Thursday, January 30, 2014

The ultimate in religious arrogance

There are all kinds of examples of arrogance in religion, from thinking a god is working on its behalf to thinking its religion is superior to others.

But the original arrogance is what has me spouting off this post today. What is the original arrogance? I'll use the Judeo-Christian religion, though my premise works with any religion, really. If you were to read the bible, and I highly recommend it if you need something to push you into atheism, you would figure out pretty quickly that its god has Chosen People.

In Judaism, the Jews are the Chosen People, chosen to be in a covenant with god. "For you are a holy people to YHWH your God, and God has chosen you to be his treasured people from all the nations that are on the face of the earth." -- Deuteronomy 14:2

Christians believe Jews were the Chosen People, too, but because the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, Christians received a special status (Romans 11:11-24), a doctrine known as supersessionism.

How arrogant do you have to be to know there are millions of people scattered all over the planet, but the "creator of everything" says your race is the one he favors the most, that you are his Chosen People?

Aren't we all "God's children?" Would a loving parent really produce a bunch of kids, single one out as his favorite and shun/destroy the rest? This is how you absolutely know the bible was written by men, and written of their own volition, not with any god's guiding hand. Of course, everything else in the bible only reinforces this, but the initial idea that the Jews were "chosen" is just an attempt at pure manipulation of the masses and rule-making to fit their repulsive desires.

And, if Jesus was the actual son of the Jewish god, (or in some Christian sects, he was god himself) then how come he couldn't convince the Jews he was the Messiah? After all, Yahweh chose them, so how come these Chosen People can't recognize their own god or god's son? He was able to convince them he was Yahweh, the creator, once upon a time. It's not like he would have to screw with their free will. Why did he lose his ability to be believable?

And that segues into the Christian arrogance, proclaiming they were smart enough to recognize and believe in Jesus as the Messiah, thus earning them special dispensation (another man-made selfish rule).

As for the rest of the world, how can we be tasked with making the correct "choice" when we have zero evidence to use as proof? We are, after all, only human. If I believed there were a higher power, I would put the blame squarely back on the deity for there being such divisions in religion. But, it's clear, there is no Chosen People, only people. Some day everyone will see the bible for what it is, a fairy tale written by misogynists who wanted to rape women, own slaves and kill people who weren't like them. They weren't chosen, they were self-appointed.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jesus' historicity means nothing to me

Recently, I witnessed a forum thread that exchanged ideas around the historicity of Jesus, whether he was a myth or a man. The debaters ultimately got hung up on one fact and the thread died after 57 pages or so.

You'll remember my four-part series on this exact point, though I clearly didn't have the background of these combatants. I chose to use rational thought, others' research and anecdotal evidence to explain my thoughts, but in the end I didn't come up with a definitive conclusion, but rather I left it open to discussion because the historical method, while the best method we have, still isn't absolute and conclusive when it comes to ancient times.

And this is perfectly understandable. In my somewhat brief debate with my theist family member, she mentioned the historicity of Homer and Alexander the Great as her retort when we started to discuss evidence and proof of Jesus' story. While Alexander is much easier to prove because of archeological evidence and contemporary disinterested writers cataloging his movements and conquering, Homer is much harder because there really is no actual proof that Homer wrote the stories attributed to him, etc.

My response to this was to be gracious, conceding that it is most difficult to prove anyone existed in ancient history, which is why we need to rely on the historical method when we can. My problem with using Homer et al to balance the equation is that even if Homer didn't write his pieces, or Socrates hadn't existed, it makes no difference to the masses because the Odyssey is still a great work and the Socratic Method still holds water with or without his actual existence.

And this gets to my point of this post: From an atheistic standpoint, does it matter if Jesus existed? It does if you want to speculate he was a miracle-working son of a deity. You see, when you argue Jesus merely existed or was just a myth, to me it doesn't matter. Why? Because if he was just a man (likely a crazy delusional man) it makes no difference to me because if I don't believe in him as a god, no one could blame me or throw holy water on me to save my "soul." And if he was a myth, again I am unaffected.

The problem arises when someone says he was raising Lazerus, casting out demons, returning from the dead and sending me to hell if I don't believe in him. And THAT's what should be discussed, what should be shown to be the fraud that it is. Without theists having their feet held to the fire on this unproven point, this planet will continue to be mired in irrational and delusional behavior that will be detrimental to everyone.

