Thursday, December 31, 2009

They Need Clean Water

Is this how you would want your children to grow up?

The people of Gaza, a full half of them children under the age of 15, are without adequate clean water, food, electricity, homes, medicine and well, everything. Children, people. Write me all the polemics you wish about terrorists, but children are not terrorists. The babies dying in Gaza because there is no sewage treatment and the aquifer is being poisoned are not terrorists. They are babies. And the same people that shout and cry when a collection of cells is aborted think this is just fine. Seriously, fuck you all. And stop calling yourselves prolife until you can bring youself to care about Palestine's children.

Today, 1,400 activists from from over 42 countries will march on the wall in Gaza to protest the inhumane, cruel treatment of the Gazans. I felt nauseated when I read this. I fear for them. I really don't think all 1,400 of them are walking out of there.

And I wish I could be there. I wish I could do something for all those people- and that's what they are, people- suffering under conditions I cannot imagine. You take away my coffee and I'm a wreck, I can't imagine drinking sewage water. I wish I could make everyone listen when I say that we cannot treat children this way and expect anything good in the future.

All I can do is write this post and hope that you will think on it. Think on the fact that each American taxpayer gives about $400 a year to Israel, so if you live in the US, you helped build that wall. You and I helped create this horrendous situation.

I am paying to ensure that children drink sewage.

So are you.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Random Reinforcement

gambling, prayer, christian, psychology, random reinforcement
The Thinking Christian wrote a rather elaborate defense of prayer, in which he attempts to distinguish prayer from wishing, the reading of which caused me to have a revelation: I now understand the psychological forces behind prayer. It's called random reinforcement.

The easiest way to explain random reinforcement is gambling, particularly with slot machines. When you play a slot machine, you aren't guaranteed a payout. Sometimes you get something, sometimes you get a whole lot, most times you get nothing. There's no predicting which it's going to be this particular time. This is random reinforcement. The thing is, random reinforcement is a far more powerful force than regular reinforcement. It's not just more powerful for humans, either. Dogs are also far more motivated by random reinforcement than regular reinforcement. (Think about it. You might only drop food while cooking once a month, but that's enough to keep the dog on your ass every single time you cook, without fail.)

Prayer works in exactly the same way. Now, there are only three results of prayers: the situation (or whatever) works out as you want it to, it does not work out as you want it to, it stays exactly the same. Suppose your mother is in the hospital in a coma. You pray for her to get better. One of three things is going to happen irrespective of prayer: she'll get better, she'll get worse, she'll stay the same.

If you prayed, and she gets better, you attribute this to prayer. Wow! God's great. Next week, however, dad ends up in the hospital in a coma. You pray to god again, only this time, dad dies. The week after that, your spouse ends up in the hospital, in a coma. (S)he stays in a coma, getting neither better nor worse.

So, looking at this logically, it's totally unpredictable as to which prayer will be answered, and prayers are "answered" with the same frequency as random chance, but that doesn't matter. It's random reinforcement, and you're as hooked as the blue-haired old lady in stirrup pants at the slot machine.

It's the Demographics, Stupid.

civil rights, GOP, republican, bush,
I can never decide if the GOP is extremely shortsighted or remarkably stupid when it comes to minorities in this country*. If they are extremely shortsighted, then they simply don't care that the percentage of white citizens is falling while the percentage of nonwhite citizens (including everything from black to Pacific Islander) is rising. Sure, you can still win a national election on the white vote alone- today. That's not always going to be true. Perhaps the GOP is simply too stupid to evaluate simple demographics, though you'd think someone in the party is intelligent enough to do so.

I mention this due to the revelation that the GOP, beginning with Reagan and continuing through W. Bush, watered down civil rights enforcement. Although, when it comes to Dubya, perhaps the word I am looking for is "venal".

In dry statistics and even drier prose, a report released last week by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) spells out how sweeping that effort became. The Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division veered away from challenging "at-large election systems" that marginalized African-Americans and focused on language discrimination against Spanish speakers. The Employment Litigation Section moved away from so-called pattern or practice cases (suits that took on widespread or systematic discrimination) in favor of individual complaints. ("Plenty of individual lawyers can bring these individual discrimination cases," pointed out Alan Jenkins, executive director of The Opportunity Agenda, a New York–based nonprofit; but only the Justice Department can pursue certain big cases that can make a real difference.) Bush's Justice Department was also particularly sensitive to discrimination against white males. In 2007 the division filed a suit against Indianapolis for favoring African-Americans and females over white males for promotion to police sergeant.

Good luck with that, GOP.

*The National Tea Party Convention, being sponsered by a known hate group, is both.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fostering Patriarchy Spiritual Growth

mormon, lds, patriarchy, feminism, pink,
(h/t to Whore of All the Earth from Pharyngula's comments for the link that led to the link.)

The Mormon Church is, if you are not aware, awash in activities designed to strengthen one's mormonism, or to keep members so busy they don't have time to think about it. (Good strategy, that.) Their latest is a redesign of their Patriarchy Parade, otherwise known as the Personal Progress program for girls. It's very . . . pink*.

"We hope that Personal Progress will help [Mormon girls] understand who they are, their identity as daughters of our Heavenly Father, how precious they are in His sight and the great roles and responsibilities they have as His daughters here on the earth at this time," added Sister Dalton, general Young Women president.

. . .

In addition, the Young Women medallion has been redesigned and now includes age group historical symbols for Beehives, Mia Maids and Laurels, and has a ruby. "I want every young woman to realize that she is more precious than rubies," said Sister Dalton.

The booklets are pink. "We are excited about the color of pink, because we think these young women are pink. They resonate to the softness and the femininity of that color. We want them to understand that they are soft, they are unique, they are feminine and that they don't have to be like the boys."

Okay, credit where credit is due. Certain types of rubies are the most valuable gemstones in the world, which I did not know until I looked it up. However, the whole discussion of pink is sending me into feminist convulsions. Women are not soft. Hello, we give birth. We. Give. Birth. Women grow another life inside themselves, supporting it with their own bodies, and then expell something the size of a watermelon through a hole the size of a lemon. That's not soft. That's insane. We are unique, but so is every man. Not every woman is feminine in the sense they're using it.

And then we get to "don't have to be like boys." First of all, there's nothing wrong with being a boy. Of course, I happen to like boys. Also, being a feminist is not being like a man. Being strong, motivated, smart, educated, etc. is not masculine. Men do not own these traits, these are traits everyone can and should share in. I'll just blow a Mormon's mind right now and state that I am all those things and I'm wearing pink as I write this. Ha!

Sister Dalton said that few people are teaching values in society today. "Who is teaching values in our society today? Where will a young woman go to understand the values of faith, divine nature, individual worth, integrity, knowledge, choice and accountability? We believe this is probably one of the very few places that they are being taught values. And it is very important for strengthening homes and families and our entire society."

Sigh. That's right. We godless people just let our children murder and rape and pillage (Ar!). Haven't you heard about the random hordes of atheist pirate children overtaking the country? As for teaching girls the values of individual worth, integrity, knowledge, choice and accountability, I suggest a good feminist blog. I have a couple in my blogroll. Those values are the cornerstones of feminism. Wait, is that irony? Does anyone have Alannis Morrisette's phone number?

In the category of Don't Try This Analogy at Home, I give you:

"I think that sometimes, because this is small and simple, that we underestimate the power of small and simple things in a girl's life," said Sister Dalton. "It is like putting on an armor for a young woman, one chain at a time, one experience at a time. … We want to integrate this into a young woman's life."

