Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ending the year with more faux-atheism

So in the past few weeks there have been more tales of "atheists" converting to Christianity. Like in the overwhelming majority of such instances, they are full of shit. The brief Christianity Today piece on Charlie Mackesy is so loaded with red flags its amazing that anyone would fall for such tripe. I'll stick with the two of the more blatant bits of nonsense. Mackesy talks about two separate and quite distinct incidences that he claims "turned away from atheism and embraced Christ." Given that he only converted from atheism to Christianity once how can both stories be the turning point that brought him to Jesus? Yet, that is how he tells both stories. This is, of course, without even looking at how foolish the details of each story happen to be. The other problem with his loss of "atheism" stem from his lack of understanding of either atheism or theism. He seems to confuse his misunderstanding with what religion is in general versus specific organized religions with an actual lack of religious beliefs. He talks about why he didn't want to be Christian prior to his supposed conversion. There's not only no reason to believe he lacked any religious belief, there are plenty of reasons to assume he held a variety of them that he simply didn't want labeled in any way. Basically, he fell for, in part, the false dichotomy of religious versus spiritual. He assumed he was an "atheist" since he didn't identify with a specific organized faith.

Then there's the professional bullshitter, Mark Bauerlein. Given his role at First Things and that rags track record of highly misleading and/or outright fabrications there is no reason to trust anything the man claims. It is also notable that though prior to his supposed conversion there is plenty of writing by which he could have been labeled either liberal or libertarian there is absolutely nothing to indicate he was an atheist. The only sources that can be found on this conversion is Mark himself. And, again, given his inclination to push various ideologically driven narratives with little support it is far safer to assume he has made it up. Unlike Mackesy, he does not seem to be confused about the terminology involved or the underlying meaning(s) of each term. He is just a deceitful prick looking to push a story that advances his own current interests. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

"...don't have enough faith to..."

There's a "statement" that a certain subset of theists seem to adore and you've probably heard it from a few notable pundits as well. "I don't have enough faith to be an atheist" is such an idiotic thing to say or write. I've never fully understand what this is even suppose to accomplish beyond making it's proponent look like a complete moron. It never seems to cross their mind that the expression is a blatant contradiction. If you have even a little faith then by definition you can't be an atheist. I have heard a few dumb-asses try to justify this drivel by claiming that those who use this mean faith in the sense of trust. Of course, these inane apologists never bother looking at the statement in the context it was expressed. I have yet to come across an example where the individual(s) did not clearly use "faith" in a religious sense.

Basically, if you see or hear this sentence from someone it is safe to assume they are idiots. They don't have a clue what atheism actually is or what the fuck they are talking about. Just to make sure there can be no confusion about this conclusion:

"A" is the Latin prefix for none or without
"Theism" is a religious belief system
"A" + "Theism" = atheism or a lack of any religious based beliefs

Not only is there no faith required, it is required that there be no faith to meet the definition.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Salkin does it again

Jeffrey Salkin just can't seem to help himself. Everyone and anything he likes even a little bit he magically converts to Judaism. His latest installment of delusional wishful projection is "Thanksgiving is a Jewish Holiday." The premise, like previous Salkin "conversions", is incredibly flimsy. According to the tippler of Martini Judaism:
"Franklin wanted the Great Seal of the United States to feature a scene of Moses standing at the shores of the Red Sea, and the waters preparing to devour Pharaoh and his armies."
An immediate red flag is that he offers no citation what so ever. Having a background in history I am aware of a wide range of arguments our founding fathers had but never came across this one. I assume he either made this one up or got it from an equally credulous fool. Even if the story had merit it still doesn't make the idea "Jewish." All his arguments stem from this type of nonsense. He conflates specific Jewish rites and rituals with a variety of rather universal concepts. He also never seems to note that there is plenty of reason to believe that a wide variety of the stories and pracices of early Judaism were borrowed from the religions that preceded it or were contemporaneous to it. Is Salkin really really Assyro-Babylonian, Egyptian, Zoroastrian, Scythian....?

