Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Transexual Jesus!

Made you look!

Anyway here is the story

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/8342056.stm

Transsexual Jesus sparks protests

Jesus, Queen of Heaven poster
Jesus, Queen of Heaven portrays Christ as a transsexual

Wasn't meant to spark controversy? Yeah riiight!
But an interesting comment was made that if we had Mohammed portrayed as a transexual, then you can be sure all hell(tm) would have broken loose!

So in the interests of f airness, I wish to redress (see what I did there!) the situation and add another (badly drawn) picture.


There you go. Mohammed in a dress.

Please can crazy people limit themselves to one death threat in the comments section please.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Gloves are off!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8324820.stm

Seriously! Rebrand Christmas!?!

It wasn't even a christian festival originally! F**kwit. As for proudly wearing crosses, then I shall have to wear my atheist symbol in school.

Grrr.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Referendum for god!



The Alpha Course are dropping leaflets through doors. It looks to me like a referendum!

Well, I've voted :-)

You can register your vote to Mrs Peta Chater at the Ramsgate Town Centre Mission.

I don't want her to get unwanted spam but if you wish to vote, her address is her first name, followed by a 'dot' then surname @gmail.com.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

I'm feeling sorry for theists.

This all started because I got an Alpha Course pamphlet on my desk. (It was placed as a joke.)

We all have those 'awareness' moments. The sense of 'I' and sometimes they can be pretty intense! Impending, unstoppable death. Why are we here? Looking at your family and realising one day you will say a final goodbye to them and hope that they understand the joy they have brought to your life. Weighing up whether you have done enough positive things to merit people thinking you are a good person. Railing against injustice in the world and overcoming a feeling of powerlessness when things are wrong in society.

Blimey, no wonder people turn to a religious comfort blanket!

The benefits are obvious:
They say you will go to a heaven and be blissfully happy FOREVER! (Because this wonderful planet is not good enough.)
That a benevolent being is looking after you. (Provided you accept the correct being - there are, after all, SO MANY false gods! Irony.)
You will have a moral compass. (Because you didn't have one before - think of it as a free gift when you join.)
And be a better person. (Although you are not allowed to say that - that's rude. But all the gang secretly know it.)

But choosing and believing in what is (statistically a certainty) a lie/ misrepresentation/ false hope/ a con/ cult/ wishful thinking/ ignorance/ brainwashing/ threat/ etc. [delete as appropriate] is such an injustice to understanding.

So it might make them happy. I'm not authorised to deny them their happiness. Good luck to them.

Some claim to have no doubt. And these are the ones I feel most pity for. It's the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and denying all possibilities. A fear of being wrong. To have that sense of being special, the Earth being made specifically for YOU, taken away.

Am I a shameless zombie, denying a god's loving light? Am I ungrateful whelp, deserving of a punishment from a all powerful being? Am I tainted by a devil's knowledge, intent on corrupting the kind and good? Am I clearly too STUPID not to see what makes religious people so blissfully happy?

No.

My mind is open to all the possibilities. I have been vainly trying to find some, any, evidence for existence of a god. I would go to an Alpha course with an open mind, but I could not bear the thought of being 'taught' by someone who has closed their minds to the possibility that they don't need their metaphysical metaphors to lead a good life.

I have NEVER met an atheist who has stated that there is no god AND states that there is no evidence that they would accept to change their minds. Theists on the other hand HAVE to think this way. (It's 100% or nothing!)

And the insulting fallacy is that some theists see this as a weakness. (Hey! They could be persuaded!) Or have the cheek to call us close minded!

And this is why I feel so sorry for theists.

Just bask in the chaos of nature, the almost infinite random possibilities that lead us to this exact point in time, appreciate that we are creatures made from stars, that there is wonder in the expanses of space, beauty in a single grain of sand, that all life on this planet is connected...

We are all monkeys with big brains. If only some of us would use it more.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Evil corporate empire will not deny us our religious rights!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/18/jedi-religion-tesco-hood-jones

I feel somewhat persecuted.

Yet I don't feel the need to start a holy war, a jihad, kidnapping, blow up a public place or demand the death of someone...

Maybe I'm not religious enough... ;-)

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Thought I'd answer this anoymous person on the main blog. :-)

Been a bit shy on the blogging front lately... however, this gem landed in my comments section. My new comments are, quite helpfully, coloured red.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Until your god, Science, can keep you from dying you will have to deal with the real one at some point.
Scientific studies show that belief in Jesus greatly reduces stress, anger, and hostility in most people...if you believe those sort of studies.

So I replied...

Randomfish said...

Science is not a god.
Belief in a deity will reduce stress if you are the kind of person who worries about death and ghost stories.
A lot of people who call themselves christians are, in my opinion, LESS tolerant of others. At worst they see themselves as morally superior or at least, a better person for having that 'belief'.
A lot of christians ARE less hostile, but too few will turn the other cheek as recommended by Jesus. I have a great deal of respect for nice people. I just don't think that being a believer makes the slightest bit of difference. I personally would rather trust a genuine nice person than someone who is doing it because they are 'told to' or will 'go to heaven'.

So 'anonymous' made quite a few reply statements...
Anonymous said...

Science is not a god.
- - - - - -
I'm glad I'm getting through to you.

AARRggghh!!! Since WHEN has ANY atheist EVER thought 'Science' was a 'god'. This is an utterly ridiculous statement that has no merit answering. (They should try getting their nose out of a bible and try a dictionary for a change!)

...but too few will turn the other cheek as recommended by Jesus.
- - - - - -
We do try harder than the folks who sit in the bleachers calling the fouls.

Sorry, I'm not sure what this statement means. :-) Being British and all that. But in my personal experience and opinion (it is MY blog after all) I have found NO difference to the many atheists that easily forgive others. Forgiveness is not the exclusive right to religious folk. Declaring a 'Holy war' on the other hand...

Anonymous said...

You exhibit very little tolerance in your post for those you claim are intolerant.
Why complain about Christians who don't turn the other cheek? Isn't this an indication that they are rejecting what you also despise? Perhaps they are well on their way to your side. Otherwise, if you are in agreement with this teaching, then you concede that Christianity does carry some merit.

I readily admit, I like a good rant. Clears the air. Stops you bottling stuff up inside. I apologise but I really hate to see a waste of intellect. (This is the reason I became a teacher!) When someone informs me that the Earth is 4000 years old, my first thought is 'You poor, misinformed person.' If they carry on then I'll try to explain, reasonably, why they are wrong. And if they still carry on then I will mock them.

Anonymous said...

I personally would rather trust a genuine nice person than someone who is doing it because they are 'told to' or will 'go to heaven'.
- - - - - - - - -
You must do some interesting screening when someone stops to help you fix a flat or pick up something you dropped on the ground....Sir, are you helping me because you want to go to heaven or because you think I might give you a tip? I hope you are helping me for no reason other than for evolutionary and scientific purposes, as this is a genuine motivation and will allow me to trust you in much higher matters such as babysitting my young daughters and managing my bank account.

That was funny! :-) Actually I might start asking people who help me! Seriously. And this is what I predict. Most people will do nice things BECAUSE they are nice people. Not because they are hoping to go to heaven/ nirvanna/ valhalla/ reincarnate as a cow etc... My conclusion, they don't need a sky pixie. You may disagree. (And I'm sure you will...)

Anonymous said...

Belief in a deity will reduce stress if you are the kind of person who worries about death and ghost stories.
- - - - - - -
Belief in science will induce stress if you are the kind of person who worries about global warming and aliens.

