Posts Tagged Religion

Gov. Crist makes god put up a force field

According to Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, we’ve been spared from the hurricanes because he stuffed a little piece of paper in a hole in a wall. Of course, it requires the wall to be in Jerusalem and the paper has to have a prayer on it to get direct action from god. In this case, god responded by putting up a force field around Florida to protect the nation’s wang from the mean old storms.

See? Here’s the latest one bouncing off of the invisible sky daddy’s power:

Danny misses FL and heads towards New England, as god wanted

Danny misses FL and heads towards New England, as god intended.

I mean, how could there be any other explanation? Either no one has previously prayed for hurricanes to miss Florida or else god just really likes Crist. I’ll bet god said, “Fuck the prayers from people in other states, I’m gonna protect Florida ’cause Charlie is such a good guy!”

Charlie is quite the modest one, though, despite his influence over an omnipotent supreme being:

[Crist] said he’s not taking credit for the lack of storms in this hurricane-prone state.

“I give that to God,” Crist said. “But it’s nice.”

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I love kids!

Their minds are amazing. The simplicity of their logic sometimes gets right to the crux of the matter. Watching them grow and learn is such a thrill.

I met my wife and kids at the bookstore the other day. We were switching cars so that I could take the young’uns home and she could go out. After a few minutes of perusing such literary classics as Fancy Nancy and The Boxcar Children, the two rugrats and I went outside with the kids while my wife checked out with the armful of books they had selected.

The bookstore had some nice benches right outside the front entrance. My daughter eschewed the bench for the pleasures of sitting on the ground (“See dese ants? They are my babies! I yuv dem!”). My son sat with me on the bench and proceeded to chat. He’s a big fan of chatting.

“I know you don’t believe in god,” he said.

We’ve always told him that various people believe different things. He knows that the ancient greeks (among others) had a number of different gods. He liked the story about the sun being pulled through the sky by a god in a chariot. Especially since he knows that the sun is ginormous ball of plasma out in space. And we’ve explained the Jesus thing to some degree; christmas and easter kinda needed that part so that he wasn’t thoroughly lost when visiting my mother. But we never had much talk about “god” in general.

A while back he mentioned god and it occurred to me to ask what he thought god was. “He’s just this guy who invented nature,” was the reply. Not bad for someone with limited exposure to religious types. We left it there.

He’s been curious about this lately. And since his favorite past time is listening to the conversations of my wife and I, he’s starting to pick up on things that we used to talk over his head about. So he wanted to know about hell. “Some people believe…” we began as we usually do, “that if you don’t believe in their god you go to a place called hell where you are tortured for all eternity.” “That doesn’t sound very nice,” he phlegmatically replied. And he left it alone.

He heard the term atheist and wanted to know what that was. “It’s someone who doesn’t believe in gods,” I told him. “Are you an atheist?” he wanted to know. “Yes,” I replied. And he left it alone.

I’ve been reluctant to follow up with him on this subject. He is an extremely inquisitive kid, so I figured that if he wanted to know more he would ask. I didn’t want to indoctrinate him by preaching my set of beliefs (or lack thereof) any more than I wanted my mother to indoctrinate him with stories of Jesus. I hadn’t come up with any sort of official “talk” to have with him about religion, though my wife and I have discussed how we want to handle it.

“I know you don’t believe in god,” he would occasionally say out of the blue to me. “That’s right,” I would reply, always expecting the usual follow-up question from him: why? But he never went there. I suspect that he was pondering it, as much as a 6 year old can ponder anything, given their attention spans.

So this time, when he told me that he knew I didn’t believe in god, I wasn’t really expecting the conversation to go anywhere. “Why don’t you believe in him?” came the next question. Without missing a beat, and much to my own surprise, I replied, “Because there is no evidence for a god. No one has seen it or found any evidence that one exists.” He responded, “Oh, kinda like Santa Claus. No one sees him, either.”