Basically, by Salkin's very feeble standards everything is _______ (fill in your favored bias). You can make any claim you want about anything since the only real measure is your own preferences and ability to shovel bullshit. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Did Francis just denounce the Catholic Church?

I find it rather interesting that Religious News Service ran thes two pieces simultaneously: "Pope Francis denounces growing 'demonization of enemies and outsiders'" and "Because of the U.S. bishops’ voters guide, I may leave the church." The latter being just another of many instances where the Catholic Church does smear and lie about any individuals or groups it doesn't like. Though, it has been years since I routinely attended church I have been to plenty of masses and religious based gatherings, Catholic or otherwise, over the years. And, yes as an atheist I have attended a variety religious rites, rituals, ceremonies.... I have often heard phrases like "faithless", "unfaithful", "without faith", and so forth. It was clear that the priests meant atheists and in some instances non-Christian or even non-Catholic. In every instance, what followed those words and phrases was derogatory and degrading. They went out of their way to use their pulpit to demonize.

So, until Francis actually backs up his rhetoric with something of substance I have to assume he is either very deceitful or incredibly self-deluded. If he isn't just using another PR ploy he needs to wake the fuck up and deal with the fact that his Church is involved in the demonization that he claims to oppose.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Tomb of Pandering Bullshit

So begins the start of another silly season. A recent New York Times piece, "Crypt Believed to Be Jesus’ Tomb Opened for First Time in Centuries", is as credulous as it is pandering. The very notion that there is an actual tomb of Christ is a huge assumption based on the flimsiest of "evidence." Even more ridiculous is the idea that the location is known. Three of the four Gospels briefly mention the burial. I do mean briefly. The only physical description given in Matthew (28), Luke (23-24), and John (20) are that it is "hewn from stone." That's the full extent of the descriptive details of Christ's "tomb." Basically, any cutout space in rock within the limits of old Jerusalem could be claimed as the tomb of Christ. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

"...not my Jesus."

I seriously doubt Christians will ever "understand" the most basic trait of Jesus. Jesus is a myth. This is somewhat ironic since it is that trait that has allowed them to play games with the Christ figure all this time. Since there never was a real Jesus every sect and flavor of the Christian faith can easily make whatever claim they want. They shape the Christ into whatever best suits there needs. In some ways this is the greatest asset Christainity has when comes to perpetuating itself.

Posts like Travis Eaves' "That is Not My Jesus" just reinforce what I have long since concluded about most Christians' inability to think critically about their beliefs especially those regarding the Christ figure. The subtitle does a pretty good job exposing his willful ignorance; "The more I get to know Jesus, the less I recognize him in His church today." Like so many before him, Eaves cherry picks passages that fit what he wants to believe and ignores or glosses over the rest. It isn't even remotely possible to "know" Jesus even if you make the huge assumption that he ever existed. Our only "record" of this figure(s) comes from scriptures which do not agree on anything and frequently contradict each other or spiral into incoherent gibberish. There has also never been one "church" and certainly not one that can be directly linked to a non-existent founder.

Sorry Christians, the "my Jesus, your Jesus" game just makes you look like a bunch of childish irrational spoiled brats.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Why Atheism Is Dead on Arrival"?!

From the very first paragraph of his piece in the Christian Post Dan Delzell makes it clear that he is a complete dip shit.

"Atheists try not to think about the question: 'Why is there something rather than nothing?'Atheism has no rational answer to this fundamental question, and even considering the question has the potential to chip away at the beliefs of an atheist."

Delzell seems to be be making multiple mistakes. First, I think he is conflating atheists with scientists. The "something from nothing" bullshit is a common straw man argument that narrow minded fools have favored for quite some time. Consensus among Astro-physicists is that something, namely energy and matter, has always existed. The "Big Bang" shaped that existence into the universe as it currently is. As for atheists not thinking about it, why would we waste time on something so assinine. Something has always existed. What would be the point of questioning that?

