7 Fun Riddles for Christians

1. God made Adam and Eve perfect and without belly buttons. So…
Where did umbilical cords come from if they were not God’s original design? Did they evolve?
2. If your God is greater than me, why can I improve his morality with a pair of scissors?
“Make slaves of those around you, also their children” – Yahweh

3. WHY DID JESUS NOT GET WHAT HE PRAYED FOR AT GETHSEMANE?

“If you have faith even as small as a mustard seed….nothing will be impossible for you.” – JESUS (Matthew 17:20)
Yet at Gethsemane, Jesus’ prayer failed.
“If it is possible, let this cup pass” – JESUS  (Matthew 26:39)
The cup did not pass. Was Jesus lacking in faith?
4. JESUS – HATE YOUR PARENTS SO THEY CAN HAVE YOU KILLED“Hate your father and mother or you are not worthy of me” – JESUS (Luke 14:26)“Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’” – JESUS (Matthew 15:3)

5. PREPARE FOR TOMORROW – WAIT – NO! IGNORE TOMORROW!
“Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow…” (Numbers 11:18)
“Give no thought for tomorrow…” JESUS (Matthew 6:34)

6. WHAT WAS JESUS CHRIST’S REAL NAME?
The prophecy said “They shall call him Immanuel” but nobody ever did.
Jesus in Hebrew means “savior”
Christ in Greek means “Messiah”
These are identifiers – not names. So what was Jesus’ real name? Did he have one?

7. WHY DID NOAH DELIBERATELY PRESERVE THE WRONG LIVING THINGS?
Anthrax, Smallpox and Polio are living things. Gee, thanks Noah.
God would rather drown innocent puppies and bunnies
than destroy the true evils of the earth: Viruses and bad bacteria

– ATHEIST MAX

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If not God, then what?

“One’s ignorance of how (or whether) the Cosmos or life began
is not evidence of a god. It is evidence of one’s ignorance.”
– Athiest Max

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LOVE LIES BLEEDING

christ_canaanite_womanGOD AND JESUS DESTROY LOVE

At least one passage in the bible rings mostly true:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
But GOD and Jesus have no interest in any of it:
“Love is patient” – But not Jesus who says, “I never knew you!” (Matthew 7:21-23)

“Love is kind”
– But not Jesus. “Execute them!”- Jesus (Luke 19:27)..”I came only for the lost sheep of Israel”- “do not go to the gentiles” – Jesus (Matthew 10:5)

“It does not boast”
– Yet Jesus boasts his power, “with God all things are possible!”(Mark 10:27) and God does it often.

“It is not proud”
– Yet God is full of pride “I am a jealous God!” (Exodus 20:5)…”They are swine, do not give them your pearls.” – Jesus (Matthew 7:6)
“It is not self-seeking” – Yet Jesus is incredibly selfish: “Hate them or you are unworthy of me.”- Jesus (Matthew 10:37)

“Not easily angered”
– Yet Jesus whipped innocent people for no reason. (John 2:15)“Love keeps no record” – Yet Jesus says “If you fail the slightest of these laws you will be least in my kingdom” (matthew 5:19)“Love does not delight in evil” – Yet Jesus says, “You will tread on scorpions and serpents” (Luke 10:19) and God says, “Happy are those who bash the little ones against the rocks” (Psalm 137:9)

I don’t believe in God. But I do believe in love.
And God and Jesus are aligned against Love.
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Wisdom of the Great Mr. Ingersoll

“This is my doctrine: Give every other human being every right you claim for yourself.”
― Robert G. Ingersoll, The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child

robertgingersoll-1“To hate man and worship God seems to be the sum of all the creeds.”
― Robert G. Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses

“The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and to his fellowmen.”
― Robert G. Ingersoll, The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child

“There are in nature neither rewards nor punishments — there are consequences.”
― Robert G. Ingersoll, The Christian Religion An Enquiry

“As more people become more intelligent they care less for preachers and more for teachers.”
― Robert G. Ingersoll

“I will not attack your doctrines nor your creeds if they accord liberty to me.
If they hold thought to be dangerous – if they aver that doubt is a crime, then I attack them one and all, because they enslave the minds of men.

I attack the monsters, the phantoms of imagination that have ruled the world. I attack slavery. I ask for room — room for the human mind.”
― Robert G. Ingersoll, The Ghosts and Other Lectures

 

 

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ATHEIST MORALITY

It-s-A-Wonderful-Life-its-a-wonderful-life-32920383-1200-957

As an Atheist I have more “commandments” to follow than Christians, Jews or Muslims because the ancient Golden Rule is my primary moral code. Also known as the “law of reciprocity” it is not a dogma. It is flexible:

“Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Do not do to others that which you would not want done to you”

Morality is about well being. And The Golden Rule satisfies this very efficiently for oneself as well as for others in the community. It predates religion and requires no gods though variations of it appear in every holy book, no deity invented it:

Feed the hungry
Help the sick

Help the needy
Keep promises
Do not judge people unfairly
Do not cheat
Do not steal
Do not kill
Do not rape
Do not hurt children
Do not lie
Do not treat people as objects
Do not abandon people in need
Be mindful of opportunities to be kind
Be thoughtful
Be generous
Be considerate
Be helpful wherever possible
Be respectful of other people’s bodies
Treat people with dignity
Do not buy people as property
Forgive as I would want to be forgiven; not reflexively, but mindfully.

Fortunately, most of us do these things rather naturally and without prompting when faced with an opportunity.

But why should I do them without a god?
Because I want to live in a world where people behave this way for the good of my loved ones, their friends, their loved ones and our wider communities. It is entirely in my best interest to help this happen by practicing THE GOLDEN RULE.

Will I have to face consequences for breaking these commandments above and others like it? Absolutely. The consequences will not come from a god but from
the loved ones who share my life. And they are the “higher authority.”

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Evil Bible Lesson #1 – JESUS: “Execute them in Front of Me”

“KILL MY ENEMIES” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)Bible page

“bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King and execute them in front of me.” (Luke 19:27)

This parable of Jesus about obedience. The nobleman in the story is a veiled reference to Jesus himself and he warns of executions for servants who disobey – as in anyone who, disciple or not, refuses to achieve purity.

According to church teachings Jesus is referring to the Parousia – the supposed Second Coming – saying he will not be the one to judge, round up and kill the bad servants himself when he returns from ‘far away.’ Jesus will instead hand this gruesome duty to the good servants who followed his rules.

And those good Christians will need to be very Sadistic to carry this out. Jesus is clear – he will not instruct them to have any mercy but to “execute them in front of me.”

Lesson Question:
If Jesus is against sin, how can he also insist his most merciful followers be so sadistic?
And what then is special about the Parousia if Jesus brings nothing of his own judgement or actions to the process?

Think about it.

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The Question that Kills God

Can a good God intercede when it is immoral for him to do so?

God vanished when I realized he could not morally come to my aid. Mystery-Customer-Person

The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre of December of 2012 was a shocking horror. News traveled while it was underway and many of us were emotionally shattered to read the details. I fell to the floor in prayer asking for God’s guidance and help.

But God vanished that day and I’ll try to explain why.

If you are in a position (as a God would be) where you could save a person’s life or alleviate physical suffering yet refuse to do so, you are making a clear choice to not intercede. Admittedly, an infinite God might have reasons to do this beyond our comprehension.

God would know that immoral killer was walking up the stairs to kill little children that day. God certainly refused to intercede to block the killer’s path, to stop the killer’s heart, to stop even one bullet fired at the little children. God did not intercede. 26 people died. God even allowed the killer a nice parking spot.

Here’s the problem:
Try to imagine me on the floor praying to God, much as any other Christian would do.
How could God, having not interceded for dying childrenintercede instead to help me as I was asking him to do in my emotional distress?

Unlike those desperate children, I was safe; a healthy man. Wouldn’t my prayers for help be precisely the worst place for a good, fair God to intercede if he could intercede at all? 

Yes.
It would be immoral for God to intercede to help me without first interceding for those children and their families in their moment of urgent need. So regardless of what sort of intercession God could have in mind regarding an answer to my prayer (to help me or not to help me) – it would still be an intercession.

So asking God to intercede (to pray) itself becomes an immoral act when it is clear he will not intercede on those less fortunate than yourself.

The possibility of a moral God vanishes at the thought.

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Did Jesus Just Admit He Was a Fictional Character?

gilgamesh-ludmillazeman

A thousand years before Jonah’s supposed fish experience, Gilgamesh depicted a character who endured an almost identical trauma.

Jesus said:
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” – Jesus (Matthew 12:40)

Jesus is referring to this story from the Old Testament:

“Jonah was in the belly three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17)

So for this reason, Jesus must be buried for three days.  Yet, The Book of Jonah is a known plagiarism of Gilgamesh, a work of non-religious fiction from 1800 BCE which depicts a seafaring torment followed by a similar plant experience along the shore.

Jesus’ reference to Jonah would be like saying,
“I must build my house of bricks so the big bad wolf won’t huff and puff and blow it down” (The Three Little Pigs)
 
Jesus is unwittingly admitting his most important actions are reliant on fictions.
Why can’t Jesus be fiction, too?
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26 Reasons Jesus is in Hell

0-jesus-in-hellOf course, I do not believe in Hell.
It is ridiculous.

