Bizarre but hysterical:
An atheist's viewpoints on religion, government, culture, adding friction to the fray. Will be talking about books occasionally, hence the title. Blunt, mocking (gently & otherwise), shootin' straight from the hip (hopefully), a dash of humor w/liberal doses of cynicism. Enjoy.
Bizarre but hysterical:
Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
It is no secret that I despise religions equally: I am an equal opportunity blasphemer. I don’t bang away at Judaism, because it’s become a minor footnote compared to the Big Two of the Three Abrahamic monotheisms. But there is a sliding scale. Christianity has been diluted somewhat over the centuries, and even though there are still some very, VERY scary individuals wandering about shouting gloom and doom from that particular piece of nastiness, Islam still rates in barbarism as numero uno with a bullet.
This following sort of incident, for instance, doesn’t occur on US soil:
The situation in Swat was normal until the Taliban appeared and destroyed the peace of Swat.
They started their inhuman activities, they slaughtered people in the squares of Mingora and they killed so many innocent people. Their first target was schools, especially girls schools. They blasted so many girls schools - more than 400 schools and more than 50,000 students suffered under the Taliban.
We were afraid the Taliban might throw acid on our faces or might kidnap us. They were barbarians, they could do anything. So at that time some of us would go to school in plain clothes, not in school uniform, just to pretend we are not students, and we hid our books under our shawls.
After the army operation the situation has become normal and the army is trying to rebuild good quality schools, but we want the schools to be rebuilt quickly because students are facing problems. It's very hot and they can't study in tents. Now everyone is free to come to school and the girls are now not afraid of the Taliban or anything that will ruin the peace of Swat.
When the Taliban came to Swat they banned women from going to the market and they banned shopping, but they did not know that women, whether from the East or West love shopping.
These are hairy-eyed fanatics, who have the will to rule. These aren’t just ‘a few crazies making the religion look bad’ (as the popular excuse goes) – these are a LOT of nutjobs, sociopaths looking for an excuse to tailor the world to their own convenience. In fact, there are 25,000 of them in Afghanistan alone. And they’re stealth crazies: they hide amid the population, using civilians as shields when someone in their right mind comes looking for them.
And people are afraid to turn them in. Why? Because shit like this happens, not only is the ‘kaffir’ slain, but grief and barbarism is visited upon their families:
The son of assassinated Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who was killed in January for opposing the blasphemy law, has been abducted, Pakistan police say.
Shahbaz Taseer's car was intercepted by four men in Lahore city's upscale Gulberg area on Friday.
It is not known who seized Mr Taseer but his family said they had received "threats from extremist groups".
Governor Salman Taseer was assassinated by his own bodyguard Mumtaz Qadri as he was about to get into his car.
"Four men in a car intercepted Shahbaz Taseer's car," news agency AFP quoted police emergency official Syed Mumtaz as saying.
"They overpowered him at gunpoint and forcibly put him in their car and sped away," he said.
There has been no word as to Shabaz’s welfare. I’d say there’s serious doubt as to whether he’ll survive this.
As religions go, they’re all barbaric garbage – but there is a distinct difference between a trash can, a small landfill, and a garbage scow. Just as there are gradations of terror. The vague worry that an invisible someone just might be watching differs proportionately to armed squads ready to enforce that invisible someone’s rules at sword or gunpoint. A world of difference.
In this constantly changing, much smaller world, these differences need to be gone, or we will all become rats in a bag, tearing each other to pieces over some imagined superiority.
Till the next post, then.
I’ve never ever seen Jackass – and it is highly unlikely I ever will. However, Will Sasso’s impression of Kenny Rogers in his very own Jackass is…well, it’s very funny, in a sick way:
And for a classic spoof on the iPod commercials:
Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
“If a million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” – Anatole France
While busily combing the Interwebs for tonight’s piece, I came across this puff piece at Belief.net – it’s your general “oh-why-oh-why-can’t-these-effin’-atheists-just-shut-up?” generalizations. And guess who it’s about? Why, your pal and mine, the presidential wannabe I belittled last week. So of course, some outraged Christian is defending some politician’s ass-grabbing voter-pandering rubbish (that is, until he gets caught doing some not-so-Christian behavior, then it’s “we don’t know this guy, Rick WHO?”).
First, the general disclaimer:
OK. First off, let’s be clear: I take a philosophical back seat to no one in promoting the right of any American to worship — or not — the God or gods or Force or assorted plants, celestial bodies, etc., of their choice.
