Total Solar Eclipse Aug 21 2017

News flash: Eclipse reveals loonies [courtesy Kjennings952]

The loons are out in force over this eclipse.  Not a few loons. I’m talking WTF amounts of loons.  They’re predicting everything from the collapse of the economy, to the “tribulation” and anti christ.

I’m wondering how we got this ignorant and then I remember who’s in the White House….

Seriously go to YouTube and search “total solar eclipse” and prepare to be amazed.

Posted in Post weakly, Science and Tech | Tagged | 22 Comments

My Favorite Twitter Joke This Week

Son: Why did you name my sister Teresa?

Dad: Coz your mom loves Easter and it is an Anagram.

Son: Thanks Dad.

Dad: You’re welcome Alan.

Posted in humor, Post weakly | 8 Comments

I Have Coffee and Apple Pie So Let’s DO This! Why Is Suffering Necessary?

Here’s the thing. Folks be giving the S&M crowd the side eye while they’re surfing the porn sites, but in church on Sunday they don’t give a second thought about the concept of vicarious atonement [penile substitution 😘]. What is vicarious atonement you might ask?
It varies from theology to theology. Some have a somewhat more benign view but this is pretty much what it boils down to:

Vicarious atonement in the Christian system is made by the offended party. God is the party against whom sin is committed, and he is the party who atones for its commission. Vicarious atonement, consequently, is the highest conceivable exhibition of the attribute of mercy: “Herein is love, that God sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

And what does “propitiation” involve? Well god has this whole thing about punishment for sin. Sin demands death and eternal punishment. Seems like there’s no other options available to a god who is also capable of doing anything. To be consistent in the logic and the story Jesus should have then died and then [don’t pass go, collect $200 have an easy weekend and a resurrection] been sent straight to the lake of fire for eternity. Now that’s a sacrifice. That’s commitment. That’s the punishment atheists are supposed to get. The thinking around this idea is a little fuzzy to me. I’m hoping someone will be able to help me out with it. Say someone owes me $100. As the aggrieved party I could simply forgive the debt. What the bible seems to suggest is that the debt can’t be forgiven until/unless someone else gives me $100. Now that may be good for my bottom line but is that really forgiving anything? Can I claim the moral high ground? A just merciful god who claims to have unconditional love for humanity wouldn’t demand death and unending punishment, he’d just forgive the debt because he’s a mensch. I’m pretty sure Republican Jesus doesn’t approve of that, though.

So where does this notion of punishment come from? Why do so many people think suffering has virtue? I can’t think of any society with cultural justice norms that doesn’t include punishment of some kind.
There’s Opus Dei of the Catholics:

Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei,
stipulated that self-harm is mandatory if one wishes to live the “Spirit of Opus Dei” fully.
In his book The Way, he wrote: “Blessed be pain. Loved be pain. Sanctified be pain. . . glorified be pain!”
Aside from the metal cilice, some members of the Opus use a “discipline”, a whip that is used once a week on the back. They also take cold showers, remain silent or fast.

Then there’s this snake charmer Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu otherwise known as Mother Teresa.
She wasn’t the least bit interested in her own capacity for suffering, rather she preferred
to enjoy the misery of others.

“[Mother Teresa] was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.” quote Hitchens

To Mayor Marion Barry during visit to Washington DC:

‘Mother Teresa, what do you hope to accomplish
here?’
‘The joy of loving and being loved.’
‘That takes a lot of money, doesn’t it?’
‘It takes a lot of sacrifice.’
‘Do you teach the poor to endure their lot?’
‘I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept
their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. 1 think
the world is being much helped by the suffering of
the poor people.’
quote Teresa in her own oft repeated words

Islam [Shia sect] has their version:

Like other monotheistic death cults, they practice routine mutilation of themselves and their children.

Judaism has chest beating during Yom Kippur, and some rather sketchy practices involving goats.

