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.  😯

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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!  😉

Christianity In Ten Words

Christianity 10 Words

Thomas Jefferson is often held up by the more rabid Bible-thumpers as a ‘Good Christian,’ who helped found the United States, and is validation for their “on Christian values,” and other judgemental views.  Jefferson however, edited, and had printed, a personal copy of the Bible, in which he removed every story of Christ’s ‘miracles,’ although he never admitted why he had done that.

While viewed as a Christian, he had the following to say about religion, and God.

“No man shall be compelled to frequent or support religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.”

“Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”

***

When Christians talk about being “persecuted,” what they really mean is that they are discontent at no longer being able to use social and Political power to force their views, their morality or their dogma onto other people as they once did.  They can no longer burn people at the stake, prosecute people for blasphemy, and have much less of an ability to oppress minorities, and “keep them in their place.”

The dogma, ignorance and authoritarianism that is required for Christianity to maintain control has greatly diminished, and religious authorities and their institutions no longer have the power, nor the respect that they once had.  This makes them feel as if they are being unfairly persecuted, although they have no understanding of what the word means.

Creation

  • Religion is about internal spiritual experiences, and that is all.
  • There is no world other than the material world around us.
  • There are no beings other than the living organisms on this planet or elsewhere in the universe.
  • There is no objective being or thing called God that exists separately from the person believing in him.
  • There is no ultimate reality outside human minds either.
  • We give our own lives meaning and purpose; there is nothing outside us that does it for us.
  • God is a projection of the human mind.
  • God is the way human beings put ‘spiritual’ ideals into a poetic form that they are able to use and work with.
  • God is simply a word that stands for our highest ideals.
  • God-talk is a language tool that enables us to talk about our highest ideals and create meaning in our lives.
  • Religious stories and texts are ways in which human beings set down and work out spiritual, ethical, and fundamental meanings in life.
  • Our religious talk is really about us and our inner selves, and the community and culture we live in.
  • Religious talk uses the familiar language of things that exist outside ourselves to make it easier for us to handle complex and subtle ideas.
  • Faith therefore isn’t belief in a God that exists outside minds.
  • Faith is what human beings do when they pursue ‘spiritual’ ideals.
  • Saying that someone follows a particular faith is a way of talking about their attitudes to life and to other people.

Frustration

Smitty’s Loose Change #7

Smitty's Loose Change

I bought some Salvador Dali bagels today. I got them from the Chernobyl Unicorn bakery.

Bagel 1

Bagel 2

They’re created from multi-colored dough with food dye in it. The son tells me that he heard that rainbow bagels will be an upcoming fad among Millennials, but I’ve not seen them, or any mention of them, since.  These were made of a bread dough, rather than a bagel dough, and didn’t toast worth a shit.

***

In reading what others had to write about the blog-tag, ‘Truth,’ I was not surprised to find that 2 out of every 3 blog-posts was about God, or Jesus, or Christianity, or Church.  Those ‘Good Christians’ are sure full of something.  They call it faith.  I have a different name for it.

***

When they discover the center of the Universe….A lot of people are going to be surprised that it’s not them.

***

I wrote a post where I mentioned ‘double’ names like Todd Craig, Bradley Joe and Mark Terry, where either could be a given name or a family name, This happened because some male first names became family names.  I’ve thought that it only applied to male names, but recently I’ve been introduced to Stephanie Virginia ELLEN, Edna RHODA, Susan MARGARET, Barbara HILARY and Ann BEVERLY.

In my home-town, in the 1940s and ‘50s, boys were commonly given names like Beverly, Shirley, and Lynn. I knew that ‘Lynne’ was a girls’ name, but didn’t know that ‘Lynn’ was also considered only a girls’ name until the wife commented about it.

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Photo0048

Photo0049

Photo0047

The son went to our Osteopath recently, and got some shots of the ride of another customer who had not made it to the ‘Cruise Night’, downtown. It’s a rebuilt, 1934 Buick, according to the custom licence plate.  Love that vibrant color!

***

I knew that I was really stressed, when I started getting on my own nerves.

***

I recently hit a blog-site where the English Nazi nit-picker must have been a Colonel, not a mere private like me. He ranted about those who use ‘lie’ when it should be ‘lay’, and vice-versa.  Okay so far.  Then he attacked a nursery rhyme, and insisted that, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” was incorrect.  It should be ‘lie’.  Better men (or women) than him wrote that verse.  I ‘lay’ my book down, and ‘lay’ my child down to sleep.  I ‘lay’ my pillow down, and then, correctly using a reflexive verb, I ‘lay’ ME down to sleep.

I was reading a post about ‘Eggcorns’. Like Mondegreens, they’re those things that you don’t hear right, and then don’t repeat right, like “curl up in a feeble position,” “fire excape,” and “hone in on.”  The name Eggcorns itself comes from someone who didn’t even know about ‘acorns.’  The writer was doing fine until he started ranting about ‘conversating.’  “There’s no such word!  You’re not ‘conversating’, you’re conversing.”  It’s been an accepted, idiomatic word since 1965; even WordPress’s SpellCheck accepts it.

