8/31/10

Doosh Marks


The guy's obviously mentally ill so I hate to rag on him too much, but there's this complete double-ended douche canoe who infests the comments section of atheist blogs.

He pastes in long multipage manifestos of incoherent word salad garnished with death threats. Some people have tracked him down, found his IEP address, and I guess his name is Dennis Markuze, or something like that. He calls himself DM, which of course stands for “Doosh Mark”. (the alternate spelling avoids confusion with a douche, which can actually be good for something.)

He's as persistent as he is idiotic, and for a while I was jealous of the popular blogs where his dumps (one can't really call them comments) are as regular as zits. I know my blog is just a little obscure thing, but geez, couldn't I even attract one little harrassment?

Finally it happened, he dumped on me, and I felt like I have really arrived as a blogger. I got my first Doosh Mark! Yay!
Now that my readership has soared into the double digits, my score now is up to 3DM. I have a long way to go to catch up with some others, like Personal Failure, whose score must be over a dozen DM, but I'm on my way.
 (update: WHOO,  Four!  He did it again while I was typing.)

If you're an atheist blogger, what's your Doosh score?

I Apologize


First a big THANK YOU to all the people who have left comments here lately. You can't imagine how happy you make me when you do that. (Yes, even ones that just call me an asshole.)

They were all wonderful, and I tried to respond to them all.   Unfortunately Blogger made an improvement to their commenting system, and I have the computer skills of a wombat and accidentally deleted a whole bunch of
them.

So. If you don't see your comment, all you people who contributed here and made me so very happy, don't freak out and think I hate you and don't like what you said.

8/30/10

I Like Dicks


The skeptical blogoverse is in turmoil. Phil Plait gave a speech, and said “Don't be a dick”. Other people said “You're a dick for telling me to not be a dick”

Since I have nothing worthwhile to contribute, I'll just tell a story.

Long ago I paid a visit to a friend, we had a few beers, shot the shit, mostly about the job and troubles with his boss. My main squeeze was with me but mostly just sat and listened. In the car after we left, this conversation:

That's the first time I've ever heard you talk bad about somebody.”

What? I didn't say anything bad about anybody.”

His boss. You guys were calling him an asshole and everything.”

Uhh, … !”

Now, the squeeze existed at the high end of the social scale, ran in circles with blue blood. The friend hung with the lower class, ran in circles with red necks. We had here a classic failure to communicate.

Neither of us had anything against his boss. We disagreed about a lot of things, didn't get along very well, but were just doing our jobs. Our conversation was airing frustrations in the language my friend was most comfortable with. To wit:

You're full of shit =

I don't agree with you
You're an asshole =

Ur doin it rong
Fuck him =

He's doin it rong
That's bullshit =

it's wrong
A bunch of fucken bullshit =

really wrong
he doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground =

he fails to adequately understand the situation

< lecture mode>
Guaranteed, if I had used the right column with my friend, we would not have been friends. He'd've pegged me as an over-educated snob, been insulted, and dismissed everything I said. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that words mean the same thing for every person. They don't.

For person to person communication to happen, you have to select a form for your message that evokes your idea in that person. Every person is comfortable in one or more linguistic registers, and are less likely to accept a message when they hear it in some other one.
</lecture mode>

Skeptics tend to be more comfortable with an 'academic' register than 'redneck', I think, and religious fanatics tend toward 'uneducated'. When each uses their own register, both sides might think the other is being a dick. Remember,

one man's dick is another man's best friend.

the Goss of a Loose


We raise poultry. Sometimes a bird gets lose and we loose valuable livestock. So yesterday I hear noise and I goose outside to see whoose making it. Somebody's left the gate open and a gose is out.

She was big as a mose, and stood in a threatening poose, so I didn't want to get too cloose. I got a rope, made a nose, and put it around her neck losely, but she hit me in the noose and knocked me into a roose bush.

I wasn't going to be the looser in this battle, so I gave her a doose of her own medicine, and sprayed her with the water hoose till she went back inside.

I'm not loosing any sleep over it though, because I don't think she'll get lose again.  I'll just learn to spell.

Respect for Hallowed Ground


All the people that are frantic that the government Not Tread On them are just now in a frenzy that the government order people what to do with their private property in New York.

You know, that city that in September of 2001 magically changed from a disgusting pit of fruity liberal snobs into “Hallowed Ground”.

Especially the 9/11 site, which emits beams of holiness that prevent a body from building anything at all unless it's a hallowed monument to the hallowed memory of that hallowed event at that hallowed spot.

It's sacred and holy (and hallowed) as the final resting place of Our Fellow Americans who deserve to lie undisturbed for eternity.

Like the 10,000 members of the Lenape tribe, Our Fellow Americans that the Dutch killed and built New York City over. Like the forty Rappinger who died, at the foot of Grand street on the Lower East Side, in the Pavonia Massacre, the first act of genocide in the New World, which is a fairly significant event. Their heads anyway, that they brought back from the main massacre across the river in Jersey to play football with in the fort at New Amsterdam, so I suppose now the US Customs House sits on Hallowed Ground? Then there's the 20,000 African (muslim) slaves whose graves are just now being located down under the City.

