Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell is dead.

Fuck you, Falwell! Over the next couple of days, folks with be eulogizing this racist, sexist, classist evil fuckwit sonofabitch, but you're not gonna get that here. He's dead. Good! The earth is better off without him.

This rat bastard said that "pagans", abortionists, atheists, gays, feminists and "secularist" were the reason why 911 happened. He supported apartheid. He attacked Martin Luther King, Jr., and the concept of civil rights and to his dying breath supported segregation. There was never a war he disliked, nor a person of color he did like, he worked tirelessly to attack the rights of the poor and minorities. He scammed people who were poor and desperate for millions to spread hatred. His fat hands are red with innocent blood. He was a promoter of madness and hatred, and because of the material support he provided for warmongers and murderers, and to make no mention of his ideological support for even greater injustices and villainies, people have died.

So, fuck you, Falwell. Your death makes me wish there was the very Hell you believed in.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mitt Romney is going to be the next US President

Why do I say this? Because he's the stupidest person of the lot. How stupid? This stupid:

"It seems that Europe leads Americans in this way of thinking," Romney told the crowd of more than 5,000. "In France, for instance, I'm told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past."


Well, as it turns out . . .



The one Romney said he was “told” is ruining marriages in France?

Yeah. Well. Turns out it was from an Orson Scott Card science fiction novel.

About Mormons.

Set in outer space.

Glad we got that cleared up.


So, Mitt confused the French with Mormons from space in a bad SF novel. This man is so stupid and so Republican I conclude he can't be beaten in the Presidential race. In the tradition of other deeply stupid people like George Bush II and Ronald Reagan, he will be the American President.

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Monday, May 7, 2007

Justification by Faith Alone

If you want to read something funny, and I'm trying to keep a little bit of humor in my blog under the hypothesis that my readers like a good laugh now and then, then read this critique of a Jack Chick tract from Enter the Jabberwock. It's good stuff.

The satirical critique is about a fairly common interpretation of Matthew 7:22-23:

22: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.


The interpretation is that “good works” don't get a person into heaven, only justification by faith alone. That repentance and “accepting Jesus into your heart” are the only ways to get to heaven.

Enter the Jabberwock gives some of the fairly obvious conclusions to this – that it justifies immorality being at the top of the list. No, really, it scans. If you only need to do something nebulous like “accept Jesus into your heart” (or, more properly called, justification by faith alone) and actively repudiate good works as a means of attaining heaven, you're basically saying the only thing that counts is accepting Jesus. Nothing else you do in this world matters. Just that.

I think it is important to emphasize this selfishness is one of the key tenets of American Christianity and, I think, is probably the key reason why so many of the most utterly backwards organizations in America are so rabidly pro-war, anti-poverty and generally more evil than Satan himself. It's because they believe, truly believe, that all you need to do to get into Heaven (which is the reason why most Christians are Christian, of course – they've been told if they don't believe they'll burn in hellfire forever, which would be a compelling argument if it had even a whiff of truth about it) then there's no reason to do anything else. Faith, alone, justifies oneself. Actions, other than “acceptance” of Jesus – which as I've said elsewhere is little more than the glorification of one's interpretation of the Bible to the point of unimpeachable “fact” – simply do not count.

(Of course, the general Christian response to this, when pointed out, is a big “uh-uh”. But it never stands analysis, because they'll then go on to agree that it is faith in Jesus, alone, that gets people into Heaven, and rejection of Jesus, alone, that condemns them to hell. If you but “accept” Jesus into your heart, he forgives you of all your sins; if you do not accept Jesus, he does not forgive any of your sins, and since you're born in sin, you go to the burning place.)

Since, then, deeds do not count, and a Christian's actions are never seriously held against them, anything is permissible. Oh, they say that isn't the case, but it is – Jesus forgives all sins, and if you join their religion any sinner is welcomed to the company of saints.

Interestingly, of course, is this is what Christians frequently accuse atheists of believing. I think it's a classic case of projection. Atheists – a few of the more nihlistic aside – generally believe that we work with other people to create a generally acceptable code of conduct based on human reason and human needs. American Christians, with their widespread belief on justification by faith alone, accept nothing of the sort. The accept that there is simply one thing a person must do to be righteous, just one, and it comes from a selfish interpretation of an old book.

