The Newtown massacre – Ridiculous Christians

In the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, I’ve seen numerous billboards and Internet memes saying “God bless the families”.

newtown, prayer, pray
It’s a bit late for that don’t you think?

I am literally aghast at the breathtaking moronity; the sheer, staggering, self-satisfied, deluded fuck-wittery of anyone who expresses such a sentiment publicly, even if their intention was virtuous and completely well meaning. It’s as insensitive as going up to the

spouse of someone who just died in a traffic accident, and saying “Well at least you don’t have to worry about next year’s car insurance!”

If there was a God, (and events like Newtown (or the other 9 million infant deaths each year) seem to be glaring evidence that there is not), the fact that at best,  he stood by with impunity and watched 20 innocent children get horrifically slaughtered, is about as close to shitting directly onto the plates of those families as is divinely possible.

What could possibly make these ridiculous sign writers believe that having just allowed, or even orchestrated it for the children of these families to die horrifically, that such a God would be in the slightest bit inclined to bless any of them, and what possible blessing could he bestow that would have any meaning?

It would be as moronic as saying to someone who had just lost their family in 9/11, “Osama love you!”

photo of Osama Bin Laden

Excruciating though it may be for the families, it would be far, far better for you to believe that there is NO God and that events like this are simply products of a chaotic universe, than to believe that there is, and he allowed this to happen to your beautiful children when he could have stopped it. Because if you believe that, then you must accept that either he is personally vindictive towards you, or that there is no sacrifice that he will not make as part of a greater plan.

And if he cares so little about your pain, why the FUCK would you still want to have a relationship with him?

A photo saying god bless the families - AFTER he has failed to do so

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The ultimate test for theists and atheists alike – The Adam Lanza slayings in Newtown, Connecticut

adamlanzaYesterday, Friday the 15th of December 2012, a maniac entered a school in Newtown Connecticut, and callously murdered 20 children and 6 adults. My heart goes out to the parents of the victims, and the entire community.

To make matters even worse, the gunman, 20 year old Adam Lanza seems to have taken his own life before he could be apprehended, so whilst there is someone to blame, there is no-one to lash out at.

At times like this, incredibly strong emotions are stirred in theists and atheists alike. We are no different to each other in our desire for safe, reasonably orderly lives. We are no different to each other in our love for friends and family. We are no different to each other in our hope that justice prevails wherever evil is perpetrated, and that goodness is rewarded. But one important difference, is that atheists do not believe that there is cosmic justice; some divine reckoning that follows Adam Lanza into existence beyond the grave.

For theists, an event of such tragic magnitude is enough to test their faith, and it’s common to hear Christians asking, “How can there be a God of love who allows such things to happen to innocent children?” Of course, if they truly knew their Bible, they would know that it claims there’s no such thing as “innocence”; that we are all tainted from birth, by the disobedience and curiosity of Adam and Eve, and given a death sentence as a result. But that’s a discussion for another video. It is common that events such as this act as the catalyst that cause many Christians to lose their faith – just at the time when it would have proved most useful, providing the placebo of a promise that their loved ones continued to exist somewhere else.

dead children in Houla

In William Lane Craig’s world, these children in Houla are better off dead like this….

Reprehensible creatures such as the youtube apologist William Lane Craig have argued that the premature death of children is actually a good thing, hastening them to an eternity in paradise, and even the Archbishop of Canterbury has argued that a nuclear holocaust would be good for the same reason.

