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!”  😯

I Can’t Argue With That

Argument

HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE

Not by arguing with them, and telling them that they are wrong!

Win friends

This is what one of the amateur Christian Apologists recently discovered.  (I’d like to say that they are all amateurs, but several of these men – they’re all testosterone-driven men – make outrageous amounts of money with their own televangelism programs and paid lecture/debate tours.)

He found that, like Red State/Blue State, modern American society has become quite polarized, two solitudes, shouting past each other.  Despite all the heat and light and words in the air, Atheists weren’t listening to/believing what Christian Apologists had to say, and vice versa.

He had taken a Theater Arts course in University (How remunerative), and he wanted to make it useful in Christian/Atheist debates.  His idea was to present the Christian position like a one-act stage play, to lead the Atheists through a mental image of what he considered truth to be.

Why not??!  That’s probably how he arrived at his faith.  Each denomination – each individual church – puts on a musical-comedy play for the faithful, with strange, outdated, but impressive costumes, upbeat, inspirational music, painted scenes, set decoration, props, special lighting, mystical chants, even some audience participation.  It hooked him.  Why wouldn’t it hook a non-believer?

He gave detailed instruction to others, how to win debates with the dreaded Atheists.  They were to put in great amounts of research – not in the tenets of Christianity or the Bible – but in the arguments and objections of the evil, heathen Atheists, the better to rebut their opinions and claims.

In my Whichness Of The Why post, I had uncharitable things to say about philosophers, debates, and structured arguments.  It is possible to twist words and presentations, and win the debate….yet still be wrong.  😳

Like many other Apologists – and sadly, many Atheist arguers as well – he is too caught up in massaging his ego by looking intelligent and winning the BIG ARGUMENT, to see the small solution.  They both often can’t see the forest for the hedge maze in front of them.

Mr. Apologist, want to validate your position??  It’s easy!  It boils down to two words – PROVE GOD!  Don’t prove that God is possible.  Don’t prove that He is the most likely answer.  Don’t prove that the Universe needed a cause, and God is it – because you can’t.  Don’t prove that you believe He exists, or that you want/need for Him to exist, or that a couple of billion others (kinda) agree with you.  Don’t wave your hands and point at rainbows and trees and claim that those prove that He exists.  They don’t!

I just rewatched (third time) a 7 minute call to The Atheist Experience.  It didn’t make sense the first two times, and it didn’t make any sense the third.  The young lout began by demanding that the two ladies state if they believed a couple of rather vague definitions.

He didn’t show God.  His aim didn’t even seem to be to disprove the Atheists’ position.  Assigning the women specific viewpoints became important, as he used esoteric words, complex verbiage, and confusing philosophy, simply to refute these views, and show how much smarter he was than two amateur Atheists, and win the argument .

Don’t win the argument!  Prevent the argument.  Presenting it like some high-school play just doesn’t convince the unconvinced.  Unless and until you can actually show proof of God, you and 47 other angels are just dancing on the point of that theosophical pin.  All you are getting are sore feet, and proving that an Atheist’s opinion is as valid as yours.

Rest your feet, and use your cursor to dance back over here in a couple of days, to see what I have to say after I’ve cooled off a bit.  CU  😀

**It Has Hit The Fan

Pride Flag

The Waterloo District Catholic School Board refused to fly the rainbow Pride flag at their schools during June, LGBTQ+ MonthHo-Hum, same-old – same-old.  There are 37 area Catholic boards in Ontario, and only one of them, the Sudbury one, did so.

Last year’s chairman of the board – a very capable administrator – resigned from the board when his term ended, because he could not stand to work with these narrow-minded bigots.  The most outspoken – a man – thundered that he would not allow the Pride flag to be flown, because Pride is the greatest sin in the Bible!

There are 7 Deadly Sins listed in the Bible, none of them marked as more serious than any other.  The resigned resigner publicly pointed out that the “Biblical” sin of pride is the rejection of the power and wisdom of God, and believing that one is as smart and strong as Him.  It has nothing to do with LGBTQ+ gay Pride.  Either the intolerant bigot is intentionally lying, or, he does not know/understand the basic positions of his religion.

manure

If this was all that (didn’t) happened, it wouldn’t even be news.  It would just be Catholic ‘Business As Usual,’ but the board really put their foot in it.  While they wouldn’t fly the rainbow Gay Pride flag – against the recommendations of the Catholic School Teachers Federation and several student organizations, they designed their own “Pride Flag,” and summarily announced that it would fly during June.