For those atheists who want to help open eyes to reality (and I am NOT in favor of actively trying to convince disinterested people because I would be no better than proselytizing Christians), don't get tied down in the Jesus-existence argument and redirect your energy toward demanding evidence of miracles, refuting apologetic arguments and teaching critical thinking.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Eventually, there will be just one gap

Some day soon, there really will be nowhere for any god to hide. What do I mean by that? Let's think back to life on Earth during the time of the Ancient Greeks (though gods were invented long before this period).

When they didn't understand affairs of the heart, they invented Aphrodite, the goddess of love. When lightning bolts streaked across the sky, they invented Zeus the god of the sky, lightning and thunder. There are/were gods of war, sun gods, gods of love, gods of the planets, of the underworld, of the oceans, of the moon, etc.

For that which we didn't understand, we invented a god/goddess. The Romans followed in the Greek footsteps, basically just changing the names of the traditional Greek gods: Zeus-Jupiter, Aphrodite-Venus, Ares-Mars, Artemis-Diana, Athena-Minerva, Hades-Pluto, Hermes-Mercury, Kronos-Saturn, Persephone-Proserpina, Poseidon-Neptune.

But as philosophers and scientists began to take hold with their rational thoughts and theories, these mythical gods fell away because things such as weather, emotion and cosmology are undeniable. The unknown, unfortunately, still serves as irrational fodder, and deities fill those holes for the weak. This is known as the god of the gaps argument, meaning any gap in our knowledge is filled by a deity. I've touched on this in previous posts, but in short, if we don't yet know how something happens, believers think their god did it.

The biggest gaps that remain, the final frontiers if you will (sorry Trekkers), are origins (life and universe) and afterlife. Since we will never know if there is an afterlife, I suppose there always will be at least one gap, so (sadly) there may always be religion. But, the origins of life (abiogenesis) and the universe (Big Bang) are close at hand or are already here. And that's why any god, in the end, will have just one place to hide: in the unknown of the afterlife.

There are many predictions that religion will be in the minority soon, perhaps 30-40 years, and it's because these gaps will be all but filled. Really, if all we can't prove is if there's an afterlife, then where does a god really fit? Only in the minds of the superstitious and the delusional.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fear rears its ugly head in Nashville

Fear is a funny emotion. It makes you do irrational things, such as check under the bed for monsters, throw salt over your shoulder or believe in a made-up deity. Notice how some of these things are also tied to superstitions?

Tonight I watched an episode of Nashville, the country music night-time soap opera on ABC. On the previous episode, one of the slutty singing stars of the show had slept with a married man and his marriage failed after that. Word got out that she was the cause of this breakup, and people started protesting her shows and appearances, calling her a slut and home-wrecker.

She came face to face with one of these vociferous religious protestors and said, "There is no god ... that would listen to a crackpot like you." Someone caught it on video and released it on YouTube and news stations, but chose to only release the "There is no god" portion of the sound byte.

The ensuing backlash was hilarious. Her shows were cancelled because thousands of people requested refunds and stadium owners didn't want a blasphemer in their building. While I'm aware country music is rooted in a lot of religion (Jesus Take the Wheel, anyone?), I find it extremely improbable an A-lister of her caliber would suffer this kind of retribution, especially after they held a news conference with a fellow star stating what this woman actually said. I know finding an admitted atheist country singer is as likely as finding an admitted atheist politician, but Hollywood really went overboard.

News conference aside, more than 20 percent of America is non-religious, and atheists/agnostics/non-believers aren't outcasts to this extent, especially in the entertainment industry, regardless if it's country music. It's easier to find a non-believer than it is to find a Jew in America. (Of course I don't know of any Jewish country stars, either.)

The entire episode dropped hints that it was absolutely unacceptable to not believe. A friend consoles her and says, "It's OK, I know you believe." And her boss threatens her and says she better apologize to the fans and to god. While I'm not entirely convinced ABC, which owns ABC Family and Disney, wasn't the driving force in this stance, it doesn't surprise me this stance was taken.

It all gets back to fear. ABC and Nashville's writers believe they would lose viewers and fans if they didn't take this stance, just like the storyline (Hollywood imitating art?) Those who got refunds or who refused to let her perform in their venue were driven by fear, to get back to my opening statement. If they attended the show of a reported heathen then they think they would be guilty by association, which would in turn upset their vile god and could cause them eternal harm. Irrational behavior now rears its ugly head.

