Monday, 26 December 2011

Atheistic vs theistic resilience.

People with faith are happier and rebound from bad situations quicker? Curious claim to one upmanship. This would suggest people of no faith are more upset and disturbed by events around us, and they consider the implications of bad events with greater acuity and empathy.

I would rather be unhappy and disturbed, having full command of the events that left me in such a condition, than happy and oblivious to the same in a deluded and nihilistic world-view where nothing else matters but what happens to me when I die.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Opinion: Pope says Christianity trumps secularism in building good societies

Source; Catholic News Agency

I am not a Christian. I do not want to live in a Christian society. 

I do not recognise the pope as an authority on any matter outside of his own conscience, and I would thank him to respect my rights to my conscience.

Am I asking too much? Apparently. 

I will kill people to defend my right to freedom of conscience and equal treatment in a civil society, and if that means guerilla warfare on the streets of Penzance (a Celtic Spring?) against my Christian oppressors, then so be it. They will have brought it on themselves.

Religion is about love? Sheeze. Give me a break.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

For my new theistic partner, lest there be any confusion

My new partner recently asked if I believed in God. 

I had heard word of her involvement with the local diocese and had already pegged her as a theist, but certainly not one of the bible thumping hypocrites I am perhaps more familiar with in my forays into the debate. Indeed, her home bears no obvious witness to either her involvement with the Church of England, or her apparent faith.

Her delightful nine year-old daughter had proudly shared her baby album with me -  replete with her Christening certificate and cards - that I perused with an established atheistic interest in things religious, and not so much as a murmur of disapproval or outward sign that anything was out of the ordinary. The fact is, I neither disapprove, nor do I think anything was out of the ordinary.

Our relationship is in its infancy, and whilst my response to her question on the existence of God was met with a haughtily condescending, 'Oh, you will.', I feel comfortable that I can be open about my lack of faith without having the walls of some archaic middle-eastern city falling down around our fledgling romance.

Still, the resentment and distrust of atheists runs deep in some people, and I must be mindful to establish as open a dialogue on the true nature of the atheist as I can, without offending her and her family's religious sensibilities.

Upon returning from a very enjoyable and relaxing 36-hour informal meet and greet with her daughter, an article by Digital Cuttlefish on the use of 'tropes' came up in my Google Reader feed. I don't know how many - if any - of these misrepresentations of atheism I shall have to field, but the occurrence of this article may well prove to be timely.

Should my partner ever come to read my blog (and she has expressed an interest), perhaps this article will go some way to dealing with the more stubborn myths that we atheists have to contend with on a daily basis.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Dutch Catholic church slammed for thousands of child sexual abuse claims since 1945

Source; BBC News

A report by an independent commission into Catholic child sexual abuse in Holland has revealed that as many as one in five children have been victims whilst under the 'care' of Catholic institutions.

The report, based on a survey of more than 34,000 people, has identified 800 alleged perpetrators, just over 100 of whom are still alive, and church officials failed to adequately address the abuse or help the victims in their schools, seminaries and orphanages.

The commission was set up last year under the leadership of former government minister Wim Deetman to investigate allegations of abuse dating from 1945.

According to the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics, 29 percent of the Dutch population of 16 million identified themselves as Catholics in 2008, making it the largest religion in the country.

The Dutch Bishops Conference scheduled a press conference for Friday afternoon to respond to the report.

Note: Internet cookie to the first person to find a copy of the report.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Email to LIND Media regarding Mid-Ohio Atheists billboard campaign

Source; Greta Christina's Blog

  • Whether or not the US - or any other country for that matter - is a Christian nation, each of us that live in what we notionally call the West, have decided over numerous generations that intolerance and bigotry is not welcome in a modern and democratic society.

    In both the UK and the US, majority rule forms our respective parliaments and governments, but explicitly not at the expense of legal representation of the minority's rights.

    America in particular, despite its predominant Christian base, was founded on secular principles by people that didn't wish to repeat the mistakes as they appeared in the 'old country', but these founding principles appear to have served out their useful function, a new breed of good 'ole American fascism is sweeping the nation.

    All the more disturbing, then, when perfectly legal organisations like the Mid-Ohio Atheists, raise the funds and spend time and effort putting together a tasteful billboard campaign, only to have it rejected at the last minute by the billboard company for unsubstantiated claims of an  'inflammatory, offensive and obscene' nature.

    I honestly don't know what good it will do, but I for one have had enough of this overt bullying and repression, and I have decided to let LIND Media Company know about my concerns, and to illicit a response for their actions. And I call on every fair and just-minded individual to do the same.

    My email lies below the fold.

HoR votes on unconstitutional law abandoning habeas corpus

Source: Al Jazeera

A 662bn USD defence bill that includes a controversial proposed legislation that would deny terror suspects, including US citizens, the right to trial and permit authorities to detain them indefinitely, has been passed without presidential opposition by the Republican-lead House of Representatives.

Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said the bill was a "big deal".

"It would authorise the president to order the military to capture civilians and put them in indefinite detention without charge or trial, with no limitation based on either geography or citizenship," he told Al Jazeera.

"The military would have the authority to imprison persons far from any battlefield, including American citizens and including people picked up in the US."

Habeas Corpus, literally in Latin "you have the body" is a term that represents an important right granted to individuals in America. Basically, a writ of habeas corpus is a judicial mandate requiring that a prisoner be brought before the court to determine whether the government has the right to continue detaining them. The individual being held or their representative can petition the court for such a writ. [1]

Habeas corpus is one the most important rights guaranteed under the Constitution, and was first codified in British law with the Habeas Corpus Act 1679.

It has continued across the world as one of the basic rights afforded a citizen, and now looks certain to be effectively legislated away in the U.S.. 

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Noah's Ark: Found again!

