Friday, July 31, 2009

Xians "testing their faith"

What is it with Christians having to “test their faith” repeatedly? Could it possibly have something to do with their fantasy god belief being difficult for even themselves to believe? They must force themselves to believe things that they know deep down is absurd and illogical, blind “faith.”

Of course, some Christians of the fundamentalist variety will say that it’s the “devil” testing them, while God stands by and watches as a voyeur to see the outcome (when he supposedly already knows how things will turn out).

Tom Brown of Tom Brown Ministries writes:

Trials come to test your faith. This means that trials BATTLE your faith. And if your faith is not fighting back, you are not winning.

If your not winning, you’re not becoming stronger. God wants us to become stronger by resisting the devil who sent the trial.

Now why would a loving God want to put his special creations through such ordeals? This is a weird and sadistic god to force his beloved followers to keep in line and follow the straight and narrow.

I do not need to test my husband’s, children’s, parents’, grandparent’s and friends’ love for me, nor do I need to test my love for them. I don’t need to put them through terrible trials and tribulations in order that they believe that I exist, and vice-versa. I would not want to cause them any sort of suffering, and they would not want me to have to endure suffering just to prove that I love and care about them. I do not need to be made more faithful to my husband or loyal to my friends via resisting temptations and “battling my faith” in them.

We do become stronger because of the experiences we have gone through, the difficulties and hard times that living brings to most people at one time or another. But it’s not some sort of “trial”, no sort of “test” that intentionally is some sort of “battle” to win. It’s just life, it’s how things are. Good things happen, bad things happen and how we deal with these things shows our character, our will, our determination, our desire to survive sometimes against all odds.

Reality is more interesting than anything we can make up

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

C Street religious cult

Something really important to read here at

Kudos to Rachel Maddow for latching on to the captivating and chilling story about not just the lascivious and potentially illegal activities of some of the “C Street” Family, but — more importantly — focusing on their belief that they are chosen by God to lead and infiltrate our government.

And she hasn’t stopped pursuing this startling story, defying the normal news cycle of a nano-second of coverage unless it’s Michael Jackson’s death or a blonde white girl disappearing in Aruba.

What gets lost in the disgusting details of Ensign’s adulterous affair, Mark Sanford’s (an associate member of the Family) lust for an Argentine, and former Congressman Chip Pickering’s adulterous bonking on-site at the C Street “Christian fellowship house” is something that Maddow has repeatedly come back to: these men don’t believe they are responsible to moral or governmental laws. If they deviate from the “righteous path,” God is only testing their strength, because they are the ones divinely chosen to lead — and it is weakness to succumb to remorse about one’s “misbehavior.” That is why Mark Sanford said he won’t resign and compared himself to King David, who slept adulterously with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed.

Jeff Sharlet, of The Family:The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Powerwrites:

Family leaders consider their political network to be Christ’s avant garde, an elite that transcends not just conventional morality but also earthly laws regulating lobbying. In the Family’s early days, they debated registering as “a lobby for God’s Kingdom.” Instead, founder Abraham Vereide decided that the group could be more effective by working personally with politicians. “The more invisible you can make your organization,” Vereide’s successor, current leader Doug Coe preaches, “the more influence you can have.” That’s true — which is why we have laws requiring lobbyists to identify themselves as such.

But David Coe, Doug Coe’s son and heir apparent, calls himself simply a friend to men such as John Ensign, whom he guided through the coverup of his affair. I met the younger Coe when I lived for several weeks as a member of the Family. He’s a surprising source of counsel, spiritual or otherwise. Attempting to explain what it means to be chosen for leadership like King David was — or Mark Sanford, according to his own estimate — he asked a young man who’d put himself, body and soul, under the Family’s authority, “Let’s say I hear you raped three little girls. What would I think of you?” The man guessed that Coe would probably think that he was a monster. “No,” answered Coe, “I wouldn’t.” Why? Because, as a member of the Family, he’s among what Family leaders refer to as the “new chosen.” If you’re chosen, the normal rules don’t apply.

