What’s Wrong With A Comfortable Delusion?

What’s Wrong With A Comfortable Delusion??!  Take a look here.

Delusion

Some Christians get upset when others argue against all their unproven assumptions. There’s everything from the ranting and raving, “How dare you disagree?” to a less confrontational, honest request for quiet acceptance of their beliefs and actions.

This morning, I found a YouTube video from The Atheist Experience, with the above title. Then I came down to read the newspaper, and found this article.

Farmer burned down barn, shot at house

Actions a ‘cry for help,’ judge says, sentencing man to 22 months for arson, firearms offences

In a ‘cry for help’, a depressed and guilt-ridden Mennonite farmer set three fires on his property – including one that burned his barn to the ground, killing seven cattle and a horse, causing $400,000 damage. Later he shot five or six times at his house with a .22 caliber rifle, while his wife and two young children were inside.

“It would appear that much of his angst arose from guilt that he felt over pursuing some secular interests that may have been contrary to his religious teachings.”

His lawyer was asked outside court about his secular interests. “He got a phone, as necessary for the operation of his cattle farm. The cell-phone was a Smart Phone, with access to the internet, and he started to retreat to the barn to watch Hollywood movies. So he was watching movies like “Superman” or something. It wasn’t pornography or anything.”

What’s wrong with a little comfortable delusion? Nothing, until it changes to psychopathy, and becomes uncomfortable, both for the deluded person, and the rest of society.

This is not an isolated incident, and it’s not restricted to Christians. The same paper contained an article about a Christian Pakistani woman who has been held in jail for 7 years, much of that in solitary, because a neighbor accused her of blasphemy. The raging mob demanded her execution, and that of the judge who finally freed her.

Don’t be deluded; it can be very dangerous.

Speaking of being deluded…. My contract says that I’ll be back here in a couple of days, I hope, with a new 100-word Flash Fiction.  Don’t let me down.  🙂

 

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2018 List Of Books Read

I read a book, once….  Others, I’ve read more than once.

My GP sees me so seldom that she forgets who I am, because my “yearly” physicals are often 18 to 24 months apart.  I continue to accrue a lengthening list of medical specialists for myself, the wife, and the daughter.  Because of this (and normal physical deterioration), available free time for reading diminishes.

Next year, instead of a list of books that I managed to read, I may just put up a list of all the medical appointments I had to drive to.  This past year’s list is down to 21 books – I think.  I’m too tired to check.  Someone add them up, and get back to me.  These are the ones that I managed to get through.

Eric Flint/Griffin Barber – 1636: Mission To The Mughals

Mission to the Mughals

This series was interesting Sci-Fi when it started out.  I’m done with it.  Now it’s just a 700 page excuse to publish a little political history of India around the time of building the Taj Mahal.

Chris Ryan – Stand By, Stand By – Zero Option – Greed

Stand by, Stand by

Zero Option

Greed

A very British men’s action series.  Not bad if you’re into that sort of thing.

Gregg Loomis – The Cathar Secret

The Cathar Secret

More suspense and plot development than any of the above.  A good way to waste an afternoon.

Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child – The Pharaoh Key

The Pharaoh Key

A suspense/action tale good enough to sink your eyeteeth into, but not deep enough to need to munch your molars.

Tom Clancy’s Commander In Chief

Commander In Chief

Tom Clancy is long dead, but his ghost writers continue to grind out the pot-boilers and royalties.

Michael Kurland – The Whenabouts Of Burr

The Whenabouts of Burr

This is a re-read from 1975.  I was reminded of it because of a conversation with a lady author who said that she liked time-travel Sci-Fi, as I do.  It’s actually more of an alternate universe/history story, with minor temporal displacement.  I’ll publish a review on it soon.

Blake Crouch – Dark Matter

Dark Matter

This one is another alternate universe story like the above, but with no time travel.  I’ll publish a review on it also, in a couple of months, to compare the viewpoints and construction.

Steve Berry – The Columbus Affair

The Columbus Affair

Christopher Columbus and his navigator were both secret Jews, escaping the Inquisition…. and they hid the Temple Treasure in the New World??!  Okay, you’ve got my attention and interest.