But were such a silly thing to exist as the Bible claims,  Jesus is there suffering for his sins against God like everyone else. And according to the Gospel, he apparently never repented for them and that is another sin:

1) Jesus didn’t forgive his enemies – he condemned them. (Mark 16:16)
2) He suggested people be burned alive – “they shall be burned” (John 15:6)
3) He cursed his enemies – “Thou Fools!”(Matt. 23:17)
4) Jesus stole things – “untie them”..”bring them to me” (Matt. 21:2-3)
5) He destroyed his enemies – “Execute them in front of me” (Luke 19:27)
6) Jesus didn’t love most of his neighbors  – They are ‘Dogs’! (Matthew 15:26)
7) He told people to judge others – “Remove your blessings”! (Matt 10:14)
8) Jesus was bigoted – “They are swine” (Matthew 7:6)
9) ..Extremely bigoted – “I come only for the children of Israel” (Matthew 15:24)
10) He violently whipped people  – “He made a whip of chords” (John 2:5)
11) Jesus didn’t want peace – “I do not bring peace.” (Matt 10:34)
12) Jesus lied – “He went in secret anyway” (John 7:8-13)
13) Jesus prepared for war  – “if you have money, buy a sword” (Luke 22:36-37)
14) Jesus used force to bully others – “he did not allow anyone to carry things through the temple area” (Mark 11:16)
15) Jesus incited violence – “I am impatient to bring not peace…but disorder!” (Luke 12:51)
16) Jesus used fighting words – “I came to bring fire to the world” (Luke 12:49)
17) Jesus commanded hate – “You must hate them or you are unworthy”
18) Jesus inspired bigotry in others – “Avoid Them” (Romans 16:16)
19) Jesus hated your loved ones – “from now on I will make enemies within the household.” (Luke 12:52)
20) Jesus hated free will – “I will kill her children with death” – JESUS (Rev. 2:23)
21) Jesus accepted violence as a necessity – “My kingdom advances with violence.” (Matthew 11:12)
22) He supported vigilante murder –  “He should be drowned with a millstone” (Luke 17:2)
23) Jesus supported child murder – “How dare you ignore God’s law for your tradition? God has told you, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother must be put to death’” –  (Matthew 15:3)
24) Jesus commanded unforgiveness  – “remove your blessing of peace.” – (Matt 10:13)

25) Jesus preached Hate – “Hate your parents…hate your life or you are unworthy of me” (Luke 14:26)
26) Jesus lied – “The mustard seed is the smallest” (Mark 4:31) In fact the orchid seed is much smaller. Jesus either didn’t know this or he knew it and he lied.

Jesus committed many other sins:

– his lack of apology for all of this.
– the lie of that he was sinless.
– his cruelty to his own mother
– his command to behave in an infantile way,
– and his biggest lie: 11 explicit promises in the gospels to answer any and all prayers exactly as requested provided they are submitted in faith.

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THE BELL I COULD NOT UN-RING

fire017 - fire alarm symbolOn Dec. 14, 2012 news emerged about a room full of children massacred by a mad man with a machine gun in Newtown, Connecticut.

Like millions of others, I wept.
I knelt on my living room floor, shaken by the incalculable cruelty – as if these children had been known to me.

A Christian of 49 years, I put my hands together to pray as I had done perhaps a thousand other times. But something different happened this time. And it changed my life.

In the depth of this sorrow
I prayed,

“Dear God, please. Help them. Oh, help me understand.”

And in that split second I realized if it were possible for God to intercede to help anyone, doing so would be an immoral act if he were to come to me after having ignored the children and their parents first.

I was praying for comfort – but God had already not interceded for those children. He had allowed each step of the killer, his unstilled heartbeat, the bullets…right down to the parking space.

My anguish was nothing to the unrelenting catastrophic horror poured on those innocent people. I was in no way worthy of God’s attention compared to those lost in that gunfire.

God cannot morally intercede to help me
after refusing to help those children first.

It was a keen awareness. God must not – as a moral matter – come to my aid at all!

And God vanished.

Since then I have not believed a God could morally intercede in any way, even one presumably capable of infinite options, under the circumstances. So even my deeply felt prayer had itself been an unwittingly immoral act.

I cannot even pretend to believe in God.
God’s very existence would be immoral.

So I decided to study religion to figure out why I had ever believed in God. How religion protected itself from my honest inquiry for almost 50 years. And in a world afflicted by these mischievous theistic philosophies what, if anything, should be done about it.

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Guess Which Horrible Atheist Made This Speech?

Mystery-Customer-Person“I have wiped out many nations, devastating their fortress walls and towers. their cities are now deserted; their streets are in silent ruin.
There are no survivors to even tell what happened. I thought, ‘Surely they will have reverence for me now! Surely they will listen to my warnings, so I won’t need to strike again.’ But no!

“I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy. Now go and utterly destroy all they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling.

“As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you as slaves.

“I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives while you live to see it, and I will give them to your neighbor. He shall rape your wives in broad daylight. I will force this destruction upon all nations.

“Be joyous as you dash the babies heads against the rocks”

 
HINT: He rejected all Gods known at the time!
Please leave your answer in the comment section.

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JESUS FAILED AT CHRISTIANITY

jesus-with-rifle-thumb-1The mark of a failed philosophy is when the person who invented it cannot follow it.
If Jesus cannot live up to Christianity, what chance can the rest of us have?

Jesus didn’t forgive his enemies –
He sent them to Hell. (Mark 16:16)
Jesus cursed his enemies – “Thou Fools!”(Matt. 23:17)
Jesus stole things – “untie them..and bring them to me” (Matt. 21:2-3)
Jesus destroyed his enemies – “execute them in front of me” (Luke 19:27)
Jesus didn’t love most of his neighbors – They are ‘Dogs’! (Matthew 15:26)
Jesus told people to judge others – “Remove your blessings”! (Matt 10:14)
Jesus was bigoted – “They are swine” (Matthew 7:6)
Jesus violently whipped people – attack at the temple (John 2:5) 
Jesus didn’t want peace – “I do not bring peace.” (Matt 10:34)
Jesus lied to people – “He went in secret” (John 7:8-13)
Jesus prepared for war – “if you have money, buy a sword” (Luke 22:36-37)
Jesus supported the death penalty -“Drown him with a millstone” (Matt 18:6)

The term “Christ-like” is an illusion.

When someone is deeply compassionate we want to label this behavior as virtuous and beautiful. But our error is to falsely credit such qualities as “Christ-like.” Clearly, the term cannot be much of a virtue if one is referring to the behavior of Jesus.

There is no reason to think the character of Jesus is a good example for anyone. Christ-like would be best described as: obedience, fear and duty to tribe.

“If the men do not abide in me…they shall be gathered and burned” – JESUS (John 15:6)

Jesus is exactly like every other person who ever found Christian doctrine unworkable.

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God Is What You Decide He Is (Which Means He Isn’t)

_80407506_178100803Religions are optional and people change their beliefs over a lifetime. Some do this many times. Ever notice we always find one which agrees with our sense of morality?

Most of us are given our first religion by our parents. We pick from the holy book particular verses and notions which form the God of our ideal expectations; a god we approve of, one we can be proud to believe in.

For example, regardless of your personal morality you can cherry pick any combination of verses from Jesus, claim them to be true and still be considered a good Christian:

Moral JESUS:
“Forgive them, they know not what they do” – JESUS 
“Love thy neighbor” – JESUS
“My peace I leave you” – JESUS

Immoral JESUS:
“I have not come to bring Peace but a sword..” – JESUS (Matthew 10:35)
“Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
“Better to drown him with a millstone” – JESUS (Matthew 18:6)
“I shall kill her children with death” – JESUS (REV. 2:23)
“shake off their dust as a testimony against them” – JESUS (Luke 9:35)

“I have come to bring fire to the earth…and Anguish.” – JESUS (Luke 12:49-51)
“I have come to divide families and make enemies of the home” – JESUS (Matthew 10:21)
“Keep the stoning laws of Moses” – JESUS (Matthew 5:19)

The Bible offers us multiple choices which we can use to build our gods.We judge them as we create them from these building blocks. Want to believe in a Jesus who is only about tolerance? Easy. Simply pick those parts and reject or rationalize the rest from Biblical offerings.

Unfortunately, the mistake humans make is to pretend the Gods they have constructed are real and have minds of their own with commands which must be followed. That part is nonsense, since you are the one who invented the god from the raw materials you chose on your own.

No matter your religion, you are the creator (and the judge) of your God. He exists at your mercy and at your permission. When you stop believing, he disappears. They always do.

The only actor is You.

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15 Good Reasons to Skip Church

  1. There probably is no real God.

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  2. Churches spread bad ideas.
    Vicarious redemption is the idea that another person was tortured,  mutilated and died for your personal benefit. This is not an ethical concept.
  3. If a real god exists, it probably isn’t at your church.
    There are at least 200,000 proposed gods in history and many thousands of sects and religions. Probably all of these gods are man made. If a real god exists among them, the chances of you worshipping the correct true god are 1 in 200,000.
  4. Church is a staged, scripted repeat performance.
    You’ve already seen the show. There is no evidence a God cares if you miss the repeats.
  5. If God exists he can’t care where you are.
    If he birthed you in a hospital perhaps that is where he’d rather see you worship him. There is no evidence God wants you in a church, in a park, at a beach or anywhere else.
  6. The God of the Bible is not worthy of worship – even if he exists.
    He arranged for his son to be slaughtered even though Jesus begged for an alternative at the Garden in Gethsemane (supposedly). If God can’t figure out a better way to save humanity except through an agonizing blood sacrifice he is no more creative than primitive humans who were using blood sacrifice already for centuries. (Hint: this is a sign that this god is also man made)
  7. Most churches waste your money on costumes and set pieces.
    Your money will heat the building, repair the roof and feed the clergy. Expensive outreach programs will indoctrinate children into attending repeat performances every Sunday and tithing – donating 10% to the church – while threatening Hell, a mythical place of punishment for which there is no evidence.
  8. Churches insist on demeaning behavior.
    Your role in the Church performance is to play the obedient slave. Kneeling and praying with hands together is the customary position of a slave begging a master (a Lord) with manacled wrists and chains about their legs. It is demeaning and inhumane.
  9. Church leaders lie to children. 
    There is no evidence a Hell exists. There is no evidence masturbation or condoms are bad for anyone. There is no evidence that church helps anyone behave better. There is no evidence Jesus loves anyone.
    Yet churches make claims about these matters based on no evidence at all.
  10. Religions are just ideas, not obligations.
    People change religions often. Religions are ideas about reality which are completely arbitrary and malleable. Churches create “Holy Days of obligation” which are just fancy words invented by church leaders, to pull at your emotions and get you to participate and contribute to the performances. There is no evidence any god is “obligating” you to do anything. And based on the slim results of prayer there is no evidence any powerful god feels any obligations to you.
  11. The Church does not deserve the benefit of the doubt.
    If a good God exists it makes no sense for him to want us to support an institution which demeans and lies to humanity. It remains unaccountable even as society demands justice in child rape cases.
  12. The pews are uncomfortable.
  13. Sermons are mostly boring and badgering, full of claims which remain unsupportable and silly. 
  14. Worshipping gods is superstitious, primitive and wishful.
    There is no evidence that wishful or magical thinking is particularly good for people. Snake handlers, healers, gay bashers, climate deniers, evolution deniers, tongue speakers and voodoo all get vast support from churches.
  15. Thank Secular Law for your right to skip Church.
    Your right to skip Church is a victory of our US Constitution – not of religion.

