Not Such a Surprise Ending: Part Three

MgezYB1368383028I’m going to skip over the Young Earth Creationism debunking in the book because that has already been done and because the debunking in the book is based not on the science but on the Bible. This is a bit like debunking a work of fiction by turning to the front and reading the passage that informs you that ‘any resemblance to any persons – living or dead – is purely coincidental’.

Moving on then, Chapter 2 is entitled:

‘Does Muhammed Have the Keys to Your Grave and to Eternity’.

A fight between Muslims and Christians (of any kind) is usually quite fun because if they were as sceptical about their own religions as they were other peoples’… well, neither would exist. Let’s see what it has to offer.

As a case in point of the kind of thing I mean, the book says this:

“At the end of the day, what do we have left? The claims of one man: Muhammad—a man who died and was buried over one thousand years ago.”

At the end of the day what does Christianity have left? The claims of one man: Saul of Tarsus – a man who died and was buried nearly two thousand years ago.

This is the pattern for the whole section. Upbraiding Muslims for the self-same failing and moral problems that exist within the Biblical texts. Murder, lies, paedophilia, rape, slaughter, all exist in both books but the reason to dismiss both Bible and Koran are their incorrect claims, fallacious claims and fictional nature. Not that they outrage our morals – though inconsistency is rife in both.

We can skip over this section.

Chapter Three is tearing down Mormonism, a worthy goal but when you’re coming from a Christian position, simply hypocritical. Again, a dose of self-scepticism to the degree shown to another faith (or faith variant) would be a pretty healthy thing to do. As with the Muslim section, this is the flaw and thus we can skip over it.

Chapter Four does the same for Jehovah’s Witnesses and yet again, the irony in tearing down one version of Christianity for beliefs no crazier than those found in the Bible is not lost on me. Again, we can skip over.

Chapter Five seems to move on, finally and is titled:

Do You Want Religion or Immortality?

Definitely not the first, unsure about the second.

There is a common phrase used by Christians that theirs is not a religion, but a relationship with Christ. What these non-denominational Christians fail to understand is that Christianity is the religion, the particular sect is just that, a sect, or Church. It should be a warning sign that they want to cast themselves adrift from the word ‘religion’ since it has become so toxic.

Lest we forget, the definition of a religion is this:

A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

Christianity, even non-denominational Christianity, still fits this definition.

I’m an atheist, quibbling and arguing over interpretations of the Bible isn’t going to convince me otherwise, it merely cements the vagueness and fallibility of the text. While the actions of sects and Churches often outrage my moral sensibility, this is not the reason I reject the concept of god. Even arseholes can be right about things. I reject them because there is no evidence for god. That many of these people and organisations are doing great harm to the human species based on their faith and their teachings is a reason to fight theism, not to reject the god concept itself. That I do on its own merits, not on the basis that it is used (though it is so EASILY used) by charlatans, exploiters and pious liars.

Supposedly, according to the book, the keys to immortality are:

KEY: Death of Jesus—we repent (i.e., death to our old sinful ways)
KEY: The burial of Jesus—we must be buried in the name of Jesus Christ (i.e., be born of water)
KEY: The resurrection of Jesus—we must receive the Holy Spirit. (i.e., be born of Spirit)

I still haven’t been given any reason to believe in Jesus, god, the veracity of the Bible, any of the foundational assumptions that go into this and yet the book says this is the ‘meat’ of it and there’s only about forty pages to go. I skipped back to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, but I hadn’t.

After much of this, still without any evidence or anything for me to talk about, given the foundational assumptions haven’t been supported, we finally get to something testable.

Speaking in tongues.

While the writers seem to be a little coy about using that term, contextually it’s fairly obvious.

Here’s the problem though, speaking in tongues isn’t a language and whether people realise it or not, they’re fairly obviously making it up.

Here’s TWO good ARTICLES about it and why it isn’t what some would like to claim it to be.

The part that I find particularly interesting is that while the babbling is void of informational content or organisation it can induce – in some – a trance-like state and different congregations develop different ‘dialects’ where they mimic each other’s babble.

Anyway, moving on…

The section Deciphering Jesus of course, presumes Jesus’ existence which – as a provisional mythicist – I’m going to need evidence for.

Nor do I care about the Trinity, because again – I’m yet to be given any reason to believe in a god.

And that’s the end of the book.

Did it present any evidence for anything?

No.

Did it convince me to give up my wicked ways and no longer be an atheist?

No.

The constant references to the Bible do nothing for me as a non-believer because I don’t believe its claims and, as a sceptic, I recognise that you can’t use a claim to prove itself. Ultimately this book is just another, different interpretation and – if the authors are very ‘lucky’ – the emergence of yet another sect or grouping calling themselves non-denominational.

All I can really welcome from it is that this is another shuffling step towards defeat of religion by reason since it stands against YEC. That’s not really enough to be happy about though.

I was told there would be empirical evidence for god and Jesus and the claims – supposedly – thereof and as usual I cam away disappointed.

If the authors wish to continue the dialogue on this blog I invite them to do so.

