Friday, August 30, 2013

Sinless Jesus?

Christians will often hang the sacrifice of Jesus to 'pay for' sins on the notion that he was sinless.
Thus, he was the 'perfect' sacrifice. Lets overlook the fact that there is no actual evidence for Jesus, or that the simple idea that a human sacrifice is disgusting and unnecessary to boot. Lets instead focus on the idea that he was supposedly sinless.

I must say that I find it funny that so much attention and importance is placed on a character that hasn't been verified to exist. But furthermore, this claimed 'sinless nature' is never explained in the Bible. It simply asserts that was, and goes no further.

But as with most everything in the Bible, the claim is riddled with problems. The first is 'original sin'. The Bible claims that all are 'infected' by original sin due to the sin of Adam and Eve disobeying God in the garden of Eden. This sin (somehow) flowed down the line, causing all to be born with sin. A ridiculous concept on it's own, but one that also complicates things here.

The Bible never really goes into detail about original sin, or how it is passed on. There's just the doctrine that all born since the story of Adam and Eve in the garden, have been born with it. But, the supposedly sinless Jesus was born since then, so he should have been born with original sin as well. If he has that sin, then he can't be the 'perfect sacrifice', that Christians somehow believe to be necessary. If he wasn't the 'perfect sacrifice', his 'death' wouldn't wipe the slate of sin clean. That would make Jesus' death a pointless one, and destroy the entire concept of Christian forgiveness.

So (assuming any of this ever happened) either he was somehow born without original sin, there is no original sin, or he was a pointless sacrifice that changed nothing. I'm a fan of the middle explanation for reasons twofold. First, because original sin is an absurd concept. And also because the Bible is just contemporary mythology. But let's play devil's advocate...

Let's assume that Jesus was somehow born without original sin. There main explanation some believers offer is that the sin is passed down through the father's line. Jesus didn't have a biological human father, so no sin. But remember, this is all guesswork on the Christian's part. The Bible doesn't support this claim at all. Okay, so no daddy, means no sin. How does that work? DNA!... um... somehow.

Adam supposedly had 'perfect' DNA (that sounds a little too 'master race' for my liking), but when he sinned, his DNA was corrupted (somehow) and so the sin is henceforth in our DNA through dear old dad. Um... what? Maybe genetics aren't their strong suit. We are a huge mix of generations of DNA. Even if Adam was the sole original conveyer of the 'sin DNA', that wouldn't last very long at all.

Remember, we are a product of the combination of the genes passed on from both of our parents. they were the product of their parents, and they were the product of theirs. If girls are born with original sin as well as boys, that means that it is in their DNA as well. If it's in their DNA, they can pass it on as well. This means that 'original sin' can't be passed by the father's line exclusively. The only was Mary could be cleared of passing sin on to Jesus, would be if sin doesn't pass on to women. And if women are born without sin, what was the point of Jesus?

But let's just say that somehow Jesus was born without sin. Is it realistic to claim that he remained sinless? Remember Mathew 5:27-29?
You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. "If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.…
 Okay, so by Jesus' standards, thinking lustfully is the same as adultery. Pretty crazy to me, but let's run with it. And no, I'm not going to go the Mary Magdalene route.  Sure, if she meant what some think she meant to Jesus, then he would be very guilty of sin. But by the same token that lust = adultery, then hunger = gluttony (also a sin).  I don't think that anyone is prepared to claim that Jesus never felt hunger, especially considering the fasting that was required at times.

I could go on, but I hope that this has gone to show that even if there was a Jesus, his claim of sinlessness is one that should be very much in doubt. So much so, that any Christian should be far from certain about their own 'salvation'. So instead of hanging everything on something that someoneelse claimed to do (or not do), lets focus on what we can do.

Plus, is perfection really all it's cracked up to be? Our shortcomings provide us with endless opportunities for personal growth and improvement.

 -Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Atheism violates separation of church and state?

It turns out that an interesting statement was made by David Barton today. Barton is an evangelical Christian minister, that has major issues with allowing non-religious 'chaplains' in the military. His statement was as follows: 
The Supreme Court opened the door to all of this. Back in decisions like U.S. vs Seeger and others, the court, in their dislike for traditional religion, they defined religion as whatever someone believes so sincerely and so strongly that it affects the way they act.

Now, if that's the case, by the court's definition, atheism and humanism would be religious because they affect the way people act. But if that's the case, then why don't we have the separation of church and state with them, if they're a religion?

Darwinism and evolution is a religion. Why don't we say 'hey, we can't teach Darwinism in school. That affects the way people behave. I demand separation of church and state. Get Darwinism out of the classroom.'

Or why don't we say 'hey, I don't see any prayers going at graduation; that's atheism! I demand separation of church and state. Atheism has chaplains, they're a religion. Get atheism out of the schools.'
Wow...  Let's start with U.S. vs Seeger. This case questioned whether personal beliefs against war were equally as valid as the religious exemption from military service. The court concluded that a simple personal moral profession against war was not strong enough to earn the same exemption. But it was concluded that beliefs that are not strictly personal. and could be considered to be filling the same role as traditional religious beliefs would be eligible for the religious service exemption.

So Barton has things a bit mixed up... possibly purposely so that he can make his absurd point. Plainly put, atheism isn't a religion. Actually it's the lack of one! Tell me how not having a rel;igion is supposed to be a religion.

Darwinism and evolution aren't religions either. And they aren't even requirements  to be an atheist. So teaching evolution doesn't violate the separation of church and state one bit. Evolution isn't a theistic claim in the slightest. But it is the evidenced truth, which is why it is taught in schools.

Also, the absence of religion is not atheism.Not praying at graduation is not atheism, it's upholding the Constitution. Not praying is simply, not praying. If school graduations presented a speech asserting that prayer is a pointless waste of time that doesn't work, and that there is no God, THEN the graduation ceremony would be atheistic.

The same is true about the absurd claim that atheism has replaced God in schools, and is itself a violation. This is absurd and untrue. No, schools can't force students to pray at the beginning of each day. Such an institutionalization of religion violates the separation of church and state. But not forcing prayer is not atheism. Students may pray voluntarily, so how is that atheism? Schools aren't teaching that there is no God, so where's the atheism.

This is just another example of a Christian leader crying for not getting everything their own way any longer. No more Christian monopoly in the military. No more using schools as a church. Evolution is taught because it is true, so stop the vain attempts to get it removed from the classroom because it contradicts your beliefs. Sorry if your beliefs don't line up with the truth, but maybe that says something about your beliefs.

Finally, what is his proposed solution? He thinks that not praying = atheism, and that atheism = a religion. This 'reasoning' tells him that this 'atheism' is a violation of the separation of church and state. Similarly, forced Christian prayer is also a violation. So if both prayer and no prayer are violations in his mind, what options are there left exactly?

 -Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ark vs Titanic

3,000,000 is a VERY low estimate!
I've been hearing this old phrase recently, and I can't help but feel it fails on many levels...
"Amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic"

This old saying is supposed to suggest that just because you're an amateur  doesn't mean your skilled, and just because your a professional, doesn't mean that you're skillfully perfect. Of course, so believers take it a step further as a claim that you can't trust 'so called' expert scientists, but you can trust the faithful.

But the phrase is flawed. The first is that there never was an ark. There's no evidence that Noah actually existed, let alone built a boat to house every species of Earth. Even with the lack of evidence for the ark and the flood, the premise itself is incredibly flawed. If Noah got every creature into an ark of the dimensions the Bible gives, the only explanation is that he was an iteration of the Doctor before the TARDIS's chameleon switch was broken. After all, the ark would need to be much, much bigger on the inside.

But even is we pretend that the ark were real, the comparison is still very poor. The claim is that the ark didn't sink, and the Titanic did, so the ark was better. But is this really the case? The main problem is the idea that the Titanic sinking proves that the experts failed. But did they? It's not like the Titanic was on calm seas and just randomly sunk for no reason. Now THAT would have been a total failure. Remember, the Titanic ran into a freaking iceberg! If the ark ran into the same, it would have met an equally tragic fate (if it were real).

So it's really an unfair comparison. While it is true that the Titanic's owners cut corners that caused it to sink faster than it should, it wasn't the absolute failure this phrase makes it out to be. Yes, the rivet placement from cost cutting became an issue after the impact. Yes, the owners didn't install enough lifeboats for aesthetic reasons. But you must remember. If the Titanic never hit that iceberg, it wouldn't have sunk.

What this phrase is actually doing is blaming the ship for the captain's navigational error. That is like blaming a car for an accident when the driver misses a turn and crashes into a tree. Is that the cars's fault, or the driver's? The same is true of the Titanic example.

So if we look at the old phrase again, and instead consider like conditions, you either end up with the ark either being the greater tragedy, or the Titanic finishing a successful voyage in a ship much more impressive looking than the (imaginary) ark.

So remember, just because an old saying sounds clever, it doesn't mean it actually is.

-Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No more mister nice pope

I wrote before about the new pope making statements that made him sound pretty decent. But it sounds like other in the church will be pleased with a move that goes on to continue the stats quo of the previous papacy.

On one hand, progress was made when Vatican law was updated to apply a penalty of up to a twelve year sentence to sex crimes against children. That sounds pretty good right? Far better than Ratzinger trying to hide the abuse and protect the abusers.

But it's not all roses. The Vatican also issued a new law at the same time that criminalized the reporting of sex crimes. This law actually assigns a two year sentence for 'revealing or receiving confidential Vatican information'. The trouble is that the Vatican is still very secretive about the abuse cases, and considers priests abusing children to be confidential. So this new law also makes reporting abuses a crime.

The church claims they didn't intend to do that, and will think about changing the law. However, I can't help but notice that it feels like the continuation of the same old Vatican cover up.

 -Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Monday, August 26, 2013

Worship wars

Sometimes people write in to my local paper's Billy Graham column with serious questions. This is not one of them. It's actually a quite trivial one that really didn't need asking. One that highlights just how blindly some believers wish to be led.
Is my church changing its tune?

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Have you heard the expression “worship wars”? Recently we moved to a different city and joined a new church, but the congregation seems at war between those who like contemporary Christian music and those (like us) who prefer traditional worship. Should we look for another church? — E.M.

DEAR E. M.: I know many churches have experienced similar debates in recent years because of new styles of worship and music. I’m not a musician, of course, but I’m grateful that God has raised up a new generation of composers and musicians who point us to Christ.

That doesn’t mean we should throw out what previous generations have done, however — not at all. If I were a pastor today, I’d probably try to avoid making sudden, radical changes that might cause some to feel they were being ignored or put down. The Bible says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

I actually hear less today about these “worship wars” than I did a few years ago; many churches seem to have found ways to bridge the gap between older and newer styles of worship. Some, for example, try to blend the old with the new in their services. Larger churches often have two services — one traditional and one contemporary. Encourage your church’s leadership to explore all options — not just for your sake, but for the sake of the whole congregation, including your youth.

Before you consider changing churches, look beyond this issue to a more important question: Can you grow spiritually through this church’s activities? Is Jesus Christ and his word, the Bible, at its center? Does it offer opportunities for service? The Bible says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).
 So... This letter is about the horribly pressing issue of what kind of music is performed at church services? I know that several churches around here offer both traditional and contemporary services. So I don't see why EM is as worried about this issue as she is. If you like one type of service better, go to that church instead. At least you'll enjoy the music at your weekly service then. Better to enjoy music based on mythology, than to make the experience a total loss by not even enjoying the music.

But there's a bigger question here that is being ignored. Why are there different services to begin with? Surely the immutable 'word of God', wouldn't need to appeal to different music tastes to get noticed. If the Bible shows anything, it's that this mythological deity is not one to compromise. It's his way or the highway (to Hell... sing it Bon!). The answer is really quite simple, and one that we see every single day.

These contemporary churches are doing something your toothpaste, favorite breakfast cereal, fast food restaurant, and just about all other products have done. Re-branding! What does a product or company tend to do when the sales figures begin to weaken? They introduce a new commercial, they launch a new slogan, they may even redesign the packaging. It's all simple marketing really. The same things are done when a company wants to attract a new target demographic.

And that's what contemporary worship is. It's a reply to the reducing 'sales figures' of Christianity. More and more, Christianity is losing out on the younger generations. Sometimes they think it's just boring, others are more educated and have moved past religion, other still have seen it for the archaic and necessary thing it is. So, to 'stay in business', the church needs to make more 'sales' to the younger generation. Enter contemporary worship. It's just your same old Christianity in a shiny new package. Not any better or improved... just blatant marketing.

The same is true of churches that differ in stance from other churches in some areas. Consider congregations that are accepting of gay members. Consider them the fat free potato chips of Christianity. Sure, they are better, but they still aren't good for you. And actually, the fact that some churches will bend their beliefs to align with the changing views of society makes one wonder how important the church doctrines actually are, or if membership is their primary concern. And considering that donations from members is how they pay their bills, it is membership, or more importantly, their money that are the church's concern.

How about skipping church altogether? Instead of lining the pockets of those that just want to fill seats, try worshiping at home, or not at all.

 -Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Friday, August 23, 2013

Desires and beliefs

There are things that we want, and there things that are true. But we mustn't fool ourselves... Just wanting something to be so, doesn't make it so. Yet this is an issue I face surprisingly often when facing a theist in debate.

At some point they will be talking about Heaven, eternal life, eternal reward, and state how they can't wait for the day they punch their ticket for that never ending buffet in the sky. Then they will comment on my belief that there is nothing after death. They will say that the though saddens them, and that it can't be so... rather, they don't want it to be so. They want eternal life, and dammit, they've convinced themselves they're get it!