Delzell also never seems to notice the bit of projection he's employing. Where did God come from? Without the use of special pleading doesn't this mean that theists try not to think about how God (something) came from nothing? If God has always existed what makes God any more plausible than energy and matter having always existed? Oh wait, that would be more plausible since it would not require intention or agency.

There is nothing rational about Delzell's tired apologetics. It is just more of the same mish-mash of logical fallacies and slight of hand semantics that so many theist try passing off as legitimate arguments.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"You Can’t Love People and Hate Their Religion"

"You Can’t Love People and Hate Their Religion." Actually, yes, you can. Robert Hunts piece starts by use that old logical fallacy, guilt-by-association, and never gets around to coming up with anything better. From start to finish its a mash-up of conflations, logical fallacies, and a whole lot of bullshit. 

Hunt can seem to accept that religion is not an innate part of an individual's identity. It is an aspect of it but it is choice. People choose to belong or leave a faith and always have. Despite being a construct of society, religion is not a person.  Statements like, "The first reason that this won’t work is that personhood cannot be separated from religious belonging" is demonstrably false. It's also rather narrow minded and bigoted. It most certainly can be separated. You are a person whether you are religious or not. Also, loathing a religion is not automatically connected to the individuals within that religion. I fucking hate the Catholic Church! I have absolutely nothing against the average Catholic. I loathe the doctrines and policy of the institution of the Catholic Church. I also have a great deal of animosity toward the Pope and the rest of the top leadership of the Catholic hierarchy. I don't actually hate them. I hate the consequences of their collective actions and beliefs.

I, unlike the individuals Hunt uses as examples, would never seek to harm or restrict the rights of a single Catholic including that religion's leaders or encourage anyone else to act in a discriminatory manner. Their beliefs are a different matter altogether. I despise most of their beliefs. Quite a few atheists seek to undermine religions because they care about people. They see the negative consequences religion causes and want to end it.  

Sunday, August 21, 2016

More Mind-Body bullshit

Charles Camosy gets a few things right in a round about way in his "You are not your brain: Why a head transplant is not what you think it is." A head transplant would have limited practical application and would involve a number of medical and ethical questions. However, the basic premise he seems to be operating from is not only non-sensical crap it is demonstrably false. You are your brain. The mind is not separate. The mind is created by the brain. Though we may not fully understand how consciousness emerges it is clear that the mind is a product of the brain. With roughly a hundred years of observation, testing and experiments there is no reason to doubt the conclusion that everything we are as individuals is created by the brain. The mind-brain dichotomy is both false and willfully ignorant. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Conflation. That's why

Simon Davis asks "Why do many ‘nones’ believe in life after death?" In his July 15th Religious News Service blog post. He makes it clear from the start that not only does he not have any sense of who the "none" label encompass or how to apply critical thinking or fact checking. The "nones" actually do include believers. The label is short hand for all those who do not have a specific affiliation with organized religion. It does not mean that the individual(s) in question are actually atheist. Davis also doesn't seem to understand that even though many religious concepts and beliefs relate to one another they are separate ideas. It is possible for a theist to accept one supernatural belief while rejecting another. In fact, theists are quite good at doing just that. He also seems to be stuck on the idea that the "God" concept is completely universal and self-contained. There are multiple versions of God. Not everyone is talking about the same thing when they use that term. It is not unusual to find someone claiming they do not believe in God when in fact they do. They don't accept a specific version of God and insist their preferred version is really something else altogether. Buddhists are a good example. Orthodox Buddhism does not believe in a personal God but if you examine Buddhist doctrines, especially those related to Nirvana and Karma, you can easily argue that they accept a more abstract version of divinity.

Basically, Davis' piece is just a rambling of myths, stereotypes, willful ignorance and all manner of logical fallacies cobbled together. It is interesting to read since he does pull some factual tidbits. It's also fascinating to see how one person can produce such a short piece that is so disjointed. At times he does seem to realize some of the problems with his own thinking.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Huh? Wish for what?