Jersey City, with the headless bodies, must be Hallowed Ground, too, and the mouth of the Mystic River, and Sand Creek and Wounded Knee and hell there might not be an acre of Unhallowed Ground in this whole damn country.

If history is any example, a fitting monument on a site where Our Fellow Americans died seems to be a Wal-Mart.

Or is it only “Hallowed Ground” when white people die on it?

8/29/10

Making a List and Checking it Twice





Sarah M at Change Happens writes about personal safety for SAFER (that's Students Active For Ending Rape). She also linked to this this post at After Silence, where I got this poster, which is just Awesome dripping with Win. 

In this post Sarah makes a useful distinction between primary prevention and risk reduction

a) primary prevention education and techniques: approaching sexual violence prevention by focusing on the changing perpetrator behavior and cultural attitudes that enable rape and assault

b) risk reduction techniques: the strategies most often given to women to ‘reduce the risk’ that they will be assaulted by altering their behavior, i.e., stay in groups, watch your drink).

Although both are important, and she discusses this, around here we're focused on (a), with our list of Rape Prevention Tips For Men. She made her own list, here:

  • Don’t use alcohol or drugs to manipulate someone into sexual activity. Don’t stand by silently while your friends do it either
  • Don’t ignore verbal and/or physical signs of discomfort when hooking up with someone
  • Ask your partner what they want, or check in with them before taking things further
  • Stand up to your friends who make jokes about rape
  • If you see someone being aggressive or making clearly unwanted advances to another person, step in or cause a distraction
  • Understand the long-term negative emotional and physical effects of sexual violence on a survivor

Some points here might not be addressed in our list. (it's not my list, you readers have been a big help in making it, so it's our list) We'll need to make a side-by-side comparison. What do you think? Go and read all of Sarah's post (it's excellent) and maybe you'll see ways to improve our lists.

Art Through One Eye


A while back I blogged about Emily Henochowicz, after IDF guards at Concentration Camp Gaza shot out her eye.

She's doing good now. She says things like

"Having one eye is really just a design problem."

"... this one is sensitive to light, and this one is sensitive to heat. Isn't that cool?"

"The cool thing about this is that paintings look more 3-D to me now,"



Would you be so upbeat?

That picture is her avatar, taken before she was shot. It's a picture of her dressed in the eyeball costume she made for her school's annual parade.  She's always been obsessed with visual science, was just starting her career as a visual artist, so naturally she loses her eye.    I'd go all bitter and grumpy and hate everybody and feel sorry for myself. You wouldn't want to be around me, no sir. But Emily, she's an inspiration.

SALUTE! 

Read her updated story and be all inspired, and go see some of her artwork on her blog, Thirsty Pixels.

8/28/10

Ads For Nothing


A new ad campaign in Australia, taking an anti-religion stance. It's interesting but stupid. The artwork is crappy,  I guess for the Garbage Pail Kids theme, and the messages are offensive, no question about that, but that's not my beef.

They look like arguments for atheism, but they're supposed to be pushing a product. If you didn't know about them yet, can you tell what the product is? Doesn't seem much point in having people admire the shit out of your ad and not know what it's trying to sell.



If you click to embiggen the ads and look real close in the top left corner, you'll see "eshebrand.com" and if you go there you'll see something about skateboard culture and still not know what they're advertising. I guess clothes (?). So they piss off all the religious people and don't sell any clothes. Doesn't seem brilliant.

8/27/10

Women's Equality Day

 90 years ago yesterday the 19th Amendment became law. For the first time women gained the right to vote.  now the 26th of August is designated Women's Equality Day.   In my usual clueless way I missed it, but we should give it props as one of the most important days in history. The lot of the female half of any society is the litmus test for the whole thing.

What I should have said  is in Suzy's post at Echidne of the Snakes .

Parable of the Money (Mat 25)


The Parable of the Talents is an unashamed plug for investment banking. Christians always say it means something else. Why? Who the fuck knows. I went to Bread Upon the Waters Ministry to find out.

This is one of the best known of Jesus' Parables. It is also well known, in an elementary way, what the meaning is: We are supposed to use our talents in the Lord's service.

Well, we don't pay with talents anymore, but most places accept dollars.

But there is a major point in this Parable that is often misunderstood.

Oh dear.

The major point is in how we define the word, "talent".

Well that's easy, we look in the dictionary. A talent was a bunch of money. They used the British plan back then, a pound of Pounds, a talent of Talents, either way, it's a lot of moola.

And when Christians think of using their "talents" in the Lord's service, they are usually thinking of using their natural aptitudes. Unfortunately, that is not what Jesus was referring to.

No shit. It didn't start meaning that for another 14 centuries.

Let us take a look at the context of the giving of the "Talents", in Matthew 25:14-15

No, no, no. Dictionary. Let us take a look at the dictionary.

14. For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country,

this Parable about something that happens in the kingdom of heaven.

FAIL. Do you speak English? “is as” it says. It's an analogy. People were not burying money in Heaven. How could they? Can you dig holes in clouds? Also, how many angels does it take to dig a hole in a cloud?

Let's set aside these interesting theological questions. Reading Comprehension, grade F. Next subject, Logic:

The people to whom the Talents were given were all the master's servants. There were no strangers involved. Therefore, we conclude that true "Talents" are given only to Christians.

