People stop it! Just….stop it!
Images like this one just make you look stupid. Do you really believe this? Really? If so, and for a minute or two, let’s assume you do. The following questions (among many others) are raised:
1) Is God not allowed in Malls? Click here
2) Is God not allowed in Movie Theaters? Click Here
4) Is God picky about how he’s worshiped? Click Here
That list isn’t even close to comprehensive, but it goes to show that this mindset is idiotic! Either that or this god that you give your allegiance to is as spoiled and rotten as a misbehaving child. Any deity that would allow 20 innocent children to be massacred because he’s upset about being ‘not allowed in schools’ is a monster and not worthy of anyone’s adoration. Not to mention the idiocy of an all-powerful god being pushed around by us peons. If you believe this crap, you can consider yourself to rank with the Westboro Baptist douchebags!
And besides all of that, the statement is just false. Yeah, teachers and schools can’t LEAD or DIRECT prayers, but kids are allowed to pray, carry bibles/korans, etc, and even can have prayer groups that can meet on school grounds/classrooms. So, stop it with this god isn’t allowed in schools BS. It’s just that. BS!
And then there’s this:
What a disgusting point of view. There is no positive spin that can be put on this horror. My heart breaks for these parents. I can’t even imagine the pain they are going through right now. Stuff like this is horrible! No amount of mental gymnastics can take away that horror! I’m just so pissed off about this right now that I find it hard to relay my feelings! I really don’t care who I piss off with this either. This is the problem with the religious. Things like this devalue human lives. Believing that we go somewhere after death removes the preciousness that is life!
JUST. STOP. IT.
In our annual travels around the sun each year, we humans mark milestone occasions with celebrations of all kinds. The timing of these events are often the same (if not very close) for all of us, but the content of the celebratory phenomenon vary wildly. Most have some kind of religious origins. Even if those origins just served to explain some kind of natural occurrence that our ancestors were too primitive to understand.
Most of these ‘holidays’ are opportunities to unite with family, relax with time off work, and generally just blow off steam. And as a secular member of our species, there are generally ways to enjoy the day without having to acknowledge the religious implications that most of the rest of humanity projects onto the day.
Then there’s Easter. Oy…Easter! I realize that the origins go back to the spring equinox celebrated by pagan civilizations far back into antiquity. However, in fundamentalist America, there’s little one can do to avoid the seemingly endless poundings of “He is Risen”. Or “Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice”. Or “The powers of Hell are defeated”. Yadda yadda yadda!
In my atheism, I’ve grown more and more weary of this day each year. I know I could just ignore it, but I’d have to nearly live as a recluse in order to avoid all that mumbo jumbo. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about living in a world where the M.O. is “To each, his (or her) own”. However, it seems the reality is that I’m living in a world where that viewpoint is very much a minority perspective. I don’t, however, want to be a grumpy old man when it comes to these things. I’m trying to find a way to leave it be, and not drive myself nuts in the same breathe. That’s the challenge. I never want to tell someone what to believe or think or how they should celebrate (and I never would). I just wish that was reciprocated more. And Easter seems to be the one holiday where that reciprocity is violated more than any other.
On that note, I’m going to send out a Happy Equinox and Happy Spring to ALL members of humanity. I will be doing my best to enjoy ushering in longer, warmer days, green and multicolored landscapes, and the prospect of life beginning once again.
The world is a slightly darker place this morning. We’ve lost a maverick, a pioneer, a visionary. Often controversial. Often combative. Always brilliant! A literary mastermind was Hitchens. He could turn a phrase like none other. His mind seemed to be a Rolodex of information and life-experience that he had the ability to sift through and access any bit of information at any time and bring it to us in fabulous poetic prose.
As a part of the free-thinking, anti-religious movement he was invaluable. Loud and boisterous and yet always eloquent. He was a bright light of reason in an often dark ignorant populous. This is where I believe he will be missed the most.
I wish I could say I knew him personally, but through his writing I feel I had the privilege to get a peek into the machinery that was his thought process. I’m sure that his close friends and family are feeling this loss deeply and my thoughts are with them.
This evening I will raise my glass (several of them most likely) to the man who helped me on my personal journey from delusion to enlightenment.
To Hitch! You will live forever in the words that you’ve left behind!
I’m going to start a new series of posts called, completely derivatively: “What Grinds My Gears!”. Since I’m really good a bitching and complaining about various things, I figure I should be fairly good at putting my bitching and complaining down in words too! So, here goes…
The local news stations around here have, over the last several years, really started abusing the word ‘miracle’! Everything is miraculous anymore. “Miraculous car crash survivor“, “Miraculous surgery for conjoined twins“, “Miraculous birth“, etc etc. I find that this is really starting to cheapen the meaning of this word.
The lady in the car crash story above had to be removed from the car and is in the hospital recovering from her injuries. A miracle in this story would have been the truck falling over on the car, and the car staying completely untouched and the woman walking away unharmed.
The miracle surgery for the conjoined twins is nothing more than the amazing medical technology that we have developed as a society. The skill, talents, and knowledge of the surgeons and medical staff. To call it a miracle is to discredit the amazing work of these people. A real miracle in this instance would be the twins being separated after birth with NO intervention from surgeons or doctors at all.
The one that REALLY grinds my gears is all the people who tout the ‘miracle of child-birth”. “Our baby is a miracle”! “Childbirth is such a miracle”! Ugh! There are 7 billion people on the planet right now (not to mention countless billions of healthy births throughout human history). If child-birth is such a miracle, I would think that healthy human birth would have to be a truly rare thing indeed. However, it’s quite obvious that is not the case at all. Humans are baby making factories. We pop the little packages out at impressive rates. Hardly what I would classify as a ‘miracle’!