Yup, atheists can lack critical thinking skills just like everyone else. Martin Hughes does a pretty good job demonstrating this in his post "Atheist Confessions: I wish there was a Heaven." It is so chock full of sloppy thinking and idiotic crap that I had to reread it a few times to make sure I didn't miss some sign that he meant it as a spoof. Nope. It really is just melodramatic drivel. He starts off with a rather ignorant premise; "Heaven" has a universally accepted definition/description. After that it gets much worse. It is such a jumbled mess of conflations, wishful thinking, myths and stereotypes, that is hard to unravel into individual points.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hypocrite be thy name

And the hits just keep coming from Pope Francis. A June 20th Religious News Service post titled "Pope Francis to Catholics: 'Who are you to judge others?'" is a classic case of projection as any I've come across to date. Just three days before he was quoted passing judgement on a huge chunk of the world's population. Among other media outlets NBC news ran a piece on his public pronouncement about modern marriages. "Most modern marriages are invalid, Pope says in off-the-cuff remarks" makes it pretty clear that he was not just referring to Catholic marriages. He was making judgments about all marriages.

So, not only is this pompous self righteous prick being a hypocrite he is claiming knowledge about matters he has no real experience or understanding. What the fuck would this dumb ass actually know about intimate romantic relationships? And, he seems to think its okay to meddle in the lives of those who have not chosen to join his bullshit infused criminally complicit club. I genuinely do not understand how Cathiolics can continue to accept this asshole as an authority on anything. Non-Catholics affording him any respect is really confusing. He has yet to earn any of the good will and accolades that continue to be gifted to him.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

2 Questions as dumb as Prager

Dennis Prager's recent "Two Questions for Atheists" is a rather nice demonstration of what an ignorant narrow minded fool he is. About the only intelligent observation is; "To be sure, the answers to those two questions neither validate nor invalidate any atheist arguments." This is, of course, negated somewhat by his rationale for ask his to stupid questions to begin with.

"1. Do you hope you are right or wrong?
2. Do you ever doubt your atheism?"

Those are the questions Prager thinks determine an atheist's intellectual honesty and motivation. It's not surprising that he would fail to realize that what an individual may or may not want to be true has nothing to do with what they determine to be true. Given that wishful thinking and delusional approaches are pretty standard for theists most of the bullshit he goes on about his two feeble questions are very predictable. As for doubt, who doesn't occasionally have doubts about virtually everything. Setting aside arrogant morons, I haven't met anyone that doesn't have doubts.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Isn't that what the clergy do?

Pope Francis is back to his hypocritical dumb-ass antics that the media so adores. A recent Religious news service piece, "Pope Francis: A ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ faith is hereticalnoted:
"Pope Francis has called on Catholics to adopt a 'healthy realism' in their approach to their faith, and he decried rigid idealists as heretics."
First, I don't think Francis quite understands what the term "realism" means. Is there a single Catholic doctrine that is realistic in any sense of the word? I can't think of one. And, rigid application of faith is pretty much one the major functions of all clergy. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A pacifist mass-murderer

Once again self deluded Christians insist on perpetuating all sorts of delusional characterizations of their favorite fictional character: Jesus. Benjamin Corey's "Was Jesus a Pacifist" claims a rather predictable and foolish answer to his rhetorical title. Nope not even close. Given the multiple passages in which the Christ figure acts in a decidedly violent manner this is a rather weak supposition. When you take into account one of the passages I have frequently referenced, Luke 19:27, it becomes outright absurd. Jesus clearly demands his followers commit mass murder. That would seem to be the antithesis of pacifism. Sorry Christians but the Prince of Peace, as described in various scriptural passages, is not only not a very pleasant individual he's pretty fucking scary. Even if you kiss his ass he has no probably turning on you. Just read how he treats his supposed disciples in a variety of passages throughout the Gospels.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