However, in the acute agony of violent separation from their loved ones, it is unlikely that such thoughts will provide any succour to the bereaved of Newtown. It’s likely that in the future, it is a platitude that may help their recovery, just as Prozac can help a suicidal person by numbing the pain, and disguising the true weight of emotions. It’s a fuzzy lie that some will embrace, but many will not. Because in the face of such savagery, who could honestly believe that there is a divine being who even cares about us, much less loves us enough to “number the hairs on our heads”?

godbless the familes

And of course, this is a testing time for atheists too. A Christian recently said to  me, ” Men always meet God when they are on their knees and their own mortality and destruction is before their eyes…” and he was partially right. In the extremity of agony and bereavement, even the strongest of atheists will sometimes cry out into the darkness in the hope that something greater will answer. Even the most scientific minded of people may cling to the vain belief that their loved ones continue to exist and that they are happy. This is nothing to do with the voice of God appealing to them, and everything to do with mankind’s willingness to clutch at the most irrational of straws in the depths of emotional stress. Just like an adult calling for his long dead mother, when his own life is in danger, such actions are not a sign of God’s hand, or a thought process that suddenly become lucid. It is the sign of a mind that has been pushed to the point that it loses all rationality, and all connection to the intellectual tenets and values upon which it normally operates. Just as dozens of people jumped from the burning towers to a certain death on 9/11, people do not behave logically when they are suffering.

Bereaved parent looking skywards

Praying or wondering why he’s been abandoned? Only he knows.

And it’s worth noting, that whilst many a lifelong atheist may well cry out to God in extremis, none, nor any Christian, has ever been answered. If there is a God, he sits listening with the same disinterested lack of compassion as he showed whilst a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School…

But I can understand an atheist’s desperation to try anything, no matter how antithetical to his or rational beliefs under this sort of pressure, and there will be no end of theists around, only too happy to try to indoctrinate you into their faith, offering you the unsupported comfort that your loved ones are in a better place. But perhaps rather than attending church or praying, you would be better off spending your energies campaigning against bullying, or for better mental health care,or for tougher gun regulations, in the hope that you can reduce the chance of things like this happening again.

desperation - praying to a god you don't believe in

I realise that many people reading this post will consider it distasteful and opportunistic, taking advantage of a terrible tragedy to express my atheist opinions. Perhaps it is, but for once, I mean absolutely no disrespect to theists, and this video is no less moral than news programs that use this incident to question the wisdom of guns, talk about school security, bullying, or an entire tranche of issues raised by the event.

I am truly sorry and sickened for everyone’s loss. But before you all rush to  condemn me, just consider this: on the night of the killings, the news broadcasts were already publicising prayer rallies, and there were priests on hand to offer comfort to anyone who needed  it. I expect that these people all did so with the purest of motives, to offer comfort, but how are they different to a drug-pusher, albeit a well-meaning one, who turns up and offers free crack cocaine to help the families through the coming days? Yes, the immediate days may go a little easier, but at what long-term cost?

For a video version of this post go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpJNzRxhqPs

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Taking the Christ out of Christmas

bill and silvermannThe ever-moronic Bill O’Reilly recently took the head of American Atheists, David Silvermann to task for “attacking Christmas”. As usual, the chief fool amongst the village full of idiots that is Fox News, either completely missed the point, or far more likely, wilfully misrepresented it in order to appeal to  his demographic and court controversy.

O’Reilly failed utterly to comprehend why atheists might want to take the “Christ” out of Christmas, turning it instead back into the secular holiday that everyone can enjoy. But he was so desperately disingenuous that he even went so far as to rant repeatedly that Christianity is not a religion; it’s a philosophy. Yeah, and being a moron is not a matter of having a low IQ – it’s a lifestyle choice.

O’Reilly usually bleats on about America being “a Christian country”, as if the majority opinion was the best basis for policy. The majority of Americans thought slavery was acceptable a couple of hundred years ago, and most civilised people don’t consider THAT acceptable any more. In any case, America is only a Christian country because those warm-hearted Christians (Roman Catholics and Precisionists (an offshoot of Calvinists)) came over from Europe and eradicated or displaced the native Americans, most of whom believed in a more personal form of spirituality, based around beliefs of Animism and Panentheism (essentially the belief that God or a life force is part of all things).

