Tag Archives: protestant

Why get dressed up for church?

11 Apr

Growing up I hated having to get dressed nice early every Sunday morning for church. I would ask my mom why we had to get so fancy just for church and she would reply with something along the lines of “we have to look nice for god.”

At the time that made sense to me, but now, looking back, it’s not very convincing. Why does it matter to god if we get dressed up all fancy? He already knows how pious or impious we are in our hearts; fancy clothes aren’t going to fool him.

The reason everyone gets all dressed up for church is simple. It’s a display of wealth. For the longest time, church has not only been about religion, but it was the main social gathering. In ye olden days, people would go there to socialize, gossip, and meet potential spouses. Church was where you were most public, where you wanted to show your status in the community.

Religious leaders are no exception. The most obvious example of ridiculous wealth being used as a display of status is the Catholic Church.

Need I say more? (And yeah, that’s the extreme end of the spectrum, but there still is a lot of gold in regular catholic churches)

Now,  a big part of the protestant reformation was aimed against exactly this kind of opulence and shameless display of wealth. While most protestant churches are definitely much simpler and plain than catholic ones, they don’t get off the hook completely.

Mark 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God


The Rape of the Virgin Mary

15 Feb

Rape is non-consensual sexual activity. If a man or a woman does not give consent, then it is rape. (Same if they are unable to give consent, like drunk or passed out)

In the annunciation god just announces to Mary that she is pregnant.

Luke 1:26-35

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called [a] the Son of God.

There was no asking Mary “Hey, do you consent to this?”, she had no choice, god just knocked her up and told her afterwards.

I can foresee people saying “Oh, but she was fine with it! How can it be rape if she’s ok with it?” Simple. Did she consent to being impregnated before she was impregnated? No. Then it’s rape. It does not matter if she is ok with it afterwards. I know a girl here at college that was drugged and raped by a guy she liked. She refused to press charges afterwards because she thought he was “a nice guy” but that does not change the fact that she was raped. Just like Mary.

Atheism is not Intellectual?

6 Feb

My girlfriend made a comment the other day that Atheism just wasn’t that interesting. Now I probably misunderstood her, but I’ve heard someone else say that there isn’t much to Atheism, not much to talk about. Somebody once told me that they didn’t see much point to Atheist forums where Atheists could gather and talk about Atheism. He imagine forum would be limited to “Hey, I don’t believe in god(s)” “Really? Cool, me too!” <end conversation/> There is plenty to talk about in Atheist forums and blogs (just look how long mine is and I still haven’t run out of things to talk about)

But yes, there is nothing more to Atheism than a lack of belief in the supernatural. I believe this simplicity is one of Atheism’s greatest strengths. Keep It Simple, Stupid!. There are no great mysteries of Atheism, no “problem of evil”, no dogmatic disputes, no rival denominations.(And that’s just a few, and only withing Christianity!)

There are so many topics in religion that just don’t make sense and/or don’t fit with reality, so many “mysteries of god”. Religion has developed a long tradition of trying to reconcile these differences. People from St. Augustine, to Martin Luther, to Paul Tillich have spent their entire lives working like lawyers on these problems, trying to rationalize any explanation. Volumes and volumes have been written on mysteries of faith, the trinity, the virgin birth, creation, etc. There are entire universities devoted to turning out theologians to tackle these problems.

There is none of that in Atheism. Atheism doesn’t need it. If you take the supernatural out of the picture, everything just works.

Now some might point out the strong “intellectual” history of religion in trying to solve their problems and say that since Atheism does not have these problems, Atheism lacks an intellectual tradition. That it is this tradition that makes religion “interesting”. Well, yes and no. Unlike theists, Atheists don’t spend time trying to workout the intricacies of Atheism. (There are no intricacies) If you look at all the Atheist books ever publish, like Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, etc, you will find that they deal with Atheist responses to theists.

While Atheism does not have an intellectual history of dealing with ultimately superfluous problems, it does have a history of intellectuals.  Here is something to think about. 93% of Scientists in the American National Academy of Sciences are Atheists. 97% of Royal Society fellows are Atheists. Now, is there a reason the vast majority of Ultra intelligent people are Atheists? Turns out there is a correlation. Dr. Richard Lynn, a researcher at the University of Ulster carried out an extensive study spanning 137 countries and found that the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be an Atheist. The reverse of that meaning the less intelligent you are the more likely you are religious.

Now I’m not saying religious people are all stupid or unintelligent. Many religious people are intelligent. (Just not as many as there are intelligent Atheists) People can find was to compartmentalize and rationalize anything. The intelligent religious are doing just that.

So yeah, Atheism might not have any “interesting” problems or internal debates, but it sure is interesting discussing how theists are affecting the world, and what Atheism’s response should be.

Sometimes I wish I had a religion

27 May

Sometimes I wish I had a religion, just to be able to claim all the crap modern religions do. For example, there is a scene in Angels and Demons where one of the Vatican police officers warns Robert Langdon to watch his tongue inside the holy Vatican city. Sometimes I wish I had a religion so I could do that. Imagine, being able to tell religious people that they must hold their tongues and be respectful inside a science museum! Damn that would feel good.

But unfortunately science doesn’t work like that. Science by nature wants you to question! Religions ask you to hold your tongue.

I wish that I could have special holidays that I could take off class/work, with party napkins and special cards, along with sales and “Happy _________” signs.

It would be nice to just  demand blanket respect for my views, and my restrictions on criticizing me put into law. I’d be nice to claim a monopoly on morality and influence the government to enact policies we deem acceptable. It’d be nice to have my faith on the currency and in the pledge too.

It’d be nice to have a list of holy sites and symbols, along with old and sometimes secretive orders. All this would be awesome. Especially the respect and influencing law part.

So who wins? Religion or Atheism?

2 May

So in the great debate who wins? Religion or Atheism? Which makes a stronger case? Well obviously I side with Atheism, but why, when many more people side with religion.

Religion has no evidence to back up its claim that god(s) exist. The religious argue that surely we must have come from somewhere (see Unmoved Mover), but then make a completely unwarranted exception for god when someone asks where he/she/it came from, thus making the logic ad hoc. (The above link has a list of just about every argument for the existence of god(s) and rebuttals)

The religious also argue that things look designed, and therefore they are designed, presumably by their choice god who then takes a keen interest in his creation’s daily lives. Yet science has consistently debunked this idea:

(The “Made Easy” series has a LOT of really great educational videos that explain all types of scientific things on youtube.com, just search for them)

Religion also relies on its position of authority. Many of the religious were raised by religious parents, who in turn were raised by their religious parents. To them belief in god(s) is just natural, something they were raised with, and few ever think to question it. This position of authority is reinforced with elaborate costumes and large, imposing structures:

The whole point of these structures is to overwhelm the visitor with their grandeur, to make them think “Surely, the people who reside in this place cannot be wrong!” Yet they can be, for they are exactly that, people. The believers are also comforted in their belief by the existence of a great many like believers. (See ad populum fallacy)

So, what about Atheism? Well personally, I feel Atheism is strengthened through the weakness of the religious arguments, their total lack of evidence. The thing that really does it for me is the fact that science has a steady track record of discoveries and breakthroughs, religion has a steady track record of being proved wrong. Science has consistently provided natural explanations that are testable, repeatable, and thus proveable, whereas religion just makes claims based off of authority.

For some people, religion’s weak arguments and heavy reliance on arbitrary authority are enough, but for me and a growing number of people they aren’t.

“Liberty” “University” is neither…

10 Feb

The other day my girlfriend and I were driving down to the mall, passing “liberty” “university” when at a stop light a group of liberty students started angrily honking at me. They saw my atheist bumper sticker and gave me the finger. How christian of them. Who would Jesus flick off? I gave them the finger back as a knee-jerk reaction but instantly wished I had been more witty and given them the peace sign instead…

“Liberty” “university” is a sore on Lynchburg. Jerry Falwell, after being expelled from Lynchburg College for alcoholism, eventually established this christian extremist “school” and went about buying up as much of the town as he could. He also strong armed local businesses to conform to his will. A local movie theater was moved to be closer to LU in order so the students there could go see a movie and be back before their 11’oclock curfew.

Naming the “school” liberty” is some kind of Orwellian double speak joke. One look at “The liberty way” (their student hand book) shows that liberty has nothing to do with it. (I posted a link to another site that has the list, their website PDF is down at the time being) Here are some excerpts

1 Reprimand

Curfew violation (1 additional reprimand for each half-hour late until 2:00 a.m.)

4 Reprimands + Written Warning

Absence from required meeting

Disturbance/non-participation during Convocation

Dress/hair code violation: male or female

Horseplay (plus financial restitution)

Improper personal contact (anything beyond hand-holding)

Improper sign out

Missing Convocation

Music code violation

Outside residence hall after curfew

Unauthorized borrowing (plus financial restitution)

6 Reprimands + $35 Fine

Attendance at a dance [WTF?!?!]

