Superwhat?

The entire silliness, irrationality and intellectual dishonesty of religion can be summed up in my recent short exchange with a believer:

Believer: “Do you believe in God?”

Me: “I’m not superstitious.”

Believer: “Me neither.”

85 Bullets

Germany is a normal European country, with a population of some 80 million citizen. The Germans have a reputation of being highly organized, and that they keep meticulous records of almost everything. Statistics on anything are published on a daily basis. Most are completely uninteresting to me, but one caught my eye.

Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior – among many other things – gathers and publishes statistics about weapons use by their police force. And these numbers are interesting:

In all of 2011, a total of 85 bullets were fired in the line of duty by the entirety of Germany’s Police force. Of these, 49 were fired as warning shots. The remaining were aimed and fired at people, resulting in 15 injured persons, and six fatalities. The year before seven people got themselves killed by police bullets, with 37 shots being aimed and fired intentionally.

These figures are interesting in comparison with the US, where no such statistics are kept. But it would be safe to say that there are significantly more weapon discharges there: in a single incident in LA, police discharged in excess of 90 shots, a few weeks later in another incident in NY, 87 aimed shots were fired.

Some may say that in defense of the US, the German Police does not have to deal with a gun-crazed population.

Which is entirely my point. I’m not criticizing US police.

Who in their right mind – outside the US – has their 9 years-old girl train with automatic weapons? Is there anyone in Europe who wouldn’t be left speechless in horror when looking at the following advertisement:

Myfirstgun75percent

In related news, the NRA offered to assist german police instructors in gun training; 21 hits out of 36 rounds fired, they say, are a bad average that must be improved.

Dr. Dumb

In Liberia, an outbreak of deadly Ebola has already killed more than 1’300 people. Missionary Dr. Kent Brantly contracted the disease himself. Unlike most of the Ebola patients, he survived. Also, unlike most of the Ebola patients, he received an experimental drug designed to cure Ebola. Now, it is too soon to conclude that the serum cured the doctor; ten percent of those who fall ill to Ebola recover by themselves. But it’s enough to be optimistic that the serum helped.

Dr. Brantly, after his recovery, and in full knowledge of the fact that he received experimental treatment, and, despicably, in full knowledge that one of the greatest contributors to the spreading of Ebola in Liberia is rampant superstition, took every opportunity to spread more superstition:

I am more grateful every day to the Lord for sparing my life and continuing to heal my body.

and

Above all, I am forever thankful to God for sparing my life

Well, you ungrateful idiot, the nurses and doctors who risked their life while treating you are who healed you. Or are you so deluded that you think your god loves you more than those thousands who died? The experimental serum that very likely saved your life was designed by scientists to fight a disease – a disease that has been created by your god. Your god then gave this disease to thousands of people – including you. By surviving, I would argue, you are going against His plan, so don’t thank him too quickly. Next time, don’t take experimental drugs against god-given diseases – just pray and see what happens.

During a press conference, Dr. Dumb then went on to sermonize thusly:

Please continue to pray for the people in Liberia.

No! If you want to help, do something. Send money, food, or organize awareness drives. Praying only helps yourself feeling better, while those in Liberia keep dying. Liberia desperately needs your help – in more than one way: they need better medical infrastructure to fight the outbreak. They need better education to rid the country of dangerous superstitions. Mostly, though, they need greater help in overcoming poverty.

Also, Liberia apparently needs better medical experts to replace those who attribute healing powers to ghosts or gods.

A Diabolic God

There is a conundrum that many believers wrestle with: the existence of evil in the face of a benevolent god. When looked at from a different perspective, though, it’s not a conundrum at all.

Let us for a moment assume that believers have it right – a god exists. How then can we reconcile the evil that we see in the world with the assertion that god is benevolent?

We can’t. Does that mean that God doesn’t exist? Almost – but not necessarily. Another possibility remains, one that makes a whole lot more sense than what is commonly believed. Again, we are working under the assumption that God does exist. Now let us extend this assumption to Satan. Called the ‘Prince of Lies’, his character is described as evil, craving worship, and eternally envious of God’s glory.

Behold: Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, IS(IS), Taliban and all the other barbaric murderers in the name of god, including the christian murderous savages called Lord’s Resistance Army. It is inconceivable that they are fighting for a benevolent supreme being. Yet they would have you believe that they are fighting for the ‘religion of peace’ or spreading the ‘gospel of love’.

Now let us turn our gaze to North Korea. Here we have a whole people living under the harshest of conditions, who are forced to worship a hateful, self-centered egomaniac who craves the adulation of the people he tortures and enslaves. He has his country believe that he is their savior, that all the countries around them are the enemy, and that everyone but himself is evil.

In light of this example we have undeniable proof that you can make people believe anything if you are brutal and ruthless enough. This allows for a far more likely explanation for the evil we see in religion every day, one that makes sense:

If Satan exist today, it is far more likely that the religious people in truth are worshipping him; Satan, who like North Korea’s Kim, has you believe he is the benevolent supreme being.

But if this were true, why wouldn’t the benevolent God intervene? Because, like in Korea, Satan is the only supreme being. There is no benevolent god.

Just Satan. They are the same – he is God.

Now, it all makes sense. Scripture and organized religion are a tool to force people to worship him. Intense worship of this God, due to his nature, allows evil to spread. Evil in this world goes unchecked not because it is ‘natural’, but because it is part of the decidedly un-benevolent God, who occasionally hides his true face because he wants to be adored, and who sends his brutal savages to force you into his religion.

So, if you truly want to reconcile all the evil in this world with an existing God, it leaves this depressing conclusion as the most likely one.

And that’s probably one of the biggest complaints I have with faith: I think it says a lot about religion when a crazy conspiracy theory is more sane than what people actually believe.

Atheist = Liars!

Christian religious (fundamental?) site TodayChristian.net deigned to publish a (sadly unattributed) article exposing us atheists as shameless liars. Yes, every frigging Atheist is a liar. Since the kind people running TodayChristian.net are Christians, they can’t lie about that, so such sweeping accusation must be true.

What heinous lies are we telling the world? Take us to task, TodayChristian.net:

1. The Biggest One- THERE IS NO GOD. They would have no problem telling a dying child there is NO God. Clearly they have no idea if there is or there isn’t.

And right off the bat, they crater. Unless you can prove that gods exist (something we all agree is impossible at best), this isn’t a lie, just an opinion. Still, I know few atheists who say ‘There is no God’. Most say ‘I don’t believe that there are gods’.
Adding the ‘dying child’ bit is a quite pathetic attempt at tear-jerking. Would I tell a dying child a comforting lie? Probably. At least I know that I’m lying…

Then again – if I ever catch a believer telling a dying atheist child that she is going to hell, there will be physical consequences, my peace-loving nature be damned.

2. They say they have “Open Minds”. We know that is not the case. When presented with spiritual issues they always dismiss it as fictitious, invalid or unsupported stories.

That’s rich coming from someone who’s mind is so closed that not only they assert the existence of gods, but have laser-focused on one in particular, and are not swayed at all by a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

When a believer says ‘you are so closed minded’, I feel they are really saying ‘you should think like me’.

3. Christianity teaches you to not think.

Ouch. Well, I’m sure some Atheists say that. Perhaps while quoting Martin Luther (‘Reason is the devil’s greatest whore’). But the fact is, most Atheist lament the fact that Christians don’t think, or don’t think enough. Anyone up for the definition of Faith? We don’t give a damn about what Christianity teaches. We merely observe the result.

4. Science exists despite religion.

This one would actually be funny – if we were to ignore the scores of people who died or endured hardship because their scientific discoveries contradicted religion (Galileo ring a bell?). So modern science does exist despite religious worst attempts to suppress it. Yet, religion was our first attempt at science. Today, Religion exists in spite of science. Few Atheists would argue otherwise. That’s why we think believers don’t think enough.

5. They Don’t Care If There Is Or Isn’t A God. Deep down inside of everyone’s heart there is a missing element that is always questioning, searching and longing to find God. They may try to ignore it but it still remains there.

Wow. Can you be more condescending? That longing you feel inside? That is actually your intellect, begging you to be let out.

Just once.

Sex Ed Fail

The US (and some other developed countries) don’t have sex education at school. Rather, they have ‘abstinence education’: the only viable method to prevent unwanted pregnancy, they teach, is sexual abstinence. You don’t have to be too bright to foresee that this isn’t going to work. So why not teach safer, more robust ways to prevent young women becoming pregnant? Because religious, uptight idiots believe that teaching safe sex methods may make teenagers promiscuous. Yeah, that’s why teenagers have so much sex: good Sex Ed.