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Critiquing The Sermon on the Mount

Mount

Whaaa? Criticise the Sermon on the Mount? How could I do such a thing! Even non-Christians think this is a pretty good set of values to go by. Still, I disagree and its best to explain why…

1. AND seeing the multitudes, he went up into the mountain and when he had sat down, his disciples came unto him :
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying, 
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit : for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The poor are not blessed. A life of poverty is a shorter life of hardship. This obnoxious creed has been used to excuse the vile excesses of laissez-faire capitalism and to exalt the state of suffering. It creates an excuse to leave people wanting and for greed to continue.

4 Blessed are they that mourn : for they shall be comforted.

A false comfort. An accommodation to refuse reality. In the long run, this is an avoidance of actual mourning and unhealthy.

5 Blessed are the meek : for they shall inherit the earth.

Progress requires boldness, questioning. To be meek and passive will not move us forward. Nor will aggression, but extreme passivity is a problem with some eastern religions as well.

6 Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled.

A dangerous excuse to enact religious law and extremism over others.

7 Blessed are the merciful : for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall see God.

There is of course, no god. So promulgating the idea of god and believing it for no reason is directly and indirectly harmful in and of itself.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers : for they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake : for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Legitimising the actions of those who, often on no basis, consider themselves persecuted. Consider the American right in the USA today.

11 Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

This passage is often quoted by believers and used to defend their delusions. Essentially ‘Jesus said you wouldn’t believe his bullshit. He was right!’. Again it allows for a feeling of superiority and a means to ignore justified critique.

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad : for great is your reward in heaven : for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

There is no heaven. This sort of thing, valuing an afterlife over this life is what excuses and enables suicide bombers, dominionism etc.

13 If Ye are the salt of the earth : but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted ? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. 
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand ; and it shineth unto all that are in the house.
16 Even so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
17 Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets I came not to destroy, but to fulfil.

The Sermon on the Mount cannot be taken outside of its context and this passage in particular reaffirms that every obnoxious, hate-filled law of the Old Testament must still be followed. Jesus is meant as an exemplar, not a replacement within this mythology.

G.O.D.S.

Cop: “Howdy maam, we got a report of a domestic disturbance in the vicinity, mind if we come in for a minute?”

Christianity: “Oh, oh no officer, everything’s fine, really.”

Cop: “You sure? Your neighbour Mr Hebrew reported what sounded like a massive flood, decimating the earth. Is that water on your face?”

Christianity: “Oh, that’s nothing officer. I… I fell over, that’s what it was.”

Cop: “Uh huh, never heard that one before maam, let us in and let’s talk this over.”

Cop2: “I think I found him, he’s hidin’ under the trailer!”

Christianity: “Oh no! Please don’t arrest him, he’s a good god! It’s my fault, I done bad, I pushed him to it, I know he’s got a terrible temper!”

Cop2: “God? I’m going to have to ask you to come out from under the trailer peacefully now, bring your dog with you please.”

God: “His name’s Jesus! He’s a good dog, aintcha Jesus, not like that whore up there Christianity. Bitch had it comin!”

Cop2: “Come on out from under there and let’s talk this out sensibly.”

Christianity: “He’s right, he’s right, I’m a filthy bitch, a dirty sinner, I had it comin’, it ain’t his fault, I drove him to it! I should be more like Jesus, he’s a good dog, always does what he’s told, not like me!”

God: “Dern right woman, I warned you.”

Cop: “Alright, alright, calm down both of you, now what set this off this time?”

God: “Bitch ate muh last apple.”

Cop: “Is that right?”

Christianity: “Yes, but he didn’t make it very clear I wasn’t supposed to.”

Cop: “And eating an apple justifies flooding her and killing nearly all her people does it?”

God: “You damn right, filthy slut doesn’t know how to obey me. I wear the pants in this trailer! I’m the damn boss! Why can’t you be more like Jesus woman? He’s a good dog, aintcha Jesus? Who’s a good boy?”

Jesus: Woof!

Cop: “Right, but this is over now isn’t it? We’re not going to have any more trouble are we?”
God: “So long as the dang woman behaves herself.”

Christianity: “I’ll be good, I’ll be just like Jesus, you’ll see, I won’t do nothin’ to aggravate you!”

God: “Yeah right woman, you don’t know how to behave, you’ll be sinnin’ again in no time, and you know what happens then?”

Christianity: “I have to sit in the hell closet.”

Cop2: “Whoa, whoa, whoa, the what?”

Christianity: “The hell closet. When I’ve been a really filthy sinner he locks me in the closet and burns my feet, he keeps me in there and doesn’t let me out, but I deserve it! I’m a slut! A filthy sinner!”

Cop: “Sweet merciful fate, lady you need psychological help. Torture ain’t right!”

God: “What’s it to do with you? This is my trailer and my bitch! I’ll do what I damn well please!”

*Cops assault and cuff god*

Cop2: “You sick sonofabitch, you’re going away for a long time!”

Christianity: *Crying* No! Don’t lock him up! I deserved it! He’s a good god! I shouldn’t have done pushed him like that!

God: *being lead away* Shuttup woman! Jesus, you watch her now!

*Bad gods bad gods, whatcha gonna do…*