left biblioblography: September 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Allegories Gone Wild: ‘Exorcising The Gay’

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
demons of stupidityIt grows tiresome, these idiotic insistences of the deluded:Ex-gay survivor's tales of exorcism in middle England

After $30,000 for controversial conversion therapy, three attempts at exorcism and one failed marriage, Peterson Toscano finally resolved the conflict between his faith and sexuality - he was gay.

It took 17 years to accept it.

Whether called gay to straight, conversion or reparative therapy, the practice Mr. Toscano put himself through purports to help individuals change their sexual orientation.

There are those who claim the practice, largely supported by fundamentalist Christian churches, to have changed them from homosexual to heterosexual. They are know as "ex-gay".

But as far as Mr. Toscano - who calls himself an "ex-gay survivor" - is concerned, not only does it not work, the process is "psychologically damaging".

Mr. Toscano, now 47, grew up in an average Italian American Catholic home in Upstate New York.

But as a devout Christian, and member of the Evangelical Church, he found it difficult to resolve what he saw as a conflict between his sexual orientation and his faith.

"I was doing something spiritually and morally wrong that I would be punished for in the afterlife. And so there was a lot of fear and terrible desperation," he told BBC Religion.

As a teenager in early 1980s America, Mr. Toscano experienced a time when the word "gay" was synonymous with Aids. Up to 1973, US psychiatrists had been classifying homosexuals as insane.

"I put two and two together and made what I thought was a logical equation at the time of saying 'that's wrong, that's bad, I need to fix it'. And then 17 years later I finally woke up and came to my senses," he said.

His years of treatment are painful for him to recall. After an interview with US National Public Radio that triggered a period of depression, he now avoids recalling the specifics.

However, he recounts one of the darkest incidents in some of his performance work. During a two-year residential stay at Love in Action, now called Restoration Path, in Memphis, Tennessee, Mr Toscano was required to record all the homosexual encounters he ever had.

He was then told to choose the most embarrassing to read out to his family.

Mind you, this is not an isolated example (as many religious people will claim): this is a regular occurrence in many countries especially (I am ashamed to say) in America. If anything proves that prayer fails spectacularly, it is this assinity of ‘pray the gay away’.

There’s more to this ludicrous story (unfortunately):

The post-exorcism cuppa

Such therapy was not confined to the US. Mr Toscano visited England for an extended stay in the 1990s as part of his quest to suppress his sexual identity.

Most tourists plan trips to London or Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon; Mr Toscano took a trip to Kidderminster for an exorcism in a cottage overlooking a safari park.

He had already undergone two failed attempts at exorcism in the US. But he describes his experience with a minister in Worcestershire as "more like Reiki than deliverance".

"She never touched me, there was no screaming, there were no buckets of vomit like previous experiences I've had," he said.

"She felt the demons were dislodged enough to come out and then she just said in the most sweet gentle way, 'all right the demons are ready to come out now, all you need to do is take a very deep breath out and poof. There they go'.

"And then she literally put on the kettle and we had tea.

"She was very well meaning, but yet again she re-enforced this notion that there was something, very, very wrong with my insides, that my feelings weren't natural, they were actually demonic.

"That sort of teaching is so psychologically damaging, especially to young people. If you believe that, you will then do whatever you can to rip up your own soul."

In the US, moves are now under way to partially ban the practice in California. Governor Jerry Brown is currently considering a bill to make reparative therapy illegal for children in the state. If this is enacted it will be the first of its kind in the US.

The Evangelical Alliance, which oversees the UK Evangelical community, did not wish to comment on Mr Toscano's experience.

However, there are those within the Anglican community who believe in offering different kinds of support to people of faith conflicted by their sexuality.

And here we strike the sticking-point: there is and always will be  a conflict between sexuality and religion, because the religious do more damage by their intolerance to difference; it is always their way to the heavenly highway. The ancient Israelites wiped out entire clans based on that clans’ sexual proclivity. And over the centuries, the Big Three of Monotheism has done more to suppress natural desire than all the cold showers ever taken or saltpeter ever administered.

As for this ‘partial ban’ nonsense: it should be entirely banned. It has no foundation in reality whatsoever, and is as big a wash as those abstinence programs.

