’21 A To Z Challenge – H

 

There are many delightful, old, archaic and arcane words that I wish were still in use – like ‘snaithe,’ which is a single thread within a larger cord, or rope.  It was often used in reference to magic, and the alternate time-lines and reality-lines caused by invoking spells.

And then there are the words, and the concepts that created them, that we wish had disappeared, but sadly haven’t.  So it is with today’s terrible twins – the disreputable duo of

HOODLUMS

AND

HOOLIGANS

Hoodlum – a thug or gangster.
a young street ruffian, especially one belonging to a gang.

Hooligan – a ruffian or hoodlum.

These two are examples of the entitled worst of American society, who on January 6th, urged and led thousands of their brothers to take Government into their own hands, and invaded the Capitol building.  Victims of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, they didn’t know how dumb and gullible they were, but continued to forge ahead in Holy zeal, following a false prophet.

This is the world of Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White and many more lesser-known but influential religious leaders who prophesied that Trump would win the election, and helped organize nationwide prayer rallies in the days before the Jan. 6 insurrection, speaking of an imminent “heavenly strike” and “a Christian populist uprising,” leading many who stormed the Capitol to believe they were “taking back the country for God.”

The (dis)United States already has more than enough ways that it is separated, one segment from another.  A new term has recently arisen – the Stained-Glass Divide.  It’s bad enough that there is constant friction between whites and blacks, citizens and immigrants, Republicans and Democrats, Red States and Blue States.  Now the vocal Christian Evangelicals are pulling away from those they don’t feel are Holy enough.

You guys better get your act together, or we Canadians will send down a couple of Mounties to straighten things out, and you’ll wind up being our 11th province.

Welcome To The Neighborhood

In an attempt to attract some interest, new blogger Funny english questions – Surya’s Pages (wordpress.com) published a list of interesting questions and comments about social norms and English language use.  I replied to the following few.  The rest are at the bottom, if you want to comment on any or all.

If a poison expires; is it more poisonous or is it no longer poisonous?
Poisons do not ’expire,’ only people who take it.  Depending on the poison, it might actually become more virulent.   Some degrade, but almost none become non-poisonous.

Which letter is silent in the word “Scent,” the S or the C?
Yes!

Why is the Letter W, in English, called a double U?  Shouldn’t it be called double V?
I asked my Grade 4 teacher this in 1949.  She said,” Wait till next year when you learn cursive writing.  You’ll see that it is a double U.”  In French, it is double V – when they’re not busy surrendering to a Girl Scout troop from Iceland.

SIX GREAT UNRESOLVED CONFUSIONS – turned out to be just the next four.

At a movie theater, which armrest is yours?
Both of them, if you get there early, plant both elbows, and the Incredible Hulk doesn’t sit beside you.

If people evolve from monkeys, why are monkeys still around?
If dogs evolved from wolves, why are wolves still around?
If Protestants evolved from Catholics, why are Catholics still around?
This is the kind of “Gotcha” question that Christian Apologists with absolutely no knowledge of Evolution ask.  Monkeys do not evolve (present tense) into people.  Human beings and monkeys both evolved from a common, ape-like ancestor, millennia ago.  Some people are just more evolved than others.

Why is there a ‘D’ in fridge, but not in refrigerator?
Because the refrigerator is full, and there isn’t enough room.

Who knew what time it was when the first clock was made?
Anybody who could look up, see that the sun had reached its peak in the sky, and say, “It’s Noon!”

Why isn’t a Fireman called a Water-man?
Because he doesn’t get on that big red truck and rush to the water.  He rushes to a fire.

Why do doctors “Practice” medicine?  Are they having practice at the cost of the patients?
Because, like lawyers who “practice” law, the word has more than one meaning.  The original one was, “habit, or custom.”

Why do they call it a TV ‘set’ when there is only one?
Because it consists of an assemblage – a set – of electronic components.

What are you vacating when you go on a “Vacation?”
Your desk, your chair, your employer, your house, your municipality, and often your better judgement.

***

You’re kinda cool man. 😎
I thought that I was past “Cool.” At my age it’s mostly rants and rambles.  😳

Would you like to join me?
Why?  Are you coming apart?

This is obviously not Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood.

