don’t love homosexuals or understand what they have gone through, I am going to start by explaining my background.  I am not a successful heterosexual who was brought up in a Christian home and who has no experience with the pain of loneliness.  Rather, I am a 47 year-old who has never been married, who has rarely dated and only had sex a dozen times in my entire life.  I was a hardcore pornography addict before the Lord finally delivered me from that completely about a year and a half ago.  I know what it is to be lonely, miserable and suicidal and I have enormous sympathy for those who reject God’s perfect standard because it seems too painful.  I have even written a post where I have tried to minimize the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality and I have wrestled with divine severity in this regard for years.  Having said all of that, I have come to believe that obedience to God’s commands regarding sexuality is essential for God’s purpose and I am going to attempt to explain why.

Well, there’s a ringing endorsement of the power of prayer if EVER I saw one. Not only did prayer and his Jesus get him away from pornography but they made him a successful heterosexual…. oh, wait. A 47 year old with practically no sexual experience is about to give us sexual guidance from the book he probably hasn’t read from cover to cover yet. I can’t wait! Bonus points, he is going to explain his god’s purpose to us.

Sexual Brokenness in Our Society

The first thing we need to understand when we consider this issue is the fact that sexual intimacy is absolutely, completely and horrifically broken in our society today.  To see this ubiquitous brokenness, consider how widespread abortion, paedophilia, pornography, divorce, rape, homosexuality and gender confusion are in our society.  Now I would never suggest that sexuality has ever been handled perfectly in any fallen society, but anyone with a shred of honesty would have to agree that our society has become almost entirely sexually dysfunctional.  Where did this sickness come from?  While an in-depth discussion of this issue is beyond the scope of this post, let us just say that the “Sexual Revolution” of the 1960’s introduced a “dog eat dog” competition into the most intimate and vulnerable relationships that human beings have and this poison has been slowly destroying our ability to be intimate and vulnerable with one another ever since.  (See “Beautiful Propaganda, Ugly Reality” and “God’s Purpose for Sex” for more discussion on sexuality.)

The reason that it is important to understand that our society is horrifically sick is that those who support homosexual marriage act as though the only alternative to it is a life of loneliness and despair.  In this way, they reject God because they believe He created homosexuals to be absolutely miserable.  Nothing could be further from the truth than this hideous lie.  The essence of understanding God’s attitude toward homosexuality is understanding precisely that God wants something vastly superior to anything we can imagine or think for each and every human being.  God calls homosexuality an abomination because this lifestyle prevents large numbers of people from attaining the true joy and love that God wants for all of us.  To understand this, let us think this through one step at a time.

Ok, so sexual superstar believes that sexual intimacy is broken beyond repair. He’s had 12 encounters in 47 years, about one every 2.5 years of adulthood. He is undoubtedly an expert. This paramour of the ages knows exactly what his god wants for us and it is something that is vastly superior to anything we can imagine or think… yet he is able to do just that. What wondrous luck we have to have found his writings. The rest of his  post has the portents of revelation, I can just feel it. Yes, I’m not gay or lesbian so I must be lonely and in despair. I’m getting the feeling that if you punch this guy in the head there will be a ringing sound. Wait, he’s giving us a step by step guide so let’s continue

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The Nature of Love

Now in the opening paragraph I used some language that many homosexuals and their supporters found offensive.  I said that homosexuals “claim to love one another” instead of that homosexuals genuinely do love one another.  The reason I used this wording, however, is because it is important for us to understand that the most amazing human love still falls very short of the perfect divine standard.  We human beings think that we love another, but when you look at our best relationships from the divine perspective you see that even the best human loves fall woefully short of the genuine article.  Consider the following verses:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)

As I have shared in a number of other posts, God’s plan for mankind is the heaven that is only possible if every human being has the perfect love described above for every other human being on the planet.  If one considers the real behaviour of the human beings around us, one quickly comes to the realization that heaven is absolutely impossible.  Selfish and self-centred human beings are, quite simply, incapable of the kind of love that would make heaven possible.  What is God to do if he wants to create heaven and populate it with human beings?

So this guy knows what the divine perspective is? Whether he thinks it has been revealed to him or that he found it in the good book doesn’t matter. To know the mind of a god is not possible by all the accounts of the attributes of such beings. He even knows what makes heaven impossible. We are truly privileged here. He’s going to tell us the nature of love and cannot define it. In fact nobody can define it precisely. That is one of the problems with the word love – there is no precise definition. Go on, I dare you to define it for us.

Loving Others with Divine Help

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  (Galatians 2:20)

The keys to human beings living in paradise is obtaining divine help to love other people.  The Bible teaches us that with God’s help we can die to ourselves and learn how to love other people.  The keys to this process are a faith that trusts God even when we don’t understand his command and an obedience that attempts to do things which are absolutely impossible within the confines of our limited humanity.  Faith is important because it allows us to transcend the limitations of our own understanding, our imperfect attempts at obedience demonstrate our faith and are essential so that God can guide us toward the correct path.

Okay, so the key is to trust what we can’t understand, something that rapists would like to tell their victims. Further that we obey even when it is impossible to do so. He further states that we use faith to ignore all the warning signs we see in this. We have to fuck up so his perfect god can guide us. So much for omnipotence. To summarize so far, you’re fucked, sexuality is fucked, everything is fucked but you have to have faith because … god.