Isaac Asimov – The Rest Of The Robots

The Rest Of The Robots

I thought that I had read every Asimov story in the Foundation series, about robots.  Turns out that I was wrong.  This book was published in 1964.  It contains 8 short stories, and two novellas about the positronic predecessor to Star Trek’s Data character.  I was able to purchase a Kindle version, and wallow in classic Asimov.

E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith – Imperial Stars

Imperial Stars

This is another Sci-Fi re-read.  This is the first in a series of 12 books.  In 1976, after the death of Doc Smith, his younger author friend, Stephen Goldin took notes, and drafts, and conversations/discussions with Doc, and assembled the story line as he felt Doc would have.  Performers from the interstellar Imperial Circus are used like James Bond, as intelligence gatherers and executioners.  Goldin has his own books, but he did well with this lot.  They still have Doc Smith’s feel to them.

E. C. Tubb – The Temple Of Truth – The Return – Child Of Earth

The Temple of Truth

The Return

Child of Earth

I read the first 27 books of this never-ending series years ago, but ‘life’ caused me to give it up.  When I heard that another author like Stephen Goldin above, had brought it to a post-mortem culmination after Tubb’s death, I bought the final 7.  I read four of them in 2017, and the final three last year.

James Rollins – The 6th Extinction – The Kill Switch

The 6th Extinction

The Kill Switch

A couple more rollicking-good men’s action books.  ‘The Kill Switch’ is the first of a series within a series, where the hero, introduced in a previous book, is an ex-Army, now-paramilitary, who has brought along his K9 partner, which the Government was just going to destroy.

Clive Cussler – Lost Empire

Lost Empire

All the old, well-known authors are increasingly, farming out the sub-series.  Grant Blackwood, who wrote this one for Cussler, also wrote Kill Switch, above, for James Rollins.

David Ignatius – The Quantum Spy

The Quantum Spy

One of the new type of secret agent books.  As you might guess, while there is lots of travel, suspense and physical action, much of the plot revolves around the World Wide Web, hacking, and code-breaking.

Nan Yielding – Things I Never Learned In Sunday School

Things I never Learned in Sunday School

The very-Christian wife of an author decided to do some research to prove the inerrancy of the Bible.  Along the way she turned up so many mistakes, contradictions and unprovable claims, that she turned herself into an Atheist.  I ran into her blog-site one night, and she was pleased that I had read her book, and gave it a recommendation.

James S. A. Corey – Caliban’s War

Caliban's War

This is the second book of a grand Sci-Fi series, recommended to me by my buddy BrainRants.  It is/was available as a series on SYFY, which I can’t access.  Even if you’ve seen some/all of it, I still suggest that you try the books.

Dismantling Of Faith

Big Bang

In the middle of a discussion thread on an Atheist blog-site, about the above title, ‘Ron’ showed up.  The following is my part of the amusement and puzzlement he caused.

Have you never read the laws of Thermodynamics, you can not create something out of nothing. Most sciencies are best guess answers. Even Darwin at the end of the day realized there was an intelligent design. Even Stephen Hawking, the physicist, knew that there was a intelligent design at work. Faith can be proven but not through man.

After the author explained that he was an engineer, we got

You can’t create something out of nothing, you don’t understand, how do you get past that.

After contradicting half a dozen commenters, and stating ‘facts’ that science clearly contradicts, he dropped

I might of misspelled the word it is a belief that everything has a spirit trees plants sun stars ect. It predates mans religion’s by thousands of years. Look around n you see the same belief structure. Faith is synonymous with belief this has lasted for thousands of years. It showed up n sumerian cuneiform about 6000 bc.

After another half dozen desperate ‘create something/nothing’ assertions, I thought that I might step in.

If the Big Bang Theory is even vaguely valid, In the Beginning, EVERYTHING existed…. every erg of energy, every quantum entanglement, every sub-atomic particle! All that has happened in the intervening 14 Billion years, is some minor rearranging.
If you want to go back before the bang happened, there was no Time, there was no Space, and there were no rules. Even now, sub-atomic particles appear to be winking into and out of existence.
There may be a parallel dimension, or an alternative Place???, which is a cosmic junkyard, and crap is just getting flushed into our Universe. But it could all occur without the need for or presence of an unverifiable God.