Oh shit, now I had stepped in it. It’s one thing to have an existential discussion about a deity, but Santa? My wife was gonna kill me. She loves Santa. She’s quite aware that we provide “Santa’s” presents. She’s been up with me at 3 am on christmas morning still wrapping gifts. But she still believes. She loves the magic and the thrill of it, the spirit of Santa. It’s woo, but it’s fun. I don’t buy the crap about how when the “lie” of Santa is revealed it destroys children. I wasn’t devastated when I figured out that Santa had the same handwriting as my dad. For us, it’s about an attitude of giving and knowing doesn’t make it any less rewarding. All that being said, we weren’t going to keep the charade going until he went away to college. The expectation was that as he got older he would begin to figure it out. We wouldn’t lie if he flat-out asked if we were Santa.

Fortunately, I was able to steer the conversation back to the safer topic of god. As we drove home, he asked a few more questions about my lack of belief. I explained that I thought that the natural world was already such an amazing place that I didn’t feel that we needed to invoke the supernatural to appreciate it. I started talking about the wonder of the universe, of it’s origins in the Big Bang, of the evolution of life and how it led to us.

After a few minutes of listening, he said, “You know what? I’m with you. I don’t believe in god either.” This wasn’t quite what I had expected. “You know,” I said, “you don’t need to make up your mind right this second about this. I’m not trying to convince you or tell you to believe a certain way.” “I know,” he replied, “I just agree with you. God doesn’t make sense.” I went on to continue to assure him that he didn’t have to make a decision right now and that he would have plenty of opportunities throughout his life to evaluate the evidence and ask questions and make up his mind.

So for now, the Turkey doesn’t believe in god.

Update: Edited for grammar so my wife quits making fun of me :-)

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Ponderings on Beliefs Past

I’ve actually been working on this one for a while; a rather different process than my usual throw-something-snarky-out-there-in-5-minutes style. Jason shamed me into posting it ;-)

Many times during the debate between atheists and christians, the christians often throw out the trope that we atheists just haven’t read the bible enough or been taught the “right” thing about Jesus, despite the fact that a large number of atheists are converts from religions that otherwise produce “true believers”. Our religious education is lacking, they claim. When their claims are proved false, for example by the atheist being an evangelical christian for 30 years before leaving that belief, then the No True Scotsman fallacy is drug out. They weren’t “real christians” or “true believers”. Here’s a peek into my own religious upbringing so you know where I’m coming from.  For me, religion wasn’t so much about belief as it was just a part of life. Lemme ‘splain.

I grew up with a solid German Lutheran background: the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod, for those in the know). My grandfather, a second generation German-American with a wonderful gravelly voice, was a pastor in said church. Since we lived in a different city so he wasn’t my pastor. My family went to church every Sunday; I attended sunday school and then confirmation classes when I reached junior high. I participated in the Youth Group, went on retreats, was a member of the adult choir while still in high school (on account of me singing so good) and I was even an acolyte, which meant I got to light the candles before service and collect the empty little glasses after communion (though when I hear the word “acolyte” I think of D&D).  My family said prayers before dinner and bed (“Come Lord Jesus” and “Now I Lay Me”, respectively, though not the creepy version of “Now I Lay Me” with the line in it about dying before waking up).

Up until probably the end of high school I would have identified myself as a christian. Mostly due to apathy, I think. It’s not like I was really into it. Sometimes the debate about theological minutia was interesting, in a sort of pseudo-philosophical way, but outside of required activities I gave little thought to what I “believed”. Towards the end of high school I was calling myself an agnostic privately (when I bothered to give it any thought at all) and as soon as I moved away from home at 20 or so I stopped going to church.

When I was a small child I was classified as “hyperactive”, now more clinically called ADHD. This meant that sitting through an hour of mind-numbing talk on uncomfortable benches was rather difficult, to say the least. Many times I was removed from church for the obligatory spanking from my father for not sitting still, not paying attention, not being quiet, etc. (nothing severe, no switches or belts involved, just your old-fashioned butt paddling). As much as I dreaded the spanking,  getting out of that dark and oppressive place was refreshing. The absolute best part of church was leaving it, seeing that bright sunshine and fresh air after suffering through the stifling boredom of the past hour.