***

Do twins ever realize that one of them is “Unplanned”?
Maybe Oxygen is slowly killing you and it just takes 75-100 years to fully work.
Every time you clean something, you just make something else dirty.
The word “swims” upside-down is still “swims.”
(It depends on how you rotate it.  It might just be “smiws.”)
100 years ago everyone owned a Horse and only the rich had Cars. Today everyone has Cars and only the rich own Horses.
If you replace “W” with “T” in “What, Where and When”, you get the answer to each of them.
Wonder why the word “Funeral” starts with FUN?
How come Lipstick doesn’t do what it says?
If money doesn’t grow on trees, how come Banks have Branches?
If a Vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a Humanitarian eat?
How do you get off a non-stop Flight?
(The way the guy in New York did recently.  Pop open the emergency hatch, and jump down onto the runway.)
Why are goods sent by Ship called CARGO, and those sent by car, a SHIPMENT?
Why do we put cups in the “Dishwasher” and the dishes in the “Cupboard”?
(To get them clean, and then, to keep them clean.)
Why is it called “Rush Hour” when traffic moves at its slowest then?
How come Noses run and Feet smell?

Having A Panic Sale

IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES
IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES

As March blew in like a lion, it blew a bit of Christian desperation, depression, fear, and entitlement, into the daughter’s house.

In the days previous, both the wife and son had been phoned, to do a survey about how various political parties and levels of Government had – or had not – been handling COVID.  The daughter got a phone call, and an unctuous female voice asked her if she had some time to talk about COVID.

She assumed that this was just another polling company.  The first few questions seemed – normalHow was COVID affecting her?  Did she go out often?  Since she had been locked indoors for most of the winter, she had the time and inclination to converse with someone.

Suddenly, the question was, Do you believe that COVID, and all the other terrible things that are happening, are the beginning of the end?  The sign of the Apocalypse??  The coming of the Rapture??!  Ah, a frightened Christian Fundamentalist – She just said NO.

How can you not believe that it’s The End Of The World?  “Because it’s all natural progression.  We’ve seen it all, dozens, hundreds of times before; we’re seeing it again, and we will see it in the future.”

I’d just like to leave you with some words from the Good Book, to make you feel better.  The daughter told her that she wasn’t feeling bad, and she already had “a book.”  She just didn’t tell her that it was one from Dr. Seuss, for adults.  It as easily could have been the Wiccan Bible, or the Pagan Prayer-book.

Ms Bible-thumper persisted.  You should just read Psalms 29, v 16-17.  The daughter replied, “That would be pretty hard for me to do, since I don’t have a Bible in the house.”  She told me, she could almost hear the fit of apoplexy coming on.  You don’t have a Bible??!  “No!  But thanks for calling.  Bye.”

Christian callers to podcast shows like The Atheist Experience, and Talk Heathen, accuse them of ‘trying to take away their religion, and their faith in Christ.’  One host rebuts this by saying that they only accept calls.  They do not make outgoing calls.  They do not go door to door asking, “Have you stopped believing in Christ yet?”  Apparently some Christian Missionaries won’t return the favor.

We had the Spanish Flu a hundred years ago.  Millions died but the world didn’t end.  We had the Black Death – The Plague – 500 years ago.  A third of the population of Europe died, but the world did not end.

The fear-mongering prediction of The End Times is almost a Christian cottage-industry, sold to, and bought by, fear-stricken followers with great gullibility, panicked imaginations – and absolutely no memory, or understanding of History.

One of the earliest recorded predictions of the end of the world came from Simon bar Giora, a member of the Jewish Essenes sect, about 66/70 CE. These years were a period in which the Jews of Judea rose up against the Romans who were in control of the area. The prediction ran that this fight would be the actual end times battle that presaged the coming of the Messiah.

Some people claim that Nostradamus (1555) predicted the end of the world, but careful study of his entertaining poetry will reveal that he made no such declaration.   Jeff Nilsson wrote about the Mother Shipton predictions in 2011. A new collection of the 16th century oracle’s visions was published in 1873.  Despite the fact that the publisher later admitted that he made the whole thing up, people still bought into prediction that the world would end in 1881 as it said in the book. Contemporary evidence seems to indicate that it did not.

Between 1996 and 2011, Televangelist Harold Camping made not one, but four, successive Apocalypse predictions.  His Christian broadcaster was finally forced to quietly give him the boot, and wash their hands of him.

The religious side of the Y2K panic made even less of an impact than the electronic one – especially since fearful followers got the dates wrong.  More bad dates (Not on Tinder) let the 2012 Mayan Calendar disaster pass without occurring.

In the long history of doomsday predictions, the apocalypse has been cancelled repeatedly over the centuries. From comets to computers to calendars (mainly Mayan), a surplus of expected end times has been available to every culture. And yet, as far we can tell, we’re still here – no thanks to Christian doomsayers.

Edison On Religion


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Alva Edison:

…What I have denied and what my reason compels me to deny, is the existence of a Being throned above us as a god, directing our mundane affairs in detail, regarding us as individuals, punishing us, rewarding us as human judges might.  When the churches learn to take this rational view of things, when they become true schools of ethics and stop teaching fables, they will be more effective than they are to-day… If they would turn all that ability to teaching this one thing – the fact that honesty is best, that selfishness and lies of any sort must surely fail to produce happiness – they would accomplish actual things.