No wonder Christians have made a mess of morality! From the medieval purchase of indulgences to the more clever justification by faith alone, Christianity has constantly subverted any attempt at all to make a coherent morality. It isn't just that Christianity has struggled with morality, but that it has by and large renounced morality. It is with Christians that anything is indulged, anything possible, because their god will always forgive me, and ever judge them by any act, save a simple statement of faith.

So, remember that the next time a Christian accuses an atheist of immorality. Atheists struggle with the concept of what is really moral, while Christians can just ignore it with, really, the full support of their religion.

None of this is original, but you can't expect me to have an original thought every day, do you?

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Confessions of an Atheist #1: Why Do Atheists Hate God?



More video blogging! I am apparently pushing through with my plot to talk about atheist issues on GodTube, who still appear to be my best customers. I feel a trifle bit like a whore. I am not saying anything I don't think is true, but I can feel myself pulling my punches.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I Bring Division! Let's Talk Missionary Work

When I ranted about Westboro Baptist a few days back, some Christians came by to try to “show” me that they weren't like those psycho fundies down at Westboro. Which is fine and dandy, and I never said otherwise, but what I wanted was for someone to explain two things: How these Westboro nutjobs can call themselves Christians? and What are “real” Christians gonna materially do, or are doing, to really stop this insanity?

I thought they were both reasonable questions. In the responses, I got three Christian responses. For my blog, three newbie first-time posters is great! (I should probably work on some superior form of tagging, tho' I admit the technical details I find tedious and frustrating. I should still do it if I'm serious about wanting fundie Christian trolls cruising my blog. A friend of mine doesn't say that it'll particularly help because I'm too good at “winning” arguments, which drives away trolls. Still, I want trolls!)

The first, Kathi, said that confronting them is “what they want”. The second, Kevin, didn't even mention what to do about them except “expose their mess”. The third, Martin, said that the Westboro people sue other people, so didn't dare do anything, then claimed poverty (tho' he eventually did say that, perhaps, it was time to do something about people like that), and then said that money could be better spent feeding starving people, and he also used the “it's what they want” argument. All three of them used the “no true Scotsman” fallacy as a defense, claiming the guys at Westboro weren't “real Christians” (tho', again, to be fair, Martin seemed to realize that his aggressive behavior wasn't, really, too much different from the Westboro people – loving everyone does mean, after all, even loving horrible human beings).

All I could think, really, is “what a bunch of gutless fucking cowards” but then I started thinking it through, more. Christians can find the money to send missionaries all over the world, but can't find the cash to go down to Topeka, Kansas? They'll send missionaries into brutal, war-torn countries to confront dictators and warlords, but can't stand down from some guys in Kansas?! So, given that Christian churches routinely do dangerous missionary, and I gotta figure it takes a lot of nerve to do missionary work in some corners of the world, it really makes me wonder why the Westboro people are so off-limits? Clearly, Christian churches have the nerve to find missionaries to do work in very dangerous places, and they find the money to do it, too. I find it without real credit the idea that neither the resources nor the courage exist to fight the Westboro Baptist Church. I mean, it isn't like these people – Christians – have any problem at all converting people. If the folks down at Westboro aren't “Christian”, I can't see any reason at all why “real Christians” would hesitate from attempting to convert them and thus save their souls as well as blot out an ugly stain on American Christianity.

I think that this is important for talking about American Christianity and every time they throw up the “no real Scotsman” fallacy. These people, as a group, are missionaries. Jesus, himself, created what is known as the Great Commission, which was go to out and preach the word of Jesus to all the world. They've got the resources, infrastructure and personnel to provide missionaries to the most horrible spots all around the world – they'll fight to send missionaries to communist China and war, drought and famine ravaged African countries, and everything in between, but they will not engage in missionary work directed at fundamentalist Christian organizations here in America.

I would really like for some Christian to answer me that – I want to know why missionary work isn't directed towards people like the Westboro Baptist Church, which time and again I've been told “isn't really Christian”. Because, what I think, is that it is Christian, and that no moderate or liberal Christian in America really wants to do missionary work towards fundamentalist Christians because it would start a real lively discussion in America about the real nature of Christianity, what it really stands for, and why Christians speak and act as the do (with many of them being racist, classist, sexist war-mongers), and I don't think that any Christians in America want that. The fundies don't want it because right now they can get away with murder, and the moderate and liberal Christians don't want it because it'll create a big ruckus right next to them, it'll bring division and dissent into their own homes and communities, and they do not want that.