A Glimmer of Hope

Over the course of my 21 years of Christian life, I wrestled with pornography until God finally gave me complete victory over this sin about a year and a half ago.  When I think about the many years of struggle against my sexual sins and lusts, an obvious question arises.  “Was it worth it?”

As I consider this question, I think about a number of my beautiful sisters in Jesus Christ whom I love and with whom I have genuine friendship.  Before I became a Christian and for many years thereafter, these relationships would not have been possible.  At that time, I had no control over my sexuality and my lusts.  These lusts and ugly thoughts would have prevented me from forming genuine bonds with these women by distracting me from the things that really matter.  Was it worth it to kill these lusts and ugly thoughts within myself through 20 years of struggle and sacrifice?  Experiencing the joy of freedom from sin and lust and the friendship that it makes possible, I can unequivocally say that love and freedom are absolutely worth the sacrifice.

Okay, sexual superstar says he can’t control his lusts. He’s a moron, apparently, not capable of self control. He’s finally found some kind of self control and tells us that this is because of a god. Well the rest of us with self control just think this guy is a fucking idiot. Just the same it’s nice of him to tell us he has so little self control. How is one to trust anyone that has so little self control? Who knows but he’s going to continue on telling us what is wrong with the rest of the world.

Doubts and Reservations

Now some people may look at the Christians they see around them and express some doubts and reservations.  “No offence”, they might say, “but the Christians around me and those I read about in history don’t seem to be that much more loving than other people.  This path to eternal life and love doesn’t seem very credible.”  This is only one of the many valid questions that one may ask on one’s Christian journey.  Though the questions may seem fatal at first glance, I believe that satisfactory answers can be found if one searches the Scriptures and prayerfully seeks an answer and this website is dedicated to sharing the answers to those questions that I have found in my own journey.  (See, for example, my answer to the above question in “The After Action Report“.)

Well, at least he admits there are credible questions. He doesn’t provide any answers despite the fact that he knows the will of his god. In fact he hasn’t shown himself to know much of anything but I bet you can get some good recommendations for porn sites from him. He doesn’t seem very determined to fix the sexual brokenness that society suffers from. In fact, he’s offered nothing which would help fix sexual problems in society. He’s just blathering on about how his god’s divine plan is awesome but hasn’t even said what that is. Moron. That’s the label I give this guy.

Conclusion

Any rational human being who is aware of their own faults and sees the world as it is knows that human beings do not have anything close to perfect love.  Any rational human being who has known the fleeting joy that is possible when human beings enjoy genuine friendship and love knows that an eternal life of perfect love would be heaven and is worth any extreme of sacrifice.  After all, if I offered you a mansion and a small mountain of gold if you worked out 10 hours a week would you take it?  How much more should we as human beings be willing to give up temporary and imperfect love down here to attain eternal and perfect love with the help of God?  A genuine believer in Jesus Christ must practice and teach that obedience to difficult commands and faith when things are not clear are the keys to the eternal life of joy that Jesus offers to every human being.  This obedience is impossibly difficult for a human being without the promised divine help, but we trust that that help is available to everyone who seeks it and that heaven is worth any sacrifice.

Those who support homosexual marriage and fluid gender identification cannot conceive of the idea that Christians genuinely believe that the Bible is the Word of God.  Because they think we are “making things up as we go along” instead of genuinely seeking to understand God’s will and God’s word, they think it is no big deal for us to interpret the Bible such that homosexuality is acceptable.  In reality, however, Christians are following the path to true and eternal love laid out for us by our Lord and Saviour.  We must stand for the sexual purity commanded by our Lord and resist the world’s siren call to accept homosexuality.  To do anything else is to compromise the truth and betray our most deeply held beliefs.

First, I’m offended that this guy is talking about perfect love, something he’s had no chance to explore according to his own admissions. He has no definition of perfect love or at least has not shared it with the rest of us. What a daydreamer this guy is. He says any extreme of sacrifice is worth heaven yet he doesn’t know what heaven is, nobody does. I want to know what kind of mushrooms this guy puts in his omelets for breakfast. Still, heaven is worth any sacrifice. At least he thinks so according to his definitions of love and heaven. Unfortunately he never defined either one. I’ve not heard of god giving people the talent of mind reading so neither non-believers or believer should believe anything this guy is saying. He’s a fucking nutjob.

Oh, we can conceive of the idea that Christians genuinely believe the bible is the word of a god. The trouble is that because they do we think they are deluded or sick or crazy or ill. If homosexuality was not acceptable then why did the creator god make it so many animals exhibit this trait? I assume that by sexual purity laid out in the book he means that if you can afford 900 concubines as king, then that is okay. If your brother dies you have to service his widow and keep her and so on. His most deeply held beliefs are fucked. He has not read the book and does not think critically yet his voice among many others is out there for wanna-be believers to listen to. He is dangerous and stupid. You, my readers, I hope will reject this kind of blabbering outright, without a thought. That is what it deserves… on a good day.

 

 

 

 

Something Rather Than Nothing … What Would Moses Say?

This might simply be a side note on an otherwise huge debate regarding the subject of this post but I would like to share a few thoughts about that

That video shows imagery which were built from actual photographs taken by space craft that we humans have sent out into the solar system. Apparently a creator god made Ceres too.  Go on, watch that video again. There is a dwarf planet in our solar system that looks just like this (nearly). Why did it need to be created? Why did it need to be pummelled with asteroids so many times. Why would it need to have water on it? What was the creator’s plan for this rock that might have more fresh water than Earth does.