Religious faiths and creeds have greatly hampered our development. They have absorbed and wasted some fine intellects. That creeds are getting to be less and less important to the average mind with every passing year is a good sign, I think, although I do not wish to talk about what is commonly called theology.

The criticisms which have been hurled at me have not worried me. A man cannot control his beliefs. If he is honest in his frank expression of them, that is all that can in justice be required of him. Professor Thomson and a thousand others do not in the least agree with me. His criticism of me, as I read it, charged that because I doubted the soul’s immortality, or ‘personality,’ as he called it, my mind must be abnormal, ‘pathological,’ in other, words, diseased…

I try to say exactly what I honestly believe to be the truth, and more than that no man can do. I honestly believe that creedists have built up a mighty structure of inaccuracy, based, curiously, on those fundamental truths which I, with every honest man, must not alone admit but earnestly acclaim.

I have been working on the same lines for many years. I have tried to go as far as possible toward the bottom of each subject I have studied. I have not reached my conclusions through study of traditions; I have reached them through the study of hard fact. I cannot see that unproved theories or sentiment should be permitted to have influence in the building of conviction upon matters so important. Science proves its theories or it rejects them. I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God.

I earnestly believe that I am right; I cannot help believing as I do… I cannot accept as final any theory which is not provable. The theories of the theologians cannot be proved. Proof, proof! That is what I always have been after; that is what my mind requires before it can accept a theory as fact. Some things are provable, some things disprovable, some things are doubtful. All the problems which perplex us, now, will, soon or late, be solved, and solved beyond a question through scientific investigation.

The thing which most impresses me about theology is that it does not seem to be investigating. It seems to be asserting, merely, without actual study….Moral teaching is the thing we need most in this world, and many of these men could be great moral teachers if they would but give their whole time to it, and to scientific search for the rock-bottom truth, instead of wasting it upon expounding theories of theology which are not in the first place firmly based. What we need is search for fundamentals, not reiteration of traditions born in days when men knew even less than we do now.

The Shortcut To Blame

If you haven’t struck pay-dirt in 50 words, stop boring.  Confounded confusion!!  Many Christian Apologist debaters and essayists seem to think that a barrage of verbiage will eventually yield a nugget of truth.  This guy went wrong in a Hell of a hurry.

I get to hear “Why would God allow so much suffering?” to which the answer is “Why do you?” because we really are supposed to be instruments of God, suffering is our call to action. We are supposed to take care of each other. Failing to do so is not God’s inaction, it is ours.

Damn! I didn’t realize that child cancer was My Fault, because I haven’t rushed out and found a cure. I was busy, helping out down at the food bank. 😳

Thank you. I considered editing this piece to include your sanctimonious, self righteous bullshit as an example of someone trying to highlight the “I” in “Team.” Your self centered value signalling (sic) pretty much removes the illusion of you being a charitable person.

You did a good thing, then complained that your effort did not cure all the world’s problems. It must make you feel like a failure among Gods.

And then out came all that Christian love and acceptance.  😯  Trust a Bible-thumper to take things the wrong way, whether innocently or cynically, whenever their claims are questioned,.  I’ll admit that I was a little snarky when I posted the comment that showed that there’s no He on his team: that after the writer has done all his tithing, and volunteering at the soup kitchen or homeless shelter, it’s still up to his imaginary God to handle things like tornadoes and hurricanes and floods and earthquakes and landslides and volcanoes….and cancer.

Science and medicine are working as hard as they can to find cures for diseases (like COVID19), that his God hurls at us.  After these researchers work their asses off, sometimes for years to find a cure, guys like this will yell, “Thank God! He has answered our prayers!” God helps them that help themselves. These Apologists help themselves – or, at least their pet Deity – to all the credit, but none of the blame. 😯

Here’s a clear example of my earlier assertion, which many of these Good Christians grudgingly admit, that I/Atheists perform ‘good and moral’ actions, but claim that we do so for ‘the wrong reasons,’ according to them.

Studies seem to indicate that, overall, Christians are happier than Atheists.  I don’t believe that these Apologists are actually happier, just more smugly self-satisfied.  😛

True Colors

Ladies and gentlemen, this is where a Christian/Atheist religious discussion goes, when it doesn’t go where an evangelical apologist wants it to go.  Sooner or later they show their true colors.