Church was not a place of fire and brimstone, but rather boredom and monotony, from my point of view anyway. Hell was a rather nebulous concept not so much defined as a literal place but rather as a state of being separated from god’s grace. Whatever the hell that means. Most of the sermons seemed to be about interpreting the bible as to how it applied to our own lives and our own behaviours. There was no excoriation of other groups, no condemnation of the gays or the blacks. Very little of the focus was on evangelizing beyond the whole “This little light of mine” kind of thing. We were encouraged to spread the word, but only if people came asking about it. No standing on street corners handing out fliers for us.

One thing that I always appreciated was that my two pastors growing up were open, honest decent people. Our youth pastor during those tumultuous teen years was especially good at working with kids and talking honestly with us about those sexual feelings we were discovering and dealing with cliques and other teenage torments. We were never made to feel like we were dirty for getting excited at the opposite sex (no one I knew was gay, so that topic didn’t really come up) and we were flat out told that there was nothing wrong with masturbation. Sex was a gift from god, we were taught, that was to be appropriately shared by married people. But we should use a condom if we weren’t going to wait.

During confirmation classes (aka catechism) we followed Luther’s Small Catechism, which basically meant memorizing the Apostles and Nicene Creeds and the Lord’s Prayer, along with Luther’s explanation of  their meaning. We also covered the history of the religion along with a basic overview of the beliefs of other major christian religions and the various minor differences between them. A catholic was just as much a christian as a baptist as a lutheran, even though they did weird things in their services. Mormons were out, however, as were JW’s. Jews for Jesus were probably allright.

So, what was I taught about evolution? Nada. Zip. Zilch. At least, not from the church. It never came up. When I asked my mom about it one time (I was probably in elementary school) she said that she thought that Genesis was metaphorical, at least as far as the whole creating everything in six days business, and that god probably guided evolution to create us. The flood story kinda fell into the same category, at least in my mind. Even as a child I had a very difficult time swallowing the concept that all life was bottlenecked through that ark. Does not compute. Since I was, even then, fairly non-confrontational (not to mention lazy), I never pushed the issue. Those kinds of conversations always ended up with something to the effect of “we’ll have to ask god when we get to heaven to explain that.”

My parents were very active in the church too. They were youth group leaders, served on several committees and my dad was even the President of the congregation for a while. This introduced me to the nastiness that is church politics. I should just say politics, because there is very little different with the church kind. Backroom deals, backstabbing, double-crossing, self-serving; they were all just as much a part of church politics as they are of the more secular kind. I also had another somewhat unique perspective in that my grandfather was a pastor. Hearing my mother bitch about her parents definitely allowed me to realize early on that pastors were just as fallibly human as the rest of us. There was nothing that was more special or divine about them that gave them any more authority. They went to a special college and got a degree, that’s all.

I got married in the same church I grew up in, not out of any particular religious significance, but because when I was a child I had attended a wedding there and had told myself that I would be married there as well. So basically for sentimental and nostalgic reasons. My grandfather performed the ceremony, as he had done for all his children and their children. It wouldn’t have felt right to not have him perform it. Now, as an atheist, I still might have done that way. My Papa and I had a special relationship. We shared a birthday, albeit 50 years apart.

Anyway, to end this rambling, fast forward to today. I came out as an atheist almost a year ago, due in no small part to PZ Myers and Pharyngula and the rest of the bunch over at ScienceBlogs.com that opened my eyes and jumpstarted me into shucking my apathy and standing proud for what I (don’t) believe in.

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The “Real” Creation Story

One memory from childhood stands out as a pivotal moment in the formation of my beliefs. When I was in the fifth grade (I would have been 9) there was one of those Science Bowl competition thingies. The topic for my grade level was “Endangered Species”. Being the bright kid that I was, my science teacher had selected me to be a member on the team. Not that any of this is important, except to serve as a backdrop for this story.

The real Tree of Knowledge?

The real Tree of Knowledge?

Being part of the team meant that I got to hang out after school in the science classroom, reviewing the material in preparation for our competition. After one of these review sessions we were all standing around talking, waiting for our parents to pick us up. It was your typical classroom with cinder block walls painted a horrid institutional green. I was standing next to the bulletin board, idly examining the way that the wooden frame had been painted over multiple times, since the chips of paint revealed the layers. I don’t remember how the conversation drifted in the direction it took, but the teacher made an interesting observation. She remarked that some people thought it was possible that humans were really aliens who had crashed on Earth. The whole business about the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden was really a story about the crashed ship’s computer that had gotten garbled over the years.

I still have the pillowcase

I still have the pillowcase

Already at that age I was into the science fiction and had a huge Star Wars action figure collection. And Star Wars sheets, pillowcase and blanket. When my friends and I played Star Wars, I got to be Luke because I had blonde hair. So this idea of a space faring people colonizing the Earth was absolutely fascinating to me. It seemed way more plausible than the version that they taught in church. From that point on, any time I heard or thought about Genesis, I couldn’t help but imagine this alternate version of events and what fantasize about what really had happened.

Now, I didn’t actually believe in the literal truth of this alien story any more than I bought into the idea of an omnipotent being creating a golem out of clay. But it definitely introduced me to alternate ways of thinking about religious texts instead of just accepting the “official” position. This memory (and Star Trek) opened my mind to the possibility that the universe was much more fantastic and amazing than boring old god.

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Slicing and Dicing: Responding to a Reader’s Comment

This started out as a reply to a recent comment on an older post of mine, but the commenting system told me it was too long, so I figured I’d address it out here.

In the original post, I was mocking an article the WorldNutDaily had published where they tried to prove “scientifically” that the jews were ruining the world. From the original article:

University of Wisconsin geologists analyzed the chemical composition of individual rings that formed the stalagmite growing up from the floor of the Soreq Cave near Jerusalem between 200 B.C. and 1100 A.D. Geologists John Valley and Ian Orland concluded the climate was drier in the eastern Mediterranean between 100 A.D. and 700 A.D., with steep drops in rainfall around 100 A.D. and 400 A.D. – a period of waning Roman and Byzantine power in the region.

WND used these studies as confirmation of a jewish rabbi’s claims that this was the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy.

Now, to address Mike’s comments…

You sure get excited/angry about this stuff. Here’s a couple thoughts.

Thanks for noticing!

You’re mocking and saying how stupid the report is, yet you aren’t refuting any of the scientific studies involved. Your argument basically sums up to, “That’s true, but they’re stupid.”

My intention was not to refute any of the scientific studies involved. I have not read them and have no beef with trying to figure out, scientifically, what the changes in the climate have been in a particular region of the world. What I’m mocking is the completely unsubstantiated claim that the rainfall patterns in the middle east have anything to do with the supposed “prophecy” of a book written by a bronze-age group of men.

If you’re going to argue or debate against something, at least have evidences available to debunk the evidence coming from the other side.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It’s not my job to un-prove something, it’s the job of the person making the claim that there is something supernatural going on. And, no, I don’t accept “the bible said so” as extraordinary evidence. Try again.

You’re mocking the fact that some people are pointing out that the land of Israel/Palestine dried up right around the same time that the Jews were dispersed and almost entirely destroyed by the Roman Empire. You’re mocking the idea that there is any sort of link. There is no giant sign saying, “God removed the rain when the Jews left.” But these are two events that took place at the same time, the drought lasting many centuries. So when you’re attacking the report, I find myself a little confused. Are you saying that the science that says the rain stopped at that point in time is false? Are you also saying that the Jews were not dispersed or nearly wiped out by the Roman Empire around the same time? See, you’re ridiculing the idea that there is a link, yet the facts remain. Whether or not there is any link at all, nothing changes the fact that these two events occurred at about the same time.

correlation != causation (“!=” means “does not equal”, for all you non-computery folks)

Let’s try this one: at the same time I picked my nose, a cat died. The facts remain, these two events happened at the same time. Therefore my nose-picking caused the death of a cat. They must be related. See what I did there? I could write for the WorldNutDaily!

No doubt there is a perfectly scientific and natural explanation for the rain drying up when it did, but that simple fact doesn’t change the fact that God could have arranged it that way on purpose through subtle or not so subtle nudges. [emphasis mine]

Shyeah, and monkeys could fly out of my butt! (to paraphrase one of the great philosophers). Just because something could happen doesn’t mean that it did happen. You have to provide evidence that what happened wasn’t the result of observable, testable, repeatable natural phenomena, otherwise my claim about monkeys is just as likely as your claim about the intervention of a god. See Russell’s teapot.

