Of all of those Big Questions central to philosophical concepts that surround life, the universe and everything, the realms of theology and religions and the nature of deities continue to fascinate. Opinions proliferate in books, articles, videos, conversations in bars and pubs, and in fact anywhere and everywhere two or more humans are in proximity. There’s the pro side; there’s the anti-side. There aren’t too many fence-sitters. I’m still in the anti-camp as the following sixth helping of “Religious Bits and Pieces” illustrate.
*Christians probably worry that if the gay community ever gets to control things politically they will treat Christians the same way that the fundamentalist right-wingers have treated the LGBT community since way back to when Methuselah was a baby in diapers. Fundamentalist Christians should have a reason to worry! Justice would be served if they ever got a taste of their own medicine. As a quick example, Christians have no difficulty in adopting children but there are numerous places due to Christian lobbying than ban gay couples from adopting. Christians lobby for the criminalisation of LGBT activities but the gay community have never lobbied for the criminalisation of Christianity. When was the last time the gay community burned a Christian at the stake or stoned a Christian to death? Yet some of the more extreme elements in the Christian right-wing have and are calling for the death penalty for homosexuality and related activities.
*Why does religion get special rights just for claiming they are doing or representing God’s (or some other deity’s) will? Special rights like obtaining freedom from paying taxes, and all by enforcing, according to their holy texts, what is and isn’t moral, while they get to – in a manner of speaking – go inside your bedroom and issue commentary on your reproductive / recreational behaviours as well as telling a woman what she can and can’t do with her body.
*In a similar vein, if you are a Bishop or an Archbishop, a Rabbi, an Imam, a Priest, a Reverend, a Pastor, a Clergy, a [religious order] Father, a [religious order] Sister, or have any sort of title that identifies you as a man / woman of the Cloth (i.e. – the Pope), you tend to be considered an intellectual, one of the elite, someone to be looked up to with a moral authority that’s nearly untouchable.
*If you adopt the philosophy that religions are man-made and derive from the human mind, then you have a ready-made and obvious explanation why there are so many of them.
*If you could reason with religious True Believers, there would be no True Believers.
*Religions favour faith over reason. Often one gravitates towards a faith because they just want someone (on high) to look after them and care for them. This is often called “passing the buck”.
*If monotheism was an improvement over polytheism, then what’s the next most logical improvement over monotheism?
*Thor is a real god. Here’s the proof: Thor said he would protect mankind from the Ice Giants. When was the last time you were attacked by an Ice Giant? Exactly!
*If you cross an atheist with a Jehovah’s Witness, you get someone who knocks on your door for absolutely no reason at all. (Credit due here to Dr. Michael Shermer.)
Regarding Religion vs. Science
*Religion gives people an absolute excuse to stop thinking since religion reveals all in black-and-white. Don’t question anything since God has already told you all you really need to know. Contrast that to how science and scientists operate.
*Religious folk often try to pass off their religious belief systems as science given their holy book sometimes contains passages relevant to cosmology, geology, and biology. But scientists don’t ever try to pass off their science as religion.
*If right-wing fundamentalist Christian True Believers demand that Creationism and Intelligent Design be taught to students in public school science classes, shouldn’t these same True Believers be required and forced to teach Darwinian Evolution in their Sunday School classes and in their church services? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
*However, to teach Creationism and Intelligent Design in Biology class would be akin to teaching Alchemy in Chemistry class and Astrology in an Astronomy class.
*Science and scientists have the ability and where-to-all to say “I / we don’t know” when they don’t know. You’re very, very unlikely to get that sort of admission from religion and theist True Believers. And, by the way, when science says “I / we don’t know” that doesn’t give theist True Believers an automatic license or admission ticket to say “therefore God did it” or “therefore God is responsible”.
*Science brings the diversity of people together in a common belief system of how the world works as all Christians, Jews, Muslims, Scientologists, Hindus, Atheists, etc. can all agree on gravity; that the Moon goes around the Earth; that the Earth isn’t flat; that table salt is composed of sodium and chlorine, etc. Science brings the diversity of people together with common goals, like international collaborations like the Large Hadron Collider and in various space missions and in medicine and in tackling climate change. Contrast that with religion which does anything but bring the diversity of people together.
*According to 1 Samuel 2: 8, the Earth is standing on pillars (not ‘floating’ in space), pillars created by God. I’m surprised that these pillars aren’t standing in turn on the backs of turtles; and that from there on in it’s turtles all the way down.
