Saturday, October 26, 2013

Christianity is spiritism in disguise

"'A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.'" Leviticus 20:27

10Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Deuteronomy 18:10-11

1. The belief that the dead communicate with the living; spiritualism.
2. The practices or doctrines of those holding such a belief.
John Edward/Psychic Medium

There are many from time immemorial to today who've claimed that they have/had the ability to communicate with the dead or long departed. The practice of communicating with the dead is called spiritism and the actual conduit between the dead and the living is called a medium or a spiritist. For the most part many of the more modern and prominent of mediums have been found to be nothing more than con artists, fakes, and frauds. But there are those that believe that this practice is very real and that there are some mediums out there who are the genuine article. 

Famed magician and debunker of all things magic and mystical James Randi has issued a $1,000,000.00 dollar reward to any one who could prove the existence of the paranormal under an observable and  controlled environment.Here is the challenge as it is presented on the James Randi website. 
James Randy aka the amazing Randy
At JREF, we offer a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. The JREF does not involve itself in the testing procedure, other than helping to design the protocol and approving the conditions under which a test will take place. All tests are designed with the participation and approval of the applicant. In most cases, the applicant will be asked to perform a relatively simple preliminary test of the claim, which if successful, will be followed by the formal test. Preliminary tests are usually conducted by associates of the JREF at the site where the applicant lives. Upon success in the preliminary testing process, the "applicant" becomes a "claimant."
On his site Randi has a faq section about that challenge and you can acces that directly right here. I have been an admirer of James Randi since the 80's when he started showing up on television specials exposing the many frauds and the most common techniques that they used to deceive the gullible. I have read all of his books but my favorite one was The Faith Healers where he exposes some of the deceptive techniques used by some of the most prominent faith healing proponents of the day.

Since yesterday I was thinking about some of the practices of the adherents of Christianity. Particularly those of the fundamentalists type like I once was. First of all I came to the realization that the worship of Christ is not that much different than the practice of spiritism. Think about this for a moment. Christians worship a man who if he lived at all died around 33-35 AD, they claim to have a very personal relationship with him, and they claim to feel his presence/spirit around them or within themselves. Granted they claim that he rose from the dead therefore technically he is not dead but very much alive. But the fact remains that this resurrection claim is very easily nothing more than a myth that has been fabricated by the various authors of the New Testament.

The whole idea behind the resurrection myth is to demonstrate that Jesus Christ defeated death and that death itself could not hold him. By doing so he in turn frees those who choose to believe in him from the condemnation of death by providing them with the promise of eternal life in a glorified body or form after their physical deaths. 

24But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. Acts 2:24 

The resurrection of Christ would have been so much more convincing if he later showed himself to his enemies and they too wrote and attested to the truth of this claim. But the authors of the gospels make no such claims. He appears to his followers, believers, and 500 anonymous witnesses whose names are not given and their identities could never be ascertained. Diregarding the resurrection claim, then Jesus if he ever existed is pretty much as dead as dead can be. 

One of the many claims Jesus allegedly made was that he would never leave his followers alone. He promised that after he left the earth that he would send a comforter (the Holy Spirit). 

15“If you love me, keep my commands. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

The very fact that Christianity is basically based on the belief that they are communicating with the spirit of a dead man makes it amount to nothing more than spiritism. It's no wonder why many traditionalist Jewish sects were quite resistant to this sects doctrines. 

There are various methods that spiritists utilize to communicate with the dead and some are even highlighted in the Bible. 

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 2 Peter 3:16

20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

This sounds alot like automatic writing.

automatic writing:  writing produced without conscious intention as if of telepathic or spiritualistic origin 

19But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matthew 10:19-20 

This sounds alot like channeling.

channeling: The act or practice of serving as a medium through which a spirit guide purportedly communicates with living persons.

In closing, Christianity is nothing more than just another form of the practice of spiritism despite what any Christian may invent to try to refute this claim. They practiced automatic writing, channeling, and through prayer sought to communicate with the spirit of the Lord. In fact, that is what they are doing they are communicating with a spirit whether they consider it to be holy or not.

