Monday, December 10, 2007

Christians Say The Darndest Things (001)

Gunman kills 4, wounds 5 at religious centers before being killed.

Such a shooting spree ending in so much death and pain is a sad thing. What is sadder still is the response from the religious believers involved. Do they have no rational thinking skills at all? Let's look at these comments:

"Violent crimes of any sort are tragic enough, but when innocent people are killed in a religious facility or a place of worship, we must voice a collective sense of outrage…" said Gov. Bill Ritter.

He started off right but why does he give special status to people at religious facilities? If you get killed at the opera, or while dining out, or at a Denver Broncos game it's tragic but not as tragic as if you are at church! What kind of twisted logic is that? Dead is dead.

The gunman was killed by a member of the church's armed security staff before police arrived

I'm certainly not opposed to people protecting themselves and I'm glad the guard was able to take the guy out before he shot anyone else, it just seems incongruous.

Jessie Gingrich, … cowered in her car, fumbling with the ignition key. "I was just expecting for the next gunshot to be coming through my car. Miraculously - by the grace of God - it did not,"

Oh Jessie, do you realize what you're saying? You're so special that God protected you but those others who were killed or wounded, well God didn't have the time of day for them. He has the power to protect people and protected you but not them. Wonder why? Maybe they were a bunch of sinners who deserved God's wrath. Yeah, that's the ticket. Sinners. But not you, you're one of God's special people. Hurray for you.

And two others in the parking lot saw the gunman:

They stayed in the vehicle and prayed for the gunman.
"It was obvious that he was in some sort of pain and going through a lot," Gibbs told "Today." "I just prayed God would bring him peace."

Right! Am I being a bit too cynical? I bet they prayed that he wouldn't notice them. But that really begs a question. If God is in charge (I've seen that sentiment expressed by Christians) and God is omnipotent and omniscient (I've been told that's the case) then what the hell is this praying about. Obviously this is all part of God's plan and mere mortals should not be trying to interfere with the work of The Great One. He knows what He's doing and has the power to carry it out. Sit back, relax and enjoy. Or, maybe you should consider the idea that there is no God controlling things and it's up to you (and the security guard) to do what you can when things go randomly wrong.
BTW, Gibbs’ statement is this week’s winner in my “Christians say the darndest things.” contest.

New Life, with about 10,000 members, was founded by the Rev. Ted Haggard, who … admitted committing undisclosed "sexual immorality."

Have any of the church members considered the idea that this is God's revenge? That this is God's way of telling them that their way of worship is not pleasing? I doubt it.

These brainless believers will go on believing in God, believing that he is a good God, and believing that he has total control over the world, despite every occurrence that demonstrates that this is not true.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wuz I right, or wuz I right. More in the saga of the teddy bear named Muhammad

From the news:

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear "Muhammad."

"Shame, shame on the U.K.," protesters chanted. They called for Gibbons' execution, saying, "No tolerance: Execution," and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad."

Oh my, what a lovely religion.
The Sudanese government, in an attempt to straddle the fence, sentenced Ms. Gibbons to 15 days and deportation rather than the longer sentence and 40 lashes called for by their religious, fundamentalist laws. Not good enough for the pious populace. Only death will do for letting children name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Here’s a comment from the article that I thought was straight to the point:
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans, said Gibbons' prosecution and conviction was "an absurdly disproportionate response to what is at worst a cultural faux pas."

Christians don’t have a whole lot of room to talk when it comes to absurdity but in this case Mr. Williams got one right. Sometime within the next generation or so Europe is expected to become predominately Muslim. Are you prepared for that?

Ooooohhh…, two topics in one day.

In a bit of irony, we find another article with the following comment:

Pope Benedict XVI strongly criticized atheism in a major document released Friday, saying it had led to some of the "greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice" ever known.