Catholic pride-flag

The local media reported on this, and suddenly it went viral and global.  The local newspaper went from days when there were no Op-Ed letters, to 6 and 7 a day about this for a week, on both sides.  Letters with captions like
Alternative Pride flag a creative attempt to embrace inclusivity
No, it’s not, and I’ll explain why, below.
Catholic trustee should be able to speak his mind
Yes he should.  No-one suggested that he couldn’t, but the rest of us should be free to point and call him a bigot.
Don’t criticize Catholics for not flying Pride flag
Why not??!  Are they being loving and inclusive?
The rainbow Pride flag should not fly at schools
Perhaps not, but that’s the smaller side of this controversy.
Dissenters are bullied in discussion of Pride flag
Told that they are arrogant assholes, suddenly ‘Good Christians’ are being bullied.  😥
Rainbow flag celebrates freedom from persecution
And yet, the Board still wants to play “My Way Or The Highway.”
Clearing up controversy by properly defining “Pride”
His definition, almost word-for-word, echoes that of the ex-chairman, explaining the mistake, and yet he still wants to fly the board’s alternative flag.  The only positive to his letter is that, at least he’s not a hypocrite.  He is intolerant, prejudiced, dogmatic, and proud of it.

A number of the Catholic commenters wanted to support intolerant Church tenets, yet not appear too judgmental and small-minded themselves.  There were many references to ‘loving, acceptant, and inclusive, about the use of the Catholic flag version, but these words only relate when they apply to others, as they are, and under the symbol that they have chosen for themselves.  It is not ‘loving, acceptant, and inclusive,’ if it is only done under your rules and restrictions.

This sad fiasco has not really been about LGBTQ+, or gay rights, or the rainbow flag, or its distressing replacement.  It has been a power struggle, about militant Catholicism and control, in which EVERYBODY lost, but the Church lost most of all.  Because of the public scrutiny and controversy, the Catholic Board decided that no flag would fly, including their own design.  I wait to see next year, if it gets unfurled again.  😛  🙄

***

The mayor of the township which abuts our cities’ western edge, also refused to allow the rainbow Pride flag to be flown from any Township building.  His ‘justification’ was that, no two lesbians can produce children, and no two homosexuals can produce children, therefore, ‘If we encourage this sort of thing, this will be the last generation of humans on Earth.’

What disturbs me, as often and as much as the bigoted intolerance and misrepresentation, is the (often intentional) ignorance [lack of easily gained knowledge] and stupidity [misinterpretation of easily understood facts.]

Thumbs Down

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them

Baby

Hey Bob, why don’t you and Brenda join us?  We’re having a little meeting in the back room of Krispy Kreme.  We’re gonna discuss how us snowflake Millennials can lead better, commercially-oriented lives, by not having children.

What??!  WTF!!

Yeah man, this thing is really taking off.  We figure by summer, we’ll be able to hold a big rally and parade.  We’ll pass out condoms, and use a megaphone to yell, “No kids!  Screw the Church!  Use birth control.”

Does the above scenario seem somewhat foolish and highly unlikely??  Me too!  But, apparently not to an increasing number of Christian Apologists.

To be clear, you realize I was arguing against anti-natalism, right?  If the logic that entails anti-natalism also entails that it would be a good thing if we all died in our sleep tonight, then I think that’s something worth pointing out.

https://reasonablydoubtful1.wordpress.com/2020/01/14/a-refutation-of-anti-natalism/

In the barrage of garbage verbiage, that was the only thing that was clear.  What wasn’t clear, was Why.  You’ve created a conspiracy theory out of thin air.  You’ve identified a problem that isn’t.  You’ve given it a name – an identity – so that you can demonize it, like Jews and Negroes.

The only problem that I can see with individual couples exercising their personal reproductive rights, is that, collectively, it works to eliminate the richest and the smartest, both people, and nations.  Within 50/100 years, we’ll be hip-deep in little sheet-head terrorist wogs, because they breed like rats.