How do they react? By lashing out and intimidating her. Funny how Christian ethics go out the window as soon as someone doesn't believe in their man-made deity. When "Jesus" faced Doubting Thomas, did he make Thomas' life miserable or even kill him? No. But when someone doubts the existence of a god these days, many Christians resort to violence and intimidation out of fear.

At the end of the episode, we see her walk into an empty church, sit in a pew, close her eyes and fold her hands in prayer. She did NOTHING wrong, and yet she feels she needs to pray for guidance from the very god that put her in this position in the first place (He has a plan, remember?). "Let's make sure we show her praying so we can let our viewer know for certain she isn't a heathen!"

I would love to see her become an atheist on this show, even though I know that can't happen. It wouldn't be groundbreaking for television (remember Meathead on All in the Family?), but it would be a first in country music and could open up a whole new set of story lines. She is a rebel on the show, and she does have a lot of heartache (mother was a druggie while she raised her, then killed herself, father is dead, boyfriends cheat on her, she's had PR nightmares left and right) so the seeds for wondering why a loving god would treat her this way are sewn. But I doubt it will ever happen.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Help, racism and slavery in the Deep South

This afternoon I finally had a chance to watch The Help, a movie about early 1960s Mississippi and the African-American maids who essentially were treated like slaves. It was all at once a sad and inspiring flick; watching how people could treat these maids like that was utterly disgusting, but how their indiscretions and atrocities were finally brought to light was inspirational.

While this won't be one of my "atheism undertones" reviews, there were some seriously alarming themes that presented themselves. Toward the end of the movie, the maids gathered in a home to tell Skeeter (played by Emma Stone), a budding writer and journalist, their (mostly horrific) stories of racism, abuse and misogyny. One of the stories explained how a maid was "willed" from one family member to another, literally treating her like chattel, like a piece of furniture. For those of you familiar with the bible, this story reeked of the type or immoral behavior in the Old Testament, where Christians and Jews can find detailed instructions on not only how to own and treat slaves, but the proper procedure for passing slaves down from generation to generation.

"However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way." -- Leviticus 25:44-46

It's very telling, as these Christian zealots of the Old South followed their bible to the letter, hence believing African-Americans were beneath them because they started as slaves in this country. Slavery was the main reason for the Civil War, as Southerners believed it was their god-given right to own slaves.

And this is the crux of my final point from this movie. I find it a tad shocking so few black people are non-religious. In the movie, there were multiple scenes that took place in a Baptist church, and that's when it hit me. If they read their bible and saw the Leviticus verses, they would know why people in this country felt it was their right to own them. This, in turn, means their god said it was OK for their race to experience these hardships, yet most of them remain loyal to Yahweh and Christ.

While I really enjoyed this movie, it just reminded me how sick religion is, how oppressive the Deep South really was, how strong indoctrination is and how absolutely repulsive and sad the history of our country is.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Of god and poker

When you step outside the lives of believers and take a look at them from a rational perspective, you can see how the indoctrination has seeped into the non-religious portions of their lives, too.

For me, this was evident most recently playing poker with my family one Friday evening. As a youngster, my parents taught me how to play poker. No, wait, let me correct that for emphasis: My parents taught me the RULES of poker; they didn't teach me HOW to play the game. That would come years later when I fell in love with Texas Hold'em and wanted to win money playing it.

For 50 years, my parents have played what's known as ignorant poker, never using serious thinking when playing and just accepting what comes their way, hanging on till the bitter end because they always have eternal optimism that the crap they hold will somehow turn into a winning hand.

Sound familiar?

As you know, my parents are god-fearing Catholics, never questioning their religion or their beliefs. Despite hardship hitting them in the most inopportune times, they continue to believe their god is looking over them and his plan is what is guiding them, so why question it? They feel as long as they believe, something good will become of it in the end.

It's just like their poker mentality: Even though they were dealt a terrible holding, they continue with it, believing irrationally that they will hit that implausible hand to win the pot. When they do get a strong hand, they almost never capitalize on it, they never take charge. Rather, they are content to just be happy with what they have without rocking the boat.