I am actually getting my breath back from laughing out loud at this! Thanks. The idea of aliens would be wonderful! Science has been able to predict events about global warming and the scientific community are working together to provide alternative methods of energy supply. Scientific discoveries are improving lives, saving lives, getting us closer to understanding the wonderful world around us! Having a scientific knowledge has enhanced my life immeasurably. The very fact you are actually criticising science is only available to you because of .... wait for it... scientific discoveries!!! (Electricity, plastics, semiconductors, EM radiation, materials science, electrons.... oh I really could go on.)

Science has made me (and billions of others) happier, safer and more aware of what is happening around us.

If you think you will find all the answers in a holy book, I honestly, HONESTLY, pity you. :-(

Anonymous said...

I have a great deal of respect for nice people. I just don't think that being a believer makes the slightest bit of difference.
- - - - -
So, you mean you consider yourself no nicer than the average ignorant ****wit? You shouldn't be so hard on yourself.
The truth is, you think you are better because you can be just as nice with no extra help from God...isn't that right?

Yes.
Sorry, did you want me to explain (again!)
Anyone who does nice things BECAUSE they believe in a god is a ****wit. I am a nice person (well enough people tell me anyway) and I will recieve NO benefit from some supernatural power who can mystically weigh up all my deeds.

Simple version: An altruistic person is nicer than someone who expects a reward for their actions.

Hope that clears things up. Thanks, as always for taking the time to respond to my blog. :-)


Wednesday, 12 August 2009

So what have the scientists ever done for us?

Looks like the UK have a new website to promote Science.

http://sciencesowhat.direct.gov.uk/

I've noticed quite a few 'pro science' programs recently. Lots of explosions, wacky experiments, etc to grab the ever decreasing attention span of our 'blipvert media generation'. People are being subtly turned on to science...

And more importantly, IMHO, people are finally being told what science has done for us already. All those creature comforts, all our understanding of the world, communication, travel, entertainment - we are lucky enough to be able to find out about what excites us, we can overcome disabilities, we can be artists, learn whole new skills, have a global voice...

I owe an awful lot to all those curious individuals who had the question... "Why?" and "What if...?"

Which make me all the angrier when I hear ignorant f***wits, praising whatever flavour god they follow, and thanking it for all it has provided for them.

If you are one of these people ,try this prayer instead...

Dear figment of my limited imagination,
Bless you my insecurity
For stunting my understanding of the world
For my fears and ignorance
And for your benevolent indifference to us all.
Amen


Hope that helps. ;-)

Maybe science and religion can coexist. But it could never be on equal terms. Religion is going to be around a lot longer than me. Maybe in the climate of extremism we will see polarised groups emerge, possibly another War that will be defined by what sky pixie is best? Science has enabled us to communicate and see the world around us. We should be educating, learning, discovering... NOT adhering to some misinformed, vague superstitious crap that kept the masses in check thousands of years ago.

We can only hope.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

So let's hear a Nun's POV...

Sister Wendy tells us her point of view. Summary: if you PROPERLY study the bible, then you will follow god.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/8171293.stm

Hmmm. Quite a few flaws in THAT idea. My main problem is that the MORE I study it, the LESS impressed I am.

Seriously though. I reckon the best christians are the ones who are ignorant of all the racism, violence, sexism, persecution, narrowmindedness in the bible and just try to be like a 'disneyfied' Jesus. You know, be nice to each other and forgive people, don't judge others, set an example...

At least she has a pop at fundamentalists too! Go Nun! ;-D

So how has god done these last 10 years?

From BBC Newsnight.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/8195025.stm
Click this link if your browser does not automatically play the video. :-)


What have the noughties done for God?

Robert Pigott launches Newsnight's review of the first decade of the 21st Century by asking whether God's new millennium has got off to a bad start.


15 minutes.

Enjoy! :-)

Saturday, 25 July 2009

I love my PSP!

Updating my blog on my PSP! Takes too long to type a message though... (phew!)

Monday, 6 July 2009

Proof of atheism!

Mitchell and Webb comedy sketch.

Thanks to JL for letting me know about this. :-)

Monday, 29 June 2009

Finding God - Channel 4

Been far too long between posts recently. The pressures of teaching in the last term of Junior school. :-)

But I have watched a fascinating program on Channel 4 about religion and the effect on society. Link here.

Basically, it was about the success of the Alpha course and there were some interesting statistics. Apparently 1 in 8 people convert as a result of the Alpha course and since I have met several of these converts it was interesting to see what methods were used tjavascript:void(0)o convince them.

To its credit, it doesn't use strong arm tactics. Unless you count the 'feeling guilty' method of saying 'No thanks' to genuinely nice people. But there is still the common themes of 'You could be so much happier' or 'You are a sinner' or 'This is the REAL truth.' Not to the levels of catholicism or baptist churches, but in a more... 'nice' way.

The use of a quiet room to make suggestions to the groups, 'sincere' young people (usually female), the pamphlets produced to help the speakers (almost a script), going to an extremely well organised weekend away, questioning people's unhappiness and offering the 'solution' - I am deeply suspicious of these psychological appoaches to converting someone.

Alpha converts seem to have the same profile:
> An unwillingness to even entertain the idea they could be 'unconverted'.
> Total acceptance of scriptures as proof. (Despite contradictions, errors, fantasy, stolen myths, acts of genocide, racism and intolerance.)
> Dismissal of verified and researched scientific data - Sometimes even gross misconceptions about the scientific principles. (eg Evolution, Earth dating, Fossils, Flood myths, Astronomy, Quantum theory etc)
> They are usually, despite all the above, amiable, pleasant people!

I'm pretty convinced that the Alpha course could not convert me. It would be pompous to say that they never could - I am open minded and would be more than willing to accept a god that I thought was worthy of my praise.
For a start, I am happy with myself. I consider myself lucky in that respect. There are too many people who have low self esteem and christians are openly there to offer 'advice' and 'hope'. It was even suggested to me that atheists are too 'smug and self absorbed' to offer others advice. A pathetic statement that I had dismissed with disdain - there are after all, thousands of hardworking volunteers, groups, practitioners that offer help - the majority with no religious affiliation.
Secondly, I have researched both sides of the argument - and I have not come across a single reason for me needing a god, a moral reason to have a god, a spiritual 'hole' to fill and lastly (and it is the least important in my opinion) no scientific evidence for a god.

Oh yeah, and the 'speaking in tongues' was downright hilarious!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Those damn, happy atheists!!! Curse them!

I'm seriously getting fed up with religions claiming they have ownership of morality. Apparently, they have 'true' rules to live by since they were given by a supreme, perfect being.

Hmmmm.

Some religions like to soften up the 'rules' by saying they are 'guidance' and of course you are free to to choose your path. Some religions take it to an extreme and use it as a blunt instrument to control or persecute people - quite often, their own believers!

Either way, eventually, if you don't follow the rules, you don't go to heaven - which means you go elsewhere. Nasty.

Nice way to live your life. Trying to follow the rules of a perfect being. Of course you CAN'T. Because YOU are not perfect. YOU will make errors of judgement. YOU are a deeply flawed individual. YOU have been corrupted by all the nasty little temptations in life. YOU may have even listened to ATHEISTS!!!

Us atheists eh? Look at us, living our lives without worrying about whether we might upset god(tm). Using our OWN moral judgements, considering what effect it will have on others around us, ENJOYING life, freethinking, gasping with wonder at the universe - the chaos - the very LIFE! Hey, we don't even have 'self worth' issues about having a common ape-like ancestor - we revel in the fact that all life is linked. We don't need fairy tales to help us understand the 'difficult' science.

But if you are a believer in whatever plethora of gods that really most likely don't exist, don't worry about it.

Seriously.

