Are Atheists Unreasonable Bigots?

Found a video made by a pastor who says that atheists are just unreasonable bigots in the title. He doesn’t do much to back his claim on the ‘bigot’ portion but he did try to provide evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.

Here is my response. I hope you enjoy it.

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Kneel!

Why kneel?
Why kneel?

Why kneel?

When I watched the first Avengers movie, I was stunned by Loki’s speech when he demands the crowd kneel to him. This is what he said:

Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.

It was such a powerful speech. It reminded me of how religious people (myself included when I was religious) are expected to kneel in church. I was always told it was a sign of humility, but I see it more as a sign of pleading or begging.

I’ve never understood the want or need to kneel. I don’t see what purpose it serves, other than to bruise ones knees. Would an all-mighty God really care whether you were kneeling before him or standing on your feet?

So I went to some Christian forums. I found a few explanations.

To me it is very important to kneel and pray I guess because that is the way I was brought up in my old church. We always knelt down to pray and honestly great things happened, it formed in me a strong prayer life. Standing and praying is okay I’m not saying always be on your knees because trust me they go numb after a while lol. But it is essential when you are in desperate need of something in/from GOD. I dont know about you but I am in desperate need of God each and everyday of my life.

So this person seems to be saying that if you kneel, you might get special recognition. Sure, you can pray on your feet but if you want God to take real notice, you better get down on those knees.

I do think the person making the comment was on to something with the first part of his comment – it’s more likely that you were taught to kneel.

We show our humility.
We show that we surrender to God.
We show that God is in charge of everything and his will be done, not my will.
We show our desperation.There’s certainly nothing wrong with “showing” these things if that makes your prayer time more meaningful to you. I would point out, however, that God already knows everything, and if you really do have these qualities, you don’t have to kneel to “prove it” to God.

There are examples in the Bible of people speaking to God without being on their knees, so it can be done. Just so long as you don’t consider it a requirement that would otherwise invalidate your prayer, then you are free to “approach the throne of grace” in whatever manner you feel is most appropriate. 🙂

This person sites humility but I know I don’t have a hard time being humble while on my own two feet. Why would kneeling make me more humble?

Why would this God need a speck like me to surrender? And why would it need to be shown it’s in charge of everything. This being would already know that. Me kneeling and groveling isn’t going to make it any more aware of its own power.

I like the desperation part. It really shows the willingness to beg and plead if you don’t like the outcome or truth of something.

However, why would a being of immense power need you to show it anything? After all, it supposedly created you and everything around you. Do you really think the creator of a universe would need you to show it a damn thing?

If you do think God needs you to show it something, maybe you should revisit the whole humble thing.

And finally, if you don’t need to kneel (as this person seems to think) then why bother?

Maybe there is a section of our population that, like Loki says, craves subjugation. They don’t want to take responsibility for their actions or face the bad stuff that sometimes happens to us as human beings. They would rather believe they’re powerless and in need of subjugation. They would rather be told what to do because it’s easier.

It also reminds me of the Milgrim experiment, where most people did what they were told as long as someone they perceived as an authority figure told them to do it.

Isn’t it time we got off our knees, took responsibility for our own bad decisions and started thinking for ourselves?

Kindness Doesn’t Matter – You’re Still Going To Hell

disturbed__hell__modified_cover__by_thehashslasher-d5k0xev

Don’t believe in Jesus? Then you deserve this

According to Denise I’m still going to hell, and so is anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus. That means the majority of humanity is going to a fiery pit of torment, because God couldn’t bother to let the rest of us know about Jesus or didn’t provide enough evidence to convince us He’s real, and not just another God myth like the ones that came before Him.

She says:

Good works alone do not qualify us to live with God.  Ephesians 2:8 states “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”.  So what can we take from this?  It is our faith in Jesus that serves as our ticket into heaven.  It does not matter how nice you are or how much you have helped people out, if you do not have the ticket to get in, which is your faith in Jesus, you can not make it in.

Screw nice. You don’t need niceness to buy your way into heaven. All you need is to believe in Jesus. If you were a child-raping serial killer hell bent (pun intended) on killing as many people as possible, simply accept Jesus into your heart before you die and all is good. You’ll be granted a ticket into heaven.

Will it be hand delivered by a heavenly angel or is that too much to ask?

But if you’re someone who has dedicated their lives to helping people who are less fortunate but don’t believe in Jesus…well to hell you go. You deserve eternal torment, you blasted heathen, you.

If you’re someone who practices another religion?

You guessed it. Straight to hell. Do not pass go and do not collect your pitchfork.

