A religionist not doing himself any favours

October 8th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I saw a tweet by Stephen Law and became curious as to the conversation. I clicked to see the rest and after what seemed like ages, the conversation below appeared. (Read about Stephen Laws’ Evil God challenge here)

it’s quite long so if you don’t want to read all of it, it starts getting interesting/amusing on page two, where I’ve commented.

Come in child number 9. Your time is up

December 17th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

God has called them all home

Obama said.

Wow. God must’ve been having an off day and taking it out on them then.

No passing away quietly in their sleep for these kids, as innocent children should die. It’s a full on kicking, screaming, painful death full of fear recall for them.

God is kind and compassionate, apparently. That’s certainly a definiation of ‘kind’ and ‘compassionate’ I haven’t come across before.

“We currently know of 5,400 Greek copies … of the New Testament…”

September 13th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I’ve been reading.

Lost Christianities, by Bart D. Ehrman. The following extract shows, simply, that the New Testament, the book all Christians hold so dear, has been changed and altered at the whims of men. It is not devine in any way.

After the fourth or fifth century, copies of the New Testament became far more common. Indeed, if we count up all the New Testament manuscripts that have been discovered, it is an impressive number overall. We currently know of 5,400 Greek copies of all or part of the New Testament, ranging from tiny scraps of a verse or two that could sit in the pal of your hand to massive tomes containing all twenty-seven books bound together. These copies range in date from the second century down to, and beyond, the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century. As a result, the New Testament is preserved in far more manuscripts than any other book from antiquity.

What is interesting for those who want to know what the original text said is not the number of New Testament manuscripts but the dates of these manuscripts and the differences among them.

I should emphasize that it is not simply a matter of scholarly speculation to say the words of the New Testament were changed in the process of copying. We know that they were changed, because we can compare these 5,400 copies to one another. What is striking is that when we do so, we find that no two copies (except the smallest fragments) agree in all their wording. There can only be one reason for this. The scribes who copied the texts changed them. Nobody knows for certain how often they changed them, because no one has been able yet to count all the differences among the manuscripts. Some estimates put the number at around 200,000, others at 300,000 or more. Perhaps it is simplest to express the figure in comparative terms: There are more differences among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.

On having our door knocked

April 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

There was a knock on our front door yesterday. Mrs -O answered it and was asked if she wanted to talk about god. Being a nice person, Mrs -O politely told them we didn’t have time as we were going out for the day. Immediately.

I they were christians of somesort rather than jehovas’ witnesses as they didn’t try to stop the front door closing with their foot and accepted what Mrs -O said. If we had let them in it would’ve been a short conversation wanyway, as we already have Jesus in our life. In the cellar to be precise. Tied up. He’s ok though, we let him out once a month for some excercise. Well, i say excercise, he mows the lawn.

As we were getting in the car to drive round the block, we’d said we were going out they’d only moved onto next door, it occurred to me that not only are these door-knockers deluded, and a bit dim, they came round mid-morning when people are busy, but extremely rude.

These members of the god squad were hoping to enjoy our hospitality, it would be rude not to offer them a glass of red wine and a wafer, at a time of their choosing to talk about a subject of their choosing. For people that are supposed to be well, good people that’s appalling manners. There was two of them, so why they didn’t just talk to each other I don’t know.

Anyway, I thought i would repay them so I followed them home and tonight I’m going round to see if i can get them a life with my VHS collection of Old Testament Top Gear episodes (1977-2001) I recorded off the telly. They obviously need some help.

5 solid reasons why the resurrection happened. Sorry, did I say 5? I meant 3. And they’re pretty shakey

April 8th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

‘Christianity stands or falls on the claim that Jesus Christ rose from the dead’: So claimed Ludwig Kennedy in a radio debate with Lord Rees-Mogg. He was right. The Apostle Paul put it even more bluntly: ‘If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith’. (1 Corinthians 15:14) The resurrection is of ‘first importance’ (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), and yet the difficulty of accepting it is a major barrier to faith for some people.

But although the resurrection appears incredible, we believe it happened on the basis of solid evidence.

So says Dr Peter Saunders. This Dr Peter Saunders. Shall we see what evidence there Dr Saunders is putting forward shall we?

First, no-one disputed the fact that Jesus died on the cross. He was seen to breathe his last by eye-witnesses, and was certified dead by Roman soldiers whose very business was killing. They decided not to break Jesus’ legs (customary practice to hasten death in crucifixion), because they were convinced he was dead already; and this was confirmed by the observation of ‘blood and water’ (separated cells and serum) coming from his pierced side. This only occurs as a post-mortem event.

