Friday, December 20, 2013

Freedom of religion and speech is for everyone!

"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."

Many of my readers will recognize the above words from the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution. For those of you interested in reading an in depth analysis of this amendment in particular and its applicability to U.S. law and government there is some great information about it here. Note that this article refers particularly to the church in the U.S. only. I am not familiar with other countries and the extent of their religious oppression and suppression. 

One of the many things that I find quite disconcerting to the point of annoyance is the modern Christian movement claiming persecution in the U.S. by atheists. I am annoyed about this matter because I am an atheist and as a nonbeliever I think that theists as they often tend to do are misconstruing the facts. They are claiming that atheists have declared war on Christianity, that we are trying to eradicate their right to practice their religion and share their beliefs openly. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It seems that for the most part here in the U.S. theists believe as always under false assumptions, that this country was founded on Christian principles. Of course it was not, but it is because of this belief that theists claim the higher ground against any religion that is not Christian or any group that does not espouse and promote their beliefs. Christianity has often been defined as one of if not the most intolerant religion in the world. Their long and awful history obviously supports this claim. But they cannot be blamed entirely because they get these views from the Bible itself which supports an us against the world mentality. 

15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:15

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

Finally, the apostle Paul speaking specifically to the church in Galatia in response to having heard that some had begun to stray from the beliefs that they had been taught by him alluded to the fact that there is no other gospel! 

8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! Galatians 1:8-9

As you can see the church has always claimed to be the one and only absolute truth and God revealed religion from its inception. Today's theists are just carrying on the tradition by espousing the beliefs of their religions founders as outlined in their so called sacred text the Bible. These verses and many others clearly explain the us against them mentality inherent in those who espouse these beliefs. The various inquisitions and wars which the church later defined as pagan religions are the direct result of religious intolerance. The very accusations that the church makes against atheists is more fitting and true about them.

They want us to believe that atheists have nothing better to do than to attack their beliefs and false assumptions about this country's foundations. They call anyone who presents a belief contrary to theirs false and Satan inspired. They claim the right to freedom of speech and religion in this country for themselves, but they forget that these rights pertain to everyone. The first amendment was not speaking exclusively about Christianity. It was speaking about all religions and this includes the right to freedom from religion.

Religious beliefs and practices are a matter of ones personal acceptance of whatever beliefs  they choose to believe and follow. Religious beliefs are not meant to be forced down peoples throats nor using or implementing their majority status in a country as leverage to influence politics and legislation. We've already seen what happened when Rome made Christianity the state religion and it later became a theocracy. The founding fathers have learned from history and this is why the U.S. Constitution alludes to the separation of church and state.

Contrary to what theists believe atheists have the right to defend their rights to freedom from religion. That is what we are defending and nothing more. We could care less if you believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But when you begin to force your beliefs on us and demand that we teach creationism in our tax supported public schools, allow for prayer in schools, make abortions illegal, ban stem cell research, ban gay marriage claiming that marriage is a Christian institution (another false assumption), then we have the right to oppose you. If anything, anyone who is not a Christian are the ones being persecuted and I mean by this everyone!

Christians attack evolution, equality of rights for all, our own rights of freedom from religion and speech. Atheists are not the ones going door to door with pamphlets, or handing out tracts in every public street corner in America, or "preaching" our non-beliefs in public. Although if we did do any of these things, like believers we are within our constitutional rights to do so and are just as protected by that same first amendment in our Bill of Rights.

The problem with Christianity is that they believe that since they are the largest religious organization in the world especially in the U.S. that they have the right to dictate what our states laws should be, who should be allowed to speak, and what religions should be accepted or denied. Anyone who tries to defend their right to practice another religion or as in the case of atheism no religion at all is declaring war on Christianity. In reality, this is nothing more than that same arrogant spirit of superiority that the church has had since its beginnings. But as of late they have changed their tactics to make them out to be the victims; every ones target of attack.

The Bible and fundamentalism itself are the cause of the churches ignorance of its own history or history in general. When it comes to their beliefs they practice cognitive dissonance better than anyone else. They ignore any facts that shed light on their primitive and outdated beliefs and take this as a direct attack on their institution! Unfortunately for them this is a country with laws and a melting pot of religions, cultures, and creeds. Although they may be the majority, it does not mean that they can ignore the Constitution and try to manipulate and influence our government to implement laws that will favor their beliefs.

It's funny how Christians oppose government actions that do not favor their beliefs knowing full well that the Bible even demands that they submit and obey those same authorities and in fact pay taxes. It claims that those authorities are place there by God himself but I guess this is one of those passages that they choose to blatantly ignore. Like I always say Christians are for the most part nothing more than hypocrites.

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. 4For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:1-7

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Another embarrassing biblical contradiction!

Every once in a while I like to draw my sword of logic and my shield of reason as I pierce through the lies and the mythological and nonsensical narrative known as the Bible. It's always fun to see the Christian response to some of the contradictions I have exposed on my blog as I marvel at their corruption of reason and twisted logic.

Today we will be focusing on the claim that the biblical deity Yahweh possesses the attribute of being omniscient or as we say in layman's terms all knowing. Note that I will be quoting quite often from the scriptures for reference purposes.

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:7

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah1:5

"And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 1 Chronicles 28:9

The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. Proverbs 15:3

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

So according to these various verses I have quoted from both the O.T. and the N.T. God is in a lot of ways like an early version of Santa Clause who happens to see you when you're sleeping, knows when you're awake, he knows when you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake! I don't know about you but the idea of some invisible guy in the sky who seems to have more flaws than myself watching me and knowing my deepest darkest secrets is kind of creepy.

Having said those preliminary words let's get to the contradictions.

If Yahweh is all knowing and wise then why would he have to ask stupid questions and do stupid things in the scriptures to verify certain things.

8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”10He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”11And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Genesis 3:8-11

There are several things wrong with this passage. First if God is all knowing then the idea of "hiding" from him is utterly ridiculous. Some theists have said to me that this is not a contradiction God knew what happened he just wanted to give them the opportunity to confess their sin themselves! I beg to differ. When you read that part of the narrative the good Lord seems genuinely surprised and caught off guard at not knowing for sure. He asks the question with authority and apparently demanding an answer. Another problem I have with this story is the idea of the Lord strolling through the garden it sounds kind of silly and makes the story in my opinion more unbelievable. Also, the fact that God has to ask the the two questions: Where are you? and whether or not they had eaten from the forbidden tree make him look like he doesn't know anything and is not omniscient at all. So we have the good Lord taking a Sunday stroll through the garden looking for his friends, pets, servants, and slaves Adam and Eve followed by actually three stupid questions he should have known the answers to.

It's the equivalent of sharing an apartment with your spouse and you making a sandwich and putting it in the refrigerator for later. Then when you come back to it later you find that it's not there and immediately go to your spouse and ask: Did you eat my sandwich that I left in the fridge earlier? A stupid human habit that we all seem to possess. 

9Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”10The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.Genesis 4:9-10

This time two stupid questions that an omniscient god should already know the answer to! Somehow the brothers blood is crying out from the ground ratting on his brother for murdering him. It is not till then that the good Lord knows what has happened. 

5But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. Genesis 11:5

This ones a hoot! He actually had to come done  from heaven to have a look at the tower he heard they were building. Once again for an all knowing being he seems to have to confirm things an awful lot in the scriptures. I will end this post with one of my favorites.

20Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.” Genesis 18:20-21

This one is especially revealing because it states that God had to come down from heaven in the form of a man along with two angels to confirm if what he heard about Sodom and Gomorrah was as bad as he heard it was. In other words he didn't know or wasn't so sure about it so yet again he goes through great lengths to confirm it. It's also interesting that he confesses his lack of knowledge at the end of the 21st verse. I think I have sufficiently proven the contradictory claims of the Bible regarding God's so called attribute of omniscience. It seems to me like the good Lord doesn't seem to know much about anything. Contradictory stories and claims all throughout the scriptures are rampant and quite honestly if I really put my mind to it I could do this all day. 

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

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Incest in the Bible!

As a former believer one of the things that I found disturbing was the teaching of our creation and propagation as a species as it is narrated in the Old Testament. I found it odd that God allegedly created all the animals and their species separately but in some unknown number or populations so that they too could propagate and spread. I think that the creation story would have been much more believable if it just said God created whole populations of people and spread them out all over the earth. Instead, he makes one pair and tells them to be fruitful and multiply. So basically what the Bible teaches is that humans are the product of many incestous relationships! I find that to be offensive and embarrassing that a loving creator would choose this method for the propagation of the human race.

Let's think about this for a minute if the Garden story is true (which it obviously isn't) then Adam had to have intercourse with his wife who later gives him two boys Cain and Abel. You later find out that after murdering his brother Cain is separated from his family and condemned by God to be a "restless wanderer."

10The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” Genesis 4:10-12

17Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 

Notice that here is where this story gets a little less credible. God curses Cain and claims he is going to be a restless wanderer but then we find out in verse  17 that he actually has a wife and builds a city! That's one of those questions most ministers have to dance around to answer one of the most popular questions atheists and even some believers like to ask. Where did Cain find a wife when according to the tale the only people that existed were his parents and his brother who he had murdered? He actually lived in the land of Nod (wandering) and built a city. Not bad for a man who has been cursed and condemned by God.

Considering the high risk of birth defects due to incestuous relationships I don't believe that an all knowing all wise deity would choose this method for populating the earth. The limitations in the human gene pool would make for a very boring and sick species. It's obviously a myth a badly written one at that. I find the idea of our so called beginning being incest repulsive and offensive in every way. Although from a naturalistic point of view minus gods it actually would make more sense as a means of our early beginnings. 

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

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Believing is not enough!