I recently used the Latin phrase, Caveat Emptor, and noted that it translates into English as Buyer beware.  GrammarCheck insists that it should be ‘Buyer bewares’.  (There, see?  It just did it again.)

***

In my You Don’t Say post, I wrote of timid linguists who won’t say or write things they regard as “swear words.” Like Amsterdam, ‘I don’t give a tinker’s dam’ was a perfect replacement for the word damn, it being a small rivet-like stopper to repair a hole in old, non-stainless steel pots, without the damning N that could keep you out of Heaven.  Twice in a week I ran into, “I don’t give a tinker’s curse.” as a euphemism for a euphemism.  I need to (re)find the word which describes errors like this caused by advancing technology.

***

 

Why (Fundamentalist) Christians Hate Atheists

….Agnostics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists….pretty much anybody who’s not them!

Smartest People.jpeg

‘Good Christians’ often paint themselves into a corner with reality and society. The more Fundamentalist they are, the more numerous, and tighter, the corners.

Churches are not bastions of religious discussion. They are merely echo chambers.  Congregations congregate in buildings which are full of people who think exactly like them – no further thought required.  The strangely-dressed bellwether at the front says ‘Baaa’, and they all nod and pass the collection plate, eager to be fleeced.  There’s a reason that they’re called a flock.

Atheists are happy to be on their own, thinking their own thoughts and making their own decisions. For many Christians, it is not enough that they accept the existence of God, and Christ as their Savior; they must Have Faith, and Believe, to be able to go to Heaven.  The mere existence of Atheists, to say nothing of some of their more loudly-held opinions and arguments, undermines that faith and belief, and it scares the Hell into the Fundies.

If someone tells you that they CHOOSE TO BELIEVE – in God, or anything else – they’re full of bullshit, and they’re trying to feed some to you.  People believe because they are convinced.  They can become convinced, but it’s not controlled by an on/off switch.  They can claim that they’re convinced.  They can fool others.  They can even fool themselves, but if the God that they ’believe’ exists, really does, they’re not going to convince Him.  And so, the hatred of, and discrimination against, Atheists begins, to remove all doubts.

I can’t count the number of blog-posts and articles I’ve read, where someone raised in a ‘Good Christian’ home, becomes an Atheist. It seems the more Fundamentalist and Evangelical the household – the more likely it is to happen.  Possibly it’s because the mistakes and hypocrisy and fuzzy logic are more apparent, and easier to see.

It is sadly amusing how so many of these poor souls realize and admit that, based on the claims they’ve heard, they find no proof that the God described really exists. Many of them strongly resist calling themselves Atheists, because they’ve been taught that Atheists are evil, nasty and sinful.  I’m not evil, nasty, or sinful. I’m a nice person.  I can’t be an Atheist!  But the Christian families that kick them out, or entire Bible-belt towns who shun them, harass them, and force them to move away, are evil, nasty and sinful.

I’ve been preaching for years about the ego and insecurity that fuels this type of behavior. Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger.  You don’t have to blindly believe in My truths, because, while I’m not imaginary, I’m only G.O.D., not God.

Incommunicado

 

Bible Dictionary

 

 

 

 

 

Is there something about religion, especially Christianity here in North America, which warps reality, halts comprehension and communication, defeats logic, and fans the flames of paranoia? There’s definitely something which fertilizes the feeling of entitlement, and encourages complaints about the expression of any unwelcome facts or opinions.

After my Dazed And Confused Op-Ed post, letters kept trickling in from Christians, dismayed and defiant, about things that were not said, and claims that were not made.

I was away on vacation, so I’m not familiar with what led up to the last letter about prayer. But two thoughts come to me in reading it, the first is that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

The second thought I have is that Christianity and its beliefs seem to be fair game these days for skeptics and pundits alike. We would not tolerate a public discussion of another religion’s deity or its practices in the glib and derisive way the writer does. Irreverently speaking or writing about God amounts to blasphemy, and I for one am offended by it.

So, you don’t know what’s going on, but you’d like to add your 2 cents worth anyway. I don’t see how you relate ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ to the previous letter, but you prove that it applies to your own.

Christianity is not the only religion these days which is fair game for skeptics and pundits, but it’s the one closest to (your) home. When you publicly broadcast your blind faith and belief without any proof, you create skeptics in job lots.

There’s no glib and derisive treatment of any other religion? Really??!  There’s even a word for it – Islamophobia.  Perhaps you’ve noticed some other ‘Good Christians’ doing it.

Speaking of ‘a little knowledge’ – a pundit is a learned person, not merely some street yob, spray painting anti-religious graffiti.  Scientific studies prove that most Atheists and Agnostics know more about Christianity than most Christians, often including priests/preachers.

Merely writing about what God (allegedly) does, or does not, do, is a statement of fact, not an irreverence. It is not blasphemy.  (See ‘little knowledge’, above)  Other people have faith and belief that your ‘God’ does not exist.  Respect their opinions.  I am offended that you worked so hard to be offended.

