Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Pennsylvania legislator at it again – Arizona redux

330-Morality-Slavery-or-Homosexuality-Guess-which-one-the-bibles-ok-with-biblical-ethics-insanity-bigotryFirst, I’m happy that Arizona got rid of the legislation that would have legalized discrimination.

Of course, that doesn’t prevent more people from trying the same thing.  If you’ve been reading this blog, we often have our state legislators doing something ridiculous when trying to get their versions of their religions into the law.  Gordon Denlinger, a Republican  State House member from Lancaster County (and graduate of Bob Jones University) says he will be crafting a bill that will change PA’s state constitution so that….well let’s see what the Representative says for himself in the memo announcing this nonsense:

“William Penn, for whom our Commonwealth is named, established Pennsylvania as a haven for those seeking freedom of conscience and freedom to worship.  These ideals have been debated and reexamined throughout our history and remain timely and important today.  I believe that in a modern Pennsylvania we must be vigilant in protecting individual rights of conscience and those who live and act based on their sincerely held beliefs. 
That is why I believe that the time has come to propose an amendment to the Commonwealth’s Constitution that will strengthen right of conscience protections for all Pennsylvanians.  Specifically, I plan to propose a new section in Article I – the Pennsylvania “bill of rights” – that will prohibit government from punishing an individual or entity if the individual or entity makes hiring or other employment decisions, or provide services, accommodations (including housing accommodations), advantages, facilities, goods or privileges based on sincerely held beliefs. 
Further, under my proposed constitutional amendment, an individual or entity may not be found to have discriminated in making employment related decisions or providing services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges if the action was based on the sincerely held beliefs of the individual or entity.  
We must be vigilant in protecting this core founding principal of our Commonwealth.  I believe that my proposed constitutional amendment will serve to ensure that the actions of our modern-day government do not infringe upon individual rights of conscience.
I encourage you to consider cosponsoring this important and timely proposal.  Thank you.”  

A good take down on why Denlinger is merrily pandering away and wasting everyone’s time can be found here in a blog post by John Micek, Opinion Editor of the local paper, the Patriot News.  However, I want to take a look at this nonsense and use the wonderful powers of ridicule against its utter wrongness.

Big-BrotherDenlinger wants to protect the rights of people to do whatever their “conscience” tells them to do and whatever their “sincerely held beliefs” tell them to do.  Whatever language he will propose (supposedly under review by “constitutional law experts” at this very moment), will keep government from punishing any person or entity who intentionally discriminates in employment decisions or providing various services.  It also will protect them if they intentionally discriminate against people in giving “advantages” and “privileges”; I’m not quite sure what those words mean in this context but it certainly does sound vague and broad.  He also seems to want to declare that no one can say that a person or entity can be called discriminatory even though that is exactly what they are doing.  Shades of 1984, if we declare that discrimination isn’t really discrimination, we can pretend that it isn’t happening.   Rep. Denlinger claims to be shocked that anyone could possibly thing that his proposed legislation would lead to discrimination “Most disturbing to me is that some have chosen to portray the bill as being an open door to renewed discrimination.”   Rep. Denlinger, people think it will lead to discrimination because that is *exactly* what you are proposing to legalize.  Just because you don’t want to call it discrimination doesn’t  magically make it something else.  “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;”  or stink  like this legislation does.

Denlinger of course hides behind the skirts of William Penn, a Quaker who did indeed create Pennsylvania as a place of religious freedom.  Alas, Rep. Denlinger doesn’t seem to realize that religious freedom can only be practiced until it hits upon the freedoms of another human being.

Let’s take a look at what it would “really” take to make this law work.  If you want the right to discriminate and not be “yoked” to those who don’t agree with you, we need a few ground rules so we know who you don’t want in your stores, your neighborhoods and anywhere else.  And again, this is entirely to ridicule those who want such things as Denlinger’s proposal.  Some may claim I’m on the verge of, or sliding down, a slippery slope fallacy here, but we know that the only societies that have approved of baseless discrimination weren’t the best examples of human civilization. Is it so hard to see where this could go again?

First the general public needs to see just who is taking advantage of this “freedom”.  Most of us usually don’t want to be where we aren’t wanted. There needs to be a uniform set of signs that you can put up so everyone can see who isn’t wanted where.  Maybe we can even have degrees of how much you don’t like a group by the degree of bigoted term you use on your signs. For instance rather than just saying “Homosexuals not served.”, you can go with one of the many nastier terms for homosexuals.  Then everyone can really know just how much of a jackass you are.