I can't help but reflect upon this attitude and my eventual deconversion. There was a time when I played poker like them. I just took the cards I was dealt, never realizing the real route to winning was in strategy and critical thinking. When I wanted more from poker than to be a lovable loser at the table, I took the proactive approach, studying books from those who understood how to play the game properly and talking with others who were successful in the game.

That's exactly how I changed my life. When I decided the doubts I had about religion and god were too much to ignore, I didn't suppress them into some dark place in my subconscious never to be questioned. I was proactive, reading books that explored that stance, watching videos that didn't subscribe to indoctrination and miracle men and reading forums where others just like me shared their knowledge and stories.

Years ago, when I began winning consistently at poker, I tried to explain to my parents why I was winning and, more important, why they were losing. But they didn't get it. They believed luck was the most important aspect of poker and there was no reason to learn from me. I asked them why I win every time we played, and they just felt I was lucky ... all of the time. It was as if they were indoctrinated when it came to math and variance. I tried in vain, but in the end they just keep wondering, "What if?" as in, "What if I stick with these terrible cards and make a big hand?"

That is not unlike their attitude toward religion and god: "What if I were to give up on god now? I might go to hell, so I'll stick with this life where I believe an invisible dictator can read my thoughts, cares about what I eat and how I have sex with my spouse."

Just like they shut out understanding that poker is anything but a game of luck, they will never listen to rational thinking when it comes to religion.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ultimate god of the gaps

Why is it so difficult to believe in a deity (or theity as I like to say)? It's the evidence, and lack thereof.

One of the things I like to point to is the origins of Earth and life and compare it with the Old Testament. The birth of our planet is a remarkable story, and the origin of life, though not completely understood yet, is just as amazing.

If you were to take ANY of the correspondence with supernatural beings in the bible (NT included), how come none of them refer to evolution? When "Moses" was chatting with "Yahweh," why wouldn't the big bully tell it like it is? Why would he lie to Moses and say he made the Earth and universe and humans in a few days? In the NT, why didn't Jesus know about germs and viruses, the micro organisms that were killing his flock and children to the tune of one in every two kids die of disease? If you believe the bible, he actually said we don't need to wash our hands before eating because nothing can hurt us.

Let's take this from another angle: If there is a god, and you believe (rightfully so) in evolution, why would he create life as a single-celled organism that would take billions of years to become human? If he were truly omnipotent, wouldn't he just make humans "in his own image" like it says in the bible? Just think about this for a minute. If humans were created in a god's image, why would he start with a process that would split into countless species and need to evolve over billions of years to get to "his image?" And for that matter, we know the universe is nearly 14 billion years old, why would he wait nearly 10 billion years after that to make the planet his children would live on? What was he waiting for?

And since you believe in evolution, then you know humans (in our current evolved state of Homo sapiens) have been walking on this planet for about a quarter of a million years. Why did the Abrahamic god wait about 245K years before "revealing" himself to us, letting us suffer for a couple hundred millennia? That's too painful and ridiculous for believers to accept, so the goat-herders believe humans first populated Earth in that Genesis week, otherwise they couldn't justify their god.

This is why/proof the desert-dwellers made up Genesis, because they just didn't understand how things worked or evolved. It's the ultimate god of the gaps fallacy, because once you realize evolution is true, and the universe is billions upon billions of years old, you know god can't exist. It makes no sense when you know the facts.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Coining a new term?

This is a milestone of sorts for me as it is my 75th post, and to celebrate I've come up with another new term.

I'm a frequent contributor to the forum at The Thinking Atheist and I posted something recently that got a good chuckle over there.

People who believe a god made everything but remains at arm's length from its creation are called deists. Why? Because they believe in a deity who is indifferent to his work and the welfare of its inhabitants. This god basically sneezed, created the universe and then split.

People who believe in an omniscient, omnipotent god who created everything and concerns itself with everything its inhabitants are doing and thinking are called theists. So why isn't this god called a theity?

The bunch over at TTA joked around like it was a lisp, and we had a good laugh, but it makes sense to me.

Regardless, it's remarkable to me how people have such delineating views on what a god does for them. I've talked about this before, how people say they believe in something but they don't know what it is they believe. That is the epitome of wishy-washy. A belief isn't something that is half-assed. You "believe" something because there was something that made you believe it. When you say you believe something but you don't know what it is, you are self-refuting your "belief" and your very existence.

