Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – three different Christians and questions answered

barker-creationist-quoteI’ve encountered a few very different Christians recently. We have Dave, a pastor, who believes in diversity, but also believes that Christianity supports violence as long as they benefit; Rina who says that she must take everything in the bible literally because if you don’t, what is to stop you from finding a resurrected dead guy to be ridiculous, but is sure that stars aren’t attached to a dome and can’t fall on the earth; and Scientific Christian (you can find his blog through clicking on his avatar in the comments here where he is *quite* prolific) who lies regularly , wants to physically harm those who disagree with him, insists that the bible and translators are wrong if they disagree with him and the very same ones right if they agree with him and very much wants my attention.

As you can see, Christians vary a *lot*, and this is only scratching the surface. I’m guessing that each of these three would have issues with what the other two claim to be true.

The following questions were asked at Dave’s church. On his blog, it seems to be the intent on giving the answers to them at some time in the future so you may wish to follow to see what answered are given. I’ll give my answers here. Unfortunately, Dave does not have comments open on his blog. I may be responsible for that, in asking too many questions that pointed out the problems in Christian claims.  If you are a regular reader here, you’ve seen this information before.

Why-indeed shelley quoteIf God wants us to believe in him, why doesn’t he make it obvious? Why does he seem to play hide and seek with us?

That’s a good observation. This god doesn’t make anything obvious, and if one is to believe that this god wrote or directly inspired the bible, one has to ask, why does this entity contradict itself repeatedly and make promises that are not fulfilled. Christians will claim that this god constantly does miracles as evidence, but when it is pointed out that lots of people who need these miracles don’t get them despite prayers e.g. when priests are raping children or when parents murder their children by not getting medical attention, then we get the excuses that this god doesn’t always do miracles, that this god will answer them only if that is the best answer according to it, or it may get around to doing the miracle later. However, if you read the bible, it doesn’t say this will happen. Prayers will be answered immediately (the mountain moves), positively, (a father would not give their child a snake if asked for a fish), and that any prayer will be answered as long as you ask it in JC’s name. Christians offer the caveat that the prayer must be what God intended anyway, which means a prayer is worthless.

There is also the problem that the essential events of the bible have no extra-biblical support for them. There are mentions of Christians in historical documents but not of the essential events in the bible. It is very hard to pin down when these events supposedly happened since even Christians disagree on what happened and when.

If God is the creator of all things, who or what created God?

Most Christians will try to claim that their god has always existed and thus does not need a creator. The first cause (cosmological) argument is based on the assumption that the Christian god is the only god, and that has always existed. Most, if not all, other religions make the same claim, which leaves us with a lot of competing gods and no evidence for any of them.  There is also nothing that says that the laws of physics can’t simply have “always existed”.

lightningIf God made a good world, why are there things like volcanos, earthquakes and floods that cause so much suffering?

Most Christians will blame the “fall”, which depends on a literal belief in the bible’s claims, something that they don’t always agree on.

Why doesn’t God act to stop all suffering?

One would think that an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent being would do this, eliminate all suffering. Christians disagree on the reason that their god seems to have no problem allowing it and indeed reveling in it. Some Christians are sure that humans deserve to suffer, that we all bear some responsibility for the “fall”. Some Christians claim that if there was no suffering we would not know what good was, which is a bit of a problem for their claims about heaven. Still others claim that suffering can lead to good, which is fine to argue when the actors aren’t omnipotent, but doesn’t work quite so well with an omnipotent and supposedly omnibenevolent deity. If this god cannot get things to work without evil, it evidently isn’t all-powerful. By definition there should be nothing that this god can’t do. Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – wannabee theocrats marching in DC today

what pro-control people want women to believe

what pro-control people want women to believe

Today there is a “march for life” in Washington, DC. There are a lot of women there, who insist that they are feminists. There may be some men who also would claim this, since being a feminist isn’t limited by sex. They all declare that they are “for life”, aka against abortion and birth control.

These people want to control others, and that is all they want to do. They want to tell women that they can’t. They can’t make their own decisions. They can’t believe what they want. They can’t be trusted to be intelligent enough to know what they want. They aren’t feminists, they are wolves in sheeps clothing. Feminism isn’t about telling a woman “no”. It’s about knowing that a woman can make her own decisions and that supporting women is important.