Another example is a person trying to stay warm. He might add wood to a small fire and bundle up in warm clothing in order to warm up. He gets warmer, that’s the result, but it didn’t just happen by itself. He made it happen through the use of natural processes (he put on warm clothes and added wood to the small fire).

I’m not sure what this has to do with anything. Are you saying that god makes us want to get warm? I don’t get it.

I’m not defending the beliefs put forward in the article, however to undermine something from the standpoint of, “It’s not possible because I don’t want to believe it” sets yourself up for a serious knock down.

If I did try to “undermine something from the standpoint of, “It’s not possible because I don’t want to believe it” “, I would, indeed, be set up for a serious knock down. However, I did nothing of the sort. Reading comprehension much?

Coming from the core of, “God doesn’t exist,” is fine, but you’ve gotta backup an argument with a lot more than something as intangible as the existence of God (true or not).

Um, yeah, that was kinda my whole point. The entire WND article was conclusions based on nothing more than “something as intangible as the existence of God “. I was just pointing out how ridiculous such “logic” is. I like to share the lulz!

In the end, the rain stopped, the Jews left at that time, and it’s an interesting coincidence if nothing more.

And it will appropriately be regarded as nothing more than an (un)interesting coincidence until more substantial evidence than, “IT’S IN THE BIBLE!!!11!!” is provided.

Attacking a belief with a different belief is like two ghosts trying to have a boxing match, each punch completely incapable of connecting or causing any harm to the other.

Nice strawman, but I never attacked “belief with a different belief”.

Thanks for playing! Come again!

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122nd Carnival of the Godless

Welcome to the 122nd edition of the Carnival of the Godless, a collection of the absolute best writing in the atheist blogosphere*.

* the best writing that was submitted and that I picked to be showcased, anyway.

The internets is an overwhelming place. Finding content that is interesting, informative and entertaining can be a hit-or-miss affair. In the past, blog carnivals played an important role in the dissemination of information by providing a one stop shop on articles about a specific topic. That role seems to be diminishing as the blogosphere becomes more crowded and other forms of social media have achieved greater prominence. There’s a very good discussion about carnivals, the cause of their decline and what can be done to save them happening over at Atheist Revolution.

Personally, I love hosting carnivals. I’ll admit, as one of the smaller bloggers, I get a thrill out of seeing my hits spike when I host one. But a less selfish motivation is the sense of community that a carnival can bring. So on that note, I bring you a collection of atheist writers commenting on current events, the state of atheism, religion in general and whatever else tickles their godless fancy.

Sciency Goodness Godlessness

The atheist community is often represented by scientists. This makes perfect sense when you consider that science is the method for understanding the natural world and atheism is the rejection of the supernatural world (oversimplification, I know). The following writers show us how science and our ever increasing knowledge of how the universe operates inform their positions on atheism.

In the news recently was the appointment of Francis Collins as the director of the National Institutes of Health. This appointment raised some eyebrows. Collins is a geneticist and was head of the National Human Genome Research Institute, successfully leading the Human Genome Project to completion. He is also the author of a book entitled The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.

This is all background for Joel’s first grant application to the Collins NIH posted at Your religion is false. I’ve never submitted a grant application to the government, but I would imagine they are something like this.

With a terrific insight into both the amazing geology of the Grand Canyon and his own background,  (((Billy))) The Atheist shows us the poverty of a Young Earth viewpoint. I’ve never visited the Grand Canyon, but Billy’s piece moved me to make it a priority in my life to someday make the trip.

“Intelligent Design” is always a popular subject, with science finding new information every day to poke holes in the “theory”. At The Evolving Mind, Andrew Bernardin tells us how a study involving chromosomal abnormalities demonstrates Imperfect Design and Natural Abortions Galore.

Atheism, Activism, Awareness

One of the reasons that we even have blogs about atheism is that people are making the effort to stand up against the irrational bigotry against atheism. The following authors give us their insights into promoting atheism and participating in the efforts to spread the good news of not having any gods.

One technique that is used to shut down criticism of religion is wielding the club of “respect”. This club is often used to shut down discussion of the flaws in religion by claiming that we need to have the proper respect for religions and the religious. Yunshui lets us know what he thinks that R-E-S-P-E-C-T is all about over at at Right To Think. Unfortunately for us, we won’t be hearing much from Yunshui in the near future as he is leaving the blogoworld for the time being. Congrats on the arrival of Babyshui!