Say what? Hey Pope baby, go back and read the article about the teddy bear lady. If you want cruelty and violations of justice let’s talk Islam, you know, one of your fellow Abrahamic religions. Then go read some atheistic web sites, like say and see how many times they call for people to be lashed, stoned or executed. Does the number ZERO ring a bell? Besides Pope, old fellow, that comment of yours is an old chestnut. Atheism doesn’t lead to cruelty and injustice, megalomania does. If we look back through history at the worst mass murderers, on the level of Torquemada, Genghis Kahn, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc. we will find a common thread and it is not religion or lack thereof, it is megalomania. Kings and princes, popes and bishops, emperors and petty dictators, charismatic politicians and preachers, they have all been guilty of mass murder. Religious belief doesn’t prevent it, lack of religious belief doesn’t cause it and the Pope is showing his ignorance with this pronouncement. Unfortunately, due to his influence, people around the world will believe him. Bah!
Herman Melville put it well in Moby Dick: "Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

News report:
(CNN) -- Sudan has arrested a British teacher for insulting faith and religion, the British Foreign Office said Monday.
Blasphemy is punishable with 40 lashes under Islamic Sharia law, Britain's Press Association news agency reported.

In a past article I laid into George W. Bush for being dumb but the Sudanese Government has topped even Georgie Boy. Does religion make people dumb or do dumb people fall for religion? I don’t suppose I should expect less from an Islamist country. I worry about America becoming a Christian theocracy but I am seriously frightened by Islamic governments. A class of 7-year olds names a teddy bear Mohammed, a common enough name in the Muslim world, and the teacher is arrested for blasphemy. She faces imprisonment and possibly 40 lashes. It sounds like something out of the Inquisition in the middle-ages but it’s happening all around the world in Muslim controlled countries right here in the 21st century.
Grown men with the education and experience to run whole countries want to whip a 54 year old, elementary school teacher because a teddy bear in her classroom was given the same name as the primary prophet of the local religion. I just can’t even begin to express how seriously wrong this is.
One thing I can say is that this would never happen in a non-sectarian government. You want to name your doll Richard (as in Dawkins) or name your dog Bertrand (as in Russell) or draw cartoons about any atheist or humanist popular figure? Go ahead. No jail time, no whips. We can take it. Speaking of which, these Muslims and their violent actions remind me of a saying from when I was a kid: “They can dish it out but they can’t take it”. Some tiny little (supposed) insult and they’re rioting in the streets, burning buildings, harming people… I generally avoid vulgarity but the word “assholes” comes to mind.

Monday, November 26, 2007

George W. Bush - the edumacashun predisent

George W. Bush

Ugh. It doesn’t get any more ordinary than that. Substandard actually. How in the world did America elect this guy as president… twice? Ok, ok, I know that he probably stole the first one and squeaked by on the second because the Democrats put up a weak candidate. But it should never have been that close to begin with. It speaks volumes about the American electorate. Can you say “dumb”? And speaking of dumb, check out these Bush quotes and learn a new word while you’re at it: solecism. Look that up in your Funk & Wagnall’s!

George probably doesn’t know it but he single-handedly ran me out of the Republican Party. Yes dear reader, atheist that I am, I was a Republican for many, many years. This was before the religious right hijacked the party and headed it down the road toward Christian theocracy in America. I’ll discuss my political views in more depth in another article. Suffice it to say, I put up with Republican shenanigans for years (think Richard Nixon) because of my general conservative nature and my antipathy towards the Democratic Party. That was, until George W. Bush came along. After that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t rationalize enough. I no longer wanted my name associated with either the Republican Party or the idiot that they elected (see the link above). The next time I had the opportunity I switched my party affiliation. I’m still conservative in many ways but the Republicans no longer behave conservatively. I’m still a strict constructionist with regard to the Constitution. Whew, do we even want to go there? George Bush has violated the Constitution in so many ways I’m not sure I can count that high. The man scares me. He’s the President of the United States, with his finger on the red button, and he speaks so incoherently that you know that whatever is going on in his head is disjointed and irrational. Armageddon here we come.

One more year! I hate to wish away a whole year of my ever-shortening life but I’ll be glad to see this next year be done. The next president just can’t be as bad. Be sure to check out that Bush Grammar link above.