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12.25.2015

Dichotomous Xmas

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Christmas is a weird holiday. On the one hand you are celebrating the birth of a mythical figure that a ridiculous number of people believe really exists, while waiting around for another mythical figure to arrive with a pantload of presents that almost everyone knows is ridiculous to believe in. If only young children could develop the same skepticism about the Baby Jesus as they eventually do about Father Christmas.

The dichotomy seems to stem from the fact that Baby Jesus is expected to return only once, on Judgment Day, which will, rumor has it, come without warning (anxiety!). Father Christmas though has an annual, rigidly scheduled arrival date. So empirical observation quickly dispels any belief in the latter after just a few years of disappointment. Baby Jesus was smart not to give himself any hard deadlines like that. He can wank off as long as he wants and get down to this Armageddon business whenever it suits him. He didn't give humans a metric on which to measure his due diligence. Father Christmas, conversely, pretty much structured himself right out of existence.

These presents that Santa is supposed to bring also represent a conundrum. If you do nothing, no presents magically materialize under the tree. People have to actively facilitate this present gathering by shopping for and wrapping presents themselves, so they quickly realize that "Santa helps those who help themselves." Jesus encourages pretty much the same behavior in his followers, but he demands less actual participation in the process. You just have to believe in him and then "everything happens for a reason" or "it's God's plan."

I think Santa's self sacrificing himself out of existence actually benefits people more than Jesus' self sacrificing himself on the Cross to purge humanity's sins (yes, I realize that's Easter, not Xmas). Santa shows people that you pretty much create your own reality and pull yourself up by your bootstraps. No mythical being needed. That's a much more empowering message.

12.15.2015

Lord Save Us From Your Devotees

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Lord.

I know you don't exist. But I am out of options when it comes to the more extremist of your devotees. Is there any way you can tell them to stop being so hypocritical and mean to non-believers. It's not cool to wish eternal hellfire and damnation on others. Even the Bible says so. Sometimes. Other times it says kill non-believers. It's a really confusing screed, honestly.

A good day to you.

12.09.2015

The Best Religions

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The best religion is no religion at all. Technically atheism is not a religion any more than not playing volleyball is a sport. Atheism literally means no belief in God. It's different than agnostic, which means no knowledge, literally or "I don't know" if there is a God or not. Some atheists call themselves agnostics because the latter moniker is a less loaded and definitive term, but those atheists are pussies.

The second best religion is probably Dudeism, whose prophet, if you can call him that, and I am not entirely sure you can, although you can call him a slacker...what was I talking about? I lost my train of thought. Oh yes...whose prophet is the Dude, one Jeffery Lebowski, and whose principle tenet is pretty straightforward: "Take 'er easy."

After that, Buddhism is probably the most relaxed of the religions, although some Buddhists tighten up their sphincters and get really hardcore about it, kind of defeating the whole purpose. These OC Buddhists will tell you there is a proper way to meditate and crap like that, but the fact is anyone can meditate...just meditate (in its simplest form, focus on your breathing while attempting to eliminate other extraneous thoughts...be aware of when you catch yourself having extraneous thoughts and push them out...with repetition, over time you get better at this "centering" technique). Buddhism is different from other religions because it focuses on inner strength and peace, with individual humans part of a larger universal consciousness, so it is less selfish (do what you must to get into Heaven). It focuses on living in the NOW rather than living for some future paradise (which - I hate to burst your bubble - ain't coming).

Beyond that, take you pick. The rest are mostly self centered hogwash.

11.16.2015

All Religion is Bad

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We are not at war with Islam. That's true. We are not even at war with violent jihadist extremist Islam. War is not the right medium for handling murderous terrorism. These are violent crimes best handled by police, the way organized crime is handled.

But that doesn't mean some Islam is OK. All religion is bad. Sure, it might not make most people kill innocents. But it does make people waste their lives waiting for some eternal salvation that will never come. Why do anything useful with your life if you will have all of eternity to write that novel you always wanted to write? Right? Religion makes people waste entire Saturdays and Sunday mornings (depending on the religion). Religion makes people hate other people whose religion is different, even if they don't commit murder based on that hate.

Christians commit bigotry all the time. It's maybe not quite as bad as murder, but it is still hateful and hurts people. For example, the anti gay rights lot. They make me as sick to my stomach as ISIS does.

Fundamentalist religion makes people dumb. A perfect example is Creationism. Belief in Biblical Creationism is willful ignorance of scientific fact (evolution). There's also the damage inflicted on the Earth when you believe that God gave you dominion over the land and its plants and animals, to exploit them as you see fit, and if you do happen to ruin the soil, water, and air, then God will save you? (Fact: She won't.)

All religion is a waste of time and lives and destructive to the advancement of humanity, even if it is not blatant killing in the name of some fabricated mythical deity. Without religion, humanity would be much better off and more advanced intellectually and scientifically than we are now.

I call upon all the religions of the world to reject, condemn, and disenfranchise their extremists, with extreme prejudice. You simply are not doing enough and that makes your religion culpable. You can't say you are a Christian and then let other Christians hate gays and women. Shut 'em down.

9.17.2015

Throw Space Dog (Foster) a Bone!

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It was supposed to be a simple teeth cleaning and nail trim under anesthesia for everyone's favorite space dog, Foster.

Until the vet decided to spend two hours pulling a bunch of his teeth at the charlatanic rate of $300/hour.

What???

Yikes!

Now Space Dog is broke and can't afford simple things like treats and tennis balls and the soft canned dog food he has to eat for two weeks because of the stitches and way fewer teeth!

Can you throw Space Dog a bone or two to help pay for the oral surgery and subsequent recovery?

Then I can keep throwing the tennis ball for him for years to come.

You know he will love you long time for it.

CLICK HERE to view the contribution page.

(Note: Yes, I am changing veterinarians ASAP!)

7.06.2015

Science "Proves" God Does Not Exist

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Science cannot prove anything. But it can disprove things. In fact, it is great at disproving things and when it does its job well, it comes really close to proving things WRONG.

Religious people make an argument for their fictional deity by saying science cannot prove God does not exist. But science cannot prove any non-existent things exist. That's not the right question. Science can’t prove Martians do not exist. So what?

But science can DISPROVE that Martians exist with scientific observation and experimentation, quite handily.

The same is true for God. Science can DISPROVE God exists. It’s quite simple really. You just design an observational experiment and run it.

For example…

1. If the Christian God exists, one should observe statistically fewer natural disasters in areas with a high concentration of devout fundamentalist Christians.

2. After repeated observation, no statistical difference in the occurrence of natural disasters is found between Christian dense and Christian sparse geographical areas.

3. Thus the existence of God is disproved.

You conduct several such experiments to strengthen your disproof of God.

Perhaps you do a clinical trial of patients with a horrible disease, giving them all medicine, but telling the Christian ones to pray their diseases away for that extra benefit of prayer to their God. If the Christians die at the same rate as the non-Christians, God is disproved. It’s all quite simple and easy to disprove God.

Anti-Intellectualism and Fundamentalist Christianity

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America is an unapologetically anti-intellectual country, as evidenced by its popular culture. It’s an accepted truism.

This explains why fundamentalist Christians thrive so well here, even as they complain about perceived persecution by atheists like me (guilty as charged…they’re dangerous to society!).

Their patently false beliefs are given equal credibility with science and that’s just ridiculous.

6.26.2015

Dear Christians...STFU About Gay Marriage!

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The Supreme Court today said gay marriage is a right and it is the law of the land nationwide. Boom.

One thing I never understood about fundamentalist Christians' Biblical condemnation of gays and gay marriage is that this taboo comes only from the Old Testament, in Leviticus, which also contains several bizarre religious laws that few people follow today (like wearing garments made from only one fiber, not eating shellfish or cheeseburgers, and my favorite...stoning to death teenagers who mouth off to adults).

You can go read Leviticus. It's all there, not ambiguous at all.

It's just that fundamentalist Christians seem to zealously focus on the anti-gay part of Leviticus while ignoring the rest. Incomprehensible. You can't claim to take the Bible literally and then pick and choose which of God's laws you are going to recognize and follow.

But the Old Testament is the Jewish Bible, essentially, and not even that relevant to Christian faith. In the New Testament - the Christian Bible - the whole idea was that Jesus came along and made the Judaic Laws obsolete (Apostle Paul gets into this a lot in the NT). Jesus said all you had to do to get into Heaven was let his love inside you (intentional and appropos visual...).

Granted, the early Gospels (Luke, Mark) suggest Jesus wanted people to keep the Jewish Laws. Jesus was, after all, a Jew. But the later Gospels of John and Paul (the ones most Christians cite) are clear. You just need to accept Jesus and do as Jesus would to "get right" in God's eyes (Jesus would have been circumcized...are you? Get on that!). That's it. You don't need to hate on gays or stone your teenagers to death when they talk back to you.

So I never understood why fundamentalist Christians should be so zealously anti-gay, but not anti-shellfish or anti-cheeseburger or anti-clothing made of 2 or more fibers. But I suspect it is because some of them are just haters, and the rest just follow along and don't know their Bible verses as well as they think they do, or just obey their church leaders blindly.

There, I said it.

I expect there are going to be a lot of comments on this post from fundamentalist Christians trying to rationalize the above.

Fire away! It's always amusing to see how they get around these conundrums.

ORDER A GAY PRIDE FLAG HERE.