And then the questions come. Don't you want to live forever? Don't you want to go to Heaven instead of Hell? Why do you want death to be the absolute end? I have different answers to these questions, but they highlight an error in thinking. These are all questions about what i want, in regards to a topic of belief. But desire has no effect on if something to true or not.

Would I like to live forever? In a way, I suppose it would be nice. Do I want to go to Heaven? Honestly, if the Bible is accurate about Heaven and the nature of the afterlife, I do not. Non-existence sounds more appealing to me than a never-ending sameness. Do I want death to be the end? Well, the answer to that depends. In general I'd prefer life to death, but have made peace with my ultimate demise. But framed as a choice between the Christian afterlife, and simply flashing out of existance, I'd prefer the latter.

But after those honest answers, believers sometimes proclaim, "Ah ha! You just don't believe in an afterlife (or God) because you don't want there to be an afterlife." No... that's not what I said. And even if it were true, it wouldn't make a difference. Given only the two options mentioned before, do I find nonexistence the more desirable option. For some reason, some Christians seem to have trouble grasping the fact that the only choices aren't 'Christian' and anti-Christian'.

You see, I don't disbelieve in an afterlife because of some strange desire for annihilation. But because there simply isn't any evidence that points toward death being anything different from the same conditions as years before we were ever born. If I was like the believer that believes in Heaven because of their desire for Heaven, then I wouldn't hold that death is the most final of final acts.

No, if I believed in what I found the most appealing, then I would actually believe in some sort of Shinto/Buddhist reincarnation. To me, this is the most desirable form of afterlife for me. No never-ending tedium of the Christian afterlife, but several brand new lives, one after another.

And if I don't quite remember my previous lives, all the better. Think of the feeling of making your first friends again... finding your first girlfriend/boyfriend... having your first kiss... making love for the very first time... your first car... graduation... landing your dream job... getting married... buying a house you love... starting a family... etc. All big and often meaningful life events that you'd get to relive over and over in a wide myriad of ways.

Heck, I'd even find it interesting to turn a stint as a squirrel, otter, eagle, or other animals. Imagine living one life with the exhilarating power of flight. Another living in the trees , and another swimming the rivers and lakes with playful exuberance. What about being a lazy cat that gets waited on like a king? How could anyone not find that prospect interesting and exciting?

But remember, even though I love the idea of all that in principle, I still don't believe it is true. That is
because there is also no proof that reincarnation is a real thing. If I am to remain honest to myself and everyone else, I can't believe in something I want to be true, just because I want it. That desire changes nothing about the truth of the matter. I want there to be a million dollars in cash in my desk drawer. Sadly, I look and find it empty. I want my home and my car to be powered exclusively by solar energy. Alas, I have to fill up my car once a week, and still get an electric bill every month. I want many things to be true, but here I am facing the truth that simply wanting what I want, doesn't magically make those things come true.

So why is it that so many believers fall into the trap of believing out of desire? Perhaps those that do, do so out of fear. But why is it also so hard to understand that I can desire a different outcome than the one I believe to be true? I would live it if reincarnation were true, but the evidence says otherwise. So until the evidence points in in another direction, i shall operate as if I only have this one life, and try to make the very most of it... and I hope you will too.

 -Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Door to door nonsense (again)

Why do I always seem to miss the door to door proselytizers? My wife and I returned from the market to find a Bible tract stuffed in the door. Per usual, it's the usual nonsense that fails the test of logic and picks and chooses from the Bible. Let's take a look...

Hear ye the Word of the LORD God:

"Know ye not that the unrighteous SHALL NOT inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators (sexual relations before marriage), nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind (sodomites), Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards (all who drink beer, wine, or strong drink), nor revilers (those who curse God's name), nor extortioners."
(1 Corinthians 6:9, 10)

"DO NOT drink wine nor strong drink." (Lev. 10:9)
Wine is SO bad, that Jesus even made it.
Really now? This is so the first time I've heard these claims. You've sure convinced me... The trouble is that these claims simply don't even make sense in reality, nor their Bible. Sex before marriage? I fail to see the problem. In fact, I feel that saving sex until after marriage may be a factor in why divorce is more common among believers than non-believers. And if you actually know your Bible, it only has a problem with premarital sex for women. The Bible doesn't actually have a problem with men having sex, just women. Why? Because it treats virgin women as a commodity that can be sold. Disgusting!

The effeminate? Really? Um, that's just how some people are. Some guys are just more effeminate by their nature. If you believe that God creates people, are you actually claiming that God is going to punish people for being how he 'created' them? I have a newsflash for you. I'm sure you don't like homosexuality, but being effeminate does not automatically equal 'gay'.

So... All who drink any alcohol at all are damned? You first mention the word 'drunkard' and then define it as 'all who drink wine, beer, etc'. Sorry, but a glass a wine a week or a isolated beer after a long day does not make one a 'drunkard'. Also, if all who drink any alcohol are damned, I guess Noah is damned... Lot is damned... Jesus personaly turned water into wine for people to drink and didn't seem to have any problem with it... The Catholic church I belonged to involved wine as part of the rite of communion. So I guess all Catholics are damned then?

But you missed some:

•All that eat shellfish are damned. (Leviticus 11:10)
•All that eat pork products are damned. (Leviticus 11:8)
•Play football with a real 'pig-skin'? Damned! (Leviticus 11:8)
•Round haircut or trimmed beard? See you in hell! (Leviticus 19:27)
•Hey, that Jesus tattoo is going to look bad-ass in hell. (Leviticus 19:28)
•That gold cross you're wearing looks like it cost a lot. But it will also cost you eternity. (1 Timothy 2:9)
Irony: It look like this!
•Mixed fabric clothing? Sure, that poly-cotton blend will burn real nice in hell! (Leviticus 19:19)
•Hey girls? Accidentally try on a 'men's' T-shirt? Damned! Same probably goes for women's business attire that doesn't look effeminate enough... (Deuteronomy 22:5) Gender roles, much?