No one disputed that a Jesus died on a cross. Apparently there was a Jesus about at the right time, and so it is entirely possible that a Jesus was crucified. As for contemporary witnesses, there is not a lot of that about at all. The bible, remember, was written a few centuries after Jesus’ time.

The so-called ‘swoon’ theory, that Jesus may have only fainted and revived in the cool of the tomb, does not hold water. It involves believing that a man beaten to within an inch of his life, impaled on a cross and then wrapped in 75 pounds of bandages and spices (rather like a plaster of Paris cast!) could somehow unwrap himself, push away a one ton boulder, single-handedly overcome an armed Roman guard; and then persuade over 500 others that he had conquered death. The foolishness of this position is evidenced by the fact that no-one dared suggest the possibility until centuries later.

Yeah, the ‘swoon theory’ does sound quite implausible. If someone achieved the above, then they might not be the Son of God, but they’d certainly pretty fucking awesome.

Would Christ, the model of integrity, really deceive his followers by claiming he had risen when he knew he hadn’t? Apart from the testimony of eye-witnesses, no non-Christian historian at the time (see Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus and Lucian) doubted that Jesus died.

If Jesus had claimed to have risen when he knew he hadn’t would indeed call in to question his integrity, but then at the time Jesus was considered the leader of a cult. What makes him different to any other cult leader – apart from fuck fooling fuck knows how many people over two millenia?

Dr Saunders first problem is this:

A man says he rose from the dead. His integrity can’t be questioned because he is the son of god. How do we know he is the son of god? Well, he rose from the dead, didn’t he?

hmmm, yes. I can see how this is going.

Second, the body was gone. If the Jews had removed it (Mary’s immediate assumption) then they would simply have reproduced it at the first rumour of resurrection. If the disciples had removed it, they would not have subsequently been prepared to die for what they knew had not happened. In any case, the tomb was heavily guarded, and they had all run for their lives when Jesus was arrested. Pilgrims never flocked to Jesus’ tomb. It was empty.

Fair point, I suppose.

Third, the post-resurrection appearances were impressive. Despite Jesus’ repeated predictions that he would rise from the dead, all his followers first thought of other explanations for the missing corpse. What convinced them? Mary, the twelve disciples, the followers on the Emmaus Road, Paul and 500 others (1 Cor 15:6) became convinced when they saw him. Some have suggested hallucinations as an alternative explanation; but hallucinations do not occur with varied groups, on multiple occasions, in different places, over a period of several weeks. They don’t light beach fires or eat fish either!

Erm, ok. I’m showing my lack of biblical knowledge here, so I’ll let that one go too.

Fourth, one has to account for the rapid spread of Christianity after Christ’s death. Most of the twelve disciples later died for their belief that Jesus was God. Although dying for a belief does not make it true, the point is this: they came to believe in Christ’s divinity after being convinced that he really had risen from the dead. It was this conviction that transformed them from fearful cowards into the bold apostles who literally turned the world upside down. The survival and growth of the early church resulted from the unshakeable belief that Jesus was alive.

Sorry, let me read that again.

Yep. I thought that’s what I read. Saunders’ fourth piece of solid evidence that Jesus H. Christ rose from the dead is the twelve disciples’ unshakeable belief that Jesus was God, or the son of God, or whatever.

Although dying for a belief does not make it true, the point is this: dying for a belief does not make it true.

Fifth is the personal experience of Christians, generations of people who have come to know Jesus as a person, with whom they enjoy a genuine friendship. Christianity is not just a creed to be followed nor an ideology to be embraced; it is a dynamic relationship with a real living God – through Jesus Christ.

And that’s it? That’s it? For fucks sake. This is the last solid evidence for the resurrection and it’s another few lines of hippy, happy-clappy, tree-hugging twaddle? This reason shouldv’e been the killer, the one that makes you stop reading and think “oh, yeah!”

How the buggery can anyone really know someone that lived two thousand years ago? You can read all the shite that’s written about them. You can listen to all the stories told, but they’ll all have changed so much from when the stories were originally written and told. Especially a story such as this that has been co-opted by the rulers and people in power who have changed bits and bobs to suit themselves. The bible has been edited for local populations and mistranslated many times over.