What? We … what?
All T to S
no s
Therefore, all T to C

WTF? Logic, Grade F-. he goes on like that, only worse, and comes up with two more conditions for these talents that he still hasn't looked up.

There is only one thing in the Bible that fulfills these conditions.

Because nothing exists that isn't in the Bible. This computer you're using? Doesn't exist. Dictionaries? Don't exist.

So, yet again, what are they? Gifts of the Holy Spirit!!!

LULZ! Definitions are gifts of the holy spirit too. The Holy Spirit of Google bestows one on you every time you do this.

Contrary to what many Christians believe, natural aptitudes are not Gifts of the Holy Spirit!!!

LOL! So what, neither are SybiansWe're we're not talking about them or Gifts of the … mmm, come to think of it, they might be the same thing. Money! We're talking about money.

He quotes Ephesians and Corinthians, instead of Funk and Wagnalls, and he decides the “Gifts” are teachers and prophets, WTF?

Now that we know Google doesn't exist, or dictionaries, and that talents were gifts from Casper, he makes my eyes bleed with another 5000 words about how to use those gifts (not the Sybian, that's a fuck of a** lot more interesting).
**worst pun this year


He also editorializes: theatre is evil so don't be a actress or actor, you gotta be at least 30 years old, a whole section on how music will lead you astray, and another called“Be Careful About Being A Prophet!” Good advice.


This sentence remains inscrutable, downright Delphic. What could it mean?
You might find out some day that … That nobody that everyone in the Church really looks down on might get the Seal of the Living God, when even that wonderful pastor of yours that you loved so much doesn’t.

Everybody has an agenda. The gays have one, to force us all to gaymarry and have ickysex with panda bears. He has one too, and he spills the beans about it.

If the Born Again Christians of our day had the kind of unity and commitment that the Early Christians had, we could take over the world … We would be able to dictate the actions of governments

Nice to be all upfront about it. But

we must turn our backs completely on the world.

Isn't that kind of hard to do when you're taking it over? That's some diabolical strategy there. Or something. Far far too late, he sums up;
Just remember this: If you do have a real "talent", a real service gift, you must develop it and use it for the Lord’s service. … If you have a "talent" and you don’t use it, like the servant in the Parable, you may very well lose everything – eternally.

So in 5000+ words he's said call them “service gifts”, not natural aptitudes. Also, never Google. Now I'm pissed off, and considerably older. Those minutes will never come back, but now I know why Christians say this parable is not about money: it's because they're fuckwits.

Matthew 23-24


Most of Matthew 23-24 is Jesus talking smack about the Pharisees, ranting and raving about their hypocrisy. He's gone all apeshit like John the Baptist, just needs a big END IS NEAR' sign. It's all good till 23:34. when he starts saying some really weird crap. He's convinced himself he's god by now, and he's gonna send prophets, he's gonna raise from the dead.

Jesus fits the pattern. Jim Jones, Shoko Asahara, David Koresh, Mohammed, they all started out normal, got successful, got a big head, starting thinking they were god's mouthpiece, first thing you know somebody's getting killed. Hope I didn't give away the ending
Jesus seems to have a martyr complex and internalized all those old myths about gods doing the Zombie Dance after three days. He thinks he's Mithra or one of them so he'll be going zombie soon, and he's got all his d00ds going along with it. Pretty crazy shit, but typical of people who catch that prophet virus.


Matthew 25:14-30 tells the Parable of the Talents, where a guy gets reamed for not making a lot of money. Boy is this ever a wtf moment. It contradicts everything Jesus is supposed to be preaching, and even what he is preaching. Needles, camels, remember?

That little tremor is tectonic plates shifting from Christians mobbing up to explain how it means exactly the opposite of what it says, as usual, but there's not a shred of context to indicate it means anything but what it says. It's about money: making money = good, making more money = more good.
When Alan Greenspan talked about economics people didn't say it was symbolic, prime rate meant skirts, and he was talking about raising hemlines. Interest meant interest. Interest = good.

Only, through most of history Christians hated interest, until lately when they saw how profitable it was. It's why Jesus went postal on the money changers, supposedly. Muslims still go to hell for charging interest, and some Christian holdouts, the ones you see in the food lines. 

How do they explain this story in their Words of God Book inciting people to play the market? That'll be next.

8/26/10

United We'd Stand




They came first for the illegal immigrants,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't an illegal immigrant.

Then they came for the gays,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't gay.

Then they came for the Muslims,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Muslim.

Then they came for me
and by then there was no one left to speak up.






8/23/10

Quote of the Decade


Well that didn't take long. On Wednesday, Victory and all combat troops leave Iraq, on Sunday somebody gets killed. (And they haven't)  Who could have seen this coming?
The Wednesday story is all over the US media, the Sunday story is in a British newspaper. Evidently it's no longer news in the US when the “small people” die.
What are they going to say happened to the guy? Couldn't be a war casualty, there's no “combat”, it's not a “war” or an “occupation”. I'm sure they'll come up with something, maybe he's “post-transitional”? Dennis Kucinich gets it:

“Who is in charge of our operations in Iraq , now? George Orwell?”

Yes.

Preach on, Dennis.

In Which my Religious Sensibilities are Outraged.