I find it rather entertaining that the Pope would call others bloodsuckers. What tangible services do priests in general provide? And, the Pope! How much real work does that pampered overprivileged ass do? That the assholes he labels bloodsuckers are just as much leeches as he is just adds to the absurd humor of it.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

It means something, alright

I found Thomas Roberts RNS piece, "Psychedelic drugs can deepen religious experiences", to be as revealing as it is entertaining. Go ahead and try re-reading the title without smirking just a little. Religion really is fucked up crap. The very notion that screwing with your perception to make it more meaningful is pretty telling. As Robert's notes:
"Researchers at Johns Hopkins reported that 33 percent of the volunteers in their 2006 psilocybin study said their experiences were one of the five most important spiritual experiences in their lives. And 38 percent said they were the single most spiritual significant experience."
This seems to support the position that spirituality is a fabrication of the mind that has little to no real merit.

Roberts piece further comments that:
"But entheogens can provide experiences that help people understand what had previously been only abstract religious ideas. Concepts such as awe, sacredness, eternity and grace can become profound with meaning with entheogens."
It doesn't seem to occur to him or the researchers that intentionally warping your perceptions doesn't make the abstract anymore substantial. What exactly do they mean by "understand"? Can these individuals clearly or adequately explain or quantify their experiences for others? If they can't why should anyone give a shit what these individuals think they've experience through the use of a chemical crutch?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Self-reporting doesn't equal fact

Though I do respect and admire the Pew Research Center, I have pointed out that their surveys often have flaws. They provide a lot of great research that can be used as both catalysts and starting points for more in depth studies. But since most of their work relies on self reporting it should never be used as a stand-alone resource. Cathy Grossman doesn't seem to get that. The title of the piece, ironically, is more accurate than the content. In "Highly religious people say they’re happier, too, survey finds" never bothers to point out that for decades white evangelicals, which the piece is predominantly about, have been linked with both conservatism and anger. It is not some liberal media conspiracy since reputable conservative outlets have also noted the correlation. Below is just a handful of pieces that can be found on these links.

White Evangelicals = Conservatives
Brint, Steven, and Seth Abrutyn. "Who's Right About The Right? Comparing Competing Explanations Of The Link Between White Evangelicals And Conservative Politics In The United States." Journal For The Scientific Study Of Religion 49.2 (2010): 328-350. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

Campbell, David E. "Religious “Threat” In Contemporary Presidential Elections." Journal Of Politics 68.1 (2006): 104-115. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

Green, John C., and James L. Guth. "Evangelical Realignment: The Political Power Of The Christian Right. (Cover Story)." Christian Century 112.21 (1995): 676. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

Kiecolt, K. Jill, and Hart M. Nelsen. "Evangelicals And Party Realignment, 1976-1988." Social Science Quarterly (University Of Texas Press) 72.3 (1991): 552. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

Conservatives = Anger
Corn, David. "Too Sane For Congress." Mother Jones 36.1 (2011): 10. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

Klein, Philip. "Will Grassroots Anger Sink The GOP?." American Spectator 39.2 (2006): 50. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

MCCARTHY, DANIEL. "Why The Right Doesn't Win." American Conservative 14.5 (2015): 22. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

Phillips-Fein, Kim. "The Business Lobby And The Tea Party." New Labor Forum (Sage Publications Inc.) 23.2 (2014): 14-20. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

Von Drehle, David. "THE CONSERVATIVE IDENTITY CRISIS. (Cover Story)." Time 179.6 (2012): 28-31. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Even the "best representations" are pathetic

I have read or viewed many of the pieces mentioned in Peter Stanford's Guardian piece, "The 10 best representations of God in culture", and highly recommend them. They are wonderful. However, it is rather telling if not somewhat amusing that virtually every single example further demonstrates how pathetically weak the God concept is and how deluded theists tend to be about it. They all provide examples of how innately contradictory and or convoluted the attributes of God are. Quite a few of the pieces either imply or outright state that God is not perfect. As I've pointed out this is a huge problem since if God isn't perfect, and therefore all-powerful, it opens the door to polytheism. Why would there be only one supernatural entity with immense power? The flipside is that perfection is logically impossible. No entity can both exist and be perfect. This is, of course, just one example of the flaws revealed even with the "best representations of God in culture". The lame dismissive excuse so often used by theists that human perception is to blame since we are imperfect doesn't cut it. They never seem to notice that by that standard they themselves can't or should be wasting there time on the concept.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Subtitle says it all