Ummm . . . what? That doesn't even make sense. I'm fairly certain you cannot don chainmail one link at a time, though my actual experience with chainmail is limited. Which makes me wonder about Madame Dalton.

seems uncomfortable to me

"These young women are strong and they are noble," said Sister Dalton. "But it is as if they are standing in a riptide and trying to stay upright in the world. And this will be a tool for parents and priesthood leaders and all of us to really encircle a young women about with support and with faith and testimony and help her in her desire to be righteous and pure and worthy."

. . . and help her in the Church's desire to uphold the patriarchy. Fixed.

*I have no quarrels with the color pink itself. It's not pink's fault what the patriarchy does with it. I wear it fairly often because it looks good on me. Of course, ghosts look at me and think, "Damn, she is pale!", so color is a necessary thing for me.

Why We Blog

atheism, atheist, blogging,
Every so often, I have a crisis of blogging, so to speak, wondering why I blog. Am I just preaching to the choir? Is it worthwhile to do this at all? Am I changing anything, or just feeding my ego? (Probably a bit of the latter in any case, to be honest.) I've been doing this for a few weeks now.

Then I stumble across and read the deconversion stories. Over and over again, I see the same refrain: I'm so happy to find other people who feel like I do. I had to find someone who understands. I'm confused. I'm lonely.

That's why I, and all the other atheist bloggers, do this. Because on the internet right now are people who have lost their faith, people who never really believed, and they are lost, lonely and confused. They think they are the only ones who feel this way. They think there is something wrong with them, that they've done something wrong.

Then they find blogs, websites and message boards filled with people who know just how they feel, people who understand, people who can help, simply by being who they are. As long as there is the possibility that I can help just one person feel at home, I will continue to blog. As long as there is the possibility that I can help one person realize that there is nothing wrong with them, I will continue to blog. And I thank all my readers and commentors for joining in. Together, we're doing something valuable, even it's just to one person.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Oh, Look- You're Sponsered by a Hate Group!

fair, tea party, racism, bigotry, palin, politics,
When I heard about the National Tea Party Convention, I giggled. That's like getting a late Christmas present!

It only took me 3 clicks to find something interesting: the NTPC is being sponsered by a hate group, the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies FAIR as a hate group because, in part,

Founded by Tanton in 1979, FAIR has long been marked by anti-Latino and anti-Catholic attitudes. It has mixed this bigotry with a fondness for eugenics, the idea of breeding better humans discredited by its Nazi associations. It has accepted $1.2 million from an infamous, racist eugenics foundation. It has employed officials in key positions who are also members of white supremacist groups. Recently, it has promoted racist conspiracy theories about Mexico's secret designs on the American Southwest and an alternative theory alleging secret plans to merge the United States, Mexico and Canada. In 2006, a senior FAIR official sought "advice" from the leaders of a racist Belgian political party.

That's who's sponsoring the National Tea Party Convention. Can we stop pretending the Tea Party movement isn't racist now? And, since Sarah Palin is their keynote speaker, can we please start calling her out on this association?

The Fundy Bubble Revisited

fundy, atheism, atheist, evangelism, christianity,

In the previous fundy bubble post we met a woman who felt as shocked to meet an atheist as I would be if I ran into a yeti at the supermarket. The replies to her post are worth revisiting the thread for.

If you can have amiable conversations with her about these things than talk about prophecy and what the Bible says about the end times. unfortunately most people become very very uncomfortable talking about these things for some odd reason. I have come to be believe that the reason is because they know the truth and they don't like it. And thats why they get so upset. Here is what I do sometimes. Im fond of pretending to be a skeptic myself and making believe i have been recently astounded by all the things happening in the world that line up with Bible prophecy. I will bring up shows that are on the history channel like race to Armageddon and other ones that talk about Biblical prophecy.

For the last freakin' time, I am not secretly Christian and merely pretending to be an atheist. There is no value in that. Being a Christian would make me part of the majority, and give me access to all kinds of privilege. Being an atheist makes me the subject of quite a bit of bigotry and hatred. Also, if you have to lie pretend to be a nonbeliever to get your point across, perhaps your point isn't all that valid. Isn't there a commandment about that?

The problem is not one of science, you see; it is a question of the heart. They can defend against every "scientific proof" you can muster, but they cannot defend against a life lived for the Lord. A suggestion I have is that you forgive this lady for angering you*; let it go and give it into God's hands. Another thing you may wish to do is to apologize to her for arguing with her.

I like that this poster put "scientific proof" in quotes in this context. It's quite unexpected honesty! The idea that I cannot defend against a life lived for the Lord is just silly. The same could be said for any religion. Actually, by that logic, muslim suicide bombers should convert us all. As for forgiving this woman for angering the OP, that pisses me off. The atheist in question didn't confront the OP, the OP confronted the atheist. All the the atheist did was answer a question. What does she have to be forgiven for?

You said she volunteered for toys for tots. You could ask her why she did that. What was the purpose for her doing that?

I presume her purpose was to make sure children get Christmas presents.

If she is offended by [the Way of the Master], then it will expose her reliance on her own good works to get her wherever it is she's trying to go. It will show that she has set herself up as god (even though she may deny it). This is the folly of the atheist viewpoint. They won't acknowledge it, and maybe even will deny it, but when boiled down, atheism is about being your own god.If you can help her to see that, then you'll be showing her that she has just as much faith in her god as we do in ours. Atheism isn't about no god and no faith, it's about faith in yourself and your own good works as your god.

That's a lot to unpack, but first and foremost, I don't believe in god, therefore, I also do not believe in heaven or hell. If I do nice things (and I do), I do them because I see they need to be done, not out of hope for a reward or fear of a punishment. Don't project your own inability to be good for goodness' sake onto me.

As for "atheism is about being your own god", that's just nonsensical. That sentence literally has no meaning. A god is an immortal being with supernatural powers. I can no more set myself up to be god than I can set myself up to be a toaster. It's like saying "you don't like my boa constrictor because you want to be your own snake." And yet, I see this all the damn time.

Apparently, a disturbing number of people live in the fundy bubble.
*If you didn't read the previous post, the OP discovers an acquaintence is an atheist, gets upset, asks her to prove god doesn't exist, doesn't like the answer and gets even more upset.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Fundy Bubble

atheism, atheist, christian, fundy, evangelism,
The title of this post on Rapture Ready's message board caught my eye for obvious reasons: Atheist Neighborhood. I mean, where is it? I want to move there!

What the poster actually meant was "atheist neighbor", which I already am.

There is women who lives on my street for several years. She is very introvent either she's shy, or she vents internally, i'm not sure which, intelligent and kinda pretty for her age if anyone ever says that about me, there will be blood. in my opinion. She lives by herself with her animals. cat lady?

We used to not speak to each other much but we sorta became friends while I was voluntering for toys-for-tots and she was voluntering to.
sigh. "while we were volunteering for Toys for Tots". She is the only women around here who is my age and not married or divorced with children. She doesn't seem bitter about it all. She is actually pretty content and happy. i'm guessing the poster is not.

She's been all over the world, has read nearly a thousand books and rides a motorcycle!
i really want to meet this woman! I loved listening to her talk it was so refreshing to talk to another women wothout it being about babies or husbands.

We do differ in politics. She is extremely liberal boarding
she's either renting to socialist or is seriously left wing. socialist through she denies it. She dislikes Obama because "He's to conservative" <-- the smilies on RR will make your eyes bleed after a while.

Yesterday, I was asked her what church she went to. She started getting shifty and nervous.
as if she stole something? She said she didn't go to church so I invited her to mine. She said "no Thank you" and tried to change the subject.