But whether America is a Christian country or not, Christmas itself is a hotch-potch  mixture of pagan rituals, middle-aged folk tales, and modern commercialism. Christ’s role in the celebration is almost non-existent.

The precise date of Jesus’ birth is unknown, however, it is suggested that the homophones “sun” meaning the warm yellow thing that makes plants grow, and “son” – a male child – were combined to create the date in December which corresponds to the Southern Winter Solstice, the time when, in the Northern Hemisphere, the midday sun is at its lowest in the southern sky. This time of year, which has had significance to cultures going back as far as 10,200BCE, was appropriated by the Christian church around 400CE.

winter_solstice sunSo the date of Christmas, whilst not arbitrary, was certainly contrived, and unlike Independence Day in the US, bore no relationship to the timing of actual historical events. A far more significant pagan celebration already took place on or about that date, because it celebrated the point after which the days would start to lengthen, and new life might begin again. Unlike belief in a zombie Jesus who died, rose again (doubtless hungry for brains and going away hungry where Christians are concerned), the Winter Solstice was a time of year that was quite literally connected to the cycles of life and death.

But even if December 25th represented the precise day on which Jesus was born, and had not also been connected with a multitude of pre-Christian festivals going back thousands of years, Christmas is a holiday that Atheists are as entitled to celebrate as free from the guilt of hypocrisy as any Christian – more so in fact.

Christmas has as much relevance to its supposed origins, as Halloween has to do with honouring Pomona the goddess of fruit trees, and Samhain, lord of the dead. For a small few devout Christians, they DO indeed use Christmas as an opportunity to specifically contemplate and celebrate the birth of Jesus, but for the vast majority of Christians, their commemoration is limited to a single church service and a few extra words during prayer-time – if that. For the vast majority, Christmas has come to mean exactly the same things as it is for atheists – a short vacation during which we all make an extra effort to get together as families, and celebrate what it means to be part of a close-knit group of people bound together by blood.

It’s true that without Christianity we wouldn’t have Christmas vacation. Maybe Thanksgiving would have expanded, or perhaps Solstice would have flourished instead. Maybe we’d have nothing. Who knows?

For Christians, Christmas is a time rich in symbols – the manger, holly, the star, the wreath, bells, and even the cross. For atheists, it makes no sense to adopt these Christianity ideograms, but there are plenty unrelated to the Christ story – Santa, the tree, candy cane, snowmen, snowflakes, and Rudolph. These represent the season and the spirit of giving that accompanies it, and in some ways are far more positive symbols than the dreary Christian icons.

The Bible entreats Christians to be modest about the way that they pray. Matthew 6:6 says ” But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Could anything be less private than the sickeningly ostentatious sight of the Pope’s Christmas mass in St Peter’s Square?

Bill O'Reilly the idiot windbag talking crap as usualHowever, to go back to the question from Moron O’Reilly, a buffoon with more bluster than hurricane Sandy; why would Atheists want to take the Christ out of Christmas? Because America is founded on SECULAR values, not Christian ones. Even if you allow that over 50% of Americans are Christians, as Penn Jillette points out, that superset comprises many different flavours of Christian beliefs, many at deep odds with each other. We should take the religion out of Christmas holidays because America should not be adopting the religious OR philosophical beliefs of any sect. It should be a country where almost all are tolerated equally.

Rather than allowing Christmas to become a divisive time when Christians are assisted by local government to assert their beliefs over those of everyone else in the form of public displays of Christianity, it should be a time for promoting community. I have no problem if individuals want to publicly show their gullibility, sorry, faith in the form of household decorations, clothing or by holding public rallies and services. But I completely share David Silvermann’s belief that it is not appropriate for local government to start promoting Christian ideography. As has been said many times before, even if you are a Christian, you should also be opposed, for what if the flavour of Christianity being promoted is not your brand?