    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion, nor prohibit the free exercise thereof.”

    This law strikes the perfect balance. You can have religion if you want – or not. The best way to honor such an excellent law is to exercise those Constitutional freedoms.
    Skip church.

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Christopher Hitchens Remembered

111214_HitchensAtPodium-EX.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-large

Christopher Hitchens died on December 15, 2011 and left vast resources of clear-eyed insights on religion across the digital universe.

The fourth anniversary of his death seems a good excuse to rediscover what made him one of the most effective wreckers of religious argument since Robert Green Ingersoll in the 1800s.

Enjoy (and take notes):

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How We Know Jesus Stole His Sermon

nt_12_indiana-jones-interior3

“Secret of the Incas” with Charleton Heston (Left) was made 30 years before it was plagiarized for “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Stealing from older material has been with us since the first civilizations.

The Sermon on the Mount also known as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5) is the most famous sermon preached by Jesus, the main character of the New Testament.

But historians have always known this sermon amounts to little more than a watered down version of sayings well known from ancient Sanskrit and Hinduism. Much of it sounds exactly like the Dharma a cluster of primitive sayings which pre-dates Jesus by at least 300 years:

“Reverence and lowliness; contentment and gratitude…this is a great blessing.” – Dharma (300 BCE)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit…” – JESUS (Matthew 5)


“To be long suffering and meek; to associate with the tranquil…this is a great blessing.” – The Dharma (300 BCE)

“Blessed are the meek….”
“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – JESUS (Matthew 5)


“To bestow alms and live righteously; to give help to the kindred… this is a great blessing.” – Dharma (300 BCE)

“Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice…
“Blessed are the peacemakers..”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” – JESUS (Matthew 5)


“Self-restraint and purity; the knowledge of the Noble Truths… this is a great blessing.” – Dharma (300 BCE)

“Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see Truth.” – JESUS (Matthew 5)

More of the wisdom of the Dharma:

“To support father and mother; to cherish spouse and child; to follow a peaceful calling —this is a great blessing.”

“To dwell in the station befitting your condition; to consider the effect of your deeds; to guide the behavior aright —this is a great blessing.”

“Much insight and education; self control and pleasant speech, and whatever word be well spoken —this is a great blessing.”
– Dharma (500 BCE)

C0incidence? I doubt it.  The more we look at ancient texts and cultures, the more Jesus looks like an invention, a conflation of several ideas woven into one character.

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Did Jesus Exist? 18 Parallels to Fictional Hero Narratives

corruptionBelow is a short excerpt from Richard Carrier’s exhaustively researched book, The Historicity of Jesus.

Ancient literature had common Hero narratives. The story of Jesus conforms to many such examples.

Consider Jesus, Socrates and Aesop:

1. They all came from humble backgrounds
2  All were exalted as exemplary men…
3. …depite all of them having opposed the established religious authorities
4. All attacked the sin and greed of the political elite
5. All attended the parties of sinners and ate and drank with them.
6. Yet all consistently denounced sinners and sought to reform them.
7. All taught with parables, questions and paradoxes.
8. All taught to despise money and have compassion on others.
9. All taught that they wanted to save everyone’s soul.
10. All were despised by some and beloved by others for their teachings.
11. All were publicly mocked in some way.
12. All were renowned for being physically ugly or deformed.
13. All were executed by the state for blasphemy, a crime they did not commit.
14. All were actually executed for speaking out against the sin and greed of the authorities.
15. All voluntarily went to their deaths despite all having had the power to escape.
16. All prophecied God’s wrath would proceed their killers and all were right.
17. All were subsequently revered as martyrs.
18. All at the outset have been given a gift of the spirit from God: Aesop was given a spirit which gave him a supernatural power of speaking. Socrates was given a spirit which counseled him and gave him wisdom and Jesus was given the Holy Spirit.

“..Even if Jesus existed, we have to worry about how much of his life is structured and forced into this model…Aesop and Jesus were itinerant preachers and died in holy cities…”

“Yet, there is no evidence Aesop actually existed. He was most likely invented to attribute his name to a collection of stories which he didn’t write.”
– Richard Carrier, The Historicity of Jesus

Something to think about.

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Dangerous Thought #11 – God Corrupts Our Natural Empathy

17 Ways Religion Corrupts Us

Atheist Max

When we see someone in trouble we want to help. But when we bring God along, it is often counterproductive.

o-FAKE-SMILE-facebookOf course, believers mean well. And seeing someone in need will bring out the Good Samaritan in any of us – whether one thinks god is real or not.

Unfortunately, religion worsens things because it makes people say and do evil things without them even being aware of it.

An example.
Suppose a person has suffered a terrible loss:

Christian friend:
“I heard you are in need, I’m going to pray for you.”

Atheist friend:
“I heard you are in need, what can I do to help?”

Each friend is acting lovingly. They both want to help.
To be fair, the Christian may pray and also offer practical help.

But what does religion add?

It deflects responsibility: “your problem is in God’s hands.”
It corrupts empathy: “God gave you this problem so I would have a purpose today.”
It corrupts friendship: “I’m here to…

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Posted in Comforting illusions, dishonesty in religion, Empathy, God's Failures, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

THE CURTAIN OF RELIGION

It can be hard to look at ourselves in the mirror. It takes courage to face our reality. Religion offers us a fuzzy curtain to block the view.

We all have some degree of fear of responsibility, loneliness, death, insecurity about society. We also have some degree of desire for an absolutist answer – something easy and obvious to eliminate those fears –  if only one could be found. I know. I was a believer for years.

Pope Francis builds a very appealing, warm, humanitarian curtain so cozy only a good God with a righteous dogma could create it (or so it appears). It offers an eternal life where nobody dies if you accept his simple solution to your fears. And people love him for it.

But examine the curtain closely and see if it is still so appealing.
The Pope opposes these things:

Contraception
And your access to itPope Francis

Homosexuality
And your tolerance of it

Gay marriage
And your tolerance of it

Separation of Church and State
And your right to it

Women’s equal rights
And your desire for it

Freedom of speech
And YOUR opinion about it

Justice for victims of Pedophilia

Transparent government
And your right to it.

He demands your acceptance of religious claims (Jihad, Papal infallibility, etc.)

This is personal. He wants you to give up your rights in return for the curtain he offers. He knows there are other curtains available; Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, and so many others.

The Pope likes his ancient curtain. He wants you to comply. He doesn’t want to face his responsibilities either. He wants you to join him. To work for a world without gays, without any contraception and without women’s rights. He’s so certain of his beautiful curtain he is happy to force it on you. Yet we’ve seen it all before. Theocracies fail.

We need to abandon these curtain and realize most of our fears are unfounded. Our nature is better than this, our compassion and empathy for each other needs no curtains. And then, we can look at each other instead – we can make progress without any curtains.

Posted in Comforting illusions, dishonesty in religion, Positive Atheism | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

IS IT BIGOTED TO TEST CLAIMS?

Suppose my friend said, “Johnny Depp loves me and I get great comfort in knowing 8339634-256-k236844it.” 

Though such a claim is unlikely to be true, I cannot prove she is mistaken without more information. It is possible Depp learned of my friend on Facebook, the internet or some other way and came to know her and fell madly in love.

But what would be the proper, moral way to respond to my friend’s claim?

A: “Good for you, I admire your faith.”
B: “Believing this is better than not believing.”
C: “Only a bigot would disagree with you.”
D: “What evidence do you have for this?”

The correct answer is D.
Hopefully C jumped out as particularly ridiculous.

A caring friend would better examine the situation by asking questions to determine if the friend needs mental care. If a person is believing a false idea they may act in a way to endanger themselves or someone else.

– Atheist Max

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Hug a Believer – Questioning Religion is not Bigotry

Landru – a real god or just an oppressive phantom? From Star Trek’s “Return of the Archons”

In the famous Star Trek episode, questioning the religion of Landru is not bigotry. Notice the phasers are never directed at the believers – but at the program which denied the believers their freedoms.

A GOOD PERSON QUESTIONS BAD IDEAS

Most Atheists are compassionate and care about other people – it is how many of us became Atheists in the first place. And to challenge a religious claim or idea can be an act of compassion.

Religions are comprised of extraordinary, powerful claims which can damage a person’s ability to think clearly. The threat of Hell, for example, stops many people from ever being able to think objectively about the rest of the claims. Believers usually inherit these ideas from their families and should not be blamed for being stuck in this mental rut. Many of us Atheists were believers once. We should be mindful, sympathetic and understanding.

RELIGION IS FAIR GAME FOR DEBATE

Some say questioning a religion is a bigoted thing to do. This is ridiculous and Atheists can make the argument if they give it some careful thought. After all, religious claims must be fair game for debate and discussion.

Religious claims are just ideas like any other. To argue against an idea is not bigoted. Consider political ideas; do you hear Republicans calling Democrats ‘bigots’ for arguing against spending? Of course not. And we know religions are just ideas because millions of people change their religions as often as they change ideas.

Yes, religion is a human right. As it should be. A person should not be prejudged or denied a job or services because of their religion. But the religious in turn must answer for it when they try to force their claims on society through laws and propaganda.

IF THE PROPAGANDA IS NOT BIGOTED
THE COUNTER PROPAGANDA CANNOT BE BIGOTED EITHER

If it is not bigoted for a Christian to approach a Hindu and try to preach how “Jesus is a better god than Vishnu” then it cannot be bigoted to argue against Jesus to that same preacher. For if it is true that pushing a religious claim onto believers of other faiths is bigoted then the Christians should CLOSE THE MISSIONS. Rejecting the faiths of  indigenous peoples is exactly what Christian missionaries have done all over the world for centuries. They cannot be permitted to say it is not bigoted in their case – but it is bigoted when others do it. That is a fallacy called special pleading and it isn’t fair.