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

If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

For many non-practicing self proclaimed Christians and so called "believers" out there, it is these two passages and others like them that have led to a great deal of confusion regarding salvation. It's passages like these that have led many to believe that they are automatically going to heaven because they believe in God. What they fail to understand mostly due to a lack of knowledge regarding what the scriptures say about salvation is that it is not as simple as it seems. For instance there are many in my family who claim to believe in God but they live their lives no different than the rest of us. Many claim to have Jesus in their hearts and assure themselves that although they may not be living according to God's ways that the Lord "knows what's in their heart." 

The United States is considered a Christian nation not because of it having been founded on Christian principles as some believe, but because of the influence that Christianity has had on this nation as a whole. There are many here who claim to be Christians but have never read the Bible nor set foot in a church a day in their lives. These are for the most part the ones that have inherited mom and pops religion as I like to refer to it. They believe not because they have had an encounter with the Lord or committed their lives to their faith. They believe because they were told from a very young age that there was a God that created all things great and small. Unlike the Santa myth the God myth is not taken away or exposed as false, but rather it continues to be reinforced in them well into adulthood to the point where it becomes second nature to believe. 

If non-practicing believers are brought up in a household where their parents are either non-practicing believers or it's opposite they obtain these influences in their own conception of belief. The former will believe like many that just believing in God is the default position and that it is not rational to question that. The latter will believe with much more commitment and zeal and will try to live a life that he or she thinks will be pleasing to the Lord. Orthodox Jews, fundamentalist Christians, and Islamist are criticized often for being too extreme but in reality this is what the scriptures actually require.

I considered myself a fundamentalist Christian to the extreme. My daily routine consisted of praying to the Lord the moment I opened my eyes in the morning. I believed deep in my heart that I was speaking to the Lord and that he lived in me through his Holy Spirit. I considered my body his temple and I worshiped him with all my heart, mind, and soul. I preached on the streets on Saturday's and Sunday's every weekend without fail. I made house calls and visited the sick at the hospitals upon request from members or friends of the church. I was always evangelizing hoping to convert and lead to salvation yet another soul to Christ. I was part of a deliverance ministry which consisted of my friend and ministry partner at the time. He preached in Spanish at times and I preached in English or Spanish when required. Contrary to what some may believe I did what I did because I believed in what I was doing. The fear of hell or the glory of eternal reward was the furthest from my mind.

You see Christianity for me was not about just saying how much I loved the Lord or simply going to church to socialize and do nothing. Christianity was for me in those day a way of life. I tried to live the gospel to the best of my ability. Although, I knew that this was impossible I had to try to be more Christ like every minute and every moment of my waking life. I guarded my tongue and my thoughts very carefully. I asked for forgiveness when I offended or felt that I had done something offensive to the Lord. My time as a believer was a life changing experience in that I not only read and professed the gospel as true; I lived it! 

19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. James 2:19

Many people here in the states have been led to believe that it's not what you do but what you believe that will eventually lead to your salvation. But that is clearly not true. As in the O.T. the N.T. requires that you separate yourself from the "world" and live in the light according to God's will. If you were to conduct a survey for instance you will find that a majority of the shadiest people in the city believe in the Christian God in one way or the other. Drug dealers, addicts, prostitutes, thieves etc. all claim that they believe in God. Some of them go out to commit their folly while wearing a crucifix around their necks, carrying a rosary, or even sporting a religious tattoo! The irony of it all is that they Seek God's protection while they go out to commit their crimes against innocent unsuspecting passersby.

A very nice Jesus tattoo! 

People like the ones being described rationalize their behavior by insisting that they do what they do because they have no choice and that God sees and knows this and thus will forgive them. I'm here to state for the record that believing is not enough! If you are not living the life that the Lord requires of you then hell awaits you of unfaithful and hypocritical believer. Of course I don't believe in God nor hell anymore but I am pointing out what you as believers should know. 

20You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. James 2:20-24

This is what Jesus meant when he mentioned that false prophets would be recognized by their fruits. You as a believer are supposed to be a living example of the gospel. Your life is supposed to illustrate what you preach. Otherwise you are being a hypocrite by claiming to be something that you are not. Jesus life as narrated in the scriptures is the prime example that all those claiming to be believers should be following. 

21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

According to this passage they were seemingly believers. They prophesied, cast out demons, and performed miracles. Yet Jesus will claim to have never knew them! This is not hard to understand, could it be because they were living double lives? On the pulpit or in their public life they gave a semblance of piety and holiness but behind closed doors they were no different than you average nonbeliever. Living their lives as if God did not exist. In other words they were being hypocrites! 

14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 7:21-23

14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

This is why I tend to call many Christians I run into hypocrites. It's because if you are not practicing what you are preaching you are not being true to yourself and your commitment to the Lord. It's good to believe but it's simply not enough. If it were so, then everyone would be saved and there would be no point in rejecting this belief, living as you please, and being rewarded for it. This is the one and only circumstance where Pascal's wager would be absolutely right! 

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