Not So Polite Dinner Conversation: Where the “History” channel has a docudrama of the Book of Revelation

why look!  Jingoistic bullshit!

why look! Jingoistic bullshit!

Just stumbled upon this “Revelation: End of Days”  a docudrama format of the nonsense from Revelation from the “History Channel” which deserves the title as much as the Syfy Channel does.  It does seem to at least have better production quality than the Left Behind nonsense, but it doesn’t have the excellent porn star names for the main characters Rayford Steele and Buck Williams.  I’m recording this to watch later.  Stay tuned for the hilarity to follow.

I do watch a fair number of channels that the “History Channel” is affiliated with.  It doesn’t surprise me  much that this apparently didn’t get much ad time and shown on a Monday and Tuesday.  Indeed, such crap should be buried.

 

 

Seventh-Day Adventist pastor abandons belief in God, embraces reality

Rather than painting the same horse my own personal color, I thought my readers would like to see this blog post from Dr. Coyne over at Why Evolution is True, about a pastor’s experiment on being an atheist.

And I am pretty sure I said that this pastor was only doing it for the money and vanquishing atheism.  I was completely wrong.

Why Evolution Is True

Note: I’m informed by Grania that she wrote a very short post about this lapsed pastor on December 26, but her treatment, based on Hemant Mehta’s fund-raising for the guy, is considerably different from mine below, so I’m going to post this anyway.

*****

A pastor losing his faith and leaving the church is not a new story, but publicizing it in a major, as National Public Radio (NPR) did yesterday with a lapsed Seventh-Day Adventist pastor, is. And there’s been more publicity with Dan Dennett and Linda LaScola’s “Clergy Project,” which provides an internet “halfway house” in which preachers who are either doubters or are leaving their church can communicate privately with one another. (I’ve previously written about LaScola’s and Dennett’s book, Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind.)

The NPR precis of its 4.5-minute program on pastor Ryan Bell is reproduced in its entirety below (you can listen to the…

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Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – the thought that counts requires some thinking

005-Drop-THe-MythMy husband and I spent today listening to music, talking, eating and drinking. We listened to holiday music and the music from the first Star Wars movie since we both got that as a Christmas present back in the 70s. Back then, we promptly listened to it as soon as we could get away from our families. And listened to it and listened to it again. 🙂

We exchange presents with my parents and we get gifts for my niece and nephews. I really don’t like doing it because I never know what to get. If I’m going to the trouble, I want to make sure I get something that the recipient will really like and not default to a gift card or something similar that shows I don’t even know or care to know the person I am giving it to.

I’d rather get nothing than get something that was just some perfunctory filling of a requirement.

But that didn’t happen. I get one more reason to not like the holidays very much.

My parents got me a necklace. A guardian angel necklace.   It always hurts when you realize your parents, first, aren’t the perfect people you were sure they were as a child, and it hurts more when you find out that they don’t even think about what they are getting you as a present. A piece of tat, $2 worth of crystal beads and a brass stamping and sold for $50, that glorifies one of the more bizarre and ridiculous myths of a religion that they know I do not practice is quite a disappointment.

had this image in my room when growing up. Always wondered what the angel was doing when kids did get hurt.

had this image in my room when growing up. Always wondered what the angel was doing when kids did get hurt.

The idea of guardian angels is a rather sad one when looking around at the world. The idea is that everyone has a special angel assigned to them to help them and protect them. Amazing how there is nothing different between “guardian angels”, coincidence and luck; guardian angels are pretty damn incompetent for being powerful being supposedly only concerned with someone’s well-being. Guardian angels also throw the idea of free will that so many Christians love to claim into doubt since a guardian angel is to make one know that one cannot do anything by one’s self, but only with the help of the Christian god. Pope Francis is quite sure of this: ““Go, you will do what I[God] tell you. You will journey in your life, but I will give you help which will continuously remind you what you must do”.

The whole idea reeks of arrogance and ignorance; the delusion that one person is somehow better than another because of supernatural nonsense.   Golly, I guess your guardian angel was sleeping on the job because you were killed in a tornado.   But, look, Betty here got a nice parking space because hers was looking after her.

Sigh. I can’t even take comfort in the idea that it’s the thought that counts. There was no thinking at all.  So, folks, please take the time to think about those you love.  It isn’t about the presents at all; it’s about caring for the person.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – the kvetching continues, and “you want these in the courthouse?” part 4

as always, from atheistmemebase.com

as always, from atheistmemebase.com

Now, we’re to Chapter 19 and three months since the big splitting the sea scene.   Moses, plus hundreds of thousands, if not millions, are camped at the base of Mount Sinai. Moses goes up to Y (assumed on the mountain) and Y says that he carried all of the people on eagles’ wings here (as opposed to giant eagles just flying them to Mount Doom). If the Israelites just keep the covenant and obey this god, things will be just great for them. The people promise to obey.

Y then says he’ll come chat with Moses where the people can hear it. They have to wash their clothes and no sex for three days. They also can’t touch the mountain. If they do, they are to be killed by the rest of the people.

There’s some conjecture that this whole episode is just a volcanic eruption, and that Y is just one more mountain/storm god.

Moses does as Y asks. Then Y says again to not allow the people on the mountain and Moses say “Yes, Y, we know. You said this already.” Moses can get snippy. Then Moses and now Aaron go up the mountain.

Here’s where the commandments start. One is evidently to assume that everyone can hear this being spoken. We get that first one, where Y says that he’s the only god to be worshipped, which puts a crimp into the claims of some Christians that other gods are just their god in different clothing. And where we get people damned for other people’s sins. But you can read about the silliness of the commandments elsewhere.

The people then get afraid of hearing this god voice. Moses says that they should be afraid so they won’t sin. The commandments continue, including don’t walk up steps or people might see your unmentionables. There is nothing that says the first ten commandments are any more important than the rest of them.

After a bunch of commandments, we have that this god promises to send an angel in front of the Israelites that will make their enemies turn their backs and run. This doesn’t happen. Y also makes the excuse that he won’t just allow the angel to drive the former owners of the land away; he’ll take his time since there would be just too many wild animals for the Israelites to handle if he did. So much for an omnipotent god, eh? Egyptian army, no problem. Bears, lions, etc, oh that’s just too much.

In Chapter 24, Y invites Moses, Aaron and some elders up the mountain. Moses writes down everything that Y has said so far. Everyone with Moses sees Y, and no one dies. Y has feet and stands on something blue. Continue reading

15 Questions for Theists

A great list of questions for theists from hessianwithteeth’s blog. I have a few to add myself:

16)When do you think the essential events of your religion happened e.g. flood, battles, etc?
17)If your answer about good and bad, or good and evil, is that we somehow need one to know the other, how does that affect your version of the afterlife?
18)what is your version of the afterlife?
19) How do you know what parts of your holy book to accept and to reject?

I’ve noted that I  have some new theist followers, so please do offer your answers to this.  Also, if you’ve joined just to pray for me, please do let me know what you are praying for so I can give you updates on how it’s going. 🙂

hessianwithteeth

There are a lot of blog posts and articles out there with questions for atheists. However, there don’t seem to be very many posts with atheists asking questions of theists. So I decided I’d write up some questions for the theists out there.
1)How many gods are there? What are their names?
2)How do you know these gods (or this god) exists? Why do you believe they exist?
3)How do you think the universe began?
4)When do you think the universe began?
5)How do you think life began?
6)When do you think life began?
7)Is morality objective or subjective? How do you know, or why do you believe, this?
8)What do you think this god, or these gods, want from humans? Why?
9)What do humans mean to gods? What is our importance or significance?
10)Could they get whatever it is they want from humans without humans? Do they need whatever…

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From the Kitchen – all praise the tortilla press, and a tortilla that needs no press

(a break from the entertaining, and somewhat tedious religious stuff)

meat piesIn an attempt to find an easier way to make our meat pies, we got a tortilla press.   I have to say that this was one of the best $25 we’ve spent in a while. It makes pressing out pie crust for hand pies so much easier. I used the cheddar cheese crust that we use, made balls of it about 1 to 1.5 inches in size.   After I dusted these lightly in flour I pressed them between two sheets of wax paper. I tried the cutting the zip loc bag trick but the dough just stuck.   They pressed out to about 4 inches or so in diameter. Then I filled them with the beef, brushed egg wash on the edge to seal and crimped with a fork.

Finally, they are more or less the same size and shape! There are a lot of people who seem to be unable to actually use this device, a basic lever, according to far too many comments on amazon and other places. I guess it helps to be smarter than the press . Sigh…

The other tortilla I’ve made is a Spanish one, the egg and potato cake often served as a snack. My way is a bit different from others, and doesn’t use nearly as much oil.

tortillaI took two medium russet potatoes (about 6 inches long), and sliced them thin, around 1/8 of an inch. I also finely diced half a medium onion (around 3” or so in diameter). Bring about a tablespoon and a half of oil to medium heat in a 10″ (or so) non-stick skillet. Put the potato and onion in the skillet and cook for about 15 minutes until tender. You don’t want the potatoes to get brown and crispy, just tender. What I do is put about 2 tablespoons of water in the skillet (watch for splattering) and put a lid on to steam/fry the potatoes.

Once the potatoes are tender, remove them from the skillet and cool. There shouldn’t be much oil left and the water should be all gone. Beat 5 jumbo eggs with a ½ tsp of salt, ¼ tsp of garlic powder and a couple of good grinds of black pepper. Mix egg mixture with potatoes and onions.

Bring skillet back up to medium high to high, put in about a tablespoon of oil, swirl and pour in everything. It will promptly start cooking, which will allow it to come loose when done. Turn the heat down and let cook for about 20 minutes, checking every 5 to see how cooked it is getting. When it just has a little liquid egg on top, you’ll want to flip it. I did this by turning off the flame, placing a plate on top of the skillet, and with a oven glove on the hand holding the plate in place and one hand on the skillet handle, flipped it.

After flipping, slide the tortilla back in to the skillet ( no more oil needed), turn on the heat and cook until it slides around free in the skillet.   Slide back on to the plate and let cool.   If you slice it hot, it may just disintegrate. I like it a lot but my grandma used to make scrambled eggs with potatoes a lot since we were poor and we could trade mechanical work for a sack of potatoes and eggs with the local farmers. This is very much just that, in a prettier form. I can see that it would be a good snack when drinking because it has lots of fat, protein and starch.

That’s it. Eat well!

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Big miracles, little evidence and the beginning of the kvetching, part 3

dr evilWe find ourselves at the end of Chapter 13, which is where this god isn’t going to send his people on the easy road, because “For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” We’re not sure who this god said this to. It doesn’t seem to be Moses. Now, since this god can change minds contantly, why not with these fussy little bastards? And where is the god that takes a personal hand in warfare in this bible? Oh yes, he hasn’t been made up yet. So, we have the arrangements made to send the Israelites into the sea.

At this point, Moses somehow has the bones of Joseph. This goes back to the rather odd story in Genesis (Genesis 49-50) where Jacob is supposedly mummified by the Egyptians and buried by Joseph, who has enjoyed living in Egypt for quite a long while. Joseph was supposedly mummified too. They are following a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. No one else notices this rather obvious event. I have seen some interesting claims that they were “following” a comet, but that fails like following “yonder star”.

We get one more claim that this god is mind controlling the pharaoh. It wants to destroy all of pharaoh’s army, which belies the claim of one Christian I debated, who was sure that not all of the army was supposedly destroyed when I mentioned it was rather strange that none of Egypt’s enemies took advantage of Egypt’s supposed weakness.

We even get names of locations where all of this is supposed to have occurred. And not one scrap of evidence of this at all. In this chapter, Y says to have the Israelites encamp. Then a few paragraphs later, Y is wondering why they are encamped. The sea is parted, at night, which seems to be ignored for good cinematography in most versions of the story. It requires an east wind which should be one of those instances where evidence can be found for these events. But there is none. The way this is described, it sounds most like that there was a blast of air coming from the east and somehow it blows a trough through the water.

The events of what happens here are curious. The water is driven back and the Egyptians follow. Then it seems that the Egyptians camp in the area that was once under water, since this god disrupts the last watch of what must be the camp. This god also either jams or removes the wheels of the chariots. This would indeed make it difficult to drive the chariots. The Egyptians decide to leave, but at daybreak the waters return. So, it’s not anything like the version everyone is taught in Sunday School or what Christians like Ron Wyatt who has claimed that he has found evidence for this nonsense and of course, when asked for it, can’t provide one scrap.  So we have the entire Egyptian army destroyed and no one notices, not even Egypt’s enemies who would have taken advantage of this.   But that’s not a problem since the entire story is made up.

All of these miracles and the Israelites go off into the wilderness. This is supposedly the Sinai peninsula, a fairly small piece of land for 600,000 to about 2.5 million people to wander around on for 4 decades and have no one notice them or them to have left any artifacts, latrines, etc. It’s about half the size of Pennsylvania, my home state.   People have been looking for centuries and nada.

Moses and his sister sing a song that is shown to be wrong about as soon as they supposedly set foot on anyone else’s land. No other group is afraid as they claim.

All of these people wander around for three days and find no water. They find some bitter water (I’d guess this might be a claim of alkali water as are found in many deserts) and we get a miracle to make it not bitter. Then everyone finds an oasis with twelve springs and 70 palm trees. For hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people and animals for a month and a half.  Uh-huh.

The Israelites then start complaining that they have no food. For a bunch of people who supposedly see miracles frequently, they do get techy. They do show that it wasn’t quite so bad as claimed in Egypt, with being to eat meat and as much as they wanted.

The manna and quail given. The manna rots and smells if it’s kept too long. Y can’t make manna or quails on the Sabbath. Some manna is saved so people can see it in generations to come and is put with the tablets of covenant law which haven’t appeared yet in the ark of the covenant which hasn’t appeared yet. The Israelites eat manna and quails for 40 years. No wonder they were cranky. 🙂

At the end of chapter 17, they finally make it to Horeb, where the Israelites have no water again. You’d think that this god might consider making sure they have water. Now, here is an interesting bit because it says that the Israelites were testing their god and it responded positively. This does not bode well for those believers who claim that one cannot test this god.

The Israelites finally meet some people, the Amalekites. Moses has to keep his hands in the air to make sure the Israelites win the battle. It seems that the whole idea is cheated on when two guys hold Moses’ hands up for him. Y claims that he will blot the name of Amalek from under heaven.   Which is why we can read about it today??   Sigh.

Jethro, Moses’ father in law, comes to see him at Horeb. And it sounds like that he, and the elders sat down to eat with Y, or at least in his “presence”.   We also get the beginnings of a justice system that doesn’t require only divine decisions but where humans can make some.

The last installments of this series will be the events at Mount Sinai, and the narrative in amongst the laws. I’ll not bother with commandments here, since those have been reviewed for their strangeness in other places (here for one). Deuteronomy and Leviticus have the really strange bits.

“Let my people go…. For a long weekend! – Part 1

“abracapocus” and lots of collateral damage, the peculiar story of exodus part 2

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – the kvetching continues, and “you want these in the courthouse?” part 4