The high priest would hold a lottery among two goats. One was designated to the Lord, which meant it was promptly taken to the altar, slaughtered and its blood was splattered in the Holy of Holies. The other was designated for Azazel, a demon of the wilderness, who – according to Enoch 1 – taught men how to make weapons and women how to adorn themselves with makeup. [*now we know how Jezebel got her start]
A red band was tied to this unfortunate goat’s horns and he was taken by another man – usually a priest – to the Judaean Desert. Jerusalem notables accompanied the man and goat on their 12-kilometer trek. They ritualistically halted for refreshment at 10 huts specially erected for this purpose, where food and drink were ceremoniously offered the man, who would refuse it.

    The goat’s preferences were apparently not considered.

After the 10th booth, the man and beast proceeded alone. When they arrived at the top of a cliff face, the man would hoist the goat into the air and toss him down the hill backwards. The goat would tumble down the hill and die, at which point a system of flag signals would inform the high priest that he could continue with the rest of the day’s rituals.
from Haaretz

[*my emphasis]

But religion isn’t the only bastion of torture on the way to “something”. The Matis tribe in Brazil have a bitter poison dumped in their eyes in order to “improve” their vision. After this, they are beaten and whipped. Finally they must endure the excruciating conclusion to the trial in which they inject themselves with the poison of the Giant Leaf Frog using wooden needles. Young Fula boys must undergo a whipping battle in which they trade blows with another boy from a different tribe in order to become a man. The sticks they use to whip each other have sharpened points and thorns all over them to maximize the pain they inflict. Both boys attempt to take the blows without wincing or showing any signs of weakness. The boy whom the observing crowd deems the winner is considered the bravest, and earns the right to be called a man. Enduring fire ants, ritual scarification, physical and mental privation, is common across many cultures. Wanna know what the number one ritual for rite of passage is? Guesses anyone? Yup. Genital mutilation, both male and female. I suspect that’s how it got so popular among the religious. It helps convince it’s practitioners it is necessary because “god” wants it.

Where am I going with all this? I’d like to meet the god who isn’t angry, or coming back angry, or about to wreak retribution on some massive scale. I’d like to think we can get along without unnecessary suffering. I’d like to think life is hard enough and the “rite of passage” where we’re all accepted as adults is to have done it with grace, dignity, help from our friends and family, and love.

Posted in atheism, Post weakly | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Shorter GOP: Repeal THEN Replace Healthcare

Everyone’s going to have a house. A big beautiful house. We have the best houses.

But FIRST we’re gonna have to burn down YOUR house.

THEN we’ll replace it.

Posted in politics, Post weakly | Tagged , | 2 Comments

On the Enigmatic Mr Wood, A Response to Mel Wild

I was hoping to never have to watch Mr. Woods tendentious video again, yet here we are.

***A side note to my loyal spammers who are fans of “Republican Jesus News” and “Melania’s Nude Photos” be patient there’s a new one on the way in the near future.***

This has been an overlapping topic of conversations over a number of blogs including mine. Pastor Mel Wild is a new apologist to the atheist circuit and has written an article on deconversions which may be found here. My apologies for having to chase many links, dear readers, but they will act as citations so we know I’m not making stuff up.

Before we get in the thick of it, a couple of definitions are in order so that while we may disagree on their meanings in relation to this post, at least my position will be clear regarding the use of terms in the context of Mr. Wood.

Psychopath: Patients who appear outwardly normal having a “moral depravity” or “moral insanity,” in that they possess no sense of ethics or of the rights of other people. Doctors use that term to refer to a more serious chronic disorder, linked to genetic traits, producing more dangerous individuals, while continuing to use “sociopath” to refer to less dangerous people who are seen more as products of their environment, including their upbringing. Psychopathy is among the most difficult disorders for laymen to spot. The psychopath can appear normal, even charming. Underneath, they lack conscience and empathy, making them manipulative, volatile and often criminal. Adult psychopathy is largely impervious to treatment. There are now several lines of evidence that point to the biological grounding for the uncaring nature of the psychopath. The brains of psychopaths have been found to have weak connections among the components of the brain’s emotional systems. These disconnects are responsible for the psychopath’s inability to feel emotions deeply. Psychopaths are also not good at detecting fear in the faces of other people. The emotion of disgust also plays an important role on our ethical sense. We find certain types of unethical actions disgusting, and this work to keep us from engaging in them and makes us express disapproval of them. But psychopaths have extremely high thresholds for disgust, as measured by their reactions when shown disgusting photos of mutilated faces and when exposed to foul odors. People who are actual psychopaths, or are high in the personality trait of psychopathy, tend to manipulate you and will almost always lie to you. Ref: Psychology Today

