Dumbest AFA Article Title on Unbelievers Ever

In the December 2012 AFA Journal, which I actually like reading for a different viewpoint every month, I came across the article with the dumbest title ever: “If there is no God, why do unbelievers fight against Him?” It’s written by staff writer Stacy Long who admittedly looks young so I’m hoping that’s the reason why she would write such nonsense.

The assumption that unbelievers are fighting against an actual god is mind-blowingly stupid. Let’s reword the article title so Christians of this type might be able to comprehend: “If there is no Allah, why do Christians fight against Him?”

In other words, just because you criticize another religion it doesn’t mean you believe in their god as a literal figure. You believe their religion is superstition and that it has a harmful effect on the mind or you are simply concerned about the truth or fairness in how government treats unbelievers. I have yet to meet an atheist  in America who does not support freedom of religion, they just don’t want government promoting religion.

The article itself concerns the banning of Nativity scenes on public grounds (tax payer supported by all) with one of the villains being the Freedom From Religion Foundation for insisting government not show religious preference with the propaganda of the Nativity scene. Then she goes into ancient history about the Ottoman Turks sealing The East Gate to prevent Christ’s prophesied return? And Muslims building a cemetery in front of the gate because they believed a Jewish rabbi (Jesus) would not be able to pass through a graveyard (more superstition).  As if The East Gate had any relevance to a secularized society that understands not all of its citizens are Christians. Also, Muslims ARE believers, just not in Jesus Christ. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is made up of actual unbelievers.

The article concludes with the implication that Christians are fighting the good fight for Christ as well as the the hope of his return by putting up Nativity scenes.

Let’s be clear, atheists and other unbelievers are not fighting against a literal god, they are fighting against the believers of the imaginary being in question (hopefully in a civil manner though tempers flare)–and in many ways, they are actually wanting to help believers understand what a waste it is to appease the imaginary; a mythology that has been passed down through time. As an ex-Christian, I know the difference between believing and not believing and I honestly don’t believe in god (s). When I criticize “God” it is a critique of Christian faith or another faith, but not a literal being. Metaphor may be used, artistic representation may be used to drive home a point, but it is all for show.

This confusion is one of the biggest mistakes of fundamentalist Christians. Somehow, it doesn’t register that someone can’t believe in their god until you point out they are an atheist towards any other god but their own…then maybe–just maybe– it slowly sinks in.

Why are atheists so active?  Plenty of reasons from science education to moral and social issues to preventing future extremism and ignorance.

Unbelievers are in the minority and if you don’t believe in a religious viewpoint, how comfortable are you with having it rammed down your throat every holiday season? I like the holidays, generally speaking in my own twisted manner, but I understand the objection to city governments pushing one religion over another (or unbelief) on public grounds when they are supposed to be impartial. There are so many damn churches with land it is laughable that this is even an issue. Where I work, I am surrounded by three separate churches so close in proximity that they cause traffic problems both arriving and leaving. There is no missing the lawns and sidewalks with colorful Christmas displays and signage of the “Christmas message.” Add to that the popular entertainment that supports the Christ myth from cartoons to Jesus films to radio Christmas songs and Christians don’t have to worry about the public being thoroughly brainwashed.

SIDENOTE: The closest title that comes to a “god-hater” is actually an anti-theist and unfortunately it also causes confusion among believers. The anti-theist still does not believe in god but takes it one step further, they are opposed to the idea of a god or specific gods for reasons varying from the immorality of an all-powerful being to subservience to any almighty creature that works only for its own glory. Basically it means, they’re opposed to theism and organized religion dedicated to theism. You might wonder why there is a need for such a distinction and it is simply because some atheists, while they don’t believe, are not opposed to religion. They may think it has certain beneficial effects, etc or that an all-powerful god may be a nice idea.

Research Indicates Churchgoers Don’t Comprehend Their Bibles

Clipped from Lifeway.com…does this add up?

From the latest issue of AFA Journal (American Family Journal), a study by Lifeway Research is quoted that says few churchgoers read their Bible every day and the most likely reason is they do not comprehend it.  The study polled 2390 American Protestants who attended church at least once a month : 18% never read the Bible outside church, 27% read it a few times a week, 14% once a week, 22% once a month and 19% read it daily. Please note that AFA quotes numbers that add up to 100% while the graphic at Lifeway.com shown above adds up to 99% (unless I’m not understanding, what happened to the last 1%?).

Zondervan Publishing apparently is the one who is suggesting American Christians don’t read the Bible because it’s hard to understand. They are working on a full New International Version (NIV) text with accompanying color graphics to explain the material–in other words, someone’s interpretation of what the material means.

Add to that the numerous theological commentaries and you have a bunch of confused Christians who haven’t come to terms with the fact that their holy text is archaic and not meant as a guide for modern life.

