Not So Polite Dinner Conversation: Antics of Christians in the news, in a blog, and in a newsletter(NSFW because of what they said)

(note to my readers: if you followed this blog because of your interest in my recipes, brewing or drink reviews, you may want to back out now.  Anything that is titled “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation” is my unvarnished views of politics and/or religion. You’ve been warned 🙂 ).

Here are a few random things about religion. The first is about an opinion piece published in the New York Times by someone who really is afraid of anyone not like him. The second is a brief bit about what a pastor thinks about justice and the bible, and the third is just a few bits of crank mail from my FFRF newspaper and a link to a good blog post about the new bible “club” in the White House. The newspaper also has some very nice essays written by young atheists of color for a scholarship contest.

The NYT ran an opinion piece by Rob Dreher, a conservative Christian, “Trump Can’t Save American Christianity”.   Of course, Mr. Dreher is certain that his version of Christianity is the only true one.  He’s also one of the fellows who thinks that Christians really need to segregate themselves from anyone who disagrees with them.   Of course, that’s rather inconvenient and even he doesn’t follow his own recommendations.  Writing for the NYT isn’t exactly conducive to doing what he says.

He’s also jumped from Methodism, to Roman Catholicism, and now is with the Eastern Orthodox church.   Funny how the magical and divine “truth” can change, isn’t it?

In the article, Dreher wonders if Trump can do anything to alienate conservative Christians.  At this point, it certainly doesn’t seem to be anything, considering the circus that has been going on for more than 6 months.  Ah, but Dreher is sure that Trump isnt’ the problem, it’s is an “increasingly faithless people” aka those who don’t agree with Mr. Dreher.  He claims that the lack of people who agree with him will lead to a “calamity for civil society in ways secular Americans do not appreciate”.   Of course, all we have is this chicken little nonsense about how bad it will be, nothing to show what this would be or anything to support the claim.

One of the claims that Mr. Dreher makes is that Americans are not following “authentic Christianity” and are following something a Notre Dame researcher calls “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”, something that Mr. Dreher insists is a “pseudoreligion” and it isn’t his version of Christianity.   The problem here is what is “authentic Christianity”?  We see that Mr. Dreher has gone from one sect to another, which would seem to indicate that Mr. Dreher has no idea what it is either.  If he gets disappointed with one, he decides another might have the right answers, and that certainly isn’t an unusual thing for Christians.

Now, Mr. Dreher is sure that all of the nonsense that conservative Christians have done with the Republican Party aren’t enough, and that the GOP isn’t doing what he wants.  The slide into the secular abyss is because his religion failed somehow.  Ah, but how you may ask?  He’s sure that Trump is a symptom of this problem, which at least he may seem to realize that Trump is no kind of Christian, literalist or liberal, a thing that many Christians can’t quite seem to grasp.  What he returns to is that Christians (again only those who agree with him) need to separate themselves from the world.   They cannot listen to anyone who has a different opinion, they cannot consider that they are wrong.

Conservative Christianity has been its own enemy when it comes to losing believers.  The constant adherence to outright lies is rather stupid in this age where information is easily available.  People have realized that the myths of the religion are nonsense and that morality does not come from one sect of one religion.  As always, this particular form of Christianity depends on fear and ignorance to exist, and Mr. Dreher certainly uses those tactics in his article.  “You must run away! You must not listen to anyone else except me!”   Everyone else must be cast as an enemy to fear.

As much as Dreher may see Trump as a symptom, Dreher is using the same pathetic attempts at controlling people.  He seems to need external validation and keeps poking his head out of his imaginary fortress to get it.     Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Christian “Science” and the art of the con

Well, this week, the Christian Scientists here in Harrisburg mailed out fliers about how they were going to have a healing talk down at their church, by Josh Niles (a supposed veteran which make me wonder why the local VA hospital isn’t empty).   There are few things I find more disgusting than theists making baseless claims on how they can heal people when hospitals are full, especially veterans’ hospitals and children’s hospitals.  The deceit that is involved is amazing for a religion that supposedly cares about the truth.

I shot them an email and asked for evidence of this healing, and why they can’t heal anyone who actually has been hurt.   They unsurprisingly directed me to the party line, and offered no reason why they haven’t healed amputees, people with documented cancers, etc.  The claim was “Christ Jesus had a remarkable healing record and Christian Science has an excellent record too.” Directly me at this “excellent record.” I pointed out that they had no evidence, and I received this in reply “You may recall that there was a multitude of sick people at the Pool of Bethesda and only one was healed by Jesus. That man was receptive to what Jesus said to him and was obedient and was healed.   The rest were “waiting for the moving of the waters”, a material approach of hope for healing and then only for some that made it to the pool.” The problem with this is that JC only talked to one fellow at the pool, who was just like the others. Why not speak to the others and heal them? And why doesn’t JC say “hey man, illness is an illusion, and only prayer in this certain way will heal you”, like the CS leader Mary Baker Eddy?