To me, a miracle would be something that occurs completely outside of the normal operations of the natural world according to the laws of physics and science. When news, ministers, and average believers start labeling every day occurrences (even if they are surprising occurrences) miracles, I believe that really starts to water down the significance of that word. Granted, I don’t believe that miracles actually occur, but there’s definitely a threshold of occurrence and would give me pause, and NONE of these stories qualifies.
All throughout my years as a Christian I remember hearing the story of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. I remember hearing about how awful a person Judas had to have been in order to turn his back on his friend and teacher for a couple of pieces of silver. He was easily one of the most demonized figures in biblical teaching.
All that said, if you take into account the whole reason that Jesus came to Earth according to the bible, don’t you think that Judas kind of gets a bum rap? I mean, without Judas’ betrayal there would have been no trial of Jesus. Without the trial, there would have been no execution of Jesus. And without the execution of Jesus there would have been no opportunity for him to rise again, thus beating the bonds of death and serving as a stand in punishment for humanity’s sins. Doesn’t God’s entire plan fall apart without Judas?
It seems to me that Judas should be celebrated for what he did. What option did he have? It almost seems to me that he didn’t even have any free will in the process. The plan was made and executed exactly as God had laid it out. And Judas has taken the fall for it. When you actually take a step back and look at it this way, the story really seems silly (it’s silly for lots of other reasons too, but I’m gonna stay on topic here).
I’ve recently asked a few members of my family a religious/philosophical question that they have not been able to give me an answer to. I feel that it’s a legitimate question, and I really would love to know how they are able to reconcile this. Though, ultimately, I believe it to be irreconcilable under their current belief system. I will post the question below (as was presented to them) and then their initial responses and some of my replies.
Here’s the question:
“You and I are riding in a car and have a horrific accident. We both die instantly. We come to find out that it WAS, in fact, true that there is a god and it’s YOUR god. So, you get to spend eternity in heaven and I, obviously get to spend it tortured in hell. Now, you’re my mother/brother/sister/etc, so please explain to me how heaven is going to be a wonderful place for you to be knowing that I (and probably many MANY other people that you’ve known and loved in life) am being burned and tortured in hell?”
I realize this is a rather harsh concept, but I feel it addresses a rather important issue for believers. They claim that their goal is to get to heaven and spend eternity in God’s presence, but I don’t think any of them have contemplated what it would mean to have their loved ones not there, and according to the doctrine they believe, they are in hell.
This is the response my mother gave:
“One thing i know, God is the only one that can judge your heart and mine. I know his word well enough to know he loves us both. I know you want an answer about how I could enjoy heaven at that thought. I couldn’t. Not the way I am now. How could I. But all of his promises and assurances from the time I gave him my heart to him, tells me I can trust him with all that I have all now, and what I will experieced in the future. He hasn’t failed me. He’s my father. My papa. He brought me through so much pain and gave me peace. He is a loving God and knows the heart.
I love you.
This is an overwhelming thought and I’m praying for a clearer answer.”
I replied to her that I was looking forward to a further response on the question, but one never came. We did talk about it over the phone briefly once, and her thoughts came down to the idea that those memories would be gone. So, she figures she’d have no memories of her lost family members. How is that concept of heaven something desirable? My family, wife, and daughter are the most important things to me. If there was a heaven, I would want nothing to do with it if those things weren’t part of it. Not to meantion that it certainly seems like you would have to be fundamentally changed from who you were in life in order to be that way in heaven.
I posed the same question to my brother (who actively serves in the ‘ministry’). Got the following response…
“I will respond in time, i appreciate your patience…”
That was two months ago. Nothing else has been forthcoming.
The lack of valid responses to the question leaves me to believe that there is no good response. I think it leaves them feeling very uncomfortable because it truly does cause problems with their beliefs. I know I couldn’t resolve this in my own head. I’m open to honest responses from believers. I really am. I’d love to hear from people who can try to explain how they would resolve this. I’ve considered this for quite some time, and for now, I find it to be the ‘irresolvable problem’.
Last week, on Facebook, I posted a link to a Fox News video clip about an ex-atheist who is now a believer because he prayed for his mother to win the lottery and she did. While the problems with this are obvious (why is an atheist praying, etc), the ensuing discussion in the comments, as expected, became interesting rather quickly. In the ‘news’ story, the interviewer had the gall to bring up the tornadoes down south and how we are getting ‘signs’ of God all over. Like the fact that an entire town was destroyed, but a cross from a church was left standing. I brought up this fact and my mother commented:
“Hmmnnn, God/lottery…. Doesn’t really fit. God does permit people to die. His word says “it is appointed for man, once to die” though.”
And another, more distant, relative later responded:
“Sorry, disagree honey – we plan and God laughs…He’s the one in control….”
My reply was this:
And I would never, in a million years, do anything to take away your right to believe that. That said, I find myself in a very small minority whose voice is often lost in the throngs of the believing majority. Especially here on Facebook. So, because of that, I will never stop voicing what I believe to be a sound worldview based on logic & reason. What I find most interesting and has been very enlightening to me can be explained with what I was talking about earlier. Tragedies like the tornadoes, the earthquakes in japan and Haiti, etc make a lot more sense when you take god out of the picture. You no longer have to do massive mental gymnastics to reason why an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good god would allow these things to happen. When you take him out of the picture, the random functions of our natural world make a lot more sense, though, it does not lessen the tragic nature of those events. Nothing can!