Thursday, May 31, 2007

Messiah Abuse - Rapin' Jesus and then Mary Magdalene Gets it Awn!

This is an excerpt out of the novel I'm currently writing, Simon Peter.

Without Peter there, Mark and James came over to start picking on Jesus. Peter looked back and Mark had Jesus in a headlock and was leading him away. Jesus was struggling, but it was futile. Mark was a couple of years older than Jesus, and Mark had always been big – he was still slightly bigger than Peter, whom he had started to avoid.

Peter looked forward. The teacher was on a roll. He was talking about Isaiah and being translated into Heaven, and saying that Isaiah would return to his people in their hour of need. Peter looked around. The adults seemed rapt. Peter was still upset with Jesus, childishly, but Ephraim was dull. It didn't take ten minutes for Peter to get up and look for Jesus.

Once out of the square, he used his ears, going towards the landward side of the village and into an olive grove. He heard Mark laughing, giggling like a girl. He heard other noises, physical sounds, and he grabbed a rock. He walked as quiet as a cat, rock in hand, figuring to hit Mark or James in the head with it. He was willing to escalate.

He found the three boys, Jesus bent over a fallen tree. His robe was over his hips, and behind him stood James, who was fucking him. Mark was standing to one side, giggling, but there was something wrong with the sound – it wasn't humor, he wasn't laughing because he was afraid, he was laughing because he had to make some noise to get out what he was feeling. But it was not humor. Peter could see the sick dread in Mark' face.

In James' face there was this savagery. It was beyond anything that Peter – who was beaten so hard, so often he had a head like a rock – had never seen.

No, not just savagery. Glee.

Jesus' face was empty, slack. Nothing.

They didn't see Peter. Peter didn't know what to do. He stood for a long moment watching. Then he slowly backed away, and when no one could see him he ran like Satan was on his heels.

So, we have children raping other children, which happens more often than we might like. Children raised in sexually abusive environment pick it up real fast. But, there you have it, the scene where I give it to Jesus in the ass! That's about page four in the book. It goes downhill from there for poor Jesus.

Still, here's some more sex out of Simon Peter. Here, Peter and Mary Magdalene talk about John the Baptist:

She looked at Peter. He had spent time looking at her, studying her. All these emotions were new. She could be curious, playful, determined, cruel, lusting – but she looked open, she looked delicate and uncertain. She said, “He's not like us. He's not even like Jesus. Jesus speaks the words of the Lord, this I believe, but John . . . he lives them.”

“He calls you a whore, Magdalene.”

She was trembling. “Maybe that's true. I fuck men that I want to fuck. I've had half a dozen lovers in this camp. Maybe I am a whore.”

Peter started to get angry. “That's shit, Magdalene! I listened to that little prick, myself, and believe me, he's saying what he says because he's got problems, not because you've got problems. He's that skinny kid that never could manage to talk to a girl, never get a wife, and rather than figure out how to get a woman, rather than talking to a matchmaker or finding a prostitute, a real prostitute, to work all this out, he decided that the problem is that men and women could find each other. He turned it into his sacred cause, but the world isn't ending because . . . because men and women fuck each other! That's stupid. It's . . . like Jesus says. The world is winding up because we are full of anger and wrath, we can't forgive each other for our trespasses and when the world is like that it's inevitable that it end, because we do nothing but build up hate and anger, year after year, generation after generation. The Lord isn't destroying the world, we are, humans are, and Heaven is forgiveness. That makes sense, not this nonsense about how the Lord is going to wipe us out because Herod Antipas is screwing his niece . . .”

He stopped because Magdalene had slapped him. Her eyes were wide, hard, filled with such heat as he'd never seen.

Peter grabbed her robe with one hand and raised his other hand to strike. But he didn't. He let go and she settled back on her feet, and Peter took a few steps back, away from her. He flexed and unflexed his hands. He turned to face her. “Do you think that the Lord wants you to hate yourself? Can't you see how this . . . man does nothing but spread hatred?” Peter said. “You told me that a better question than why Jesus and John rail against sex is why sex is a sin in the first place.”

Magdalene sagged. She collapsed into a chair. She was struggling not to weep. She said, “Perhaps. But . . . you don't understand, Peter.”

“No one tells me anything.”

She looked at him and she shook her head. “I will not tell you this. But . . . it is easy to believe that John is right, for me, Peter. I don't want to hate myself. I want to be a better person.”

Peter looked at her for a long time – he looked at her dark beauty, her deep sadness. He knew that everyone had a reason to be here, something they were looking for enough to . . . enough to leave their home, to leave their aging father, to set aside their loving wife. Everyone was driven to the Nazarenes because they felt a terrible hollowness in their hearts. He had never questioned why Mary Magdalene was here.

Peter said, “Do as Jesus says. Forgive yourself.”

She covered her face and sobbed. She said, “Go, Peter! Go!”

Peter trembled. He didn't go. He crouched next to Magdalene and put his hands on her lap, and looked to her. He said, “You can forgive yourself, Magdalene. You can embrace the love of the Lord. If . . . if you want, I will pray with you.” He felt this outpouring of emotion, this release. He closed his eyes and lowered his head. “Lord, we are your servants, imperfect and wanting, but we have heard the words of Jesus, and we want to heal ourselves, to be worthy of your grace, so teach us how to forgive each other, forgive ourselves, or our sins and weakness, for only then can we be worthy of your grace and love.”

He felt a change. Mary was not crying. She laid a hand on his hair. She said, softly, “Jesus is wiser than even I can know. How did he see this man under all the stone?”

She slipped from the chair and embraced Peter. She smelled like roses. He opened his eyes, and she kissed him. It was slow and soft, and grew deeper. She shifted her head from side to side, kissing him, and teased open his mouth with her tongue and he tasted her, deep and long. He pushed her back and her legs wrapped around his hips, her robe falling down to her hips. Peter held her breasts in his hands. Magdalene arched up into him.

She laughed, her eyes closed, “I can feel your cock, Peter. I want to feel you inside of me. I've never wanted anyone like this. No one. Not my first, not Jesus, not Andrew.”

Peter stiffened and Magdalene locked her ankles behind him. She opened her eyes, and he knew her look, cruel and playful, like a cat with a mouse. “Yes. I fucked Andrew. He was a child. You're a man. A murderer.”

Peter silenced her with a kiss. He pushed Magdalene's robe off, she shimmied to get it off, and a linen undergarmet, and she was nude, her skin walnut brown, her breasts full, her stomach flat, his wide and thighs open for him, wanton, her face needy and her eyes wet, her lips wet, Peter on his knees before her. She got to her knees, too, she pulled up his own robe and she gasped, her eyes smiling and playful, mocking, her hands running over his body, touching the muscles of him, before her hand circled his cock. Her hand was soft. She smelled like perfume. He was hard to her touch. Put a hand between her legs and touched her sex, she closed her eyes and groaned, and she took Peter's hand and put it between her legs so he could feel her slick heat.