Those damn, happy atheists will not be laughing when YOU prove them wrong. When you have lived a flawless life. Given up your gut instincts and followed someone else's moral code. Picked the ONE TRUE religion (or splinter group of that religion) out of the tens of thousands. Chosen how EXACTLY how to interpret the holy book and know which phrases did not really apply and reinterpret some phrases so they are more convenient for you.

You KNOW there is a true god(tm). So you simply can't be wrong...




Personally, I'll remain a damned, happy atheist, than you very much. :-)

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Yep, still alive. No devils.

So I'm still alive. No devils, dreams or draughts.

My boiler stopped producing hot water for a while though...
WITCHCRAFT!!! (Obviously)

Maybe I should try winding up some of the more obscure religions?
Odinism is gaining popularity.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

I'm a bit of a boardgame geek...

I love a good boardgame. The challenge, the interaction - you don't get the same 'feel' from a computer game (and I love playing computer games). I'm talking about games like Agricola, Puerto Rico, Small World, Carcassonne and Munchkin and many more (at least another 50!)
I have the idea for designing a game based on religion. Well, why not? I know quite a bit about it. :-)

The premise being you have to create a religion and persuade as many social groups as you can to follow your ideals. You have the choice of being nasty or nice, use wealth or corruption and even brainwashing. Get enough followers and you can dump them to gain new followers that will be more effective in spreading the 'truth'.

Add a heavy dose of sarcasm, sprinkle it with irony and roast in the fiery pits of hell and I'm hoping to create a fun filled family game of humour and megalomania.

L Ron Humbug, I owe you a 'thanks' in the credits!

If I get a prototype going, then I might need some play testers and feedback or ideas from the blogging community. (Remember - I want my boys to be able to play this game too! So lets avoid the kiddy fiddling priests... always best to, I find!)

I'll let you all know how it goes... :-)

Monday, 8 June 2009

Summoning demons...

OK, so as an atheist I have to look at differing opinions of the 'believer'. So lets have a look at satanism. And in particular - summoning demons! Yay!

I have been warned by many people over the years about studying, learning or even having a fleeting interest in anything considered remotely 'occult'. But it is fascinating. (That is EXACTLY the thing I should be worried about, apparently...) And they say the devil has all the best tunes - probably because 'christian-rock' is so utterly sh*t.

It has been suggested that atheists do the 'devil's work' with all our disbelief, and criticism and I'd thought I'd balance the situation.

If there is evidence of ghosts, spirits, demons, djinns, fauns, faeries etc. then the argument for an afterlife / heaven / higher plane of existence becomes a better probability. Interestingly, if you believe in a god, then by default you are expected to believe in the personification of evil. (As if the original idea wasn't silly enough. Talking snake! Tsk!)

The site I browsed was here. And I can't fail to be impressed with the excuses if you fail to summon a demon. But if you are looking for 'proof'

BTW - You can tell if a demon has visited by the following:
1) There might be a breeze.
2) You might get a 'feeling'.
3) A candle might flicker.
4) You might have a dream about a demon.

Oh yes. I am SO convinced. ( But then I did dream about pasta once which can only prove the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. )

There are some gullible idiots out there. But hey! If any satanists are reading this, please feel free to send me any demonic proof. Since, according to christians, I am going to be sent to your mythical retirement home, maybe even some kind of 'welcome pack' perhaps? Or even an imp or two? Maybe my shoelaces won't untie!!! Oh what devilry!

ps. In satanist's defence, the ONE I have knowingly met and talked to was quite a nice chap with strong moral beliefs that I would not have expected. He did have a bit of hero worship for Hitler - which failed to impress me but you seriously could not have picked him out of a crowd.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

When christians attack!!!

Is it just me or are christians getting a little more aggressive?

Not physically, but that would give a whole new meaning to 'bible thumping'! It's just that they seem quite ready to attack popular scientific ideas and ridicule scientific explanations.

I have (in my rational quest for proof) looked at many of these 'proofs' and found them to be embarrassingly poor and a waste of my time. Actually that's not true - I've had quite a few laughs!

Lets look at some of them...
4000 year old Earth
Carbon dating being wholly inaccurate (About 80% actually but still only one of many methods used)
Fossils on the tops of mountains. (Hey! I ACTUALLY saw these on Mount Snowdon!)*
Evolution errors (Ahem - misconceptions or more likely a p**s poor understanding of what evolution is.)
False fossils (So OBVIOUSLY hundreds of thousands of fossils MUST ALL BE FAKE!!!)
Half-evolved creatures (cow-frogs etc. LOL. Just. Too. Stupid.)
Dinosaurs existing with humans. (Jurassic park has A LOT to answer for!)

(These are just the scientific attempts that people have tried over the last two years... the philosophical 'proofs' have their own post.)

* I walked up Mt Snowdon (Tallest mountain in UK) with my family and we saw the fossils on the summit. 500 million years ago - that creature was alive! Now THAT is incredible. :-P 4000 years, my arse!

Scientific thinking has been at the forefront of trying to understand these things and offered plausible explanations to satisfy our curiosity. The fact that we are STILL looking at these concepts to refine our understanding and remove misconceptions is one of the greatest achievements of humankind.

So as church numbers continue to decline and organised religion is under scrutiny for the next case of fraud or sexual abuse, we seem to be getting to a hardcore of those who are ready to fight for their cause. And some willing to die for it too. Martyrs are held in high regard and, for many christians I have spoken to, seem to consider it the ultimate test of faith.

I find that worrying.

I have no problem with people questioning commonly held scientific ideas - science THRIVES on being challenged. But when people consider death as a martyr - death for a non-existent, mythological entity - death that they think will inspire others - and let's be honest, they think they will get a FAST PASS to sky pixie's magical kingdom - then I DO have a problem with it.

STOP BEING SO F**KING STUPID. Seriously.

But on a darker, humorous note... go ahead. One less idiot out of the gene pool.

Rant over. Time for the theists to have their say...

>>Edit - Snowdon is the second highest. I was tired. Sorry Scotland.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Am I obsessed?

Ahhh. Week's holiday. Time to post my wisdom to the masses or just annoy people. (Your choice)

Am I obsessed about 'god'?

Now I've had this comment offered to me several times. That I think about 'god' so much, or I am obsessed about her. (Or 'him' - her seems more likely IMHO - although an 'it' would make a least illogical choice... but I am rambling...)

I posted this reply on my "Raising atheist kids?" post which I think sums up my opinion.

It's more about knocking the stupid things that religious people do. ;-) I can assure you I am not obsessed with a god (just as I am not obsessed with a variety of non-things) but quite possibly on how this belief in the supernatural affects people, laws, freedoms and human morality. (Both for good and for bad) I'm like a dog with a bone - it's too fascinating a subject to ignore. (Agnostics just simply annoy me!)


It's very easy to think that atheists are obsessed with god(s) since our public 'presented' image is simply that. "Your god is a silly idea!" and all that.

I personally find it refreshing to be morally sound without having to worry about WWJD? And I certainly don't have to think about 'What would a humanist do?' My actions are considered and based on whether they are safe/ harmful/ economic/ environmentally sound/ pleasurable/ selfish/ insulting/ kind etc.

Summary - I REALLY doubt I think about sky pixies more than a theist. And if I am - then there are some crap theists out there. ;-) LOL

Monday, 18 May 2009

Raising atheist kids?

Building up to a rant for a while now... partly brought on by this rather unpleasant comment to a post of mine. (Someone has issues...)

It was a conversation I had about my children growing up. What they might become and that I will be proud of what they will achieve. Also if they happen to follow a faith, it would be their choice.
But it was the comment (well intentioned) of 'that's good' about referring to faith that has been bugging me.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't it a christian DUTY to raise your kids as christians? Certainly all the marriages and baptisms I've been to have STRONGLY suggested it.

