Tag: religion

Interesting how churches are trying to stay relevant

So around the Metro area of Atlanta I note a number of different churches are proclaiming how all are welcome, including the LGBT community.

Look churches had their chance to be more inclusive and they failed miserably at it. As a result many churches are seeing attendance decline and they’re tripping over themselves now trying to be supportive. As if or Ut Si.

I walked away from Catholicism for two reasons, well three. First my studies in religion led me to realize it was a man made creation, not that of a divine being. The second was the anti-gay screeds by certain popes. And the third is the biggie, how they covered up the sexual abuse of kids And even today they keep trying to backpedal. Sorry that ship has sailed. Firstly I don’t need to get up early on a Sunday morning, nor do I need to tithe my money to any church.

As you may have guessed from this blog – I’m an atheist. Don’t believe in heaven, hell, god, Jesus, the whole of it even the devil. In fact I’m more a nihilistic atheist in other words one who thinks meaning, morals and everything are just human constructs not to be followed or believed. An old friend of mine said it, what we’re seeing now is the dying gasps of religion in general. They’ll go down either kicking and screaming or try to appear to by more accepting. It’ll fall flat. Just look at the rate of religious none in the different regions of the U.S. in the northeast a full quarter of the population doesn’t believe in religion. Even the region I’m in now the southeast where the none is 13-15% Belief is fading away.

Pondering the non-existence of God

Or at the very least, that the latest god doesn’t have the powers of omniscience and omnipotence. For it begins in Genesis 3.

Let’s break it down, when you think about it if the snake was the serpent was the devil let’s go back to who created the devil in the first place. It was God – so there goes omniscience. And God couldn’t stop Eve from being beguiled by the snake? There goes omnipotence.

My favorite verse is Genesis 3:22 “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:”

Now this is the Old Testament, there’s just God and the Holy Spirit. Is that the Us he’s referring to?

So in just this one little thought experiment we find this a puny god. It’s not omniscient and not omnipotent. So why call it a god at all?

Therefore god/God does not exist. That was easy.

How to do religion

You know by now I don’t believe in god/God/gods. None of them even existed or were real.

But it hit me, I grew up Catholic. Catholic churches are sight, sound, scent factories. Think about it, all the stained glass, the lighting, the incense that was burned on certain days, and the fact that the mass was said in Latin up until the 1960’s. And think about it, in that time before Vatican II or before the invention of the Gutenberg Press in the 15th century  – the churches must have been quite the scene and rather mystical because the mass wasn’t said in local vernacular.

But we live in the 21st century – some 600 years after the invention of the printing press. And so we have greater access to information, from books, libraries, and the web in general. And there are much greater spectacles on the web than a church could ever, in so many words hold a candle. Think about it we all have LASERS now. Either your net connection comes to you as light via a LASER  or you have a CD-ROM reader on the computer, or any number of things. That makes the net possible and well, that has done more to enhance science and destroy religion over time. And I’m so on board and good with that.

So if religion wants to survive it has to stop with the Old Testament bullshit but they’ll never do that. It is precisely why in the 18-29 age group – fewer and fewer are turning to the church. And as I said to someone recently – what irks me more than anything is the proselytizing – I mean come on, if your god is so great why do you have to tell everyone about him/her/it?

The cat is literally out of the bag vis a vis the Catholic church and even on Christianity, Islam, etc. All of the Abrahamic religions are based on what I term extreme amounts of woo. In other words, it’s all made up, the fevered imaginings of bronze age people. We’re 20 centuries or so past that and it’s time we start behaving as such. Because using a bronze age collection of texts as your basis for live is pretty much asinine.

Sed solum hominibus non est deus – which is “There is no god but there is only mankind”


The Evolution of my Atheism

The whole thing started around the time I was eight years old. By then I’d made my first Communion and was attending a Catholic school. But I figured I may as well not rock the boat to much and so didn’t say much about it for about seven years.

By that time I’m fifteen years old and taking classes prior to my Confirmation in the Catholic church. During the final weeks we all had to do a one on one with one of the parish priests. I sat in front of that priest and boldly told him I didn’t believe or believe in any of it and had a very hard time reconciling the concept of faith with what I’d learned of science and logic at that time. The funny part of course is that they went right ahead and confirmed me anyhow. How’s that for hypocrisy!

And over the years that followed my father and I would get into discussions about religion. The thing is, my religious education while I may have parroted a lot just to get my ass through it, I actually learned a hell of a lot. And so when my father would say off the wall shit like “Even the Bible says black and white people shouldn’t be together.’ I’d counter that having read the ENTIRETY of the texts of the Bible I didn’t recall that particular choice nugget being in there. At this point the conversation would devolve with my father blatantly stating “You never believed in God anyway.” to which I’d respond “You’re absolutely correct, I do not believe in a fictional being.” and the upshot of this would be the rest of the car ride in silence, and sometimes on special occasions were I the one driving I’d offer to let my father off by the side of the highway if he so pleased. 

I think that went on maybe two or three times. Then he’d drive his own car or I’d ride with someone else, etc. So it’s not a surprise that he and I don’t talk to each other anymore. What’s the point when you know it will eventually degrade into accusations of your disbelief.

