Tag Archives: Jesus

Prayer saved Gabriel Gifford…according to Fox Viewers

21 Jan

A new poll conducted by Fox “news” found that 8 in 10 Americans (aka conservatives who take Fox Polls) believe that god saved Gabriel Gifford’s life. Meanwhile another poll conducted by Reality News found that 8 in 10 people who responded to the Fox “news” poll are morons.

We can all let out a collective groan because here we go again. Just as with the Chilean mine collapse, or the plane crash on the Hudson river, people always find a way to praise their invisibly sky daddy and never blame him. That is just how the game is rigged. There is no possible scenario where they will blame god. Period.

Did gay intern Daniel Hernandez, who held his hands tight on Gifford’s head to control the bleeding and to keep her brains from oozing out, save Gifford’s life? What about the person who jumped the gunman to keep him from shooting more people? What about the emergency responders who rushed to the scene? What about the expert surgeons who spent years studying the advances of science and who spent hours fighting to keep Gifford alive?

Nope. God did it…. but do you know what that means if you want to be logically consistent? It means god had a nine year old girl gunned down… And if you’re not going to admit that then you have to admit you don’t give a fuck about reality, logical coherence, or will ever admit your god did something disgusting.

Family Radio and the end of the world!

17 Jan

Last week I was driving home from work here in Columbia, SC and on the other side of the street was the most ridiculous bus. I tried to grab my camera to take a picture, but the light changed and it moved on. I did, however, remember the name and made a note. Luckily there are plenty of pictures online. The bus belonged to the group “Family Radio“, an apocalyptic Christian group eagerly counting down the days till all of humanity, including everyone you love, dies in bloody agony at the coming of their god.

Have you heard the awesome news?!?!?! The world is going to end!!!!1 These people are really fucked up. Though the bus is an improvement over their old one:

Free candy for children only!

Apparently they’ve decided the world is going to end on May 21, 2011, and even though people have been incorrectly deciding this for thousands of years. (But oh no, THIS time we’ve got it right. THIS time he’s coming back. We’re special, everyone else was wrong because of X,Y, & Z) It’s a good thing people like this don’t date much. Can you imagine how long they’d wait on the front porch if you stood them up for prom? Jesus has stood them up for over 2000 years and they still don’t get the hint that he’s just not that into them.

Look, this idiot even painted her brand new car with the date when she gleefully awaits the death of all humanity. You know what, I would gladly join their church and pray with them if they signed over all their money and property to me. Why wouldn’t they? The world’s going to end anyways! They’re going to be swept up with Jesus! What hesitation should they have to sign over all their worldly possessions to me? They ARE sure it’s going to be May 21, 2011, right? They wouldn’t happen to have some doubt and be keeping their things just in case, would they? They shouldn’t because according to the bible in Acts 5:1-11 the apostle Paul kills a couple for doing just that.

I really wonder what all these idiots are going to do on May 22, 2011. Can you imagine? It’s happened to thousands of people before throughout history. It’s going to be extremely awkward. The lady in the picture here is probably going to be huddled around her family and these other wingnuts, hands clasped in prayer, eyes squeezed tight, waiting for the clock to strike 12…tic toc tic toc. When it hits there will be silence. She will have her eyes squeezed shut for a few moments till she carefully opens one and looks around… “Maybe it’ll happen sometime today, not right at midnight?” And so she’ll spend the entire day paralyzed with anticipation, just like the rest of the sheeple. When it comes close to midnight of that day she’ll start sweating bullets. “It has to happen! Why is it taking so long! Why aren’t everyone I hate dead!?!?”

As midnight comes and passes she’ll lie there in bed, staring at the ceiling in shock. “Fuck….fuck fuck fuck!!! I have to go to work in the morning!” (The 21st is on a Monday) She’ll maybe get an hour or two of restless sleep, get up, make some coffee, grab her keys and stumble out to her c…..”Oh FUCK! Now EVERYBODY is going to know I’m an idiot!!! People are going to be pointing and laughing at me where ever I go!” (And you damn well deserve it!) How awkward and embarrassing is that going to be? She’s eventually going to have to take it to a body shop and have it all removed, or paint over the date with the new and revised date in case she’s in denial. This is all assuming they haven’t signed over all their possessions to their leader, which is a very real possibility; and I guarantee you if it doesn’t work out, he’ll be on the first plane to the Caribbean with all their money.