Nothing compared to what Jesus has in store for you...but he doesn't mean it. Seriously.

Nothing compared to what Jesus has in store for you…but he doesn’t mean it. Seriously.

If you look at the statistics, you’ll find this:

The demographic study – based on analysis of more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers – finds 2.2 billion Christians (32% of the world’s population), 1.6 billion Muslims (23%), 1 billion Hindus (15%), nearly 500 million Buddhists (7%) and 14 million Jews (0.2%) around the world as of 2010. In addition, more than 400 million people (6%) practice various folk or traditional religions, including African traditional religions, Chinese folk religions, Native American religions and Australian aboriginal religions. An estimated 58 million people – slightly less than 1% of the global population – belong to other religions, including the Baha’i faith, Jainism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Tenrikyo, Wicca and Zoroastrianism, to mention just a few.

Now math isn’t my strong suit, but if there are roughly 7 billion humans living on this planet right now, and only 2.2 billion of them are Christian, that means about 4.8 billion of them are on the fast track to eternal torture.

You’d think a deity that knew beforehand that the majority of humanity wouldn’t believe in Jesus, therefore cosigning them to torture for eternity, would realize His error and fix it. Because He’s all-powerful, this could be accomplished with no effort. After all, He doesn’t want billions of people to be tormented, does He? He doesn’t want to put them in the fiery torture chamber He created, right?

It is not God’s will for any of us to go to hell, however he does not and will not force his will upon us.  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life, John 3:16.  Jesus wants you to accept him because you love him and need him, not because you have been programmed to follow him.  This is why he gives us a choice. “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.Joshua 24:15″

See. It’s not God who made the rules, created Hell or puts people there.

No, no, no.

It’s OUR fault for not believing. Even though you spent your life trying to do good, you still deserve torture. Don’t you see?

A friend of mine works with men who beat their spouses. He told me he always asks them why they’re there and almost every time, they reply with an excuse, such as:

  • My girlfriend made me by…
  • She made me angry…
  • If she’d only…

It’s never their fault. They aren’t there because they knocked their wife or girlfriend around. They think they’re there because of something their wife or girlfriend did to them. They had to hit them. He said he usually has to ask them several times before they finally catch on and admit that they’re there because they hit another human being.

This is the mentality this kind of religion reminds me of. I find it disgusting and reprehensible. I also find it unbelievably cruel to burden children with this sort of fear. It’s a sort of mental torture.

Child's play compared to the eternity of torture a loving god has in store for you

Child’s play compared to the eternity of torture a loving god has in store for you

So what sort of last minute advice does Denise have for us unbelievers?

If you have not given your heart to Jesus I would encourage you to search the scriptures, in them you will find that God loves you and does not want you to perish.   “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance, 2 Peter 3:9″  Today if you would invite him into your heart, he would accept your invitation.  He will become your God and you will become his child. We all have to leave this world one day, and it is only our faith in Jesus that will take us from this world to living with God.

Yeah…I’m still not buying what you’re selling.

Confessions of a Cult

While my wife and I were out and about this weekend, we decided to stop in at a few antique stores. On the bargain table ($1 table) outside one of them, I found a nifty little gem of a religious book.

(By clicking the link above, you can find a free online version of the book)

IMG_20140805_101520529

 

My wife looked at me like I was a nut when I picked it up, but I shrugged and she’s used to me doing weird things so she left me alone. I opened the front cover and looked for the date.

It be old

It be old

I’m always being told that the bible is supposed to be taken in context; that most of it isn’t supposed to be read literally. I was interested in seeing whether people in the era that this book was published thought the same thing. Personally, I think the idea that the bible is steeped in metaphor and allegory is a modern phenomenon, which is handily used to try and explain away its less savory or magical bits.

So let’s take a peek at what some people believed in a religious sense back when this book was published.

On page 45 you can find this:

Question: “Is a member of the church not at all allowed to enter into matrimony with a person who is not agreed with him in faith and doctrine?”

Answer: “No. For this is contrary to the marriage institution; and he who thus enters into matrimony, acts contrary to the law of God, and the doctrine of the apostles. Deut. 7:3, 4; Judges 3:6, 7; 1 Cor. 1:10; 7:39; Phil. 2:1, 3.

And then this one:

Question: “Can also a lawful marriage, for any cause be divorced?”