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures. All word definitions are taken from the Merriam Webster online dictionary or the free dictionary

Friday, October 25, 2013

Can a good person go to hell?

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

According to the New Testament texts there is a little formula that if followed and taken literally would lead any man to salvation. Let's take a look at that and then dissect if for those who don't quite get it. The very first ingredient is faith so let's take a moment to define what the Bible means by faith.

1Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

For the most part faith is synonymous with hopes and beliefs. The Bible clearly teaches that without faith it is impossible to please God. Notice that the entire point of belief is to please the good Lord and creator of all things great and small. Although the Bible often condemns vanity which is defined as : the quality of people who have too much pride in their own appearance, abilities, achievements, etc. It seems that God suffers greatly from this ailment. He often reminds us in the so called "good book" how awesome he is and how great his works are etc. But I digress.

God wants you to believe in him and that he will fulfill his promises and reward you for your belief and hope in him. Now you know where we get the term believers from, just read the Bible and you will find it just about everywhere. To have faith is to believe in something without sight or when everything else seems contrary to what  you believe. There's nothing esoteric or mysterious or mystical about it contrary to what apologists and theologians have led you to believe.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

As you can see Hebrews 11:6 sums up everything I have stated about faith so far. So now that we have covered faith what is it that God wants us to have faith in besides just him? Once again the "good book" provides a pretty straight forward answer to that question.

16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:16-18

In other words your so called "salvation" is contingent on your believing in Christ as God's sacrifice for mankind. He is "the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Because of the fact that we are all born in sin only his blood is pure enough to satisfy God's price for our sins and our souls. So once you've got belief in place and have committed your life and will to that of God's you have to obtain the final ingredient.

14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 24You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.  James 2:14;17;24;26

The final ingredient is works. It's not enough to just run around claiming that you believe in God and that Christ is your savior. It's not enough to talk the talk my dear Christian, you have to walk the walk. The whole point of being a Christian is to be an emissary of God on earth you represent God and Christ and have to act as such. Your goal as a believer is to be as Christ like as you possibly can and be guided by his example as it is outlined in the scriptures.

15“If you love me, keep my commands. 21Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:15;21

So to answer the question posed as the title of this post; can a good man go to hell? The answer is absolutely! Simply because without Christ your works will count for nothing and your sinful nature is not covered in the blood of Christ. His alleged sacrifice does not apply to unbelievers because you have not accepted him as your Lord and savior. Also, it's not enough to believe because as the scriptures say even demons believe and tremble. So when you hear a Christian stating that maybe God will have mercy on you and judge you by your works then you can safely assume that the believer doesn't know the Bible, the plan of salvation and its requirements, or what the hell he or she is talking about.

God's so called plan of salvation is entirely contingent on your being subservient to him. As I stated earlier you cannot please God if you don't have faith. Atheists such as myself who does no wrong by anybody for the most part, who helps out the homeless from time to time, who donates blood regularly, and enjoys doing good deeds often is hell bound because I refuse to bow down to God and submit my will to him. In the eyes of God I am his enemy and am evil. 

4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.  James 4:4

10As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”  Romans 3:10-12

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Crime in the church of Christ!

Have you ever wondered why some religious institutions tend to handle their affairs internally without involving the local legal authorities? The Catholic church for instance is notorious for hiding cases of child molestation by their clergy or sweeping it under the rug completely. Their solutions have varied from moving the guilty party to another parish out of the reach of the long arm of the law; like moving them to another country, or buying off victims to keep them silent and resolve the issue without involving the law.

1If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers! 1Corinthians 6:1-6

Contrary to what some may believe this texts refers to believers suing other believers in the courts of law. This has absolutely nothing to do with actual crimes and criminal offenses that are normally handled by the law. For example I don't think that any amount of brotherly love or prayer is going to reform a so called brother in church who comitts murder. Or as is so common today is involved in child molestation. For as long as I can remember sexual immorality has always been a problem in the church. I am not speaking about the Catholic church exclusively but about the church in general across all denominations.

I personally knew a pastor in the Pentecostal faith who was having affairs with some of the female members of his church. He was married and when his wife found out she left him, the church, and to my knowledge never looked back. Ultimately I dont know what happened to the pastor because even when his wife left him this dirt bag continued to lead his flock although when he was exposed he lost some members. Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart got caught on one occassion with a mess of porn magazines in his vehicle during a routine stop and on another occassion picking up a prostitute.

I believe that for the most part when ministers, priests, etc. start molesting young people in the church that the church is more concerned about protecting its public image then protecting its flock. It's even more offensive because a person of authority whom members of the church view as a holy man of the cloth abuses this positions authority and the trust that is put on them. Who can you trust if not a so called man of God? You leave your children with them thinking that they are learning about the word of God and how to serve the Lord only to find out later that they were being molested for years. Also, not many victims speak up till years later because they fear that they will not be believed. Their parents trust the good reverend unconditionally and in most cases are known to attack their own childrens trust blindly because of their erroneous beliefs about the ministers reputation.

§130.75 Course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree.

A person is guilty of course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree when, over a period of time not less than three months in duration:
(a) he or she engages in two or more acts of sexual conduct, which includes at least one act of sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct or aggravated sexual contact, with a child less than eleven years old; or
(b) he or she, being eighteen years old or more, engages in two or more acts of sexual conduct, which include at least one act of sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct or aggravated sexual contact, with a child less than thirteen years old.(Eff.11/1/03,Ch.264,L.2003)

The above mentioned legal statutes refer to sexual misconduct in my home state of New York. I have linked to that page which elaborates on various statutes in our law books that refer specifically to sexual assault and misconduct. Other people will refer to the little clause in the first ammendment that states:" 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"

 This ammendment to the Bill of Rights of course does not refer to criminal activity in the church whether it's sexual misconduct, white color crimes etc. Crimes are to be handled by the proper authorities and the position of a church in a community should be irrelevant. In a court of law whether you are a reverend or the Pope if you commit a crime you should be tried like a criminal. I think that because of your position of authority that the law should be even more tougher on you than it would be towards a regular citizen who committed the same crime. Romans chapter 13 actually supports my argument that the law should handle matters of the law.

1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.  Romans 13:1-3

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International version of the scriptures. All other sources have been linked to within the text. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Three words theists don't like to hear!

Based on the many debates I have had with theists I have come to the conclusion that there are three words that theists do not like to hear. It seems to me that theists want certainty although their faiths are no based on certainty but rather on faith. They convince themselves that what they choose to believe is true despite any facts that may prove otherwise.

One of the most ironic things about theists is that they demand from science absolute and definitive answers as to the origins of the universe and life. This demonstrates to me that they obviously don't understand the scientific method. Let me tell you what science is not. Science is not: absolute and it never makes such claims. Scientists are well aware that a theory is always subject to change or be discarded altogether due to the discovery of better evidence that explains whatever phenomenon they are trying to understand better.

The scientific method

The only step missing in the diagram above is the last and final step of submitting your work for peer review. Scientists are not only trying to prove their theories correct, during their research they are also trying to falsify their conclusions. Scientists understand fully that no matter how good a theory may sound it just might be incorrect. This brings me to my next point: the word theory for scientists does not have the same meaning that it does in every day parlance to the laymen. Let's look at both definitions so that we can tease out the difference.

: an idea or set of ideas that is intended to explain facts or events
: an idea that is suggested or presented as possibly true but that is not known or proven to be true

 Scientific theory
:A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.

The first one is the way most people define the word theory. Apologists love to use this definition in their arguments to deceive and obfuscate the masses of the facts. This is made most evident when you hear them say "it's only a theory" when referring to evolution in their pathetic counter arguments. This definition of a theory only amounts to nothing more than a best guess. Theists believe without a doubt that their theory of everything (God did it) is unassailable, irrefutable and absolute.