Another problem is how do you tell if someone is part of a group you don’t like?  You won’t know if those people you don’t like are daring to use your services and they might be infringing on your “freedom”.  Granted, some attributes that you don’t like are hard to hide, like skin color, but what about the LGBT person who isn’t the stereotype that the righteous bigot expects?  Indeed, what about atheists?  Can you tell if I’m an atheist just by looking at me?  What about people of different religions?  Hmmm, do we need to wear badges so you can be “free” to know who to chase away?

So much for that, eh?

Rep. Denlinger seems to believe that he and his socially conservative and right leaning neighbors are under attack by the government: “As I seek to initiate a public dialogue on conscience-level protections, I need to share my strong sense that many of my socially moderate and left-leaning friends do not realize that their social and religious conservative neighbors all across Lancaster County (and I count myself among this cohort) are fully convinced that government-sanctioned persecution of individuals and entities holding to traditional beliefs is not only coming — it is already here” 

Shucks, how dare the US government support the idea that all people are created equal and expect Americans to follow that.  And the claims of persecution…  Really, Rep. Denlinger?  You’re persecuted if you can’t discriminate against anyone that is different than you?  Such “wonderful” traditional values you have.  Oh noes, I can’t punch someone in the nose so I’m persecuted!  Sigh.   As always, it seems that so many of these people who claim persecution have no idea what persecution is.  Theists of various types can and are persecuted in various places around the world, including being killed for what they believe by other theists.  To claim persecution here in the US, where there are hundreds of radio stations and tv stations entirely devoted to religions, where there is a tax exemption for religions, where religious institutions do not have to follow most, if not all, anti-discrimination laws, and where there are multiple churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, etc in every community, is ridiculous.  No one is saying that anyone has to give up their “sincerely held beliefs”.  You can be as much of a prejudiced twit as you want, in your home, in your church, or at a rally or online.  You just can’t try to have your cake and eat it it too when it comes to interacting with a free society.  You can hate me as much as you want but you can’t interfere with my life.

I would take a moment to point out a certain sentence to Rep. Denlinger, a sentence of his own: “I believe that in a modern Pennsylvania we must be vigilant in protecting individual rights of conscience and those who live and act based on their sincerely held beliefs.” Sounds great doesn’t it?  But as always, such interest in individuals’ rights only seems to apply to one group of people, e.g. Rep. Denlinger’s “social and religious conservative neighbors”.   For someone who is so concerned with individual rights and the ability to practice one’s beliefs, he does his best to make sure those who he doesn’t agree with don’t have that freedom at all (he was a co-sponsor on HB 2381 back in 2006, one of the first attempts to get a constitutional ban on marriages other than what Denlinger et all want as marriages.  He was also a co-sponsor of good ol’ Rep. Metcalfe’s 2013 bill HB 1349 trying the same thing last year  *and* a co-sponsor of the “turn your head” ultrasound bill).   Why can’t other people believe what they want and do what they want, Rep. Denlinger? Some religious believers have no problem with gay marriage and you have repeatedly taken away their right to do what they believe so who’s religious freedom are we talking about here?  Certainly not everyone’s.

Again it seems that yet one more TrueChristian is trying to legislate his beliefs into law. There is no concern for real freedom here, only the usual attempts at controlling others.

What the Boss Likes – meet my newly created mascot, Ruby


Meet the blog’s new mascot, Ruby.  One of my other hobbies, other than cooking,  collecting unusual alcohol and dealing with religion, is sewing.  I used to do a lot of sewing of costumes for historical recreation and for science fiction cons, as well as for my friends.  I got out of the habit a few years back for various reasons.

One day, when cleaning up the house, I stumbled upon an old pattern I had bought more than 10 years ago.  It was a pattern for a dragon, and I had wanted to make one after I had been cheated by someone who was to make me one and who took my money and ran.  A pity that some people can be such vermin, but it did lead to me to this point.

The pattern was from Smallworks, a pattern company by the very talented Melinda Small.   The dragon pattern is here.  It’s very small and detailed pattern, and I was unable to accomplish some of the finer turning of the tail and horns so they’ve been altered to meet my sewing level.  The pattern does have very good directions but I have no idea just how one could actually do the turning through the narrow areas.  Evidently it’s not impossible, thanks to Ms. Small’s photos; I simply was unable to do it myself.  Ms. Small uses an old technique, called button joints, to great effect in this little beastie. The buttons can be seen as the small circles at the joints.