And if they don’t believe in any of those things, I don’t have a problem with them putting up billboards, carrying signs or shouting from the public square their convictions as atheists or agnostics, either.
The fact that there needs to be a qualifier for this, bespeaks a sad state of affairs for this country.
This is America. Within our Constitution and the Bill of Rights are guarantees for both the practice and energetic espousal of religion, and freedom from religious persecution — whether against a particular group of believers, or those who do not believe.
Can I get a hallelujah? I can’t? Oh well…
Here’s where it gets really sticky:
But the pendulum has swung crazily too far when it comes to cries of “separation of church and state” and every American’s right — even those running for elective offices — to live by their religious principles and express them.
No way. As the title of this piece indicates: if your faith comes first, you should NOT be in office. Because if swearing an oath to the constitution is superseded by your religious affiliation, how can you be trusted to make objective decisions that affect millions of people who are not of your faith? You can’t be trusted with that. History proves that maxim correct. We have mountains of historical evidence that states that, in no uncertain terms, religious fanatics are inherently untrustworthy. Then the author goes out on a limb here:
Case in point: This weekend’s stadium prayer event spearheaded by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He had, apparently, the audacity to look at the nation’s dismal state — a black hole of rising debt that led to an historic loss of the country’s top credit rating, deep unemployment, wars that continue to bleed us of lives and treasure, and a seeming crisis of morals and morale — and call for believers to fast, repent and pray for America.
It’s risible. Fasting, repenting, prayer? When has any of this had any other effect, other than to stroke the egos of co-dependent sheeple who have inherited inferiority complexes from their superstitious mumbo-jumbo about original sin? They might as well take the advice of some joker on Pope-rah about the ‘Secret’ or ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’. Or order a self-help book.
And, as if throwing gasoline on the already self-immolating critics that arose, he and others had the gall to close their prayers with mention of Jesus. That is what Christians, do, you know – invoke the name of the founder and namesake of their faith. People of other faiths were invited, too. Perhaps there was a conspicuous absence by non-Christians, but that was a choice, too.
Now the author is simply indulging in hyperbolic rhetoric. The actual fact is, if it was an event on anyone but the taxpayer’s dime, who really cares? Not a whole lot.
But I wonder: would that be any less “offensive” had a Muslim taken the stage to open a public prayer with “In the name of Allah, the most beneficent” and closing them with “O Allah! Accept our invocation”? Or, for that matter, a Rastafarian’s “Blessed is the name of Our Lord God Jah Ras Tafari,” a Hindu’s “We worship the three-eyed One, Lord Shiva,” a Buddhist proclaiming “I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the supreme Sangha,” a Native American punctuating ritual smoke with “O Great Spirit of our ancestors, I raise my pipe to you,” or a Wiccan chanting “Holy Earth Mother, flesh of the world. . . .”
Personally, I take offense at all of the above. Because it’s all crap. Which makes an excessive display of that thing called ‘faith’ more disgusting. But hey…I usually keep my mouth shut on the topic until addressed, or when I happen to overhear something especially stupid. That’s when I chirp up. But that’s just me.
Smooth as gravel, the author then declaims:
A chief executive — of a state or of our nation –bringing 30,000 fellow believers to pray in an arena may seem over-the-top today, but leaders calling willing citizens to prayer is hardly new.
A., hell yes it’s way over the top. B., in America, leaders calling willing citizens to prayer is indicative of a distinct bias, and chances are very strong said leader isn’t going to be leading Muslims or Jews in prayer. C., that was a violation of SOCAS, whether it happens now or in the past. Argument from tradition is an argument from shit.
In our increasingly secularized age, though, anyone who believes in moral absolutes, supports traditional marriage or abhors the millions of potential lives lost to abortion (both interfaith issues, by the way) gets labeled “hater.”
Newsflash: NO. These are not ‘interfaith’ issues, these are human issues. And again – if your duty as an objective officer of the constitution takes a backseat to your ‘faith’ (or whatever you want to call your rigmarole), then no, you shouldn’t be in office.
Disagree with those stands? No problem, speak out. But it seems when it comes to sharing faith and its values, well, that justifies a tsunami of hyperbole and calls for repression from a vocal minority.
So, wait…what exactly is he talking about? You mean THESE crazy lefties?
Despite the warm greeting Perry received inside Reliant Stadium, not everyone was pleased.
Brandy Deason was among a group of protesters outside who chanted and waved signs in opposition to what they called an unconstitutional mixing of church and state.