She opened her eyes, eyes dark and dilated. She clenched her legs around Peter's hand and gripped his shoulders and slid body against his hand touching her. Peter thrust his other hand into her hair and kissed her, hard, mouth open and he caught her moans in his mouth.

He thrust her down, and she gasped, laughed, he arranged himself behind her. He took his cock in hand and entered her from behind. She groaned, whispered, “Oh, fuck, Peter.” She put the side of her face against the floor. “I'm on my face for you.”

He grunted as Magdalene's sex enfolded him, tightening, and she looked back, raising herself a little to look over her shoulder at him. The lamplight flickered in her eyes as she arched back into him. He reached forward, supporting himself with one hand, and with one hand and cupped her breast. She twisted back to him, reaching back to grab one of his shoulders and used that to push herself more against him. Her torso was revealed to him, beautiful and womanly.

She said, “Yeah, like that. Make me forget everything, Peter, fuck me so hard I can't remember my name.”

He took her by her hips and drew out of her, and he could feel her thighs trembling, and he entered her, again, and she groaned, bit her lip, her hair down and cascading over her face, and then thrown back to go down her back.

He fucked her, then, his mind a confused whirl for a while, but just a while, because with his cock inside of Magdalene, his hand on her breasts, looking into her face contorted in lust – thoughts fled. He thrust inside of her, increasing in force, and she grunted, and put her face down against the ground, her hands over her head, bracing herself as their sex increased in speed and force.

Then she started to writhe, groan, she whispered his name, “Peter.” Then she made noises that weren't words, but suggested them, her belly flexing and unflexing hard, her cunt flexing and unflexing, and then she gripped him and he couldn't do anything but make small motions with his hips inside of her, but it was enough, and it was like he was pouring himself into her, his thighs burning, his stomach burning, his cock in an agony of pleasure.

Magdalene laughed and said, “We haven't even gotten to the bed.”

For the first time in months, Peter wasn't thinking about Jesus and the Nazarenes, he was just there, living his life with the tensions flowing out of him, like Magdalene's cunt had take them from him. He drew out of her and pulled her to her feet, and kissed her before pushing her down on her bed, and she smiled up at him, legs parted as she sat down, inviting, and he went into her arms.

And that's it for this installment of Bible porn! See you tomorrow with some of the sex out of Condotierri.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dr. Laura and Her Sick, Sad Son, Deryk - Let's Laugh at Them!

Another video post! This is me making fun of Dr. Laura and her son, Deryk, who has been in the news lately. The conservative rebuttals have of course addressed the issue that parents aren't to be held responsible for the behavior of their adult children.

Which is, of course, true. But with Dr. Laura, in particular, this is important. A huge bit of her schtick is the importance of protecting children from permissive society in order for them to develop into moral people. She makes particular statements about the efficacy of fundamentalist religious indoctrination of youth as a way to make moral, socially responsible people. Since she advances this notion, I think it is very fair to look at the way she has raised her own children, and how they, as adults, act in responsible and moral fashions.

Don't weep too much for Deryk, either. He has, all his adult life, been an active part in promoting his mother's career. So, he's a public personality in his own right, putting himself in the public eye. Let us take a look, shall we?

Important! Over the next couple of days, I'll be posting . . . pornography! That's right. RIGHT HERE I'll be posting pornography, out of the various things I've written. It seems that LiveJournal has decided to start deleting journals that have as interests things that LJ doesn't think ought to be interests. So journals and communities where they have interests like "rape" or "incest" have become removed. A protest has been proposed. Since I actually have enough pornographic material to make two days of posts (indeed, longer than that, by far), I'll be doing that.

And this does matter. I, myself, don't care if people are interested in rape, incest and things of that nature in an artistic sense. I might find Harry Potter fanfic where his uncle sexually molests him to be . . . beyond my interests, shall we say, but it's fiction. More importantly, LJ's policies are making it that much harder for survivors of abuse, rape and incest to find each other for the purposes of comforting each other - it's feels like one more way of hiding society's ugly secrets. I object to both of them. Of course, as a private company, LJ can make any stupid fucking rules it wants, but I think a few days posting of pornography is acceptable in those situations.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Little More About Religious Child Abuse - Personal Experience and a Plea

In my recent video I said what I've said here, recently, that the way that religion is taught is tantamount to child abuse because it teaches that disobedience is punished by eternal suffering. Someone cruised by and asked if I'd really been taught, as a child, by my parents, if I would go to hell if I disobeyed.

The answer is, well, yes. As a full disclosure, I don't recall my mother saying it, but I was raised in large part by my grandmother and it was one of the tactics she used to control me as a youth.

But there was more to it than that. I was taught that in my Sunday school classes. Which were approved, at least ostensibly, by not only the parish priest but also my parents. I can, to this day, recall everything about the Sunday school teacher who taught me these things. He was a middle aged, slightly portly man with glasses and bald on top, with short hair otherwise, clean shaven. He always wore button down shirts, slacks and a tie to church -- perhaps he had a sports jacket, but I never saw it in Sunday school class. He would teach Bible study with a tremendous glee. He would reinforce that we were good Christian children, so we had nothing to fear, but he was equally clear that unbelievers would go to Hell. It is in the Bible. It is Christian dogma. Unbelievers burn. He would read passages from the Bible where the penalties for flouting the Christian god are revealed. You deny the holy spirit? You go to Hell. You disobey your parents? You're wicked in the eyes of the Lord, and you to Hell. The same was true, of course, for lying, stealing, etc., unless you begged Jesus for forgiveness.

This is the thing I remember most clearly. We were being taught Revelations. It was being taught as if it was right around the corner. The teacher was painfully clear. Armageddon was in Israel. Russian and American forces would fight in the Holy Land. The blood would be up to the fenders of the tanks. He took various passages as alluding to nuclear war.

This fucked me up for years. I lived from around 9 to 14 absolutely sure that global thermonuclear war was around the corner. I fully expected to be alive for the End of the World. Because I had all sorts of disobediences and sins that I did hide from the church, I was equally sure that I would not be saved in any Rapture and that I'd live to see the dragon of the Apocalypse and the Whore of Babylon and the last Anti-christ. When I was about twelve, I remember talking to my mother about it, tears down my face, saying that I knew that the "end" was coming, and she said there was nothing I could do about it, but never denied it.

With the narcissism of youth, I am not sure how many children were in the class. I would guess about forty, but it could be half that, or double. With most of them, of course, I have no idea what was taught in their households. Even with my own friends, I'm not sure what was taught in their churches, since we were not of the same denomination. But I do know with that church it was commonplace for children to be taught, with glee, that non-believers and disobedient children would burn in Hell.