Answer: “No. For the persons united by such marriage are so closely bound to each other, that they can in no wise separate, except in case of “fornication.” Matt. 19:9

Seems to me like they took what the bible says pretty seriously. You weren’t allowed to marry someone who didn’t share the same faith or no faith at all. They even use some pretty strong words, such as ‘contrary to God’s law’, that leave little doubt in the readers mind what they thought of marrying outside the faith.

The second question and answer is pretty straight forward – you don’t divorce unless your spouse fornicates on you. Period.

What if you’re husband liked to beat you?

Guess you just stay married.

You’d think the lord of the universe would be able to give better advice than this.

On page 47, you can find advice on how best to shun people who disagree with the church or faith. Basically, according to this book, unless someone is dying from hunger or dehydration, you’re to shun them in public.

But what about the magic bits, such as the Garden of Eden story, with the talking snake, magic fruit and a woman made from a rib? Surely they thought this was a metaphor or allegory for something else, right?

Nope.

No mention of metaphor

No mention of metaphor

For centuries the bible was taught as the literal or inspired word of God. Today, many think they somehow know how to interpret this stuff better than people back then. How do people distinguish between what is supposed to be literal and what is not?

If you’re a believer, do you agree with this book? If not, what makes your interpretation better or more correct than theirs?

If you say the Holy Spirit is what guides you, you can find in this book the author saying pretty much the same thing. In fact, there are over 30,000 Christian sects, each one differs slightly from its brethren, and most of them claim that this Holy Spirit helps them understand the bible best.

Either this Holy Spirit is unreliable, doesn’t exist or it just likes to fool humans.

 

 

What a Ham

Halloween_costume_alien_chestbursterWhen a quack like Pat Robertson tells you to shut up because you’re making him look bad, you should probably listen.

On the Wednesday edition of his TV show, “The 700 Club,” Robertson indirectly implored Ham to put a sock in it, criticizing Ham’s view that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

“Let’s face it, there was a bishop [James Ussher] … who added up the dates listed in Genesis and he came up with the world had been around for 6,000 years,” Robertson began. “There ain’t no way that’s possible … To say that it all came about in 6,000 years is just nonsense and I think it’s time we come off of that stuff and say this isn’t possible.”

“We’ve got to be realistic that the dating of Bishop Ussher just doesn’t comport with anything that’s found in science,” Robertson continued, “and you can’t just totally deny the geological formations that are out there.”

“Let’s be real,” Robertson begged, “let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”

Unfortunately, Ken Ham didn’t take Pat’s advice (one of the few times you’ll hear me admit that Pat was right about something) and continued on making an even bigger fool of himself.

You see, Ken thinks we should stop exploring space because aliens are going to hell anyways.

But don’t take my word for it. Herte’s what Ken had to say in his own words.

I’m shocked at the countless hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent over the years in the desperate and fruitless search for extraterrestrial life. Even Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” in our recent debate, happily gloated about tax dollars being spent toward this effort. And now, secular scientists are at it again.

Of course, secularists are desperate to find life in outer space, as they believe that would provide evidence that life can evolve in different locations and given the supposed right conditions!  The search for extraterrestrial life is really driven by man’s rebellion against God in a desperate attempt to supposedly prove evolution!

Of course Ken is shocked. He’d rather that money be funneled into his bank account. Instead of funding space exploration, he probably thinks we should be buying his quackery DVD’s.

Roll it up, guys and gals. Ken Ham says we know everything we need to know. Simply read his one book and no more thinking is ever required.

Scouts honor.

You see, according to the secular, evolutionary worldview there must be other habited worlds out there. As the head of NASA, Charles Borden, puts it, “It’s highly improbable in the limitless vastness of the universe that we humans stand alone.” Secularists cannot allow earth to be special or unique—that’s a biblical idea (Isaiah 45:18). If life evolved here, it simply must have evolved elsewhere they believe.

Errr…no Ham.

I like green eggs and ham. I do!

Sorry…I’m a little tired and I went off the beaten path there.

Life doesn’t necessarily have to evolve anywhere. But considering it did here and there are billions of planets and solar systems to explore, we might as well see what else is out there.

Exploring isn’t a bad thing, Ken.

Now the Bible doesn’t say whether there is or is not animal or plant life in outer space.  I certainly suspect not. The Earth was created for human life. And the sun and moon  were created for signs and our seasons—and to declare the glory of God.

What the hell is he talking about?

The sun and moon were created for signs and seasons?

He does realize that we humans made up signs and seasons…right? It wasn’t to declare the glory of God, either. It was so we could more easily classify the weather, seasons etc.

If God created the Earth specifically for human life, what’s the rest of the space for?