The fabrics are a odd dark red linen I bought years ago that is shot through with real copper threads. That’s what gives the glistening effect.  The purple is a black and purple shot taffeta.  I would not suggest using such a fabric, unless you know how to deal with the fraying edges.  I was using what was in the stash I have. The eyes are black faceted beads from an old broken necklace.  I intentionally used black thread so I could see what I was doing on this test subject.

dragon 2Ruby is my first attempt at the pattern and she didn’t come out too badly at all.  I don’t think she’s a dragon; being an old Dungeons and Dragons player, I find that all dragons need four legs and two wings.  A critter like this with two wings and only back feet is a wyvern to me. 🙂  I know I know, fantasy purist….  I’ll be working on my own pattern for a while and hopefully get a working dragon before we go to GenCon this August.

Here’s couple of old pictures of my earlier costuming work for your delectation and amusement:

Finally, a picture of our cat, Muffin, being cute. muffin


A wonderful explanation of why one would be an atheist with examinations of common arguments by theists and how they fail.


Like a lion, perhaps, in a den of Daniels, I gave a talk last week on ‘Why I am an atheist’ to theology students at Bristol’s Trinity College. It was an enjoyable event, and hopefully helped me to think through and sharpen my arguments (though not, I suspect, to change anyone’s mind). Here’s the transcript.

There are three kinds of arguments that an atheist can make in defence of the insistence that no God exists. First, he or she can argue against the necessity for God. That is, an argument against the claim that God is necessary to explain both the material reality of the world and the values by which we live. Second, he or she can argue against the possibility of God, against the idea that a being such as God is either logically or materially possible. And third, an atheist can argue against the consequencesof belief in God. This…

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From the Bar and Kitchen – Strong drink, duck and a blue cheese tart

no flyIt’s always curious to see a “no fly” symbol on your newly purchased alcohol.  The alcohol in question is Stroh 80, a 160 proof (80%) rum from Austria, which is about as not Caribbean as you can get.  Having some Austrian ancestry, and an eternal curiosity about strange liquor, I had to get a bottle.  Happily, the Pennsylvania state owned liquor shops also have an online variation that has all sorts of cool and odd things to drink.  I’ve gotten crème de violette, Crème de Yvette, among other things from there.  It’s very nice to have a chance to do so and not be shackled to the mundane tastes of the average person, drowned in a sea of Captain Morgan, Jack Daniels and sicky sweet flavored vodkas.

The reason that you can’t take this stuff on airplanes is that it simply too flammable.  While somewhat dangerous, this is what you want when you make the classic flaming cocktails, including many of the tiki ones.  Bacardi 151 is something similar, though I find Stroh 80 to be much better tasting…. It still takes the top layer of your throat off when you drink it straight.  Stroh 80 has a slightly sweet taste with a strong vanilla taste plus sweet spices.

So far, I’ve made a classic Austrian cocktail called Jaegertee, which is basically hot strong black tea and various kinds of alcohol plus a little fruit juice.  The Austrian National Tourist board has what I’m assuming is an authentic recipe on their website here.   I did not have any plum brandy so I just added more spiced rum, e.g. Stroh.  The wine I used was Cabernet Sauvignon from a box.  The tea was Constant Comment from Bigelow, which had the added convenience of already being spiced.  A pour of orange juice, a squirt of fresh lemon and there you go.  And it will indeed make you feel warm and tipsy in short order. A spoonful of honey would also make a nice addition.

duckWhile sipping my jaegertee and since I had a couple of days off from work, I also decided to do a bit of cooking.  One of the small benefits of working in the meat department is that I can scoop up some more expensive meats when they are about to have their “sell by” date expire.  It’s not  much of a discount, but it does give us a chance to try a few new things.  Yesterday evening, I made a magret duck breast, which is a half duck breast taken off the bone.  You can order the same thing from D’Artagnan here.  They also have instructions on how to cook it.  Don’t be afraid to brown the skin well, until it is very dark brown.  This will render the copious fat from the duck; I got a half cup of duck fat from this one half breast.  We cooked it a little more than we probably should have but it was still delicious.  To us, it tastes like a very good beef steak with a lovely layer of crisp poultry skin on top,  the best of both worlds.  With this, I made a balsamic cherry reduction, recipe right here.  Most excellent!