“I am happy to let people know it’s not OK for a government official to hold a religious meeting to try to solve our problems,” said Deason, an atheist. “Logic and problem-solving is the only way to go with this, not by prayer.”
What a hypocritical asshole. He tells people it’s okay to do this, and then he vilifies them for doing it? It’s not a surprising pattern: people (especially when they’re religious) practice double-standards, and recite the selective highlights, and how dare anyone criticize anything when belief is involved? And belief doesn’t move mountains; Mohammed has to walk to it despite his declamations. It’s all traditional pop-psychobabble nonsense with some poetic shared soliloquies to make the ineffective feel effective.
So in monosyllabic content: faith bad, facts good. No more monotheistic mollycoddling. Prayer doesn’t work, repenting is just a slab of that old time religious guilt, and fasting is simply self-deprivation.
And Perry saying, “It’s time to hand this thing over to God, and say ‘God, you’re just gonna have to fix this” is just another way of saying “I’m not going to do jack shit, and hide behind religion while I’m not doing anything.”
And those people, my friends, are a dime a dozen in this country. We have enough helpless folks struggling, we don’t need another one in a high political office. We need someone who will actually do something besides pander.
Till the next post, then.
Posted by Krystalline Apostate at 10:27 PM
Here’s an oldie but goody – the Mr. Bill Show!
Mr. Bill on safety:
Mr. Bill Goes To Washington (we’d be better off with a clay doll than a Republican anyways):
Though I have to wonder what is says about our culture, that we laugh at the misfortunes of a clay doll?
And once again, it’s some clown from Texas:
On September 28, 2009, at 1:40 p.m., God's messengers visited Rick Perry.
PSSSTTT!! There’s nobody up there!
On this day, the Lord's messengers arrived in the form of two Texas pastors, Tom Schlueter of Arlington and Bob Long of San Marcos, who called on Perry in the governor's office inside the state Capitol. Schlueter and Long both oversee small congregations, but they are more than just pastors. They consider themselves modern-day apostles and prophets, blessed with the same gifts as Old Testament prophets or New Testament apostles.
The short version is that they’re utter frauds, then. Because all those fairy tales are so much garbage.
The pastors told Perry of God's grand plan for Texas.
Oh yeah, because Texas is mentioned by name in their book! Oh, waitaminnit…no it isn’t.
A chain of powerful prophecies had proclaimed that Texas was "The Prophet State," anointed by God to lead the United States into revival and Godly government. And the governor would have a special role.
(Point at head, whistle while rotating index finger)
The day before the meeting, Schlueter had received a prophetic message from Chuck Pierce, an influential prophet from Denton, Texas. God had apparently commanded Schlueter - through Pierce - to "pray by lifting the hand of the one I show you that is in the place of civil rule."
Con man or crazy? You decide.
Schlueter had prayed before his congregation: "Lord Jesus I bring to you today Gov. Perry.... I am just bringing you his hand and I pray Lord that he will grasp ahold of it. For if he does you will use him mightily.”
A lot of people are being used – but not by their imaginary sky daddy.
And grasp ahold the governor did. At the end of their meeting, Perry asked the two pastors to pray over him. As the pastors would later recount, the Lord spoke prophetically as Schlueter laid his hands on Perry, their heads bowed before a painting of the Battle of the Alamo. Schlueter "declared over [Perry] that there was a leadership role beyond Texas and that Texas had a role beyond what people understand," Long later told his congregation.
It may be unconstitutional, but my opinion is that any politician that has people ‘pray’ over them should be in mandatory retirement. Immediately.
So you have to wonder: Is Rick Perry God's man for president?
No, he’s a religious puppet with a hand up his ass.
Schlueter, Long and other prayer warriors in a little-known but increasingly influential movement at the periphery of American Christianity seem to think so.
Wait – ‘prayer warriors’? Are you effin’ kiddin’ me?
The movement is called the New Apostolic Reformation. Believers fashion themselves modern-day prophets and apostles. They have taken Pentecostalism, with its emphasis on ecstatic worship and the supernatural, and given it an adrenaline shot.
More like smoking crack.
The movement's top prophets and apostles believe they have a direct line to God.
So…they’re phoning it in? Ordering pizza? Be serious.
Through them, they say, He communicates specific instructions and warnings.
And it all sounds suspiciously like what they want.