Longenecker has once again demonstrated what a deceitful hypocritical dumb-ass he truly is. "The Resurrection and the Death of Atheism: Jesus rose from the dead. How's that for evidence that God exists?" is one of his worst pieces, yet. That's pretty bad. If you don't want to waste your time on this idiotic crap just think about the sub-title. It is a pretty good summary of his deficient thinking process.

This arrogant deluded prick has the nerve to claim:
"Atheists like to say, 'Where is the evidence for the existence of God?,' and philosophical arguments aren’t really evidence as such. They work well enough, but they remain abstract head games. I’m hearing the atheists when they say they want evidence, and I’ve asked in response, 'What kind of evidence do you want?' Strangely, they seem stumped by my request."

Who are these atheists he is supposedly talking and listening to? Numerous atheists have routinely pointed out what they/we would accept as sound evidence. He then goes on to try to claim that his personal beliefs based on no legitimate evidence is automatically proof. No it isn't. There is no "evidence" for the existence of an historical Jesus let alone the absurd claims about such a figures divinity and miracles. The "resurrection" is proof of only one thing; how gullible people can be.

From start to finish this piece is laced with baseless subjective assertions that rely on myths, stereotypes, misconceptions, and logical fallacies. The level of asinine bullshit is staggering even for Longenecker.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cheapening Patriotism

A patriot should never fail to respect and uphold the ideals of his/her country. That's what patriotism is supposed to be about. Very few right-wingers have ever understood that. Symbols are important as are the individual's person beliefs but they do not automatically translate into patriotism. In a rather superficial and wish-washy way Tobin Grant questions this approach in his post, "Real Americans are Christians?", on the most recent General Social Survey.

Personally, I think the "Two-thirds of evangelicals say that true Americans are Christian" are among the worst examples of Americans. Though, it is an opinion it can at least be backed up. These dumb-ass self-righteous prick defy one of the basic principles of our constitution; Separation of Church and State. As I've pointed out numerous times there are only two references to religion in general between the Constitution proper and the Bill of Right. Both are framed in the negative. Separation was clearly intended despite claims to the contrary. These ignorant fools certainly do not live up to our nation's first and best motto, "e pluribus unum" (out of many one). And, yet, it's this same subset that often claims atheists and non-Christians are the troublemakers.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

"Authentic _______(fill in Religion)"

Anytime you come across words like "authentic", "true", or "real" in conjunction with any religion you can assume that what follows will be complete bull shit. A recent post by Roger E. Olson, "Why Authentic Christians Must Oppose the Death Penalty", is no exception. In fact, it's a pretty blatant example. Jesus is not a good figure to go back to when trying to come up with a poster boy for the abolition of the death penalty. There are numerous passages where the Jesus figure shows himself to be temperamental and at times a homicidal asshole. One of my favorite passages in this regard is Luke 19:27

"But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."

I have yet to hear a reasonable explanation as to how this could mean anything other than a direct command from Jesus to his followers to round up and massacre all non-followers. Call me crazy, but commanding mass murder seems rather antithetical to abolishing the death penalty.

The truth of the matter is that "real" Christians can pretty much behave any fucking way they want since their religion is so convoluted and contradictory that it can be interpreted in just about anyway the imagination wants. That goes for every religion I've ever come across.

"...way of knowing the Bible."