Atheism: Is a conclusion about one thing. The belief in the existence of a god. I shouldn’t have to repeat this as often as I do, but the assertions persist among seemingly cynical apologists that atheism is a “worldview” or has dogma and tenets and is responsible for all the explanations religionists require on everything from morality to the origins of the universe. It’s also not a substitute for religion. It’s not a monolithic existence. Put 100 atheists in a room and ask them for an opinion and you’re likely to get as many as 100 different answers. There is no “atheist lifestyle”. They simply don’t need religious trappings to order their lives. They are unnecessary.

All righty then. So, most of the rest of my post will be David’s “testimony” that I’ll refer to in the public domain. These are things he said, not things I’m speculating about or conclusions I’m making from having no information. I’ll start with a different video from the one Mel links to on his website. This one is mercifully shorter and pretty important to watch. It ran on CBN TV network. I’d encourage you to spend the seven minutes. At very least the first 2:20 of the video. His opening statement? “If my child died I would want to cry my eyes out, but I don’t think I would.”

He then goes on to explain what he calls “sociopathic behavior” which when compared to his statements, his confession, and the checklist for psychopathic behavior, comports with psychopathy not sociopathy. His demeanor during the entire interview is relaxed, unemotional, he could be as easily talking about eating apple pie as he was describing his violent unprovoked attack on his father. At no time does he show any remorse. Intellectually he acknowledges his actions were wrong, but has no actual understanding of the emotional gravity of the situation.

This demonstrates to me that there has been no change in his psychiatric condition from the time he asserts he was an atheist to the present day. It also is a problem for his claim that belief in Jesus changed him in any falsifiable way. In the likelihood of things it’s much more plausible he prefers a life outside prison being part of normal society and that an integral part of that scenario involves the redemption story Americans love to hear.

“I used to be an ATHEIST and then Jesus saved me.”

And it’s never a convincing testimony unless we can blame the ATHEISM for our troubles, is it? So we have two discrete things that are independent of each other. Psychopathy and atheism. Which am I more prone to accept as true cause of Mr. Woods youthful activities?

David is psychopathic and did bad things

or

David was an atheist and did bad things?

Incidentally to all this, he may actually believe in god. I’m not inclined to doubt that. And if that’s all that’s keeping him from going all John Henry on his family again, then I’d reluctantly say that’s a good thing. I would not sleep in the same house with him for the simple fact that’s he’s demonstrated he’s capable of changing his beliefs and he’s still obviously a psychopath.

So, is David Wood’s “conversion” more credible given he claims to have been an atheist and that god somehow changed him? Christians eat that stuff up. There’s no standard of evidence too low to accept claims about faith as being true. Simply say it and fait accompli.

I would ask you, Mel, if you felt my apostasy any more meaningful having once been a professing christian and seminary trained student? What if I made a video about experiencing years of abuse at the hands of the faithful and my family as a gay man? Would that be compelling? Probably not. I would be more effective in my “testimony” as a deconvert if I told you about my doubts and fears in my life as a believer. If I explained discrepancies I discovered through research in holy text and my years of unanswered prayers, that you might find convincing. But I doubt it.

So I’ll go back to my original response to you on your blog. We all have our reasons for believing or not believing stuff and those reasons may or may not be true objectively. I’m willing to be convinced I’m wrong given some evidence god exists. Are you willing to give up a comforting belief for an uncomfortable truth?

Posted in atheism, Post weakly | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments