The cause of natural disasters? Acting “arrogantly against the Gospel”. This is the judgement of one man (see below) but one that chimes very much so it seems with many christians. It’s the age-old conservative control mechanism: the reason why things are going wrong is because we deviated from the path laid down by God. This is a recurrent theme in the Bible and is a powerful deterrent to sinning. It’s also a cunning implantation of guilt; for anytime something goes wrong it’s probably because one only prayed four times instead of five or because one masturbated last night or something equally silly.
Why is there so much crackpot thinking from religious adherents? One would think believing in God would make believers smarter (i.e. with God passing on his smarts to his children) but interestingly, belief in God frequently produces the opposite. Critical thinking goes to sleep and the plains are open for stupid and rash zealots to spread as much hatred and sloppy thinking around often with threats of violence against sinners or anyone who challenges their (i.e. God’s) authority. People are always quick to link outcomes to causes that suit their purposes whether in fact true or ridiculous (“The interview went well, It must be my lucky blue tie and red socks”).
The promotion of gay marriage is certainly providing traditionalists with explanations for the decline of mankind. Next year, no doubt, it will be something else. If floods are God’s way of showing his displeasure he is one grumpy old fart.
To free the mind of a man who’s nailed himself fast to an idea or precept is probably the most impossible task that another person can undertake. If they are someone you love they may well be lost in hell’s inferno and that hurts. I have previously assumed that exposure to the refreshing effects of reason will undoubtedly free these lost souls, naively relying on Jesus’ words that Ye shall know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). However two incidents yesterday are working to shew me that Jesus may not always have known what he was talking about.
The first incident was at the abode of a friend with whom I was to sup. Somewhere during our meal the discussion drifted to religion. My friend is of the Church of England sleeve and from previous discussions I knew that his rampart fornication did not stand in the way of his held-fast beliefs. Sometime during our banter he morphed into the cat that no matter how hard you throw from a great height always lands on its feet. When I said Christianity just happened to be the lucky result of a Roman Emperor who believed God had helped him win a battle my friend replied that maybe Christianity is the summit of the natural evolution of religions. I reminded him Islam came later and he replied that maybe that is a false religion. When I said that other cultures had had their own gods, for example the Greeks, my friend countered that he had thought the Greeks did not really believe in their gods (news to me).
Yet I kept prodding. I pointed to the inconsistencies in the Bible or the fantastic miracles and he’d say oh that was meant to be metaphorical. How does he know which parts are real and which metaphorical? Oh people have to apply their brains. What convinced me that my mission was hopeless was when he linked belief to personal experience. His: he’d placed a copy of the Koran, the Bible and Richard Dawkins’ book ‘The God Delusion’ together and one day rain had slipped through the cracks and dripped onto one book – the Bible. His interpretation: that was God’s sign that the Bible is the real deal.
The second incident happened after I returned home to find a comment to one of my blog postings in which I had quoted John Stewart Mill who’d said that the idea of God is nonsense since if things were created by God then it begs the question who created God. A commenter started with the words “Since God existed before time and space …” therefore the question who created God is nonsense. My natural reaction was “whoa, wait a minute, where did this starting premise that God exists come from?’ I wrote a lengthy response to which the commenter came back that God exists as a matter of reason and that the proof of God is simple. What this simpleton failed to say was how it is that God exists as a matter of reason and if the proof is simple why not prove it?
What is beyond reason is that both my friend and the commenter had certainly not thought deeply or carefully about their faith. They had examined no alternate viewpoints nor had they read any history or philosophy nor understood the tenets of the scientific method nor had a sufficient appreciation of the workings of the human brain and its susceptibility to error and of the human capacity to fashion magical stories out of its nebulous imagination. They had been taught most probably by their parents that there is a God and that was that. Mind set in concrete and nothing short of dynamite will move that conviction.
While continuing to read the aforementioned J.S Mill, he commented on one of his acquaintances, Frederick Denison Maurice, who was one of the finest and best read intellects he’d come across. Maurice later became a religious minister and wrote extensively on religious matters. He was also the founder of a movement called Christian Socialism that fought against oppression and the conditions of the poor and underprivileged. Now that’s a christian I can respect; someone who retained his faith but at least had done his homework.
Unfortunately today’s Christians as a class (obviously not every individual) are the biggest hypocrites in the western world; preaching, from their terrible book, a divisive concoction of myth, lies, a smidgen of history and pure hatred (jealous God, Hell etc). If God exists He should be ashamed of Himself for the world He’s created and the children of hate He’s spawned. If God exists. But since God doesn’t exist what are we to do with religion?
The question ‘Who made me?’ cannot be answered, because we have no experience or authentic information from which to answer it; and that any answer only throws the difficulty a step further back, since the question immediately presents itself, Who made God?
– Autobiography, John Stuart Mill. First published 1873.
- The Bible places the husband in authority over the wife
- The Bible is God’s literal, inerrant word.
- The Bible declaims sparing the rod and spoiling the sinner.
- Ergo, God approves spanking between consenting married adults.
Looks like a bunch of christian men and women who want a bit of Bible-sanctioned S&M. Or just men who want to rule their households with the same type of effective discipline that God exercises over His church i.e. fuck all if one looks at the mess that is the christian church. There will come a day when one of these wives, having been spanked too many times for Jesus, will decide she’s had enough and sue her husband for domestic violence. It’s inexplicable to me as a man to understand why women would permit themselves to be beaten up by their husbands. Your man hits you once and maybe, just maybe, it was involuntary. Shit happens, maybe you forgive him. Maybe. He hits you again, you walk, no questions and he can go to hell.
It never ceases to amaze me how quick religious people are to offend and how quickly they are offended. The first when they damn/stone/hang/fatwah unbelievers (“It’s God’s Word”, “It’s God’s will”) and the second when you call out the falsities of their faith. They tell you “It’s my faith” and they have a right to believe all they want to even if injurious to others. BUT when you as a non-believing truth seeker proclaim your own rights (pro-gay, pro-abortion, pro-tolerance etc) oooh they get all apoplectic. (“What about the foetus!”, “Don’t touch our traditional values!” etc etc). Has anyone told these people that Christianity and Islam were tyrannical impositions that usurped traditional pagan values?
“Oh, but that’s OK because our founders instituted God’s will”
“And how do you know that?”
“It say’s so in the Book”
“Maybe the book is wrong?”
“No way, it is God’s Book”
“But how do you know that?”
“It says so in the Book!”
Oh dear. Yes it’s all a matter of [misplaced] faith. There comes a time when one realises that arguing with religion is like playing with snakes. We, the ones with functioning brains, must act like Perseus against Medusa. Reason and the scientific method will be our adamantine sword to cut off the Gorgon’s head. In due course.
I occasionally take pot shots at Christianity as I used to be a mug for it once believing in all the rank nonsense of the Bible. As a layman I have watched with stupefaction the craziness that is Mohammedanism. I haven’t read the Koran or Islamic history yet but from this entry on The Thinking Atheist I can’t wait. Should be so much fun. (And no, I will not be reading Islamic history written by a Muslim. That would be like reading about God from a book written by a US televangelist – full of rank nonsense and lies).
“Muhammad was anything but peaceful during his lifetime. He was a slave-owning, lying, thieving, raping, pillaging, extremely violent warlord who spread Islam by the sword, attacked innocent tribes with zero provocation, beheaded people with his own hand, raped a young woman immediately after he murdered her young husband and father, condoned wife-beating and even commanded it in his cult’s dogma, and had sex with a nine year-old little girl named Aisha when he was in his 50s. Just to name a few “highlights” though there is plenty more.
If there was something rotten, immoral, perverse, evil, or downright stupid a human being could do, Muhammad did it. In any civilized country today his repugnant ass would be in prison where in belonged [sic].”
Watching the documentary film “Religulous” with Bill Maher. Isn’t this just the best – a Catholic priest calling Catholicism “nonsense”? Goddamn, I’m laughing so hard.