It’s a great time to be a conservative

7 Jan

Last Wednesday at noon the republicans took control of the house with the vow to slash domestic funding and decrease the federal deficit.  They came in with a strong list of new rules. One of the biggest changes was “Slash as you go” instead of “Pay as you go.” This means that for every dollar in government spending you add, you must slash a dollar somewhere else. They also forbade anything that would add to the deficit.

But these are republicans, rules? principles? You’ve got to be kidding. Cue massive hypocrisy.

The biggest target in republican’s cross-hairs is the weak sauce healthcare reform. Unfortunately for them, the Congressional Budget Office (the non-partisan organization that crunches the numbers for everything the government does or is considering doing) came out and stated that repealing the health care reform would add $143 billion onto the deficit. That’s a mathematical fact provided by an independent accounting organization.

But then again these are conservatives. Reality and facts are what you want them to be.

The new speaker of the house, republican John Boehner simply replied “The CBO is entitled to their opinion.” The republicans tacitly admitted they knew the CBO was right because they then passed one of their first acts: giving themselves and exemption to their rule of “slash as you go” so they could kill healthcare and add $143 billion to the deficit. Bravo…. (Oh, and don’t forget, even when they kill healthcare, the republicans are planning on keeping their free healthcare that they get as US congressmen.)

But healthcare hypocrisy is not the only reason to celebrate! The republicans plan on gutting every protective legislative body they can. The FDA regulates businesses that make sure the food your family eats or the drugs you take aren’t poison? Kill it. The EPA regulates corporations that would dump toxic sludge in your neighborhood rivers? Kill it.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, they are going after protective legislation with a battle ax.  The goal is to put us back to the turn of the 20th century, where you were either dirt poor or one of those robber barons, where snake oil salesmen went from town to town bilking people of their money in return for poison, where tainted meat and vegetables made their way easily onto your dinner table, where environmental protection was only a dream. This is the goal.

Speaking of environmental protection, it’s official, there will be no improvement in the fight against global warming; the most dangerous and pressing issue facing us today. If we do nothing we may all die. We may very well push our planet out of the the knife edge thin “Goldilocks zone” where the conditions for life are just right, into a run away greenhouse effect that is currently cooking the planet Venus.

But that won’t happen. You know why? JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep, denying reality (be it scientific or what the CBO says the numbers are) is mandatory for membership in the republican club house. A shinning example is John Shimkus. Johhny boy is trying to become the chairman of the committee responsible for oversight on those groups that regulate pollution, toxic waste, and the greenhouse gases that are cooking our planet. But have no fear! Even though all the observable evidence tells us that we are racing for the cliff edge, nothing bad will happen. Jesus won’t let it. God made this earth for us and he wouldn’t make it so we could corrupt it…. (original sin? releasing evil into the world? No? Guess he’s not big on reading his own book, but then again republican and hypocrisy are synonymous)

But the party continues! Now that the republicans are in control of the house they are promising non-stop investigations and witch hunts, even against organizations that don’t exist anymore.

Yet do you want to know the #1 reason right now is an amazing time to be a conservative? The icing on the cake? The piñata of goodies?

Because Obama is your bitch and no matter how bad your policies fuck up the country and the future of the world, ultimately he is president and there is a “D” by his name.  Obama just hired William Daley to be his chief of staff, replacing Rahm Emanuel. (Rahm who said liberals, ie the people who voted for Obama and make up the democratic base, were “fucking retarded.”) If you think Rahm is right wing and pro-establishment, get a load of Daley! Daley’s a right wing corporatist who works for JP Morgan and who wants to kill the consumer protection agency! There is no fucking way Obama is a liberal or has any intention of fighting the status quo! He is the status quo.

So republicans are vicariously living through Obama while pushing through their “kill all government agencies that don’t help the rich get richer” policies that, if they fail or fuck everything up, they can easily lay at the feet of the democrats just in time for the 2012 elections when they can do it all over again for another four years… Goddamn it’s a good time to be conservative!