A true democracy should try to encompass and tolerate all of its people, not those who hold the currently popular majority view. For what if tomorrow, atheists gain the majority, and as Silvermann points out, we start printing “In God we do NOT trust” on our money?!

gramma reading a story to kids at ChristmasI don’t want Christmas banned. I don’t want people to stop celebrating Christianity at Christmas – but I do want to ensure that Christianity is not shoved down people’s throats.

For a video version of this post go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CNeQJrhh4I

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More stupid Christians

A Christian idiot handling snakes

Scene from a recent pentecostal snake handling service in Jolo, West Virginia

A few years ago I read an absolutely hilarious news story about a Baptist minister from the American south, who wanted to prove his faith in God. He had apparently read some verse in the Bible that said a man who had faith could handle serpents and not get bitten – Mark chapter 16 verses 17 and 18

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

So to prove his faith, he handles some serpents – rattle snakes to be precise, and they bit him, and he died. Now that’s bloody funny enough in my book, but what happened next is where you get the real insight into the thought process and lunacy of the Christian brain, because having just seen his father; a minister, and presumably one of the most faithful people he knows, die from the experiment, the man’s moronic son does not stop and question the wisdom of the test, nor does he even consider the passage where satan entreats Jesus to jump off a cliff to prove himself but Jesus declines saying that God should not be tested. No, this completely demented man deduces that his father obviously lacked the required faith, so he repeats the experiment, with the same result! Moreover, so did a number of members of the congregation.

Here’s another example of the same fuckwittery – apparently it’s common:

http://thereheis.com/nucleus3.22/item/2007/11/family-sues-over-snakebite-treatment/catid/5

Now normally, I would declare this a shining example of Darwin’s theory of natural selection in practice, and celebrate the demise of a bunch of half-witted, self-deluded Christians, and hope that it represented the end of several bloodlines. However, this incredible type of moronity is being used to kill innocent people too.

For some freaky reason, Jehovah’s witnesses don’t accept blood transfusions, even when it’s life and death. But worse still, they don’t allow their children to receive them either. Now to my mind, this goes right to the heart of the fact that children are considered the property of their parents – a viewpoint that is deeply re-enforced in the Bible. Fortunately, in England, Jehovah’s witnesses are no longer allowed to prohibit blood transfusions for their needy children, nor are they allowed to prohibit life-saving surgery that may include transfusions.

However, even in modern day London, stupid Christians are putting their faith in a God they’ve never seen, over tried-and-trusted medical treatment from doctors that they can reach out and touch.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-14406818

According to Pastors at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in London, HIV infected parishioners should stop taking their AIDs treatments, and put all their faith in God.

So far, three women who complied have died of AIDs, and I personally, am very grateful for it. Not because that’s three less stupid Christians around to warp people’s minds, but because their deaths have nationally  highlighted the inconsistency between what is promised by the church, and what is delivered. Faith in God and their pastor has quite literally cost these women their lives, but with any luck, there will be such outrage at this dangerous and stupid advice, that the government itself will intervene, and make it illegal for pastors to promise miracle cures without at the very least, a proven record of having delivered upon such promises in the past. Who knows, maybe the church will even start to be held to the same standards of accountability as any other organisation making promises?

In the meantime, these women have paid the ultimate price for their stupidity. I only hope that their pastor, well-meaning and ridiculous though he may be, will be sent to prison for deception and manslaughter, although reading the way he’s backpedalling, it seems that the clergy are not unwilling to lie their fat asses off when their bullshit has consequences that might hurt them personally.

But sadly, even the western world is overflowing with religious morons like these, and whilst I have no particular  problem with them committing inadvertent suicide, what worries me, is how many of them are prepared to take their innocent children with them. So, for the sake of the children, please fight religion wherever you find it.