Keep religion out of our bedrooms, out of our schools, and out of legislation, and then hell yes we can get along like adults.

Those are the three rules. Can’t abide by them? Then put up your dukes, we’ll surely have it out.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Allegories Gone Wild: The Unmarried Mythical Man-Child

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
These little news ‘factazoids’ always crack me up:jesuswife

Jesus cites wife in fourth-century script, says US scholar

A Harvard University professor has unveiled a fourth-century fragment of papyrus she said is the only existing ancient text quoting Jesus explicitly referring to having a wife.

Karen King, an expert in the history of Christianity, said the text contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to "my wife," whom he identifies as Mary. King says the fragment of Coptic script is a copy of a gospel, probably written in Greek in the second century.

King helped translate and unveiled the tiny fragment at a conference of Coptic experts in Rome. She said it doesn't prove Jesus was married but speaks to issues of family and marriage that faced Christians.

Four words in the 1.5 x 3in (3.8 x 7.6cm) fragment provide the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus had been married, King said. Those words, written in a language of ancient Egyptian Christians, translate to "Jesus said to them, my wife," King said in a statement.

He added that in the dialogue the disciples discuss whether Mary is worthy and Jesus says: "She can be my disciple."

Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was unmarried even though there was no reliable historical evidence to support that, King said. The new gospel, she said, "tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous
debates about sexuality and marriage".

"From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry," she said, "but it was over a century after Jesus's death before they began appealing to Jesus's marital status to support their positions."

King presented the document at a six-day conference being held at Rome's La Sapienza University and at the Augustinianum institute of the Pontifical Lateran University. While the Vatican newspaper and Vatican Radio frequently cover such academic conferences, there was no mention of King's discovery in any Vatican media on Tuesday. That said, her paper was one of nearly 60 delivered on Tuesday at the vast conference, which drew 300 academics from around the globe.

I think the following paragraph exposes just how tenuous this entire dog-and-pony show is:

The fragment belongs to an anonymous private collector who contacted King to help translate and analyse it. Nothing is known about the circumstances of its discovery, but it had to have come from Egypt, where the dry climate allows ancient writings to survive and because it was written in a script used in ancient times there, King said.

And of course, someone takes the inevitable swing at it:

A New Testament scholar claims to have found evidence suggesting that the Gospel of Jesus's Wife is a modern forgery.

Professor Francis Watson, of Durham University, says the papyrus fragment, which caused a worldwide sensation when it appeared earlier this week because it appeared to refer to Jesus's wife, is a patchwork of texts from the genuine Coptic-language Gospel of Thomas, which have been copied and reassembled out of order to make a suggestive new whole.

In a paper published online, Watson argues that all of the sentence fragments found on the papyrus fragment have been copied, sometimes with small alterations, from printed editions of the Gospel of Thomas.

The discovery has already sparked fierce debate among academics, but Watson believes his new research may prove conclusive.

"I think it is more or less indisputable that I have shown how the thing was composed," he said. "I would be very surprised if it were not a modern forgery, although it is possible that it was composed in this way in the fourth century."

It’s ridiculous that people actually spend time and money and squander resources on this nonsense. The entire ‘gospel’ is a hoax, unwittingly perpetrated perhaps, but a hoax nonetheless, a compost of stolen syncretism’s and plagiarized back stories that are richly interwoven bullshit. Mental pollution at it’s narcissistic best, masturbatory delusions that people still use to stroke their broken self-esteem.

One can only hope that our species will eventually outgrow this vile, anachronistic nonsense.

I for one, am not holding my breath.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

More On The Madness Of Muslim: Celluloid Insanity Of The First Order

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasismoandjesuscensorship

You’d have to be living in a fucking cave not to have heard about this latest series where the ‘Religion of Peace’ followers (good old Ass-Lame) are running amok:

US Ambassador To Libya Killed Over Insulting Depiction Of Prophet Mohammad In Anti-Islam Film By Israeli-American

The controversial, little-seen film “Innocence of Muslims,” was produced by California-based Sam Bacile, a 56-year-old California real estate developer who has said he’s both Israeli and American. The film depicts Muhammad as a fraud, womanizer and madman. Bacile has gone into hiding following the violence in Libya and Egypt.

BENGHAZI – US ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats were killed in a furious attack on their consulate and a safe house in the eastern city of Benghazi by Islamist gunmen blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.

The controversial, little-seen film “Innocence of Muslims,” was produced by California-based Sam Bacile, a 56-year-old California real estate developer who has said he’s both Israeli and American. The film depicts Muhammad as a fraud, womanizer and madman.

The US embassy in Egyptain capital Cairo, too, bore the brunt of rioters’ anger over the film made by an Israeli filmmaker living in the US.

California-born ambassador Christopher Stevens, an old Arab hand, had gone to the consulate in Benghazi, the cradle of last year’s uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, with the others to evacuate it after it came under attack Tuesday. It was not clear how or where Stevens died.

The US consular staff were rushed to a safe house after the initial attack, Libya’s deputy interior minister Wanis Al-Sharif said. An aircraft with US commandos then arrived from Tripoli to evacuate them.

“It was supposed to be a secret place and we were surprised the armed groups knew about it,” he said, adding two US personnel were killed there.

The amateurish film, Innocence of Muslims, portrayed the Prophet Mohammad in a negative light. The maker of the controversial film —Sam Bacile, who described himself as an Israeli Jew — has since gone into hiding.

US pastor Terry Jones, who had inflamed anger in the Muslim world in 2010 with plans to burn the Quran, said he had promoted the film.

“While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants,” said President Barack Obama.

A US Marine counterterrorism team has been dispatched to Benghazi, reflecting suspicions that a terrorist group may have used the rioters as a shield to target Stevens. The ambassador was supposedly killed by a rocket-propelled grenade — a weapon normally used by a trained soldier.

The killings have raised questions about the stability of the Libyan regime, which has struggled to contain scores of local militias, and whether more protests might erupt in the Muslim world over the film.

It’s unfortunate that Obama has to play patty-cake with these assholes: it’s a volatile situation, rife with the threat of violence.

And of course the Taliban, those purveyors of putrification, had this to say:

Al-Qaida praises Libya consulate attack as anti-American protests subside

Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen praised the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya as a "great event" Saturday, and urged followers to kill other American diplomats across the Muslim world.

Personally, I’m rather sick of these people: not just the Muslims, but all the terrorists who try to gull the masses with fairy tales, and then incense crowds to riot. Religion is a sickness at the heart of our species – and if I believed in miracles, I’d say it was a miracle that we’ve survived thus far. But I don’t, so it’s not. Likely it’s the sheer stubborn stupidity of the unwashed masses. Few other abstract concepts reward sheer perverse tenacity like religion.

And none of these people, whether they be Arab or WASP, are aware that an Argumentum ad baculum is no argument at all – it’s the sole purview of the bully, the terrorist, and the fanatic, which has no place among civilized peoples.

Instead of bellying up to these people, we should carpet-bomb all 20 of those countries with the film they’re up in arms about.

Which would make them as nuts as ten cats in a bag.

Religion is poison. It neither improves the disposition or the person. It give free reign to the sub-conscious weirdness, and shouts down the cortex. It is a useless, barbaric, asinine anachronism well past its usefulness by multiple centuries.

We’d be better off without it. Let’s hope that someday, we will be.

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, September 09, 2012

Never Forget, Never Forgive: The Day The Towers Toppled

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
We are nearing the 11th anniversary of that attack on domestic 9-11_Islam_jobUS soil, September 11, 2001.

Within the last 100 years, there have been two major atrocities that are closest to indisputable proof that religion is anachronistic madness. One was the Holocaust, where Jehovah’s own ‘chosen people’ were led, driven, or herded to slaughter in the millions. No divine hand parted the clouds to save a single life: no booming voice sundered the heavens to declare “let my people go!”, no ethereal avatar swam in from the sunlit horizon to save anyone.

And then, there was that infamous day, 9/11. Where thousands plummeted to their deaths, bodies rained from the skies, as two large towers belched the smoke of their demise as they crumbled. And again, no winged figures descended from the skies to save people, no bellow of divine anger to shake the foundations of the world, no angels shed a single tear, for there are no such things. Only death and dust and the screaming of the fallen suddenly halted on impact, the wailing and the funereal dirge.

Never forget: never forgive. Remember, remember, the 11th of September.

Till the next post, then.



Sunday, September 02, 2012

More On The Madness Of Muslim: Even The Children Are Not Safe…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasismoderate_muslim

And these idiots wonder why they get such bad press…

Pakistani Christians, fearing backlash, flee community after girl is accused of blasphemy

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Everyone in the teeming, tense community of Muslims and Christians just outside Islamabad seems to have a different story about the young girl and the Koran.

The 12-year-old Christian deliberately burned the Muslim holy book, some say. No, she innocently put pages from a non-sacred teaching text into the trash, say others, and nothing was burned. Still another version holds that an older Muslim boy planted pages of the Koran for the cleaning girl to find and then leveled the accusation of desecration because she had spurned him.

The ignorance illustrated here is nothing short of mind-boggling

Amid the conflicting claims, this much is certain: As many as 600 Christians have fled their colony bordering the capital, fearing for their lives, officials said, after a mob last week called for the child to be burned to death as a blasphemer.

The girl, who authorities have described as mentally challenged, sits in jail in Rawalpindi, charged by police with blasphemy, while her family has been put in federal protective custody. The evidence against her is muddled at best, but police said they arrested her in part to assuage the mob and also because they knew she would be safer in jail.

So much for the allegations that Is-Lame is the ‘religion of peace’.

Sallying forth with zero evidence but hearsay, one moron was quoted:

“The one who burned the Koran should be burned,” said Shaukhat Ali, an assistant at the local mosque, expressing a sentiment shared by many Muslims in the community.

And lo and behold, these blasphemy laws are being abused! I wish I could say I was shocked or surprised.

Under Pakistani law, those found guilty of defaming the Islamic prophet Muhammad face the death penalty, while defiling the Koran can bring a life sentence. The case of the girl is the fourth in recent months to alarm human rights advocates, who say the law is frequently used to persecute Christians and also has been unfairly applied to the mentally ill — including some Muslims.

Liberal-to-moderate Pakistanis see the rise in blasphemy allegations as a reflection of a dangerous ascent of extremism and anti-Western sentiment throughout society.

Took you long enough.

“Most of the people consider the Christians here to represent the West,” said Paul Bhatti, who heads the Ministry of National Harmony — a post created after his younger brother, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic and minority affairs minister, was assassinated last year by the Pakistani Taliban for advocating reform of the blasphemy laws.

An idiotic opinion, since Christianity was born in that particular sandy part of hell called the Middle East.

Shahbaz Bhatti was the second prominent politician killed in 2011 for his opposition to the laws: Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab province, was gunned down by a member of his security retinue who immediately confessed and was widely celebrated in Pakistan for defending Islam.

The civilized mind reels at the immense idiocy of celebrating the death of a human being because they had the audacity to step up and say, ‘uh, guys….maybe we’re doing something wrong here’.

Christians are easy targets for false claims by accusers with ulterior motives. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari took “serious note” of the girl’s arrest, said a spokesman, who quoted him as saying, “Blasphemy by anyone cannot be condoned, but no one will be allowed to misuse the blasphemy law for settling personal scores.”

In a theocracy like Pakistan, that’s a bad joke. More than that, it’s a bad joke in horrible taste.

In an interview Sunday night at his heavily guarded office in Islamabad, Bhatti said such allegations are usually leveled against the poor and the powerless. The 50-year-old physician said he has drawn no firm conclusions about the girl’s case but knows one thing: Even if cleared, she and her family can never return to their home.

This is just too much: maybe it is about time we started burning Talmuds and Korans and Bibles. These ‘holy texts’ aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, and they sure as fuck aren’t worth the rivers of blood that have been spilled over them.

So for the delusionists out there: screw your holy books, screw your little hurt feelings. Whether it takes a decade, or the rest of my life, I will spend considerable time waging a war of ideological attrition, mocking your stupid fucking superstitions, and pissing you off as well as pissing on your precious little books of fables.

Till the next post, then.