I have not heard much about this Christian dominionist organization in the Washington D.C. area until now. These monsters are a very serious threat to our Democracy. Vjack at Atheist Revolution posted some information about the Family that he found at Religion Dispatches:

* The Family is the oldest conservative Christian organization in Washington D.C.

* The Family runs (but does not own) the notorious “C Street House” as a church to provide assorted politicians with inexpensive living space, Christian bible study, and “spiritual counseling.”

* “C Street House” is owned by an organization, Youth With a Mission D.C., headed by Loren Cunningham, a man with a vision for worldwide Christian dominion. Cunningham links to Campus Crusade for Christ and Christian Embassy, a D.C.-based ministry that tries to convert Pentagon officials.

* The Family is responsible for the annual National Prayer Breakfasts and runs assorted prayer groups in which both Republican and Democratic members of Congress participate.

* According to Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power (added to my to-read list), the Family is “committed to a political theology that views democracy as a form of secular humanism, to which they’re deeply opposed.”

I thought this was something that is extremely important to bring to everyone’s immediate attention.

Evolution is a process, not an imaginary supernatural entity

The Atheist Jew sent me the link to this via email -- Cody’s Black Box.

Cody writes, “If any of my atheist friends have any responses, I would love to hear them,” which is an invitation that I am sure he will be sorry he has made. Cody is a 22-year-old theology student and one of his favorite things to do is to discuss “evidences for God” (though he fails to provide any of those evidences, of course). In his post titled “Where does reason come from?” Cody writes:

I have been thinking about the “Argument from Reason,” which is similar to TAG (Transcendental Argument for God). I posted a sort of overview of this argument on a previous blog.

This argument seeks to show that if there is no God, there can be no rationality. If only the material world exists, we would not be able to trust our own thoughts, which are simply chemical reactions much like how our livers secrete bile. Why would we not, after all, trust the bile instead of the “thoughts” which our brains seem to secrete? However, if there were a Being which was pure reason and outside of the physical world, a mind above it all, He could choose to place some form of rationality in His creation.

The atheist might respond to this argument (as Richard Dawkins did in a recent discussion with John Lennox) by saying that reason would be the perfect thing for evolution to create in animals because it would help them to respond to their surroundings and thus live long and reproduce. Of course, this is beside the point because evolution cannot think to give any creature anything!

Dawkins does not answer how reason could come to be in an atheistic worldview, but gives natural selection its own rational abilities whereby it could purposefully give reason to animals. This isn’t too far off from how theists argue God possessed reason from the beginning and bestowed it to us! Dawkins cannot help but assume that reason exists before rational creatures (because it does), which is the very viewpoint that Christians hold, but which no atheist can hold and be consistent with his/her worldview.

Now to back up to this question that Cody asks, “Why would we not, after all, trust the bile instead of the “thoughts” which our brains seem to secrete?” Stop and THINK about that question for a minute, Cody. Trusting bile is the same thing as trusting gods, golden idols, lucky rabbits’ feet, etc. You can make up your own mind and invent your own ideas about where you want to put your trust. You simply use your reasoning powers to choose to trust an imaginary friend of human invention. You are exhibiting just how irrational and flawed that reasoning can be in many humans. If a perfect god was the provider of human reasoning, there wouldn’t be so many dumbasses in the world.

Then please think about this statement you made, Cody…

Of course, this is beside the point because evolution cannot think to give any creature anything!

I am embarrassed for you, Cody. You are exhibiting your total lack of knowledge about evolution and how it works. Evolution is a process, not an imaginary supernatural entity lke your god, Cody.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shuttle Crew Inspects Heat Shield, Prepares for Station Docking

This stuff barely gets a mention in the news. People just seem to take space missions for granted nowadays.