The only place that anti-natalism has ever been instituted by a government, was in China, and it may have been too late.  I think we should export anti-natalism!  India would be a good place to start, as long as it doesn’t eliminate online IT support – or maybe to Brazil, before they burn down the entire Amazon rain forest.

Advocating that First-World nations produce more children, does not eliminate the problem.  It only makes it bigger, and worse.  Agent Smith, in the Matrix movie was correct.  Mankind is a virus!  We need fewer and better, not more.

Logic Bomb Explodes

Apologist’s Entire Argument Destroyed

I don’t know why he feels the need to warn about the elimination of the race.  Well, actually, I do.  If everyone died peacefully in their sleep tonight, and he woke up tomorrow and he wasn’t there, he wouldn’t care.  He only cares, now, about the possible future erasure of his self-important little ego.

If another Yucatan-sized meteor smacked into the Earth, we would all die, screaming.  All the warnings that he might give would be just as useless, and the vague likelihood of it occurring are still greater than his religion-fueled fantasy.

This proud branch of a Scottish clan is rapidly dwindling to a brittle twig.  The wife and I followed the ’60s population-control mantra, “We Are Two – We Have Two.”  One of those chose to have none.  The other only had one – and it is no business of this particular Apologist, or any other.  How ‘bout you guys – lotsa kids, or few/none?  😕

Book Review #22

Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven

Mark Twain, making fun of Christians’ beliefs about heaven. 

The book: Captain Stormfield’s Visit To Heaven

The author: Mark Twain = Samuel Langhorne Clemens

The review: This is a short story written by Mark Twain, about 1868. It was not published until 1909 – 41 years later – because it was thought to insult all the Good Christians.

The story follows Captain Elias Stormfield on his decades-long cosmic journey to Heaven; his accidental misplacement after racing a comet; his short-lived interest in singing and playing the harp (generated by his preconceptions of heaven); and the general obsession of souls with the celebrities of Heaven such as Adam, Moses, and Elijah, who according to Twain become as distant to most people in Heaven as living celebrities are on Earth (an early parody of celebrity culture). Twain uses this story to show his view that the common conception of Heaven is ludicrous, and points out the incongruities of such beliefs with his characteristic adroit usage of hyperbole.

Much of the story’s description is given by the character Sandy McWilliams, a cranberry farmer who is very experienced in the ways of Heaven. Sandy gives Stormfield, a newcomer, the description in the form of a conversational question-and-answer session. The Heaven described by him is similar to the conventional Christian Heaven, but includes a larger version of all the locations on Earth, as well as of everywhere in the universe (which mention of, albeit as a backdrop, is the last science fiction element).

All sentient life-forms travel to Heaven, often through interplanetary or interstellar space, and land at a particular gate (which are without number), which is reserved for people from that originating planet. Each newcomer must then give his name and planet of origin to a gatekeeper, who sends him in to Heaven.

Once inside, the person spends eternity living as it thinks fit, usually according to its true (sometimes undiscovered) talent. According to one of the characters, a cobbler who “has the soul of a poet in him won’t have to make shoes here,” implying that he would instead turn to poetry and achieve perfection in it.

On special occasions a procession of the greatest people in history is formed; on the occasion of Stormfield’s arrival, this includes Buddha, William Shakespeare, Homer, Mohammed, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah plus several otherwise unknown people whose talents far exceeded those of the world’s pivotal figures, but who were never famous on Earth.

As Stormfield proceeds through Heaven he learns that the conventional image of angels as winged, white-robed figures bearing haloes, harps, and palm leaves is a mere illusion generated for the benefit of humans, who mistake “figurative language” for accurate description (the wings are part of their uniforms, and not functionally wings); that all of Heaven’s denizens choose their ages, thus aligning themselves with the time of life at which they were most content; that anything desired is awarded to its seeker, if it does not violate any prohibition; that the prohibitions themselves are different from those envisioned on Earth; that each of the Earth-like regions of Heaven includes every human being who has ever lived on it; that families are not always together forever, because of decisions made by those who have died first; that white-skinned people are a minority in Heaven; that kings are not kings in Heaven (Charles II is a comedian while Henry VI has a religious book-stand), etc.

Making fun of slavery was one thing, but making fun of people’s cherished Christian beliefs was something else entirely. This book never did well, and even many Twain aficionados are not aware of it.