*If you use the data given to you in 1 Kings 7: 23, you’d calculate Pi as being equal to exactly three – no more and no less. Clearly the writers of 1 Kings failed Mathematics 101 (and God did a very poor job of proof-reading His own holy book).
Regarding Faith & Belief
*Faith just means “this is my opinion”!
*When challenged, “That’s offensive” does not constitute an argument in favour of your belief in some deity, religion and theology.
*Believe what you theologically will but don’t come to my front door and enter my bedroom to peddle your religious philosophy; don’t ask for a tax break for yourself based on your theological belief system; don’t impose your personal belief system on public education; and don’t try to legislate your belief system to legally ram it down the throats of others.
*What if you had grown up being told that Mother Goose and Aesop’s Fables and Grimm’s Fairy Tales were the absolute truth as related by an all-powerful and all-knowing deity, and that the stories of Little Red Riding Hood or Snow White or Cinderella or Jack and the Beanstalk were such divine revelations and that the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy were this deity’s ‘angels’ and that Santa Claus was the actual son of this deity. What if instead you were read make-believe once-upon-a-time bedtime stories about a man who lived for three days in a whale and about talking snakes and donkeys, and about animals sailing the seas with a wise old man and his family in search of land and about an everlasting burning bush that talked and about this superhero who could walk on water and raise the dead. In this sort of role reversal, would anything really seem out of place? You’d be a True Believer in Santa Claus and Snow White and grow up and out of the bedtime stories that featured Jonah, Noah and Jesus.
*Prayer would seem to be an attempt to change the mind of an all-knowing God, change God’s mind in your favour, a God who already knows in advance what you want and has already (without you knowing this) ruled against you.
*It would stand to reason that the people who are prayed for the most will be the ones to live long and prosper. Well the British people, even throughout the Commonwealth and her Empire, over the millennium have prayed for their Royal Family. And guess what? Not all of that exclusive membership have prospered and across the aeons, their lifespans haven’t been anything other than what you’d expect – average.
*If for some reason it could be proven beyond any reasonable doubt that any and every religious figure (including God) you ever believed in were an utterly false and entirely fictional figure, would you therefore all of a sudden start doing whatever you damn well pleased – steal, rape and pillage, murder at will, lie, cheat, acquire slaves, own multiple wives (or husbands), abuse children and animals, etc.? The vast majority, including the vast majority of (now ex) Christians (and ex other religious faiths) wouldn’t. So religion gets its moral authority from humans; humans get no moral authority from religion. Therefore anyone who invokes God does NOT have any moral advantage over me.
*In contrast, in the name of their god, as many True Believers have bombed hospitals, churches and schools as have built hospitals, churches and schools. In fact aren’t suicide bombings and religious holy wars and fatwas illustrations of (probably) good people doing immoral things under the banner and in the name of their god? Once you claim to know the mind of God (or equivalent), you know what God wants and so you can go and do God’s will, just working on God’s behalf. If that is the case, then there is absolutely no limit to the atrocities you can get away with – all in God’s name of course.
*Nearly all people have and do identify with the “Golden Rule” without ever having read or even having heard of the Bible or of a Jesus. In fact, dozens of variations of the “Golden Rule” can be found that easily predate the New Testament, even monotheism. The “Golden Rule” seems to be innate within us; just one of those commonsense bits and pieces of logic we take as a given.
*Therefore, has there been any ethical or moral statement, or belief or action by a religious person that can’t also be applied to a non-believer?
*However, in contrast, there are many things religious people will do in the name of their religious god that non-believers wouldn’t dream of doing, like the mutilation of children’s genitalia. Religious folk perform this sort of atrocity with a sense of righteous relish.
*Speaking of children, religious fundamentalists threaten their children with eternal punishment and torment in hell if they don’t straighten up and fly right. This is a form of immoral child abuse.
Regarding the Bible
*The Bible never explicitly says that abortion is murder or that abortion is even wrong or immoral.
Regarding Heaven and Hell
*Heaven: A celestial North Korea (an analogy that the late Christopher Hitchens often liked to make)! At least if you are a North Korean you can leave the real North Korea behind you when you die; you don’t get that privilege under or with your celestial dictator, God.
*Speaking of Heaven, can you have free will in Heaven? If you’re in Heaven can you give God the middle finger? Can you violate God’s Commandments in Heaven? Why does God give us free will only to talk it away when you get to Heaven?