Christmas, the worst time of the year

26 Nov

Thanksgiving was yesterday, the last finger holding us onto the ledge has slipped; we now freely fall into the Christmas abyss. Over the course of the next twenty-eight days we will reach terminal velocity, culminating in an orgasm of commercialism and religious fervor. Ah…Christmas in America. This truly is the worst season to be an atheist.

Atheists are always aware of how different they are in a country as awash in Christian privilege as America; December is the month that the rest of the believing populace becomes aware of this difference too. This is the time of year when the separation of church and state comes under the heaviest attack. Tis the season when the willfully ignorant come out in droves to proclaim the marriage of America and Jesus. Defiantly they make their stand against political correctness. Through their eyes they are the majority, the only ones who matter. America is a Christian nation founded by god himself! The non-Christians should be grateful that they are allowed to live in such a wonderful country, and they must humbly show their respect by being quiet during this most Christian time of the year.

To the rest of us, they come off a belligerent and rude, like a man wearing a offensively sexist t-shirt to meeting of professional women. This is the time of year they will demand that nativity scenes and Christian signs be placed on government property, to the exclusion of other faiths. Never mind the fact that there are conflicting accounts of the nativity story and that the government must remain neutral in matters of religion (heaven forbid they actually read the bible or the constitution). When the secular stand up and call foul, we’re accused of having a “war on Christmas.”

In the past, people have gone so far as to organize boycotts of stores that instruct their employees to say “Happy Holidays” as apposed to “Merry Christmas.” Belligerent ignorance. I’m sorry you’re unaware that there are, in fact, other holidays going on in the same general time frame, thus “Happy Holidays” would be more appropriate. But again, to them this is a Christian nation, and Christmas is the only holiday of importance. Nevermind the fact that Christmas is actually an old Pagan holiday.

Despite this minor historical point, this is the time of year signs like this start popping up all around the country:

I have no problem with Christians celebrating Christmas. I have no problem with them decorating their homes, or erecting nativity scenes on their lawns, or on their church lawns. While I would prefer that people realize that not everyone is Christian and said the more generalized “Happy Holidays,” I’m not overly offended if someone says it to me with the best of intentions. I don’t even have a problem with Christians erecting a Christian display on government property for Christmas, as long as everyone is then allowed to erect a display. In order for the government to remain neutral, as it serves everyone, not just Christians, it must allow all or none. Unfortunately the belligerently ignorant insist on preventing some groups from displaying signs depicting beliefs contrary to their own. This is the time of year that the belligerently ignorant go out of their way to make you feel like a second class citizen. The nonbeliever is not only constantly bombarded by visual messages reinforcing this, but by audio ones as well. This is the time of year that the radio stations and stores switch over to playing almost exclusively Christmas music. You cannot listen to the radio, or enter a place of business without hearing some Christmas tune.

This bombardment will last for the next twenty-eight days. The only thing an atheist can do is hunker down, stay in doors, rent some movies, crank up the secular podcasts, and wait for the frenzy to pass.

Animal souls, stem cells, & embryos

31 Oct

Do animals have souls?

The majority of theologians say no. The bible is clear that animals are beneath humans and not made in god’s image; thus they do not contain souls and will not be waiting for you in heaven or hell.

But what about those who believe their pets DO have souls?

Are animals able to sin? Does sin require consciously making the choice to disobey god? If so then small children and animals can’t sin because they are physically incapable of the brain functions needed to understand that what they are doing is a sin.

However, the doctrine of original sin dictates that everyone is born damned because of what Adam and Eve did generations ago. (For centuries the infallible catholic church felt it was imperative to baptize children as soon as possible to wash away original sin so they could enter heaven if they died, which was a real possibility. They only recently changed their mind on this because they realized “unbaptized babies in hell” was bad PR) John Wesley (one of the fathers of Methodism) felt that even animals were cursed when sin entered the garden of Eden. Furthermore, he believed that when Jesus died on the cross, he was also dying for all the animals. Francis of Assisi (founder of the Franciscan order) gave a famous sermon titled “Sermon to the birds,” where he literally preached to a flock of birds in a tree, warning them against committing the sin of ingratitude. (So lets see where this line of thought leads, shall we?)