These wannabee theocrats demand that their opinion become law, that no one may choose to disagree with them. They want women to be punished for daring to make their own decisions and not obeying them. They claim that women need their help because of a myth with a talking snake. Most, if not all of them, want their particular version of one religion to be the law of the land, conservative Christianity. Of course, they can’t agree on which version of Christianity they want. They may insist that each other is doing to hell for accepting the Pope, for not accepting the Pope, for being baptized in one way or another, being divorced or not divorced, but they are harnessed in the same yoke for this one reason, in their pure hypocrisy.

They want to claim that they are for life, but they are against anything that would help the children that they wish forced on others to live. They are for punishment and obedience. They support the murder and terrorism of those who believe different than they do. They want no assistance be given to assure that these children have healthy food and a safe home. They want to keep families from having affordable health insurance. They want no assistance given to assure that these children have a good education, no matter if they are wealthy or poor . They want none but their religion taught to these children and they want only the families they approve of to take care of these children. They depend on lying to women to convince them to have children, intentionally misleading women by how they name their services. After the uterus is vacated, they are not interested.

Caring for another isn’t important at all, only forcing a woman to bear a child she cannot support, either financially or emotionally. They pretend that their churches will help these women but every shelter everywhere is desperate for money despite that there are pages upon pages of churches and other religious organizations in the phone book. They haven’t taken care of these families so far, so why should anyone believe that they will now?

These conservative Christians prate that this god would never give a woman more than she could handle, but they turn their heads when these women harm or kill themselves and their children because they could not handle those things, no matter how much they prayed and others prayed for them. They needed real help and that real help requires that people support them through real resources, resources payed by taxes and given to everyone, not just people who agree with the taxpayers or obey the rules of a religion that has no more evidence that it is true than any other religion.

These people want to take over the government, and force their religion on everyone. For all of their false claims of being unable to make their own choices, they do their best to remove the ability to choose from others. For all of their false claims of being pro-life, they do their best to ensure that those lives suffer as much as possible.

Hypocrisy personified, when this woman thinks she is being silenced and she’s walking down streets in the nation’s capital saying  exactly what she wants.


Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – 960,000 tons of what?

sabbathI’ve been crossing swords with a particularly tenacious Christian, “scientific christian” (you already know where things are going with that screen name) and the discussion has gone far and wide, though mostly staying around the idea of having evidence supports one’s claims. My apologies for anyone who commented in that thread and has thus been caught in the post storm. WordPress really needs to work on allowing people to disengage from comment threads.

Thanks to SC, I’ve discovered some pretty amusing claims in the bible (and that some Christians are unrepentant liars but I already knew that). SC is quite sure that the “exodus” happened and there was an “empty tomb” amongst other things. He’s also just as sure that the bible is wrong when it claims that there was hundreds of thousands of Israelites coming out of Egypt after the supposed exodus. He’s a great example of a Christian cherry-picking things when reality shows that their claims aren’t true. Suddenly, the bible and its multitude of supposedly deity-inspired translators are wrong, and obscure websites are correct when they claim only a few thousands left, because, you see, there is no evidence for 600,000 men plus the women, children and animals.

But to the fun stuff!

In the story of the exodus related in Numbers, we have the following: Numbers 11 “Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. 32 All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp. 33 But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague.” (this story is also in Exodus 16. FYI, this is from the NASB bible)

So we have an area of approximately 706 square miles (15 miles is about what a person can walk in a day) covered 6 feet deep in quail. And per the bible, every man gathered a little shy of 2 tons of the quail. This would be, if my calculations are correct, 960,000 tons of quail.

And this isn’t the all the quail. That was just what was collected. As a cubic footage, we have approximately 1.180811 cubic feet of quail, or 118,080,000,000 cubic feet of quail. If one assumes the average quail as 9” x 5” x 5” this means that there are 15,350,400,000 individual quails and if each weighs about 6 oz (large for quail but we can afford to give a bit), we get about 2,878,200 tons of quail. Even if one assumes that the quails weren’t even, and assume 3 feet deep, we still get 1,439,100 tons of quail.

The middens would be full of quail bones and human poo, amongst other things.

Now on to the poo!

In Exodus, the Israelites are told to bury their feces because their god might notice in them, Deuteronomy 23: “12 “You shall also have a place outside the camp and go out there, 13 and you shall have a spade among your tools, and it shall be when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and shall turn to cover up your excrement. 14 Since the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you or He will turn away from you.” Doesn’t speak very well for its omniscience, eh?