In a similar vein it would seem that the reason why they don’t teach first aid nor CPR to aspiring drivers in the US is this: it may make drivers think it’s a good idea to run over people. I’m astonished to find that they buckle up at all over there; after all I could argue that buckling up could lead people to believe it’s OK to drive into other cars.

Well, correctly attributing cause and effect has been a constant challenge for the religious majority. It’s a wonder they’ve managed to connect the dots between sex and pregnancy at all. Except for one prominent case involving Joseph.

See what happens when you teach being stupid?

Pope hope

Yesterday the Pope prayed for peace in the middle east. No one expects this to change anything.

Now, if even God’s best friend on earth can’t effect a change, wouldn’t it be high time that we agreed to the following:

  • God doesn’t give a damn about you
  • therefore praying to him doesn’t work

If the pope can’t get God to stop the war in Gaza – in God’s promised land, no less – perhaps everyone should stop praying and start doing something. Is there anyone who doesn’t think that religion is part of the problem in Gaza? Maybe we should try and remove that barrel of gasoline from the fire? There are still enough problems without religion.

Stop taking your god so serious; start being serious about not killing each other.

Mostly Harmless

A new project that promises to print a chapter-less version of the bible seems to have caught the excitement of sponsors.

Why has the idea of a chapter-less Bible caught on so quickly? Adam Greene, who was surprised by the popularity of his idea, has a few ideas:

Three major threads that have been running parallel for some time now in my world are the recognition of the biblical anthology as great literature, an increasing interest in story, and a newly widespread appreciation of design as an enhancement to human experience.

Well, I’ve read the bible. Great Literature it is not. Important, yes, as it is important to understand where western culture comes from. But great Literature in the way of writing? I think not. It’s heavy-handed, predictable, highly repetitive, fragmented, a loosely stitched-together transcript of stories that were orally passed on, and was translated right up the wazoo by people who were interested in mythology, not linguistic finesse. Worst of all, with only few exceptions, it is boring. In short, it’s a literary brute, in line with my own third-grade writings.

Luckily, there’s another reason people like the new bible version:

For starters, it is elegantly presented.

Actually, that’s pretty much it. After all, you can get the whole bible (almost any version) as a digital download for free. The newly designed book does look good. It fits perfectly into a present-day library, the kind of library people have today: the one that has many good looking backs, but where no book was ever read.

Verse-less, chapter-less formats can help readers encounter the texts for what they are […] – literary compositions

So the bible has finally reached the form it was always destined for: the fictional novel. It took it long enough.

But there are detractors: Dr. Margaret Aymer, an associate professor of New Testament at the Interdenominational Theological Center, worries that the lack of footnotes may create a false sense of certainty for readers.

Seriously? Read the first chapter. Anyone who still thinks that the story is anything but fairy tales won’t be swayed simply by form of presentation.

Nonetheless, Aymer also stated that she found the project “interesting” and “mostly harmless.”

There is a 1987 album called ‘The people who grinned themselves to death’. That was almost my fate when I read her assessment.

After all the damage the Bible has already done, this project is entirely harmless.

Moral Muggles

A few days ago, Chief Roman Catholic Exorcist Gabriele Amort stated that one reason for Satan’s victory over weak souls and the general decline of morals is reading Harry Potter.

Interesting. A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology now shows proof that children who read Harry Potter and similar fiction show a much greater likelihood to be tolerant of other people: they were less prejudiced and less likely to discriminate against others. In short, people on average behave morally superior to those who did not read the same books that The Exorcist warns you against.

Which just goes to show that the Church knows nothing about modern morals.

Nor reality.

WarSissi

So UK’s minister of Unreason Faith, Baroness Warsi, has resigned. Now, I always thought of her as a few cards short of a full deck – but that is an occupational requirement for someone working in the faith industry. Now I’m disappointed to see that’s she’s also a sissy.

‘When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping’ my mother used to say. When you think that your team is doing something wrong, you double down, and try to change it for the better. That’s at least what I expect from professionals. Those who can, do. Warsi, as was painfully obvious, can’t.

Never one to face difficult questions, the horrendous situation in Gaza and the difficulties in determining which side has committed less evil has prompted Warsi to take the easy way out.

She won’t be missed. A civilized country needs a Minister of Faith as much as a fish needs a bicycle.