So it's OK for christians to educate/impose/indoctrinate beliefs but when an atheist puts forward their opinions...

I was lucky enough to have been brought up in UK which is mostly agnostic or apathetic towards religion. And I was not influenced by my parents to what I should believe. I became an agnostic while in a church primary school and an atheist by the time I was in my teens. I came to my own decision after a lot of introspection. In my twenties I considered some form of spirituality but after observing and talking to a range of people I realised that you don't have to have a 'faith' to be good.

I don't think I can bring myself to go as far as Richard Dawkins and claim that religious upbringing is a form of 'child abuse'. Parents have a right to bring up children by their moral standards and I have no right to criticise. I think I am doing my best; they honestly think they are doing theirs.

However. I will teach my children to think critically. I will encourage them to question why. I would expect them to find out things for themselves and think seriously about why someone else might want you to believe what they believe.
I will encourage them to give people a chance. To try not to judge others on first impressions. Always try to end an argument; never to start one. Bare in mind the consequences of your actions. And try to do what you feel is right.

It's a big task. And I suspect I will make many mistakes. What I will NOT do is bring up children on the morality of a flawed 'holy' book full of contradictions, mythology and patronising devotion to a personification of ancient mankind's ignorance. My children deserve better than that.

Rant over. ;-)

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Richard Dawkins interview & Anti-religious bell ringing

Bit of a short post, but here are two links you might be interested in. :-)

The 5 minute Richard Dawkins interview



And Liverpool Cathedral will play an 'anti-religious' song with the church bells today!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Jesus action figure - Part 2


Straight from the pages of Ephesians 6:11-17

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.


OK, so I couldn't find a 'belt of truth' but I think that the 'Axe of Unnatural Death' and the 'Power Glove of Heathen Smiting' more than make up for it. ;-)

PRODUCT RECALL ALERT!!!
It appears that our 'One TRUE god(tm)' figures have been returned to stores amid claims that the box was empty. Sorry but NO refunds will be given as it is clearly not our fault you can't see it!

God is watching you having sex.

I LOVE the diversity of christianity!

Behold a link about a polish priest (who is celibate) offering advice about sex in marriage. It's already sold out in Poland.

"Every act - a type of caress, a sexual position - with the goal of arousal is permitted and pleases God."

Now, if I was a believer... I would be a little unnerved! ("Oh, come on darling, let's do it for Jesus. Think of it as a prayer...") The same god, who I hasten to add, is pleased by the smell of a burning goat.

Sorry, but the comedy is too much to bear. :-D

Read the article here!
... and feel free to add your own jokes / comments / opinions.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Look what I got for my birthday!

It's an action Jesus figure!

OK, I'll admit that my eldest son thought he would look cooler with a 'Power glove' and an 'Axe of Unnatural Death'. But, hey! I could start a NEW sect of christianity here! Someone is surely going to believe in it.

This was a present from JL for my birthday, quite possibly because she has a faithful representation of the FSM (bless his noodly appendages) hovering over her desk at school.

Any ideas or adventures for Jesus, please feel free to add to the comments. :-)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

It's my birthday!

Ever since the 11th May 1971, the FSM has been kind enough to keep me from floating off into space for 38 orbits around the Sun! (Blessed be his noodly appendages!)

So let's all have a sing along! :-D


Regular posting will commence soon... after all, I am in the middle of a 'Fun-filled holy war' where, I hasten to add, my VERY SOUL is at stake!!!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

I'm a happy atheist! So why don't people believe me?!? Aarrggh!!!

I posted this on the Heaving Dead Cats blog and I thought it deserved a post on mine too. One of the accusations I have had made at me, several times of the years, is that I cannot be a happier person than someone who has discovered their imaginary friend. (Or has a 'relationship' with imaginary friend, or discovered the 'truth', or 'opened my eyes', or had an 'experience'... blah, blah...)

"Being an atheist has made me a happier person. I adore the wonder of nature, the chaos of life, the randomness of quantum physics, the vastness of the universe, the possibility of ‘god particles’, the possibility of extraterrestrial life, seeing true altruism in strangers, learning about different cultures, art, music and love.
I love being free to enjoy, appreciate and have these experiences without having to worry about offending any non-existent creatures. Sheeple (I love that term!) only demean themselves by having to attribute their ignorance to ‘god’."

Seriously, how could I be happier? (OK, Arsenal in the Champions League final, grrr....) I have a great family, fantastic job, my health, kind friends and a sparkling wit only matched by my innate charm and wisdom. If unfortunate things happen, I don't whine, blame, pray, sue, beg etc... and I certainly don't (in a weakened state) seek an imaginary friend. If you are an optimist, you don't need false hope!

We do NOT have a 'god shaped' hole in our hearts. That's just another bl***y stupid metaphor created to convince the weak minded. (Create a problem and sell the only 'cure' ) Having a 'god' in my life would mean I would have a new 'priority' - above my family, above my ambitions, dreams and humanity. And if you are the sort of person willing to do that for some perceived reward in one of the many afterlifes on offer, then well done. Just don't expect me to be impressed.

I am happy. And if you can't understand that, then I truly pity you.
(Rant over) ;-)

Friday, 8 May 2009

Petrified trees prove the bible is right. *sigh*

When someone challenges me, I usually have to respond. (It's a weakness.)

Alrighty then. Petrified trees. Apparently there are VERTICAL trees that go through the layers of strata. Therefore the fossil record is rubbish.

With no further research, (and let's face it that COMPLETELY proves the bible) it would appear a problem to geologists.

However... what is not mentioned is the fact there are many more horizontal trees in the same area. Roots are non-existent and bark is missing from one side - this really shows that it was not covered by layers of ash while it was growing. The strata is actually flat - inconsistent with slopes that would have been covered with such trees. Mt Etna eruption provided an excellent example of how trees blasted out of the ground by volcanic eruptions can cause upright conditions.

There is more information in detail
http://amazingdiscoveries.org/AD-ChanceOrDesign-FossilRecord-PetrifiedTrees.html

I have a lot to thank JL for. I'm learning so much! :-)

Challenging science

The nice christian, JL, in her quest to convert my (rather pleasant) heathen ways went on the attack about carbon dating and it's 'wildly inaccurate' results.
Being on the back foot, I had some misconceptions about carbon dating but, in my defence, they were craftily worded fundie traps which I fell into. (eg. saying that carbon dating cannot measure age of fossils, so what proof is there?)

However, EVEN IF carbon dating methods were wrong, just because 'the bible says so' is not magically the only viable alternative. *sigh*

Tree rings are accurate to 9000 years. Pay attention - this is something most kids learn in primary school! You won't find a 50 year old tree with thousands of rings. NEWSFLASH - Trees predate the Abrahamic god! "But the bible says the sky pixie made trees! Whhhaaaahhh!!!!"

Redshift - How light frequency is affected by the fantastical speeds of astronomical phenomena moving away from us (creating light towards the infra red spectrum)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8022917.stm

Carbon dating is a very good way of estimating. The biggest inaccuracies have occured when objects of 20000 years old have had an error of 3500 years. An error margin of up to 17%.
Even accounting for this extreme measure - hmmm - basic maths here - more than 6000 years!

The trap I fell into (because I simply don't know everything) was that you cannot use carbon dating for fossils. (Or diamonds, which are REALLY old! I just assumed that being made of carbon... doh!).
http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/benton.html


The above link explains more concisely the methods used and refutes the claims of creationist (and I use the word sarcastically) 'scientists'.

JL's mission was to get me to doubt scientific reasoning and to not take scientific opinion as the truth. And yes, we SHOULD not just believe everything we hear. We must make informed decisions based on evidence. We must be willing to accept that with our limited knowledge and senses (we can only see a razor thin slice of the EM spectrum for example) that we will make mistakes and improve upon our knowledge.