Also, I find it sad that you are blind to the might of Odin. You have mocked him and turned your back on the gods of Asgard. You will never see Valhalla, and will therefore be doomed and be cast into Helheim for your sins!
Do any of these sins describe your life? You may be mocking God and laughing now at your sin; but you will not be laughing when God judges you!
 And you won't be laughing when Odin, Allah, or Krishna judge you.
"But know thou, that for all these things (sins), God will bring thee into judgement." (Ecc. 11:9)
"Be not deceived ; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap!" (Galations 6:7)
"For the wages of sin is Death." (Romans 6:23)
Sorry to be a buzz-kill, but death awaits all... 'sin' or no 'sin'. Don't forget that Horus will judge thee as well. He will not be mocked! And if all sow what they reap, I'd be very worried if I was a Christian who actually follows the Bible to the word. Hate to break it to you, but it is far from a happy and friendly book...
"The wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the nations that forget God." (Psalms 9:17)
"Take him away, and cast him into outer darkness." (Matthew 22:13)
And all the Christians and other unbelievers will be cast into Helheim, Duat, or Hades. Guess you better convert to Norse, Egyptian, and Greek now.
God does not want you to perish in your sins, but to Repent of them!
"As I live saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?" (in your sins) (Ezekiel 33:11)
Okay, if he doesn't want me to 'perish in sin', maybe he should just forgive me then. Evil ways? Pardon, but I don't worship a god that demanded animal sacrifices, has a genocidal streak a mile wide, hates people for ridiculously arbitrary reasons, and demands you be party to a ritual human sacrifice. How is living a life that is more moral, honest, and introspective than any believer I've ever run across 'evil'?
Dear sinner friend, will you forsake your sins and flee to the lord Jesus Christ for mercy and pardon?
Will you flee to Odin to forsake your sins? Also, presumptive much? You leave this on a random door, proclaiming me and everyone else that you left this for to be 'sinners'. You do not know me, but if you follow the Bible as closely as this tract would suggest, I can guarantee that I'm more moral than the god it claims is morally superior to all.
"Christ died for the ungodly.: (Romans 5:6)
Thor gave his life to rid the worlds of the demon serpent Jörmungandr. Praise be to Thor!
Forgiveness of sins is in Him alone! "It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God" (Romans 8:34)
"In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." - "Through faith in His blood." (Ephesians 1:7, Romans 3:25)
Let me get this straight... One glass of wine a month = bad, but glorifying a disgusting, barbaric and unnecessary human sacrifice = awesome! Do I have that correct? If so, I really think you need rethink a few things. Like, why does all forgiveness need to come through belief in Jesus and his 'sacrifice'? Wouldn't it be better and more fair to reward those that are good people and punish genuinely bad people irrespective of belief? Oh, and Jesus' 'sacrifice' was far less impressive than Thor's. Jesus knew he would rise again, Thor knew he wouldn't. So Thor made the bigger sacrifice.
Christ died as a sacrifice for sinners on Calvary's cross where He shed for the remission of your sins! He paid your sin debt with His precious blood! Christ was buried and rose again the third day. He is alive forevermore! And now in heaven He waits "to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth." (Hebrews 7:25)
So the Bible says anyway... The trouble is, there is no proof that the Bible is true. Also, there's the problem that the traits ascribed to Jesus were also ascribed to Mithra and other gods before they were associated with Jesus. And again, what's with glorifying a barbaric practice that isn't even necessary? Also, transferred punishment is itself a highly immoral idea that doesn't actually right any 'wrongs'. Remember, Thor died for us all, and so did a star!
Will you come now to Christ Jesus with your sins, desiring to be forgiven and cleansed from all of them? Will you put your faith in trust in His blood to save you from your sins? If you will, Christ will reach down in merciful loving kindness to forgive your sins by His grace - for His blood can make the vilest sinner clean!
And before you try and claim that the Bible is proof of Jesus, let this picture sink in.
 I don't know... Will you follow Allah, and ask to be forgiven and cleansed? Will you come to know Odin, Zeus, or Ganesh? I also find this fixation on blood rather disturbing... But you want to know if I will come to Jesus and follow him as I once did. Fair question I suppose... But tell me why I should follow him above Odin, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or none at all. Show me proof that Jesus is real and that the Bible is true, and we can talk. Until then, there's no value in your claims, or weight in your
If however, you choose to hold onto your sins and to follow this world's crown, then be assured of this one thing - you will die in your sins!
 And? Everyone dies, even believers. Sure you like to pretend there's another life. But there's no proof that there is, so why waste my one and only life wishing for another. 
And do remember, there are NO PARTIES IN HELL - only fire torment, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9:44)
True, there are no parties in Hell... but that's because there is no Hell. But if there was one, it will be far more interesting since the greatest minds and entertainers are all supposedly there or going there. And if it is real, how do we know what it's like? I mean, we've only heard it described from one biased perspective. What if Lucifer's down there aware that God is talking shit about Hell, and is like "If you're going to talk like that I'm going to be the bigger man and not even dignify that with a response." Hey, you never know. And what if Hell is like you say, how is it going to be torment? My 'soul' supposedly leaves my body and goes to Hell to be burned. But pain requires a physical body with physical nerve endings. So if I'm not in my body, there's nothing to feel pain.
Choose you this day whom YOU will serve: Satan and his crowd, or your Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Lord God of Heaven, Who loved you and gave Himself for you on the cross. Your eternal destiny (in Hell fire or in Heaven) will be determined by the decision you make!! Now, what will YOU do with JESUS?

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and though shalt be saved!" (Acts 16:30) ... "he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16)
What about the other options? What if I decide to serve Odin to find my way to Valhalla?  What if I choose neither side? You talk as if it is a well established choice between Jesus and Satan. It's not! The fact is that their existence is just as unverified as that of Thor, Poseidon, Helios, Athena, and all other gods and goddesses through the ages. Until a god is proven, I will take NO sides. What if I were to ask you which side YOU will serve? Horus or Set? Your future depends on you making the right choice! Oh, and by that way, saying 'Satan and his crowd', just makes you sound profoundly silly.
"Look unto Me , and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there in none else." (Isaiah 45:22)

"And him that cometh to ME (Christ) I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37)
Translation = Hitler (Christian) is in Heaven! That's a major problem with this supposedly perfect plan for salvation. You can have a monster like Hitler receive eternal reward. Yet someone as humble as Gandhi is damned to hell, and so will the greatest philanthropist in the world (Bill Gates). This tells us that justice is of no concern, and only blindly obedient followers are what's desired. Again, if you want justice, forgive on people's nature, not their beliefs.

This laughable tract was from:

Fundamentalist Baptist Church
146 South Potomac St.
Hagerstown, MD 21740

Come to think of it... Why were they out doing this on a Saturday? It is the original Sabbath day after all, so shouldn't they stay in like 'good believers'?

 -Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Buying Heaven

Here's the second letter to Billy Graham that I mentioned yesterday...
You can't buy your way into Heaven

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: My uncle (who’s been very successful in business) makes a generous donation to his church every month, but other than that he almost never attends (he says he’s too busy). We think he’s just trying to buy his way into heaven. Are we right? — G.C.
DEAR G.C.: I don’t know, of course, what your uncle’s real motive is in giving so generously to his church; it may not be what you suggest. He simply might want to support his church’s social work, or he may have some other reason for what he does.
But I’m afraid some people do hope God will reward them for their generosity (or for some other good deed they’ve done), either by blessing them right now or by granting them eternal life. Lurking in the back of their minds is the idea that at the last judgment, God will weigh their good deeds against their bad deeds, and if they have more good deeds than bad deeds then God will let them into heaven.
This, however, is a serious misunderstanding of what the Bible actually teaches. The Bible says that God is absolutely holy and pure, and even one sin — just one — would be enough to keep us out of heaven. In other words, we all stand condemned before God, and no matter how good we are, we can never be good enough to win our way into heaven. The Bible says, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10).
This is why we need Christ, because he did something we could never do: On the cross he took upon himself the judgment that we deserve. Now by faith and trust in him we can be saved. May your uncle come to realize this and commit his life to Christ — and may you, as well.

