When people (usually laughably, but that’s just my own opinion) try to put a logical argument behind their theistic beliefs, I have usually found that they resort to one of three general arguments: Teleological, Cosmological, or Ontological. I will address each in their own time as I feel like it, and now, I’m going to offer a pretty quick rebuttal to the Ontological Argument. Continue reading
Like most men in their mid-twenties, I play video games (probably a little too much), and one game that I particularly enjoyed playing through was Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. During the quest line involving the (lamely-named) “Fighter’s Guild,” your character is tasked with infiltrating a rival organization and seeing how they operate. While “under cover,” you are ordered, along with a small squad of compatriots, to rid a town of goblins. So, you take part in this ceremony, drink some magic juice, pass out, and wake up in the town and surrounded by goblins. Of course, you easily dispatch of the gross green men and pass out again. When you come to, it becomes apparent that you were slaughtering the townsfolk; apparently whatever you drank made you, despite your character’s good (or evil) intentions, murder a bunch of innocent people.
What, you might ask, does this have to do with religion? Well, pretty much everything. Religion has the uncanny ability to make otherwise good people do awful, terrible things. The only differences are that the perpetrators don’t have to drink anything and that those awful actions are real and have very real consequences. Continue reading
Zombie Jesus Resurrection Day Easter Everyone! Here’s a post about Jesus!
Christianity is, simply put, the cult surrounding the life and death of a 1st Century Palestinian Jew who supposedly was both God’s son and God himself, born of a virgin, performed a few miracles, died for our sins, got resurrected, and ascended bodily into heaven. More specifically, he was born of a virgin whose lineage probably (if you buy the story, which I don’t) never actually left the middle east.
So how in the Hell did we get a Jesus that looks like this?
The Jesus We All Know and Love
Well… it was racism, actually.
So, I saw this post on the Friendly Atheist blog about a stupid Christian Bus Ad (showed later) that basically tells kids to ask God, and only God, for help when their parents are addicted to, and exposing them to, illicit drugs. Frankly, you don’t have to be an atheist for this to piss you off; you just have to have a few functioning brain cells…
Over the past decade or so, the New Atheists, including the prolific “Four Horsemen”, have made their non-belief, and their relentless assault on silly religious beliefs, a very public (and very loud) affair. High School students, and others, have subject themselves to harassment and vitriol in order to stand up for the Separation of Church and State. A little over a week ago, ~20,000 atheists gathered for the largest rally of nonbelievers in history. To many, it seems that there is an atheist movement, possibly similar in scope to the Gay Rights Movement or Civil Rights Movements, is on the horizon.
But is it really? Sadly, I’m not very optimistic.
When I was in Graduate School, I took a course that I definitely expected would be (and later proved to be) incredibly interesting: History of Economic Thought and Method (yes, I am a nerd). The Professor was definitely an intelligent man, and, through the course I definitely gained valuable insight on how current economic orthodoxy evolved over time and how economic thinking interacted with history (as well as discovering quite a few heterodox schools). However, the lecture that I remember the most clearly, and the most specifically, had very, very little to do with economics.
I forget what this lecture was supposed to be about (I think we were in the middle of discussing Thorstein Veblen, but it doesn’t really matter), but, almost instantaneously, this normally intelligent, although somewhat eccentric (as academics can be), man descended into an absolutely batty discussion about why he believes that the world will end in December, 2012. Now, why anyone would trust the ancient Mayans (intelligent as they were) to predict our fates when they couldn’t predict their own demise is beyond me, but this otherwise very intelligent man had a seemingly reasonable proof for his belief–that just happened to fall on its face when its premises were made subject to any scrutiny, but that’s not the point.
What does this have to do with atheism or religion? Well, lots, actually. Thousands–no millions–of perfectly intelligent people who whole-heartedly believe the quite silly belief that the God of Abraham impregnated a virgin with himself so he could be born, give a few speeches, perform a few miracles, and get murdered after being betrayed so that mankind would finally be forgiven for one woman (who probably didn’t exist) eating an apple (or pomegranate) that she wasn’t supposed to. Holding this belief, silly as it may be, does not make someone stupid, per se; it just requires a little cognitive dissonance and a lot of mental gymnastics. Continue reading