Yet, I can't help but think that Jesus said something about this:

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (Luke 12:49-53 KJV)


Again, spread the word. I'd really like to get a good answer as to why “real Christians” don't engage in missionary work to spread the “real” word of Jesus to fundamentalist churches in America.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fuck Westboro Baptist Church, and the Reasons I Don't Have Respect for Christians

The Westboro Baptist Church, you know, the "god hates fags" people, has a new music video:



So, people, spread the word: I want some Christian to explain this to me. I want some Christian to explain the hatred, racism, homophobia . . . fuck, I want someone to explain to me why these people are so anti-life. And I want someone to explain why there isn't a Christian picket line outside their so-called church, 24/7, of good-minded Christian folks who are appalled that these fucking nutjobs are calling themselves Christian, or Baptist -- why you're not deeply ashamed and appalled by what these people do. I need for someone to explain to me, if there's ever going to be any hope that I will stop holding Christians in contempt, how it comes to pass that Westboro Baptist Church continues to exist unmolested.

I mean, these people are political. The gloves are allowed to come off. They have repeatedly put themselves in the public eye. There's no legal, and certainly no moral, reason not to roundly, soundly and absolutely condemn them. And I don't mean here. I mean to their faces. I mean, at their churches.

Because when I googled "Westboro Baptist Church protests", what I got was largely shit about their protests at funerals (!!!) and the like. It wasn't until the fourth page that I found some Christians that actually criticized Westboro Baptist. But it was weak, wholly verbal protest - as opposed to the Westboro folks who really know how to get a protest goin'.

It just seems odd to me that these Westboro fuck-os can get the funds together to travel all over the country to terrorize the families of the recently deceased, but Christians can't be bothered to get the money and effort up to systematically protest this sick cult out of existence. So, someone, explain it to me.

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Friday, April 6, 2007

Fundies on the Attack! Alliance Defense Fund Whackiness!

Naomi over at God is for Suckers posted this about about this blog post from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

The upshot is there's this organization of fundie Christians, the Alliance Defense Fund.

Here's a lesson in newspeak. AUSCS calls the ADF:

Founded by TV preachers and other extreme right-wingers to push the Religious Right’s agenda in the courts, the ADF was spawned by James Dobson, D. James Kennedy and Donald Wildmon, among others.

Originally, the group was conceived as a funding pool. The ADF would collect money and dole it out to Religious Right litigators like Pat Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice.


The ADF calls itself:

The Alliance Defense Fund is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.

ADF was founded for a unique purpose: to aggressively defend religious liberty by empowering our allies, recognizing that together, we can accomplish far more than we can alone.

We work tirelessly to assist them in their efforts through strategy, training, funding, and, where necessary, direct litigation through our own ADF legal team.


The ADF makes it sound like they'd defend radical Muslims or Buddhist monks or something, without giving any specifics about who funded it or the real work that they do. Oh, sure, later on they spill the bag -- but if you're a casual visitor to their website you might actually come away with the idea that they're protecting religious freedom in a global sense, not their own narrow view of it.

Still, that's not what I'm here to say. It just leapt up at me and I had to say it.

And I encourage everyone to read the GifS and AUSCS posts. They really say most of this better than I'd have the patience to do. The upshot is that the fundie religious right has this huge court machine trying to exact it's religious beliefs through the courts, as American law.

I don't normally write about politics, so why this? Because I think that most Americans have scant idea how organized, and the fashion of organization, the fundie Christian right is using to manipulate the government. That Americans need to see this sort of thing, to have it right out there in the open, to understand how the government is being fundamentally manipulated at the highest levels of power by fundamentalist Christians. (Compare, f'rex, the openness with which the ACLU pursues its cases. Everyone knows who the ACLU is, but virtually no one knows who the ADF are or what they're doing.) So, some of this is just spreading the word.