"The STS-127 crew will spend their second day in space inspecting space shuttle Endeavour’s heat shield and preparing for Friday’s docking with the International Space Station. The astronauts also will check out their spacesuits and tools for the mission’s five spacewalks."

From NASA Space Shuttle site

Arkansas evangelist being tried on charges of sex crimes against young girls

Some of you may remember televangelist Tony Alamo. He was responsible for some extremely intense anti-Catholic, anti-Pope hate mail that was circulating in the 1980’s (probably accompanied by some request for donations of some sort.)

Snippet from Wiki:

Alamo’s followers sometimes distribute tracts of his writings publicly. The tracts predict impending doom and Armageddon and invite the reader to accept Jesus as his or her savior while condemning Catholicism, the Pope and the American government as a Satanic conspiracy behind events such as 9/11, the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and the John F. Kennedy assassination. Tracts currently being distributed include a picture of Alamo circa 1986. In a tract distributed shortly before the siege of the Branch Davidian establishment in Waco, Texas, Alamo protested the media’s use of the word “compound” to describe the campus of his seminary and the word “cult” to describe his ministry.

Recently, as reported in the news, Alamo is being accused of taking underage girls across state lines for sex. Investigators say that one of the girls was only 9 years-old.

Ark. evangelist’s accusers expected in court

Here is a message from the Tony Alamo Ministries cult website boo-hooing that Alamo is being persecuted:

Pastor Alamo has been criticizing the government for forty-five years with the truth and they’ve been slinging false accusations for forty-five years. You have to decide who you’re going to believe–this government which has already been proven to be socialistic and communistic, or Pastor Alamo who is teaching you the truth. Either you believe Pastor Alamo or the homosexual Pope.

Ironic that Alamo is accusing the Pope of being homosexual when Alamo himself is being investigated for polygamy, child abuse, child pornography, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and is formally charged with taking children across state lines to have sex with them after his alleged victims came forward to testify against him.

Alamo’s attorneys state “the girls traveled across the country to further his ministry’s outreach.”

Alamo’s sheeple write:

The judges, the backsliders, prosecuting attorneys, and government agencies are all in a conspiracy to destroy Pastor Alamo, but God is on the throne and He will destroy.

There's that bad god tactic they use...god is gonna get you!

H/T once again to ChuckA

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Harmful religious practices

Thanks to my friend ChuckA for bringing this to our attention.

Chuck writes:

"Yet another reason pointing out WHY, in particular, the insanity of Islam is so ULTRA dangerous to the world! "

Muslim Women, Vitamin D and Osteomalacia

Here is part of what the article says:

In her classic work Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit (140), Davis also states:

“Sir Robert McCarrison, the great English physician, wrote of osteomalacia in India among the Mohammedan women observing the custom of purdah. These women veil their faces at adolescence and rarely go outside their homes.”

In this same regard, in Deficient Sunlight in the Aetiology of Osteomalacia in Muslim Women, Dr. OP Kapoor states:

“…in most of the Sunni Muslim women (who form majority of the Muslims), in spite of high intake of calcium, osteomalacia is often seen. There are two reasons for this:

1. Use of burkha which prevents sunlight reaching the skin.

“2. Living indoors - most of the Muslim women specially those staying in the Muslim localities, do not move out of the house and thus are not exposed to the sun and often develop osteomalacia.” [my emphasis]

As we now know, vitamin D is necessary for a variety of other metabolic processes in a healthy individual. Moreover, sunlight has other positive effects besides vitamin-D production. For one, it is necessary for the production of the hormone melatonin through the eyes. Thus, Muslim women who wear the full burkha* are deprived of this health-bestowing chemical as well, which is necessary for proper sleep and, consequently, mental health. Also, merely taking vitamin D or melatonin supplements would not make up for other potential health benefits associated with adequate exposure to sunlight, and supplements are not the best choice for optimal health in any event.