You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation. One day, the whole universe will be judged by fire, and there will be a new heavens and earth. God’s Son stepped into history to be Jesus Christ, the “Godman,” to be our relative, and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin—the Savior of mankind.

It burns! And according to Ken Ham, so do the aliens and the whole universe.

I was just waiting for the fear tactics, and there we have it.

So let me get this straight. *puts tinfoil hat firmly on head*

This God of yours is supposed to know everything, yet he only made an escape plan for one species. The rest (if they exist) are going to hell.

That’s your hypothesis.

Call NASA. The guy is right. Let’s call off any further space exploration and dump the money into building an ark. You never know when one of those things will come in handy.

fear

The answers to life’s questions will not be found in imaginary aliens but in the revelation of the Creator through the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to die on a Cross to redeem mankind from sin and death that our ancestor, Adam, introduced.

Oh, the irony.

Please listen to Pat Robertson, Ken.

I also love his rebuttal to people quoting his work directly. It basically says everyone is lying and then quotes what he said, which everyone else had already done.

Brilliant.

You managed to do it, Ken. You managed to make Pat Robertson look sane in comparison.

I’m slow clapping.

Why atheists CAN’T BE Republicans: I Disagree

Militant_Gay_Atheist_Hugs_Rally_to_Restore_SanityI’m a big fan of the Friendly Atheist and the work he does online.

However, he recently made a video that I have to disagree with. In his video, he argues that atheists (in the U.S) shouldn’t vote for Republicans.

I can partially understand why he’d say something like that. I’m not a fan of Republican politics, but I also think they’re the product of a broken political system and theocratic values. I can see why theocratic leaning politicians might scare atheists into not voting for them, but many Christians also don’t support theocratic right-wing politicians. I think in this case, the Friendly Atheist does a poor job equating atheism with politics.

Let’s see what   has to say in his video:

CJ Werleman just wrote a book called “Atheists Can’t Be Republicans.” His thesis is: Atheists can’t be Republicans.

Horrible start in my opinion. The title of the book makes a false statement. Atheism isn’t a political statement. It’s a lack of belief in God(s). That’s it. There’s no reason why an atheist can’t be a Republican atheist.

His argument is essentially this: We know when it comes to religion, there’s no question. Republican want nothing to do with us. We know that.

Sounds like a blanket statement to me. It’s something many atheists (myself included) tend to challenge when religious people do it to us.

If there are Republican atheists, then there are Republicans who want something to do with you. As a party, their platform may not be seen as super-friendly to atheists, but that doesn’t negate the fact that you can be an atheist and a Republican.

But what about social issues like gay marriage and abortion rights? If you support civil rights and women’s rights, as pretty much all vocal atheists do, then you’re not going to vote Republican either. They almost uniformly reject those things.

Being an atheist doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to support gay marriage or abortion. Atheism doesn’t just include the ‘vocal atheists’ either. There are atheists who don’t bother with religious discussion or who don’t support abortion or gay marriage.

But what about on economic issues? Well, even there, the GOP has been awful. They help the rich get richer with unnecessary tax cuts, they oppose minimum wage hikes, trickle-down economics doesn’t work. So even from a purely numbers-based, rational approach, you shouldn’t support them.

This has nothing to do with atheism. Lots of religious people feel this way about the Republican party. Whether you believe Jesus is the son of God or not has nothing to do with your economic policies or what you believe works in an economy.

I agree with his conclusion that Republican fiscal policies don’t work, but that’s just my opinion and doesn’t represent what every atheist must, should or does feel. If I were a Christian, I would probably feel the same way about Republican economic issues.

What about on gun issues? Yes, they support the Second Amendment, but to what extent? They want virtually no regulations and that’s crazy. Even if you love your guns, surely you support common sense safety laws, no? Not if you’re the GOP.

Again, I’m not sure what this has to do with a non-belief in God. I’m sure there are gun loving atheists out there who would rather not be regulated.

Belief in God doesn’t equal love of guns. Atheism doesn’t equal support of gun regulation.

All that said, we’ve seen Republican atheists. Edwina Rogers, the former leader of the SCA, worked with a number of conservative Christian Republicans. She was a Republican and used that label.

Dave Silverman of American Atheists tried to go to CPAC, the super-conservative convention, because he wanted to reach out to conservative atheists.

S.E. Cupp is a conservative atheist, even if she says she wishes she could believe in God.

So in other words…the evidence shows that you can be an atheist Republican.