The rest of it is just me having contempt for the "nice Christian" defense. Time and again, I am confronted with Christians who try to say, "Well, I'm nice, and the Christians I know are nice, so you've got it wrong about Christians." Bullshit. Where is the "moderate" or "liberal" Christian response to this sort of thing? At best, they don't know, which is sort of like living in Stalin's Russia and not being aware of the gulags, if you ask me. They're not really hiding it, and someone is giving the ADF over twenty million a year to pursue cases, and train judges and the like. But they never seem to go after their these fundie Christians. They do spend a lot of time giving apologia for their religion, rather than doing the hard work of getting these people out of their religion! Of destroying the mechanisms of their manipulation! Day after day, year after year, they sit in congregations with rightist fundamentalists and do nothing but then have the arrogance to criticize atheist and humanist critiques of their religion, while offering endless (generally ridiculous) apologia for their faith.

Maybe Beep! Beep! It's Me! knows the opposite of the tu quoquo fallacy. Where, instead of justifying one's own horrible system by pointing out the sins of the opposition, the person justifies continued participation in their horrible system because not everyone in it is "that bad". Y'know. Like the rank-and-file members of the KKK, or whatever, saying the KKK isn't bad because they've got some real nice people in there.

And you can be damn sure that no Christian will be picking this up on their blog. I'd be fascinated if someone could find even one where this was brought up, even one.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Separate and Unequal – A Christian Odyssey Into Nothingness

This post was going to go unsent for a couple of days, but in a number of blogs (such as this Friendly Atheist post and this PZ Myer's post) they've been pointing out the MySpace clone, HisHolySpace.com. Everything after this paragraph was written before I found out about HisHolySpace.com but I think everyone will agree that it applies and supports my argument.

It wasn't until the Left Behind series had been going for many years that I ever heard of it. I read science-fiction and fantasy and I hadn't heard of it, because for a fairly long time the only place that sold the Left Behind books were Christian bookstores. It didn't stop them from doing very, very well.

Recently, Christians have opened the doors for Conservapedia. A Wikipedia-esque site for conservatives! Also recently coming online has been GodTube, a Christian alternative to YouTube. Also, the homeschooling movement, which is being primarily driven by fundamentalist Christians who don't want their kids to be exposed to sex education and science.

It is looking to me like Christians are starting to . . . opt out. During the 60s, hippies had a saying, “Tune in, turn on, drop out.” Well, it's looking a lot like 21st century Christians have discovered this. There seems to be some attempt to withdraw from society – to create a second . . . world. A world where a Christian can do everything that they do without having to contact anyone that ruffles their beliefs at all. They can go to Christian book and movie stores, go to Christian schools, have a Christian Internet. They can create a Christian bubble around themselves, completely ignorant of society at large! And, unlike those hippies, there are two hundred million of them in America.

There are two points, though, I want to make.

The first is even as they try to withdraw from society, they are nevertheless mimicking the very things that they despise. GodTube and Conservapedia are not innovations – but copies. Even now, they are dependent on the outside world to pull away from it. They hope by mimicking something they can exceed it? Rather than demonstrate what a pitiful copy it is? Well, good luck with that.

The second point is that it displays how frightened Christians are of the world. They're terrified of us, so much so that they're retreated into an increasingly closed society. I can't think of any humanist or atheist comparison. Oh, sure, we have our own organizations and all, but we're not trying to create a separate world for ourselves. We understand, generally, that we have to get by in this world and we engage in this world.

I suspect this will create a strange loop. The more they retreat the more, well, other people will step up. Not just atheists, either, but all the fringe groups, gays, feminists, Muslims, Wiccans, New Agers, you name it. And the more they/we step up, the more the conservative Christians will retreat.

Then, like a black hole eaten of it's own mass, they'll disappear.

At least, I hope.

There is precedent for this. The pagan religions that Christianity replaced, some of them were well over 2000 years old. Christians like to think that something that has existed for so long must continue to do so indefinitely (or, at least, to the end of the world – which they're still waiting for, after 2000 years), but there's no reason to assume that, none at all.

So, I say, let them retreat into their shells!

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Why Do I Hate Christians?

Is that title risible enough? I hope so. Anyway, the origin of this post was that after posting the stuff about, er, y'know, raping Jesus and attacking the idea of liberal Christians several people told me they were uncomfortable with how I thought about Christians.