In addition to developing bone and other problems from a lack of vitamin D and melatonin, covered women are deprived of fresh air on their skin, which is the body’s largest organ. Hence, the skin is not given the opportunity to breathe adequately. Furthermore, the color of choice in covering up women because of “religious” purposes is often black and sometimes blue, undoubtedly creating much sweltering and heat stroke in the very hot regions in which this clothing is traditionally worn.

While the emotional, mental and spiritual problems with forcing a woman to veil herself may be increasingly clear, the grossly under-explored factor in the burkha/niqab debate is the toll on women’s physical health. The bottom line is that veiling women and depriving them of life-giving sunlight and air represents physical torture - especially in heat-absorbing dark colors - on a mass scale. How many women are suffering horrendous health problems, exacerbated by being forced to give birth repeatedly, because of this oppressive custom? In the veiling of women, then, we are looking at a serious and appalling health crisis affecting millions worldwide.

Read the full story at Acharya S’s blog HERE.

Erupting Volcano Anak Krakatau

click on image to enlargeCredit & Copyright: Marco Fulle (Stromboli Online)

Explanation: A volcano on Krakatoa is still erupting. Perhaps most famous for the powerfully explosive eruption in 1883 that killed tens of thousands of people, ash from a violent eruption might also have temporarily altered Earth's climate as long as 1500 years ago. In 1927, eruptions caused smaller Anak Krakatau to rise from the sea, and the emerging volcanic island continues to grow at an average rate of 2 cm per day. The latest eruption of Anak Krakatau started in 2008 April and continues today. In this picture, Anak Krakatau is seen erupting from Rakata, the main island of the Krakatoai group. High above, stars including the Big Dipper are clearly apparent.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Screwing with Job

Job is one of the most sadistic stories of the Bible. Though Job is one of God's great followers, God decides to dick with him anyway. Even though this god is supposed to be all-knowing and able to know the past, present and future, he still dicks with Job to see if he will remain loyal when according to the Bible, god is supposed to know everything already. If people would allow themselves to THINK about this book they follow, they would toss it in the trash heap.

Story of Suzie

H/T to my friend Bob for pointing to this one:

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Time to play, convert the atheist!

A Turkish television station is launching a game show where a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk all try to convert a group of ten atheists.

Game show looks to convert atheists

“Doing something like this for the sake of ratings is disrespectful to all religions. Religion should not be a subject for entertainment programs,” High Board of Religious Affairs Chairman Hamza Aktan told state news agency Anatolian after news of the planned program emerged.

Whoever said we need to respect religions? While we may respect a person's right to his or her religion, we do not have to show respect to the various delusions themselves.

I would also like to point out to these folks that religious services in themselves are often basically “spiritual entertainment extravaganzas” especially for the Christian fundamentalist megachurches. Ritual, music, singing are all forms of entertainment in disguise as “worship”.

If you are a “true atheist”, going on a goofy program isn’t going to change your mind. Unless you want to lie just to get a free trip to a religious site out of it. But, they think they have that covered:

A team of theologians will ensure that the atheists are truly non-believers and are not just seeking fame or a free holiday.

A team of delusional folks who can’t tell reality from fantasy are going to be able to identify “true non-believers” . . . yeah, ok.

“We are giving the biggest prize in the world, the gift of belief in God,” Kanal T chief executive Seyhan Soylu told Reuters.

“We don’t approve of anyone being an atheist. God is great and it doesn’t matter which religion you believe in. The important thing is to believe,” Soylu said.

Ok, I believe in the religion of myself and I am God. Can I have a trip to my sacred site in the Hawaiian Islands now?

Using 10-year-old to promote delusional agenda

This is so wrong. Instead of explaining this dream rationally to this child, the parent is using the child’s own nightmare to reinforce delusional religious beliefs. The father in this video is saying that Jesus Christ showed a vision of hell to his 10-year old son. Kids are very impressionable and I have to wonder how much this child was told about Hell before having nightmares about it. Rationally, the son’s nightmare is a manifestation of some sort and used the imagery he was previously taught for added details of the “dream”. The father is using his own son to promote his own agenda. Pathetic.