Blogs aren’t the only way to promote the atheistic viewpoint. Adrian Hayter gives us good tips on How To Be A Successful Atheist On Twitter posted at the aptly named blog, The Atheist Blogger. One tip I can add is not to insult the #jaffacakes. Oh, and follow @ah8r. And @CyberLizard. That last was not so much a tip as a command.

We atheists turn up in the most unusual places. Did you know that there are  Atheists in Mississippi? vjack tells us all about them at Mississippi Atheists.

In the world at large, being an atheist isn’t exactly the best way to make it to the top of the popularity charts. It can also be hazardous to your health. Jennifurret shares some of her family’s concerns for her well-being while out being an activist for atheism and her responses in  Apparently I’m in mortal peril posted at Blag Hag. She also has another interesting piece up about the nature of atheism on teh internets – Oh noes, atheists are taking over teh internets!!11!one!!.

Legal Battles

Not only are atheists discriminated against by individuals, there are significant efforts to either write anti-atheist bigotry into law or fight efforts to remove instances of it from current laws. Part of our goal  as atheist bloggers is to make the general public aware of these efforts and to encourage and promote the fair treatment of people of all beliefs, including those with no religious beliefs.

Not every country enjoys the protections of the USA’s Establishment clause ensconced in our Constitution. Not only are many countries lacking these protections, their governments are actively passing new laws based on religion, as M. Rundkvist shows us in Ireland and Lithuania Pass Old Testament Laws posted at Aardvarchaeology.

Here in the USA, we have the nominal protection offered by the Constitution. However, that doesn’t stop those who want to promote their own religious agenda over all others from trying to sneak their bigotry into our government. Why Atheists Object to Engraving “In God We Trust” on the Capitol Visitor Center posted at Atheist Revolution by vjack gives a good overview of exactly what this supposedly innocuous national motto really means and why it needs to be removed.

Personal Atheism

Atheism isn’t just a movement or a cause. It is also a part of who we are as unique individuals. There are a great number of misconceptions about atheism and atheists in general. It is important for us to share our own personal stories in an effort to show the world that we are not (all) baby-eating monsters.

Angela84 wants to share, in her words, “Just one person’s view on religion and atheism. Please add comments! Tell me what you think, or what you believe!” with her post LORD WHAT FOOLS THESE MORTALS BE! at ~angela’s random thoughts~. I would encourage you to pop over and welcome her to the fold.

Love makes the world go around. Or something like that. There’s no question that love is an incredible and powerful emotion. Some theists like to think that they have the love market cornered. Stephanie Zvan gives us several examples of  Atheists in Love posted at Quiche Moraine. *sniff* I love you guys! [/emo]

Religion in General

Sometimes our blogging leads us to point out the flaws in religion and religious thinking. It may come in the form of trying to reveal religion as the magical thinking it is, or it may be a post debunking the lies spouted by the creationist movement in their misguided efforts to discredit evolutionary theory. Even just recounting the historical facts of atrocities committed in the name of religion can promote our cause by countering the claims of the benefits of religion. These posts take on religion and religious thought.

Analogies are a useful tool to bring an otherwise incomprehensible idea into focus by framing it a situation or idea that we are familiar with. PhillyChief does a good job revealing the ridiculousness of the thought processes of religions in  Closed-minded? posted at You Made Me Say It….

I have run into the argument that everyone’s entitled to their opinion many times. This is another tool used to stifle criticism of religion. Staks talks about his own experiences with it and his response at Dangerous Talk.

A particularly nasty fight is being waged to bring creationism into our schools. The strategies of the creationists are often full of lies and misinformation. It is very important to counteract these lies by illuminating the truth. Eric Michael Johnson debunks the attempts to discredit Darwin in Darwin’s Connection to Nazi Eugenics Exposed posted at The Primate Diaries.

“Kill them all, let God sort them out.” I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase. Did you wonder where it came from? Turns out there’s a historical basis for it, as Jason shows us in 1209: Massacre of Beziers, “kill them all, let God sort them out” posted at Executed Today. Extremely disturbing story (as are most religious stories) that reveals just one of the more egregious examples of religion being used by men to dominate others.