Bigotry happens when we treat groups of people unfairly – it is about those qualities which people cannot change: ethnicity, nationality, eye color, skin color, foot size, hair color – that sort of thing. But a person’s ideas, especially those he is forcing on other people, must be fair game and open for debate.

IF IT IS NOT BIGOTED TO PREACH JESUS
IT CANNOT BE BIGOTED TO PREACH AGAINST HIM

And it makes no sense to conflate dislike of a certain idea into something it isn’t.

To hate a prison is not to hate the prisoners.
To hate bowling is not to hate bowlers.
To hate smoking is not to hate smokers.
To hate eating liver is not to hate those who eat liver.
To hate golf is not to hate golfers.
To hate conspiracy theories is not to hate those suckered into believing them.
To hate Italian food is not to hate Italians.
To hate a religious claim is NOT to hate the believers.

RELIGIONS USE WEAPONS TO ARGUE.
BUT DEBATE IS A BETTER IDEA.

If society is not careful, religion could be handed a right it does not and should not have –  the right to shut down conversation and debate. Religions pretend argument is not allowed but this is emphatically not true. Religions argue all the time – mostly using heavy weapons.

I am only asking people to realize the same religious claims which lead to war could be discussed with words and debate instead of weapons. Humans are capable of destroying the world over nonsensical religious claims. If they are going to argue let’s do it without the weapons. Let’s treat religion for what it is – a bunch of ideas which must be discussed fearlessly.

A religion which cannot stand up to questions should be abandoned.

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DOES CHRISTIANITY ENCOURAGE BAD BEHAVIOR?

Jesus+bad+guy+jesus_cce33e_3824298“Submit yourself to 
perversity”
– (1 Peter 2:18)

“Allow evil…submit to it” – JESUS (Matthew 5:39)

“All [even the perverse] will be forgiven ” –
JESUS
(Mark 3:28)

“but the slave shall be beaten” – JESUS (Luke 12:47)

“….perpetrators of crimes will be forgiven” – JESUS (Mark 3:28)

“Execute my enemies in front of me”- JESUS (Luke 19:27)

“Hate them or you are not worthy of me.” – JESUS (Luke 14:26)

“Avoid them” – ROMANS (16:17)

“Do not associate with those you judged GUILTY..” (1 Corinthians 5:11)

“Some people ruin good morals….” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

“Do not even to eat with such a one.” (1 Corinthians 5:11)

“Do not receive him…or greet him..” (2 John 1:10)

“…Go tell him his fault.” – JESUS (Matthew 18:15)

“Have nothing to do with him!” (Titus 3:9-11)

“LET HIM BE REMOVED” (1 Corinthians 1:13)

“In the name of Jesus..keep away from him!” (2 Thess 3:6)

“Let him be cursed” – (1 Cor. 16:22)

“if you deem them unworthy…testify against them.” – JESUS (Matt 10:13)

Christianity never says: “Be nice to every person no matter who they are.”

Jesus only wants you to be nice to people who are already in the Jesus club
and even then, only to those club members who have sworn totalitarian allegiance.
Only to that select group does Jesus say: “My peace I give you.” (John 14:27)

Is this good?

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STALIN AND JESUS – 8 SIMILARITIES

stalin-icon-03a

Stalin is shown with a halo in a Russian Orthodox Icon. Stalin is worshipped by the church as a demigod.

Murderous regimes of the the 20th century such as Stalin’s Russia carry a bad reputation. And rightly so. Stalin killed millions of his citizens through forced collectivization, purges and starvation.

It is also claimed by some religious people that Stalin’s Atheism is to blame; that his mass murdering of farmers and intellectuals would somehow not have happened were it not for his rejection of God after leaving his Seminary studies.

But Stalinist Russia has profound parallels to how religion functions.

#1. Stalin and Jesus demanded total control.

Stalin was sole judge over what Russians could read or listen to. Stalin claimed the right to total and absolute control of each Russian from birth to death.

Jesus is the sole judge, “He who is not with me is against me…” – JESUS (Matthew 12:30)
Jesus claims absolute authority over every decision from birth to death – All must be baptized at birth and receive Christian burial – it adds up to total control which continues after death.

#2. Stalin and Jesus demanded absolute surrender.

Stalin was institutionally glorified as absolute ruler, “Czar Joseph” and also benignly as “Uncle Joe” under the Social Realist edicts. He literally took full ownership of the people of Russia. Many writers commited suicide rather than live under these edicts which insisted on endless praise of Stalin and his party.
Today icons of Stalin with Halos are worshipped in Orthodox Churches as he is considered a saint.

Jesus is institutionally glorified as absolute ruler, “Lord of All” and also benignly as “The Good Shepherd” – Christ claims rightful ownership of each person on earth. Many people have commited suicide rather than live under the ridiculous edicts of Jesus.
Icons of Jesus with halos are worshipped in churches.

#3. Stalin and Jesus demanded rituals and indoctrination of children.

Stalin demanded worship through ritualistic state celebrations and he forced all children to be indoctrinated in the perfection of his rule and absolute rightness of his authority: Octobrists were 8-10 years old, Pioneers 10-16 and Komsomol for 19-23.

Jesus demanded worship and Christians routinely insist children to be indoctrinated in the perfection of Christ’s rule and absolute rightness of his authority: Catechism begins at 4 years old in most cases and often continues into marriage. Bible study never ends even into Heaven according to the texts.

#4. Stalin and Jesus forbade competition from challengers or other claimants.

Stalin outlawed all other institutions which professed a different absolute authority from His Communist Party Line. Religious institutions were therefore destroyed as competing absolutist dogma: Part of the Komsomol motto: “All religions.. work against socialism.”
(The irony is lost on such practitioners).

Jesus outlawed all other institutions which professed a different absolute authority from Himself. As Jesus says in the parable of the Minas: “Bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me for their king and execute them in front of me.”- JESUS (Luke 19:27)
As a result, Christianity has strongly advocated ridding the world of other religions.
(Crusades, Inquisition, Taiping Rebellion, etc)

#5. Stalin and Jesus convinced others they did miracles.

Stalin said he didn’t believe in miracles – however, through his ‘Socialist Realism’ he promised the faithful his agricultural plans would lead Russia to a greatness it had never known before.  Furthermore, Stalin’s Agricultural Director Victor Lysenko claimed a supernatural ability to ‘go beyond science’ and enable Russia to could grow vegetables of miraculous sizes to feed the nation. It proved not to be true. It led to mass starvation.

Jesus insisted his programs were miraculous and promised the faithful an eternal life much better than the one on earth. With faith and worship to Jesus this would be returned as favors in prayer, “Whatever you ask you will receive it.” – JESUS (Matthew 21:22). It isn’t true. Instead, such prayer solves nothing in the face of mass starvations, illnesses and droughts.
Alas, nothing fails so much as prayer.

#6. Stalin and Jesus played the roles of Messiahs.

Stalin invented Socialist Realism as a propaganda arm to construct a cult of personality for himself – he subverted all of the arts toward the purpose of showing himself and his policies to be the remedy for all of life’s problems. Socialist Realism followed 4 rules devised by Stalin:
Proletarian: art relevant to the workers and understandable to them.
Typical: scenes of everyday life of the people.
Realistic: in the representational sense.
Partisan: supportive of the aims of the State and the Party.

Jesus’ messiahship was a routine blueprint in its day for several mystery faiths; a cult of personality around claims of prophetic miraculous solutions and supposed remedies to life’s most horrific problems. The one and only Savior: “I am the Light and the Way” – JESUS (John 14:6)
And there have been countless others claiming the same thing. In return for worship and obedience of a man/god all treasures will be yours. Though it never seems to work.

#7. Stalin and Jesus insisted on loyalty above all  – or death.

Stalin created the purges and snitch laws to destroy his enemies. Disloyal comrades were not given a hearing but instead were executed quickly and en masse.

Jesus was similarly clear and absolute: “Believe or be condemned” – JESUS (Mark 16:16) and there is no appeal. Every person is obligated to fully believe and even die. “Better to lose your life for me” – JESUS (Matthew 16:25)

#8.  Stalin and Jesus enforced Sadomasochism – enjoining fear and love to keep people in line.

Stalin’s demand of love from the people along with frightening threats of executions and vast prisons in Siberia were directed at the entirety of his population of millions. “A man’s power extends only as far as his army,” Stalin said. Saddam Hussein and other dictators would use the same techniques and attribute them to Stalin.
The fear was enough to convert whole villages to his cause. The ensuing snitch culture destroyed Russian progress for decades.

Jesus preached “Love him” but he could barely wait to incite fear should you fail: “Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell.” – JESUS (Luke 16:15).
If god exists and is truly good, Jesus can only be wrong.
To enjoin tremendous fear with love is called Stockholm syndrome – it is the definition of Sadomasochism.



A LESSON:

Does a real god exist? Who knows?
But be a skeptic until such evidence emerges. Until then, beware claims of perfect, universal answers to life’s problems. Such wishful thinking is what builds religions (like Stalinism and others) and crushes human freedom.

Better to accept that life is uncertain and protect our freedom to say so.

