Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Prayers have failed: Bachmann is out and our own local wannabee theocrat, plus the Pope

Unpleasant-truths-vs-comforting-Lies-religionSeeing Michele Bachmann deliberately lying on TV makes me feel all warm and cozy inside.  Few things should do more to show how religion doesn’t make a person a decent, humane, human being, and it sure doesn’t keep them from breaking every rule in their very own religion.   Like so many politicians who get caught having no ethics to speak of, sure that might equals right, they suddenly find a great need to spend more time with their family, or whatever else excuse they can come up with. All of Michelle’s prayers failed, because we all know that she was praying ferociously to win; and all of Michelle’s lies failed, and showed her piousness to be worthless.  Poor Michelle, once a contender for the presidency and now one more failed theocrat.  So much for the claims on how moral Christians are.    As always, there are few better arguments against Christianity than the actions of Christians.  It’s a shame that their god got out of the business of smiting people when they invoked his name and screwed up. It’d be much simpler for the other Christians to demonstrate any differences.

Harrisburg, PA also has our own failure, Linda Thompson.  Mayor Thompson managed to win the mayorship a few years back after  Stephen Reed lost after ruling the ‘burg for quite a few years. She lost this election, unfortunately to one more pander bear, Eric Papenfuse, who is just as sure as Linda is that prayer works and should be engaged in for city government by praying to this god of theirs for each and every decision.  At least that’s what he told a congregation that was hosting a “debate”.   I guess God was on Eric’s side more than Linda’s?  That’s what it must be right?  If prayers work as claimed, then Eric’s prayers are more important than Linda’s.  Of course, prayers don’t work as claimed at all, so Linda and Eric can keep claiming that their god is on their side.

I’m happy that the guy I voted for, didn’t seem bother with the pandering.  Alas, he lost.  I’ll have to check out the Republican candidate, to see if he’s claiming God will help him win too.  then I think I might have to demand the altar contest at city hall to make sure we get the right God approved candidate.

Mayor Thompson is rather noted for saying questionable things.  She recently called our rural neighbors to the north “scumbags” when complaining about the trash problem in the city. She might be right that rural folks dump stuff in the city, but having been a rural person, I know that most rural folks will find a ravine or an abandoned strip mine.  She also was quite certain that fasting and prayer would solve Harrisburg’s financial crisis.  *That* was a lovely example of how prayer consistently fails for even TrueChristians.  Now, Mayor Thompson has decided that getting kids in church will stop gun violence, because they need a “moral foundation, make them understand that they are valued human beings”.

Unfortunately for Mayor Thompson, and Bachmann, church is not a great place to get the idea that humans are valued.  Most churches teach that only a certain type of human being is to be valued, one that follows a certain religion.   There are some theists that do seem to consider JC’s claim that one must take care of the “least of these”, but that humane lesson is nearly lost in a sea of commands to abandon anyone who does not think in the exact same way as the believer does.  We have repeated stories in the bible where children are killed by this god and its faithful, not exactly role-models for telling kids not to kill each other.  We have lessons that one should take what one wants with violence, as long as you can claim that some god told you he agreed.  Repeatedly, we see this god, and many other gods, acting no more moral than a punk with a gun, all sure that might equals right.  If you aren’t wearing the right sectarian “colors” then you can be killed without a thought by the other side.  Continue reading

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What the Boss Likes – superheroes, sheep, a review of the new ST movie, and one spectacular failure

Wondermark’s amusement at Batman’s expense:  http://wondermark.com/939/   Not sure if I came up with this on my own but I came up with an explanation of Batman and his villains. Bruce is nuts and was funding them himself.  How else explain why the Joker always has plenty of money to build deathtraps?