Ceres is not the only body begging these questions.

If you read the holy books of Earth’s religions none of them address this. None of them predicted humans getting up close photographs of these space bodies or even landing craft on them. Since the dawn of modern science we have been living beyond the grasp of anything in those holy books. You may be reading this post on your phone, even watching the video on your phone. In your hand is more technology than could even be dreamed of in the stories of the holy books.

What is the creator god’s position on bioethics? Is it okay to eat meat grown in a lab? Is it okay to grow new body parts and then graft them on to our bodies? Is it okay to augment our bodies to make them better than his supposed design? Is it okay for us to change our diets to improve our cognitive abilities? Is it okay to use nuclear energy to provide energy for the survival of humans? There are thousands more questions that the holy books cannot and will not answer. Everything that any believer has to say about the modern world is simply interpretation to try to make it fit into the ideals of the ancient world. I’d be willing to bet that if we had a time machine nobody would go back to 500 bce to bring someone to this day to work on cars, and with good reason. Why do we keep bringing books from that time to our current day thinking they will fix our problems? I know that was not the best analogy but the point stands.

What would be Moses’ take on images of Ceres or Pluto? Could or should we expect anything cogent if he could answer?

What do you think Moses would make of our technology, the technology that we take for granted?

I’m Tired Of This Bullshit

Here it is, watch the full glory of it, then let’s talk about it. I have some experience with McKinney Texas. Full disclosure, I live in McKinney.

Nobody got tased, nobody was shot, there were no riot police, nobody was beaten. There are no signs of abusive physical behavior.

I know about McKinney Texas. It ranks in the top ten places to live for as many years. These people (black and white and hispanic) are among the most coddled people on the planet. The live in one of the best places of one of the best countries on the entire planet. You might argue but it would be pointless. These people have the lives of the most privileged on the planet. The poor people in McKinney Texas are hispanic. These black people involved live in very affluent neighborhoods. This is one of the last places you will see white on black crime or even black on anything crime. There is no crime in McKinney Texas except for personal property theft/damage. It is nearly utopian in many ways. These people are coddled and treated as though they deserve it.

That is not to say that nobody in McKinney ever has a bad opinion or ever gets hard done by. It is to say that McKinney _IS_ one of the top 5 places in the top country to live on this planet and that doesn’t happen with racist cops running loose. Kids are kids. They aren’t always very smart. In the video you see some actually running from cops. This action is NEVER a good idea. If you simply talk to them they will not have reason to worry or handcuff you or detain you. The video shows the police acting very civil toward anyone not being uncooperative.

You can find videos of several people telling the world (including the girls cousin) that this is not about race. It’s about teens behaving badly and showing zero respect for the police. I have met and talked to several of the police officers here. They are genuinely nice people even if their view of the world is skewed necessarily by their job responsibilities.

Toward the end of the video you see that the cop is not holding her down. He did so only as long as it was needed. I won’t argue that he did not appear or seem aggressive but I don’t think he reacted more than was called for in the situation. He was called to the scene because a fight was reported… actual violence was what he was there to respond to.

It does not matter what color you are. If you want to run your mouth and show disrespect to a man amped up on adrenaline with a gun then bad things can happen. Watch how many people were told to simply go away or go home and did not listen.

Being that I live in McKinney I know that this party was not just at the pool. It started the night before. There were drugs involved (big deal, meh) and sex among the teens and all the reckless party stuff you can imagine goes with end of school antics. The real problem is that these teens (color does not matter here) showed no respect for the community, other people, security, or the cops. What do you think is going to happen when you mouth off at a policeman? That policeman will do what he is trained to do… control the situation in order to protect others. That fucking stupid teen girl ran her mouth off at a man with a gun and a butt load of adrenaline. She should be arrested just for being stupid.

There is no race problem in McKinney. My friends are free and feel free to talk about racial issues. My friends and neighbors are a different color than me, my golf buddies are a different color than me. There are no race problems in McKinney Texas except for the problem of some few individuals wanting to call this a race problem. It isn’t. This is just teens showing no respect for anyone and getting taught a lesson in how to communicate with police officers.

The community of McKinney Texas is quite an awesome and good community. It has built a community based on diversity through equal treatment. The biggest problem that I’ve seen is drug use in the high schools. There is very little crime, very little racial anything. To think this is a racial incident is to completely NOT know McKinney Texas.

Proof That The Christian God Exists!

Yeah, I know. That title is more exciting than this post will be. I do that a lot. Still, bear with me this is pretty close.

I’ve been thinking today about the people that tell me answered prayers are evidence of their god existing.

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I know that looks more like a collision between methane and a flame, but whatever.

I wish Christians would keep a tally of the prayers they prayed which were answered with ‘no’ or ‘not now’. They are fond of remembering the ones they think were answered with a yes but they can never tell you how many were answered with no or not now – essentially not answered at all.

Do me a favor, ask them how many went unanswered when you hear that trope.

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I’m sure you’ll get a reaction a lot like the second image.

More seriously, if supposedly answered prayers is evidence of the god’s existence via interaction with the world it should be fair to say that un-answered prayers are also an evidence of the character of any given god. That is to say that if a god does not answer should we count that as abstention or as a Fsck You. In either case it is not a positive answer.

Matt. 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Clearly the Christian god is going to hear a lot of prayers.

If that did not sink in, this means that Gov. Rick Perry got the middle finger from his god in a big way. Of course that won’t count in the tally of what evidence is. No, that was just a ‘not now’ answer.

Do us all a favor, ask those that use answered prayers as evidence for a list of prayers that were not answered. Ask for details. Those prayers too are evidence to be considered. Let’s start making sure it gets the consideration that it deserves.

When the counting is done, here’s a link you might want handy: A book on statistics

I’m not even going to make the argument that they don’t know statistics. I think that simply asking for the list will be enough to start the conversation or terminate it completely.

Give it a try and let us all know how it worked out.

 

THE MIX OF FAITH AND EVIDENCE – A Reply

I don’t personally find the author of this post offensive but that doesn’t mean that he won’t from time to time say things that don’t seem right.

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Frank wrote a post called THE MIX OF FAITH AND EVIDENCE. If you want to read the whole thing, go ahead. You’ll have to visit to see the graphic he is alluding to. I just want to comment on some of the points in his post.

So, who insisted that Christianity is built entirely on faith? That’s never been my viewpoint and I’m struggling to think of even one Christian who makes this notion their line in the sand.

The point is that without the faith, the religion is pointless. Christianity without faith is not Christianity. It is the primary pillar of the faith, and it’s the part that is bad.

And yet, someone in an atheist Internet community posted this graphic and figured it would cause lots of people to nod in agreement.
But making a statement in a graphic doesn’t make it true. It would be like me insisting all atheists are militant, arrogant and patronizing. Equally false.

This is true, simply making a statement doesn’t make it true. It was a question: If Christianity is entirely built on faith, why do Christians use evidence?

Before I get going here, let me make it clear that faith is definitely a key part of following Jesus Christ (whom serious Christians believe is the son of God). In fact, a section of the Bible called ‘Hebrews’ spells it out: “Whoever comes to God must believe that He is real and that He rewards those who sincerely try to find Him.”
But nowhere does the Bible claim that evidence is irrelevant. Indeed, evidence is mentioned at key points.

He mistakes the claims as evidence, as we’ll see:

Consider the resurrection of Jesus, which is one of the most important parts of Christianity. In a letter that’s now part of the Bible, a missionary named Paul (who helped spread Christianity throughout the Mediterranean), told other Christians that after rising from the dead, “Christ appeared to more than 500 other believers at the same time. Most of them are still living today, but some have died.”

That certainly reads like evidence to me, especially as the underlying message is ‘if you don’t believe me about the resurrection, then go ahead and investigate for yourself’. If Christianity is built entirely on faith, why would this be in the Bible?

For the same reason that con artists lie, I would think. This fundamental belief that the bible is true, word for word, is a basic tenant of Christian belief. Even though he points it out that there are ways to interpret the book as saying you should investigate for yourselves the ‘evidence’ offered there is long gone and religions are famous for not encouraging questions. It doesn’t even mean that the original author was being honest. They didn’t mention anyone by name, no government officials, no ruling body, no religious leaders… just a claim that there were witnesses.

Here’s another example, from a section of the Bible called ‘2 Peter’: “We didn’t repeat crafty myths when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Quite the contrary, we witnessed his majesty with our own eyes.” Again, more evidence.

This ‘evidence’ failed to convince most of the middle east. It was not strong enough evidence to keep him from being killed. In short, even in person very few people believed him to be the Christ. Among the few that did, even they had doubts.

The website FaithFacts.org has this take on the faith vs. evidence debate:
Blind faith is faith without evidence, which would be superstition. The Bible does not call us to blind faith. The Bible calls us to faith in evidence. We submit that various truth claims, including Christianity, should be evaluated on the evidence.

When people evaluate the ‘evidence’ contained in the claim (bible) and find it lacking Christians cry fowl or accuse such people of not having an open heart or enough faith or worse we hate their god or simply want to be immoral (as if not being Christian leaves you with no moral compass).

I can tell you, without any hesitation, that if I was called to follow Jesus based solely on faith, I probably wouldn’t be a Christian today. I was presented with evidence, then asked to make a leap of faith based on that evidence and based on the logic of Christianity. I made that leap and have never regretted it.

I can’t imagine what the evidence was. Clearly it was less evidence that I or others would require. That leaves us with a question: What standard of evidence should be used when evaluating truth claims? The only ones that I know of do not find religious belief to be truthful. If they did we’d not be having this discussion over and over again. Why is it that religion requires a different standard of evidence for it to be true? I rather think that this is special pleading regarding evidence gathering and evaluation.

So, where do you stand? Does a mix of faith and evidence make sense to you when considering Christianity? If it does, have you done any research? You may have friends or family members that discourage checking out the claims of Christianity, but this is important stuff.

April 25, 2015 by Frank King Photos

Clearly I don’t think the evidence for Christianity points to it being true never mind proving that it is. The people most likely to be accepting of the standards of evidence required for Christianity to be true are those of other faiths. Even they don’t believe in Christianity. If the ‘evidence’ can’t convince most or all of the people who sincerely ‘want’ to believe then how would it convince those that are simply looking for the truth?