Well, how about we look at that “excellent record”?   As a background, Christian Science, aka the Church of Christ, Scientist and The First Church of Christ, Scientist,  is a sect of Christianity invented by various people and Mary Baker Eddy is the most famous of them.  She claimed that sickness is an “illusion”, is the result of thinking “wrongly” (aka blame the victim) and can be cured by prayer alone.   They also think that only their claimed spiritual world is real and that reality, this place that we inhabit is illusion.  I do have a lovely ladle of molten steel they might take a dip in if they are sure of this.  We also have the claim that CS is getting back to the “real” Christianity, a claim that many many sects make.

Incidentally, a word to advice to Christians (and other theists) who are reading this, ready to insist that CS isn’t “really” Christianity: think about how your sect compares with this one and how all of you have no evidence for your claims.  However, I will admit that Christian Science is only slightly less silly and bizarre than Scientology in my estimation ( just read about malicious animal magnetism, which is hard to distinguish from spiritual warfare, imprecatory prayer and thetans).

What is amusing about this is that the religion doesn’t say you can’t use modern medicine, but they claim that their prayers are better than it.  So, it isnt’ surprising that these are the stereotypical Christians who praise their god when it was the hard work of medical professionals who actually helped them.   Of course, they’ve managed to also murder children and kill themselves with this ignorance.  One might counter my claim of murder with claims that these people don’t know what they are doing, however, if their religion allows going to medical professionals, then they know that they have an alternative and one that works.  Either that, or they are truly delusional (delusion: a belief that is: certainty (held with absolute conviction), incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary),impossibility or falsity of content (implausible, bizarre, or patently untrue)  and should be considered as mentally ill as the next person who has delusions.  You’ll note that the common definition of a delusion has religion or culture as an out for such beliefs, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, other than to protect the sensibilities of those particular beliefs.

So, we have a religion that claims that they can heal, much like how evangelical Christian preachers who claim they can heal, practioners of other religion and practioners of various types of spiritual or energy healing.  We also have record of MBE making claim that she was not healed in order to attempt to seek damages from the city. Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – on this Fourth of July

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has a good post for the Fourth of July, our national holiday here in the US.

“On this date in 1776, Thomas Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence” was adopted, after a vote approving it on July 2. Its secular purpose was to “dissolve the political bands,” and it inaugurated the anti-biblical idea that “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Jefferson was a Deist who was highly critical of Christianity, and whose revolutionary document made references to a “Nature’s God.”

Jefferson was indeed highly critical of Christianity and created “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth” aka the “Jefferson Bible” by keeping only what he found to be the worthwhile bits of the gospels.  Hew as not a Trinitarian and he found Paul to be a “corruptor”. His “Nature’s God” is not the one in the bible, nor are the values in the Declaration biblical values. His letter to Dr. Joseph Priestly (if you remember your 9th grade science, he’s the fellow who discovered a bunch of gasses) is revealing about what he does believe.

The Declaration says:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  

The laws of the bible, which, per the bible, are still in effect since the heavens and earth haven’t passed away yet, do not support these truths at all.  They indicate that there are special humans that are indeed “chosen” above others.   It also has a lot of laws in it that, if followed, would be considered crimes today, e.g. murdering anyone who isn’t following the Sabbath (whenever that is).

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

And what does the bible say?  “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. ” – Romans 13  This is where the concept of the “divine right of kings” comes from for Christians.   The bible claims that governments come from its god; the Declaration directly denies this.

Of course Jefferson was no saint.  He believed that the indigenous peoples of the Americas were less than he was, and tried to promulgate this nonsense, for the declaration also says this “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” 

And then we have, what Ray Comfort, wannabe theocrat, vermin in chief,  and supporter of the failed Ark Park, has to say about the holiday: “Get a fun hat, or a full costume, and simply extend a tract with a warm smile saying, “Happy Fourth of July.” The holidays make giving out tracts easier than ever. It’s a very disarming and inviting time of the year to receive a gift from a stranger.” 

