Tuesday, March 18, 2008

ray's comfort zone

Intolerance is alive and well in modern christianity. I will shovel the following post from Ray Comfort's blog onto my own only to avoid misrepresenting this ASSHOLE. Many fundamentalist Christians are openly hostile to alternative views. Fair enough, they are entitled to their opinion. I have no problem with someone being aggressively opposed to my point of view. I don't think it is very beneficial but that is their choice. I am glad to say that examples like ray's are much rarer. As a host to a debate there is a certain amount of integrity expected. Comment moderation of any kind should be avoided where at all possible. There are of course situations where such moderation becomes necessary, spam for example or perhaps someone being mindlessly abusive or offensive for absolutely no reason and with nothing substantive to say. I, and many other bloggers I am glad to say, have no problem being derided or outright insulted if the person doing so has a good point to make. It is better if the debate not have to go this way but that's life.

What ray has just done on his blog though is far worse. It is soo petty that I for one will not be going back to his blog again. I would strongly discourage any atheist from engaging with this total tard so long as he enforces this kind of disgusting show of intolerant, school yard pettiness. ray, like many a good christian before him is going to try to force his way of thinking on you. Utterly disgusting. Thank God ray is just a flaccid, powerless, pontificating, smug, brainless egomaniac who has no outlet for his intolerant hatred of anyone who would question him but to impose ridiculous rules on his blog visitors. A few centuries ago though, it would be a grinning vacuous moron like this twat that would be strapping you to the rack. So what it is that has got this chimp's goat up so much. Without further ado, here he is in all his Torquemada-esque glory:

A Special Note to Atheists
I am honored that so many non-Christians frequent this site, but if you don’t write God or Jesus with capital letters, your comment will be automatically deleted. Thank you for your understanding.

OK, so I know what your thinking, ray just wants a little respect for the main man jesus christ. Many of us Atheists were a little annoyed but I and others responded with little more than eye rolling. No big thing. This was my response:

Ray, I think I have been doing that already, more as a nod to English grammar than piety. It is had [should have read hard] to see this insistence as anything but silly though. Still, your blog, your rules.

This was fairly typical of the atheist responses. However, in response to some of the more sarcastic comments, ray shows his true colors by following up with this :

Why the caps for the name of God?
"Matthew Wooller said...What kind of god is your GOD Raymond? Did he ask this of you as a personal request, or are you getting this from somewhere else. In your head, how is this a problem? Is the lack of capitals offending you? Surely you cannot believe that it is offending Yahweh - I mean, he's an omnipotent being, does he really get upset with grammar and syntax?"

Matt...I didn't do this for me or for God. I did it for you and for your atheist friends. Every time you write the name of God or Jesus, having to capitalize it will remind you that He is infinitely your Superior, and that you will bow the knee before Him one day, whether you believe in Him or not. My earnest prayer is that you bow now, while He offers mercy, rather than in judgment.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Patron of the Arts

While I am sure that my blog gets about as much traffic as an all pork drive-thru in downtown Jerusalem, I have descided to use my blog to boost my brothers listernship by one, maybe two people. Yes Scott I'm talking to you! (you might possibly visit twice)

My younger brother Stuart is a musican. A talented little shit, though I may be biased. Anyway for those of you with an interest in music. Check this out and post your opinion, or better yet leave a comment on his myspace page!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Physics of Faith

NEW SCIENTIST. March 18th 2077.

Cern have finally released a definitive explanation of the recently discovered God particle.


When bombarded with belief particles, the nucleus divides emitting love particles and forgiveness particles. Any human standing nearby who absorbs these particles, who has sufficient belief particles accumulated in the right ventricle and sufficient contrition particle build up in the left ventricle may experience the process of 'nuclear canonization', whereby the the four particle types (love, forgiveness, contrition and belief) undergo fusion. The result of the fusion are salvation molecules.