I love when you write about religion and faith because this is my favorite topic. However, it seems like you only want to engage in discussing the worst ideas that Christians present, rather than actually dealing with the difficult questions. Of course it is true that as an atheist you are capable of making moral choices. And I accept that if evolution were true, you would be capable of caring for others through an evolved empathy. However, what if my evolutionary pathway didn’t cause me to have empathy? What if my evolution led me toward conquering others by any means necessary in order to survive? What if I sincerely believed that killing you and stealing your stuff was a moral choice? If you are a cosmic accident, and I am a cosmic accident, then you have no standing on which to claim that anything at all is good or bad. There is no such thing as good or bad. It doesn’t matter if 7 billion cosmic accidents decide that killing is bad. You could put me in jail and stop me from stealing and killing, but you couldn’t actually call my actions bad. There is no one on earth who could say anything is good or bad if we are all cosmic accidents. You put up a meme that says, “Not wanting to know the truth is what makes you stupid.” I completely agree. So, where do you stand on that? If you really want the truth, then why do you tear down stupid arguments and avoid answering real questions? Thanks!

I tear down stupid arguments, because they are stupid arguments. Like assembling car models or collecting coins, it is a retirement hobby that fills some spare time, and gives me a pleasant feeling of accomplishment. What are some real questions that you feel need answering, and why do you think that it is incumbent upon me to answer them??

I accept a wide array of ‘facts’ and opinions which I believe to be the truth, because I have been presented with what I feel is, sufficiently convincing evidence. It is likely that some of my beliefs are false, because of incomplete or incorrect information, but if someone presents me with new evidence, I am open to changing my mind. What ’Truth’ do you think exists, that I am not accepting? I do not discover truth by telling others what I believe, but by asking my own questions, and listening to others.

You are correct that there is no good or bad, and you are also wrong! Good and bad do not exist as concrete, clearly-defined, unchanging, imposed-from-without, terms. They exist because we – individuals and societies – say they do. Good is what increases my well-being. Bad is what decreases my well-being – and my family’s – and my city’s – and my country’s – and Humanity’s. They are amorphous, constantly changing, constantly being negotiated. They require continuous thought and consideration. We need to be responsible for our own actions and attitudes.

I did not mean to say that you have an obligation to answer any argument. I only wondered why you seem to avoid addressing good Christian arguments, and only pick on the stupid ones. You asked which truth I think exists…and I think you know the answer. God exists and there is plenty of evidence for his existence. I have offered to take the time to show you the evidence, but you did not respond to my offer. I’m glad that you at least admit in this comment that good and bad do not exist in a concrete way, since that is consistent with your worldview. But you said that good is what increases your well-being and that of your family, city, etc. You also said that good and bad exist because we say they do. What if my society decides that what is best is to kill millions of Jews, because our race is superior? Does that make it good? And what if I personally decide that what is best for me and my family is to kill you and take your stuff? What if my city decides that what is best for our city is to take over your city and make you our slaves? Is there anyone in the world who could say that would be morally wrong? In your world, no there isn’t. Would you disagree? And on what basis would you disagree?

I pick on stupid Christian arguments, and ignore good ones for a couple of reasons. One is that I don’t seem to ever find good arguments, just ‘less dumb’ ones. Another is that this blog-site is an outlet for my creativity. It is for education, entertainment and amusement. It is not a Theological debate site, and I am not a theologian or trained debater. I am, however, capable of holding foolish claims and statements up to ridicule. I do it with social, political, legal, logic, and linguistics. If you don’t want to see your ox gored, don’t watch. It’s like news services; they don’t run ’Dog bites man’ stories. They run MAN BITES DOG. So do I.

I have not accepted your kind offer for various reasons also. First, better men than you have tried and failed. Second, you don’t seem to be offering anything new, only a protracted brainwashing program that will eat my time, and benefit only you. It will not lead me to the truth, only an attempt to convince me that what is offered is true. Lastly, if the Christian God exists, the Bible says that He hardens the hearts of many people, making them unable to see the truth. All your hopes and prayers are ineffective against His plan.

Your questions indicate that you still view Good and Bad as concrete entities. What is good for you (and yours) is bad for me. We each need to consider what will produce The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number. The victors get to write the history. That’s what the Holy Inquisition was all about. If only Nazi Germans had survived, strong and prosperous, then killing Jews would have been good – for them – but each city and nation must live with, and get along with, the rest of mankind. I don’t steal, because I do not want anyone to steal from me – or kill, or rape, or enslave, or invade, or destroy – Do Unto Others. What would the world be like if everyone did that??

At the end, you slide into ‘morally wrong.’ I would disagree, because this is an entirely different concept from ‘Good and Bad.’ If God does not exist, then “Morals” do not exist, only the evolutionary empathetic urge to assist and improve the lot of individuals, and Humanity in general, so that our lot will also be improved. Be good, for goodness’ sake.