To recap Peter Saunders’ proof of the resurrection:

  1. Some bloke died on a cross.
  2. Said blokes’ body disappears.
  3. Some unexplained appearances of said bloke
  4. Twelve people end up dying because they believe said bloke
  5. Billions of people read stories of said bloke and think he all right
    1. Hardly “solid evidence” of the resurrection.

      Evidence based Christianity doesn’t quite work.

Edward Leigh MP: missing the point

February 17th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

with an awful metaphor…

As it happens, the council prayers case was brought to the High Court by the National Secular Society, an organisation which is given a level of media attention completely out of proportion to its size or relevance. In fact, it was pointed out recently that the NSS has about as many members of the British Sausage Appreciation Society.

This is Edward Leigh, the Conservative member of parliament for Gainsborough, and if you hadn’t guessed he’s talking about ‘militant secularism’.

And the metaphor? I warn you, it’s fuck awful

Unlike the National Secular Society, which wages a continual campaign against the public presence of religion, the British Sausage Appreciation Society does not see any need to bring court cases against the nefarious influence of sausage’s rivals – the nefarious influence exerted by eggs, buttered toast, or fried kippers. Indeed, one suspects the aficionados of the British sausage have discovered something the secularists have missed out on: all these can survive together and even get along well with each other without one affecting any other to its detriment. The secularists would have us break our fast on a tasteless God-free gruel, but I will always prefer the Full English.

See? Another supposedly intelligent person that sees anything and everything as an attack on the freedom of people to practice their religion.

Is it really that hard to understand the difference between secularism and wanting to stamp out religion? Do I really need to go over it again?

Warsi just doesn’t understand Secularism

February 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Baroness Warsi has shown once again she doesn’t understand what secularism is

“What I am calling for is faith to have a voice at the table, but there is a big difference between that and allowing faith make the final decision. I am not arguing about outcomes, only saying they should have an opportunity to have their say,” she said.

“That is the difference between me and the secularists who think faith should be wiped out,” she added.

Warsi needs to learn that secularism isn’t the same as atheism and secular people are religious people too. It’s almost like she’s ramping up the rhetoric to scare the shit out of people to get what she wants.

Faith should ‘have a voice at the table’, it should just have to make it’s own way to the table like everybody else. It shouldn’t have a seat reserved for it. Secularists aren’t arguing about outcomes either. Religion shouldn’t be given a priveliged place above anything else.

Secularist don’t want religion wiped out. They just don’t want it given a free pass in politics.

In her speech on Tuesday, made to trainee Vatican diplomats, Warsi said strong faith makes a person more tolerant of other faiths, despite history teaching that religious fervour can sometimes prompt pogroms.

Warsi. Blinded in one eye. Secularism is gonna turn the place to shit, but religion? Nooo, it’s all good, isn’t it. *shakes head, rolls eyes*

Warsi should shut the fuck up. She’s proved her point, that she doesn’t understand this secularism stuff. It’s almost as if it’s deliberate. It’s getting tiresome now.

militant secularism

February 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I wrote a post about how Nadine Dorries and Baroness Warsi are shitting themselves about a judge ruling that having prayers on a local council agenda contravenes the Local Governments Act 1972 (or something) and so prayers had to be moved off the agenda. Apparently this is persecuting the religious and if we keep going we’re going to end up in a mad, mad dictatorship with people being fired from a Trebuche foreven the slightest mention of a god of anykind.

My post got too ranty and incoherent. So here we are with this one. Trying again.

These fearmongers waffle on about militant secularism, about how no one is going to be able to practice their religion, or wear a cross or turban out in public. I presume they’re worried about about other religions not just christianity. No one seems to mention the others though.

The thing is, there is no such thing as ‘militant secularism’. Secularism is about separating religion from the state. There is no official national religion, prayers and other religious practises are performed during official duty or procedures, the state does not give favour towards one religion or another. Once that has been achieved you have a secular society. Secularism is secularism, there is no ‘militant’ about it.

Once you start removing religion from the personal and private lives of people you move beyond secularism and into the realm of a totalitarian state. Secularists do not want that. Secularists don’t give two shit what other people believe. they just do not want religion involved in running the country.

Take religion out of the legaslative process? That is A Good Thing. Laws shouldn’t be based on scripture. Your beliefs shouldn’t dictate how people that don’t believe what you do are treated.

Take the evangelical off the street corner? That is A Bad Thing. I might not like the bloke on the street corner shouting about how we’re all doomed unless we kneel before his imagination, it may even offend me to be cast as an evil sinner (it doesn’t, by the way), but that is his free to do that. He is not making me do anything. I can ask him to shut the fuck up. I can argue his points. I can ignore him, but he is not compelling me to behave or act in a certain way. The is man is, quite rightly using his freedom of expression, amongst others and no secularist would take that away.