Take a weekend, think it over, grow a pair and have a stance. If it takes longer than a weekend then you're finally doing some critical thinking. Hopefully you're asking the right questions and relying on rationality instead of wishful thinking and special pleading.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Religion? Just say no

In the '80s, former First Lady Nancy Reagan spearheaded an anti-drug campaign that sported the slogan, "Just Say No." It was ridiculed (and still is today) relentlessly, mostly for being unrealistic and out of touch.

But I'd like to resurrect that slogan for religion. When people try to indoctrinate you, just say no. When they ask if you believe in Bronze Age superstitions, just say no. See where I'm going with this?

But the similarities between drugs and religion are quite remarkable. Let's take a closer look.

Why do people turn to drugs? To escape. They are unhappy with their lives, so they turn to something that can deliver them from reality. Instead of facing their problems head-on, they use drugs to escape. Sound familiar? When times are tough and people can't handle the pressures of life, they often turn to religion, which of course is rooted in fantasy. Instead of facing their problems head-on, they call on an invisible made-up sky king to take away their troubles. The huge gaping hole in these tactics is when you sober up or stop praying the problems are still there, and you have to deal with them anyway. So why not skip the drugs/praying and just be a responsible, rational adult?

Another reason people do drugs? Peer pressure. You're at a party where friends (or people you want to be friends with) are doing drugs. You like these guys, you think they are cool and you want to emulate them. They recognize this and put pressure on you to start using. This is not unlike religion. How many times do people succumb to the pressure of their family to attend church, pray and worship their god? It's called indoctrination. But it doesn't end with the family. The community, in and outside of the congregation, has been known to put pressure on neighbors to abide by their religious beliefs, or to attend services. Even politics. It's a statistical fact that at least 20 percent of all Americans are non-religious, yet not one politician is listed as an atheist, agnostic or non-believer. Why? Political suicide.

When people use drugs, what are some of the possible outcomes? Well, depending on the drug, hallucinations are quite common. People see things that aren't there, believe in things that didn't happen and act differently than how they would when they were sober. Religion has this effect on many believers. YouTube is flooded with charlatan evangelists "healing" parishioners, who faint or fall over from the mere touch of these criminals. Also, many theists believe they've seen and had direct conversations with their god (pretty much the very definition of a hallucination) or believe Jesus has appeared in their morning toast, which is called pareidolia (a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus being perceived as significant, such as the Virgin Mary in a water-stained window, the man in the moon and hearing hidden messages on records when played in reverse.)

Those who push drugs don't pay taxes on their product, and neither do churches pay. Of course both drugs and religion will cost you money, and most of the time it's money neither users can afford. And lest we forget about addiction?

If religion is your drug, sober up and face reality. Just say no.

Monday, January 13, 2014

More on heaven and hell

I've given it a lot of thought, and I can't possibly believe a heaven or hell exists. I know I've touched on this before, but I will revisit it from time to time because it's such a huge topic.

Recently, my wife brought up an interesting point: Heaven is supposed to be eternal bliss, is it not? And I would have to agree, the religious interpretation of heaven is that of being happy forever.

But, it's such a tangible interpretation. Could we really think "souls" would think, feel and experience the kind of happiness we have here on earth in a physical form? If the answer is yes, then here's the biggest problem with heaven: As we all know, according to the beliefs of Christians and the words of the bible, it's not easy to get into heaven, and hell is the more likely final destination for much of the world. After all, think about the billions in India who were indoctrinated into Hinduism. If the Christian god exists and its ridiculous dogma is true, then these poor people are going to be writhing in hellfire forever, while some Christian moron in West Virginia has heavenly bliss. The Jews who reject Christ total in the millions, and are they doomed to being charcoal? What about those who never heard of Christ, before and after the "fact?"

The reason I bring this up is, it's more likely than not that someone you love dearly on this earth is going to end up in the Christian lake of fire for all eternity. If you were a believer, and you lived the Christian moral life and were "rewarded" with a spot on a cloud for eternity, how can you be as happy as possible if you know people you love are suffering forever? There is a verse in the bible that refers to the saved looking down on those condemned to burn in hell, but how can you be content and blissful with this scenario?

Christians would spout off some ridiculous statement like "Jesus will wipe away all the pain," but that's just wishful thinking and mind control. So those in heaven can only be happy if they get some heavenly lobotomy? Pathetic.

This gets back to my wife's statement. She so wants to ask the believers in our family how they can worship a god who has this very plan in mind. She wants to know how they can look forward to heaven knowing their children, according to the very doctrine they believe wholeheartedly in, will be burning until the end of time and beyond, or have them erased from their memory?

Great questions that deserve a great answer, but somehow I don't think one is forthcoming.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Three days later, debate resurrected

As I mentioned a few posts ago, after almost a month of debating a theist via email, we decided to call it quits. Then, three days later, not unlike the fictional account of Jesus, our debate was resurrected. It started as a semi-harmless question about a creator and whether I believed in one, which I thought was preposterous on so many levels. How can you debate someone on a subject for three straight weeks and not know where they stand?

If the question was the only subject of the email it might not have escalated, but this theist had to throw in a handful of unsubstantiated drivel, almost begging me to react to it. Basically she flip-flopped on her stance yet again on evolution, thanking me for calling her attention to it and saying she believes more than ever in a creator. This is proof to me she is too far gone and nothing short of a thump on the head will ever jar her from her indoctrination.

When I say "escalate" I mean our conversation was littered with sarcasm from me and accusations from her. I was called a militant atheist and then her condescension set in, saying she tried, as in "I tried to have a rational discussion with you but you obviously can't have one without getting angry."

When it comes to religion I don't think I she could be rational if Socrates were in her living room and slapped her with his sandal. Christians will resort to this ad hominem attack when they have no answer to what you set forth. They will claim you are angry with god and religion instead of facing the facts, that their god is man-made and their religion is false. And when they call you militant, what they are really saying is you know your shit and I can't pull my shit around you. Funny how when someone confidently refutes theist arguments and uses ridicule for ridiculous statements we are called militant, but when theists use circular logic, unending proselytizing and irrational faith they aren't called militant theists.

The argument this theist made in favor of a creator was based on the complexity and beauty of DNA and how Prof. Antony Flew changed his worldview from an atheist to a deist because of this stance on DNA. I quickly pointed out for every beautiful and complex thing in the world I can point out something horrific and simple. DNA's mutation and lack of perfection is one of the major reasons we have evolution, that and natural selection. My debater held up Flew as if that's some enlightened reason for believing in a deity. I asked her if I gave her a long list of clergy that became atheist would that mean anything to her? And being a Christian theist I reminded her that even if he was a deist he is currently burning in her god's hell because he absolutely denied being a theist and found the whole all-knowing-god concept ridiculous. She then said something so vile about birth defects and homosexuals that I can't even post it here. So sad.

Ultimately we again agreed we couldn't debate anymore, and I must admit I do miss it because I found it entertaining, stimulating and disturbing all at the same time. Sometimes I wish we were strangers so it wouldn't matter if we pissed each other off and I could continue to flex my brain.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Original Sin, Original Bollocks

Recently, my conversations with a theist explored Genesis/evolution. While the theist spoke of the Pentateuch as the Books of Moses and implied she felt they were fact, as the conversations progressed and as my evidence began to mount toward this as being a falsehood, she switched gears and said Genesis was symbolic, that she learned that from her bible class. This was a shock to me that she would waffle like this, given how firm and almost arrogant she was in her other points.

I, of course, had pointed out from Day 1 that Genesis was merely poetry and couldn't possibly be fact. It was only after I pulled out the big guns and pointed out that her Catechism states this as well did she finally cave. Of course the CCC says Genesis is true in other ways, but admits its events are far from precise. As I mentioned in an earlier post, she also changed gears on evolution, first stating she was an ID believer, then when I pointed out her last three popes and her CCC admit evolution is fact, she said she believed in it.

So, the question now becomes, if Adam and Eve didn't really exist and didn't really eat a forbidden fruit while talking with a snake, what happens to the Original Sin? You see, without Original Sin, why would Jesus have to die? Why would we need a savior?

Here is the CCC's reconciliation with science:

"Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul. Pope Pius XII declared that "the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God" (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36). So whether the human body was specially created or developed, we are required to hold as a matter of Catholic faith that the human soul is specially created; it did not evolve, and it is not inherited from our parents, as our bodies are.

While the Church permits belief in either special creation or developmental creation on certain questions, it in no circumstances permits belief in atheistic evolution."