You said that “we each need to consider what will produce the greatest good for the greatest number.” But if I follow your worldview to its logical conclusion, then it doesn’t matter whether I shoot up a school full of children or bake them all cookies. Those are moral equivalents, because we live a meaningless existence. You atheists want to play pretend that things actually matter, while holding a worldview where things don’t matter. And then you cry when someone shoot (sic) schoolkids (sic). Why be upset just because a cosmic accident decided not to play your game of pretend? Your worldview is completely inconsistent with your actions. I suspect that you know God is there, you just don’t want him to tell you to stop looking at porn. Enjoy it while you can, Archon! Thanks for your response. I won’t bother you anymore since you are not interested in spending your time this way.   (My emphasis)

Five minutes after I got the above comment, I got a frantic email – not apologizing, (s)he still stood by all the claims, but was worried about how it would make this ‘loving Christian’ appear to the public.

I will totally understand if you delete it

No, no! Just the opposite. Not that anyone will come back to this post and read it, but I am leaving it up as a cautionary tale, and an object lesson.  Congratulations!  You get to be the star of one of Archon’s ‘Christians vs. Atheists’ posts.  Your date with infamy will be Feb. 24/21 if morbid curiosity drives you to investigate.

Two weeks later: I guess it is just going to be another post where you congratulate yourself for being such a good and intelligent person.

More interested in winning than engaging in a discussion, when it became obvious that they were not going to be taken seriously and agreed with, it quickly devolved into insults, personal attacks, strawman arguments, claims to be able to read my mind and insist on what I ‘knew’, calling me a liar, and accusations of my immoral behavior.  For those who have waded through this saga, what are your thoughts??  😕

Answers Without Questions

Here are 36 GOTCHA “Questions For Atheists” that I stole.  None of them seem to have anything to do with his lead paragraph, which said that most Atheists just say that there is no evidence for the existence of God, but some claim that God does not exist – as if there’s a problem or contradiction with that.

  1. Why is there something rather than nothing?

I don’t know – but neither do you!

  1. Is there any evidence that suggests the universe is eternal?

Time began when matter began, and mathematical evidence indicates that happened 13.78 Billion years ago, when the Universe unfurled during the so-called Big Bang.  So far, we cannot know how, or how long, the singularity existed “before” that, because we can’t step outside the universe to find out

  1. If not, why do Atheists hold onto the idea and say you have debunked the Kalam Cosmological Argument?

A few Atheists might, but the majority go with the 13-Billion year Big Bang.  Neither position relates to the Kalam Cosmological Argument – Everything which comes into existence must have a Creator.  This is an unproven claim – which is why it is an “Argument,” not a Proof, or even a Theorem.  Prove that the Universe needs a Creator.  Prove that your God exists.  Prove that ‘your God’ is the Creator.

  1. If so, why do the vast majority of scientists reject this idea?

See above.

  1. Why is the universe so fine-tuned?

The description “fine-tuned” implies intent.  Perhaps, out of an infinity of universes, this is the only one which didn’t re-collapse, or explode, or was suitable for life to begin.

  1. If your answer is the multiverse, why is there no evidence for that theory?

See #2 above.  We can’t step outside this universe to find evidence of others.  Perhaps they no longer exist, to find evidence for.

  1. Is it possible that there is no natural explanation for the origin of life?

There is already at least one proposed natural explanation for the origin of life.  Many ‘Good Christians’ don’t like it, and refuse to accept it, but a ‘natural explanation’ does exist.

  1. Where does consciousness come from?

See #1.  I don’t know, and neither do you!  My admission that I don’t know, is not an indication of weakness in any way.  I am merely not arrogant or desperate enough to make a claim that I can’t prove.

  1. Do you lack a belief that God exists or would you say that God does not exist?

Yes!  I find no evidence that any ‘God’ exists, and therefore lack any belief.  But also, every individual definition/description of God that has ever been presented to me, is so impossible, contradictory, or somehow in error, that I do not believe it exists.

  1. Do you lack a belief that Zeus exists, or do you believe that Zeus does not exist?

See above.  My position of belief in Zeus is precisely the same as my position of belief in the Christian God, the Hebrew Yahweh, the Muslim Allah, or any other supernatural myth.

  1. If you just lack a belief that Zeus exists, why are you centuries behind the rest of the world who say that Zeus doesn’t exist?

Another great GOTCHA question, Bible-thumper.  Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

  1. Do you act according to what you believe, or what you just lack a belief in?

See above.  After carefully removing the word ‘just’, the answer is Yes.  I act according to what I believe.  To do otherwise is defined as insanity.  I also act in ways which avoid things that I don’t believe in, like rich, benevolent Nigerian princes,  overdue income tax penalties that can be paid off with prepaid I-Tunes cards…. and God.