“A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy…”
– George Orwell

Posted in Atheism, dishonesty in religion, God's Failures, lies of Jesus, Right Faith | Tagged | 3 Comments

6 BIG LIES OF JESUS

corruptionJesus said, ‘Satan is the father of lies’ (John 8:44) but here is a good question…‬‪Why did Jesus lie?‬

Thousands of books have been written
to try to explain these lies of Jesus:‬

#1

‪Jesus said,
“‘Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.’ After saying this, he remained in Galilee. But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in private” (John 7.8-10).‬

‪Here Jesus is clearly saying one thing and doing another. I suspect this may have been part of a pattern otherwise it would not have been inserted into the story so casually.‬

#2

‪In Luke 23:43 Jesus lied to the thief,‬ ‪”Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”‬

‪This obviously has to be false, for Jesus was supposed to lay dead in the tomb for three days following his crucifixion. The death of Jesus (as in the utter absence of God for a period of time) is an important part some Christian theology. ‬

‪If the thief went to Paradise that day he did so without ever seeing Jesus there.‬‪ Furthermore, Jesus did not ascend to Heaven for 40 more days according to one version of the story. ‬

#3

‪Another place where it appears that Jesus lied is in His statement in Matt. 24:35:
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” ‬

‪Here Jesus is assuring us that His words will appear somewhere even if heaven and earth disappears. Just for emphasis, this statement is repeated in Mark 13:31 and Luke 21:33.‬

‪But the words of Jesus are indeed already completely lost. All we have are copies of copies as most christian scholars will attest. ‬

‪The original texts of the original 4 gospels are all lost and his language, Aramaic, is extinct and no longer used anywhere.‬

‪The reason for the discrepancies which lead so many different sects is because the exact words and meanings of Jesus’ words are lost forever and no authoritative version can be relied on even today.‬

#4

‪Jesus says, “Heaven…will pass away” yet this is not compatible with any previous statements about Heaven being ‘eternal.’ Jesus must be lying when he refers to “eternal life.”

‪#5‬

‪Regarding signs Jesus lies several times:‬‪
1. In Mark 8:12 Jesus says that “no sign shall be given to this generation.” ‬

‪This is either a deliberate lie or the claims of miracles are all lies.

‪In contradiction to Mark, in Matthew 12:39 Jesus says that only “one sign” would be given – the sign of Jonah.  Jesus says that just as Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, so he will spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Here Jesus makes an incorrect prediction – he only spends two nights in the tomb (Friday and Saturday nights), not three nights.‬

‪2. THEN, In contradiction to both Mark and Matthew, the gospel of John speaks of “many signs” that Jesus did:‬

‪a. The miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana is called the beginning (or first) of “the signs” that Jesus did (John 2:11).‬

‪b. The healing at Capernaum is the “second sign” (John 4:54).‬

‪c. According to these stories, many people were following Jesus “because they were seeing the signs He was performing” (John 6:2).‬

So Jesus lied when he said there will be ‘no sign given’. ‬

‪#6

Jesus, if he had the omniscience of a god, told this lie:‬

“…Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Matthew 16: 27, 28)‬

‪But everyone in his presence did die without seeing the kingdom which was promised. Today they are still waiting for the second coming. Because it never happened and it clearly won’t.

‪Jesus either told all of these lies – or his exact words have been lost (see example 3). ‬
God has not interceded to clear any of it up. ‬And so the branches of Christianity have warred against each other for centuries.‬

Posted in dishonesty in religion, lies of Jesus | Tagged | 32 Comments

8 Reasons why “I AM BLESSED” is a grossly immoral statement

starvingchildFeeling awed and grateful for the good things in one’s life is entirely appropriate.
But for one to say he “is blessed” is fundamentally despicable:

1. You are claiming an all-powerful God LITERALLY interceded in your personal life to grant you a special gift.

2. You are claiming the same God gave you this special gift as he simultaneously and LITERALLY DENIED IT to all the children who died of bone cancer this week – while also denying such a gift to their grieving parents, friends, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and extended loved ones.

3. Further, you accepted this grossly unfair gift without objection to the cruel God who so absurdly handed it out to someone so un-needing as you who does not suffer from bone cancer.

4. And further you accepted it knowing others are unfairly, needlessly denied.

5. And furthermore, you are approving of it.

6. And furthermore you broadcast your approval of this unfair gift as if it were a virtue to do so.

7. And further, you dare to be offended when such heartbreaking favoritism should be challenged.

8. And further, if your God has truly handed you with this undeserved gift while denying it to the more deserving, you are knowingly and willfully worshipping a cruel, tinkering, capricious bastard simply because he conveniently favors you over other people.

To say, “I AM BLESSED” is to thank an immoral monster for sparing you while fully understanding others are in line to suffer while they hear you celebrating.

“I am Blessed” means,
“SCREW you, God saved me
because he likes me better than you!”

This is another example of religion being surprisingly despicable
even as it tries to be positive.

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Dangerous thought #14 – GOD HAS NO MORALITY. INSTEAD, HE TAKES CREDIT FOR YOURS.

GOD OFFERS NO MORALITY.
HE SIMPLY APPROVES ALL THE MULTIPLE CHOICE OPTIONS:

white-magic-tricks“God told me to ________ .”

“Kill them” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)
“Avoid them” – (Romans 16:17)
“Shun them” – (1 Cor. 5:11)
“Forgive them” – Jesus (Luke 24:34)
“Hate THEM” – Jesus (Luke 14:26)
“Let ME kill them” – Jesus (Rev. 2:23)
“Remove him” – (1 Cor. 1:13)
“Curse HIM” – (1 Cor. 16:22)
“LOVE THEM if they are Jewish” – JESUS (Matt. 10:5-6)
“IGNORE THEM IF they are NOT JEWISH” – JESUS (Matthew 10:5-6)
“CONDEMN HIM” – Jesus (Mark 16:16)

Does God decide? Or you? Religion subjects you to a parlor trick.
Your choices are all pre-approved by God no matter which one you pick.
And the result is a reflection of YOUR morality – not god’s.

Unfortunately, religious people are convinced that God is giving them guidance. This belief makes their decisions feel special and right. But this is a cheap and lazy trick –  it is easier to pretend an imaginary god is deciding for you than to face the personal responsibility of whatever choices you had to make. God offers you a multiple choice – and you are always right!

Atheists have no belief in gods. So when we make moral choices we do so without the middle man – we are likely to consider solutions which go beyond God’s multiple choice list of options.

God has no morality. He never did.
You are the one who makes the moral choices. Don’t diminish your value by letting an invisible crook rob you of credit for what you do.

Posted in agnostic, Atheism, God's Failures, godless, Nonbelief, unbelief | Tagged , | 26 Comments

GOD’S TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE A FAILURE


WHY ARE MY TEN COMMANDMENTS
SO MUCH BETTER

THAN GOD’S?

1. Do not have sex with others without their consent. It is rape.
2. Never have sex with children, it is always rape.
3. Be honest.
4. Thou shalt wash your hands every day to prevent getting many illnesses.
5. Do not own other humans, slavery is immoral.
6. Never cause unnecessary harm to anyone.
7. Clean up after yourself.
8. Be careful with the earth’s resources, they are limited and there is no alternative living space.
9. Question authority – even these commandments.
10. Treat others the way you would want to be treated.*

Instead of my list, God piles repeats basically the same message into the first 4 commandments – a waste of an opportunity. His other commandments only apply to property owners; as in, a wife is just property (incidentally, a husband isn’t).

Nowhere does God forbid rape, genocide or slavery – all are recommended.
God later forbids shellfish – yet shellfish is very healthy.

*Christianity destroys the message of reciprocity
by forcing believers to see any challenge about God as a personal assault on themselves. These are two obvious examples:

“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting” (2 John 1:10)

“Let him who has done this be removed from among you.” (1 Corinthians 1:13)

Since my commandments are better than God’s:

1. Why was God not able to do better than he did?
2. Why do we think God is worthy of judging others when he is such a bad judge of himself?

God’s commandments are not impressive.
Here’s a link to them:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+20

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Profound Biblical Contradictions #2 – THERE IS NO AFTERLIFE

What happens after we die?
According to the religious, the entire purpose of this life is to love and worship God – it is a set up for your Afterlife. Heaven and Hell are in the balance. Every detail of your life must be lived with an eye on that impending threat.

For if there were no Afterlife, what would be the point of Salvation? Without a threat of Hell why would you need a Savior to protect you from it? (Hint: You don’t)
Open Holy Bible
Let’s look at what the Bible says:

“THERE IS NO AFTERLIFE” – DEATH IS JUST NOTHINGNESS:
“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5)

NO AFTERLIFE:
“When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them.” (Psalm 146:4)

NO AFTERLIFE:
“human and animal the same, and go to the same place: everything comes from the dust, and everything returns to the dust.” (Eccl 3:20)

NO AFTERLIFE:
“a human being, once laid to rest will never rise again.” (Job 14:12)

RIDICULOUS AFTERLIFE:
“Depart from me, YOU cursed, into the eternal fire…” (Matthew 25:41)

NO AFTERLIFE:
“For what is your life? It is a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14)

NO AFTERLIFE:
“Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.” (Psalm 144:4)

HAPPY AFTERLIFE – EVEN FOR THE CURSED!:
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ SHALL ALL be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22)

DELUSIONAL AFTERLIFE:
“For this corruptible body must put on incorruption, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:53)

SHAMEFUL BIZARRO AFTERLIFE:
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2)
Who does the shaming? Are crowds of ‘non judging’ angels brought down from heaven just for this purpose?

CONFUSED? BLAME GOD:
“Who makes a person dumb or deaf, gives sight or makes blind? IT IS I, Yahweh!” (Ex 4;11)

The Bible was written by men thousands of years before anyone knew where the sun went at night – it is not likely they would know what happened after death, either.

If the Bible is God’s Word, then God is a mess of willful contradictions.
If it is not God’s Word, but instead a bunch of primitive guesses by ancient men, it would be fair to dismiss all of it as no better than what you might guess on your own.

Beware of those who claim the Bible is clear about Hell and Heaven. They are worse than wrong. They are willfully misleading.

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The Illusion of “God’s Will”


Where is God’s Will?

Religious Extremist – “Religion is 100% good. There are no evil parts. I decided this using my own judgement.”

Religious Moderate – “Religion is not perfect. But where the Bible says something terrible I ignore it. I use my own judgement.”

Atheist  “I use my own judgement”  

So.
Regardless of which of these categories you fall into, you are still the decider.
You always were.
Meanwhile, there is no sign of a real God deciding anything.

God’s Will is just your own. So decide wisely!
Your decisions belong to you. Gods, Religions and Unicorns have no wills of their own – except the Will of You!

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I LOVE BEING AN ATHEIST

I JUST CAN’T KEEP IT IN!joy

I love being an Atheist.
I love the freedom of thinking for myself. Don’t you? Isn’t this freedom wonderful?