Read more here:
 Wow! That's actually a surprise... Billy didn't just assume the worst of GC's uncle as he often does with those who write in. But is it really any surprise that some think that they can buy themselves into Heaven or purchase blessings? Just turn on some of the most well know televangelist shows, and what are they saying? Send in your donation of $XX and receive a blessing straight from God. Send in a donation of $XXX and you will receive a guaranteed blessing tomorrow! You have these scam artist preachers, using their supposed special connection with God, and the gullibility of the audience to profit. So no, it's not hard to understand GC's uncles motivation, if it is as GC assumes.

Then Graham reiterates that God is not interested in tallying good deeds against bad. And that any one sin alone is enough to keep one from Heaven. How ridiculous is that? So the crimes of a serial killer are the same as someone who wears a poly-cotton blend shirt (Leviticus) in God's eyes! How can someone not see that as absurd? Oh, but if that serial killer is a believing Christian, he will be forgiven, where-as the non-believing tee-shirt wearer would be forever damned. That is the last thing that one could ever call justice. If God were just, he'd judge people based on who they are, not what they believe. But that's not the case. So it's rather fortunate that this tyrant does not exist at all.

-Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Read more here:

Monday, August 19, 2013

Is walking with Jesus like a friendship?

My Sunday paper has two Q&A entries from Billy Graham this week. Let's look at the first today, and the second tomorrow...

Walk with Jesus more than once a week

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: You often say something in your column about learning to walk with God every day, but what does that mean? I go to church regularly, but I admit I often don’t even think about God during the week. — F.C. 
DEAR F.C.: I notice that you are married; what kind of marriage would you have if you saw your husband only one hour a week, and then didn’t even think about him the rest of the week? The idea is laughable because you and your husband love each other and are committed to each other, and you want to be with each other as much as possible.
And yet this is the way many people (perhaps including you) deal with God — as someone they occasionally visit, but not as a close friend they want to be with every day. But that is exactly what he wants to be — and once we discover this, it will change our lives. He loves us, and he wants us to love him in return. Jesus said, “I have called you friends” (John 15:15).

How is this possible? It is possible because Jesus Christ is not dead; He is alive! And when we repent of our sins and commit our lives to him, he comes to live within us by his Holy Spirit. From that moment on, we have a personal relationship with him that will never end.

But like any other relationship, it needs to be nurtured and cultivated. As we pray … as we read and hear the Bible … as we have fellowship with other believers, our faith is strengthened and we know Christ is with us. Don’t be satisfied with a once-a-week faith, but ask Christ to come into your heart and life today — and he will.

Read more here:
 Comparing a relationship with God/Jesus to a marriage? Really? I feel that you really can't draw such a comparison since she can actually show her husbands existence and can see him. But what if we allow your absurd claim? When I was a believer, they often talked of the nuns being 'married to Christ'. I suppose if you want to view a relationship with Jesus like a marriage, that would be okay (theologically) if you're a woman. But what about a man, and I supposed to treat a relationship with Jesus as if we're in a gay marriage? I can tell you that most churches would have a HUGE problem with that proposition.

But what if FC were to treat her relationship with Christ the same as she treats her relationship with her husband? I can tell you that such a non-stop focus on Jesus will lead to a dramatic shortage of time. Something will have to suffer, and the marriage would probably be the biggest thing negatively impacted. So yes, follow Graham's advice and ruin your marriage by putting your husband second in your life (or equal to) Christ. Great plan...

Graham also compares a relationship with God to a relationship with a close friend. Again, he misses the mark. Friends like you for who you are, not how often you see them. Sure, you may like to see them more often than not, but even in good friendships, there reaches a point where too much, is too much. 

I have friends that I rarely see, yet when we get together, it's like we just saw each other yesterday. Then there are friends that I see more regularly. Are they better friends because I see them more? No, if regularity of seeing someone was how we judged degrees of friendship, we'd be forced to conclude that most people's best friend would be their boss. And I'm sure a lot of people will tell you that's not the case.

Again, what's important in a friendship is the interaction, and what you mean to one another. If you're good mates, you'll still get along if you get together once a week, once a month or once a year. Friendships are also a two way street. If one friend is doing all the work, the friendship will fade, and is really more of a case of one using the other, rather than a friendship. 

The God/Jesus relationship is more like the latter. It's all demand and command, but nothing real in return. That doesn't sound like a friendship to me. Furthermore, the friend comparison is even more absurd when you look at the 'consequence' of not being friends. In the regular world, if you want to be someones friend, but they don't feel the same way, what do you do? Well, you might be cross, or upset at first, but in the end, the final result is that you just aren't friends. You may actually even continue to like the person regardless, and just hope for a day when the other party feels the same as you.

But that's not what God does. Nope, instead a threat is made. "Be my 'friend' or I will burn and torture you forever and ever." That doesn't sound very friendly to me. And it is the exact opposite of the actions of someone who actually cares for the threatened party. No God doesn't want a friend, he wants a slave.

But Graham does say one thing right. Don't be satisfied with once a week faith... that's far too much. Instead, believe in what is verifiable and real. Believe in the live of your husband. Believe in the people who genuinely care for you, and would never threaten you in the ugly manner as God does. Go forth, and live a happy, and undeluded life.

-Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Read more here:

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Thinking can be such a 'bear'...

The comedy that is Fox News has come out with the strange claim that Polar Bear populations somehow disprove climate change. Come again now!?

On Friday, Rob Rivett of the Pacific Legal Foundation claimed that Polar Bears are not threatened by climate change, and are actually thriving. He even said that the only thing 'threatened' about the Polar Bear's protected status is that they are a threat to the fossil fuel industry. Crazy, right?

But how is he drawing this conclusion? An absurd and motivated interpretation of facts of course! Rivett stated that 50 years ago there were 5,000-10,000 Polar Bears alive. Today there are 25,000 Polar Bears, so he claims that they are thriving and doing just fine.

He then makes the absurd claim that the Polar Bear was only ever listed as threatened because computer models forecast that their habitat will be profoundly effected by climate change. (completely false claim, but more on that later) Rivett's absurd conclusion is that the real threat isn't to the bears, but that the bears are a threat to the fossil fuel industry. Going so far as to claim that the industry will suffer because of restrictions due to the Polar Bear's conservation status.

One interesting part is that the population numbers that he listed are accurate. The problem is that he twists this data to fit his agenda. So why did Polar Bear population increase in those 50 years. It's quite simple really, and Rivett himself mentioned it. What boosted the population was the bear's granting of threatened status. And no, they weren't given protection because of speculation or climate models. They were granted protection because they were being hunted into extinction.

Now I don't know about you, but I don't think one should be too surprised that as soon as it is made illegal to hunt an animal, and we stop killing them, that more of them live and their numbers increase. No, they didn't become more plentiful because there is no climate change threatening them, but because we stopped killing them! Is that so hard to understand?

