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Sep. 17th, 2008

The absurdity of the Messiah

It seems absurd to me that, after reading all of the stories of the bible, one could assume that one day Jesus will come back and make things right again, even if you do believe these stories. Think about it, the premise of the entire bible is that mankind causes a mess of things over and over. Mankind sins every time it is given the chance. Even perfect, with a perfect world, with direct contact with God, mankind managed to fall. Even after God tried to make things right by wiping out all but those who follow God, in a mighty, magnificent flood that surely would be fresh in the minds of everyone, mankind only gets worse. God has to set up a chosen people, but the chosen people go astray and find false gods at every turn. He gives the Covenant, the Law, and the ability to sacrifice correctly, and they still can't do it. He gives them his presence in a temple, sends prophets, casts fire down from heaven to prove he's the superior god, sends burning bushes, delivers them from out of oppression, and into oppression by every major empire around them.
He sends his Son, a fully-God, fully-Man incarnation, who does miracles and healings and tries to teach people to act nice, and people who follow this God-Man betray and deny him, and the world kills him. Ah, all part of the master plan God says, for the God-Man can't stay dead, and he rises from the dead days later. Many who know he was killed see him. These same people bicker and quarrel over who gets to lead, and what dogma is, and there are significant divisions in the church from the beginning. This continues, fracturing the church into indiscernably different parts over the next 2000 years. All along the way the church is full of unenlightened, barabaric, inhumane followers, from Popes to Emperors to everyday followers. The world doesn't get much better from these teachings. If anything, the world gets very barbaric and repressed when in the confines of the church, and it's only once some people say  "hey, let's stop listening to the church and think for ourselves!" that things move along in the right direction for advancing mankind's understanding and enhancing life.
Mankind messes things up, especially from the Christian perspective.
Not even Christians are perfect, according to Christian beliefs, all are sinners, and only God is Good. So we end up with the idea that basically, once Jesus comes back, there's no way for mankind to really change. God may kill Satan, though this makes one wonder why he hasn't yet. God may give everyone new bodies and a new Earth. But this will still leave him with a bunch of people who will kill, rape, maim, hunt, destroy, steal, and lie to get what they want. He still has imperfect people with him, but they're all given forgiveness because of Jesus.
This then leads to the question: How the hell does this improve the situation of the world? Is the world really saved by Jesus? Can anyone really get along, even as Christians? Even with Jesus leading them? Unless our very essence and free will is removed, an option that seems absurd given the defence of Evil in the first place, how can people ever act better, and importantly, good enough for God?

Aug. 8th, 2008

Re: "You are quite wrong"

Revspitz commented a while back with
You seem to imply there is something wrong if a babykilling abortion mill is burned or bomb. What do you prefer, dead babies or a pile of bricks? Innocent unborn babies deserve to be protected just as born children deserve to be protected. You would have no problem protecting born children if they were about to be murdered.

SAY THIS PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and am headed to eternal hell because of my sins. I believe you died on the cross to take away my sins and to take me to heaven. Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart and take away my sins and give me eternal life."

Spitz, I would like to talk to you personally about this subject, but I don't know if you'd be up for that, so I'll just post about it.

You take me for a fool, sir. You see, I've been to your side and back, I felt the warm hand of faith for a long time, and it's an illusion. You base your argument on the feelings you have associated with a faith, and within that faith you have been told a lie.

Unborn babies don't suffer, they don't live or breathe or have life. Their deaths are as meaningful as you want to make them, as all deaths are, but really it's not a life, not a set of experiences, attachments, and ideas that we call a person.

And if you want to talk about abortions, look at the miscarriage rates, even in the industrialized world. God is the biggest abortionist there is. Even taking conservative estimates on the miscarriage rates, God allows unborn babies to die more than humans choose to kill them. Miscarriages occur in an estimated 25-30% of pregnancies, and abortions occur only in about 20% of pregnancies worldwide.
The thing is, whether we have safe, clean, medical procedures, or illegal, back alley abortions, the rates stay roughly the same, based on research. Bombing abortion clinics only tells desperate women, in need of the love Christians preach, to go find an unsafe, unregulated way of avoiding an unwanted child.

You think praying to Jesus will do anything? I've prayed for years, and years, and was blinded by my faith and innocence, believing that Jesus really cared and loved me. But there is no Jesus, I can pray to him right now and feel nothing in return.
I begged him as a believer for years to show himself, to teach me, to give me understanding and faith, but then slowly realized I was only talking to myself. I say your prayer right now, loudly, to the walls, and get the same response. Think about it, people claim all the time to be healed from cancers, coughs, or comas by the power of Jesus, but when was the last time you saw an amputee's arm grow back miraculously? When was the last time your friend lost a finger in an accident and prayed hard and Jesus grew him a new one? Prayer heals people say? People survive cancer and coughs and headaches without prayer, why can't God grow back a limb, cure Muscular Dystrophy, or save the thousands of children that will starve to death each year?
Jesus didn't die for you, anyway. Read his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane before he's arrested. He begs the Father to take the cup from him, if it's possible. He prays for to not have to die. He died only for the Will of God, not for his love for you, even in the biblical story.

And your black and white worldview lacks a critical piece. I would fight to save the future of wanted fetuses, I would fight so that no woman would have to get an abortion she didn't want. I would save a pregnant mother just as soon as any other. It's a tough choice to get an abortion, and a lot tougher than blowing something up because you can't muster a good enough argument for why it's wrong.

Jun. 24th, 2008

George Carlin

RIP George Carlin, missing you already. He was a great comedian, an atheist genius, and not afraid to speak his mind about everything.

Jun. 23rd, 2008

Faith

Faith    (feyth)
n.
1."The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1)
"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." -Benjamin Franklin

You see, faith is a poor discriminator of what is right and wrong, faith is belief despite evidence, and in spite of evidence to the contrary. Faith is knowing there's an answer to all the discrepancies and problems arising against beliefs, all the evidence to the contrary must have a workaround, because beliefs are powerful things, and aren't easily swayed, even when they should be. Faith, even according to the bible, is the evidence of things unseen, or rather things unobserved. This includes miracles of the bible that we can't recreate, God, spirits, angels, demons, souls, heaven, hell, the myths of the bible that we have no evidence for, and plenty of evidence against, and the healing power God's supposed to give people. The unobserved also includes the flying spaghetti monster, griffins, unicorns, invisible pink unicorns, and everything else that doesn't exist. To have faith in something that doesn't exist is not evidence of it, contrary to the book of Hebrews, evidence is only in observation. If anything, the things you have faith in are proved to be as real as that which doesn't exist, faith is a rather useless term.
The evidence for religious things is insufficient, it needs the concept of faith to boost it to credibility. Religion is well aware of its
lack of credibility, and faith is a term used almost exclusively in religion to explain why people believe absurd things. Believing something hard enough is not the way to prove it, or even a reason to continue believing. It strikes me as extremely odd that very few religious people want to even examine other beliefs. The reason has been revealed to me over the years, however, in my own search. Learning about other religions and the problems with one's own faith, and critical analysis of beliefs is the opposite of faith, but it's what any good scholar, researcher, expert, teacher, and student should do when learning about something. Faith is ignoring all of the tools we have for searching for truth.
The search for truth is a tremendously difficult one. History is filled with labels and myths and fables, and strewn with foggy memories and missing data. To rely on less than this though, less than history indicates, and instead believe stories made up by nomads to explain life's mysteries is ridiculous. One can hardly learn history and reason from religion, much less morality and civility. And it's striking to see the limits of faith. Faith is stepping on the water and knowing one will walk. Faith is not blind ignorance in the face of many problems and errors, it is not willfully disregarding all other points of view and thinking one must be right, out of all the millions of beliefs, and indeed billions of personal beliefs and interpretations. No one that I know of really rests on faith, or even rests their beliefs on faith, despite their claims that all should. They all look for the worldly signs and pastors words and believers' anecdotes to back up their flailing faith. No one knows what the truth is, no one can receive it mystically from God, because even if one did, it's impossible to separate if from one's own thoughts and desires. Your imagination is wild, and untrustworthy, and to confuse it with the will and voice of god can lead to disaster.

One must eventually realize, to be intellectually honest with oneself, that no religion is special, they all require faith. Most believers will then point out the problems of the rival religions, claiming they make people into terrorists or baby killers or Satan worshipers, or whatever. This does not imply in any way that one's own religion is true though, in fact it helps show that all religions are likely fallible and problematic in some major way, all can be easily criticized.
The default belief one has found should not be considered perfect, and proved once all others are disproved or disregarded, beliefs should be rigorously tested and tried and criticized as well, and if they're found lacking, they should be left in the distance, a remnant of a broken and outdated system of relying on a greater power instead of the one thing we forget to use the most-our own efforts. Our own two hands are far more powerful when working than praying. God will never solve a war, or end a famine, or even save the orphans, we must realize. Having faith that he will help only leads us into acceptance and normalizing of horrible problems. If all problems are caused by sin and a fallen nature, and will only be fixed when God comes to scorch the earth, there's no reason to care and work towards a better tomorrow. Believers want a worse tomorrow! "It's always darkest before dawn," many a believer has said concerning the "end times" and they embrace that, perhaps egg it on, because that's the way the world will be fixed. That every believer is not out right now helping and uplifting and caring for others, especially the most desperate and pitiful of humans, the fact that a child will die every 5 seconds of a preventable cause in this world, the fact that the richest few own more than the massive amounts of poor just shows that if religion does anything, it makes people complacent. It doesn't egg them on to action, it doesn't make the world better, it does however help facilitate 9/11, it helps facilitate a thousand years of backwardness and intellectual  stifling. It helps make otherwise good and moral people bomb abortion clinics and persecute nonbelievers. It divides and subjugates, it causes wars rife with raping and pillaging. It robs us of ancient and awesome cultures, and devastates in the name of God.
What good does your faith do? It proves nothing. It motivates you no more than I am motivated by empathy and sympathy for the plight of others. That should be our goal even without religion, just as decent humans who have plenty to give. Your God offers no hope or help to those who don't know Him, and don't beg at his feet. He supposedly created everyone, yet leaves the vast majority to suffer in ways most people reading this never will. Where is God in crisis? Where is God in suffering? Omnipresent? Is He there in the tsunami that kills and makes homeless the already-poor? Is He there in the suffering of genocide? Is He there when unjust wars are waged in His name? Those who stand up to help the poor, that is their humanity, their empathy shining through. That's not God, that's simply humanity. And religions label humanity as decrepit, sinful, corrupt, fallen, evil, in need of salvation.
To leave off, the biggest problem I have with faith is, as my future step-dad proudly put it while defending his faith, faith just "isn't logical," and I think that's the thing I can most agree with believers on. Though they may see it as meaning that faith relies on something more than raw reason and logic, I see it as an admission that believing with no evidence really does make no sense, really is just a grasping in the dark for something to hold onto when standing in a world of suffering and making a difference is just too hard to motivate oneself to do.

May. 22nd, 2008

The Monotheistic Apathy and Absurdity

God seems to be all about his glory and he's very self-centered, even a Christian will readily admit this, and praise God for it, because humans are silly little scum of the earth idiots that God just really wants to love him personally, he's amazing after all and loves you nonbelievers enough to banish you to eternal torment if you don't wanna be around his selfish ass for all of eternity.
Yet, despite God's clear goal of self-glorification and bringing worship to himself throughout the bible, despite revealing himself as a man in Jesus, despite supposed miracles and prophets, despite every other silly superstition, and miracle story, and fairy tale, and religion wanting us to believe on the same basis, faith, thus giving us absolutely no reason, by definition, to believe in any one over any other, he leaves it up to the other 99.9999% of us to just believe it by "faith" which is believing something without any evidence or reason. God wants you to be saved and worship him forever, despite the fact that he's never gonna sit down and tell you this personally, and he doesn't seem to care that most people are gonna end up burning forever based on his plan, because he's not stopping it.
Is that the all powerful, amazing God that people worship, who loves each of his creations so very much and wants us to be happy kissing his ass for all eternity?

May. 21st, 2008

John McCain

Holy Crap, I can't believe this guy is gonna be one of the top two candidates running for presidential office this year. The guy is an absolute moron. Even his party attacked him when he came out as the delegate leader. He looks like Bush in every way, but more idiotic, if I thought that possible.

May. 18th, 2008

Rising Reason

I think recently I've seen a lot more atheists. I'll use the word atheist to describe all kinds of non-theists, because to me atheist is just a word to explain the lack of a positive belief about God, not a negative belief, in that there is no God. Atheists don't really need to go the extra step and say God isn't there, it's the natural human state to not believe in God, theism has to be taught.
Anyway, I think it's partially a stepping-out from the umbrella of religion many of us have sat under in complacency. I attended church and a bible study for a long while without believing. With the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Zionism, Evolution/Creationism debates in our schools and the relatively recent rise of people like Dobson and Pat Robertson, a US president who claims God talks to him, and people like Obama's preacher stepping out and screaming their bigoted, irrational opinions, it's about time.
We who reject faith as a good reason to think something, who reject lies and fables with no evidence behind them, who reject mysticism and superstitions and fairy tales, have to speak out. We've had a long and noble tradition of skeptics behind us, from Epicurus to Hume to Voltaire to Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) to Douglas Adams, Carl Sagan, and the like. The modern atheists are a lot more outspoken, a lot more visible and demanding that things change, that we stop this craziness, that we stop killing people in the name of bed-time stories, that we stop using religion as a crutch and as a tool for political gain. Fortunately, people are seeing the light, though slowly.
Let's stand up, all who are non-believers, heathens, atheists, agnostics, whatever, and speak out against this, let's become what religious propagandists have feared for thousands of years. The church is afraid of reason, afraid of an outspoken, reasonable population of people who are defiant towards religion. It has stifled freethinkers and reason for its entire history. We can hope and work towards a day when war can't be justified with a nod and a wink to the religious conservatives, where science isn't profaned with superstition in the classroom, where the environment isn't ignored because religion gives no incentive to protect it, and never declares pollution to be sinful. We've come a long way from the inquisition and Galileo, let's keep speaking out to those who are irrational and accept insanity with "faith."

May. 17th, 2008

Apatheism

Hello LiveJournal, and any readers. I would like my first post to be an explanation of my most core beliefs, those having to do with spiritual matters.
Apatheism - Describes we non-theists who are apathetic to the existence of God. All belief in God takes Faith. The existence or non-existence of a Supreme Being, or God, is unknown and unknowable. The history of the world and indeed the universe seems to be perfectly explainable without the existence of a Supreme Being, and in fact it seems like any Supreme Being which might exist is apathetic to our existence and our Universe in general. Therefore, Apatheists declare we are likewise apathetic to the existence of any Supreme Being who may or may not exist, and doesn't seem to exert any effort in contacting or appearing to us. The proper answer when asked if we believe in God, therefore, is "I don't know, and I don't care."


~ Rev. Dan Johnson, Rabbi of the Universal Church Triumphant of Apathetic Agnostics