Family Ties

One thing religious people cannot stress enough is that they’re all about family.  Their organizations even have names like Focus on the Family and the American Family Association (branded a hate group out of MS).  For the most part I find this to be true so long as everyone’s keeping the faith and maintaining the status quo.  I can say from my upbringing (aside from corporal punishment and having no say in church attendance) that our Christian family was very tight-knit and we spent a lot of quality time together.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was far better than a lot of other families I’ve seen.  Now, to clarify, some of these not-so-happy families I’ve seen are religious as well so it’s not as though they have a corner on the market.  I’m just speaking to the Christian view that family is important.

As I said, religious families are close-knit and happy so long as everyone’s keeping the faith.  They don’t say, “The family that prays together stays together” for no reason.  It’s literally true.  I found this out myself when I started to upset the status quo of my family and I was made to feel like an outcast.  My family’s treatment of me was mild compared to what some people endure at the hands of their religious parents, grandparents, and siblings.

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Like Fish in a Barrel

Rick Perry’s “Strong” ad (you can click the link if you haven’t seen it; I refuse to embed it into my blog) has been getting a lot of negative press lately.  I’ve been fuming about just how incredibly stupid the guy is for the last couple of days but haven’t as yet done a whole lot of commentary on the thing.  I wanted to make a YouTube video in response but I didn’t get around to it and it doesn’t seem like it would be timely and relevant anymore.  Then again, it’s such a timeless tragedy that people like Perry even have a voice in politics I may still make that video.  For now, I’ll devote a few minutes to a blog post dedicated to all of the “duh” in this ad.  Luckily, it’s so easy I won’t even have to strain myself.

Rick perry
"I'm Rick Perry, and I'm an ignorant piece of shit."
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Lowering the Bar

Whenhen I was a Christian it seemed like everything I saw pointed to the truth of god’s existence.  I had the Bible, my parents’ word, my Sunday School teachers and preachers, any number of books and pamphlets, and nature itself bolstering my faith.  I felt like I had good reason to believe what I did and I didn’t even have to look for evidence: everything was evidence!

That is, until I actually started examining my beliefs and my reasons for holding them.  What I found was not that the evidence for god was strong, but that I was willing to accept pretty much anything as evidence so long as it adhered to my preconceptions.  Those things that didn’t conform to my beliefs were simply ignored without any thought at all.

Christian evidence
Christian? Evidence? Hmmm.
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The “War” on Christmas Begins Anew

Every single year, without fail, controversy will brew and boil over regarding the Christian-hijacked Winter Solstice celebration known as Christmas.  You might ask what kind of petty, childish, arrogant group of non-believers would subject our good, kind, religious society to such ridiculous outbursts of intolerance and hatred.  Maybe you wouldn’t.  Regardless, it may or may not surprise you to know that it’s the religious people themselves who continue to stir this pot and we irreligious people can either react or let them fight it out among themselves.  I choose to react, but only in a limited capacity.  I’ll comment on the religious mindset and attempt to dispel any myths being spread about how I feel toward Christmas.

This year, Ben Stein has written an essay detailing the problem with not saying, “Merry Christmas.”  You might think that not saying something is harmless.  I know I do.  However, Mr. Stein makes it perfectly clear that not greeting people with a, “Merry Christmas” is directly tied to the downfall of society and the destruction of this country.  Let’s begin.

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Who Makes the Rules?

I was always taught as a child that god was in charge.  He was the ultimate authority, the first and last word on any subject, and the law.  He took orders from nobody and had nobody to whom he had to answer.  God made the laws of nature and he could break them any time he wanted.  There was absolutely nothing he couldn’t do.  Then I read the Bible.

At many points in the Bible god is seemingly forced to take some kind of drastic action to intercede in his creation and at every one of these points he chooses (or must choose) the most elaborate, ineffective, and sometimes flat-out silly means.  It seems that every time he has to step in and take action he’s constrained by the Hollywood villain code of monologuing and setting up a trap that’s just way too complex to work.  Here are some examples:

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Debunking Myself!

I was emptying out a three-ring binder yesterday and found a paper I had written on August 3, 1999 for a Philosophy 1100 class at Webster University.  I still considered myself a Christian in 1999 and it wasn’t until the following year that I even entertained the idea that I might be agnostic or an (gasp!) atheist.  I’ll continue to document that journey through my regular posts, but I wanted to take a moment to  transcribe this paper and show that even I, on the verge of a huge shift in worldview, could cling to the most outrageous and fallacious arguments in the hopes of retaining that failing grasp on a faith that had, for most of my life, defined me.  In a strange and somewhat satisfying twist I’ll address my own faulty reasoning and debunk myself.  Enjoy!

Debunking for Dummies

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Facebook Affirmations, Vol. I

In my news feed on Facebook I will be served a daily dose of Christian affirmations from friends.  In this series of posts, which I call “Facebook Affirmations™,” I will post and discuss some of these gems. Here’s the affirmation for today:

When u carry a Bible, the devil gets a headache. When u open it, he collapses. When he see’s u reading it, he faints. When he see’s u living it, he flees. And just when ur about 2 re-post this, he will try & discourage u. I just defeated him. Like, Copy & paste this if ur in God’s Army

Crying Devil
Teh Bibel Makes Teh Debbil Cry

There are a number of problems with this affirmation so I’ll list them out as I see them and give my reasoning for each:

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In the Beginning…

S everal times during my childhood I heard a pastor preach on the creation story in Genesis.  While I was still a Christian I thought it was just about the coolest story I’d ever heard — every time I heard it.  Here’s the run-down:

In the beginning there was god.  God got the urge to create stuff so he fashioned a planet with land and water and light so he could put plants and animals on it.  In order to make this his crowning achievement he then placed humans and a talking serpent on the planet.  The habitable area on this planet was constrained to a garden, in the middle of which was a tree that god had created knowing that it would destroy the humans someday.

Genesis Chapter 1
In the beginning, GOD...

Pretty awesome, right?  Well, kind of.  When I was a Christian I followed along in my book while the pastor read and never asked questions.  This is how the sermon almost always went:

Genesis 1: 1 — In the beginning, GOD.  Now, that’s all I need to know.  This tells me that god was always there, is there now, and will always be there even after I die.  Praise the lord!”

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The Tithe That Binds

There’s a very strange movement in some Christian circles called “The Prosperity Gospel” that posits some kind of supernatural investment scheme where the more money you give to god (read: churches and/or pastors) the more material wealth god will give to you.  While most Christian denominations denounce this theology as false or even blasphemous most of them also have their own, more subtle versions of the prosperity gospel whether they know it or not.

 

Becoming a Millionaire God's Way
God wants you to be rich!

The churches in which I grew up always passed the offering plate/basket around during services expecting members to give at least 10% of whatever they had.  This is standard practice for Protestant churches under a doctrine of tithing.  Some churches go as far as asking (“asking” is a funny word since the whole thing is done with an air of, “if you don’t, god will know”) the congregation to make pledges as to how much they’ll give for the year.  This helps the church make a budget but it also very clearly shows the churches are just businesses.

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