I kept pressing her until finally she told me

"I'm an atheist" I was in shock. I never met an atheist in real life before.

here's the fundy bubble. the only way you never met an atheist is if you live in the fundy bubble, a place populated by women and children wherein the only people you ever meet are your family and members of your church. otherwise, you've met an atheist. we're not yetis.

We got into a hudge argument probably why she got all shifty and nervous and then I asked her "To prove there was no God" because you totally have a right to demand that of acquaintances.

She answered back "Okey will look at the method you used to prove that Zeus and Thor aren't real and will start from there" I HAVE to meet this woman!

This made me more upset and angry she ended up leaving.
i wonder why. I am very upset right now. How can I prove the truth to her presumably not by starting huge arguments over things that aren't your business anyway. this is exactly why i lie when asked questions like this in real life.

ah, the life of an atheist. lie or accept being screamed at when you tell the truth. i love it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Rules

Okay, apparently some people (you know who you are) don't know this.

If you are walking through a department store, and you see a sale rack labeled $3.99, you must stop and look at the rack. Sure, it's probably filled with the sort of clothes the people who wear gold lame leggings wouldn't wear, but you must look.

Should you happen to see a pair of jeans on that rack in a nice, medium wash*, a reasonable rise, the right length, and your size, you are legally required to buy those jeans. Federal law prohibits you from passing up a deal of that caliber. They are jeans and they are less than $5, you must buy them**.

*I'm still recovering from the 80s, so all of my jeans are one shade removed from black. I die a little inside when I see teenagers wearing acid washed jeans as if that were new, or possibly ironic. It's not ironic, I don't care what Alannis says.

**In the future, when I am Emporor of the Entire Freakin' Planet (my actual title), this will be a real law***. Violators will be prosecuted.

***I will ban leggings while I'm at it. Also.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Confusing Cause and Effect

I keep coming across these vaguely libertarian (I've got mine, fuck you!), pseudo-Christian complaints about government social programs. I don't know if this has been going on for years, or if this is something new, but they always strike me as being . . . I don't know. Disingenuous? Obtuse? I'm not sure.

For one thing, if you truly care about feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless, I'm not sure why you would care who does it. Sure, we shouldn't be paying for charity by prostituting children, but why so much fuss about charity done through taxes as opposed to churches? I've heard weak complaints about "waste", but churches pay administrative costs, too, so it's not like 100% of the money is ever going to charity.

To me, it sounds like a combination of two things: a rather childish I don't want to and you can't make me! (but I totally would anyway if you just wouldn't make me) and how dare you take the Jesus out of caring for the poor!

Take this particular post from American Catholic, for example. Basically, the author argues that government social programs are the cause the very social ills they address. As if children were never starving before we came up with WIC, or in this case, as if all the elderly were happily being supported by their families until Social Security came along, and then people stopped caring for their elders and now the elderly are lonely and poor.

Working with a large number of recent immigrants from India, one of the biggest social differences that stands out when family interactions are discussed at work is that in Indian families it is expected that unless they are very rich, when parents retire they will go to live with one of their married children, or circulate from one filial household to another, staying at each for several months out of the year. This is practically unheard of in the US at this time, and it is frequent for US-born people around the office to say, when hearing about this, “I couldn’t stand to have my parents visit for more than a week.” However, such arrangements were far more common both in the US and in Europe before social programs to assure an independent income for the retired rendered such arrangements unnecessary. One can argue that longer distances make for closer families, and certainly, human nature being what it is, enforced closeness can lead to resentment instead of love, but I don’t think it takes a great deal of imagination to see that this is a case where removing the need to care for each other in a practical and financial sense has allowed the erosion of social relationships.

Um, no. The reason Social Security and such were created was because of the large numbers of elderly persons living in extreme poverty because they weren't being supported by their families. Keep in mind, in order to be supported by your children, three things need to happen, (a) you have to have children, (b) those children need to survive to adulthood, not a guaranteed thing when Social Security was created, or even today, and (c) those children need to be doing well enough financially to support you. That's an awful lot to make people depend on, especially people like me who can't children.

I would also like to point something else out. Religious charity existed well before government social programs. The fact that government social programs had to be created is proof of the fact that voluntary religious charity was not enough. If it were enough, we wouldn't need food stamps and WIC and Social Security. Duh.

Oh, and the next person who invokes Scrooge as proof of anything is getting a visit from nihilist hackers. Scrooge is not real, people. Stop it!


environmentalism, natural gas, marcellus shale
I'm not really weighing in on the whole natural gas debate*. To be honest, I'm not even that informed on the whole issue (we've hit the time of year where all I care about is the impending Christmas Family Implosion, to begin in T-minus 56 hours) from a climate change/energy independence perspective.

I can tell you what I think about the consequences on a local scale, however, because I live near the Marcellus Shale.

The Marcellus Shale is a huge deposit (or something) of natural gas in Pennsylvania, which resides under what is mostly farmland or undeveloped ruralness. The gas company has been signing leases right and left with the owners of this land for increasingly outrageous sums of money. I know this because the law firm I work for has prepared at least 100 of said leases.

Last year, the gas company was paying about $2,500/acre. Last week, I typed one out for more than $6,000/acre. This wouldn't bother me, except that the land is owned by a group of farmers, who will not be farming this spring. I understand why the farmers are doing it. The gas company is paying more than they would make farming, and now they don't have to do anything for the money.

Unfortunately, we can't eat natural gas. I know who these farmers are because I see them at the Farmer's Market every summer/fall. Well, not next year. I'm not sure there will be a Farmer's Market next year, because literally half the farmers signed that lease. Yay, capitalism, but what are we eating next year?

*I've come to a conclusion about American Thinker. The founder of the website clearly has a liberal friend whom he consulted about the name of his rightwing internet crapabration who snarkily replied "American Thinker", not even realizing what he was unleashing upon the irony aware of the world. I'm sure liberal friend is properly apologetic about all this, but the damage has been done.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Stress, stress, stress

For my one millionth "why we need universal health care and we need it right now", I give you my stressful Monday.

We though Teh Hubby was in another MS relapse. Due to damage from previous relapses, he is permanently dizzy and lightheaded and has peripheral neuropathy in his feet. A few months ago, he started feeling dizzier, more lightheaded and getting pounding headaches daily. He doesn't have health insurance and we don't have money, so he just dealt with it. I also noticed that I seemed to be having trouble hearing. He kept asking me if backup vocals, etc. were in tune and they sounded fine to me (I literally twitch when I hear something out of tune.), but he seemed to think they weren't right. Since he has perfect pitch and I don't, I assumed the problem was on my end.

Last week, he started getting wheezy and once I got my Christmas bonus, I made an appointment with the doctor for today. Turns out, Teh Hubby has massive double ear infections, inner, middle and outer. (I wasn't having trouble hearing, he was.) Apparently, he is like me in that he doesn't get pain from an ear infection, so he never suspected it. All of his symptoms are the ear infections, which could have easily been cleared up with a round of antibiotics when it started.

But we couldn't get him to a doctor when it started, so now he has $140 drops on top of an antibiotic, and we have to hope they work before his eardrums burst, which is a serious risk at this point.

This is the problem with health care as it is in the US. If you have health insurance, an ear infection is no big deal. If you don't have health insurance, an ear infection could cost you your hearing or your life. We're supposed to be the greatest country in the world and people are dying from treatable illnesses, stupid things even. It's a tragedy that this happens at all. That people support this as the best possible option is just plain evil.

The Brazen Eye

You can still get this painting!

I bought a painting for my mother for Christmas, and I had such a wonderful experience with the painter, Melynda Skinner*, of The Brazen Eye, that I decided to give her the tiny bit of free press I can on my blog.