I'm one of those tree hugging, nature worshiping types. When I'm out in the garden helping things grow, nurturing other living things and actively contributing to the web of life, it gives me spiritual satisfaction. If you get pissy over the word spiritual you'll need a better word for feelings of satisfaction, of belonging, of being intimately connected to all life and the rest of the universe so that death holds no terror and life an endless abundance of awesome wonder. Sappy shit like that.

This is the harvest time, the crops are mostly in, nature is settling down to sleep for the winter, I'm left with piles of corn stalks and leftovers from her gifts this year, and in the process of helping my leafy friends to die and be reborn next equinox, I set a fire. It's slash and burn agriculture, yo, got a pedigree going back to the stone age. The ashes mix in with the topsoil, adding nutrients that will be there to greet the newborn sprouts of the next cycle. It's kind of a ceremony, symbolically tucking my symbiotic companions into their beds.
So I'm doing that, revering nature and reveling in the miracle of life, when who should pull up but the Fire Department. Uh-oh. The Man comes and says they can't have this shit, any fire has to be 75 feet from---this is a chickenshit way of saying “no fires” since the lots aren't that big---any property line or structure. Somebody complained. Have to extinguish.

They're not leaving till I do, so in the process we chat and it comes out that there are exceptions for small cooking fires—it's the South; no banning barbecues here---and religious ceremonies.
Wait a minute. Religious ceremonies? What the hell am I doing? What's religious, I gotta dress up in body paint and dance around my damn fire? If I said I was pagan these good old boys are liable to arrest me. What if claimed I was Zoroastrian? Shit, they'd probably ask to see my mask and sword. What's the use?

You can bet no problem if I was out here basting up some deep fat fried, artery clogging Sabbath animal sacrifice, chugging beer, had a statue of a guy being tortured, then went home and played first person shooters all day. That's religious, that's what makes their gods happy. All my gods ask is some moldy kitchen scraps, ashes, maybe a little manure. We're the ones who get shut down? Answer me this, who's making the world a better place, you and your megachurches or me and my garden?
Religious, my arse.

8/22/10

Insert Foot (C) into Mouth (F)


For background, the Laurel County, Kentucky, School board is staffed by clueless idiots. When even more clueless idiot Terry Beckner asked
Why don't we waste all the school's funding on pointless lawsuits? We'll have the Gideons pass out Bible to all the 5th graders?
Theyasked back
You call yourself a lawyer? Are you out of your fucken mind? You've never heard of the establishment clause of the US Constitution? You're oblivious to hundreds of schools losing their asses in courts for this kind of shit?

Sure, why not do it for all grades?

It was then that Beckner, without a hint of irony, or of any clue, uttered this classic quote:

“We always have done fifth-graders”

-----



ROFLMFAO  these guys can't do anything right.  Source, more details and snark, here at My Old Kentucky Home.

8/21/10

Got Troubles?

Ever feel sorry for yourself? Watch this video clip and see if you still do.



More videos of Nick are here. Warning, this guy's a serious bible thumper, but hey, he can be.

Priest Fathers (Mat. 23:8-11)


8 But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.
9 And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
10 Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.
11 The greatest among you will be your servant.

Well fuck me four ways, I never knew this was in here. But … but ... Catholic priests! … Father! … All my life I ... WTH? … for answers, I asked Father Mike!
... as to how a Christian could take on such a title in direct violation of Christ's words, "Call no man Father" (Matthew 23, 2-10). Let me explain. Yes, 'Father', please do.
In His life as a servant, Jesus gave us an example of how to be leaders. At the Last Supper, He got down and washed the feet of His apostles. He was opposed to any leader taking on a haughty or superior attitude. Right in line with His actions and His teachings, He told us in Matthew not to call anyone "Father," "Rabbi," or "Teacher."
So nix “Father”. Sounds like “Servant Mike” is what Jesus was going for. I like it.

In martial arts they have the same problem.
The warrior is not the master, he is not the sifu nor the sensei, these are just physical words that we put upon ourselves to make us seem important, or better than those who we guide.”
Word, karate guy, like that other axiom “we're all just students”. There's nothing as ridiculous as some twenty-year-old who starts a dojo and expects everyone to call him Master Soandso. Calling him 'Father' Soandso, now that'd be just creepy.

Father Servant Mike blathers on,

I think one would do an injustice to Christ to think He was opposed to calling the father of five children a fatherWhat? You fathered five children? You rascal  or the leader of a synagogue a "rabbi" or the young woman who is instructing thirty-five first graders a "teacher." Jesus is not opposed to using words to describe what a person is doing.
So why not “priest” Soandso, like in the eastern branch? Or go with “Hypocrite”, “Liar”, “Scam Artist”? Maybe “Kiddie-fiddler”.

Christ is opposed to titles that persons use to "Lord it over" (Luke 22:25) others [i.e. “father” (above, 9)]. If a person uses a title to be exempted from service of others or to feel better than others, the titles should not be used.
The context here is Jesus talking shit about the Pharasees for showing off, and he used their titles as an example. “They love to have men call them 'rabbi'”, he sez, “don't do what they do”, he sez. Servant Mike must be looking at the missing line 9½ that only advanced students learn, where it adds “and when I say don't do it, I mean don't feel better when you do do it”.