I don't hate Christians, though many might think I do, even after I explain why my problems are far more with Christianity. However, I understand and accept that when a person attacks a religion they are attacking one of the absolutely core beliefs of a large group of people. You can't attack Christianity (or any living religion) without attacking a lot of people. Still, to me the distinction is important: I don't hate Christians, my problem is with Christianity in general and those specific individuals that do a lot of horrible things in the name of Christianity. That said, I don't think that the damage done by attacking Christianity (in the sense that Christians will be hurt) is sufficient to deter me from doing it. I feel that Christianity needs to be attacked.

And by attacked, I don't mean that Christians should be attacked physically or even verbally for being Christian. I think that the ideas that support and buttress Christianity need to be attacked, such as the idea that Jesus was the “Son of God” or rose from the dead, or that Christianity provides a solid ground for a moral code.

(I also think that the separation of church and state we have in the US doesn't go nearly far enough. I think it is time to move beyond the establishment of one religion over another being forbidden to the idea that, truly, no religions at all should be established. And by this I mean removing the special rights that religions – all religions – possess. I do not think that religious people should have rights to confidentiality for their parishioners. I don't think that churches should be tax exempt. I think that these sorts of laws establish not a specific religion but religion, generally, by making it easier for religions to exist.)

Still, is Christianity so bad that it needs to be attacked? My answer is, “Yes.”

Right now, in the United States, it is clear that fundamentalist Christianity is the most politically powerful form of Christianity. That would be bad enough in any country. But the damage that fundamentalism can do is magnified by the power of the United States. The US is the “sole remaining superpower”. The authority the US wields, globally, is immense. Fundamentalist Christians can, and certainly do, manipulate the power of the US to enact a global agenda that suits their ends.

For instance, virtually every country in the world believes that the US should stop supporting Israel's conquest of Gaza and the West Bank. One of the key components of continued support of the policy of supporting Israel with three billion dollars of military assistance every year is fundamentalist Christians. They see the existence of Israel as one of the necessary preconditions of their eschatology – meaning that the Second Coming and the end of the world can't happen unless the Jews possess Israel, which is traditionally seen as incorporating Gaza and the West Bank. To at least some extent, US foreign policy is being shaped by the beliefs of fundamentalist Christians and effecting millions of people in Palestine.

Likewise, it is now forbidden for the US to give aid to organizations that provide abortions. While liberal forces in the US are unlikely to allow abortion to be criminalized at home, they aren't willing to fight hard enough to prevent foreign aid being so restricted. Again, international policy is being set to fit fundamentalist priorities.

The forces of fundamentalism in the United States have, through their insinuation into American government, a truly global reach.

Additionally, I don't see or feel, really, Christian attempts to stop fundamentalism from being the dominate political force in America. I can go to the NY Times best-seller lists and find five books, right now, that are attacks on various sorts of religious fundamentalism written by atheists. I can find no attacks on Christian religious fundamentalism written by Christians on that same list. It is trivially easy to find fundamentalist attacks on just about anything done by liberals, leftists or atheists – including attempts to end abortion choices, stop the teaching of evolution in schools, all manner of warmongering, homophobia, sexism, racism, classism by conservative forces. You just have to turn on Fox News or the Christian Broadcasting Channel. Where is the liberal Christian response to this? Scant to the point of being invisible.

Christian religions in other countries also don't seem to be doing very much to stop American fundamentalism. This strikes me as huge cop out. I understand that most religions are pretty local – that truly international denominations are pretty rare. On what grounds would, say, the Danish Lutheran Church condemn the Southern Baptist Convention? I would say “morality”. But, like with liberal Christians in American, if they are challenging US fundamentalists they aren't making a very big noise about it. (This is ironic to me because Christians have little problem telling liberal and moderate Muslims in Western nations that they are morally obligated to control Islam's fundamentalist sects in Middle Eastern countries.)

So, what does a person do? They see a problem – Christian fundamentalism – and they see that Christians aren't doing anything about it. They believe that something, in fact, does need to be done about it. What do they do?

Different people, of course, would do different things. The thing I'm doing, of course, is writing a book about Jesus, Simon Peter and the formation of Christianity and writing on my blog about it. I'm also fixing to try to get speaking gigs on the subject.

Still, this isn't driven by a hatred of Christians, but a deep distrust of Christianity – and the fundamentalists that are trying to wreck the world and the moderates and liberals who aren't doing jack shit about it.

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