Despite not having the brain capacity to understand the concept of sin, there are those who believe animals are capable of sinning; and thus going to hell (“for the wages of sin are death” Romans 6:23). This begs the question then: do animals have free will? If they don’t have the brain capacity to understand sin or the ability to decide whether to commit it or not, then they can’t have free will. Yet despite not having free will they are still capable of sin. Furthermore, you must believe in Jesus to be cleansed of this sin and enter heaven (John 3:16). If animals are unable to even comprehend sin, they definitely can’t comprehend Jesus. Therefore, since animals are born guilty with sin and capable of unknowingly sinning further and are physically incapable of understanding their actions or accepting Jesus;  god is condemning billions of animals to hell without any chance of appeal.

Lets step away from this conclusion and go back to the original question of “do animals have souls.”  Well what exactly is a soul? The eminent wikipedia  has this to say about the soul: The soul has often been deemed integral or essential to consciousness and personality, and soul sometimes functions as a synonym for spirit, mind or self, although the soul is said to function in a distinct enough way from both the spirit and the psyche that the terms should not be treated interchangeably.

“Essential to consciousness and personality,” so that is pretty much exclusively mammals. Fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and most birds would not have souls.

Here is where stem cells and abortion come in. If we operate under the definition of a soul that requires consciousness, then embryos, stem cells, and fetuses do not have souls. They are an unconscious mass of cells.

But what if we went back to the notion that all living things have souls? (Isn’t this borderline Animism?) This way stem cells, embryos, and fetuses would have souls, but so would fish, spiders, frogs, and crocodiles. So would plants! Under this logic vegetarians would be far more guilty of genocide for the number of plants that died to make their salad than compared to the 1 bull that died to make a bunch of steaks. If you look even closer at this line of thinking it becomes even more absurd. When talking about things the size of stem cells or embryos, it would be better to compare them to something similar in scale and complexity. Animals and plants are far too large and complex. Bacteria and viruses would be more appropriate. They are living things too; do they not have souls as well? What about this example? A human embryo 4 days after fertilization is a blastocyst with 100 cells. Some christians would say this tiny blastocyst has a soul and that it would be murder to destroy it, even in the pursuit of medical advances that could save the lives of millions. By comparison the brain of the common house fly, just the brain, has 100,000 cells.

A conceivable (no pun intended) counter to this argument might be: “Oh, but only human cells have souls because only we were made in god’s image.”  Here’s a mind-blowing little fact for you: There are 1 billion cells for every gram of body weight. If you weigh 70 kilos (154lbs) then there are 70 trillion cells in your body. All of these cells die off and are replaced over the course of 7 years. 7 years, 10 trillion cells a year, 27 billion cells a day, 18.75 million cells a minute.  Every 19 seconds more cells die in your body than people died in the holocaust. If you scratch your arm you kill millions. Here’s a possible retort: “Oh GP don’t be ridiculous! The difference between the cells on your arm and the cells in a blastocyst is that the cells in the blastocyst have the potential for creating new life.” Ah! But that argument fails as well because the very stem cell research that some christians seek to block holds the key to enabling us to transform those cells into anything we can imagine. If the mere “potential” for life is what you care about, then standing in the way of stem cell research that would unlock the secrets to creating that life is in effect denying an unfathomable number of cells the potential of life.

Of course there is one position I haven’t covered yet, and to which there is nothing I can say. It is the position of “Despite what you’ve pointed out, I am going to arbitrarily choose to believe that only my pets, and other animals I like, along with an form of human embryo, has a soul and will be in heaven with me. Now excuse me while I stick my fingers in my ears and go lalalalalalala.”

The size of the universe makes the desert god just a grain of sand.

29 Oct

A while back I did a post on this but I since stumbled across this amazing clip from “Through the Wormhole” narrated by god himself, Morgan Freeman. Check out the scale of the universe, from a hula hoop to 15 billion light years away, and then back down to the atom level….amazing.

Now when I watch that I have what some people might call “a religious experience.” The size and grandeur of the universe is almost beyond comprehension.