There were however times I questioned how he could believe in a God who took two wonderful women away from my father due to early deaths from cancer. He once admitted that it did sort of shake his faith but my father being the follower that he is, he went right back to it so he can bitch about the pastor, etc.

Of course my atheism has gotten me in hot water on other occasions. At one place of employment the boss was a fundie Catholic. Four of six members of his staff including me, we were all atheists. I find that in the I.T. realm there’s quite a bit of atheism for some reason.

And I love,absolutely love debating why people still believe with priests. It’s a trip. They’re so brainwashed that they cannot see what is right in front of them.

I look at it this way – we’re pressed enough for time as it is. Why waste the time believing in a non-existent deity? And then of course recall that the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all had their pantheons of Gods who’ve faded out with history. Why not God and Jesus Christ, the latter of who the evidence is increasingly pointing to the non-existence of even the so called Prince of Peace.

I also look at how religious belief has retarded progress over the eons. We still fight the battles today what with the contraception thing with the churches and the health care reform act. But it goes further – I have a firm belief that every boy and girl by age 1 or 2 should be vaccinated for HPV. But of course the religious idiots (And don’t get me started on the anti-vaxers) say that it’ll only make it more permissible for kids to have wanton misdirected sex. But then we have states with abstinence only sex eduction where the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases are SKYROCKETING. How’s that working out for them one has to wonder.

The best advice I can give anyone who has doubts about their religion is to actually READ the entire Bible. Don’t cherry pick, read it all. it is only when you do that you start to realize the contradictions inherent in the text.

But I’m encouraged by things like Skepticon, The Atheist Experience out of Austin, TX etc. These people were all once very religious and they were able to lift the veil and see that it was all so much pulled out of someones ass.


A ‘debate’ on Creationism and thoughts on the foundations of modern religions

So I was watching this video of Christopher Hitchens stating that there is “No creationism debate, it’s over.”

Hitches brought up the Golden rule, aka do unto others and you’d have them do unto you. He theorizes that this is the default human state and has been responsible for the progress made by societies.

That got me to thinking. For example – I know the Code of Hammurabi was written sometime around 1700BC. And the Juedo-Christian Old Testament came about sometime between around 532 and 322BC. The New Testament came about sometime after 100AD. And in fact I was watching another YouTube video of a Christian wing-nut trying to make the case for a trinitarian or tri-partite god. What most Christians don’t know is that little innovation didn’t come about until 325AD and the First Nicean Council.

We also know that pagan celebrations were co-opted in order to spread Christianity. Then of course there’s the fact that up until Gutenberg and his printing press in the 15th century all Bibles were copied by scribes. This introduces a coupe of  possible problem areas.

The first is translation error. If you’re familiar with another language you know that certain terms don’t translate. So a certain amount of translation error when the texts went from what is likely Aramaic to Greek and then to English, let’s just say a lot probably got lost in translation.

Then there’s copy error – this came in when scribes would editorialize or correct the text for flow issues.

You see where I’m going right? It’s all just made up power structure. Every last bit of it.

Why I believe organized religion is dying out

So I just read this on HuffPo. It posits that the enemies of gay people are the Church, Patriarchy, and Heterosexism.

The piece that really grabbed me is how the Roman Catholic Church has embraced the National Organization for Marriage. It’s a sure sign that they’re sliding down the hill. The church will grasp out at anything to stave off what they surely by now see as their decline.

They could have stopped it. They could have embraced the reforms of Vatican II, could have come clean about the molesting priests. But they decided that the mother church was to be protected and so lost all credibility as a result.

Then of course there is the fact that their congregations are singing a different tune than their hierarchy. A lot of Catholics support equality, support abortion rights, birth control rights, etc. The Church hierarchy – comprised of what is essentially a bunch of old, white men holds a different view.

And it isn’t just the Catholic church, even the Episcopal, and other churches are feeling the loss.

Makes me happy because not having to waste time being a god botherer has it’s issues. And maybe, just maybe those thought cycles wasted on religion might push society ahead!



On How Facebook triggers posts about religion

So a friend on Facebook posted the following:

I can say stupid things about Catholic people, but I’m not gonna do it. I could say all Irish people are drunks, or all Polish people are dumb, or all Italian people are in the mafia. Everyone has a different ethnic group or religion they belong to. Prejudice is stupid.

Now I chimed in that I thought it was ok to discriminate against Catholics, after all people CHOSE to be Catholic. Therefore we can make fun of their choice. I didn’t choose to be gay.

I also brought up the ‘other people’ in the Bible. It’s right there in Genesis right after Cain slays his brother. He’s cast out of the Garden of Eden and goes East of Eden into Nod where he finds a wife. So in essence there were all these OTHER people in Nod when God decided to do his little Garden experiment.

Pisses Christians off when you tell them that. Because it tells them their entire belief system is based on a falsehood. Produces massive amounts of cognitive dissonance.

If you don’t want to read the whole book like I once did I suggest you at least read the Pentateuch or the first five books of the Old Testament. Tells you everything you need to know about the current crop of Catholics and Christians.