Atheism is wonderful.
If a God exists, I’ll be happy to acknowledge Him.

While we wait for it to show up, let’s pull ourselves together, help each other and have a wonderful life.

Meanwhile, come join us:

Atheists.org
Godisimaginary.com
ClergyProject.org
FFRF.org

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Profound Biblical Contradictions – #1


“Thou shalt not bear false witness…” – YAHWEH (Exodus 20:16)

corruption

“Blessed are those who have not seen yet believe”
– JESUS (John 20:29)

The Exodus commandment forbids claiming things you have not witnessed. One of the few decent ideas in the Bible.

But Jesus tells us that “not seeing” is better than actually witnessing! Special blessings fall on those who claim as fact that which they choose to believe!

It is an astonishing contradiction.
When Christians claim, “He is risen” – (Matthew 26:6)  they are violating one of the better commandments. Thanks to Jesus, faking things becomes a virtue.

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Dangerous Thought #13 – FAITH IS A TRICK, Not a Truth

Belief in Belief butter-knife

You are probably a good person. Most people are. And doing good for others makes you happy. Humans evolved this reciprocal social attribute over millions of years.

But religion subverts this good heartedness for its own ends by using the Faith Trick.

How the Faith Trick Works
A Knife Becomes a Spoon

This example is a little silly, but its simplicity helps to make the demonstration easier to follow:

Consider a simple butter knife resting on a table in front of you.
Next, a person of some authority approaches you and claims it is good to believe the knife is actually a spoon. This authority insists people’s lives will be saved and made much happier (for some reason only he knows about) as long as you agree to see the knife as a spoon. The authority may even admit this relies on pretending – but once you have crossed that line you are participating in a good cause.

He adds one more thing. Bad things are certain to happen if you don’t play along.

You will not actually be able to believe the knife is a spoon. You cannot.
But for the good of others, you will tentatively accept the the goodness of the belief. You will tell others the knife is a spoon as you have been told to do. You might even be slightly awed and grateful you have been given this mysterious magic which will so easily spread goodness to others!

In this way, the knife can be thought of as a spoon. Pretending becomes the virtuous thing to do.

It only takes a moment to think of the many ways in which religion uses this trick to get you to do all sorts of things:
A wafer turns into Jesus? Blessed water is better than other water? Giving money to the church brings supernatural blessings? Yes – if you have been told it is good to believe in these beliefs.

The doubter is shunned despite having true virtues of honesty, integrity and courage to question authority. Meanwhile, a ‘person of faith’ has been sold on the idea that believing in belief is good. To remain good, he simply must maintain loyalty to these claims.

Faith is the Belief in The Goodness of a Belief.

Once you have decided “to believe in belief” it changes everything – it introduces a fresh concept. It enables you to connect (to leap) otherwise impossible ideas together with ease. As long as you have been assured it is very good to do so.

“Blessed are those who have not seen yet believe”
– JESUS (John 20:29)

This character knows you cannot believe in the resurrection, so he recommends a better idea. Jesus is saying: “Belief in the Belief is even better than really knowing. Lucky you for missing out on what really happened!” 

It is a con job – like turning the knife into a spoon.
Not only is it a command to bear false witness to something you never saw, it claims the lie is virtuous.

In this way, Faith destroys and punishes truth and critical thought.
Whoever wrote these legends of Jesus, they were very good – at playing the trick of faith.

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Why the Term “Good Christian” Can be so Terrifying

Does Jesus command us to judge others? Yes. Harshly and often.

You have seen Christian protestors saying cruel things and you’ve thought – “What is all this? Christ taught non-judgement, didn’t he?”

Why are many Christians so comfortable spewing hateful sounding accusations at people? As in, “God hates” followed by: “Gays, drunks, Jews, blasphemers”..or almost anything else.

The problem stems from the demands Jesus makes for obedience and enforcement. He commands his followers to mete out harsh ad hoc punishments.

This is cleverly disguised by a teaching superficially immunizing Christianity from blame:

“Judge not that Ye be not judged” – JESUS (Matthew 7:1)

In other words, don’t judge other people or God will judge you.

Like much of the Bible it is one of countless banal variations of the secular Golden Rule; an ancient moral code which predates Jesus and requires no gods; it says simply, ‘don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.’

Is this a wise teaching? The golden rule certainly is.
But it doesn’t matter because Jesus does not believe it at all. He repeatedly violates it by directing his followers to conduct merciless, harsh judgement against other people:


“Bring to me those enemies of mine and execute them in front of me.”- JESUS (Luke 19:27) From a parable where Jesus is making a not so very veiled warning to his followers.

“Hate your parents..hate your life..” – JESUS (Luke 14:26)

“Avoid Them” – ROMANS (16:17)

“Do not associate with the GUILTY..” (1 Corinthians 5:11)

“Bad company ruins good morals….” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

“have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.” – (2 Thessalonians 3:14)

“Do not even to eat with such a one.” (1 Corinthians 5:11)

“Do not receive him…or greet him..” (2 John 1:10)

“Go and tell him his fault.” – JESUS (Matthew 18:15)

“Have nothing to do with him!” (Titus 3:9-11)

“LET HIM BE REMOVED” (1 Corinthians 1:13)

“In the name of Lord Jesus Christ…keep away from him!” (2 Thess 3:6)

“Anyone who does not…Let that person be cursed” – (1 Cor. 16:22)

“Deem them unworthy” – JESUS (Matt 10:13)

“Don’t waste….on the people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs!” – JESUS (Matthew 7:6)

“shake the dust off…FOR A TESTIMONY AGAINST THEM.” – JESUS (MARK 6:11)

“Don’t waste….on the people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs!” – Jesus (Matthew 7:6)


Whatever happened to “Judge not”!?

Well, Jesus didn’t mean it.

His many commands (and those of God’s) to judge others harshly far outweigh whatever Jesus was talking about before.

Yet this is exactly what it means to follow Jesus correctly. Unfortunately, many people have not stopped to think about any of this. It helps explain why Christians feel quite comfortable judging others while being convinced it is not them doing the judgement – but God.

Hypocrisy happens not because humans are imperfect – but because Hypocrisy is Jesus’ exact directive: “Judge not AND Judge a LOT”

How could an all-knowing God so badly bungle a message of non-judgement when the message simultaneously demands judging everyone?

And Jesus is worst of all: “be condemned to Hell” – (John 6:53-54 – Mark 16:16).

These commands to judge others are exactly what makes the term “Good Christian” terrifying to people who know the Bible well. If you follow Jesus correctly you are likely to end up with no family, no friends and in jail.

Religion has brought untold misery to countless millions in this way.
And think about it. If God isn’t real, all the misery was for nothing.

You are free to pretend that Jesus is nicer than the Bible says – but such a Jesus lives only in your mind, for your needs. You might as well change his name to yours.

Like all man made theories and philosophies, Christianity is optional.You are entirely free to skip religion if you prefer. You can be the good, caring person you want to be without religion.

And you are much more likely to succeed without Jesus than with him.

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Dangerous Thought #12 – God Won’t Let You Grow Up

The Joy of Prayer is real  –  like the love one feels for a father or mother. 

The feeling of connection to God which one has during prayer is similar to one’s love of Dad and Mom. And there is a good reason for this.

Thanks to evolution we are born with a strong desire to find our parents – it is an unshakable drive and we would die without it.
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And finding that parent is very satisfying indeed. Food, safety and comfort is soon to come your way as your parents protect you and reassure you that all is well.

As we grow, this infantile drive naturally fades as we lose our baby hair, baby teeth, baby skin and ultimately we find our individuality through independence.

But in religion, the baby’s longing for the parent is not allowed to die off.
Instead, this drive is re-directed through indoctrination from the real parent toward an imaginary God. And not surprisingly, the joy of praying to that God can be just as profound as when one is talking to a parent. A belief in a God is a continuation of the parental assurances one received as a child.

And God is better than a real parent in that way. Because this super parent is accessible at all times, and unlike real parents, will never die or leave you.  And just as parents make plans for you when you are young, God has a plan for you, too. Only grander. In a world of uncertainties this can be very comforting.

So religion is the continuation of Mommy & Daddy.
The neurologists and psychologists* have confirmed that Jesus was right all along:


“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
– JESUS (Matthew 18:3)


We are biologically wired for this feature to die off.
But Priests, Pastors, Imams and assorted gurus keep it going. For a fee.

It is a childlike dependence on a fantasy.
Next time you see grownups praying together have some sympathy and take a moment to consider they have been taught to act like a group of adult babies; to mutter supernatural wishes to a super parent.

And worst of all, any attempt to question the God is roundly forbidden. It is met with a cry of ‘blasphemy.’ One is told to shut up, be loyal and have faith in the Holy ‘Father’ despite the complete lack of any evidence that any of it was ever real.


“One must be born again” 
– Jesus (John 3:8)


No, Thanks.
Been there. Done that.


* “Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.” –Sigmund Freud, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis,1933.
“Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis.” –Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion, 1927
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Dangerous Thought #11 – God Corrupts Our Natural Empathy

When we see someone in trouble we want to help. But when we bring God along, it is often counterproductive.

o-FAKE-SMILE-facebookSuppose a person has suffered a terrible loss:

Christian friend:
“I heard you are in need, I’m going to pray for you.”

Atheist friend:
“I heard you are in need, what can I do to help?”

Each friend is acting lovingly. They both want to help.
To be fair, the Christian may pray and also offer practical help.

But what does religion add?

It deflects responsibility: “your problem is in God’s hands.”
It corrupts empathy: “God gave you this problem so I would have a purpose today.”
It corrupts friendship: “I’m here to help you, but only in ways approved by Yahweh.”
It encourages judgement: “God gave you this problem because you did something wrong”
It encourages solipsism: “My prayers to God will be heard, even though yours were not”
It discourages listening : “God knows what your real needs are, not you.”
It distracts us from each other: “Let’s focus on this passage from Isaiah”
It offers false consolation: “God took your baby girl to heaven to help the angels.”
It threatens you when you are in need: “You must have faith or God won’t help”
It guilts you: “You should have prayed more.”
It trains you to think wishfully: “God please help the medicine work better this time.”
It encourages superstition: “God likes you to show your faith, so wear your crucifix.”
It discourages critical thinking: “You only need faith”
It denies evidence: “Trust God, even though that didn’t work last time”
It gives permission to stop caring: “God decided it wasn’t meant to be”
It discourages our best efforts: “Whatever happens, it was God’s will”
It denies us our hard won accomplishments: “Thank God, you did it. Praise the Lord.”  

