The Closest I've Come To Believing in God


A forum I participate on, The Happy Atheist Forum, had a post which quotes Trent Reznor as saying:

I just don't understand how people can blindly believe a bunch of the shit they're fed, to believe it so that they don't think too hard about other issues. 'Be a good boy and you'll go to heaven.' If it works for you, fine, but it doesn't work for me and that pisses me off because I kind of wish it did.

They then asked if we had ever felt a similar desire to be religious.

I'm going to skip all the usual snarky 'sure, I'd love to happily live in ignorance' shiz and share a story about the only time I ever felt a longing for god to be real.

It was after my dad died. My mother had called me in hysterics and told me my dad was dead, had died in his sleep. I went to his house and it was true. He looked like he was sleeping, but his lips were a frosty blue and his face was the color of dusty miller. I remember not feeling anything at first and then having intense waves of grief and fear and sadness break over me, over and over again.

I went outside and shouted, then threw up. My dad had been sick for so long, I stopped being afraid of him dying. I was so used to him being sick it hadn't worried me when he told me a few days before that he was having problems breathing in the mornings. He was dying for over a decade and the decline was so slow that his death was a complete shock.

I remember being outside and for the first time in my life and the last time since, I looked up and I really wanted to feel something. I wanted to feel that god feeling people talked about, and I wanted to feel it right then. I stood there long enough to end up surrounded by my family and I didn't feel a damn thing.

I realized later that I wasn't really expecting god to bestow me with his lovey glow, I just felt really scared about the end of my father's life and I wanted there to be a god because a god meant an afterlife than an afterlife meant my dad wasn't gone forever. Hangin' on clouds in heaven or fact checking the internet in hell, I would see him again, talk to him again, hug him again.

That's pretty much the closest I've ever come in my life to believing in god. A fleeting moment, brought on by extreme sadness and loss.


Bruise-Gate 2010!


Ash Wednesday is serious business.

On Wednesday, VP Biden was seen on TV with some shit sacred Jesus ash on his forehead. The newscaster, Kay Burley (I have no idea who this lady is, but now I know a lot of people in the UK seem to hate her), mistook the mark for a bruise and commented on it as such. As soon as it was pointed out to her that it was Ash Wednesday, she laughed and apologized, saying 'I've said three Hail Marys, everything is going to be fine.'

Haha, case closed right?

Nooooooooo way in hell. It would seem some religious people can't pass up a pearl clutching moment of righteous indignation. I wanted to share a few comments I found while reading about this story online:


What rock did she crawl out from under? She obviously does not practice any type of religion. She sounds like an idiot that did not do her research. I find it amazing she is a presenter. She needs to back to school and learn a few things.


If this deeply insulting ignorance had involved more sensitive religions this presenter would have been in far more trouble. Dismissing religion as a bit of a joke ('I've said my Hail Marys'!) is unacceptable.....


Why should Christians have to put up with this constant belittling of our faith? You know if it had been a Muslim there would have been an outcry.


I Don't Biden should even get the ashes. HE IS PRO ABORTION makes Him A Two Face XXXXXXguxxkxlcdccvkclgc


This insensitive and ignorant so called news media person, should be fired on the spot. Her ignorance and contempt for Mr Bidens religion, is indicative of a person with limited knowledge and ability to be a news media person.

Is this the kind of individual "Sky New" wants on their payroll?


Let's not forget that the "catholic" Mr. Biden believes in killing innocent babies and allowing homosexuals to marry. It's an embarassment to good catholics to have him and other "cafetera catholics" lumped together in the public's mind. Yes, all men are sinners but those who publicly disavow strict teachings of their church should not be shown any sympathy.


It is sad to hear someone who calls herself a Catholic, said such disrespectful comment, made a joke about someone's accidental death. Anyhow, we are sinners ourselves; we can not judge her, only God can.


Ahhh yes. I believe the smudging ashes on the face practice is way more common in the US than in the UK, so it makes sense the newscaster wouldn't see a mark on a guy's face and think - That looks like a bruise, but I wonder if that's actually some kind of religious symbolism?