  1. What evidence is there that Atheism corresponds with reality?

What evidence is there that Christianity corresponds to reality?  Two thirds of the world disagrees with it.

  1. Is Atheism a worldview?

Atheism is a position on ONE question – Is there, or is there not – a “God”?  Most Atheists hold wildly varying world views, some of which are influenced by their answer to that question.

  1. If not, what is your worldview?

My worldview is irrelevant to any discussion of the above question.  Shit or get off the pot!  Can you prove that your God exists, or not?

  1. What would convince you that God exists?

I don’t know.  Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  The Bible says that God hardens my heart so that I do not believe, so the ‘God’ that you believe in should be able to reverse the spell, and would know what would convince me.  The fact that this has not happened convinces me of His non-existence.

  1. Are you willing to follow the evidence, even if it leads to a different understanding of how the universe works?

YES!  I would ask if you would be willing to do the same, but you have already declared that you would hold onto your faith.

  1. If Jesus rose from the dead, would you become a Christian?

With three provisos – With reliable proof, not claims, or someone else’s desperate beliefs – Depending on the word games that many Apologists play with the meaning of the term, and – I would not want to worship the Christian God, who seems to be an insecure, narcissistic, capricious, homicidal maniac.

  1. If you wouldn’t become a Christian, why would you ever accept that he rose from the dead?

Worry about whether or not you can prove your claims before you worry about whether or not I’ll join your club.

  1. Why do Atheists keep insisting faith is blind trust, when that’s not what Christians or the Bible say?

In Hebrews 11: 1 the Bible says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I’ve seen and heard dozens of Christians who have admitted that’s exactly what faith is.  If there is evidence, or proof, there is no need for faith.

  1. Why do you want material evidence for an immaterial God?

Because many Christians insist that the immaterial God affects the material world – miracles wrought, prayers answered.  I see many such claims, but no evidence of their occurrence.  An invisible God is indistinguishable from a nonexistent God.

  1. Is there a purpose to life?

I do not find any externally-applied (objective) “Purpose To Life.”  The purpose to life is what we make of it.  I regard it as a fortuitous random occurrence, which I am happy to take advantage of.

  1. If there is, by what standard do you determine life has purpose?

The purpose of life, is to reproduce to carry the species forward into the future.  Any purpose to life is whatever the person living it assigns.  Some are laudable, while others are despicable, but all are decided on by the individual involved.

  1. If not, what is the point of listening to this video?

I believe that anyone who thought that there was no purpose to life, would not find any purpose in watching it.  With all 36 silly questions carefully printed out and down-loadable, I found no point of wasting half an hour, running the video.

  1. Where does morality come from?

Wal-Mart!  Seriously, ‘morality’ is evolution-driven empathy helping to assure the survival of our social-animal species, and individuals, through The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number.

  1. How do you determine what is right and what is wrong?

What is right and wrong for me is determined by The Greatest Good, but the For The Greatest Number portion quickly kicks in.  I can’t be totally selfish, because of social opprobrium, banishment, and government action, in the form of fines, imprisonment or execution.  Even Hitler, when he invaded Poland, did not believe that what he was doing was wrong.

  1. When a lion kills a cub from another pride because that’s what natural selection has raised it to do, is that morally acceptable?

Christian Apologists insist that only humans have a soul, therefore, whatever happens in the animal kingdom is neither moral, nor immoral.  I regard this question as deliberate obfuscation and confusion, to cloud the issue.

  1. If evolution has put a sense of morality into us to help us survive, what makes our actions any better than any other animals actions?

Better in what way, and why would they need to be?  We have a higher level of intelligence, and a greater ability to make others of our species aware of the consequences of choices and actions.  Other than that, there is no great difference.

  1. Is it morally acceptable for you kill a toddler because you can no longer financially support it?

No, because there are several other, less drastic solutions to the problem.  Also, to do so constitutes theft, the taking of all the potential experiences and good that the individual might have received, or given out.

  1. Is it morally acceptable to kill a fetus in the womb because you couldn’t financially support it?

The word ‘morally’ is adding a considerable bias to these questions.  It is reluctantly, legally, socially, acceptable to do so, and will continue to be so until implantation into a willing, alternative birth-mother is medically possible.

  1. Is it morally acceptable to kill a baby after it has been born?

Yes!  This is known as Capital Punishment.  The Good Christian States of Texas and Florida have perfected the procedure.  Also see self-defense and, tragically, War.

  1. How can you morally differentiate between a baby in the womb at 6 months and a baby born prematurely at 6 months?

The question is non-relevant, unless the writer wants to reference abortion.  Morally, there is no difference.  Physically, the already-born child has a greater number of people with a greater amount of evolution-generated empathy, concerned for its welfare.