God may exist – I don’t know. The reports are inconclusive. But even if a God does exist, aren’t we better off ignoring the conflicting claims about what He might want of us – at least until those claims can be reliably verified?

Isn’t that a fair request?

We should be able to simply ask, “What can I do to help?” without assuming
an invisible, unaccountable authority is randomly limiting our options.

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Pope Francis: “You Have No Right to Insult Religion” – The Hell I DON’T!

Pope Francis

The Pope declared on January 14, 2014 that nobody should have the right to speak against religion.

“YOU ARE FORBIDDEN TO INSULT RELIGION”


“the moment you limit free speech, it’s not free speech.” – Salman Rushdie


Dear Pope,

You seemed like a nice guy.

But why aren’t your own private beliefs and prayers enough for you? Nobody has threatened your right to your religion (except for Islam) and nobody should. Is your god so fragile he cannot withstand jokes? You should be embarrassed defending such a wimpy god. Is the Creator of Humor afraid of His creation? people-vs-ideas

You don’t have the right to impose your religious ideas on us.

Meanwhile, you excuse yourself from our laws.

Why are you obstructing justice? Why are you denying access to the pedophilia files in the Vatican? Why have you been hiding Cardinal Bernie Law, the kingpin of the Boston pedophile network in a special suite at the Vatican?

How dare a a religious person deny free speech to anyone or rope off his own actions as above reproach. That is worse than rude of you.

You are begging for the ridicule you say you don’t want.

Today Religion comes with a smiley face – tamed by secularism.
We won’t soon forget how it behaved when it was strong.

– A Friendly Atheist

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Dangerous Thought # 10 – “God Destroys Equality” – How Belief in God Creates Obedience to Unaccountable Authorities

dog training and obedience_r

God destroys the possibility of equality because the belief in a god requires authority figures to speak on his behalf.

The inequality happens when a human interpreter claims there are certain behaviors God wants from humans.

This ‘prophet’ or priest claims legitimate insights and their musings become a set
of taboos and commands from the God.

Because these prophets or messengers speak on God’s behalf, the claims are authoritarian; lists of commandments, for example. No votes are allowed on whether the commands are good or whether they make sense.

The messenger thereby becomes an unaccountable Authority the moment his claims are allowed to dominate.

God beliefs create inequality because the deity’s messengers oversee and police what constitutes proper obedience.


Then burn the entire ram on the altar…a burnt offering…a pleasing aroma…to the LORD by fire.”
(Exodus 29:18)


Does God really desire humans to provide Him with the aroma of burning ram flesh? Who knows? It doesn’t matter what the congregation thinks.
Only the self-appointed messenger or the manifestation of its hierarchy, dares claim the authoritative answer. Further, these Authorities are never required to provide evidence of their claims, why their claims are true or why they contradict from time to time.

There is also no way to separate what the God wants from what the unaccountable interpreters want for themselves.


“Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the firstfruits of all your produce..”
(Proverbs 3:9)


Convenient for the Authority. Right?

Even if equality were an ostensible command of the God, the messenger is still the Authority over other claims, many of which favor him – so equality remains impossible.

Meanwhile, this human authority figure and messenger of God is the judge and jury regarding adherence to the claims or laws.


“You shall purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you…also the children..You may treat them as your property…” – Yahweh (Leviticus 25:44-46)


Lack of obedience to God requires either punishment or forgiveness. Since no real God ever shows up to do this publicly, the Authority figure assumes the role of God’s intermediary (whether a real God exists or not) and acts on his behalf.

How is equality possible in any culture where absolute knowledge about God is claimed by certain Authorities? Theocracy is a natural dictatorship. Power and claims about God go together.

Equality is impossible with God.
It is no wonder that societies without religion tend to be more egalitarian.

Atheist Max – December 1, 2013

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The Illusion of Substance: God Does Not Survive Examination



“…My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.…”
– (Isaiah 55:8-9)

The above claim was made by prophet Isaiah.

“My thoughts are not your thoughts,
NOR ARE YOUR WAYS MY WAYS…”

Notice how empty this is.

It appears God is talking through Isaiah. However, If God’s ways are different from human ways, how could Isaiah – or anyone else – claim to know such a thing? In fact, how could this verse even mean what it claims? It refutes itself.

Which ways are not God’s ways? All my ways?
The way I listen? The way I think? The way I communicate?

If God doesn’t hear the way I hear how am I to talk to him? I guess I can’t use words and neither can He. Shall I use thoughts to talk to Him instead? Again, His way is not how my thoughts work, so how can God know them?

If God is so completely incomprehensible, how could the verse be claimed?
God is saying “No human can understand anything about me,” yet that statement would have to be understood by the human Isaiah.

In other words, how could Isaiah’s claim be determined if the claim is TRUE?
All we have is a meaningless paradox.

Did God speak to Isaiah in God’s way (an incoherent noise, perhaps?) but then Isaiah translated it? How did Isaiah know how to convert the message from ‘God’s way’ to ‘our way’ so we could all understand it? How did Isaiah even determine the noise was God and not something else – seeing as Isaiah’s ways are different from God’s ways, too?

And if God’s ways are higher what does that add to the information so far? What does ‘higher’ mean? And how could ‘higher’ be determined by Isaiah if it relies on unknown ways?

“..Nor are your ways My ways” appears to be something God could not really say and be understood at all – at least not in a way that anyone could confirm. So the claim is meaningless. Whatever buzzed in Isaiah’s ear does not appear to have been God!

The claim is literally without any meaning.
It doesn’t survive a moment of thought.

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DANGEROUS THOUGHT #9 – How The Bible Turns You into God – God Vanishes as You Make Decisions About the Bible but He Returns to Affirm Your Choices

Open Holy Bible

Reading the Bible and deciding what it means is more of a Parlor Trick than Divine Inspiration

The Bible plays an important role in supporting the faithful. And it has some tricks up its sleeve which explain how it wields its power.

The Bible works like a parlor trick. You don’t play it.
It plays you.

I’ll explain.

The Bible very sneakily shifts its authority onto the reader. It can’t be avoided.
The contradictions and puzzles of the Bible demand the reader make choices between opposing positions while giving the illusion the decisions were made by God.


“Love enemies” – Jesus (Matthew 5:44)
“Kill my enemies in front of me” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)


After making your decision ‘to love’ or ‘kill’ an enemy, God takes credit for your decision and it becomes The Word of God. Any choices you make about the Biblical verses are claimed as God’s command – though it is actually only the reader’s decision.

Consider a less obvious example:

“We are all made in His Image and God made us the same!” (James 3:9)

“But there are no roots in him…and when there is distress or persecution because of the word, immediately he falls apart.”  (Matthew 13:21)

perform-sleight-hand-magic-tricks-800X800

No matter how you choose, it is blessed as The Word of God

The above verses contain a stunning contradiction.
How can everyone be made the same, yet some of us have ‘no roots’? These claims conflict and a decision must be made.

You begin to work it out….Has God made some people without roots? Why would he? So the seed of truth cannot take root? Now think of other reasons why God would do this. Anyone can guess, it isn’t difficult.

But notice how God vanishes as you consider the options!
God is not guiding this part of the process, you are.

Ponder which verse is more true. It won’t matter what you finally decide, God returns and blesses your decision – This is the Word of God.
Now you can tell others exactly what God means regarding ‘roots’.

The trick also works whenever there is a question about what is literal vs. metaphorical. Again – the reader is the decider but it is hidden so the credit goes to God.
Another example:


“If I testify about myself, my testimony is Not valid.” – JESUS (John 5:31)

“Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony IS valid.” – JESUS (John 8:14)


Well, is the testimony of Jesus valid or not? It is another contradiction. Continue reading

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OH, THE JOY OF CHRISTMAS ATHEISTS!

Christmas as we know it depends quite a lot on the influence of Atheists.

Here are a few:

grinch-stole-christmas-8

From “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss

THE ATHEIST Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) created the great “GRINCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS,” one of the sneakiest endorsements of Humanism ever smuggled into a Christmas story. The Grinch discovers the holiday is not about gifts but something ‘a little bit more’. If only Christianity would be so demur and benevolent. The Grinch arrives at empathy for others without any supernatural assistance – he does it all on his own!

THE ATHEIST Charles Schulz (Peanuts)
delivered a wonderful version of Christmas in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” which I love and couldn’t do without. Again, empathy from friends brings the happy ending – not Linus’ famous reading of Luke at the Christmas party!

THE ATHEIST Irving Berlin had the biggest Christmas hit in history with “White Christmas” – still one of the most lovely Christmas songs ever written. Never mentions Jesus, god, mangers or wise men. Yet it is beautiful and complete as a nostalgic and wistful sentiment of times gone by. It remains the most popular Christmas song of all time.

THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT is probably an Atheist.
I’m referring of course to the cheery ghost in A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.
In any case, I’m claiming The Ghost of Christmas Present my favorite Atheist.

1971-toon-present-1

The Ghost of Christmas Present from “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens

A devout Christian, Dickens would try to deny it. But this is the ghost who visits Scrooge to show him all the fun he is missing at Christmas; the color, dancing, music, the joy of life, the joys of good company, the love of friends, good food and drink.

And his regal, confident countenance is more pagan Saturnalia than some self-loathing servant of the Lord.

Most revealingly, this ghost explicitly warns Scrooge,

“beware these two children of humanity: ignorance and want.”

This is an argument against Faith. No Atheist could have said it better!

It is also a 100% pro-humanitarian, pro-education message. I can’t think of too many Atheists who would disagree with it. If the message doesn’t strike you as fully endorsing Freethinking, well, it certainly does not encourage one to shut his eyes and say a prayer!