I love the last line. But the spin here is, the soul is eternal and immediately created by god. Really? So at what point is this soul inserted? If we are cousins of apes and chimps, which we are, and we evolved through stages such as Dryopithecus, Ramapithecus, Australopithecus, Homo Erectus, Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis and Homo Sapiens Sapiens, at which point did we start getting souls? Were they inserted even when we were Neanderthals? We weren't "humans" yet.

But this ancestral sin is such bollocks, as is the need for Jesus' death. To condemn humans before they are born, or as Christopher Hitchens used to say, "We are born sick and commanded to be well," is akin to failing a student before teaching them a subject, or failing said student because their grandfather got an F in the class decades before them.

This is a sick religion, and Original Sin is only the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Perfect universe? Hardly

When someone says they see creation in the perfection of our earth/universe, I can't help but show how misguided this line of thinking is. They point to how much of a razor's edge we balance on and how a tip in any direction would mean we wouldn't exist (gravity's strength, earth's orbit and rotation, the Goldilocks zone); they see that as design, but how can they? It's this very reason why Intelligent Design goes out the window. Why would we be put in such a precarious position? Can't an omnipotent designer make a world that is more efficient than this? We've evolved in spite of this unintelligent design; it's these conditions that allowed life to exist, life didn't exist for the conditions.

Creationists obviously have this incredibly arrogant perception that this world was created/designed for them, that it's "perfect" for life. Here are some statistics that absolutely destroy that stance.

• 99% of every species to ever inhabit this planet are EXTINCT. Bet you didn't know that.
• 69% of the earth is covered by water that humans can't drink.
• Of the 29% of land on earth, only 50 percent is habitable for humans, meaning humans can live on only 15% of the entire planet.
• The Andromeda Galaxy is hurtling toward the Milky Way at 250,000 mph and will end our civilization in roughly 4 billion years, a shorter period of time than how long the earth has been in existence.
• Our sun is set to run out of fuel in about 4 billion years, so humans could be long dead before the galaxy collisions anyway as the sun would have swelled up to a red giant and engulfed us, burning every living thing on our planet in a torturous vapor.

That's some designer, far from perfection. If you asked someone to build you a house and when he was finished he told you that 9.9 out of every 10 living things that live there will die, that you could only live in 15 percent of the overall square footage, could drink/use only 1 percent of the water that comes out of your taps, are in danger of other neighborhoods collapsing on your home and the heater in your home is going to someday burn so hot you will vaporize, you would say screw that, you're a horrible designer and I'm not buying it.

And I haven't even scratched the surface with how much is wrong with the planet and universe, including how much waste there is throughout the observable universe (macro view) and the viral natural diseases (micro view) on our "perfect" planet.

Debate conclusion

Well, my debate with a theist has come to an end, and predictably it ended because the exchanges became too frustrating. If the debate were with a perfect stranger I believe we would still be debating, but because it was with a family member, I feared the relationship might deteriorate and hurt the family.

So, what did we accomplish? For me, I was able to get a lot off of my chest. For far too long I had to hear about the miracles and perfection of god and I had to keep my mouth shut. So to finally show someone in my family that their way isn't the only way, and that their way was far from perfect, was a lot of fun. Plus I was able to show just how well-prepared I was for this.

I was surprised to find my opponent was as indoctrinated as the stereotypes indicate. While I knew she came off as judgmental and arrogant when it came to religion, I never thought she would slip into creationist mode. One interesting story: Somehow we got on evolution, I believe it was when she started trashing science as a biased industry, and she told me I believe in evolution but she believes in Intelligent Design. She proceeded to pepper me with the ignorant questions about why there are still apes and I nearly fell over in my chair. That's when I became indignant and said if she can't even understand evolution, or at the very least do some research on it before firing off such ignorant tripe, then how can we go on? I had to show her in black and white that even her own CCC and pope endorse evolution as fact.

Here's the fun part: The very next email she says she believes in evolution. So, which is it? That she was lying before just to get a rise out of me, or does she so blindly follow her CCC that when I pointed it out to her that the CCC believes in evolution that she was forced to believe in it? Can you imagine what it's like to have absolutely zero backbone when it comes to your beliefs? To not be able to think at all for yourself and to be forced to change your beliefs on a dime?

So maybe I had a hand in making her believe in evolution, who knows? I will miss the debates if only because I got to take a righteous person down a peg and make her think about my side for a change.