Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Onion: Open Relationship With Jesus

For those Christians who insist that a close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the only way to grow spiritually, this is the only reasonable outcome...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fundamentalist Discord

Hemant Mehta invited a fundamentalist Christian to his blog to answer questions. For the most part, she answered like she was supposed to:

Is there any scientific/religious disagreement in human history that you can point to where religion has been proven right, and science has been proven wrong?

At one time, the most up to date science there was thought that the earth was flat. The Bible had said already that it was round.

But her answers about how she was raising her daughter were encouraging:
I am trying daily to teach my daughter to think for herself. I don’t want anyone to make her choices for her, her friends, her future mate, or her mom and dad. Nobody can control her but her. Her choices will dictate where her life goes. I tell her often that all we can do is her parents is give her the best information we have to give to try and help her make good decisions, but all the deciding about who she’ll be and what she’ll do with her life is up to her.
We expect and even encourage our daughter, and will with our son once he’s old enough to understand, to question what she believes and why she believes it. A belief that won’t stand up to questioning isn’t really much of a belief.
However, when asked a specific question about questioning beliefs, she falls back in line:
Is there any amount of evidence that would be able to dissuade you of your belief in the Bible?

I guess the short answer to that question is no. I have struggles with belief from time to time, times where I feel very close and connected to God, and times where I feel really ticked at Him and want to pull the covers over my head and tune out and forget about church or anything like it. But as much as I can struggle or not like the way some things go on, there really is no other way of life for me. I’ve tried life without God and, for me, that just doesn’t work.
The upshot of this is that she sounds magnanimous by claiming that her children are free to question their beliefs, but she doesn't allow for the possibility of there being any other answer than the truth of Christianity. Like most Christians, her subjective experiences trump anything else that can be shown her, and that spells trouble down the road if either of her children allow themselves to consider the evidence impartially and objectively.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hemant Mehta on Beliefnet

Hemant Mehta was recently interviewed by Beliefnet. It's a pretty good interview, mostly concerned with his book I Sold My Soul on eBay, but there was also this little gem:

You also said that you rarely feel lonely or apathetic, and that being an atheist actually gives you confidence and more passion to help people than, for example, when you were being raised as a Jain.

When I was religious, if we knew a friend that was going through a rough time or we saw homeless people on the street, I would always hear, "You should pray for them,"or be thankful that God didn't put you in that situation. There was nothing, when I was growing up, about whether we should actually go out and make them lunch or build houses or something like that. And once I became an atheist, it was very clear that I can do something for people who are less fortunate. No God is going to do it for them. I need to get out and donate blood or donate money to causes that help those groups of people. I'm not saying Christians wouldn't do that, but their reasoning for doing it is very different. I actually think the atheist reasoning--that we have to help them because God's not going to do it--is a more moral way than to say, “Pray for them” or “We should do it because God wants us to.”

Bill Maher: We're Not The Crazy Ones

Bill Maher, as always, delivers the goods.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

True Biblical Interpretation

Over at Kevin Harris' blog, his brother Craig and I were discussing the interpretation of specific Biblical passages, and I could not understand how certain orthodox interpretations were known to be so certainly true. For example, Craig was adamant that Genesis 3 "provides incredible symbolism of a serpent (Satan) striking the heel of the woman’s offspring (Christ),"even though neither of those two parenthetical characters are mentioned in the text.

Now I think I have found some insight, courtesy of the Penitent Atheist. In his blog, he describes how, as a former pastor, he considered it part of his job description to "explain away" troubling inconsistencies such as that above. He also gives instructions on how to approach the Bible correctly, without the orthodox assumptions that color one's interpretation.

What he describes is similar to my own watershed realization: that if the Bible is truly the word of God, then any neutral assessment should show it to be so, even without the presupposition of divine inspiration. His conclusion from that point mirrors mine uncannily.

via Atheist Revolution

Friday, September 07, 2007

Australian Pastor is a Modern Day Lot

Finally, a pastor who lives up to Biblical standards:

A fundamentalist church pastor had sex with two of his teenage daughters to educate them on how to be good wives, a South Australian court has heard.

The 54-year-old man, who cannot be named, was yesterday sentenced in the SA District Court to eight and a half years jail after pleading guilty to seven counts each of incest and unlawful sexual intercourse.

The court heard that the man had sex with his daughters for nearly a decade from 1991 when they were aged 13 and 15 at the family property.

The sex took place at various locations including in a shearer's shed, a paddock, on the back of a ute and, on one occasion, at the girls' grandparents house.

The man told the court the sex was not about fulfilling his desires but about teaching his daughters how to behave for their husbands when they eventually married, as dictated in scripture.

Truly, a man of God. This guy has more Godly conviction than Lot ever had! You see, Lot was seduced by his daughters, but this Aussie took it to the next level and initiated the sex himself.

Now that this preacher finally got caught for raping his daughters for almost a decade, you would think that the authorities would lock him up and throw away the key. But no, that's not quite what they did:

Judge Lovell gave full credit for the man's guilty pleas, saying he was genuinely remorseful and had a good chance of rehabilitation as his wife and the church remained supportive.

The man will be eligible for parole in four years.

Unfortunately, the Australian justice system seems to be seriously confused. Here is a situation where a preacher commits incest with his two daughters, motivated directly by his faith, and freely admits it. And then, the court promises to go lenient and let him out early because he has the support of his fellow cultists, whom all share the same faith that got him in trouble in the first place!

Logically, if a man rapes his own offspring and claims religious motivations for it, wouldn't the promise of continued support from that very religion and its adherents serve as a reason for the judge to extend, rather than shorten, the offender's prison sentence? Isn't that judge's thought process completely ass-backwards?

To me, it's like releasing a crack addict early from a rehab center due to the promise of extensive outside support from the crack-smoking community. But then again, it's not like we can trust the government to make rational decisions in these matters, can we?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Corporate Chaplains?

Austin Cline has my head reeling.

And they're based in Dallas, no less!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I Hunger, Therefore I Am

Funny and witty: "The Philosophical Revelations of Sinistar."