First of all, as you can see, she's quite talented, but that's not what inspired this post. I wasn't sure exactly what to do with a huge, rolled-up painting and asked her for advice. Her response couldn't have been quicker or friendlier. I have a soft spot in my heart for people who make a living doing what they love, and I would hope that if anyone is looking for a piece of art, you check out Melynda's work first. Right now, 5' x 6' paintings are going for as low as $50 - $100, but I wouldn't expect that to last long.

So, in the words of the artist herself, Our paintings are created by a family group of fine artists living and working in the US—not in some sweat-shop art** mill in Who-Knows-Where—and our materials are designed to last generations, not a year or two. We do the right thing. Period. When you contact us, you’re contacting someone in the studio—not some outsourced customer support flunky. We know our stuff.

*She is also the author of 7 published books.

**I'm pretty sure this describes the art I own, and now I feel guilty.

Friday, December 18, 2009


The problem with working for banks is that certain business has to be concluded before the end of the year. So, every December, a few days before Christmas, bank vice presidents look at their calendars and say, "ZOMG- it's like 8 business days til the end of the year! This, all of this that has sat on my desk for months and months must be done now! Right NOW!"

And now it's my problem.

I leave you to ponder this:

That might actually make a 6,000 year old universe make sense.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Do Appreciate Your Honesty

fundy, hell, christian, jesus

Did you ever talk to someone for a while, and at first they seem totally normal, but after a while you realize they are batshit crazy? You've have been having a great time, and then they start talking about their UFO abduction, or FEMA reeducation camps, or skinning their neighbor's puppy, and now you have to leave as politely, and quickly, as possible, that kind of thing?

Fundys do that to me.

First let me say that I don't revel in anyone spending their eternity in hell. We are to love everyone and pray for the salvation of all, even though that's a pretty hard thing to do sometimes . . .

followed by

But there's always been people who reject Jesus and His incredible offer of grace, mercy, restoration, and salvation. And as I read one article after another about avowed secularists, atheists, evolutionists, jihdists, and other "ists" that boldly and defiantly shake their fists at God, I know that one day, as God's Word says they will, bend their knee, and with their tongues, proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father. I can't help but think about Osama bin Laden, a murdering jihadist and hater of Israel, bending his knee to a Jewish King Jesus.*

Or Hockmydinnerjacket**, who furiously shakes his fist as a hate-filled Holocaust denier, kneeling before a Jewish Carpenter sitting at God's right hand and confessing with his tongue that the very God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob (all of Israel) is the one True God and that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God.

I think about Richard Dawkins, an avowed God-denier, atheist, and evolutionist as he kneels before the very one that he led so many away from, as he confesses Jesus Lord to the glory of God the Father. I can go on and on. And as they are each sadly led away to an eternity of horror, punishment, and torment that our minds cannot even begin to comprehend, they will have full cognition of the truth of who God is and all that they have done and the punishment that awaits.

Christianity, it's all about the love. and the eternal torment. and watching the eternal torment. lovingly.

*Paragraphs added because I like you.

**Ahmedinejad. Is it that hard to say? Ach-mah-din-eh-jhad. Start slowly, work your way up.

Suspended for Jesus

christian, jesus, persecution, taunton
If you follow fundamentalist or right wing (not much of a difference these days) blogs, you know all about the little boy who was suspended for drawing a picture of Jesus. It's a travesty, proof that the atheists have won, Christians are persecuted in the US, and the end of days is upon us!

Except that it never happened.

Julie Hackett, superintendent of Taunton Public Schools, said the student was never suspended and that neither he nor other students at the Maxham Elementary School were asked by their teacher to sketch something that reminded them of Christmas or any religious holiday, as the (local) newspaper reported and the (boy's) father suggested....She said the boy's drawing was seen as a potential cry for help when the student identified himself, rather than Jesus, as the figure on the cross, which sparked the teacher to alert the school's principal and staff psychologist.

Bravo to the teacher! I would very be concerned about a little boy who saw himself as Jesus on the cross, and hopefully I would have the courage to brave said little boy's parents' potential wrath and make sure professionals were called in to help. Nobody did anything wrong in this case, with the exception of an interview happy father more than willing to prostititute his son's potential troubles to the lie of Christian persecution in the US.

This will in no way stop the fundys from using this case as proof of their persecution, nor will it teach anyone a lesson about getting the entire story before drawing conclusions. You'd hope that it would, but it won't.

Random Thoughts

To the high school girls that ride the bus with me:

I think it's fantastic that you've invented a time machine, and I'd love to discuss the math behind that with you, but why are you using such a wondrous device to raid my closet 20 years ago?


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Guest Post from the Cynical Nymph: Death and Belief

catholic, atheism, death, christianity,
Cynical Nymph (you should recognize her from hell's comments) asked me to post this in hell because this doesn't fit the theme of her own blog, and I am quite delighted to oblige. Enjoy.

On Tuesday I went to Mass and received the Eucharist for the first time in twelve years. My completely devout yet utterly nonjudgmental Nana passed away Sunday morning, and I went through the motions out of respect for her. It was her dearest with that all her children and grandchildren who had "fallen away from the Church" would eventually "come home to it," and while that will never happen for all of us, I thought she'd appreciate it if I at least gave the sacrament of the Eucharist the ol' college try. Techincally I should have abstained out of respect for the Church, as Catholicism teaches the mystery of transubstantiation, and also since my husband and I weren't married by a priest, so we're still living in sin in the eyes of the Vatican. I figured respect for my Nana was more important to me than respect for some German guy living in Italy.

Some people find faith again through death. If anything, I feel more confident than ever that Catholicism is constructed of man's trappings, and that Christianity in general just sounds... well... silly. In all my years of reciting my parts at Mass by rote, I don't think I really stopped to listen to what I was saying. When you're raised in a tradition or activity from birth (be it a religion, a political or ideological belief system, or hell, even certain sports), it's easy to miss the opportunity to examine the discrete actions and proclamations that make up part of who you think you are.

I went to 13 years of Catholic school and my mother would sporadically drag me to Sunday Mass, but my immediate family wasn't particularly devout (e.g., my mom's "don't have sex" talk centered around not getting pregnant, as opposed to not sinning). I stopped taking communion at school Mass in sophomore year of high school. I was floored - floored, I tell you - by how much of the ritual of Mass came back to me automatically. At this Mass, I believe I considered more deeply than I ever had what I was actually saying in response to the priest, and what the various kneeling/standing/etc. cues most directly symbolized. Ironic, I guess, that it took full participation while not believing for me to really pay attention - and for me to reaffirm what I believe now. All the talk of paradise and pearly gates cemented my newfound ambition of getting my MSW or some kind of psychology training. I mean - and I know many of PF's readers will agree with me here - that right there is a deep well of rejecting the unknown. And that profession of faith in rejection of the unknown is what's in the Bible. It's what makes the Mass, especially the funeral Mass. I for one find it hard to fathom an omnicient, omnipotent deity working in terms of pearly gates and physical bodies after death, and other things so easily identifiable in the human experience. Maybe it's just me (no, it's really, really not), but it seems rather more logical that whatever happens after death has more to do with the expanse and atomic intricacies of the universe that totally pass human understanding. And that, to me, is an utterly comforting thought.

Saul Williams FTW!

If you're going to follow anyone on Twitter, it should be Saul Williams. He will blow your mind. At least once a week. He will read books to you. He tweets in a combination of iambic pentameter and hiphop that makes me hopeful for the future of the human race.

Saul Williams: LUFF HIM!

Yesterday, I get this, and now I luff him even more:

If Christ believed we were born in sin he wouldn't have used children as examples of what we should become.