I got 4 likes for that comment, and this reply.

I will play your circle of reasoning before the big bang there was black matter. Black matter has a structure they just can,t figure it out. The cern collider is looking for what is called the God particle. Your argument falls to the ground.

I calmly responded

‘Inside the Universe,’ before the Big Bang occurred, no matter existed as such, including Dark Matter. If you are positing that Dark Matter exists/existed outside the universe, I am unaware of any scientific theory that it does, but you have provided a theoretical place, and a thing, where you have intimated there is ‘Nothing,’ for something to be created from, but still no proof of, or need for, “God.”
BTW; The CERN collider apparently has found the Higgs boson. As a snide, sarcastic dig at religious fundamentalists, it has been nicknamed The God Particle, because it seems to do what fundies insist only God can do, as usual, with no proof, only desperate hope.
It seems to be your argument which has collapsed.

I got 2 likes, and this rebuttal.

You quit learning there is a smaller particle then the Higgs boson. They are revamping the collider to find the next smallest particle which they call the God particle. Besides of which if you remember simple mathematics to negatives make a positive. That is Black matter it is not complicated.

The thread went on for 284 comments, at least half either from, or directed at, ‘Ron’ and his inane claims.  I decided that it was time to bow out with

The Higgs boson is called the God Particle because it is believed to give mass to matter. It does not automatically give up that title and pass it on, simply because a smaller particle(s) exists.
If a smaller particle is proven, it is unlikely that is comes from the Higgs. Even if it does, the complete, assembled boson is still required to impart mass, and the title remains.
Given the seriousness and complexity of the subject matter, it is difficult to take a discussion seriously, when the comments are replete with punctuation, spelling, usage, and construction errors. I’m done, as are you.

I didn’t want to descend to, what might be construed as a personal attack, but, honestly, I’ve had better submissions from 5th graders….but this guy appeared to believe that he understood Cosmology, Astrophysics, The Big Bang, and thermodynamics, when he couldn’t even correctly assemble a simple sentence or argument.

I recently published a post titled Desperation, in which I showed the amusing and troubling problems of trying to have a calm, reasoned discussion between Science and Christianity.  It can be done – just not if desperate, Chicken Little, hyper-Apologetics like ‘Ron’ are allowed to range free.  😯

Bible Man Speak With Forked Tongue

Bible

Once again, I have found Christian Apologetics, the new Defenders of the Faith, doing exactly what they accuse Atheists, Agnostics, and other doubters of doing.  In the past year, I’ve seen at least three Christian blogs critical of a list of Atheist statements.  While each is composed slightly differently, the list of Atheist sins in each, is cut and paste identical.

It is undeniable that they often put forth nearly identical catch-phrases and responses. I mean, just ask yourself how often you heard these Atheist talking points:

  • There is no evidence for God;
  • God is not great;
  • Religion poisons everything;
  • Faith means believing something without evidence;
  • Atheism is just a lack of belief;
  • If you don’t believe in evolution, you’re a fool;
  • If everything has a cause, then what caused God;
  • That’s just a God of the Gaps argument;
  • Well, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence;
  • Religion is just wish-fulfillment;
  • Jesus is a zombie;
  • Metaphysics is bunk, I believe in what works;
  • I want evidence, not arguments;
  • God is just a delusion;
  • Religion is a mind virus;
  • Why doesn’t God heal amputees; and, finally
  • God is evil or a dictator or a maniac.

And these are just some of the catch-phrases that are routinely put forward by Atheists.

It wasn’t until I happened upon this soap opera evil twin triplet, that I realized I had a theme to rant about.  All three of them, and lots of others I’ve read, just complain about not wanting to encounter the routine list of Atheist denials of their unproven claims.

Amusingly, what they all seem to hope for, and invite, are newer, different, more creative and inventive, but easier to dismiss, arguments.  Like what??!  I don’t want to believe in God because he might be Scottish, wearing a kilt, and I don’t want to look up his skirt.  There’s enough big pricks down here on Earth.

I also noticed that, aside from whining about not wanting to be constantly faced with this list of reasons not to believe their claims, none of them actually did anything to refute any of it.  ‘Go ahead, prove the list wrong.  Offer proof of rebuttal for a couple of these claims – not Faith, or Belief – actual, provable facts.’  While a couple of the Atheist points are a bit aggressive, or colloquial, they all appear valid.  Religion poisons everything??  “I’ll gladly book you a trip to ISIS territory.  Take it up with them.”  If they want better rebuttals, they’re going to have to provide better claims, which are based more on evidence, rather than just their faith-based opinions.

Those who are firm in their faith seem willing to nod sagely and ignore all Atheist arguments.  It seems though, that the more unsure and insecure these Apologetics are, the louder and more frantic their wails are.

On that great Cosmic Scorecard in the sky, which they’re sure that Someone is keeping, having even the slightest doubt will get them sent to Hell.  Atheists’ arguments cause doubt, so they just want them to shut up.  What they’re doing is, trying to make it my job to ensure that they go to Heaven.  I’m too busy sinning and having no morals (according to them) to get around to that.  To Hell with them!  😉

Desperation

Bible

Apparently convinced that God is incapable of speaking for, or defending Himself, or the Bible, there are many Christians who take it upon themselves to speak for Him, and in their desperation to justify their beliefs, make fools of themselves and their religion.

In a recent post – On a book review, Frank Angle asked if there could be a reasonable discussion about the relationship of Science and Christianity.  The answer is yes, if the discussion is among intelligent, knowledgeable, open-minded people.

Among these vociferous Bible-thumpers, many of whom self-identify as Christian Apologetics, it seems that, the less they know, the more they have to say about it.  An American Protestant minister recently suggested to his flock that they might consider using a more up-to-date translation version of the Bible, for clarity, and ease of reading.  This was immediately shot down when a religious maven in the congregation stood up, and loudly proclaimed that, “If the King James Version was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us.”

Not only do some of these Apologetics have trouble with facts and logic, they also seem to struggle with language and definitions.  One hyper-Christian seemed quite disturbed that Professors, researchers and leaders of Denominations other than his, learn about and teach things that his narrow-minded tenets won’t admit to.  Finally, with a flippant wave of his hand blog-post, he dismissed all of them with the self-contradictory label of Atheist Theologians.”

It is becoming common for Christian defenders to use the ‘Was you dere, Hymie?’ argument to any Atheist who claims to see no proof of God’s existence.  They will ask, “Have you been to every place in the Universe?  Isn’t it possible that God is hiding inside the Sun, or beneath the ammonia seas of Jupiter, or on some tiny planet wayyy over on the other side of the Universe?”

I immediately have problems with the idea of God needing, or even worse, wanting to hide from us.  Shouldn’t He be evident in all His radiant glory?  Who, or what, would God have to hide from?  And this ‘hiding’ business contradicts the Christians’ claims that ‘God is everywhere, in every thing, and in every space, permeating the entirety of Creation.’  C’mon guys…. Ya can’t have it both ways.

One of the sillier claims to appear recently was from Eddie the Evangelist, who seems to believe that some people become Atheists to appear smarter.   If this is the best desperate argument that Apologetics have to offer, it won’t take much to appear smarter than that.

I will admit that there are people who identify as Atheists, who smugly believe that they, and only they, have seen the truth, much like some Christians, and are therefore smarter than them.  It all comes back to definitions and reality.  Even if someone claims to be an Atheist because he’s angry at God for something, or to appear smarter, then he really isn’t an Atheist, because he still believes in God, the Apologetics’ claim isn’t really valid, and there’s no need of argument.