the whole tart
the whole tart

We had this on its own, though we had planned on having asparagus with it.  Our appetite was curtailed by an appetizer of a baked tart of blue cheese in puff  pastry with hot pepper sauce drizzled over it.  We had come upon this on our vacation to the Finger Lakes, at The Snug Harbor in Hammondsport.  I recreated it with a sheet of frozen puff pastry and a slice of Danish blue cheese 5 inches on a side and a half inch thick (the original used gorgonzola dolce).  Fold the pastry sheet in half, placing the cheese on one side.  Moisten edges with milk and crimp with a fork to seal.  Brush with milk to get a golden brown crust. To bake, follow the directions on the puff pastry box, in this case 430 degrees until golden brown.  It took about cheese tart slice30 minutes.  The blue cheese melted very nicely to fill the entire tart. A drizzle of hot pepper sauce, Franks Hot Cayenne, make it a nice riff on the classic buffalo hot wings.

That’s it for now. Eat, and drink, well!

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – my thoughts on the recent debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham


Many are writing about the debate between Bill Nye and the TrueChristian Ken Ham.   Expectedly, given the result, some TrueChristians are insisting that it is only “Ham’s type of Christian” that has lost so badly.  They are smug in their superiority that *their* magic decoder ring is the only right way to interpret the bible.  Unfortunately, unless they are a very odd type of Christian (perhaps the Thomas Jefferson type) that does not believe in supernatural acts that ignore physical and chemical laws, no miracles, no resurrections, they are just as ridiculous in their beliefs.

Ham is adamant that one cannot know what happened in the past unless one was a direct observer.  Thus he claims that evolution can’t be shown to be true since no one was there to watch it start.  He of course insists that he knows that the Christian creation myth is true because God was there and God told us it was true through the medium of the bible. It’s not terribly hard to see just how hypocritical this is.

The biggest problem with this is that theists can’t show that their gods exist.  Christians can’t show one shred of evidence, so we have a “witness” that seems to be entirely imaginary. The demand, “Defense attorney, produce your first witness.”  Is met by silence.

But let’s assume that the Christian god (all-powerful and all-knowing)  exists for a moment and consider what is claimed to be his written testimony.  “I’m sorry, judge, he can’t be here but we have a book that the defendant says was written by him.” What about its supposed witnessing, the Old Testament and New Testament?  If the bible is to be considered an inerrant accurate depiction of past events, as one type of  TrueChristian claims, that is controlled by an omniscient and omnipotent being, it should have no errors in it.  So, is the bible a trustable source?  We have no evidence that it is.  Many of its claims can be shown to be wrong and that other events occupy the place that the purported events in the bible are claimed to do.  Since they can’t both have happened, the one with the evidence is the one to trust as real.  For instance, there is no evidence of a worldwide flood at any time.

Even more problematic,  believers cannot agree on what times should be looked at  for these magical events and many don’t want to even give a date since that opens them up to critique. Indeed, many of them are sure that the witnessing can’t be taken as literally what happened but only a story given to a people who did not understand scientific information as a vague description of what really happened.  What we do see is that the usual physical and chemical processes, abrupt and gradual,  happened without cessation.   The bible claims that entire cities will be lost and never found again, i.e. Tyre.  It’s still a city, hasn’t stopped being lived in and we know where its ruins are too.  As you can see, the bible does mention some real places, so it can occasionally get things accurate.  But it is unreliable, with baseless claims mixed into a real world, just like myths from many religions.  As other posts on this blog have asked: why believe one set of baseless claims over another?  Still no answers to that.

Add to this all of the other creation myths and we have:  a witness that cannot be shown to exist,  a source of claims that cannot be shown to be accurate in many instances, and competing myths that also have to be disproven to show that the Christian god is indeed the creator.  Does this absolutely prove that there are no gods and no creationism nonsense?  No, we could have a god that is nothing like any god described by humanity; we could write off all supposed holy books since they all fail; and we could still have a magic creation that the force involved intentionally hid and gave all sorts of evidence to the contrary.   We could believe that a god created the universe last Tuesday and we only think we lived before that.  It all sounds ridiculous, and that’s what you get when comparing the possible of flights of fancy with the probable when reality is involved.  I *could* be a red and purple furred six foot tall wombat who can type, but that’s not likely either.  🙂

I do find Ham to be a liar.  Some have offered the excuse that he isn’t because he “really believes” the nonsense he spreads.  However, Ham has kept himself ignorant of evidence against his position.  He says directly that nothing would change his mind.  Willful ignorance and the intention to pass on that ignorance shows intent to make sure no one knows the facts, aka lying.