This was in my pre-pubescent days. By the time I was a teenager and going through confirmation, we were expected to be able to know that sort of thing by heart. By then, I was going to a different church. Of course, teenagers are still children. It was more of the same. End time crap, absolute vicious fear-mongering. And we were old enough that no attempt was made to shield up from the absolute ugliness in the Bible. We were encouraged to read and discuss the most disturbing things, from Lot being raped by his daughters, Jael nailing her husband's head to the floor and, of course, that favorite horror story, again, Revelations.

I do not think that my religious education was particularly severe. My family was not fundamentalist. They were pretty liberal Christians. But at the end of the day, what are you to teach about the wages of sin? The Bible is extremely clear. The Lord is a wrathful sonofabitch. Unless you're in some church that carefully and deliberately hides the gruesome parts of the Bible -- which means ignoring about 99% of it -- it is normal to teach children that disobedience to Christian doctrine is punished by an eternity of flames.

I find the idea that it is not the case that is normal for Christians to be frank about the fate of disobedience to Christian doctrine massively suspect. But I'll listen. Spread this around to religious people, right? Am I wrong? Is it normal for Christians to forgo teaching children the consequences of sin, being hellfire? If so, when are they introduced to the concept of eternal damnation that awaits everyone who isn't a Christian? Do you wait until they're . . . 10? 13? 15? Is it normal for Christians to wait until their co-religionists are eighteen, and legally adults, before subjecting them to the violent pornography that is much of the Bible (Old Testament and New)? In my experience, it is not the case. In no church I have ever attended was it hidden from children the consequences of sinful disobedience to religious doctrine (gussied up as the word of their god).

But I'd love to hear otherwise.

P.S.: And what about Muslims? When do they start to teach their kids about Hell? And what about Hindus? When do they teach the consequences of defying their dharma? This isn't addressed to just Christians -- most religions use virulent intimidation to enforce their religious doctrines. They all teach child abuse, IMO.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Religion vs. Another Religion vs. Atheism

It all starts off with Pascal's Wager. You know it! The notion that atheism is a bad bet because the atheist loses nothing and potentially gains immortal life. It has been criticized from the very beginning because it is, in fact, such bad reasoning. Still, it gets trotted out with almost mind numbing regularity, and nowadays it seems to be given life as a general critique of religion over non-religion, ignoring the mutually incompatible nature of most religions.

Which happens to me almost constantly, nowadays -- people will argue for religion generally, when in truth they're all actually promoting a specific form of a specific religion. It's a deeply insulting argument! Like I don't know that these very Christians that can't tell me why I should prefer Christianity to Islam, or why people who "open their heart to god" sometimes choose wrong in their own view . . . like I don't know that these very people aren't equally condemning most religious people on earth to eternal torment. That it is not religion in some sort of abstract sense that they're promoting, but very specific forms of religion.

We're not talking Buddhism or Taoism, here. We're not talking about the rights of aboriginal people to maintain their lifestyle. Uh-uh. The people who are talking to me are uniformly evangelical Christians. So, they go from talking to me about the rights of "religion" to condemning other religions for their various faults, condemning them all to hell!

Of course, the biggest group of people who do this in America are intelligent design supporters. You want to find out how religious intelligent design fans are, just try suggesting that the designers are gay aliens from the Dog Star. It's like they think we're too stupid to see that the people who advance ID are all fundamentalist Christian nutjobs.

This dishonesty annoys me. So, I'm going to be trying a new technique. Rather than focus on the concept of religion vs. atheism, I will focus on the differences between religions. Rather than trying to prove that religion, in some abstract, is foolish, I'll try to get them to tell me why I should accept their religion over someone else's. Really twist in them that it isn't choosing "god" over choosing atheism, it's choosing a specific god, a specific religion. That the issue is not, and has never been, choosing generic belief in god over atheism, but exact faiths. I think that by focusing generically on religion vs. atheism we're giving these people a pass -- religious people hate each other at least as much as they hate us, condemning each other to various hells. I'm gonna try focusing on that when people try to convert me or argue from a position of generic religion.

And, as a bonus, a story from my youth!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dalit's and Conversion

I know that people here mostly do believe me when I say a given thing, even though I don't do too many links. (I decided not to because, really, I'd just cherry pick the links, anyway, which I find to be slightly dishonest. I fully expect -- indeed, encourage -- people who doubt what I say to check for themselves!) But recently I mentioned Hinduism as being of a piece with Christianity and Islam in terms of backwardsness.

It seems that today the the BBC has a story about that very backwardsness, and people's attempts to get out from under it. What you've got is a bunch of Dalits -- casteless Hindus -- that are about to convert en masse to Buddhism to try to escape the oppression of the caste system.

The article mentions a few things I will bring up here without too much comment. The first is that right-wing Hindus want to make laws to restrict conversion (and have in several states that are controlled by the BJP, which is basically the Hindu Nazi Party, and I say that full well knowing what I say). The second is that conversion doesn't really protect former Dalits -- Hindus still regard them as Dalits, even after the conversion. And, three, Christians trying to convert people in India face the real possibility of physical violence.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Religion and Child Abuse

Now, I'm very close to being a libertarian. Albeit of the socialist variety. So, by and large, I don't care what people do in the privacy of their own homes. You want to smoke pot? Not my business. You want to have sex with people of your own gender? Your call. You want to worship a sky pixie? Whatever. So long as it stays out of my life, I'll be happy to stay out of your personal decisions.

However, this only applies to adults. Children, particular young ones, are different. As a society, we are in fact beholden to protect them. They lack the wisdom, experience and sense of self to make all sorts of decisions. I think that anyone who says otherwise -- and there are some people who have -- is definitely daft and probably has no children. (Shulamith Firestone, I'm looking at you.) One of the things that we forbid parents to do is abuse their children. One of the forms of abuse that is forbidden is psychological abuse.

I generally don't quote Wikipedia, but their definition of psychological abuse is so concise I trust you'll forgive me:

Psychological abuse can take the form of physical intimidation, controlling through scare tactics and oppression . . . Any situation in which the repeated and extreme impact of a situation affects a person's emotional and rational thinking, in such a way as to adversely impact their later lives, could be termed as psychological abuse at some level.

Now, to my mind, this is precisely what happens when adults indoctrinate their children in a particular religion. This is true of the three big world religions: Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.

Both Christianity and Islam teach, and they do teach this to their children, that unless they obey the dictates of religion that they will suffer forever. I, myself, cannot remember a time in my life when I didn't know that the bad people went to Hell. In Hinduism, they take a slightly different approach -- that disobedience to religion is punished by being born into a worse position, perhaps as an animal or bug or worm. In both cases, threats of unimaginable suffering are used to compel obedience.