And if you’re feeling adventurous – keep reading. And then come back to me and say that you still believe. Because when you get to the New Testament and start reading the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John about Jesus death and resurrection you see that each gets the story slightly differently. And even the first three books – the share a lot of commonalities but also a lot of contradictions between them. It’s quite fascinating to do a forensic walk through the Bible too.

As a society I think we’d all be better off if we cared more about our neighbor than about our church. Might actually make some progress if that were the case.

And more to the point, one can be highly moral without religion. So the argument that we need religion to form morality is patently false too!

You can now see – I’m no fan of organized religion.

Religious wing-nuttery over marriage equality

So I was reading this post on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters and this paragraph grabbed my attention:

He went on to maintain that same-sex unions are a “narcissistic parody” of opposite-sex relationships as “homosexual relationships do not represent an authentic intimacy, but rather involve mutual exploitation for the sake of satisfying an unnatural lust” and lead to suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, violence along with other “destructive consequences.” “Homosexuals themselves, who are the greatest victims of the ‘gay lifestyle,’ and are in desperate need of the truth,” he writes.

Let’s break this down, shall we?

“Do not represent authentic intimacy” – the definition:

Of undisputed origin; genuine: “authentic 14th-century furniture”.
Made or done in the traditional or original way: “authentic Italian meals”.

So they’re trying to say because they dispute it our relationships aren’t authentic? Try again! He’s trying to make the wrong-parts argument and failing miserably because we all know better.

…but rather involve mutual exploitation for the sake of satisfying an unnatural lust…

But lust in itself is an immoral thing. Or so says the church. The unnatural part comes from nature being a code word for God. The thing is, in the Bible the prohibitions of a man lying with a man aren’t the word of God per se, but part of the Levitical code of conduct. In other words, written by primitive tribal societies who saw non-reproduction as un-natural.

…lead to suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, violence along with other “destructive consequences.”

Funny, I can only speak from my perspective here. First of all I’ve never contemplated suicide, only drink moderate amounts of alcohol, never abused drugs, and never suffered any violence. Then of course the writer completely gives a pass with “destructive consequences”. This is code speak for “The wages of sin are death.”

This is not to say that alot of gay and bisexual people and even straight people haven’t succumbed to diseases like HIV/AIDS, Herpes, etc. But that’s just it, Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, of the three names doesn’t understand the nature of disease, it’s not so much due to actions per se, but because of bacteria and viruses. Modern science has figured that part out for at least a century now.

And the only reason I’m the ‘greatest victim’ of my ‘gay lifestyle’ is only because religious bigots like Hoffman keep railing on, all up in the Kool Aid, and don’t know the flavor.

Christianity is fighting a losing battle

Take a look at this (You may click to enlarge):

Yes indeed – Christianity is sliding down that slippery slope. A friend of mine says that what we are witnessing is the dying gasps of organize religion.

But granted, it’s going to take a long time for it to completely fade away.

Why else would the likes of the Pope, and leaders of the Southern Baptists, and evangelicals keep saying such ridiculous things? Because they know they’re losing the battle.

Part of it is a function that traces back to the invention of the printing press. Of course we’ve taken that to an extreme, I can publish this without anything more than a swype or press of keys on my phone or computer.

So it’s really a function of education, which is why you’re seeing attacks on things like evolution because the religious know they cannot legitimately argue against it. So they came up with creation ‘science’.

And of course there’s the deliberate dumbing down of our educational system in general. I was at the forum for potential school board candidates and I said, I want every student in the Providence school system to get the education I got, and mine wasn’t in public schools.

But even with those attacks we’re still making progress. It is because we have this thing that I alluded to earlier, the internet. A multitude of search engines, Web 2.0 sites, etc. It heterodynes the message that directly disputes the claims of the religious.

When Christians and Muslims take offense to what is taught in public schools

This is ridiculous.

Apparently it’s taking place in Canada. But still, I want to remind them of one thing. If you don’t want your kids learning about homosexuality, the environment etc. then don’t send them to public schools and expect them to cater to your religious whims.

Instead send them to private schools, or Catholic schools, or even Muslim schools. Home school them. But keep them out of the public system if you’re so afraid they might learn something that challenges your religious beliefs.

One warning though – be careful on the Catholic schools. I’m the product of 12 years of Catholic schools. As such, they helped my hone my bullshit detector which ultimately lead to my rejecting organized religion, in fact any religion. This was much to the consternation of my father the God Botherer II. I call him that because my grandfather, we called him Saint Anthony.

And that finely tuned bovine effluent detector, I imagine my aunt isn’t liking it much either, as evidenced by my last post.

The thing is I know how to research things. I don’t have a B.Sc. in Information Science for nothing you know.

I imagine I’d be a nightmare for the likes of the parents in Canada. Someone who went through all that religious dogma and came out as an atheist. Because it is precisely what these parents who want to be notified fear, they fear their kids will learn too much and challenge religious belief.

Good, religious belief needs to be challenged. It’s all based on writings from well over a thousand years ago. And when the source texts suffer from both copy error and translation error, you’re really not getting the WHOLE story.