Elton's Jesus is a Jesus I Could Hang With


In a recent interview certain to cause upset to many a pearl clutching Christian, Elton John had some interesting things to say about Jesus.

Sir Elton John has dubbed Jesus a 'super-intelligent gay man' in a controversial new interview.

The singer made the throw-away comment while talking about lesbians trying to survive in the Middle East.

'I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems,' he told American magazine Parade in an interview due to be published on Sunday.

'On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him. Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving.

'I don’t know what makes people so cruel. Try being a gay woman in the Middle East – you’re as good as dead.'

That's awesome.

Of course Elton's Jesus isn't the biblical Jesus by any stretch, but neither is the Jesus that a lot of Christians worship. If you're going to stray from the literal concept of Jesus, you may as well make him anything you want. A compassionate, super-intelligent gay Jesus sounds fine by me.


WWJD? Kill Sick Gay People, Evidently.


A Ugandan lawmaker wants to pass a bill that calls for the execution of HIV+ homosexuals. Wow.

The Washington Post:KAMPALA, UGANDA -- A Ugandan lawmaker refused Friday to withdraw proposed legislation that would impose the death penalty for some gay men and lesbians despite international condemnation and presidential opposition to a measure that some critics said could scare off foreign investors.

Lawmaker David Bahati said he will not heed a call late Thursday from the government to drop the proposed bill, which has provoked criticism from gay rights groups and protests in London, New York and Washington.

"We have our children in schools to protect against being recruited into" homosexuality, Bahati said. "The process of legislating a law to protect our children against homosexuality and defending our family values must go on." The country's parliament is expected to debate the measure in late February or early March.

Although President Yoweri Museveni has told colleagues that he believes the bill is too harsh and has encouraged his ruling National Resistance Movement Party to overturn the death sentence provision, Information Minister Kabakumba Matsiko said the parliament will act independently.

Several lawmakers and officials from the ruling party said this week that they will push to remove the death penalty statute. They have proposed instead that gays receive counseling to convert them to heterosexuality.

Lawmakers outlawed gay marriage in 2005. The proposed legislation is being promoted as an update to Uganda's statutes against homosexuality, which date from the 1950s and do not address homosexuality by name, only by what the law terms as "unnatural offenses" and "gross indecency." The draft bill says anyone convicted of a homosexual act could face life imprisonment.

Current legislation imposes seven years in prison. Under the new law, the death sentence could apply to sexually active gays living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape. The law would also include Ugandans living abroad, who could be extradited and punished.


The quote in bold could just as easily come from Palin or Bachmann or any number of US politicians or pundits currently in a position of power and influence.

Uganda is a country whose majority (84%) is Christian, and this atrocious legislature is and example of what I fear about religion having government power. This is why I feel religion is dangerous and why I am vocal in my support of the establishment clause of the US constitution.


Theistic Delusion - Excusable. Supernatural Delusion - Crazy Pants!


I ran across this story tonight:

SANTA ANA – A Westminster fortune-teller and her daughter were brutally murdered by a client because the fortune-teller wasn't able to grant a wish, a prosecutor told jurors today.

Tanya Nelson – who is standing trial for the killings of Ha "Jade" Smith and her college-aged daughter, Anita Vo – was upset at losing her lover and blamed Smith, Senior Deputy District Attorney Sonia Balleste said.

"For some reason, this defendant believed in fortune-telling,'' Balleste said. The fortune-teller wrote a letter to Nelson and apologized for not being able to change anything, Balleste said. That letter was found in Nelson's home. Nelson, 45, of North Carolina was angered that the fortune-teller wasn't able to change reality, and decided to travel to Orange County to kill her, Balleste said.

It seems to me that reality is pretty hard for some people to handle. That's why woo is so attractive to certain personalities. Rational people tend to accept that life is chaotic and that they don't have a lot of control of life beyond personal actions and attitudes. Supernatural beliefs lend to an easier rejection of reality in the same way theistic beliefs do. They're like two different forms of the same opiate.