Undeniably, this intimidation affects their emotional and rational thinking, and I think it fairly demonstrably does so in ways that negative effect their lives later on. How many women have submitted to pregnancies they don't want, or gay people have hated themselves, of people tortured emotionally because they have dared to fall in love with someone of another faith? And what about the committed religious person's inability to meaningfully analyze scientific data -- meaning that, today, right now, religiously motivated people are trying to dismantle science even when humans are facing massive climate change, during which we'll need all the scientific prowess that we can muster? And I'm not even talking about those faiths that withhold medicines from their children and the other truly crazy things that religions sometimes do.

If I, as an atheist, said that if they used birth control I'd come over and boil them in oil, no one in their right mind would doubt I was psychologically abusing the child. Child services would snatch that kid away from me in a heartbeat -- and they'd be right to do it. But with religion, you can do precisely that. You can tell a child that unless they obey, they'll be tortured. Forever.

This isn't even close to the line, people! This is child abuse. If we evaluated religion with the same values that we evaluate all other behavior, it would be illegal to teach children most religions. But because of some ancient privilege of religion, we don't do what would otherwise be obvious -- forbid the teaching of religion to children. But because of stupid traditions, we allow religious people to perpetrate child abuse!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Joseph, son of Caiaphas

Simon Peter proceeds apace. I have introduced Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest that organized the plot to kill Jesus, in the novel. Before doing this, I naturally reviewed the material about Caiaphas.

Again, and this happens all the time, the actual material is disturbingly scant. There's a little in Matthew, a little in John. After the crucifixion there's some in Acts. The Biblical account of Caiaphas is a handful of verses. The historical record is equally scant - Josephus mentions Caiaphas briefly. The actual tomb of Joseph, son of Caiaphas has been found, and rests on the Mount of Olives.

That's it. And by New Testament standards, Caiaphas is well documented! He does seem to exist without the intervention of bogus Testamonium Flaviums or the like! But, like all New Testament characters, the information on such an important person to subsequent Western history is so scant. Writing a historical novel about these people, again, is simply impossible. The best you can really do is write a fantasy using the names and events as the barest of skeletons.

Still, I think the book is good!

The Bible is Stupid: Makin' Fun of Genesis #1

I have a new humor video! The embed is below, of course. The video speaks for itself, but the subject is largely a reaction to how seriously people -- even non-theists and non-Christians -- take the Bible. Even people who should know better say things like it's a great work of literature. This baffles me! The Bible is boring, and where it is not boring it is silly. It has enough plot holes to drive a truck through, is rife with all manner of deus ex machina, and has stilted and unbelievable characterization and dialogue. Every so often, part of the Bible will raise itself from the purely craptacular to the mediocre. There's some stuff about Moses that is pretty good, and in Judges someone's head gets nailed to the ground, and the first part of Ezekiel had some nice psychedelic things. And Revelations is fascinating in its creepiness. But on whole? It's a bad book. So, this video is in part response to that.

I'm also putting this one up on GodTube with some modest changes in the title and description. I'm gonna start pushing it to see how far I can go before they kick me off GodTube. ;)

Response to Peter

This is a discussion that was started on YouTube in the comments section of this video. It's about the appropriateness of attacking religion. The person with whom I am talking, Peter, is a rather nice fellow who has the position, roughly speaking, that you'll catch more flies with sugar than vinegar -- that aggression against theists doesn't do anything or is, worse, counterproductive. My position is, roughly, attack, attack and when in doubt, attack again. I'm responding here rather than in the YouTube comments section because you can only posts posts that are 500 characters or less, and by now everyone who reads my blog knows I can do that in a single sentence. ;)

So, Peter, hello! For some background, one of the reasons I am obsessing about religion is because I'm writing a deeply blasphemous novel called Simon Peter, which is written about Jesus from the point of view of the leader of the disciples, Simon Peter. My take on the story is that Jesus is not some legitimate religious figure or social reformer but an insane charlatan. If you want to read a short story that I've written in the style of Simon Peter, I have Immaculate Conception. You could probably read it in 20 minutes, and I'll put my usual caveat that it isn't for the weak of stomach -- it has a lot of violence in it. That said, here's the actual response to your posts. ;)

Thanks so much for this. I think I was aware of the diffs between Europe and the US, but your video reinforces my awareness of that. I totally understand your anger, given the context! Isn't one MAJOR reason for that the low general level of BASIC education in the US? (Of course I'm not talking about college-educated people).

There are places in the US where al-Qaida would be welcome, if they trimmed their beards and bleached their skin. The only think that stops some Christians from turning the US into some medieval hellhole is the separation of church and state, so, ramen for that.

I would suspect one of the reasons why religious people are ignorant of their own faith in the US is linked to the generally poor education, but I think there's more than that. I think the culprit that informs both religious ignorance and the dismal status of basic education in the US is a deep anti-intellectualism. (I think that anti-intellectualism has been created and nurtured by religions in America to quite consciously make it easier for them to bamboozle their constituencies.) These people can read, and could read the Bible. But so many Americans hold reading in contempt, the very idea of being educated unless it has a direct monetary connection (and, even then, not enough Americans hold even that limited view of the use of education, as we continue to important educated people to fill necessary jobs on all levels of our economy), and I think that's what holds them off from learning about Christianity. It'd take reading. And reading is icky.

It's must be IMMENSELY frustrating that in your country fundamentalist religion is so powerful. Anger is a natural response and can even be useful I think. But I think we also need to channel it into putting our rational arguments as calmly and forcefully as possible as there are reasonable theists, and even some doubters we can sway, even in the US! I'm convinced the tide will turn.

Yes, it is frustrating, but there's more to it than my personal frustration. Oh, so much more!

I am unsure at the power of cool, rational arguments to win debates. When I was in college, I did speech and debate tournaments for a year and I was pretty good at it. One of the things that I was told, time and again, to overcome was the urge merely to prove I was factually correct. While being factually correct was important, even more important was meaningfully engaging a person's emotions. I was told not to make them angry not because it would be unsuccessful in getting them to think about what I said, but because I would not win tournaments -- getting people angry, it seems, is a great way to get them to think about something. They can't get it out of their head. And this is comes from communications theory! This is a material scientific rationalist point of view.

In short, it is easy to dismiss a calm, rational argument. Not with logic, but with the emotional sleight-of-hand you've already noticed! Something that is not seen to be believed passionately is believed to be a trivial belief. A person charged up with the emotional hallucination of religious belief isn't anywhere near caring about carefully nuanced arguments, I think.

Additionally, I don't think we all need to do the same thing. I'm quite willing to play good cop, bad cop with theists. I suspect this multi-faceted approach would be more useful than us just calmly repeating ourselves over and over without any variation. I think that after I get in their face, having someone else come along and say, "Well, that was harsh, but there is some truth to that position" is useful.

Also, I think that it is useful to show theists the emotional consequences of their actions. To show them that what they do makes people, other real people, hurt and angry. Many theists, IMO, feel that they do nothing but good and simply do not understand the real consequences of their actions. I think it is fair to show them.

I am also somewhat critical of the "reasonable theist" argument. To me, and perhaps this is a distinctly American perspective, but it's really the only one I've got with any force, moderate religious people will defend the rights of the fundamentalists to be fundamentalist. Time and again I've talked to Christians about taking to task those people who call themselves Christian and who are racist, sexist, homophobic, classist warmongering bigots. I can, pretty easily, get them to agree that they should theoretically take them to task, but when I start to mention specific groups, the Pat Robertsons and Fred Phelps of the American religious scene, they start to defend them in a variety of ways, or find reasons not to take specific people and groups to task. So, I become increasingly forced to conclude that most Americans who call themselves moderate Christians are actually screening and defending the more radical and fundamentalist groups. And as far as I can tell, this is equally true with Islam and Hinduism.

I am also convinced the tide will turn. Even in America, the fastest growing religion is lack of religion. But I think that American Christians can do a lot of harm before this has run its course.

ps interesting you heard about that study published in "Le monde des religions". The study concerned the 51% of French people who define themselves as Catholics. On the existence of God, here's the precise breakdown: 26%: it's certain He exists; 26% likely; 10% unlikely; 7% doesn't exist(!); 30% no idea; 1% no opinion.

Just as interesting was the reasons people gave for being a Catholic: 55% "because born in Catholic family"; 21% "because have faith"; 14% "because attached to Catholic values"; 10% other/no reasons. This shows that belief is partly about identity, and that its intellectual base is often not questioned.

I have my sources! :)

Most of my online friends are European. Which might say something about me, but I don't know what. I am hoping my wife gets to do her post-doctoral work in France, though.

But, yes, I interpreted the information given as meaning that a fair number of people in France and culturally Catholic. Again, I must emphasize that in the US it isn't like that. There are more people who believe in god than are actively religious, here. We aren't culturally Christian, at least not yet, but are actively and often viciously Christian.

But I would bet that even less ANGLICANS believe in God!! Religion is often just a form of sociability, and also that we need to take this fact into account when challenging believers. We need to propose alternative forms of sociability and community.

This is very true. And I agree whole heartedly. Do you have any suggestions or examples of this?

Feel free to comment here! There are no character limits, Peter.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bringing up Islam

Like most American atheists, I generally limit myself to talking about Islam. There are a number of reasons for that, the biggest being that I'm mostly concerned with America and America's religion is Christianity, by and large. I -- unlike a lot of people -- just fail to recognize Islam as some big "threat". I think that fundie nutjob Christians are a much bigger threat than some nutters ten thousand miles away. And to the extent that I think that the terrorist problem with Islam needs to be dealt with, I think it should be dealt with through international law enforcement.

But, let's face it, Islam is at least as fucked up as Christianity. At least Christians don't quite so much poison their own as Muslims do.

But it seems to me that fundie Christians are related to fundie Muslims, that this sick and evil bastards are locked together.

So, take bin Laden. Where'd he get his start with terrorism? Fighting communists in Afghanistan. Who paid him? We did. The US government. The US government was so terrified of communism that we'd rather see nutjobs like bin Laden in charge. And not just Afghanistan! In Iran, a social democrat was elected -- Mohammed Mosaddeq-- and the CIA overthrew him to replace him with a KING, the Shah Reza Pahlavi. Now, this sonofabitch, with active support by the CIA, destroyed social democracy in Iran, but ignored the crazy mullahs who would eventually overthrow the Shah and institute the current fucked up Iranian Islamic republic noise. And in Arabia -- fuck calling it "Saudi Arabia", that's like calling America "Bush's America"! -- the US arms the king of Arabia with enough guns to protect the monarchy, there, from any democratic rebellion. Which they used to have, they used to have democratic uprisings, but, hey, violence works. They were crushed. Who paid for it? We did. Americans.

But . . . who in America supports these nutjobs?

I'm gonna tell you, but you should really go and look for yourself. Overwhelmingly, the people in America who supported fucked up mass murderers like bin Laden, the Shah of Iran and the sick fundamentalist Arabian monarchy are the same politicians supported by . . . Christian fundamentalists! You got it!

They are the same people.

Which means every nasty little truth I've said about Christians applies to Muslims, too! They are a bunch of homophobic, women-hating, anti-intellectual, racist, classist, anti-science, irrational backwards assed bigoted nutjobs as fundamentalist Christians! And the fundamentalist Christians have worked hand in hand with fundamentalist Muslims to create, over there, the kind of world Christian fundamentalists want right here in America, but can't have because some pretty smart guys decided that religion needs to be kept the fuck out of politics. All these religious psychos know that it isn't other religious psychos who are the real problem, it's the forces of "secularism" that Christian fundies attack with the same vigor as Muslim ones -- they are the same people!

So, I declare here and now that Islam is every bit as backwards, irrational, hateful, spiteful, bigoted, classist, sexist, racist, homophobic as any Christian faith, and unfortunately for the people who live under this vile medieval form of government their social systems have not developed the concept of separation of church and state, so a billion people in Muslim countries are forced to live under these fucked up psychopathic Islamic rulers. If all of Islam was swirled down the toilet, I'd say, "Good riddance".

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Liberty U Student with Firebombs!

Holy shit! A Liberty University student was stopped with Molotov cocktails in his car, which he planned to use to "stop protests" at Falwell's funeral! There are, it seems, at least three other suspects, too - it's a conspiracy to burn protesters alive.

Somehow, I doubt he'll be treated under the Patriot Act as a terrorists. It's only brown non-Christians who want to firebomb protests that are terrorists, right?

(Via SLOG)

Notes on Other Religions

I was requested to talk about religions other than Christianity. It is pretty hard to do, for me! There are reasons - and I think they're good reasons - why I devote most of my religious talk to Christianity. Christianity is the dominate religion in the United States, and amounts to a state religion, here. I mean, we get off several of the major Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas and do not give the same level of regard for any other religion. The second big reason is that, globally, Christianity is the most powerful religion, with fully 1 in 3 people at last nominally Christian. Additionally, when you look at the powerful, wealthy nations of the world, they are dominated by at least nominally Christian nations. So, locally, nationally and globally, there are a lot of good reasons for me to talk about Christianity.

I admit a certain hesitation with talking about Islam, to avoid the appearance of racism. Oh, I think that Islam is at least as bad as Christianity. Is the organized, industrialized viciousness of Christianity better or worse than the Islamic suicide bombing terrorism? That's a moral question that's too thorny for me to answer, but I am certain that both religions, even in their more moderate forms, constitute support structures for the militaristic factions that are doing their dead level best to plunge the whole world into murderous chaos. However, from about the Battle of Lepanto onwards (that was in 1571), the onus of exploitation has largely gone from Christian nations into Muslim nations, and certain from the time of Peter the Great and the Great Northern War (say, 1700) it has been almost entirely one way. In the past century or so, the US has been a prime player in the exploitation of Islamic nations, through colonial and capitalist imperialism. On whole, unless you want to start talking about events that happened before the 16th century, Islamic nations and people have been largely subject to all manner of imperialism from Christian countries.