But the important factor is the numbers more recently. In recent years, the Polar Bear habitat has been hit harder and harder by climate change. Sea ice has been breaking up and receding. This ice is crucial for the bear's ability to hunt. The result is that the bears have been roaming further and further in search of food. In fact, an otherwise health bear was found that simply starved to death. It simply walked searching for food, and then just collapsed and died. Oh, but Polar Bears are doing just fine right?

So when we are looking at how climate change is effecting Polar Bears, we need to look at more recent statistics. And when we do that we see that their numbers are on the decline once more. It is true that our cession of directly killing the bears did help their numbers over those 50 years. But due to climate change, we are killing them once more, albeit less directly this time.

So no Fox News, Polar Bears are not thriving, or proof that there is no global warming. All it proves is that you will twist and distort anything you can in order to promote your extremely biased agenda.

 -Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Friday, August 16, 2013

Promoting atheism?

Inevitably, whenever I'm discussing the unconstitutional nature of schools promoting one religion, believers will claim that 'taking God out of the schools', has led to the schools promoting atheism. This claim is supposed to be proof that the government is biased against Christianity, and that this promotion of atheism is getting special treatment over the challenged promotions in favor of Christianity.

But there's a huge problem with this claim... Namely, the fact that atheism is not being promoted. For some reason, some believers have it set in their mind that if the schools are not allowed to promote Christianity, then they must necessarily be promoting atheism. This isn't even close to the truth, nor is it logically sound reasoning. This kind of black or white, for or against thinking is something that sometimes gets in the way of believers understanding what is actually going on, or understanding our arguments.

Public schools are not supposed to promote Christianity, but they aren't promoting atheism in it's place. What is taking place is that they are promoting either... remaining silent on the issue. If schools were promoting atheism, they would be teaching students unequivocally that God does not exist. Of course, schools do not do this. When they are obeying the law, God isn't mentioned at all. But where are believers getting this strange idea that schools are promoting atheism?

A lot has to do with that black and white mindset I was talking about earlier. If they're not for Christ, they assume that you must be against. Another issue is the teaching of Big Bang theory an evolution. These theories are contrary to many Christian's religious beliefs, so they blindly assume that teaching something contrary to their beliefs is the same as teaching atheism. Not surprisingly, there are problems with that thinking.

For one, there are less literal believers that do not deny evolution of the Big Bang. The second thing is that these items are not tenants of atheism. Atheism does not require acceptance of evolution. All atheism requires is a lack of belief in God. These subjects aren't taught to defy Christianity, but because overwhelming evidence shows them to be real truths. Big Bang theory is taught because the evidence shows that it actually happened. And evolution is taught because the evidence heavily supports it's happening. If Christians have a problem with evolution of the Big Bang, then they need to look inward at the problems with their theology, rather than casting blame on evidenced truths.

But there's more in play with the believer who claims schools are promoting atheism simply by not preaching Christianity. There is the obvious fact that almost all establishments that are not inherently
religious don't actively promote Christianity. By these believer's reasoning, these places are promoting atheism. When you get doughnuts at a Dunkin Donuts, are they promoting atheism since they aren't sharing the 'good news'? What if you go to the grocery store and they don't ask you if you've found Jesus at the check stand? Are those shops promoting atheism? Are Chick-fil-A's promoting atheism since they don't give you a Bible with every purchase or try to convert you?

If Microsoft Word, Target, or an Exxon station aren't promoting atheism for staying silent on theology, then schools are not promoting atheism either. Schools are for teaching facts. And if facts threaten your religion, that's your religion's problem.

 -Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On the seventh day...

...God rested? Wait... he rested!? I was just thinking the other day, and this thought just popped into my head. The absurd account in Genesis states that after God was finished creating everything in six day, he rested on the seventh. But Christians will tell you that God is all powerful. If he's all powerful, then God can't get tired. If he can't get tired, than he has absolutely no need to rest the regain his strength. Hell, if he was all powerful, he should be able to crate whole universes at a single though, and only in the fraction of a second. So I ask, why would all all powerful being ever require

Another example is in Judges:
And the Lord was with Judah; and he drove out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
-Judges 1:19
So...  your god can create a universe ex nihilo, he can flood the entire Earth, grant Moses the ability to part seas, but iron chariots are too much to handle? That sounds less like a god of unlimited power, and more like an impotent one. Heck, these days even the poorest military powers often poses tanks. If he can't handle iron chariots, then a legacy class tank would probably cause him to take a holy shit in his holy trousers. I can read the headline now, Ethiopia has 500 tanks, overthrows God.

Then there's the fuss about 'God being removed from schools' (lets skip that fact that God wasn't removed. We just say that the schools can't force religion and teach it as fact. Students can have all the religion they want in school.), and that being the reason shootings occur.  How weak do you really think your god is. So you think the shooter is perfectly powerful enough to walk past a sign that says 'no guns allowed', but God is powerless to stop the slaughter of innocent children because the school isn't allowed to be used as a church. If some random nut case can do something God can't, it makes him appear so weak that he might as well not even exist. Oh that's right... He doesn't!

This was just a quick thought I had that goes to highlight the fact that those that claim their god to be all powerful either don't know their Bible, or are ignoring these things out of convenience. Also, isn't it interesting to note, that as time has passed, the miracles attributed to God have become more and more pedestrian. He starts out by blowing his hole load with the creation of the universe, then he's a burning bush, turns water into wine, and now appears on grilled cheese sandwiches. Talk about sad... Ladies and gentlemen, I present the incredible shrinking God!

 -Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Monday, August 12, 2013

He loves me...He loves me not...

This week, I have to wonder if Billy Graham actually reads or thinks about what he writes. The question in my Sunday paper is from someone that asks why everyone doesn't get into Heaven if God loves everyone. He offers the an expected answer and then even misses a huge problem with own argument that is actually right there to be seen in his own reply.
Because he loves us, God does not overlook evil

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: If God loves everyone, then why won’t everyone go to heaven when they die? It seems to me that if he really loved us, he’d overlook the bad things we’ve done and welcome us into heaven anyway. Or maybe he doesn’t really love us. — Z.N.
DEAR Z.N.: I want to assure you as strongly as I can that God really does love us. He loves us far more than we can ever imagine — and far more than we’ll ever deserve.

After all, if he didn’t really love us, he never would have sent his son into the world to give his life for us. But he did send his son into the world, and by Christ’s death and resurrection he made it possible for us to spend eternity with him in heaven. Would God want us to be with him forever if he didn’t love us? No, of course not. As the Bible says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

But God isn’t only kind and loving; he also is holy and just. And because he is just, you can be confident that evil will not go unpunished. Do you honestly believe that God should ignore the evils of a Hitler or Stalin? Should he overlook the evils of a child abuser or terrorist or swindler?

Don’t take lightly either God’s love or God’s justice — for both are true. But also don’t take lightly his offer of forgiveness and new life in Christ. Someday you will die and enter eternity, and then it will be too late. Instead, make your commit to Jesus Christ today. The Bible says, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). 
 ZN,  is correct. The 'actions' and 'commands' of the Christian god are not ones that actually gives a toss about love, or loving. More on that later...