On Orchids And Intelligent Design

Here we see an Orchid. They are part of a 100,000 plus variants or species of the flower. Like any life on this planet the various species have evolved to thrive in their environment. Like many forms of life on this planet humans have cultivated them (changed their environment) in order to change them to be more suitable in some way for humans. Every time that we see them in the shop we don’t think ‘oh, it’s a cultivated orchid’. Rather we think about how beautiful they are, how delicate they seem, how genuinely frail and wonderful they are. To be certain, they are all these things and more. All that changes if they start growing in a corn field. That makes them a weed: a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants. Perspective is everything.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchidaceae

Philosophies are like this.  There are hundreds of thousands of them, most of the ones you know about are cultivated, shaped by humans to be more palatable or useful. Some of them grow like weeds, thriving in their environments. The human mind offers bad philosophical weeds a fertile environment in which to thrive. Once there the human will cultivate it and work to make it grow and fall victim to the wonderment of its beauty to them. They seldom realize that the beauty of the bad philosophical weed is cultivated by them and for them, competing with the philosophies which will sustain them and help them thrive. The philosophical weeds soon choke out the good philosophies we want and need to cultivate and grow. This is not through malice. It is because we humans don’t like to change the environment that our philosophies live in very much. Change is difficult. In fact, left to our own devices humans have shown themselves to be very poor philosophical horticulturists. When it comes to thinking clearly few of us seem to have that envied green thumb. These weeds, like all weeds seem to do, spread far and wide to every niche they can find as suitable to thrive in. That’s what happens when life evolves to survive. It is very opportunistic with little or no long range planning.

It might be said that an intelligent designer might have planned that so we could all see the beauty of such weeds as orchids or some such drivel. If we carry this analogy through, an intelligent designer wouldn’t have designed our minds as such a fertile place for bad philosophies. An intelligent designer would know that bad philosophies should not be designed such that they are beautiful to behold. It seems almost maliciously purposeful that the human mind, if designed, was designed to be a fertile environment for bad philosophy. It seems shockingly bereft of logic that such a designer would turn out to not have a green thumb, unless you consider that such a designer might think bad philosophies are not weeds, and is cultivating them in human minds. If there was or is an intelligent designer it sucks at gardening or its idea of beauty is detrimental to the well being of humanity.

 

Hark! He Is Risen. Remember What He Wrought On The World!

Today is the day to celebrate the risen man-god. Let’s see how Christianity has celebrated his death in the past, shall we?

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http://www.hearnow.org/caljp.html – shows us a list of persecution of the Jewish people.

A Calendar of Jewish Persecution

70 A.D. Destruction of Jerusalem 1,100,000 Jews were killed and 97,000 taken into slavery and captivity.
115 Rebellion of the Jews in Mesopotania, Egypt, Cyrene and Cyprus. Jews and Romans inflicted many barbaric atrocities on each other, causing the death of several hundreds of thousands of Romans and Jews.
132-35 The Bar Kochba rebellion (Bar Kochba was a false Messiah). Caused the death of 500,000 Jews; thousands were sold into slavery or taken into captivity.
135 Roman Emperor Hadrian commenced his persecution of the Jews. Jerusalem established as a pagan city. Erection of a Jupiter temple on the temple mountain (Moriah) and a temple to Venus on Golgotha. Jews were forbidden to practice circumcision, the reading of the Law, eating of unleavened bread at Passover or any Jewish festival. Infringement of this edict brought the death penalty.
315 Constantine the Great established “Christianity” as the State religion throughout the Roman Empire; issued many anti-Jewish laws.
379-95 Theodosius the Great expelled Jews from any official gate position or place of honor. Permitted the destruction of their synagogues if by so doing, it served a religious purpose.
613 Persecution of the Jews in Spain. All Jews who refused to be baptized had to leave the country. A few years later the remaining Jews were dispossessed, declared as slaves and given to pious “Christians” of position. All children 7 years or over were taken from their parents and given to receive a “Christian” education.
1096 Bloody persecutions of the Jews at the beginning of the First Crusade, in Germany. Along the cities on the Rhine River alone, 12,000 Jews were killed. The Jews were branded second only to the Moslems as the enemies of Christendom.
1121 Jews driven out of Flanders (now part of Belgium). They were not to return nor to be tolerated until they repented of the guilt of killing Jesus Christ.
1130 The Jews of London had to pay compensation of 1 million marks for allegedly killing a sick man.
1146-47 Renewed persecution of the Jews in Germany at the beginning of the Second Crusade. The French Monk, Rudolf, called for the destruction of the Jews as an introduction to the Second Crusade. It was only because of the intervention of Emperor Conrad who declared Nuerenberg and a small fortress as places of refuge for the Jews, and that of Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, that the result was not quite as devastating as at the time of the First Crusade.
1181 French King Philip banished the Jews from his domain. They were permitted to sell all movable possessions, but the immovable such as land and houses reverted to the king. Seven years later he called the Jews back.
1189 At the coronation of Richard the Lionhearted, unexpected persecution of the Jews broke out in England. Most Jewish houses in London were burned, and many Jews killed. All possessions of the Jews were claimed by the Crown. Richard’s successor alone, relieved the Jews of more than 8 million marks.
1215 At the IV Lateran Church Council, restrictions against the Jews by the church of Rome were issued.
1290 Edward I banished the Jews from England. 16,000 Jews left the country.
1298 Persecution of the Jews in Franconia, Bavaria and Austria. The Nobleman Kalbfleish alleged that he had received a divine order to destroy all the Jews. 140 Jewish communities were destroyed, and more than 100,000 Jews were mercilessly killed.
1306 King Philip the Fair banished the Jews from France. 100,000 Jews left the country.
1320 In France, 40,000 shepherds dedicated themselves for the Shepherd Crusade to free Palestine from the Moslems. Under the influence of criminals and land speculators, they destroyed 120 Jewish communities.
1321 Jews were accused of having incited outlaws to poison wells and fountains in the district of Guienne, France. 5,000 Jews were burned at the stake.
1348 Jews were blamed for the plague throughout Europe, especially in Germany. In Strausberg 2,000 Jews were burned. In Maintz 6,000 were killed in most gruesome fashion, and in Erfut 3,000; and in Worms 400 Jews burned themselves in their homes.
1370 Jews were blamed for having defiled the “Host” (wafer used in the Mass) in Brabant. The accused were burned alive. Again, all Jews were banned from Flanders and until the year 1820, every 15 years a feast was kept to celebrate the event.
1391 Persecutions in Spain. In Seville and 70 other Jewish communities, the Jews were cruelly massacred and their bodies dismembered.
1394 Second banishment of Jews from France.
1453 The Franciscan monk, Capistrano, persuaded the King of Poland to withdraw all citizens’ rights of the Jewish people.
1478 The Spanish inquisition directed against the Jews.
1492 The banishment of Jews from Spain. 300,000 Jews who refused to be “baptized” into the Church of Rome left Spain penniless. Many migrated to the Muslim country, Turkey, where they found tolerance and a welcome.
1497 Banishment of the Jews from Portugal. King Manuel, generally friendly to the Jews, under pressure from Spain instigated forced baptism to keep the Jews. 20,000 Jews desired to leave the country. Many were ultimately declared slaves.
1516 First Ghetto established in Venice.
1540 Banishment of Jews from Naples and 10 years later, from Genoa and Venice.
1794 Restriction of Jews in Russia, Jewish men were forced to serve 25 years in the Russian military. Many hundreds of thousands of Jews left Russia.
1846-78 All former restriction, against the Jews in the Vatican State were re-inforced by Pope Pius IX.
1903 Renewed restrictions of Jews in Russia. Frequent pogroms (massacres); general impoverishment of Russian Jewry.
1933 Commencement of persecution of Jews in Hitler Germany. Inception of the systematic destruction of 6,000,000 Jews throughout Nazi-occupied Europe.