That makes me hesitant, as a member of the Christian country that is most involved with imperialism in the Middle East at the present time, to take an unnuanced a view of Islam, rather than criticizing specific events, people, governments, etc. That said, I think that Islam is at least as filthy a religion as Christianity, at least as oppressive (though Muslims tend to oppress their own people far more than Christian nations do - Christians tend to export their exploitation, often to Muslim nations), murderous and altogether as stupid.

I don't talk about Hinduism because it's a hard beast to cage. I am not knowledgeable enough about Hinduism to meaningfully talk theologically about it on this blog, I feel. From what I know, however, maybe I should talk more about it. Unknown to most people, in India there is essentially a low level civil war going on between militant Muslims and at least equally militant Hindus. There's a kind of Hindu extremism that is flatly as fascist as anything that the West has ever produced. We're talking about Dr. Strangelove levels of whackiness: Bharatiya Janata Party vice-president Jana Krishanmurthy blithely dismissed war with Pakistan as being able winnable because, at most, 20 million Indians would die whereas Pakistan would be destroyed! Krishamurthy was, unknowingly, quoting General Turgidson! "No more than ten to twenty million killed, tops!"

This low level conflict in India fairly regularly has riots in which thousands are killed, often with the support of the largely Hindu police departments.

Additionally, there is a second low level religious conflict going on in India. About twenty percent of the Indian population are technically Hindu but casteless, or outcastes, called Dalits. In rural areas, the oppression of Dalits can be truly savage with Dalits forbidden to come within 64 or 128 paces of upper caste people (warriors and priests, shocker that, right?) on penalty of death. It is sometimes enforced - even on whole Dalit communities! Dalits are often forced to use different wells and springs that caste Hindus, and, believe me, they do not share equal water rights. Unsurprisingly, the Dalits don't like this, and there are occasional armed clashes where, sometimes, thousands can be killed. There is also a lot of hard to document low level violence between Dalits and caste Hindus. In Bihar, for instance, there's this group, Ranvir Sena, that uses organized violence to repress Dalits. The Dalits have responded with the creation of groups like the Dalit Panthers Movement which attack upper caste members.

In eastern India, the Dalits often make up the bulk of Maoist organizations, some of which are also engaged in low level civil warfare against various Indian states. Maoism's atheism appeals to people who have been brutally oppressed as a people on religious grounds for thousands of years.

I should also note in all of this there is a large racial component. Members of the upper castes tend to be, uh, whiter than lower caste Indians. The upper castes were populated the Aryan invaders thousands of years ago. The lower castes and especially the Dalits tend to be the black skilled Dravidian peoples that the Aryans conquered.

Which is to say that Hinduism is pretty fucked up, too.

There are religions, old ones, even, that I don't have any problems with. Buddhism and Taoism (and I account myself a philosophical Taoist) are almost entirely absent the sort of racist, nationalist murderousness of most religions - indeed, many people consider them to be philosophical systems rather than religions, because of their lack of things like an organized priestly hierarchy and absence of religious dogma. My view is that to some people both Buddhism and Taoism are certainly religions, but they also have a large number of people who are philosophical adherents. But even at the most religious, neither Buddhism nor Taoism systematically supported mass murder, conversion through violence, or even the "enforcement" of doctrine on co-religionists in any meaningful capacity. Oh, sure, Buddhists and Taoists might argue with each other, but it very rarely comes to blows. So that's pretty cool.

In general, however, my feeling about religion is that I don't care what adults believe in privacy. I am only concerned with the effects of those religious sentiments when they're brought into the social and political sphere - when people, on the grounds of their private religion, start making special status claims for the articles of their religious faith. When they start to force their religion on others. In the biggest religions in the world, they've all been doing this centuries and them doing it is literally ingrained in culture. They've been doing it so long they expect to be able to continue doing it. Indeed, it's been this way for so long that many agnostics and atheists support the special cultural status of religion! They attack anyone who dares to challenge religion as merely a social, economic and political entity, no different from a major corporation or government! Which is absurd. Freedom of speech and conscience, as well as the separation of church and state, demands that religion be treated identically to any other human created institution, that it be measured on the same grounds and with the same tools as we use to measure any other institution. This is true of all religions, so virtually everything I say about Christianity applies to any religion whose adherents generally claim special status on religious grounds - which is the religion of almost all people everywhere.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sweet as Blood, Biting as a Sword

In part for contrast, I have decided to post a somewhat older story that represents my writing style before I changed a fair bit of it to write Condotierri and Simon Peter. So, I give you Sweet as Blood, Biting as a Sword. The story is sword and sorcery fantasy with a kung-fu, pseudo-Chinese flavor to it. The character, Tzu Lung, uh, he started out in . . . Dungeons & Dragons. I was, and am, really, a fairly committed role-playing gamer. The character started off as the Undying Emperor, who I had envisioned as a black legend, cruelly ruling for thousands of years a vast empire, but doing so in order to stave off demonic threats.

As I started developing the character for fiction, he turned into an anti-Conan. Tzu Lung was austere, controlled, intellectual as opposed to the brooding and laughing, wild and barbaric Conan. I was also aware of Elric of Melnibone as another anti-Conan, so in some ways Tzu Lung is also the anti-Elric, who does what he is doing to better the world rather than to selfishly destroy it and is merely swept up in events beyond his control.

This is, chronologically, the first Tzu Lung story. I have several others that I could be persuaded to post. The stories are well-written, fast paced, and all the things my regular readers have come to expect, but I think people will see a different style in it than I've used in my more recent material.

As always, comments are welcome and if you think you know someone who might like the story, you should spread it around!

Atheists are Funny! Really!

Before I set about writing today's for honest and real post, I have decided to bring the funnies, again!

First, a friend sent me a link to Dance, Monkeys, Dance, which he commented was "atheist humor at its best". I rather agree. Remember, Nietzsche was just another monkey!

Then, another friend, Stew, sent me a new webcomic, Russell's Teapot, whereat Jerry Falwell is mentioned. I think it's safe to say when something about Falwell is titled "A Legacy of Love", laughter is bound to ensue.

Lastly, in the humor department, another whacky letter from a Christian!

Religion is a tool of control. It has the power to corrupt and the power to heal. Take a drug for example. In one hand you have a placebo and in the other the actual drug. In most cases the placebo works just as well as the actual medication. So in conclusion Religion on all levels is a placebo. It doesn't do anything except control the people who believe. Religion will never cease to exist. People are satisfied with the false light. My advice to you is to lead the sheep in your will. Make them do what is morally right. This is what religion is about. It is essential for human life. Otherwise we would die in our heartless blood rage.