Note: The belief particle described here is the 'Jesus' variant. It has a different rotational speed to the non-Jesus types. Nuclear canonization cannot occur with any other type of belief particle. It has the exact opposite charge and spin to the 'Atheist' particle. Combination of these two results in complete annihilation. It is also recommended that belief particles in general be shielded from strong 'education' particle sources. The collision between belief and education particles often results in the release of high amounts of confusion radiation and clouds of toxic disillusionment. Lastly, humans with high concentrations of Atheist particles should avoid prolonged exposure to belief emitters as this can result in severe irritation

Friday, March 7, 2008

Free speech alive and well in Qatar.

Came across this on my net rambling. I wonder if we will have a comparable story from Washington D.C. sometime in the next couple of decades. Some religious folk are assholic enough that they would see this as a good thing! I think it is unlikely (I hope anyway). There are still enough sane folk in the U.S. doing their best to reign in the more right-wing bible thumpers that I don’t see them getting their way too soon. It seems undeniable though that the right-wing has moved decidedly further to the right in recent years. I have always found it surreal when people in power positions (presidents, prime-ministers etc. talk about God or worse God’s will, but it is more terrifying than surreal when they do so with zeal.

Just say know

Stephen Law has posted a nice piece on the possible causes of gnosis

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Behold! There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, a fair amount of eye-rolling and even the odd curse!

Nothing evokes more eye-rolling or teeth gnashing on my part than debate with the religious on the topic of religion. Let me clarify this a little. Suppose I was to suggest that religious feelings source from the left frontal lobe of the brain on Wednesdays and are particularly strong if you have been eating cheese. Most religious people, quite rightly, would demand evidence to support this wild claim. Whilst I am reluctant to give up on the theory entirely, I am willing to admit that empirical evidence to support this hypothesis is largely lacking. Ok. Fair enough. What causes the previously mentioned eye-rolling and teeth gnashing is that the religious are more than willing to take this very tactic and run with it. It is very common for a religious debater to tell you all about God. They will even tell you things, stated as fact, which are entirely contrary to anything written in the bible. Rev Sam, for example, is happy to tell you that God does exist, no wait he doesn’t really, well he does…..sort of, we just can’t understand the nature of God’s existence….or can we…. The bible rather clearly claims that God does in fact exist, not is some uber-vague, intellectually bendy fashion but in solid, lay-man’s terms. Sam tells me that there is an explanation of this linguistic jiggery-pokery coming in the series he is running on Atheism. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, bow to his superior knowledge of scripture and hear him out before closing the book on this. Far worse than this though are those who will quote scripture to explain why the hold the view that they do. Whilst scripture is not going to budge an Atheist’s view, it is at least a reason why a religious person holds the view they do. Ok. Fair enough. Or is it? When used in this fashion scripture is taken to mean what it is plainly enough saying. It is not interpreted as some confusing metaphor; it is saying what it is saying. However, now we come to the irritating bit. When the religious person does not agree with what scripture is saying, the excuse making and obfuscation begin. It is suddenly metaphorical, or written in the context of the time….etc etc. These passages of scripture are not usually especially vague. Let’s take this little gem from Corinthians 14 34:38 (from St. Paul himself)

34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church 36Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. 38If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored

Now you can try to twist this, bend it, compare it with other scripture to try to squirm and drag a meaning other than what it very plainly states from it but ultimately it is too clear for its own good. Paul does not caveat these statements, in fact, he ironclads them. In 37-38 he states that anyone who tries to counter these statements should be ignored because they come from the almighty. Ladies, God does not want to hear from you in church. It is disgraceful for you to speak there. That’s it, no vagueness, no hidden meaning. Not clear enough? Try a little Timothy

2:11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

Paul sure knew how to put them women-folk in their place!!