Noah's Ark is thought to be located on Mount Ararat.

Last year, a group of 'evangelical explorers' claimed to have discovered Noah's Ark on the sides of Turkey's Mount Ararat. Now widely believed to be a hoax, a new group - this time from the Google-anonymous Shamrock - The Trinity Corporation - has made a similar claim; citing CIA records and President Jimmy Carter's White House diary.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Saudi woman beheaded for 'sorcery'

Photo censored by Google Adsense.


A Saudi woman was beheaded Monday after being convicted of practising sorcery, which is banned in the ultra-conservative kingdom, the interior ministry said.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Opinion: Bloody Catholics.

Gah! Bloody Catholics. It's always about them. Now if religious freedom advocates actually meant religious freedom for all, they would be calling for a day against persecution of people of any faith (or lack of it). But no. They only want to concentrate on their own religious freedom. It is fine to persecute non-Christians, just so long as Christians are not being persecuted.

Honestly, I can't remember the last time I read something that came from the Catholic media that, when reason is applied, is wholly abhorrent.

As proof of this I shall post the next three articles that appear in my RSS reader from the same source:

  1. Human dignity central to Catholic faith, Archbishop Dolan teaches A story stating that human dignity is central to Catholic faith, as if it isn't central to non-Catholics.

A blast from the past

Steptoe & son was a popular British comedy about the original rag trade.
I remember a time in my distant past when the rag and bone man used to come around this estate, collecting the junk that was otherwise too big to dispose of. Real life Wombles, with a horse and cart.
"Make Good Use of Bad Rubbish."
Having just returned to the area after a long break away, I have just had the pleasure of having the peace disturbed by today's incarnation. A man and his daughter in a modern pick up truck, clanging his bell for attention. I found myself wanting to give him something for old time's sake, but due to my recent move I find myself with a dearth of the things I actually need, not a glut of things I do not.

Quaint and reassuring in a strange way, but I wonder how indicative of the times it all is. What with onerous recycling programs and financial austerity not seen here since the last time I witnessed such a phenomenon in the 1970's.

Installing husband... Please wait.

A woman writes to I.T. Technical Support.

Dear Tech Support,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and I noticed a distinct slowdown in the overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewelery applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as News 5.0, Money 3.0 and Sport 4.1.

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and House Defrag 2.6 simply crashes the system..

Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?


Reply, after the break...

Monday, 5 December 2011

Christianity unravelled

Hoodie Jesus
If we are to accept Jesus as our lord and saviour, we should be careful to examine the reasons for our doing so. To ignore, or to gloss over, the facts as they are presented is nothing short of wilful ignorance, and any factual basis for such a belief is unwarranted and unfounded.

Aside from the dearth of credible evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, I have no real problem accepting that such a person did, in fact, exist; just that divinity claims have yet to be established. Personally, I think it likely that there was such a person, but what we understand of him today has been consumed by a plethora of loose ascriptions that may well have been better attributed to some other historical character. In other words, I find it more likely that when considering Jesus the man, we are talking about a conglomeration of different people's characters and urban myths. For the purposes of this argument, though, I will accept that Jesus did exist, but that the New Testament is a loose and inaccurate account of how we understand him - and by extension, Christianity - to mean today.

In Christian theology the atonement refers to the forgiving or pardoning of sin through the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion.
- Wikipedia 

Atonment forms the basis of Christianity, inasmuch as the purpose of his coming was so that he might die for our sins, purging us of the scourge of 'original sin' inherited from Adam and Eve. There is no mention of the descent of guilt for that sin, just that we inherit a 'nature of sin' directly from Adam and Eve. Jesus' suffering on the crucifix is the atonement - or absolution - for that sin.

So far, so good. All we have to do now is establish the existence of Adam and Eve as our ancestors, and Christianity is looking like being an acceptable - if not fantastic (see definition 1) - explanation of real events.

Friday, 2 December 2011

111201 Post of the day on Google+

On Michelle Bachmann's 'Teaching only evolution is censorship' 

Rod Brock  -  I wrote something of a diatribe in reply, here, and then lost it somehow in a spastic mouse motion. My own fault for feeling a compulsion to explain/defend myself, when it's not particularly necessary. To those rooted in the real world, it is apparent that she is stupid at best, delusional at worst.

I'll leave you instead with a quote from Robert Browning's "Bishop's Blougram's Apology."

How you'd exult if I could put you back
Six hundred years, blot out cosmogony,
Geology, ethnology, what not...
And set you square with Genesis again,--

This is what she attempts to do. To teach lies and delusion as viable alternatives to truth.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

A celebratory toast to Jesus.

Some gadgets really are quite good fun, even if you lose interest in them quite quickly. However, if they have a genuine raison d'être that extends beyond the birthday or Christmas event under which one is most likely to encounter ownership of such items, then perhaps you should consider a toaster as a low-cost gift in these austere times.

Discussion & analysis #1: How many sons did Abraham have?

As part of my research into biblical contradiction, I have posted the 439 instances as presented by Project Reason.

I am not wholly convinced of their validity, so in the interest of intellectual honesty, I am examining the more spurious claims in individual posts. This is the first such 'Discussion + analysis' (or D+A), and I welcome all the feedback I can on all of the following questions that arise from this project.

On the Holy bible and contradiction

We often hear that scripture contains no contradictions. Those studious bods down at Project Reason, however, have gone to some considerable effort to dismiss this argument.

There follows, below the break, a list of some 439 documented biblical contradictions. I have to admit to some considerable use of copy pasta from their rather lovely graphic to post it here, but I hope that this transgression is overlooked once I have edited it in its entirety. Something I am confident my reader will be allow me considering the length of the list.

It will, no doubt, take some considerable time. All contributions will be warmly appreciated as the form of the edits become more apparent.