Remember, this is supposed to be pro-religion! How to answer this sort of thing is completely beyond my knowledge and skill as a thinker and writer.

In a bit, I'll be comin' back with an actual post for today. But I thought I'd start out with some laughter!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Islam, Religion, Free Speech and Pat Condell

Recently, I was having a discussion and the topic veered towards freedom of speech and how in Europe the legal trend was towards the criminalization of "hate speech" codes that the US hasn't really taken to. I wasn't even, really, critiquing Europe's hate speech codes, but at the time tried to point out the cultural differences between the US and Western Europe -- in particular, we've never had fascists in power, we've never had a Nazi Party. Jews in America, for instance, can't meaningfully talk about a history of systematic abuse. They're the wealthiest, best educated and most politically powerful minority in America, and I don't mean that in a creepy conspiracy theory way, but in the sense that one of the Supreme Court justices is traditionally Jewish and things of that nature. So, as ugly as US racism is, it has not descended into the freakishly murderous depths that European racism, in the not too distant past, has gone. At least, not in the 20th century. Given this relative lack of genocidal murderousness in American racism, I have long felt that hate speech codes are unnecessary in America.

Well, that and the whole bit where we Americans, culturally, just like to mouth off. I think this is relevant, too. Culturally, Americans have traditionally enjoyed and been proud of our ridiculous, often over the top levels of freedom of speech. Americans like to tell each other off, even big shots, in extremely colorful language. It's a cultural tradition I like!

Well, apparently that is changing. Comic Pat Condell is, apparently, being sued by Berkeley, California, for hate speech. In particular, on YouTube, Condell put up a video named "The Trouble with Islam". In it, well, he spared little. He called Islamic men "primitive pigs whose only achievement in life is to be born with a penis in one hand and a Koran in the other" and said that any woman who wore a veil in England was "mentally ill". Go watch it. It's quite funny.

Is seems to me, though, that this whole case is another example of religion getting special treatment in society. One of the things that Condell points out in his video is that in English schools they're pulling back on teaching the Holocaust because it might provoke Islamic students to voice their Antisemitism. That's insane. So, this religion -- this collection of poorly written bullshit mouthed by one of the most successful con men in history, this racist and sexist fable with all manner of impossibilities -- is being given such cache that not only can they leverage removing one of the seminal and important events in 20th century history from classes, the same religion then gets additional protection from the state of California who doesn't want to let comics point out the fucked up things that Islam is doing. That's insane.

Well, I rather agree with Pat. Teaching religion to children is a form of child abuse. If we removed the oh-so-special status that religion has from our society, the obviousness of this would leap up at us. Teaching children religion is like forcing them to watch snuff movies and hardcore pornography as a moral code, for crying out loud! Even the "best" parts are the arrogant rantings of a "the end is nigh" nutter condemning most of the human species to an eternity of suffering -- that's the best parts. The worst? HOLY SHIT. Go read Revelations some time. Go read Judges. And the Koran is no better. As Condell points out, every time some Muslim or other deluded person calls Islam a "religion of peace" they lie. They have to ignore that not only does the Koran say to go out and convert people by the sword but they have to ignore the historical reality of Mohammad himself doing that!

And, man, all fundamentalists, everywhere, are diggin' on this. The more it becomes unacceptable to criticize Islam, the more it becomes unacceptable to criticize any fundamentalist religion, any religious madness no matter how over the top or severe. Which I think is just a whole new level of depraved, and indicates that religions are all gonna, in the long run, sink or swim together. That the mindset that protects one of them protects them all. Unless we are allowed to attack Islam, or any religion, we will not be allowed to attack any at all -- because Christians and fundie Hindus (oh, yes, they certainly have them) and the like will be able to rightly say that they should have the same protection as Islam. Which would be madness.

My solution is, of course, let people say what they want. I think that the freedom of speech to attack religions -- any religion -- will end up destroying them all. At least as we understand them. And that sits pretty well with me.

But, to end it up, here's Pat Condell talking about the very same subject:

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Secret Project Revealed! Bardic Circle Publishing

So, some time ago I mentioned that I had a secret project in the works. A couple of people even contacted me to learn what it was. Well, now it's not a secret. I can come out with it.

My partner, Tim Converse, aka Juan Santiago and I are going to give indie publishing a try. We have started Bardic Circle Publications and our first book will be Stories of the West. The hook of this is that it will be stories written by SCA members in the West Kingdom and primarily for an SCA audience. Our promotional copy for email and the like looks like this:

Calling All Writers!

Bardic Circle Publications needs you! Bardic Circle Publications, the new premier publishing imprint for SCA fiction, is putting together a collection of short stories from SCA members to SCA members. We are looking for period historical fiction and fantasy prose works – you got it, short stories! We suspect that a lot of you, out there, right now, have short stories on your hard drive. Well, send 'em in! Or write new ones.

We're looking for prose. We want what you want to send us! Fantasy, historical fiction, science-fiction, modern fantasy, romance -- what you have, we want.

And . . . to get personal a bit, both Santiago and I are avid readers. We like stories! Both of us are writers, too. Both of us believe that there are huge untapped reserves of potential in the SCA for prose storytelling. That there are people who are dying to have a place to be read. We both KNOW you people are talented and we're dying to read your material, and we want to publish it and pay you some coin for doing it. The biggest motivations in all of this is to get together with other people in the SCA and share the talent we know is out there with everyone.

You can find details about what we're looking for, submission guidelines and answers to other questions at:

Also, check out our website frequently for updates and additional information. We'll be posting the major updates, but who knows what goodies will show up, there?

And, take a look at our other websites for more information about us, who we are and what we like:

Juan Santiago:
Hasan ibn-Haroun al-Quirtibah:

We can also be reached at our LJ addresses:

Juan Santiago:
Hasan ibn-Haroun al-Quirtibah:

Or our blogs:

Juan Santiago:
Hasan ibn-Haroun al-Quirtibah:

We're neat people, so you should check us out. But mostly we want submissions!

Thank you,
Bardic Circle Publications

We're really excited about this project and I think it is a Good Idea. All that stuff in the promo copy is true! I think there is a tremendous reservoir of talent in the SCA and we want to tap into it, to get people who have little chance of getting published in a traditional venue published, and get those books into the hands of the 30,000 or so active SCA members!

Feel more than free to spread this around to any interested parties! We look forward to submissions!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Making with the Funny! The End of the World!

And now I try comedy! Comment and such. It's a new area for me so if I suck beyond all hope of redemption I . . . sorta need to know.

I swear that soon I'll put some text stuff up, real deep thoughts sorts of things. :)

I Bring You the Funny!