As a priest who uses the title "Father" before my name, I must listen closely to Christ's words. So you can ignore them? Am I using the title to consider myself better than others? If so I should not use it. For me, the title "Father" that Jesus said not to use is closely connected to the vow I have taken to live a life of celibacy. ?! I have chosen not to marry a woman and generate children. WTF? That denial for the kingdom of God of what is very natural doesn't eliminate my responsibility to be a father. that explains all the raping. Why they pick on boys, well, the Church is against sex ed. I must use my love and creativity (ewww) to serve the needs of others to whom I am committed through the church. When people call me "Father" like Jesus said not to, they challenge me and remind me to love the people of the kingdom and not shirk my responsibilities of fatherhood like the one where you obey your boss?

Way to change the subject, dick. We're talking about titles, not about your job. You're just saying you don't have to follow your bosses orders because you, because of, because, oh shit I don't even know. What you're giving me here is known in technical terms as an “excuse”. Your boss told you not to do it and you're doing it. Simple as that.

And if you ever find me using the title "Father" to imply I'm better than you or if I am not loving you in service, call me Mike.
Okey-dokey, Mike.
Bottom line, these guys are famous for thinking they don't have to obey the Law; here we see they won't even obey their own rules. They're big on the rest of us obeying them, though, so what to do? Every time you call a priest “Father”, baby Jesus cries, so we need a new title for them. Any suggestions?

8/19/10

The Two Commandments (Matt 22:34-40)


 The Pharisees take a crack at Jesus, “What's the greatest commandment?” they wanna know. Me, I'd've just asked which ones they are, but our boy clears things up makes an even worse clusterfuck out of it.

37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

That's great, J, only, these aren't part of the Ten Commandments. Any of them. The second one's part of Matthew's Seven, but neither of one them is in the Bible's Ten Commandments, or even in the list everybody calls the Ten Commandments.

Oh great. Now we've got a fourth version where there's only Two, that're greater than all the rest. Let's keep these two and shitcan all the rest. Especially that one about destroying groves and altars.

VICTORY!

Yay, we won.
After eight long years and untold amounts of death and destruction, the US is finally renaming our occupying army,
as "transitional" troops instead of "combat" troops.  Oh, and mercenaries private security contractors.  and whatever they call the State Department's new army.


 We're getting better at this 'winning' business too, look.

1975

2003


2010



Can't wait to see how they sell Afghanistan. 


8/18/10

God of the Dead (Matt 22:31-33)

 (Matthew 22:31-33)

Moving right along through chapter 22, Jesus attempts to answer questions: In heaven there is no beer marriage, he says, and then
31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you,
32 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? [editor's not: These guys are all dead, dead, and dead] He is not the God of the dead but of the living."
33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.
Wow, so am I. God said he's the god of dead people, therefore he's not the god of the dead. Epic logic Fail.

Astonishing all right. About this, it says 'Jesus had silenced the Sadduccees”(22:34), which seems right. They were astonished by how crazy this guy was and they went back to being Sadducced, which sounds a lot more fun.


the Bunch of Commandments


WTF's with the Ten Commandments?
Everybody knows the Ten CommandmentsTM, my dog knows the Ten CommandmentsTM . They're Christianity 101. Just ask Judge Roy “Fuck-the-Law” Moore. He'll tell you all Ten of the Commands he thinks our laws are from, put up a 3 ton granite slab, and show you them right there in the Bible: Exodus 20:2-17.


The only “Ten Commandments” in the Bible are in Exodus 34:12-26.

Now, I'm reading Matthew, and I find out there's a third version.
1 do not murder
2 do not adulter
3 do not steal
4 do not lie
5 honor your parents
6 love your neighbor as yourself
7 sell your possessions and give to the poor
wtf?

With all these different versions floating around, I'd expect headlines like

Church of Exodus 34 burned by rioting mob of Exodus Twentiers
----or----
Couple Killed for Blasphemous Kid-Seething

Why isn't there even one fundamentalist church out there that goes by Mathew's Seven Commandments? They could swear, work on Sunday and covet. Where's the downside? 

Instead, 38,000 sects of Christians (plus Jewish, Moslem, and Weirdo ones) all agree on the same random, unsupported interpretation of this one thing. How is that possible? Are aliens out there, beaming down invisible Dogma-rays?

  • The Bible says X, but somehow everybody just KNOWS that the bible says Y.
  • The Bible says Exodus 34 is the Ten Commandments, but somehow everybody just KNOWS that Exodus 20 is.
  • There's all these different versions, but somehow everybody just KNOWS which one is right. How?
When people don't agree on what it says, that makes sense, cuz really, fortune cookies are less vague. This is way stranger though, because here everybody does agree, and they agree that it says something that it doesn't say!
What “everybody knows” about the Ten Commandments doesn't come from the Bible, so where does it come from? Something very strange going on here.

Billboards


Freedom  From Religion Foundation is putting up more billboards.


Teapot Atheist likes this one, but  Atheist Revolution thinks it's too confrontational. Me, I'm not sure.

 This one, though, this is the best one yet.


Spot on! That's a message we can all support, and by we I mean non-crazy people.   The pic is a screen shot from this video about the campaign, with shots of a couple other boards. 

8/17/10

Magical Mystical Experience


Today's topic: Mystical Experiences
Heaving Dead Cats has question. I has answers.