Regarding the End Times
*Attention Michele Bachmann and all associated “End Times” fanatics, but another day has come and gone and yet again, God’s a no-show. And Jesus, of Second Coming fame, appears to be a bit tardy as well. Did they forget to set the alarm clocks? Did they miss the bus? Maybe their Holy Chariot had a flat! Michele Bachmann and company might believe that The End is Nigh (and has been for quite some considerable time) and the Rapture is imminent (and has been for quite some considerable time as well), but I think it’s pretty safe for you to plan and pay for your next holiday and build up that nest egg for your long years in retirement.
*If I had a fiver ($5 bill) for each and every time someone, even Biblical scholars, not to mention hordes of televangelists, fundamentalists, extreme right-wing End Times fanatics (Michele Bachmann anyone?) and related and often self-proclaimed prophets (Cindy Jacobs anyone?) predicted the imminent return of Jesus, the Second Coming, the rapture, etc., then the tax man would be very happy, my bank manager would be very happy, and I would be very happy and very, very rich. Each and every time the Second Coming is nearly at hand, Jesus has been a no show. Why, because Jesus is DEAD, that’s assuming Jesus even existed in the first place, and not all scholars agree on that, although I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt. However, IMHO, the real Jesus was just another self-deluded mortal, albeit a charismatic figure, who attracted a following (that’s gotten out of hand and out of control) and was given the death penalty for his troubles. I can put absolutely no faith in your phrase “Jesus returns” when all the prophecies (tens of thousands of them) of the Second Coming have to date been 100% wrong. My knees will bow due to arthritis way before Jesus returns!
*The odds that Jesus will return, that Second Coming, is about as likely as my winning the lottery ten times in a row. It ain’t happened in the past; it’s not happening now; it won’t happen in the future – foreseeable or long term. In fact if it ain’t happened by now it ain’t ever gonna happen.
*Once upon a time there was this Maximally Greatest Being (i.e. – God), who was non-physical, who was eternal but not infinitely so. For some unknown and unexplained reason(s), He / She / It decided somewhere on down the track to create a physical universe, complete with life and just everything. How you can decide anything if you are non-physical and lack any neurological infrastructure or system is quite beyond me. How do you do that if you have nothing physical to work with? Even if this God-being were physical in and of itself, it wouldn’t have any raw materials from which to work on or with. So, here’s a variation on some standard cosmology. God – a physical Maximally Greatest Being – literally went all to pieces, came apart at the seams, and scattered Himself / Herself / Itself into and across the void and became as one with the Universe. Therefore God is the Universe and goes by the name of Mother Nature!
*My Premise: You cannot create an absolute something from an absolute nothing. In other words, out of absolutely nothing, nothing comes. My Definition of Absolute Nothing: An absolute nothingness is a concept wherein there is no structure and no substance contained within. There is no mass, no chemistry, no color, no electric charge, and in short no physical entities or properties of any kind. Quantum physics is an absolute something since quantum physics examines the physical properties of the micro-realm. IMHO not even God could create an absolute something from an absolute state of affairs of pure nothingness. Therefore something has always existed and therefore there is no need for a creator God.
*Even if the explanation of some event boils down to magic, that doesn’t mean that the magic came from a god. Even if it came from a god, that doesn’t of necessity mean that it was your god (or even God).
*It is claimed by most theists that the existence of God gives you meaning and purpose in your life. That’s utter crap! The onus is on you to make your own meaning and purpose within your own short term existence here. It’s your responsibility. The buck starts and stops with you. Adopting God’s point of view as to purpose and meaning is just to take the easy road. In any event if you adopt God’s meaning and purpose in existence, you’ll probably get arrested for crimes against humanity! That’s because theists also claim that objective moral values exists because God exists. That too is utter crap! Read the Old Testament then tell me how objectively moral God is!
*God is an impossibly timeless, impossibly space-less, impossibly change-less, an impossibly disembodied mind who created the Universe out of absolutely nothing via some form of impossible magic. How does this even come close to making any actual sense? Further, for the first 100,000 to 200,000 years where Homo sapiens existed as a unique species, God was totally indifferent to us and only appeared rather late on the scene. Why was that I wonder?
*Why would God muck around with and bother with such a minor planet as Earth and with such a minor species as the human race when there is this massively vast Cosmos to travel around in and explore? Earth is to the Cosmos as one grain of sand is to all the deserts on the globe; humans are just one bacteria in a Cosmos of multi-trillions of bacteria. Perhaps this says an awfully lot more about the human species than about God. Maybe we think God would be really interested in us and our Earth because we are just so up ourselves. Maybe it’s because we created God in our image. We need God to be interested in us because we think we are the be-all-and-end-all of creation.