The second definition of the word is a far cry from what that same word means to the layman. Notice in the definition all of the words I have underlined for instance. The first thing to note is that it is based on a fact or series of facts that have been confirmed by peers in the field. It has been done through observation and experimentation. Finally, others have tried those tests and experiments with the goal of confirming or falsifying the theory.

Now here is the problem with the theists claim that God exists and most of all that he is the answer to every mystery in the universe. In order for a scientific theory to be valid it must be falsifiable in other words it must be subjected to scientific testing and scrutiny. God on the other hand cannot be falsified because his existence cannot be proven in a lab or put to scientific scrutiny. God is a theory as it is defined for the layman. He is accepted as truth but cannot be proven. Theists accept some of the most ridiculous claims contained in their so called holy texts as facts without evidence. If it's in the book then it has to be true. This reminds me of the famous fundamentalist Christian cliche' "God said it, I believe it, that settles it!"

This brings us to my final problem with theistic claims based on so called "holy texts." Everything that is in those texts are taken as absolute facts no matter how insane the claim. Talking snakes, donkey's, floating steel axes, flying fiery chariots, water coming forth from a rock, etc. If any of these claims were considered outside of a religious context you would think that the one making the claims was nothing more than a complete nut.

What are the three words that all theists hate to hear? The words are "I don't know." These three words are not  acceptable to theists. They want certainty and they could only get that through the illusions created by their faith of preference. They can't accept the fact that their faith in ancient myths and superstitions are not based on facts. Their deities are the creations of men and are beyond the reach of scientific scrutiny and confirmation. Faith is the ultimate display of willful ignorance and the rejection of reason. Their mantra is "I know, because the Bible/Koran or any other holy texts I accept as truth tells me so.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

If I were God

To start off the reason I have decided to do this post is to point out my issue with so called divinely inspired texts. I have come to the conclusion that no such a thing exists for reasons which I plan to address in this article. Every religion based on sacred ancient texts and fairy tales claim to have "the truth" and insist that their texts are either inspired by God through human authors (the Bible), dictated to illiterate prophets and written down by scribes (Koran), or some other miraculous means.

The first problem I have with any written text claiming to be in some way a revelation from God or the gods is that I find it quite peculiar how these gods always tend to favor the race that they choose to reveal themselves to. In the case of the Old Testament it was the Jews that were God's chosen people, in the New Testament the same god extends his salvation to the gentiles (non-Jews), and in the Koran it's the Muslim's. This applies to all the gods of every nation that man has invented for himself. The bottom line is that they can't all be true and thus they can't all be inspired by God or gods of any kind.

"It is a contradiction in terms and ideas, to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second-hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication- after this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him."
Thomas Paine:The Age of Reason

The second problem I have with the worlds so called sacred or divinely inspired texts is that they all seem to favor the culture or race of peoples from which the myths are derived (this makes the gods look like racists). All these gods are in the case of the ancient Hebrews and others tribal and nationalistic gods. A study of comparative religion will confirm this truth and expose once and for all the true origin of these man made myths.

The third problem I have with so called sacred texts is that languages both verbal and written evolve and change constantly. Ancient Hebrew for instance or ancient Arabic are not written or even spoken the same today as they were even 2,000 years ago. That is the first problem, the second is that languages don't translate well into other languages and in translating a text often times the original texts loses its original meaning. You don't have to be a linguistics expert to notice this. If you are bilingual or are fluent in multiple languages you will attest to the fact that some words in one language just don't translate well into other languages. The third problem is that aside from issues with translating ancient texts you have the problem of human error in translation or even intentional human editing or emending a text to conform to his own personal beliefs. Keep in mind that in those days there were no copy machines. All texts were copied by scribes and were done so by hand.