Direct disobedience/disrespect

Gambling

Improper social behavior

Possession and/or use of tobacco

Visiting residence lobby or entryway of opposite sex on campus or allowing the same

12 Reprimands + $70 Fine

Attendance at, possession or viewing of, an “R,” “NC-17″ or “X”-rated movie

Deception

Entering the space above ceiling tiles [happen often?]

Obscene, profane or abusive language or behavior

Out of residence hall overnight or substantial portion of the night without permission (after 2:00 a.m.)

Participation in an unauthorized petition or demonstration [1st Amendment rights? WTF.]

Possession and/or viewing of pornography

Students of the opposite sex visiting alone at an off-campus residence

Visiting the residence hallway of the opposite sex

18 Reprimands + $100 Fine

(regardless of previously paid fines) + 18 hours Disciplinary Community Service + 50% Scholarship Reduction

Association with those consuming alcohol

Failure to properly identify oneself

Racial harassment

Sexual harassment (i.e., unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other conduct or comments of a sexual nature)

Sexual misconduct and/or any state of undress

Visiting bedroom of the opposite sex on/off campus or allowing the same

30 Reprimands + $150 Fine

(regardless of previously paid fines) + 30 hours Disciplinary Community Service + possible Administrative Withdrawal and/or possible 100% Scholarship Reduction. NOTE: For each accumulation of six (6) or more reprimands after 30, an additional $150 fine will be assessed.

Abortion [wow....]

Failure of three (3) Christian/Community Services without reconciliation

Immorality [meaning what?]

Involvement with witchcraft, seances or other satanic or demonic activity [Hahahahaha! This is hilarious!]

Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages

Spending the night with a person of the opposite sex

Two or more individuals of the opposite sex together in motel room

“Liberty” alright….wow….just wow. They’re really big on the no sex thing. The ironic twist is that a lot of parents send their poor kids to this jesus freak “school” to “pray the gay away” and the kids are locked up in dorms with all the same sex…..priceless.

As for the “university” part. The “school’s” biology department denies evolution. How the hell can you have biology without evolution? You can’t! Modern medicine and science are built upon the idea of evolution. The scary thing is I’ve heard they want to try and create a medical doctor program….A doctor that doesn’t believe your disease will evolve if you don’t take all your medication, and that if you die under his care you’ll go to a better place……wow.

The “school” also claims to have dinosaur bones that are 3,ooo years old….That’s a disgrace to science and education. You can see Dawkins go off when he hears about this here. The place is disgusting. Founded by the son of a bootlegger who shot his brother, Jerry Falwell is a horrendous bigot. He even went on to say that 9/11 was god’s will. The scary thing is Falwell told Legal Affairs magazine that the LU “school” of law is “training lawyers to infiltrate the profession to return the country to a Judeo-Christian model.”

The “school” also leaves a physical scare on the town of Lynchburg. They cut down a huge section of trees on a local hill to put up a tacky “LU” on the mountain top:

The sad thing is, the school gets their students to change their address to Lynchburg so they can vote in local elections. The influx of about 25,000 more votes gives the school a lot of power to shape elections in the small town. I’m not sure if they currently have control of city council through their own chosen alums, but if they do then the council and zoning powers become a rubber-stamp for this extremist group.

What is it with sheep?

1 Feb

I had yet another religious pamphlet waiting for me on my car again today. (Like something telling me how I’m a horrible sinner and I need to buy their product in the form of converting to their church is going to make me see the “light”) Anywho, this pamphlet prominently featured a background image of sheep, with the big title “The lord is my shepherd.”

Now I get the whole “lord is my shepherd” thing. I was raised up to be a christian, so I know the prayer, and I know all the images of jesus holding a lamb and whatever. Yet, it’s like it’s a bad joke. The sheep as an animal is a really stupid, skiddish animal that just follows its herd unless it falls off a cliff and dies. Does everyone not see the play on words here? Calling a congregation a “flock”, making individual members “sheep”?  I know it fits nicely with the shepherd motif, but it’s really calling you a stupid, skiddish animal that can’t think for itself.

On second thought, it seems kind of fitting…. How many sheep fall victim to religious scams every year? How much money have sleazy fast talking televangelists in suits talked out of people? For centuries the church has been sucking money out of superstitious people by promising something they have no proof of and can’t deliver.

don't be a sheep

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