So yes, atheists can be Republican… but why would you wanna be? In this political climate? With these Republicans? Even if you support some of their positions, you should be ashamed of yourself if you’re voting them into office. If your atheism means anything to you, it makes no sense. You are hurting Humanism and skepticism and church/state separation and all things good and unholy by voting for a Republican.

Here he assumes atheists are skeptics or humanists. You can be an atheist and support Christian values.

You can also be skeptical of religious claims, be an atheist, but believe in other things such as Bigfoot, ghosts or alien abductions.

I’m also not sure why people should be ‘ashamed’ for voting the way they see fit. That’s basically democracy at work. Just because atheism means something to one person, doesn’t mean it means the same thing or anything at all to someone else.

And I’m not saying you have to vote for a Democrat. Go ahead. Vote for a third party candidate… if you think that’ll help.

But in nearly every instance in today’s political climate, voting for a Republican candidate, whoever it is, means giving more power to a party that is anti-gay, anti-poor, anti-science, anti-women, and anti-YOU if you’re an atheist.

Perhaps, but that’s their choice. Maybe they support Republicans for their own reasons or perhaps they’re not that well informed on political issues. Many people don’t want to vote for a third party candidate because they feel it’s a wasted vote.

Personally, I don’t like it when people start telling me what atheism should mean to me. Atheism isn’t something I am so that others can tell me what I should think, feel or who I should vote for.

Atheism is a lack of belief in God(s). Nothing more and nothing less. It doesn’t mean I can’t vote Republican if that’s who I choose to vote for.

In fact, most of the points he made in his video are good arguments against voting Republican. Period. Religious affiliation or lack thereof is irrelevant.

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

love_exists_4_by_marissavoo-d2zd21nA comment made on my last post was rather interesting and is the inspiration for this one. In the last part of the comment she said:

But if i was going to compare God to something else invisible to prove a point it would be love, you can not see love, touch it, or prove it, but you know that its there.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this argument made by a religious person.

However, when we look at it critically, God isn’t anything like love. Scientifically, we understand the biological processes behind those feelings fairly well.

For example:

Although people experience love differently, the chemistry behind the initial rush of attraction shows us that there are biological explanations to feeling giddy, for example, during those blissful early weeks.

To start with, dopamine, which is created in the brain and adrenal glands, enhances the release of testosterone. Dopamine affects various organs, including the genitals, the sweat glands, and also the senses. Have you ever noticed that when you are in the early stages of lust or love, you sweat more? Or that the sky seems bluer? Dopamine, in this context of arousal, is partly responsibly. As a consequence of dopamine being released, mood and emotions are also influenced, leading to feelings of excitement and happiness. Meanwhile, testosterone increases sexual desire, but also increases aggressive behaviour and behaviourally, may push someone to pursue the one who is fueling this intense response.

After this step, the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and PEA (phenylethylamine) lead to focused attention. Individuals start to ‘zero-in’ on the person they desire, and at the same time, often have a feeling of euphoria. Norepinephrine is a stimulant, so it also causes individuals to feel alert, potentially unable to sleep, and enables them to notice and remember even the smallest of details about their partners. PEA is responsible for the feelings of giddiness, and may cause the loss of appetite. If the relationship doesn’t last, and PEA levels fall and are partly responsible for the feelings of depression that can be experienced.

I know…it seems a lot less romantic when broken down scientifically, but the point remains the same – love isn’t a supernatural entity in the sky or a supernatural realm laid out for believers after they die. There are biological reasons for those feelings.

As clinical psychologist Sue Johnson points out in a recent article:

“I think it’s absolutely disastrous for us to keep defining love as a big mystery,” Johnson says. “We need to know about it, we need to know how to shape it. It’s now the basis of our families. Really, the family stands or falls on feelings of affection. … We are all longing for it, and it’s just kind of not so poetic and fun anymore to define it as slightly out of reach and sort of only magical.”

Sound familiar?

Even though we have a fairly good understanding of love from a biological perspective, we still try to label it as something magical and mysterious…kind of like our favorite myths about God.

In another article:

If you’ve ever been in love, you’ve probably at least considered classifying the feeling as an addiction. And guess what: You were right. As it turns out, scientists are discovering that the same chemical process that takes place with addiction takes place when we fall in love.

So unlike God, you can show evidence that it exists and you can test for it scientifically. It’s part of our natural world and has nothing to do with magic or the supernatural.

If you really want to look for a fair comparison between Allah, Yahweh, Jesus or Vishnu, you can find it in Odin, Zeus and Mithra.

In other words, the rest of the Gods you probably don’t believe in, which have been thrown in the dustbin of mythological history.