What baffles me is how people can see this magnificent universe and believe that, not only are we the only intelligent life forms to inhabit it, but that it was created especially for us. It blows my mind almost as much as comprehending the size of existence. I think Christopher Hitchens says something really relevant to this in the first minute of this short three minute clip; keep in mind the scale of the universe that you just saw in the other video:

Feminized Christianity?

18 Oct

So unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard about the Obion County fire department in Tennessee that responded to a 9/11 call just to park their trucks on the street and watch as a family’s house burn to the ground, taking everything they owned and killing three of their pets, all because the family didn’t pay a $75 fee. Well the loving, moral, and “pro-family” people at the American Family Association came out to express how not only did the fire fighters do the right thing by doing nothing, but that doing nothing was the Christian thing to do!

You see, according to the American Family Association, the problem with any Christian who would recoil in horror at the fire department’s inaction is they, and their version of Christianity, has been “feminized.” AFA writes:

“In this case, critics of the fire department are confused both about right and wrong and about Christianity. And it is because they have fallen prey to a weakened, feminized version of Christianity that is only about softer virtues such as compassion and not in any part about the muscular Christian virtues of individual responsibility and accountability.”

Individual responsibility and accountability? How does that fit with Jesus coming to bail you out for your sins? But that’s not the point I wanted to focus on. Despite the entire post by the AFA being offensive and insulting, I think their view on gender is particularly insulting to both men and women. It’s clear they think femininity is deficient. While they call it the “virtue of compassion” , it’s framed in a way to mean “vice of compassion.” But what can you honestly expect from an organization that actively works to re-enslave women? Secondly, their position is offensive to men in that it dictates that to be a man is to be a compassionless brute. That’s right. Real men don’t give a shit about any other human being except themselves and Jesus. To help others is a sign of feminine weakness! This is all obviously bullshit, but I’m wondering: when did characteristics like empathy, compassion, and concern for others become sexualized? Why is it that those traits are either masculine of feminine? Secondly, who the hell arbitrarily decided to categorize them hierarchically so that the famine was bad and the masculine good?

Christian persecution

9 Aug

From time to time I hear somebody, either in person or on this blog, bring up the fact that the early Christians were persecuted by the Romans. This is true. Whether you believe in the religion or not, it is a historical fact that the Romans did horrible things to Christians. Since the formation of the church Christians have used the persecution they suffered under the Romans to say “Look! Look what we went through for our lord and savior! We were butchered whole sale and fed to lions for the amusement of Pagans!” I remember going to vacation bible school where some of the camp counselors would dress up like Roman soldiers and roam the halls of the church. Sometimes they’d bust into our little activity and tell the children that they were all going to die for being Christians. We had to respond by saying that Jesus is the son of god and we’d gladly give our lives for him. (Remember, we were elementary school kids) At this the camp couns….. er, “scary Roman soldier” would be shocked by our courage and we would “save” him. (But I digress)

Yes the Christians initially suffered horribly under the Romans, but I have a problem with modern day Christians trying to use this as an excuse or proof that their claims are somehow valid because they suffered. Here’s the thing. according to the story, Jesus started teaching sometime between 24 and 26 CE, when he was in his early 30′s. The Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, along with the entire Roman empire with him, in 312 CE. If we go with the earliest date, 24 CE, that’s a period of 288 years that Christians were open to persecution.  Yes 288 years seems like a lot, but when compared to the length of time other people were persecuted, it’s nothing special. What Christians seem to fail to grasp is that while they were being persecuted, so were a handful of other people. The Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 CE, after the Christians came onto the scene. It was not just Christians. In fact, the Roman empire was persecuting and killing people centuries before Christianity was invented. They did not build the great arena’s specially for Christians. They were there long before. Even the cross, a symbol of a horrific and slow death, was in use long before the Romans ever nailed Jesus to one. Doing that to him was not giving him special treatment. They did it to thousands of slaves in the Spartacus rebellion almost two hundred years earlier.

The thing that really upsets me is how Christians who like to point out their persecution under the Romans just stop there. They leave out the bit about Emperor Constantine converting to Christianity, about Christians taking over the Roman empire from within. They leave out the part about how they became the Roman empire! Once that happened, the persecution of Christians by Romans stopped. The part that they really love to leave out is how they then turned around and started persecuting their old persecutors. (I guess “turn the other cheek” applies only when you’re the under dog, other wise you’re doing god’s will) Once in power, the Christians went about defacing art work, destroying temples, and forcing conversions under pain of death.