I actually forgot to breathe for a minute. Seriously, I've been trying to say this for years, and Mr. Williams casually types that out in 140 characters or less. I'm not sure whether to dance with glee or hang up my blogging boots in shame.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I'm Told This Is Not a Poe

big love, polygamy, christian, marriage,
I'm not sure I believe it. (I'm not calling you a liar, [redacted2], but wow, it's a little unbelievable.) I just can't quite believe this website, which is basically a polygamy dating site, is not a poe. The idea is just mind boggling.

Before you attempt to even read anything on the page, run your mouse over the options to the left. Each option is bullet pointed by a kneeling woman icon. As you mouse passes over an option, the kneeling woman bows. It's . . . it's . . . words fail me.

So, why should I sign up with this dating service? Apparently, the possibilities are endless.

Does friendship have to end in high school or even college? Women with college degrees are increasingly finding it difficult to find men at executive levels that are not married. They feel pressure to marry one of their college classmates even though they're much more attracted to older more experienced men (as in life experience.) Because of this, some women are opting for retaining their friendships and entering that search for a lifetime partner together. Join our list of searching women by visiting or by filling out the contact form on this website. You might be surprised to find out that your best friend would share a husband with you. Good friends are hard to find. Why leave yours behind.

Wouldn't it just be easier to have sex with my best friend and leave the third party out of it? Also, if this is my BFF, shouldn't I know already how she would feel about polygamy? Why do I need yours services?

Maybe you've been more of a loner but are open to the idea of a polygamous union. You may simply not be prepared to settle (as in settle for less than you've been expecting all your life.) This is a malady common to the beautiful as well as the educated. You've been brought up to expect a super successful exec to sweep you off your feet. There is no reason that can't still happen if you open your eyes to the possibility for matching yourself with a much married man.

So, I'm beautiful, educated, and living in a very peculiar Disney Princess movie, apparently.

There are others for whom the perfect match seems to be as bounteous as their own imagination. Are you what some Americans might call a "mail order bride?" If so, don't count on those anxious foreigners to be the prince charming you imagine them to be. Many of the men seeking wives from Asia have personality defects that are not easily detectable via letters or e-mail. It's a custom in many Asian nations for well moneyed men to have secret wives. You can find out what it's like to have a man who does not try to hide you but who is the kind of man that secret wives get; a strong breadwinner, gracious, adoring, and full of energy. It's a fact that the best men are indeed taken but I can assure you that many of them are waiting to meet someone like you. Maybe you're not a college type at all and don't have a career path in mind. A polygamous household might be just the thing the Lord has planned for you. Polygamists, for obvious reasons, don't parade their wives around town as the monogamists do. We value who our women are and have a healthy desire for them. We're not interested in what desires they might induce in other men. There is no reason for any man to parade his wife about like a harlot. Respect for a woman is demonstrated by a calm and patient temperament. I'm sure you can understand that most men who enter polygamous unions have a tremendous amount of patience or they would have no interest in having even one wife.

That paragraph is . . . um . . . mail order . . . and then . . . taking your wife to dinner is parading her about like a harlot? I . . . >_< . . . patience . . . respect? This is like a missive from an alternate universe in which James Kirk married Uhura, the green chick and Spock.

Maybe you're from the Brethren, Mennonites, Anabaptists, or a woman that simply has conservative values. If so, you're likely more suited than you think to be part of a polygamous household. Women such as yourself find it a comfort knowing that they don't have to complete college to be accepted as "real women" and they can enjoy the freedom that is the envy of women's libbers. Imagine being part of a household that includes more women than men. You can leave your children for the day without worries. You can spend an afternoon at a coffee shop or the mall without any worries about the well being of your children. In general, women in polygamous households have fewer responsibilities than women in "nuclear two parent families." Obviously it is much easier to cook dinner or do the laundry if you have help and in a polygamous household there is plenty of help. Are you such a woman? Join our list of searching women by visiting and placing a personal ad.

Wait, aren't I a harlot if I go out in public? Now I'm hanging out in coffee shops looking all chic while my best friend or whatever does the laundry? Are these the writers of Big Love?

It's a fact that the best men are indeed taken but I can assure you that many of them are waiting to meet someone like you. You'll be surprised at how many women share your beliefs that a conservative household with lots of children and lots of wives for the husband is the best way to provide a happy and healthy environment for your children. There simply are no latch key kids in polygamous households. Every child is cared for and loved..

I'll just stick with a good daycare, thanks.

Why Is It Never the Hungry?

jesus, poverty, porn, gay, bible, christian,
Dozens (yes, dozens) of Christians paraded around praying in front of what was either Playboy's headquarters or Hugh Hefner's mansion* on Saturday, because naked blondes are so much more important than starving children or people dying due to lack of health care.

Strike LA, the group that organized the gathering, described the event as one of its biggest in terms of targets. Over the last few years, the group said it has held about 30 so-called strikes, which involve participants fasting and praying for God to intervene and release the city of Los Angeles from the bondage of the “enemy.” Each strike event culminates in a prayerful march at a specific location that represents a sector that needs God’s intervention, such as education, Hollywood, the courts, sports, and the marketplace.

This is perfectly in line with the Manhattan Declaration, which declares gay people to be a bigger moral issue than the aforementioned starving children or perfectly treatable dying people.

What I find so perfectly odd about all this is that these people supposedly follow the teachings of Jesus Christ as memoralized in the Bible, and while Jesus' reaction to the adulterous woman could best be described as "meh", he had plenty to say about the sick and the hungry.

James 2:14-20

14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless

Matt 25:34-46

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Luke 3:10-11

10"What should we do then?" the crowd asked.
11John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."

There is only one conclusion that can be drawn from this: most Christians care less about what Jesus said than I do**. Jesus didn't give a flying fuck about gay people or porn or sports, but he sure did care about the poor. Jesus couldn't shut up about the responsibility he felt his followers should take for their fellow man, but his supposed followers can't shut up about sex.

These people better hope they're wrong about meeting Jesus any time soon, because I can't picture him doing anything other than slapping them across the face and screaming, "How many fucking times do I have to talk about the poor before you fucking get it?!"

*They chose Saturday because that is the anniversary of the first publication of the magazine in question, and Playboy's first issue was released in December of 1953, so I'm guessing Playboy.

**Notable exceptions include the Slacktivist, who may well be the return of Jesus.

Monday, December 14, 2009

1994 to Irani Government: Do NOT Start a Flamewar

Why yes, the Ayatollah does look fetching in Sunset Prairie blush.

I guess the Irani Government missed the central lesson of 1994, which was do not start a flamewar. Under any circumstance, whatever you do, do NOT start a flamewar. That other guy you just started the flamewar with? He has no life, no sense of fair play and no boundaries. This will never end well for you.

The Irani government took pictures of a young Irani activist in drag, either as a woman, or a nun, I'm not quite sure. "Ha Ha!" said the Irani government. "This move has no counter, the activists cannot recover from this!"

At which point, despite the fact that most Iranis were 5 in 1994, the opposition immediately posted pictures of (a) other men as women/nuns, and (b) the Supreme Leader in drag. Touche, young Iranis, though I'm not sure you've allowed yourselves any further escalation from this point, which is an important consideration in a flamewar. Still, I have to thank you for allowing me to see the Supreme Leader in drag.

I love the 21st century. What a glorious time to be alive.

How I Spent My Birthday

Homage to Abraham Lincoln

Friday, December 11, 2009

Conservapedia, How Could I Have Forgotten Your Charm?

faith, conservapedia, andy,schlafly, religion, christian,
I can't believe I have stayed away from Conservapedia for so long. It's divine, inspired, so filled with lulz it could teach the world to sing while teaching this town how to dance at the same time.

