Sunday, April 12, 2015


"If a plane crashes and 99 people die while 1 survives, it is called a miracle. Should the families of the 99 think so?"
Judith Hayes
In God We Trust: But Which One?

I choose to live in a world where.....

I choose to live in a world where unicorns play in open fields of green. Wouldn't that be nice? Problem is that reality doesn't give a shit what we want. It simply is what it is which is what makes it reality rather than fantasy. The absurd notion that wishful thinking somehow has a direct correlation with what is real seems to be the primary underlying justification for a recent post on the Patheos blog Mercy Not Sacrifice.

Even though I agree with some of Morgan Guyton's criticisms of John Shuck, the overall theme and tone of "I choose to live in a world where resurrection happens" is ridiculous. I'm not convinced that Morgan spent any time contemplating what was written in this piece before posting. The whole thing is so wishy-washy and reliant on emotional appeal that his reasoning is even lamer than the sort of idiocy you'd expect from a fictional character like Homer Simpson. His idea of a "mystical" experience is about as convincing as a stoner's insistence that they can fly through the moon.

Conflation Nation

To be honest, I'm not sure if John Reynolds is being intentionally deceitful or if he is just clueless. In either case his Eidos blog post on Patheos, "Did America become a Christian nation in the Fifties?", relies heavily on conflating two very different meanings for the term "Christian nation." In the very first sentence of this piece he states:
"My newsfeed has two kinds of common historically inaccurate stories. Members of my own Faith often exaggerate the Christian nature of the American Founding and experience while secularists keep writing that America was never a Christian nation."

I don't know what sources he uses but given that I read voraciously I have to assume he is either reading the most esoteric and extreme outlets possible or he is being disingenuous. Virtually every secularist, liberal, and atheist I know does refute the notion that our country was founded expressly on "Christian" values and doctrines. They do not deny that the majority of Americans at the time, including the "Founding Fathers", were themselves Christian. Those are two quite different things.

Even though Reynolds makes a few valid points in the piece most of it is degraded by this false premise that everyone using the term "Christian nation" is talking about the same thing. I got the impression that this was at least partially intentional. It seemed like he wanted to be able to criticize secularists without seeming unreasonable, petty, or preachy. Instead, I found him to be misleading and ignorant. I'm pretty sure that was not his goal but since he cannot make his case without logical fallacies or outright falsehoods it is hard not to view him in such a way.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


"Supporters of separation of church and state are not vampires. They can tol­erate looking at a cross. But when that cross is displayed by government on public property using taxpayer funds, it sends a message: This is our com­­munity’s favorite religion. If you share this faith, then good for you. If you don’t, you’re a second-class citizen."
"The Cross’s Purpose: Government Must Focus On Secular, Not Sacred"
Church & State, April 2015

Religious Freedom already exists

The Indiana legislatures ploy to legally discriminate has publicly stirred up more of the religious rights ongoing bullshit. Unfortunately both the mainstream and some of the alternative media have fallen into line by accepting a variety of assumptions and distortions. CNN Belief blog has a piece, "How to fix religious freedom laws", that falls for the all too common notion that somehow we need more legislation and interference in this area. Actually, we don't. The Constitution and virtually every State Constitution already includes provision design to uphold an individuals freedom of conscience/religion. What we need to do is stop religious zealots from perverting those principles and ramming their beliefs down our throats.

An excellent example of hos stupid people can be once religion is interjected into politics can be read in Debra Haffner's HuffPo piece "Discrimination Is Never a Religious Value." She clearly has no memory span or ability to think beyond her preferred beliefs. History makes it pretty clear that Religion have and continue to discriminate. I am not talking about individuals who happen to be religious being discriminatory. Religions as a whole by doctrine and policy have a tendency to discriminate. Even a cursory reading of history should be enough for anyone not blinded by their chosen faith to see that is the case.

Anyone interested in religious freedom should be supporting one of the most basic principles of the Constitution: Separation of Church and State.

"Do You Believe"

I believe that there is a subset of Christians who should be grateful they can even manage to walk and talk at the same time. Christian films do tend to be incredibly ridiculous. Even though I have not yet seen the movie Do You Believe I have come across a number of reviews that leads me to assume it will be no better than some of the Christian themed films I've seen in the past. For instance, one of the reviews that was relatively sympathetic to the film reveals some rather blatant propagandistic falsehoods innate to the script.

According to Newsday's Rafer Guzman:

"It develops when an EMT, Bobby (Liam Matthews), tends to a man half-crushed in a worksite accident. Bobby checks the man's religious affiliation -- "I don't know," he answers -- then presses a wooden crucifix into his hand and encourages him to accept Jesus as his savior (he does, before dying). Not surprisingly, this lands Bobby in hot water, and soon he feels pressured to apologize for his faith.
It's a dilemma meaty enough to sustain an entire film -- but not this one, which isn't interested in digging deeply into issues. Instead, Bobby becomes the victim of rampant secularism."

Did you catch that? The EMT comes across a severely wounded man and the first thing he does is try to convert him. Calling this guy out for being incompetent and lacking any semblance of professional ethics gets distorted into his being persecuted. Last I knew his first and only job would be to do whatever he could to save the guys life not act like a preacher. From what I can tell before getting around to seeing it myself, the film is essentially just a series of logical fallacies and emotional ploys strung together.

For a more entertaining review of the film I'd recommend the Scathing Atheists' take on it.