Of all of those Big Questions central to philosophical concepts that surround life, the universe and everything, the realms of theology and religions and the nature of deities continue to fascinate. Opinions proliferate in books, articles, videos, conversations in bars and pubs, and in fact anywhere and everywhere two or more humans are in proximity. There’s the pro side; there’s the anti-side. There aren’t too many fence-sitters. I’m still in the anti-camp as the following bits and pieces illustrate.
*You don’t need a god to have meaning and purpose in your life.
*There is one trait that the multi-thousands of differing religious belief systems / theologies have exhibited and that is the power of the human imagination to boldly go and imagine imaginary concepts never imagined before. The world would be a less colourful and interesting place without our various mythologies.
*I think there should be mandatory religious and Biblical education in schools since that should ensure a steady stream of atheists growing up and entering the community!
*Religions often do good so as to mask the evil they do, but can now do with impunity.
*The Catholic Church: AIDS is bad but the use of condoms is worse since God does not approve of ‘birth control’ for any reason. It is apparently taught in Africa by Catholics that using condoms makes “Baby Jesus cry”. Weird.
*Then too we had the Catholic Church’s Index of Prohibited Books. It wasn’t just the Nazis that burned books. Now you’ve got to be really insecure and unsure of your theology and how to defend it if you have to hide behind a lowered curtain that results by the censoring of divergent opinions. It’s just another nail in Christianity’s coffin.
*There’s no more evidence for informal and disorganised religious belief (like being spiritual without being a member of any formal religious cult / organisation / church) than formally organised religion. It’s all just a form of “woo”.
*When it comes to religion, “live and let live” True Believers are very much in the minority. (Via Greta Christina).
*Any religion is just a working hypothesis about how life, the Universe and everything, but especially the world, works. As such, that religion is subject to scrutiny and rebuttal and being challenged and corrected as would any other working hypothesis from any other topical area or of subject matter of concern to humans, from the sciences through to political systems.
*We don’t tend to go shopping for the brand of religion we want among all of the different and widely differing brands of religion on offer and then picking the most suitable the way we do for the multi brands of packets of biscuits on offer at the supermarket or for a specific brand or fashion label of dress at the ladies fashion shop and clothing department. Instead we keep eating / wearing the same brand again and again and again because that was just the way we were raised. Likewise, we tend to keep the religion that was shoved down our throats when we were kids. This is in part due to tradition (if it was good enough for Mum & Dad its good enough for me) as well as family / social pressure. Of course in some societies the pressure borders on actual physical threats and punishments if you stray from the accepted fold.
*Thanks to Christianity and its all-loving, all-just, all-merciful God, over 50,000 innocent people were tortured and executed – they were called “witches” but were no more actual witches than those who turned the thumb-screws, tightened the rack, and lite the bonfires surrounding the stake. By the way, this practice is still going on in many remote areas in underdeveloped countries. God (and His servants here on earth) should hang their heads in shame for Exodus 22: 18 “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live”.
Regarding Religion vs. Science
*According to Leviticus 11: 6 and Deuteronomy 14: 7, hares (i.e. – rabbits) cheweth the cud. This of course is zoological nonsense. Chalk up yet another Biblical oops.
*The universal trend over all of recorded history is that natural explanations have supplanted, usually exceeded in explanatory power, supernatural (i.e. – religious) explanations. I’d bet that’s a trend that will keep on keeping on.
Regarding Faith & Belief
*Saying that you just know something (without evidence to back up your knowledge) is just not a pathway to truth.
*If you say your faith trumps evidence then you are totally resistant to both self-correction and resistant to dissent.
*Religious belief is belief in the unverifiable. There’s no proof to be found in the religious pudding. Any proof to be found comes after you’ve kicked-the-bucket and by then it’s too little, too late to tell anyone.
*The idea of deciding what’s true based on what you want to be true is absurd in the extreme. Reality is what reality is and your beliefs to the contrary are irrelevant. So any belief system that encourages people to ignore reality is a bad belief system and that covers Christianity right down through and including New Age “Woo”.