Take for example, Conservapedia's article on faith. It's so fatuous, so asinine, so filled with bizarre and erroneous assumptions, I'm singing right now. O Canada . . .

Faith is a confidence or trust in the achievement of God's will, even though unseen and unexpected by non-believers. This being conservapedia, I can't tell if it's faith or god's will that is unexpected by nonbelievers, nor why "unexpected by nonbelievers" was even added.
Faith embodies more than belief. definition of faith: confidence or trust in a person or thing. and we're done. Faith elevates one's being, while belief is limited to a mental state or emotion. Faith implies a causal role by the believer in an outcome or in overcoming a personal fear. "an outcome"? so, if the souffle rises, that's faith? what does that even mean, Andy? Faith also implies advancement or accomplishment rather than wrongdoing, while belief implies neither. actually, faith has nothing to do with advancement, accomplishment or wrongdoing.

Faith plays a central role in overcoming addiction. no, it doesn't. Virtually everyone is plagued by one or more addictions unless you're defining "addiction" so broadly that one could say, "I am addicted to wearing pants", no, no we're not, and faith enables overcoming those weaknesses. addiction is a mental illness, not a weakness. fuck you, Andy. Similar to this is faith's key role in overcoming recidivism. i nearly choked on that one. This role is unique to Christian faith and has not been shown with regard to other religions' belief systems or to secular humanist ideologies. atheists are repeat offenders? oh, that's right, we're hardly even in jail at all.

Faith is also helpful in overcoming fear, such as fear of public speaking, appearing on television, or standing up to a bully or unpleasant situations. spiders, the no. 13, heights and cameron diaz! Jesus reprimanded the Apostles for their faithless fear: "The disciples went and woke him, saying, 'Lord, save us! We're going to drown!' He replied, 'You of little faith, why are you so afraid?' Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm." worst shorter ever.
Lack of faith can lead to fear, anxiety, depression and lack of confidence. for the love of . . . stop that, andy. it's not true, and you know it. A lack of faith can be very harmful, leading to self-destructive behavior. like reading conservapedia, no doubt. Faith can be described as the power to ignore the devil and all his antics. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I now give you the apex of the article, which occurs at the end of the opening description to the main article:

Life itself may be the manifestation of God's faith. Decay and death may be the manifestation of a lack or denial of faith.

I enjoy the combination of the weasely "may be" with the ATHEISTS ARE THE REASON YOU GET SICK AND DIE!!!1!!!ELEVENTY!!!!

You never disappointment me, Andy. Thank you.

Great Translation or Greatest Translation

bible, conservapedia, schlafly, translation,
I decided to check back in with Andy Schlafly and see how his wingnut translation of the Bible is going. I am so glad I did. I was in such a dark place this morning, and this comedic mess cheered me right up.

Matthew 3:7

King James Version:

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Wingnut Edition:

When John saw how many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by him, he said to them, "You jerks! Who has warned you to flee from the divine sentence that's coming to you?

That's John the Baptist reimagined as a 9-year-old girl.

The explanation adds to the hilarity.

The phrase Γεννηματα εχιδνων, "sons of snakes," is an insult, akin to "sons of (female dogs)" or "bastards" or simply "jerks."

The word rendered "wrath" is οργη, which refers to the attitude of a magistrate before whom a convict appears for sentencing. In this context, they are clearly attempting to flee from God's justice by baptism. John finds this richly ironic, because he knows that Pharisees and Sadducees would be united in their "citified" contempt of him, because he's a roughneck who doesn't "dress properly," and everyone in Jerusalem surely knows it.

I believe the phrase you are looking for is "sons of bitches", dearheart. Bitches. I'm dying to see what they do with the Song of Solomon aka biblical porn.

I also enjoy that John the Baptist is apparently a cross between a teabagger and Kenny Rogers, that all us "citified" libruls just don't understand. We don't get it, you see, his roughneckness, because we're jerks.

Matthew 5:22


But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Wingut Edition:

But I tell you that any person who is angry with his brother shall be liable for trial, and anyone who says to his brother, "Airhead!" shall be liable to be brought before the council, but whoever says, "Moron!" shall be liable for the fire of hell.

Jesus, as a 9-year-old Californian girl, circa 1986.

That's . . . amazing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Random Thoughts From the Other Side

I'd like to turn this into a regular feature here in hell, where I share all the little things that shaved away at my faith until I realized one day that laughing about Santa while simultaneously believing in other imaginary people is just ridiculous, but I'll forget the title 5 minutes from now because the sun has left me and the cold has invaded and I am now very, very SAD. Oh, and just so you know, it's Casual Grammar Thursday.

Anyhooooooo . . .

Why the age gaps in the story of Jesus? That always bothered me. You only ever get The Jesus Story at 3 ages:

1. O hai, a savyur iz boarn. People stop by with presents no sane person gives an infant, Herod orders The Tenth Plague Two: Electric Bugaloo, and we all run off to Egypt. What Jesus does in Egypt for the next 12 years or so is entirely unrecorded. Uh, hello- savior? Son of God? God in the flesh? I'm guessing his childhood was a little different from yours and mine. He could make 5 fishes into 5,000, turn water into wine and raise the freakin' dead, and there aren't any interesting stories from his youth? Really? The mind boggles.

2. Jesus reappears as the sort of rude, know-it-all, barely pubescent smarmy little asshole you yearn to slap when they appear at your house for some ill advised family affair. Yes, I know it's wrong to assault children, but you know what I'm talking about. The Bible presents the Pharisee's collective reaction to obnoxious, possibly acne prone Jesus as a desire to keep their jobs and deny God's wishes, but I think God should have known that adults do not like to be lectured by people too young to have more than 5 pubic hairs. Fast forward to . . .

3. Jesus, All Grown Up. This Jesus is depicted as pretty much the same as obnoxious, possibly acne prone Jesus, but it plays better, because his voice has stopped cracking. Jesus, All Grown Up is weird in his own way, though. Twelve to thirty is a huge span of time, especially 2,000 years ago, when life expectancies made planning your thirtieth birthday party more than one day in advance a little overly hopeful, and Jesus hasn't changed a bit. He's portrayed in exactly the same way, and he's not married, has no children, none of the accoutrements expected of Jewish men in the time, and no explanation for it. Mary's not pining for grandbabies she'll never have, Joseph isn't worried that Jesus likes pink a little too much, nobody mentions it at all. It's a little odd.

In fact, the sameness of Jesus from twelve to thirty remind me very much of authors with little talent and inattentive editors who write dialogue for every single character exactly the same. Women sound just like men, children sound like adults, Northerners sound like Southerners, you get the drift.

It's almost like somebody started with the barest outline of a story they heard from a guy, who heard it from a guy whose cousin's best friend may have been there, 70 years later, and then filled in some blanks, but left others bare. Mostly because very few people have the literary chops to describe god as both a tantrum-throwing two year old and a surly, rebellious teen.

Btw, do not ever, ever, ever ask a nun about these issues if she happens to have a ruler handy. The stereotype about nuns and rulers exists for a reason.

Ouch! No, It Was All Lulz

facepalm, atheism, atheist, christmas, christian, bigotry,
I am the General of an Army of Trolls! Christmas Trolls! This makes my day, though I hope it doesn't obligate me to deliver presents to all the bad little girls and boys, because the sleigh's in the shop and the reindeer seem to have come down with Swine Flu*, so bad timing on that one.