"It is only in the CREATION that all our ideas and conceptions of a word of God can unite. The Creation speaketh an universal language, independently of human speech or human language, multiplied and various as they may be. It is an ever-existing original, which every man can read. It cannot be forged; it cannot be counterfeited; it cannot be lost; it cannot be altered; it cannot be suppressed. It does not depend upon the will of man whether it shall be published or not; it publishes itself from one end of the earth to the other. It preaches to all nations and to all worlds; and this word of God reveals to man all that is necessary for man to know of God."
Thomas Paine: 'The Age of Reason'

My fourth problem with so called ancient texts is that they teach us nothing new. If I were God I would speak plainly about the universe and the world. If I were omniscient I would know that people would be asking about these things later. Today's so called scholars (apologists) tend to read into obscure ancient texts modern scientific discoveries that have nothing to do with the text itself, and then have the audacity to say that that is evidence that God has spoken through revealing something that could not possibly have been known at that time. Nice try, but no cigar! The reality is that science has shamed these so called holy texts time and time again and it is only through deceit and cleverly devised reinterpretation  that they have managed to survive to this day.

The fact that all ancient texts were written by man initially, since God personally never wrote a thing, is in my mind testimony against them being divinely inspired. Although the Bible does say that God wrote his commandments and the covenant on two stone tablets with his finger (Deuteronomy 10:3-5); these tablets along with the ark of the covenant were lost forever. How convenient! It reminds me of the tablets that Moroni allegedly gave to Joseph Smith. After they were translated and copied and became the Book of Mormon the angel conveniently took them back to heaven with him!

My fifth and final problem with all these so called divinely inspired texts is that the gods have so many damn names. In the Bible God's names are related to his attributes and they are many, don't you think that all this does is cause confusion? When we look and compare other religions to one another his names could go into the thousands.

Now here is what I would do if I were a god, divine being, creator of the heavens and the earth and everything that dwelleth therein. The first thing that I would do is not pick any representatives of the human race or any race in particular to be my chosen people. That's just being a racist and I hate racists and racism altogether. The next thing that I would do is write the damn thing myself and address every nation in their own native tongue that way there would be no need for translation. I would write in such a way that everyone could understand my words and I would speak plainly and clearly in my text. No poetry, parables, allegories, or any other bullshit that apologists like to use to make sense of the nonsense they call the inspired word of God.

Every nation would have a hard copy of this text for posterity sake. But I would make it so that this same book would be hardwired into a person the moment that they are born. My word would be in their minds and they will be conscious of my wishes. I will let them know how to address me and how to worship me. I personally wouldn't require worship but just for arguments sake let's play along. I will be very active in my creation in that I would not permit sin to corrupt the perfect world I have made. As in the garden of Eden man would be able to talk to me directly and I would listen and help him in any way that I could. I would be a good god and would treat my creation with respect and not degrade them. I would love them and care for them as I would care for my own child if I were a human. My word would truly be inerrant to the point that even the hard copies of my word would be unalterable and indestructible.

If I were God man would know who I am and that I am there for them in time of need or guidance. Suffering would not be permitted and people would love and treat one another the same way I treat them. They would praise me not in worship but as a sign of their gratitude. And they would love me not out of fear but out of genuine love only earned from those who give love in equal or greater measure. I wouldn't be hidden and I would not require that most heinous device of deception I like to call faith.

Note: Thomas Paine was a deist but his views on organized religion were very accurate and express my own thoughts and sentiments on the matter.

DeismDeism is the recognition of a universal creative force greater than that demonstrated by mankind, supported by personal observation of laws and designs in nature and the universe, perpetuated and validated by the innate ability of human reason coupled with the rejection of claims made by individuals and organized religions of having received special divine revelation.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Annoying things Christians say and do

As a member of Google+ I have come across a couple of annoying theists who jump into atheists discussion forums with a particular attitude that I find most irritating. I thought it would be a good idea to write a post about things that most atheists including myself would find offensive and or annoying.

Citing the Bible

If you come into an atheist forum citing scriptures at everone then let me inform you my dear theists that you are wasting your time for several reasons in particular. First on the list is that all atheists don't accept the Bible as the inspired word of God as you do. It is not inerrant to us and is actually full of things we would deem self-contradictory, immoral, and disgraceful. If all you can do is cite scripture without having any background knowledge as to how those scriptures came to us or how they were composed, compiled, and edited then I am pretty sure that you have little to contribute to any discussion refuting your faith.