This kind of teaching was not a problem many years ago when men ruling over women was pretty much taken for granted. The religious folk saw no problem at all taking this literally and not needing to qualify it or except it at all. Many religious folk still hold this view. Some of the more civilized believers find this sort of scripture problematic. They don’t see women as inferior and don’t privately agree with this sort of sentiment. Good ole cognitive dissonance! The solution is to muddy the waters. Let’s claim now that the bible is not in fact the word of God. Its just a book written many years ago in the context of the time…… Yeay!! We have arrived in the land of double standards. Many Atheists accuse the theistic of double-think. Can you really blame them when faced with this sort of thing? Are the theists who want to distance themselves from this kind of scripture willing to go all the way with it? No, of course not. That would mean admitting that nothing in the bible can be trusted as having anything to do with God. Yes even that whole wacky Jesus dying for our sins bit. Jesus died so that your lippy woman who can’t help piping up in church won’t get you both a good roasting in that heathen barbeque of an afterlife Atheists like me can look forward to. No wait, strike that last bit. Hell doesn’t actually exist nowadays. Or does it? Damn it, I just can’t keep up with all this flip-flopping. One thing I am sure of: Hell hath no fury like a woman told to shhhh.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Moral Relativism

Pastor Rob asks some questions of his Athiest visitors. The questions are:

- Does it exist (moral absolutes)?
- Is it the same for everyone? Amsolute?
- Is it different for everyone? Relative?
- If moral absolutes do exist, what are they?
- If they do not exist, what are the standards we live by?
- If they do not exist, but there are undeniable standards by which we all live, why listen to them?

My answers:

Are there moral absolutes?
I'm not entirely sure what a moral absolute would actually be. In the sense I think you mean it, I would say there is not such a thing. What was moral to the best of people centuries ago might today be considered immoral by almost everyone today. Slavery for example. Taken for granted as a simple fact of life in the bible is considered abhorent to most people in modern society. In order for something to be a moral absolute, it would have to be considered immoral by everyone in the past, present and future guaranteed. I know of nothing which fits that description. The church of old burned people alive. I can't really think of a more obviously immoral action and this was undertaken apparently with God's blessing. So said the pastors, priests, popes etc. of the day. I doubt even the most fundamentalist, hardline fanatic would suggest that was a good idea now. (least I hope not). Do you believe that God decides what is moral?

Are absolutes the same for everyone?
They would have to be if they existed, otherwise they would not be absolutes.

Is it different for everyone
If this is just refering to morality in general then yes I would say so. Most people in a modern western society probably agree to a fair extent about what is moral and what is not. Murder for example is generally held to be immoral. However, any two people will most likely find some topic that they disagree on. Abortion for example is a great divider.

If they do not exist, what are the standards we live by
I think that morality is instinctual to some extent in people, though to greater or lesser extent depending on the person. Aside from that it is largely a result of social conditioning. Torture and intimidation are actually practiced by God in the bible. Most poeple today think those things are immoral. The laws in a country are a reasonable gauge of how most poeple view what is acceptable and what is not.

If they do not exist, but there are undeniable standards by which we all live, why listen to them? I have always found this a perplexing question. You are treating them (standards) as if they were rules. They are not rules in the hard and fast sense. Most people think it is immoral to cheat on your wife, but you can't be arrested for it. Most people simply don't want to hurt other people. They don't wish to fulfill their own wants by hurtful means. When you see a child in pain, do you need to consult a bible to feel bad about it? When you see a homeless person begging, to you give because you want to help them or because there was a rule somewhere that said you had to? Do you feel genuine empathy towards other people or not. If you do, you need no commandments, if you do not, you are a pitiless person who doesn't understand what morality even is. Commandments would come into use when people generally think a thing is ok but someone or some group wants to force them to behave as though it was not ok.

In most cases we obey rules for two reasons.
1)We agree with the rules and we want to obey them.
2)We fear punishment for disobeying the rules.
As atheists, we do not fear any punishments by God for acting in an immoral way. In general, we don't do bad things because we respect other people and don't want to do bad things. For the Atheist who does want to do bad things, we have laws and prisons. Same goes for Theists.

I expect to be called out on some of these answers...