Monthly Archives: December 2010

Final Post

This will likely be my final post, as the title suggests. Have I run out of topics? Far from it. Have I given up? Never. The truth is… I’ve been scooped.

After I was lucky enough to run across this site, I felt that the arguments I made against the bible’s literal truth just didn’t add anything to the debate. The site that I’ve linked to above contains all of the various contradictions of fact found in the bible (over 50 of them), and most of them can’t be reasonably denied.

For instance, how many children did Michal, the daughter of Saul, have? 2 Samuel 6 says that she had none to the day of her death, and it makes sense in context… her husband, King David, said that the king’s lineage was not to be continued through Saul’s line. However, 2 Samuel 21 says that King David handed over several people of Saul’s lineage to the Gibeonites to be slaughtered – among them, the 5 sons of Michal. It’s translated here as “Mirab” rather than Michal, though your footnotes will tell you that most transcripts have it as Michal rather than Mirab, and in 1 Samuel 18 where those same transcripts say Mirab it is written as Michal. It should be obvious why it was translated differently here.

How old was Ahaziah when he began his reign? In 2 Kings 8, he was 22. In 2 Chronicles 22, he was 42. Context doesn’t help even slightly. It’s the same case with Jehoiachin – 2 Kings 24, he was 18. 2 Chronicles 36, he was 8.

I remember when I was a child in Sunday School that we were taught that the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) all agreed on everything perfectly, and how miraculous that must be because it’s difficult for four people “to agree on anything nowadays”. They don’t. In fact, on nearly any point that any two of them both discuss, they get something in error.

Take, for instance, the story of Jesus’ death. On the third day…

Matthew: Jesus’ tomb is visited by Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James. The stone was in place, and they watched it get rolled back by an angel. They were so excited by Jesus’ resurrection that they went to tell the disiples.

Mark: Jesus’ tomb is visited by both Marys and Salome. They found the stone already rolled away. It’s very clear that they were not overjoyed, but rather terrified by what they’d seen, so they told “no one” about it.

Luke: Jesus’ tomb is visited by both Marys, Joanna, and “the others” with them. They found the stone already rolled away. They told the disciples about what they’d seen.

John: Jesus’ tomb is visited by Mary Magdalene (alone!). She found the stone already rolled away. She ran and told 2 disciples about it, they checked it out, and then went home… she remained there to cry.

Besides the stone already being rolled away upon their arrival (which obviously conflicts with Matthew, which mentions a violent earthquake as it’s pushed away), the gospels don’t agree on any piece of this story. How difficult it must have been to make a movie like “The Passion of the Christ” when basing it on scripture! The bible even has two different accounts of how Jesus answers Pilate (“I am who you say I am” and a persistent silence that amazes everyone present) and two different accounts of who carries the cross (Jesus and “Simon a Cyrennian”). He also has 3 different sets of last words listed (“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” “It is finished”).

How many contradictions of fact does it take for the bible to be fallible? The obvious answer is “one”. Although Christians give lip service to the idea that “We believe because it has never been proven wrong”, so do Muslims, and it’s easy enough to find contradictions in their scripture, too. The bible (and all other ancient religions) were obviously attempts to explain the world in the days before science could. But despite the better explanations that we have, believers still continue to believe because they suffer from something similar to Stockholm Syndrome. As explained in this video (also courtesy of TheThinkingAtheist.com, which gave us the list of bible contradictions):

-Supernova

 

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Why Gays Should Marry

Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

While these words are not implicitly Christian, you’ll notice that I’ve provided links that show that at least half of this statement is part of the Christian faith – they are to love their neighbors, who are obviously sinners. Do Christians love gay people? Does hating the sin look any different than hating the sinner?

American gays want the right to get married, and it’s pretty clear that most of the opposition comes from the religious. This is strange, because in a context that doesn’t involve homosexuality, these are the same people who support marriage and think that couples shouldn’t just remain together, “shacked up”. They tell us of all the benefits of marriage, and then tell us that gays are better off without these benefits. I’m going to list the main arguments against gay marriage, and of course the reasons why they aren’t logical.

1 – Gay sex is sinful. So what? We don’t legislate morality. The first amendment to our Constitution prohibits laws that respect one religious belief over another. But even this is beside the point, because keeping gay marriage illegal does not, in any way, prevent or prohibit gays from having sex. Gay couples exist whether they can marry or not. If you want to stop the sin, this won’t have any effect on that whatsoever.

2 – This will change the definition of marriage. Why would that be true at all? You’d have to believe that marriage is a Christian rite, but even the book of Genesis mentions examples of marriage outside of the Christian faith, most likely existing before the first Jews. There are some who claim Adam and Eve were married, but that’s silly. The bible doesn’t speak of them as husband and wife, there was no one to officiate for them, and without the ability to commit adultery a marriage between them would be pretentious.

“US Citizen” used to be a term that didn’t pertain to blacks, and a “voter” never meant a woman a century ago, but expanding those definitions certainly didn’t change them for the worse. It’s a good thing that we stopped discriminating in these cases.

3 – Being gay isn’t natural. If you want to take it that far, being married isn’t “natural” either, as we’re the only species that bothers with such a thing. This argument is brought up only by those who have indoctrinated to believe that being gay is a choice. If you were told that being attracted to the opposite sex was wrong and that God would hate you for it, could you change? Would you marry a same-sex partner just because it was normal and people told you that you should? That same revulsion you feel is akin to how a gay person views heterosexuality. It may not be common, but to some, it is how nature made them.

4 – Gays can’t produce children. Neither do many heterosexual couples, and we don’t condemn them for it. On this note, should we prevent octogenarian marriages?

5 – Gay marriage will incur God’s wrath. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah? I sure don’t, because it was probably a myth. Have you ever heard of another firestorm from heaven? Christians are quick to approach natural disasters as proof of God’s wrath, but there’s never been a rational basis for this. I know, it’s rather stupid to believe that hurricanes are caused by low pressure systems, earthquakes are caused by movement of tectonic plates, and volcanoes from lava trying to escape Earth’s crust. It’s God at work, using a not-so-surgical attack on sinners.

6 – Children in gay homes will become gay or suffer from a lack of well-rounded role models. Homophobia is the fear that homosexuality spreads somehow, but for some reason we have straight parents with gay children and gay parents with straight children because it doesn’t work that way. As for role models, we don’t seize kids from every adult who has tragically lost his/her spouse, for fear that the child will not be well-rounded.

I hope you can see how silly this crusade is… but as silly as it is, it’s nothing compared to the fight against gays in the military. Does allowing gays change the definition of soldier? Is the army a Christian institution? Christians had an argument against this at one time, but after years with a mixed military, it’s clear to see that none of their prophesies have come true. If it wasn’t obvious enough from American soldiers, we could’ve just looked to other countries that were less bigoted than ours which had allowed gays to fight for years before ours. There was never a good reason to prevent it except prejudice against gays. It’s time to face the facts. If you’re against gay marriage, it’s because you hate gay people. We went through this with blacks already, treating them like lesser people for no logical reason. It’s time to grow… and to start following the scripture you claim gives you your morals.

-Supernova

*Credit to this site which listed the reasons given against gay marriage – a very funny link for all those who agree with me in this blog. If you can think of other arguments against gay marriage, I’ll happily welcome them and respond myself.


Prayer is Pointless

I’m an atheist – of course I believe that “prayer is pointless”. But even if you believe what the bible says is true about prayer, it’s still true. Together, let’s examine the reasons for praying, and see if we can find a good reason to do it (reasons found from a search on google – there’s no go-to site for such a question).

1 – Prayer maintains a relationship with God. Needless to say, this is pointless if God doesn’t exist. But what if God does exist? Well, a relationship still doesn’t exist if God doesn’t answer… more on this in just a bit.

2 – Prayer discerns God’s will. Same response – if God doesn’t exist, he doesn’t have a will. If he exists, it’s pointless without a clear answer from God.

3 – God commands his believers to pray. In fact, he commands prayer without ceasing. This is obviously impossible. A believer can’t pray while sleeping! Even if you don’t this so literally, a believer still can’t manage the natural world while trying to maintain a conversation at the same time. This believer would also quickly run out of things to discuss with God short of repeating himself like a mantra – similar to the practice of new-agers, and not prescribed by scripture.

4 – Prayer is used to offer thanks, honor, and adoration to God. Why is it necessary to voice what’s already felt in one’s heart to an omniscient being? Doesn’t he already know how you feel?

5- Prayer is coming to God with requests. If God already knows what you want (remember, he’s omniscient) then why would you have to ask for it? Isn’t he also benevolent? Doesn’t he already want you to be happy?

Christians say that God answers prayers in 3 ways: with a “yes”, “no”, or “wait”. That pretty much covers whatever result would naturally happen from a prayer, whether or not there was a God to answer. But why would there be a variance in answers? If God is fair, why would he grant to some what he denies to others? That is injustice. This is further exemplified by the necessity of a Christian praying for God to “do his will”… why would he will good things for some and bad things for others? Does he usually act outside of his will? Does a request that God act according to his own will change a thing?

And the hardest question, why are the faithful asked to look to following events for the answer, rather than receiving a verbal answer on the spot?

 

Prayer can be scientifically tested, and it was in the Templeton Prayer Study. I won’t elaborate on this further, as I’ve created a link to it and everyone should already be well-acquainted with this study. If you don’t care to do the research, allow me to say that it was a double-blind experiment paid for and run by Christians that ended with the unexpected result that prayer didn’t work. While Christians have tried to rationalize this result, it’s clear to say that this experiment could have had a positive result, but didn’t. God was tested and failed the test, whether on purpose or because of his nonexistence.

So let’s offer the opportunity to you, the reader – prove that prayer isn’t pointless. Prove that prayer undeniably changes results to an event (for example, you could roll a die 100 times and get the same number all 100 times because you asked God for that, observed by onlookers) or prove that prayer is undeniably a 2-sided conversation by providing information that can’t be gained except through prayer (for example, go through an entire deck of cards and ask God what each card is before it’s turned face up, write the answer and then reveal it to onlookers).

The bible tells Christians not to test God (Exodus 17:7, Deuteronomy 6:16) but doesn’t say that God will purposely fail a test when presented with it (Gideon and the fleece – Judges 6:36-40, Elijah and the Prophets of Baal – 1 Kings 18) so please spare me the excuses. I’ve already provided the logic for a holy book to tell its believers that its god shouldn’t be tested. It’s obvious why any Christian, given the opportunity to win over nonbelievers with proof of God, would choose not to do so.

One final consideration: Your child has sustained a life-threatening injury. He/she is rushed to the emergency room. The surgeon, a doctor will years of training and experience, chooses to pray for your child instead of putting that training to use. Do you really believe that your child would survive it? If he/she didn’t survive, would you blame the surgeon for choosing faith over medical science?

-Supernova


Catholic Jokes

In honor of a Scottish referee getting fired for the religious joke pictured below…

Enjoy the following jokes about the Catholic church. Oh, and protect free speech.