It's not the word of God to us!
Threats of any kind tend to be frowned upon and it makes you look like an ass. When it comes to divine threats speaking for myself I tend to become combative. Not because I find your threats credible, but because I find your threats to be a sign of your arrogance. Secondly, I find your threats to be empty just like your beliefs. Think of it this way: atheists don't believe in gods so threats about your gods judgement on us is not even a threat but rather a sign of  your delusional state. Threats about hell and what awaits us evil nonbelievers in the afterlife are even less effective since most atheists I know don't believe in an afterlife, although there may be some exceptions out there. So threatening us with God's wrath, hell, or the great white throne judgement is like threatening an adult with not getting anything for Christmas but a rock of coal from Santa.
Hell is about as real as Oz it doesn't exist!

Throwing people out
Nothing gets under my skin more than a Christian who comes into an atheist forum and then commences to verbally demand that you leave the forum if you have nothing nice to say about Jesus! This is just fucking rude! For the record and I can't speak for other atheists I personally don't go around trolling Christian discussion forums to insult your beliefs or annoy believers. I think that that is childish and not worth my time. But if you come into an atheist forum preaching and condemning everyone else to hell then get offended when you are attacked I would have to say that you brought it on yourself. For the most part we atheist love to have rational discussions about religious beliefs but if you can't be rational then save yourself the trip.
If you are easily offended by images of Jesus in compromising positions or reading blasphemous material and seeing vulgar jokes about your religion then definitely an atheist discussion forum is not for you.

Not cool! Especially of you're the guest in the forum.

Circular reasoning
Nothing is more annoying than circular reasoning! What is circular reasoning? 

Circular reasoning: A type of reasoning in which the proposition is supported by the premises, which is supported by the proposition, creating a circle in reasoning where no useful information is being shared.  This fallacy is often quite humorous.
Here is a perfect example of circular reasoning: 
Proposition: The Bible is the word of God
Premise: Because I believe it and it says so right there in the Bible
Keep in mind that to us atheists the Bible, Torah, or Koran is not considered evidence of anything. They are considered for the most part to be the works of men of an ancient and very superstitious time. 
 Circular reasoning is not reasoning at all!
Prejudging or making blanket statements
This is a cardinal no no when it comes to any discussion forum. Assuming that atheists don't know what the Bible says, are immoral, don't understand the scriptures, are angry at God, don't believe in him so that they don't have to be accountable for their actions, are in denial because of their love of sin, etc. If you do any of these chances are you will bring upon yourself the wrath of an entire atheist community and will be bombarded by equally or greater offensive blasphemy meant specifically to piss you off! 
Assuming what we believe
Don't ever assume that you know what atheists believe! The only thing any two atheists can agree upon with certainty is that they don't believe in gods. That is all that atheism is we live our lives as if gods did not exist because we believe that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate the existence of gods. Our personal views about religion in general, politics, the world, science, nature, etc. differ greatly from person to person. 
Atheists don't believe in gods or any other supernatural entities described in your texts. This includes angels, demons, saints, Jesus as the son of God, divine interventions known as miracles, end time prophecies, heaven, hell, purgatory, the concept of sin as an offense against God,the fall of man, Jesus rising from the dead, etc.

Citing Christian sources

Just like we don't accept the Bible as the word of God we don't accept most theistic web sources that misrepresent science or atheist views. Most of these sites for the most  part are either misinformed or purposely deceitful. For example when arguing against the Big Bang or evolutionary theory please save yourself the embarrassment of citing banana man Ray Comfort or others like him or creationists websites like answers in Genesis. If you want to learn how not to learn about science this is definitely the website to learn how to make a fool of yourself while discussing these issues with atheists. 

Atheism is a religion

Warning if you make this statement prepare to reap the whirlwind that will follow! Not because it's true as you might assume but because it is one of the most annoying things you can say. It demonstrates to us that you don't even know what atheism is. Atheism is basically the belief that there are no gods that's it! We don't worship anyone or anything, we don't pray or say mass, we don't have unholy texts, we don't all agree on other issues not related to the basic idea of atheism, science is not our god and Richard Dawkins is not its prophet. Our beliefs are based on reason and logical deduction. 