I would like to address certain points in blackngoldfan's rant, starting with:

In checking Troll #1's website (I know you're reading this; yes I did.), I found a post about how, despite being an atheist, they still celebrate Christmas. This, my friends, is hypocrisy. Troll #1 (and you know who you are), you CANNOT celebrate Christmas if you are truly an atheist. Your giving of gifts to friends and family is an acknowledgment that the Magi brought gifts to the Christ child, the basis of the gift-giving tradition. This story is told in the Bible, so you must recognize the religious meaning behind Christmas if you engage in gift-giving.

I'm looking at your blog, and it's pretty clear you have a Christmas tree, my dear. That hideous background doesn't celebrate baby Jesus, it's all secular decorations. Where is decorating trees in the Bible? Nowhere. Christmas trees come from a pagan tradition, as do gift giving and caroling, which means you are currently celebrating, and have been for probably your entire life, pagan gods. Good for you, you hellbound heathen.

In the realm of proving my point, it is indeed wrong to say "screw the blacks/jews", and even though Jews choose to be Jewish in the same sense atheists choose to be atheists, we just shouldn't even mention Jews. It's wrong. Mostly because blackngoldfan hates atheists, but feels uncomfortable with the whole Jewish thing.

Troll #2 came running to the defense of Troll #1 saying that the comment about Jews and Blacks was just trying to prove the point that saying "Screw Atheists", as Mr. Balsamico did, is on a par with racial slurs. How anyone can equate someone practicing a godless religion by choice with the God-given color of one's skin still has my brain hurting. Yes, Jews do practice their faith by choice, but after what Jews endured over many generations, I say they're off limits.

Blackngoldfan is unceasingly nasty to atheists, and then wonders why someone wouldn't want to publicly be known as an atheist. *facepalm*

Troll #4 replied to my BOF's comment by basically saying that WE who may agree with Mr. Balsamico are haters. Troll #4 has blocked anyone from viewing their profile. If you're so proud to be an atheist, why hide it?

I repeat, facepalm.

The whole issue these little libs have is that someone dared to stand up to them and say "Screw you!" Their widdle feewings must be hurt, so they're going to whine and whine about how they are the minority and how wrong it is to say such hurtful things. That's all it boils down to. They're young, 20-something Generation-Me members who have been raised in the religion of political correctness and that the only thing that matters is how they feel.

So, you rant like a deranged dingo if someone challenges you, but anti-atheist bigotry is okay and we need to stop whinging? Do you own a mirror, and if so, what do you see when you look in it?

I liked this best, though:

I won't taint my site with your PC comments.

Something that can taint you is something that can stick to you and affect you even if you don't want it to. I love the idea that tolerance could be like that. As if, having viewed a few too many pleas for an end to bigotry, blackngoldfan might wake up one day and be unable to hate those different from her anymore. Utter bullshit, but now it's my Christmas wish.

*Called "American Flu" in the Middle East, according to my Middle Eastern news feed. Also muches lulz.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Then What Am I Celebrating?

christian, christmas, secular, atheism, atheist, obama,
From what I understand, the White House is very busy with 17 "holiday parties" before the Obamas leave for their annual vacation in Hawaii. Did you know the Obamas don't celebrate Christmas? And that the Nativity Scene was almost banned from the White House this year?
This bothered me. At first, I scrolled by it on the reader after briefly skimming it. Then I returned to it, read it and moved on. I couldn't stop coming back to it, but I couldn't figure out why.

Apparently, if Obama doesn't want to put a nativity (religious scene) in the White House, he doesn't want to celebrate Christmas. The fact that he does, indeed, celebrate Christmas is irrelevant unless he celebrates Christmas exactly the way Barbara does.

Ignoring the inherent arrogance of proclaiming that you can decide the legitimacy of other people's holiday celebrations, which does bother me, I think what really bothers me is that by Barbara's definition, I do not celebrate Christmas.

First of all, if I'm not celebrating Christmas, what is it that I do every December 25th? What purpose does my Christmas tree serve, precisely, to what end do I display delightful light up deer? Why do I buy presents and wrap them with care? (I wrap presents with such precision that people feel bad opening them and ruining the wrapping. The secret is tape. Lots of it.) Why do I host and cook dinners and bake 8 different varieties of cookies? (The cherry ones are to die for, but the candy canes are my sentimental favorite.)

Secondly, it struck me that Christmas in this country (and probably all over the West) is like marriage in this country: the secular and the religious intwined in an uncomfortable union at best. Christmas traditionally has two sides to it: the secular gift giving and feasting elements, and the religious "O hai, teh savyur iz born" element. Trying to say that one half of that is more legitimate than the other is just silly. The religious element might be more important to you, but you leave my precisely wrapped presents and light up deer alone!

To say nothing of the fact that even if you remove the secular, Santa, presents-n-feasting elements from Christmas, you still have the problem of one religion's celebration being pasted over another religion's preexisting celebration. I think once early Christianity slapped the celebration of the birth of their savior over the pagan Solstice celebration, they lost the right to bitch and moan about secular celebrations occurring on the same date as Christmas. Hello, you already stole the holiday and half its traditions, you can't whinge if someone else does it to you!

So, yeah, I'm an atheist, and yeah I celebrate Christmas. And if you want my light up deer, you can pry them from my cold, dead hands.

No, Actually, I Don't Love This Guy

balsamico, atheism, atheist, christianity, douche canoe
Blackandgoldfan assures me that I just have to love Bill Balsamico, owner of the Casa D'Ice and creator of the above sign.

I mean, wow! That sign not only inspired me to spend lots of money at the Ice House, but I also converted to Hinduism! Praise Vishnu! (That was the point, right?)

Let's make the sign really funny and replace "atheists"- who generally celebrate Christmas, you douche canoe- with "Jews" and "blacks". Wouldn't you just laugh yourself silly if you passed a sign that said "Screw the Jews"?

Bill, two things. "Hows", as the contraction for "how is" needs an apostrophe. Oh, and fuck you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So Funny I Had to Share

christian, libertarian, ayn rand, jesus, charity,
Thanks to [redacted] for pointing me to Our Libertarian Spirit, source of much lulz for proposing that Ayn Rand and Jesus are spiritual siblings*.

It is far too easy (intellectually lazy) to conclude that Jesus Christ and Ayn Rand are miles apart in what they teach. Nothing is further from the truth. It is only necessary to juxtapose the words of Ayn Rand with the words of Jesus to see they teach exactly the same.
Just let that sink in for a moment.

If you've read Atlas Shrugged and anything attributed to Jesus in the Bible, you're laughing so hard you can't breathe right now.

Jesus and Rand aren't "miles apart", they're diametically opposed. Ayn Rand hated Christianity, specifically because of all the charity proposed by Jesus.

The following excerpt is from a letter to Sylvia Austin dated July 9, 1946, in Letters of Ayn Rand, p. 287:

There is a great, basic contradiction in the teachings of Jesus. Jesus was one of the first great teachers to proclaim the basic principle of individualism -- the inviolate sanctity of man's soul, and the salvation of one's soul as one's first concern and highest goal; this means -- one's ego and the integrity of one's ego. But when it came to the next question, a code of ethics to observe for the salvation of one's soul -- (this means: what must one do in actual practice in order to save one's soul?) -- Jesus (or perhaps His interpreters) gave men a code of altruism, that is, a code which told them that in order to save one's soul, one must love or help or live for others. This means, the subordination of one's soul (or ego) to the wishes, desires or needs of others, which means the subordination of one's soul to the souls of others.

This is a contradiction that cannot be resolved. This is why men have never succeeded in applying Christianity in practice, while they have preached it in theory for two thousand years. The reason of their failure was not men's natural depravity or hypocrisy, which is the superficial (and vicious) explanation usually given. The reason is that a contradiction cannot be made to work. That is why the history of Christianity has been a continuous civil war -- both literally (between sects and nations), and spiritually (within each man's soul).
The concept of altruism, the calls to charity, are something that Rand found appalling.