They continued the grand old tradition of killing Jews and burning their temples. After all, they were the Christ killers. (Or at least until the Catholics changed their minds about that almost 2000 years after the fact) At the height of the church’s power (also the darkest period in the “dark ages”…coincidence?) the church encouraged the wholesale slaughter and persecution of Pagans. Teutonic knights, warriors for Christ, hunted down Pagans through Germany and slaughtered entire villages.

Since that wasn’t enough, they invaded the middle east so they could persecute Muslims. Contrary to their modern equivalent, medieval Muslims were a lot more tolerant. Christians could live and practice their faith in Muslim territory as long as they paid a tax. (Much more business savvy than slaughtering them) As if all this bloodshed was not enough, Christians then turned in on each other for new people to persecute. The waged entire crusades against people who were “the wrong type of Christian”. (Google Waldensian crusade for example) This in fighting and persecution went right on up through the 1700′s. Remember why the pilgrims left England? It wasn’t that England was an atheist country, far from it, they were just the wrong type of Christians. What many Christians don’t know is that the bloodiest war in human history, up until that machine gun was invented, was the 30 year’s war, fought between Catholics and Protestants. It depopulated Europe. The death toll couldn’t be matched for another 300 years until we figured out how to mow people down with automatic fire.

But enough of the history lesson. The point is Christians have persecuted a lot more people since their faith took hold than when they were the minority in Rome. The worst part is when the people who bring up the persecution of Christians by Romans try to imply that Christians are still being persecuted. Really? Try being an atheist for ONE day. Don’t just pretend quietly. Be as open about it as you are about your Christianity. Say it out loud like you’re proud. (God will know you’re pretending for the sake of an experiment so you won’t go to hell) Just try it, see how other react and treat you differently. By the way, atheists have been persecuted by everyone since man created god, so we’ve got a couple of millennia on Christians.

***As an end note I just want to make something clear. This is all just an observation. This post is not intended to be an excuse or evidence that Atheists are correct in not believing in a god. That would be doing the same thing I lament Christians for doing when they point out their suffering under the Romans. The problem with these types of arguments “who was persecuted more” “who killed more” etc is that they try and establish validity through a body count. I’m not sure how you can discuss the past without making it seem like you’re trying to keep score. Regardless, these things happened and they should be open to discussion.

Are Christian values really Christian?

5 Aug

What are “Christian values”? Well there are as many different answers as there are different Christians, so your personal views very well may be different from others’. I googled the term and two of the first pages that popped up were the wikipedia page on it, and this “Access-Jesus” page. According to them “Christian Values” are this:

  • Worship of god above all things, including family members and loved ones
  • Fidelity in marriage
  • Faith
  • Rejecting worldly goods
  • Rejecting violence
  • Forgiveness
  • Love
  • Righteousness

So now that we have this grocery list of values, what about them makes them “Christian”? Lets go down the list one by one.

Worship of god above all things: Well, lots of Christians do this, yes, but they by no means have a monopoly on it. Other faiths do the exact same thing, many of them have been around thousands of years before Christianity was ever invented.

Fidelity in marriage: Again, what makes this Christian? Billions of people around the world are married, the majority of them aren’t Christian. Marriage has existed for millenniums before Christianity ever came on the scene. Heck, if you look at divorce rates among religious groups in the US, Christians have the highest, non-theists have the lowest. It would seem that you’re more likely to be faithful to your marriage if you’re not a Christian. (Just look at the news, it’s as if every month a new conservative Christian leader is being flushed out as an adultery or a sodomite)

Faith: Mark Twain once said “Faith is believing in something you know ain’t so.” Since when is faith a value? Taking something “on faith” is an admission that there is no good evidence to believe something, but you’re going to believe it anyways. Faith is the last stand of the indefensible. It make people credulous and gullible, which makes them extremely vulnerable to getting scammed (as they all too often do) which leads us to our next “Christian value”…

Rejecting worldly goods: Still, nothing that makes this specifically Christian. Many religions around the world preach this, far fewer actually practice it. Instead most believers like to flaunt their wealth and piousness by building bigger and grander churches, wearing flashy religious jewelery. There are a lot of very wealthy religious leaders around the world, many who live off the donations of a poverty stricken flock. This has been a problem for religion since it was created. In the middle ages there was a cycle where the church would become too corrupt and oppulent whereby a monastic order bent on poverty would be founded. These new monks would try to live as beggars and try to reform the church until eventually they too became rich from donations and tithes; at which point a new corrective order would be founded. Greed is just in human nature.

Rejecting violence: This is a nice one that again every faith preaches, but few follow.

Forgiveness: This is an interesting one to me because growing up, I honestly thought Christians had invented this. I remember my mom telling me that in Japan they didn’t have the concept of forgiveness until the west introduced Christianity to them. (I know, sounds absurd, but it’s just a blip of a memory I have that influenced me as a child). I felt for the longest time that Jesus was a revolutionary in bringing this concept of forgiveness to the world. Now that I’m older I realize just how silly this is. Forgiveness is not solely a Christian Value, it wasn’t something divinely given to us by a god.

Love: Of all the values, I think this one is the least Christian. Even though this value is universal, Christians like to claim they have the market on love cornered. “God made us knowing we were going to sin and decided to send all sinners to be tortured for eternity, but then changed his mind and made a big gruesome show of killing his son in order to appease himself so he would let a select few escape eternal punishment, and this is because he loves us all so very deeply.”  No, Christians very seldom practice love, and when they do there are always strings attached. It could be helping the homeless only after they agree to sit through a sermon first, or bringing food over to a church member, solely because they’re a church member, or any kind of aid that is contingent on the person accepting some dogma or jumping through hoops of another kind to appease the religious. For the most part, many of them do good works because they feel it will earn them brownie points with god. It’s not that they really love, it’s that they want a reward for their generosity. You want to see how quickly the “Christian value” of love evaporates? Try leaving a church, the whiplash will snap your neck.

Righteousness: Again, other faiths practice the same thing. Feeling you and your actions are some how set-aside, better perhaps, than other people because you feel you have the “truth” is unfortunately not restricted to Christianity. Why is it that so many conservative Christian leaders in politics can commit horrible hypocrisies and get off scot-free while liberals go down in flames? Simple, they are “righteous” and many belong to “the family“. If you are a member of that family, you are seen personally chosen by god to carry out his work, and thus you can do no wrong. Think I’m kidding? Why is governor Mark Standford still the governor of South Carolina after leaving his post without telling anyone to go bang a woman, not his wife, in South America? His friends were the very same people who impeached president Clinton for having oral sex in the White House, yet they were silent when their friend did something much worse. Why? Because he’s righteous and can do no wrong.
That last one, righteousness, or self-righteousness, ties into the scary trend within the past half century of wedding “Christian values” with “Conservative values”. Today the two are pretty much synonymous.  Again, there are as many different definitions of “Conservative Christian Values” as there are conservative Christians but the majority, to me, seems to be as follows:

  • Dedication to dogma : Conservative Christians do one thing really well, and that is stick together. There is a party line that must always be towed, regardless of what happens in reality, there is an agreed upon narrative. Jesus is lord, America was founded by fundamentalist Christians for Christians, and Reagan was a prophet. No ifs, ands, or buts. There is a reason this group is such a strong, vocal, and cohesive voting block: their members swallow the dogma whole and fall in line.
  • The white male rules all. Don’t be fooled by the small handful of conservative public figures that are women or minorities, the white men still have the power in the party. This group has continually dug in there heels when it comes to leveling the playing field for women and minorities. (Here is a really interesting shift. Over the course of the 20th century, the religious completely switched sides on social issues. They once carried banners for women’s suffrage and for civil liberties for blacks, but in the 1970′s something drastically changed and I’m not exactly sure what it was. Perhaps it was the influx of people like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Ronald Reagan. Somehow the people of progressive change for the better became the people who fought to deny women rights to their own bodies, or equal pay in the work place. After fighting to help blacks get equal protection under the law, they threw down their banners when the LGBT community stepped up and asked for their turn. What happened? It’s as if hate became a value.
  • Fear and war. Again, in the last half century, these have increasingly become conservative Christian “values”. Fear of immigrants, fear or minorities, fear of your neighbor, fear of the government, fear of foreigners. Everywhere you look, fear, fear, fear! It’s the reactor that powers the modern conservative movement. 9/11 was a turbo boost to their fear reactor and they used it very effectively. A fearful people are quick to bite their tongues and fall in line with the dogma, which leads to wars. We’re scared of Iraq, we must invade. We’re scared of Iran, we must invade. We’re scared of North Korea, Venezuela, Somalia, China, you name it. As a conservative Christian and they’ll most likely tell you that we should steam roll these countries. Ann Coulter famously said after 9/11  “we should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”  The peace talks in the middle east are a farce, why? Because peace in the middle east is the last thing conservative Christians want. They want the wars, the killing, the blood. Why? Because according to their “to do list”, in order for Jesus to return and take all his followers to heaven there has to be an apocalyptic religious war. Peace would only delay that. Don’t believe me?
  • Ignorance. (The brother of faith)  This is fast becoming a virtue in the fight against the teaching of science in schools. Religion was invented to explain the unexplainable: where did we come from? Why do my crops fail? What causes rain? What causes fertility in women? Why did my family die in a flood? Where does the sun go at night? Over the course of human history science has slowly discovered the natural explanations for things and vanquished the superstition that once filled the gap in understanding. In the past two-three hundred years, when society and science started to break free of the shackles of religious dogma, we’ve made tremendous advancements in everything. This trend shows no sign of slowing down and there are many in this country that see this advancement in knowledge as a threat to their deeply held beliefs. Thus they dig in their heels and demand that science not be taught in schools, that their iron age beliefs with only their faith for “evidence” should be taught. Meanwhile the rest of the world (and their economies that benefit from new products produced by science) are moving fast ahead of us, which brings us to our next value.
  • Greed. The stories of Jesus being generous to those in need must be liberal lies edited into the bible. I’m sure Jesus asked for proof of health insurance before healing the sick and the blind. Increasingly conservative Christians are turning against the poor. Just this week a $30bn unemployment benefits package was passed by congress, with almost every single republican voting NO. They had been shamelessly delaying the bill since early July, when the benefits ran out and real people ran out of options. At the same time they decry the $30bn addition to the deficit, they are gearing up to staunchly defend making Bush’s tax cuts for the richest Americans permanent. That add another $600bn to the deficit, but no, we can’t help the poor people. I’m sure Jesus was meant something else when talking about a rich man, a camel, and the eye of a needle.

So in conclusion, there are no values that are uniquely “Christian”, values are universal, regardless of your creed or politics.

You don’t understand free speech!

12 Jul

A minute ago I learned on the BBC international news broadcast that a court in Russia has ordered a group of artists to pay a fine and face possible jail time. Their crime? They did an art exhibit on censorship which included pictures of Mickey Mouses’ head superimposed on Jesus’ body. They were found guilty of “inciting religious hatred” and the exhibit on censorship was censored. I feel like I could explode right now. They had some orthodox clown on the radio saying how he supports freedom of speech, BUT, you can’t insult other people. That’s not fucking freedom of speech!!!!! No! You DO NOT support freedom of speech you tyrannical asshole! Freedom of speech means people can say whatever they want (no matter how offensive) as long as they are not infringing on other’s rights! If I wanted to paint a homosexual orgy painting with all the major religious figures engaging in sodomy, then I can draw it! It is my right!

“Inciting religious hatred” is like imprisoning a rape victim because her short skirt was “inciting lust”! The artists have the right to draw those paintings! They are not criminals! If a bunch of orthodox nut cases start rioting, then THEY are the criminals. They are the ones out in the streets breaking property and hurting people, not the artists exercising their freedom of speech. Look, there are not many things in this world that are black and white issues, but free speech is one of them. Either you support it or you don’t. Either you support the right of other people to offend you or you do not. It is the foundation upon which progress is built. I have a sick feeling most people don’t support this radical idea of free speech. Fine, take it away, watch the world delve back into the dark ages. Perhaps when enough people have suffered, when enough blood has been shed, perhaps then you’ll finally understand the importance of free speech and why generations before us died to protect it.

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