Don't use Pascal's wager!

In its most basic form Pascal's wager states that you should live as if God exists because if he does and you don't believe the consequences of unbelief are far greater than if you believed. Basically, it is more logical to live as if God existed in the long run than to believe the opposite and have to face eternal consequences in the afterlife. There are many ways to debunk this position and I think that you will find a good refutation to it here.

God of the gaps theories are despised

Another thing theists should not do is try to debunk atheists arguments about origins with god of the gaps theories. This is what is meant when theists specifically attack gaps in our current scientific knowledge. A common point of contention is the one of origins. This refer to the origins of the universe or the origins of life theories. Christians love to throw out the old "if God does not exist then where do you think we came from or how we came to exist?" question. But in all truth I tend to reply that neither I know for sure and they are in the same position as I am since their only source for their beliefs is a book supposedly inspired by divine revelation. Unfortunately dear theist we don't accept divine revelation as a source of knowledge for anything. Therefore in all truth you are as ignorant to the origins of the universe or life itself as the rest of us on this planet are. 


I hope that this short  post will help you out when you decide to enter atheist groups or discussion forums. I'm sure some of my readers could add more to this list but I think that these are pretty much the greater offenses committed by most theists.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Feedspot a new feed reader

As of yesterday I signed up to Feedspot which is a new feed reader. I found right away that it was simple to set up and even simpler to use. One of the things I enjoy about it is that it has so many options for its users to be able to customize their feed reader to their own liking. Also, they make it easy for you to provide feedback with their staff and make suggestions on how they might be able to improve their site.

If you are someone who has a huge lists of blogs you follow and find it inconvenient to have to jump to those blogs to read their latest posts, then you are going to love this program. Once you sign up and begin setting up your homepage you will immediately notice that it is easy to add blog feeds to your page and to customze which one you would like to feature on your default page. They even have a feature which allows you to import your entire blog list to your home page in one fell swoop.

Another thing I love about this new site is that you can read your feed directly on your homepage. You can set them up to be posted as an expanded view which means that the posts themselves will be made available in their entirety on your homepage without the necessity of your having to go to the blog page to read them. If you opt for the list view then the pages will be listed by their titles and with a simple click of the mouse you will be able to expand that post and read it instantly.

Other features within this site allow you to share your favorite posts to other sites such as facebook, twitter, pocket, etal. You can also favorite your preferred blogs and the site makes it easier for bloggers to share their favorite sites with one another making it easier for you to expand your following. Whether you are a blogger like myself or just someone who enjoyes reading blogs I highly recommend you giving Feedspot a try. You can check out their site at Feedspot and I would be very interested to hear your views or opinions on the site and your experiences with this site.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

If I were to become a theist

Recently in a discussion with a Muslim on Google+ I was linked to a very interesting video that claimed to prove the existence of God. The video is entitled The Signs of God's Existence, for those of you interested in checking it out you may do so here. It is a little lengthy almost two hours long in total but it is your standard argument for ID (intelligent design) by utilizing the theists favorite ploy the god of the gaps theory. Basically, for those of you who are not familiar with the god of the gaps theory it is entirely comprised of attacks on science based on all those areas where science is lacking in knowledge. Common points of attack are the origins of the universe, the origins of life, the apparent fine tuning of the universe, and the apparent design evident in nature. If you are not well versed in scientific principles and discoveries it would not be hard to be led astray by this religious propaganda and dishonest ploy.

Every theist's mantra aka the god of the gaps theory

As a former theist evangelist and now as an atheist, I personally do not have any problem with the idea of a god or his/her/or its existence. I am trying to be as true to myself as far as what can be known and am humble enough to say I don't know something when I feel that I lack the knowledge or expertise to answer a question with certainty. I prefer science over theism because of this same humility. But the difference is that science does not state things as absolute facts and scientists are the first to acknowledge that our knowledge on all matters are subject to change based on  the discovery of a better theory strongly supported by better evidence in its favor. 