Pray? What For?s writer does not realize that those of us who pray do not need to justify it to him or anyone else, for that matter. Prayer is simply a relationship with or a conversation with God. He must know this, but for some reason seems to need to attack those of us who pray. And to attack people because of religion or because we pray for those affected by Irma is a new low. Perhaps this says more about him than it does about anyone else. He is free not to pray but those of us who do are doing just fine. Who is he trying to convince that prayer does not work, him or me? He should remember the saying that, “There are no Atheists in foxholes.” and it seems to me that someday he will realize this.

Despite your fevered, misplaced paranoia, the writer – Did not ask or expect anyone to justify their praying. – Did not attack anyone, especially for praying, or for their religion, or praying for the victims of Hurricane Irma. – Did not suggest that anyone must stop praying – though I doubt that he’ll join you.  You even admit that it’s “simply a conversation with God,” not actually productive.  What he did, was point out that, after all your self-congratulatory, self-satisfied praying – the Southern U.S. is still a mess.

Much of it is still flooded. Hundreds are dead.  Hundreds of thousands are without homes, food, water, and clothing.  Billions of dollars of property damage has been inflicted.  A National Day of Prayer has been held, and your God is throwing another hurricane toward Florida.  Aside from making yourself feel good – YOUR PRAYER CHANGED NOTHING!

Even if, somehow, some Southern victims were aware of your prayers, they might still give you the evil eye and ask why you didn’t donate – money, food, clothing, your time and energy to drive or fly down and help clean up and rebuild. Organizations like Red Cross and FEMA are doing that – without all the useless, feel-good prayers.  (Your perhaps imaginary) God helps those who help themselves – and others.  Get off your prayer beads and actually do something – besides whining about how attacked you feel.

An Atheist in a foxhole might strongly wish that there were a God, a Heaven, and a life after death. If wishes were horses, then beggars might ride.  Faith is when hope replaces reason.

Dazed And Confused Op-Ed

Extra Extra

PRAY! BUT TO WHOM?

Re: ‘Pray for everyone in Florida-Sept. 11

Who would not want to respond to the heartfelt cry from Florida Gov. Rick Scott? It calls to us again in this harrowing description of Irma’s relentless advances, indeed a terrifying and devastating onslaught.

Pray! But to whom?

The U.S. Supreme Court has banned prayer in schools. In Canada, courts found that the use of The Lord’s Prayer in schools infringed on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Defining the above rulings, as has been done, to mean that teaching religion in school is illegal, teaching about religion in school is legal, has excited argument rather than agreement.

Veteran education journalist Linda K. Wertheimer has written a book, “Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance.” She explores the diversity of cultures and religions as they meet in the classrooms and community, with many stories of teacher-pupil episodes, as well as parents getting involved.  Pray! But To Whom?  That’s a book I plan to read.

Cora Wright

Cambridge

***

Pray Where?

Cora Wright’s Sept. 16 letter confuses and disappoints. “Pray! But To Whom?”  Doesn’t she know?  A clergyman could direct her.

Perhaps she could pray to an English teacher, who would help her differentiate between ‘where’, and ‘to whom.’ She expends much ink and angst, listing public places where the Christian religion may not be monopolistically imposed on the multicultural population.  She fails to mention her chosen place of worship, the privacy of her home, or the sanctity of her own mind.

As for whom she may pray to, in these locations she is free to pray to God, or Yahweh or Allah or Zeus or Odin, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster. It doesn’t really matter.  The observed results are all indistinguishable from random chance.

Yours truly

Grumpy Old (logical, freethinker) Archon

***

Aside from my negating arguments above, here in Ontario, in schools run by the Catholic School Board, teaching religion is still legal, although this unique privilege is being considered for cancellation. Catholic schools accept non-Catholic students (to increase their declining enrollment-generated Government grants), but they, and even Catholic students, are allowed to opt out of religious studies.

In both the American, and Canadian rulings, what has been banned is the exclusive use of Christian prayers, to the omission of all other religions.

While her letter seems to show her as open-minded, she puts a lot of energy into the Christian faith.  She may be surprised and disappointed when she finds that Wertheimer’s book doesn’t treat Christianity as an only child.

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Someone else had a Word to say.

Pray? What For?

Re: Trump’s National Day of Prayer

If we are to believe our religious friends, everything that happens is the handiwork of their all-powerful God. If this were true, it would be logical to assume that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were the creations of their omnipotent and loving God.

With this in mind, I find it difficult to understand the declaration by Donald Trump of a National Day of Prayer, following Hurricane Harvey. It is a mystery to me what the prayers are meant to accomplish.  The devastation and destruction having already occurred to lives and property, it seems illogical to appeal through prayer to the very entity that created these hurricanes, guided their paths, and allowed said devastation and destruction to happen.

It is noteworthy that Trump did not declare a second National Day of Prayer following Hurricane Irma. Perhaps he was not impressed with God’s response to the first one.  😳