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Archbishop Mario Conti – A scare-mongering asshole

If there’s one accusation that can be unequivocally levelled at the Catholic church, it’s that the church uses, and always has used a combination of strong-arm bully boy tactics, emotional blackmail, and threats to accomplish compliance amongst the population. Witchburning, ex-communication, purgatory – they’re all aspects of the same fear-controlling mentality that says “If you don’t obey, there will be serious – maybe even eternal consequences.”

In the dark ages, that kind of nonsense worked a treat. Even nowadays, in countries that have a more ignorant population, threats of ex-communication or hell might be enough to terrify people into obedience, but amongst the more educated countries in the world, Catholicism is apparently experiencing a significant and well-deserved drop in membership, due in part no doubt, to the church’s shameful handling of all the recent sexual scandals, and the recognition by ordinary people, of the gulf between what the church preaches and what it practices.

Which makes it all the more amazing to see that Scottish Archbishop Mario Conti going almost medieval in his opposition to gay marriage.

http://www.atvtoday.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2459:mario-conti-archbishop-of-glasgow-to-oppose-gay-marriage&catid=5:lgbt&Itemid=11

Archbishop and bigot, Mario Conti

A man who wears a dress, believes in sky fairies and doesn't have sex, is lecturing the Scottish government on the unhealthy repercussions of allowing gay marriage - rrrriiight...

It’s heartening to see that mankind as a whole is gradually starting to accept the fact that love is love, regardless of gender, and that legal recognition of the fact that two people are prepared to make a lifelong commitment to be together is not something that should be reserved exclusively for heterosexuals. Quite frankly, whenever I hear of anyone who disagrees with the requests of homosexuals to get married, I always think they look like someone who selfishly wants to keep the good stuff for themselves, preventing those who are not exactly like them, from enjoying the same benefits.

Of course, many people argue about the “sanctity” of marriage. But with over 50% of marriages ending in divorce, and a far higher number involving cheating, there isn’t all that much sanctity involved anyway.

In any case, nowadays, marriage is often completely dissociated from any religious connection. Atheists marry, so do people of non-christian faiths. Marriage is a legal institution that comes with additional rights, and in the UK, tax benefits. The logic there is that marriage is a more child-friendly environment for raising a family. Personally, I don’t think that deciding to help with the over-population of the planet is something that deserves a pat on the back and financial rewards, but this is not the place for that debate…

Whatever the arguments for or against marriage, it’s fairly clear that the fabric of the universe or even of society is not going to fall apart if you allow two men or women who wants to spend their lives together, to enjoy the same legal recognition as two heterosexuals who want the same. Heck, I very much doubt that much would change if you allowed ducks to start marrying goats!

So when Archbishop Conti warns “There will be other consequences in law, and social policies stemming from it which need to be taken into account…” Of course there will be consequences – more people will be included in a practice which currently needlessly favours heterosexuals. But when he goes on to rant “…for example housing provision, social security entitlements and the legitimate expectations of families for support in having and bringing up children on whom the future of society depends, and for which society should make provision.” Conti is deliberately painting an apocalyptic picture in which the marriage of gays suddenly floods the welfare state of Scotland with scrounging gay couples stealing housing and state benefits from legitimate claimants – like all of the single unwed mothers for instance…

Let’s remember, that merely because the government offers gay couples the right to marry, it does not say that any specific church is obligated to marry them. Thus, if Scottish Catholics wish to continue live in the dark ages, alienating more and more of their modern-thinking flock, they are entitled to do so by law, and they can decline to marry whomever they like, just as they can now.

Completely unaware of the colossal irony of his words, Conti even cautions that allowing gay marriage will lead to “gross discrimination” of Christians, although in no way does he attempt to substantiate this outrageous claim. I can’t envision any possible circumstance in which allowing gay couples to be married by those clergy who wish to marry them, will discriminate against anyone. Perhaps what Conti fears is that in refusing to marry gay couples, his clergy will discriminate against themselves, by revealing themselves to be the tremendous bigots they are.