Really? The image is from the video that Ray presented as such a good idea.  You’ll note that it takes deceit to get people to take his tracts since they don’t mention a bit about his religion when you look at them.  They go out of their way to hide their religion behind an Uncle Same costume and an image of a million dollar bill, that has this pathetic threat and demand of obedience on the back of it.

As always, it’s all about them needing external validation for their beliefs and bothering others, making false claims for their own benefit.  They want only their version o Christianity to be the religion in the US.  I’m quite happy to stand against such theocratic nonsense and enjoy my democracy today.  Ray can shill for his religion because of those rights that Jefferson et al put into the US law.  It’s a shame he chooses to abuse such a thoughtful gift from two plus centuries ago.

If you want a bit of amusement, click this link to hear Christian emails sent to the FFRF read aloud (definitely not safe for work considering the foul language used by some of these Christians).   This a couple of years old, though they are still going on strong in the paper.  If you’d like to see the most recent, I’ll make a scan.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – when the SCOTUS ignores facts to funnel public monies to churches

Unsurprisingly, the conservatives on the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) ignored the fact that church in the recent Trinity Lutheran case admitted that their playground that they were requesting state funding for was part of their ministry.  It was not a case of “but think of the children” in wanting a safer playground, but “we are using the playground to proselytize to children, and we don’t want to use our own money to make it safe.”

It’s a shame that so many Christians find that they must lie about so many things. So much for claiming that their holy book is something that they follow, when it says that their god hates lies and liars.

“The most important fact in the Supreme Court’s recent decision, Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, didn’t even make it into the majority opinion. The silence of the seven judges who held that Missouri must give taxpayer funds to a church on this point was deafening, especially to anyone looking beyond the superficial media reporting and its inevitable shot of a playground. This crucial fact, passed over in the majority, was highlighted by the dissent upfront.

The omitted fact is simple: The playground at issue was, by the church’s own admission, part of a ministry directed at children and intended to propagate the faith. Here’s how the church explained it:

  1. The Church uses “teaching” to carry out its mission to “make disciples.”
  2. The Church does this partly through “the Trinity Church Child Learning Center,” which has the playground that is the subject of the case.
  3. The Learning Center serves as “a ministry of the Church and incorporates daily religion and developmentally appropriate activities into . . . [its] program.”

This case is not about playgrounds or skinned knees or keeping children safe. It’s about the government funding a religious ministry that targets children…”

For the entire article, please click here.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation: about that Revelation thing…

or saying that the nonsense in Revelation will be happening “real soon now”

I’ve been waiting for Pastor Dave to finish his series on Revelation. The part I was most interested in was how he would handle chapters 19-21, which we had discussed but where he never was willing to give me his interpretation of it.

I’m very glad that he did get a chance to tell me what he does believe. He pretty much follows what I’ve heard other pastors say so this is not against him personally but what Christian pastors claim and how that doesn’t track with reality.  Using Dave’s blog as a source for such things makes it easier to refer to such actions.

In Revelation 20, Satan is released. Whom is he released by? God, for there is no other possibility since supposedly this god locked up this entity. This is after God has everyone who doesn’t obey him murdered (Revelation 19). Dave makes the following claim that there are people who haven’t accepted this god and they chose to follow Satan:

Satan goes and deceives again. Now isn’t this incredible. Here are these nations and they have had all the benefit of seeing Christ’s reign at work. They’ve had every opportunity to hear the Gospel. They’ve seen the way that God’s people love one another and their good deeds.  They’ve been able to read God’s Word for themselves.  They are not ignorant of God’s goodness seen in this beautiful creation. Yet, when Satan turns up again, what do they do? They fall into line with him.”

This is not true. Believers in this god, that this god accepted as true believers and didn’t murder, are the only humans who exist at that point in the story. “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.”19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.” – Rev. 19

This god allows the second most powerful being in the universe to go among them again with no defense from this god at all (very much like in Genesis, but heck in that, it’s just as reasonable to say this god had no idea the snake was there). Dave says this which agrees that it is this god that is intentionally giving back power to its archenemy: “Satan’s power to deceive is taken away by the truth of God’s Word as it points to the Gospel robbing him of his ability to cause us to despair under guilt and shame and refuting the lies that he tells about God and us.” here.

This god, if omniscient would know that its action of giving back power to its archenemy would cause his true believers to fail, and if this god is omnipotent, this god desires and requires this outcome. The only reason that anyone would do this is that this god needs a final bloodletting, more violence and more punishment because it somehow likes it.  It intentionally allows believers to be deceived again. Now, whose fault is it?

