Of Unicorns

Many Christians are somewhat irritated when atheists bring up Unicorns. Atheists do that mostly to show that in general, logic can’t prove a negative: the fact that atheists can’t disprove god’s existence is not proof of his existence; the way to show this to the believer is to ask them to disprove the existence of unicorns.

Because everyone knows that unicorns don’t exist.

Except that Isaiah 34:7 does mention unicorns.

Well, believers usually don’t know that fact either.

The Gay Choice

Tennessee preacher Robby Gallaty has defended homophobia and discrimination against gays. Closing the gap to the Westboro Baptist Church (you know, the loonies that picket funerals holding up signs that say ‘God Hates Fags’), he also advocates killing homosexuals. His argument: being gay is a choice – perhaps similar to the fact that being a hate preacher is a choice.

But how does he know that? Has he decided to be attracted to women instead of men? Has he tried to be gay? It’s not as if this is difficult to understand. If he tried, he knew.

What is wrong with this guy that he not only worries about what other people do between the sheets, but also preaches against it?

Gallaty takes justification for his hate from the Bible, specifically the Old Testament (which, according to so many Christians isn’t in force anymore, because, you now, Jesus and stuff. Yeah, right), specifically Levicitus (a.k.a. third book of Moses).

Like this moral ass, I read the same book. Levicitus 20 indeed says what Robby Gallaty says it does. Yet, only a few lines further down it also says that people who are tattooed should be put to death. As should be people who wear garments made from two kinds of thread (the shirt he wears in the video looks like a cotton/synthetic mix to me…).

And of course, Levicitus is extremely clear on what to do with people who work on the sunday. Not just one, but three passages in just that section tell you that god wants you to kill them: “Bring them outside the camp, and stone them”. Guess on which day of the week Gallaty does most of his work.

If you wondered, Levicitus is also the part of the Bible that tells you that killing a couple of doves and sprinkling their blood about (plus some other hokus pokus) will cure Lepers. Yeah, that’s Levicitus. A great place to draw your inspiration from.

For the glory of God and the honor of God in your body, you may have to remain single for the rest of your life

Let me quote Proverbs 17:28 for you, son:

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

May I suggest that for the Glory of God and Humanity you STFU?

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.

God the Politician?

As entertaining as reading the discussion on God-awful (ha ha) christian flick ‘God’s not Dead’ is, it has also revealed two strange traits. Of course, the proponents for a film like GND can be expected to be rather fervent believers, so we get a natural pre-selection of commenters on that side of the spectrum.

Firstly, the most common retort to any criticism is ‘Why do you hate god’? Yeah, right. I never said their comments were smart.

But, strangely, whenever a discussion gets anywhere, it’s interrupted by a particularly puzzling non-sequitur from a religious person: “Oh, that’s a typically liberal view” – as if that means anything. I don’t get it. Is God supposed to have a political agenda? Are politically liberal Christians not religious? Is the validity of a religious argument decided by the political views of the one who brings it up?

I know that it helps believing in authority to accept the idea of Gods, and therefore a conservative mindset (not to mention inductive reasoning) makes it more likely that you are religious. Yet, if Jesus existed as described by the Bible, he is a radical leftist: a peacenik (‘turn the other cheek’) who wants you to give your second coat to the destitute and who is against big money (money lenders, i.e. banks).

So if God did exist and took political sides, it’d be bad news for the conservatives.

Can’t these people read?

Here comes the Hurricane…

In two weeks, Hollywood releases ‘Noah‘, the new fantasy movie starring Emma Watson, the talented and beautiful actress who shot to fame with Harry Potter.

People have asked me if I was going to watch it, what with me being an atheist and all. Hell yes! Being an atheist did not prevent me from watching ‘Thor‘. Didn’t like it much – but not for theological reasons. It simply wasn’t a good movie. I suspect that I’ll much more enjoy watching Emma Watson than I did Chris Hemsworth. Oh, and Jennifer Connelly! Who would not want to see her?

Screw the story – I’ve read it. Not much to write home about. It rains more than in a french drama, and everyone dies. Ugly guy loves beautiful woman. A rainbow at the end. My godson wrote better stories in second grade.

Then again, he didn’t bring in Emma and Jennifer.

‘… the whole Bible’

Every once in a while, I encounter one of the most presumptuous, condescending, pompous, and ostentatious comments a Christian can make while arguing their belief:

To understand, you need to read the whole Bible.

I usually encounter it as a reply to a (perhaps snide) quote from the Bible I make. The comment is ostentatious because it insinuates that the one uttering it has read the whole Bible (usually it turns out that they haven’t). It’s presumptuous because it assumes I didn’t read that book in it’s entirety. It’s stupid because even after reading it, at least one of us hasn’t understood it – plus, it’s certainly news to the Jews who can make do with essentially only half of it: the Old Testament. And it is condescending because whoever says it believes that not only have they understood, they believe they have read the only correct version.

So why do people try this when they are forced into a corner? The comment is designed to stop the average Christian from further discussions: 99% of all Christians haven’t read the Bible. But why is it that so many Christians haven’t read the Bible?

Because it’s boring.

Most who try are already sound asleep long before all the begetting begins.