SIDENOTE: I’m not sure I can take seriously a poll of 2390 people out of how many American Protestants? Only 2390 would be out of what may be around 50 percent of the American population if you consider that, while not professing Protestantism, most mainstream Christians follow a Protestant mindset (basically the opposite of what you see in Catholicism) with varying degrees. Still, I tend to find that the majority is woefully ignorant of what the Bible actually says except for the highlighted pleasant parts printed on T-Shirts, included in rock lyrics or stamped on a mug. The ugly portions are ignored or dismissed. The same is true of Christian history which is why you have ignorant Christians claiming nonChristians can’t celebrate the mythology of the holidays (as if there is any record that Jesus was born on December 25th and as if pagan celebrations for the holidays didn’t come first).

It’s hard to blame a working middle class for not reading enough or understanding enough of scripture. Who has the time? Unfortunately, the ignorance can result in bigotry towards gays, history denial (creationism) and a lack of understanding that morality is not guided by the Ten Commandments (again, where is Thou Shalt Not Rape, Thou Shalt Not Molest Children, and Thou Shalt Not Talk During the Movie–yes, my pet peeve).

Littlest Atheist Thanksgiving Blessing 2012

I get tired of blessings where God is thanked when it’s obvious the imaginary sky deity did nothing–or if he did, he let the natural disaster happen for his own glory in the aftermath (which is a pretty shallow thing to do). This year, let’s remember our fellow humans. The ones that put themselves in the line of fire, the ones that saved our asses from nature and the ones that find new ways to prevent tragedy when the inevitable storms strike. We are truly blessed by the mere luck of being born in a time period with so many innovations and life-saving techniques. Here’s to religion and superstition NOT impeding human efforts to make all our lives better.

Pearl Jam’s ‘Marker in the Sand,’ Atheist Leanings

You have to be careful whenever you make any claim about a band’s lyrics because rock bands are notorious for being ambiguous. However, after listening to Pearl Jam’s “Marker in the Sand” I have to say it leans towards agnosticism/atheism and a freeing of the mind from religion. It doesn’t mean we have to yell hooray or anything, but if you want to add it to your freethinking playlist it would be a good entry. And if you want to interpret it to support your faith and as some sort of indictment of hypocritical religion then feel free too, but what I know of Eddie Vedder is that he leans towards unbelief. SongMeanings.net has a great discussion on what listeners think the song means.

Also please note that asking or calling out God is a literary device often used by unbelievers (I’ve done it myself). It doesn’t indicate actual belief, rather it’s a form of sarcasm.

The lyrics are quite beautiful:

There is a marker, no one sees it ’cause the sand
Has covered over, all the messages it kept
Misunderstanding, what original truth was
And out expanding, in a faith, but not in love

What went wrong?

Walking tightrope high over moral ground
Seeing visions of falling up somehow
Do come down

With the living let what is living love
So unforgiving, yet needing forgiveness first

God, what do you say?

Those undecided needn’t have faith to be free
And those misguided, there was a plan for them to be
Now you got both sides claiming killing in God’s name
But god is nowhere to be found, conveniently

What goes on?

Walking tightrope high over moral ground
Walk the bridges before you burn them down
Do come round

With the living let what is living love
Unforgiving, yet needing forgiveness first

God, what do you say? What do you say?

I feel a sickness. A sickness coming over me
Like watching freedom being sucked straight out to sea
And the solution? Well, from me far would it be
But the delusion is feeling dangerous to me

What goes wrong?

Walking tightrope high over moral ground
Seeing visions of falling up somehow
Do come down

With the living, let what is living love
Are forgiving, yet needing forgiveness first

What do you say? God, what do you say?
What do you say?

Calling out, calling out
Calling out, I’m calling you out

 

Say Good-Bye to the Science Channel for Good

What the fuck is this doing on the Science Channel?

While I believe we have better television programming options than we did in the past, the curse of commercial TV channels are they are always looking for a larger market share. If the numbers aren’t met, the powers that be look for new ways to find a bigger audience at the expense of our brains. In the case of the Science Channel, they have now reduced their channel name to “Sci” and are featuring the J.J. Abrams show Fringe. How this makes any sense for dedicated science enthusiasts is beyond me? The end result will be to alienate actual science geeks and replace them with plain ol’ geeks who don’t know the difference between cryptozoology and zoology.

The cult favorite series Firefly and Stephen Hawking’s Sci-Fi Masters are also in the line-up for the Science Channel. I question why Stephen Hawking, of all people, would be supporting this move to fictionalize the Science Channel with fantasy when there are so many stories that could be told about scientists themselves and their discoveries behind the scenes or at the very least the science behind science fiction? Instead, he is slapping his name on full dramatizations of science-fiction (is Stephen Hawking equating himself with Ray Bradbury?).  I also didn’t mind series on the Discovery Networks that explored speculations on future creatures of evolution, alien evolution, and how life would be when all humans have disappeared. These show ideas all had an element or introduction to scientific ideas with various scientists consulting and giving opinions on what would be rational or what would be fantasy. By embracing science fiction fantasy on what was a dedicated science channel it lowers the science IQ of the general public.