 

Yes, it’s a long list and does not indicate that these are acts of isolated fundamentalist groups. No, this looks systemic of Christianity. This is enough evidence on its own to motivate the rest of us to ensure that Christianity never again gains control of the law system. In case you’re wondering, this list is only what they did to the Jewish people. The list would be much longer if we were to list all of the atrocities committed by Christians against others. Their religion is not a religion of peace and its adherents are not prohibited from committing atrocities against others they deem evil or of the devil. Human history is littered with examples of humans claiming divine right to kill and harm others. We have a duty to ensure they never again have the law behind them. Remember that they believe in the very same book now as they did when these horrendous acts were committed.

Being Christian is not a virtuous thing on its own. You are either good or you are not. Being a Christian doesn’t make you good and it ties you to a legacy of very horrible things. If you happen to believe you need to remember that this is what I think of when you say you are a Christian. This list of atrocities that stretches back through human history is how your chosen belief is remembered. You get no pass with me. Your holidays are simply a reminder that you are clinging to the very beliefs that promulgated these horrors.

Killing The First Born For Pass Over

Pass Over is a really big Jewish holiday. They have lots of things to celebrate but the name’s origin has a gruesome story. While the Jews were enslaved in Egypt (if you believe that part) Moses is born and after 40 years as a sheep herder decides to go and free his people.

“When the Pharaoh refuses, God unleashes 10 devastating plagues on the Egyptians, culminating in the slaying of every first born son by an avenging angel. The Israelites mark the doorframes of their homes with lamb’s blood so that the angel will recognize and “pass over” each Jewish household.”

Later, to celebrate the killing of the first born sons the Jewish people had Jesus killed at Pass Over time. Of course they’re never going to tell the tale quite like that but that’s how it happened. YHWH should have put some lamb’s blood on his door, or something like that. The holy book is not quite clear if he was sacrificed before the feast or after but hey they’ve got 8 days in which to do the celebrating.
The whole business of religion is pretty iffy. Here’s a few good reasons why:

Easter, as we know it today, is not really the Pass Over celebration of years gone by. The Christians made a dubious choice and decided that they would celebrate the death (and resurrection) of their man-god hero at exactly the same time as the pagans (you  know them, everyone that’s not a Jew or Christian) were celebrating spring and the rituals of renewal and life. That’s where the name Easter, the rabbit, and the eggs come into it. Enterprising businessmen brought us peeps, jelly beans, and all manner of candy eggs. For those reasons some Christians are getting a bit picky about what they call their celebration. Good on them I say. It’s about time they stopped claiming other people’s holidays.

I just wanted to remind everyone that Pass Over is that time of year when the Jews celebrate killing of other people’s first born sons. Just something to think about as you’re ‘exploding some peeps in the microwave’

 

Nothing makes the holiday more ‘Murican than exploding some stuff.

The First Christian … Ever

Christians manage to quote their holy book quite a bit in conversation and blog posts. It often seems like they might have read it. I don’t think they have. Yes, I’m walking out on a limb here. Today I had an exchange with a believer who said “you don’t understand what you’re reading or you’re not willing to believe” when I posited that reading the Christian bible was a fast track to atheism and that their certainty that their faith was right should be questioned. I think that moments like this are double face palm moments. There is no reasonable manner to read the new testament and think that Jesus and Paul were talking about the same things. Google is your friend. There are many Christian websites and blogs talking about how they definitely were not talking about the same things.