The author of Revelation, like the author of Romans, and pastors/priests/imams/etc, all depend on a claim that most religions have, that only their god exists, only their god created the universe, and everyone should see that it was *only* their god. However, this depends on one of their claims being true, and there is no evidence that any theist’s claim is accurate. They could all be false, with not one true religion to be found with one true, or many true, gods.

If each god is so obvious, then why can’t believers, even within sects, convince each other that they and they alone know the one true god and what it really wants?

Dave’s evident answer to why Satan is released is no more than “It is our responsibility to respond obediently to God’s clearly revealed truth.” It seems that this god goes out of its way to make sure humans haven’t a clue on what this supposed “clearly revealed truth” is.  We end up with an entity that can’t leave well enough alone and has to repeatedly convince itself it is in charge. It does not defeat its archenemy, it has to work with it to do what it wants. It chooses death and eternal suffering.

To finish, Dave also is sure that revelation is meant for now, that the end time are upon us “Jesus is coming soon, so be ready, alert, excited and expectant” And that’s what every single Christian has claimed for thousands of years now. What will happen when Dave will be on his deathbed and none of the claimed prophecies of Revelation, that JC will return imminently (ready to take place, hanging threateningly above one’s head) have come to pass? Well, there will be one more Dave in another church somewhere who insists that *his* version is the true one.

Honest.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – how atheism isn’t “cool” per a certain Catholic

(fair warning: if you followed my blog because of food or beer, the following is my unvarnished religious views. You may want to leave now 😊 )

I haven’t had a good target for a while to show just how silly a lot of Christians are. (I’m patiently waiting for a series about Revelation to be finished to address it). However, I found a link to this gem. The author is supposedly a journalist, but the quality of this post is questionable at best. At best, he may be intending to write for a tween audience, but in my experience, such poor writing and such poor arguments are nothing new to the TrueChristian™, and the generations younger than mine really don’t like being talked down to by an adult.   The following article, hilariously titled “Atheism is the uncoolest choice ever and I can prove it” is from the National Catholic Register, (part of the EWTN group which has various tv stations, amongst other things. It does have quite a few pictures associated with it. I’ll just put a description in where a photo would be and those interested can go to the link to see the images themselves. I will have some images of my own. The bits in italics are our author.

Let us begin the fun!

I’ve read a number of stories about how atheism is seen as “cool” by many young people, especially among college age youths. That’s funny to me because I couldn’t think of anything less cool than becoming an atheist. So, just in case any young people are reading, here are eight reasons that atheism is the in-coolest choice ever.

Hmm, I do wonder where these articles are, since the author can’t be bothered to link to them; but my knowledge of these is that they are by and large written by theists who are wondering why younger folks are leaving their religions. They seem to need to claim it is because it is “cool” rather than the religions’ claims cannot be supported, they preach hatred, and because people have access to information that earlier generations didn’t. It seems that these people haven’t actually ever talked to an atheist and still try to equate atheism with nihilism. There are some articles that wonder if atheism can be “cool” if they have a “church” which seems no more than a place to hang out with friends. And some atheists who claim that it is indeed cool to be an atheist e.g. that it is very good to be one, not the intimation that it is “fashionable”.

Considering that atheists are still given grief in the US, (see the lies below that our author tries to spread) and often killed in other parts of the world hacked to death by machetes, one wonders how “cool” anyone would think this to be. It’s more acceptable, since I don’t have to worry about being burnt at the stake at least here in the US (which always could change), but it certainly isn’t “cool” (very good, fashionable or hip).   More atheists have come out of the closet, so it may appear that it is fashionable and new to point out that religions are false and no source of morality, but sorry dear theists, we’ve been here ever since there was a religion to question. We didn’t say anything because theists can be violent and murderous, e.g. what happened to Giordano Bruno, the victims of the Inquisition, the Protestants, Cathars, etc killed by Catholics, the Catholics killed by Protestants, etc.

8) Religious people live longer, happier lives, according to numerous scientific studies. I know you atheist types are all about the SCIENCE even though you pretty much get all your scientific information from Huffpo articles with clickbait headlines like “Watch Bill Nye completely own a Creationist!” or “How Rolling Your Eyes is the Greatest Debate Tactic Against Christians!” (Rule of thumb: if the article you’re reading contains exclamation points, it’s probably not a respected scientific publication.) But I guess because you’re an atheist who will live a shorter life maybe you don’t have time to read actual scientific journals. I mean, something’s gotta’ be cut out, right?