RECONSIDERING “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE”

Frank Capra’s Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life” has no Atheists in it (as far as I can tell) but it has one of the greatest Christian villains in movies; the big banker  Continue reading

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Dangerous Idea #8 – “God and Religion are secular inventions”

Most of religion had become nonsense to me by July of 2013.
Except for one thing. To care about others because God said so. I liked the religious command to reach out of oneself to help other people, the injunction to be compassionate toward other people.

Despite being an Atheist, the command “Love thy neighbor” was still appealing to me. I even wondered if this meant there was a “god shaped hole in my heart.”

After losing God, I felt I was losing my reminder to be empathetic toward other people and this concerned me. I did not want to lose my empathy and didn’t know yet whether Atheism offered an alternative positive suggestion by itself. Because of my upbringing, this demand to care about others seemed tied to Christianity somehow.

“Love thy neighbor”

Religion is structured in such a way that god acts as an excuse to be compassionate toward others – to pray for others. It is a simple belief that one is helping someone by praying for them. Too bad prayer is so statistically ineffective. Continue reading

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My God Died at Sandy Hook


o-SANDYHOOKWINDOW-facebook

My God vanished two years ago today at the Sandy Hook massacre.
He never returned.

Years ago, I visited hundreds of elementary schools when I was a traveling artist in the 1990’s. I taught, read books, drew pictures, sang songs for thousands of children and it was a great highlight of my life.

Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Ct. was such a school – no doubt full of the sweetest kids and most dedicated teachers. Exactly the kind of school where I would typically have once spent an entire day and left with happy memories for a lifetime.

On December 14, 2012 an entire class of 20 first graders ready to be sent home for Christmas break were slaughtered by a mad man with machine gun.

I have had no use for religion ever since.

OF ALL THE WORLD’S IMMORALITY, WHY WAS SANDY HOOK THE ONE WHICH BROKE MY FAITH?

I can only guess. Something about it hit me like no other horror. If God could watch this particular crime and not intervene it cannot be a good god, nor can it be a powerful god, nor a god worthy of the slightest worship.

So why THIS event? Had I never heard of the Holocaust? Or Vietnam? Or the Tsunamis which killed 500,000 people? Of course I had! Continue reading

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Dangerous thought #7, “Love Does Not Require a God”

rogers
IS LOVE POSSIBLE WITHOUT GOD?
ABSOLUTELY.

I did not choose to become an Atheist.
It just happened.

But in that Godless void, I felt a powerful need to rebuild my beliefs from the ground up. Rather than fashion a new religion to replace the old one, I sought more reliable information and evidence.

And then I spotted this photo by Jim Judkis of the great Fred Rogers and a little boy
and I felt a little lost. I had a soft spot for Mr. Rogers. And there is such love in this picture. It is especially beautiful.

An Atheist sees the world without god glasses. And even something like ‘love’ looks different. Continue reading

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Dangerous Thought #6 – “God Did Not Evolve and That is a Big Problem – for God”


EVOLUTION DESTROYS GOD FROM EVERY DIRECTION

If you don’t understand how evolution works
this may be a difficult post to follow. I’ll try to keep it simple.

1. Evolution eliminates Adam and Eve.
2. Evolution eliminates the possibility of the Fall of Man.
3. God did not evolve His own characteristics through adaptation. So how can he have any human characteristics or understand ours?
4.  Humans are still evolving so we must not be made in God’s unchanging image.
5. If evolution is God’s necessary method to create species why did he not use it to create Himself?

FIRST, WE KNOW EVOLUTION CAN’T GO BACKWARDS.
SO THE FALL OF MAN IS IMPOSSIBLE.

“And the LORD said, Behold….now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” (Genesis 11:6)

Adam and Eve are claimed to have been flawless  – practically like god himself. But soon afterwards they ate of the tree of knowledge. So God demoted humanity to something so imperfect it was doomed to Hell. It was called The Fall of Man.

Later, God would supposedly try to save humanity from Original Sin
and God’s Hell by sending Jesus Christ to give people a route back to God’s good graces.

But Evolution explains that humans cannot have fallen from a more perfect
state in the first place. Evolution doesn’t go backwards. It never has. There never was a better version of humans. We have always adapted to our environments.

Continue reading

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Dangerous Thought #5 – “Man Created God in His Image”


April 11, 2013.

I was a Christian for so many years. Yet, how did I miss this?

A closer look at the Old Testament reveals God to be an impossible ogre
No different from a regular stone age barbarian.

“Some boys came out of the town and jeered at him, ‘Get out of here, baldy!’ 
So he called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.”

(KINGS 2:23-24)

God kills all of the boys simply because a few shouted ‘baldy.’ 

“You shall purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you…also the children..You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children, they shall be a PERMANENT inheritance.…”
(Leviticus 25:44-46)

Buy people? Even children can be bought as permanent property?
Disgusting.
Continue reading

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Dangerous Thought #4 – “Might the Success of Jesus be Largely Attributed to His Threat of Hell?

February 2013.

Jesus threatened eternal damnation.
This terrifying new idea must have coerced
many people then just as it does today.


“Be baptized and believe”

or “Be condemned to Hell”
– JESUS

(John 6:53-54) (Mark 16:16)

The old Testament says nothing about a punishing afterlife.
Yet in the New Testament, Jesus introduces Hell as a threat to sinners.

The threat of Hell would certainly focus a person’s mind.

And wouldn’t it be very corrupting from the start? I can imagine how it must have  terrified people, keeping them hanging on every word Jesus said.

Add to this the problem that physical sickness was understood as the outward expression of sins. In other words, if you are sick in some way you are afflicted with sins. Sins cause disease. Continue reading

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My First Christmas Without Jesus – 2012

Journal Entries:

January 22, 2013:

Christmas was sad this year. For the first time I felt no faith and no purpose for a Jesus.

Lack of faith was not the main reason for the sadness – it was the news and the realization that I have a lot of work to do regarding my beliefs. The Newtown school shooting on the 14th where 20 little kids and 6 adults were killed is still thick in the air even a month later.
Continue reading

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Dangerous Thought #3 – “The Crazy People are not Misinterpreting Their Religion. They are Following it”

Extremist –  “Someone who accepts God’s Word exactly as written.”

January, 2013

Up to this point it had been inconceivable to me that religion was the reason for the awful behavior of certain Christians and Muslims I had been reading about in the news. I thought I had understood, as most people do, that suicide bombings and that sort of thing are done by religious “extremists.”

It never occurred to me before that these immoral actions were the natural end products of the doctrines taken literally.

The heart of faith is just a brain on autopilot.
Don’t think. Just believe. Continue reading

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Dangerous Thought #2 – “Oh, My God. There is No God!”

December 14, 2012

My God Died in Newtown

I had been humming Christmas carols in the car driving back home through New England. I had just finished a business trip in the early afternoon on December 14, 2012 looking forward to a busy holiday weekend.

Once inside, I turned on the computer to check my email.

“Breaking news: massacre.”
What? I clicked the link. It was a horror story. An entire first grade elementary class in Newtown, Connecticut had been killed. 20 sweet children and several dedicated adults had been massacred by a madman with a machine gun.

All other thoughts left me. This news was so horrible – so terrible. Pictures of the children with their families rolled across the banners. I may have actually screamed, “No!”
Stunned and shaken, I wept like millions of other people at this news.

I didn’t know these children. But in a way, I felt so close to them. I had a 4 year old niece near Newtown. I had visited similar elementary schools as a teacher – so this felt very personal. All my previous questioning about ‘faith’ had been in the back of my mind. But until Newtown it had not taken shape.

And God’s lack of relevance this time had a kind of weight of its own, as when Malala Yousufzai had been shot but much heavier. But these little children! Such a deep unfairness of their loneliness as they died; for the tragic, needless, permanent loneliness of their parents as they confront this horror. The depth of the unfairness and cruelty was unbearable.

I was so angry, so sad and so lost in the sorrow of the story, I had a sudden powerful need.

In this horrible moment, alone in my house with pictures of dead children
I desperately craved honesty
Continue reading

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9 Ways the Christian Faith Has Hurt Me

A very thoughtful post by another ex-Christian!

Renegade Memos

Before I dive in, I have to thank you guys for the thoughtful interactions on myprevious post about leaving Christianity. Religious deconversion is an important issue, and at the risk of having a few posts on the same subject, I’d like to keep sharing more of my experience here. Since that last post, I moved apartments, performed at the World’s Largest Music Festival (twice!), and got a horrendous case of stomach flu that landed me in the E.R. In any case, I’m back now, so here we go…

Disclaimer: As I explained in my previous post, my leaving Christianity did not originally stem from rebellion or hurt – as many of my evangelical friends assume – but was instead simply an acceptance that what I had learned about reality did not line up with the disjointed “truth” taught to me by the Bible and religious leaders. All of the…

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The Growing Religiosity of New Atheism

ATHEISM IS NOT A RELIGION
It is an opinion. But I have found a blogger named Michael who seems not to understand this:

“Having convinced themselves they are the Champions of Science and Reason, the New Atheists see themselves as history’s chosen people who are currently in a crucial battle with the forces of darkness – the religious.”

Atheists are not united. We do not share convictions nor do we understand each other very well. We only share one thing. We do not believe in a god.

Religion wants the right to force everyone into their phony dichotomy:
“You are either with us or against us”

We Atheists don’t believe in your God. But our opinion is fragile – all you would need is some evidence and you would settle this whole thing. Until then stop badgering us into your phony mythology. There is no reason to believe it to be true.

Shadow To Light

I think religiosity is an intrinsic part of being human and is also perhaps the most unique of human characteristics.  We can get a feel for just how common this trait is by noting the religious behavior of secular atheists, people who are supposed to be non-religious.  Since they deny the existence of God,  some other aspect of life fills that vacuum.  A common avenue is political ideology, where  many secular atheists become extreme, political zealots, viewing their ideology as The One True Way while demonizing all who oppose them.  History shows us how this dynamic was carried it to its logical end in the Soviet Union, where the secular ideology of Communism was forcefully imposed on millions of people.

Today, the New Atheist Movement has made the religious dimension of atheism all the more obvious.  From an intellectual perspective, there is no such thing as good and evil if…

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