From the kitchen and bar – monkfish, and yes, more beers plus a cider

A week or two ago, my husband asked if I could pick up some fish for dinner.  When asked what kind of fish, he said “white” aka “not salmon”.  So off I went to the seafood department to look for some “white” fish, as opposed to whitefish which I generally get smoked.

They had quite a selection, from cod to “skate wings” which were a little too exotic for the moment.  So I got monkfish, also known as “poor man’s lobster”.  However, at the time, it was more expensive than lobster.  I got a pound, essentially one tail piece.

Monkfish is a rather ugly fish and its meat does have a rather unpleasant membrane on it that  makes it look a little reddish and slimy.  It’s also under watch as the fishing methods for it aren’t that environmentally friendly, and I probably won’t get more because that does concern me.  However, I will say it is very tasty, if not much like lobster at all in my opinion.  I prepared it very simply, first heating up oil in my new Le Creuset braising pan (a present from my parents) and placing the fish darker side down with the thinner part of the tail tucked up under the rest to make a more uniform shape.  After it browned in oil for a few minutes, I put it in a 450 degree oven for 16 minutes, as a recipe I found on the internet said.  After said time, it came out a lovely white and perfectly cooked, flaking away in nice big chunks.

With this, I made a variation on a hollandaise sauce, called Sauce Maltaise.  This has the juice and zest of blood oranges in it, which makes for a luscious and beautiful sauce for fish.  The color is similar to the creamy orange of a ripe juicy cantaloupe.  If you aren’t familiar with them, blood oranges are oranges with a dark red coloring in the flesh.  I’ve heard them described to have a berry-like flavor, but they taste exactly like other sweet oranges to me.

Beers we’ve sampled recently are as follows:

Victory Brewing Golden Monkey – I’ve had this before and I swear that it was much sweeter at one point than it is now.   Before, I thought it too sweet to have more than one or two.  Now, I find it a nice wheat Belgian style beer that, though strong in alcohol, is easy to drink.

Victory Brewing Storm King Imperial Stout – as you might expect, this is a hoppy stout.  Very hoppy.  Not my favorite because I don’t that too many hops play well with the dark roasty flavors of a stout.

Newcastle Cabbie Black Ale – can’t find a link to the company.  It’s a black ale, so it’s not suprising that it’s pretty much like a light porter to my taste.  Definitely one to drink multiples of with friends.

Yuengling Bock Beer –  Yuengling is one of the oldes, if not the oldest continually running breweries in the states.  It’s about 50 miles or so from my home.  I’ve never been that keen on their beers, finding them nothing special.  I like bocks and I didn’t like this one.  It had a weird funky taste to it and no real maltiness to speak of.

Reed’s Spiced Apple Brew – This isn’t an alcoholic cider, first off.  I picked this up at $1.50 for a four-pack, the remains of the holidays.  I like Reed’s ginger beer (excellent with coconut rum, incidentally) so I figured I’d try this.  It’s very good, with a very nice cider plus ginger/cinnamon/nutmeg taste.  The carbonation is fine like a champagne.

Eat, and drink, well!

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – prayers and theist claims, or “again, why believe such claims?”

Prayer-vs_-DeedsIn a delightful coincidence (no gods needed), w have another Billy Graham bit of nonsense about prayer,  prayers for water in the American west, our current TrueChristian, KD, claims about how his prayer was answered, and his claims on how dare anyone bring that up, complete with indignant words on why it’s the atheist’s fault for not doing anything to help those who need help.

In Nevada, home of Las Vegas, and Utah, ground zero for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka Mormons, they are praying for rain.  The snow pack in the Rocky Mountains is very small and that means very bad times for farmers who need water.  Similar prayers have been offered for Texas, for the Southeast, etc, and unsurprisingly, they haven’t been answered.  Rain has indeed come to some parts but weather patterns, not gods, do this, and the drought in the southwest and west has not gone away with some divine deluge.

In Nevada,  it was a  multi-faith service, which seems to mean that they’re appealing to any god at all to get some relief.  This of course is a little odd since Judeo-Christo-Islamic religions generally insist that their god and theirs alone is real and is the one to be beseeched.  At this event, there were Buddhists, Hindus, Bah’ai, Muslims, and the various sects of Christianity doing their best to get their gods’ attention.   The one fellow, Rajan Zed,  who started this says “”When God sees (all these) leaders sitting together in unity and harmony and praying in diverse traditions and seeking common good for the entire community, God will be naturally moved to provide the devotees relief from drought so that it will not affect their quality of life, livelihood and health,”.   Mr. Zed is a Hindu believer. In that the Hindu religion can be presented as all of their gods as aspects of one god, it is not surprising that Mr. Zed invokes God and not Indra, the appropriate aspect.  It certainly does make it much easier to gloss over that “God” is not the same to all people.