But on top of shorter lives, studies indicate you’ll be more miserable too. So while your life won’t be longer, it might just feel that way.

Oh it’s just so painful to see the author trying to be so “cool”. Nice to see quite a pile of false witnessing from a TrueChristian™ too.   It seems that our hepcat author doesn’t think that young people might actually do some research and not question his outright lies. Why does he feel the need to try to lie to young people in order to convince them he is right? Sorry, our author, but many of us atheists, if not all of us, read scientific articles from actual journals. In doing so, we know that your claims about theists living happier lives isn’t limited to one religion. (one such study here) That makes the Christian, and especially Catholic, claim of having the one true religion bogus. A Muslim, a Presbyterian, a Hindu, a Zoroastrian, a Wiccan, all have the same effect, and this would indicate no special god needed. I do wonder about the supposed studies that atheists are more “miserable”. I don’t recall any and as my own personal experience shows, I’m quite happy. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a theist to claim that atheists are unhappy, lonely, angry, and more “miserable” with no evidence. It is a technique used by anyone who wants to pretend that someone who doesn’t’ agree with them is somehow less than them.   It’s also because a lot of theists believe that atheism equates with nihilism and happy to say, it doesn’t. As for longer lives, that doesn’t seem to be the case either if you look at worldwide trends. This article, admittedly from not a journal, has some excellent points and a good bibliography. Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation: where we find “religious freedom” meaning no more than fear and bigotry again

Today, our not so very religious but very ignorant president of the US has signed an executive order allowing religious organizations to get more politically active.  I think it is disgusting for all of the pandering by the GOP and the receiption of such pandering by TrueChristians but honestly, it’s a great thing for those of us who like to show how much of a fail most religions are.

Imagine, if you will, this scenario:

Church A will claim that its followers should vote for “x” because they will claim that their god is totally behind this person.   This will start in the primary season for every candidate.  Candidate “x” fails. So they have to revise their claims of who is this god’s anointed and move on down the line.   Hmmm, were their holy messages from their god wrong? And how does one explain how each church claims that their candidate is the right one when the next church makes a different conclusion from their also holy messages from purportedly the very same god?

It’s a great way to show that the claims of religion are no more than the claims of humans who want control.

Then we have another scenario, which is far more unpleasant:

Church A says that Candidate X will win.  And he doesn’t, but Candidate Y does.  Now, will Church A support the new winner because, at least in the Christian bible, it is claimed that their god chooses the winner every single time, no exceptions?  Every leader is in place because this god supposedly wills it. And will the winner now accept that churches stood against them?  What would or could he do against those who have declared that he was not this god’s chosen?   Are they a “true” religion in his/her eyes?  What will become of that lovely “faith-based” funding if you aren’t part of the true religion?

TrueChristians will make up some excuse on why their claims of someone being divinely ordained to be elected fail.  They have before, witness the fail of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and the usual passel of failed prophets (who never seem to get stoned to death as per this god’s requirement).

Of course, this also allows people to discriminate as long as they have a “religious” reason to do so. I wonder, how long will it take for Protestants to discriminate against Catholics, for Christians to discriminate against, well, anyone else, etc.   I’ve read such pitiful complaints on how Trump “betrayed” the LGBT community. The naivety to assume that this liar would follow through is unfortunate.

Alas, the antics of the ignorance and the antics of the religious will harm us all with the schadenfreude that they will bring upon themselves.  But in any case, thanks theists, for showing that your claims of entities supporting you and only you are false.

As for the passing of the TrumpCare “healthcare” bill by the US House of Representatives, it does to show that the GOP doesn’t give a damn about people but only party. Trump doesn’t want it called TrumpCare because he knows it is shit and doesn’t want his name on it, just like the legislators gave themselves an exception to it because it is shit.

For all of the claiming of how great this bill would be, how it would be even better than the ACA, we see a bill that removes protections for pre-existing conditions, removes the requirement that insurance cover maternity care, and removes the funding to support special needs kids who can go to school with the appropriate medical support. So much for the miner who has black lung as a pre-existing condition, so much for the woman who is pregnant and who has a high risk pregnancy where it risks here and the fetus, so much for the kid with spina bifida. Considering how much these idiots tout the bible, they certainly forget one of the few decent remarks in the bible: Matthew 25“45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

It still has to get through the US Senate.  There still needs to be the evaluation by the Congressional Budget Office on how much this nonsense will cost and what the real impacts it will have.  We can hope this is ended there.  But there is no reason to think that Trumpty Dumpty and his minions won’t be just as stupid in the future.