  1. Who was Jesus?

Why do you ask?  Do you not know?  How is the answer, in any way, relevant to this discussion?

  1. Why did his disciples die saying that he rose from the dead?

Why do thousands of people claim that they have been abducted and anally probed by space aliens??  The fact that they believe it does not make it true!

  1. Why does the Bible keep lining up with archaeology? 

Because there were places in the ancient mid-east, which were mentioned, and have been found.  What about Biblical references that do not line up with archaeology, such as Noah’s flood, or the supposed destruction of dozens of cities by the Israelites under Joshua.  One sparrow does not a summer make.

  1. Why do the three bloodiest regimes in History, (Mao’s China, Nazi Germany, and Stalin’s Russia) come from Atheistic ideas?

Simple answer??  They didn’t!  Hitler was a Catholic, and every Armed Forces belt buckle had Gott Mitt Uns (God Is With Us) imprinted on it.  All three of these sociopaths merely wanted to stifle the accepted state religion, and replace it with the religion of personality Idol-Worship, making themselves gods like the Roman Emperors.

This has been far longer than my usual posts.  Thank you to those who had enough interest and stamina to wade through to the end.  I promise something much shorter next time.

Book Review #23

more research into Christianity vs. Secularism. The author has more than 20 books about the New Testament. I just can’t believe that he points out all the mistakes and contradictions…. yet says that he still believes.

Christian Apologists insist that Atheists “rebel against God,” or “deny God,” or, “have something against God,” usually attached to a baseless claim that they do it so that they can ‘sin’.  This old Atheist – especially as I get older and older – certainly doesn’t.  My sinning days are long past.  Substitute the word unicorn, for God.  I don’t rebel against unicorns.  I don’t deny unicorns.  I don’t have something against unicorns.  I would love it if they actually existed.  I just don’t see any evidence for either.

Like most other Atheists that I know, as the specter of my imminent demise looms closer and closer, I would welcome the existence of a God, a Savior, Salvation, Heaven and Eternal Life.  In the futile hope of some proof, I sometimes seek the knowledge and opinions of experts.

The Book: Jesus Interrupted

The Author: Bart Ehrman

The review:  I start with an author whose name made me suspect that he was Jewish.  I thought that I might get a glimpse of the New Testament from the outside.  I was mistaken and disappointed.  Still, he attended three prestigious theological colleges, has degrees, and letters behind his name.  He should know something.  He has published over 20 books about different aspects of the New Testament.

He now teaches at a theological college.  He says that, almost without exception, each year’s new batch of students think they do – but really don’t – have any idea of what the Bible actually says.  He laid out a trail of over a hundred examples of Biblical errors, contradictions, misinterpretations, insertions, deletions, forgeries, books credited to Paul or the Apostles but actually written by someone else.

A couple of the forgeries made it into the Canon.  A few of the books which seem valid to researchers were left out.  The four Apostolic Gospels, and Paul’s writings, don’t agree with each other.  He admits that they were intentionally skewed (deceptive propaganda) to mislead different groups, to get them to join the movement.  Of the graduates who go on to become priests, preachers or ministers, he has never heard of one who teaches, or even mentions, any of this to their congregations.

As I was reading this book, I encountered a female Atheist blogger who was reading one of his other books.  She thought that he was, at least, an Agnostic.  In my book, he says that he is a non-denominational Christian.  He shows how modern Christian dogma and Orthodoxy came into being, just because the group centered in Rome – weren’t true and correct – just better organized and more powerful. 

After all of this, he says that he ignores all these inconvenient details, and believes in Christ as a Savior, because the underlying story is so uplifting.  He claims that he will not officially join a particular religion or Christian Denomination until he finds one which doesn’t harass or marginalize females or LGBTQ.  😯  Well, good luck with that.

Each year, when it comes time to teach why the Jews do not accept Jesus as the Messiah, he shows them how He does not fill the requirements in Hebrew religious law.  To them, Jesus was just an itinerant, apocalyptic rabbi, who claimed to speak for God.  He uses the analogy of how foolish it would be for Christians to accept the similar claims of David Koresh, of Waco’s Branch Davidian.  Each year, at least one student complains on their professor evaluation form, “I can’t believe that Ehrman believes that David Koresh is the Lord of the Universe.”  He finds it amusing.  I find it amusing that he does not see the irony.

As always, I had hoped to learn something new.  All I learned was to choose my reading more carefully.

There’s Morality – And Then There’s Morality

If you don’t believe in God, where do you think you get your morals?
They say that there are no stupid questions.  In your case, I’ll make an exception.