Sometimes I want to scream at believers asking them whether they are followers of Jesus or Paul. Most of them I run into don’t seem to know the difference. For those that haven’t read the book it might not seem a big thing. If you have read it you will know that Jesus and Paul had quite different messages. Conservative Americans will be fans of Paul. Liberals and socialists will be fans of Jesus. It’s not really a book for anarchists or those with the will and desire to face life on it’s own, on their own. It’s really a self help book with rules about how to not spend eternity burning alive, and of course some ways that you should punish your neighbors if they do stuff that Paul didn’t like. It’s not really a pleasant read and right at the end it gets downright loopy. Once you discount the repeat stories and plain crazy stuff, Paul wrote most of the rest of it. He had a lot to say to various people, quite a bit more than what we supposedly know that Jesus said.

I think Paul’s episode on the road to Damascus is a bit dubious, I always have. The most prolific writer in the NT and his conversion story has two versions is something I find more than a little bit interesting. There are people that talk about hermeneutics. They want you to interpret the stories in just the right way. The whole thing is up for interpretation and the way I read it Paul was a pretty ambitious man. He went from persecuting believers to telling them how to live. In some ways that’s not much of a change but in other ways it was pretty radical. What makes a guy who is pretty much a dick change tactics and go completely the other way? It’s interesting to think about. He not only did an occupational about face but he also taught differently than Jesus did. This guy was coloring completely outside the lines, and he brought his own crayon box with him. He was off the reservation right up to the Council of Jerusalem around 50 C.E. That’s where he got his street cred and off he went. That’s where Christianity took a left turn.

The story of Christianity is not a single, homogeneous story. Basically shards of stories, letters, stuff that you have to piece together to get a picture or glimpse of the authors and what they were like, what life was like and so on. It’s all up for interpretation and it takes a lot of study to make sense of it. That is something that most believers just don’t have in them. It’s stuff they aren’t going to do. They are going to regurgitate what they hear from the pulpit each Sunday.

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That doesn’t mean that nobody has ever sat down and read it and thought about what it all means. Let’s run to a quote that inspired the title of this post. Read it a bit carefully, the language is a bit of a run-on but if  you go slow it makes sense.

    The first Christian. All the world still believes in the authorship of the “Holy Spirit” or is at least still affected by this belief: when one opens the Bible one does so for “edification.”… That it also tells the story of one of the most ambitious and obtrusive of souls, of a head as superstitious as it was crafty, the story of the apostle Paul–who knows this , except a few scholars? Without this strange story, however, without the confusions and storms of such a head, such a soul, there would be no Christianity…

That the ship of Christianity threw overboard a good deal of its Jewish ballast, that it went, and was able to go, among the pagans–that was due to this one man, a very tortured, very pitiful, very unpleasant man, unpleasant even to himself. He suffered from a fixed idea–or more precisely, from a fixed, ever-present, never-resting question: what about the Jewish law? and particularly the fulfillment of this law? In his youth he had himself wanted to satisfy it, with a ravenous hunger for this highest distinction which the Jews could conceive – this people who were propelled higher than any other people by the imagination of the ethically sublime, and who alone succeeded in creating a holy god together with the idea of sin as a transgression against this holiness. Paul became the fanatical defender of this god and his law and guardian of his honor; at the same time, in the struggle against the transgressors and doubters, lying in wait for them, he became increasingly harsh and evilly disposed towards them, and inclined towards the most extreme punishments. And now he found that–hot-headed, sensual, melancholy, malignant in his hatred as he was– he was himself unable to fulfill the law; indeed, and this seemed strangest to him, his extravagant lust to domineer provoked him continually to transgress the law, and he had to yield to this thorn.
Is it really his “carnal nature” that makes him transgress again and again? And not rather, as he himself suspected later, behind it the law itself, which must constantly prove itself unfulfillable and which lures him to transgression with irresistable charm? But at that time he did not yet have this way out. He had much on his conscience – he hints at hostility, murder, magic, idolatry, lewdness, drunkenness, and pleasure in dissolute carousing – and… moments came when he said to himself:”It is all in vain; the torture of the unfulfilled law cannot be overcome.”… The law was the cross to which he felt himself nailed: how he hated it! how he searched for some means to annihilate it–not to fulfill it any more himself!

And finally the saving thought struck him,… “It is unreasonable to persecute this Jesus! Here after all is the way out; here is the perfect revenge; here and nowhere else I have and hold the annihilator of the law!”… Until then the ignominious death had seemed to him the chief argument against the Messianic claim of which the new doctrine spoke: but what if it were necessary to get rid of the law?

The tremendous consequences of this idea, of this solution of the riddle, spin before his eyes; at one stroke he becomes the happiest man; the destiny of the Jews–no, of all men–seems to him to be tied to this idea, to this second of its sudden illumination; he has the thought of thoughts, the key of keys, the light of lights; it is around him that all history must revolve henceforth. For he is from now on the teacher of the annihilation of the law…

This is the first Christian, the inventor of Christianity. Until then there were only a few Jewish sectarians.

from Nietzsche’s Daybreak, s.68, Walter Kaufmann transl.