So all this shrillness about about the collapse of society if a few people don’t say a couple of words to a diety in the morning is absolute bollocks. If a group of people need to have a moment to reflect on the business ahead, to thank or ask for guidance from a mythical entity then do it on your own time.

Either you give a give shit about religion having a say in running the country, and want to stop it, in which case you are a secularist or you don’t. These gits, with all their talk of DOOM if a prayer is missed seem to be confusing secularism with being a cunt.

What doesn’t help keep things in perspective is stuff like this, the poll in the Telegraph

“Are you worried by the threat of militant secularism in Britian?” is the question, and what a fucking question. Threat to what? The threat that the church of England will lose it’s priveliged place in the corridors of power? The threat that laws will be passed using reasoning and evidence rather than based on what someone wrote 1500, 2000, 4000 years ago?

Three of the four answers are just as stupid and don’t relate to the question.

Answer 1: “Marginalising religion is a form of intolerance seen in totalitarian regimes”

Religion isn’t being marginalised. It is just needs to be removed from the legaslative process. In totalitarian regimes, a ban on religion, or the ban on all but one, pervades in to the private lives of people. Secularism is not about that.

Answer 2: “People should worship in private and not display religious symbols in public”

Out in public, in public places, on their own vehicles, on their own bodies people, are free to do what they want as long as it doesn’t cause a breach of the peace and other public order laws. That’s not an answer about secularism, it’s an answer to a question about freedom of religion.

Answer 3: “People should feel proud to worship in public and display their faith”

Secularism isn’t about making people ashamed of their beliefs, just as much as it’s about the state not shoving religion down peoples’ throats.

Vicars, bishops, imams, rabbis, santos and all sort of religious people and people with religious beliefs have a great deal to contribute to society and the running of it. They should be allowed to contribute ideas born of religion so they can be debated as to whether they are good ideas. Those ideas shouldn’t be there just because they come from religion though.

Anyway, this post is long and rambling enough and I’m gonna start ranting again so it’s stopping here.

An Early Day Motion? For *that*?

February 1st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


An early day motion calling for the US government to slap the wrist of one of it’s talkshow hosts made a throw-away joke that featured the Sikh Golden Temple. BenSix reports

Johnny Carson’s unfunny protege made a joke about Mitt Romney’s wealth a few days ago, which involved suggesting that the Sikh Golden Temple was his “summer house”. No biggie. Damn, I forgot! We’re living in a world where things that should be no biggy are treated like biggies – hugies, in fact. Indians are furious; a bloke is suing Leno and in England an MP has proposed this motion…

That this House notes with concern the sketch on the NBC Jay Leno Show where the most sacred Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, was disrespected by Jay Leno when it was referred to as GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s summer home; expresses concern and regret that this depiction of the Golden Temple as a home of the rich shows a complete misunderstanding of the Sikh faith and is derogatory to Sikhs across the world; believes that these comments are not acceptable to all those who believe in respect for all religions; calls on Jay Leno and NBC to apologise to all Sikhs for this disrespectful depiction of the Golden Temple; and further calls on the Government to make representations to the US government that while recognising principles of freedom of speech there should be more understanding and respect shown to the Sikh faith.

There’s so much to laugh at here. The claim that it was a “depiction of the Golden Temple as a home for the rich” misunderstands the joke – it’s not “isn’t it funny that rich people live there” but “wouldn’t it be funny if they did”. The idea that Leno was implying something about the nature of the Temple itself suggests that viewers of a prime-time American talk show would be aware of what it was. I’m not the only one who thinks that’s funny, no? Then there’s the cry that his jests were not acceptable to those “who believe in respect for all religions”. Well, deal with it. The sponsors of the motion might feel that offending religious sensitivities is beyond the pale but that’s no reason to insist that we follow their lead. They don’t seem to have grasped this, though, as evidenced by their breathtaking call for our government to lecture a nation because of a wisecrack that one of its comedians voiced. I’m no fan of the U.S. state but I have to admit that they’d be richly justified in sending back a note that reads, quite simply, “GTFOI”. Depressingly, this motion has gained the support of 6 MPs: Virendra Sharma; Jeremy Corbyn; John McDonnell; Kelvin Hopkins; Alan Meale and Peter Bottomley. May the Gurus frown on them.

Happy Christmas

December 24th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink


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