*Why is there something rather than nothing? God? Well why is there a God rather than no God? I can imagine a God (or god) not existing a lot more easily than I can imagine the Universe (i.e. – something) not existing.
*Why is calling God some sort of swear word a far greater misdeed than committing rape, or owning other people (slavery), or having multiple wives? Oh, maybe because God is firstly rather up Himself; secondly rather thin-skinned; and thirdly has a rather easily bruised ego.
*God is just a variation on the “1984” theme that “Big Brother is watching you” and knows about all of your “Thought Crimes”. In other words, you were born under a celestial dictatorship of which you had no say in the matter and to which you have no possibility of any escape from.
*It is claimed that without God, all things are permissible. Wrong. The opposite is true. With God everything is permissible because if you can convince others that anything and everything you do is commanded by God – it is in the Bible after all – then you can literally get away with murder, mass murder even genocide.
*With God all atrocities are possible.
*If you had a spouse as loving as God is portrayed to be by True Believers, you’d have to hire a small army of personal bodyguards to protect your life and limb!
*It is claimed by theists that without God, we are nothing. My reply is that without us, God would be nothing!
*Is it just be or is there really something contradictory about this passage from Romans 1: 20. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Somehow the concept of “invisible things” “clearly seen” strike me as being inconsistent.
Regarding God’s ‘Morality’
*Now do you True Believers mean to tell me that before the multi-thousands upon thousands of God’s “Chosen People” camped under the foot of Mount Sinai that they all thought that murder and perjury and theft was absolutely A-OK and that it took those godly stone tablets to make them see the error of their ways? That would be absurd. By the way we are aware that Moses deliberately broke those holy stone tablets, so, as the witticism goes, Moses broke all of God’s Commandments in one fell shattering! God was probably NOT amused!
*Those Ten Commandments notwithstanding, human morality has improved by leaps and bounds relative to those bygone days of Biblical lore and yore. Slavery has declined significantly; women’s rights (including reproductive rights) have significantly increased; LGBT issues are no longer behind closed doors and something that warrants capital punishment. Why? Because maybe we’ve collectively wised up to God’s so-called ‘morality’ and we no longer need or even want to get out moral instructions from within the Bible, hence from God. Calling God an agency or agent of morality is a total load of bovine fertiliser which is obvious even to Blind Freddy.
Regarding God’s ‘Intelligent Design’
*Isn’t it absolutely amazing how perfectly and intelligently designed a hole must be, such that its design enables the hole to be the very exact same shape as the puddle now contained within!
*Jesus apparently never uttered a word about abortion or about LGBT issues that the so-called ‘Christian’ fundamentalist and evangelistic right-wing keep going on and on and on about.
*Jesus can get just as bloodthirsty as his Daddy. Check it out at Luke 19: 27.
*If archaeologists were to uncover and verify and date a stone stele (or equivalent) that had inscribed the words that “Jesus of Nazareth will give a free public sermon on the topic of his divinity and the End Times on Tuesday afternoon at 3 P.M. on the Public Square. All are welcome to attend” – well that would put the Biblical cat among the doubting pigeons. Alas, no such object (or equivalent) has yet to be found.
Regarding Atheists & Atheism
*There is no special word to describe someone who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, or the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, so why is there a special word for those who don’t believe in any deity or deities?
*Know-It-All True Christian Believer to Atheist: “What are you going to say to God that will allow you, the non-believer, into his heaven?”
Atheist to Know-It-All True Christian Believer: “And what are you going to say to Allah that will allow him to let you, the infidel, into his heaven?”
*Atheistic rants and raves are two-fold. The first centres on their acceptance that there is no hardcore evidence for deities or a deity and the entire concept of the supernatural. That instead the concept of a natural world and hence of a ‘Mother Nature’ if one has to personify things (or a computer programmer) adequately explains all. Further that morality comes from within; from the bottom-up and not something imposed from the top-down.
The second is that therefore atheists get rather angry and really quite pissed off to the historical and ever ongoing atrocities committed in the name of a religious deity or deities, including, but hardly limited to, atrocities committed against atheists.
#GayActivists , #GayCelebrity , #GayCommunity , #GayFashion , #GayMagazine , #GayRights