Graham says that God loves us more than we can even imagine. Actually, he's just as one could imagine since he is entirely imaginary. But Graham and other believers often go straight toward Jesus as an example. Graham claims that God loves us so much that he sent his own son down as a human sacrifice. So... God loves us so much that he sent down a meaningless and gruesome human sacrifice, and forces us to accept it as an arbitrary means of deciding salvation. I'm sorry, but I'm not seeing the love there.

If he really did love all, and was concerned with justice, why not judge people on who they are, rather than what they believe? It would certainly be a more just system than the one you suggest that your god employs.

Billy Graham is swift the throw the names Hitler and Stalin and ask if ZN thinks that God should ignore their acts and grant them salvation. He claims that while God does love all, he must also cast judgement on those that commit evils in this world. But then he reiterates the offer of 'eternal life through Christ', and the gift of forgiveness.

But that's the problem. He says that God will punish the Hitler's of the world, but also grant forgiveness to those that seek it and believe. But if that is the case, Hitler can't be punished. After all, Hitler professed to be a Catholic, and was certainly a believer in Christ. So by the rules of Christian salvation, Adolph should be sitting pretty enjoying the rewards of Heaven, rather than eternal punishment in Hell.

The fact that Hitlers belief would save him shows that justice is not anywhere close to God's list of concerns. And the requirement of an arbitrary acceptance of a sacrifice shows that there is no real concern for the kind of person someone is. If this god existed, his only concern is amassing obedient followers to worship him. That isn't love for all, but selfish vanity for himself.

-Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Read more here:

Read more here:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Catholic comedy club

It would seem that even when the Catholic church actually tries to make a positive PR move, it sabotages itself and fails miserably. I will say that some of what has been said by the new pope has been surprisingly refreshing. A more open and accepting stance than the one that has become the expected status quo. Dare I say, views more in line with more liberal believers than those that are insistent towards a strictly Biblical stance.

One would think that paying lip service to the views and opinions that are becoming more and more popular with those disillusioned with the church would begin to win people back and show Catholicism in a better light. Maybe if it stopped with the statements made by pope Francis, that would be the case. But it didn't stop with that...

Just as soon as Francis said that 'all that do good, even non-believers' can go to Heaven, prominent church officials quickly said that the pope was wrong, didn't know what he was talking about, and that what he said has no support or effect on the standing canon. And those disagreeing with pope Francis would be correct. While what the pope said does sound appealing and welcoming, the simple fact is that the canon remains. Despite what Francis said, the rules of the church say that good acts do not matter in regards to salvation. Belief alone will grant you that, and non-believers, and followers of rival religions simply aren't welcome, no matter how good they've been.

This black and white view is one that doesn't sit well with many believers and non-believers alike. So I can understand why the pope is attempting to reach out and soften the usual hard line approach. But the problem is that he comes off like a car salesman who promises this great deal, but when you sit down to sign the paperwork, you find that the deal is no better than before. Just like when a company decides to update their packaging, all your left with is the same product in a newer, pretty wrapper.

Another example is when Francis stated that 'who was he to judge gay people'. Yes, it was a surprising change of position from the outright denouncing of homosexuality. In fact, before he became pope, he was right there with all the others damning gays to eternal punishment. But is his new statement really as great as the media is making it to be. It reminds me of the usual case of a believer passing the buck. "Oh, I'm not judging you or think you deserve hell. That's up to God." Apparently they miss the point that their following of that church condones the stance that they themselves don't agree with. So what the pope is actually saying is, 'I'm not judging gays, that's Gods job'.

But even though what Francis said about gays wasn't actually the grand statement of acceptance that many made it out to be, that didn't stop prominent church officials to instantly go on the offensive once more. Again they stated saying that Francis didn't know what he is talking about, this changes nothing, or that the Bible is very clear that homosexuality is wrong. Again, shouting down the pope when he actually said something that should actually be considered progress.

But I started out saying that the pope actually trying to sound decent may actually be more harmful to the church than helpful. Well, to anyone paying attention that is. If what Francis said was all that was said, then it would help the church. But as I've shown, others in the church couldn't just let it stand at that. So instead of steps of progress, they instead highlighted how backwards and antiquated the church is with their protest. And it actually reveals a couple of things...

First, it shows how tightly the church and many of it's believers hold their beliefs and prejudices. The pope speaks, yet since it contradicts what they believe or feel, so the pope is wrong and they are right. It shows that it will be extremely hard, if not impossible for the church to really make the dramatic changes it will need to survive deep into the future... And on that front, I'm actually somewhat pleased that they are shooting themselves in the foot. Just like the believer that ignores proven science in favor of scripture, they will continue to be on the wrong side of history and the truth.

Another interesting observation is the church officials shouting down the pope so easily. To me, this makes me question the degree of their belief in their church. I mean this is the pope they are swiftly discounting. Church doctrine says that he is selected (through conclave) by God/the Holy Ghost himself, and is the Earthly leader of the church that has God on speed dial. So if I was a Catholic and the pope came to me and said that God said 'this is the new rule, or how it is', shouldn't I believe him and consider it a new revelation and sing God's praises?

 Yet, instead they say that Francis is wrong about who can and can't receive salvation and that nothing has changed. This easy doubt of the pope makes me wonder how genuine their belief is in the whole 'chosen by God' nature of the pope really is. And if these devout members of the church can doubt the veracity of the statements of the church's leader so swiftly, then why should someone that is a lesser believer, or not even a member of the church lend Francis the slightest credence? Hell, if the head of the church can be so easily dismissed, perhaps we should just ignore the Catholic church as a whole...

So, a hardy thank you to the bigoted and close-minded Catholics of old, that have defied the popes more positive statements. Your attempts to 'save the church' very well may work to hasten it's decline into obsolescence. I may never see the day when that the Catholic church loses it's power and religion as a whole becomes just more legends of old. But I feel that the world will be better off when that day comes, and will in part, have those so stridently and blindly against progress to thank.

-Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Friday, August 9, 2013

Let me show you the world

Often when I'm in a discussion with a believer we will reach a point where they either refuse to acknowledge my points, or they simply don't seem to 'get' where I am coming from. Sometimes they are being dishonest. Sometimes they are willingly ignorant. But sometimes they don't seem to 'get it' because they really don't 'get it'. There are times when their inability to process a hypothetical, to admit any possibility of being wrong, or unwillingness to consider the use of their arguments for Christianity are just as valid if used for any other religion aren't due to an actual dodge on their part.

You see, as a former believer, I realize that many believers view the word far differently than I do. Yes, we have different conclusions and explanations for things, but I'm talking more about the way one views the world. I can tell you that when I was a believer, I viewed the world and interpreted everything much differently than I do now that I've embraced skepticism.