But honestly, even if this did somehow lead to discrimination against Christians – a good thing in my book, given the massive harm done to this planet’s psyche by Christians, isn’t that like discriminating against psychos or Nazis?

Conti is not alone in his narrow-minded views: another Scottish clergyman said that allowing gay marriage would lead to a “gross subversion of a universally accepted human right“. We’ll jump straight to the obvious contradiction here, and point out that if marriage is a “universally accepted human right” how can you limit whom its available to? But in any case, monogamous marriage is neither universal, nor a human right. More cultures on this planet practice polygamy than monogamy, and a human right? Let’s not overstate the matter! Monogamous marriage is a long-standing custom, which nowadays has legal dimensions as well. Being treated equally regardless of sexuality – now that’s a human right, because sexuality is not chosen; it’s bestowed by nature or childhood conditioning.

Ultimately I’m grateful to this bigoted lardass for his foaming at the mouth diatribe against gay marriage, because yet again, Conti has clearly showed the world why there is no place in this world, and especially no place in politics for religion.

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No christians in teaching positions

 

drawing of santa waving

I wouldn't hire a pedophile to be teacher, so why should we have christians in schools?

Imagine that you were the dean or head at a school and a seemingly well-qualified person was interviewing for a job, then that person revealed that they still believed in santa and the tooth fairy. Would you still hire them? Honestly?

So how on earth is it that admitting to being a christian is not frowned upon: in fact, it’s often seen as an asset?

Even ignoring the – admittedly slight – risk of student indoctrination, and the far more likely chance of a christian-tainted view of morality, I would think that to be a teacher the first thing you need to demonstrate is the power of critical thinking and reason, and the ability to have matured intellectually beyond your childhood beliefs. If an adult said that they believed in fairies or the easter bunny, they’d surely be treated with derision or at best, bemusement, let alone allowed to teach children. Why? Because adults who believe in fantasy figures that have no provable historical basis, and absolutely no evidence for their existence in the modern day are not taken seriously.

I mean, it’s one thing to have a scientific theory, say the formation of the universe, or what is happening in a black hole, and to hypothesise and postulate based upon measurements, known scientific fact and the sum of scientific research, but to take the fairytales

picture showing evolution of man

How can christian teachers be trusted to impartially teach what they don't believe, and if they can, who wants to hire a hypocrite?

of a whole bunch of civilisations, and the fears and gut feelings of thousands of ignorant people down the eons, and then simply believe, with no evidence whatsoever, other than the collected fairytales upon which your belief in the first place – well that’s just childish. More than childish – it’s moronic.

Being a moron or a superstitious fool is not a crime. You believe whatever you like. But if you haven’t got the capacity to think rationally and impartially, how can you teach others to do so? Moreover, if you disbelieve most of what you’re teaching (evolution, the formation and nature of matter and life, how long the earth has existed, etc) how can you possibly be trusted to pass that knowledge on to your students?

Worst of all, if you believe that all mankind has little time left, and those who do not share your beliefs are all destined to be wiped out, how can you even look your students in the eye especially if you believe, that it’s your divine duty to save as many people as possible by spreading the word?

No, christians are just too great a risk to be teachers, just like pedophiles.

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Let’s kill god once and for all

A tombstone to god showing his crimes against mankindGod is the product of frightened, weak minds that cannot cope with their own mortality or the cruelty of our existence. I don’t blame people for that. In moments of extreme emotional duress, it’s the most natural thing in the world to appeal for help from a higher power. Children cry out to their mummy or daddy, and adults cry out for god. The big difference is, in the first case, there’s a chance that someone might actually appear to help.

Not only does a belief in god hold mankind back from spending his time more productively, but it becomes a banner under which to perform all manner of inhumanities.

Perhaps if christianity (and probably all religion) was eradicated from this planet, just as many people would still be assholes to each other – after all, as the populist newspapers demonstrate, you don’t need to be a christian to be a bigot; but at least it would be one less major excuse.

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