Anne Carpenter's blog post "A Theory on Catholics and the Bible" is pretty amusing. It is so loaded with hypocrisy, ignorance, and downright stupidity that I had to chuckle through it. Her idea of "knowing" the Bible is rather pathetic. In parts she partially admits that being able to cite specific passages isn't a sign of knowledge and yet in other parts that's precisely what she's saying. She also seems to think that being familiar with the most common and weakest apologetics is a form of wisdom. No, it isn't. It seems that Protestants are just as feeble as Catholics when it comes to understanding scripture. Cherry picking and interpreting passages so they fit what you want them to mean is not "knowing" them anymore than simply being able to parrot select passages is "knowing" the Bible.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Finally, Connor gets something right

Connor Wood has finally posted something on his Science on Religion blog that actually matches reality. Wood's "No space for God of the gaps" is pretty good. He starts to go a bit wish-washy in a few places but generally reigns himself back in. He makes a few statements like:
"Religion and science aren’t non-overlapping magisteria. They’re distinct, sometimes clashing modes for grappling with the weirdness of the universe – but they do actually deal with the same universe, which is the only one there is."
Given his propensity for inserting opinions I find it ironic that he doesn't notice that you could easily argue that religion could be said to not deal with reality at all. As for there being only one universe, that may or may not be true. We don't actually know that for certain. I still feel the need to give him credit for a reasonably well thought out piece. I was pleasantly surprised by it given his track record for confusing all sorts of theistic nonsense for science.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


"If god doesn't like the way I live, Let him tell me, not you."
from a button


Ehrman has been steadily destroying his own credibility for the past handful of years. His latest book which is due out anytime seems to be yet another nail in coffin of his once substantial track record of legitimate research. A sample of Jesus Before the Gospels can be found here. Right from the start he writes about assumptions and speculations as if they are factual. This is both sad and pathetic to any one familiar with his earlier work. Many of the "eyewitness" accounts claimed by various apologists to be sound evidence Ehrman had previously revealed to be no such thing. Yet, now on the very first page of his newest book he states: "I am deeply interested in how Jesus was being 'remembered' and 'misremembered' by those who were telling such stories, both those who actually knew him and those who heard stories from others...." Who are these individuals who "actually knew him"? No first hand accounts have ever surfaced let alone any credible ones. From what I read of the sample he never comes back to these supposed eyewitnesses. Ehrman has slowly and tragically morphed into an apologist. He no longer seems capable of separated opinions and personal beliefs from historical evidence. This is incredibly depressing and disheartening.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Elections are Civic not Religious

A couple of recent posts on Patheos does a pretty good job summarizing and exemplifying a number of all too common ignorance laced misconceptions. The two major assumptions that pervade both "The Perfect Religious President" and "7 Ways to Prepare Spiritually to Vote" are:
1. Mixing religion and politics is a good thing;
2. Religion and Spirituality mean the same thing to every one.

Both are horribly misguided. The good that religion may or may not represent is highly debatable. Mixing religion into politics is less debatable but still tends to provoke arguments. There is far more to support the position that mixing religion into politics is a terrible idea. There is absolutely no legitimate debate that religion and spirituality are as amorphous as they are subjective. No one agrees on even a basic definition let alone a specific set of traits or characteristics.

By its very nature religion is divisive and riddled with all sorts of problems that tend to only unnecessarily complicate everything it touches. We are all best served when religion is kept away from public policy and governance. Religion should only be tolerated when it is kept to be a personal matter. Individuals should vote their conscience but I also hope that they examine their motivations before casting their vote. Everyone should ask themselves why they are voting and what they are voting for. I have yet to get the impression that "religious voters" ever do any such thing.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

3 out of 4

Andy Gill does a decent job with three of his "Four Thing You Should Know Before Reading the Bible." Out of the following four can you spot which isn't like the others;

"1. The Bible, it’s an ever changing and never finished set of manuscripts....
2. In fact, according to many textual critics, there are more variances than there are words in the New Testament....
3. The Bible, it’s not a history book; it’s a collection of various texts over an unknown amount of time....
4. There’s a difference between tradition and divine revelation.?..."