Art of Manliness has a new series of posts about people being sheep, sheepdogs or wolves: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/05/14/are-you-a-sheep-or-sheepdog/

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/05/20/are-you-a-sheep-or-sheepdog-part-ii-8-reasons-youre-hardwired-for-sheepness/

I09 has a great explanation of the new “Star Trek” movie and shows why it is so very very bad (full of spoilers of just how utterly stupid the plot is):  http://io9.com/star-trek-into-darkness-the-spoiler-faq-508927844

Some people may try to excuse such a pathetic bastardization with the claims that it’s a “different vision”.  No, it isn’t.  This mess is the result of a hack trying to make money off of what people love and who has no idea why they loved it.  If this idea for a plot was so great, then why not simply make a new series and let it stand on its own merits since it sure as hell isn’t recognizable at Star Trek and Kirk and Spock.  No, we get a script with nothing original, the most ridiculous deus ex machine (and yes I know how ST:TOS depended on that) and not even good writing to make up for the fact that there are very few original ideas anymore.

oh these poor things. :)

oh these poor things. 🙂

I made bagels again.  Let this stand as a lesson on how not to make them.  I was interrupted in the process and let the sponge sit too long.  I thought I could rescue it.  The results are as my husband has decreed them, BINOS, bagels in name only.   Follow the directions, don’t get too cocky and there is no trouble.

Brain Games on the National Geographic Channel is a great show.  They do a great job on showing how our brains aren’t perfect.

FFRF Crankmail is great for a chuckle.  My the language that some theists use.   This goes back in time a bit to include November 2012’s hilarious bits:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uwup4BYc3J4

From the Kitchen – cheap recipes and all that entails

obesityinamericamapAfter that last monstrously long post, I figured something light was in order.  So here are a few recipes that I’ve made recently.  they are cheap.  Like many cheap recipes, they can be rather unhealthy.  The first is probably one of the worst, but it’s a treat.  The other two, it’s not hard to see where to adjust them to make them better.

Bacon-wrapped potato wedges – by now the entire world knows how many Americans fetishize bacon. I grew up on a farm so I’m not quite so taken with something I know is a cheap cut and that I know how to make.  But make no mistake, I do like it.  An issue of Southern Living (a magazine that is very pretty and makes the American South seem like somewhere I’d like to live rather than the hot, bug-infested, hyper-religious heap it can be) had a recipe for these things.  They had an entire strip of bacon (streaky bacon for those who aren’t Americans) wrapped around a wedge of red potato.  In my opinion, you may as well just forget the potato in this case.  What I did was put a half slice of bacon around a wedge of russet potato.  Much better ratio of starch to bacon in my opinion.   This isn’t much of a recipe:

3 medium russet potatoes cut into eight wedges each

1 pound sliced bacon (you’ll have a little left over)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit or around 220 degrees Celcius

Wrap wedges with bacon and place on rack in baking pan.  I used a broiler pan that has the separate slotted top.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until done to the crispness you like.  The potatoes cook well but don’t brown much. I might brush or spray with veg oil to help that along next time.  The recipe recommended dipping these in warm cheese dip.

Now we can all say “Holy cripes, no wonder we hear about obese Americans.”  Yep, no kidding.  I suppose it’s just as well that I had my gallbladder removed (containing an inch-diameter “stone” of cholesterol)  when I was in college, when eating things like this.  Of course, my gallbladder likely gave up *because* of eating things like this.  Trust me, you don’t *ever* want to have a gallbladder attack.  I have had nothing so painful, not even a tooth abscess.

Pennsylvania is not noted for light and fresh cooking.  No, we are mostly northern European background and very much go for the starches, preserved meats and fats.  I’m trying not to be the plump American (happily not obese) and have gotten myself a workout DVD.  May I just say that Jillian Michaels is an evil woman, effective but evil.  🙂   I could hardly walk after the first day of a beginner 20 minute exercise.   And I walk at least three miles every day.  Yeesh.  So, these are a treat, not something you should make a diet out of.

Another recipe is pretty much a variant on corned beef, cabbage and potatoes.  It consists of  green beans, potatoes and ham.  At least we have a little more veggie in there.  Unfortunately, a lot of people make this with canned beans. They also used to serve it (and perhaps still do) at Hersheypark, the amusement park based around Hershey chocolate only a few miles from here. It’s claimed as a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe (which is not Dutch at all but a mispronunciation of “deutsch” aka German).