However, before we decide this woman must have been insane, consider her actions after the murder -

Their home was also ransacked, with Nelson stealing credit cards, cell phones, jewelry and designer luggage, according to Balleste. Nelson also took a pair of diamond earrings – worth $35,000 – off Smith's dead body, the prosecutor said. She also used Smith's luggage to travel.

That doesn't sound like a lunatic, that sounds like a calculating killer who was totally aware of what she was doing. A sociopath perhaps, but sociopaths are not the same thing as lunatics.

It seems like the only really crazy thing about this woman's crime was her motivation. It's too bad she had an irrational belief in mysticism rather than an irrational belief in religion. Were she religious, I have no doubt she would be getting a lot more support for the conviction of her faith.


Christian Anti-Porn Add-On FTW!


The Christian Anti-porn add-on! Is this old news? I just found this today via a post on Think Atheist and installed it on my Firefox to test it out. It's pretty amazing.

The description for the add-on says it all -

Flee sexual immorality (1Co 6:18). Christian Anti-Porn will filter links and alert the user if any porn websites are clicked. This will not block but warn every Christian that he is going to crucify Jesus Christ again if he proceeds to such websites.

When you go to a site that this add-on deems unholy, a wonderful image above pops up.

I can already tell this add-on is pretty terribly made. I went to IMDB and looked up the movie 'Red Dawn' and my screen was an epileptic seizure of crucifixion. Which is unfortunate because I would gleefully keep this add-on if it wasn't so easily triggered - it's effng hilarious. As it is, the add-on is way too intrusive. I haven't visited a single porn site since I installed it and I've already been warned about killing Jesus over a dozen times.

And no, the humor of that is not lost on me. :D


Response to a Christian's question - Why does Dawkins hate God?


On the Twitter, I find myself having an interesting conversation with a Christian who began the talk by asking me if I felt that Dawkins was helping anyone when his message seems to be that he hates God. How can hate be helpful, he asked, and why don't more atheists dedicate themselves to building relationships with the religious community rather than isolating themselves from the religious by way of harsh criticisms of God.

I feel like these are all really good questions, not because of the questions themselves, but they're good questions because they expose a fundamental difference in thought that makes it difficult for theists and atheists to get along.

First off - atheists don't hate God. Some of us hate the concept of God, but to say that an atheist hates God is like saying a Jewish person hates Satan. They don't hate Satan, they don't even believe in Satan. The same is true for atheists and God. Hating a concept is not the same thing as agreeing that a concept physically exists.

I told my twitter pal that if he had questions about Dawkins' personal motivations that he would have to ask him, however I did say that for a lot of people in a lot of areas of the world - the US included - being an atheist openly was a great way to lose your job, lose the support of your family, or otherwise be treated badly. People like Dawkins are appreciated in the atheist community not because they're perceived as being hateful but because they give a lot of people hope and encouragements about themselves as human beings.

How many times have you heard from one source or another that atheists lack morality? That atheists are sub human, incapable of being parents, are inherently selfish, shouldn't be allowed in positions of influence, are untrustworthy, and on and on and on? Is it any surprise that there is an outpouring of support for authors like Dawkins and the like who are publishing books that say - "you're not a bad person for thinking this way. I think this way too, and here's why." Of course people who are atheists are going to look at the bible and say 'why does it contradict itself? If God is loving, why did he kill so many people? Why did he kill babies and tell men to stone their wives and sell their daughters?' When you reject the divinity of something, it's far easier to see all of the parts that comprise the whole.

