The End is Coming…but we’ll still take your money

Harold Camping, president of Family Radio, Inc, has predicted that the world will end on May 21, 2011. So, we’ll be happy to blog about this more on May 22nd. Until then, please enjoy this screen shot from the Family Radio, Inc website. FYI, we drew the circle and arrow ourselves, but we wouldn’t put it past them to do the same thing in the next few days.

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A Theory’s Just a Theory, and I’m an Ass!

A Reasonable Argument for God’s Existence” was published in the Huffington Post yesterday. The article was written by Rabbi Adam Jacobs. We’re sure he’s a nice enough guy, but he just provides us with more proof that no matter what religion you follow, intelligence is not essential. This article, though not an original thought, was one of those that twisted our panties pretty tight.

Rabbi Adams wrote:

“Not one of them has the foggiest notion about how to answer life’s most fundamental question: How did life arise on our planet? The non-believer is thus faced with two choices: to accept as an article of faith that science will eventually arrive at a reasonable, naturalistic conclusion to this intellectual black box or to choose to believe in the vanishingly small odds that the astonishing complexity, intelligence and mystery of life came about as a result of chance.”

The implication spewing from the Rabbi’s lips is ‘if they can’t answer the question, we must be right. After all, science can only be right if it can answer any question you’ve ever had about anything. Right?’ HA! We don’t think so you Son of an Abraham. Science, like man, evolves. Prior to (and after) Copernicus, the church was certain that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Science had yet to answer that hypothesis, so the church, sounding remarkably like the Rabbi, knew they were correct about a geocentric model. After all, science can only be right if it can answer any question you’ve ever had about anything. Right?

This is another example of accommodation over explanation. Religion, simply by believing in a creating god, accommodates everything by saying, “god did it.” By accommodating everything, it explains nothing. Evolution did not just appear one day in 1859. It is the product of observation and experimentation (like every other scientific theory). Religion, on the other hand, holds a ‘holier than thou’ stance on the subject of origins of life simply by stating, “it was god.” Though the idea of god allows them to believe whatever they want about…well, anything, it does not answer any questions at all.

But this is an argument that has been done over and over and over. So, why does it piss us off so much? Because it comes in the wake of this article which states:

“The majority of high school biology teachers don’t take a solid stance on evolution with their students, mostly to avoid conflicts, and fewer than 30 percent of teachers take an adamant pro-evolutionary stance on the topic, a new study finds. Also, 13 percent of these teachers advocate creationism in their classrooms.”

Fear of the controversy means that some Jr. High/High School teacher is shaking in his booties because of what might happen to him if he teaches actual science. The teacher, sympathetic as we are, still deserves to lose his job for denying a proper education to children who have the right to learn actual science. Not knowing an answer, or not having enough evidence to support the hypothesis yet, does not mean the science is wrong. It certainly doesn’t mean god exists. The largest tragedy in science classes today is how much evidence there is to support evolution, yet it is not being taught by a large number of teachers. The teachers who actually teach it are subject to parents, staff, and students constantly trying to tell them that no such thing ever happened. Scientists are forced to answer to zealots who don’t know a damn thing about science, and because we may offend these students or their parents by talking about evolution, we are forced to accept that the student will go through life completely opposed to true science and eventually become the parent of another ignoramus.

 

Evolution of Creationists


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God Created Man in His Image, Women in His Lust, and…

And microbes in his finest moment. This post may be more for nerds than the rest of you but try to keep up.

God, that’s the big G, created us in his image. I’d post a Bible verse, but I just don’t care more than to tell you that it is in there. In all that is his glory and perfection, so amazing is the image of God that man, made even just in a portion of what he is, must be the most perfect thing of all creation. It makes sense if I believe the Bible. But, after God grew weary of staring at penises that weren’t quite as perfect as his, he grabbed a rib (I want my Chili’s…) and added some miracle (get it?) grow — and we had women. And it was good. Very good. Amazingly good. Curvy and sexy good. So good, yet a little less in God’s image. In fact, the rest of life, God’s image would spend all his resources trying to mate with God’s lesser image, while God’s lesser image would be ignoring God’s image. Got it? Good. Both of these would ignore the far more evolved image that gave them food poisoning last week.

Are we really at the top? Sure. We invented blogging. And all the technology for 2000 years that led up to this great use of my time. Surely, only perfection made by God could do such a thing. But what is perfection? Well, if you come from the Bible, there is no question. God’s image is perfection, and we’re made in it. If you come from logic, we’re the most complex and thus, must be the most evolved. But is complexity good? Is it better to stuff as many books in a library as possible and try to read them all, or is it best to have only the best of reference books. Well defined simplicity is far more successful then complexity. As humans, we are less human than microbe. One trillion human cells, 10 trillion microbial cells (and 70% water…until that hangover.) Take a single microbe out of the human, and it will be millions of cells in a day. Take a trillion human cells out of the microbes, and they will be dead in a day. I wonder how many microbes help make up a perfect God?

Our body is a waste. A big waste. Busy making hundreds of thousands of enzymes just in case we digest beef, or chicken, or starch, or sucrose, or whatever. Cells tend to work on a balance where chemicals are produced to fight each other and variations in concentrations begin any needed changes. The system is a mess from the view of resources. Our brain uses an unproportionately large amount of nutrients and oxygen compared to the rest of our body. We think things such as sight are amazing, and those such as speech are a specialty of humans. Self-recognition is what makes us who we are. But do these really matter? They seem great, but they really mean nothing as an evolutionary advantage.

Thousands of bacterial cells come together to form these complex structures within a biofilm.

Bacteria has it going on. I was once challenged to find as many differences between bacteria and human cells as possible. I came up with over 243 in one evening. The most important thing I noticed was that the differences were not in function, but how they did the function. We like to think of our cells as more advanced, but if we do it, they did it first. The most obvious thought is tissues. We have specialized cells that form into tissues, then organs, then us. We are multi-cellular. So is slime. Biofilms are very complex gloop which are common everywhere in nature. Within a biofilm, one or more species of bacteria work to the advantage of them all. We, as humans, build complex structures. Sorry, they did it first. Biofilms appear more like a city than slime, with high flying towers and streamers. Why the towers and streamers? It turns out bacteria mastered hydrodynamics and nutrient flow ecology. By shaping the towers correctly, nutrient distribution to the desired cells can be maximized as well as waste exchange. Streams actually bud off allowing the biofilm to stay in tact, but a subset of reproductive cells to fly off and start a new colony. Sorry, Wright brothers, they flew first. And do they talk to each other to do this, obviously. It is called quorum sensing, and is far more complex than speech.

“Ok,” you say, but what about sight? They don’t need it. But, when it does come in handy, once again, they did it first. Photo spots of chlamydomonas anyone? How about thought? Quorum sensing again — some do it with electricity just like nerves. What it boils down to is that the single cell one-tenth the size of one of your cells is so well organized in its minimalistic perfection that it is in fact able to do all the complex things we do, outcompete us, and reproduce better than us. Bacteria is so much better than man, that it is 90% of us. Without it we would be nothing…and it would not care. If God made us in his own image, surely it is this 90%. But in that case, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, with it’s flagella like noodley appendages, may be a better idol than Ol’ Gray Beard in the Clouds.

FSM

Salmonella

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Why is there a Hell?

The following is a quote from Grace Stories:

“So Hell is not a first resort. Hell is a last resort. Hell is for people who do not turn from their wickedness. Hell is for people who pay their debt on their own.”

I smoked marijuana with my cousin once. My brothers and I went through about a month long shoplifting phase when we were teenagers. I have sexual thoughts. I lie occasionally — not to cover up anything but to avoid telling someone their fat, rude, etc. I tried hard to come up with something else, but I honestly don’t know.

The wage of sin is death...even for stickmen.

I received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army. I served in Iraq. I take very good care of my children. I am a teacher. I am a tutor. I work hard. I’ve never cheated on anyone. I believe in equality for all human beings. Overall, I’d say my good qualities far outweigh my bad, however, I will one day be subjected to an eternity of torture and burning in the Lake of Fire.

The post on Grace Stories is packed full of ridiculousness nougat — such as the comparison of an eternity in hell to an eternity of doing dishes at a restaurant where you were “unable to pay your debt.” The quote above is the main idea of the post, so I intend to break it down and…uh…yeah, I’ll be making fun if the entire idea.

“So Hell is not a first resort. Hell is a last resort.”

I want to cough and mutter, “bullshit” under my breath, but alas, I only have text to rely on. Check out these verses from the Bible.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

In order to enter the kingdom of heaven, you MUST achieve salvation. The only way to achieve salvation is to believe that HeyZeus died on the cross for your sins, and was resurrected three days later. But we aren’t born believing this. This has to be learned. It seems that Hell is, in fact, a first resort. Before you “know” HeyZeus, you are hell bound. It may be the last thing that happens to you, but it is not a last resort. It is the last resort for Christians to rope you in — fear is a great way to force people into religion. It is not the last resort for god.

“Hell is for people who do not turn away from their wickedness.”

Go directly to Hell!!! Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

The implication here is that non-belief or rejection is equivalent to wickedness. According to the Bible, we are born evil. We never had a choice in the matter. Adam and Eve screwed up, we inherited it. This is the reason people claim that Christians try to put a “monopoly on morality.” Islam is the same.

morality=salvation=no god but mine

Imagine you are a giant, stinky heap of societal crap. You steal, cheat, rob, and abuse other people. You go to jail a few times. Though you never find god, you do begin to understand that your life is going nowhere. Through this realization, you begin to understand what you have done to other people. So, you become a community activist. You teach kids to stay off the street. You get government grants to start after school programs in urban neighborhoods to keep kids safe and improve their quality of life and education. You stop drinking, smoking, and cursing. Through it all, you never accept god or HeyZeus as any more than fairy tales. According to Christianity, you have NOT turned away from your wickedness. You’re a lost soul, destined to burn.

Hell is for people who pay their debt on their own.”

The most evil and hateful thing that Christianity teaches is that god doesn’t send people to hell. People send themselves there — not through actions, because those can all be forgiven. One thing gets you to hell — non-belief. paying a debt implies an end of payment. Hell is an eternity of payment for a small offense. A logical offense.

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Lucifer: The Real Hero of the Story

This morning, I read a blog about how dangerous secular music has become. I would like to quote from it:

“These artist are probably the sweetest looking people on the planet, but beware the devil could make himself to be an angel of light.   This is not a time to be caught in Satan’s web of delusion.”

This is THE thought in Christianity. It’s essential that Christians understand that Satan is constantly trying to deceive god’s people. He wants to trip them up in order to deny them god’s grace and the promise of eternal life.

"Dude, screw this. I'm out of here."

My thoughts differ greatly. I strongly believe that Lucifer is the true hero of this story. god is the creator. He created the angels (including Lucifer). These angels were made to bow, worship, and serve god for all eternity (incidentally, we were made for the same reason). With knees probably bleeding like a rugby player’s, Lucifer became fed up. So, he attempted to overthrow heaven. He lost.

Beginning in the 16th century, the Spanish shipped massive amounts of slaves to the Caribbean, Central and South America to work in the sugar cane fields. These slaves regularly received much more brutal treatment than the slaves in the British Colonies because of the large population. In French controlled Saint Domingue in 1791, Toussaint L’ouverture rebelled. He quickly took control over the territory as well as the rest of the island. Haiti was established under his Lieutenant. L’ouverture is a hero to the people of Haiti, and treated with the same respect in American textbooks. Why not? He overthrew his oppressive masters, and established a state of freed slaves.

"Stop twisting your wrist!!!"

No one calls L’ouverture a tyrant. I’m sure plenty claim he will go to hell, because most Christians have no clue that Voodoo is Christianity. He is praised for rising against his oppressor. Even the slave revolt leaders who failed are still commonly thought of as heroes. Satan, on the other hand, is cursed to dwell on Earth until Jesus comes back. He will then be cast into the Lake of Fire.

 

One of our most important human achievements in America:

The belief that slavery is wrong. The person who forces another human being into slavery is tyrannical and evil. By the very act of rising against the slave-master, Satan should be praised as a hero. The South, the Bible Belt, were the slave owners and the largest oppressors of African Americans after slavery was abolished. Christians still claim they are responsible for abolishing slavery. Regardless of the facts, we reached a new level of morality. For the sake of argument, I will say Christians were solely responsible for fighting the injustice and freeing the slaves. If this is something they take such pride in, why isn’t god held to those same high standards? god’s tyranny and hypocrisy is continually overlooked because of one belief: We can’t understand god’s plan. The very idea of such a domineering figure is beyond insulting to me. I see no better way to close this argument than with a quote from Steven Weinberg, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1979.

Steven Weinberg

 

“But then, maybe at the very bottom of it … I really don’t like God. You know, it’s silly to say I don’t like God, because I don’t believe in God, but in the same sense that I don’t like Iago, or the Reverend Slope or any of the other villains of literature, the god of traditional Judaism and Christianity and Islam seems to me a terrible character.”

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The Victim Mentality: The War on Christianity

It’s the same old, tired argument. The people on top love to feel like they’re being dragged down by the people on the bottom. I’ve heard a few white people claim that they are treated worse than black people, because everyone hates them and blames them for their problems. Christians are no different. Actually, they’re FAR worse. Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, said, “religion clauses protect atheists but afford no comparable protection for Christians.”

"STOP PICKING ON ME!!!"

This is not uncommon. Bryan Fischer, American Family Radio, claims homosexuals are purposely trying to destroy marriage (he also claims homosexuals gave us Hitler). Pat Robertson believes atheistic professors and liberals are going after evangelicals like Hitler went after the Jews. The list goes on and on…and on. At this point, it’s hard to say anything but, “WAAAAHH!!!”

The Internet is littered with blogs, articles, and videos screaming that there is a “War on Christianity.” Why? Who can really answer that? Perhaps it is because they love to feel hated. Maybe it’s because playing the victim gets more sympathy.

AtheistConnect has the real answer. Christianity in America IS under attack. Not so much Christianity as much as the uncivilized, ancient rhetoric and hate shoved down the throat of every American today. Despite the war waged by us, the tiny and most distrusted minority group in the U.S., Christianity is still doing surprisingly well.

Look at these shocking, yet still boring statistics:

1. There are over 450,000 churches in the United States. There are approximately 125,000 schools. The ratio is more than 3:1.

"No caffeine. No black people."

2. In 2002, 82% of the country claimed to be Christian. [7]. That makes Christians the largest majority group in the United States, but then again, those dirty Mormons probably claimed to be Christian too, but we all know they’re just a cult.

3. Lakewood Church in Houston, TX spends $1.5 million on utility bills each year. That’s $4,109.50 every day. Pastor Joel Osteen’s pay is $200,000 annually.

4. Christians have successfully stopped legislation granting equality to homosexuals (marriage and adoption) is several U.S. States.

Christianity has declared war on the minority groups in America. It’s declared war on humanity. Homosexuals are chastised and hated, called immoral, condemned to hell, and denied equal rights. The vast majority of churches in the U.S. remain segregated. Science teachers, college professors, and other intellectuals are painted as Liberals and Communists who hate America. Smaller denominations within the Christian church are referred to as cults.

MOO

When a person who is not plagued by religious thought takes a second and analyzes the world around him/her, it becomes obvious that something is wrong. Something does not measure up to true morality, which acts outside of religion and tells us that the oppression of any other human beings is wrong. Yes, there is a war on Christianity today! And it’s a good thing too.

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Westboro Baptist Church Wins in Supreme Court

CNN reports a victory in the Supreme Court of the United States for the Westboro Baptist Church today. The vote was 8-1, with Justice Samuel Alito dissenting. The case began in 2006 when the Westboro congregation protested the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder in Westminster, Maryland.

Snyder’s father sued the church “alleging invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy.” The Snyder family won, but through appeal the case ended up in Supreme Court.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said:

“Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”

He also chastised the church, claiming:

“Westboro believes that America is morally flawed; many Americans might feel the same about Westboro. Westboro’s funeral picketing is certainly hurtful and its contribution to public discourse may be negligible,” he said. However, “As a nation we have chosen a different course — to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.”

The ruling was a narrow one, dealing with the specific, unusual facts of this appeal. Such vocal protests at military funerals are almost entirely confined to this one small group. Roberts said on the free speech question, it was enough to rely on “limited principles that sweep no more broadly than the appropriate context of the instant case.”

Justice Alito, writing the dissent, said Westboro Batist Church’s “outrageous conduct caused petitioner great injury, and the court now compounds that injury by depriving petitioner of a judgment that acknowledges the wrong he suffered,” he said. “In order to have a society in which public issues can be openly and vigorously debated, it is not necessary to allow the brutalization of innocent victims like petitioner.”

This is a sensitive matter, to say the least. There are two worlds colliding in this case. The decision by the Supreme Court will be one discussed in college classrooms for some time. As Americans, we enjoy a freedom of speech unrivaled by any country in the world, however, this freedom will come at great personal pain for some.

As an Atheist, this becomes a matter which falls into a middle area that is blurred by politics and freedom vs. religion. It is not easy to say how I feel. I agree with the Court. Freedom of Speech is a true treasure and must be protected, even if the majority of Americans disagree with the message. At the same time, I view the Westboro Baptist Church’s message as one of the most significant problems plaguing our country today. The fact remains that Christians are taught that homosexuality is a hell-worthy sin (1 Corinthians 6:9). Most Christians are not as insensitive as the Westboro Church, and very few are as outspoken, but the idea still lingers in the back of their head – always ready to pass judgement.

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