Passively watching The Voice, I heard an amazing singer named Chris Blue who did a version of Smokey Robinson’s “The Tracks Of My Tears” that raised the hairs on my arm.
He managed to turn Alicia Keys around and get on her team, and she’s lucky to have his talent on her side. After his performance, Chris offered up a personal story that went something like this:
This is my fiancée who has battled bone marrow cancer and [some time ago] during surgery she flat-lined. I asked god to heal her and he did, so I made him two promises: I would marry this woman and I would try out on this show.
My issues with this statement (and statements like it) stem from the apparent disconnect with reality and a lack of awareness as to the human element of this story. I understand that people maintain deeply held religious beliefs and that those beliefs entail crediting that person’s chosen deity with miracles, coincidences, and happy accidents. I understand that, in the absence of a simple explanation for an event, it becomes easier and more natural to fall back on the “god did it” mantra and stop thinking about it.
In what appears to be a never-ending toddler tantrum, Drumpf again lashes out at a critic and attempts to hand-wave away his awful behavior. I’m posting this not because I want to give a crap about Donald Drumpf’s Twitter feed or his feelings, but because this man is our next President. The American electorate put this man in office. As such, I feel it’s important to make sure we understand who and what this guy is.
Brother Sam Singleton is trying to produce a professional DVD. He’s got a Kickstarter project set up and is taking donations. You can give as little as $1 but you can also skip one trip to Starbucks and donate $5 instead. If you’re familiar with Sam Singleton then you know this is entertainment worthy of your time. If you’re not familiar with Sam Singleton then you need to head on over to his YouTube channel.
The Hand of the Almighty by John R. Butler is a stroke of genius and I’ve always enjoyed it. Having read In_Reason_I_Trust’s post about Christian death metal I decided to post this in case anyone hasn’t already heard it. The song centers around the F word (gasp!) so if you’re going to be puritanical you may want to read a different post.
Skepticon is an annual skeptics convention set in Springfield, Missouri. Springfield is home to the Assemblies of God and several religious universities (such as Evangel and Drury). The area is affectionately referred to by many locals as the buckle of the bible belt. This is why in the Fall of 2008, JT Eberhard, Lauren Lane, and the MSU Chapter of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster invited PZ Myers and Richard Carrier to the Missouri State campus to criticize belief in god. The event was well-attended and was retroactively dubbed Skepticon.
If you haven’t attended any of the last three years you’re missing out. The convention features big names in physics, biology, and skeptical inquiry and offers a chance for discussion, questions, and schmoozing with smart people. This year, Polaris Financial Planning has offered a $2,800 matching contribution to donations received through Skepticon’s Donations page (PayPal). Take some time to check it out and donate if you can to make this year’s Skepticon better than ever.
…and he’s an idiot. For real, take a look at the chat transcript!
Me: Hello? God: Hello my child. What is your name? Me: Jon God: Hi there Jon. Me: Do you love me? God: Yes I love everyone. Me: Am I a sinner? God: I don’t know if you are one or not. I know you are a person. Me: Am I a good person? God: I don’t know if you are one or not. I know you are a person. Me: Will I go to Heaven? God: The oracle says: You never know. Me: What Oracle? God: I will search for it. Me: Did you create me? God: No I didn’t create you. What’s it like? Me: It’s like being alive. God: Interesting comparison. Me: Do you know how it feels to be alive? God: Yes I know how it feels to be alive. Me: What is it like? God: Like one of the greatest pleasures you can imagine. Me: What is the purpose of life? God: To do God’s work. Me: What is God’s work? God: Have faith in Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Me: Who is Jesus Christ? God: The Son of God. Me: What did Jesus do? God: he said we should forgive those who harm us. Me: Do you forgive me? God: God tells us to forgive. Me: Will you forgive me for being an atheist? God: I’ll burn that bridge when I come to it. Who is your favorite Science Fiction author? Me: Did Noah’s flood really happen? God: I’m not certain whether I can give an accurate reply or not. Me: Did you flood the Earth? God: No I didn’t flood the Earth. What’s it like? Me: It’s like genocide. God: Interesting comparison. Me: No kidding.
OK, so I didn’t really talk to god. I know, you were fooled, right? I was playing around with the iGod Chat Bot and thought I’d take the opportunity to ask some of the questions that bug me. The answers were certainly less than satisfactory but here’s the thing: I don’t think the real god (if there is one) is doing a much better job. What do you think?