Most believers view the world through the same lens I did during my former period of belief. They (and I) would start with the initial assumption that their god and religion are true, and use that belief as a filter for everything else from that moment forward. I know that this filter exists, because I lived that life. When I encountered something that I felt fit with my religious beliefs, I would count it as a 'hit' and tally it in the column of things that I felt confirmed my faith and beliefs.

And the 'misses'? Well, they wouldn't make it past that security filter and would just be discarded and forgotten. Scientific evidence that contradicted the Bible? Swept into the dust bin without a care. Arguments from non-believers? Ignored and simply assumed to be false. If it didn't make it through me confirmation bias filter, it didn't count. Many believers do this same song and dance every single
Confirmation bias is action
day. But the thing is... I wasn't aware that I was doing that filtering of information, and only keeping what I liked. So it is no surprise to me when I find believers falling into that same trap. Yes, some are just being difficult to be difficult. But I feel that many are unaware of the filter they view the world through. For these people, I feel a careful and more forgiving approach is the better call.

But what about how I view the world now? How does my lens of discovery differ from my previous prescription under belief? I feel that there are two big differences. 1) I don't start from an initial statement of certainty. 2) No filter. I feel that this approach gives me the most honest and open way of viewing and coming to know the world.

This approach means that i look at all the data that the world has to feed me. I take that information and let is guide my beliefs rather than fitting it to my beliefs. Rather than accepting only the information I want to, I look at it all and listen to what it is telling me. By letting the data and my observations guide my beliefs, I am seeking what is true for the sake of truth. I want to know the truth no matter if it is convenient and reassuring or not. A seeking unclouded by my personal wants and desires.

So it confuses me greatly when a believer tells me that I just don't believe out of pride. That couldn't be further from the truth. If anything, the filter that many believers utilize is closer to clinging to beliefs out of pride or stubbornness than anything I am doing. I am not starting with a statement of 'God exists', or 'God doesn't exist'. Rather I set everything aside and ask the world to show me what is so. If that selfless approach is anything, it's humble. I admit that I don't know all, and am an endless search for knowledge and understanding. As the information points in a direction, so shall I follow.
Right now, this path has led me to atheism.

But like any skeptic, my views are always open to revision. If the data one day starts to pile up on the other side of the fence, I would certainly amend my beliefs. While the believer may view admitting that one could be wrong as a sign of weakness, I view it as a sign of strength and honesty. I know I could be wrong, and that knowledge keeps me from being complacent and continuously yearning to learn more. It means I am open to contrary information, and that I won't just ignore it as many a believer do. Give me a good reason, and I can be swayed. Sure, it may sting a little if I find out I was wrong. But I'll also be all the better having found the truth (god or no god). And when you get right down to it, the truth is all I want... no matter what.

-Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hiroshima > Detroit

Chain emails... They just keep coming, and they always stay massively incorrect and deceptive. This time, and email comparing present day Hiroshima and Detroit. Oh, and trying to blame it all on the Democrats and welfare... What?!


This shows how destructive Unions and Democratic polices are on certain cities in America. Proof is in the pictures. As what was announced this past week that Detroit is declaring bankruptcy. People have been fleeing the city and the Democratic control for years now.


66 years later!

What happened to the radiation that lasts thousands of years?


We all know that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed in August 1945 after the explosion of atomic bombs.
However, we can see the progress made by the people of that land during the past 65 years.



What has caused more long term destruction - the A-bomb, or Government welfare programs created to buy the votes of those who want someone to take care of them?

Japan does not have a welfare system. Work for it or do without.
I don’t think there has ever been a better explanation of the importance of incentive than this example …

These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this:

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.


Okay, that's the email. And it's not surprising that there are several problems with it's presentation, and it's claims. Let's take a look.

The first issue is that the city pictured in the email isn't Hiroshima, but is Yokohama, Japan. Let's take a look at Hiroshima both at night and in the daylight.

Hiroshima Memorial (near) Modern city (rear)

A little less flashy than Yokohama, but still quite an impressive recovery for a battered city. But are the photos really a good comparison? The email shows night photos or the heart of what is supposed to be Hiroshima, and compares it to individual abandoned houses (often further out of the city center) during the day. But what does Detroit look like if you picture it at night, and focus on the city center?

Suddenly Detroit doesn't look like a picture of total despair and abandonment. Yes, parts of Detroit are horrible and crumbling. But the way the email presented the comparison is just dishonest.

But why are growing areas of Detroit being abandoned while the Japanese rebuilt after total destruction? Well, one reason is population, and another is space. Japan is an island nation with a high population. That means that space is at a premium. Abandoning a whole city really isn't an option. But the USA is comparatively huge. So areas can just be left behind, and people easily start anew elsewhere. Hiroshima having to be rebuilt would easily explain why most of it's building are newer and more modern than Detroit's. Everything was destroyed! They didn't really have much choice but to rebuild now did they?

But what of the reasoning that welfare programs are the reason for Detroit's downfall, and that the lack thereof is the reason for the rebounding of Hiroshima? Well, to say that there is no welfare in Japan, is untrue. It is much tougher to receive if you are young, as able bodied persons that are well and under 65 are expected to first turn to their family for help. But once you turn 65 or are sick or disabled, the social safety-net is quite strong. So they have a welfare system, but it works much differently.

It works there, but probably wouldn't here since Japan is much different culturally than the USA. There is a strong feeling of shame amongst Japanese that have failed. That is something I feel that most Americans have lost. Low income and unwed Japanese couples also have far less children. They live responsibly, rather than exploiting the outrageous aid rules that we have. Much different people, following much different rules. And it works in Japan because of the impressive Japanese work ethic.

But is Socialism to blame in Detroit? No, it's actually not. Interestingly, Japan has a much more even distribution of wealth than in the USA. They also have universal medical care and comprehensive day care. So no food stamps, but medical care for all? The conservatives must love them and hate them at the same time. And if Socialism is the problem in Detroit, what of the European countries that Republicans like to call the hotbeds of evil Socialism? If that really is the problem, why aren't great expanses of Europe looking exactly like the abandoned images of Detroit?

Since Europe isn't being abandoned and run down, perhaps 'Socialism' isn't what ills Detroit. Ironically, the problem with Detroit might be a combination of Capitalism and greed. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of Capitalism. But even it needs plenty of checks and balances. Detroit is an example of a perfect storm. The economy hit the chutes. Big companies, being big companies are out to make the largest profits they can. Larger profits meant moving production away from Detroit, and in many cases, outside the country. These means lost jobs and empty buildings. More people needing jobs, combined with less available jobs means that the local economy crashed deeper. So it's not really that people are abandoning Detroit because of Socialism, but unchecked Capitalist companies turned their back on the city and people of Detroit.

So yes, the story of Hiroshima is amazing and inspiring. But the political angle of this email's conclusion couldn't be much more false. In the future, would an honest email be too much to ask?

-Brain Hulk

Please share, subscribe, comment and follow us on your favorite social networking sites!
facebook | google+ | twitter