LULZ

Of course, we’re all really in it for the lulz. And by all I mean me. If there were a god, I would hope that it would deliver something like this: Dear Joe The Plumber… posted at “Gone Fishin’: Postcards From God”.

Many atheists are converts from various religions. A large number are former christians who have gone through the ritual know as baptism. Both for a bit of blasphemous fun and as a serious statement on their non-belief, some atheists are being de-baptised. In his post on debaptism at Dr. Jim’s Thinking Shop and Tea Room, Dr. Jim encourages us to C’MON OUT, THE BLOWDRYER IS FINE!

And that’s the way it is. Thanks for all the terrific submissions. If I didn’t include yours, it was either spam, I hated it, or I just ran out of room. Keep up the great work in the atheist blogosphere!

Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of the Godless using our
carnival submission form.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Which version of Job is more fun?

Job is my favorite. Because, of course, nothing says fun like boils, pestilence and death just to prove a point. Which one of these versions do you like better? I’m having trouble deciding.

LOLCat Bible Translation Project

LOLCat Bible Translation Project

The Brick Testament

The Brick Testament

Of course, if you really want to get geeky AND creepy, check out this version:

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh C'thulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh C'thulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

ht: Jason

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Reading comprehension problem amongst the fundies

Where Church and State really intersect

Where Church and State really intersect

I couldn’t decide whether to LMAO or throw up. The EPIC FAIL that is fundies never ceases to amaze me. I stumbled upon one of their Facebook groups.

Put Christ Back Into Schools*

Allow freedom of teaching of the Bible by all teachers in all schools across America.

Positions:
  1. Allow Teaching of and only the Bible by teachers at any time to students anytime.
  2. Allowing the Bible (and only the Bible) to be an elective in all schools, and not forced upon.
Category:
Education – Elementary and Secondary
Description:
*We believe every teacher should have the right to teach the Bible at any time. Please note: To clearify, this group is for teaching of the entire Bible, and only the Bible. According 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, every person has the right to religion. Why is praying/reading of the Bible not allowed in most schools?

Let’s go ahead and take a look at the actual text of the 1st Amendment, shall we?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The first sentence is what the ignorant fundies are talking about: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…” This is widely regarded as designed to prevent the establishment of a state religion by the government. It is also interpreted by the Supreme Court to mean that the government cannot promote one religion over another (Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687 (1994), Justice David Souter, writing for the majority, concluded that “government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion”.)

What this group advocating the return of “Christ” to the classroom is seeking is inherently unconstitutional. They make this clear in their position statements: “Allow Teaching of and only the Bible by teachers at any time to students anytime.” Right there, see that? They want the government to promote their bible over any other religious text. And just in case we missed it, they’ve got an asterisk note:

We believe every teacher should have the right to teach the Bible at any time. Please note: To clearify[sic], this group is for teaching of the entire Bible, and only the Bible.

C’mon, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is clearly discriminatory and blatantly unconstitutional. Why should your mythology get preferential treatment over any other?

According [sic] 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, every person has the right to religion. Why is praying/reading of the Bible not allowed in most schools?

Why is this so fracking hard to understand: every student has the absolute right to pray/read the bible in school. No one has argued that they don’t have that right or shouldn’t have that right. What we’re trying to avoid is having the schools (aka the government) impose your mythology in our institutes of education.

Let me put it in a way that even fundies can understand. Let’s say your kid came home and told you that their teacher was telling them that Odin created the world and that if they died in battle they would get to go to Valhalla. I can safely say that you would be mildly concerned. It’s the same thing for the rest of us when our kids come home saying that teacher said that their going to hell unless they worship some dude named Jesus. School is about edumacation, not indoctrination. Students should be learning about the factual realities of the world, devoid of any religious trappings.

*sigh*

I know I’m just preaching to the choir here (no pun intended). Any fundie who reads this isn’t going to get it. “That’s completely different,” they’ll say. “The bible is real, not like that other crap about multiple gods or (god forbid) no god at all!”