What Christian Prophet is engaging in is essentially doublethink: I like the idea of living only for the self and kicking all those freeloading maggots off of welfare, but Jesus said to help the poor . . . no, wait, it's really the same philosophy! Yay!

Look, you can't square Ayn Rand's philosophy with Christianity, no matter how you wield that hammer. I get it, "it's mine and I'm keeping it!" is much more attractive than "give it all away to the poor and follow me", but don't try to claim they're the same thing.

*Christian Prophet actually calls them "spiritual brother and sister", but "sibling" means the same thing and allows for alliteration. Never pass up an opportunity for alliteration.

While I May Be Held Responsible

palin, lloyd, marcus, conservative, feminism, patriarchy
I'm warning you right now, the following from Lloyd Marcus at Red Country may rob you of the will to live. (If you do decide to go that route, may I request a little creativity? I'm sick of seeing "suddenly" and "unexpectedly" in the obituaries. I want to see "koala", "pineapple rings" and "well-placed latte".)

I was in Texas performing at a tea party rally (singer/songwriter of the American Tea Party Anthem). What is . . . hmmm . . . ODEARQUANTUMFIELD I LOOKED! O, THE HUMANITY!!1!!! While waiting for my wife, I wandered into the hotel pub. "pub"? really? did it say "Ye Olde Pubbbbbbe" on it? Yeah, we call them bars, welcome to America. It was Lady's Night. A cowboy not a lady practically had a line of women waiting to dance with him. or one. He held them firm, but gentle. firmly! gently! he held them firmly but gently! He confidently lead and they gleefully followed. so you do know what an adverb looks like. Each knowing she was in good hands. with Allstate! I, along with others, by the looks on their faces, thoroughly enjoyed watching him dance with the women. frankly, this is getting a bit creepy. Why did we enjoy it? oh, no, i thought about it. i shouldn't have, but i did. It represented the way men should be and how women want them to be. dancing? firm? lined up? i got it! this was a porno he watching. it all makes sense now! Despite what the radical feminists say, women want men to be strong and confident without being jerks. It is called Biology. lowercase "b" and, um, really? admittedly, i don't know any radical feminists, but speaking as a feminist, i like strength, confidence and dislike jerks. and dancing.

Is chivalry dead? was it ever really alive? Have we conservative men allowed political correctness to prevent us from treating women the way we instinctively know we should? why ask the people in question when you've got instincts? When my three brothers and I started dating, my dad instructed us. “You take good care and return her home the way you found her”. translation: don't date virgins. Following dad's instruction made us feel good about ourselves. We felt like men. i initially read that as "we felt men", which made more sense here.

following 6 paragraphs of Palin defense (really, that was the theme here):

I believe strong women inspire men to be strong. wow, that's right, strong people do inspire strength in others . . . what are those words over- oh, for fuck's sake They are not offended when we open the door for them, carry their heavy packages and mind our conversation around them. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! can you imagine watching your language around me? i sound like a sailor and a truck driver talking smack while on meth. that is some major lulz! oh- my arms work just fine. if i'm carrying something, go ahead and open the door, i'll do the same for you. duh. Or has such behavior from men become too “Andy and Mayberry” for our secular progressive crude culture? i do enjoy when black men invoke the 50s as the place to be. Trust me, I am not a prude, sure but radial feminists have diminished women's power in our society. I was raised a real man treats women with a level of respect. Nobody is allowed to “dis” your momma, wife or your sister.

See, that's not power, Lloyd, that's patriarchy. women can't open doors, carry packages or defend themselves because they are weak and stupid and the brave cowboymenfolkheroes must do it for them.

-100 points for invoking 50s sitcoms and 80s slang in the same paragraph. also.

this is so crazy, i'm obviously not the only one thinking meth:

Not only is the Left committed to keeping women in their place, but blacks as well; all the while claiming to desire progress and liberation for both. Blacks who achieve success without liberal programs and intervention are beaten down and dragged back to the Left's government dependency plantation. Such uppity independent blacks are strapped in a chair, deprived bathroom privileges and shown videos 24/7 of Sharpton, Jackson and hypocritical rich America hating rappers. The deprogramming message, “America sucks! Racist! Sexist! Homophobic! Liberal democrats are your saviors!”




Monday, December 7, 2009

I Suggest Another Strategy

prayer, religion, christian, god, atheism, atheist,
So, after having snuck into the Rapture Ready message boards under a semiassumed name*, I quite literally depressed the fuck right out of myself by reading all 172 pages of prayer requests.** Well, I didn't read every single one, I just read 172 pages of titles of prayer requests, which was quite enough for me. Any deeper reading would have required a fifth of vodka and a very sharp knife.

What do fundys pray or request prayer for? Husbands that leave and wives that cheat; children that flunk, get pregnant and do drugs; lost jobs, late unemployment checks, electric shutoffs; children with cancer, spouses with addictions and dying family members of every description.

In other words, all the problems, catastrophes and dramas anyone else deals with. Pages and pages and pages and pages of problems that don't solve themselves, catastrophes that plague believer and nonbeliever alike and dramas that make watching soap operas completely unnecessary.

My question is, how much pain and sorrow do you need to see splashed all over the internet before you realize that god does not protect his own, not one bit, not at all? My question is, how many prayers do you need to pray before you realize that you may as well be begging my desk for help?

*I could reasonably use this name, sort of, if it were typical of people to use their grandmother's maiden name as a surname.

**Members only.

That's Enough

euripides, atheism, humanism, bigotry,

I've really had quite enough of anti-atheist bigotry. Yes, yes, we don't call genocide a good thing, so we're not moral. We don't fall on our knees the instant you mention your imaginary friend, so we're evil. We shouldn't be trusted with political office, voting or children. We're bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.

Oh, and if we dare use our First Amendment right to express our opinion, we should fail a community college history or political science class. A history/poli sci class in which they study the First Amendment. Honestly, it's like the Bill of Rights is partially written in some sort of special ink only the religious can see, so the First Amendment actually reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Unless said speech is not religious or said people are atheists.

I've been out of the loop for awhile flunking all of my students for not believing in the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Seventeen of my students failed because they couldn't correctly identify the constitutional amendment that protects the free exercise of religion. In fact, they had no idea there was such a thing. Fourteen more failed for flatly denying the value of the individual's right to keep and bear arms, upheld just last year by the US Supreme Court. I failed seven students for being devout followers of the gospel of atheism and kept trying to preach their secular humanism in class.

Let's unpack all that, shall we? (Note: I think he's probably attempting a joke here, but it's not funny, and it displays a bigotry towards atheists that is also not funny.)

It's a disturbing form of irony for Professor Euripides to be so upset with his students for not understanding the First Amendment when he clearly doesn't either. His students have the right to have any opinion they want. The First Amendment protects atheist speech as much as it protects religious speech. In fact, perhaps he failed these students for having a better understanding of the First Amendment than he does.

Now, let's replace "atheist" with "Jewish" and see how funny the joke is. I failed seven students for being devout followers of the Jewis faith and kept trying to preach their tanakh in class.

Yeah, that was hilarious, wasn't it? I also think he has no problems with Mormons preaching their Mo in class. That's the lord's work!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Little Bright

So far, I've got the lights on the porch (and deer!) and the tree up. Technically, there is a Decoration Nonproliferation Agreement in affect at my house, but within two weeks, there will be ornaments dangling from the ceilings.

I have no idea how they will get there.
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