When mankind fails to heed the prophecies, the results can be catastrophic: earthquakes in Japan, terrorist attacks in New York, and economic collapse. On the other hand, they believe their God-given decrees have ended mad cow disease in Germany and produced rain in drought-stricken Texas.
Which of course they have zero evidence to back it up with.
Their beliefs can tend toward the bizarre.
All supernatural beliefs are bizarre.
Some consider Freemasonry a "demonic stronghold" tantamount to witchcraft.
Another thing besides prayer that fails.
The Democratic Party, one prominent member believes, is controlled by Jezebel and three lesser demons.
Wait – Jezebel? A demon? Here in the 21st century?
Some prophets even claim to have seen demons at public meetings.
And of course, since our culture has been brainwashed to accept this horseshit, nobody points out that these cats are mentally deranged.
They've taken biblical literalism to an extreme. In Texas, they engage in elaborate ceremonies involving branding irons, plumb lines and stakes inscribed with biblical passages driven into the earth of every Texas county.
That actually sounds Druidic.
If they simply professed unusual beliefs, movement leaders wouldn't be remarkable. But what makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government. The new prophets and apostles believe Christians - certain Christians - are destined to not just take "dominion" over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the "Seven Mountains" of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world. They believe they're intended to lord over it all. As a first step, they're leading an "army of God" to commandeer civilian government.
If they’re going to do it via ‘prayer warriors’, well then…they don’t have a prayer (entendre intended).
In all the media attention surrounding Perry's flirtation with a run for the presidency, the governor's budding relationship with the leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation movement has largely escaped notice.
Of course it has. That ridiculous adage about not discussing politics or religion at the dinner table – or anywhere else.
But perhaps not for long. Perry has given self-proclaimed prophets and apostles leading roles in The Response, a much-publicized Christians-only prayer rally that Perry is organizing at Houston's Reliant Stadium on Aug. 6.
Glad I missed that collection of crazy.
The Response has engendered widespread criticism of its deliberate blurring of church and state and for the involvement of the American Family Association, labeled a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its leadership's homophobic and anti-Muslim statements. But it's the involvement of New Apostolic leaders that's more telling about Perry's convictions and campaign strategy.
As we have seen, love is the excuse for their hate.
Eight members of The Response "leadership team" are affiliated with the New Apostolic Reformation movement. They're employed or associated with groups like TheCall or the International House of Prayer (IHOP), Kansas City-based organizations at the forefront of the movement. The long list of The Response's official endorsers - posted on the event's website - reads like a Who's Who of the apostolic-prophetic crowd, including movement founder C. Peter Wagner.
These people are the enemy. Know the enemy.
In a recent interview with the Observer, Schlueter explained that The Response is divinely inspired. "The government of our nation was basically founded on biblical principles," he says. "When you have a governmental leader call a time of fasting and prayer, I believe that there has been a significant shift in our understanding as far as who is ultimately in charge of our nation - which we believe God is."
Predictable. And sad. More of their revisionist manure. If their god is in charge, then nobody is.
Perry certainly knows how to speak the language of the new apostles. The genesis of The Response, Perry says, comes from the Book of Joel, an obscure slice of the Old Testament that's popular with the apostolic crowd.
"With the economy in trouble, communities in crisis and people adrift in a sea of moral relativism, we need God's help," Perry says in a video message on The Response website. "That's why I'm calling on Americans to pray and fast like Jesus did and as God called the Israelites to do in the Book of Joel."
Ah yes. The old finger-pointing trick. What Perry doesn’t seem to realize, is that moral relativism is a standard by which Christianity flies. I’m going to skip around to the astounding bits:
One of the primary tasks of the new prophets and apostles is to hear God's will and then act on it. Sometimes this means changing the world supernaturally. Wagner tells of the time in October 2001 when, at a huge prayer conference in Germany, he "decreed that mad cow disease would come to an end in Europe and the UK." As it turned out, the last reported case of human mad cow disease had occurred the day before. "I am not implying that I have any inherent supernatural power," Wagner wrote. "I am implying that when apostles hear the word of God clearly and when they decree His will, history can change."
First off, you ARE implying that you have some inherent supernatural power – it’s called clairaudience. Secondly, there was a report in Japan in late 2001. Also a report of one in 2004. So still wrong. And it’s not as much an epidemic as they’re hyping it up. So a load of crap – no surprise.
Oh, here’s another ‘goodie’:
Last year Jacobs warned that if America didn't return to biblical values and support Israel, God would cause a "tumbling of the economy and dark days will come," according to Charisma. To drive the point home, Jacobs and other right-wing allies - including The Response organizers Lou Engle and California pastor Jim Garlow - organized a 40-day "Pray and Act" effort in the lead-up to the 2010 elections.