1. Have you ever had a mystical experience?
Yes, lots. From psychoactive chemicals, meditation, or other spiritual practices, or they just happened naturally.

2. If you had a mystical experience would you consider it religious (pertaining to God), or spiritual (more universal, not religious), or just a brain phenomenon at the time and after contemplation?
It's a brain phenom. Doesn't matter how I consider it, or how I define all those big words neither.

3. Did the mystical experience cause you to seek out a way to try to make it happen again? Did it make you try to be more religious or spiritual in some way?
Oh yeah, I did it a lot. Not to be religious though, I was just trying to understand things. Really.

4. If you have experienced something mystical, are you still spiritual or religious now? Is that in part because of your experience in any way?
I've had people tell me I was the most spiritual person they know, so I guess. Otoh, when the nurse giving me a death release form asked my religious preference, everybody burst out laughing, my being a notorious 'god-hater', so I guess not. Around religiots I call myself an atheist, but around atheists not so much. The ME's have added to my understanding of religion, but outside of that, no big deal.

5. If you had a mystical experience and you’re now an atheist, how did you reconcile that with being a nonbeliever now? Did it make it harder to lose your faith, do you think?
I've never been a bleever, and these didn't make me be one. It's hard to take this shit serious when you know you dropped a double hit of windowpane just before they happen.

6. Are you like me? Have you never experienced anything like what I’ve described?
Just like you: two arms, two legs, (assuming), and a lot of curiousity. Not sure what you mean, described, unless you mean the list of classic symptoms of ME. I'll check it off.

a sense of timelessness
Sure.

a sense of unity or totality
definitely. That's the main thing, I think. No differentiation between you and everything /body else.

a sense of having encountered ultimate reality
Umm, yeah, in a sense. The Buddhists talk about everything being an illusion, and you get a feeling that you are seeing behind the curtain

a sense of sacredness
Yeah, fer sure.

a sense that one can not adequately describe the richness of their experience
Yes. You can't. That's not so special, there are a lot of things that language isn't up to.

7. Does not apply
8. Does not apply

9. Do you have anything to add that I didn’t think
of?
Oh boy, do I? Windbag license! Let's see, raised catholic with an atheist father, was always interested in who was right. Dad's side wins by a mile, but maybe people less fucked up than catholics could speak for the other side, I thought. Worth checking out, I thought.

Followed martial arts all my life and studied all that Eastern shit. People would come into the dojo and ask “Do you teach philosophy?” and I got so sick of it and answered “We try to, but we can't get it to learn a thing.” Guy just looked at me funny.

Anyhow that me into meditation and other regimens that induce ME's, some successful, some not. LSD was successful, and Mescaline, Ohhhh baby.

Didn't see much difference between the drugs and the others, wondered if my experiences were qualitatively different from those of religious fanatics, studied it. William James' Varieties of Religious Experience answered the question: No.
Never saw anything to convince me otherwise. Later on the BDSM community showed me even more way to induce these things. Religions are not all that.

There was only one time in my life when I believed in god. When they buried my three-year-old, for a minute or so, I knew his spirit was going up into heaven. Pretty obvious what was going on there. The experiences are overpowering when it's happening, but later on you come to your senses. At least you should.


Last point, promise. A lot of the responses, and atheists in general, go on about the awesomeness of nature, feelings of unity, sacredness, bla bla, and they sound just like religious people. Using terms from religion is nearly inevitable, but then they recoil in horror IT'S JUST A MENTAL IMAGE YOU LOONY, THERE ISN'T ANY VOICE OF GOD! People talking about the same exact things and trying to kill each other over what to call it.

The biggest impediment to understanding, for me, is to overcome my brainwashing that ---(Hey, Catholic School. Eight years.)---that shuts off my rational parts the instant I hear god-talk. One reference to Jesus and my inner Lizard is all up in there ready to kick ass. He needs to chill before we can communicate.

8/16/10

Is God Supernatural?


Well, everybody says  it is, but I don't see why.  Seems to me there are only three possibilities


  • Things we already know about
  • Things we don't know yet, but maybe could someday 
  • Things that we can't possibly know about.




By 'know', I mean detectable in some scientific way.  Also, it's useful to distinguish between the Cosmos and the Universe.

The Cosmos is the  known, physical universe.
The Universe is everything that exists, IOW everything natural.

The universe includes the known Cosmos and also other things that we don't understand or know about. If things exist, and interact in any way with the natural cosmos, then there's a chance we'll find out about them someday, and even if we don't, they're still part of the natural universe. 

Anything super-natural would be outside these two circles. We'd never know such a thing is there unless we managed to detect it interacting with our universe, and that would make it just another part of our known universe. If anything super-natural exists but we can never know about it, it's just the same as if it doesn't exist. 

That outer ring includes things that don't exist, and, anything that does exist but is beyond our understanding and always will be--it goes in there too. If you're a philosopher I guess you want to talk about the outer ring, but it's a big fat waste of time.


Where do the gods come in?  If they're super-natural, they either don't exist or don't matter, so why does everyone insist they are?

8/15/10

Bear Attack Prevention Tip


Davy Crockett's got nothing on this guy. The only polar bear I've seen up close was stuffed, and was still scary. Those things are huge!  Imagine, you're all snuggled up cozy in your tent and ... well, just read it (click to embiggen), and notice the parts I highlighted.

Eat Pussy (Matt 22:1-14)

Matthew 22:1-14

It's weird reading the bible. It's not new, not like I haven't been hearing these stories all my life. At least, I thought. 

Growing up was, “The bible has a story about a wedding banquet. It illustrates how … something … bad people don't get into heaven, so eat your broccoli.” Or whatever. Now though, I'm paying attention, and what I see is:
some king has a wedding and
throws some guy out for
not wearing the right clothes.

Wow, that's harsh. Jesus says heaven is like this king, though, so I guess you can't get in with jeans and a t-shirt. If you have to wear a tux who wants to go there, and besides, this king is a real creep who burned an entire city just to revenge some murders. Even the LAPD doesn't do that.
The whole thing sucks. If I'd known what it really says I'd never have eaten that broccoli.

They always quote that last line:

“Many are called but few are chosen”

See, I didn't even have to google it, it's embedded in my brain like some smiley faced cancer. What it means, though, that's ... mmm ... my fingers freeze on the keyboard ... the parrots in my memory shutup ... I feel myself bathed in a cold light of clarity, and I realize,

That doesn't have a damn thing to do with this story!

It says invite anyone you find. Everybody was chosen, not just a few. That line should read “Everyone is called and everyone is chosen, then a few are unchosen, if they can't afford sharp threads.”

Oh wait, it's a parable. You have to interpret it.[ya see the sarcasm in those letters? totes sarcasm]

This guy says the king provided clothes and the T-shirt guy snubbed him. Sez “it's evident.” Ha! What's evident to me is that the story doesn't say that.
This one says “one must know the eastern customs”. Uhhh, which one? Why? How many thousands of different cultures must I know? How far east? Is Utah far enough? 
Some pretty strange customs there.
Wikipedia says that's not likely right anyway, Augustine says the garment is love, Martin Luther says it's Christ, this yahoo says it's Jesus's teachings, sez “we have to say that”.
LOL, I don't gotta say that. I can say this;

Five different d00ds I just googled up, all telling me five different things. That makes five different religions. Whooo-hooo, sects for everybody!

None of these Christians say what the bible says (you need to dress up to get to heaven). That means  

Christianity is not based on the Bible.  

It's based on what some wanker says is in the bible.

Here's what I say is in the Bible. Eat Pussy. Eat lots of pussy, at every opportunity your woman gives you. The better job you do the better your chance at heaven. Because, you know, the goddess only chooses those who satisfy her. 

8/14/10

Forbidden Art


The Russian Orthodox church has gone all jihad. Gangs of altar boys on the rampage, defacing things, old ladies spitting on people. Why? Art, that's why, inciting religious hatred, like this:

Wait, Mickey Mouse? Yeah, kids get jumbled up ideas, hearing about Jesus and Mickey and Santa. Some kid out there probably pictures the Last Supper just this way. Santa on the Cross, too. It's accurate social commentary, plus it's cute, so naturally these old fuddies want to send the curator up the river.


Orthodox in Russia, Jews in Israel, Baptists in the US, everybody gots crazies. This lot is making death threats, just like South Park got. They

“threatened him in court and told him to remember the fate of "Caution: Religion!" curator Anna Alchuk. After she moved to Berlin, her body was found floating in the Spree River in 2008. German police said Alchuk most likely killed herself, but her husband blamed her death on persecution she faced as a result of the exhibit.”
Sounds like they've already got a Theo Van Gogh on their rap sheet. If we can learn one thing from the Middle East, it's don't let these people get in charge of anything. Laugh at them.

Catholic Not-So-Recent Problems


Internet connection's been down for a few days, so I finished up some old posts that were laying around. You've been warned.

Here's one for when the priests start in on how their problems are all caused by secularism in the modern world.    As if.  



Hat tip to Podblack Cat

8/7/10

I Don't Know My Ass (Matt 21:23-27)

Matthew 21:23-27

I'm hung up on Matthew 21:23-27. At first it seems too logical and clever to fit in with the garbled up rest of it. Jesus is Master of Debate here, they come asking him “How you get off going around baptizing people?” and he's like “Suck it dudes, I'm doing the same as John the Baptist”. They couldn't get away with dissing John, ok, but why the hell wouldn't they just say “You ain't no John the Baptist, hotshot.”?

What bothers me though is what they did say. “We don't know”! Whaaat? Since when have those words ever passed out of a priest's or a politician's piehole? These guys know how to save your soul, balance the budget, win the war in Iraq, fix the economy, and find the WMDs, just ask them. It can be obvious to people who have yet to master the potty chair that they don't have a clue, but you won't hear them admit it.

Q: Is the well shut off?
A: … these are approximate dates moving forward of what we can expect now that we’ve submitted in the well from the top in regards to moving ahead with the relief well and cementing the well from the bottom.”
(Thad Allen, on when the BP well will be shut off. He actually said that. In a press briefing. With a straight face.)

That's how a bureaucrat says “I don't have any fucking idea”. If this Matthew guy expects me to buy this “gospel” of his, he'd better start keeping it real.

8/6/10

Why is this so Funny?



ROFL

Coming. In Your Face.


Keep an eye on your kids, 'cause Pope Nazifinger is about to visit the UK, unfortunately not in leg irons, to the tune of eight million dollars a day.What could possibly be a better use for that money? 

This gives me an excuse to post this pic, but I would've anyway cuz it's so fucken perfect. The b3ta challenge this week is taking the piss out of the visit, so more pics here.

Things ain't looking good for the old perv. Lulz.

8/5/10

Rape Tips


Look up at the top, there's a new tab, with the whole story of this RPT project, with links and stuff. Also an email address in case you don't wanna put things in comments.

Thanks to everyone for their great feedback.
Here is the revised list, as it looks now.
-----
I. Know what rape is. Understand that any sex act, with someone who does not want it, is Rape; and that even though sex may be one motivation, the act itself is an abuse of power.

II. Treat rape with the seriousness it deserves. Learn who rapes, how, and why, and the damage they cause: not in the locker room but from professionals and survivors.

III. Don't think you are entitled to sex because you're horny, or you spent money, or this person dated you, or married you, or had sex with you before, or any other reason.

IV. Stop when you're asked to, either verbally or physically, even if it's in the middle of the hottest sex you've ever had.


V. Toughen up. Be man enough to take disappointment, frustration, and rejection without taking it out on others. Step up and work to change your gender's behavior so that rapes will not happen, instead of depending on women to do it for you.

VI. Walk the Walk. DO SOMETHING about it when you know someone is a rapist or a danger. Turn them in, warn any women who may be endangered, or do whatever you can to stop that person. DO NOT tolerate, excuse, or ignore.

VII. Speak up. Defend a woman's unconditional right to choose when and where to have sex, and who with, and insist your friends recognize that right. Don't laugh at rape jokes or catcalls, object to them.

IX. If you have raped anyone, get help, figure out what is wrong with you, and fix it. Make reparations if possible.

X. Send this to every man you know, and when you get chain letters telling women what to do to avoid men who rape them, substitute this list.
------

It's not perfect yet, so don't be bashful to criticize it. Some reservations I have are

Notes:
The roman numerals just keep the old list separate from the revision, which is an attempt to moosh all 39 of them into a dozen or so. Only way I could see to do that was to make each tip longer than I'd like it to be.

V. is clunky, and I'm not happy with that be responsible for 'other mens behavior' bit. It's an attempt to include these ideas:
16 Accept responsibility for your own gender. Stop expecting and advising women to prevent rapes.
27. Face the fact that sometimes women will not like you, will think you are stupid, will make fun of you, will not treat you well, will fire you from a job, will laugh at you, will refuse your advances. Just like men will.

IX. Not sure about this one. Seda suggests adding "Then find the woman or women you raped, and, in the presence of her family and a mediator skilled in restorative justice, apologize and offer reparation." Good advice; should it be on this list?


V and VI, the tone is sorta pugnacious.  Bad?  Counterproductive?

8/4/10

Most Dangerous Job?


“Everybody knows” that

“... there is no doubt that the most dangerous and demanding jobs are done by men, in most if not virtually every society...”

according to professional crybaby Glenn Sacks anyway, but is this really true?

No.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics “does not consider "housewife" a job, nor is "prostitute", so the death rates and injuries in those occupations aren't recorded in the same place. Prostitution is by far the most dangerous job in America.”
That quote is from Skeptifem, who has a great, eye-opening post on this. It asks questions I bet you've never thought of before. Here's a chart I made of statistics from there.


  • Notice the “cause of death” column? At one time or another I've worked at about half these jobs, but murder was never an occupational hazard in any of them.
  • People keep track of deaths in every other occupation, but let's face it, when a hooker gets killed, nobody cares.
  • To get the fatalities rate, I averaged out the figures mentioned in the post, which ranged from 3.91 to 5.93. That last number is higher than Combat Infantryman, which has been running at around 5.44 in Iraq / Afghanistan.


Keep this chart handy for the next time some jackass starts whining about 'male oppression'.
or,
as skeptifem puts it:
" People justify this devaluing of women in different ways, ...
What can you do to help fix it? Point out all of the information outlined in that post the next time you hear someone giving the verbal equivalent of "Woman should be happy in their inferior social position because at least women don't have to fear being killed on the job!"

Yeah, what she said.

8/3/10

Just for the record




Jesus, Asshole (Matt 21)


Oh shit, here's a test finding that our idea of Jesus is just projection. What's that say about me, cuz I'm making him out to be a colossal asshole. Here in Matthew 21 he's stealing livestock (1-11), then he vandalizes a temple (12-17), then he curses a fig tree (18-22). The guy has a rap sheet a mile long.

Growing up, I knew about him wrecking the temple, but I never followed his example and trashed the Church, even if I did steal some of their wine. Jesus stole donkeys. If he'd been in the Old West he'd've been hung on an old oak tree instead of a crucifix. A couple of things bother me about this story. One, how the hell did he pull this off:

7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.
He didn't sit on just the donkey, or the colt, he sat on both of them. What the hell? 

 
Second, donkeys don't have colts—a baby donkey is a foal. You'd think the people who wrote this book would know that, at least. Even the KJV says colt, I checked, so what the hell again?


I'm not the only one who thinks Jesus was an asshole, it's a meme! See, look, 



there's even a slideshow, and it's funny as hell. Way better than the bible. 


Just for squees, here's a video of a foal