All we can do is to try to keep our voices heard and promote the strict enforcement of the separation of church and state. This isn’t just an atheist issue. It affects all of us who support a secular government and an educational system based on fact, not mythology.

Here are some resources:

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union

NCSE – National Center for Science Education

Me, I liek mudkips

Me, I liek mudkips

Jesus lieks the little children

Jesus lieks teh little children

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Murder for Jesus, save a fetus

I’m reposting this in its entirety because I feel that it is extremely important to expose this kind of vileness  to the light of day and force people to be responsible for inciting and rejoicing in murder. By now you’ve probably already heard about the murder of Dr. Tiller in Kansas. Apparently, being a physician who performs abortions is a good reason to be shot down. It wasn’t the first attempt on his life either. In 1986 a bomb was placed on the roof of his clinic, and in 1993 he was shot in both arms outside his clinic but returned to work after recovering from his injuries. This time he won’t be returning anywhere.

Here’s what the sick fucks that call them selves “pro-life” have to say about the taking of his life, via Carnal Nation:

One side effect of twitter is that the stupid, bigoted, comments people used to make at the water cooler now get preserved for future employers to find using google.

A small sample of the hatred expressed on twitter after the assassination of Dr Tiller.

  • Crap, I always forgot hashtags. I’m happy Tiller’s dead. - Jennifer Waite, Selah, Washington
  • UPDATE… Doctor George Tiller was aborted today in his 204th trimester – aren’t paybacks a bitchPunch
  • oh HAPPY DAY! Tiller the baby killer is DEAD!Samantha Pelch
  • George Tiller the baby killer was shot dead this morning. God bless the gunmen who hopefully won’t be caught.readnwatchchris, Creedmor. NC
  • was George Tiller the baby killers brain scrambled the way he scrambled full term fetuses.. one can only hopeBrad S
  • Infamous baby killer George Tiller gunned down at (irony) church. Why do I not feel sorry for him? Have fun at Judgment Day.James Fiddler
  • tiller the baby killer shot dead…wow. is it insensitive of me to say what goes around comes around?Brad M. Negulescu Cleveland.
  • George Tiller the Baby Killer shot dead. May he rot in Hell.Amy Strong
  • Tiller Baby Killer was shot and killed this morning Justice has been served.Shirl Ledeux
  • Thinking about “Tiller the baby killer” He now knows the wages of sin is death. Dianne McDowell
  • May Tiller rot in Hell , infanticide is the murder of babies, he WAS a provider of death like Hitler, Bundy the list goes on…. Dennis, A People Voip Company
  • Burn in hell George Tillermikedanben Sparta, NJ (41.005501,-74.672)
  • No need to pray for George Tiller. We know he went straight to hell!!!!!Laurie D. Bailey Olive Branch, MS
  • Good ridence to Tiller – babies will not be murdered because he is now gone. Wonder how he likes hell! Jay Emess, Southern, NJ
  • Karma is a beautiful thing. Cheers to the hero who sent George Tiller where he belongs… straight to hell.Matthew Kamar
  • omg!george tiller abortion dr. was killed n his church parkn lot! hell yea! Sarah Gulick, Wtichita, Ks
  • George Tiller: Burning in Hell for the last three hours.darthdilbert Kettering, Oh
  • Hmm, I know it’s wrong, but I feel like the Late-Term Abortion Doctor George Tiller, got what was he deserved…..Mary Keogh London England
  • Boom Boom Boom. George Tiller was served a very very late term abortion this morning.Chad Coleman, coeur d’alene, Id

The Twitter search “Geroge Tiller” OR #Tiller was running at about one tweet per second for the last two hours.  The overwhelming majority of tweets from both sides of the abortion issue expressed horror at the assassination of Dr Tiller.

If you are as outranged as we are by this senseless assassination please donate to Planned Parenthood in honor of Dr Tiller.

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Lord, save me from your followers

Reconnecting with old high school friends on Facebook is like walking through a cow pasture; you never know when you’re going to step into a pile of steaming crap. You may find out that someone you thought was cool back then now thinks this is one of their favorite quotes:

“Let’s invade their countries, kill their dictators and convert them to Christianity.” – Ann Coulter

And that they list their political views as “I will be an apologist for George W. Bush as long as I live”.

I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

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