Hey, I saw it coming too. Didn’t need any writing on the wall. It was pretty obvious.
Oh, and here’s the crazy cat lady:
Patterson claims to have seen demons with her own eyes. In 2009, at a prophetic meeting in Houston, Patterson says she saw the figure of Jezebel and "saw Jezebel's skirt lifted to expose tiny Baal, Asherah, and a few other spirits. There they were - small, cowering, trembling little spirits that were only ankle high on Jezebel's skinny legs."
Likely they’re spiking the punch with hallucinogenics – or she’s just batshit crazy. And like attracts like.
Read the rest of the article. You don’t require me to interpret it for you. But for myself, these people give me the shudders. People who are hearing voices and having visions need medicating, not political power. Perry might turn out to be an also-ran, but he could also become a dark horse.
So keep a wary eye out, and speak up at the first opportunity. Denounce these gibbering weirdos as the nutcases they are. Stump if you have to, but be heard.
The more of us that speak up, the better likelihood there is of being heard.
Till the next post then.
For some old classics, here’s a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (“Bring Out Your Dead”):
And this clip is symbolic of when I debate with theists online (hint: I’m Arthur):
Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
1. In the beginning Man created God; and in the image of Man created he him.
2. And Man gave unto God a multitude of names,that he might be Lord of all the earth when it was suited to Man
3. And on the seven millionth day Man rested and did lean heavily on his God and saw that it was good. Jethro Tull, Aqualung
Here’s a fascinating little human interest story:
The Rev Klaas Hendrikse can offer his congregation little hope of life after death, and he's not the sort of man to sugar the pill.
The Exodus Church is part of the mainstream Protestant Church in the Netherlands
An imposing figure in black robes and white clerical collar, Mr Hendrikse presides over the Sunday service at the Exodus Church in Gorinchem, central Holland.
It is part of the mainstream Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN), and the service is conventional enough, with hymns, readings from the Bible, and the Lord's Prayer. But the message from Mr Hendrikse's sermon seems bleak - "Make the most of life on earth, because it will probably be the only one you get".
"Personally I have no talent for believing in life after death," Mr Hendrikse says. "No, for me our life, our task, is before death."
Nor does Klaas Hendrikse believe that God exists at all as a supernatural thing.
I’m unsure what to make of the hymn-singing, bible reading and prayers. And Klaas actually equivocates by changing definitions:
"When it happens, it happens down to earth, between you and me, between people, that's where it can happen. God is not a being at all... it's a word for experience, or human experience."
But he’s another Myther. Hurrah!
Mr Hendrikse describes the Bible's account of Jesus's life as a mythological story about a man who may never have existed, even if it is a valuable source of wisdom about how to lead a good life.
And of course, he attracts detractors:
His book Believing in a Non-Existent God led to calls from more traditionalist Christians for him to be removed. However, a special church meeting decided his views were too widely shared among church thinkers for him to be singled out.
Sense is seeping in, slowly but surely:
A study by the Free University of Amsterdam found that one-in-six clergy in the PKN and six other smaller denominations was either agnostic or atheist.
It sounds more and more like the church I wouldn’t mind attending – had I the inclination to do so.
The Rev Kirsten Slattenaar, Exodus Church's regular priest, also rejects the idea - widely considered central to Christianity - that Jesus was divine as well as human.
"I think 'Son of God' is a kind of title," she says. "I don't think he was a god or a half god. I think he was a man, but he was a special man because he was very good in living from out of love, from out of the spirit of God he found inside himself."
Well, the mythical man-child also named himself ‘Son of Man’ as well – but that could very well be a Gnostic interpolation that slipped by the incessant censors.
Mrs Slattenaar acknowledges that she's changing what the Church has said, but, she insists, not the "real meaning of Christianity".
She says that there "is not only one answer" and complains that "a lot of traditional beliefs are outside people and have grown into rigid things that you can't touch any more".
And this little snippet says it all:
"In our society it's called 'somethingism'," he says. "There must be 'something' between heaven and earth, but to call it 'God', and even 'a personal God', for the majority of Dutch is a bridge too far.
Ah, the schisms of –isms, I’d rather have something that ends with an –asm. But that’s just me.
Till the next post, then.
I think the joke was that nobody does.
A simple mistake leads to a lot of weirdness: