There’s a guy named Michael Egnor who has a blog he calls “Egnorance.” I’m not making this up. Anyway, he recently wrote a post directed at JT Eberhard asking a crapload of questions in the hopes that he’d be able to highlight how stupid he thinks the recent court decision on the Cranston High School prayer banner is. Nevermind the guy isn’t an expert on the Constitution and nevermind he’s not a judge — he just has a really strong opinion on how wrong the experts on the matter are. Well, because I’m bored and because it irritates me that these types of challenges sometimes go unanswered I’ll pick his post apart and address all of his questions to the best of my ability (JT already did).
I haven’t weighed in on the Cranston prayer banner ordeal yet, but I’d like to take a moment to recognize this young lady as a true patriot and an American hero. Jessica Ahlquist took a stand, not for her beliefs, but for the beliefs of every person in this country against an overwhelming tide of ignorance and hatred. She saw a divisive, sectarian prayer hung in a public school and asked that it be removed so that students and educators of all faiths (or none) could feel equally represented and respected. Jessica knew that this country was not founded on Christian principles but a desire to get away from an oppressive religious regime and allow everyone the freedom to choose what and how they’ll worship. Jessica knows this. Christians do not.
s a Christian I believed that my prayers were not only heard by god but that my prayers were important enough to initiate action. As with any Christian, my basis for believing this was not grounded in reality but in scripture:
John 14:12,13 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Clearly, the quotes attributed to Jesus define prayer as a sort of tangible, telepathic request which (in Jesus’ name) will be heard and granted if the person praying has even the slightest bit of real faith. Jesus describes the amount of faith necessary in Matthew 17:20 as a mustard seed (long considered the smallest seed). That’s not a whole lot of faith, by anyone’s standards. However, if this amount of faith is attainable why aren’t more prayers answers and more miracles performed/observed? The answers to these questions don’t come easy (to a rational mind) but I’ll detail the Christian thought process — or, at least, the thought process as I understood it while I was a Christian — and give my best answer.
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.
This post has been a long time coming and I’ve waffled on whether or not I’d actually write and post it. Now that I’ve put some more thought into it I can’t see a reason not to post it and what’s more, I think it’s very important in an enlightened age to open these types of ideas up to scrutiny and even ridicule in the hopes of educating people on why the things they believe may be harmful (or at the very least, not helpful) and why they should have good reasons for believing what they do.
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:
peaking of prayers, there was one thing about Christianity that always either embarrassed, frustrated, or confused me: public/group prayer. It always seemed that a spectacle was made of talking to god whether in a church service, at home, or at an event. Nobody appeared to be capable of just communicating with god in a personal way — quietly, in their heads — and instead we were always being led in group prayers.
When I was a little kid the prayers were like advertising jingles. I memorized a phrase one to four sentences long with catchy rhymes so I could remember what to say. For instance:
Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
etting saved through Jesus Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit sounds like it would be a really big deal. I mean, the sheer mechanics of opening up one’s heart and having the Holy Spirit move in like a college kid moving into the dorms is difficult to wrap your head around. Oddly enough, Christians seem to think it requires nothing more than the ability to repeat phrases told to you by another person. This applies mainly to children who are too young to formulate a sentence based on the premise that a person died for you thousands of years ago so you won’t go to Hell when you die. It goes something like this:
Heavenly Father, I know that I have sinned against you. I want to be a better person. I believe you sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins, that you raised him from the dead, and that he hears my prayers. Please forgive me and let Jesus come into my heart and life. I give my life to you, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
I’ve been involved in some discussion about circumcision and recently read a review of a TV show on “Praying the Gay Away.” Discussion on either of these topics can get pretty heated but there’s kind of a theme to it all. In either case there’s this strange kind of admission by theists that god made a mistake when he made you. That is, you either have more penis than he wanted you to have or you’re attracted to people to whom he’d rather you not be attracted. Doesn’t anybody find this odd?
In the Old Testament god laid out his provision for slicing up infants’ penises for some reason even though god supposedly creates each male in the womb and adds the foreskin to the little guy. If god finds the foreskin to be such a problematic piece of anatomy why didn’t he just omit it in the design? What’s with the genital mutilation? And why has our society come to accept that it’s anything other than an archaic, barbaric, religious practice and made up lame excuses as to the usefulness of circumcision in hygiene, AIDS prevention, and fertility? How come none of these people making these excuses would advocate elective cosmetic surgery of any other type on infants? That’s what circumcision is, after all.
The struggles of a homosexual in resolving his/her identity with his/her religion seem to be illustrative of the most painful mental torture one could undergo. You realize that your attraction to the same sex is not a conscious decision so you must have been made that way but you realize that your god hates it when you entertain your natural desires. In order not to displease your god you must deny your nature – which, presumably, he instilled in you when you were created. Yet there are religious homosexuals out there struggling on a daily basis to suppress their true selves in favor of pleasing an intolerant deity. Why??
When you say that god needs you to remove your foreskin or that he’s not OK with you being attracted to the same sex, you’re admitting that god makes mistakes! Not just one or two mistakes, but millions and billions of them! Is your god perfect or not? Is your god loving or not? Seems to me the best way to resolve this conflict is to admit that it’s your own personal bias causing these dilemmas and that your god is imaginary. Get on that, m’kay? Thanks.
Actually, consider this: instead of your god having made you wrong…maybe you made your god wrong.
On a daily basis I see things like this in my news feed:
I’m not sure what my friends typing these things are trying to accomplish. As far as I know, god doesn’t actually have a Facebook account. It’s nice that they want to share their prayers with the world, but why?
Anyway, that’s not even the reason I’m posting this. It doesn’t really bother me that religious people put religious stuff in their FB statuses because I put irreligious stuff in mine. I’d be a real ass to complain about their statuses. What bothers me is that this is considered by them to be the epitome of normalcy and carries some kind of implied protection that doesn’t extend to anything else on FB. If I comment on these types of posts it invariably comes down to “stop attacking my beliefs!” or something similar. For that reason I’ve stopped making comments on things like this.
What really gets me is that if I post a link to a video or a news story or a quote by a famous atheist, it will immediately generate comments from my religious friends about how I should just stop talking about it or how I’m wrong. For instance:
I had to fire back on this one. It’s patently ridiculous to propose that everyone in the world must respect your beliefs while continually chiding others for their views. If you want to have the privilege of voicing your opinions then you must extend the same courtesy to others. Also, if you you post something publicly on FB then you have to assume that somebody will have an opinion on it. With that in mind, you are inviting comment by posting it and must therefore be ready to defend it without getting your panties bunched up.