This is where I have my biggest problem with theism and organized religion in general. Theist's claim to know everything and make extraordinary claims of certainty based entirely on faith in the truth of their so called holy texts of choice. The one thing they can't agree on is on the name of their god and which religious text, sect, or organization is the truth. But each proponent of his or her chosen religion claims to have the truth while at the same time discrediting all other religious institutions as false dupes of Satan. When it comes to religion I stand with Thomas Paine and many of my beliefs are along the same line of thought as his. I view all of the worlds religions, gods, and other deities as man made inventions. 

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. Thomas Paine/ The Age of Reason

Thomas Paine was a deist (1737-1809) who wrote the book The Age of Reason which was an attack on organized religions that accused them of corruption and political ambition. Anyone who is interested in reading this book online or downloading it can find a very good and informative link to this work here. Thomas Paine saw religions as human inventions all created with some ulterior motives that its founders hid within their so called holy texts. Before I go any further I would like to take this moment to define the word deism and what it refers to.

Deism: Deism is the recognition of a universal creative force greater than that demonstrated by mankind, supported by personal observation of laws and designs in nature and the universe, perpetuated and validated by the innate ability of human reason coupled with the rejection of claims made by individuals and organized religions of having received special divine revelation.

My problem with organized religions goes beyond the fact that I believe that they are all nothing more than the inventions of men. The three major religions of the book as they are called Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all make use of a very common habit of man. Their idea of god is based entirely on the model of man. This is what is known as anthropomorphism and what it means is that they basically attribute to their gods the attributes of men.

Anthropomorphism: an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics

This is not unique to just Judaism, Christianity, and Islam but is also quite evident in many of the polytheistic (worship many gods) ancient religions that predate them. The only change these three modern religions bring to the table is that they claim to only worship one god (monotheism). The  god of these three main religions is described in their holy texts very much in the same way that you would describe your next door neighbor. He walks, talks, grieves, gets angry, jealous, throws tantrums etc. He is also for the most part racist in that he always chooses a particular race to represent him on earth and spread his message to the rest of us. He loves attention and demands our love, devotion, worship, complete obedience, and fear. he is very particular on how he wants to be worshiped and how he expects us to live so that we may always walk in a way that is pleasing to his sight. Lastly he is not averse to making threats for refusing to believe in him.

These anthropomorphic deities are very interested in your personal life down to its most minute detail. He wants to control your thoughts, who you love, how you love, your finances, how you treat others who reject his message, etc. Not only does he want to control you in life he also likes to persuade the unbeliever with threats of what awaits you after you die. He is very controlling and dictatorial in nature. He has rituals he wants you to perform, and days he wants you to dedicate to his worship and service.

If I were ever to accept the existence of a god as fact, the only religious philosophy I would embrace would be deism. Because this deity is only responsible for creation and nothing more. He, she, or it does not care what you do or how you live. I think if there is some sort of unknown and probably unknowable creative force out there that it is not even a personal deity. It simply got the ball rolling for creation and stepped out of the picture and left us to our own devices. This is the only type of deity that would do away with the problem of evil and other common  arguments used against the 
standard models of theism.

I think that life is what we make of it. I don't need a god to teach me right from wrong nor do I think it is built into our psyche. I think that morals are like religion the products of men, societies, and culture. We are taught right and wrong first from our parents and then learn the rest from relatives, friends, and the society we live in. Never again will I stand with arms raised to the heavens or prostrated on my knees on the ground in worship and adoration of an imaginary invention of man. Never again will I allow my religious biases to dictate how I live or treat my fellow man. I will not judge others based on so called statutes and laws derived from other cultures claiming to be universal and divine. 

The deistic god does not care how you live or ask for your undying loyalty, love, and worship. I live life to the best of my ability and try to treat others with respect as I too would like to be treated. I don't discriminate anyone for their sex, sexual orientation, or creed. Like Paine I can declare with confident joy that my mind is my church!

Note: All word definitions are taken from the Merriam Webster dictionary online. All other sources are directly linked to in the text.