If Apologetics were absolutely, positively sure that God and salvation exists and they were right and that Atheists’ claims were false, then there would be no reason for these embarrassing, desperate claims and debates.  All the egotistical fuss they make is really about the fact that everyone doesn’t agree with them.  😛

WOW #36

Lonely Man

I’m Just a Lonely Boy – or so Paul Anka claimed he was.  I’m not.  Thanx to a chance encounter with a dictionary, (Hah!  As if any encounter I have with a dictionary could be ‘Chance’) I find that I can apply the honorable title of

SOLITUDINARIAN

Noun

a person who seeks solitude; a recluse.

It’s not that I want to beat this concept to death; it’s just that I keep finding more and more dignified words to describe my chosen lifestyle.

Hate People

I don’t hate everybody.  I haven’t met everybody.  Aside from you lovely people, who come here and brighten my days, the less I have to do with the rest of the Smart Phone-wielding, gullible, ignorant- yet opinionated masses, the better for everyone involved.

The chains on my mood swing just broke.
Run!

I once admitted to a reader that I occasionally read Christian web-posts.  Shocked, he demanded to know why I would do such a thing.  It’s not Masochism.  It’s not generally intentional.  It’s that a surprising – almost frightening – number of Christian bloggers label their output with an ‘Atheist’, or ‘Atheism’ tag.

Between them, and the Flat Earthers, and the Conspiracy Theorists, (See Buzz Aldrin’s outrage that the recent movie, First Man, didn’t show the planting of the American flag on the moon) I feel comfortable in my own company.

Many Fundamentalist (with the accent on ‘mental’) Christians refuse to accept the Theory of Evolution, because they don’t want to admit that they might be related to monkeys.  There are just too many folks out there, otherwise known as wastes of space and resources, who act like they are related to jackasses.

Thanx for reading.  See you again soon.  😀

U-Turn. No, You Turn!

 

Dictionary Bible

Recently, in a very unofficial interview, Pope Frank was quoted as saying that there was no Hell; i.e. there was no place, full of fire and brimstone, where souls were tortured for eternity.  He said that the torture for non-believers was merely to be removed from the presence and grace of God forever.

Immediately, the Official Church Organ (Not the one with the keys, which makes the music.  The one between priests’ and Bishops’ legs, that’s used to molest altar boys and choir girls) swung into action, denying, and “clarifying.”  The Good Catholics, who know more than the pontiff, who is infallible in doctrinal matters, began screaming, ‘Give us back our days Hell.’  (That “days” thing was the April Fools who thought that, somehow, part of their lives had been stolen when Pope Gregory rearranged the Julian calendar.)

The Vicar of Christ has now put his other strangely-shod foot in his mouth.  I don’t know if the situation was intentionally caused, and, if so, who caused it.  He attended the re-dedication of a renovated Catholic elementary school, attached to a cathedral. He and his goon-squad  bodyguards several Cardinals sat at the front, a microphone was set up about 10 feet in front of them, and each student was allowed to come up and ask him a question.

A 12-year-old boy could not speak his question into the mic, so a Cardinal grabbed him by the arm, and he was allowed to approach, and whisper his question into the Pope’s ear.  He and his mother were ‘good Catholics’, but his father, who had been a good man, but an Atheist, had recently died.  “Was his father in Heaven?”

Like, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”, this is a no-win question.  If he says ‘No,’ the pope disappoints a grieving son and all his schoolmates.  If he says ‘Yes,’ he contradicts Church doctrine.  The Pope considered for only a few seconds, and then said;

“God, our Father is like your father.  He is good and kind, forgiving and loving.  If your father was truly a good man, then God will forgive him, and welcome him into Heaven.”

I have written that the unchanging Catholic Church will take years – decades – centuries even, to ‘modify’ their dogma and catechisms.  This may be an attempt by Pope Francis to un-paint the Church from some of the corners it’s got itself into.  This could be the start of something good.

***

Speaking of Christians changing definitions….  I got some ironic laughs from Blogger Barry, in his replies on my Childlike Grace post.  If you don’t believe in a supernatural God the Father then, by definition, you are an Atheist!  If you don’t believe in God the Father then, by definition, there is no Christ the Son for you to be a non-theist (?), or post-modern, or Liberal Christian follower of.  😳

Please come back again soon.  See you at the dictionary, kids.   😉  😯