My stake in all this is that I’m a science enthusiast with a poor education in that field who is constantly trying to correct a public school education with a religious background so when I turn to the Science Channel my expectations are to see a show produced with scientific consultation. If Science Channel is going to start featuring fiction then what’s the point? I have access to a buttload of science fiction movies far superior then made-for-TV sci-fi films, and for theater releases I much rather watch them on Netflix uncensored and unedited then on commercial TV where my immersion into another world is constantly interrupted.

I suspect by truncating Science Channel to Sci that we will see the channel become Sci-Fi 2–or excuse me, Sy Fy 2 (since Sci-Fi decided it couldn’t spell)– within a short while. I’m not against science fiction, I’m a fan of it, but I’m not a fan of Sci-Fi Channel or now the Science Channel. Blurring the line between real science and poorly written science fiction that embraces the fringe is the last thing we need with pseudoscience nuts making money off a gullible public. How about we simply split Sci-Fi up so we have the different genres: Sci-Fi Cheeze for all the bad films we love because they’re just plain bad (and the new ones being made), Sci-Fi Hard (ha, maybe not, but something that emotes hard science-fiction), Sci-Fi Drama for  relatively good TV series and Sci-Fi Classic for B/W movies and old TV series. Then for all the supposed reality shows for ghosts and mythological creatures we can do Sci-Fi Lobotomy.

Not surprisingly, in the afternoon, I tried watching Animal Planet with a special on prairie dogs and eventually turned it off because of the constant plugs for the series Finding Bigfoot. The text never disappeared from the screen when the prairie dog special was on and then when commercial time came viewers were inundated with repetitive  previews of the cryptozoology show that felt pretty damn similar to every ghost hunting show ever put on the air (shitty horror music scores, blurred photos, eerie noises, creeped-out idiots, and no skeptical experts).

Basically, the Discovery Networks line-up of channels has been going to shit for awhile now. The good news may be that this opens up new avenues for real science enthusiasts to get creative and create some indie productions online. Fuck commercial TV if it is going alienate scientific-minded people and insult their intelligence. The problem with Discovery Channel is it is embracing the lowest common denominator at a time when information is plentiful and the population should becoming smarter and more skeptical. For all of the fantasy they are putting into their programming they lack imagination in how to present science and “reality” in an entertaining way.

‘Jesus Christ Pose,’ a Soundgarden Classic

I’ve been organizing discographies of my favorite bands including the grunge era. One of the best songs to come out of that time period is “Jesus Christ Pose” by Soundgarden. Not only does it have great lyrics but Chris Cornell wailing them out against a pounding rhythm is…well, it fuckin’ wakes up your senses.

The lyrics can be interpreted in several ways, but Chris Cornell has said the Jesus Christ Pose (JCP for short) mainly refers to people who exploit religion for personal benefit. Those religious leaders, politicians and celebrities who put their arms out as if they’re being crucified in the same way as Christ are often attention seeking hypocrites. I would add to that the general mass of western Christians who shout bigotry whenever someone dares to make a crack about their religion or tell them they can’t put the Ten Commandments up in a state courthouse, whining as if they’re a persecuted minority when their faith is in the majority.

The video is a bit more obscure with the meaning, as with all rock videos, and shows some images that might imply more bite–why is there a skeleton still hanging on the cross? The woman on the cross is more obvious (persecution of women) but a skeleton implies permanent death with no resurrection. It may have been unintentional. According to Wiki, numerous items/people were shot on the cross and then narrowed down to only a couple of visually striking images.

The real hypocrisy is MTV banning this video in 1991 and apparently still not playing it in its entirety because of a woman on a cross and related imagery. As if, by this time, this JCP message is still that offensive and MTV’s  junk TV isn’t offensive to the intellect to begin with? Even Christians could see this video as an indictment of false prophets and anti-Christs. And Jesus Christ, if he existed, never had exclusive reign over being crucified. It was simply a method of execution.

And you stare at me
In your Jesus Christ pose
Arms held out
Like you’ve been carrying a load
And you swear to me
You don’t want to be my slave

But you’re staring at me
Like I need to be saved
In your Jesus Christ pose
Arms held out
In your Jesus Christ pose
Thorns and shroud
Like it’s the coming of the Lord
And I swear to you
That I would never feed you pain

But your staring at me
Like I’m driving the nails
In your Jesus Christ pose
And you stare at me
In your Jesus Christ pose
Arms held out like it’s
The coming of the Lord

And would it pay you more to walk on water
Then to wear a crown of thorns
It wouldn’t pain me more to bury you rich
Then to bury you poor
In your Jesus Christ pose
Read more at http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3938/#pGa6bO4lDpzxjR5b.99