Number four just doesn't work. Gill never seems to notice that religious "tradition" and "divine revelation" can't really be separated. Both are equally subjective and unfounded. Both are refuted by basic logic and critical thinking. Both are dependent on each other. Gill also never seems to realize that the first three undermine the whole premise of divine revelation. Logically, divine revelation should be as unchanging as it is infallible. Scriptures, and not just Judeo-Christian ones, are neither. It may seem somewhat ironic that scripture is not divine in any way but that has more to do with cultural bias than anything else. All scriptures are human fabrications. It would be nice if some day the majority of humanity finally accepts such scriptures for the anachronistic childish nonsense they've always been.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

"...shows with religion subplots"

I get why Ambrosino might want to claim a connection to Mercy Street in his "The Faithful Viewer: 3 new shows with religion subplots" but the other two don't seem to make much sense. I've seen the same trailers for You, Me and the Apocalypse and Lucifer that Ambrosino has. They both seem to be very tongue-in-cheek. I get the impression that they make fun of religion far more than they are meant to model it. I have to assume he finds the need to make some type of theological connection to for similar reasons that many theists try to claim correlations between things they like and faith. They need to constantly deceive themselves that religion has an innate meaning and connection to reality. Too bad for the theists that religion has no innately beneficial meaning or connection to anything in reality.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Not Quite 10

I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Julian Baggini. However, that is no reason to avoid pointing out a few errors in his "10 surprising facts about atheism." Eight of the ten are indisputably factually. The other two are not actually facts, at least not as he expresses them.

"3. Atheism is not necessarily dogmatic."
This one is misleading since it implies that atheism can be dogmatic. How? Atheism is the lack of a religious based belief system. Though, it is true that atheists as individuals can be dogmatic that is not the same thing. There is no direct causation. Individual males can be sexist. That neither means that the gender can be sexist nor that individuals of the female gender can't be sexist. Implications and conflations do not establish a "fact."

"4. Being an atheist means that you believe the balance of evidence shows that God does not exist. This is not the same as saying that you are 100% certain God does not exist."
I wish this were completely true and therefore a fact. It isn't. Many atheist I have met or interacting with in some way do fit this characterization but not all. There are atheists who lack a belief in god without ever considering the state of evidence for or against God's existence. An individual does not need to consider the "balance of evidence" for something in order to believe or disbelieve in it. Baginni is correct in pointing out the discrepancy between reasonable belief/disbelief and 100% certainty.

Both of these errors seem to hint at an all too common myth. Atheism is not an actual "ism." I  understand and appreciate why some atheists want to turn it into one but that does not change the fact that by definition Atheism is not a belief system but rather the lack of a specific type of belief system.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

One God?

I realize I have pointed this out before but any number of comments and incidents routinely pop-up that further demonstrate that a subset of theists really are a bunch of winey, hypocritical, self-deluded dumb-asses. The "controversy" surrounding Wheaton College's actions against one of its own professors is just another such incident. I have found the ongoing arguments and debates over Larycia Hawkins Facebook post about Jews and Christians both worshipping one God very entertaining. It's mind-boggling that the morons who have criticized her never seem to notice just how badly this exposes their feeble "beliefs." If they really believed in what they claim there is absolutely nothing controversial about the statement made by Hawkins. There can't be. They might be able to claim one group or the other is worshipping God in the wrong way*. However, if there is only one God then there are no other gods to worship. Everyone who professes belief in one God by default would have to be worshipping the same God. Silly theists.

A lot of ink has been wasted on this nonsense over the past two months but there are a handful that were at least slightly interesting. They are worth a quick glance.

December 16, 2015
The “Same” God? Volf Speaks

December 16, 2015
At Wheaton: No God but Our God

December 17, 2015
Do Jews “worship the same God,” Wheaton?

January 7, 2016
The Real Reason Wheaton College is Terminating Larycia Hawkins: Loving the Common “Enemy”

*This is actually an equally stupid claim but at least it wouldn't be an outright contradiction.