Logically, this criticism is going to be offensive to the religious. Of course it will be. But I think it's unfair to say that people like Dawkins are wrong or destructive in their actions because they offer the kind of support that a lot of non-religious people need right now. Would it be fair to say that slaves in 1870 who distrusted the forces that oppressed them and worked to create support structures for their people were being unhelpful or hateful because they weren't trying to build bridges with the people who were in positions of influence and power over them? Of course not. Slavery and atheism are vastly different circumstances, but the social repercussions of being an outsider in a society is the same regardless of who is being excluded. I don't think atheists are to a point yet where we have the political or social clout to build bridges - we're still convincing ourselves that we're not broken human beings for rejecting God despite a large, vocal, and powerful group of people who still have no qualms telling us we are!

So no, I don't think Dawkins is a bad guy for what he says or even how he says it. I think he's a reflection of how a lot of atheists feel around the world - we are good people with strong moral values and our lack of belief in God is not an excuse to marginalize us.


Pope: Bigotry is a Form of Religious Freedom!


So, again, the pope is an asshole.

He's now urging clergy in the UK and Wales to oppose an equality bill currently making it's way through Parliament. No, not just oppose - fight with "missionary zeal".

The Pope told the Catholic bishops of England and Wales gathered in Rome: "Your country is well-known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society.

"Yet, as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs.

"In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed."

That's right, kids! The pope is all for equality, as long as the rights of religious institutions are made paramount. Essentially, everyone IS equal...equally less important than the church and the religiously motivated bigotry the church stands for.

Senior parliamentary officer Jonathan Finney had it right when he said:

"People should not be denied access to services and employment purely because they are gay. We've got to guard against sweeping exemptions seeming to protect one person's freedom, which actually really impact on other people's. What you can't start doing is saying that religious people have hard-won freedoms, we'll now restrict those, we won't give them to gay people, we won't give them to women."

My question is this - does the pope really want to draw parallels between bigotry and religion? Personally, I don't think the bible requires any help in proving that religion promotes bigotry but I have to wonder what the hell the pope is thinking trying to thinly mask his opposition to this equality bill as some kind of crusade for religious rights.

No, guys, you can't force your religious beliefs on others by demanding that rules ought not to apply to you because you interpret your book to say that they shouldn't. Your archaic religious beliefs - masqueraded as 'rights' in this instance because it suits your purpose - do not trump the rights of everyone else.


Baptist Group's Good Intentions Don't Excuse Questionable Behavior


By now I'm sure most people have heard about the Baptist group that's being detained in Haiti for alleged child trafficking.

I want to preface this post by saying that I'm not presuming to know what the intentions of these people were. I don't think, simply because it's a religious group, that these people were up to no good. I think that the hellish reality of Haiti has to be a strain to anyone who is there helping and it's possible that these people felt that their actions were justified or even that they had all the necessary permission to to what they tried to do. My issue isn't with the people or the situation - it's with the christian blogs I've been reading who are ripe with claims of persecution, unfair treatment, and complete innocence.

I'm not saying they're guilty but I think it's ridiculous to claim with any authority that they're innocent.

A few details are of particular interest to me. One being that when the kids were taken from the van they were being transported in they were still hungry, still thirsty. In fact, one of the babies they had with them was so dehydrated he had to be hospitalized. If this group - a group who had access to food and water themselves - were so interested in the well being of the kids they had in their company, why didn't they feed them? Why didn't they give them water?

Another detail that's changed since this story initially broke is what the groups told the parents of the kids which were willingly given to them. The group had pamphlets and were handing them out to people, indicating that they were actively collecting kids rather than offering a helping hand to people already considering giving their children up for adoption. Several of the kids were frightened when they were taken from the group's custody, claiming that they were told they would be taken to boarding schools - not that they would be adopted. These strange allegations are made even more interesting given that several parents whose kids were given over to the group want their kids back, claiming that they had thought that they were sending the kids to a place where they would be well-educated and given a better place to stay, not adopted.

My point is not to paint an entirely negative picture of this group because I personally really want to believe that they had only the best intentions in mind when they took those kids. However, this is far from an open and shut case of a group of helpful people who accidentally broke a few laws in the name of being good Samaritans. These people deserve to be prosecuted for the actions they took. Good intentions or not, I believe the evidence points to an ulterior motive beyond wanting to help.