My recipe for this is:

1 ham hock (the shin of the pig that has been smoked. I like this since it has less fat than ham generally does)

1 pound of French cut frozen green beans

2  peeled russet potatoes, chunked

Boil ham hock until tender in about 3 quarts of water. Keep the broth it made and pick off the meat from the bones.  Return meat to broth and bring to the boil.  Add potato and beans, cook until potato is soft. Not too bad for you.  My husband hates green beans so this is something I make only for myself. Note that the meat from the ham hock is tougher than what you generally get from a ham.

Last recipe is also something I make only for myself.  Husband also hates most forms of cabbage.  Cole slaw is okay, cooked cabbage is right out.  Having an Hungarian heritage, I grew up eating lots of haluski or fried cabbage and egg noodles.  This is one of my ultimate comfort foods.  How I make it:

1 quarter head of green cabbage cut fine (I’ve cut it fine, shredded it, or grated it, depending on the texture I feel like)

3 tablespoons of butter and 2 of veg oil to help it not burn (yes you can cut down on the fat by putting in just a little butter for flavor and use olive oil)

½ pound of egg noodles cooked as on the package (I like the ones about a half inch wide, but any size will work)

Fry cabbage in butter and oil.  It’s typically cooked until translucent, but I have a taste for browned cabbage and will let it cook until I get dark brown bits on the cabbage.  Then toss together.

That’s all from the kitchen for now.  Eat well!

Not So Pleasant Dinner Conversation – Juries, etc (Postzilla) part 2

Rather than having one mega post, here is part 2 of the post about juries, etc. Part one is here.

I have said that there are only stories that Paul existed as claimed.  That includes his supposed conversion.  I can also say that there are only stories that Simon Magus flew around since that also cannot be shown as true either.  There are many stories that have no evidence supporting them.  We have the claims that King Solomon used demons to build the Temple of Solomon. I ask our Christians:  Is that a story or is it the truth?  How can you tell? We have no evidence of such a temple so who knows how it was built, if it existed at all.  This also applies to the supposed empty tomb.  We have no tomb so we have no idea if anyone was in it, or if anyone disappeared from it.

Acts is a story, and again, we have nothing more than it to claim that someone named Luke traveled with someone named Paul who could do miracles.   In this, SS assumes both men existed as described in the bible with no evidence of such a thing.  If this is simply a story, then there was no information exchanged “first hand”.  It is claimed that “Paul refers numerous times to his conversion experience numerous times in his letters”.  No he does not.  We have these two passages that mention a conversion but no details:

1 Galatians: 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.

1 Corinthians 15: Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

We have Acts where the story gets different details when it’s told.  It is claimed  that as long as we have accounts written by someone themselves, then their claims should be considered evidence of an occurrence.  Hmmm, so when I claim that Daleks have landed in my backyard and are enjoying pina coladas, that should be taken as evidence that this really did happen?  What?  Someone doesn’t believe me when I’ve written this down myself?  Darn, I guess “once again, sometimes nothing is  good enough”.  :) Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Juries, sources and what the gospels has to say about 500 witnsses among other things (aka Postzilla part 1)

religion selective hearingthis post has been split into two parts.  part 2 can be found here.)

 

Sorry for the hiatus on the blog, everyone.  I thought I might address one of the comments on one of the other blog entries since there are some interesting claims by a Christian apologist and a blog entry is more conducive to a thorough investigation of them.   I’ve also been kibitzing in comments so check there for more discussion. This is a long post, but you know that this will often be the case on my blog.  They may be to your taste or not.