If you’re right, and God exists, then I get my morals installed by Him, whether I believe in Him or not.
If I’m right, and no God exists, then I get my morals from evolution-guided empathy.

Do you think that God forgot to install my morality, and the reason that I’m an Atheist is His fault?  😯

Faith is believing in something without any evidence.
Integrity is admitting it.

Faith is the excuse people give when they believe in something without a good reason.  If they had a good reason, they would give that.

In addition to above:
Here’s a terrible and extreme example. Imagine there is another 9-11 style terror attack. You, as a commander in the US Air Force, suddenly find yourself with two F19’s tailing a full Boeing 777 which is heading towards Manhattan. On board, the terrorists have stated their intention to recreate the horrific events of that previous tragedy. Also on board are over 460 passengers and crew members. Looking at the manifest – you have families on board. What do you do?

Well, if the moral action is dictated solely by empathy, you are going to be in a pickle. You will feel for all the thousands of people and fire crews working in Manhattan. But you will also feel for all the innocent people on board the plane! So, on empathy alone, are you going to make the tough and tragic call to shoot down the plane? You’ll probably be left stumbling over the right thing to do. And surely waiting too long will result in bad consequences that could have been avoided. Surely an immoral choice?
(What is the immoral choice?  To shoot it down?  To not shoot it down?  Or merely to be faced with such a dilemma?)

If your morality is grounded in God, how would your choice in the 777 scenario be any easier – or better – or faster??
Make the painful and hard choice now – trust that ultimately, justice will be done by Him in the future.
This doesn’t answer any of the questions.  It merely starts the big game of ‘Pass The Buck.’  Satan gets blamed for all the evil stuff – God cleans up the mess and (maybe) punishes the bad guys posthumously – and this morally-conflicted clown doesn’t have to accept any responsibility or blame for any action or decision.
  Mr. Miyagi say, Best way to avoid sin – not be there.

The above argument may look good on a Christian Apologist’s blog site, but the answer isn’t religious, it’s secular/military.  Does the writer think (probably not 😛 ) that young men are put into the sky with machines of mass destruction, without every conceivable alternative being considered BEFORE they take off?

The decision wouldn’t even be left to the pilot.  It would be a group discussion, and bucked up to Generals, Defense Secretaries, and ultimately, the President – and it wouldn’t even be left to the discretion of one pilot to refuse.  That’s why there are two F19s.

There would be figurative Hell to pay if it becomes necessary to shoot the airliner down, but the ultimate choice would come from an Atheist standpoint, even if a ‘Good Christian’ made it.  “The greatest good for the greatest number”  While it would be a heartbreaking decision to make, and not one made quickly, or easily, 460 dead in the sky is better than the same 460 dead in a crash, and thousands dead on the ground, along with them.

I’ve stopped wondering if maybe God has installed faith and morals in Apologists, and begun wondering why He, so often, seems to forget to install intelligence or logic.

’20 A To Z Challenge – J

Jezebel

I once had a great-aunt named Jessie – until I got old enough that my Father told me I didn’t.

Just before I turned 12, my Father informed the family that his favorite aunt had rented a tiny cottage in our tourist town, and would be vacationing for a week.  Never married – she may have been lesbian – she still gathered four small children, cared for and mostly raised them, when Dad’s mother died, giving birth to his younger sister, and his father abandoned them to go off and become a hermit.

She always treated him particularly well.  The few times I met her, she treated me particularly well.  I had (almost) reached the Age Of Reason.  With no obvious prompt, my Dad said, “Her real name isn’t Jessie, you know.”  (No, I didn’t know that.)  “What is it then?”

JEZEBEL

Dad’s paternal grandparents weren’t exceedingly Christian.  Their two boys received common, normal names.  Dad’s dad was Howard.  His aunt may have been assigned her questionable moniker, because her mother was reminded.  She was an unfortunate, female, every-third-child, who was born with a head of brilliant red hair.

She soon tired of the name Jezebel.  She was picked on, mocked, and bullied, at school and in church.  She was still young – elementary school – when she decided to do something about the despicable actions and attitudes of ‘Good Christians.’  Jezebel disappeared, never to be heard of again, and Jessie (or was it Jesse?) came into being, to take her place.

I am so glad that my mother gave me two Plain-Jane (Well…. You know what I mean) names.  I can disappear in a crowd of two.  Archon, and the Grumpy Old Dude, haven’t disappeared though.  Stop back again soon, and I’ll tell you about the fellow who appeared before a judge, requesting to legally change his name.  The judge asked, “What is your name?”  He replied, “Joe Schitts.”  “Well, I can understand why you would want to change your name.  What do you want to change it to?”  “Bob!”  😯