According to some Christians, daring to be with non-TrueChristians  is a big no-no.  Can’t get the big guy jealous, you know.   Even Mr. Zed was a target for this, when he was the first person to be a guest chaplain in the US Senate and to offer a Hindu prayer.  The TrueChristians were horrified!  I guess when you are desperate to save your way of life, any port in a storm. It’s a shame that it’s a lot of effort for nothing.  Perhaps they’ll realize that and, in addition, that none of their gods do anything, it’s up to them.

The latest Billy Graham column in the local paper also mentions prayer.  This one is titled “Those in positions of power need prayers.”  The querent asks why nothing seems to get “better” even though their pastor prays for “our nation’s leaders” and their local government leaders.  Considering that prayer is to get what one wants, it’s not hard to make an informed guess that the querent wants their way when it comes to laws, etc and since it’s Billy, being beseeched, the querent is not happy with the current folks in power.

Billy (aka his staff) says that we should imagine how much worse things would be without those prayers.   Which begs the question, just how “omnipotent” is this being if it can’t make things supposedly so much better than *this*? Of course, BG says that God’s ways are mysterious, and that it must be intentional that we don’t see this god doing anything at all, or at least only making a half-assed effort.   We also have a bible verse quoted, 1 Timothy 2:1, where Paul says that one should pray for everyone so that “we” can have peaceful quiet lives.  This doesn’t make much sense if one also believes the bible’s claim that this god put all of these leaders into power in the first place (Romans 13 and Titus 3 which says submit to the authorities, not pray that they change), .  If that is true, why the continued need for prayers?   Incidentally, this bit in Timothy is also the chapter that has Paul insisting that no women ever have power over a man, including teach them (Christian interpreters can’t quite decide if this says man, men, or husband.).  Makes a lot of elementary school teachers quite the sinners, eh?  Also, women are only saved by childbearing, which is quite a bummer for those who can’t have children at all.

These two instances regarding prayer underline why prayer is such an odd concept, especially with the assumption of a omniscient god.  Omniscient is Latin for “all knowing”, knowing everything ever without regard for time or place.  It’s also a problem with the claim that a god has everything happening according to some master plan.  A prayer is worthless: the god already knows what the person wants and has already decided not to do it or it would have occurred without any effort at all.   If a god *needs* a prayer,  it blows those other attributes out of the water.  It needs reminded?  It needs its ego fluffed?  I’ve seen arguments that gods require prayers but don’t “need” them, which seems to be splitting more than a few hairs and seems like “do this pointless task just to make me happy”, a divine “on the truck, off the truck” exercise (a reference to the military tendency to have soldiers to do busy work).

Finally, an update on the claims of KD, my frequent TrueChristian commenter, and his wedding ring miracle.  He did answer my question on why should one believe such a claim and would he believe the claim if used to support the existence of another god than  his own, the Christian one.  He has stated that he believes that other gods exist, a fair answer since the bible supports that, as well as supporting the claims that there is only one god.  His answer isn’t a typical one but as has been noted, Christians don’t always agree on much.

He was asked why we should believe this god answered his prayer about a ring and at the same time, this god ignores the desperate prayers of the starving, dying, etc.  I noted that when I was young, I wondered why this god did not help the hungry in Sahel region in Africa. I wondered why there was no manna, no quail, no loaves and fishes.   KD answered by asking why I did nothing to help, still no explanation of why his god was a no show.  It seems that one young gal in the US was expected to figure things out and help everyone.  What can I say? No one told me that this god couldn’t do anything in some of the most Christian countries in the world so it was up to me and my Halloween UNICEF box.

There in a nutshell, we have why prayer is worthless, it makes you think you are doing something when in reality you are doing nothing but abdicating responsibility.  Do something, even if it is that UNICEF box from a girl who lived on a farm where we didn’t have much money but we were lucky enough to have food.   It’s worth vastly more than hoping your imaginary friend will do something.

As an aside,  we have even more stupidity here in the US.  Coca-Cola did a lovely, if mildly jingoistic and goddy, ad(auto launches with sound) that dared to have a patriotic song sung in languages other than American English and a gay couple celebrating with their child.  The usual suspects are being the expected twits about it.  No surprise there at all.  Sigh.

PS – the current snowy weather here:

The current Snowmaggeddon
The current Snowmaggeddon