Currently, we’ve had Ben and his guest poster Silverswiper (from here out termed SS) commenting on my reviews of their claims.  They  indulge in the usual Christian apologist nonsense but that’s what I’m here to rebut so it works out well.  I do appreciate their participation.  Their use of a lot of the typical apologist claims always gives a good place to start from.  As is common, refuting the claims of theists, especially Christians gets very tedious and repetitive.   Dearly held beliefs given to them by people they trust are hard to eradicate.  Add to that the very pleasant fantasy that one is the special focus of some omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent deity, and it’s a very addictive combination.  I found it to be so myself when I was a Christian and it is not pleasant at all to lose such beliefs.  The feelings of withdrawal e.g. “I can’t have been that wrong.”  will keep a believer coming back for years, still hoping for any evidence for their god or eventually any gods at all.

I found myself in that situation when I finally lost my faith in Christianity and went looking at other religions.  Thanks to that search, I know a lot about many religions.  I had a shelf full of books about Wicca.  I still have a handful of manuals from the Rosicrucians and a shelf full of books on comparative religion.   They all unsurprisingly gave many promises of what worshipping the god and following the religion would achieve.  And unsurprisingly, all of those promises failed just like the ones offered by  Christianity. Then one goes to the effort of creating a god that doesn’t fail, one that does nothing but exist, just to salve those wounds of abandonment.

SS has offered stories  as evidence and I have berated him for that.  He claims that stories are evidence.  I’ll try to clarify why that is the case in the instances of claiming that since a story exists about Jesus, that means he existed.  I can claim that I have a dragon in my attic.  Is this evidence for the dragon or just a claim that I have one?  A similar instance: I claim I killed a man.  Is this evidence or just a story until I can provide evidence to support it?

For example, the claim of an “empty tomb” is nothing more than a story, it has nothing to support that there was a tomb or that it was empty.  A story isn’t a bad thing but it’s not the truth.  Much of ancient history we know because of similar stories, claims of cities, battles, and gods. But what is history and what is myth can be determined by artifacts, contemporary accounts, etc.   SS used an old apologist claim that “pretty much all of ancient history can be discounted because, after all, they are just “stories”.”  Unfortunately, he and other apologists, fail to realize that those stories that archaeologists have followed have either been proven true, partially true or false.  For instance,  we had folks following the story of the battle of Troy and have found a site that is generally agreed upon as the site of  Troy, the site and artifacts fits the legend fairly well.  However, we have not found evidence of the Greek gods’ involvement there or of Cassandra or any of the magical things claimed by the legends.  In contrast, your stories about Jesus  Christ is a story that has gods and events and real places mentioned,  *but* there are no artifacts, no contemporary accounts for what should have been very noticeable things, etc.  Both stories  have extraordinary claims concerning magic and gods and there is no reason to think that those parts of the stories are true.  We have a city of Troy; Christians don’t even have a tomb.  That’s what is different between the bible stories and the stories from other sources, be they pagan or not.   Continue reading

Not Polite Dinner Conversation – That “evidence” including the best one “sincere believers”

323-Lets-clear-this-up-proof-claim-bibleThe next post by Silverswiper (SS) on Ben’s blog are even worse claims of “evidence” than the first two.  All of these seem to come from an inability to think like someone who isn’t a Christian.   SS also goes right to WLC’s claims despite claiming he is not using them. 

The first two claims of evidence are:

1.  The empty tomb – aka William Lane Craig’s baseless claim that it is a “fact” that Jesus was buried in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and that it a “fact” the tomb was found empty. (WLC misuses the term fact a lot)  This could be powerful but we have no tomb at all. We have stories about a messiah and an empty tomb in one source.  We have multiple claims of where this tomb is but no way to confirm those claims.  To claim that the story of an empty tomb is evidence of the events of the resurrection is analogous to claiming that stories about the golden fleece are evidence that the greek gods exist.  These supposed “facts” depend wholly on accepting that there was a magical god/man who existed with nothing to support that belief.  There are plenty of tombs and dead people, but nothing to support them ceasing being dead and leaving their graves.  The argument is circular, there has to be a magical Jesus because there is an empty tomb because there is a magical Jesus.  