But we’re just not reading it right apparently. Only believers can read it right, so I’m lead to believe. The problem I find with that is that whenever a smart person reads the book then end up not believing and tend to have the same kind of interpretation as I do. I’m not trying to say I’m smart or something, just that confirmation bias seems to really skew what the book says. Nietzsche doesn’t seem to have a high opinion of Paul – the first Christian. I tend to agree with Nietzsche. Moreover I think that modern day Christians are not really doing what they ought to be doing as Christians according to their Jesus.
That won’t stop them from trying to tell the rest of us that we’re doing it wrong.

Somehow, I just don’t believe it. How is my interpretation wrong? Oh yeah, I don’t believe but I think I’m in good company.

 

 

I Am My Own God. That’s What Kevin Says!

I found this post and almost got some drool on my shirt from the jaw dropping open. No, this is probably not good enough to make the evening news but it will do for here. The Author, Kevin we’ll call him, clearly thinks that this post of his is clever. I say that because it sure makes him sound smug. Kevin, you see, has a way with words. He also has a way with presuppositions. Let’s see what he has to say about my god.

The entirety of his post follows with some commentary:

“Well, I don’t believe in God,” a man told me one day.

“How did that happen?” I inquired.

“I did a lot of reading and came to the conclusion that God is not real and the Bible is a book of fairy tales.”

Well, this seems fairly benign, something that might happen anywhere at nearly any time. How does Kevin respond? Why, as a theological authority of course.

“So, you placed yourself as your ultimate authority in all things spiritual. Do you realize that you have made yourself your own god?”

Kevin seems to believe that his god is real no matter what the evidence does or does not say about the matter. To him there is no choice as to whether his god is real. He also knows that those other gods are false gods. He asserts that making a decision about whether his god is real or not means that you are usurping his god’s power and rightful role of dominance over each and every human. We are not to use our free will to make any decisions about the god. No. This is not permissible.

“Never thought of it that way.”

The reason that he never thought of it that way is because it is convoluted thinking. Stupid thinking. There are billions of people who think Kevin’s god is false yet they do not think they are their own god. They already have a god (which is not Kevin’s god) to worship. Surely Kevin doesn’t think he made himself his own god by deciding that all the gods which are not his god are false gods. None of that stops Kevin from continuing to assert that deciding a god is false necessarily means you are placing yourself in the high position of that god. You know, just like thinking a politician sucks at their job makes you a politician or not believing in the Easter bunny means you have to deliver all the eggs. Wait, maybe he’s on to something there?  Maybe that thought is worth a bit more thinking?

“Can you save yourself from hell?  Do you heal yourself when you are injured? Do you have control over the weather? Can you answer your own prayers?”

Here we go. Kevin wants to know if you can do all the things he thinks his god can and does do. Of course he has no evidence to support these beliefs, no evidence for hell; no evidence that his god heals the sick; no evidence that prayer works; no evidence that his god controls the weather; no evidence at all. None of that stops him from making unfounded assertions though.

At that point, he got mad at me.  But he had something to think about.  By being his own god, yet without Godly attributes (all-knowing, all-powerful and present everywhere) he isn’t being very wise.  The reality is that self has limited knowledge, limited power and is limited to being in one place at a time. Self is a pretty weak god in actuality.

There it is. Deciding that a god does not exist when you don’t yourself have godly attributes such as omnipotence and omniscience means you are not wise. This, he says, is because humans are not god-like. Clearly he believes that to make such decisions a human must have the arbitrarily defined attributes of his god. Not even Zeus is capable of making such decisions about Kevin’s god.  No mere mortal can make such a decision about Kevin’s god without presuming to be a god themselves. See the logic there? You can’t say Santa Claus does not exist without being an actual Christmas fairy. You would be unqualified to say that leprechauns do not exist unless you are an actual leprechaun.

You can’t argue with Kevin or change his mind. He is fully convinced that a god, his god, exists. Any belief otherwise simply means you are a fool. To Kevin, it’s plain as day and if you can’t see it you’re defective and headed for hell.

Atheists are nothing more than fools fooling themselves – according to the verse below. But, as a Christian I know that I can do the same thing. I claim to believe in God, but my behavior reveals the opposite.  I put more faith in myself than I do in God and I let myself down. How foolish!

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, Romans 1:22.

© copyright Kevin T Boekhoff

Wait. Did he try to redeem himself in the end? No. He is saying he is fooling for not having more faith in his god which simply makes the atheist even more of a fool. Kevin, like most believers, likes to quote mine. That quote above seems pretty apropos for the post but let’s look and see what Paul was really talking about in this passage:

Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,[d] that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[e] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[f]

God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

And there it is. Because these people did not believe in Kevin’s god, Keving’s god made them murderous, lying, homosexuals… among other things. Without belief in Kevin’s god you are less than human in his eyes. When Kevin and his ilk say atheists are ‘fools’ that is just jesus-speak. They really mean that you are less than human, vile, evil, deserving of hell. They hold you in great contempt. Their polite words are drenched in pride, bigotry, and boasting.

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Read verse 22 AND 23 in its entirety: This is not talking about atheists but Kevin doesn’t want you to know that part. He thinks atheists can’t read his holy book … apparently.

Kevin and his ilk think themselves wise yet they would never dare question their god or their holy book. For them Wisdom hit its peak about 2000 years ago. For them there is nothing more, no more wisdom, no more knowledge, no new ways of solving problems.

 

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