And that is what I love about science. For every opinion, theory and proposal in the public domain, it must be tested, scrutinised and every possible attempt is made to prove it wrong or come up with a better explanation with the evidence and reasoning to back it up. It is inspiring, it is challenging, it is dangerous, it gives us the tools to make sense of this amazing existence... it is truly humbling to realise that there is so much in existence that we will never know.

What I find demeaning, insulting, patronising, illogical and offensive to human intellect is that theists label 'don't know' with 'god'.

Science has been answering many 'don't knows' for centuries. People no longer need to fear myths and superstitions; worry about angering vengeful gods; conduct strange rituals; wear lucky charms etc. Thanks to science, we have grown up and matured as a species.

Science is not the enemy of religion but religion has suffered because of it. Ahhh, life was so much SIMPLER 6000 years ago.

Conclusion: Just because science freely admits the limits of our understanding and is constantly trying to improve its knowledge doesn't make the bible true! (Bl**dy obvious I know, but SOME PEOPLE... tsk)

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Conversations with a (nice) christian.

This is a response to my 'Alpha Course' post. (If it has scrolled off the bottom of the page then 'clicky!' )
'JL' is one of those nice christians who (in my experience) make up the majority of christians that are willing to talk to me. Currently we are in the middle of a friendly 'holy war' at our school, where she is trying to get me to appreciate Jesus and I am bestowing the gift of Pastafarian knowledge. I have shown her undeniable evidence of FSM's power by making her jump and pointing out how the kind FSM brings her safely back to Earth with his noodly appendages. (He loves us all and keeps us safe - FACT!)

Randomfish, I believe I might even have been the long-haired born-again that suggested an Alpha course to you.


Yep, The most recent one.

It's not like you have anything to lose, anyway :-p

Well, my scientific reasoning for one...

re: 'based on a relationship, not knowledge'
It always makes me smile that people get so OUTRAGED that the Bible is younger than Jesus, or at least most of it. That it's been *gasp* ADDED TO(!!!111) over the years. Of course it has. Ours is a living God. He didn't just speak once 6000 years ago (you heard right, DB!) and that was it. If you develop a relationship with your living God, he will speak to you. And he will tell you do not have a religion based on laws, you have a new life based on His loving gospel.

We agree here. Religion (especially christianity) has evolved. It has HAD to! Let's face it, if we had the same thinking as we did 1000 years ago, you would look pretty stupid now.
We don't get ill because god is punishing us. We get better because we 1) take medicine or 2) naturally get better over time.
Gods don't live in the sky. We are not the centre of the universe. Evolution is happening. The Earth is over 6000 years old. Morality is not owned by any religion...
Damn those astronomers, doctors, biologists, historians, geologists, philosophers...! They have had to make those crrraaaazzzyyy christians do some drastic rejigging of what to believe! LOL.

'Faith is more important than logic'

Logic is more important than blind faith. Blind faith is an insult to intelligence and reason. Blind faith can be harmful. For example, feel my pain when Arsenal lose! (Thankfully rarely!)

Don't pretend that you have faith in nothing, that faith in itself is ridiculous. You have faith in love, if nothing else, surely.

I DO have faith in humanity; kindness of strangers; love and hope. They are essential for understanding our humanity. I just don't attribute an imaginary friend to fill the gaps in knowledge.

Logic tells me that you can't get evolution from one species to another, only within species. Science tells me that even after thousands and thousands of generations of fly mutations, a fly is still a fly. So how did every living species in the world evolve from a fish? Including, presumably: turnips, scabies mite, chinchillas, sharks etc etc? Are you not putting your faith in a straaaange theory of evolution, hmmmmmm? ;)


Fellow humanists/ atheists, JL is a really nice person and please do not judge someone on their lack of understanding of evolution.

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/different-patterns-of-evolution.html
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/sat-ii-biology-understanding-origins-of-life.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution

'Because of who god is, we will always have questions'
Of course. And let's face it, when Jesus came and proclaimed himself the Son of God, not many people believed him, and what more proof could God really give us? Perhaps you would like a book full of graphs and diagrams, haha.

I proclaim to be the leader of Alpha Centauri. Can you see the problem with that? Jesus was not the first prophet to claim to lead the Jews. He happened to be the most famous. Stories told, generations later, wrote the gospels with a bias to make him more holy. Events were taken from a wide variety of religions (resurrection, death on a cross, virgin birth, claim of godhood, miracles, 12 followers, betrayal, ascension) sometimes even directly rewriting existing religions. See Dionysus, Osiris, Mithra...
http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa3.htm
Jesus, the man, existed.
Jesus, the son of a god, sadly (but it would actually have been rather groovy) is HIGHLY UNLIKELY. More likely a work of fiction and copyright theft.

"You are sinners and in need of a lord and saviour".
Hell for you probably isn't the same idea of hell for me. I think there is a cartoon idea based on lakes of fire with a little red devil with pitchforks. In reality, to me anyway, hell is death; it is separation from love and joy; from contentment and safety and the Lord. For me, now that I know the Lord, no pit of burning sulphur could ever hold as much sadness and fear as separation from His love. But that's just me.

Ahh, you refer to the 'nice' Hell. Depends on how literally one takes the bible doesn't it? Even Jesus refers to Gehenna.
Two very useful sites below
http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/jesusteachingonhell.html
and this is pure class.
http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/hellreal.htm (This nutter is doing theism no favours!)

And finally...
My final point I made in a rather fun theological debate is that JL is ACTUALLY a 'humanist with an imaginary friend'.

Peace to you all.



Thursday, 30 April 2009

Football and gods. My dreadful hypocrisy?

And I mean PROPER football! Sorry my American friends but when you CARRY the ball for most of the game, it's a bit of a misnomer. Our beautiful game is not 'soccer'! Grrr. ;-)

If you are passionate about something, it can be frustrating when people don't have the same ideas. For example, I see NO reason why anybody should support Tottenham Hotspurs (AKA - 'The Scum'). They are a grossly overrated team who are the inferior London rivals of Arsenal. Whenever I meet such a misguided fan, I feel an urge to mock them. Remorselessly.

But I'm mature enough to realise that it is all banter. Some of it is very insulting, quite often abusive, but football does bring out a savage tribe mentality in its fans. (Impressively, you don't seem to get this in American sports.) So when fans say football is their 'religion', they are not far wrong.
  • It sometimes requires a heroic amount of faith.
  • You often deny the obvious flaws in your team's performance and blame others. (The ref being a common reciever of my displeasure!)
  • Everyone else's team is rubbish!
  • You spend far too much time devoted to your team which could be better spent doing many other things.
  • You spend far too much money to prove your loyalty.
  • You evangalise about your team to the point of obnoxiousness!
  • You find yourself doing little rituals to change the outcome of the game.
  • You wear clothing that identifies you with your team.
  • You encourage your children to follow your team. Being a Man United fan would be a terrible, terrible crime against everything you stand for.
  • No-one will ever persuade you to support anyone else.
Oh my non-existent gods... I am a football equivalent of a creationist!!!
And the scary thing is that you can't become an 'Afootballist'.

I think I am beyond saving ;-)

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Alpha? Considering... being converted?

Well, it is my blog. So if I want to rant about stuff... but I also have a responsibility to give a more positive view of atheists. It's too easy for us to poke fun at people who believe in superstition, ritual, chance, planetary alignments, ghosts, lucky charms and stuff.

I do feel, in retrospect, that I did sink to a little bit of 'mocking' religion and that does not do atheism any favours. After all, we have the right to claim a higher morality since humanists care about everyone and we truly believe we are fairer than the harsh black and white laws of what ancient misogynistic priests interpreted from their positions of power.

In my continuing browsings of the web, I came across this wonderful piece of advice for potential worshippers...
"It should be noted that Christianity is a religion based upon relationship, not knowledge. It is a religion of faith not logic. The information provided is to help answer questions, but ultimately you must believe in the Bible by faith. Because of who God is, we will always have questions. In order to have eternal life, we need to believe the words of Jesus that we are sinners and are in need of a Lord and Savior."

Brilliant! It contains all the best bits of religion. Patronising, demanding and a veiled threat.
1) 'Based on relationship, not knowledgee'. A slight put down to education and thinking for yourself. Am I not capable of forming a true relationship with anything?
2) 'Faith is more important than logic'. Because logically, there is no proof or even a real need for a god?
3) 'But ultimately you must believe in the bible by faith'. (See previous post - sorry) What bits exactly? All of it? The 'nice' parts? Do I take it literally or simply as a guide. Well take your pick from the 38000 christian denominations... (sigh)
4) 'Because of who god is, we will always have questions". But to ask them is the wrong thing to do apparently (see section 1) (further sighs...)
5) "You are sinners and in need of a lord and saviour". At least no mention of Hell, but an insult nonetheless.

Anyway, all this came as a result on what someone asked me a few months back. "Would you be interested in going to an Alpha course?" BTW - You can send them a question (be nice!) to be discussed - only 125 characters though!
Anyway, I actually wouldn't mind going. Like I have said before, I am an atheist morally, rationally, socially and all this was after a great deal of introspection on my part. Could religion offer a serious alternative? Would my life be improved as claimed by the brochure? Somehow I doubt it, but I don't want to be accused of being 'closed minded'.
All atheists are open to persuasion (seriously, it's true!) but we quite fairly ask for a scrap of proof - real proof mind! After all, an all-powerful god should be able to provide some undeniable evidence? Or at least NOT provide overwhelming evidence to the contrary!

So we get the 'faith' get out clause. That, my friends, is NOT an argument. It's a cop out! 'Faith' is the blanket stupid answer that I find insulting, patronising and clearly shows that there is no real basis for their point of view.
Just imagine if we said that we had 'faith' there was no god? Yeah, that's right. People WOULD laugh at us! All we can honestly say, is that there is a 'near certainty' that there are no gods. 'Faith' apparently is 100% (often 110%!) - There is no debating with some people... especially when they have a poor grasp of basic maths.

If there was an online version of the Alpha course. (I might suggest it) then I would definitely have a go. Maybe I will go to a session one day... :-)

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Thought for the day... The really convincing story!

Let me get this right...

According to Catholics - there is this three in one god who impregnated a virgin so he could then be born and sacrificed himself on a cross to save his own creation from his own wrath. All because a woman, who was made out of a rib, surprised him (an all knowing-god) by being convinced by a talking snake to eat an apple from a magic tree. He then, temporarily, came back from the dead (being 'all-powerful' has advantages; the sacrifice wasn't permanent), we should all eat his flesh, drink his blood, talk telepathically to him whilst being constantly reminded we are all sinners (still!).
Failure to believe in this will result in a constant, unbelievable agony for eternity.

... yeah. Evolution is just soooo stupid.

I know there have been similar posts from other bloggers like this, but it feels good to remind ourselves what we are arguing against. (sigh)

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Persuasion with violence (cont...)

I thought I'd make this a post rather than it getting lost in the depths of comments... :-)

The idea is a 'Hell' is possibly one of the reasons I do not believe in mythology over reason. Funny, when you consider it was such an effective technique in medieval times!

An 'all loving' god that has the capacity to create such a dreadful place? Now there's your problem.

Fortunately, I don't believe in 'Hell'. Unfortunately, theists do. And it's the theists that actually want me to go to Hell scare me.
Let's think about it... there are things in the world that I would not wish on my worst enemies. There are things that I would not wish on ANYBODY.

But there ARE theists who wish the obscene, violent, suffering of Hell on me for ever! At the very least, they think I will go there and they don't have a problem with it! That is just sick. And I really pity them. To be so twisted by what they believe to be right, they can see no wrong in any of their actions.

Ladies and gentlemen, a fine example of religious morality! (sigh) And this in a world where people are outraged about conditions in prisons! Where liberals campaign about suspected terrorists tortured in Guantanamo Bay to keep our countries 'safe'. But when it's religion... oh of course - burn the heathens and followers of false (depending on where you live) religions. Make them SUFFER!!!

But, to keep a sense of balance...
I have had conversations with (much nicer) christians who believe that 'Hell' is merely the absence of a god. And because I would never be embraced by his love, it would be 'hell' in comparison.
This is a considerably more pleasant approach than the 'fire and brimstone' bollocks I so often hear. But I do argue that the bible does make it quite clear about what will happen to the likes of me. It all depends on what percentage of the bible you consider an analogy, I guess. ;-)

Personally, and I say this as a parent of three very well behaved children and as a teacher, threats do not convince people to behave. Only by setting a good example, treating people fairly and with respect, will you have any chance of getting a message across.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Persusasion with violence. (Rape and religion?)

Well, I expect that this could be seen as inflammatory... ;-)

Imagine the situation where you have this powerful, charismatic person. He/she is adored by millions around the world and YOU have caught their attention. They want you to love them, to adore them, to fully obey their desires... but you are not interested. They try to persuade you more; you still want to be left alone. Feeling spurned, they get angry and threaten you. Not just mild threats, but threats of the most terrible violence imaginable - and the frightening thing is, you know they really mean it! No-one believes you - after all, you should be honoured but you insulted him/her so it is YOUR fault! You deserve to be treated this way...

Horrible isn't it?
But then I can play the 'analogy game'. ;-)

If that was a real situation, then you would sincerely hope that the perpetrator would be arrested. They are clearly insane, extremely dangerous and devoid of morals.

The point I'm trying to make (before theists accuse me of turning Jesus into a rapist) is that morally, how can you expect someone to give unconditional love, utter faith and devotion when the alternative is such an extreme level of punishment that far outweighs the 'crime'?
Surely the love of a god should be so great so that you could not possibly conceive not to love? Obviously not, since we have such a cruel and unusual punishment. Where is this free will? "Oh but you chose suffering." Yeah, obviously.

Maybe if there wasn't such a choice, I might have been agnostic. But since the bible so clearly personifies god with all these dysfunctional human failings, it makes me wonder if such a being could ever be worthy of my love.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Things I do in the quest for a god...

Spent an hour on YouTube looking for 'enlightenment'. As I have said before I like to challenge my opinions, so where better will I find a range of ideas and opinions.

Yeah... I am still an atheist.

It's quite funny seeing ill informed opinions presented with such sincerity.

Play this game, watch a theist 'proof' and score points for the following:

"You can't prove god doesn't exist!"
"You can't prove [insert poorly researched scientific topic]"
"You are going to hell!"
"I found god [crazy eyed stare]" (My personal favourite)
"Atheists are stupid."
"Look at life. Therefore god exists!"
"My explanation is clearly better than an atheist one!"
"Darwin/ Dawkins/ Sagan is clearly wrong, why can't you see that!"
"The bible says so!"
"Hitler/ Mao/ Stalin etc..."
"[cyclic argument]"

There are plenty more. Feel free to add them to the comments. :-)

I might even come up with a proper scoring sheet that will give theists a 'blind faith score'.

BTW: Please vote on the new question. What percentage of the bible is true?

Last vote result.
Christian MINUS god = Nervous wreck!
Thanks to all that took part. :-)

Monday, 20 April 2009

Proofs of God (part 2b)

"Yeah, but evolution is only a theory... so god must exist!"

(sigh)

Seriously, you wouldn't believe the number of times I've heard this one... And the sad thing is, I always HAVE to respond, even though I know I'm wasting my breath!

(I do see the funny side though!)

Atheists finding god.

I now know of two people who have recently turned from a very strong atheist viewpoint to a full blown christian 'Dawkins is WRONG!" attitude.
Have they become better people? Hard to tell. I personally find their conversion irritating. And before I get a list of accusations from theists about what they believe I think - I shall explain.

Firstly, they were smart, intelligent people as atheists and they don't appear to have improved their moral stance since converting. One of them has become quite insufferable in fact due to their casual dismissal of scientific discoveries.

Secondly, they don't seem willing to explain why they are now christians. I would have thought they would be happy to share how they discovered the 'one true god'. (I assure you, I have not demanded that they explain themselves, or put them in a position of embarrassment.)

Thirdly, they simply dismiss any lack of evidence, historical errors or moral ambiguities as not important. They just believe. And that it seems, should be good enough for me.

Luckily for them, they have not attempted to claim the position of my moral better. Even they know that would be a VERY stupid mistake to make. ;-)

I am just extremely curious to know how they justified a U-turn in their thinking. It is especially important for me to know since I do 'look for god(s)' and to discover a real ex-atheist (I don't believe half the claimants on the web) it would be a great opportunity to see some real reasons for believing.

If I find out anything interesting, I'll let you know...

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Wine tasting?

Just to prove a point that its not just religion but other superstitious nonsense I find silly, here is an article about wine tasting.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/apr/18/wine-lunar-calender-tesco-supermarkets

It shows that Tesco and Marks & Spencer believe that the taste of wine is affected by the moon and the lengths they are going to to ensure it tastes 'right'. Apparently, the evidence is 'overwhelming' (sigh).

This 'biodynamic method' is gaining increasing popularity.

"Biodynamic winemaking is well established in France, Germany and the USA, and it mostly means avoiding chemical fertilisers and pesticides and encouraging biodiversity.

It also involves spraying the vines with preparations which sound more like witches' potions than agricultural aids. One involves fermenting cow manure in a cow horn, buried underground over winter. In another, oak bark is fermented in the skull of a domestic animal."

What I find a little amusing is the claim that it is a 'root day' from 8am (Sat) until 10am (Sun). I can just imagine the complaints during communion services across the country...

"Er... this blood of christ doesn't taste so nice today" ;-)

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Proofs of God - part 2 - Intelligent design?

http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/GodProof.htm

I only just found this today. If you haven't read it, it's worth a quick chuckle. :-)

Anyway, in my further attemps to find god(s) I am looking at 'Intelligent design'
The basic argument of creationists is "Concept and design necessitate an intelligent designer. The presence of intelligent design proves the existence of an intelligent designer." And then they go on to explain how a watch can't spontaneously appear. Animals are in a food web, simple cells are far too complex, the human eye, half a wing... the list is quite impressive!

You will have to forgive me, I am trying to blend an entire branch of science and popular mythology into a single post and hopefully trying to find some 'truth' :-) I'll try not to cause too much offense to either side.

Well, often the simplest idea is the best. And you don't get much simpler than ID. Why, it just explains EVERYTHING! So I suppose I could just go to bed happy (and many people do!)
Good night!

I see you are still here... thanks!

But the principle of ID is the single premise that there HAS to be a creator for there to be... 'stuff'. And where is the proof of that? Er... the bible says so. I don't believe that there were any first hand witnesses to creation... except god. And the bible isn't exactly accurate at times. (Seriously, don't even bother to argue that. You WILL look stupid.)
OK, we have the fact that we are incredibly complex and even the simplest forms of life have intricate systems that are quite simply... amazing! But the idea is that we were all designed this way. Pre-constructed and ready to go! Every creature on the planet has a role to play, every plant has a reason, nature is primed and set up for humans to live in perfect harmony on Earth...

And along came Charles Darwin with his dangerous idea: every species on the planet has evolved and adapted to their environments. Not put on the planet, by a god, but changed over thousands - millions - of years to survive and breed. Not necessarily 'Survival of the fittest' - that is just the 'TV soundbite' version which oversimplifies the process, but a series of almost insignificant, sometimes random changes or mutations that sometimes improve the chance of the species' survival.

This seems to make sense. Our similarity to other primates, cavemen, fossils, extinction of dinosaurs, the age of the Earth, the purpose of the appendix, 'junk' DNA, actual observed changes in species...

...or because the bible says so. Creationists (some of them), to their credit, look to science to explain their creation theory. And there are some great websites out there. However, for the purposes of my research, I tend to look at sites that contain both sides of the argument. http://www.talkorigins.org is possibly the best mix of debates you can come across on the internet. Evolutionists need their theories challenged! That is what makes science so awe inspiring. The fact it is allowed to be disproved, improved or debated.
http://www.evcforum.net/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation-evolution_controversy

So if Darwin is correct, then the claim that we are made in god's image is simply wrong and it brings into doubt the validity of the bible and its claims made in the book of Genesis.

If the bible is correct, then we have all this evidence that attempts to disprove the bible. What would be the purpose in that? Perhaps it is an elaborate miracle that is there to test the faithful and punish the reasoned thinkers. Seems a bit unfair to me. (I'm one of those people who always look both ways before crossing the road.)

The catholic stance has changed over the centuries. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19956961/ You can believe in god and accept evolution - the modern christian idea is that god must have had some part in the process and accept that the Genesis story is just an allegory.
Lo and behold! And there we have proof of religious evolution! ;-)

Intelligent design? I'm not even sure that we are designed that well! We are prone to illnesses, injuries, back problems, limited understanding or our surroundings, easily fooled by illusions, misinterpret information, violent by nature, subject to a range of emotions, take risks needlessly, have a method of reproduction that can be quite dangerous, the list could go on... We are NOT designed 'intelligently'! Unless of course, this 'god' has a warped sense of humour!

My conclusion? Evolution has, by far, the greatest wealth of evidence supporting it. It does not explain why there is life but shows us our place in nature. Not as chosen masters, but as part of an amazing journey with nature.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Faith, Darwin and superstitions in the UK

Fascinating report on Faith in the UK.
http://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/Faith_and_Darwin.aspx?ArticleID=2911&PageID=6&RefPageID=5

It shows that the UK is a varied mix of beliefs in religions and, more surprisingly, an increase in superstitious ideas. I haven't read it all yet, but it's good to share. :-)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7996187.stm
The BBC link contains a summary of some of the points, but still suggests that we are an increasingly secular society.

Only 55% believe in a heaven. (But 70% believe in a soul)
4 in 10 believe in ghosts? 27% believe in reincarnation?
22% in horoscopes! (Oh come on!)

Seems that as some people turn from religion, they still feel the need fill their minds with irrational 'gap fillers'.

I'm really looking forward to the theistic viewpoint of this survey. Will they see it as a 'further moral decline'? Will it be condemned as an irrational false belief? (The irony would probably escape them!) Will it lead to us all suffering eternal damnation by the devil as we veer from the true path of christ? Will they blame atheists?

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Proofs of a god. (Part 1 + Intro)

I'm no philosopher but I'm a freethinker and I enjoy having a philosophical debate with anyone.
And as an atheist (and scientist) I look for evidence to support either side of any argument. It's certainly not 'betraying' any atheist belief. I regularly adapt and improve on my moral stances and opinions as more evidence and experience presents itself.
For example, being a child in the 1970s, TV programs were quite happy to show ethnic minorities in a negative light. Shows like 'Mind Your Language' or 'Love Thy Neighbour' were family shows that I did find funny and formed my opinions of race. In hindsight, we now know them to be offensive and they would be rightly criticised if they were produced today.