And, yet, more YouTube madness! This time, an atheist comic that my friend Becky passed along to me, Pat Condell. Presently, he has 11 videos on YouTube that can be downloaded. He is v. funny. Y'all should go patronize his videocity.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Atheist Blogroll and . . . Another Video!

I am a member, again, of the atheist blogroll! Yay! On my sidebar is a link to it whereat people should click and look around, and perhaps join.

And a video! It's a response to a guy who asked why us atheists want to devert people from a belief in the sky pixie! Military atheism, AHOY!

Jerry Falwell Redux! My new YouTube Video!

I have a new YouTube video! Much of it is my obit on Falwell - delivered with some anger, I admit. But some of it is also commentary on one of the posts made on Falwell's death where he mocked me for hating Falwell. So I responded to that commentary in video fashion!

And, hopefully Centurion will download and read "Immaculate Conception". It's short! Spread it around, Centurion! :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Religious Nutjob Letters!

I have, apparently, gotten to the point where I'm receiving now and again letters trying to refute whatever position I'm making. They're not nearly as cool as comments, where the person's absurdity is out there in the open for everyone to see, but I feel this is progress towards having my own brand of home grown fundie Christian trolls!

In any event, here's a missive I got from a Christian. I'm posting it as I got it except for putting in some paragraph breaks which make it flow easier:

You asked for a response from a "smart Christian" so here it is: I promise not to use a single verse out of the Bible to make a stand.

How do you know you exist? Rene Descartes puts "cognito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am). The next question you should ask your self is how did I and my ancestors come into being? Well evolution is a sound theory except it relies on the same principal of Christianity. Faith. Only micro-evolution has been truly proven. All other forms are based on circular reasoning. Quoting from Kant "If anything exists in the cosmos, then there must be an absolutely necessary Being."

Now for the Atheist argument. Ancient teachings are inaccurate because the writers of old did not know even one-quarter of what we know today. I rebuke this as untrue. The ancient Egyptians knew about "modern medical practices." They performed brain surgeries on concussions thousands of years before we. The ancient Indians had indoor plumbing in their houses years before the Romans even had aqueducts.

In the face of these things you will say that we lost most of our knowledge during the Crusades were the Christians in their ignorance burned the Library of Alexandria simply because it was Pagan. We slay the Muslims because of greed and we denied any medical advancement during the reign of the Holy Catholic Church. Have I not made an accurate assessment of your views? Our perception of the world is based on faith and faith alone. Truth is only the abstract conclusion of many minds.

So it doesn't matter whether you are an Atheist or a Christian or any other religion, you are only following the truth of faith. God plays dice and sometimes he craps. That's not to say that he doesn't love his creations it's just that he rather make it fun. Knowing you, you'll try to rebuke me with Bible. Go ahead and read for "The truth shall set you free." And "Ye shall be as gods." Sorry I couldn't keep the Bible out of the rebuke. Oh, and yes a mans' hands did scribe the bible, but let's do a little mind experiment.

Take one child, maybe just old enough to write (let's say a 3rd grader), and have the child write every instruction you give him exactly. Next take another child (let's use a 12th grader) and give the child a general idea of what you want. More than likely the 3rd grader who you told step by step to do will come out with better instructions than the 12th grader with just a general picture of what you wanted. This is basically the model of the Bible. God told the prophets what to write and they wrote. The New Testament is only a compilation of the letters of the church leaders save for Revelations and the four Gospels.

In conclusion Christianity is basically a Crap game. I'm putting my life to a God who may or may not exist, yet one side not God has not been proven not to exist so he must exist. For if there is no reproof for the proof provided by our elders then the elders must be right. Like I said before faith is a dice game and I could crap. But crapping is a chance I'll be willing to take for my god.

I wish I'd gotten the idea of posting the other letters I'd gotten. I want to say that pretty much all of them are about this level of . . . whatever.

How do you respond to something like this? Seriously. He starts off with irrelevant passages from Descartes and Kant (two philosophers I hate, I should also add - I HATE that I think therefore I am crap!). He then goes on to give the old canard about religion and science are the same because they both rely on faith. Which is nonsense. Science has proof and can do things, it never involves the intervention of supernatural beings.

Then the guy just gets weird. Not the things he gets that are merely factually wrong (like the Library at Alexandria being burned by the Crusaders . . . the Crusaders never conquered Alexandria) and then his bizarre thought experiment, and referring to religion as a "crap shoot" and ending up with a crude restatement of Pascal's wager. Or what's that stuff about how the ancients were more knowledgeable than us? That's just so . . . well, it's this bizarre stupidity whose end I thought we'd put soundly to rest by the Renaissance and the death of Scholasticism. Also, stupid on inspection. Where's the ancient aluminum or airplanes or steel reinforced concrete or Plexiglas, blah, blah, blah. I mean, sure, a few Egyptians might have had brain surgery, but . . . the survival rates for such procedures were v. low. Oh, sure, what the hell - the patient is gonna die, anyway. Might as well dose 'em up on opium and crack open the ol' brainpan. But to equate what the Egyptians did with surgery compared to modern medical techniques is daft. Daft and bizarre.

I just don't know what to say to this! I COULD just correct where he's factually wrong. Talk about the differences between science and religion, for example. I could critique his bringing up Descartes and Kant as irrelevant, and even veer into a discussion why I think that Descartes, as a philosopher, made a fine mathematician. I can talk about history, science and philosophy at some length.

But somehow I get the feeling it wouldn't work. If anyone has an idea of what might work, please, say so! Otherwise, I guess I'm just posting this as an example of the sorts of things I am getting in my inbox, nowadays. Which is fine! It makes opening my mail an interesting and unique experience every time.

Jerry Falwell is dead.

Fuck you, Falwell! Over the next couple of days, folks with be eulogizing this racist, sexist, classist evil fuckwit sonofabitch, but you're not gonna get that here. He's dead. Good! The earth is better off without him.

This rat bastard said that "pagans", abortionists, atheists, gays, feminists and "secularist" were the reason why 911 happened. He supported apartheid. He attacked Martin Luther King, Jr., and the concept of civil rights and to his dying breath supported segregation. There was never a war he disliked, nor a person of color he did like, he worked tirelessly to attack the rights of the poor and minorities. He scammed people who were poor and desperate for millions to spread hatred. His fat hands are red with innocent blood. He was a promoter of madness and hatred, and because of the material support he provided for warmongers and murderers, and to make no mention of his ideological support for even greater injustices and villainies, people have died.

So, fuck you, Falwell. Your death makes me wish there was the very Hell you believed in.

Old Blog Semi-Revived!

The old blog -- and the permalink to all the posts -- has risen from the dead in zombie form. What this means is while you can read the old posts easily enough, I can't add to it with new posts. It is deeply of the suck.

New Blog!

This is where my blog is set up, now. It's been a hassle and crazy, but here I am.