Humans poop about 125 grams a day. With 600,000 men, we get 37 tons of poo a day and that isn’t even counting the women, children and animals, grass eaters that poop a *lot*.

The “exodus” should have quite a bit of evidence for it, 40 years worth of garbage. It has none and Christians like SC, are reduced to claiming that just a few thousand left Egypt, while simultaneously stuck with the claims of the rest of the OT where Israel could field armies in the hundreds of thousands.

(admittedly, I suck at math. Feel free to check my calculations and correct me.)

What the Boss likes – Holiday nonsense

poor Mog:

One of my favorite charities:


and a classic, Cthulhu style:


and more chtullhu carols

and what was my favorite stop motion Christmas story, which is full of the sniffles (the angels are creepy) and the star is even more ridiculous.

So, if you were a Christian at some point or are now, what’s your favorite Christmas carol?  I think mine is “Can you hear what I hear?”





What the Boss Likes – Brothers Bright, Whitestone Motion Pictures – Appalachian gothic

I’m very fond of American myths dealing with our own monsters and magic.  This started with reading stories about Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan,  a strange turn when I read “The Lottery” and the Cthulhu mythos, the stories about “Silver John” by Manly Wade Wellman, and into role-playing games like “Deadlands“.    Southern gothic is a subset.

Very cool applachian gothic music and videos from Whitestone Motion Pictures and Brothers Bright (they are apparently the same thing):

If you watch the movie below, you’ll see the kind of forests I grew up around, sans monsters of course  🙂

and a curious little animated video about the west.  I may have posted this sometime in the past.

Delta Rae’s Bottom of the River (note the lady in the mirror)

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – a star in the east…. wait a minute…

christmas-star-failI think I’ve mentioned here on this blog somewhere that I ran the planetarium when I was in college as a work-study job. Every November and December, we ran a Christmas star show, which showed that the story was a lot of nonsense. But people still flocked to it because they didn’t pay attention and were sure that it was about them and their religion (rather like Christians being sure that the song “Take me to church” is flattering to religion. Hint: it isn’t).

One thing that I recently read about the Christmas nativity story struck me as something rather new (I got this from my FFRF newspaper and the article was by Barbara Walker, an author). It’s just one more in the pile of bizarreness, contradiction and nonsense that is the nativity story (the story everyone knows is a mash of Matt and Luke), but this point satisfies my love of astronomy and geography. Let’s look at a few verses (I’m using the KJV because the more extreme of Christians seem to favor it:

“2 2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

And then:

9 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.”

Now, some versions have footnotes that say that this “really” means that the magi saw the star while *they* were in the east, but the translations, ostensibly all guided by God, don’t say this. What they actually say is that the magi (a Persian term) saw this star as it rose. Stars rise in the east. Oh and Luke doesn’t mention a star at all, something that would be pretty obvious to shepherds (who aren’t out in the fields in December…) Sigh.

It’s a bit hard to follow a star that is in the east, to find someplace west of you, unless you go the loooong way around. There is an obscure prophecy in Numbers that mentions a star out of Jacob and it seems that this star had to make and appearance to validate the story.

As for the “war on Christmas”, I think it’s best done by idiot preachers screaming that Santa isn’t real to children (of course it was in the US). Seems like someone isn’t getting the attention he thinks he deserves, tsk.

In case you’re curious, a couple of older holiday posts:


Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – fundamentalist white rural America

burialWhite, rural fundamentalist America is where I grew up.  This article on Raw Story (which seems to have come from Alter Net) gets it very much right.

“When you have a belief system that is built on fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t “coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans.” The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views are automatically discounted. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with rural white Americans and whenever I present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they WILL NOT even entertain the possibility it might be true. ”

Is this true for everyone in white rural America? Nope, but unfortunately it’s become the way to bet. Sometimes you can get free of such nonsense, sometimes you can’t and sometimes you choose not to.  We have had people, friends and relatives, we thought were humane people who supported the ideal of America, of the lady with the lamp beside the golden door, that where everyone deserved to be considered equal and to have the same rights.  We never thought they would decide that they could ignore racism, misogyny, lies, cheating employees, xenophobia, etc, for the promise that someone will fulfill “every dream they ever dreamed“.  I don’t think even a three year old child would believe this.  But they did.

I’ve read where some people have said it has felt like someone died when Trump won.  I think that is pretty accurate.  The people we thought we knew “died” that day, and their places were taken by people we didn’t recognize anymore.