Video link:

Monday, July 06, 2009

Starry night at Mt Rushmore

I can say from first-hand experience that this is not a Photoshop job. Others who have visited Mt Rushmore and other places out west where the atmosphere is clear, the stars are absolutely dazzling.
click on image to enlargeCredit & Copyright: Wally Pacholka (TWAN)

Explanation: This starry night sky sparkles above the Black Hills of South Dakota and the United States' Mount Rushmore National Park. The historic site features enormous sculptures of four US presidents; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, carved into the southeast face of granite cliffs. Above the monumental symbols of the country's independence and early history, the night features stars and constellations familiar to northern skygazers around the world. Most noticeable are the stars of Ursa Major and the asterism known as the Big Dipper, almost resting upright along the cliff edge near picture center. Follow the arc of the Big Dipper's handle to get to Arcturus, the bright yellowish star in the lower left corner. Of course, a line extending through the dipper's two right most stars points to the upper right towardolaris, planet Earth's North Star.

Godless comedy

Great satire about culinary iconography. . .

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Wise words

"Long experience has taught me this about the status of mankind with regard to matters requiring thought: the less people know and understand about them, the more positively they attempt to argue concerning them, while on the other hand to know and understand a multitude of things renders men cautious in passing judgment upon anything new."
Galileo Galilei

I have noticed lately how people back away from a debate when they are asked to explain the topic or issue they hold an adamant opinion about.

Lyman Alpha Blob

Click on image to enlargeCredit: NASA / ESA, CXC, JPL-Caltech, STScI, NAOJ, J.E. Geach (Univ. Durham) et al.
Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

Explanation: Dubbed a Lyman-alpha blob, an enormous cloud of hydrogen gas spans several hundred thousand light-years in this remarkable image (left), a composite of x-ray, optical, and infrared data from space and ground based observatories. The gigantic, amoeba-like structure is seen as it was when the universe was a mere 2 billion years old (about 12 billion years ago). Lyman-alpha blobs are so called because they strongly emit radiation due to the Lyman-alpha emission line of hydrogen gas. Normally, Lyman-alpha emission is in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum, but Lyman-apha blobs are so distant, their light is redshifted to (longer) optical wavelengths. X-ray data (blue) indicates the presence of a supermassive black hole feeding at the center of an active galaxy embedded in the blob. Illustrated close up in the right hand panel, radiation and outflows from the active galaxy are thought to be a source for energizing and heating the blob's hydrogen gas. In fact, Lyman-alpha blobs could represent an early phase in galaxy formation where the heating is so great it begins to limit further rapid growth of active galaxies and their supermassive black holes.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Holy Land Experience theme park receives property tax exemption

I read this over at You Made Me Say It and really ticks me off. How does The Holy Land Experience theme park retain its tax exempt status? By offering free admission just one day a year, however, they won’t tell what day is free. The Trinity Broadcast Network which owns the park and the ministry rather not publicize the whole free day deal. And this isn’t a church, is it? It’s an amusement park with a religious theme!

Holy Land free day still a mystery

Holy Land Experience doesn’t want you to know when it schedules its required free day each year out of concern over a possible “uncontrollable situation.”

At least that’s the conclusion to be drawn by a letter the religion-based theme park sent to the office of Orange County Property Appraiser Bill Donegan.

Donegan asked the park for documentation of its free days after I reported earlier this month that the park gave out conflicting information about the day.

Holy Land, owned by Trinity Broadcasting Network, is required to drop its normal $35 ticket price and offer free admission one day each year in exchange for a property-tax exemption that saves it about $300,000 annually, according to a 2006 state law designed to guarantee the exemption.

Pretty sweet deal for TBN, huh?

this legislation smacks of the exact kind of catering to special interests that keeps property off the tax rolls while taxpayers get nothing in return.

Cool designs???

Another good one by Edward Current.