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.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Why climate change is a state/church issue

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has an excellent news release on this.  I am a member and I recommend that you be one too.

Trump has appointed an active climate change denialist, religionist Scott Pruitt, to head the EPA. The New York Times documents in an article boldly titled “Denialists in Charge” how federal posts are now filled with officials “who have a record of openly denying the established science of human-caused climate change.” These include the fundamentalist Christian Rick Perry, our secretary of energy, known for mocking climate science.

Denying anthropogenic climate change is based on the rejection of facts and reality in favor of blind faith, wishful thinking or willful denial. Many of the climate denialists in politics, such as Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. James Inhofe and former Senators Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, deny climate change for explicitly religious reasons.

There seems to be a correlation between religiosity and climate denial. While other factors, such as political party affiliation, race and ethnicity are stronger predictors of views about climate change, Pew Research found “it is the religiously unaffiliated, not those who identify with a religious tradition, who are particularly likely to say the Earth is warming due to human activity. . . White evangelical Protestants stand out as least likely to have this view.”

Sen. Inhofe, R-Okla., cited Genesis to bolster his denial of reality: “my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.” Inhofe, who wrote a 2012 book, “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,” serves on the Senate’s standing committee on science. That’s outrageous.

A few months ago, the conservative Christian radio host Bryan Fischer tweeted, “Jesus would be for whatever is best for the poor. A warmer climate—if it’s even happening—is better for the poor.”

– See more at: https://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/29062-why-climate-change-is-a-state-church-issue#sthash.omwVox8Y.dpuf

That last quote just takes the cake for pure selfishness, ignorance and stupidity.  I guess Jesus doesn’t give a f@ck about the islanders losing their homes, the folks on the coasts who will lose theirs, and suffer worse storms, etc.

Attend the March for Science in Washington, DC on April 22, 2017, or find one in your area.  Marches do work, perhaps not quickly or exactly the way you want but they do work.  It’s to support the sciences, widen the diversity of those in the sciences and to stand against the clown and circus in the White House.

 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – the flying spaghetti monster and a Christian walk into a bar…

It shouldn’t amaze me anymore, but it does.  The deceit that pastors and priest practice on their flocks knows no shame.

Recently, Dave, the pastor from a church in England who I have addressed before, has been on a tear to insist that atheists are wrong. As usual, an atheist can’t comment on his posts and they are evidently intended on preaching to his own flock, so that they don’t know what the facts are about atheists and atheism.  His latest couple of posts focus on a common point that many atheists make: that a Christian or any other theist, is an atheist to every other god claimed *but* their own.  These theists, for various reasons, deny the existence of gods that other humans have no trouble believing in at all.

The discussion starts out with Dave making an interesting claim, that no one can believe in his “one true God” without this god revealing itself to that person “belief in the one true God can only come through revelation as he speaks to you, reveals his true character and causes you to see your need for him”.  That certainly shoots the common, but not universal, Christian claim of free will. If I don’t believe, it’s not my fault, it’s this god who damns me to eternal torture just *because*. He claims that the revelation is in the bible, which does bring up quite a few problems; foremost that even Christians don’t agree on the true character of this god, what it wants, what it does, what parts of the bible are literal or not, and what it takes to be “saved”.   I do appreciate him in giving a pair of instances where the fact that Christians don’t agree and even this god can’t get them to agree is shown so well.

The pastor doesn’t seem to get the intent of pointing out that he only believes in one god and that he is atheist to ever other one.  This line of argument is to point out that, despite the fact that all theists have the same evidence for their god: none, they all insist that theirs exists and no others do.  When they claim that a non-believer in their god can’t definitively prove that their god doesn’t exist then so it *must* exist, they forget that this would mean that they can’t definitively prove other gods don’t exist either, and thus we have a bunch of theists who are stuck with believing in a lot of gods.  Claiming that they have a “one true god” is no more meaningful than the next theist claiming exactly the same thing.

Dave also claims that “the atheist would not want us to put his “no god” option alongside the 3000 “god” options for comparison and with good reason” which is not true at all.  It would be a bit silly since then one would be trying mightly to compare apples to oranges.  My conclusion that there are no gods, including the Christian one, is based on the fact that there has never been any evidence for any of the gods claimed to exist, and no evidence of any of the essential events that define these religions.  I can show that entirely different events happened rather than what is claimed in the myths of religions.  The claim of “potential truth” is nothing more than the Russell’s Teapot argument.  There is potentially a teapot in orbit around Jupiter, but that potential, aka probability is very very small.   When one adds more and more detail about the teapot, that it is an Edwardian silver tea set, complete with tea tray,  made by Oneida, and it has three sugar lumps in the sugar bowl, the probabiilty gets smaller and smaller.  In that the gods of most, if not all, religions have just as much detail, and those details can be examined and tested, the probability of those gods goes down too, until,  this god becomes some vague critter, living under a rock on Ceti Alpha 5, and nothing like the gods that humans claim to worship.  Continue reading

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – a new poll indicating a more secular America, and a hardening of evangelicals

The Public Religion Research Institute has come out with a new poll on the religious attitudes in the US, specifically about gender and sex: “Majority of Americans Oppose Transgender Bathroom Restrictions”    It indicates that attitudes are changing, with white evangelicals losing ground for their claims of having a divine “truth”.   Curiously enough, this group voted overwhelmingly for Trump, a man who ignored them until it was politically convenient.  This does show how much a promise of returning people back to a time when they felt in control can get their support.

A Salon article about the research, says the following: “Despite all the conservative posturing about how their movement represents “real” America and liberal political attitudes are restricted mainly to the “coastal elite,” new research from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) suggests that, at least in political terms, most Americans are secular in their orientation. While many Americans may still hold conservative personal beliefs, when it comes to the issue of church-state separation, large majorities reject efforts by the religious right to use the power of the state to impose conservative Christian values on others. 

In fact, the polling data shows that there’s really only one group of Americans that rejects a secular society: White evangelical Christians. And this study is just further evidence that a lot of the political polarization in our country is the direct result of white evangelical Christians realizing that they are no longer dominant majority, and lashing out angrily in an effort to regain the levels of dominance they used to enjoy.”

The need for no change and obedience to their demands is what many Christian conservatives evince.  They need that external validation for their beliefs; the mere existence of anyone who doesn’t agree with them (and isn’t being punished by some god) shows that their beliefs are not quite what they claim.  If they do not get this obedience and agreement, they often seem to act out like a three year old who isn’t getting her way.

For additional information on the actions of those who need to imagine that they and theirs are in authority, I recommend Bob Altemeyer’s The Authoritarians.