2.  Eyewitness testimony – aka WLC’s claim that it is a “fact” that people saw Jesus, again with no evidence to support this, only stories.  This also could be powerful evidence but we have nothing that indicates that there were any events to be eyewitnesses too, and we have little evidence that the supposed eyewitnesses ever existed.   Did people likely follow around the various messiah claimants in 1 CE?  Yes, very likely.  Does this mean that any of them were following around the “real” messiah and that they and he performed magic? No.  We know that, even if there were eyewitnesses, this also does not mean that there is magic involved.  And we know that the claims of the various stories do not match up, presenting directly conflicting statements about the events. In a court of law, any defense attorney would look upon that with joy because it establishes doubt about the events.  No attorney would use the claim that some Christian use, that the contradictions make the eyewitnesses *more* trustworthy.  We have Christians say that the bible is more true since this shows that the eyewitnesses did not confirm each others stories.  It could also mean that the folks who put the bible together were not good editors of the stories that they were given.

In what appears to be the last installment of this series, SS again tries to claim that the bible is evidence for, well, the bible.  He cites the supposed conversion of James, JC’s purported brother.  Well, this is like citing the existence of Horus to be evidence for the existence of Osiris.  We have claims that James, brother of Jesus existed, but little evidence.  Josephus does mention James, brother of Jesus, called the  Christ, but he is relating  a story told to him.  This does not mean that the story is true.  SS also claims that it would be embarrassing to have James not believe in his brother from the outset so that makes the story true. Why?  We have the supposed holy book itself have JC say that not everyone would believe in him, that this intentional and that he would tear families apart.   Nothing embarrassing here at all and indeed early Christians had no problem with the idea.  (As a side note, Josephus also thought that Emperor Vespasian was the messiah that the Jews predicted.) Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – More intentional lies from TrueChristians who are also state legislators here in Pennsylvania, also known as “nothing is new”

And more evidence that the founders of the US were not the rabid Christians that our current ones wish to claim.

And more evidence that the founders of the US were not the rabid Christians that our current ones wish to claim.

Being the excellent examples of how religion makes no one a better person, we now have Pennsylvania legislators introducing yet another useless House Resolution full of intentional lies in their continued attempts to play pretend that their version of Christianity is the state religion of the United States.  This resolution is HR 306 and unsurprisingly, it’s the usual band of Republicans who are pandering to the willfully ignorant.

Here are their names so you can be sure to know who goes out of their way to lie to their constituents: BAKER, HENNESSEY, MILLARD, KNOWLES, KRIEGER, CAUSER, CUTLER, CLYMER, JAMES, ROCK, DiGIROLAMO, KORTZ, KAUFFMAN, MILNE, MUSTIO, AUMENT, SONNEY, EVERETT, BARRAR,GROVE, HESS, GINGRICH, READSHAW, CALTAGIRONE AND SACCONE

Here in PA, we have one of these resolutions brought up to waste time and money by legislators who seem to desperately want a theocracy.  This one is particularly good in that it can be shown to be full of misrepresentations, quotes with no source, etc.  It’s almost as good as creationist screed with its utter nonsense.  It’s a shame that such supposed TrueChristians feel that they must lie and also think that no one will check their claims.  It takes a truly amazing amount of willfully ignorant arrogance to think that they can get away with such outrageous deceit.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has done its usual yeoman’s job of showing exactly where the lies are by this lovely groups of legislators.  Indeed, if they think they can lie about their own religion, what keeps them from lying about anything they want and don’t think the citizens of Pennsylvania can handle or should know the truth about?

You can read the entire article about the lies at the FFRF blog here.  For your delectation, a couple of choice quotes.

“The second Whereas is non-binding Supreme Court language from an 1892 opinion about the Alien Contract Labor Law. The idea that we are “a religious people … From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation” is offensive, exclusionary, and absurd.  I am not a religious person.  At least 1.5 million Pennsylvanians are not religious.  One-in-three Americans under the age of 30 are not religious and more than 60 million Americans of all ages are not religious.  So no, there is no “single voice making this affirmation.”  Claiming otherwise is simply Christian arrogance.”

And Continue reading