*The prime teaching of monotheistic religious belief in an invisible magic man in the sky is an obvious example known to computer programmers of GIGO – Garbage In; Garbage Out.
*Christian: You have to respect my beliefs.
Atheist: No! I may respect you as being an honest and likable person but that doesn’t mean I have to respect what you believe in.
*You have a right to your private religious beliefs until such time as you cross the line and your religious beliefs enter the public arena and start to harm others.
*It’s hypocritical in the extreme for you to bucket the religious beliefs of others when those beliefs don’t conform to your beliefs and then expect your religious beliefs to get a free pass.
Regarding Prayer & Miracles
*For the Catholic Church to declare some event as a bona-fide miracle (i.e. Fatima, October 1917), well that’s akin to a true believer in Bigfoot or the Yeti declaring that a photograph of an eroded ‘primate’ footprint in the snow is absolute proof of same. True believers will obviously endorse events that reflect evidence for their true belief.
*The idea that religious faith automatically makes you a good and moral person is absurd in the extreme. Prisons in America, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, etc. are full of Christians. Prisons in Muslin countries are full of prisoners of the Islamic faith. And then too, what about all of those people of the cloth and the collar – like Catholic (and other) priests and other clergy who use their positions of authority to 1) mentally abuse little children with terrifying threats of eternal punishment in Hell and 2) who physically abuse children in their care, especially engaging in sexual abuse. And that’s just scratching the surface of the evils committed by those professing religious faith.
Regarding the End Times
*Faith is a crock! Evidence? There have been thousands of precise prophetic forecasts made by the faithful for the End Times; End of Days; the Second Coming; the Rapture; Armageddon; the Apocalypse, etc. There have been multi-millions of faithful believers who have believed those prophets. All such prophecies have failed. None have ever come to pass. Score: the truth of really real reality 1; faith 0.
*We’re still waiting!
*Sorry Michele Bachmann and all associated “End Times” fanatics, but another day has come and gone and yet again, God’s a no-show. And Jesus, of Second Coming fame, appears to be a bit tardy as well. Did they forget to set the alarm clocks? Did they miss the bus? Maybe their Holy Chariot had a flat! Michele Bachmann and company might believe that the end is nigh (and has been for quite some considerable time) and the Rapture is imminent (and has been for quite some considerable time as well), but I think it’s pretty safe for you to plan and pay for your next holiday and build up that nest egg for your long years in retirement.
Regarding the Soul / Afterlife
*This may come as a surprise to many but there was no belief in an afterlife in ancient Israeli Jewish communities. The only real reference to an afterlife in the Old Testament is at Daniel 12: 2. That’s it. There are no other hits for “life eternal” or “eternal life”; “life everlasting” or “everlasting life”; or “afterlife” or “life after death” or even “resurrection”. So there’s no location given for an afterlife in the Old Testament because with the one exception there is no concept of an afterlife in the Old Testament and Daniel 12: 2 spoke of no afterlife location. Now that’s pretty surprising given the prominence the afterlife gets in the New Testament. Perhaps the afterlife was just an after-thought on God’s part as in “gee, it would be great to have some steady supply of new faces and company to talk to me here upstairs on my heavenly throne”.
*As long as religions can dangle the afterlife carrot in front of the great unwashed (and also in view of the not so great washed), you’ll never get rid of the institution (especially when it employs hundreds of thousands of people and generates billions in income).
Regarding Heaven & Hell
*Regarding reports of those who have had a glimpse of heaven, those who have reported Near Death Experiences (NDEs), why no sightings of extraterrestrials in heaven? Is it because there are no aliens? Is it because aliens don’t go to heaven? Is it because aliens have their own heaven?
*Faithful Christians go to Heaven. Faithful Muslims also go to Heaven. But the Heaven that faithful Muslims go to is probably not the same as the Heaven faithful Christians go to. That would be awkward and somewhat complicated. (via Jason Boyett)
*Actually nobody (as in mortal human True Believers) have ever ascended up to or otherwise gone up to Heaven according to John 3: 13. I’m not sure how that jives with the story of Elijah (2 Kings 2: 1 & 2 Kings 2: 11).
*By the way, nowhere in the Bible will you find Satan’s / the Devil’s / Lucifer’s anatomy described as traditionally pictured. No cloven hooves, no forked / pointy tail, no horns, and no goatee. As for attire, no pitchfork / trident and no red skin-suit.
Regarding the Bible
*Why is it that the Bible condemns homosexuality (men lying with men) yet says bugger-all about lesbianism (women lying with women)? In fact the Bible says absolutely zilch about lesbianism.
*If, as many theists and Christian apologists claim, that Biblical passages need to be expertly and correctly interpreted within their appropriate context, then how perfect can that holy book actually be?
*And exactly how many were killed in the plague as related in Numbers 16: 49 (14,700) versus Numbers 25: 9 (24,000)?
*Now here’s an interesting paradox. In Exodus 2: 1 we have a marriage. In Exodus 2: 2, that marriage produces a son who will become known in due course as Moses. The narrative then proceeds with the well-known story of the placing of the baby into a boat made of bulrushes floated down the Nile to be found by Pharaoh’s daughter, etc. So, therefore, it is reasonable to think that Moses was the firstborn of the before-mentioned marriage. But almost immediately in Exodus 2: 4, there’s a passage that the baby Moses had a sister who was watching all of this narrative. Like where did she come from all of a sudden and out of the blue? So was Moses the eldest child or not? The sister of Moses was only identified by name for the first time as Miriam in Exodus 15: 20, and then only identified as the sister of Aaron, but Aaron of course was the brother of Moses (identified as such in Exodus 4: 14). All up, there’s something screwy somewhere with the origin of Moses. By the way, that origin story of a baby being put in a basket and floated downstream is yet another example of a direct steal; pure plagiarism in the Bible. Take for example the origin story behind King Sargon of Assyria. An exact origins copy but Sargon came first chronologically.
*One bit of Biblical mythology is the “wise men” who visited Mom and Pop and Baby Jesus. We all of course KNOW that it was THREE wise men. Except that the Bible doesn’t actually say anywhere that there were THREE wise men, just “wise men”. At least it’s plural. So THREE wise men is only an assumption based on the three gifts that were brought for Baby Jesus (which,, truth be known, were wildly inappropriate for a baby). Even the “wise men” story only appears in Matthew 2: 1-12. That’s it!
*Also, the Bible never actually mentions the kind of fruit that Adam and Eve snacked on. It’s just assumed – based on zero evidence – to be an apple. I’m not sure why God doesn’t clarify all of this confusion since it was His Garden, and His Tree, and His Fruit.
*Then again, did Judas Iscariot hang himself (reference Matthew 27: 5) or did he die by falling down in his field, bursting apart at the seams with his bowels gushing out – think of the chest burster in the movie “Alien” if you need an image – (reference Acts 1: 18).
*Here’s a Biblical paradox to ponder. You frequently get Hell-related references to “consuming fire” or “devouring fire” but also to “everlasting burning” or “everlasting fire”. You even get both in one verse – Isaiah 33: 14. Now how can something be both everlasting and consuming? If you consume a glass of beer, it doesn’t last forever now, does it?
*The Bible gets it wrong – again. Isaiah 7: 14 is frequently cited as being the spot-on prophecy that a virgin will conceive and bear a son as a sign from God – praise the Lord! The “oops” part is that they got the name wrong – the son will be named Immanuel, not Jesus. The name “Jesus” never, ever appears in the Old Testament.
*If sinners get “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25: 46) in Hell, and if Satan too is cast down into his own fiery furnace for eternity (Revelation 20: 10), then who is running the show down under (and I don’t mean Australia either) for the rest of eternity? It would seem that Hell is leaderless, now lacking an administrator.
*Here’s a bit of rather blatantly dishonest Biblical sleight-of-hand. In the King James Version we have the “unicorn”. In modern translations that morphs into “wild ox”. In the King James Version we have “satyrs” which in modern versions morphs into “wild goats”. Why does this smell of a cover-up conspiracy to artificially enhance Biblical credibility? Using that technique, I’ll just replace “God” with “Magical Farting Flying Pink Elephant”. Makes sense to me! We know that farting exists, even in the animal kingdom (my cats pass wind for example); we know that flying exists, from insects to pterosaurs to birds to bats to airplanes; we know that pink exists (quite apart from the entertainer); we know that elephants exist too; and there is the ‘honest’ profession of the professional magician. So a magical flying pink elephant that farted the Universe into existence is way more rational that presupposing any invisible magic man in the sky did the deed since we have no actual knowledge that such a creator deity actually even exists.
*Posted on a March 2017 wall calendar – “Beer is a proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Although that just nearly has me convinced, but not quite, it’s still a sentiment that I find I could toast. So, I’ll drink to that!
*If we discuss the concept of the cat we’re all pretty much going to be in agreement about the concept of the cat. If we discuss the concept of god (small “g”) or of God, the discussion and the concept is all over the map. Why should that be if god or God is as real as the cat?
*Theists tend to argue that anything that is complex (i.e. – like a wristwatch) has to be created (i.e. – by a watch-maker) by something even more complex (i.e. – said watch-maker). So, whatever is created has to be less complex than that which created the whatever. To theists of course the ultimate creator is God and God is more complex that all of His creations. To non-theists, it is therefore logical to ask if God is complex, then something even more complex is responsible for creating God. But of course theists say God wasn’t created at all, ever, which of course is a case of special pleading.
*Say you believe in God’s existence. If I say Bigfoot doesn’t exist, you’ll probably have no issue with that statement. If I say Zeus doesn’t exist, you’ll probably have no issue with that statement either. And if I say fairies doesn’t exist, you’ll probably also have no issue with that statement. But if I say your God doesn’t exist, you’ll probably go ballistic with that statement. Why? The actual evidence for God is the same as that for Bigfoot, Zeus, and fairies.
*True Believers all start with the assumption (or have that assumption rammed down their very young throats, albeit often as ‘fact’) that God actually exists, yet without a shred of evidence that this is true and that this assumption and this ‘fact’ is warranted to back up those extraordinary claims. This has generated a multi-billion dollar industry. How dumb is that, I ask!
*Good things happen – God is responsible. Bad things happen – God works in mysterious ways. No matter what happens you can twist things to make them come out the way you want in order to justify your belief system. The upshot however is that using God therefore as an explanatory power is useless. If God explains everything, the good, the bad and the ugly, then appealing to God explains nothing.
*Once upon a time God’s awesome powers created life, the Universe and everything. Fast forward to today and God’s awesome powers seem to be confined to creating images of His Son (Jesus) in grilled cheese sandwiches and other associated eatables. Then too perhaps this is just the modern eat-it-yourself version of the Catholic cracker / wafer. No church attendance required for us modern ultra-busy humans.
*That the Bible is true because God says it is true; and that God exists because the Bible says that God exists, is the same sort of reasoning that would make the American IRS or the Australian ATO believe that my tax return and declaration was 100% true just on my say-so.
*Why is God so obsessed with who is bonking who or even whether or not you’re bonking yourself? Just like it’s none of your business and none of my business, it’s none of God’s business and certainly no business of any of God’s representatives down here on Earth – providing it’s all between consenting adults and nobody is being harmed.
*What does God want? Babies! Babies, babies, babies, babies, babies, babies, and even lots more babies. Be fruitful and multiply – good; birth control / contraception / condoms / abortion – bad.
*On the other hand, God’s got a screw loose somewhere. God’s a few cents short of a dollar if, as he claims, He drowned humanity (except Noah and family) because humans were totally wicked. Yet clearly among those drowned humans were babies and infants still inside the womb. These humans could not almost by definition be wicked. Conclusion: God’s an idiot or so totally wicked Himself that He should be condemned by the entirety of humanity for His wickedness. Maybe we should drown God – even if just symbolically in His absence! [As an aside, do note that the entire Noah’s Ark / flood story was a direct steal; pure plagiarism, from “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, oft called the world’s first example of great literature.”
*Further to the point, babies / infants (in the womb) would certainly have drowned in the (alleged) flood of Noah fame – as per above. Ditto when Sodom & Gomorrah got ‘nuked’. And of course all those First Born kicked-the-bucket in ancient Egypt’s tenth plague, courtesy of The Almighty. There’s also God’s command to smite Amalek (including all infants) as related in 1 Samuel 15: 3. God commands the killing of all males among the “little ones” in Numbers 31: 17. That’s in addition to commanding the total destruction of numerous societies / cultures – Deuteronomy 20: 17. See also Deuteronomy 2: 34 and/or Ezekiel 9: 6. In fact there are multi-dozens of references in the Old Testament to God commanding the slaying of all and sundry (including infants / babies) in societies not part and parcel of those belonging to His Chosen People. He also does the dirty to His Chosen People too including the children – Exodus 32: 35; Numbers 16: 31-33 & 46-50; 2 Chronicles 21: 14. Further, if babies / infants die in natural disasters, disasters which any all-powerful and all-knowing and all-benevolent God could and should have prevented – but didn’t – well that God is culpable in those deaths.
*So therefore, on the other hand, God kills (or commands others or condones others that kill) babies / infants (in the womb). Let’s repeat that – God kills, commands or condones the killing of babies / infants left, right and centre with reckless abandonment. So if you’re a loving mother and yet you love your God, well I’d reconsider your position with respect to loving your God if I were in your shoes. At least there’s no recording or referencing of God sexually molesting children, but then what God does up on His Heavenly Throne to pass the time away is anyone’s guess.
Regarding God’s Will
*There’s no reality or morality check on God’s (alleged) will so that gives you open slather to do whatever you want as long as you are carrying out and doing God’s will, morality be damned. So, while religions may not be entirely on their own the root of all that is evil (albeit damn close), religions and religious True Believers give a unique justification – God’s (or some other deity’s) will – for doing evil.
Regarding God’s Ten Commandments
*If God doesn’t want humans to worship other gods, then God took His bloody sweet time in letting humans (and a rather select group of humans from just a tiny geographical part of the world at that) know that since other gods ruled the religious / theological roost for many thousands of years before God turned up unannounced and uninvited to the party.
*In Voodoo lore, brought to the Americas by black Africans hundreds of years ago, you can be resurrected from the dead; return from the dead as a living reanimated corpse – the living dead or in or other words, a zombie – a resurrection by a voodoo witch-doctor or sorcerer. This phenomenon is as widely believed to be as true in the Caribbean and parts of the SE United States as Christians believe in the resurrection of Jesus. The question is, what makes the Christian resurrection right and the Voodoo resurrection wrong? Perhaps both are incorrect and just false beliefs, or even just plain old fake news.
Regarding Atheists & Atheism
*Atheists aren’t just wrong according to some fundamental Christians, they are downright flawed.
*How dare atheists point out the flaws in various religions and various religious ideas and belief systems! It’s an outrage for atheists to piss on the parades of True Believers! Further, it’s mean-spirited, bigoted, hateful, intolerant, dogmatic and all-round close-minded of atheists to dare question people of faith. Attention True Believers – religion isn’t and shouldn’t be immune from criticism any more than any other facet of society is immune from being critiqued.
*Atheists are not always in the “live and let live” mode because True Believers aren’t usually prone themselves to let others “live and let live”. At least atheists don’t door-knock and ring you up to preach to you.
*If atheism is just another ‘religion’ then not collecting baseball cards or not playing chess is a ‘hobby’.
(via Jaclyn Glenn)
For Your Atheistic Viewing Pleasure
*Do check out on YouTube the call-in talk show “The Atheist Experience” (originating in Austin, Texas) which tends to pit theist True Believers against a couple of atheists. You can get some really heated arguments / discussions. Content otherwise just covers various theological topics especially from the point-of-view of non-believers.