I have decided to take time to look for evidence or proofs of a god's existence. I already know of several people who have converted to religion - some of them from a very staunch atheist opinion - and several who have made a choice based on what 'suits' them best. Naturally, I am curious as to what convinced them however I commonly find that they are either (1) embarrassed (2) reluctant (3) condescending (4) aggressive (5) simply unable to explain. Sometimes several combinations of that list.

I am going to do my own research. I did something similar in my early twenties and in all fairness, I think it is time for a review. It is quite possible that I may be convinced by the arguments. I may reject my atheistic viewpoint and possibly become agnostic. It could equally mean that I further reinforce my views. Can I be truly objective? I can only try. Even on a subconscious level I still have my ideas and thinking patterns.

As atheists, I believe we would be doing ourselves a great disservice if we did not question our 'non-beliefs' occasionally. ;-)


Proof 1: The Ontological Argument. (Summary)

Premise 1: By definition, if it is possible that God exists, then God exists
Premise 2: It is possible that God exists
Conclusion:
Therefore, God exists

This is Anselm of Canterbury's proof:
1. God is something than which nothing greater can be thought.
2. God exists in the understanding.
3. It is greater to exist in reality and in the understanding than just in understanding.
4. Therefore, God exists in reality
And not content with that, another one:
1. God is the entity than which nothing greater can be thought.
2. It is greater to be necessary than not.
3. God must therefore be necessary.
4. Hence, God exists necessarily.
There are quite a few others and if you are interested, look them up. But essentially, the summary is what is being said.

There are some interesting articles about this:
Alvin Plantinga, God, Freedom and Evil, (Eerdmans, 1977), from Michael Peterson et al, Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings, (Oxford, 1996), p. 158.
He defends this argument quite rigorously.

But I can see a major flaw in this. This proof will allow ANYTHING to exist. Lo and behold, I have just conjured up a parrot with an IQ of 500. I have just done another one... a creator of gods!
Maybe I'm just being facetious here but this seems a pretty weak proof.
It is an assumption from the very start that attempts to justify itself in the following statements.

Platinga further argues that:
"it must be conceded that not everyone who understands and reflects on its central premise - that the existence of a maximally great being is possible - will accept it. Still, it is evident, I think, that there is nothing contrary to reason or irrational in accepting this premise. What I claim for this argument, therefore, is that it establishes, not the truth of theism, but its rational acceptability."

The problem here lies in that it assumes it is an acceptable method of proof and claims that belief in a god is at the very least rational.
I'm sure the Flying Spaghetti Monster would agree. (Hello, Your Noodleness!)

Many theologians deny this as a reasonable proof since it often creates scorn from both theists and atheists. But as a starting point for a theological discussion, I think it is a good start.

So at the end of the first proof, we have the idea that a god (whatever shape, form or existence) is possible. I don't believe it is rational. It would be considered irrational to believe in everything I could imagine. And I have a particularly vivid imagination!

So I would concede, a god is possible. Provided that theists concede that my ultra intelligent parrot is possible, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is possible and many other imaginative constructs are indeed possible.

In whole, the purpose of this argument appears to be to create doubt in the atheist mind and supposedly allowing theists to then claim that they are now possibly an agnostic. Very sneaky! ;-)

I will finish with an alternative proof by Douglas Gasking:

1) The creation of the world is the most marvelous achievement imaginable.
2) The merit of an achievement is the product of (a) its intrinsic quality, and (b) the ability of its creator.
3) The greater the disability (or handicap) of the creator, the more impressive the achievement.
4) The most formidable handicap for a creator would be non-existence.
5) Therefore if we suppose that the universe is the product of an existent creator we can conceive a greater being — namely, one who created everything while not existing.
6) Therefore, God does not exist.

Further reading and in more detail:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontological_argument

As always, comments are welcome. :-)

Friday, 10 April 2009

Bishop angered by Good Friday TV

The Bishop of Down and Dromore in Northern Ireland has said people should boycott television on Good Friday. (BBC News)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7991901.stm

If people wanted to have their 'souls fed' then they can go to church. I don't really see why TV should have to pick up on the failings of churches to encourage newcomers.

BTW there is a new episode of Red Dwarf on tonight. (Dave Channel 9:00pm)
And I will make a point of watching The Life of Brian on DVD as well.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Easter and Atheism

Ah, gotta love a holiday. :-)

I like to stay out of the 'Should Easter-time be a non religious holiday?" or "Should atheists be allowed to celebrate Easter?" but I will stick a few of my thoughts down.

1) I live in the UK where Easter is considered a national holiday. So I would be mad to ignore it on non-religious grounds. I simply love spending time with my family, seeing friends, writing, playing and relaxing.
2) I love chocolate. It's a weakness, but any excuse...
3) It has its origins in pagan beliefs, hundreds of years before christianity. We still carry those traditions today.
4) Is it hypocritical of me to celebrate the holiday? No. See point 3. Just because a church wanted to claim that time of year for their own purpose? BTW, I find paganism equally as silly (but considerably more fun than christianity!)
5) It's a part of British culture and history - of which religion is only a part.

So will I celebrate this time of year? Yes.
Will I demand that theists admit they hijacked a pagan celebration; insist they don't take part in pagan rituals like the giving of eggs? No.

Neither side is going to budge, let's enjoy the holiday. :-) *


* Disclaimer- If I do hear something from the church on TV claiming a 'moral monopoly' or how 'important it is to have religion in our lives' then it will be open season on bigots.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Hindu funeral pyres

There is a debate that has now reached the British High Courts about whether a devout Hindu should be allowed to have an open funeral pyre for his death.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7960489.stm
When words such as 'dignity' and 'human rights' are used, then it will invoke powerful emotions in all who take an interest. As a humanist and an atheist I can see different sides of the argument.

1) He sincerely believes that it will benefit him in the next life.
2) Open air cremations are an important part of Hindu culture.
3) There is currently no provision for an open air cremation.

I personally am not against the idea of an open air cremation. And Mr Ghai agrees that there should be regulation involved. But what does concern me is the argument used.

Religion. A religious right?

It seems that the religious trump card is being played again. Why should this have any bearing on the case?

Seriously. Think about it. Do you think I would stand a chance in court if I said that, "I am an atheist and I demand an open funeral pyre in accordance with my non-belief!"

Personally, I would LOVE a big fire (and fireworks) but I really don't think I would stand a chance in court. Mind you, if Mr Ghai gets his wish, then I think I might actually have a go... (Actually my inevitable death will be the subject of a future post.)

Good luck Mr Ghai, it DOES mean a lot to you and your family and, as we are a multi culture country, I sincerely hope that there will be a decision in your favour made in the High Court.

As of yet, no decision has been reached.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Racism and Jesus?

I missed this earlier.

The BNP (British National Party - Bunch of racist homophobes who have hijacked the British flag and claim persecution to their cause - IMHO) have set up a series of billboards with Jesus on it as a way of recruiting more christians!
BNP Article here. BBC opinion here.
This appears to be a direct retaliation from the General Synod who voted against allowing clergy to become a member of the BNP. (BTW - 10% of the Synod did not vote in favour of the ban, makes you wonder how morally secure they are!)
Link here.

Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing. After all, I'm benefiting from it right now. I would even argue to allow the BNP their right to have a voice in politics. Just as I have the right to criticise and pull apart their opinions.
I just wonder if the BNP consider that they have the moral high ground? But then the bible does have very useful rules on how to treat your slaves, who you are allowed to persecute, what respect you should give others and details the eternal suffering for those who don't follow these ideals.
Some members of the church might even adopt the BNP as their poster boys! ;-)